Tag Archives: Dodgers

I heard there are all different kinds of burritos

Pax Arcana

Indians Sabathia Hurt BaseballHello, Mr. Colletti. What a pleasant surprise to run into you — the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers — in the lobby of the hotel at which your assistant said you were staying!

I hope I’m not being presumptuous by telling you this, but I am very interested in signing with the Dodgers as a free agent. I know there’s been a lot of speculation about where I really wanted to play, and the truth is that I want to play for a championship.

Also, I heard there are all different kinds of burritos in Los Angeles. I heard there are burritos with steak, chicken, carnitas… anything you wanted. Even jowl. I love jowl.

You are probably aware that the Yankees have offered me an awful lot of money to play in New York, Mr. Colletti. But I’m not sure that team is the right fit for me. The same goes for the Brewers. I enjoyed my time there last season, but I think I would feel more comfortable in an environment where the ownership was committed to winning over the long term.

Do most burritos in Los Angeles come with sour cream? In Milwaukee and Cleveland they charge extra, but I heard that in L.A. they just throw the sour cream right on there without asking. Now that’s change I can believe in.

cc2

Truth be told, Mr. Colletti, most people expect me to take the Yankees offer — or drive up my asking price by flirting with other teams. But that’s not why I have come to you. I am here because my interest in returning one of baseball’s seminal franchises to glory is worth more to me than all the money in the world.

I saw that your outfielder Andre Ethier has a food blog, where he goes out to restaurants and writes about them. Do you think he needs any help with that? I fancy myself something of a writer, too.

Also, do you know if he ever writes about burritos?

Dodgers GM says Sabathia wants to be in L.A. [ESPN]

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Tim McCarver will just make shit up

Pax Arcana

Back in the day, Pax Arcana would rush home from backyard wiffle ball games to hear Tim McCarver call Mets games on WWOR. Back then, McCarver was the knowledgeable straight man to Ralph Kiner’s hilarious progessive drunkenness throughout the games.

In 1999, McCarver was fired by the Mets for being too critical of the team. As a fan, it was my judgment at the time that there was no such thing as being too critical of that team. The late 1990s Mets were the biggest waste of goddamn money in baseball history.

For that, and because his was the first real baseball voice I ever knew, I have resisted joining the increasingly massive anti-Tim McCarver groundswell that has swept the nation.

I even tried to ignore his recent babbling about Manny Ramirez:

“It’s extraordinary — the dichotomy between what he was in Boston and what he is in Los Angeles,” MLB on FOX analyst Tim McCarver said, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I mean, talk about wearing out your welcome in a town, and it was a long welcome with the Red Sox. But some of the things he did were simply despicable, despicable — like not playing, refusing to play. Forgetting what knee to limp on. And now it’s washed, it’s gone.”

But it’s just too much. Regardless of your opinion of Manny, the statement above is so full of shit that it’s a wonder that geysers of poo didn’t shoot out of Tim McCarver’s nostrils as he was saying it.

Thankfully Baseball Prospectus is here to set us all straight:

In July, when Ramirez was supposedly “refusing to play,” the Red Sox played 24 games. Ramirez played in 22 of them. This was tied for fourth on the team with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury. He was sixth on the team in plate appearances (AB+BB) in July. Not quite Lou Gehrig’s numbers, but he helped out a bit more than David Ortiz (six games), and was in the lineup somewhat more often than peers such as Moises Alou (one game). Oh, he didn’t get three days off in the middle of the month-Ramirez played in the All-Star Game.

When he played, Ramirez killed the league. He hit .347/.473/.587 in July. His OBP led the team, and his SLGAB. The Sox, somewhat famously, went 11-13 in July. Lots of people want you to believe that was because Manny Ramirez is a bad guy. I’ll throw out the wildly implausible idea that the Sox went 11-13 because Ortiz played in six games and because veterans Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek led all Red Sox with at least 25 has sub-600 OPSs for the month.

Four days before he was traded, Manny Ramirez just about single-handedly saved the Red Sox from getting swept by the Yankees, with doubles in the first and third innings that helped the Sox get out to a 5-0 lead in a game they had to win to stay ahead of the Yankees in the wild-card race.

If all of the above is “refusing to play,” I would sincerely like to see what “trying” looks like.

But as every real baseball person knows, statistics only reflect someone’s abilities to, you know, hit baseballs and do other things that don’t really help their teams win. What about all those scrappy intangibles like scrappiness and dirty uniforms and scrapdirt and try-hardness?

As McCarver says, sometimes Manny would forget which knee he was supposed to be limping on zomg!!!!1!!!!111!.

Or not. The Joy of Sox does the dirty work here, tracing the origins of McCarver’s groundless assertion right back to … TIM MOTHERFUCKING MCCARVER!

It turns out that McCarver was repeating that exact same story more than two years ago!

On July 10, 2006, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospects wrote that Ramirez had been

taking a disproportionate amount of heat for missing the [All-Star Game], even getting openly questioned on yesterday’s Fox telecast. Tim McCarver said the worst thing about his knee injury was “remembering which leg to limp with.”

But McCarver isn’t alone. Turns out a lot of people were talking directly out of their asses about Manny’s supposed knee forgetfulness:

It’s clear from Edes’s “evidently”, CHB’s relegation of the remark to a parenthetical, and Celizec’s labeling Chuck’s comment a “quip” that there was no real source for this “story” — it was simply a media guffaw/snide remark.

However, Peter Gammons repeated the story as fact three days later, in his July 31 ESPN column:

Ramirez tried to sit, citing his knee. … If Ramirez hadn’t forgotten which knee was bothering him, he would have been more convincing, but he got mixed up.

Gammons offered no source for his statement and because the entire column is nothing more than a bitter rant against Ramirez, I cannot accept it as fact.

In the aftermath of Ramirez’s trade to Los Angeles, the tidbit gained traction (though it was never sourced, not even to the popular “anonymous source with knowledge of the situation”):

Jon Heyman, Sports Illustrated, August 4, 2008:

One landmark moment came when Ramirez complained of knee pain but couldn’t recall which knee was hurting him. Red Sox doctors had to take the unusual step of evaluating both the right and left knee in an MRI exam.

Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports, August 8, 2008:

Last [the Red Sox] saw of Manny, he was stumping for a trade. He was crab-walking to first base. … He was trying to remember which knee hurt.

Tyler Kepner New York Times, October 5, 2008:

In the litany of Manny Ramirez controversies, it was not as egregious as reportedly forgetting which knee hurt when he visited a doctor this July. …

At least Kepner hedged his bets and said Manny “reportedly” forgot which of his knees hurt. … (It was also mentioned as a joke at The Spoof on August 19, 2008.)

Art Martone, the sports editor of the Providence Journal, told me the story

sounds awfully familiar, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in our archives. It may be an urban legend that’s been repeated so often it’s accepted as fact.

So there you have it. The story about Manny’s knee is as grounded in reality as those about Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

Oh, by the way — as I type this, Manny is 2 for 3 with an RBI double and made a solid play in left to keep Pat Burrell out of scoring position on a laser beam to his right. So there’s that.

Facts About Manny Ramirez [Baseball Prospectus]
The Origins of “Manny Forgot Which Knee Hurt” [Joy of Sox]

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An open letter to Andre Ethier

Pax Arcana

Dear Andre Ethier,

Like many baseball fans, I have greatly admired your talent since you broke into the big leagues in 2006.

You possess a rare combination of speed, hand-eye coordination, and power — and you seem to get better every year.

When you slugged .477 your rookie year, I was worried that your power numbers were a fluke. But then you went and slugged .507 in 132 games so far this year — an impressive statistic considering your place in the batting order leaves you with little protection behind you. Your OPS+ of 124 is also most impressive, as it puts you among the top young outfielders in the National League in that category. By all accounts, you are also a superb defensive player.

But this is not why I write to you today.

You see, while your baseball abilities are most formidable, they pale in comparison to the might of your army of loyal fans.

Nine days ago, I penned a satirical piece on this blog in which I lashed out at you for daring to write silly things on the Internet. Adopting a tone of outrage, I mockingly scolded you — a young and handsome Major League Baseball player — for encroaching on the world of losers that is the Internet.

“Blogging about stupid crap is our refuge from the pain of our epic failure to have your life, you throbbing hairy ball sack,” I wrote, figuring that anyone with more than a handful of brain cells to rub together would realize that I was making fun of myself and not you.

But like so many National League pitchers, I underestimated the power of Andre Ethier.

My satirical post was linked to on a number of Dodgers message boards, where it was promptly tethered to a sturdy post and swatted at with rusty yard tools. On this blog, people left comments encouraging me to “shut the fuck up,” and advising me that I “fucken suck at life.”

I have even been accused of sinnisism, which is almost as bad as being accused of cynicism.

That my original post was clearly a jab at those, like me, who write about trivial things on the Internet — and was not, by any possible definition, an actual criticism of you — did not matter. Your army of loyal Ethierites were not deterred. They attacked and they attacked and they attacked. I fear they will not stop until I am a wilted husk of a man, cowering beneath my desk, afraid to venture back out into the maelstrom of failure that is my life.

As I have already explained to Coolio, Pax Arcana is a blog with but one enemy — zombies. The shuffling hordes of the undead will not stop until they have devoured the brains of each and every one of us.

Pax Arcana, and our army of Flying Shark Vikings, has led the fight against these slow-moving ghouls for more than a year — and I believe your army of devoted fans would make a valuable asset to our side. Their blind devotion to you is clear. They will follow you anywhere and will do your bidding.

Join us, Andre Ethier. Join us, and we — and maybe Coolio, we haven’t heard back yet — will fight these miserable plodding zombies side-by-side. We will fight them with baseball bats, and with other heavy things, and with Internet flames.

I eagerly await your reply.

Sincerely,

Pax Arcana

P.S. As a token of my sincerity, please heed the following advice as you continue your adventure in food writing — if you see something on the menu called butterfish, do not order it. Sometimes it makes orange oil shoot out of your ass.

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The final word on Manny Ramirez

Pax Arcana

I had the beginnings of yet another Manny Ramirez post bouncing around my head this weekend — it was to be a discussion of why flawed superheroes are more engaging than perfect ones, titled “Manny and Supermanny” — but frankly I’m just over the whole thing.

So let’s let Charlie Pierce have the final word:

For all the murmurings from the fainting couch by the local baseball romantics about how Manny Ramirez failed to respect The Game and did his teammates dirt, these same people seem more than willing to accept the proposition that the rest of your defending World Champions are made of candy glass. Is the poisonous presence of Manny Ramirez the reason catcher Jason Varitek is petrifying almost by the hour, or why Josh Beckett hasn’t thrown a changeup in six weeks, or why most of The Kids have been playing like people who got lost on the way to the AAA park? (Jacoby Ellsbury, the speedy young center fielder who was such a sensation in last year’s World Series, is hitting an abysmal .186 since the All-Star break and has stolen one base since June 17.) And has Epstein himself been so distracted by Ramirez’s performance that he’s failed to notice that his middle relief corps is a landfill? As near as anyone can tell, as the Rays and the Yankees both strengthened themselves for the final weeks of the season, the only thing the Red Sox front office worked on in the days prior to the trading deadline was finding a way to ship Manny Ramirez and his 20 home runs out of town.

Go read the whole thing.

By the way, Manny is 8 for 13 with two HRs in Los Angeles, and “chemistry” still doesn’t have a single RBI in the whole fucking history of baseball.

And Sean Casey is rotting on the bench.

OK now I’m done.

Burning Manny [Slate]

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