The Name Of This Blog Is Baseball For Dinner. And That’s What It’s About. [TeeCoZee’s AL Preview 2018]

I bet you guys didn’t expect this. After almost a decade of running a website called Baseball For Dinner, I finally decided to start writing about baseball [again]. As you may remember from my NFL Roundups of yesteryear, I actually don’t know much about baseball. However, I am totally willing to convince you that I know baseball more than Bo [that’s a baseball joke, you wouldn’t understand] by writing at great length about it on a monthly basis. I know nothing about baseball history before 2012. My girlfriend always has to help me score games. I don’t actually understand what WAR means, but I am not afraid to make you feel dumb for also not knowing. You can expect no journalistic integrity from me. What you can expect is some cheap humor, memes, cheap memes and a bunch of hot takes. Lots and lots of hot takes.

In speaking of hot takes, here’s how the American League is going to pan out this year. And if I’m wrong, you’re even more wrong for believing me.

AL East

5th Place: East Bay Rays
Last year, the Rays were a rag-tag team of losers trying to make their place in the world. In the offseason, they traded away/demoted every player that matters and nobody cared. The same can be said about the Marlins, except the entire baseball community was having stove-gasms over the ridiculousness of it all. Nobody had the capacity to shut up about Jeter gutting the Marlins. But let’s look at facts. The Rays finished 80-82 while the Marlins were 77-85. Saying what Jeter did was a travesty is an exaggeration. He simply got rid of a bunch of players that couldn’t win. The Rays did the same, but Jeter doesn’t run the Rays, so who cares?

4th Place: Charm City Boh’s
I really like going to Camden Yards. It’s my second favorite stadium on the east coast. And now that the Oriole’s rotation is comprised of popcicle sticks and Kevin Gausman, I’m going to enjoy going there even more. Just so I can see some sweet, sweet dingers. Dingers for days. Dingers dingers dingers. Also, Manny Machado is playing Shortstop now, which is pretty admirable. Usually, a player goes to an easier position when they get older, but not Manny. He is a man among many Mannys. He is the most macho Manny out of many. If you thought I was done making fun of his name, I’m not. Heh, Manny Machado? More like Manny Nachado, amirite?!?
nachando

Lookit! He has a giant plate of nachos for a hand! Good luck playing shortstop while holding a plate of Nachos, Nachado! MORON!!!

3rd Place: Canada Geese
At the end of the 2013 season, I read a preseason issue of [The Sporting News?] that predicted the Blue Jays to win the pennant. I laughed so hard that I shat. Lucky for me, I was sitting on the toilet at the time. And every year after that, predictions and results for them have remained the same. Joe Biagini has a magic jock strap, Marcus Stroman got his teeth whitened, blah blah blah whatever, they’ll finish .500.

2nd Place: The Fucking Red Sox
Hanley Ramirez is allegedly healthy for the first time in his life. David Price also hopes to do the same. Chris Sale exists. They have JD Martinez now. I think I might actually…like the Red Sox? I’m probably drunk. I’m not. Shit.

1st Place: The Bronx Championships
I got to see Murderer’s Row 2.0 last week and the results were…dissapointing. For being the “Best Lineup Of All Time”, they got eaten alive by Francisco Liriano, who is not good. Of their first 10 wins this year, 9 of them have come from the 7th inning or later, long after the starters left for the day. So yeah, the Yankee’s look good, but their prospects are winning the actual games. Didi Gregorious is always going to live in Jeter’s shadow. Aaron Judge has been hot garbage since the All Star Break. Giancarlo has bones of glass. Gary Sanchez doesn’t even know how to be a catcher. And who’s the DH? Adam Lind? The fuck outta here. Developing Super Squads doesn’t win championships. Just tell that to the Nationals, who have way more talent than the Yankees but will still never win anything.

AL North Central

5th Place: The Chicago Guaranteed Rate Company
I haven’t heard any bad things about the White Sox lately, which is concerning. I also haven’t heard any good things. This could mean that they made a bunch of borderline-beneficial decisions in the offseason, which failed to spark ridicule or praise. It could also mean that they are planning on tanking so hard that every writer simply feels bad for them and chooses to ignore their existence. Let’s take a look at their prospective rotation:

Carlos Rodon – I always get him mixed up with Bruce Rondon, who is equally inferior
Lucas Giolito – That’s FORMER PROSPECT Lucas Giolito to you, sir.
Carson Fulmer – He looked really good in Single A Ball…3 years ago…
James Shields – Doing a spit take with Whiskey really hurts.
Reynaldo Lopez – Looks like Juan Uribe and Dee Gordon had a butt baby.

lopezequation

Okay, good. The White Sox still suck. Carry on.

4th Place: The Kansas City Blues
But wait, Royal is a shade of Blue. So technically, they ARE the Kansas City Blues and the State of Missouri probably can’t get enough of Sonic The Hedgehog and bad Pepsi spinoffs. When going for their first World Series run, the Royals were like a catchy song that sounded nothing like you ever heard before. After much petitioning and fan rallying, all of the VMAs went to Bruce Springsteen instead. A year later, everyone still sang that song and every radio station included it in their 20 minute repeat block. Eventually, everyone got sick of hearing it and tuned out. Currently, after even more time, the song is just a shadow of what it once was. The notes are all still there, it didn’t change at all, other music simply got better than it. I would feel bad for them, but man, that song is annoying. Lorde just needs to stop trying.

3rd Place: Imported From Detroit, To Detroit
I took in a Tigers Spring Training game last week [also known as “Mikie Mahtook Strikes Out For 3 Hours, Or Until His Arms Get Tired”] and was seated next to a chatty elderly gentleman. Not only did he go through the liberty to point out [former Tigers skipper and avid smoker] Jim Leyland in the stands, he also gave an anecdote about an interaction he had with him.

I went up to Jim and said, “Jim, you think they can go all the way this year?”. He took a second and said, “If the big man can hit, they have a really good chance”. The big man he means is Miguel Cabrera and there’s a lot of young talent on the team.

He said this. At least 20 times over. Couldn’t stop talking about it. Refused to stop talking about it. It just didn’t sound like something Jim would say. There’s no way he’s that hopeful and hokey. So I spent the entire game scoping out his seat, trying to plan my move. I was gonna ask him myself and see if he actually thinks such a ridiculous thing. After 38 Mahtook strikeouts, I went to swoop in. I was within 5 feet from him when suddenly, a guy rolled down the stairs and crumbled at my feet. I panicked. What in the hell do you even do? Do you help him up? Call for help? Keep walking? It became a whole scene and when it was all said and done, I was too perplexed to even say a word to Jim. Instead, my girlfriend asked for an autograph for me while I babbled some gibberish under my breath. I couldn’t tell if I was star struck or sun stroked. Either way, it was much more memorable than Mikie Mahtook.

2nd Place: Twin City Playoff Limpers
The Vikings and Twins seemingly had the same season last year. Faced with very minimal opposition, they won a lottery out of a pool of mediocrity to get stomped in the playoffs by a team with an annoying fanbase. Will they do the same this year? Probably. Byron Buxton is shaping up to be elite and Max Kepler is a person that I’m told exists. Also, they have Jake Odorizzi now, so expect me to spend all season pretending to like them.

1st Place: Cleveland [Insert Racist Name Here]
Alright, folks. We have one more year before the Indians start to suck again. Do you think that it’s a coincidence that they started winning games when they reinstated the Chief Wahoo logo? Me neither. There’s a lot of terrible racist assholes in Ohio and a good portion of them are already dead. Clearly, Corey Kluber’s slider doesn’t break because of physics. It’s actually being carried by bigot ghosts. That’s science.

AL West

5th Place: Walker, Texas Cops
There once was a time when the Texas Rangers basically owned the AL West. This wasn’t very long ago. All they had to do was play 162 games and the division was theirs to win. It seems like those days are long gone. The Angels and Mariners have eventually took every Ranger that was ever worth a damn. The Astros decided to stop playing possum and win a World Series. Hell, even Oakland had a baseball team. So what are the Rangers to do? How can they adjust in order to win back something that used to be so automatic for them? They made some blockbuster wheels and deals. They signed on dotted lines and crossed all the “I”s. They made things happen, damnit! Ladies and gentlemen, the Rangers are pleased to announce that they have signed not one, BUT TWO former Cy Young winning pitchers! Introducing:

rangerscyyoung

THE DIVISION IS THEIRS! GIVE THAT MAN THE $10,000!

4th Place: Oakland Has A Baseball Team
Yeah, I thought it was weird, too.

3rd Place: Dee Gordon In Center Field BLUH
In a perfect world, the Mariners have the elements in place to be a serious contender. Their lineup is so stacked that they are now forcing Dee Gordon to play centerfield, just because there are no other options for a 2nd baseman. Cano has been consistent, Seager/Cruz are gonna hit dingers, Ichiro is good for .280 until he’s 50 years old, Mitch Hanniger/Ben Gamel are on the verge of breakouts and if he stays healthy, James Paxton has the stuff to be one of the most feared pitchers in the game. However, we live in a shitty world and baseball is an imperfect sport. Here’s their injury report:

Ben Gamel – Right oblique strain
Ryon Healy – Hand surgery
Felix Hernandez – Forearm contusion
Erasmo Ramierez – Strained right lat
Nelson Cruz – Right quad soreness
Kyle Seager – Not His Brother Syndrome
Jean Segura – Hamstring tightness
Ichiro Suzuki – Likes riding in golf carts

In other words, it’s your typical Seattle Mariners.

2nd Place: Orange County Conservatives
I’m not trying to split hairs, but let’s be honest. The Dodgers represent the hip and wealthy residents of Los Angeles, while the Angels represent the weekend warriors living in the outskirts. You know, the family-oriented people that had to move out of the city where it’s safer/harder to procure proper drugs. They fuckin love their Angels and they half-fill Halo Land every damn day. They also wouldn’t use such crass words like I did in the previous sentence. I kind of wonder what words they will be using now that they have a team that’s worth two shits [probably words like, “to shake a stick at” or “looking really swell”]. They acquired Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler to make actual sense out of the infield. They signed Matt Kemp Justin Upton to a contract that he probably didn’t deserve, but has a chance of earning. If Garrett Richards can stay healthy, his fastball is looking the best it’s ever been. And to top it all off, they won the lottery for Shohei Ohtani. He is a player that’s so remarkable, I’m going to give him his own paragraph. Also because it will make the format look a lot better when you skim through this article. New paragraph!

In case you’ve been living under a rock or watching ESPN all offseason, Shohei Ohtani is a 23 year old baseball phenom from Japan. He can both pitch and hit at an elite level. In 2016, he posted a 1.86 ERA over 140 innings while batting .322 with 22 home runs. A stat line like this has been unheard of since the days of Babe Ruth. So, he decided that he wanted to play in Major League Baseball and held a contest in which all 30 teams tried to woo him. However, there was a catch. Under the MLB’s collective bargaining agreement, no team could sign him for any amount above the league minimum. This made Ohtani’s decision to be a pure one instead of one dictated by money [which automatically elimated the Yankees]. After weeks of hand wringing, negotiating and Brain Cashman climbing the side of a building, Ohtani decided that for some reason, his best fit would be in Anaheim. The Angels signed a $200 million player for 6 years at minimum wage. And now he’s out there, just carving up batters.

That was the high point of this story. In actuality, those batters he owned were the Brewers B squad. A team of Jabroni Jobbers that are just “happy to be there”. He’s done much, much worse against real players. Soon after signing, it was leaked that he has a ligament injury in his pitching elbow and it seems to have taken a toll on his velocity. What once was 101 MPH is now 98 on a good pitch. At DH, he’s been batting below .100 and his Cactus League ERA is 27.00 after a proper shellacking from Colorado’s A-Squad.

This is the part where people start to panic. There’s been talks of sending him down to AAA. The whole league is laughing in their faces. Mike Scioscia is convinced that he’s still doing fine. For the first time in years, the milquetoast Angels are actually interesting. For the duration of the season, expect to see me marking out for the Halos. This is mainly due to me doubling down on buying an Ohtani jersey the second he got signed. I also want to further confuse people when I tell them that I’m not from California, I just exclusively like their teams.

1st Place: Houston Astors
It’s pronounced, “HOW-ston”, like the street. Get it? I’m a funny guy from New York. The Astros are basically the same team that won over our hearts and minds last year, except they got rid of some of the riff-raff. And by riff-raff, I mean almost all of their lefty relievers. Nobody likes lefty relievers, I don’t even know why they exist. They’re just hogging up roster space that could go to a fully capable right hander, the way God intended. Why do you think they call it “right handed”? Lefties might as well be called wrong handed. Because they’re abominations of human life. The only wrong-handed reliever they have left is Tony Sippppppppp. I also think that he’s the token black guy on the team as well. I Googled their roster to see if there were any other African Americans and instead, I got this:

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 1.01.03 PM

While looking to see how whitewashed the Astros are, I was greeted with Yuli Gurriel making fun of Asians. God, I hate Texas.

That is exactly how the American League is going to pan out. You might as well place your bets now. Thank me later. You can also thank me now. I’m always free to get praise. Join me next week when I attempt to preview the National League but probably end up spewing 3000 words about how much I love the Dodgers.

-TeeCoZee

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