And They All Flailed Around Like Idiots [TeeCoZee’s AL Roundup April 2018]

I’ve been told that the sane and healthy fan doesn’t really pay attention to April baseball. The weather is cold, the players are rusty and in a season that lasts so long, not much that occurs holds any penance in the end result. It’s best to just tread lightly until it gets into the dog days of summer. I am not sane, nor am I healthy. While all of you were drinking hot cocoa and watching NCAA Hocketball, I was sweating my ass off in the Florida heat watching prospects flail around like idiots. While you guys were staying inside to do your spring cleaning, I was freezing my newly regrown ass off watching the Mets flail around like idiots. One page of my scorebook is wrinkled in dried sweat. The next page has handwriting that degraded as the game went on, because my hands were too cold to write legibly. I’ve sat through ups and downs, good games and Yankees games. I’ve stayed up until 4am on multiple occasions because the Dodgers don’t know how to lose in 9 innings. I’ve sat through more of this in a month than a healthy person would before the All Star Break.

And through all of this, I still feel compelled to write about all of it for you. I refer to you as “you” because I know that there’s only one of you. Stats have shown that my NL Preview only got 1 hit. That was probably you, sole reader. I hope you enjoy. Because if you don’t, literally nobody else will.

AL East

5th Place: The Oh’s [7-20]
I feel like nicknaming a team the “Oh’s” is really convenient. It could mean so many things. You can say it with an upward inflection when the ball goes deep into the outfield. You can say it in a downward inflection when the ball is ultimately caught. SO VERSATILE! It’s one of the most accessible utterances in sports spectating. That’d be like naming a team “Woo” or “Yeah” or “Excuse Me”.

I took in an Oh’s game a few nights ago. This hulking man in front of me was sending a picture of the game to his friend. Manny “Mr Miami?” Machado went up to bat while the man slowly captioned his picture with one finger in 128pt Comic Sans. It said “Game 2 of our 13 game package. And we SUCK this year”. Before he was even able to finish the long message, Machado had already hit a home run and rounded the bases. He was the only one that didn’t stand up to cheer. Because he was so sad about how much they suck.

4th Place: Are You Stingray? [12-13]
Who wants to know?

3rd Place: The Toronto 3rd Place People [14-12]
That’s not to say the the Blue Jays are bad, they’re just mediocre at its finest. They will never go above third or below third. This spot is theirs for the entire season. Admittedly, they could be sneaky good in the future. Teoscar Hernandez has the capacity to rock our collective tits off once he gets his sea legs. The farm system contains a couple of nuggets of baseball royalty. Vladimir Guerrero Jr is already being called the best prospect in baseball. He has the same swing as his HoF-inducted father and could easily get a September call-up at the tender age of 19. Lourdes Gurriel Jr is the son of a Cuban Gold Medalist (and brother of a World Series winner, I guess) and is already making his name known in the majors. I went to his debut game last week and found it especially fun to yell out “Lourrrrdy lourrrrdy lourrrrdy” every time he did something good. Which happened 3 times. The Yankees fans were not pleased with me, which made me very pleased with me.

2nd Place: New YorK YanKeEs [17-9]
Top 5 Things That I Hate About Going To Yankee Games

5) The crappy recording of God Bless America that I have to take my hat off for, for some reason
4) The 4 Train
3) Seeing all the fights break out in the bleachers
2) The fans booing their own players when they strike out, like a bunch of spoiled babies
1) Watching the Yankees

1st Place: Hanley Ramirez [19-7]
When Hanley Ramirez said that he’s in the best shape of his life, we all had a good laugh. With the acquisition of JD “Not An Outfielder” Martinez, it seemed like Hanley’s tenure was going to be limited. We thought that his claim was an empty chest thump to maintain his throbbing ego. After batting to a tune of .314 and swiping 3 bags, umm, maybe he was right? Tune in next month when we realize that no, he was wrong. But the Red Sox will keep winning games because they have no choice. If they score less than 50 runs a week, Dennis Hopper will blow up–shut up, Troy.

AL Central

5th Place: Lorde Is Spinning In Her Grave [6-20]
I mean, I knew the Royals were going to be bad, but good Lorde are they bad. They’re so bad that I can’t even think of jokes about them. Hey Kansas City, Cincinnati called. They dared you to spell their name without autocorrect. Nope, I’ve got nothing.

4th Place: Sock Puppets [8-17]
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present:
Aaron Bummer.
Aaron Bummer is a simple man.
Aaron Bummer is a pitcher.
Aaron Bummer is a pitcher for the White Sox.
Aaron Bummer is not good at pitching for the White Sox.
Aaron Bummer is a comically literal interpretation of how the fans feel about the White Sox.
Aaron Bummer is their mascot.
Aaron Bummer is their martyr.
Aaron Bummer is the White Sox, whether he likes it or not.

3rd Place: All Northern People Look The Same [9-13]
I’ve been playing a lot of MLB The Show 18 with Twin’s skipper, Paul Molitor. Although I know very little about pre-2012 baseball, the name seemed oddly familiar. I then remembered that in between his playing and coaching careers, he moonlighted as a B-Movie actor.

2nd Place: The Tigers?!?!? [11-14]
I would say that this won’t last, but man does the AL Central suck. They’ve been low-key entertaining this year. Of their first 23 games, they have scored 9+ 6 times. As annoying as the term is, especially in the AL Central, the Tigers are scrappy. You can tell that this team of has-beens and whoizzuts are giving it their all. It’s actually making kind of maybe a difference sort of. Leonys “Him?” Martin has been an effective leadoff, while Jeimer “Who?” Candelario has been slugging .531. They aren’t going to be turning many heads, but if you were already looking at them in the first place, you might have some fun.

1st Place: The Racist Mascot People [14-11]
I may or may not be a big fan of the Injuns and their yawn-inducing dominance. But as a fan of baseball, this home run means everything.

In Puerto Rico, Francisco Lindor is already regarded as a legend. A modern hero and somebody to aspire to be. This was his chance to show his love to his home country. In a time of crisis and struggle, the people needed a great distraction to pull them out of their rut, if not for a few hours. Most of the city didn’t have power and a majority of the generators were being allocated to the stadium. That’s how much this all meant. If this clip doesn’t give you goosebumps, you don’t have a soul. Listen to the roar of that crowd. That has got to be one of the loudest, deafening pops I’ve ever heard. The Fox technician had a panic attack trying to normalize the audio. This is a sellout crowd of 19,516. For those unfamiliar, that’s less than half of a regular MLB Stadium. Try to fathom that few of people making that loud of a noise. Why can’t we ever get that excited during baseball games? Are we really that reserved? Maybe we’re taking all of this for granted. Maybe we don’t deserve Francisco Lindor.

AL West

5th Place: Chuck Norris [11-17]
On Jackie Robinson Day, Bartolo Colon was 5 outs away from pitching a perfect game against the Astros. It was truly a special time to be watching a Texas Rangers game. For the other 79 or so hours that the Rangers have played, it was not special at all. Bartolo has more magic in one thumbnail than the entire state of Texas.

4th Place: Not Chuck Norris, Nor Is It Derek Norris [14-13]
In similar and more successful fashion, Sean Manea no-hit the Red Sox. Nobody actually watched it. Instead, the world was gifted by a cascading choir of “what the fucks” when every American woke up to the same ESPN news notification. Some of them didn’t even have the ESPN app. It was very confusing. Dozens died due to unrelated causes.

3rd Place: Whoever’s Not Injured In Seattle [15-11]
In Drew Magary’s weekly NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo, he has a segment titled “Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death”. My pick this month is James Paxton. Why do you do this to me, James Paxton? Was it all the people making Twister jokes? Were you getting mistaken for James Pullman? I’ve done nothing but talk you up all offseason long. I told people you were a Cy Young candidate. I even drafted you 25 picks before the ADP. I used to always say that you could be one of the greats if only you could stay healthy. But you’re rocking a 5.12 ERA. Now I’m the one who is getting hurt all the time. Fuck you, James Paxton. I hope your fastball gets well soon.

2nd Place: Los Anaheim Angeles Of The Angels [16-11]
The last month of being an Angels fan has been a goddamned roller coaster. They’re winning a lot of games. They’re losing a lot of games. Mike Trout is having the most Mike Trout year of Mike Trout’s career, but that’s the only thing that’s consistent. I thought Kole Calhoun was doing good, but I just looked up his stat line to realize that he’s still Kole Calhoun. Shohei Ohtani’s April has been more prolific and inconsistent than Woody Allen’s career. To summarize:

April 1: Makes his pitching debut against Oakland. Has a promising first inning, falls apart in the second. He still pitches 6 innings and comes away with the win. The world is watching.

April 3: In his second game as DH, he goes 3 for 4 with a home run and 3 RBIs. The world is intrigued.

April 4: He hits another home run. The world is going apeshit.

April 6: His third straight game with a home run. The world is flailing around like idiots.

April 8: Pitching against Oakland again, he throws 6 perfect frames. Finishes with the win and 12 strikeouts. The world has jizzed their pants.

April 12: He hits a triple. The world yawns.

April 13: He hits a double. The world falls asleep.

April 17: Pitching against his first formidable opponent, he only lasts 2 innings against the Red Sox. He apparently has a blister. The world snores loudly.

April 24: He pitches 4 good innings against the Astros and 1 bad one. The world didn’t care.

April 27: He hits his 4th home run off Luis Severino. The world roared and clapped their asses off for the next coming of Babe Ruth!

But then he quickly left the game with a mild ankle sprain. And so it goes.

1st Place: The Team You Expected To Be In 1st place [18-10]
Wait, I thought the Astros were doing bad. What the hell happened? To be fair, their schedule so far has been as milquetoast as they come. They’ve only faced two teams with a winning record. I call shenanigans on Commissioner Manfred. Should you really reward the World Series winners with starting their season against the Orioles, Padres, Twins and White Sox? It’s a manufactured hot start to boost their confidence and it’s bullshit. If anything, they should reward the World Series loser with a cakewalk April. Which they actually did do with the Dodgers. Only problem is…umm…they lost most of those games…

Join me next time when I cry for a good 2000 words about how much the Dodgers suck. It’ll be…fun?