Mach-Ado About Nothing [TeeCoZee’s MLB Midseason Roundup 2018]

I usually go on vacation during the All Star Break. This isn’t because of the stoppage of baseball, it’s just the week I generally pick to leave the city. It’s a good mid-way point of the year that I can gather my thoughts and wonder what the second half is going to bring. Or get drunk at a pool party. That’s part of the reason why the All Star Break didn’t feel like a break. Because while I was toiling away at work, the baseball world was abuzz about an impending trade of one Manny Machado. As the days waned on, his potential value as a rental dwindled. The Orioles knew they had to deal him swiftly or else they’d be stuck trading for a bag of baseballs and Billy Butler’s Cousin. So, I spent all of the break refreshing Twitter ad nauseam to see where he could potentially end up.

And while I was doing all of that Twitter refreshing, I realized that I have to summarize the first half of the season to all three of you. And by the time I finish all of this, Manny Machado will be a Yankee on a different team.

AL East

5th Place: The Ellen Burstyn Show [28-71]
Meet Larry. He is a simple man. He works hard to make a living and even though it might not be a good one, it’s still a living worth working for. People don’t really pay him much mind. In the grand scheme of things, he’s quite benign. He will certainly never show you up or start a fight. He just kind of exists.

Meet Mandy. She is Larry’s wife and is always the talk of the town. She has wit, sparkle and legs that’ll carry you all the way to Idaho. Her relationship with Larry is really nothing of note. He’s not possessive, nor is he abusive. He treats her well but knows deep down that he doesn’t deserve her. She is fully aware of all these facts.

They have come to the mutual agreement that it’s time for Mandy to see other people. Neither of them are overjoyed by this, but they know it’ll make a better life for the both of them. The deal states that she will date them for a few months and once the divorce is final, she will choose to marry the suitor or move on to a different one. As strange as it seems, it’s an arrangement that’s not uncommon in this town. One by one, suitors from the tri-county area have come by and wooed Mandy. They narrowed it down to a few finalists:

Tommy: Drives a nice car and has perfect teeth. He would love to date Mandy but is still holding out on his estranged wife to come back some time next year. He knows that they would make a good team but is not sure if he’d be ready to commit to anything.

Phil: The everyman underdog. He’s recently landed a good job and would surely treat her well. However, skeptics would say that he has an affinity for drinking too much and nobody has any clue if this new job will last. He’s definitely a wild card, but it’s apparent that he needs a girl like Mandy to keep him on the right track in life.

Mitch: He’s the town asshole. He gets what he wants, when he wants it, by any means necessary. He definitely doesn’t need Mandy in his life. He has a black book with hundreds of phone numbers in it. He drives a black Trans Am. He doesn’t need to beg for Mandy, because he knows that she’s not going to marry the other two schmucks. And when she doesn’t, she’ll come around to ride the Mitch Train. Because everybody wants to ride the Mitch Train. It’s a goddamn privilege.

Whichever suitor she ends up with doesn’t matter to Larry. He’ll be relieved when she’s gone. He’ll be able to burp out loud and stop sucking in his gut. He’ll no longer be walking on eggshells. He’ll be free. And hell, you can’t deny that this is the most attention that Larry has gotten in a long time. Suddenly, everybody is talking about him, buying him beers, high fiving and whatnot. He’ll take this 15 minutes of fame for what it’s worth. Who knows, maybe it’ll attract the attention of another girl? Not likely, but stranger things have happened.

And that’s the Baltimore Orioles in a nutshell. They are the cuckold of Major League Baseball.

4th Place: The Red Green Show [45-52]
Kevin Pillar? More like Kevin Pillar, amirite?!?!?
pillar

3rd Place: Cop and a Half [49-48]
Straight up, there are no interesting TV Shows in Tampa. I had to resort to a movie name. The Rays are your token Scrappy Team™ this year. They’ve introduced the novelty of having “Opening Pitchers” and it’s actually worked out to be a realistic approach that other teams are now dabbling with. Instead of having a milquetoast 4th and 5th starting pitcher to be a total liability, just start in the bullpen and don’t commit to anyone. What do they have to lose? The game? Whatever. It’s all a little bittersweet. Blake Snell might be having one of the best breakout years of any pitcher in recent memory, but it all means nothing because they’re in a division that’s impossible to win. If they were in the Central, they’d have a fighting chance and be the Cinderella story for the ages. Instead, they live in the basement with a bunch of rotting pumpkins.

2nd Place: Car 54, Where Are You? [63-34]
I’ve long seceded to all of the Yankees fans that I know. I told them straight up that they have a very talented team and a genuine shot of winning the World Series. Instead of being humble about it, they still shove their success in my face on a daily basis and call me a hater when I get upset. I’m still holding out on the Baseball Gods smiting them. Any day now. I’m just waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Did Gleyber Torres’ head fall of yet? No? Waiting…

1st Place: St Elsewhere [69 (nice) -30]
We still have no idea why Hanley Ramirez was dropped into free agency. At one point, it was rumored that he was involved in a crack trafficking ring. But that was totally false and it got people to stop asking questions. It was some military-grade misdirection. And somehow, they have gone 34-14 since they dropped him. I spent the whole time trying to connect the dots to the conspiracy and failed to realize that they’re having one of the hottest starts in MLB history. But why did they drop Hanley tho?

AL Central

5th Place: Malcolm & Eddie [28-68]
The Royals are so bad that I can’t even think of anything funny to say about them. Their team ERA is dead last at 5.40 (second to last is 4.92). In 95 games, they have only muster 30 quality starts. They traded closer Kelvin Herrera over a month ago and have only had 4 save opportunities since then. That’s not funny. That’s just kind of a bummer.

4th Place: Punky Brewster [33-63]
Aaron Bummer was such a bummer that they sent him down to the minors, which was a real huge bummer for Aaron Bummer. Bummer.

3rd Place: Martin [41-58]
In my years of covering Detroit sports, I’ve found myself using the word “but” too often. That’s not to say that I’m always let down by them, but you always have to use some sort of caution. I said “but” again. I could flat-out say that with the players they have and the kazoo-like nature of their division, the Tigers have a legitimate shot. And the “but” is actually a “butt”. That butt is the living corpse that they’ve been throwing $30 million at every year. And that corpse is Miguel Cabrera. And that Miguel Cabrera is preventing them from affording any help at the trade deadline. And because of that, they’re going to be sellers instead of buyers. And those buyers are going to reap those benefits tenfold. And I don’t know what tenfold means. And they’ll have to start over next year with even less talent. And they’ll fail miserably. And eventually they’ll contend again. And they’ll fall short again. And I’ll use the word “but” till the butter end.

2nd Place: Coach [44-51]
It doesn’t matter what happens in any of the games. The outcome is pre-determined. The Twins can win or lose however many games they want. They will never finish first nor last. That’s basic science. Deal with it.

1st Place: The Drew Carey Show [53-43]
When LeBron got traded to the Lakers, a move that we’re all still so sick of hearing about, everybody felt really sorry for Cleveland. NFL Stooge and known medical chart leaker, Adam Schefter, even went as far to say that all of Cleveland sports now rests on the Browns. I see what you did there, Adam. Because the Cavaliers are nothing without LeBron, so that makes the Browns the only team. You’re a funny guy, Schefter. The fact that a well-blowjobbed journalist would make a comment like this without flinching is absurd. Pound for pound, the Cleveland Baseball Franchise Club Team is one of the most exciting in the sport. And yet, they’re ranked #21 in average attendance at 23,159. Even the Texas Rangers, who are the baseball equivalent of a hobo muttering in the middle of the street, draw a bigger crowd. 300,000 more people have been to Padres games. And you can’t brush that off by presuming that the Cleveland market is too small. The Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL since before I was born and they’re still averaging over 60,000 fans per game. Cleveland has had a baseball team for over a century, has been contenders for a good 5 years and are in an area where there aren’t any winning teams within a 350 mile radius. I’ve said it once and I’ll be saying it forever: Cleveland does not deserve a baseball team.

AL West

5th Place: Walker, Texas Ranger [41-57]
Joey Gallo is crushing a stat that I’m not sure was ever relevant. Batting a sickly .187, you would think that he’s the weakest link on the Rangers staff. But he has 22 home runs, which makes him the strongest link on the staff. With only 59 hits, he is leading the league in HR/H (Home Runs Per Hit). His current stat line for that is .372. Or in layman’s terms, every 2.68 hits he makes is a dinger. This line isn’t breaking any records, but he’s in good company. Barry Bonds in 2001 had a HR/H of .467. McGwire in 1998 was .460. Not many other sluggers have gotten close. There’s no official list for the metric, but I crunched numbers on previous home run leaders and they can barely touch .300. So basically, there’s a bunch of guys on steroids and Joey Gallo, who has never been caught doing steroids. Cough.

4th Place: Cybill [49-49]
Well, that turned sour in a hurry. This year has not been very good to the Angels. 2018 has beaten up their parents, made fun of them in front of their friends, charged a punch of pizzas to their credit card and stole their tires in the Disneyland Parking Lot. Shohei Ohtani needs Tommy Johns surgery, knows he needs Tommy Johns surgery, will feel better after having Tommy Johns surgery and yet, he won’t get Tommy Johns surgery. Instead, they’re having him DH while building up a pitching regimen. They are very aware of the fact that he will eventually need the surgery and if they would’ve done it two months ago when it was evident, he could’ve rejoined the team after the 2019 All Star Break. Instead, they’re planning on doing it after this season (even though they’re already factored out of contention) so that he would be available for 2020. So in summary, in a punt year, they’ve decided to to not punt and then punt next year. Makes sense. And that’s not the worst of it. All of this turmoil has caused skipper Mike Sioscia to start smoking…

joe-camel_soscia

At least he looks the part?

3rd Place: Hangin’ With Mr Cooper [55-43]
Oh crap, I gotta write about the Athletics. They’re winning games for some reason….crap…wasn’t paying attention…uhh…they are winning all those games because of….

[closes eyes and points finger at statistics screen]

Nick Martini. Yeah, that guy. He likes his drinks strong and uhh, hits hits stronger? He has a few hits. He plays them on guitar. People love it. The team is 5-4 with him in the lineup. Clearly the glue holding this franchise together. What a guy. Nick Martini. The greatest.

2nd Place: Davis Rules [59-39]
I can’t wrap my brain around the Mariners this year. They’re clearly a shoe-in for a Wild Card spot and analysts keep talking them up as if they can take down the whole damn division. But you can’t go to the stats and tell me how these wins are happening. Robinson Cano, who was seemingly the team captain, has been suspended for most of the year for PED Usage. Didn’t phase them one bit. Felix Hernandez is having one of the worst years of his life, boasting a 5.13 ERA. He also has 8 wins. They have a run differential of -4. They’re 9 games above .500. James Paxton has been wholly inconsistent and is currently on the DL. People still regard him as their hero. It doesn’t matter what goes wrong with this team, the pundits will keep ignoring it and they’ll keep pulling wins out of their asses. They could be down 3-5 at the end of the 9th inning and still win the game. And as a Mariners fan, sure, this is all great!

1st Place: Reba [65-35]
Since November, I haven’t been able to shake this nightmare. I could be doing something normal like building a book shelf and suddenly hear a ball clonk off a bat, a roaring crowd and a train whistle. I lose all the pigment in my skin and can’t stop shaking. The World Series last year did a lot of mental damage. It was a constant sensory overload that fried my circuits. There were times where I legitimately felt fear. Every time Jose Altuve swung a bat, my stomach would drop. My life became Space Mountain. I’ve learned to set aside my demons and watch baseball care-free again, but it took a lot of effort. I had a lot of fun watching the All Star Game this year. It was a close one and even went into extra innings, which seems excessive for a exhibition match. With Ross Stripling on the mound in the 10th inning, it happened again.

I tasted the sulfury sensation of bile creeping up my throat. My hairs stood on end. Joe Buck wouldn’t shut the fuck up. This is a thing that could happen again. And again and again and again. I’m not ready for the Dodgers to play the Astros. They have a series in a couple of weeks and I think I might go hiking in the woods. Or read a book. Or do anything besides watch my team get pummeled to a bloody pulp. It’s sick and barbaric and I will have nothing to do with it.

NL East

5th Place: All In The Family [40-56]
I swear, the Mets aren’t as bad as they look. Just kidding. They’re awful. I’m going to start bringing kazoos and slide whistles to game. Try and give Cowbell Man a run for his money. Every time Michael Conforto strikes out looking, I’ll blow the slide whistle downwards. Every time Jose Reyes pops out with the bases loaded, I’ll blow the slide whistle upwards. Whenever the ball flies above Jay Bruce’s head, it’ll be kazoo time. They’re a walking drinking game. And I can’t wait to see what they jack up this trade season. I tested the waters with a co-worker. You know, the one that was really excited over the acquisition of Jose Bautista. I told him that I had a dream where the Mets picked up Mark Trumbo. His eyes lit up and glazed over. “That would be sweeeeeeet” was his response. And as long as Mets fans keep thinking like this, they’re going to keep giving them what they want.

But seriously, they should trade for Victor Martinez. He’s really good.

4th Place: The Golden Girls [42-57]
The only bright spot about the Marlins this year is that the Mets are doing worse. Also, the Miami sun. Okay. Two bright spots.

3rd Place: The Secret Diary Of Desmond Pfeiffer [48-49]
brycesharperimageBryce Harper just isn’t what he used to be. In fact, when he should be wowing potential suitors, he’s been languishing. But that’s okay, because he’s Bryce Harper.

Bryce Harper’s eyes just aren’t what they used to be. In fact, he already has more strikeouts than he did all of last season. But that’s okay, because Bryce Harper has a new VR Headset. With 256 dynamic colors and blast processing, every hit that Bryce Harper makes is a home run!

Bryce Harpers hands just aren’t what they used to be. He’s already committed 4 fielding errors, which is double what he did all of last season. But that’s okay, because Bryce Harper has a new Hand Massager. With a stutter grip and ballpoint technology, his hands are always feeling at piece with the universe.

Bryce Harper’s feet just aren’t what they used to be. Many have said that his hustle just isn’t there anymore. But that’s okay, because Bryce Harper has a new Foot Bath. With 16 different speeds and rumblelift technology, his feet are always ready to run into home base.

Bryce Harper just isn’t what he used to be. That’s because he’s changed his name to Bryce Sharper Image, because he’s always on the cutting edge of the baseball!

2nd Place: Arsenio [53-42]
It’s hard to pinpoint why the Braves are being taken seriously. There’s nothing about them that sticks out at all. The lowly Reds score more runs than they do. Their team ERA is in the middle of the road. As is their pitcher quality starts. So if their starters aren’t getting it right, then surely the relievers are. Nope, they’re ranked #21 in saves. Can you even name a Braves reliever? Can you even name a Brave? This is one of those flash in the pan teams that keep winning out of nowhere. A bunch of young nobodies that are trying to make their place in the world. Which is cool, there’s always going to be teams like this. But none of them actually contend. That’s just how weak the National League is this year.

1st Place: Boy Meets World [54-42]
I watched a lot of Donahue as a kid. I’m not totally sure how that happened. My parents are not politically driven nor do they even like talk shows. I couldn’t even tell you what time of day the show was on or what channel. All that I remember is thinking that Phil Donahue was a total badass. I didn’t understand any of the words coming out of his mouth, but his poise and candor entranced me. I grew up with the misconception that he was this edgy guy living the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Beating up gutterpunks in the subway, robbing liquor stores with Connie Chung and the likes. I was willing to bet that he had a cache of VHS tapes to blackmail anybody that crosses him. I wanted so badly for him to be that sleazy yuppie 80s white collar villain. He’d be the type of person that you’d want to do coke with. But after doing some research, I realized that he’s probably not THAT cool. He was just a churchgoing boy from Cleveland that got his own talk show. There’s really not much of note about him. Jerry Springer, on the other hand, that dude had a life…

NL Central

5th Place: Airborne [43-54]
Okay, but seriously, the Reds kick ass. By far the best losing team in baseball, or any sport. Their infield is insane. Joey Votto is Joey Votto because he’ll always be Joey Votto, doing things that Joey Votto does. At second is Scooter Gennett, who has turned into a hit machine. As has Jose Peraza and Eugenio Suarez. Their infield has a batting average above .300. No other team can say that. Not to mention Billy Hamilton, who is automatically going to third every time he gets on base. They are also leading the league in grand slams, with 9. The only other team to do that before the All Star Break was the 2010 Yankees. Oh, and all of those grand slams were hit AFTER May 22. So tell me. How in the hell is the most electrifying team in baseball in last place?

matt-harvey-nose-bleed

Oh, right. He’s their ace…

4th Place: My So-Called Life [49-49]
I just generally have nothing to say about the state of Pennsylvania. Nor do I have anything to say about the state of the state of Pennsylvania. The Pirates are your run-of-the-mill spoiler team. They won’t do anything to benefit themselves, but they won’t hesitate to try to ruin your day. For that function, yes, the Pirates are doing a-okay. Just keep making sure nobody in the National League has any shred of self-esteem. If they finish .500, then that means that half of their opponents have the mental stigma of losing to the Pirates.

3rd Place: The Los Angeles Rams [0-0]
Rams coach, Sean McVay had a very revealing interview with Bryant Gumble this week. In it, Gumble put his photographic memory to the test. He told McVay a specific situation that happened in a game last season and asked what the ensuing play was. He didn’t fail to remember EVERY SINGLE PLAY. I’ve also been known to have a great memory, but Sean didn’t have to start each answer with “It was a Sunday. I know this because it was sunny and we usually play football on that day”. He puts my mental capacity to shame and will someday rule us all. If only he can figure out how to use his gift to benefit the Rams…

2nd Place: Happy Days [55-44]
There’s a member of the Brewers organization that I find to be extremely offensive and racist. No, it’s not Josh Hader, who had a bunch of old racist and homophobic tweets resurface. It’s also not Bob Uecker, who definitely ran some sweatshops in the 70’s. I have a huge problem with shortstop, Tyler Saladino. Tyler is a 28 year old white male from San Diego. And for some reason, he decides that it’s okay to look like this:

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 2.32.14 PM

Something about it doesn’t seem right. The combination of eye black and the moustache look oddly familiar. But I can’t put my finger on it. Let’s zoom out:
Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 2.33.20 PM

Yuli Gurriel, eat your heart out. We have a new Kabukiman in town. Is this a method to distract pitchers? By making them consider whether or not he’s being racist for looking overtly like an Asian stereotype or if they’re racist for thinking he’s being racist? Or maybe he’s just trying to look like a Nintendo Mii?

tylersalamiido

1st Place: Top Of The Heap [56-39]
You can thump your chest all you want and tell me that the Cubs are the best team in the National League, but let me remind you this: Last night, the Cardinals Rams beat them so badly that the last 3.1 innings were pitched by position players. You can’t point you finger to any member of the Cubs organization and tell me that they are a master of their craft. They’re all very fragile, finicky and playing in a division that’s well contested by similarly weak teams. That said, yeah the Cubs will win 100 games, shut up.

NL West

5th Place: That 80’s Show [40-60]
For a failing, small market franchise, the Padres aren’t having terrible attendance issues. After all, San Diego is a decent city and Petco is an even more decent ballpark. But they should really start using a different metric when gauging attendance. Have you ever had a friend in a band? And you go to your friends show in a dank tavern and the doorman asks you which band you’re there to see? And when you realize that nobody has chosen your friend’s band, you choose the more popular one, so you’re not at risk of appearing lame and unfuckable? This should be implemented in baseball. Watch any game at Petco, the away team always has the most fans. Even throw the damn White Sox in there and the stadium will have more honkers than surfers. It’s nobodies fault. Most of America sucks and San Diego just so happens to not suck as much. Of course baseball fans will travel for the novelty of seeing their favorite team in SoCal. The Padres obviously don’t seem to mind, because they have no choice.

4th Place: Suddenly Susan [51-48]
See: Pirates. Make up your own joke about Pablo Sandoval. Move on with your life.

3rd Place: Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman [52-45]
Doing the whole league in one article is becoming a grind. I’m trying to even remember any moments in Rockies history, but I’m drawing a blank. Instead, I asked my lovely girlfriend, who knows much more about baseball than me, what she thinks of the Rockies:

The team? Or the mountains? Either way, good points. Round mounds. Strong butts.

Mountains don’t have butts. But they do have buttes?

2nd Place: Fire In The Sky [53-45]
Since the beginning of May, all of the sporting press has been bemoaning the slumping Diamondsnakes. They just keep losing and losing and losing. But if they’re losing so much, how come they never left first place until last week? Wait. They’re in second. That must mean…

1st Place: THE MOTHERFUCKING DODGERS [54-43]
THE DODGERS ARE IN FIRST PLACE! BAH GAWD! THE DODGERS ARE IN FIRST PLACE! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!

kershawstunner

But surely, this can’t go on forever. There’s still a matter of getting a second baseman or shortstop. Maybe they can get someone by the trade deadline…

MANNY FUCKING MACHADO?!? THEY GOT MANNY MACHADO?!?!? BAH GAWD! WE’RE ALL GONNA GET LAID!!!11111

Join me next month, when I humbly apologize for promising that everybody was going to get laid. I realize that there are some people that are saving themselves for marriage and I’m sorry for insinuating that you’d find true love in a short amount of time.

-TeeCoZee

Advertisements