Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Wojo's Looking Forward to

BWP User Survey:

Are you looking forward to seeing any of these in the World Series? (Check all that apply).

(A) Elvis Andrus

(B) Matt Cain

(C) Ian Kinsler

(D) Winning a battle with your anamorphic DVR

If you selected only (D), then you must be Gene Wojciechowski!

SAN FRANCISCO -- Watch. Don't watch. It's not as if Joe Buck will send me a commission check if you do.

A ringing endorsement right from the start. "Hey, watch the World Series!!! Or don't."

But this World Series has yee-haw thrill ride written all over it. In fact, when the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants advanced to the Fall/Early Winter Classic, I sprayed myself with ginger ale.

Let's just get past the fact that a "yee-haw thrill ride" isn't, nor will it ever be, a thing. I just like that the Rangers and Giants clinched a day apart, meaning Wojo spent an entire 24 hours pouring ginger ale on himself.

Also, this is an allusion to Josh Hamilton, and it's important to point out that this is the closest we're going to get to the probable MVP in an article about an upcoming World Series that his team is playing in for a while. We're instead going to detour into crazyland.

Nothing against the New York Yankees, but I needed a baseball blood transfusion. I'm A-Rod'd and Derek Jeter'd out.

Ian Kinsler. Nelson Cruz. These are players playing in the World Series. Very good players. Players you'd want to watch.

Another appearance by the pinstripers would have meant at least two games at Yankee Stadium and countless shots of really rich people on cell phones sitting behind home plate in those cushioned chairs the size of Murphy beds. And you don't even want to know how many times we would have had to watch the chalupa commercial in which Joe Girardi slaps another man's bum.

I didn't want to see the Yankees either, but this is your argument? "Really rich people on cell phones sitting behind home plate." Like the Yankees are the only team that has expensive seats behind home plate. In Milwaukee, home plate seats are auctioned to orphans! Seattle plays in a parking lot.

And someone please check me on this, but: That chalupa commercial is still going to get played 982,423,928 times during the World Series, to everyone's chagrin.

Also, this is about the Giants and Rangers and we are past the lead of the story without bothering to mention anything relevant about those teams. At least the argument against the Yankees couldn't get any stupider.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies have gone to the past two World Series. So it's somebody else's turn, OK? Plus, who wants to see good guy Ryan Howard go through the division, league and possibly the World Series without driving in a run?

Oops, spoke too soon! Good thing the Phillies aren't in it, or we'd have to see universal nice guy Ryan Howard not get an RBI, which totally wouldn't happen [citation needed].

I love this Series and this matchup because absolutely no one on the planet predicted it in March. (And if you did, I want to see documentation.) Its come-out-of-nowhere quality makes it the Boise State versus Missouri of World Series.

This Series reminds me of the most exciting things ever, Boise and Missouri!!!!

Would it have killed him to say Oregon, which is a super-exciting team?

As late as Aug. 28, the Giants were jockstrap-deep in trouble. They were six games out of the NL West lead and trailed Atlanta in the wild-card race, too. They had just lost their third game in a row, this time 11-3 to last-place Arizona. The Giants weren't out of it, but their traveling secretary wasn't exactly calling around for postseason hotel rates.

Balls deep. Say Balls deep. With Big Daddy Balls.

We're seven paragraphs in without any mention of any players or really anything that will make this Series interesting. Just that the Giants looked bad at some point.

And "their traveling secretary wasn't exactly [etc] [because I don't want to quote the rest of that drivel]" is a really long, drawn-out and strange metaphor for "it didn't look like they'd make the playoffs."

Of course, that's nothing compared with the Rangers. As late as Aug. 5, the franchise was auctioned off like a foreclosed house on eBay. Think about it (I guarantee you Mark Cuban does; his investment group was the losing bidder): One of your World Series teams was a custodian of bankruptcy court less than three months ago. Now, the team is overseen by the legendary Nolan Ryan, who still looks as if he could beat the sani socks off Robin Ventura.

Eight paragraphs. Lincecum and Lee are coming later in the story, I promise.

First mention of a Rangers player is: Nolan Ryan. I just ran the numbers to find out how many people are excited to see Ryan in this series and it is: zero. And the team's financial trouble isn't at all indicative of how the players were playing, which was well, all season, really.

Also, "One team looked like they were out! One team went bankrupt! What a great World Series!"

How strangely cool is that? This whole Series is cool.

SO cool. Cooler than cool. Too cool for school.

In honor of Giants closer Brian Wilson, I'm dyeing my goatee Just For Men jet black. Hockey players grow playoff beards, Wilson grows facial hair from Mars. Meanwhile, I can't look at Giants starter Tim Lincecum without thinking Jeff Spicoli and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves -- pronto -- we'll just be bogus, too! Get it?

Finally, 10 paragraphs in, Wojo gets around to mentioning players in this World Series. 10 paragraphs in. Yikes. And what he's looking forward to about Brian Wilson is his "facial hair from Mars."

Wojo one-ups himself after his Wilson mention with his analysis on Lincecum, the one guy who you would want to see just for his wacky delivery and stuff outside of just performance, by somehow mentioning only that he looks like a movie character from 1982. There are people with young families, homes and mortgages out there who are too young to get this reference.

Then he painstakingly quotes Spicoli for no real reason. World Series! Feel the... Spicoli!

The Freak is your Game 1 starter. He'll face the Rangers' pitching freak, Cliff Lee, who has not lost any of his eight postseason starts (7-0, 1.26 ERA). Lee is more automatic than a gas station car wash.

BASEBALL!!! Strange metaphor. BWP insta-poll: What's weirder: Lincecum : Spicoli, or Cliff Lee : Automatic gas station car wash? Send your answers to no one.

The Rangers are managed by Ron Washington. No biggie, except that he tested positive for cocaine use in 2009, publicly apologized in March and rewarded the Rangers' faith in him by leading the team to its first Series appearance.

No mention of Josh Hamilton making this World Series "cool" yet, but the fourth mention of someone actually involved with the series is Ron Washington, because he used to use cocaine. And cocaine is cool.

Their best every-game player is outfielder Josh Hamilton, who was a walking drug and alcohol lab until 2005. If Hamilton's ongoing story of demon fighting doesn't cause a lump in your throat, then you're the world's only living heart donor.

Hey, there he is! Josh Hamilton, probable league MVP, great story. Let's talk some more about how "The Natural" is potentially the greatest baseball player today but set back by injuries, drug problems, addictions and -- oh, you're just going to write two sentences and move on?

Also, "a walking drug and alcohol lab"? That's like six weird analogies before any actual baseball talk.

Then there's ultra-private Vlad Guerrero, deemed expendable by the Los Angeles Angels. So he comes to Texas and makes his first Series appearance in a glorious 15-year career. I like watching Guerrero because he swings at anything and usually hits those things very hard and very far. You know when the plate umpire tosses a scuffed ball toward the dugout? Vlad will swing at those, too.

So in addition to comparing this "cool" Series to Boise vs. Missouri (and yes, that would be a good game, but it sounds so boring), he's now mentioned the "cool," "ultra-private" Vlad Guerrero. So cool.

The Rangers' catcher, Bengie Molina, was the Giants' catcher until he was traded in July. He's holding a winning baseball Lotto ticket. That's because he's likely to get voted a full Series share by each team, meaning an estimated $1.2 million postseason payday.

Bengie Molina might make an extra million dollars, which is a reason we should watch the World Series. I feel like Woj has gotten a little off-track.

And it's hard not to have a soft spot for Rangers president Ryan. I covered one of the Ryan Express' no-hitters when he pitched for Texas. Afterward, he kept us reporters waiting --

Because he was a jerk?

not because he was being a jerk but because he first wanted to work out! The man pitches a no-hitter, then does a workout that buckled my knees. That old-school mentality has rubbed off on the Rangers like pine tar on a bat handle.

Wow, what a work ethic for a person that used to play baseball for one of these teams!! That seems like an argument for the Yankees, because think of all the cool players that used to play for them that don't play any more!

Babe Ruth*

Joe DiMaggio*

Don Mattingly***

Reggie Jackson*

Scott Brosious*

* denotes a true Yankee

***Mattingly gets three stars.

Again, cool.

I think Wojo needs to be reminded that Nolan Ryan doesn't play any more. And that, you know, he could be spending this space talking about Cliff Lee or Hamilton. But at least those guys are mentioned. I mean, Elvis Andrus is electric and he gets NOTHING.

I love that the Rangers got here on a $55 million payroll and meanwhile the Yankees and their $206 million roster are being treated for playoff withdrawal. I love that Jerry Jones built a football palace for his Dallas Cowboys but that Ryan and GM Jon Daniels built a team.

Small payrolls: Cool. And take that, Jerry Jones! You'll never make a World Series in this town! How's it taste?!?!

Nelson Cruz hit 22 home runs and OPSed .950 this year.

And how can you not go on a warm and fuzzy alert when talking about the Giants? The Giants last celebrated a World Series in 1954. They weren't even Californians back then; they were New Yorkers. Only the Cleveland Indians (62 years) and, sigh, the Chicago Cubs (102 years) have longer winless streaks.

Yep, we've moved on from talking about the Rangers. That's it. Now we're into the Giants. This part was gobbledeegook.

Look at the Giants' lineup and bench. It's dotted with baseball refugees, such as outfielder Pat Burrell, who was dumped by the Tampa Bay Rays. And had you heard of Cody Ross before the postseason started? Didn't think so.

Sorry sir, please use the term "misfits."

The Giants signed Barry Zito to a $126 million contract -- and left him off the playoff roster. They traded respected Molina so they could insert a rookie catcher, Buster Posey, in the lineup. They diminished the role of pricey outfielder Aaron Rowand, all in the name of winning.

The Giants wasted a lot of money! They got rid of that old loser Molina, who I just said made up part of the "coolness" of the World Series for his other team five seconds ago. They wasted more money! "All in the name of winning."

Wojo typed this paragraph, smiled to himself, took a long puff of a cigar, and thought, "Now that's journalism."

The Giants win heroically (Juan Uribe's eighth-inning dinger in Game 6 of the NLCS) and nervously (Wilson's 3-2 strikeout of Howard to end that series was on the lowest sliver of the strike zone). Six of their seven postseason wins have been by one-run margins.

Whatever. The important part now is how the story ends:

I've reached a settlement agreement with my DVR. It gets the NFL games while I'm gone. I get to watch the World Series live.

For once, I got the better deal.

What? WHAT?!?!?!? You... WHAT?!?!?!?!

This whole column was stupid, but WHAT?!?! the... fuck?

Wojo has "reached a settlement agreement" with his DVR, which I suppose has taken on a life of its own. I guess. In the agreement, the DVR gets NFL games (I don't know what that means), and he gets to watch the World Series. ...What?

Read that over again. Does that make sense? He got the better deal?

So, like, he has a standing agreement that his DVR, which is a person or something, gets to watch the NFL games, but he gets the World Series, and normally the NFL is better...? I'm really trying to work through this.

Somebody help me.

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