>>> Casual Misanthropy
By staff writer JD Rebello
April 4, 2004

What a great time to be a sports fan! The month of April is sports fan's Xanadu. We've got the NCAA championship, the start of baseball (more on that, a lot more in a little bit), NHL playoffs, the NFL draft, and the opening of “The Girl Next Door.” Ok, I realize that's not sports-related. But is anyone else DYING to see that as much as me? She has to get naked, right? I mean, seriously. It's an R-rated movie. She's not a big enough actress that she would be above de-pantsing (literally and figuratively). I'm not saying that a nude scene would make me like the movie; all I'm saying is that even partial nudity (a boob or an asscheek) would catapult the movie into my top 50. It's all about the intangibles, people.

You also may have realized that I didn't include the NBA playoffs in my list of things for sports fans to look forward to, and that's because: A) The NBA sucks. B) The Lakers are gonna win, anyway. C) The NBA really, really sucks. The NHL playoffs have six overtimes, goalies doing the impossible, Gary Thorne having literal anyeurisms on camera. I love it. It's the coolest game on earth, damnit, so freakin' watch it!

Moving on, of all the sports, I'm most passionate about baseball. I don't know why. It's not as exciting as football or hockey. It's being torn apart by steroid allegations. Pretty much every hitting record over the past ten years is moot. It's also the sport that allows a catacomb of evil to be at the very top for 100 years running. Still, I love our national pastime, and I've been wanting for some time now to write a column about it—one that doesn't revolve around my sick hatred of all things pinstriped. So I've decided to make some observations about the upcoming season with a little help from one of the best movies of the last five years, Super Troopers.

*By the way, this is a blatant ripoff of Bill Simmons' columns. I consider it an homage, and besides it's not like I'm getting paid for this…yet.

1. “License and registration… chicken fucker.” To A-ROD, or Gay-Rod as Beantown will come to know him. I don't blame A-ROD for what happened. He wanted to play for the Sox, and was even willing to take a pay cut. The Yankees offered him a way out of Texas and he took it. Still, you better believe when Pedro drills him in the head at some point this season (and it WILL happen), I'm going to absolutely love it.

2. “You must have eaten, like, a hundred bucks worth of pot, and, like, 30 bucks worth of shrooms man.” To the Baltimore Orioles, which loaded up on expensive talent, but is still going to finish in the basement. Tejada, Palmeiro and Javy are all solid, but when your ace is Sidney Ponson, and you're in a division with two teams that have spent about $60 billion in payroll, 70 wins is really stretching it.

3. “Just cleaning out the old locker, she stinks like ass but I'll sure miss her… I guess you could say that about all my girls.” To the Atlanta Braves, a team that can't possibly win a 13th straight division, right? RIGHT? I mean, they lost Sheff, Maddux, Javy Lopez, and replaced them with J.D. Drew?! Besides, Philly got a lot better, and the Marlins are the defending champs. I can't see them doing it, not that Hotlanta fans even notice. Can we please get some kind of national law forbidding sports teams from residing in Atlanta? I am dead serious about this.

4. “Desperation is a stinky cologne.” To the Chicago Cubs, a team that everyone and their mother has picked to win the World Series because of their “AMAZING STAFF! LOOK AT THAT PITCHING STAFF! JESUS CHRIST ON A CRUTCH WHAT A STAFF!” I think people need to take it easy. The Cubbies are better than they were last year when some dork from the North side kept them from making it to the big show. Still, I have reservations. Maddux isn't the same pitcher he once was. Prior's already hurt. I'm very skeptical about Clement and Zambrano. They still don't have a solid closer. Who else can hit besides Sammy? St. Louis and Houston are deeper teams. Sorry, Cubs fans, this isn't the year. Believe me, I sympathize.

5. “I don't want a large Farva. I want a god damn liter-a-cola.” To the Dodgers, a team that would be awfully nasty in the playoffs if only it had someone with a slightly higher batting average than a Special Olympian with a cane. They still have crazy pitching, which leads to my theory that if you want to win just put together an entirely foreign pitching rotation. Even Gagne is a Canadian.

6. “Who wants a mustache ride?” No real relevance here. Just a funny quote. Now's a good time to mention the coaches who are going to lose their jobs after this season. Larry Bowa, Bob Brenly, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre, because their is no way the Yankees are winning the World Series this year, which brings us to….

7. “Hey, let's pop some Viagras and issue tickets with raging, mega-huge boners.” To the New York Yankees, the Commodus of baseball, which went absolutely buck wild this offseason. Sheff, AROD, Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Paul Quantrill, Kenny Lofton, and so on and so forth. This offseason has taught us one thing. Big Stein must be stopped. He's running the Yanks like a drunk person playing Madden and deciding to gut his team every offseason just to play with different people. This works in Madden. It won't work with the Devil's Bitches. Here's why: 1. Everyone in the AL East is better than they were last year. 2. That rotation won't win in the playoffs. 3. They are going to get SLAMMED by the injury bug. 4. Too many egos. 5. Too much pressure.

8. Foster: “How you feelin' there, Mac?” Mac: “Good enough… to fuck… your mother.” To this year's possible surprise teams: the Royals, Blue Jays, Indians, Rangers, Marlins, Cardinals, and Rockies. My money's on the Royals. Here's why. I picked Carlos Beltran and traded for Mike Sweeney for my fantasy baseball team. My loyal readers (thanks, Blind Kid) know how important my fantasy team is to me, especially with a title to defend. Let me tell you, I am ridiculously good at fantasy baseball, to the point I'm considering printing out my fantasy baseball stats and mailing them as a resume to the Red Sox front office. I'm not joking. If this isn't the year for the Red Sox, this is the year for me.

9. “These boys get that syrup in 'em, they get all antsy in their pantsy.” To the 2004 World Champion Houston Astros. Right team, right time. Solid pitching staff that can handle the playoffs (Pettite and Clemens, with Oswalt destined for greatness), batting order loaded with veteran bats (Bagwell, Biggio, Kent) and solid young players (Ensberg). Octavio Dotel is my boy. Besides that, they play in the National League, which is like the NIT. Still, I'm a LOT nervous about this pick only because: A. They are coached by Jimy Williams (who, when he coached the Red Sox, made Nomar do just about everything he wasn't used to, except for pitch middle relief). B. The Cubs can't really be the team of destiny everyone thinks, can they? CAN THEY? C. Everyone's picking my favorite team, so where are my loyalties? Well…

10. Rabbit: “Oh, look, a bar of soap. (Lifts soap out of coffee) Farva: “Ohoohoh shit. I got you good, you fucker.” …Five outs. That's all they needed was five outs, and they would have made it to the Series against a team they scored 10 runs on in the first inning. For the record, I don't blame Grady for leaving in Pedro. And most Red Sox fans feel that way. Best pitcher in baseball or a bullpen that's been tossing up hairballs all season? Come on, now. I do blame Grady for putting in Wakefield in the 11th inning as a relief pitcher, when Wakefield is notorious for needing a few innings to get into a groove. Still, the Red Sox were the better team then and they are the better team now (I think). They added a second ace to compliment Pedro. They added a solid closer to get the job done. They added defense where there was no defense. That said, I don't see it. I don't see this team going all the way. Way too much pressure, for one. The injury bug will eventually bite (it already has). Schilling and Foulke may need time to adjust to Fenway's hitter-happy atmosphere. Millar, Mueller, and Ortiz may have just had career years. Believe me, I hope I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just reverse-jinxing my team or something, like I did with the Pats when I kept picking them to lose in the early rounds of the playoffs. I don't know, all I know is, as I'm writing this paragraph, I'm sick to my stomach. Looks like a fun-filled season.