N.L. State of Mind is a weekly column written by one Andy Paschen. Any attempts to reproduce, rebroadcast or redistribute without expressed written permission by Andy Paschen, Midwest Swing or N.L. State of Mind is strongly encouraged.
Good people, welcome to N.L. State of Mind. Before we begin, I ask that if you have any questions, questions about love, life, how ketchup water is formed and always drains itself on your plate no matter who else used it first — questions about anything at all — please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my upcoming section: Dr. Paschen. It’ll be like ESPN’s Dr. Lou, except it’ll be in the English language. And there will be less spittle. Now, let’s get it.
NLSoM Player of the Week, Weak: These prestigious awards might go to people in the N.L. Central, or they might not. You know why? Because everybody likes receiving arbitrary awards that they will never found out they won, and why should I limit that joy to N.L. Centralites?
NLSoM’s first Player of the Week goes out to The Netherlands baseball team. You guys have one MLB player that anybody can name, Sidney Ponson, and he’s fat enough to put Michael Moore to shame at your local Arby’s. The Dominicans are a powerhouse of baseball, so fearsome they say that when you look into Felipe Alou’s eyes — you see God cry. And you beat them, you crazy Dutchbags, you beat them twice! You beat a team with Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, David Ortiz and Carlos Marmol, especially Carlos Marmol. You made Carlos Marmol wish he could fly to Amsterdam and smoke enough sticky icky to forget he ever agreed to play in the WBC.
Prostitutes, marijuana, now baseball? It’s like your everything America always wanted to be.
And Player of the Weak? The Dominican Republic, who else? Really, you let a bunch of Europeans, not even the Europeans that are good at sports like Germany, France or Russia, whoop your ass at your own game. Eugene Kingsale scored the winning run to beat you. Eugene Kingsale. Who in Taylor Swift hell is Eugene Kingsale?
Do you think the Dutch soccer team would ever let the Dominican Republic knock them out of the World Cup? That would be like LOST making sense. It just doesn’t happen. That would be like US winning in a game of kindness over Canada or the state of Washington beating South Carolina in racism. Black is white, up is down and the Netherlands are better than the Dominican Republic at the game of baseball? I need to sit down.
Old and busted vs. New hotness:
Old and busted: World Baseball Classic roster issues.
New hotness: Spring training roster battles.
When the America’s roster features three starters: Ted Lilly, Roy Oswalt and Jake Peavy and 12 middle relievers (assuming J.J. Putz doesn’t beat out K-Rod as the Mets’ closer) there’s only one thing to say — check please. I don’t care who you put on your team, I just want to chant “USA! USA! USA! in some poor Canadian’s face.”
But spring training roster battles? Even the irrelevant battles become epic, like watching two gladiators fight for their lives. Who doesn’t sit around trying to find out if their team’s final outfielder will be Craig Monroe or Jeff Salazar? But let’s be clear, we’re talking about real roster battles, not contrived bullshit like the Cubs’ 5th starter “battle.” Really Lou? Aaron Heilman has a shot at the 5th starter spot over Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija? Whatever you say.
Other battles and predictions worth mentioning:
Mike Fontenot vs. Aaron Miles in the Cub’s 2nd base baby-sized battle royale. Winner: Fontenot, because he’s been on the team longer and is comfortable asking 6’7″ Marshall to put 5’8″Aaron Miles bat on the top shelf.
John Russell vs. Andrew McCutchen in the Pitates’ Leadoff, Outfield and Roster match. Winner: Russell, until Joe Kerrigan realizes Russell isn’t going to hit over .270, and he could field an outfield with two-thirds of the players having “Mc” in their name along with Nate McLouth. Now, if only Jimmy McNulty could play the outfield at a professional level.
What to do on your off day: Call 911 from a fast food restaurant. Listen Tiffany Bennett, I’m with you. You have every right to call 911 three times after McDonalds refused to serve you McNuggets or give you your money back. But if it were me, I would have gone after a better restaurant — Burger King.
A couple of years ago, the King decided that he was too good to serve his lowly peasants the Spicy Tendercrisp sandwich, so he took it off of the menu. And you know what? That spicy chicken sandwich on the value menu isn’t an acceptable replacement. What happened to that spicy sauce, milord? If someone at corporate wasn’t canned (or beheaded, they could run a feudal system over there) then it’s time to bring 5-Oh into this mess.
Lets go shopping! Today, we’re looking to do something for the kids, something that says, “I paid a ridiculous amount of money for something my 4-year-old son will use once for 15 minutes.” Perfect! Let’s read on: “Our cars are pedal powered allowing your child to pedal the car both forward and in reverse. Your Lil’ Cubbie will pedal their heart away while racing towards another exciting season!” Backward and forward? And for only $169.99? The Cubs Shop recommends this Flintstone-inspired Power Wheel for kids aged 3-7, you know, those precious years when children can’t remember anything anyone did for them.
There should be two rules instituted when it comes to sports and kids under the age of 10. Rule one: You cannot buy them any sports merchandise that totals more than $25, with one exception. A racecar bed. Every boy should sleep in a racecar bed for at least one night. Rule two: No child under the age of 10 should be allowed into any meaningful game, no matter what.
Is little Timmy really going to remember more about the NLDS game you took him to for $200 a ticket than that mid-May game against the Nationals for a fraction of the cost? No. God no. I remember my first game at Wrigley. My dad took me out of school, I asked him to take a picture of Andre Dawson in the on-deck circle, I had fun and we went home. That’s it. And I don’t actually remember half of those things, I just know they happened because A. I have a picture of Andre Dawson in the on-deck circle and B. If I didn’t go home then I would currently be living under the El tracks at the Addison stop.
Kids don’t remember squat about their material possessions when they grow up, so the don’t buy them anything nice until there are old enough to feel guilty if anything happens to it.
The “at-bat song of the week”: Today we will start with the leadoff man I would like to see batting atop the order for the North Siders — Ryan Theriot. Let’s see, what do we know about Ryan Theriot … (digging through old files) ok, here we go. Theriot like water polo and hip-hop music. Theriot also said that if he didn’t become a professional baseball player he would have pursued a career as a professional model.
Tough life for this guy right? I can’t stand people that hoard multiple talents. Get a real back-up job Ryan, like say a bus driver or unpaid journalist with a fledgling Web site. Just for that Ryan, you’re going up to bat to Maddona’s “Vogue.” You can pretend that patch of grass from the on deck cirlce to the batter’s box is a catwalk. Next time you find yourself in a jam, just hit the pitcher with “Blue Steel” and get ready to take them to dinger city.