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Hey, it’s baseball season! Last season, the Cubs winning the World Series was an omen for the election of Trump. Let’s hope this year returns the world to normal. As for the Mariners, I’ll believe any success when I see it. At least the Yankees have started off with a stinker.

Open thread on the return of baseball.

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  • Henry Holland

    Let’s go Angels, let’s go! [clap clap]
    Let’s go Angels, let’s go! [clap clap]
    Let’s go Angels, let’s go! [clap clap]

    Etc. I’ll be happy if they finish at .500 this year and finally fire Mike Scioscia.

    • howard

      yes, but you do get to watch mike trout.

      • Henry Holland

        Sure, it’s fun watching the best player in the major leagues do his stuff, but the rest of the team? Not so much. They paid Texas $46 million so that stiff Josh Hamilton could be on the injured list in Texas. Past-his-prime Albert “Often Injured” Pujols will be getting $26 million this season, and a $1 million bump for each year after that until 2021. He then gets $10 million handed to him when he retires.

        Much be nice for Arte “Makes Me Miss The Disney Days” Moreno to have so much money to throw around for two players while they still can’t figure out how to find a competent LF and 3B guy who won’t get cut or demoted.

        • rea

          Sure, it’s fun watching the best player in the major leagues do his stuff

          You watch Miguel Cabrera?

          • brad

            The guy who’s led his league in WAR precisely 0 times?
            Great hitter, but he also has to wear a glove.

          • Thlayli

            My local paper’s baseball preview has the top five players in the game as:

            1. Mike Trout
            2. Kris Bryant
            3. Josh Donaldson
            4. Manny Machado
            5. Mookie Betts

            • djw

              Top 3 seems pretty hard to argue. More room to argue after that, but Cabrera isn’t in the picture–he’s a bad defender and baserunner! That’s kind of important. His bat makes up for it such that he’s still a great player but barring a dozen or so underperformances he’s not likely to be in the “best player” picture.

              • efgoldman

                Cabrera isn’t in the picture–he’s a bad defender and baserunner

                A born DH!

                • rea

                  He was a less than great 3B, but a decently competent 1B.

            • cpinva

              no Bryce Harper? I must question the integrity of this list.

              • Scott Lemieux

                2015 is the only year he’s even been a top 10 MLB player, so pretty hard to put him in the top 5 yet.

                • efgoldman

                  pretty hard to put him in the top 5 yet.

                  Maybe there's some kind of baseball electoral college about which we don't know.

  • howard

    i’m happy about the young yanks and all, and i know that starting pitching isn’t quite what it used to be, but i still like to see evidence that a staff has 972 decent innings of starting pitching in it, and i can’t find any on the yankees: i expect a lot of bad first innings this year.

    • Rob in CT

      Yup.

      The rotation aside from Tanaka (yeah he stunk yesterday but he’ll be fine so long as he’s healthy) is pretty damn questionable.

      I think the position players are better than last years roster, given that the team was running the reanimated corpses of ARod & Tex out there for most of the year.

      The bullpen should be very good if not great. Miller was amazing. But the rest of it – Warren, Clippard, Betances & Chapman in particular – is really really good. If the starters can get them the ball w/a lead.

      All in all, I’d say 85 wins +/- 5, and that’s probably a bit optimistic since the division is tough. They’re probably a roughly .500 ballclub.

  • patrick II

    I was going to ask you to please not connect the Cubs to Trump in any way. But then I remembered who the owners are.

    Fck.

    • The Cubs Series win shifted us into Bizarro Universe. On Real Earth right now Hillary is being impeached for having televised debates with a Russian spy. I hear she even went to his wedding.

  • Hogan

    For winter’s rains and ruins are over
    And all the season of snow and sins,*
    The days dividing lover and lover,
    The light that loses, the night that wins,
    And time remembered is grief forgotten
    And frosts are slain and flowers begotten
    And in green underwood and cover,
    Blossom by blossom, the spring begins.

    Play ball.

    * Offer not good in New England.

  • SteveHinSLC

    It figures, I wait 50 years for the Cubs to win the Series. And then when it happens, it’s tainted by the Trump win.

    November 2016. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      I haven’t even lived half that long, but yes — that said, I barely give a shit about baseball and just root for the teams from New York. In that way, the 2015 World Series was kind of disappointing, although more for the fact that one of my favorite rappers (Sean Price, also a Mets fan) had died a month earlier. Incidentally, how long is “World Series faces off between two buttmonkey teams” going to be a thing?

      Also, OT: Am I the only person who thought “taking someone to the woodshed” meant the same thing as “shoot the dog?” And given Erik’s comments regarding Robin’s credibility, is he going to do a post to either effect?

      • OT, GONZAGO ALL THE WAY BABY!!

        • Colin Day

          Well, at least the Lady Gamecocks won.

    • djw

      They’ll probably win another one soon enough. Hopefully it won’t be followed by Trump nuking Uruguay or some such.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Fun Fact: the “S” on Mariners caps stands for “Sisyphus.”

    • tsam

      TRUE STORY

      • Denverite

        Bullshit. It’s a myth.

        • tsam

          WERE YOU THERE?

          • Denverite

            You need to read more Camus.

            • tsam

              I was talking about Sisyphus. Isn’t that what you meant by myth?

              • Denverite

                It was a play on words on Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus. Which is a philosophical tome on the myth of Sisyphus that I had to read in high school.

                • tsam

                  Ok I need to read more

                • Denverite

                  It’s actually quite good IIRC. Camus’s take as an atheist is that life is as absurd as Sisyphus’s punishment, so you really just have two options — suicide, or revolt. And that by choosing to roll his rock up the hill, and doing it willfully, Sisyphus must be truly happy — he’s basically giving a big ol’ FU to fate and the gods. It was kind of mind-bending to a 17 year-old.

                  IANAP.

                • TroubleMaker13

                  Camus’s take as an atheist is that life is as absurd as Sisyphus’s punishment, so you really just have two options — suicide, or revolt.

                  Not quite. Camus’ “absurdity” follows from humankind’s grasping need to attach meaning and purpose to a purposeless, meaningless, unknowable universe. We *need* to have hope for the future, but that hope is absurd because the future only brings death with certainty. For Camus, the only important moral question in the realization of this is whether or not to commit suicide. For him, the only possibly moral response is to rebel against the absurd illusion and embrace and live to the fullest a “hopeless” life.

                • TroubleMaker13

                  For him, the only possibly moral response is to rebel against the absurd illusion and embrace and live to the fullest a “hopeless” life.

                  BTW, a year ago this might have been the perfect segue to a joke about Cubs fans.

  • tsam

    Mariners added bats and forgot about pitching completely.

    • djw

      A week ago I would have pushed back a bit against this; I think they did a good job of adding pitching at value, and pairing fly ball pitchers with an outstanding defensive outfield. But with Smyly DL’ed with a “saggy arm” and Iwakuma’s terrifying velo drop, I am concerned.

      • tsam

        And the bullpen sure looks like garbage outside of Diaz.

        • djw

          Eh, he’s accumulating sound skill sets and live arms rather than chasing past performance, which I like. Experience is overrated in general, but especially where relievers are concerned, since their performance is so volatile.

          It’s a high-risk pen but most are. Roughly as likely to be above average as below, IMO.

        • djw

          Remember 2007? A bunch of no-names are providing us with outstanding relief pitching, and the idiot Bavasi decides we need “experience” in the bullpen for the playoff run, trades for the desiccated corpse of Rick Fucking White, who blows several crucial games central to that team’s August collapse, is promptly released and never pitches again.

          • tsam

            I had blissfully forgotten that until now.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Is there a definitive post on the Bavasi regime? He has to be the worst GM of any team I’ve rooted for since the Flames fired Doug Risebrough, and the teams I cheer for haven’t exactly been racking up championships for most of that era.

            • djw

              I thought I wrote a Rick White post, but I can’t find it.

              I recall it so vividly because I learned about the Rick White trade while trekking around the remote jungles of Northern Laos. I’d not been online in nearly a week, and I managed to get a decent, cheap connection in an internet cafe. Lo and behold, the Mariners are holding their own, a game up on the Angels (I think) and the current game is in the 6th inning, and I can actually get gamecast. Then suddenly, high leverage situation, instead of Putz, Rowland-Smith, or Sherrill, “White” is pitching, and just as quickly the Mariners are losing. I’m googling furiously to figure out who the hell “White” is and why he jumped all the good pitchers on the depth chart.

              It was this game, I think. They lost eight in a row or something afterwards. White was released in a few weeks, having retired roughly half of the invariably high leverage batters he faced.

              • Scott Lemieux

                He had a 7.67 ERA when Bavasi traded for him. Maybe he was hoping for a Boeing promotion or something.

      • cpinva

        “But with Smyly DL’ed with a “saggy arm”

        ok, i’ll bite, what the hell is a “saggy arm”?

        • djw

          Apparently it’s “soggy arm”. I don’t know what either of them are, but you don’t have to be James Andrews to know it doesn’t sound good.

      • ColBatGuano

        That’s “soggy arm”.

    • keta

      Old joke:

      Q. What do Michael Jackson and the Seattle Mariners have in common?

      A. They all wear a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.

    • Captain Oblivious

      13-10 is a winning score.

  • D.N. Nation

    Well, if the traffic situation at the Braves’ new White Flight Field wasn’t bad enough, I-85 had to go and collapse in a blaze of glory, so for a few months you’ll have even more traffic diverted onto I-285. Right past the new stadium. Awesome.

    • It was nice of William Tecumseh Sherman’s ghost to revisit Atlanta.

      • Scott Lemieux

        They should have changed the name of the team to the Flames to commemorate the move.

    • sharculese

      Love how the AJC had to publish a literal instructional article for first time MARTA riders.

      • cpinva

        out of curiosity, have they ever completed the section from downtown to the airport? the last time I was there (many moons ago) you got dumped in a bus station, for the last mile or so to it.

        • sharculese

          Yeah, MARTA runs all the way to the airport.

  • Woodrowfan

    I’ll be happy, ecstatic even, if the Reds finish at .500. (sigh

  • Turkle

    I am a diehard Cleveland fan and I cannot wait to get this season started! This is going to be a fun one. Cleveland-LA World Series this year?

    Also I hope the team finally ditches the racist logo in my lifetime. Good Lord. It was embarrassing enough when noone paid attention to the Indians. Now that we’re on the national stage, it’s horrifying. Let’s get it together, guys.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I’m truly disgusted by the team’s recalcitrance and the obnoxiously expressed white privilege of so many fans. Takes some of the pleasure out of finally having a really exciting team again.

      • Denverite

        On the plus side, it does spark interesting conversations over whether the DC football team and its racial slur name or the Cleveland baseball team and its racist logo are more offensive.

        • Captain Oblivious

          Do I have to pick?

        • cpinva

          as a long-time fan of the Washington football club, I’d have to say it’s a tie. I’d be happy with “The Washington Barracudas”, but I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon. Snyder’s an asshole, in multiple ways, but he won’t change the name, because that’s what he grew up with. really good reason there dan.

          • efgoldman

            Snyder’s an asshole, in multiple ways, but he won’t change the name, because that’s what he grew up with

            HOW much merchandise has he sold/will he sell under the existing name and logo?

        • burnt

          I have to vote for Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo as most offensive. Snyder takes the prize as owner who is the biggest jerk.
          \

          • efgoldman

            Snyder takes the prize as owner who is the biggest jerk.

            He’s certainly an asshole, but among pro sports team owners, there’s SO much competition.

    • SadOldGuy

      Man, as a long time Indian fan the only worst day than election night was Game 7. However, I am a bit ambivalent this year, after we got so close after such a long long season to start from scratch.

      And then, starter Trevo Bauer has been all over Twitter (via Deadspin) being pro Trump and anti-immigrant. I wish I did not know this.

  • ThresherK

    Time to don my tricolour pinwheel cap and wonder what castoff team might be rumored to move back to Montreal.

    • Woodrowfan

      Tampa??

      • Captain Oblivious

        Tampa’s problem is the stadium lease. No way St Pete lets them out of it without a big cash buyout that nobody wants to pay. The only way the Rays move anywhere is if the league or a new ownership puts a ton of money on the table.

  • los
    • tsam

      I’m gonna kick your ass for that

    • cpinva

      ok then! I think my IQ dropped three points, just for looking at their home page.

  • Denverite

    Now that Rick Hahn finally decided to rib off the band-aid and rebuild the Pale Hose, I’m looking forward to a fun-bad year.

    • osceola

      If they go .500, he’ll be hailed as a genius.

      I hope they don’t deal Quintana or Frazier like the rumors say.

      • Denverite

        God, I hope that they don’t even think about keeping Quintana. Wait til the deadline then whichever team is willing to give you a couple of top 50 prospects plus a lottery ticket, and he’s gone.

        I don’t think anyone would be willing to part with assets for Frazier, so sure, keep him.

  • djw

    Yankees presently on pace for a 0-162 record; Tanaka clearly done as a useful pitcher.

    • brad

      And Madison Baumgartner is going to lead the league in k’s, wins, and home runs. But not home runs allowed.

      • djw

        Got me wondering how frequent an occurrence that is. Syndergaard did it last year, Micah Owings in 2007.

        This article is undated, but ends in 71. I assume there’s probably some more between 71–07. Shockingly frequent from 55-62, and an impressively large number of repeat names on the list, including Don Newcombe x3 and Wes Ferrell x5.

        • Denverite

          I’ve always heard wins, SOs and ERA referred to as the pitching triple crown.

        • howard

          since i always look for a chance to plug jim brosnan’s books, which precede (and are imho better than) ball four, i’ll say that i first became aware of newcombe’s hitting prowess because he was a teammate of brosnan’s for part of ’59, a season when he had an ops of .811 and hit 3 hrs, knocked in 23 in 105 at bats.

          he was well-enough respected as a hitter that he had 87 career pinch-hitting appearances; his career ops was .705 and his peak single season, in 125 plate appearances was an ops of 1.028 for brooklyn in 1955.

      • Darkrose

        Bumgarner.

        And he won’t lead the league in wins because the Giants bullpen is going to continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this season. Already on pace for 162 blown saves.

        (I know; I’m overreacting. I haven’t slept in 24 hours and I just watched the Giants’ new $62 million closer blow his first save opportunity with us and waste Bum’s two beautiful home runs. I’m a wee bit bitter.)

    • Scott Lemieux

      I hope Farley can move Sanchez while he still has a little value as a $3 keeper. Clearly, the kid is never going to amount to anything.

  • AndersH

    Go Jays! I’m not expecting much, but I’ll be in for MLB.tv if it’s looking good halfway through the season! Though due to the time difference I’ll basically be unable to watch any game live anyway.

    Today is also the 20th anniversary of Revolutionary Girl Utena, my favourite anime of all time. I first saw it around 2001, and I still haven’t seen its like.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Last season, the Cubs winning the World Series was an omen for the election of Trump.

    Do NOT associate that son of a bitch with my Cubs!

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      FWIW, it was originally Nate Silver’s joke.

    • Tom Ricketts was happy to do so.

    • brad

      It has long been said them winning the Series is a sign of the End Times.
      This has yet to be disproven.

  • Captain Oblivious

    My Rays are leading the AL East, my fav pitcher (Madbum) mashed a tater, and my fav manager (Madden) has a long-overdue WS ring. All is right with the world.

    • tsam

      MadBum hit 2 of em today! Fucking beast

      • Captain Oblivious

        Even better. I missed the 2nd one due to visiting relatives. Alas the Bellycrawlers won.

        • Darkrose

          I could have sworn 2016 was over and the Giants spent $62 million on a closer so THIS WOULDN’T HAPPEN!

  • e julius drivingstorm

    Hilary’s a Cubs fan. Is that why she lost the rust belt?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hilary’s a Cubs fan.

      Only as part of a long game to get Chelsea elected mayor of Chicago. (Which, actually, would figure to be a massive improvement.)

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Murc and I have been thinking the same thing regarding Clinton running for governor of New York.

        Also, was it common for Cubs fans to have the Yankees as a second team that didn’t suck?

        • Denverite

          Common in the sense that a lot of murders also commit other crimes like bestiality and securities fraud and the like.

          • Denverite

            “Murderers”

            Fucking edit button.

            • tsam

              Worst fuck ever. It’s like it wasn’t even there

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                In fact this was the premise for a well-received cult horror movie, though its name escapes me at the moment.

  • LifeOntheFallLine

    What is this coastal elite nonsense? A baseball open thread, but no open thread for Wrestlemania? Bernie Sanders would not approve of you ignoring the entertainment preferences of the WWC (and, to be fair, at least one member of the liberal intelligentsia).

  • cpinva

    I wonder if the Nats will survive not having the president throw out the first pitch? yeah, probably, and there was probably a collective sigh of relief in the clubhouse, when that decision came down.

  • efgoldman

    I got no feeling at all – good or bad – about the Red Sox.
    It does look like Dombrowski has to hire a new orthopedist, who can recognize pitchers’ arm injuries at an earlier stage, Now is the time to invest in scalpel futures.
    Who knows how long Price will be out. Plus he has really alienated a lot of fans with his honesty, which comes across as whining. Sale looks like the real deal; even if Porcello regresses a bit, he should be OK, but after that, who knows. No idea at all about the bullpen.
    Will the young guys stay on the rise? Can Mookie really be THAT good? Can Bradley maintain a decent offensive pace to support keeping his soopah glove in center? Is Benitendi as good offensively as he looked before he hurt his knee? It is a hellaciously good defensive outfield.
    Can Xander Bogartz hit for the whole season? He was atrocious the last 95 games or so (and the post season). Pedroia is the leader with Ortiz gone, but he’s often injured because of his style. Can Panda play third and hit at a major league level again? Hanley Ramirez wants to DH and not play the field. Without Ortiz toi “counsel” him, will he be last year’s Hanley or more typical career Hanley?

    This time can finish first, .500, or last. Many, many more questions than answers.

    And of course, Dombrowski is 180 degrees different from Epstein and Cherington “Farm system? What farm system. They’re all trading chips…”

    • efgoldman

      Argh. I really didn’t mean to write a treatise. As my kid said years ago “It just fell out my head.”

    • Darkrose

      Can Panda play third and hit at a major league level again?

      I kind of hope so, because despite the way he left the Giants, I will always have a soft spot for Sandoval.

  • Burning_River

    And quietly, the Indians will win 93 games, and no one will notice, b/c the AL Central is a dumpster fire. Lindor might damn well win a batting title and play the best defensive shortstop in baseball, but, Mike Trout.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    trying to decide if I want to go to any games this year. Owner of the college summer league team I follow has been involved in WI R politics- was a state senator, one of the few successfully recalled and lost a rematch last fall. He’s a nice guy from what I’ve seen of him at the games, but… he actively campaigned for *trump*. It seems a bit much. Maybe I’ll watch the local high school team instead

  • Bitter Scribe

    Dammit. Contreras hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to tie, but Montgomery gives up the game-winner in the bottom. Heartbreak to start the Cubs season.

  • CHD

    I have little sympathy for any of you. I’m in San Diego. Now that the Chargers left, we’re the largest city in NA without a single major professional sports team…

    • djw

      I just noticed that the line listed for today’s game has the Dodgers at -356. I could be mistaken, but I think that’s the most lopsided betting line I’ve ever seen for an MLB game. And it’s not even Kershaw v. #5 starter, San Diego has their “ace” one the mound.

      • CHD

        Kershaw alone has a bigger salary this year than the entire 25 man Padre roster, by some $5M. Seriously.
        It’s gonna be a long year.

        • CHD

          14 to 3
          A very long season

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