Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Rays

The 2011 Dubsy Awards

Every January since this blog was created, we here at Dubsism have given an award for achievements during the previous year in some under-recognized categories in the world of sports. In prior years, the nominations for the awards were done exclusively by an internal committee. This was the first year we allowed nominations from the general public.  Between our committee and our valued readers, we had more quality nominations than we could ever possibly use. However, in cases where we received an outstanding nomination, we made sure to recognize those who submitted it.

With that, and after careful consideration, here are the winners for the 2011 Dubsy awards.

The Mickey Klutts Award for Unfortunate Naming

Winner: Chicago Bears fullback Tyler Clutts

We really had no choice but to go with a guy so closely named as the award’s namesake. After all, whether you are an infielder – or in Tyler’s case, a fullback – you still have to handle the ball, and being named for a ten-thumbed oaf just can’t help.

Honorable Mention: St. John’s forward God’sgift Achiuwa

This may be my favorite college basketball name since God Shammgod played for Providence back in the 90′s. Its gets better when you consider Gods’gift has three brothers named Promise, Precious, and God’swill; and two sisters named Grace and Peace.

How is this unfortunate? Because you just know there is some English Lit major working at the St. John’s campus newspaper dying to make all sorts of poet-geeky John Milton/Paradise Lost jokes the minute the Red Storm lose.

We also have to give a shout out to the many of you who nominated both Doug Fister and Charlie Furbush. If only this had been the “Beavis and Butthead” award…

Previous Winner: Gregor Fucka

The Bobby Knight Award for Achievements in Dramatic Public Meltdowns

Winner: UTEP basketball head coach Tim Floyd

Floyd exemplifies the type of rage that was shown by the award’s namesake.  The February loss by UTEP to C-USA foe East Carolina would normally have been unremarkable except for Floyd’s award winning performance, in which UTEP racked up five…count ‘em, five… technical fouls.. Two coaches were ejected and Floyd himself had to be escorted off the court by the cops.  The video is priceless; things get fun at the 1:23 mark…

Honorable Mention: Coastal Carolina Head Football Coach David Bennett

The ability offer this kind of wisdom explains why Bennett is the reigning Big South Coach of the Year. In an attempt to get his team jacked up for an upcoming game against rival Catawba College, Bennett uncorked a wonderfully deranged theory on the relationship between cats and dogs.

Previous Winner: Former Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella

The Bevo and Ralphie Award for Mascot Buffoonery

Winner:  Scorch, mascot for the Boston Blazers

I had no idea wearing a big, fuzzy head while cheering on an indoor lacrosse team made one a chick skank magnet.  Apparently,  its the prime way to get lap dances during an intermission. Who knew?

By the way, you can’t tell me the expression on the mascot’s face isn’t completely perfect…you can tell inside that suit there’s a Blazer Boner.

Honorable Mention: The University of Minnesota’s Goldy Gopher

Honestly, who amongst us hasn’t wanted to shit-hammer a mascot? Since I can’t really improve on the oddities of this story, I’ll just give you the raw details from from the Minnesota Daily:

An irritated fan punched Goldy Gopher in the face during a men’s gymnastics meet Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion.

During the meet, the University of Minnesota mascot sat behind Douglas Dokken, 60, and started “messing with him,” witness Barry Colthorpe said. Goldy tapped Dokken on the shoulder and ruffled his hair.

First of all, why is a mascot hanging out at a gymnastics event? Secondly, who knew anybody showed up at gymnastic meets? Thirdly, who knew the gymnastics crowd were such ass-kickers?

Colthorpe said Dokken was ignoring Goldy’s antics, but within a couple of minutes, he snapped, turned around and punched Goldy in the face.

Goldy froze, but within moments of the first punch, Dokken wailed another, forcing Goldy to leave the area…Goldy immediately talked to his supervisor and the police officer who was already stationed at the event. He is not reported to have been hurt, but the mask was damaged.

So, it seems somebody did know how dangerous the gymnastics crowd can be since there was already a cop there. But who knew mascots had supervisors? How does one become a mascot supervisor? Don’t you think maybe the mascot supervisor should have stepped in when it became clear his mascot was clearly pissing off somebody’s grandfather?

Security personnel arrested Dokken as soon as the meet finished. Dokken was issued a citation for disorderly conduct and a trespass warning banning him from the Sports Pavilion and Williams Arena for a year, University police Lt. Troy Buhta said.

They should have given him a medal. I hate that freakin’ Gopher.

Previous Winner: Alphie the Wolf (University of Nevada)

The Budd Dwyer Award for Excellence in Career Suicide

Winner: Former Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman

Jim Riggleman felt he deserved better. Perhaps he did; that’s open for debate. But no matter the reason, giving your boss an an ultimatum is never a good idea.

Rigs wanted a contract extension from the Nationals, and general manager Mike Rizzo remained very stand-offish about discussing it, so much so that Riggleman demanded a meeting to finalize such an agreement minutes before they club was leaving for a series in Chicago.

That was bad decision number one.

Riggleman compounded that by forcing Rizzo’s hand – “either schedule a meeting with me or I quit right now.” He may as well just shot himself in the face.

Granted, Rizzo didn’t help matters any, after all  Rizzo didn’t even have the stones to tell him “you’re not our guy” to his face. Not to mention, from an organizational leadership perspective, sending a message to your people that you don’t care about them is far worse than anything Riggleman did. Despite that, Riggleman is the one who brought things to a head at an incredibly inappropriate time, did so in a manner that really didn’t allow his boss any choice other than to be extorted, and placed his own concerns above those of a team with which he was engaged in contractual obligation.

That was bad decision number two; the fatal one.

As badly as Mike Rizzo handled the situation, Riggleman committed career suicide inasmuch as it bodes badly for a man in a leadership role to walk away from a commitment to his team over over what is essentially a disagreement with his boss.  This is why Riggleman will never manage in the major leagues again.

Honorable Mention: Former Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Sam Hurd

This guy screwed up two careers because one of them happens to be rather illegal.

In mid-December, Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was taken into federal custody after he tried to set up a huge drug deal with an undercover agent, buying a pound of cocaine from the agent.  The 26-year-old Hurd allegedly was interested in buying 20 pounds  of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana a week to distribute in the Chicago area. Hurd was cut from the Bears after his arrest, and then was released from federal custody after posting a $100,000 bond.  Hurd faces up to 40 years years in prison if he is convicted and receives the maximum penalty for the alleged crimes.

Previous Winner: Former Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins

The Ed Hochuli Award for the Best Call

Winner: The Signs of the #OccupyGameDay Movement

ESPN sucks. The Dan Patrick Show rules. The signs are awesome.

Honorable Mention: Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings head coach (submitted by Ryan Meehan, who is so freaking funny he writes for more blogs than we can mention)

Frazier gets this Dubsy simply because he was the first credible guy to confirm what the evil little troll known as Mike Shanahan figured out one trade too late. Donovan McNabb is washed up (Andy Reid doesn’t count because he was too wrapped up in the Kevin Kolb/Michael Vick wet dream).

Previous Winner: A guy holding a sign at a hockey game which said “Are you pregnant, Ref? Because You’ve missed two periods!”

The Jason Sehorn Award for Being Completely Overrated

Winner: Kim Kardashian

Kardashian, shown here in a rare instance of only cupping one ball.

If it weren’t for the fact she keeps notching her lipstick case with B-list jocks, we’d have no need to pay attention to her. We’d have no reason to care about those who think she is the hottest thing on two legs.

Forget for a minute that she’s had more athlete meat than every sorority in the SEC combined. If she really were the hottest woman on the planet, what’s she doing marrying some D-list hump like Kris “I Wish I Were The SportsChumphries, Not The HumpDashian” Humphries? Not to mention, if we are to believe the rumor mill, she left that 7-week marriage because she had an itch only Reggie Bush can scratch.

For a C-list guy, Reggie Bush must have some serious trouser magic. After all, so far he’s dicked an entire university, two NFL franchises, and the biggest butt this side of Jennifer Lopez.

But, I digress. Honestly, it’s not like she’s hideous; give Joe Namath a few drinks and he’d probably want to kiss her too.  But let’s be even more honest – I could easily name at least 50 women I’d rather know in the biblical sense than anybody named Kardashian.

Honorable Mention: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

There’s two ways to look at this. You can either believe it took a sham of a marriage to keep a Dubsy out of Romo’s hands, or you can believe this is just another example of Romo not being able to win at ANYTHING.  Either way, you can’t be surprised that Romo’s name pops up here, considering he’s “waiting to live up to his potential” for eight years now. Face it, the guy is 31 years old, which statistically places him the back half of his career. It also means we’ve seen his potential. He’s mediocre at best, he’s not going to get any better. Deal with it.

Previous Co-Winners: Tim Tebow and LeBron James

The Clinton-Nixon Award for Cover-Up Futility

Winner: Former Penn State President Graham Spanier

Spanier with one of this awards namesakes at Penn State landmark The Creamery.

I’ll be honest, there were a ton of nominations for the Penn State and Syracuse sex abuse scandals in some other categories for Dubsy awards. This meant the awards committee had some hard choices to make.

First of all, J-Dub recused himself since he is a Penn State alum. Then it became a question of whose behavior was really award-worthy. Besides, his views on this matter are already on record.

Secondly, the only award child-raping monsters like Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine deserve are heavy, blunt ones which are swung into their skulls leaving fatal wounds.

Then it became a question of people who lost their jobs as a result of these situations. The Budd Dwyer Award for Excellence in Career Suicide is really about sticking the gun in your own mouth, not getting fired for the actions of others, even if you covered up those actions. Besides, if you are a dinosaur like Joe Paterno or Jim Boeheim, it doesn’t matter how your job ends; you aren’t getting hired anywhere else because you are OLD.

The Penn State situation unfolded as it did because of two key components. First, there was the prerequisite for this category; the cover-up.  Even if you don’t believe the grand jury testimony which led to the filing of the charges, the Sandusky trial eventually will draw out the details of who knew what and when they knew it; a trail which ultimately ends at Spanier.

Moreover, it is the manner in which Spanier handled this situation when the news broke about the charges being filed against former assistant Jerry Sandusky, athletic director Tim Curley, and vice president Gary Schultz. Simply stated, it was the worst handling of a crisis I’ve ever seen.

If you recall, the news broke about the indictments on a Saturday afternoon. At this point, none of the heinous details were readily known and the news cycle wasn’t really going to pick up any traction with this until the following Monday. That’s the key to all of this; the reason why the Penn State story blew out of the sports section and onto the front page and the story at Syracuse didn’t.

Spanier called a press conference on Sunday afternoon. This was stupid move #1, because it sent up a big, red flare there was a panic breaking out amongst the Penn State administration.  Stupid move #2 came during that presser; the moment when Spanier offered the table-pounding defense of Sandusky, Curley, and Schultz, going so far as to use the now-fatal phrase “unconditional support.” Those two words allowed every news commentator on the planet to portray everybody at Penn State as having not a single interest in the well-being of the victims.  Once that genie was out of the bottle, it was never going back, and an entire university now bears a mark of shame due to the actions of a few stupid self-preservationists.

Honorable Mention: Former Ohio State Head coach Jim Tressel

I hope the irony isn't lost on you, Jim.

The whole reason why this award is named for the two most recent presidents who are arguably most remembered for their cover-ups, because nobody seemed to learn the lesson about the cover-up being worse than the crime. To mix metaphors, the bottom line is that the shit always hits the fan when the cat gets out of the bag.

Don’t forget, this whole thing at Ohio State started over some tattoos and memorabilia. If Tressel had come clean at first, he’d still be wearing red sweatervests. After all, the NCAA didn’t even kick him or the players out of the Sugar Bowl last year when this story first broke. In fact, they only imposed a sanction which didn’t kick in until the following season.

That can only mean that the punishment wasn’t going to be that severe, so Tressel might as well have just bitten the bullet. Even after the fact, Ohio State only loses a handful of scholarships and one year of post-season suspension. He would have never…repeat NEVER…been fired if he had just told the truth.

Previous Winner: Former USC athletic director Mike Garrett

The Charles O. Finley Award for Achievements in Cheap

Winner: The Tampa Bay Rays (submitted by Chris “Don’t Call Me Kris” Humphries from SportsChump, one of the best sports blogs out there that isn’t this one.  In fact, it just won one of those Salvadoran-style web elections).

This one really doesn’t take long to explain. The Rays have been been a contender for the last four season without spending any money.  In fact they were the catalyst for the collapse of the big-money Boston Red Sox despite having the 29th payroll in baseball.

Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling

If you ever needed a poster-child for the fact the evidence the NBA Lockout was a screw-job designed to benefit about 10 owners and the top 5% of players in terms of income, Donald Sterling is your poster child.

Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million, and today that team is worth somewhere in the $400 million dollar neighborhood. That waaaay outstrips the value indexed against inflation, so Sterling has made a ton of money on a team that has been little more than a league bottom-feeder for three decades.

My favorite example of what a cheap bastard Sterling is: When then-Clippers’ head coach Kim Hughes needed surgery for prostate cancer in 2004, Sterling refused to pay for an out-of-network procedure, leading Yahoo! Sports blogger Kelly Dwyer to brand him the “worst person in the world.” The bill of $70,000 was paid by some current and former Clippers players, including Corey Maggette, Marko Jaric, Chris Kaman, and Elton Brand.

Previous Winner: The Pittsburgh Pirates

The Joe Kapp Award for Being Run Out of Town

Winner: Former Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona

Terry Francona is the perfect example of why Boston sucks not only as a sports city, but as a collection of human beings.  Instead of running him out of town over some bullshit about guys misbehaving in the clubhouse, they should have built a statue of him.  After all, this guy did something twice in a few years that NOBODY had done in 86; bring a championship to one of the most undeserving franchises in all of sports.

Never marry a Bostonian. The minute you do, you open your world to a never-ending litany of excuses, not to mention you can spend years providing a lifestyle better than they had before your arrival, then the minute the ebbs flow, you are yesterday’s newspaper. Every single Boston-born sports fan out there has an “ex” they dumped because they got sick, lost a job, or generally did anything that didn’t work to some Bostonian piece-of-crap’s advantage.

Honorable Mention:  Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley (submitted by Bobby Charts, a member of the Sports Blog Movement and a blogger whose work I highly recommend).

Here’s another case of a guy who inherited a team that was a dog-initiated steaming coil on a winter sidewalk, and with veritably no support from management took that coil into the playoffs. The collapse that followed this year had nothing to do with Haley. How did anybody expect this guy to win with this team living through the “digging out from under Charlie Weis” effect, especially after Matt Cassel got hurt?

Previous Winner: Former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen

The Bobby Layne Award for Best Performance While Drunk

Winner:  Former U.S. Ski Team Member Robert “Sandy” Vietze

“Former” is the key word here. After all, who knew getting drunk on a flight and peeing on somebody’s kid would get you A) punched in the face,  B) arrested, and C) kicked off the ski team?

Cue “quote gold” in 3…2…1…

“I was drunk, and I did not realize I was pissing on her leg,” he is quoted as saying.

Time for more honesty…who amongst us hasn’t gotten bombed and peed on somebody?

Honorable Mention: The Unnamed Eustis High School football player 

Why do these stories always happen in Florida? From the Orlando Sentinel:

Several Lake County school employees including two coaches are under investigation as to whether or not they allowed a Eustis High School football student to play when he was drunk.

The district would not confirm whether the student was in fact drunk, but said a student was disciplined after a preliminary investigation.

The word is that this unnamed player drank beer before the game, so much so that he was visibly intoxicated, complete with slurred speech and even a barf or two. Despite that, it is alleged that the coaching staff knew he was drunk but put him in the game anyway.

Previous Winner: Indianapolis Colts’ punter Pat McAfee

The Artis Gilmore Award for Achievements in Hair Boldness

Winner: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasly

Uhh, Mike, I don’t care if you are 6’10″ and 240 pounds…headbands and braids are for CHICKS. Now, either go get a MAN’S haircut, or get your kibbles clipped and play for the Minnesota Lynx.

Honorable Mention: Oakland A’s Outfielder Coco Crisp

There’s something special about the power of the afro, but we do have to appreciate the sense of tradition in baseball with Crisp’s straight-up shout out to Oscar Gamble.

Previous Winner: Troy Polamalu

The Kyle Orton Award for Achievements in Partying

Winner: Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki

Forget that Nowitzki is about two dribbles from passing out. Forget that he is wearing a woman’s earring.  It’s more important what she’s wearing…his t-shirt. Let’s be honest, women don’t wear the clothes of men from which they haven’t a sampling of his “low post” moves…

Honorable Mention: New England Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett

It’s called dedication. Forget that you have a reputation for being a party animal. Forget the fact that reputation cost you some serious money when you plummeted  in the draft. A man has to stick by his principles, even if that means getting piss-drunk during your rookie orientation.  According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, Mallett stayed up “all-night partying” during the NFLPA Rookie Symposium in July.

Previous Winner: San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum

The Vasily Alexseyev Award for Plus-Sized Achievment

Winner: New England Partriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork

This is a new award named for the recently-departed greatest superheavyweight weightlifter the world has ever seen. While many of his records have since been broken, he remains the only competitor to set 80 of them. Despite his 50-inch waistline and proclivity for 36-egg omelettes, Alezseyev is one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen, and this award will be given annually to another big guy whose done big things.

Wilfork not only did a big thing for a big guy to do, he did it twice within two weeks of each other. First, he gets an interception and returns it 30 yards against the Chargers, then two weeks later does literally the same thing, just with a slightly shorter return. It is a feat for a defensive lineman to get one interception in his career, let alone two in two weeks. But the fact that Wilfork actually piled up close to fifty total return yards without consuming the contents of every oxygen tank in the stadium in nothing short of miraculous.

Honorable Mention: Fox Sports’ Tony Siragusa

Let’s be honest, we have to give props to anybody who breaks down the blow-dried, make-up wearing barriers in sports broadcasting, especially when that guy gets close to four full scale spins and looks so much like an extra from The Sopranos  he actually was one.

The Vinko Bogotaj Award For Epic Failure

Winner: The NBA Owners and the Player’s Union

Seriously, a pox on both their houses. This became an epic failure the minute the league started canceling games.  Make no mistake, both sides were responsible for this train-wreck.

The owners plotted this for two years. Now, you have to give them credit for devising and carrying out an effective strategy, but the fact they were out to recoup the store they so stupidly gave away the last time speaks to their collective idiocy.

Meanwhile, the players spent so much time sitting around with their thumbs up their asses they never bothered to prepare themselves for what was coming. Nobody from the players side seemed to understand they were going to have the weak position in the negotiations, and nobody did anything to fix that. They had more than one opportunity to win the PR war, but they never realized it.

I could go on all day about how both sides acted stupidly on their own, but that takes a lot of delving into details about a war that already over. Instead, lets’ look at how they acted stupidly together.

First of all, there was the Jonestown-like Kool-Aid march into a stand-off. For two sides quibbling about money, don’t you think that strangling the sole revenue source (games people pay to see) is about the dumbest thing they could do?

Then, there’s the complete screw-job both sides laid on the fans. If you got lost in picking sides, you got suckered. Did you ever once hear anybody that mattered in that whole debate say anything about the impact on the fans?

Honorable Mention: The Boston Red Sox (submitted by Lauren from Too Soxy for My Shirt, a wonderful blog for all the angst that comes with being a Red Sox fan)

How can you not mention blowing a nine-game lead in September? This team, which was supposed to be to be-all, end-all for American League baseball, ultimately couldn’t even beat the sorry-ass Orioles with their playoff lives on the line.

Previous Winner: Xavier guard Dee Dee Jernigan

The Gene Mauch Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan

This award is given annually to somebody who has been around forever, but never won anything.

Jerry Sloan resigned as the head coach of the Utah Jazz on February 10, 2011. Before then, he was the longest-tenured head coach in American major league sports with their current franchise once Tom Kelly stepped down as manager of the Minnesota Twins in Major League Baseball in 2001.

Sloan has one of the all-time great resumes for a guy who never won a ring. Sloan is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  NBA commissioner David Stern called him “one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history.” Sloan had a career regular-season win–loss record of 1,221–803, placing him third all-time amongst NBA coaches. He was only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach the 1,000 victory milestone, and he is the only coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins with one club; the Utah Jazz. He also coached for one team longer than anyone in NBA history, having manned the Jazz bench for 22 seasons.

In all that time,  Sloan led the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances from 1989 to 2003.  That makes him one of only three coaches in NBA history with at least 15 consecutive seasons with a winning record; Pat Riley and Phil Jackson being the other two. He led Utah to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, but lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls both times. After all that, it isn’t as astonishing that he never won an NBA Championship as it is that he never once  won a Coach of the Year award.

Previous Winner: Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant

The Dubsism Baseball Post-Season Preview: A Look Back at Yesterday and A Look Ahead To October

I’m just going to come right out and say it…if you didn’t find last night’s baseball drama to be one of the most exciting things you’ve seen since discount warehouse liquor stores, you either don’t like baseball or you have no pulse.

I’m such an old codger that I can remember first-hand the days of Charlie O. Finley, the chain-link outfield fence at Candlestick Park, and Bucky F–king Dent, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that last night was the single-most exciting four hours of baseball I’ve ever personally witnessed.  Being that old geezer, you have to understand this includes Game 6 of the ’75 World Series, Reggie Jackson hitting three homers on three swings against the Dodgers, the ’78 Red Sox-Yankees playoff (hence Bucky F–king Dent), Game 6 of the ’86 World Series, the 1987 World Series (preceded by the August weekend in Milwaukee in which Kirby Puckett supplanted Rod Carew as  my lord and personal savior), Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, and all things Bartman-esque.

But none of those things – not a single damn one of them – involved four games occurring simultaneously which held the structure of the post-season in the balance. The Cards took their game out of the mix early by drubbing the Astros, and it seemed the Yankees had done the same on the grand slam by Mark Teixiera. When Dustin Pedroia put the Red Sox in front of the Orioles with his homer, I don’t think anybody in America saw what was coming in the next few hours.

Except me.

If you are a follow of @Dubsism on Twitter, you saw the prophecy in action.

9:30 P.M. ET

Okay, so I missed on the playoff thing, but after Jon Lester somehow managed to get out of the 6th inning without giving away the ball game despite his complete inability to throw a strike, all you had to do was look into the Sawwwx dugout to see they knew they had just used up their miracle.

Again, the Orioles just won’t go away, and here comes Jonathan “I can blow that save, Terry” Papelbon.  But just moments before Papelbon has his soon-to-be-infamous meltdown, Dan Johnson has his moment in Tampa.

That’s right, the hero of the moment is a guy who was hitting south of .130 and hadn’t had a major league hit since April. Toss in the fact that he looked completely overmatched on pitches prior to that home run, and one couldn’t help but be reminded of Bernie Carbo.

Next comes the Papelbon catastrophe (raise your hand if you didn’t see it coming…by now it was painfully apparent). This left the only hope for the Sawwwx in a Rays extra-inning loss.

Then it happened.

12:00 A.M. ET

Evan Longoria stroked the Red Sox into the off-season, all while propelling us into what promises to be an incredible post-season. But it also will push us into a discussion about just what happened.

While the Braves collapse is just as embarrassing as that of Boston’s, it simply is more fun to rub some salt in the collective wounds of the Sawwwx nation. See, as an Angels fan, I’ve hated the Red Sox ever since the Dave Henderson homer in the ’86 ALCS.

You should understand that for the rest of us, those of us not fans of the Yankees or Red Yankees, those of us whose teams have spent a decade playing the Washington Generals to east-of-the-Hudson, bloated-payroll Globetrotters…when either team fails, it is the same sort of soul-filling pablum that makes people watch soap operas. We all love to watch the rich and famous stumble.

And after all that, here we are; another October full of post-season baseball. Let’s be honest, most of the crap I said about these teams six months ago was wrong, so why not go for month number seven proving I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Indeed, how many of those things turned out true? Remember when I said the Yankees and the Red Sox were mirror images of each other, and it would be a race between the two to see which collapsed first? Well, the Red Sox waited until September before they folded faster than Superman on laundry day, allowing themselves to get run down by a Rays team that could be this years answer to the San Francisco Giants.

But enough of looking back…let’s look ahead to the post-season. Here are your eight participants and their odds of coming home with a title.

1) Philadelphia Phillies – (Pre-season Rank #1, 102-60, NL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 2.5-1

This team is all about the pitching staff, with just enough offense to make it work. It worked to the tune of 100+ wins, and this is the proverbial “team to beat” until somebody does just that. The biggest concern is that in the National League, the team to finish with the best record hasn’t won the World Series since the 1986 Mets, and since the Phillies obviously won’t have the luxury of facing the Red Sawwwx…

2) New York Yankees (Pre-season Rank #4, 97-65, AL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1

The Yankees are the photo-negative of the Phillies; they sport a monstrous line-up and a pitching staff made up of CC Sa-fat-tia and a lot of “not much else.”

Now, it’s time for some equal-opportunity hating: Are you now, or have you ever been a Yankees fan? Are you under the age of 45? Have you ever said “The Yankees sucked when I was a kid, so I’m not of one these new Yankee fans that came along when we started winning again”? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are pretentious douche-nozzle and you would be doing the world a favor if you stuck a shotgun in your mouth.

There’s soooooooooo many reasons to hate the Yankees. First, there’s the aforementioned loyalty-less assloafs who think just because the Yankees sucked in the 80′s means they aren’t some dickhead who needs to be on the winning side.  But least there is one less reason to hate them, since that piece of deep-fried monkey nuts known as George Steinbrenner is dead. At least he has a burn-in-hell worthy legacy, like sodomizing New York City out of a billion dollars to build a replica of a 90-year old mausoleum of decency, then filling it with insufferable dickweeds who are now actually proud of their Ruthian douche-baggery.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this yet, but you have no idea how much it pissed me off that after Steinbrenner assumed room temperature that I kept being told “You didn’t have to like him, but you had to respect him.”  Eat me. The same people who said this are the same people responsible for the impending death of America.  George Steinbrenner was a criminal who deserves the same respect a dog pays to a fire hydrant.

3) Tampa Bay Rays (Pre-season Rank #18, 91-71, AL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5.5-1

This is clearly a reactionary pick. Last year I picked the Giants as the least likely team to win, and I’m not making that mistake again. This team plays just like last years champions. They get big hits when they need them, and they get enough pitching to make those hits stand up. Not to mention, if you believe in momentum AT ALL, you can’t bet against this club.

4) Milwaukee Brewers (Pre-season Rank #12, 96-66, NL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 7-1

This is the first appearance the Brew Crew has made in the post-season  since Harvey’s Wallbangers in 1982. The Brewers finished with a 57-24 record at home, which was both best in the major leagues and a franchise record.  Since they will host the Diamondbacks in the first round, that should bode well for the boys from Beer City.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks (Pre-Season Rank #11, 94-67, NL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 8-1

Don’t look now, but this is a franchise that wins with pitching. They won the 2001 World Series with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, and Arizona moundsmen have earned five Cy Young Awards in 13 seasons.  This year, the D-backs sport right-handers Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, as well as left-hander Joe Saunders who have all racked up 200 innings.

With all those innings-eaters at the top of the rotation, the D-Backs always more often than not have a fresh bullpen, which means manager Kirk Gibson often can get desirable individual late-game matchups. This also means Arizona tends not to get far behind in ball games, which is part of the reason for the team’s big-league-high 48 comeback victories.

Oh, and as a life-long Dodger-hater, I’m obliged to bring up the quintessential Kirk Gibson post-season moment…I may need a bucket…

6) St. Louis Cardinals (Pre-Season Rank #16, 90-72, NL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 9-1

Only the Yankees have won more World Series titles than the Cardinals, and both have won in the last five years. This means the Cardinals are a team with plenty of post-season experience.

They also have that momentum factor I mentioned with the Rays. The Cardinals got hot in September after being 10 1/2 games behind the Braves on Aug. 25.   This means they won 23 of their last 32 games.

7) Texas Rangers (Pre-Season Rank #13, 95-66, AL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 12-1

Texas hit .320 in September, the highest batting average after September 1st, which is the best since this statistic has been kept beginning in 1946. We all know this team can hit, and even though the Ranger pitching staff has the fifth best ERA in the American League, I’m not sure a Cliff Lee-less rotation scares anybody.

8 ) Detroit Tigers (Pre-Season Rank #14, 91-71, AL Central Champs- Odds of Winning World Series: 14-1

Like the Brewers, the Tigers are another team showing up in October after a long absence. The last time the Motor City Kitties graced October with their was 1987. Of all the great moments in my own personal baseball history I listed earlier, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Game 4 of the ALCS, when Tiger third baseman Darrell Evans became the goat to end all goats.

As far as this year’s Tigers are concerned, you can’t argue that Justin Verlander is the most dominating pitcher in the league, and Miguel Cabrera is the most potent offensive weapon, but the Tigers have some thump in the lineup beyond that. They have a supporting cast to go along with Verlander. The trouble is I simply don’t think they can beat the Yankees.

The Dubsism Baseball Power Rankings: The Post-Season “Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For” Edition

Here we are; another October full of post-season baseball. Let’s be honest, most of the crap I said about these teams six months ago was wrong, so why not go for month number seven proving I have no idea what I’m talking about.  Take the following for example (from April 22nd):

California in General: The Padres are leading the NL West based on a league-leading Team ERA of 2.82, the Giants are tight behind their statemates to the south in both the stat and the standings, and Oakland’s 3.16 means three of the top four staffs in terms of earned runs allowed get their mail in the Golden State. Toss in Dodger Matt Kemp’s pacing the NL with 7 homers and 20 RBI and the Angels not looking nearly as mediocre as one believed, and things are on the up. The question is how many of these things will still be true in August.

Indeed, how many of those things turned out true? Well, the Padres waited until August before they folded faster than Superman on laundry day, allowing themselves to get run down by a Giants team that is likely the weakest still standing. Honestly, after July, these were the only two California teams worth noting. So, instead of trying to make predictions, it is time to talk about why none of these teams are worthy of your support. With that, let’s get down to the rest of the remaining eight…

1) Philadelphia Phillies – (Pre-season Rank #1, 97-65, NL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1

This team defines “mercurial.” They started the season as the favorites of the Dubsism staff, then they plummeted as low as #14 in the rankings, the low-water mark coming in that series at the Mets when they didn’t score a single run in four games. The are now again the hottest team in baseball, but as good as they are now, they won’t when. Why? Because it’s Philadelphia. No city has a bigger self-esteem problem than Philadelphia. Philadelphia spends hours staring in the mirror and laying awake nights wishing it were New York.  This is why Philadelphia fans hate everything; during the off-season they go down to the hospital and boo surgeries.

But it isn’t just the male Phillie fans who should be choked to death with a cheese-steak. I’ve got a belly full of these stupid female fans who spend hours blathering about how much they want to fuck Chase Utley. Behind the Red Sox, the Phillies have the highest percentage of obnoxious female pink-hat-wearing fans, you know the ones that get  sloppy drunk and wail about wanting to get on Cole Hamels’ cock. If you have a girlfriend who has a pink piece of sports apparel and won’t shut up about which player she wants to bone, punch her in the face immediately. Then punch yourself where your balls used to be for being involved with such a stupid bitch.

She just said she wants to suck off Shane Victorino, so its' OK to blast her.

2) Tampa Bay Rays (Pre-season Rank #4, 96-66, AL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1

Tampa is such a non-interest generator that if the Rays were to win the World Series, you could probably hold the entire victory parade at a Shoney’s. Seriously, nobody gives a shit about Tampa or any of it’s teams. Do you remember when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. Of course you don’t, because you didn’t care then, and you don’t care now. The Rays are like are like local TV news. You watch to see weather and traffic, and once you see that you are that stream of fans heading to the car in the sixth inning.

EPSN’s Colin Cowherd made an interesting point about this team.  Apparently, Tampa was third on a list of potential cities to get one of two baseball expansion teams. While he was working for a news station in Tampa at the time, Cowherd says he was told by George Steinbrenner himself that he pushed the awarding of the franchise  to Tampa through, because his family lived in Tampa and he wanted to see his Yankees play down there during the season. In other words, there are TWO teams to hate because of that dead shitbag Steinbrenner.

3) Minnesota Twins (Pre-season Rank #10, 94-68, AL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5-1

I love the Twins, so it pains me to say this, but I have a serious dislike of Minnesota sports fans. The absolute worst sports fans in the world are Minnesota Viking fans, and too many Twins fans are just the retarded, in-bred cousins of those same Viking fans. I lived in the Twin Cities for 15 years, and I can tell you first hand that the Twins are a franchise that deserves a far better fan base than it has.  Minnesota fans worship at the alter of a Viking team that hasn’t won a fucking thing in forty years while they almost completely ignore the franchise that has won two World Championships in that time. Tune in a Minneapolis sports radio station in April and you will hear 24 hours of how the Vikings need to draft some other asshole who will undoubtedly under-perform.

Plus, Minnesota is where you grow fair-weather fans. At least the people in terrible sports cities like Tampa or Atlanta are honest, they don’t show up at all. But Twins “fans” filled the dreadful Metrodome when the Twins were winning; you could have fired a cannon in the place in the mid-90′s and not hit a soul. Now, since the arrival of Joe Mauer and the new ballpark, these “fans” can’t stop blowing themselves over shit we already know like the fact Mauer is a home town boy or that Target Field is gorgeous. It is just the residents of Minnesota collectively coping with the fact they got butt-fucked into building a stadium that is going to be half-empty in ten years. Not to mention, the Twins are no longer the payroll David to the Yankees’ Goliath anymore, so all you so-called “fans” need to get off that crap right now. Granted, the Yankee payroll is gargantuan, but the Twins are over $100 million themselves.

Oh, did I mention they are the world’s only passive-aggressive racists? They wouldn’t dream of using an epithet because that’s not “politically correct,” but they have no problem using the old “Would you want your daughter to marry one?” mentality when they run a black athlete out of town (I will never forget the Warren Moon incident, when Minnesota fans used a court case in which Moon was found not guilty because the case was unfounded to begin with, to call the local sports radio station to spew a lot of “that’s how THOSE people act” bullshit).

There’s about 50 real Twins fans in the world, and they are a great group of people. For the rest, there can’t be enough bridge collapses to get rid of all of you.

4) New York Yankees (Pre-season Rank #2, 95-67, AL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5-1

Are you now, or have you ever been a Yankees fan? Are you under the age of 45? Have you ever said “The Yankees sucked when I was a kid, so I’m not of one these new Yankee fans that came along when we started winning again”? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are pretentious douche-nozzle and you would be doing the world a favor if you stuck a shotgun in your mouth.

There’s soooooooooo many reasons to hate the Yankees. First, there’s the aforementioned loyalty-less fuckwads who think just because the Yankees sucked in the 80′s means they aren’t some dickhead who needs to be on the winning side. But least there is one less reason to hate them, since that piece of deep-fried monket shit known as George Steinbrenner is dead. At least he has a burn-in-hell worthy legacy, like sodomizing New York City out of a billion dollars to build a replica of a 90-year old shithole, then filling it with insufferable dickweeds who now are actually proud of their Ruthian assholery.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this yet, but you have no idea how much it pissed me off that after Steinbrenner assumed room temperature that I kept being told “You didn’t have to like him, but you had to respect him.”  Fuck you. The same people who said this are the same people responsible for the impending death of America. George Steinbrenner was a criminal who deserves the same respect a dog pays to a fire hydrant.

5) Atlanta Braves (Pre-Season Rank #8, 91-71, NL Wild Card) - Odds of Winning World Series: 8-1

Who better to be in the “Punched in the Face Edition” than that geriatric drunken wife-beater Bobby Cox? Lately, people have been fawning over the fact that he has been kicked out of an entire season worth of games. “That just means he’s fiery, competitive and sticks up for his players,” I hear all the time. Did you ever consider that he might just be a flaming asshole with an anger management issue? I would say that getting piss-drunk and punching your wife in the face suggests the latter.

According to the police report, the Coxes had been entertaining friends when Bobby spilled a drink on the carpet of their northwest Atlanta house and Pamela made a comment about it. The report said that after the guests left, Bobby, 53, “hit her in the face with his fist,” pulled her hair and called her “a bitch.” When they reached the house, the police reported, they heard arguing inside, where they found Bobby drunk and Pamela with the left side of her face swollen.

My favorite part of this story was the press conference a few days later when Pamela Cox tried to deny the domestic violence allegations all while wearing a knuckle-mark on her cheek that looked just like a National League Championship ring.

That’s just the recent reason to hate the Braves. There’s a really good old reason, that being when that idiotic windbag Ted Turner owned them. Thanks to the “Mouth of the South,” we all got to live through the infancy of cable television by watching the sorry-ass 1980′s Atlanta Braves.  If you are my age, you remember having this shitty team shoved down your throat as “America’s Team.” Worse yet, TBS grew into a cable network capable of winning a bid to carry Major League Baseball so they could prove that Fox didn’t completely fuck up televised baseball.

6) Texas Rangers (Pre-Season Rank #11, 90-72, AL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 12-1

If we were to compare American cities to body parts, Arlington would be the appendix; something that everybody has, yet it is completely useless. Arlington is like the anus of Texas, wedged in between the unwashed buttocks of Dallas and Fort Worth. It doesn’t take long to figure out why Texans build all the stuff that draws huge pain-in-the-ass crowds in Arlington; it sits on such a useless piece of land that it is surrounded on one side by a giant airport and on the other by a giant nothing.  Why is the Rangers ball park here? Let’s be honest, nobody in Texas gives a shit about baseball past August. In fact, baseball in Texas is just a way to kill time until football season starts. This is why nobody should give a shit about the Rangers now. Besides, Texas hasn’t had a guy who could hit the cut-off man since Lee Harvey Oswald.

7) Cincinnati Reds (Pre-Season Rank #18, 91-71, NL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 15-1

Here’s where you can still use that shop-worn “big market/small market”  argument, except the comparative scale is in sheer assholery. Granted, the Yankees have produced more flaming assholes than anybody, but they have more money than anybody. But when you have a team from the largest city in Kentucky that has produced such legendary buttloafs like Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Rob Dibble. Really, how can a team produce a guy who bets on baseball, the worst play-by-play guy EVER, and a guy who just blazed the “Raging Dumbfuck” trail for a shithead like John Rocker. Worse yet, how can a small-market team do that and still produce a world-class fuckface like Johnny Cueto, who during that brawl with the Cardinals back in August kicked Jason LaRue in his head multiple times, effectively ending his 12-year career. If I get to see only one thing I really want during this post-season, please let it be a 95-mph fastball directly into Cueto’s face, his teeth bouncing off home plate like bloody Chiclets.

8 ) San Francisco Giants (Pre-Season Rank #18, 92-70, NL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 18-1

See the guy in the black trunks above? The Giants need to sign him now so they will have at least one guy who can hit.  It’s like ever since Barry Bonds left, the Giants are in some sort of self-imposed deprivation of offense, like anybody who hits 30 homers will have his balls cut off and fondued at some sort of granola and sissy-fruit party. It’s not like it matters because nobody cares about the Giants except for a few Dodger haters and the future funeral home clientele who from their pine boxes will still be pining for the days of Willie Mays.

The funny part is that in a weird sort of way, the Giants are the perfect team for San Francisco. At the same time, San Francisco is a beautiful city with the same sleazy underbelly as any other world-class seaport; within mere yards of each other you can find the whitest-glove haute cuisine and foreign sailors chuffing down whatever cheap fare that will satisfy while leaving a precious few drachma for a booze-up and a working girl. San Francisco can turn the breath-taking topography of Northern California and simultaneously compliment it while turning it into a piss-reeking urban nightmare. When fall hits the Midwest and all those meat-and-tater midwesterners get all fawny over California and its’ golden sun, they are picturing Southern California and its sun-kissed beaches. But since they are so eager to get out of East Tree Stump, Ohio, they don’t realize until they get there that San Francisco is not that California. Rather, it is a city that is shrouded in fog more often than not, is prone to 40 mph winds, and can sport highs in the 60s in July.  I once lived in North Dakota, and one of the coldest winters I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

The Giants are as much a collection of contradictions as their city.  The Giants are a team that boasts a tremendous pitching staff, and yet couldn’t hit water if they fell out of fucking boat. Even though they an old-school member of the National League with a large market, they can’t buy a better solution for their offense problem than Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff.  Somehow they have managed to play team baseball well enough to win their division, yet on an individual level they are the biggest collection suckasses out there. Did they all agree to wear their uniforms as baggy as possible so they all look like airport windsocks in those 40 mph winds? Tim Lincecum looks like a Make-A-Wish kid baked on medicinal marijuana in those things, but at least they hide the man-boobs on those elephant seals known as Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe.  I mean, who the fuck can have any respect for a major league baseball team that has at shortstop a manatee with frosted tips on his goatee?

Goodbye, Sweet Lou…

Piniella with Portland of the Pacific Coast League, 1966

After announcing that his retirement originally scheduled for the end of this season was moving up to today, it is time to give Lou Piniella the send-off he richly deserves. 18 years as a player, 23 years as a manager, three World Series rings; his 1,835 wins as a manager rank him behind only Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre (three lead-pipe cinch Hall-of-Famers) for active managers, and ranks him ahead of Hall-of-Famers Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams, and Clark Griffith. As a player, Piniella was the American League Rookie of the Year for 1969, and while he wouldn’t make Cooperstown from his efforts on the field, he’d certainly make the Hall of Pretty Damn Good.

Piniella during the five at-bats he collected as a Cleveland Indian in 1968.

Piniella during his Rookie of the Year season.

With that, I would like to offer the Dubsism version of the Dean Martin Roast, the photo retrospective known as the File Dump.

Many people are unaware that in addition to his baseball prowess, Piniella excelled at basketball at the University of Tampa.

Throughout his managerial career, Piniella often liked to show off his passing ability.

Lou was known to be a tad bit excitable. During his time as a Yankee, he developed a warm loving relationship with Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. During a 1976 match, Piniella slid hard into Fisk, who bluntly expressed his displeasure, and the love fest began.

Naturally, once Piniella matured into a leadership role, he mellowed.

Actually, not even being in his sixties mellowed “Sweet” Lou.

Actually, it was his down time at the salon that he used to calm his temperament.

Salons not withstanding, Lou always has a sense of cool.

Of course, Piniella’s sense of style is one of the reasons why he remains as part of the Yankee family to this day.

But in all seriousness, Piniella’s World Series win at the helm of the underdog Cincinnati Reds rates as one of the all-time managerial achievements of all time.

Mr. Piniella, you were a pleasure to watch both on the field and in the dugout and baseball fans everywhere owe you a sincere tip of the cap and a wish that your retirement offers you as much enjoyment as your career gave us.

The 2010 Dubsism Major League Baseball Pre-Season Rankings

Rankings By Division:

American League:

AL East:

1) New York Yankees

Upside: The Bombers easily could have turned on the money-hose and flooded out free-agents like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, or they could have wasted some serious dough by resigning an over-valued Johnny Damon. But, instead of having their usual explosive cash-gasm, they realized their in-house options are just fine. They finally seem to understand that you don’t necessarily need a 30-homer guy in the ninth spot in the batting order.  Rather, the Pinstripes traded away a bunch of Grade B prospects for the more budget-friendly likes of Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. After all, what do you really need to do when you are the defending World Series champs yet another goddamn time…

Downside: Yankee Stadium is getting suspiciously close to looking like an assisted-living facility. The Yankees roster contains so many “seasoned veterans” that it’s a good bet there will be more than one pair of support hose under those pinstripes. Oh and somebody really needs to find a way to keep A.J. Burnett from having the “Hindenburg” inning that tends to flame out his starts.

2) Boston Red Sox

Upside: The Red Sox will field a very complete and deep squad, one that will be better than everybody except the one team they desperately want to beat. The Sawwwx offer three starters who would be aces on more rotations than not, their defense doesn’t have it’s usual Bahhh-ston Hahhh-bahhh sized hole in it, and despite what Sawwwx fans want to believe, the offense should be just fine. Of course, math doesn’t rank high in the skill sets of most Sawwwx fans, which explains why last year’s allegedly non-steroid-enhanced lineup accounted for a mere 10 homers less than allegedly juiced 2004 edition.

Downside: The astonishing lack of obvious holes on which their inevitable August slide can be attributed. Sure, the line-up still contains the light-bending sucking black hole known as the un-Ramirez-protected David Ortiz and nearly every pitching staff gets as shaky as Haitian construction techniques at the fifth spot in the rotation, which means we just have to wait to see what will bring this year’s “Bucky Dent” moment.

3) Tampa Bay Rays

Upside: They are the anti-Yankees, meaning they have a shitload of young talent and they have a payroll more suggestive migrant farm workers than the caviar-encrusted platinum jock straps of the Bronx Bombers. Whether or not the Rays sucker-punch their way past the Yanks or the Sawwwx for the promised land of October baseball, this team will give fits of apoplexy to veteran-fueled opponents with their raw athleticism. The odds of this increase significantly if the Rays next wave of prospects (particularly Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson) pan out as some “experts” expect.

Downside: If this team hits the trade deadline looking like it is out of reach to throw that October sucker-punch, the Rays could be parted out like a Chinese prisoner “volunteered” for organ donation. Case in point: the pending free agency of Carl Crawford who is already rumored to be on Yankee manager Joe Girardi’s line-up card for Opening Day 2011.

4) Baltimore Orioles

Upside: The O’s are another AL East squad resplendent with young talent, especially catcher Matt Wieters, who could prove to be a discount-store version of Joe Mauer at the plate (maybe not average wise, but Wieters does have 25 -homer potential). Plus, the trio of Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis may very well be the best young outfield in the league.

Downside: The youth of the pitching staff, which is stocked with a talented stable of potential, most notably Brian Matusz,  Chris Tillman, and Brad Bergesen. But with that youth comes inexperience and the ever-present threat they don’t develop.

5) Toronto Blue Jays

Upside: A well-spring of young arms; hill-wise all the Blue Jays need is for two of the cruise-ship full of pitchers they brought to camp to show the potential to toss 200 innings. Behind those young hurlers, the Blue Jays will field a defensively solid squad, with the glaring exception of third baseman Edwin “Hands of Stone” Encarnacion. This should allow those young moundsmen to put the pill over the plate with a reasonable expectation their ERA’s won’t rocket toward the stratosphere.

Downside: This team is at least a few years away from contention, and even then they likely will need the Red Sox to get back to their historic “shooting themselves in both feet” tendencies and for the Yankees to set the Wayback Machine to 1984.

AL Central:

1-Tie) Chicago White Sox

Upside: The quartet of Mark Buerhle, Jake “No, Really, I’m Pretty Sure I’m OK…this time” Peavy, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd forms the backbone of the best starting rotation in the division. The South Siders should be able to stay in front of the Twins if there is they can squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of the tubes that are the careers of Paul Konerko, Andruw Jones, and A.J. Pierzynski. Forgive me now for saying I will believe that when I see it.

Downside: The amazing number of shitty hitters the Whiteys will field. Granted, Juan Pierre and Alex Rios should allow the White Sox to play in their usual Ozzie Guillen-influenced style; in other words, swinging wildly and generally running  amok, then wringing  just enough out of an aging bat or two. As a recipe, it is clearly riskier than a good, old-fashioned game of Russian Roulette, but don’t forget the White Sox managed somehow not to blow their brains out in 2005.

1-Tie) Minnesota Twins

Upside: Carl “Scrooge McDuck” Pohlad is dead, and along with the anticipated revenue from the new ball park, the Twins have managed to jam a crowbar into their change purse. With the expected signing of Joe Mauer to a hefty-yet-deserved contract extension and the signing bonus that likely will accompany it, the Twins just might finally hurdle the $100 million salary threshold. The Pohlad family still owns the team, but at least the new billionaire-in-charge seems willing to spend when needed.

Downside: The pitching staff, which was suspect before the loss of Joe Nathan, is now officially mediocre. Scott Baker may need to hire a stand-in if he is to convince anybody he is an ace and Carl Pavano is, well, Carl Pavano. Not to mention the Twins are drawing to an inside straight on whether Francisco Liriano can be effective after the “Tommy John” surgery and the loss of confidence he put on display last season.

3) Detroit Tigers

Upside: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello might be the most interesting trio from Michigan since Grand Funk Railroad.

Downside: The front office, which embarked on a cost-cutting exercise until they were reminded that they have a slough of veterans being hampered in their duties by their walkers. Their solution to this? Signing the 68-year old Johnny Damon. This means if you want to see elderly DH’s with more chins than a Shanghai phone book (Is Greg Luzinski still in the league?) chug home from second on one-hop singles, just wait for Damon in left field.

4) Kansas City Royals

Upside: Fuck everything else, to find something in print that says the Royals don’t finish last in this division may require an archealogical expedition. If for no other reason, the elevation from the cellar is due largely to the fact that no matter what else happens, Zach Grienke and Joakin Soria will pitch the Royals past the unbelievably fetid Indians.

Downside: The shockingly large number of at-bats that will be  twirled unproductively into the Twilight Zone at the hands of Scott Podsednik, Jason Kendall, Jose Guillen, Brayan Pena and Yuniesky Betancourt.

5) Cleveland Indians

Upside: As soon as we here at Dubsism find one, we’ll let you know. Wait, we’ve got one: Shin-Soo Choo hasn’t been inducted into the South Korean army…yet.

Downside: This is likely the first of many seasons to come with the Indians making reservations for the bottom of the standings.

AL West:

1) Seattle Mariners

Upside: How can you not love a one-two punch of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee in front of a team that shits horseshoes? Seriously, this team personifies luck, as was demonstrated by the 2009 campaign that saw the M’s win 85 games even though they were outscored by 52 runs. Luck isn’t a strategy, but luckily it probably won’t take much to win this division.

Downside: The festival of mediocrity the starting rotation becomes after the aforementioned one-two punch. Plus, the wheel of karma spun by the baseball gods will not look favorably on lead-pipe cinch Hall-of-Famer, greatest player ever in the history of the franchise, and deliciously banned-substance-free Ken Griffey, Jr. being exiled from the lineup for the final time by ‘roid-rage expert and colossal asshole Milton Bradley.

2) Texas Rangers

Upside: Don’t look now, but for the first time in EVER, the Rangers have pitching depth…I’ll wait for a minute so you can let that sink in. Seriously, they’ve got eight legitimate contenders for the five rotation spots, which means they have eight more than than they’ve ever had before. It goes without saying this assumes Rich Harden doesn’t rack up seven bazillion more frequent-flyer miles on MRI Airlines.

Downside: And now for your Bizzaro world moment of the day: the Rangers can pitch and play defense, but they can’t hit! Again, I’ll wait for a minute so you can let that sink in. With suspects like Chris Davis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and/or Elvis Andrus likely populating the bottom of the order, you can expect the Rangers’ team on-base percentage to hurtle over the cliff faster than Thelma and Louise. The wild-card in all of this: Josh Hamilton and his ever-present overcoming of his “obstacle du jour.” This time it is rumored to be hangnails and a persistent fear of sock puppets.

3) Los Angeles Angels

Upside: Even though he Dodger Blue during his playing days, and even though he looks more and more like Rush Limbaugh every day, you have to love Mike Scioscia. He is one of a rare breed of managers who understand tactics, strategy and how to develop and handle people.

Downside: Will the last one left in Anaheim please turn out the lights? The Halos wont miss Vladimir Guerrero, but the departures of John Lackey and Chone Figgins significantly downgrades the rotation and the lineup. This is really a concern for the pitching staff, which needs to prove itself more durable, especially Scott “Opening Soon at a Disabled List Near You” Kazmir.

Oakland A’s

Upside: The performance of A’s bullpen has historically fluctuated more than Oprah’s weight, but now they boast a rare mix of quantity and quality. Andrew Bailey, Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz, Joey Devine, Jerry Blevins, Craig Breslow and Brad Kilby together compose a solid group of young relievers who collectively will earn about $482 in 2010.

Downside: The $10 million pipe-dream known as Ben Sheets, and the crumbled Greek column once known as Eric Chavez’ spine. If Sheets actually manages to stay out of intensive care come the trade deadline, the A’s will likely deal him for yet another cavalcade of prospects.  More likely is that Sheets’ arm falls completely off and Oakland gets to watch $10 million swirl down the shitter. Plus, the A’s may be holding open tryouts in May to find anybody who can actually hit the damn ball.

National League:

NL East:

1) Philadelphia Phillies

Upside: Flash to the scene in “Bull Durham” is teaching Nuke Laloosh about the importance of clichés. The Phillies have no need of this lesson; they are a veritable textbook. They’re “gamers.” They “play ‘em one game at a time.” They’ve “been there before.” They “know how to finish.” Of course, the only way to get such a string of positive verbal fossils is to be the best team in baseball. Yes, you read that right, especially you Yankee fans whose blood-pressure just took a geyser-like upshot. In fact I will say it again: As of right now, the Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in baseball; fuck you, New York. Man, that felt good.

Downside: I’ll never understand what the rationale was behind the Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay swap meet. The Phillies revenue has sky-rocketed in the past five years, given their success and the resultant boost in attendance, TV ratings, jersey sales and everything else associated with the Phillies. Hell, even the Jamie Moyer Geritol is flying off the shelves. The point is the Phils easily have the dough to have kept both aces, then restocked the farm with the compensatory picks when Lee signed elsewhere this year. Speaking of pitchers, which version of Brad “Sybil” Lidge shows up this year? Is it the lights-out, shutdown closer or do we get another episode of “Meltdown Man?”

2) Atlanta Braves

Upside: While the Bravos may be lacking after dealing away its pitching depth for a prospect and a case of urinal cakes, they also don’t really show an Achilles heel. Not to mention, this is finally the last year of the Bobby Cox regime, and Jason Heyward might be the first guy to hit a home run that crosses and entire time zone.

Downside: All the bullshit we will have to live through on what will prove to be the Bobby Cox’s farewell tour. For one, I can’t wait for next year when Cox is getting kicked out of bingo games at the senior center. Here’s a little known fact: Did you know that “Jair Jurrjens” is actually an old Dutch term meaning “he who is destined to spend as much time in an MRI machine as Rich Harden?” That can’t be good.

3) Florida Marlins

Upside: The Players’ Union and how they forced world-class skinflint Jeffrey Loria to actually pony up some cash for a long-term deal for ace Josh Johnson and  getting second baseman Dan Uggla to return. Stop and think about what kind of an asshole you would have to be to make the gravy-sucking pigs from the Players’ Union look like a bastion of righteousness and moral certainty; Loria is every bit that cretin.

Downside: The aforementioned pinch-those-pennies-so-hard-Abe-Lincoln-bleeds-internally mentality of Loria. Follow that up with all the bullshit going on over the new-stadium,  the 40 inches of rain that comes from the heavens in ten minutes like God’s doped-up racehorse pissing on your head every afternoon at 4 p.m. sharp, and the scatter-shot approach to the bullpen, and it isn’t hard to see this franchise is literally 50 bucks away from being the Pirates.

4) New York Mets

Upside: Manager Jerry Manuel’s sense of humor will come in handy sometime right around Memorial Day when he will be joking about “having time to play some golf” the day before the press conference announcing his firing.

Downside: The Mets’ are like the rich family on a daytime soap opera. Their front office is furnished with, amongst other amenities, hot and cold running cash. But, if you are the Mets, with wealth comes a Dr. Phil level of dysfunction. In this past off-season, the Mets couldn’t seem to figure out if they actually had an operating budget; nobody in the organization seemed to know if anybody actually knew about the star center fielder’s knees (which are dissolving like an Alka-Seltzer as we speak) and nobody can say if the team futzed with Citi Field’s dimensions in response to the whining that the park suppresses offense. Want to know a secret, Mets fans? It ain’t the ball park…

5) Washington Nationals

Upside: How can you not have a man-crush on a heart of the order featuring Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, and Elijah Dukes? So what if the Nats’ occasionally misspell their own uniforms (the photo below is not the only example of the Gnats Nats need of “spell check. “? Don’t look know, but the Mets can easily see this team in their rear-view mirror, and if they aren’t careful, they may just start seeing the Nats’ tail-lights.

Downside: Is there something in the water in the greater Baltimore-Washington metroplex that makes sports franchise owners unconscionable assholes? An area that features Redskins’ owner and probable live-puppy eater Daniel Snyder and the Orioles’ Peter Angelos, who as a child must have wanted to be Snidely Whiplash form a vortex of ownership evil that threatens to suck in the Nats’ Theodore Lerner.

NL Central:

1) St. Louis Cardinals

Upside: Every other team in this division sucks. If the Redbirds can stay healthy, they should be on cruise control by mid-August. The cash-flooded Cubs and Astros have spent stupidly, and the Reds and Pirates can’t find anybody that still takes S&H Green Stamps, and the Brewers only have three players.

Downside: The supporting cast beneath their dwindling number of star players is dangerously thin. However, a lot of this can be cured if Colby Rasmus finally emerges.

2) Cincinnati Reds

Upside: Pure balls. What are the odds that a prospect who happens to be a left-handed pitcher toting a 100-mph fastball ends up in Cincinnati? Of course, this assumes Dusty Baker method of handling pitchers doesn’t have Aroldis Chapman’s elbow in pieces by August.

Downside: In five years, most of their roster won’t be in baseball. The cast of Scott Rolen, Orlando Cabrera, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Francisco Cordero are all in the sunset years of thier careers. Oh, and Dusty Baker is an idiot.

3) Milwaukee Brewers

Upside: They have Ryan Braun,  Prince Fielder, and Yovani Gallardo.

Downside: Ryan and Fielder can’t take all the at-bats, and Gallardo can’t pitch every inning.

4) Chicago Cubs

Upside: The inevitable Lou Pinella meltdown. It generally happens when Lou has heard enough questions about (insert reason du jour why the Cubs suck here). This usually happens around August 1st, and treats us all to a profanity-filled tirade as only Lou can do.

Downside: All the money the Cubs have tied up in flame-outs like Alfonso Soriano and pitcher-turned-planet Carlos Zambrano.

5) Houston Astros

Upside: They have a deeper roster than the Brewers.

Downside: That isn’t saying much. The Astros field three great players and the three other solid ones. The other 19 could barely impact a Triple-A Roster. Owner Drayton McLane gives all the signs of a billionaire preparing to back away from this investment by selling the team.

6) Pittsburgh Pirates

Upside: Steve Pearce certainly shows all the signs of being the real deal.

Downside: Even when they trade Pearce, they’ll get another bag of magic beans (I’m looking at you, Lastings Milledge). What does it says about you when you get screwed in a trade with the Natinals Nationals?  It says you are the kind of organization that can have neartly twenty years of top ten draft picks and nothing to show for it.

NL West:

1) Colorado Rockies

Upside: The Rockies are the only team in the West with decent depth.  With the everyday players including Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs, and Melvin Mora and a bullpen including Matt Daley, and Esmil Rogers.

Downside: The alarmingly high number of at-bats that will be sacrificed in the belief that Clint Barmes is anything more than a utility player.

2) Los Angeles Dodgers

Upside: Despite the facts that every left-handed pitcher in the world is issued a Certificate of Ownerhship at birth for Andre Ethier, and Manny Ramirez plays left field like he is in a bar-league softball tournament, the trio of Ethier, Ramirez and Matt Kemp are the best outfield in baseball.

Downside: The shaky, flaky nature of the pitching staff. Letting Randy Wolf leave means the Dodgers are dependent on the inconsistent Clayton Kershaw and a Chad Billingsley who spent the end of last season crying in the fetal position.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks

Upside: Justin Upton, who just makes you want to believe.

Downside: Trading Max Scherzer for another shot at Edwin Jackson, who is due for another good month any day now…after all, in his seven years in the league, he’s already had two of them.  Their next best pitcher is the post-aneurysm surgery slop artist Ian Kennedy has become.

4) San Francisco Giants

Upside: The starting rotation: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, the catastrophe formerly known as Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez. Is there a better foursome out there?

Downside: The Giants hit like a T-ball team. This team was batting Bengie Molina (20 HR, 80 RBI .265 avg.) in the four-spot last year in an attempt to protect Pablo Sandoval, the only respectable bat they have. To improve on that, the Giants are turning to the suspiciously-close-to-finished Aubrey Huff (15 HR, 85 RBI, and .241 avg).

5) San Diego Padres

Upside: GM Kevin Towers always seems to find players whose skills play well in that airport spacious park they have.

Downside: Towers is lucky he has this ability, otherwise the trade deadline would be no fun for him. Look for Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell, and Jon Garland to all be on a plane by July 31st.

Overall Team-by-Team Ranking

  1. Philadelphia Phillies
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Colorado Rockies
  6. St. Louis Cardinals
  7. Seattle Mariners
  8. Atlanta Braves
  9. Chicago White Sox
  10. Minnesota Twins
  11. Texas Rangers
  12. Florida Marlins
  13. Los Angeles Dodgers
  14. Detroit Tigers
  15. Los Angeles Angels
  16. Arizona Diamondbacks
  17. San Francisco Giants
  18. Cincinnati Reds
  19. Baltimore Orioles
  20. Milwaukee Brewers
  21. Oakland A’s
  22. Chicago Cubs
  23. New York Mets
  24. Washington Nationals
  25. San Diego Padres
  26. Houston Astros
  27. Pittsburgh Pirates
  28. Toronto Blue Jays
  29. Kansas City Royals
  30. Cleveland Indians

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