Winter-Bound and Down: Reviewing the 2009 MLB Season, Kenny Powers Style
If you haven't seen the excellent HBO program Eastbound & Down earlier this year, download it, buy it on DVD, do whatever you need to do to see it, then come back and read this.
Done yet? No? C'mon, trust me on this. Watch it. It'll only take you like two hours. It'll be the best two hours you've spent this month.
Okay, have you finally finished? Great. I wasn't wrong, was I? See, told you.
I thought to myself, what better way to recap what happened this past season in Major League Baseball than to take what, even with only six episodes, already might be the funniest show ever made about sports and use some of the more memorable (and colorful) quotes as a sort of outline. Is that something you might be interested in?
Now, if this sounds familiar, you're not wrong. This is usually the kind of column ESPN.com's Bill Simmons would write. But he's busy with his basketball book tour, and I'm not even sure he's even seen Eastbound & Down.
Why do that when you can watch The Karate Kid or Almost Famous for the 500th time? (Like Chris Myers, I kid because I care, Bill.)
So, I'd figure I'd take on the task myself. I hope it's taken with the spirit with which it is intended.
Warning: Eastbound & Down's quotes are a free-flowing conversation that occasionally touches on mature subjects.
"Personally, I hate it when new memories get in the way of old ones. I do."
This goes out to the Boston Red Sox and their fans. 2007 and 2004 just feel like 86 years ago. Even fan patron Saint Simmons was telling anyone who would listen, as loudly as possible, that he was off the bandwagon and not invested in this team this season. The Yankees winning it all was just the puke spread on this turd sandwich of a season for Red Sox Nation.
"And can I wear the Scream mask? The mask from Scream. When I do you from behind. Hello?"
To Frank and Jamie McCourt, who promise to keep the hot stove burning all winter with the messiest divorce since O.J. and Nicole, with the Dodgers team and fans playing Ron Goldman. Sigh. Mark Cuban, you're our only hope.
"What did I tell you, man?! Don't read the readout! That's my own private information!"
To the Mitchell Report's continued trickle of "anonymous" PED users in Major League Baseball. Stop this Bataan Death March of news leaks, MLB, and find the way to make the full list public now that you've already opened Pandora's Box by a few names being leaked every season. The only way to be fair at this point is to be unfair to every player on that list equally.
"I broke that birdbath for you 'cause I knew you hated it, 'cause we're the same. I hate that f***ing thing, too. A stork wrapped around a tree branch. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen before. You know that’s how the plague started, back in the day. It was from a little disgusting birdbath in someone’s backyard that rats...made sex to birds in it, and created a whole new type of AIDS."
To the Metrodome, a true house of horrors where many a pop fly out went to die...by becoming hits. You won't be missed. Bring on Target Field.
"They're my closers…and they help people who are slightly hesitant to buy cars."
To Brad Lidge (0-8, 7.21 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, ML-leading 11 BS), who would have been a lot better off this season selling cars for Ashley Schaeffer BMW than being anywhere near the ninth inning. Lidge had to deal with a creaky elbow and knee all season, not to mention that taste of Pujols still in his mouth . Heh.
"That's the kind of fun and games we have around here!"
To the Milwaukee Brewers and Prince Fielder, who brought some flair to a 12th inning walkoff home run celebration against the Giants in September when Fielder pretended to be a bowling ball and his teammates pretended to be pins. Which brings me to....
"Oh no, here comes the fun police! Put down your fun and stop having fun, or you'll go to fun jail!"
The "Sad" Francisco Giants, who showed they had no sense of humor by taking umbrage at Fielder's theatrics and a subsequent homer celebration by the San Diego Padres' Adrian Gonzalez. Really, we have to curb a part of the game that excites fans and let ballplayers act like little kids again, if just for a moment? Hey, Captains Killjoy, if you kept the ball in the park, you'd have nothing to worry about.
"I play real sports. I don't try to be the best at exercising."
To Pablo Sandoval, the most exciting fat man in baseball since Hideki Irabu. Maybe even Jon Kruk. Even as a Dodgers/A's fan, I had to admit that the Panda and the Giants, aside from their moaning about HR celebrations, were a pretty damn likable team this season.
"It seems to me an establishment such as this could go for an overhaul in the advertising spokesman game. I’m talking about a real celebrity, not some sign-spinning f***ing monkey."
To the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and All Hinterlands South of That Point Popularly Referred to As the Orange Curtain. Arte, you've done a great job with the team and you give the fans a real show every time they come out to the ballpark. HOWEVAH...in the seven years since your team won the World Series in 2002 (you know when, um, Disney owned them), they've been bounced from the ALDS three times, the ALCS twice, and failed to make the playoffs twice. It might be time to retire that f***ing monkey
"Yeah, I got a lot of star power, and I think it would make this night a grand success. And I think it will only cost you…two grand."
"Yeah, I'ma pay you a hundred bucks."
"Sure you don't want to maybe meet in the middle somewhere?"
"How about 200 bucks?"
"200 bucks to come... "
"200 bucks cash."
To the Toronto Blue Jays' J.P. Ricciardi, who would take nothing less than a king's ransom for Roy Halladay, but asked for nothing in return when he waived Alex Rios. Sure, Rios just absolutely tanked with the Chicago White Sox, and the Blue Jays ended up getting out of paying him on the last six years of his contract, but you're telling me they couldn't get anything—even prospects—out of the deal, too?
"I throw one to him, next thing you know I’m at the grocery store, the bar, the titty club, and every dumb motherf***er I pass is asking me to smoke one for ’em. I can’t open myself up to that."
" Why is there silver s*** all over your face?"
" I was hanging out with those dudes in the parking lot."
" Doing what? Giving Robocop a b***job?"
To Sammy Sosa's new face. Yikes. That's all I have to say about that.
"All right, if you won't listen to my words, listen to my dancing feet. Work, drugs."
To the "Don't Stop Believing Guy," an Internet sensation who livened up Chavez Ravine this year and made another year of playoff woes for the Dodgers at least a little more entertaining.
"You look like you could use a friend."
"What'd you just say?"
"You look like you could use a ride."
To St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, who, in June, settled a lawsuit with Twitter over a fake account that referenced, among other things, his previous DUI. After beating 'em, LaRussa decided to join 'em, establishing his own legitimate account on the microblogging service four months later.
"This face used to cash f***ing checks and this d***…mmmmmmm!"
To Steve Phillips, who will no longer be cashing checks from the four-letter network. To quote the other Steve (Janowski), "I don't know about the d***, though!"
"One time I was invited to come to a social gathering. I was paid a handsome amount of money, and I bought a shotgun and a bottle of Tanqueray and showed those people the best f***ing time they’ve ever seen."
To the roaring start to the offseason provided by NL West starting pitchers, particularly Vicente Padilla, who shot himself in the leg, and Tim Lincecum, who was pulled over in Washington state last week for waking and baking. That is some NFL next level s*** partying right there. Good times!
"Dudes got d*** for style. He’s got no showmanship or personal pizazz. Its like watching a f***ing pitching machine."
To the Atlanta Braves' Javy Vazquez, who has put up three consecutive 200K seasons without anybody seeming to notice.
"I have been blessed with many things in this life—an arm like a damn rocket, a c*** like a Burmese python, and the mind of a f***ing scientist."
To the Pittsburgh Pirates' Ross Ohlendorf, blessed with a 95-m.p.h. sinker and a degree in something called Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton. He's so smart that even fellow Princetonian Chris Young feels dim around him. Ohlendorf also had the best season of his career so far, winning 11 games with a 3.92 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.
"Some people say that Kenny Powers is a woman hater. That’s not true—I love women. Every f***ing one of them, even the ugly as s*** ones. But don’t ask me to trust them. Not even nuns. Because every pair of tits comes with a gaping h*** of need that even Kenny Powers can’t fill."
To major league front offices around the country, most recently the Padres', who inexplicably did not fill their vacant General Manager position with Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng. That the woman, who has been key as anyone in developing the young Dodgers players everybody raves about, hasn't been hired is a crime. Then again, as a Dodger fan, I hope she stays right where she is.
"You know what Kenny Powers says? Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless."
To the Cardinals' Matt Holliday, whose ninth-inning bauble cost the St. Louis Cardinals NLDS Game Two, and possibly that series. You have to feel bad for Holliday, whether or not the Dodger fans' towels really got in his eye or not.
"This one coach tried to put me on a weight training program. And I was all like 'You and your weights can go f*** off somewhere—I am not lifting that s***—it’s heavy.' You tell me why I need strength training when I am strong enough to throw a goddamn 100 mile per hour pitch. F*** that."
To Tiny Tim Lincecum, who throws some of the most wicked stuff in the game despite looking like the kid from "Dazed and Confused."
"When I was back in Seattle, I had the goddamn Spoonman from the Soundgarden videos coming to my s***."
To Ken Griffey, Jr., whose second tour of duty, and .214 average, with the Mariners hasn't been quite as memorable as the heady days when he, Eddie Vedder, and Campbell Scott were larger-than-life icons in the Emerald City. But at least he'll always have the goddamn Spoonman...and, by the looks of it, another year to close the circle on his Hall of Fame career.
"Just like Neil Armstrong, I went to space and now I'm back, and nobody gives a s***."
To Josh Hamilton's feel-good, monstrous 2008 season, which was quickly wiped out by his sub-par, injury-riddled 2009 and the release of photos from earlier in the year that showed he had fallen off the wagon.
"Just an average guy with exceptional hair. Nothing more, nothing less."
"I think maybe we should just sit here quietly now and not say anything, and let you just kinda contemplate on the news I just dropped on you, and let me just kinda contemplate on my own pain and sorrows right now."
To Skip "Fisted" Caray and Chris Rose. Baseball fans would have been better off with silence to contemplate their pain and sorrows, and TBS and FOX would have been better off trotting out what's left of Harry Caray and Charlie Rose.
"April, stopping that night, when I did, that was the right thing to do. I realize that now."
"You didn't really stop."
"I did. I made a moral choice, April."
"No, you didn't really stop."
"I did. I stopped us before things got out of hand…"
"A lot of men do what, what you did."
"Make moral decisions?"
To David Ortiz, who in February 2009 said, “I think you clean up the game by the testing. I test you, you test positive, you're going to be out. Serious. I know that if I test positive for using any kind of substance, I know that I'm going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans, and everybody. I don't want to be facing that situation, so what I will do, I won't use.”
Yup, that's certainly a moral stance .
"I’m just like you now, Dustin. Just kinda calm and weak."
To Dustin Pedroia's MVP chances, which faded right around the time the Red Sox did, despite his putting up nearly identical numbers to the MVP campaign last season.
"Let me tell you something. I had a dream about this moment. When I was making love to my wife Donna, on top of her, powerful thrusts, filling the sultry night air, heavy breath, my son Gabriel walked in, little boy. My wife sprung out of bed and said, 'No, Gabriel, leave us.' I said, 'No, honey, shut your mouth. Let him watch. Let him watch what is being consecrated here.' And I want the people to watch what's going to be consecrated here. And I will bring my son down here, and he will watch, he will watch you two battle it here, you two becoming one. Okay?"
To Chase Utley becoming one with Reggie Jackson, and tying his record for home runs in a World Series, despite his team coming up short. Utley even inspired a love letter on another hilarious cable television series .
"Hey, no bunts! No bunting!"
To Joe Morgan, who is going on his 24th year of broadcasting the game...and his sixth year of thinking that Billy Beane wrote Moneyball .
"If Powers strikes him out, then 40 percent off a pre-owned BMW! How's that sound?"
"40 percent?! You're gonna have to pay 40 percent, bud! 40 percent!"
"If Mackworthy knocks it out of the lot, then the same everyday Ashley Schaeffer BMW famous low prices, okay? Either way, you're a winner. Either way, you're a winner! I'm losing money right now!"
To the New York Mets ownership, who were actually one of the few entities not to lose money to Bernard Madoff—they made about $48 million from the criminal financier's Ponzi scheme. Then again, it may have cost them on the field karmically, to the tune of a 70-92 record, improbable and comically bad play, and watching their crosstown rivals beat their division rivals to win Championship No. 27. No matter who won the Series, either way, Mets fans were going to be losers.
"I feel ten feet tall right now and strong as an ox."
"Who the f*** is this guy?"
"Hey, who the f*** are you, huh? Who the f*** are you?!"
To Mark Reynolds (.260-.349-.543, 98R, 44HR, 102RBI) and Kendry Morales (.306, .355, .569, 86R, 34HR, 108RBI), who came out of almost nowhere (Reynolds had pop before, but not much else) to put up monster seasons, fantasy and real. If you were able to jump on them early, when they were still available in many leagues, they probably saved your season.
"That's my game! D*** slappin's my game!"
To Cleveland and its fans, who got to see former players Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia start Game One of the World Series. Well, at least, um...sorry, Indians fans, I've got nothing.
"You're Internet-hot, Kenny. The video of you knocking Reg Mackworthy's eye out will pass one million views by the time I finish this sentence."
To Cliff Lee, who, despite the Phillies losing, proved himself to be the coolest customer this side of Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer, and The Most Interesting Man In The World. By the time I finished this sentence, his World Series behind-the-back catch will pass, well, 126,000 views.
"What I need to know is, all that racist, homophobic talk you used to be known for, has that changed at all?"
"Well to tell you the truth, I've changed a lot since I left baseball. Learned a lot of lessons and s***. I'm pretty much, in a lot of ways, a brand new man. But yeah, all that stuff is pretty much the same."
To David Wells, who proved you can take Boomer out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of Boomer. That included farting on a major cable network's television studio set. Come to think of it, other than John Rocker, Boomer might be the closest thing we have to a real-life Kenny Powers!
"So, as I was saying, the amount of money I'm going to be making would hurt your parents' feelings. Remember that class where I taught you all how to make it rain? That's what I'm going to be doing every…single…night. Dolla, dolla bills, y'all."
To Stephen Strasburg, and his agent Scott Boras, who got the young phenom signed to a four-year, $15.1 million contract, along with a $7.5 million signing bonus. With the way things went in the nation's capital this past season, young Mr. Strasburg should be making it rain in strip clubs around the Potomac in no time.
"I'm just not ready to take that risk...of my life...on that gamble."
"What the f*** does that even mean? The risk...of...the life...with the gamble—what?"
"I'm not ready to risk my life on a gamble!"
To the Los Angeles teams, the Texas Rangers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Tampa Bay Rays, all of whom failed to pull off significant trades at the deadline when big names were to be had to shore up some holes. In the case of the Rangers, Brewers, and Rays, it might have cost them playoff spots. For the Los Angeles teams, it may have cost them a championship. With the contribution made by Cliff Lee, the Phillies demonstrated that fortune indeed favored the bold this season. Which reminds me...
"I know that deep inside of you there's a humongous set of testicles waiting to pop out. Let 'em pop, bro."
Sorry, I can't get over this...to Ned Colletti. Hey, the next time a Cy Young-caliber pitcher like Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay becomes available, maybe you should go ahead and pull the trigger on getting him. Unless you think starting a rusty, shell-shocked Hiroki Kuroda in a crucial NLCS game was a good thing. Let 'em pop, bro.
"When I saw how excited you were to be coming with me, well, I couldn't crush your feelings. So, rather than do that, I decided to give you the best week of your life. I wanted you to think you were coming with me. Consider it my final gift to you."
To the Oakland Athletics and their fans, who have been talking about moving to a more lucrative market in the South Bay for years, or at least a new stadium in Oakland, but who right now looks as likely to leave the Coliseum as Stevie Janowski is to leave Shelby.
"Heh heh, Tampa, b****es…!"
To Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was able to parlay his team's appearance in the 2008 World Series into a three-year contract extension in May. Unfortunately, the Rays' trip back to the big show this season had as many stumbles as Kenny's.
"Like two old big f***in' poppers attached to a f***in' sellout, man."
To CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, who chased the big money to play for the Yankees. Well, I guess it ended up working out for them in the championship department as well.
"Obviously, I’m not going to need steroids when I’m in f***ing shape. This is just to kick-start the training, dude."
To A-Rod, who kick-started his championship run this year by admitting to steroid use earlier this decade. Never Forget.
"What you need is a s***-ton of Valtrex!"
To five-time World Series champion Derek Jeter. Um, no reason. At least that's what my lawyer is telling me right now.
"All right, you stoic little bastard. In the computer room, little second drawer where I keep my weed, underneath the handgun, there's a stack of porn that'll put calluses on those little hands of yours."
To World Series MVP Hideki Matsui. Do I really need to explain this one?
"I just want you to know that I’ve been thinking a lot, about, you know, what happened at the cookout...It’s just that we were there, and then we were touching each other, and I saw those tits and I started feeling your a** and I started breathing heavy and almost got a headache. Then my vision started to go all colorful. Then I just c*** in my pants. But I won’t do that again."
Congratulations to the world champion New York Yankees, who had to wait a whole nine years between championships. Can you imagine? Now, please, let's hope that never happens again.
"This has been based on a true story. The motherf***ing end."
So, there you have it: the column Bill Simmons would have written if he were still paying attention to baseball and watched anything on television other than Mad Men and his own “30 for 30” series.
I'm f***ing out.
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