Archive for February, 2012

Everyone’s Gone to the Movies

Since we can’t watch real baseball for several more weeks, I thought I would write a post on the next best thing – baseball movies! The funny thing is, there really aren’t a lot of quality baseball movies that have been made. For a sport that is America’s game and has been around for 100 years, I expected to be able to easily name ten great baseball movies. I couldn’t.

So here for the first time is TheFoulLine.com’s Top Five Baseball Movies of All Time!!

(Before I start, it should be noted that Field of Dreams will not be making my list. I hated this entire movie. I hate the “If you build it, they will come” ghost story. I hate Iowa. I hate the stupid Field of Dreams Pepsi commercials that they played 9 billion times last season. Now, I’m sure that I’ll be accused of not being a baseball fan for having these comments, but I urge you to rewatch this movie and try and tell me that it’s not a piece of crap.)

Top Five Baseball Movies of All Time

  1. Bull Durham
    Hands down, the best of all time. This movie has it all: baseball, witty banter, sex… The re-watchability of this movie is off the charts. When flipping through the channels, if I come across this flick, I have never not watched it. True story.

  2. Major League
    Who would have thought that they could make a movie about the Cleveland Indians, and it would actually be really good? I’ve watched this movie at least 30 times and I’ve always enjoyed it. How can you not like Wild Thing, Willy Mays Hayes and Pedro Cerrano? And they beat the Yankees to make it to the World Series! (We will not be mentioning the abominations known as Major League 2 and Major League: Back to the Minors.)

  3. The Sandlot
    This is the funniest movie on the list. The scene where the sandlot kids go face-to-face with their arch rivals is classic. Moron, scab eater, butt sniffer, pus licker, fart smeller, and the ultimate insult… You play ball like a girl! This movie brings me back to when I was kid playing baseball and talking smack.

  4. Moneyball
    For a movie that’s about on-base percentage, drawing walks and Scott Hatteberg, it was really good! I saw this in the theater with the RedRay, and we both really enjoyed it. This is a smart movie that had me laughing. I’m not sure why they made Art Howe such a prick, but even so, this is a top-fiver.

  5. The Natural
    I saw this movie in the theater, the night before my first game as a member of the Salem Little League Traveling All-Star Team. After watching Roy Hobbs knock the cover off the ball with “Wonderboy,” I was amped up and ready to play. I proceeded to go 2-3 with three RBIs, as we beat Litchfield 8-3. I’m not saying this movie was the determining factor in me having a good game, but I’m sure it helped. It’s a classic.

Honorable Mentions:

What’s your all-time favorite baseball movie?

Weapon of Choice

Democracy is a wonderful thing. This is pretty much the extent of what I learned in my 8th Grade social studies class. Being able to choose what we watch, music we listen to and what we decide to consume is one of our rights. Some of these choices are pretty easy. Coke is way better then Pepsi, McDonalds is superior to Burger King and of course the Yankees suck and the Red Sox rule. These decisions are pretty simple. What can be really difficult to decide on is what player you should draft in Fantasy baseball. There are so many players that are very similar, that have comparable Average Draft Positions, that choosing one from the other really comes down to personal preference. I came up with a group of players that may make you dwell a few extra seconds on draft day before making your choice.

Justin Verlander vs. Roy Halladay
Either one of these guys could be the first pitcher taken off the board on draft day. Both play on good teams, will give you 200 innings and 200 Strikeouts. And you count on a minimum 16 wins during the season. This is a tough decision, but I’m going for the younger arm and taking Verlander.

Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Curtis Granderson
Last year I reached a little and took Ellsbury in the fifth round. LBC’s waited and took an injured Granderson in the 9th. What are the chances of that happening again? Ellsbury broke out in 2011 becoming a legit speed and power threat. Everybody knew he was fast..no one saw the power potential! He finished second in the AL MVP Race. I do not see a repeat of last season, but I predict a .300/23 hr/38 SB in 2012. As for Granderson, it’s amazing what happens when he adjusted his swing and could start hitting left handed pitching. His batting average is a little shaky, but 41 dongers is no joke. He may be the nicest guy in baseball..but my choice is Ellsbury. Better average, more steals.

Evan Longoria vs. Jose Bautista
I need to disclose that I don’t like either one of these guys a whole lot. Joey Bats may have had back to back 40 homerun seasons, but for some reason I can’t completely trust this guy. Maybe it’s because he got hurt minutes after I traded for him last year? Who knows? I would not be surprised to see him regress to mere mortal numbers. I have no empirical proof for this, just my gut. As for Evan Longoria… there are a million reasons that I would like to punch him in the face, his homerun in Game 162 for starters. But I will try to stay impartial and evaluate him on purely Fantasy baseball standpoint. Longoria is the best third baseman in baseball! If he can stay healthy for a full season, he will put up crazy numbers. He missed 29 games in 2011 and still raked 31 bombs and 99 RBI’s. Impartiality over…he’s the Mark Texiera of third baseman, and a total douche. With that being said, he’s my choice on draft day. May God have mercy on my soul.

Joey Votto vs. Adrian Gonzalez
Remember that time that Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez got totally crazy after a game…and smiled? Yeah, me neither. These guys quietly go to work day in and day out. Put up great numbers. Play Gold Glove First base and you never hear a thing from them. Is that good? I don’t know. I prefer my All-star First baseman to have a pulse and a little personality. Both of these guys should go in the first 12 picks on draft day. I was going to make this one a tie, since its such a tough decision. But this is a manly site and I need to choose. I’m taking Votto..just to make sure the Love Boat Captains don’t get him again.

Dustin Pedroia vs. Robinson Cano
Everyone knows Pedroia is my favorite player in Baseball. Heck, he might be my favorite player in any sport on the entire planet. I have a Pedroia Bobblehead on my entertainment center right next to my TV. And I have been known to “bobble” his head for good luck when he’s up to bat. What’s not to like about him as a player? Gold glove defender, 20 hr/20 steal .300 average, heart and soul of the Sox! But I’m choosing players for a fantasy team, and the best second baseman in the world is Robinson Cano- even if he is a damn New York Yankee. Cano is good for 25 HR’s, .300 BA and 110+ RBI’s. He’s a fantasy monster worthy of a first round pick. This choice stung a little.

I really want to win the league this year. To do so, I need to pick players with my brain and not my heart. So give me the jerkiest guys in the league ( this means you Longoria) and we’ll see if there is a new champion in 2012.

You know what they say about “nice guys” and where they finish.

Bad Boys

I can’t believe we are on the verge of our 5th TheFoulLine.com Fantasy Baseball League. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Five years ago, when Matt McLaughlin proposed that we start a fantasy league, my first thought was that I’d try it out for a season, but I wasn’t optimistic that I would enjoy it.  As much as I love baseball, I thought fantasy baseball was for nerds. I signed up begrudgingly, cajoled my dad and a couple of friends to join, and was able to get nine teams signed up. Unfortunately, we needed ten.

As the clock ticked down to draft time, I got desperate. I asked my wife to bail me out and sign up. She said, “No, thanks.” I promised that I would help her draft a team and assist her along the way during the season. Knowing what we know now, that last sentence sounds really stupid. She finally agreed, and the rest is history.

I never thought I would enjoy this league as much as I do. I get excited when the season is approaching and I can start looking at players and formulating my draft strategy. But as I wrote last year, my favorite part was the constant fantasy baseball talk between Ginger, the Bostonbadboy and myself. We were all hooked… hard.

The Badboy lived 500 miles away, and we would talk three times a week about teams, our opponents and what players we could trade away. These conversations were the best.

We always hoped that we would have all three Ingalls members in the playoffs, but it never came to be. As much as my dad liked to play, he wasn’t very good at it. I think we all salivated a little when we were number one in the waiver wire order, anticipating which superstar the Badboy was going to drop after they may have had a mediocre week. He managed his fantasy team like he used to manage my Little League team. He didn’t care if he won or lost. He just wanted everyone to have a good time.  The Badboy used two resources to help him assemble his team: the USA Today and his gut. Neither served him too well during a long season. The funny thing is, he really didn’t care if he lost. I know he enjoyed following baseball, talking trash, and busting balls, and I think it made him feel young to be playing with people half his age.

We’ve had people come and go during our five years of playing, but I always thought the Love Boat Captains, Boston Badboys and the Yankeehaters – three of the original ten teams – would stay playing together for many years.

The reason for writing this is that the Boston Badboy got sick in June 2011, and passed away in November. I miss him a lot. I know that I’m going to miss him much more when baseball season rolls around. In the weeks after he died, I thought that I would be done with fantasy baseball. In my mind, there was no way it was going to be nearly as fun. How could it be? But as time moved on, I remembered how much my dad enjoyed reading thefoulline.com, interacting with everyone, and using strange names for his comments (Albert Desalvo, Clark Kent, Old Man River, Lucky Larry, to name a few), all written in the same nearly incomprehensible style that was my dad’s.

I know that he would want me to keep playing,  just to keep kicking Dan the #1 Rays Fan’s butt!  But how do I replace one of the original members? Especially someone who I enjoyed playing with so much?

I originally thought it should be another family member, but although my brothers enjoy sports, they are not as rabid about baseball as my dad and I. I had criteria for a potential new player. He had to be involved all year. I can’t stand part-time players that don’t keep up with their team. Our league is too good and deserves ten committed owners. The new owner had to know baseball and be familiar with the players. He had to be passionate about his team.

After careful consideration, my choice was obvious – my longtime friend, Dennis. Ginger and I met Dennis for lunch a few weeks ago to pitch to him the idea of replacing my dad and joining our league, and he accepted. Dennis was honored and maybe a little intimidated, as he had heard stories over the years about the tough competition in our league. I think he’s going to do great. Although he’s a damn Yankee fan, Dennis knows baseball and is a tough negotiator. He has chosen his team name to the be the “October Boys.” I’ve already warned him about most of you, so please try to make him feel welcome.

While we are on the subject of team names, I am retiring the Yankeehaters name. Although it has treated me well over the past four seasons, it’s time for a change.

I wanted a name that would strike fear in the hearts of the owners.  A name rich in fantasy baseball tradition. So from here on out, I’m the Boston Badboys. But unlike my dad, I’m going to spell it the right way, I’m going to make the playoffs… and I’m going to win the league!

Consider yourselves warned.

Last Chance

After a really disappointing end to the 2011 Baseball season, I was close to saying “Screw you Boston”, throwing away all my Red Sox memorabilia and finding another team to follow. The problem was, I love baseball and would have to follow someone. But who?…what team would be so lucky to get me as their #1 fan?

Here was my criteria:
1. Had to be an AL team ( NL sucks..although the Brewers and Cubs were considered)
2. Can’t be on the West Coast- the games are on to late. But when we move to Seattle in 10 years, I will support the Mariners.
3. Has to be an American team – Sorry Toronto.
4. Yankee’s and Rays are automatically out- my hate burns too deep.
5. Preferably a team with a bit of history/tradition.

Surprisingly, the two team that I came up with were the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles. For some odd reason, I have a really old picture of myself and my dad wearing Tigers hats. I was maybe a year old? I think my Dad bought them was because he really liked Sparky Anderson..or maybe it was because there was a “D” for Dave on it? Who knows, I never asked. I do know It’s one of my favorite pictures.
As for my second choice, Baltimore. I really can’t pinpoint it- they seem like a nice team, their players stay out of trouble, Boog’s BBQ, Camden Yards and who didn’t like Cal Ripken. Plus, my Little League team was once the the Oriole’s. Silly reasons, I know..but they made the cut to the short list.
I want to follow a team that plays hard, has me on the edge of my seat on every pitch and hopefully win their fair share of games. That’s not too much to ask for is it?
Ultimately, I fought the urge to become what I loathed- a fickle sports fan. If my fandom can survive Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone- surely it can be resuscitated after a historical 2011 collapse. I guess we’ll have to see what this team is made of in 2012.

All this leads up to my question- if your favorite baseball team ceased to exist for what ever reason…who would you follow, and why?

True Colors?

I’m a pretty loyal guy when it comes to the sports teams that I follow. I never expect my team to win every game or be choir boys on their days off. But I do expect them to have some character, and not be a bunch of whiny self-involved idiots. Until October of the 2011 baseball season, I was under the impression that the Boston Red Sox were one of these “classy” teams. I was wrong.

I really don’t have a problem with them going 7-20 down the stretch and missing the playoffs. Their pitchers stunk and the once potent offense disappeared. That’s ok, that happens. What bothered me was the tales of drinking beer during games, John Lackey glaring at Tito Francona whenever he was pulled from yet another lackluster performance, and the “anonymous” leaks in the front office that told everyone and anyone about the state of disarray the Red Sox were in. These are not the characteristics of a storied and proud franchise.

The Red Sox players, Owners and the rest of Red Sox Nation should be embarrassed how the 2011 ended. Infighting, backstabbing, lack of support for one another. This can not happen again! The new addition of Bobby Valentine may help, but its going to take some players stepping up and start to hold each other accountable. I want to see Dustin Pedroia stick his size 8 1/2 cleat up someone’s ass if they don’t hustle down the line. I want Adrian Gonzalez to put down the rosary beads and get in Josh Beckett’s face when it takes him seven minutes to throw a pitch.

The culture needs to change in Bean Town.
If it doesn’t, this loyal fan may be forced to jump ship…. maybe I’ll start following the Yankees or Rays?

OK, maybe things aren’t that bad.
Go Sox!