Yakkin' About Baseball: Songs Bronson Arroyo Taught Me

Bronson Arroyo sings, the Detroit Tigers irk, Ichiro materializes wearing a flowing robe. The playoffs are here.
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David Roth: How are your sports?

David Raposa: Muted, for the time being. I'm sure Buck Martinez knows some things, but every time I hear him talk, it's like I'm listening to a high school guidance counselor preemptively fuck up a student’s college career. "You might think this official document says you have a full scholarship to the Ivy League school of your choice, but that's no substitute for the real life experience you get working long, grueling hours in the service industry."

David Roth: "What you need to do, in a situation like this, is get a job at Arthur Treacher's and take night classes in Business Administration at DeVry." 

David Roth: That's the advice he gave Doug Fister over the phone earlier today. Much earlier. It was an unsolicited phone call at 445 a.m. Fister was like "why are you calling me, dude," but Buck was all: "Look, I can't really talk right now." Then he outlined a plan that hinged on Fister quitting baseball and learning to hang drywall.

David Raposa: We need more Tigers jokes. By virtue of playing in the AL Central, the Tigers are a glorified wild card team. The A’s had to go toe-to-toe with the Angels and Rangers for 40 games, while the Tigers gummed at the Indians and Royals? Add on that Detroit has just enough talent—two All-Star sluggers and Justin Verlander—to get through a five-game series, and I’m about to rearrange my living room Billy Beane style.

David Raposa: Shout out to Austin Jackson's career year, and an assortment of semi-skilled scraptacular humps. Double special shout-out to Alex Avila, who—possibly due to an assortment of boo-boos—regressed like a Napoli this year.

David Roth: Finally, our generation's Geovany Soto! I know this isn't a novel observation, but being a catcher seems so miserable that I can't believe any of them ever hit at all. The job is, basically: someone punches you in various parts of your body, including your throat and bathing-suit-area on occasion, while you are also solving a crossword puzzle in an uncomfortable physical position. And thousands of people are screaming at you, and Tony Randazzo is behind you breathing sour cream and onion Herr's breath on you for a few hours. And THEN also you have to hit pitches thrown by Chris Sale. It's impossible.

David Raposa: Yadier Molina being the exception, of course. Because he'd have to be the exception, since we’re such fans of the Cardinals.

David Roth: I was reminded of everything I hate about them while watching that Game 2 win against the Nationals. The image of LaRussa just printed right there on the wall in center field, making that vinegar-enema face he makes. Watching Matt Carpenter dicker and eye-roll over balls and strikes like he's Ted Williams. Multiple double-switch innings. An entire team comprised of three body types: Carlos Beltran, Rectangular Bearded White Pitcher, and The Daniel Descalso. In the abstract, I admire them for winning like that, so well and so consistently. In every non-abstract way I feel the exact opposite.

David Raposa: I want to know the name of dark lord you make blood sacrifices to so that your no-pop pipsqueak of a middle infielder starts making with the jimmy jacks come October. Or maybe the Adam Kennedy from 2002 Quantum-Leaped into DD’s half-a-frame?

David Roth: 1) That's baseball, 2) It is pretty much never baseball for any team I care about. I think my criteria for the teams I choose to cheer for should be diversity of body type. The Cardinals seriously all look alike to me. The Orioles are every type of baseball person, including gangly submarining reliever. The Nationals are mostly beefs and lankies, although whatever Danny Espinosa is doing with his Buff Henchman To Miami Vice Villain thing at least deserves some credit. I feel like someone is getting paid $75,000 to coordinate his beard; there are PowerPoint presentations involved.

David Raposa: The Yankees are all either upright Roombas or immaculately chiseled cube steaks.

David Roth: The Tigers are a few RBI Baseball characters and a bunch of guys who look like startled dudes on a 1959 Topps card and don't have photos on the Yahoo Player Pages.

David Raposa: And the Reds...  theee Redsssssss... They have a lot of "Adam Dunn as complete player" types, don't they?

David Roth: Yup. Lot of well-conditioned hair on that team. A lot of body and shine. They are mostly square-shaped, right?

David Raposa: Yeah, even their pitchers. Pretty sure Latos is Greek for “blockhead.”

David Roth: Bronson Arroyo is shaped like Scott Stapp, though. Exactly like Scott Stapp.

David Raposa: I kinda want to talk about THE SONG, but I fear it'll have some deleterious Candyman-like effect on our lives if we do.

David Roth: The risk of Tony Todd jumping through the mirror and barfing bees onto us is a risk we have to take, and also not a worse fate than listening to Arroyo sing "Red Hooded Sweatshirt." 

David Roth: The look that Bronson Arroyo gets on his face while playing guitar, let alone singing, makes me want to ban music. Like take over the world and make everyone dress like the Future Nazis in Starship Troopers and burn massive pyres of guitars JUST TO MAKE SURE that Arroyo never plays "Better Man" for squirming teammates or college sophomores who unwisely let him into their dorm rooms, ever again, ever.

David Raposa: So that was Arroyo's natural singing voice, right? Like the Hot Tuna guy undergoing a drug-free vasectomy by spork?

David Roth: Justin Vernon called him on the phone after seeing the ad and was like, "Hey, can you do backing falsetto on my next album? I have a six minute song with no drums and lyrics that might or might not be about breaking up with a girl that I think would be perfect for you."

David Raposa: Watching THE SONG unfurl its coiled haunches for the first time was like watching a Final Destination death sequence involving a pair of chopsticks, an unplugged hot plate, a rubber ball, and a Shake Weight.

David Roth: I should point out that I still prefer it to the Kid Rock song MLB optioned last year. Where he's like "It's an October party/all the bats and balls/ Country Time Lemonade/Lynyrd Skynyrd/American Flags/Custom Chevrolets/Low-Information Voters/And BASEBALL Times."

David Raposa: I think I saw some promo clip where Kid Rock ate the top of a tall boy can like a billy goat, and Kevin Millar rode by on a Segway that had the Confederate Flag spray painted on the wheels. That sound right to you?

David Roth: Yeah, that's a real ad. It runs in between the DirecTV ad in which someone is sexually humiliated and murdered because they have the wrong cable provider and the promos for "Big Bang Theory." Do you think there are older people who refer to "Big Bang Theory" as "Nerds And The Girl?"

David Raposa: Hopefully, older people refer to "Big Bang Theory" as "That show with the sex jokes," and go back to watching "ER" reruns. Or maybe they’ll tune into that TBS wedding band sitcom starring Brian Austin Green and Harold Perrineau. From the network that brought you that “Bros Before Hos” skene starring the more-famous Masterson brother!

David Raposa: But I'm so glad MLB sprung for Springsteen this year. I like hearing a man that's almost twice my age and looks 10x better than I ever have in my life grunt about the indomitable will of the human spirit every half-inning.

David Roth: Yeah, if it's that or Kid Rock being like "Got me a barge/Drink beer from a guitar/Hardball slammers/Defund PBS" I'll definitely take bloat-y late-period Bruce-anthems.

David Raposa: By the way, Jim Leyland is only four years older than The Boss. Let that stew for a few millenia.

David Roth: That can't possibly be true. That is like a really pedantic anti-cigarette advertisement. Someone proposed it and the decision-makers were like, "No one would believe that, just show the guy with the stoma hole talking about how bad cigarettes are for you." I guess it's true that Unrelenting Stress + Valverde + Four Packs of Merits Per Game = Looking Like Bologna Wrapped In Gray Crepe Paper, In A Hat. Kind of a cliché, I know, but true enough in this case.

David Raposa: "This is the upper half of your body after a four-decade regimen of nicotine, middle-shelf booze and lukewarm french fries." Though I should probably adjust that number upward, because I'm pretty sure Leyland was doing two packs a day in the nursery.

David Roth: Very high-stress time for him.

David Raposa: He was like the eTrade baby, if Raymond Chandler was writing the scripts. “The milk hit the back of my throat like a shiv to the gut. Good thing it was coming straight from the source.”

David Roth: I honestly love that he smokes and is Jim Leyland. In a decade, all our managers will be Clint Hurdles. Charlie Manuel will be on a porch slowly eating an entire pork shoulder and mumbling. Leyland will be on some Caribbean cruise that he hates, with his wife. And everyone managing a team will be a buff-ish stress case who love bunts.

David Raposa: I was watching a Pirates broadcast this season during their annual in-game charity auction. One of the auctions was to spend an evening with the Hurdles at a Penguins game.

David Roth: Just him talking to you about God and "the little things" the whole time. Butchering bible quotes, telling a story about a time he went hunting with Dane Iorg and Paul Splitorff and nothing much happened.

David Raposa: No wonder the NHL season's about to be cancelled.

David Roth: So should we talk about the actual games? Instead of pre-emptively bitching about the Tigers and the 1970's Detective who manages them? You saw Ichiro's parkour routine around home plate yesterday, I assume. You have more emotion invested in this than I do, but does Ichiro being on the Yankees confuse you some? I love everything he does, but I am not used to being happy when good things happen to the Yankees.

David Raposa: First of all, I know in my heart of hearts that Ichiro was out, I don't care what your zoom-in slo-mo replay shows over and over and over.

David Roth: You're wrong. He's Ichiro. He could've just rematerialized on home plate if he wanted to, wearing majestic robes. He CHOSE to make it interesting, and you seem awfully ungrateful to me, here.

David Raposa: It’s totally justified! Given that Ichiro reverted back to ICHIRO! for the two months he was in Yankee primer gray, after obviously mailing in it his last few years in Seattle, I have nothing but contempt for the goldbricking mercenarial ring-chasing jerk. Enjoy falling short of your ultimate goal, Asian Karl Malone. 

David Raposa: (Translation: Ehh, good for him.)

David Roth: So you're more Team Thome when it comes to mostly passive late-career quests for World Series victory?

David Raposa: Of course, now that you reminded me of it! Thome Vs. Harper! Old Man Baseball vs. Young Man Eyeblack!

David Roth: Harper's the greatest. He's wearing red contact lenses against the Cardinals today. I love that he came out looking like The Undertaker in Game 2, then washed it off. Presumably after Jayson Werth took him aside and was like "Look, kid, you look stupid and need to respect the game. Oh, neat, I found some cake in my beard."

David Raposa: I saw a picture of Young Jayson Werth, in an Orioles uniform. He looked quite respectable. You never would've thought he'd turn into Big League Chew Gandalf.

David Roth: There are many different beards in the world. I might like his the least. That guy is an Alpha Jock Jerk who inexplicably looks like he's going to a Deer Tick show, and it just makes me dislike him more.

David Raposa: Baseball needs more hockey playoff beards. Also, a penalty box, preferably for the umpires that yip a no-doubt call. Not that I’m alluding to extremely infuriating outfield-fly-rule shenanigans or anything.

David Roth: So is it the Orioles for you, then? 

David Raposa: I think my team might be the Nats, if only because they have a pretty good shot, even without Strasburg in their rotation.

David Roth: They are good. I don't like them much, but they are good. You didn't happen to watch Mike Morse do any fielding on Monday night, did you? He handled the baseball as if it was scorchingly hot and intermittently invisible.

David Raposa: I am sad I missed Cirque Du Soleil's MAWRSQEX. Tho, looking at how he’s built and how he carries himself, it was only a matter of time before he paid left-field tribute to Manny Ramirez (RIP).

David Roth: Craig Fehrman read some Manny Ramirez Legends at that Varsity Letters thing I did last week, and they were unreal. Manny really is like if Marlon Brando was Dad Boner who was also R. Kelly, but with power to all fields.

David Roth: "On Manny's first day in Pawtucket, the Red Sox called the ballpark three times to check on him. But [Minor League lifer/catcher Luis] Rodriguez had no idea Manny was even coming. When he walked into the clubhouse that day, early, as usual, he saw an enormous Red Sox duffel bag crammed in his locker. Then he heard Manny holler 'Hermano!' and bound out wearing a pair of Rodriguez's shorts, a pair of Rodriguez's sneakers, and a shirt Rodriguez's wife had just bought him—and off of which Manny had decided to cut the sleeves. 'His bag was full of clothes,' Rodriguez said. 'But what can you do?'"

David Raposa: Manny Being The Big Lebowski! And that "Hermano!" is a hell of a kicker! "Bro, I fucked up your clothes and then put them on my body! Let's handshake!"

David Roth: "I'm sorry I ruined your stuff. Here's a check for $1000, let's go to PF Chang's and I'll order off menu."

David Raposa: The hell with Anthony Bourdain. I want a Manny Ramirez dining-travel show.

David Roth: Manny strides into a Pizza Hut, orders egg rolls, baked brie and a pastrami sandwich, then puts his head down on the table and goes to sleep.

David Raposa: And then tries to pay the bill using Trivial Pursuit cards. Genus Edition, of course.

David Roth: I am very happy to be watching October baseball, but I do wish Manny had stuck with Oakland so he could be there, too. I wish there were more weirds of any kind there, honestly.

David Raposa: No Tony Plush! And no flustered stuffed-suit announcers trying to explain Tony Plush.to the suburbs.

David Roth: "As you know, many black athletes are very colorful, and Nyjer Morgan is no excepti…TEST PATTERN."

David Raposa: I guess they could try that with Delmon Young, but that’d go from zero to awkward in about 10 words. 

David Roth: "Delmon has recovered well from some hilariously rapid weight gain and an incident of drunken anti-Semitism earlier this year. Well, he hasn't recovered all that well, honestly."

David Raposa: Of course, they probably couldn't even say that much as he'd likely be back on the bench after popping up on the first pitch.  

David Raposa: Don’t mind me going back to the Manny stuff, but ARE YOU SERIOUS WITH THIS SHIT: "He sees me and says: 'You look Spanish. You have a little afro, I have a little afro. Let's go hit.'" And they all lived in an apartment with Izzy "Catcher Kick" Alcantara! Where's the TBS sitcom about that?

David Roth: This is the space where my "Big Bang Theory" joke should go.

David Raposa: That is the space where the first ever "Big Bang Theory" joke should go. 

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