NL East Infection: My Pants Will Stay On for Bryce Harper


Florida Marlins

We were losing at trivia in a bar this week and the TV with the sound turned down projected a viewer question to Ricky Bottallico on Post Game Live:  “Is Roy Halladay getting tired?”

We scoffed at this notion, then we scoffed at the trivia question, and then we scoffed about how any starting pitcher is probably getting tired this time of year.

“Name one who isn’t!” somebody said.

“Josh Johnson!” I shouted.

Then we went back to scoffing at each other until our inevitable third-to-last trivia finish.  But I left the bar that night knowing that the state bird of New Mexico is the roadrunner, so I’m willing to call it a win.

Josh Johnson, however, hasn’t been able to call anything anything in 2011, and he certainly won’t be calling it a comeback in 2012 (he’s been here for years).  The point is, he’s throwing again, which is good news for the Marlins.  Again, not good news for the 2011 Marlins, but for the franchise in general, as we count down the days of getting to call them the “Florida” Marlins.

Elsewhere, Ozzie Guillen has officially threatened to manage the Marlins.

Atlanta Braves

If you read a Braves message board these days, you’ll see an awful lot of defeatist claims that they should be concentrating on winning the Wild Card if anything at this point, which is what I’ve said is the correct attitude for the Braves since 1990.  But the truth is, you’ll find this sort of sentiment in many teams’ forums, whether they be contending or not.  Earlier this season, it seemed like there would be too many contenders, but teams have taken care of that issue by gaining the trust of jilted fans, only to slaughter their dreams as they slept.

But somebody’s got to win each division, and the Braves have come to terms with the strong possibility that the East is now our’s to lose.  Good news, though–the post season is like a second season that is played immediately after the first one, only eight teams are invited to play and everybody is rigid with terror the whole time.

Fortunately, the Braves have heroes like Jose Constanza, who took this swing at a pitch the other day, and Brooks Conrad, who apparently supplemented the most horrendously-played second base performance with the almost-leaving of his wife.  The best part is when you get halfway through the story and it becomes clear that this marriage is crumbling and you begin to wonder why this was a story that needed to be told.

It all ends well, though!  Not for the Braves in 2010, but for Brooks Conrad’s marriage.  And I’m sure the rest of his teammates would agree that that’s what they were all playing for anyway.

New York Mets

Here is your obligatory “The Mets aren’t going to make the playoffs, but aren’t we honorable for rooting for them anyway?” column.

"“The New York Mets have been through so much this season from financial woes to a rash of key injuries to mid-season player trades and through it all, one thing has remained constant. This team refuses to believe their press clippings and plays hard every single night.”"

The Mets play hard every single night?!  Looks like our strategy of playing well “Whenever the fuck we feel like it” has been outmatched.

Touche, Mets.

Washington Nationals

Andre of Nationals Inquisition fame brought up an interesting point this morning.

Is this even a question?  Yes.  I want Bryce Harper to fail.  It’s not my goal in life, and I know he won’t, but the first time he blows a kiss at a Major League pitcher and gets the next three hitters intentionally brained, I will laugh at the life lesson he will receive.  When he drops a fly ball or trips coming out of the box, I will take immense pleasure in it.  My pants will stay on, but it will be an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

Probably because I see such a “high school bully” mentality in him and, though I’m not at all putting the faces of bullies I’ve known on his body, I hold this point against him.  Which is funny, because “I hold this point against him” is exactly the kind of phrase that somebody with a “high school bully” mentality would ridicule you for.  Or I guess ridicule me for, since I’m the one who said it.  But I’d tell them it was you, so I could join in the crowd and make fun of you.  Sorry dude, but I’m not spending the next four years of high school on the receiving end of this shit.  Plus, Tammy Ballsknot is looking!  If I help emotionally scar you, maybe she’ll go out with me!

With Strasburg, yes, his modesty, even if at a normal level, is all the more apparent given the comparisons to his bat-swinging, eye black-smearing colleague.  Look, it’s pretty easy to not be a douche, but Bryce Harper wants to be one.  So he’s got to be ready to be hated.  Strasburg just wants to be a guy whose spectacular, and he’s thus far been successful, too.  The humor to draw from him is how he hasn’t transcended the “Frail, anemic infant” stage of the Washington Organization’s protectiveness.  They’re nutty over the guy, which is understandable given what he means to the franchise, but if they’re that committed to winning, why did they acquire Jonny Gomes?