NL East Infection: When I Say ‘Last Place,’ I’m Talking About Somebody Else


Washington Nationals

When people look at Bryce Harper, they see many different things.

The Nationals see the future.  Their fans see a superstar.  Opposing fans sees a threat with an attitude.  And the MLB Twitter account sees a reason to not report on any other player in the game ever again.

But some people look at Bryce Harper and their pupils turn into dollar signs and they can’t open their mouths without barfing money.  It’s a horrifying condition, the medical advances of which have been close to nil.

“That’s a clown question, bro,” is something you’d hear a douche-tank spew as a club was emptying out on dollar bottle night.  But because a professional athlete said it–a new professional athlete–it’s the quirkiest, funnest thing that’s ever been said by a human mouth.

Needless to say, somebody at the Denver Beer Co. heard the comment and transformed it into the Clown Question Bro Canadian Lager, complete with a Bryce Harper-themed unveiling where everyone was told to dress like clowns.  Also Charlie Berger, the brewer in question, is a big Rockies fan.  So none of this really makes any sense.

But this is the lightest hearted of the quote’s usage.  Not only did a sitting U.S. Senator use it to dodge a question, but Under Armor is printing it on shirts, and others would have probably taken the baton and run with it, but sadly, Bryce Harper trademarked the damn thing and ruined all the fun.

New York Mets

You’ve probably heard of the Mets.  They’re that great story in the NL East that were so supposed to be awful but are still hanging around and it turns out the Phillies are the ones who are awful.  I mean, whatever.  We’re trying to tell our own story.  So far it’s got heartbreak and betrayal and sadness and Chooch and heartbreak again.  Pretty sure we’re building to something.

The Mets’ story, however, keeps getting quirkier.  For instance, did you know the Mets rallied around a chicken in order to save it from being killed and eaten?  Tim Byrdak bought it for eight bucks in Chinatown after Frank Francisco called the Yankees ‘chickens.’  After the joke died, Byrdak apparently did  not want to the bird to, and managed to find it a home on farm in New York state.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that a chicken in the Mets clubhouse would have little more to do than be kicked around in frustration or be told “You didn’t see nothin’,” by K-Rod after he pummeled his latest relative.

We all know the effect that funny animals have on baseball, so it was no surprise when the Mets started using whatever dark magic the chicken possessed to comeback and tie a game against the Yankees.

"After the Mets rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the Yankees in Sunday’s Subway Series finale, actor Jerry Seinfeld tweeted, “Yes! @mets #rallychicken comes through!!” The Mets, however, went on to lose 6-5.—ESPN New York"

Even chicken magic has its limits.

I guess.

Atlanta Braves

How many times have you been walking down the street, stopped suddenly, thrown your arms in the air, and screamed, “WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JOHN ROCKER?!”  For somebody at The Telegraph, “Middle Georgia’s News Source,” it must be a daily occurrence, and they decided to catch us up on what the mouthy, racist former Braves reliever is up to.

You’ll be happy to learn that John is doing fine, heading a highly successful real estate company, or maybe a despairingly awful one–to be honest, they just listed the stats of the business and I’m not as up on real estate numbers as I used to be or ever was.  But I think we’ve all secretly hoped that whatever John does, he will succeed, because he’s the kind of guy everybody can just rally around.

Don’t worry, there winds up being an actual reason for the article, unlike anything you’ve ever read on this website.  John, like most men over 40 with gaps in their schedule, has been working on a book!

It’s called “Rocker, Scars, and Strikes.”  “Rocker” so we know who the book is about.  “Scars” because we’ll probably get the iceberg tip of the traumatizing moments that formed him.  “Strikes” because baseball.  “Scars and Strikes” because it sounds like “Stars and Stripes” and John Rocker is American and he likes pies and tanks and Flag Day and wraparound porches made out of strong, American lumber.


"“Rocker, Scars and Strikes’ is a thorough account of my long and winding road to the major leagues, life as a major-leaguer, along with an array of thoughts, feelings, opinions and commentaries giving some much-needed clarity regarding the Sports Illustrated article that I am most known for.”–John Rocker"

Yes, what everyone wants; nay, needs; is some explanations for the stupid crap John is most famous for, many years after the fact.

Some people just weren’t meant to be remembered.

Miami Marlins

And finally, the Marlins… the team everybody wanted to talk about before the season is now the team no one wants to talk about.  Interesting how the playing of baseball allows us to see what sort of baseball is going to be played.

Hanley Ramirez, that guy known for his maturity and leadership, called a players’ only clubhouse meeting this past week to discuss something mature and leaderly, no doubt.  It was a big move for one of the flailing, last place team’s stars, and it got his manager to nod sagely in his direction.

But his manager is Ozzie Guillen, whom you probably could have guessed, is not satisfied by mere “speaking.”  Ozzie was one of several people who basically responded to the meeting with ‘That’s great, but where you should really be stepping up is during a game, possibly in a play that involves you.’

"“As much as his teammates said they were happy to see and hear Ramirez speak up in the clubhouse, they agreed Ramirez needs to follow them with actions on the field.”—Manny Navaroo, Miami Herald"

Nevertheless, it was a hopeful gesture by Ramirez.  If only he hadn’t followed the meeting up by running around the clubhouse with his arms spread out in celebration, banging the top of his helmet and elbowing everybody.