Shooters Bullets Part 1

An Introduction: I have decided to write a weekly column. Some of it will be specific to the league, some will be about baseball, some will just be me being silly. All of it is made with the intent to have a good time – as has always been my aim. I’m not willing to write trade reviews, because who the fuck am I to comment on anyone’s trades? I’ve made good ones, bad ones, good ones that some of you guys have shit all over, and bad ones no one remembers. Also, some of those trade reviews came with sneak disses, and I’m not for that. I’m not the guy to talk about trades. But I am the guy to write some wild shit to hype you up to start the week… and maybe foster some better relationships in this league. The point is: think of this as a broke-ass version of Herb Caen, but with more pop-culture references.

 

Each week, I will provide you with a few bullets of baseball stuff, some musing about random stuff, and power-rankings. Additionally, I will ask my brother for a bad movie recommendation and give you an alternative recommendation of a similar ilk. The amount of bullets will align with the kind of gun that I have today. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it. Consider all links NSFW. None of the links will be pornographic or lead to naked photos, but language likely won’t be able to be heard at work without some looks. Also, the motif of this column isn’t a weird dog whistle for some political ideology or anything like that. My team is the Suplex City Shooters. Shooters being a pro-wrestling reference to one of my all-time favorite wrestlers, Taz. But when I made the logo for my team before last year’s draft, I figured leaning into the Old West motif was fine. It isn’t like I’m not from a city founded by a bunch of drunks looking for some gold to spend on hookers and blow moonshine. Even Tony Bourdain loved us. 

 

Anyways, enough exposition.

 

Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in this and any other work I present to the group is made purely for entertainment purposes only. They are not intended to offend, hurt, or anger anyone. If you don’t like adult humor, vulgar verbiage, drug and sex references, the occasional light taunt, or the musing from the life of a filmmaking bum… please stop before crossing into the world of Suplex City. Also, I don’t know shit about fantasy advice, so if you’re here for that, you better walk your ass over to Chris Clegg or someone who gets paid for putting out trash content. Whatever you prefer. 

 

Today, I have a Six-Shooter and I’m listening to In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry with a cup of homemade Lemonade:

  • Using Discord for fantasy advice is like going to a sex club without a condom.

Saturday Morning, I woke up with a weed hangover. The night before, I decided to celebrate the release of Cesar (Neptune Sharks) and I’s first feature film, Max and Sadie, with these little gummies that swore I would finally get a good night of sleep. I haven’t slept right in forever. But I took them a little late and, boy, did they work. The next morning, I woke up and remembered that I’d put off making the decision of which pitchers to start. Now, normally, the way I calculate innings is to assume every start will lead to 5 innings. Of course, some guys go 7 or 8, some go less, but 5 makes it easy to guess my pitching rotation for the week. I don’t have the magic eye that some of you guys have, where you somehow know how to have that 0 .1 inning left to have a Sunday so you can somehow start that one guy who’s going to wreck my week with a 50 point Sunday gem on the mound. Point is, I wake up Saturday to see that Joshua (Long Ball) has posted a whopper of a Friday night. 198-86. An 86 is usually good enough for a win or a tie on the night, not to be on the shit end of an ass-whipping. Rengifo hit me for 25? I dropped him for a day of Niko Goodrum last year. FML. And Harrison pooped out 10 points across 5 innings for me, so I’m really down bad. Sitting at 29 innings with five pitchers left (three on Saturday, two on Sunday) means I can maybe start all of them (if I catch lighting with that 0.1-innings-left trick), but on the chance that one of the Saturday guys goes over five innings or something crazy like that could screw my Sunday. And I need both of my Sunday guys (Garrett Crochet vs. Baltimore and Casey Mize vs. Toronto) to go in order to have a chance to catch this guy who dropped 200 on me. So, the dilemma was to pick two out of three pitchers to go on Saturday to keep me in the game against Longball. Choices: Spencer Arrighetti at Oakland, Aaron Civale vs.Kansas City, and Tanner Bibee at Anaheim (no, they don’t play in Los Angeles). Well, Tanner is one of my top guys, so he should be a shoe-in, but he’s been hot and cold. Moreover, Oakland is a worse offense, but Civale has a track-record. Arrighetti has command issues, which gives me the Ick almost as bad as people who use that term. Point is, it was 45 minutes to first pitch and I needed help. Did I do the sensible thing and ask one of you guys for help? Of course not, because I don’t trust nan one of you. So, I decided to go into the sex-club of the internet… Discord. I went in, nervous as all get-up about how dark the hallways were. The faint smell of desperation, and know-it-all-ism was everywhere. The sounds of a bunch of neckbeards smacking on their bowls of cheetos was deafening. Exciting… but just a horrible decision. Sometimes your inner freak just takes over. It’s like Dieter’s Dream in that piece. So, in this den of depravity I stood with a simple question for the lurkers: Pick two, Arrighetti vs. Oakland,  Civale vs. Kansas City, or Bibee vs. Anaheim. I got up, made a bagel, had a cup of coffee and watched a nearly finished Giants game. A few minutes before the 1pm games, I returned to find what I got. Arrighetti gets one more vote than Civale and Bibee – who tie. I go to Fantrax, getting ready to put the line-up in.  I turn on the first pitch for the Oakland/Houston game. Let’s see if I got away with it. SINGLE. Okay, no problem, one hit isn’t…WALK…Bro, chill, the advice you got was… DOUBLE. I may have caught something at the club. I better go to Trader Joes to feel better. After picking up some pizza dough and poorly flirting with the dorky manager of the aforementioned Joes, I checked my phone. Maybe he fixed things. Maybe he found the zone. I take a shower and tell myself I’ll be good and never do this again. I’m lying. And worst of all, all that stress meant nothing because I got smashed on all weekend because Casey Mize took it in the shorts and Long Ball had a bunch of innings on Sunday.

  • Too Many Sundays with Lemon-Booty may cause bodily harm.

Before the season, Josh (Wallbangers) wanted to make a deal with me. Of course, he wanted my riches for lotto tickets. Par for the course. No deal. But, we started chit chatting about the lack of deals. I told him, “It’s like we’re in a western and all of us have our hands over our guns, waiting to see what’s up.” Last year, I think it was clear that we finally have a league with a bunch of players (despite what Perennial Yahoo Public League Champion and the runner-up for the 2023 Tri-State Asshole of the Year, Evil Empire, would say about this league). This year, more of the same. In addition to more cautious approach, you’re getting tight finishes. Every week, there are at least three match-ups with differences of 60 points or less. In a lot of cases, we’re talking about finished of 30 points or less. It’s going to continue. This is not to say that the big six (Haddy, Marshall, Wallbangers, Brickma, Beach Bum and Long Ball) don’t have some of the better rosters, but it’s undeniable that there is more parity than there was in my first year. For me, this is now three out of four weeks where I am going to have to clench my cheeks through most (if not all) of Sunday. Two weeks ago, Matthew (Stros Bros) caught me by 22 points. A week before that, Taylor (Better Bombers) caught me by 20. Two weeks before that, Dan (Beach Bum) beat me by THREE GODDAMN POINTS! And I beat Morgan (Pine Mountain Podstars) by 10 the week before. This is just too much. My ass is bound to look like Yoko Ono’s by September at this rate. At least I got a break this week.

  • Yes! I think it’s the pitch-clock.

I don’t think, I know! That’s hyperbole, but still… This weekend, Jose Urquidy (one of my last hopes of a random acquisition becoming an ace I can trade for prospects at the deadline) left the game flexing his hand. Jeffery Springs also had the same thing happen in a rehab start. Cristian Javier also had an issue come up with his forearm yesterday. I’m not a doctor, and neither are all the mervins on Twitter. However, like I told Elton (Yellow Deck, but I prefer to refer to him as Squids) at Panera two weeks ago over some mediocre Mac and Cheese (Fuck Panera, they are awful, I dunno why I picked that place. I’m sorry Elton, we should have gone to Red’s Java House) that I didn’t think the issue was the pitch clock on its own. But throwing harder and faster now, when the pitch clock wasn’t even an idea or in use a few years ago (when most of the current crop of pitchers were in the minors) had something to do with it. The arm wasn’t intended to pitch this fast, this quick and without the right guidance. Remember Darren Dreitfort? Kerry Wood? Jose Rijo? Those guys blew their arms out without the pitch clock. To me, the problem isn’t that there’s a pitch clock – it’s that it got added to the game without much thought about the arms of these guys who are older  and don’t have the background of dealing with this much stress on the arm in such quick succession. Doesn’t mean the pitch clock should go, or anything like that. If anything, the ghost runner needs to go. Fuck that guy. But, the pitch clock is one of the few additions Rob Manfred has made that’s been good. If he had added the Expos back, attempted to help keep the A’s in Oakland, and stopped talking, maybe the ghost runner wouldn’t be as offensive. Anyways, the point is, the pitch clock is going to keep leading to this kind of stuff for the rest of this season and maybe a few more before this becomes less prevalent. Until then, get ready to have an assload of IR stashies. Like a Cherokee D’Ass amount of assload.

  • But, just you wait, it isn’t just the pitchers…

So, I love pitching. My dad was a pitcher, I was a pitcher (for a limited run in grade school before I moved on to football), six of my top 10 favorite players are pitchers (Matt Cain, Jason Schmidt, Madison Bumgarner, El Duque, Pedro Martinez and Russ Ortiz) and the next ten are chalk full of pitchers. Point is, I love the guy on the mound more than most other players. And thus, I understand when pitchers go down how much of an inevitability (especially now) it is. When one of the game’s top hitters goes down, it always strikes me a little harder. Not because I’m personally losing the joy of watching them hit, but because I always feel a little more shocked about it. On Sunday, it got me again. Ronald Acuna Jr. went down with an ACL tear that will sideline him til next season. Plenty of players across all sports have gone down with injuries like this and have come back. I’m not so worried about Acuna coming back. What worries me about this specific injury is that the ACL tear may just take the explosiveness of this player. Maybe it doesn’t. Acuna may be a freak who can come back and play on the same level. But I remember watching Michael Owen tear his ACL in the 2006 World Cup and never really come back and be the goal-scoring freak he was before that injury. More closely, I’ve watched the decline of Klay Thompson’s explosiveness come after his 2019 ACL tear in the NBA Finals. And, in the case of Klay, his game really did rely on explosivity and his ability to put a lot of stress on his ACL. This feels a lot closer to the kind of athlete that Acuna is. Point is, this sucks. The game is in decline from an interest standpoint, losing a superstar like this at this point in time is really painful for the game. 

If I had to rank my personal top-5 of sports teams I can’t stand, the New York Mets are not on the list. I don’t know if they’d even be on the honorable mention/outside looking in, but not likely. But I have to give the Mets this; they did pop my sports-heartbreak cherry. Back in 2000. I still can’t trust anyone from Flushing. Cesar, six years my senior, was working at the Giants Dugout (a time-honored tradition of any high schooler in need of a job) and scored some NLDS tickets. Our dad and grandpa went to Game 1 with our uncle and his co-worker. But game 2 was my time to shine. Bonds was gonna hit a home run, and Shawn Estes was going to be an ace, and we were going to beat the breaks off the Mets. And I got a sandwich from Freds, which doesn’t exist anymore, but that was the kind of sandwich bums fight each other over. Samantha, the cute tomboy at school who I probably should have asked out but didn’t, was mad jealous I had them tickets. But then I thought maybe I’d get tickets for the NLCS and go with her (the mind of a horny 11-year old sixth grader is outrageous). So, we go to the game (me, Cesar, our uncle and aunt) and it was a beautifully cold San Francisco night. Fog and the like. I didn’t even care that I didn’t do my math homework. Estes pitched well in the first inning, but looked shaky in the second. By the time we got to the third, down 2-1, Estes looked like he was back to himself. He comes up to hit and gets on and twists his goddamn ankle running to 2nd, which leads to Kirk Rueter (WOODY!) having to come out of the bullpen and not being available for Game 4 (where Mark Gardner had to replace him). The point is, this game (game 2) was this heartbreaking night because after sitting in the cold for innings upon innings of crap offense my guys were down 4-1. Then J.T. Snow did this and I was sure we were back on track. A half-inning later, Brian Sabean’s poorly- constructed bullpen gave up a run to Jay Payton and Darryl Hamilton and I learned that your team will break your heart sometimes. Ever since, I’ve always taken a bit of pleasure seeing the Mets lose to the Giants. Obviously, my hate isn’t strong enough to care about them when they aren’t playing the Giants, but I care enough that I want them to taste that ass-whipping everytime the 415 rolls into the 718 or vice versa. So, you can imagine my delight to hear punk ass Keith Hernandez and his crew sounding so sad. I only wish it was Jay Payton crying, but you can’t always get what you want… right, Mets? CRY!

  • Okay, one last injury thing…

This is just a little too funny to not mention. It’s not even the first time something like this has happened. Here’s the thing: why are all the baseball-related injuries that happen outside of the foul-lines always a trip? Does the NFL have it worse with freak injuries? Granted, we also have Jeremy Affeldt so… maybe not?

 

Wild Man’s Musings: We need some better logos in this league. The names are okay, I guess, but we need some logos to set this shit off. Like Crash says: “Think classy, you’ll be classy.” I want to be at least as classy as the AFL. Just straight HEAT!… Watching the Reds/Dodgers game, and WHAT ARE THOSE? If you couldn’t see the decal in centerfield, I’m talking about the decal in centerfield. I’m only 34, so I don’t think is coming from a place of “man yells at clouds”, but they need to stop this madness. This is not the kind of stuff that’s going to make the game younger. Ads like this is a better idea. Maybe baseball should start leaning into characters like futbol does nearly every time the World Cup shows up, rather than relying on being “America’s Pastime”. Ken Burns isn’t going to be around forever. The Heisenberg spots this year were okay, but just don’t really give me the hype. Where are the characters? I miss Junior. The backwards cap, the smile, him hitting that fucking rocket off of that poor guy in Minnesota. There is no more Lima Time. What about Benny and the Mets? Fuck those guys though. And, no, even though we have superstars to hype, baseball does it in the worst ways possible. Big difference… Ohtani is Barry, Barry is Ohtani… Dirty Dancing is a fantastic film. But would I rather be Patrick Swayze (RIP Tha God) in Dancing or Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse? Now, he kills Terry Funk and rips a dude’s throat out of his neck in Roadhouse. Hard to beat that. But in Dancing, he gets to bang Jennifer Grey and has some weird but dope sexual chemistry with all the other women in the film (even Jennifer Grey’s sister who can’t sing, and that chick who keeps calling him “lover,” which is off-putting). I know, some of you will instantly yell out, “BUT WHAT ABOUT SWAYZE IN POINT BREAK!” And to you, I say, “while I understand, I’m not willing to get in a pissing contest with John Wick Utah.”… Bro, Bryce Harper has more than double the career ejections (21) than the second most active player (Tim Anderson, 9). My kind of asshole… Speaking of assholes, Greg Maddux had the 10th most strikeouts in baseball history before Justin Verlander took that spot on Saturday. People are surprised Maddux was as high as he was, which is weird to me. Hot Take: Verlander can’t lace Maddux’s boots. Maddux is this. Verlander is this. No contest… Eddie Johnson is a do-nothing bitch with a do-nothing resume… Fire Farhan! Fire Manfried!

 

My Brother’s Awful Movie Recommendation of the Week: Stay Tuned (1992) starring John Ritter, Pam Dawber (Mindy of Mork and Mindy fame), and Famous Pedo Jeffrey Jones (Edward Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). 

 

An Alternative Version of that Movie: Pleasantville (1999) starring Jeff Daniels (of the wildest fart-based scene in cinema history), Joan Allen (our first female Vice President), William H. Macy (after that fucked up New Years Eve party), Reese Witherspoon, and The Ace of the Pussy Posse, Tobey Maguire. 

 

The Jon Dowd Memorial Power Rankings:

 

Top of the League

  1. Marshall Law (7-1, Won 1): This week, we had a battle for the top spot in the league as Marshall and Haddy battled it out. Haddy was undefeated to that point, and Marshall was only game behind. The two went back-and-forth all week, with Marshall finding a way to squeak by 655-613. He also happens to have the lead in most points scored this season. It is pretty cool that the first ever Jon Dowd Memorial Power Rankings have our commissioner at the top. Next week, Marshall takes on that asshole from Suplex City. Beat his ass, Marsh!
  2. Yellow Jacket Flight Deck (7-1, Won 6): Firstly, I want Elton to change his team’s name back to Squids. But, the name change may have led to the hottest start in the history of the Flight Deck/Squids organization. Six straight wins, including blowing the doors off of Wallbangers 674-467. Flight Deck has also beaten other former champions Marshall Law and Long Ball. This may be the year the man from Washington finally gets in the playoffs. A season-defining matchup between Flight Deck and Haddy looms this week.
  3. Who’s Your Haddy (7-1, Lost 1): Our defending champion, Who’s Your Haddy, is once again the class of the league. While taking a tough loss to Marshall this week was no fun, Haddy was top of the league heading into the week. With a three-way tie at the top this week, Haddy and Flight Deck will be a matchup to watch for anyone still in the race. Nick Lodolo’s return this week will be key in the matchup.

 

Contenders

  1. Better Bombers (5-3, Won 4): You ever catch an ass-whipping by a wild card type? Someone who you know is good and handing out fades, but on paper you seem to think it’ll be a close when you guys actually start scrapping? But then, once you guys walk out of the bar to have this Thunderdome-esque affair, only for this guy beating you like Kimbo Slice beat down Dada5000. That’s what playing Better Bombers is like. Like thinking you’re going to fight some rando at a bar, only to get cracked by a Kimbo Slice-like punch. Bombers is Kimbo Slice! Unfortunately for Kyle, he was Dada5000 this week. The punch came over the weekend, as Bombers outscored Trashcan 243-175 from Friday-to-Sunday, winning overall 586-501. Kimbo Slice faces Sojo Good it’s Scary this week. 
  2. Brickma’s Revenge (5-3, Won 1): So, Brickma has been hot-and-cold (more hot than cold) this season. I get the feeling that having Brickma on your schedule to this point is probably the best one could hope for. He’s bound to get hot. This week, he dog-walked Stros Bros 701-437, and he’s set up to take on Eastbound and Dowd this week. He also has enough draft and prospect capital to make a few more key moves to get up towards the top of the league. Start planning accordingly if you want to compete.
  3. H-Town Trash Can Punch (5-3, Lost 1): Nine second basemen and a lot of strange poetry later, HTCP sits in one of the last few playoff spots. It’s very difficult to place this team, as Kyle got hit really hard with injuries to this point. The pitching is still solid enough to push through, but one or more injuries on that staff could be a difficult thing to handle. However, the Littell-Olson-Houck top of the rotation is tough to go up against, especially when any (or all) of those guys have multiple starts. Dark horse indeed. Friends, HTCP and Stros Bros take each other on this week. Let the Trial by Stone commence!
  4. Beach Bum (5-3, Lost 1): If Better Bombers is Kimbo Slice, Beach Bum feels like more of a Jason Vorhees-type. I cannot lie, the run of results over the last few weeks, including a 639-562 loss to Podstars. If I look on paper, Dan’s team feels beatable. But, when you are dealing with a mysterious, but very smart owner, you cannot do anything but watch them and take them seriously. Vorhees may indeed still be lurking, keep your eyes open. Vorhees takes on Wallbangers this week, those aren’t bats, their chainsaws. 

 

Dark Horses

  1. Long Ball to LF (4-4, Won 1): This week, if we didn’t have enough excitement with the Marshall/Yellow Decks matchup and Trial by Stone, we have a battle of dark-horses. Long Ball, fresh off kicking the dogshit out of me 804-685, is going into Neptune to take on the Sharks. Long Ball has won in this league before, and after beating a thoroughly mediocre team, they move on to take on… another mediocre team. However, the loss of Acuna Jr., who was heating up (over his last ten games, he scored 55.9 points, good for 5.6 ppg) is going to hurt. Things are going to get very interesting.
  2. Neptune Sharks (4-4, Won 1): Year two of the rebuild is going okay. Neptune is back up to .500, after getting past Eastbound 602-345. The pick up of Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Noelvi Marte over the last few weeks feels like the start of something big (even if the loss of Isaac Paredes is a tough blow). In the short term, I don’t think Neptune is going to have an easy time getting a win. However, a win this week (which without Acuna involved could be possible) and a move or two could put Neptune in a good spot. Granted, a loss this week probably means Neptune falls into the next category of teams.

 

So, You’re Saying There’s Still a Chance

  1. Pine Mountain Podstars (3-5, Won 1): Always tough to put my finger on how to feel about Morgan’s team this year. I always feel that the Pine Mountain Podstars are a tough out, and this year is no exception. However, the record doesn’t reflect that. There are some misses on the team (Colt Keith, Francisco Lindor, and Ian Happ have all been disappointing so far this season), but the team has solid pitching and awesome prospects. This doesn’t even consider the fantastic first third of the season Rafael Devers has had and centerpiece Fernando Tatis Jr. is still Fernando Tatis Jr. Podstars, who outlasted Beach Bum 639-562 last week, takes on Orioles Magic this week.
  2. Stros Bros (3-5, Lost 1): First-year owner Matthew has been very aggressive this season in trying to rebuild his team and has done a pretty good job of it. At this point in time, losing big to an established team like Brickma is expected. However, a rotation of Cease, Ryan, Pepiot, and Singer is formidable. The offense is missing something, but with the prospects that have been acquired over the last few months, moves can be made. The question becomes: does Stros want to make a move up the ladder or wait for next season? The matchup against HTCP may bring some answers.
  3. Wallbangers (2-6, Lost 3): I was the most conflicted about where I wanted to put Josh’s Wallbangers. On one hand, I have to believe owners who have consistently had success in this league will find a way to win. Its the most logical way to look at the landscape. Especially, with how hard it is to make a deal in this league. However, I also look at how bad Wallbangers has been this year and I feel Bangers is closer to the teams below. But, again, savvy people find a way. Pitching is the problem here, the lack of it is really hurting right now. I think that Gasser looks like it may hurt more than help.

 

Wha’happun?

  1. Eastbound and Dowd (1-7, Lost 6): Cory gave me a scare last week, so I know this team is much better than 1-7. Then I looked at how close all of Eastbounds matchups have been, and it makes me wonder if this is a team that is one move away from ascending or is just snakebit. It’s hard to tell. The weakness here is probably the infield, but Josh Smith is a wild card. I like him a lot. A big June and July from Smith could really help Eastbound. Offloading a few of the larger contracts once his minor-leaguers are ready will also help. That PCA-Kjerstad-Manzardo line-up is going to be absolute filth when they come into their own.
  2. Orioles Magic (1-7, Won 1): Orioles Magic is rebuilding, and thus I don’t think it’s fair to really take too much out of the results. But 1-7 is tough. You may be another two years away (assuming no moves are made, which is not likely), but I think next year is really bound to be the coming out party for this team. The offense needs some work (outside of Westburg and Cruz, who are great building blocks), but pitching is way closer to being the kind of scary you need to be to win in this league.
  3. Sojo Good it’s Scary (1-7, Lost 5): Sam Leaf got the toughest roster to fix last year, and to be honest I don’t think last year was really a full season. I mean, known Fantasy Baseball King, Evil Empire left him with a lot of work to do. Not to mention, when you don’t get to draft in the FYPD in your first season and you get put into the league hours before an auction, you really aren’t playing with a full deck. The pitching is fantastic though, so who knows? That’s the way to win a championship in this league. Sam, stick with it. I am really interested to see what you can do long term.

 

Loser

  1. Suplex City Shooters (4-4, Lost 1): What a fucking loser. Fuck this guy. Don’t trade with him, he thinks Barry Bonds is a first ballot hall of famer and that Greg Maddux is better than Justin Verlander. His team is ass, his hitters can’t hit, his pitchers can’t pitch, and he dips his french fries into his Frosty. I hope he loses all the games! Also, not enough pitching, not enough prospect capital, some underachieving offensive players, and a very bad Clarke Schmidt deal have led to the downfall of this once great playoff team. 

 

Clip of the Week: Watch in amazement as AEW pro-wrestler Darby Allin sets “The Scapegoat” Jack Perry (son of 90s Heartthrob and worthless half-brother of Krusty the Klown, Luke Perry – RIP) on fire.

 

Dynasty Grinders ® Match-Up of the Week: Easily, the main event this week goes to Yellow Jacket Flight Deck and Who’s Your Haddy. Winner is going to be tied atop the league with Marshall. I’m taking the over.

And, gentlemen, always remember that angels fly high because they take themselves lightly.

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