Off Base
What to Get Your Baseball Fan Now That His Team Has Been Eliminated

October 10 , 2006

First and foremost, forget the clichés. Not a one of them makes the guy feel better. In fact, quite the opposite, so trot out the “it’s only a game” line at your own peril.

Lucky for me, the Main Squeeze knows better than to hurl a “there’s always next year” my way. (She also knows the meaning of “bird dogging,” by the way, and can recite chapter and verse about which 2006 Dodgers will be brought back next year and why.) And while Mom is savvy enough to think “anything can happen in a short series,” she wouldn’t dare. An emailed “I’m sorry about the Dodgers,” is simple and thoughtful, tried and true.

Next, wives and girlfriends: Lots of sex. Lots and lots of sex. We’re talking, enough to keep him busy until pitchers and catchers and Brett Tomko report. Oh, and steer clear of phrases like “too hot to handle,” “performance enhancing drugs” and “we just came up a little bit short.”

But you know what really works? The best gift ever? Let the man rant. Trust me, just let the man rant. Encourage him to share his feelings. You know how to do that, ladies. Oh, and take notes, please, or save those emails. And if he says anything even remotely funny, send it to me.

Here’s an example of a forwarded message between friends which qualifies:

Dave B: “Nice job buddy. Bases loaded (with less than two outs, no less), and you let them lose...???  What the [bleep]? I'm givin' tickets to Howard next year.”

Dave G: “You have no idea of the extent of my grief. One, Toby went bonkers, negative insanity at its fullest. And two, I brought a [bleeping] mitt to the game, a [bleeping] mitt!! I’ve NEVER done that before. High probability of screamers down [by the right field boxes] and wore the [bleeping] mitt, right up until Broxton starting WALKING people after the Dodgers had struggled back, and into the LEAD. Once he BLEW the lead, I threw the mitt down in disgust, when IMMEDIATELY Carlos Delgado sent a blistered 150 mph line drive into my chest. He hit it directly to me!

I was trying to get my mitt on the ball when it slammed into my aorta. Wanna see the commissioner’s signature? It was transferred onto my manly chest. There's a golden moment, and no, I do not HAVE the playoff baseball. It rolled over to the [bleeping bleep] sitting next to us. [But], [bleeping] great time. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Hope to do it again next year, when maybe they'll be rid of J.D. [bleeping] Drew, Mark Hendrickson, and Julio [bleeping] Lugo…”

Talkback: Your rants, and the rants of your baseball fan, are very much encouraged…

Grading Grady: An upgrade from the last guy, Grady Little did a fine job during the regular season, was a leader of men generally, and handled himself well, all the way around. Aside from his inexplicable man-crush on Julio Lugo, and to a lesser extent, Brad Penny, and his negligence in over-working Russell Martin, I’ve got no complaints. Regarding the regular season.

In the postseason, Little was once again, a leader of men who handled himself well all the way around, except for the mid-to-late innings of the opening and closing games of his team’s one and only round of play.

And while Joe Beimel is a textbook alcoholic (and there are good men in the organization available to assist him), the left-hander’s absence is not a good excuse. Not in the least. Mark Hendrickson was fine and Tim Hamulack wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Nor would’ve relying on Chad Billingsley. Brad Penny in Game One was retarded. No one up in the pen during a late inning meltdown, in two games, is unbelievably lame. And Tomko in the eighth instead of Saito is downright Bill Russell-like.

But it's easier to fix those mistakes than to replace the manager because of them, and Little’s personality serves the club well. So Little deserves another season. Ned Colletti deserves an Executive of the Year Award, and he just might get one. This offseason will be handled better than any in recent memory. Expect much more on that in the coming weeks.

The Hot Stove League with My post-Dodgers postseason gloom lasted a good 48 hours this year, and I already miss baseball. I’ll be posting throughout the offseason, so please check back often. We’ll comment on the Dodgers doings, player personnel-related and non, with notes on stadium capital improvements too. If there's a pastel sighting at Chavez Ravine, you can count on us.

February will be here before you know it. You know what happens in February, don’t you? That’s right: Pitchers and catchers and Giovanni Carrara report…

Prediction: Tigers win it all...

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….






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