January 2008


SantanaMentally prepare yourselves. I am about to blog about something that matters, i.e. nothing remotely to do with the uncooperative appendage of a certain star QB. And while we’re on the subject, if I hear just one more utterance of the words “Tom Brady‘s ankle,” or any combination thereof, I will hurl myself from the highest mountain peak I can locate. It is for this very reason that I am currently watching PTI on ‘mute.’

Could life possibly get any worse? In a word, yes. But it doesn’t quite feel that way as I sit and study the Mets projected starting rotation for 2008. Not only is it painful to think of our Fish facing Johan Santana on a semi-regular basis, but the knife thrusts even deeper as this deal is yet another reminder that prospects aren’t a necessity when a team can afford stars.

And FYI, it isn’t the thought of Johan’s pitching that has me in a tizzy. I cower in fear of no pitcher (that might actually be because I’ve never had to face one). We can handle Johan. I am still undecided, however, as to whether we can handle his newly acquired fans. All signs point to “NO.” Formidable as Santana may be, much worse than his pitching is the arrogance-to-the-fifth-power that said pitching will produce in Mets fanatics. There is not enough Xanax in the world to prepare me for that.

God help us all.

The Flip

Flip_a_coinIn the future, when my great-grandchildren sit at my feet and beg to hear of my olden-times experiences as a Fish fan, I will a) realize they are merely humoring me in my slobbering and partially senile state so that the snot-nosed little brats will be written into my will, and b) recall with misty eyes the most emotionally triumphant moment in my history as a Marlins fan.

It isn’t a World Series win. It isn’t the day that a new stadium became a reality at long last (I’m guessing some time in March of 2075 though). No, the glorious moment I am referring to is the announcement that the Marlins are reversing their decision to increase parking prices. Telling me that Detroit decided to give Miguel Cabrera back free of charge could not have made me as happy as this news.

I have obtained, through my trusted sources in the Marlins front office, an exclusive audio tape of the meeting in which this joyous decision was reached. I am kindly providing you with the transcript:

J. Loria: Our next order of business is the increase in parking prices. Very good idea, Dave.
D. Samson: Aren’t they all? Like installing this state-of-the-art rowing machine in the boardroom so I can train for my next ironman while taking care of official Marlins business.
L. Beinfest: Uh, yeah. That one’s a particular favorite of ours.
J. Loria: Aside from a few death threats from some nut-case who calls himself "Gamefish," the idea seems to be pretty well-received.
D. Samson: Jeffy, would you mind…
J. Loria: Now?!
D. Samson: I just need to hear it, man.
J. Loria: David Samson, you are an ironman.
D. Samson: I can’t hear you.
J. Loria: DAVID SAMSON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN. Now can we get back to the parking issue?
D. Samson: Sure. I say we go forward with it. I’m an ironman, and I have no fear of death any longer. I could kill this "Gamefish" with my thumb.
(an unidentified speaker can be heard mumbling in the background)
J. Loria: What’s that?
Unidentified mumbler: Uh, nothing, sir. I’m just here to water the plants.
J. Loria: Did you have something to say about the parking?
Plant Waterer: Oh no, sir. You have a table–and rowing machine–full of very intelligent businessmen here. I just pour water on things, which requires an IQ of about zero. You don’t need to hear what I have to say.
J. Loria: Nonsense. We’d love to hear the opinion of a person whose existence is of no earthly importance to us. It’s like having a Marlins fan in our meeting. Now what’s your take on the 50% increase in the cost of parking?
Plant Waterer: Well, since you asked, it just seems like a bad idea to me.
J. Loria: How so?
Plant Waterer: Remember those two guys you traded to Detroit in December?
J. Loria: Vaguely.
Plant Waterer: I just think that people might be a teensy bit resentful of paying 50% more to park in order to watch 60% less exciting players perform.
J. Loria: So what you’re saying is that this idea is kind of like b****-slapping Marlins fans.
Plant Waterer: Yeah.
D. Samson: Great! That’s our favorite.
J. Loria: You’ve got a point, plant dude. But I’m not totally sold. Why don’t we flip a coin?
L. Beinfest: Call it.
J. Loria: Heads!
D. Samson: %#@!

Baseball Minus the Numbers

Baseball_between_the_numbersWe’ve gone inside, between, over, under and around the numbers, and as far as I can tell, all of those locations contain…more numbers. I really wish I had known that before I placed a giant Baseball Prospectus book on my Christmas wish list. I know they’re trying to sell books, but a more honest back-cover description would have saved me nearly 11 hours and 45 minutes of precious life. Something like:

“If regular old numbers aren’t enough to bewilder you algebra-failing m0r0ns, here’s 500 pages of new-and-improved, ultra-concentrated formulas to get the job done, simultaneously proving how many millions of times smarter than you we all are. And did we mention you’re wrong about everything? Not just 95% of things, mind you, but all of them. In fact, if it were possible for someone to be 200% wrong about something, then we assure you, you would be.”

Just so you never make the same mistake I did, let me warn you that any title including the word "numbers" and boasting a “team of experts” is probably one you should consider leaving on the shelf. Unless you suffer from insomnia, or happen to be one of those odd souls who is creepily turned on by snorebermetrics. If the latter is the case, I’ve got a stat for you: I call it VORBrip (value over reading a book that doesn’t make you want to off yourself). It’s basically the number of suicidal thoughts one can expect to experience beyond what an average book would likely induce, given the same number of pages. Baseball Between the Numbers has a VORBrip of about 3,640.

Please don’t send me death threats.

I’ve decided to write a book of my own. Something for those of us who use the right side of our brains a bit more, and were never members of the Mathletes in High School. It’s called Baseball: To Heck with the Numbers – How even Marlins fans can have hope in ’08. Tentative chapters include:

1. Hendrickson: Why Height Trumps Skills
2. Hitting: The Most Overrated Aspect of Baseball, and Why The Fish are More Likely to Win Without Miguel.
3. Why Not Having a Ballpark is Actually a Lot Better Than Having One.

The book hits stores April 17th, and autographed copies are available to HLD&S readers upon request.

Disclaimer: Anything at all that you may disagree with in this blog is a complete joke, meaning the opposite of what I wrote is actually what I believe to be true. Baseball Between the Numbers is a really great book. I really, really liked it. A lot.

On this Day in History…

Apparently, the New York Times doesn’t find the birth of a Marlins fan favorite all that newsworthy. They have opted instead to tout the birthday of some obscure baseball player by the name of Pujols (I don’t get it either).

Fortunately for you though, the editors of Hook, Line Drive & Sinker can think of no event in history that could begin to compare to the magnitude of celebration that the anniversary of the birth of Alfredo Amezaga inspires. And so it is with great reverence and solemnity that we declare today Alfredo Amezaga Day, heretofore to be observed as an official HLD&S holiday.

I personally think this is a splendid follow-up to We’re Glad He Broke Posada’s Nose Day, which–as longtime readers of this blog are aware–we celebrate on January 4th. Yes, you may leave work now and head for the nearest pub.

Happy 30th birthday to the Amazing One!


It’s true when they say that some of us have entirely too much time on our hands.

Redefining Resolve

ResolutionsIf you’re at all like me, your New Year’s resolutions usually last until the final strains of Auld Lang Syne fade into the night sky– right around the time Ryan Seacrest desperately attempts (through riveting interviews with the likes of Hannah Montana) to convince America not to turn off its TVs and go to sleep.

Of course, the fact that we’ve failed every single year to keep our resolutions never stops us from resolving away on January first. The problem is that in our festive, fireworks-and-sparkling-cider-induced state of euphoria, we actually believe ourselves capable of accomplishment (I’m guessing if booze is added into the mix, notions of superhuman ability are only magnified). Once the confetti has hit the floor though, you realize the limitations of the human body and mind, and go get a twinkie/cigarette/Jack Daniels/styrofoam plate made of non-recyclable materials and let all resolve fly out the window.

No matter your stellar intentions, I’ve got news for you: You will not quit smoking this year. You will not get in shape. You will not feed orphans in Somolia. You will not save a rainforest. You will not find love on match.com. Why set yourself up for disappointment? Why not shoot for something that is actually within your grasp? Let’s aim lower, people. (Yes, I do believe I’ve missed my true calling as a motivational speaker.)

For example, a typical Armando Benitez New Year’s resolution might go something like: "I will not blow 67 saves this season. I will not anger hundreds of thousands of baseball fans with my real bad pitching."

As with most resolutions, this kind of pie-in-the-sky thinking will have Armando berating himself in disgust by April 1st. A better resolution would be more along the lines of: "I will not wear a frilly pink pinafore to the mound more than twice this season. I will still be loved by at least my mother Jesus by October first." See? Unlike the former, this resolution is totally doable! Well, at least the first part. The second may depend on whether or not our Savior is a baseball fan.

If you really wish to continue wallowing in guilt, self-loathing and failure, by all means, add "go to the gym more" to your list of resolutions. As for me, this year I resolve to purchase zero or fewer Chase Utley jerseys, to eat at least 37 Dolphin Stadium frozen lemonades, to yell at 799 or more Mets fans, and to gain a minimum of .67 pounds. Success, here I come.

Happy New Year.