Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hot Cactus Report: Space-sharing at Cameltoe: "Will you quit touching me?! Mommm!!! He keeps touching me!!!": Key-Party in the Broadcast Booth

Well, all right.

If it's on TV, then it's real. Therefore, spring training is officially in existence.

Like most pre-season contests, today's game was pretty unremarkable qua baseball, but there are several things to note. For one, it was the first scrimmage between the Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles since they started sharing the fancy-shmancy Cameltoe ... er ... Camelback Ranch spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona, and you have to imagine there was a touch of sibling rivalry, or something like that.

Who got the bottom bunk, I wonder? The Sox were the "visitors," so I guess they did. Wait ... which one is the worse bunk? Top or bottom? I forget. I guess it depends on whether your little brother wets the bed or not.

A.J.? We're lookin' at you. And don't try to say Toby Hall put your hand in a bowl of warm water. Toby's not with the club anymore.

Actually, I prefer to think of the White Sox and Dodgers as the Odd Couple ... two professional baseball clubs, sharing an apartment, driving each other crazy.

Which one's Oscar?

Come on. You shouldn't even have to ask that question.

Imagine, if you will, that some kind of crazy science fiction calamity happened -- like an asteroid collided with a wormhole and a super-string and a cosmic Slinky and caused a massive explosion that knocked Los Angeles and Chicago into outer space, and somehow glommed the cities onto the surface of a comet that barely could fit them both, and they had to share that inadequate space.

You know damn well which town would be Felix, and which would be Oscar.

It's not that L.A. isn't wild and crazy and all that. It certainly is. But it is in California -- a very, very uptight state. California has more rules, regulations, warning labels, and disclaimers than all other places on planet Earth combined, times a million.

Chicago, on the other hand, is a slob. Sure, it's repressed and touchy and Midwestern ... but mostly about the subject of being a slob. There are plenty of rules and fascistic bullshits ... all aimed at enforcing and maintaining the general slobbiness.

So ... anyway. There's that subtext. To Cameltoe Ranch, that is. Crispy-cleany, polished-teethy Dodgers versus ... the Chicago White Sox.

Nuff said?

Well, there is one other complication. They had to tell their landlord that they were gay, or else he wouldn't sign the lease. So ... that could be interesting.


Another new beginning that started to begin to take effect for the first time today was the broadcasting partner-swap between Hawk Harrelson on the TV side and Ed Farmer on the radio side. Yep, DJ Darrin Jackson has switched places with MC Steve Stone.

Here's a prediction. At some point in July, watch for the square dance caller to shout "Allemande left!," at which time DJ and Stone will do-si-do with Jimmy Piersall and the ghost of Anthony Perkins, and will promenade offstage long enough for Steve Dahl and Garry Meier to take places in either and/or both booths for 30-year-anniversary retrospectives on Disco Demolition. It's almost bankable.

But, for now, the new partnerings seemed adequate today. I don't have any worries about Stone on TV. And on radio, Farmer's already proven that he can handle working with a lummox. So ... no worries.

Really, worry more about shortstop. And third base. And center field. And leadoff.

And what about PECOTA? That Baseball Prospectus bastard fucker computer fucker bastard.

In 2008, PECOTA predicted that the Sox would finish in third. The Sox, in fact, as you recall, finished in first. This year, after much booping and beeping and flashing of lights, the slip of paper the computer spat out said, in no ambiguous terms, "Last place."

Last place. After Minnesota. After Cleveland. After Detroit. After Kansas City.

OK, so Detroit oughta rebound. Cleveland should contend. And Minnesota is always in there. But Kansas City?

Say it ain't so, robotic baseball nerd!

The good news is that I operate entirely on guesswork, and my record is about the same as PECOTA's. And my best guess is that the Sox will finish no worse than third place, and have a better chance of finishing on the very top than the very bottom.

Which could be worse. And look on the extra bright side -- every rule of probability says that the Cubs are going to have a sucktastical year this year. Lots of freak injuries, endless rounds of slapstick on the infield, controversy and acrimony in the clubhouse. Hell, this could be the year that the upper deck of Wrigley Field collapses during a nationally televised game. (Of course, I'd hope and pray that, miraculously, no deaths or serious injuries would result -- just sweet, sweet property damage.)

Yes. Much to look forward to.


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