ESPN.com’s Page 2 columnist, Dave Schoenfield, has a good piece today wherein he posits that each team has its number-one most-hated figure, be it an opponent, an owner, or an underperforming team member. He then picks each team’s Public Enemy Number 1. Though I disagree with him on some choices (Sammy Sosa over Steven Bartman?), any article that includes references to Operation Shutdown, the hideous nature of the D’Backs’ uniforms, and Kent Hrbek leg-wrestling Ron Gant in 1991 is a good way to start your day.

Original comments…

Jim: I would argue that, with Barry Bonds a non-factor so far this season, current Dodger hatred goes to GM Paul DePodesta (and to a lesser extent the owner and his wife, Frank and Jamie McCourt).

Big time

While the comments are down and I’m busy with work, you’re all welcome to enjoy this article from ESPN.com‘s Page 2 on the all-time all-fat team.

While many in the audience will be disappointed that John Kruk didn’t make it, they should remember that it’s no shame to lose out when a team is being assembled from all of major-league history, just like it’s no shame not to make the Hall of Fame. Many very, very good players will never make the Hall of Fame, and many very, very fat players will never crack the all-fat team.

Opening night

Could we possibly ask for a better Opening Night game?

Sunday night, we get the World Champion Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium against the World Champion (Choker Division) New York Yankees.

For the second year in a row, Johnny Damon will be our first sight of the baseball season, stepping into the box in all his glory.

And on the mound, we get pure contrast. David Wells v. Randy Johnson. Junkballer v. Flamethrower. One of the roundest guys in baseball v. the tallest, skinniest. They ought to go on the road as a comedy team. They’re listed at Baseball-reference.com as weighing the same, despite the Unit’s six-inch height advantage. Now that’s comedy.

It’s time. Y’all are invited for chili and corn bread.

More from "Faithful"

Poor Stephen King, on the West Coast while the Yankees and Red Sox are playing in late July: “With no NESN, I was reduced to the coverage in the Saturday Los Angeles Times — which, due to their ridiculous infatuation with the Dodgers, was skimpy.”

I would guess that the Los Angeles Times is less infatuated with the Dodgers than the Boston Globe is with the Red Sox, if only because there are two major league baseball teams within the Times’ home delivery area, and they try to serve both constituencies. In fact, it was probably the amount of Angels coverage that kept them from putting a longer Yankees-Red Sox story in that morning’s paper. They’ve definitely had more Angels articles than Dodgers articles this offseason, because of the name change foolishness. Speaking of which, ESPN is going to be using “LAA” in the score box on any Angels games they broadcast this year, and they don’t even have the same owner as the Angels anymore!

Original comments…

Jason: Imagine that – a city newspaper writing a whole lot about their local baseball team.

Since the Angels are now “LAA”, does this mean the Dodgers will be “LAD”?

Jim: Yes, based on “NYY” and “NYM,” the Dodgers will be “LAD,” unless they try to get clever and go with LAN (for “National”).

Levi: I hope they abbreviate DC as “DC-(N)” as if they’re a politician.

As predicted, "Clubhouse" isn’t as good as the real baseball playoffs

The “Clubhouse” episode that was promoted last week, in which Doc Brown is uncomfortable with modern technology, was not shown this week. Instead, it was an episode in which there are trade rumors swirling around Dean Cain’s character (who is named “Conrad Dean”; get it?). I forgot to “stay tuned for scenes from next week’s ‘Clubhouse,'” so I don’t know if they showed the same promo from last week.

At any rate, because of disappointing ratings, CBS is soon going to move “Clubhouse” to Saturdays to make room for “The Amazing Race,” which is a better show but is (usually) less baseball-related.

On another note, I’m listening to the Cardinals-Astros game on ESPN Radio. Boy, are these commercials annoying!

Chili today, hot tamale

First of all, after Kevin Millar made a good defensive play in the bottom of the first inning of the Sox-Angels game, ESPN color commentator Rick Sutcliffe asked the director for a close-up of Kevin Millar’s face to make sure it wasn’t Doug Mientkewicz in a Kevin Millar uniform. Someone’s been reading baseballrelated.com!

Second, and more important, I commiserated with the Rocketship by making chili con carne to eat during the game, and this is the recipe I used.

2 pounds lean ground beef (I guess any ground meat would be okay)
2 medium onions
2 bell peppers (I used one green and one red)
2 garlic cloves
1 28-ounce can ready-cut (“Recipe Ready”) tomatoes (because cutting up the onions, peppers, and garlic is plenty without having to cut up tomatoes, too)
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 15-ounce can pinto beans
2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of salt
Shredded cheese

Chop the onions and bell peppers into small pieces. Chop the garlic into very, very small pieces.

Brown the meat and drain.

In a big pot, stir together everything but the beans and cheese. Cook, covered, over low-to-medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the beans and stir them into the chili. Continue cooking, still covered, for another 30 minutes.

Serve in bowls and put shredded cheese on top. As listed above, the recipe makes about 8 servings of chili, which is good in my case because although it’s good right after it’s made, it’s even better as a leftover. It should be fairly easy to halve, although you’ll probably have to make a choice between kidney beans and pinto beans instead of having both. (Why am I not having people over to my place? Fewer baseball fans among my southern California friends, worse start times in terms of people being able to drop by for the game after work, and the fact that my bathroom is a mess because the apartment complex maintenance staff is working on the ceiling.)

Here’s what it looks like before the cheese is put on top (and, no, you don’t use the whole bag on one bowl unless you like cheese more than you like chili)…

Goes great with $7.00 beer, and Sarah Michelle Gellar…

And it tastes even better when Johnny Damon is on TV…

Incidentally, the advantage to having a local team in the playoffs while you’re trying to TiVo their game, airing on ESPN, is that the coverage is duplicated on a local channel. In this case, the game bounced from ESPN2 to ESPN once the Twins-Yankees game finally ended, but L.A.’s UPN 13 carried it straight through, with a minimum of scrolling messages informing all 10 or 11 potential viewers of the UPN show “Kevin Hill” that tonight’s episode would be airing on Saturday.

Original comments…

Levi: One thing you might try in the future, Jim: Fritos. I think the only reason they’re on the earth is to be put in chili just before you put in the cheese.

We didn’t see much baseball last night, just a bit in a hotel bar while waiting for Stacey’s aunt and uncle to show up from the airport. So we saw the Yankees leeding 5-3 in the 8th, Rivera coming in. “Oh, we don’t need to watch–we can go sit in the lobby. We saw Rivera blow a lead in 2001, so we won’t see that again for another few years.”

Checking in a few minutes later, finding it 5-5, we decided to leave a note at the desk telling Auntie where to find us.

But then, at dinner, it all went bad. Stacey and I were occasionally our heads in the bar–where the bartendress was a Minneapolis transplant and where there was also one Yankee fan who, when I said to the bartendress, “Everybody hates the Yankees!”, said, “Not everybody!”. Stacey saw that the Twins had gone ahead in the 12th. Next thing I knew, I saw from across the restaurant a crowd of bouncing Yankees. And they didn’t look like they were bouncing the bounce of despair.

Oh, well. There’s always game 3.

Jim: “Bartendress”?

By the way, Rogue Dead Guy Ale was a $7.00 beer in Pittsburgh, and it’s still a $7.00 beer in L.A….but in this case, it’s $7.00 for a 6-pack at BevMo in Van Nuys. Actually, $6.99 plus “CRV” (deposit).

Dan: SMG, still hot? I lost track a few years back.

Jim: She’s no Alyson Hannigan, that’s for sure (although Alyson is admittedly more “intensely cute” than “hot”).

Levi: I’m so with Jim on the Alyson Hannigan thing, although I do tend to think SMG is hotter than, say, most blondes. But that’s mainly because she kills vampires, who are not hot.

I can hear music

First of all, Maura passes along this awesome link from ESPN.com’s Page 3, in which they list the at-bat songs for many MLB players. (Page 3? How many numbered pages does ESPN.com have now, anyway?)

And to fulfill a request by Cushie, here are the songs on the “baseball” playlist on my iPod, conveniently in one list. Levi and hangers-on, don’t click on the link if you want to be surprised in the car, although many of the songs have been named on this blog in the past, in several different entries that I don’t feel like going back and looking up.

Original comments…

Cushie: Awesome!

Luke, hanger-on: Here are some songs on the BRPA 2004 playlist I’ve been assembling since becoming a hanger-on (most of which you have already, and some of which have relationships to baseball and roadtrips that are tenuous at best):

Catfish, Bob Dylan
Two Bass Hit, Dizzy Gillespie
Bang the Drum Slowly, Emmylou Harris
Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel
Pirate Jenny, Nina Simone
Yanqui Go Home, Camper Van Beethoven
I Could Drive Forever, Smog
On the Road Again, Bob Dylan
On the Road Again, Willie Nelson
This is Not a Song About a Train, Andrew Bird

Plus a CD’s worth of Bob Edwards-Red Barber chats and Barber highlights that I’ve been saving for the trip.

Jim, you have iPodRip, right?

Jim: I don’t have iPodRip or anything similar, mainly because I’ve never had a need to get music from my iPod onto my computer. Although if iPodRip can export playlists into HTML or XML, and it looks like it can, it probably would have come in handy when I was creating the song list!

thatbob: If you’re doing spoken word pieces, you really need to find the famous Lee Elia rant against Cub fans. And if you can find Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly singing “O’Brien to Ryan to Goldberg” then… then… then that’ll be awesome!

Dan: And if you need the Lee Elia rant, lemme know, I’ve got it in MP3.

Friday reading

Last year, espn.com ranked all 30 ballparks…which, of course, means their list is out of date already, and I’ve got to believe the two new-for-2004 parks would rank higher than the parks they replaced. I can’t disagree with most of their observations, at least of the stadiums I’ve been to, although some of the items they rated aren’t relevant to me (I’ve never had much of a desire for stadium beer, for example).

On the trip, we’ll be going to their best (PNC Park) and their worst (Olympic Stadium), as well as their Number 9, Number 11, Number 12, Number 16, Number 19, Number 20, and Number 23, plus the new, and therefore not on their list, Citizens Bank Park.