Arts & Culture

Shtickball: American League Picks

Jews and baseball go together like Barry Bonds and steroid trials. Our resident fan gives his AL picks for the 2011 season. Read More

By / March 24, 2011

Welcome to the first edition of Shtickball. This is a purely working title, and any hilarious suggestions will be taken under advisement. Some of you may be wondering why I’ve decided to focus on this specific topic, considering the plethora of attention it has received this year. In my defense, “The Yankles” is a terrible name for a movie, and both Jews and baseball fans should be ashamed of it. However, I will probably end up watching the films and commenting on them, so maybe the story of an upstart yeshiva baseball team will make me eat my words. Opening Day is next Thursday, so let’s get right to what’s going to happen. The Cubs will win the most exciting World Series ever, but undercover agents Michelle Bachman and Victoria Jackson will expose the win as a masterful plot coordinated by Obama and powerful liberal interests in an effort to highlight his skills as a compromiser (in reality he’s a White Sox fan). These sleuthing women’s escapades will be broadcast on a channel Rupert Murdoch will surely buy soon. And as a response, Keith Olbermann will try to start his own upstart sports network because he hates Fox and ESPN with an equal fury. What a fun season this will be! On the slim chance this does not turn out to be the case, a quick preview of 5 teams from the American League. Be sure to check back next week when I do the NL preview.

New York Yankees

What happened last year: They fell to a frisky Rangers team last year but head into the season having cobbled together a 250 million dollar mish mash of stars and Francisco Cervelli.  Their lineup is frightening, their pitching staff is solid if unspectacular, and you can book A.J. Burnett for five glorious meltdowns, both on and off the field.

Why I hate talking about this team: I have been programmed since I was a young one to hate the Yankees with a passion that burns deep within my non-pinstriped loins. But, like every red-blooded baseball fan, I’m doomed to bump into them all over ESPN.

Prediction: The Yankees will choke in a previously unimaginable way, A-Rod will come clean about his torrid affair with RuPaul, and the Steinbrenner brain trusts will bare-knuckle brawl to the death. See how easy that was?

Boston Red Sox

The Skinny: New revamped lineup for the Sawx looks pretty tasty in paper. Last year they were decimated by injuries in an eerie karmic fury, and they still made a run for the playoffs. They added two massive offensive pieces in Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, who coupled with a healthy Jew-kliss and Dustin Pedroia make this lineup downright juggernautical. I think a lot of people are rightly considering them the AL East favorite heading into the season.

Yid Factor: Kevin Youkliss, known for his beautiful bald dome and his unorthodox batting style, is indeed a member of the tribe. He has yet to be caught on camera with a pre-game meal of chulent/whitefish/herring, so make it happen Boston Jews!

Baltimore Orioles

The Buck Stops Here: Buck Showalter took over one of the worst teams in baseball and managed to get the Oreoles to play .500 baseball down the stretch, a truly remarkable feat. New additions of Vlad Guerrero, Mark Reynolds and Derrick Lee make this team a sneaky pick to make hay in the AL East this season. Here’s hoping Buck inherits the jovial spirit of his predecessors. Ah, the good ole days.

Chicago White Sox

Reason to Root for Them: If you don’t care much for baseball, but are hooked on crazy hispanic sports figures, follow the Sox. Or, more accurately, follow Ozzie Guillen and his inimitable tirades. Also if you really love Barry-O, I guess that’s a reason too.

Texas Rangers

Puttin It All Together: The Rangers have had historically awful pitching to go with consistently studly offense, but last year they rode Cliff Lee and fireball closer Neftali Feliz to a World Series run. Now that Lee has left for douchier pastures (see the Phillies of Philadelphia), their rotation looks pretty shallow. My hope is that a floundering Rangers team forces team President Nolan Ryan to make a glorious mid-season comeback, only to find that all the advil in the world can’t help a 64 year old arm.