If you’ve been anywhere near a television over the past 3 months, you’ve probably heard the name Mike Trout. No, it’s not a dish at your local Red Lobster or the brother of Kurt Vonnegut’s most famous recurring character, rather Mike Trout is a professional baseball player for the Anaheim Angels. He has put up legendary numbers since being called up to the Major Leagues and has some fans thinking he might be this generation’s Bryce Harper. Here are a few things you might not know about Mike Trout….
Mike Trout hit .413 in the month of July making him the first person with an artificial lung to hit .400 for a full month since Claudell Washington did it in 1807.
Mike Trout is the uncle of legendary Hollywood actress Farrah Fawcett.
Mike Trout is the first baseball player in history to score three times on the same play.
Mike Trout has hit 16 homeruns in 2012, more than any other major leaguer since Henry Aaron hit 17 in 1956.
Mike Trout played his entire high school junior season covered in maple syrup.
If you say Mike Trout three times in front of a mirror, you turn into famed novelist Toni Morrison.
Mike Trout is the son of former major league pitcher Steve Trout.
Mike Trout posthumously won the 1976 Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of demented news anchor Howard Beale in Sidney Lumet’s classic film Network.
Mike Trout has more RBIs this month than all 44 U.S. Presidents COMBINED
It is a state law in New Jersey that if a catcher catches Mike Trout stealing second base he is to be fined a thousand dollars and can face up to six months in prison.
In the 8th grade, Mike Trout’s track coach timed him running the 100-yard dash in 4.7 seconds. At the time he ran it, he was in a coma.
Mike Trout’s first major league hit came against Confederate Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Mike Trout once plucked a dying sparrow out of midair on his way from first to home on a single.
Mike Trout was born with 14 fingers on his right hand.
If Mike Trout continues on his current pace, he will have played in more consecutive games than Cal Ripken by 2017.
Mike Trout is the son of former major league star Vada Pinson.
If Mike Trout left Houston traveling at 20 miles per hour he would in Seattle within two hours.
Mike Trout has been cited by William Faulkner as the major influence behind the novel Absalom! Absalom!
Mike Trout was born without a ribcage.
Mike Trout is the first major leaguer to have no vowels in his first or last name.
Mike Trout is the great-grandson of former U.S. Senator Charles de Gaulle.
Some people dream of having their own twenty-room mansion, some fantasize about owning a yacht, others imagine purchasing their own tropical island. If money was no object and I could buy anything I wanted I’d immediately purchase the Colorado Rockies. Here’s the thing, I’m not even a Rockies fan and I’ve never been within 300 miles of Colorado. So, why would some multi-billionaire Mets fan want to purchase the Rockies? Because it would allow me to put into play a baseball system that would forever revolutionize how the game is played. I like to call the system Moronball and it could be the greatest innovation in how the game is played since the creation of the curveball.
Moronball is a system that utilizes several idiosyncrasies within the game to the greatest possible advantage. It is similar to the Oakland A’s Moneyball system in the fact that it tries to achieve success without spending a large amount of money. The difference is that instead of creating a team built around a boring, clichéd goal like winning; Moronball is built around creating the most bizarre and entertaining possible experience imaginable.
The first and most obvious question is, ‘Why Colorado’? The homerun is the most critical offensive component in Moronball. Therefore, we will try to create a team that will hit the most possible homeruns and in the process sacrifice nearly every other important offensive category. The thin air of Colorado can offer a possibility of a nearly endless stream of homeruns if the fences are moved in a bit. Right now, you need to hit the ball 415 feet to get a homerun in straight away center. That’s ridiculous! Nobody wants to go to a game to watch long outs. We will move that that to about 350 and put a 275 foot short porch out in right and left field. As Founding Father and diehard baseball fan James Madison once said, “Chicks dig the longball.”
The next step is finding players that fit the system. Homerun hitters tend to be a bit overpaid unless they lack speed, the ability to hit for average and anything approaching average defensive ability. The Moronball Rockies are going to resemble a 35 and up beer league softball team. My outfield will feature athletes like Wily Mo Pena (5 HRs in 46 AB this year), Andruw Jones (14th on the active list of homeruns per at bat with 1 per every 17), and Matt Stairs (25th on the same list 1 HR per 19 ABs). I’d even talk to Barry Bonds about coming out of retirement to roam the outfield. Granted, what I have just outlined is the worst defensive outfield in the 150-year history of baseball, but the point is to win games 22 to 17, not 3 to 1.
At third base would be Russell Branyan (7th on the active AB/HR list with 1 per every 15 ABs) and our first baseman will be Cubs power hitter Carlos Pena (anyone who can hit 26 homeruns with a sub .200 batting average like Pena did last year belongs with us). Pena would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million per season, but, honestly, we’re not really paying anyone else all that much so why not shell a little money out for a guy who could potentially hit 75 homeruns in our ballpark. Many, many records would fall in Colorado.
It gets a bit tricky when you get to shortstop and second base, because the bloated power hitters are either making too much money for us or have been moved to the outfield. However, keep in mind that we are not committed in anyway whatsoever to playing anything that would even remind a baseball fan of defense. Therefore, I would use Spring Training to convert some Triple A power hitting phenoms who can’t make the show into middle infielders. Mike Hessman, who is currently playing in Japan, is the active minor league homerun leader. I bet that he’d be willing to play second base if I promised him an everyday gig. Shortstop would be manned by power hitting journeyman Bill Hall who is, ironically enough, actually a shortstop. Our catcher would be slugger Miguel Olivo who does almost nothing but hit the ball out the park.
Our starting pitching staff will be another unique facet of Moronball. 3 knuckleballers. That’s it! Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey and Charlie Haeger. Jim Bouton once said that knuckleballers pitch better when they are tired. These starters are going to be looking at logging something in the neighborhood of 40 starts so they will be completely exhausted. One of the most entertaining things to watch are knuckleballers, so I say, give the people what they want to see! We’d then carry 9 relief pitchers who could come in and throw hard in order to capitalize on the fact that seeing knuckleballers all day long will cause the opposition’s timing to be a bit off. They can all be flame-throwing journeymen; I really don’t care. We could even have a contest and put a fan on the roster as a middle reliever for the entire season. As long as our team ERA is somewhere below 15.00 we are going to be competitive or, at the very least, fun to watch.
The Rockies have a great amount of talent. I’m sure I could get the players I’ve mentioned because I strongly doubt teams like the Red Sox are going to turn down an offer like Troy Tulowitzki for 44 year-old Tim Wakefield. With the players I’ve mentioned and a few bench players, I think I can keep the payroll somewhere around 35 million per year. I will invest an additional 5 million in order to find the best steroid doctors in the world. If it means forcing our players to inject substances that would have made Mr. Ed win the Kentucky Derby, we will do it.
Baseball purists will hate our team. The commissioner will threaten to close us down. Announcers will lambaste us every time they watch us play, but a Colorado Rockies game will be the most exciting 6 hours the fans have ever seen. We will put hills in the middle of the outfield, place a giant sinkhole between first and second base and even mine the infield grass, whatever we need to do to make Rockies baseball the greatest show on earth.
In the hopes of doing something original with the highly stale pre-season baseball prediction column, I have decided to pick all of the winning teams randomly. I took the names of the teams in each division and threw them into a hat. I picked the winners of each division out and will then threw the rest back in and picked the Wild Card. After that, I threw the winning names back in and picked the World Series Winner at random. The challenge is now for me to come up with reasons that the teams I picked might actually win. We are making history here folks. Hang on to your hats!
Whew! I got off easy on this one. Great pitching, a powerful lineup and a payroll that resembles the Gross Domestic Product of Angola, what is not to like? I think I’m pretty safe here.
The lineup isn’t totally horrendous. Jeff Francouer, the team’s right fielder, might well hit 30 homeruns this year (if he manages to get somewhere around 1300 at bats). First baseman Kila Ka’aihue has a shot to lead the league this season in Vowel To Consonant In Name Ratio (VCNR), an important predictor of player success. They feature Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies who both spent some of their careers with the Atlanta Braves. The Atlanta Braves system produced John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, two certain Hall of Famers.
An oft-overlooked statistic that bodes well for the Royals is team weight. The Royals position players outweigh the rest of the leagues position players by nearly 220 pounds and an average of 10.7 pounds per player. Starvation is a disease that afflicts many professional athletes and it is almost guaranteed that, if there is any sort of famine, the Royals will be able to outlast the rest of the Central.
The Mariners feature an exciting team that could easily make a run at their first division championship since the Ford Administration. They feature a budding star in first baseman The Dude Who Got Traded for Cliff Lee, and a dominant starting pitcher, The Heavy Set Young Guy Who Sportswriters Seem to Really Like. The Short Speedy Guy Who Used To Be Good is a sparkplug at the top of the lineup. The Guy With The Strange Looking Name is a top-flite closer who looks to rebound from a shaky 2010. Slightly Mentally Disturbed Former Power Hitter Who Has Been Kicked Off Of Nearly Every Team In Baseball showed signs of regaining his All-Star form late last season. They have a lot of other talented players who are capable of both hitting and even fielding, on occasion. New Manager, Guy With The Mustache Who Got Fired By Somebody a While Ago, brings a new enthusiasm and energy that should translate into more wins.
AL Wild Card-Tigers
The Tigers are one of the toughest teams in baseball. They have to be…they live in Detroit. Detroit, a city that is best known for devastating poverty and Robocop, has a proud tradition of excellence. No examples of this spring to mind immediately, but I’m sure there is some fellow in a Chet Lemon throwback jersey who can come up with a few. Detroit also features a baseball stadium that is untouched by the bloodshed and terror that take place outside of its gates. They will probably sellout most of their games this season as panicked citizens search for shelter, food and safety.
In spite of the fact that 2/3s of the team look like they have been waiting on line for 15 hours to get tickets to a Nickelback concert, they have a great deal of talent. The pitching is flat-out awesome. Lincecum and Cain are tremendous at the front end, but they also have the unfortunately named Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito, who’s contract conclusively proves he is one of the top pitchers in baseball. Expect great things out of enigmatic lefty Jonathon Sanchez, who should pitch well enough this season to allow another organization to set themselves back 10 years by giving him millions of dollars in the off-season (see Oliver Perez). The fact that they collectively will probably hit 12 homeruns shouldn’t bother you because good pitching always beats good hitting and clichés repeated ad nauseum by baseball announcers are always correct.
The Nats went out and spent some money in the off-season for the first time since Ronnie Belliard turned down a lucrative career in Real Estate Sales to join the club back in 2007. Their big splash was the signing of Jayson Werth, who should react favorably to a less hitter friendly park and limited protection in the lineup. They also signed Adam LaRoche, a player who has accumulated a great deal of experience playing in front of 300-1,000 fans, a major advantage for players first joining the club. They feature a bevy of young potential superstars including recent arm transplant recipient Jordan Zimmerman and David Clyde-esque flamethrower Stephen Strasburg. If minor league sensation Bryce Harper does not drown in eye black, he could join the club for a late season push.
Somebody has to win the Central….right????
NL Wild Card-Florida
Florida’s fan base has suffered through several subpar seasons due to the nearly constant fire sale that has taken place since the franchise last won the World Series in 2003. Those twelve people have suffered terribly and deserve a great season. This is their year!
World Series Winner Florida Marlins