Crash Bag, Vol. 65: Climb a Staircase of Opponents’ Throats

Editor’s Note: Actually, I’m not the editor, am I? Anyway, this is Baumann, and we’ve got a special treat for you today–for the first time ever, we go outside the Crashburn Alley family for the Crash Bag, with Justin Klugh of That Ball’s Outta Here, among other outlets. You can follow him on Twitter at @TBOHblog

What’s up, nerdlingers? 

@hdrubin: “RAJ hires you to carry out his “keep the window open” strategy. How do you change/upgrade this team to contend in ’14?”

You wanted to see me, Mr. Amaro?

Yes, I’m settling in nicely. The fellas were giving me the business earlier – well, Jonathan Papelbon told me I had to tell him if I was an NSA agent, or if I heard about all his guns on a wire tap. I told him no, I heard about them on the internet, from him. It was all in good fun. Then somebody called me a “fuck-ass.” It was Papelbon.

A task? Sure thing! Yeah, I’ll comb through some prospects for you.

Wow, this is the densest binder I’ve ever seen. I feel like there’s a “binders full of women!” joke in here somewhere! Ha!

…from the election. It was months ago.

The presidential election.

No, I guess it wasn’t very timely. I just couldn’t think of a joke about binders quickly enough, and I… well, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be funny because it’s really the crutch I use to lurch through life. Without it I’d wither away because I lack the self confidence to stand on my own.

Yeah, I got punched a lot. Mostly by teachers.

Well, I guess I’ll take this prospect list into my office and—

What’s that? Leave it here? But I—

Oh. So just put it here, on the sill? Yeah, it looks firm enough to prop the window up. You could probably just get the window fixed, though.

Charlie told you it was fine like it is, huh. Oh. Well, he’s the manager.

You know I bet some people find it crushingly insulting that you don’t look them in the eye or communicate solely via text, even with people in the same room, but not me.

Sure, I’ll sign a no-trade clause.

@fotodave: “What is your alcoholic beverage recommendation & quantity as we approach the trade deadline?”

I like to make what I call ‘Phanatic Barf.’

1. Find your yard’s wheelbarrow. Every yard has one. Just move some leaves or something; you’ll find it. Live in the city? You have a wheelbarrow, too, it’s just in somebody’s yard out in the suburbs.

2. Start dumping in all of the liquor in your house into it. I had a full bottle of Skull Vodka my girlfriend was saving for “something nice,” most of some Maker’s Mark I couldn’t get anybody else to drink every time something ridiculous happened in Pacific Rim, a pair of Jameson miniatures, and a garden hose just to make it look like I have more than I do. Really keeps morale up. Or as much morale as people who drink out of wheelbarrows can muster.

3. When your significant other asks “what are you doing,” explain yourself. You’re a grown-ass adult and you can sip on some watered down mixed liquors from a wheelbarrow if you want to. “Gardening,” you say, smiling slyly and tapping your nose.

4. “Why are you tapping your nose now. Is that a drug thing.” Now is when you can probably run away with your liquors – probably there will be some minor spillage – and just claim you didn’t hear him/her later.

5. Find a nice crevasse and just take the next hour or ten off.

@bxe1234: “I pronounce the “TBOH” of your Twitter handle like Tim “Tebow”. Are you also infallible?”

I did have a bad boy phase, for what it’s worth.

“Who’s that fellow?” girls’ dads would say, peaking through the blinds. “He looks like he might take a girl to a ball game.”

“What do you know about it, old man!” I’d shout, cramming big league chew in my mouth.

“UZR is a gateway stat!” he’d shout to his daughter as she’d run out the door to meet me.

“Yeah… gateway to my balls,” I’d reply, and then try to hold seven balls at once like Johnny Bench, but drop them and slip on one of them and live the entire plot of Rookie of the Year.

But yes, I am considered the “Tim Tebow” of my circle of friends. Our similarities are astounding.

  • Caucasian
  • Alive, currently
  • Horrible at sports
  • Have been told to “shut the hell up” by co-workers.
  • Smiling often confused with brain damage.
  • Often fall to one knee with eyes tighly clenched shut due to prayer/having just banged head on active ceiling fan.

We have a “Skip Bayless” of the group as well; he compliments me endlessly, but only when other people are around. Which they haven’t been lately, because our group has an “Aaron Hernandez,” too.

@petzrawr: “What are the odds that humanity as we know it ever makes contact with an advanced alien species?Because, to me, it seems like it’s more of a question whether humanity can survive long enough to make contact.”

I think this planet is a couple hundred thousand charred rocks by the time the aliens get here, given the increasing frequency of space rocks penetrating our global defense shield, our limited reach in the context of infinite space, the constant obstacles in the path of progress, and the way that we unabashedly cry “Oh, that’s a shame,” about some problem on this planet and then take a dump on an endangered squirrel. There seems like too many earthbound, fathomable issues on Earth that we can’t wrap out minds around, let alone find the reach to expand far enough out there into infinity to find somebody worth talking to.

For example, I saw Blackfish the other day, which was a great documentary, incredibly emotional, oh man, those poor orcas, SeaWorld is evil, my girlfriend is in tears, let’s do something about this, no I’m serious this time, we’ll go to SeaWorld and throw a paper Mache harpoon at somebody in protest, man I’m tired, let’s go to bed. I was worked up.

And you know what I did in response to that? I watched the trailer for 1977’s Orca the next morning at work because there was a brief clip from it in the movie and I was curious about how bloody it was.

It’s out there, but we’ll be living under the oppressive flippers of a vengeful Planet of the Orcas before an alien species gets here, and when they do, they’ll take one look at Shamu VIII whipping Obama across the face with his dorsal fin and peace the eff out.

@Major_Hog: “Even if the Phillies sell do you trust RAJ to get more then magic beans or checkered paint?”



Philadelphia Phillies Announce Acquisition of ‘Magic Beans’ from Enchanted Tree in Exchange for Ominous Favor to be Fullfilled Later

The Philadelphia Phillies are elated to announce their procuring of a small sack of magic beans from a gnome living in an expansive subterranean tunnel system with an entrance in Kyle Kendrick’s locker. The fist-sized sack is made of a rough, burlap-type material, smells of rancid soil, and

“Wow,” Amaro stated, looking down at his latest work as GM. “I can’t tell you how consumed with childlike wonder I am to have pulled the trigger on this one.”

It was the most surprising twist in an otherwise stale trade deadline, namely for the Phillies, whose non-contending status yet utter refusal to trade members of the team left them in a highly questioned state of ambiguity.

“I mean, I don’t want to freak anybody out, but I was totally lost on this one,” Amaro continued, speaking with abrupt honesty, as if he wasn’t in a room full of people whose job was to record his every communica and relay it to thousands of other people. “I was not at all sure how I was gonna get out of this one. Before it was like, ‘We need a right fielder… all right, Hunter Pence.’ Or like, we need some stability on offense… cool, here’s Jonathan Papelbon for $50 million. Awesome.’ This time, though… whew! That enchanted tree really drove a hard bargain.”

When asked how he knew the beans were magic, Amaro said he could just “feel it” when he sat this close to them, and had actually had several dreams prior to the signing that indicated that no matter what the beans grew, they would be beneficial, except once, when it grew into a giant hand that stole all of his clothes and forced him to take a math test in front of his 10th grade class.

“But the majority of this deal got done when after I bought a can of checkered paint and just huffed it for, like, a pretty long afternoon in a crevasse.”

Amaro has no idea what the cost of the beans – the “promise of a favor sometime in the future” to the tree – will entail, but could tell the press that the tree emitted a sinister laugh, at which point Amaro finally noticed that the tree was covered in dead leaves and poison berries, as well being surrounded by human skulls and ghosts warning him not to trust the tree.

@Tigerbombrock: “why haven’t I won $1000000 from McDonald’s monopoly? Also, why did they turn into game piece hoarders?”

Over the 4th of July weekend, I watched my father and brother-in-law agree to a fun game of Monopoly to close out the day. My mother and sister were drawn in as well, mostly to serve as human shields; to truly win at Monopoly, you must climb a staircase of opponents’ throats to reach your biggest threat.

My sister suggested they play with the pool of money in the middle of the board going to whoever lands on “free parking” and my father asked what life was like, living like a ‘complete asshole.’

My mother, knowing better, refused to look dad in the eye. She knew that was why he volunteered to be the banker; so he could impale them all with jagged stares during each required exchange. Forcing the other players to look at him was his biggest advantage. At one point, he conducted a trade between my mother and brother-in-law, without taking part in it directly himself, and all my mom did was ask if everyone was done with the brownies.

Then came the endgame.

Mom and sister were long gone; my brother-in-law could feel his livelihood slipping away… the life he’d built… the work he’d done… all of it disappearing like grains of sand between his fingers, until finally, he had nothing to grasp, and succumbed to the soundless abyss himself.

At the edge of the pit stood my father, shuffling property deeds.

My advice is don’t get involved with Monopoly.

@Wzeiders: “Somewhere there is an alt universe in which the Phillies made some moves at the trade deadline. What do they look like?”

The 2013 Alternate Universe Phillies are quite a sight, let me tell you.

First of all, the clear first half MVP is Michael Martinez, whose rousing salvo of offensive prowess is unmatched in the league. He’s best known for lacing a laser walk off triple to win the Phillies eighth game out of nine following the All-Star break, which coincidentally also completed the cycle for him that night, again. He was carried out on the team’s shoulders and given a standing 30-minute standing ovation, during which he ran a lap around the stadium, high-fiving adoring fans.

Chase Utley is actually the same in every universe; a bulldozer of time of space.

Also, Dan Uggla is a peanut vendor at Turner Field. He’s not even affiliated with the ballpark, he just sells nuts out of his car. Everybody makes fun of him for wearing really baggy clothing.

But as for the trade deadline, Ruben placed Carlos Ruiz gently into a deal to the Yankees, where he will play one season, do his best, then retire as a Phillie, get voted onto the Wall of Fame, and take Gregg Murphy’s job as the roving stadium correspondent at Comcast Sportsnet.

Michael Young was shipped off somewhere that was one leadership away from contention. Chase Utley was rented to the Orioles for half a season, leading them to a World Series championship, then immediately returned to the Phillies to play out the rest of his days teaching young players to be gruffer and bashing sweet home runs.

And Ryan Howard?  He became the next “Matt Stairs.” In that he moved to Canada and began coaching peewee hockey.  The team went 0-23 and Howard was somehow credited with nine strikeouts during the season.

NL MVP Michael Martinez would be busted for PEDs, which he kept stuffed inside a human-sized dummy he called “Steve Susdorf” that for some reason even had its own locker before anybody noticed he wasn’t a person.

@FelskeFiles: “What level of rage should I be feeling towards Ruben Amaro?”

First off, hey, check out that cool web site in your Twitter bio. That is one cool web site, if I do say so myself, and I know something about cool web sites.

Secondly, I was willing to veer away from ‘rage’ for a while.  Nothing on the trade market would have had me delirious with glee.  I’d prefer he do nothing than something just because people on Twitter demanded it.  If that was how Amaro conducted himself he’d be too busy taking pictures of his lunch and following teens to run a baseball team.

But I get it.  The Heyman thing that came out saying Amaro had the chance to talk to the Yankees about Chooch and held onto him.  I like to think it’s more complicated than him just clutching the familiar faces, but I’ll be god damn if that’s not… exactly what it seems like is happening.

It’s just not going to be rage that simmers in your bowels and then crawls up your throat.  It’ll be numbness and frustration.  We’ve got Cody Asche up here, now, though; and Ethan Martin starts Friday! That’s fun!  The median age of the Phillies is slowly decreasing!

Of course god only knows what disease is taking over Cliff Lee’s neck, but this is not the season to kill whatever joy we can muster with sad truths.

But hey, why not channel that rage into a fun post for a cool web site?

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  1. VoteForDelmon

    August 02, 2013 09:03 AM

    I love that Delmon Young being on the Phillies has become so accepted that a full Crashbag can go by with nary a mention of his name. This must be how people felt when Steve Jeltz just kept being written into the starting lineup for years. You just give up and stop caring any more.

  2. BeezNutz

    August 02, 2013 12:37 PM

    Hey Delmon had a 2.417 OPS in April fool!

  3. Cameiros

    August 02, 2013 04:34 PM

    Here are the trades the Phils need to make:

    1. Trade Ruben for the first wino they can find down on Vine St. Give him a shower and a shave and let him throw darts. It will be a huge improvement.

    2. Trade Montgomery straight up for the brightest bat boy…er, better make that the brightest ball girl. Ruben was a bat boy…

    3. Failing this, tell ownership they are not welcome in Philadelphia any more. The fans deserve better. And along these lines can we set up a municipal/community owned franchise a la Green Bay? Hasn’t worked out too badly for that small community.

  4. bureaucratist

    August 05, 2013 03:52 PM

    “UZR is a gateway stat!”

    Won’t somebody *please* think of the children?

  5. Silver Price

    August 08, 2013 03:23 AM

    With a new baseball star being accused of injecting something illegal in their ass every other day, and some other athletes being charged with murder, what Pete Rose did was nothing. Was he wrong? Yeah. Should he have lied for over 20 years? No. Pete Rose has the most hits ever and there will be a whole generation of people who will have no who he is. He deserves to be remembered.

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