Regular readers of this space have yet to be exposed to the lunacy that is my baseball addiction. Which is ONLY because I began this blog in November, during the off-season. I think about poker a lot. For every poker thought, I have 5 baseball thoughts. Yeah, I know, it doesn't usually seem like I have actual thoughts. Well, I do. Which doesn't mean they don't often run into each other. The result is, as Nigel Tufnel so eloquently stated, "...you get this. And I don't want this."
So, with Opening Day around the corner, I present the first (and likely last) Obituarium Baseball/Poker Preview.
KK: New York Yankees. The best starting hand in the preview for the best team on paper. Vulnerable, as we’ve the past few Octobers, to an Ace. Also prone to getting angry when losing with this hand and exhibiting uncouth behavior, such as girlie-slapping opponents.
QQ: Boston Red Sox. This hand always looks like a winner. Actually wins once every 86 years. Also, like the hand’s namesake, The Hilton Sisters, Red Sox players are vacuous idiots.
K7o: Baltimore Orioles. Well behind the top two, even with the arrival of Sosa. Would be a miracle if they got to September with any outs.
65s: Toronto Blue Jays. D’oh! Canada. Speculative hand best just left alone.
72o: Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Hammer. A terrible hand, but occassionally dangerous in the hands of a Master. Lou can, and will, drop it on you if you’re not careful.
TT: Minnesota Twins. Twin tens for the Twin Cities. Santana is a Perfect 10. Mauer could be the other.
KJo: Cleveland Indians. An exciting young team with a world of potential. Could flop big. Or leave you hanging.
T9o: Chicago White Sox. Perennial under-achievers hope change of attitude and personnel translates to better results. Does inexperienced manager Ozzie Guillen have the skills to play post-flop?
J4o: Detroit Tigers. Still on a spending spree trying to find respectability. Even a gold-plated Jack-Four off-suit is still, at the end of the day, Jack-Four off-suit.
83o: Kansas City Royals. Pee-yew. It’s teams/hands like this that make me wonder if we can add a “surrender” feature to Hold ‘Em.
JTs: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Over-rated and over-played. Owner Arte Moreno spending a lot of money on marginal players like Orlando Cabrera, hoping to get lucky. That is, for the record, the one and only time I will ever call them by their ridiculous official name.
77: Oakland Athletics. Now devoid of Aces with the trades of Mulder and Hudson, Oakland looking to surprise some people if they catch a set with their talented, but young, new rotation.
Q8o: Texas Rangers. Last season’s surprise, the Rangers did little to help themselves this off-season. Gonna need a lot of help to compete. More likely they’ll take a step back.
76s: Seattle Mariners. A right to improve off their 99-loss season, but probably not enough to matter. Bet on a fold before the turn.
AQs: Florida Marlins. Excellent young pitching and the signing of Carlos Delgado give the Fish plenty of ways to win.
JJ: Atlanta Braves. Can never discount the Bravos, though the addition of bonafide Ace Tim Hudson is off-set by the geriatrics in the corner OF spots.
KTo: Philadelphia Phillies. After discarding joker Larry Bowa, the more relaxed Phils may finally play to their considerable potential.
87s: New York Mets. An off-season spending spree of idiotic proportions has Flushing buzzing about a return to respectability. It’s a bluff.
92o: Washington Nationals. I’d pay to watch Brad Wilkerson play. Then I’d leave the stadium after his ABs.
AKs: St. Louis Cardinals. The Red Birds pick up a Big Slick (6’6” and smoothest delivery you’ll ever see) in #1 starter Mark Mulder and still possess the game’s best offense this side of Fenway.
ATo: Chicago Cubs. Prior and Wood can take the Cubbies far as long as their various ligaments hold up. Northsiders will spend the summer watching Dusty Baker overplay his hand. Again.
QJs: Houston Astros. Last year’s NLCS participants lose their trump card in Beltran. Still might show down a winner, but they’ll need help.
T7o: Cincinnati Reds. After much deliberation, I can’t find anything clever to say about this team. Adam Dunn is fun to watch swing...and occasionally connect.
95o: Milwaukee Brewers. Even a steady parade of beer and brats doesn’t make this hand playable, or this team watchable.
62o: Pittsburgh Pirates. Ante up! The game is Baseball. We’ll have to teach the Pirates how to play.
99: Los Angeles Dodgers. I go broke on this hand a lot. Same thing will happen sooner or later to leveraged-to-the-ears owner Frank McCourt.
QTo: San Diego Padres. With Bonds out indefinitely, Pads will probably get heads-up with The Blue Crew, giving them a fighting chance.
J8s: Arizona Diamondbacks. Spent a lot of money they didn’t have for their Ace-Ace-led championship team of four years ago. Spent a lot of money they didn’t have this off-season on Russ Ortiz.
98o: San Francisco Giants. 98 is the average age of the Giants starting lineup. Team has changed its uniform to include Bermuda shorts with black socks.
73o: Colorado Rockies. The air in Denver is notoriously thin, just like the Rockies’ chances.