Spring training is great. It’s baseball!
But it’s not baseball baseball. The games don’t count. There are ties. Some of the games aren’t even on TV! And then stuff like this happens.
Yeah. That’s great, but not in the way that’s great like baseball is great. Because spring training isn’t baseball baseball.
And right now, we need baseball baseball. Not because it’s cold and dreary and the Jets and Giants and Knicks and Nets and Rangers and Islanders all suck, although that’s true, too. (Okay, I guess the Rangers aren’t all that bad, but it’s still hockey.) We need real baseball because we have two guys, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, who are likely fighting for the same spot—the majority side of a first base platoon with Josh Satin, better known as #Hail or Eyebrows, depending on your circles.
We need a competition. That’s going to be tough, though, as unless we want a team full of Mitch Maiers, spring training stats aren’t going to do us any good. This doubly sucks because it’s the best chance we have at getting meaningful baseball stats, and that’s really what we need.
But that’s not going to happen. So let’s have fun with it instead. Here’s what I propose:
One Spring for All the First Base PAs Against RH Pitching (Barring Injury, Trade or Obvious In-Season Suckitude)
Our Battle for the Ages starts off on February 15, 2014, when pitchers and catchers are required to report to Port St. Lucie. Neither Ike nor Duda is either of those things so they don’t have to be at camp yet. But real players show up early—Ruben Tejada, take note.
The next six weeks are going to be grueling, and real athletes start such marathons with a spaghetti dinner like the one they have in New York, before the real marathon.
See? Something like that, but with only two people. Maybe a few others if they were hungry. I mean, David Wright can have spaghetti if he wants to; he’s David Wright, after all.
The next morning, the players take the bus from the hotel to camp. But not Ike and Duda. No no. We’ve arranged alternative transportation for our competitors.
That’s the Atlasphere. Metal cages powered by athletes, racing into little pods to see who can score the most points. I always thought the idea of having to get into those little pods was stupid, especially when the competitors flopped down like dead fish to stop these mammoth cages from rolling out of them, so we’re not going to do that. Instead, each morning, every morning for half of February and all of March, Ike and Duda are going to race. The starting point is the hotel parking lot, next to Jordany Valdespin’s modded Honda Civic, which is still in the parking lot because, let’s face it, it’s parked illegally, has one of those boot things on it, and he’s not one to pay fines. It would require him to get out of bed.
Come on, Jordany. Really?
Scoring: 10 points per race won -10 points if it turns out that either player took that pic of Jordany Valdespin
When the players arrive at Port St. Lucie, they go right to the batting cage and take their cuts.
Nope! Just kidding! Let’s shoot tennis balls at them at shockingly high speeds instead.
This demands a video.
I don’t know if that’s really Turk Wendell or not, but this blog post claims it is. Good enough for me. If you get hit by a Turkball, he gets to add a tooth this necklace of teeth, so it’s a good idea to start practicing, guys.
2 points for surviving
2 points if you shoot Turk before he shoots you, plus 2 bonus points per weapon unused
100 points if you survive Spring Training without needing dentures
That brings us to about 11 AM, right?
Anyway, we want to see how hard these guys can hit a baseball and, given the weird #DrunkIke meme and, uh, this picture of Lucas Duda.
Well, there’s a pretty good chance that these guy are going to be swinging bats while not in their right minds. We don’t want them to start drinking so early in the day, so instead, we’re just going to make them play Joust. You know, the game where they get big Q-tips and have to stand on relatively tiny platforms given the size of the Q-tips. You can do a Google search for YouTube clips and images if you don’t what what that game looks like, but I’m not going to put an image of it here. Instead, check this out!
If the late-1980s/early-1990s didn’t exist, we’d have to create it, because that’s amazing. And his name is Malibu!
In American Gladiators, the contestants (contestants ready! gladiators ready!) faced off against gladiators like Malibu above. We’re not going to do that in Port St. Lucie because I really don’t want to have anyone other than Duda or Ike tear an ACL here. So we’ll just have them fight each other to the death.
No, not to the death, there could be some trade value here. Let’s just have them fight until one knocks the other one off the pedestal and onto those huge mats below. Where do you buy those, by the way? I always wanted a set.
10 points for winning the Daily Joust
7 points for having a really awesome dismount
-10 point for injuring yourself during your very awesome dismount
After the joust, it’s time lunch. Fill up, Ike and Lucas, because you’re about to become projectiles.
It’s time for Human Cannonball.
If you haven’t heard of this game, there’s a pretty good reason why. It’s super-freakin-dangerous. Just look at the picture!!!
There’s more to it, I’m sure, but I’m lazy so let’s let Wikipedia tell the story. Also because there’s a great sub-story in there:
The object of this game was simple: swing on a rope from an elevated platform and try to knock a Gladiator off a pedestal some distance away. The Gladiator was given a blocking pad for protection.
Originally, three Gladiators played this event and contenders received three swings. For the first half of season one, each successful swing was worth 30 points and 10 bonus points were given if the contender managed to knock all three Gladiators off the pedestal. In the second half of season one, this was reduced to three points for each swing and one bonus point for knocking all three off. After that, two Gladiators competed in the event and contenders were given five points for each successful swing.
Originally, the contenders were allowed to swing with their legs fully extended and make contact with the Gladiator using their feet, almost a surefire technique for the contenders to be victorious. This resulted in the first injury to a Gladiator, as contender Brian Hutson kicked Malibu in the face and caused him to get stitches to repair a gash in his eyebrow. After the quarterfinal round of the first half of season one, contenders were required to stay in a tuck position throughout their swing, i.e., knees bent and feet tucked underneath their body. If the contender moved any part of their body out of the tuck position while swinging, the result of the swing would be disallowed. A rule unique to the first season prescribed a further punishment- if a contender was caught doing it again, they were automatically disqualified from the event and not permitted to take any remaining swings they may have had. This happened to second half finalist Elden Kidd, who was disqualified for throwing a forearm in one instance and kicking the Gladiator off in the second. (Both times it was Gladiator Titan; Dan Clark, who portrayed Gladiator Nitro at the time, later recalled the incident for YouTube in 2008. He said that following the half season Titan was fired from American Gladiators due to his charging of referee Bob McElwee after Kidd's second foul, where Titan was so infuriated he chased McElwee into the crowd; Clark said the incident never made air.)
Human Cannonball was replaced by Hang Tough in the rotation after the first half of season 2 and was not played at all in season 3. It returned for one more year in Season 4 before it was dropped for good in Season 5 for safety reasons.
Anyway, it’s totally hypocritical of me to exempt everyone from the Joust citing safety concerns and then include this obviously horrible idea from our competition. But wait, there’s more!
See, we wouldn’t have Gladiators standing there, waiting to get crushed by swinging Ike and Duda meat. No way. That’d cost money that the Wilpons just don’t have. And we can’t have players standing there -- could you imagine Mike Francesa trying to pronounce the sentence "Travis d’Arnaud is out for the season after a freak Human Cannonball accident’? (You probably could, actually.) No no, no. Here would be our three cannonball fodder-slash-likely-to-be-horribly-injured guys:
That’s Saul Katz in the middle, I think. I really don’t know what he looks like.
Scoring: Really, who cares.
Okay, that’s a pretty long day. Let’s go to our last event of the day: the Sky Track.
The Sky Track is a great event, mostly because it uses Velcro, and more sports need Velcro. Whomever came up with it deserve a place in history. Think about the thought process:
"Hey, you know what athletic competitions need? Velcro. Velcro’s really cool and it’s criminally underutilized. We need to make a game that requires Velcro, but it can’t be something kids can play, so no flag football trash. Nope, gotta think bigger. What’s bigger than a sock? Something we can stick to something? Oh, what about a WHOLE PERSON. And we’ll do it UPSIDE DOWN so the blood flows right to their backsides! That’d be awesome."
We’ll have them race. No idea where this thing gets installed…
No, wait, on the dugout railings!
Perfect. Except for the assist from… is that Fernando Tatis? Andrew Vazzano says it is, pretty convincingly, too. As an aside, Fernando Tatis would be a really awesome American Gladiator if they ever decide to bring the show back.
10 points to whomever wins the race
5 points to anyone who doesn’t pass out
All the points to anyone who gets Fernando Tatis on American Gladiators.
That concludes the day’s events. But we’re not done yet. No, no, we are not done yet.
We’ll do that for the full season and then, on the day before we cut down to 25-man rosters, it’s time for the final challenge.
No, not the Eliminator.
See, the Eliminator is expensive, and despite Human Cannonball, the Mets are still owned by the Wilpons. And look at this thing!
Downhill treadmills require a gravity-reversing machine, and those aren’t cheap.
Ceiling-mounted hand biked? Rope ladders and those spinny things? And paying a Gladiator to just stand there in the pit? What? Who has money for this, the Dodgers?
And is that fire? What the...think of the gas bills!
Yeah, not happening. Instead?
The Aggro Crag.
It’s pretty easy to build -- you just throw a bunch of broken stuff in a pile and buy some dry ice. Ring a bell or just say "on your mark, get set, go!" and bam, off to the races. The goal: climb to the top before the other guy. Whomever gets there first gets more points, but, as seen below, that doesn’t always matter.
Look, I know that not all Mets fans are as stat savvy as us here at Amazin’ Avenue, but that’s ridiculous. Going into the Aggro Crag, Darren has 1,100 points, Ron is in second place with 700, and Lindsay is in last with 600. First place for the Aggro Crag is 725 points but last place is 375 points. That’s a difference of 350 points, which is more than the gap between Darren and Ron. THE AGGRO CRAG IS A SHAM.
That always bothered me. It’s like Nick made some of the numbers end in 25, 50, and 75 to mask that, as if we can’t do basic arithmetic. And that Mo Quirk ref lady did the pre-Aggro Crag math for us! Also, how is she only 45 years old? Guts debuted in 1992; she was only 24?
Of course, Ike and Duda won’t do the math, they’ll just go all out, to the victor goes the spoils.
FJDKSF points to first place.
EJHKFA points to second place.
-100 points to Nickelodeon for its BS math stuff.
And then, decision day.
Ike Davis is our opening day first baseman let’s face it, there’s no way the team is going to pick Lucas Duda over him.