When the Crooked Scoreboard founders were meeting at our opulent headquarters last weekend, we were confronted with a conundrum:
What do we do with this mountain of ad revenue that the guy dropped off in a dump truck earlier?
The bank said there was too much money to fit in the vault, and we would have to do something about it ourselves. We’d already both bought mansions, Ferraris, and we get guac EVERY time at Chipotle, so we thought we’d give back to the sports community this time.
With this being the opening week of baseball season, all of our contributors have plunged into the depths of the Internet, on a mission to find and bring obscure bits of analytical insight to our readers. OK, maybe not, but we do Google baseball players a lot, and there’s no better source for baseball-related information than Baseball-Reference, the oddly hyphenated website that can tell you everything about every player in the history of baseball, down to his preferred brand of chewing tobacco. And, as luck would would have it, Baseball-Reference gives you the option to sponsor a player’s page for one year, at prices well within our (extravagant!) budget. We decided to allocate our money among players who embody what this site and its writers represent: Jokes! Sports! Cryptic and Self-Indulgent Social Media Presences!
Baseball-Reference tells you a simple story about Fernando Tatis: he played for five MLB teams over a 13-year career, he’s from the Dominican Republic, he hit five sacrifice flies for Montreal in 2001, and lots of other stuff. The interesting stories about Tatis don’t show up on the stat sheet, because today he’s best known for two things: the time he hit two grand slams in a single inning off of Chan Ho Park, and @FTatis23, the deceptively realistic parody Twitter that constantly harps on what it’s like to hit two grand slams in a single inning off of Chan Ho Park.
The fact that I wasn’t at all disappointed when I realized that the Tatis of Twitter was not the real guy probably says something about how we choose to process well-known people. I’m a lot more glad that @FTatis23 is an amusing phony than I am that he’s a phony to begin with. Things are either amusing or they’re not, and baseball players’ Twitter accounts are generally not.
Take any baseball player’s Twitter: let’s say Josh Beckett. Yeah, he was in the whole Red Sox beer-and-fried-chicken-in-the-clubhouse scandal, so he probably has some funny stuff to say, right? NOPE. His “About Me”says: “Former Marlins, Red Sox, and Dodgers pitcher. Current father and husband. Aspiring cowboy. Two-time World Series Champion. No-hitter 5/25/14.” Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Current father and husband? Why do former athletes always say stuff like this? Way to prioritize, Josh. Did he go home the day after he retired and look at his children and wife and go, “Wait, so I was kind of busy earlier, how exactly would you describe my relation to you guys? Husband? I’ll jot that down. Father? OK, t-h-e-r. Got it! Guess that’s what I’m doing now!” And that’s BEFORE I try to decipher what the guy means by “aspiring cowboy.” You were already the MVP of a WORLD SERIES, Josh. How many more childhood dreams are you going to hog for yourself? Are you trying to be an astronaut, too? This encapsulates why I’m fine with Tatis not caring enough to pull Fake Tatis off the web. Without Fake Tatis, I don’t care about Real Tatis. And, to extend that point, we wouldn’t have sponsored the Real Tatis Baseball-Reference page without Fake Tatis existing.
Like Fernando Tatis, Randall Simon is also best known for an extraordinary thing he did on a baseball diamond. Unlike Tatis, Randall’s most famous moment has nothing to do with any perceptible baseball skill. A quick glance through his B-R page shows that he was a solid player for a time (and that his middle name is “Carlito”). A couple of .300 seasons, nothing to sneeze at. BUT, plenty of people in the annals of baseball lore have hit .300 over the course of a season at least once, and Simon never exceeded 482 at-bats in a season. What sets Randall Simon apart is his work with the bat outside of the batter’s box: On July 9, 2003, he infamously disrupted the Sausage Race at Milwaukee’s Miller Park by… well, why should I be explaining this? Please refer to this photo:
Yeah, he did that. He hit the sausage with a bat, and there happened to be a young woman underneath the costume.
Think about Randall for a second. Haven’t you ever pulled an ill-advised practical joke? Maybe not in a stadium full of people (to the extent that Miller Park circa 2003 was ever a “stadium full of people”), but in my freshman year of college, on several occasions, I was heavily involved in pelting people on the sidewalk below with water balloons. Now, I’m not here to discuss which one of us is further in the wrong, but I really could have been ruining some people’s days. We hit at least one cop, and we might have drenched some poor girl rushing to be the maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding, or something. We could have soaked an Iranian diplomat who has having a good day until he got hit, and then promptly went home to tear up a secret deal that would’ve halted nuclear-weapon development. It was DC; anything could have happened!
We’re all just as bad as Randall Simon, aren’t we? Not to say that we condone hitting women in sausage outfits with bats, but we SHOULD condone second chances. Also, it only cost $10 to sponsor his page.