Monday Metaphors: YouTube Edition

We continue with part four of six in my division-by-division metaphors-and-tangents tour (I’ve covered the AL East here, Central here and West here). This week it’s the NL East, and this time (and possibly next time and the time after that, depending on how this goes), I’m going to be drawing inspiration from YouTube, the endless source of mindless entertainment that is king of that endless source of mindless entertainment that we call the internet. Here’s how five of the teams in America’s Pastime are like five of the videos found on America’s Productivity Killer:

The Phillies are Tony La Russa’s Appearance on To Tell the Truth

This video is amazing. A delightfully bizarre panel of four 1970s celebrities pepper two impostors and the real, roughly thirty-five year old Tony La Russa, in his first full year managing the White Sox, with half-coherent baseball questions, then have to try to guess which of the three is the real TLR. It’s an old clip (1980), and it shows, but it’s great (and maybe the age is part of what makes it great).

The Phillies, too, are old. Like, really old, for a baseball team. Almost everyone who figures to play a significant role on the team will play 2012 at 30 or older. with the exceptions of Hunter Pence (29) and Cole Hamels (28). Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee seem to be getting better with age (like this clip), but it promises to be an issue for the offense. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco have all shown unmistakable signs of aging over the last couple of years, and in Howard’s absence, they’ll depend in part on Jim Thome, who’s roughly La Russa’s age.

But: they’re still very, very good, and in fact, they’ve managed to get better in each of the last five years (85 wins to 89, to 92, to 93, to 97, to 102). It’d be crazy to expect that trend to continue in 2012, but you have to figure they’re still going to be awfully good. Old, but great, like this clip.


It’s a mess, and it’s so awful it almost hurts, but you can’t look away. The comedy is kind of lame if it’s intentional, but assuming unintentional, it’s perfection. Meet the Mets, meet the Mets, step right up and greet the Mets! (Seriously, you have to click on that link. It’s amazing.)

With a few exceptions, the Mets of recent vintage have been about as…problematic as this video. I think Sandy Alderson really knows what he’s doing, and things will turn around relatively soon, but this year? Still very much a punchline.

The Marlins are the Evolution of Dance.

Is it “good”? It’s hard to say. He’s talented, certainly. But the reason this became one of the most popular YouTube videos of the pre-Bieber era, leading to a “sequel” video, several spinoffs, and more, is his gosh-darned infectious enthusiasm. He’s doing something that, at best, is kind of corny and ridiculous, but boy, does he do it. It’s a bit like the dance Napoleon does at the end of Napoleon Dynamite – you expect it to be embarrassing, and in fact, it probably should be embarrassing, but he’s so earnest about it, and so good at it, that it’s somehow enjoyable in spite of itself. It’s impressive, and just determinedly, flamboyantly over-the-top, and, “good” or not, it’s definitely worth a watch.

That’s the 2012 Marlins. The heretofore cheapest team in baseball has tried so hard to spend money and get better. They haven’t found a lot of takers, but they’ve sure tried. They’ve got a more descriptive new name (“Miami,” no longer purporting to represent the entire state of Florida), really, really colorful new uniforms that are, at least, interesting, and a shiny new stadium with a brain-scrambling celebratory home run display.

That, of course, plus Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell, and the continued growth of the amazing Mike Stanton, and the Hanley Ramirez drama. I don’t know if the Marlins are going to be any good — I think they’re better than last year’s 72-90, but not a ton better — but either way, I think they’ll be really captivating, and a lot of fun to watch. Like the Evolution of Dance.

The Nationals are Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!

They’re very, very young. They’re cute. They’re precocious little troublemakers (Bryce Harper is, at least), but you get the sense they know just exactly what they’re doing. They’re your Washington Nationals!

Seriously, how good is this team going to be in like a year or two? Scary good, that’s how good. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they made a bit of a run at it this year, with Stephen Strasburg having a Pedro type of season (blindingly brilliant, though in limited innings). They’re very young, but could be a ton of fun to watch, like these two little kids above, who spent a good long time as YouTube’s most-watched.

The Braves are Chimpanzee Riding on a Segway

Chimpanzee riding on a Segway
Chimpanzee riding on a Segway
Chimpanzee riding on a Segway
Bam ba ba ba bam bam!
Chimpanzee riding on a Segway
Chimpanzee riding on a Segway
Chimpanzee riding on a Segway
Bam ba ba ba bam bam!

I have to be honest: I don’t think I’ve really thought about the Braves all offseason. Fans of the team might vehemently disagree, but they just haven’t really been in the news, at all. No notable moves, no real rumors, nothing. So, a few things:

1) I just really, really wanted to use this video.

2) What represents an offseason of idleness better than a video of a chimp riding a Segway?

3) This video is wonderful. I have no idea why I find it so funny, but I do. The Braves did nothing, and still might be a really good team — they won 89 games in 2011, and should expect better years from Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward, and Martin Prado, and a full year from the underrated Michael Bourn, along with at least a little bit of a slide from the Phillies. Just as this video is about nothing, yet manages to be unbelievably awesome, so the Braves have done nothing, and might still be pretty awesome themselves.

So, there are a lot more great, terrible and/or confoundingly fascinating YouTube videos out there. Assuming this works and you can see these videos up in Canada and all that, I expect I’ll be back next week and the week after covering the rest of the NL in the same way. ‘Til then!