· Joe Sez, Spring Training, The Playoffs ·

Was it just me, or did anyone else (besides Phillies and Rays fans) feel that even if you used the $27 million microscope at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory you wouldn’t have found one fly speck of drama in this year’s Series?

I kid you not, this was one anti-climactic Fall Classic, was it not? I mean, tip of the Joe Schlombowski lid to the Phils (though, personally, I thought Dick Cheney would appear in drag on Dancing with the Stars before Phily would win it all). And that Cole Hammels guy. He was Mr. Nastypants, I’ll give him that, pallie. But if a rain delay is the defining moment of a not-exactly-down-to-the-wire showdown, well, ’nuff said. Wake me when it’s over.

Which brings me to the point of this diatribe. What the hell do we do to get us through to mid-Feb when pitchers and catchers report to spring training?

Alright. I admit football will help. But as I’ve pointed out before, as fun as football can occasionally be, it is vastly inferior to the one, the only, the true America’s pastime — baseball. One need not look any further than ice fishing — the single most uneventful activity on the planet — to see my point. Ice fishing, in which a group of men sit around telling jokes, smelling each other’s farts, and risking 1) severe frostbite; 2) maiming oneself with a gas-powered ice auger; and 3) losing one or more fingers to an angry pike or walleye, was invented right smack in the middle of football season. It’s like somebody made a bet that since football is so damn boring (Army went a whole game this season without throwing a single pass), nobody could possibly come up with something even more boring. And since soccer already existed, voila, the guy lost the bet and ice fishing was born. (In fairness, ice fishing does have its moments. Like when there’s a warm spell and somebody’s Dodge Durango is converted into a U-boat.)

So Joe, you ask, what else can get me through to spring without me turning into a raving lunatic? Lord Stanley’s Cup? I think not. (Why they ever named a championship after a crotch protector is beyond me.) But here’s my answer, pal. I’ll give you two things, three if you’re a fly fisherman. If you fly fish, just keep tying flies until the icicles melt and you’re good. For the rest of you, here goes: 1) The SI Swimsuit Issue (whoever thought of this should get a MacArthur Genius Grant); and 2) a little game I call Names-In-A-Blender.

Here are the Official Joe Schlombowski Names-In-A-Blender rules: You take the name of anyone you love or despise, say Alfonso Soriano, and you combine his name with someone else you either love or despise. Say Scott Boras. You put those two together and you get ALFONSO SOR-ASS.

Here’s one you’ll like. You put Kerry Wood together with Alonzo Mourning and you get KERRY MOURNING-WOOD.

Staying with that theme for a minute, mix Chien-Ming Wang with Long John Silver and you get CHIEN-MING LONG WANG.

Put Derek Lee together with someone else who screwed the pooch in October and you get DEREK LEHMAN BROTHERS.

Felix Pie plus Mike Holtz of the Dodgers gives you FELIX PIE-HOLTZ.

And my personal favorite: Kosuke Fukudome with Alex Rodriguez gives you KOSUKE FUK-U-A-ROD.

Once you run out of Cubbies just keep going through all the other sports. Mix it up with the names of a week’s worth of Howard Stern guests, and throw in the NY Times Op-Ed columnists for good measure. If all else fails, go to the Yellow Pages.

With any luck, Names-In-A-Blender, a deck of cards, the Home Shopping Network and a couple dozen cases of Old Style should get you to at least Groundhog Day no problem.



Written by Joe Schlombowski · · Joe Sez, Spring Training, The Playoffs ·