GM For a Day

It had reached that time of year when fans the nation over begin to put their GM caps on and think/talk about what moves they would make if they were in charge. GM caps aren’t nearly as fun to play with when your team is mired in sub .500 mediocrity, but it is something to do nonetheless.

The following is a just-for-fun looksee at what I would consider doing if I were the Cubs GM for a day. You will see that, even as sentimental as I am, I do not share real GM Jim Hendry’s somewhat alarming stance on fire-sales and rebuilding.

This may be the most heartless post I’ve ever written.

***

Dempster, Ryan: While I am trying not to let my heart interfere with my head in my pretend 1-day tenure as Cubs general manager, I can’t help it with Dempsty. I couldn’t possibly let him go anywhere. (See also: Wood, Kerry.)

Garza, Matt: I never would have traded for Matt in the first place. Unless some other team was daft enough willing to part with 3 of its top ten prospects, I wouldn’t let go of him this year. It just seems pointless.

Grabow, John: Free to a good home.

Marmol, Carlos: There was a time when I would have considered Carlos #2 as untouchable. I don’t any longer. I suppose all that 9th inning stress has gotten to my head. I am not saying that I would trade Carlos, only that I wouldn’t rule it out. And I would demand a LOT in any possible trade situation (more than he is worth.)

Marshall, Sean: Sigh. It would be difficult for me to pull the trigger on any deal involving Sean, but I hope that in the end I would be able to do what was right for him and the Cubs.

Russell, James: If John Grabow and Sean Marshall aren’t around I guess that would make James the new go-to lefty in our bullpen.

Samardzija, Jeff: He’s done OK this year, certainly better than anyone expected. I would just keep Jeff where he is and ride out that contract.

Wells, Randy: Most of these fellows fit into one of three basic divisions. One, the guys somebody may want. Two, the guys that nobody want. Three, the guys people want but can’t have. I’m afraid that Randy might be a two.

Wood, Kerry: Maybe Kerry should be a one, but he’s a three as long as I’m GM.

Zambrano, Carlos: I wouldn’t even consider Carlos #1 as trade bait. If only to annoy Paul Sullivan.

Hill, Koyie: I heard a rumor that someone might be interested in Koyie. If it’s true, he’s theirs. But it probably isn’t.

Soto, Geovany: Not for sale. Catchers, even half decent ones, are too hard to come by.

Baker, Jeff: If I were the GM of a team that was in contention, I would want Jeff Baker. As Cubs GM, I would hesitate to part with him. Players as versatile and inexpensive as Jeffy B. are worth hanging onto, even in a bad year.

Barney, Darwin: Not going anywhere on my watch.

Castro, Starlin: Crown prince of all the untouchables.

DeWitt, Blake: Blake has never really seemed like a fit on the Cubs. I would send him some place where he could be more useful.

Pena, Carlos: I love Carlos Pena. I always have. I’ve enjoyed watching him as a Cub. But he is still probably the first guy on the proverbial chopping block.

Ramirez, Aramis: The times, they are a-changing. I’m willing to say goodbye if he is.

Byrd, Marlon: Yet another prime trade candidate who I’d miss.

Campana, Tony: Should probably be in triple-A getting more seasoning and playing time, but if half the trade propositions I’ve suggested went down, he’d probably have to tough it out in Chicago.

Fukudome, Kosuke: Sayonara, Fuke. (I seriously feel so mean all of a sudden.)

Johnson, Reed: I couldn’t let go of Reed. So much for that head/heart business.

Soriano, Alfonso: Rumors, schmumors. Fonsie isn’t going anywhere, whether we like it or not.

*Jackson, Brett: I would appease the people (myself included) who would like to have a peek at Mr. Jackson in Chicago before the 2011 season expires.

*Flaherty, Ryan: How do you feel about third base, Mr. Flaherty?

***

So, how ’bout it? What would you all do if you had GM powers for a day?

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While I Was Out…

I am afraid the FBB has been sadly neglected over the past few weeks, but I promise it has not been without just cause! I have been to and fro all over creation (well, really just New Market, Chicagoland, and Washington DC) and have had few moments to spare for writing.

Instead of spreading out or just ignoring the happenings of my hiatus, as I would probably usually do, I’m just gonna cram them all here into one awkward post. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to it!

*

Love & Marriage: I can’t not include this… My most loyal reader/commenter (who also happens to be my cousin and one of my favorite people in the whole wide world) was married on June 25th. It was pure joy being there with her on that special day. Congratulations, my dear Melinda!

*

Cubs: It was sort of nice to be able to ignore the Cubs for awhile, as both losses and injuries have continued to heap up. Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza, Reed Johnson and Darwin Barney all returned from the disabled list. Carlos Zambrano went in the opposite direction. Jeff Baker also came off of the DL, but then he hurt himself again. But I think he’s OK, now. Ryan Dempster was on the fritz as well. Marcos Mateo had a really lovely outing on the same day that Big Z went down, then he went down himself in his next appearance. DJ LeMahieu and Lou Montanez were sent packing to triple-A Iowa. Casey Coleman was brought up from the I-Cubs and promptly sent back down. Chris Carpenter was sent down to the I-Cubs and promptly brought back up. It’s all very mind-dizzying and, as I said, it was nice to not pay much attention for a week or so.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, however, the Cubs had pretty much ALL my attention, as I traveled with my siblings to see them play a pair of games against the Nationals in our nation’s capital. In classic Cubs fashion, they lost both games. Our experience was most fortunately redeemed thanks to our success in the “souvenir” collecting department (autographs, baseballs, etc.,)

A few notes about individuals:

“Professional” ballhawk and grade-A nincompoop Zach Hample was in attendance at Tuesday’s game. I watched him push by an innocent person right in front of me, saying loudly and flatly, “Watch out.” What ever happened to “Excuse me?” I was incredibly disappointed that no opportunity to bump, fall into or step on Mr. Hample by “accident” presented itself. It probably would have been wrong, but I would have enjoyed it immensely.

Koyie Hill: I have decided that Koyie is a really cool guy. And I think that people need to quit treating him like a kitten-eater. I don’t care what his batting average is.

Sean Marshall: Also a really cool guy. Sean probably does really deserve to play for a team better than the Cubs, but I am a selfish fan and I hope he never ever goes away.

Matt Garza: The Muppet Man definitely gained a few cool points in my book this week. We saw him outside Nationals Park and he declined to sign any autographs, saying he’d “get us inside.” I assumed he was just saying that, but he proved to be true to his word. I thought it was very good of him.

Tony Campana: What a sweetpea. That’s all I have to say.

*

Starlin Castro: Starlin gets his own heading in bold because he is just that cool. And because I love him. And because he was elected to his first MLB All Star team. Let us hope it is the first of many! Congrats, kiddo!

*

Rebels: As always, the New Market Rebels have been bringing much fun, excitement, and chaos into our lives. Last Friday I sat through the longest game (inning-wise) I’ve ever attended. It spanned 19, easily beating the previous record 17, and we won, so it was more than worth it.

On Saturday morning, Rebel Park hosted an open batting practice for whomever wanted to participate. It was a small group, but we had a good time. I managed to hit a few balls that made it past the infield grass, and I think one of them might have rolled all the way into the outfield grass if it hadn’t been fielded. That’s right! Look out, Albert Pujols.

Among our number were two Rebels alumni, pitcher Tim Adinolfi (1999) and third baseman Adam Frederick (2004-05.) It was extra awesome to have those guys there. I turned into a total fan when “Freddy” pitched to me on my last turn in the batter’s box. Is it fair to blame my poor contact skills on the fact that I was thinking more about that unforgettable playoff series in ’05 in which he drove in 6 runs? No? Well, I’m doing it anyway.

*

Elsewhere in baseball: I was definitely jealous of the hard-core campaign the Nationals have going to get Mike Morse onto the NL All Star team via MLB.com’s “Final Vote.” If I had that kind of fire-power, the Darwin Barney initiative might have gone somewhere. Oh well.

The Cardinals released former All-Star closer Ryan Franklin. On the surface, this was not a significant piece of news to me. BUT, as St. Lou chose to fill Mr. Franklin’s roster spot with none other than legendary 2006 New Market Rebels all star closer Cotton Dickson, it quickly became very significant indeed! Major, major congrats to Cotton! Here’s hoping he sticks around in the bigs for a good long time!

*

Well guys, I hope that my posts here at the FBB will be more consistent the next few weeks. Thanks for sticking out the craziness with me.

 

Predictorama!: Your 2011 Chicago Cubs, Part One

I shall conclude all my prediculating this week with an “in-depth” peek at the Chicago Cubs. Come to think, I’ll probably due some more once October hits, but no worries! That is many months off.

For now the end (mercifully, of both Predictorama! 2011 AND the off-season) is in sight. What better to do with these few remaining days than taking a stab or two at what the future may hold for Chicago’s North-siders?

This is Part One… look for Part Two on Thursday, Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise. To help measure my expectations, I have instituted a “system” of baby sloth hugs. The more hugs, the better, obviously. It’s not an exact science, though, so don’t read too much into it.

~

In 2010, I predicted that the Cubs would be neither as bad and people generally expected nor as good as they secretly hoped. Don’t think it cheap of me, but I pretty much expect the same for 2011. That’s about all I have to say on the team as a whole. I’ll take the rest of this preview player-by-player, going in alphabetical order. Ready? Here we go.

~

Jeff Baker, Darwin Barney, Blake DeWitt: It is hard to say who will see the most playing time at second base. I consulted a magic-8 ball, but it was noncommittal, so I am lumping these gentlemen all together. Their names are conveniently close together alphabetically. I am strongly of the opinion that we need something cool to call this infielding trio. “Killer B’s” has been done… do you think “Bakey, Blakey & Barney” works, or does it sound too much like a law firm of  babies? I am wide open to any better-suited suggestions.

Marlon Byrd: I am prepared to award Mr. Byrd 5 baby sloth hugs per web gem he makes. That should add up to something like 7,000 hugs, right? I forecast a slight drop-off from the offensive stats he put up in 2010. Nothing drastic. Byrd will continue to be the Wyrd.

Additional Note: Baby sloth would highly approve bringing back the post game victory hug that was instituted for a time last season.

Andrew Cashner: I am delighted that Cash was awarded a spot in the starting rotation and have every hope of his holding his own there. I expect we’ll see some flashes of brilliance interspersed with a few rough periods. Don’t lose heart, though. He’s gonna be alright, in the long run.

Starlin Castro: If Darlin’ Starlin continues to play in the regular season like he has in the spring, and improves a bit in the field, I will buy him a pony and grant him infinite baby sloth hugs.

Tyler Colvin: Will easily become the most popular “TyCo” in the Midwest since beanie babies. With any luck, he will hold onto his value better. Speaking of which, what will anyone give me for a Patti the Platypus (near-mint condition)?

Ryan Dempster: I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that Demp will have another solid year. Who could ask for a steadier, more reliable pitcher? Or a more genuinely like human being, for that matter? Baby sloth hugs: lots and lots.

Kosuke Fukudome: I would be no more surprised to see Fu put up respectable numbers than I would be to see him wearing a different team’s uniform by August. Doesn’t really need any baby sloth hugs, as he has an adorable Asian child of his own to embrace at his leisure.

Matt Garza: Matt gets two baby sloth hugs for every different muppet he will remind me of this season. That’ll add up to more than a few. Pitching-wise, I am going to be optimistic and predict 14-15 wins and an ERA in the mid 3’s.

John Grabow: I honestly believe that John G. will exceed expectations this season. I’m not saying he won’t eat a few kittens along the way, but I have a generally positive feeling. 12 baby sloth hugs, one for each hold I predict John will record.

Koyie Hill: I hear more lamentations about Koyie than any other individual on the team. I’ll stick up for him, not just because I like him, because I don’t find it entirely fair. There aren’t more than half a dozen really good starting catchers in the major leagues. It’s almost funny that people seem to  expect so much from a back-up. I can only owe it to the fact that we were spoiled for several years with Henry Blanco, who was exceptional for a second string guy. I am sorely tempted to do a bit of a study on back-up catchers. I may well do it, if I continue to be provoked by peoples treatment of Koyie. Really, I would just implore that folks be a bit more realistic. That’s all.

I grant Mr. Hill one baby sloth hug per insult he receives this year. I hope they are less than in 2010.

~

 

“Well, you’ve certainly given the ghost of Tchaikovsky something to think about.”

“We have a system. It’s a good system. There’s an old saying: Don’t… change… anything… ever.”

As I expect everyone is aware, the use of “walk-up” music for the players was instituted last year in Wrigley Filed, replacing the traditional organ-ic strains of Gary Pressy. As it turns out, this was done at the request of Marlon Byrd. After reading the following article from the Chicago Tribune this weekend, I decided to post it here for your perusal, with some added commentary  of my own (in red.)

I usually try to avoid being snarky/sarcastic, but that side of me may come out today. No offense meant to Marlon or the other players, I still love you- snarkasm* aside.

~

Unlike most teams, the Cubs are forced to walk a fine line between progress and tradition.

They were the last team to install lights, and one of the last to install rotating advertising boards behind home plate. The installation of the car sign in left field caused a stir last summer, and talk about bringing a Jumbotron to Wrigley has been debated for years. (Let the record show that the FBB and most of its readers are anti-jumbotron.)

The Cubs made one small (the smallest things are often the most annoying) change to tradition in 2010 to make their players happy (all two of them?), while aggravating a segment of their fan base (that’s me! *Waves hands wildly and excitedly*). With no fanfare last June, they suddenly replaced Gary Pressy’s organ music with snippets of taped music for hitters’ intro songs.

Asked by a fan at the Cubs Convention why they were spoiling the “Wrigley Field experience,” Chairman Tom Ricketts recalled a conversation with an unnamed player who wanted the taped music to help the team out of its early-season slump (That really worked, too, didn’t it?)

“We weren’t getting the clutch hits, we weren’t scoring runs,” Ricketts told the fans. “And a player came up and made that request. “I was like, ‘Geez, we have traditions.’ ”

Ricketts and the marketing department debated it, and ultimately decided to make the change.

“I said ‘Look, I know that it won’t be popular with everybody (I think he meant anybody), but if it shows the players that we’re going to give them some support and try to shake things up and help things a little bit, then I’ll give it a shot,’ ” he told fans.

Marlon Byrd confirmed he was the player Ricketts cited and that he was trying to boost the team’s morale. Points for honesty.
“We were the only team not coming out to music,” (Dude, why don’t you just punch Gary Pressy right in the face?) Byrd said. “I thought it’d be a good twist (and how is conforming to exactly what everybody else does a “twist?) , with it being ‘Year One’ with the Ricketts. (what does that have to do with it?) I understand you have to keep tradition (DO YOU?), have to keep the organ. But change it up just a little bit.”

Byrd’s intro song was “Work” by Gang Starr, which included the lyrics: “I’ve been laying, waiting for your next mistake/I put in work, and watch my status escalate.” He said he enjoyed seeing fans “bobbing their heads in the stands” when they heard his song (If your walk-up song is supposed to help you focus/jazz you up, why are you paying attention to what the crowd is doing?), even if the sound system is so antiquated it barely could be heard. Another good point, there. All the crowd hears is four seconds of blurred static.

The reaction was split between the traditionalists and progressives (personally, I didn’t hear any positive reaction, and I’m not just saying that). Ricketts admitted to fans they received “a lot of feedback from fans who preferred” organ music to taped songs, and said they’re considering whether or not to return to the old-school ways. Please, please, please return to the old-school ways!

Infielder Jeff Baker, who came out to various Beastie Boys songs, said he hopes the Rickettses keep the status quo. I like you, Jeff Baker, I really do. But I wish you would have kept your trap shut here.

“It creates a personality and an identity for each player, showing what you bring, and making your own stamp,” (Wrong. All it really shows us is what terrible taste in music you all have) Baker said. “I’m all for it. I know the majority of the players like it (If majority rules, than the fans should outweigh the players. There’s more of us than you. Just saying.) I know it’s a tough line for [the Rickettses] because they’re trying to balance the traditions of Wrigley with what the players like and want.”

“It’s a tough call, but I hope they don’t can it. It’s not like you’re replacing the organ music completely. You’re just adding to (no, subtracting from) it. I don’t think it has ruined the fundamental history of Wrigley.”

Catcher Koyie Hill, who preferred striding to home plate to Led Zeppelin, said a new sound system would make the recorded music more palatable.

“If they’re going to [play] music on that speaker system they have now, I don’t know what the point is.” Hill said. (There isn’t one. There isn’t one.) “But if guys in the room like it and that’s their thing, I’m all for it. When you’re up at the plate, or on the mound, it’s your turn. So take your turn. If you want music, you get music. I’m a big traditional guy, but I’m also not ignorant to the modern stuff. I like a good mix.” Quit being all political, Koyie.

If the Ricketts family decides to go back to organ music, Byrd said the team can live with it (good!). It’s not a big deal, but one of those little “Chicago things” Chicagoans like to debate. It’s not a debate. I’m pretty sure we all hate it.

“I’m not part of the marketing department. So I’m not sure what kind of feedback they got,” Byrd said. “If the fans didn’t like it, we don’t need to have it. (Thank you.) They do need a new sound system. We need a lot of things. But I think the Ricketts are going to take care of that, and if we did have one, it’d be pretty cool. (Not untrue.)

“I know, just looking in the stands, that a lot of people enjoyed it (I don’t think it was your song that those people were enjoying.) It’s all just fun, trying to keep it loose. It’s too serious sometimes in Chicago. We need to have fun.” That wonderful, Marlon. Just find some other way to keep it loose and have fun. Pretty please.

~

But what does everyone else think? I’ve pretty much taken the assumption that everybody is on my side, but I could be wrong. Let me know what you think!

*Snarkasm… that’s going in the glossary, for sure.

2011 Cubs Convention Recap

A good chunk of this post ought to have been put up yesterday. Since that didn’t end up happening, however, I’m just gonna cram it all in today. Double your pleasure, double your fun!

I’m going to plunge right in and try to hit on the highlights. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive recap, look no further than ChicagoCubsOnline.com. They’ve got days 1, 2, AND 3 covered, with actual play-by-play of many of the seminars. So three cheers for the folks at CCO and their fantastical work!

The boys in blue look on during Opening Ceremonies on Friday. Continue reading

“I’m gonna go to the game. They could win. It could happen.”

I was in attendance of Monday’s contest between the Cubs and the Washington Nationals up in DC. What follows are a lot of random thoughts and details of the experience. If they seem boring or trifling to you, just keep in mind that I’ve left out a lot (like being waved, nodded, and smiled at by several different Nationals players who we did not recognize.) But let us commence…

Talking about my collecting of autographs makes me feel not-cool at the best and just plain creepy at the worst. I suppose I could just NOT talk about it, but as this hobby (let’s call it a hobby… hobby is a nice word) makes up half the fun of going to MLB games for me, it’s a bit hard to avoid.
The routine in my family involves arriving to the ballpark a good seven hours before game-time and camping out at the player’s entrance. The sister and myself arrived at that very destination in Washington DC at noon on Monday. It was just the two of us there, and it proved to be a day worth remembering. Our creepy autograph stalking could hardly have been better and the game itself could hardly have been better.

As we walked from Nationals Park back to the Metro station after the game, there were a number of squealing and whooping Cubs fans (probably inebriated) surrounding us. Someone in front of us (probably a Nats fan) muttered that you’d think it was the World Series. Some people consider it stupid to celebrate meaningless wins in the midst of horrible seasons… I won’t comment on that extensively, but I have got to admit that it was an undeniably fun and enjoyable day. I had a blast. And if that is wrong then I can’t say I want to be right.

Here are some blurbs for each player on the Cubs roster inspired by observations made on Monday. Only I didn’t really have anything to say about Carlos Marmol or Aramis Ramirez, so they aren’t part of the list…

Justin Berg & James Russell: James and Justin. Justin and James. A lot of people seem to get them confused, which I don’t get. However they do both seem nice and I proclaim each to be adorable in my sight.

Andrew Cashner is sorta fun to watch in the outfield during BP. Threw lots of baseballs to the crowd… Cash is a people pleaser.

Nothing but *applause* for Casey Coleman. The kid threw a heckuva game.

Ryan Dempster: Dempsty is always awesome. Al-ways.

Thomas Diamond emerged from a cab outside the stadium carrying a messenger bag and I totally did not recognize him ’til he was almost gone. Yes, I am ashamed of myself. Sorry, Thomas.

Was the mystery man with a round face and light colored hair Tom Gorzelanny? I think it probably was.

Sean Marshall is still really tall.

Marcos Mateo seems jolly.

My sister doesn’t like Randy Wells. I do. She also doesn’t like Tyler Colvin, so I think everyone knows who’s in the right on this one.

After BP, there was a gentleman next to me who was genuinely put out with Carlos Zambrano for not stopping to sign autographs and engage with the fans. I always see/hear people like this a pro ballgames, and I am always a bit amused and bit incredulous. I am neither defending nor accusing Carlos. I’ve been to plenty of games, and never personally seen him sign an autograph for anyone. That doesn’t mean he’s never done it. It just puzzles me that people can be so selfish as to not understand that there are 162 games in a season, and at every single one there are thousands of people vying for the attention of players. There is no possible way for every fan to go home with an autograph or a free baseball. Obtaining such coveted freebies is all about being in the right place at the right time. Just because a player doesn’t respond to the masses screaming for attention, that does not make him an inferior human being. OKAY?!?!?

Koyie Hill’s autograph (at least the one he graciously gave me) consists of just his first name. Perhaps he’s trying to be like the Cher of baseball. It’s Koyiejust Koyie.

We saw Geovany Soto’s face through a cab window, and he looked sad.

Jeff Baker… He may not be the most valued or exciting player on the roster, but you’d have a hard time convincing me he wasn’t one of the nicest. In all seriousness, I like Jeff enough by this point to warn anyone who would dare to insult him that you’re gonna have to deal with me.

Darwin Barney has a cheerful face. Doesn’t he?

I love Darlin’ Starlin Castro more every time I see him. Watching him play is an absolute pleasure and his boyish enthusiasm has melted my heart. I want to adopt him.

Blake DeWitt does NOT look the same in street clothes. At ALL. That’s my only excuse for not knowing who he was at first. As with Thomas Diamond, I am ashamed of myself. I’m sorry, Blakey Bear.

I WANTED TO SEE SAM FULD, WHAT IS MICAH HOFFPAUIR DOING HERE???? … Kidding, kidding, of course! I’ve always been fond of Micah.

I have Marlon Byrd’s autograph! *Giddy giggles*

Kosuke Fukudome didn’t spit in my face or run away when the Sharpie I offered him proved to be dried up. Thats’ a proper gentleman.

Xavier Nady did not arrive at the ballpark between the hours of 12 and 4. Was he really late, or really early? You decide.

Alfonso Soriano: The same as always.

+ Corey Miller: Bullpen catchers just seem like cool guys to me.

~

“You must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon.”

This is a follow-up to my previous mimbo-lists. Nothing was more enjoyable than poking fun at the types of ballplayers who mousse their hair and frequently use words such as “dude,” “totally,” and “vibe” together in the same sentence. Nonetheless, I feel it only fair to write a post recognizing the players sat the opposite end of the spectrum; the manly, the gritty and the brainy. I have selected six men to represent these various different standards. Here they are, in random order.

David Eckstein (San Diego Padres) He may be past his prime, but when I think of the small scrappy guys, I still think of David Eckstein. He represents that whole lot for me…

C.C. Sabathia (New York Yankees) I pick Mr. Sabathia to represent the set of players that could eat David Eckstein whole if they wanted.

Craig Breslow (Oakland Athletics) Mr. Breslow is probably the smartest big-league player out there. He graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Kinda makes you wonder what he’s doing in a bullpen in Oakland…

Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals) As most know, Mr. Greinke was afflicted by mental health issues earlier in his career, but has risen above them and is now a refreshing, fun kind of crazy. Some of the things that come out of his mouth are just priceless

There definitely will be flying cars, but whether there’ll be flying cars for most people to use, it’ll probably take a long time to straighten everything out, all the rules and hassles. It’ll take a while to figure out how to keep people from crashing into each other.

Koyie Hill (Chicago Cubs) If you are not familiar with what happened to this man during the ’07 offseason, please read this. Even if you are familiar with Koyie’s story… read it anyway. Here are a couple good excerpts:

Alone in his basement, his pregnant wife Meghan upstairs, Hill let out a scream. When he pulled his hand back, there were empty spaces where his fingers should have been.

“All of them were hanging by a thread or nerve or piece of skin somehow,” he said. “My pinkie was completely off, except for maybe a sliver of skin, and it was hanging down somewhere in my wrist area. My ring finger was kind of in the same situation – it was dinged out, laying toward the side.

Nothing could have prepared Hill for what happened in his basement. But to hear how he responded is to understand how he was able to make it back. His reaction when he looked at his mangled hand?

“It’s funny,” he said, “but I’ve always been able to handle those situations calmly. It was kind of surreal at first, but it was something I didn’t panic over. It was, ‘OK what do I need to do now?’

Upon arriving at the hospital, Hill, his hand wrapped in a bloody towel, calmly ticked off his insurance information to the woman sitting behind the registration desk.

“She said, ‘Let’s take a look,’ ” he said. “I think she thought I just nicked it or something. When I showed her, she turned green. Things started happening quick.”

Whew. The whole thing blows my mind. Koyie also has a good heart, and is confident enough in his manhood to joke about riding a tandem bicycle around the city with teammate Mike Fontenot.

Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers) Nothing really says “anti-mimbo” like a tattoo-covered drug addict turned born-again Christian.