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Nothing any regular Hall of Famer wouldn’t jot down between innings.

This week Alex Rodriguez, retired Major League Baseball player and human steroid depository, made his debut in the broadcast booth. In typical A-Rod fashion, what should have been an easy home run became a bizarre scandal, with sharp-eyed viewers zooming in on his notebook only to see cryptic references to “birth control,” “baby”, and most-tantalizingly, “pull out stuff.” What all of this means, and why Rodriguez had this on his mind rather than a meaningless May baseball game, remains a mystery, but the other question we’re all wondering is, what else is in that notebook? The Center for Poor Karma & Pain’s crack researchers and spies are, as always, on the job and offer this exclusive look beyond the news.

p. 23 – “Where are my taco-flavoured kisses?”

p. 30 – “Find out: how many home runs wd potential baby have to hit to pass Griffeys for all-time father/son record?”

p. 37 – “A-Rod2 or 2Rod?”

p. 41 – “are purple lips hereditary or recessive?”

p. 43 – “move Phil Rizzutto to back of monument park? who is more beloved? hit more home runs than him after all”

p. 51 – “why can’t I have everything and Jeter have nothing?”

national league eastNew York Mets – In what seems to be a New York tradition, with basketball’s Knicks being short for “Knickerbockers,” football’s Jets having evolved from “Jetsams,” and hockey’s Rangers shortening their name from “Rangerettes” in 1962, baseball’s Mets team name is really the Metropolitans, which is about as hard to fit on a jersey as “Saltalamacchia.” But the full name is also avoided because of its association with the sort of stuffy, pretentious, and pedantic New Yorkers portrayed in Whit Stillman’s 1990 film Metropolitan, who are much more likely to be Yankees fans.

Atlanta Braves – This is the only team name in Major League Baseball with no negative associations. Absolutely nothing offensive here… what’s that? The “Tomahawk Chop”? <cringes>

Philadelphia Phillies – Most people assume that the name “Phillies” is simply a diminutive for the city in which they play, but most people are wrong, so very, very wrong. Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but it’s always been a union town, top to bottom. In their early history, the Phillies played second fiddle to the Athletics and struggled to succeed on the field and at the turnstiles. Looking for any edge, while at the same time always trying to keep costs low, the team excelled at locking out any player who even hinted at holding out for more money, and filling their roster spot with strikebreakers. In 1887, the team fielded an entire team of “fill-ins,” who may have been horrible players, but cost very little. The nickname stuck, eventually evolving into “Phillies,” and losing its connection with scab labour.

Miami Marlins – As the nascent United States expanded and sought to exert its control over the North American continent, one of its most frequent opponents were the various Native tribes that predated the arrival of European settlers, including the Seminoles in the area that was to become Florida. Young and inexperienced soldiers made up the bulk of the troops sent to pacify the newly-acquired territory, and they were particularly brutal, especially the infantry, many of whom were accused of zealously bayoneting their opponents, even in cold blood as they kneeled to surrender. Similarly, the modern Marlins baseball team is known to steal signs.

Washington Nationals – Although Washington, D.C. had a long, if not proud, baseball tradition (“first in war, first in peace, last in the American League” aptly describes the futility of the city’s teams), the city had been without a Major League team since the Senators left in the 1970s. Although there was general excitement at the prospect of the return of the national pastime to the nation’s capital, it came at a time of rising xenophobia and protectionism, and many fans were less than impressed that the team chosen to represent Washington would be a foreign import: Montréal’s struggling Expos. The decision to ignore history and name the relocated team “Nationals”–rather than the historic “Senators”–has led many disillusioned fans to decry their team as “Foreign Nationals” and “Immigrants in the Ootfield” (an inaccurate and unfunny attempt to make fun of supposed Canadian accents), particularly when they’ve struggled to win games.

"I say, mind the uniform, old chap!"

“I say, mind the uniform, old chap!”

Detroit Tigers – In the early days of the American League, the Tigers were one of the strongest teams on the field, but were also renowned for their womanizing off the field, in particular on the road, away from their wives and families: “Tigers in the bedroom, Tigers on the diamond,” it was often said. In the 1950s VD hit the team hard, and the team doctor demanded an end to the players’ promiscuous ways, which has been strict policy ever since, and around baseball the old saying has been modified: “Tigers on the diamond, kittens in the bedroom.”

Kansas City Royals – Not everyone in the 13 Colonies supported the revolution against King George III, and after the founding of the United States, some Loyalists moved back to Britain, some to Canada, and a few headed West, thinking to settle beyond the reach of the loutish colonial upstarts, and continue the fight against life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some ended up in Missouri. The Yankees-Royals rivalry of the 1970s was seen by some as a continuation of a two hundred-year old struggle.

Minnesota Twins – Minnesota was the last state in the Union to officially ban intimate relations between siblings. Although the team name refers to the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, some rival fans insist that it winks at the practice of incest and its even more lurid result.

Chicago White Sox – Fans from more blue collar neighbourhoods accuse the White Sox of being effete and pompous, and refusing to walk a mile in another man’s dirty, athlete’s foot-infested shoes. Cubs fans have always believed their team to be the grittier one, willing to dirty their uniforms if necessary to win games, and point to the immaculate white uniforms of their south side rivals with derision.

Cleveland Indians – Long-time supporters insist that their mascot Chief Wahoo respects Native Americans; when pressed to change a name that more and more Americans find culturally insensitive, the most popular options as voted on by fans are Cleavers, Rockers, and Pakis.

World_Series_TrophyAfter the New York Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels to claim their 40th American League pennant, and with their 40th visit to the Fall Classic starting tomorrow, Major League Baseball is considering some changes to the storied competition to crown baseball’s best team.

Presented each year to the National League or American League team that wins the World Series, the Commissioner’s Cup has been won 26 times by the Yankees, by far more than any other team.  This translates to one out of every four World Series wins going to the Yankees, although the team has faced a serious drought in recent years, not having been to the World Series since 2003, and not having won it since 2000, as Yankees captain Derek Jeter and every single broadcaster working today never tire of reminding us.  In a move reminiscent of the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup being renamed the America’s Cup after its first winner, discussions are taking place to rename the Commissioner’s Cup the Yankees Cup.

Currently 162 regular season games plus two rounds of playoffs determine the teams that play each other in the World Series.  Under proposed changes, if the team that wins the American League Championship Series doesn’t feature pinstripes as part of their uniform, they will be replaced by the New York Yankees.

Controversially, home-field advantage for the World Series is now decided in favour of the League whose team wins the All-Star Game in July.  In the future, the advantage would go to whichever team lost its franchise player to the Yankees in the most recent free agent offseason, unless the Yankees are one of the teams, in which case they, of course, will receive home-field advantage.

The National Anthem will now be sung before each World Series game by whichever singer/actress/model/stripper Alex Rodriguez is currently dating.  If the Toronto Blue Jays make it to the World Series, the Canadian National Anthem will be performed by former Yankee Bernie Williams on jazz guitar.

World Series games featuring the Yankess will be broadcast in prime time on all major networks, interrupting your regularly-scheduled programming. Games featuring any other team will be run on tape-delay after midnight on Fox, with a broadcast team of Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, who will mostly talk about themselves.

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