Author Archives: Neptooth

Why Israeli National Identity Must Include its History of Oppression and also its World Baseball Classic Team

israel

Israelis see their nation as not just a Jewish homeland but as a bastion of liberal democracy and a defender of progressive cultural values. It is indeed all of those things. But it is also nation-state that has used its military and economic power to oppress the Palestinian people for decades: evicting them from their homes, settling their land, and walling them off from economic prosperity. And in addition to that, it is a country with a national baseball team that is 4-0 in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Yet it remains difficult for Israelis to grapple with these fundamental truths. A 2016 survey found that over half of Israelis think that the settlement enterprise has contributed to the national interest of Israel. Israeli sportscaster Gil Barak recently said of baseball that “No one knows anything about the game and this is entirely alien. It’s a sport that has no past here, has no future and has no present.” Worse still, Israel’s sport minister did not even know that Israel was even participating in the WBC, saying “I may be the sports minister but I don’t pretend to know every player and every team in detail.”

The urge to fight against conceptions of Israel as an oppressive state or as a state with a successful baseball team is understandable, but that does not make it morally defensible. Israelis must allow themselves to feel guilt when they look upon the houses confiscated from Palestinians in Haifa in the 1948 war, and to feel pride when they watch Josh Zeid pump his fist after striking out another hapless Cuban. They must recognize the injustice that neither Palestinians living in East Jerusalem nor catcher Ryan Lavarnway have the right to vote in Israeli national elections. They must consider the hypocrisy of spending money on a desert prison for refugees of Somalian genocide while memorializing the prisons where the British imprisoned Holocaust refugees – especially when that money could be better directed toward the national baseball program.

There are some reasons to be optimistic. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still supports a significant expansion of the settlement program and shows no interest in making progress on a two-state solution, he did tweet in praise of the Israeli baseball team after the team’s second win in South Korea. We can only hope that the Israeli consciousness will follow suit and awaken to the horrors of the occupation and the endless joys of Jason Marquis’s mid-80’s fastball.

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Bryce Harper Loses Home Run Derby

I think the Nats sent the wrong Harper to participate in the Derby.

On the bright side, Bryce’s brother won the Camera Hat Derby.

Bryce Harper is a loser. At the age of 20, he’s already proved he’ll never amount to anything. Might as well just give up, pack up, and climb back his mother’s baby chute to try again.

Bryce Harper is a loser because Bryce Harper lost 9-8 in the finals of the 2013 Home Run Derby. To a Cuban, no less! What is this, the Bay of Pigs? I mean come on.

If I were Bryce Harper’s dad, I’d spend the rest of my life standing or walking or sitting or lying next to Bryce, holding my fingers in the shape of an L on his forehead. Just in case any fans or pedestrians or lovers should ever forget that Bryce Harper is a loser who Lost. A lost losing loserman. Is Bryce still young enough that his father can legally change his name without his consent? If son, he should change his son’s name to Lose Loserman. It would be a more accurate description of Bryce Harper than “Bryce Harper.”

Anyway, good luck at the All-Star Game, Bryce! We love ya.

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A Giant Shit (Named Rafael Soriano)

Bryce Harper celebrates scoring the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of game three by singing every aria from Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in succession. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Bryce Harper celebrates scoring the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of game three by singing every aria from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” in succession. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Game 1:

Giants 8, Nationals 0

Oh, Zach Duke. I’m not mad. I’m just…disappointed. We dedicated a whole week to you this offseason. We did our best to make you feel welcomed and loved in the Nationals family. We took you in off the streets, despite your filthy, mangy hair and rabid foaming mouth. We bathed you, fed you, clothed you, neutered you. We gave you everything we had to give.

And this…this is how you repay us? 4 ER in 3 IP?  How could you be so ungrateful? I will not strike you, Zach Duke. I will not even raise my voice.

But I never want to see you again, Zach Duke. Begone from this place, and do not return.  Continue reading

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If You Can Dodge A Wrench, You Can’t Necessarily Dodge a Wall: Dodgers Nail Nats With Headshot, Win Series

“He seems dead to me. Where’s the nearest meat grinder?”

Game 1:

Nationals 6, Dodgers 2

Bryce Harper plays the game of baseball the right way. There are only two steps to playing baseball the right way, and he excels at both of them in a fashion that you just don’t see very often in today’s game. They are:

1: Being really good at baseball
2: Smashing your head into things so hard that you bleed

There are a lot of players who are really good at baseball, though not many with Harper’s potential for greatness. But the art of self-inflicted head trauma seems to be dying out in modern baseball. Players these days are just too concerned with preserving the integrity of their skulls, and not enough with adhering to the time-honored tradition of causing blood to pour out of their faces  by hitting them really hard with solid objects. It’s sad, really.

But Bryce Harper gets it. He knows that baseball is about more than just hitting home runs, running fast, and playing great defense. It’s also about doing things that could potentially cause severe damage to the most sensitive part of the body.

Let’s hope some of the other Nationals start following Bryce’s heroic example and mutilate their own faces as soon as possible.
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Nats Catch Tigers By Toe, Don’t Let Go When They Holler

Game 1:

Denard Span makes the mistake of looking into the fiery pools of unbridled hatred that are Adam LaRoche's eyes. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Denard Span makes the mistake of looking into the fiery pools of unbridled hatred that are Adam LaRoche’s eyes. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Nationals 3, Tigers 1

This game marked a historic moment: the three billlionth anniversary of the day that Davey Johnson first clawed his way out of the primordial soup.

It was also less notable as being the first time that the Nationals have ever beaten the Tigers in a real live major league baseball game. It’s another relic of the Nationals’ embarrassing past shed, like when your mom finally incinerates your collection of Magic: The Gathering cards or when a really ugly person that you hooked up with once finally dies.

This is a new, more mature and discerning age of Nationals baseball. We can do things like beat the Tigers and have people like Jordan Zimmermann on our team, now, and people won’t think we’re getting too high above our station. We no longer have to be ashamed to exist. That’s the mark of a great baseball franchise.
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At-LAN-ta Party: Nats Counter-Strike Braves to Split Series

Game 1:

A Braves fan tries to create a large-scale version of his weirdly shaped penis. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Braves 3, Nationals 2

This series started out kinda bad. The Nationals hadn’t beaten the Braves since dinosaurs walked on the moon (Date: August 22, 2012; Dinosaur: Apatosaurus). And in this game, they kept not beating them. Kinda bad, as I said.

Another thing wrong with this game was that Stephen Strasburg got injured. Not a big deal, you know. Just some forearm tightness. I mean, who cares? It’s just Stephen Strasburg. We have at least several other pitchers. Besides, my forearm gets tight all the time. It’s just a tight kind of muscle. Maybe they just meant that his forearm was tight, like, in the way that people use the word to talk about cool things? You hear that all the time on the streets, people walking around saying to each other “Yo, dude, that forearm is tight.” They do, don’t they? Don’t they? Tell me they do. Tell me. AHHHH NO GOD I CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE I CAN’T BEAR IT AGAIN JUST MAKE STEPHEN STRASBURG’S FOREARM BETTER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Continue reading

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House of Cards: Nationals Park Occupied by Unwelcome Residents

My soul, ca. April 24, 2013, 4:00 pm

My soul, circa April 24, 2013, 4:00 pm

Game 1: 

Cardinals 3, Nationals 2

Game 2:

Cardinals 2, Nationals 0

Game 3: 

Cardinals 4, Nationals 2

Game 5:

Cardinals 10, Nationals 8

They say revenge is a dish best served never. By “they,” I’m talking about Davey Johnson in what I presume was his pre-series speech. Davey has lived a long time, so you can’t expect him to keep all his axioms straight, but you’d think he could at least remember the basic gist of them. In this case, his disintegrating memory combined with the Nationals’ extreme gullibility resulted in dire consequences.

In their first chance to take their rightful vengeance on the St. Louis Cardinals after the game that must not be named, the Nationals instead just served them a plate with a delicious sweepcake. And now, for the first time in recent memory, the Nationals have a losing record. And I’m not just referring to the White Album record that Davey Johnson misplaces so frequently that he refers to it as his “losing record.” The Nationals are actually 10-11.
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The Ghost of Haren-hal: Formerly Good Pitcher Assassinates Nats’ Chances of Sweep

Game 1:

Jordan Zimmermann knows that in Kurt Suzuki's embrace, he will find a new definition of pain and suffering as he is slowly hugged to death over a thousand years.

Jordan Zimmermann knows that in Kurt Suzuki’s embrace, he will find a new definition of pain and suffering as he is slowly hugged to death over a thousand years.

Nationals 10, Marlins 3

This game was as it should be. The Nationals played the Marlins. The Nationals beat the Marlins, by a lot. The world was in harmony; children laughed and played and there were no sad people at all except for Marlins fans, so there were no sad people.

The end. Continue reading

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Split Peavy Soup: Nats Slurp Up White Sox in Series Opener

When the sunlight reflects off this sign at just the right angle, you can make out the faint hidden hologram message: “Suck it, Phillies.”

Final Score: Nationals 8, White Sox 7.

Belle of the Ball: Adam LaRoche. Adam’s two home runs made me forgive his 0-14 start to the season, but will I ever forget? Yeah, probably, in a couple months.

Smell of the Ball: Rafael Soriano. Save or no, Soriano smelled like a toilet that had gone unflushed flushed for a thousand years.

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Man, I love Gio Gonzalez. Can’t get enough of him. I go to all his starts. I love when he pitches, when he hits, when he just sits in the dugout and grins, when he balks with the bases loaded–wait. No. I hate when he does that. Damn it, Gio.

But even in the face of such a balk, I will not balk (HA) at expressing my affection for Gio, especially when he follows it up with four scoreless innings. Continue reading

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2013 Nationals Player Profile: Denard Span

Denard Span's saliva is worth its weight in saliva.

Denard Span’s saliva is worth its weight in saliva.

On January 16, 2013, Denard Span woke up, went to the bathroom, defecated, forgot to brush his teeth, and pulled on his Lounging Robe, which is neon pink and checkered with pictures of his naked body taken from different angles. He plopped down on his couch, flipped open his laptop, and started clicking around on youtube.

Denard Span saw something on youtube. Something that would change his life forever.

He couldn’t contain himself. He tried to resist for a few minutes, but twitter was calling him with its siren tweet-song. At last, at 11:54 AM, Denard Span tweeted the following tweet:

@thisisdpsan: “I was watching some controversial stuff on YouTube about the sandy hooks thing today! It really makes u think and wonder”

It really does. It really makes me think and wonder about Denard Span, and what other odds and ends are meandering around in that crazy ol’ head of his. Continue reading

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