Everyone loves Joe Posnanski. OK, I'm not sure about that. But everyone should love Joe Posnanski. I won't go into all the things that are great about Posnanski's columns, blogs, and books. That's been done.* Since I started working on this (yes, I realize how pathetic that is), his blog has even been scooped up by Sports Illustrated. In short, I can easily give to JoPo the highest compliment one can pay a sportswriter: he greatly enhances how I experience following the Royals. There can be no greater tribute to such a writer than that time-tested staple of internet-writing hackery: the drinking game.**
*I've made my feelings about Rany known elsewhere. Rany's great. But, really, Rany, David Freaking Glass? Wow, so he opens the coffers for a couple free agents and drafts (and I'll give it up to the man on that), and suddenly he's on a list with Zack Greinke and Joe "the George Brett of Sportswriters" Posnanski? You should be on that list before Glass. Heck, even Negative Nelly Neyer should be on there before the Wal-Mart billionaire. Just because Glass is now sort of doing what an owner should do (and we'll see if this lasts) he makes it on the list? I understand that Dayton Moore doesn't have much of a farm system to work with here. Allard Baird was a really bad GM who made many poor decisions that put the Royals in this situation, but at least half the blame for that has to go to Glass, who forced Baird's hand on stupid trades and cheap draft signings, who is a billionaire complaining about being in a "small-market" while still making a nice net gain off of baseball's profit-sharing system. That David Glass? I dunno. You and I might, perhaps, define reasons for hope differently. As far as I can tell, the best thing that can be said about David Glass at this point is that he isn't Jeffrey Loria.
**Just for the record, I did start working this long before the posting of the hilarious Ryan Lefebvre Drinking Game. The intent here is obviously a little different than that one -- this is a tribute to Posnanski more than anything else.
I realize that starting with this sort of compliment takes the edge of the "game" a bit. Still, although I don't think Poz*** is as thin-skinned as certain other sportswriters, he does strike me as a bit sensitive, and the last thing I would want is (on the off chance that any of this gets back to him) for JoPo to think this is anything but an affectionate tribute -- don't change a thing, Joe. We like you, we really, really like you.
***How many nicknames does this guy have? What is the real one? Is it JoPo? Poz? Do we need to vote on this?
I've kept this pretty simple and realistic for your gaming pleasure. I'm sticking with basic levels of drinking: 1 drink, keep drinking, 2 drinks, finish your drink, stuff like that. No silly "gulp down a whole bottle of Jack Daniels" stuff. I've only linked a few things in the game that might require a bit of explanation, but otherwise, read for yourself. This is a game for playing. Feel free to make suggestions.
And above all -- don't play this game if you are planning on driving. Not even if you are just cruising around the University of Missouri at Kansas City's campus.
Here we go.
Take one drink if Joe mentions growing up in Cleveland.
Take one drink if Joe mentions a conversation from more than 5 years ago with Allard Baird.
Take one drink if Skyline Chili makes an appearance.
Take one drink if a managerial decision is questioned.
Take one drink if Joe talks about how exciting Carlos Beltran was/is to watch.
Take one drink if Joe explains an otherwise inexplicable signing/starting job by writing that the player in question is Dayton Moore's/Trey Hillman's/Buddy Bell's "kind of player."
Take one drink if Duane Kuiper makes an appearance.
Take one drink if Joe discusses how he grew up as a Cleveland Indians fan, and how he both hated and admired the Big Red Machine.
Take a bonus drink if this somehow morphs into a defense of Pete Rose.
Take one drink if Joe tries to coin a new term or invent a new statistic.
Take one drink if Joe mentions how much he thinks Joakim Soria resembles Mariano Rivera on the mound.
Take one drink if Joe discusses Tony Pena, Jr.'s complete inability to hit.
Have a bonus drink if Joe discusses Tony Pena, Jr.'s complete inability to hit without mentioning how much he loves TPJ's personality, love for baseball, his glove, his father's skill behind the plate, etc.
Take one drink if Joe mentions that Buddy Bell was his childhood hero.
Take one drink if Joe's wife and/or children are mentioned.
Have a bonus drink if Joe's wife Margo (MargoPo?), AKA "M" makes an appearance in the comments section.
Take one drink if Joe tells the story about Game 7 of 2001 World Series and his "pusbutton" deadline.
Take one drink if Joe makes a snide comment about Tony LaRussa.
Have a bonus drink if Joe references LaRussa's DUI.
Take one drink if Joe discusses his experience(s) covering the Olympics.
Take two drinks if Joe goes 3 blogs entries without mentioning his current book project.
Take one drink if the column/blog is a "Banny Log."
Have a bonus drink if the Banny Log contains actual quotes from a Joe-Banny text message conversation.
Take one drink if the blog contains at least one Posterisk.
Have a bonus drink if the total length of the Posterisk(s) exceeds the length of the rest of the colulmn.
Take one drink if Joe quotes or tells a story involving his "good friend" Bill James/Rob Neyer/Mike Vaccaro, etc..
Have a bonus drink if Joe refers to Vaccaro as "Vac."
Have a bonus drink if the friend is Dan LeBatard.
Take one drink if Buck O'Neil is mentioned.
Have a Bonus drink if Buck O'Neil is mentioned and The Soul of Baseball
is not mentioned.
Take one drink if Joe takes a shot at a Republican politician or policy.
Have a bonus drink if Joe forgets to show "impartiality" by also finding something to complain about regarding a Democratic politician or policy.
Take one drink if Joe brings up some piece of pop culture he likes.
Have a bonus drink if that piece of pop culture deviates from standard whitebread-blogger cultural fashion.
Finish your drink if Joe mentions a musical artist he likes that is the least bit funky.
Take one drink if Joe mentions the Dayton Game.
Have a bonus drink if Joe finds it curious that Dayton Moore taught him a game that singles out two players that Dayton Moore acquired in trades that were at least somewhat questionable.
Keep drinking if Joe discusses the fact that other than those "tools," the two players singled out in the Dayton game have no other discernible baseball skills.
Might as well finish it up if Joe muses on the significance of Dayton Moore thinking it would reflect well on him to show a well-known baseball writer a "game" that singles out two players he acquired in trades (at least one of which is questionable), either of whom would have to make miraculous strides to reach replacement level.
Take two drinks if Joe mentions that Buzz Bissinger is/was sort of a hero of his.
Take one drink if Joe mocks J. P. Ricciardi for saying that Adam Dunn "doesn't like baseball" because of his low batting average, high strikeout rate, and/or poor defense.
Have a bonus drink if Joe does so within a week of also expressing concern about Alex Gordon's low batting average, high strikeout rate, and/or poor defense.
Take one drink if Jason Whitlock fills in for Joe with a baseball column.
Finish your drink if Jason Whitlock competently fills in for Joe with a baseball column.****
****You are a good writer, Mr. Whitlock, but let's face it -- baseball isn't your thing.
Take one drink if Bruce Springsteen is mentioned.
Finish your drink if Joe muses on The Boss's apparent need for a laxative when singing and playing the guitar at the same time.
Finish your drink if Joe discusses the circumstances behind Tony Pena, Sr.'s resignation in detail.
Finish your drink if Joe gets into a Mariotti-esque feud with a sports personality or another writer.
Finish your drink if Joe criticizes Dayton Moore directly and without qualification.
Finish your drink if Joe documents Jason Whitlock's "last days in the Florida wild by interviewing fast-food servers up and down the Florida coast."
[Note: Just for the record, I realize this sort of thing could be done for anyone. "Take a drink if devil_fingers mentions Jose Guillen's struggles against righties," "Take a drink if devil_fingers (blank) (blank) (blank) (blank)ed," "Finish your drink if devil_fingers manages to post without any grammatical errors or typos." I actually thought of examples for other people, but I didn't anyone to be offended by being put on/left off. So there.]
[Updated September 3, 2008, 2:02 EST]
[Updated September 8, 2008. Thanks to jonfmorse and Warden11 for allowing me to incorporate their suggestions made below.]
[Updated September 10, 2008. Soria/Rivera.]