Mark St. Amant

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Suck It Up

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When I got canned like so many glazed hams and realized that I'd have to go on unemployment for the first time, I was admittedly torn.

On one hand, I'd contributed tens of thousands of dollars of my hard earned pay over the years to fill my fellow citizens' gaping, unemployed maws, so you're damned right I'll collect now that my own maw needs filling. On the other hand, there was a stigma attached with collecting. Going on the dole. Being a freeloader. A ward of the state. I was suddenly Wimpy, promising to pay Massachusetts Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Plus, despite my best efforts to stay positive, I've officially reached that "Other People Suck" mental stage of unemployment. Chronologically, this comes right after the "I'm Kinda Shocked but Onto Bigger and Better!" and "Gee, I Like the Extra Writing/Exercise/"Price Is Right" Time but I'm Starting To Go a Tad Stir Crazy" stages, and right before the "I Hope Those Myopic Tools Rot in Hell for Firing Me! Now, Where'd I Put That C-4 and Those Blueprints of My Old Office Building?!" stage.

This, combined with being a Jimmy Rollins owner and therefore experiencing way too much "things sucking" lately, could have been flammable. Especially when combined with my low tolerance for gum-snapping, four-hour-smoke break-taking, mouth-breathing bureaucrats who are only employed because their uncle -- some longtime city councilman with a well-coiffed moustache and a PT Cruiser -- cashed in a favor so his imbecile nephew could get a cushy (mindless) job-for-life away from society where he'd be less apt to hurt himself or others – except me. So filing for benefits, I figured, would be a hellish, Orwellian gulag of endless, drone-shuffling lines, painful soft rock hold music, and Sphinxian forms, rules and regulations.

But to my delight, the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development is just. Plain. Awesome. Claiming benefits online is automated, fast and easy. When you do have to speak to an actual human -- get this -- they actually pick up their phones and are helpful, sympathetic and pleasant. And while you might think I'm writing this in case (A) said imbecile nephew is a roto player and reads this column, and, hence, (B) the blatant ass kissing will come in handy when I inevitably file an extension to my current benefits because there are no advertising jobs out there, I'm also trying to say that sometimes the people you expect to suck the most, don't . . . and vice versa.

And as you know all too well, in fantasy baseball, players can surprise you every single week. For better or – we're talking to you, Rollins – for worse.


Evan Longoria: Dear God, please create an entirely new universe on top of the one we have. Reason being, our current mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere just aren't high enough to contain the skyrocketing value of one Evan Longoria, who's now batting .358 with 11 HR, 27 Runs and 44 RBI through 33 games. Thanks, Chief. Your pal, Mark. (p.s. Any chance you can talk to your former friend and colleague Lucifer about the fine print on his contract with actor Ryan Reynolds? I can stomach the guy's career – hey, he probably did his share of dinner theater before hitting the romantic comedy jackpot by basically being Jim Carrey with tighter abs and shinier porcelain veneers -- but the marriage to Scarlett Johansson? That's gotta be a typo. Seriously, Satan better have Johnnie Cochran check that out, pronto.)

Ryan Zimmerman: Thanks in part to his 29-game hitting streak, he's now batting .363 with 8 HR and 26 RBI. I once again say that Zimmerman should be buying Adam Dunn a Rolex after each game, because no way Zim has this hot start if the Nats don't acquire the big donkey. But it's not like Zimmerman's "punch-and-judying" through the streak – he's had more than one hit in 8 of his last 10 games, batting .511 and slugging .800 for May. Speaking of Dunn . . .

Adam Dunn: Not only is he providing his normal power – 11 HRs, 28 RBI, .660 SLG – but he's doing his best Ichiro impersonation with a .311 AVG and a tied-for-league-lead 27 walks (pure gold for you OBP leaguers).

Johnny Damon: Six homers in his last ten games. Batting .314. Chaka Johnny like #2 spot in Yankee batting order. Chaka Johnny like hit second big rock wheel good.

Jason Bay: Just carrying the Sox -- .324, with 9 bombs, 29 Runs and a second-in-the-Majors 34 RBI. Almost makes Sox fans forget about the withered, popup-hitting corpse that is David Ortiz. Almost.

Juan Pierre: Aside from learning that Manny Ramirez apparently needed HCG because he had trouble ovulating and -- the poor thing -- was probably worried about carrying a child to full term in his genetically freakish man-womb, we also discovered a beneficiary from this mess: Juan Pierre, who's now got a starting gig for the next 50ish games in the prime leadoff spot. He won't keep hitting .426 but he's got a nice career AVG of .301 and will deliver Runs and SBs aplenty.

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For two seasons, Mark St. Amant was the fantasy football writer for the New York He is also the author of Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie and Just Kick It: Tales of an Underdog, Over-Age, Out-of-Place Semi-Pro Football Player, and has written for New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine and
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