Mark St. Amant

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Who's Your Daddy?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


One of the perks of being jobless is the quality Dad time I now have with my nearly three-year-old daughter. And one of the 10,596,237 reasons I adore her is that, from what I can tell, she's possibly crazier than Al Hrabosky and Jose Lima combined, and certainly kookier than your average toddler.

For example, whenever we ask her what she wants to do most when she becomes a big girl, after some introspection, she inevitably answers, "Use knives . . . drink coffee . . . drive a car." You gotta walk before you can run, I guess, so if she wants to drink coffee before eradicating world hunger or curing cancer, then so be it. That said, hopefully she means "use knives" to, say, cut her own food versus to stab people . . . but if she is hell bent on the latter, at least she'll probably guzzle an extra large Dunkin Donuts turbo iced coffee, carjack someone and successfully flee the scene, so I look forward to the proud day when I can watch "America's Most Wanted," point at John Walsh and mockingly chuckle, "You'll never catch my girl, pal!"

Anyway, living in the city, "quality Dad time" means trips to our local park to run her like a Yorkshire Terrier and tire her out for naps/bedtime. And being that men, as a whole, have been the hardest hit by the economy, said park -- along with (A) predominantly Latino and Irish nannies, and (B) the occasional junkie performing that special brand of bob-and-weave heroin Tai Chi -- is crawling with my fellow dads. Meaning, over the past couple months, like Jane Goodall hiding in the Tanzanian mist, I've been able to study this curious species and file them into a few very specific archetypes:

Power Dad: A Brooks Brothers mannequin come to life. Neatly pressed business casual slacks. Starched dress shirt. Louder-than-necessary, pacing, Bluetooth conference calls basically announcing, "I went to Tuck and am only here amongst you jobless losers because my trophy wife, who doesn't have to work, is at our Nantucket house meeting with the interior decorator." Typically drives a Land Rover/is named Spencer/resembles a young Mitt Romney. Way too busy selling pork bellies to notice his brat stealing other kids' sippy cups. It takes every fiber of your being not to mule-kick him in the solar plexus.

Motivator Dad: A bizarre morphing of Billy Blanks, Tony Robbins and R. Lee Ermey, Motivator will scream encouragement and/or threats at frail, pasty son who hangs motionless and sobbing on monkey bars, cementing the boy's future as gym teacher, serial killer, or both. (Sometimes he even looks like Tony Robbins, i.e. the bastard child of Ben Affleck and an Easter Island statue.)

EMT Dad: Paranoid, hyper-safety-conscious, EMT follows child up mini-rock climbing walls, through tunnels and down twisty slides, all while wearing a Batman utility belt containing gauze pads, Witch Hazel, a Fisher Price halo neck brace, CPR instructions, and smelling salts. Inevitably/ironically facilitates child's severe head injury by, for absolutely no reason, shrieking, "Ava, no! Be careful!" causing her to flinch and stumble back into bigger kids on swings.

Publicist Dad: Takes any opportunity, no matter how jarring the conversational segue, to praise child's physical/mental superiority over other inbred, mouth-breathing park kids. "Yeah, it sure is warm out. Speaking of, Aidan is only three and can do 100 Marine Corps push-ups and is halfway through 'The Fountainhead.' The other day he said, 'Daddy, I concur with Ms. Rand that 'selfishness' means remaining true to one's ideals against the influence of others.' Kids!"

Vagrant Dad: Actually, he doesn't even have a kid at park. He's just sitting on a bench "observing" behind BluBlocker sunglasses. Usually ends up passed out. Or wrestled to ground/maced by bike cops.

"We're Not Gay" Dads: Two buddies who arrive at the park together and self-consciously high-five, overtly mention "mommy"/"my wife," and talk about sports/their roto baseball teams more often and loudly than necessary -- all to make clear that they're not a gay couple who adopted. Why, I'm not sure, considering (A) paraphrasing Seinfeld, there's nothing wrong with that, and (B) Boston's South End is the city's largest gay community, so seeing two men pushing a stroller is almost as ubiquitous as seeing an EMT Dad walking his child on a leash. But, apparently, loudly discussing an impending "David Wright-for-Tim Lincecum" trade just screams heterosexuality.

There are more I haven't listed, so feel free to send me your own and I'll mention them in another column. And speaking of jarring segues, here are this week's Risers and Fallers . . .

RISERS

Justin Morneau: A tremendous May has followed a strong April leading to a .340/12HR/33 RBI/30 Run line. Just one of those guys who hits, period, no matter who's around him. But getting Joe Mauer (another obvious Riser) back has certainly helped.

Raul Ibanez: Running out of ways to say this guy's been friggin' awesome. .357/13 HR/MLB-leading 100 total bases. Etc. So let's just leave it at: this guy's been friggin' awesome. If someone in your keeper league wants to give you a slightly undervalued stud like Ryan Braun (some injury worries) or Grady Sizemore (AVG worries) for him, I'd go for it (Ibanez will be 37 this summer) – but he's fast becoming untradeable.

Asdrubal Cabrera: First, don't be spooked by his first name, which sounds like he should either be teaching Muggle Studies at Hogwarts * or out with Gargamel trying to catch those meddling Smurfs. Second, he's been quietly, unexpectedly great: .311 with a near .400 OBP, 29 Runs and 6 SBs. Sure, he strikes out a bit too much for my #2 hitter tastes (31/16 K/BB rate), but that's nitpicky. (*Warning: making a Harry Potter reference in a rotisserie baseball column might tear open a wormhole in the universe through which only raging nerds may travel.)

Trevor Hoffman: Comes galloping off the DL and notches 4 saves, giving him 9 on the year, all with a 0.00 ERA. Granted, he has the fewest IP of any top 20 closer aside from the DL'ed Soria, and he's clearly an injury risk so if you can capitalize on his nice start and package him in a 2-for-1 for a KRod or Papelbon, go for it.

Jake Peavy: Peavy started the year with injury worries (at least in my mind, leading me to select deadbeat Brandon Webb ahead of him), but he's once again the consummate workhorse-slash-power pitcher: an MLB-leading 70.1 IP and 77 Ks.

Scott Downs: Some might feel that Ryan will eventually get the closer gig back because he makes $10 mil per year -- hey, baseball is a business; stranger things have happened – but don't hold your breath, Ryan owners: Downs has the job until further notice. 5 saves, 22/2 K/BB rate, 1.86 ERA. Nasty.


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For two seasons, Mark St. Amant was the fantasy football writer for the New York Times.com. 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 Salon.com.
Email :Mark St. Amant



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