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The Karkovice Identity, With Tim Marchman

Juan Soto after hitting a home run against the Marlins in September of 2021, also seemingly looking at the Distraction logo.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Given how distant and at-risk the prospect of a baseball season seemed just a few weeks ago, there is something both thrilling and kind of uncannily off about the fact that the actual thing—sticky stuff checks, sluggers getting thrown out from shallow right field on balls laced into the shift, Shohei Ohtani, bullpen games—is now so close. All across the country, fantasy baseball managers are learning that the Pittsburgh Pirates closer is named David Bednar; in a week, Major League Baseball teams will be playing Major League Baseball games. In two weeks, the Mets fan DM I'm in will be floating trade proposals that would, in transactions involving no fewer than two additional counter-parties, bring Frankie Montas to Flushing. We are very close, in short, and so in the zone of exception when it becomes acceptable to let our beloved Tim Marchman come on the show and compare someone to Adam Engel in a way that suggests people know who Adam Engel is.

Before we talked to Tim about baseball, we talked a little bit about what he and his team are doing at Motherboard, which really is one of the very best sites on the internet at this moment. In this case, that meant discussing cryptocurrency and web3-adjacent gambits and other overtly dystopian, speculative-unto-scammy propositions that only a dozen or so extremely rich and extremely influential people in Silicon Valley actually seem to want. As is often the case in conversations like this, "seed oils" were mentioned briefly in a confusing way, and then dropped.

But because there is only so long that anyone can talk about things that don't need to exist when you could also be talking about baseball, we eventually, gratefully turned to baseball. The result was less a season preview than a sort of speedrun through the players and things that we are excited about, and also the ones we're faintly dreading, with a special emphasis on the thump-heavy, delightfully rectangular Toronto Blue Jays and the special challenge that they will present to the American League's unvaccinated squads. COVID arbitrage was discussed, as was the possibility that Juan Soto gets walked 200 times. Ron Karkovice, a Guy who has been Remembered previously on this podcast with this guest, was remembered again, and opened onto a discussion of changing trends in ballplayer aesthetics, and why there aren't big leaguers who look like leather suitcases anymore. This led, rather jarringly well, into the Funbag, where we addressed questions about the bold and unusual napping techniques of elite dads and the strange and healthful equilibrium of watching Frontline documentaries while marooned on the toilet. I guess freewheeling is a word for all that, but what you are basically getting here is three people who are excited to be talking about baseball and other dumb stuff with each other, doing just that.

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