It's been a staple of my internet reading for almost two years now. I've even made a few dumb NFL ones on here. Mainly based on the premise that Owen Daniels is Jim Thome. Anyway, to celebrate this website for making me laugh a lot, I decided there should be a tribute. And what better tribute then...a top 25 list!
I've re-read these over about the past four nights, my initial cutdown list was about 60 or 70 long, and I've shaped these into a Top 25 I feel comfortable with. I tried to emphasize the past couple of years more than the present, because those guys have steadily been gaining in popularity and I think it'd be nice to showcase some of their older stuff. I also did not include the Special Events, just because I think it's unfair to the other Dugouts to judge them against such high standards.
Honorable Mention: Dangit Bobby by B
A criminally underrated TV show, so I snuck this onto my list as the last pick over the equally deserving topics of halloween costumes and Peter Pan. Theres nothing profound about this strip, it's a simple punchline, and it works.
#25: Secret Weapon by B
This also easily could've been one of Braden's other appearances, but I settled on this one because I am a sucker for NES references. I think Braden Looper is the most underused character in Dugout history; all of his appearances that I can remember have been terrific. Unlike real life where he's
#24: Pete Rose And The Bottom 3 by B
This is one of the better examples of B's pop-culture radar, which sometimes misses me completely and sometimes slays me. I am a big fan of the Pete Rose running gag, which reminds me of another compliment I could give to The Dugout: they seem to know just when to stop milking the running gags. They run this, the Young Brothers, the Jeter/ARod buttsex, Bonds and steroids, and Manny being Manny pretty well, and I never feel like any of those jokes are forced. Speaking of...
#23: I Was Never Good At Goodbyes by Nick
While the Young brothers usually settle for robbing convenience stores these days, they weren't always unstoppable in The Dugout. This one brings us back to a happier day, when Jim Leyland was feared and Ugueth Urbina wasn't incarcerated. Also, it's always nice to have a voice of reason when The Dugout goes all zany on you.
#22: Keith Hernandez Fucking Knives: Part 1 of 175 by Jon
When someone can write about loving cutlery so passionately, it grabs my attention. Heart-wrenching strip. Also, Mike Piazza's screenname is fabulous.
#21: Felipe Alou's Brain by B
One of my favorite things about The Dugout is how well they handle the real media in their strips, and this is just one example of it that I felt had to be included in the Top 25. Also, I'm probably going to hell for this but I love Wilford Brimley jokes to death and I hope he is still riding that fucking horse around and saying "diah-beatus" when I'm 80.
#20: Brandon Pierzynski Wins the Football Game by Jon
Sorry to bring this up again, Angels fans, but Josh Paul's stream of consciousness here is incredibly funny, and the fact that Tim McCarver is involved just makes it even better. Random McCarver aside: Wasn't he funny in Baseketball? Wouldn't he be better if he announced that way all the time?
#19: Trashbags You Guys by B
Another Dugout commentary I agree with: HOK Sports is designing the same ballpark over and over and over again.
#18: A Friend In Jesus by Nick
Nick likes to write about the Red Sox and steroid cheaters ruining baseball. I hate hearing about both of these topics, so I'm usually at odds mentally with a lot of Nick Dugouts. I thought this was nice because we go beyond the "you suck" aspect of steroids and get into the actual motivations. Also cause it's fucking funny, but you knew that.
#17: Life With Hendry by Jon
One of the things I most enjoy about Jon's writing is his ability to make me think of things in perspectives I'd never thought of before. Like Jim Hendry being an 11-year-old girl with a livejournal and secreting mayonnaise from his pores.
#16: Spring Training 2007: Kansas City Royals by Jon
Okay, first of all the PECOTA segment has always been beautiful. Every strip he appears in becomes some kind of epic battle between good and evil. Actually, my favorite part of this strip is the irony of Octavio Dotel being douchebaggy that they traded Carlos Beltran for Mark Teahen.
#15: Jeffrey Loria is a Giant Charade by Jon
The Florida Marlins are frequently covered well in The Dugout, but this one stood out to me because the charade opener and the closing lines are both incredible enough to be strips of their own.
#14: Picks To Click
Isn't hyperbole wonderful? This is the second-highest of the really "old time" Dugouts. I've always hated these two even though I only remember them once a year, when I channel surf and accidentally end up on some depressing White Sox-Blue Jays game only to hear these clowns perform on-air fellatio every time Scott Posednik manages to bunt it back to the pitcher. To go 2005 on this situation, couldn't we just have the Panthers cheerleaders announce if we wanted this?
#13: Spring Training: New York Yankees by B
Probably the best example of Kyle Farnsworth's work, and the most depth you can get from him that isn't in one of the events. Kyle slays everyone in this strip. Everyone. He even struck you down for reading it. Also I fucking hate Carlos Mencia, and his shit-tacular schtick is well-envisioned here.
#12: Mike Hampton Is The 7th Best Player In Baseball by Jon
WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ ANALYSIS?
YOU HAVE SELECTED "NO".
#11: A Rebuilding Year by Jon
The space pirate paradox is very real; which side really should have more power?
#10: Will Sun Bet A Mitt? by Jon
I miss the wordplay gag, and this was clearly the best of them. The fact that it justifies Sun Woo-Kim's existence in my eyes (I always used to confuse him and Seung Song) qualifies this for the Top 10.
#9: Scientific Progress Goes Apeshit by Jon
Little known fact: This post is actually part of a long-running game of Calvinball I am playing with fellow FC contributor Brandon Lee. The score is 78Y to VVIIX9.
#8: Cory Lidle's New Home by Jon
Possibly the most well-known Dugout, with good reason. Scathing social commentary on newspaper hacks mixed with good old fashioned Jim Thome Love.
#7: The Temperature Of Citizen's Bank Park by B
If there were other huge Dugout historians, they'd probably haggle with this one. This piece has a lot of sentimental value to me because my uncle and aunt were raised by Pete Incaviglia in the wild.
#6: NL Central 007 by Jon
I grew up destroying my step-brothers at Goldeneye, so this strip brought back memories. No mention of Proximity Mines, sadly. Either way, you have to feel bad for poor Ned Yost and his Kolb's.
#5: The Worst Sports Bar Ever by Jon
Does this show my Jon bias yet? Is it weird that I think he's had so many of the Top 10? Why do I admire his writing so? Anyway, making fun of bad commercials is always encouraged.
I mean, come on, between 7:39 AM and 7:45 AM, i rewrote this line seven times! Come on!
#4: PlayerEmpiricalComp.OptimizationTestAlgorithm by Jon
PECOTA's first appearance, which I think is a big enough event on it's own to put it in the Top 5. I feel he's the defining character of The Dugout right now. I've run out of synonyms for funny but trust me it is that as well.
#3: A Sad Day For The Grimsley Gang by Jon
This was actually a serious contender for #1, but I bumped it down because I thought the top 2 were a little more creative. Still, it's accurate, it tears down ESPN, and it's provided me with a fantasy league team name (The Grimsley Gang).
#2: Time To Pick A New Target by B
This post proves the lifelong adage that you always pick on the guy with the biggest glasses. Thats what you get, Sabo.
#1: Hometown Heroes by Jon
I once heckled Jamie Moyer about his Magic Cards and he looked at me strangely. Like maybe I knew. We're on to you, Jamie.