How to Fake Baseball Knowledge Through TV

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A lot of you will be incredibly disappointed when you try and tune into Fringe, Hell's Kitchen, and other Fox programs this week and see a bunch of overpaid meatheads throwing a ball around a field instead of your favorite programs. But before you dismiss baseball and the World Series, know this: baseball has a lot more in common with TV than you think.

So check out these pointers and become a fake baseball expert in no time simply by applying what you know about television to what some call America's most boring sport.

The Teams

Yeah, yeah, you know who the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies are. This year, the championship will go to either the Texas Rangers or the San Francisco Giants, neither of which any expert had going the distance. These are the smaller-market successes, the Cinderella stories that make baseball so dramatic.

Think of the Giants as Parks and Recreation; they had the individual parts for a few seasons, but didn't really shine until recently. Can't you just see Tim Lincecum as Amy Poehler with that goofy grin? Or Pablo Sandoval as Aziz Ansari, always providing the laughs? Yeah, me neither, but I'm trying.

As for the Rangers? I'm comparing them to Fringe as the Rangers are just getting better and better each year. Both the show and the team have worked off a core idea to get better, and both are hitting their stride at the right time.

The Players

It doesn't do any good to be familiar with the teams without knowing something about the goons who are swatting at the ball, does it? Luckily, I've made up some ridiculous comparisons with TV actors so you'll be able to drop nuggets of trivia to impress the washed-up jock watching the game next to you. Think of it as the weirdest mnemonic ever.

Cliff Lee, starting pitcher for the Rangers is like... Betty White
What do shows do when they need a little boost in the ratings? They go to White, the veteran actress who brings in the eyeballs. Lee has been in a similar scenario. One of the best pitchers over the last few seasons, Lee was traded to teams with postseason aspirations: last year the Indians traded him to the Phillies (who went to the World Series) near the trade deadline, and this year he went from slumping Seattle to the first-place Rangers. He's baseball's number-one guest star.

Michael Young, third baseman for the Rangers, and Aubrey Huff, first baseman for the Giants are like... Kyle Chandler
Like Huff and Young, Chandler is always a bridesmaid and never a bride... until this season. As the star of Friday Night Lights, Chandler went several seasons without any award recognition until this summer, when he finally got an Emmy nod for his portrayal of Coach Taylor. Both Young and Huff have had a similar journey; this is the first time each of them have been in the playoffs after nearly 1500 games in the majors. Chandler didn't win the big prize, but one of these two will.

Josh Hamilton, outfielder for the Rangers is like... Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Hamilton was a boon for my fantasy team, but drafting didn't come without caution. The Rangers' MVP had a rocky road to the majors, with a rock-bottom stint in a trailer doing crack cocaine. Yikes. The Tudors star Meyers has always had talent, but he's also always had a passion for drugs and booze, and entered rehab in May. Thankfully, both Meyers and Hamilton are cleaning up and finally fulfilling that potential we always knew they could. I suspect Meyers is also a top pick for many females' fantasy teams, too.

Brian Wilson, closer for the Giants is like... Joaquin Phoenix
Never mind the fact that both of them have big, fat black beards. Each of these dudes is seriously weird-o-rama. Phoenix is best known for his famous space-cadet interview with David Letterman, which was later revealed to be intentional. Wilson does similar things with interviews, often pranking sports talking heads with interesting surprises, such as "The Machine."

Fast forward to the 7:15 mark for the weirdness.

Bengie Molina, catcher for the Giants, is like... Jon Hamm
Yes, this is the only time that pudgy Molina will ever be in the same sentence with the studly Hamm, but hear me out. Both are shoo-ins for being on a winning team this year. Hamm stars on Mad Men and frequently guests on 30 Rock, two annual frontrunners for major awards (Man Men won the Emmy this year). Molina was actually traded from the Giants to the Rangers this season, meaning no matter what happens, he's going to get a World Series ring. But don't worry, you'll never mistake the two for each other.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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