If you're not the sort of person who follows video games, be aware that the latest installment in the most successful superhero franchise going, Batman: Arkham Knight, came out yesterday. It's sort of a big deal. It's one of the biggest games coming out for the new generation of game consoles that's not being side-released on older consoles. It's a big, beautiful, ambitious game. It's so cool that -- hypothetically -- I can imagine a scenario where a once-a-week baseball blogger could get so consumed in Batmania that he would sort of forget his weekly responsibility and neglect to fully develop a blog post idea. So, uh, yeah. On a totally unrelated note, I put tons and tons of forethought into this week's theme of who the Orioles' AL East rivals would be if they were Batman villains.
The Yankees are the Joker
Of course they are. Because here's the thing about being an Orioles fan: No matter how much you want any other team in the East to lose at any given time, no matter how wrapped up you are in the game the Orioles are playing against someone else, you're really thinking about the Yankees losing, too. Beating the Yankees is sweeter and more important than beating anyone else. The Yankees are the primary object of our obsession, just as Heath Ledger was to Christian Bale's Batman. The Yankees and Red Sox fanbases will probably tell you that they are one another's Batman/Joker relationship, but screw those guys.
The Rays are Two-Face
A lot of Orioles fans have at least a semi-conflicted relationship with the Rays. Just as Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent were friends before Dent's fall from grace, many Orioles fans spent the dark years maybe not rooting for the Rays, but at least saying "If we're not going to win it, I want them to win more than anyone else in the East." And so maybe they have a soft spot for Evan Longoria or Desmond Jennings, even now that the Orioles are good and the Rays are a threat to their success. Also, it was always baffling how Two-Face was an effective threat to Batman when he left his decisionmaking to a stupid coin toss -- just as it makes no sense for the Rays, with no major offensive threat and half their rotation on the DL, to be right in the thick of the race this year (and every year).
The Red Sox are the Penguin
They're ugly. They're mean. They strut around with an air of superiority. It's almost too easy of a comparison to draw. The unfortunate thing about Penguin, also, is that he's all too real of a threat, and he's one of Batman's smartest and sanest adversaries, out to win for himself rather than merely to torment innocent people or the superhero. This parallels the Red Sox and their frustrating ability, in recent history, to win with seemingly mediocre free agents, then sell off those pricey assets and start over effectively. You hate the Yankees/Joker for being truly evil and a constant threat -- you hate the Red Sox/Penguin for being diabolical and building up plans that seem to hit you from nowhere occasionally.
The Blue Jays are the Riddler
On paper, the Riddler probably ought to be Batman's greatest threat. Edward Nygma is the smartest Batman opponent, right? If you draw up a Batman story without knowing any history, just looking at everyone's strengths and weaknesses, Riddler is the guy you want to be most careful with. He'll "win the offseason" every time. But then the story actually starts, and he's just Jim Carrey, annoying the superhero and serving as a meaningful distraction, but not really ever worth focusing on as a primary threat. And the Riddler has a super annoying goon named Jose Bautista who can't handle being pitched inside, and he asks for a bunch of extra replays even when he's already used his challenge. Or something. The Riddler is annoying, is what I'm saying.
The Royals are Bane
OK, they're not in the East, but seriously, ow, our backs.
What do you think? Do I have any of the villains flipped around? Is there a Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, or Mr. Freeze out there that I didn't give enough consideration to? Let me know in the comments. I totally won't be ignoring the comments and playing Arkham Knight.