Opening Day Moments That Made Us Smile (so far)

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Mo’s last Opening Day. Insert heaving sigh here.

Never mind that it was Easter weekend. Opening Weekend made it more like Christmas Day at the Bee Household, just as I expect it may have been for you this past long weekend. (True story: we spent Sunday morning watching the replay of Yankees-Army at West Point on MLB.tv via Apple TV. And it was glorious.)

While it wasn’t such a great day for my Yankees – and please, let’s all just calm down, alright? – there was so much to celebrate. For one, I was glad to see Francisco Cervelli back in the regular lineup and having a decent outing at the plate, and hearing the Yankee faithful bellowing YOOOOOOOOUUUUK! (Suck it, Boston. He’s OURS now!) For Boston fans, seeing a strong outing from Jon Lester at Yankee Stadium was likely pretty uplifting. Maybe we don’t need to relegate them to the AL East basement just yet.

Here are a few other moments that may have brought a smile to your face:

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MLB Photo Day 2013

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Josh Reddick showed off his beard and belt?

One of the best parts of spring training is team photo day! Lucky for us, many teams had their official photo day yesterday giving us some great shots of our favorite guys. (I suggest thumbing through the Getty Images’ photo gallery.) As I was perusing through the pictures, I came across some real gems, including the insanely crazy picture of Josh Reddick above. I did some Googling and found out there was a story behind the photos.

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Damn you, Bud Selig! (or why I’m mostly bitter but still a little excited abut the second Wild Card)

While I can’t deny that the advent of the second wild card has by far lengthened my interest in the baseball season, I can’t help but wonder if all this hullaballoo is worth it.

Sure, my Brewers are streaking and they might end up backing into the playoffs despite having given up on the season and trading away Zack Greinke two months ago. But once they get there, there’s a high likelihood of them being one-and-done. And even if they get through that first test, they’re not likely to go any further than that.

So then I have to wonder, is it all worth it?

Follow the jump for more Selig rants

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My new favorite Tumblr

Listen folks, here at Ladies… we’re nothing if not equal opportunity oglers. Everyone has their quirks – heck, if it weren’t for this blog I’d have never come to appreciate the detail of a fine forearms – so I wanted to draw your attention to the folks over at Bald Baseball Players.

Not only do they have photos of each of the gentlemen they’re highlighting, but they also have quotes from each one.

Here’s Jose Lima

“Sometimes you feel like they’re not talking to you because you’re [bald]. You don’t want to use the word [bald]ist, but you want to have somebody in the game who knows our culture and can relate to us, and then we don’t feel left out.”

And Brandon Phillips

“That’s what separates the [bald] men from the boys, what you do when the crunch time is on.”

Mike Fiers (pronounced Fires) because I love his “quote”

“He’s been unbelievable. One of the few [bald] spots in a dark and ugly season to this point.” -Ryan Braun

And Kameron Loe

“I got a few pitches up, and I don’t think I was as aggressive as I usually am. I tried hitting spots too much instead of just trusting my [baldness] and letting it work for me. I don’t know, it was just one of those nights.”

I include Loe because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t know the greatness that is Bald Baseball Players – they tweeted at him that he’s the best 6’8″ baseball player out there and he RT’d it. I love that they’re reaching out to the players and that the players are responding.

There are all kinds of things on the interwebs, so I’m always impressed when someone finds a niche, does it well and reaches out and makes their mark, which I think BBP has done.

Plus, you know, there are some hotties out there with no hair…

Hit and Run: Oh, it’s hockey playoff time, is it? I hardly noticed.

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If you guessed 87 as the number of minutes the Pens spent in the sin bin Sunday, you'd be terribly close. (Photo: Getty Images)

You can blame the Leafs’ freefall from playoff contention on this, but I’ve been suffering from hockey fatigue. And so, you’ve been without an NHL Playoff Preview, and for that I apologize.

It seems I haven’t missed too much actual hockey, if the Pittsburgh-Philly series is any indication. The Flyers took a commanding 3-0 lead in the quarterfinal series with an 8-4 win Sunday over the Pens, a game highlighted with more Pier 6 brawls in a single afternoon than I’ve witnessed in recent memory. Someone want to remind Crosby that he should be using his stick to score goals, not whack Bryzgalov’s glove? Ugh. Thankfully, there’s a nice cooling off period for these guys – they don’t meet again until Wednesday.

Because good things come in threes, there’s three Game 3’s happening tonight: the Rangers are in Ottawa, Boston visits Washington and San Jose hosts St. Louis. Each series is tied 1-1.

Now let’s talk baseball…after the jump. Continue reading

What if Jeter isn’t the only one with gift baskets?

Thank heavens for the New York Post. Without them, how would he know that Derek Jeter sends his single-serving ladyfriends away with gift baskets?

*not actually a true story

He used to give out t-shirts. True story.

But hey, trends spread like wildfire in baseball. By now, stars all around the game are in the post-booty gift basket game. Step into my office; I’ll show you the baskets I’ve been able to unearth so far.
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Hit and Run: Root, Root, Root Edition

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I am rooting for Clayton Kershaw these days. And no, it’s not just because he’s on my fantasy team. He happens to have just slid past Johnny Cueto for the NL ERA title — although it’s a slim enough margin that a bad inning could knock him right back into second. I still bear Cueto a grudge for kicking Jason LaRue in the face and ending his career last season, so I would prefer he not win anything for quite some time. Of course, at the moment Cueto’s on the disabled list and hasn’t yet pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, so it may become Kershaw’s anyway. Karma’s a bitch, Johnny.

Baseball’s regular season is winding down, but there’s plenty of other things to root for:
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Your wait is over.

The rotation that will haunt our dreams. (AP Photo)

High socks. Eye black. Dusty mounds. Cliff Lee. Baseball is back for reals, and we at Ladies… couldn’t be happier. Many of us have spent the last few days figuring out how to weasel out of whatever we’re going to be up to at the time our respective favorite teams are playing. Me? TWO HOUR MEETING when Mike Mussina throws the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium. How am I supposed to sneak my phone in to listen to the game? ARGH! (although Games Mistress told me there was lots of rain expected in New York Thursday, so I may get my wish after all.)

It’s Opening Day for these Ladies… faves. Let’s see what they’re up to today:

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Hit & Run: Not So Fast Edition

Devil for Life? Maybe not.

A couple of days ago it looked like Ilya Kolvalchuk was going to be a New Jersey Devil for more or less the rest of his pro career, as he signed a $102 million dollar, 17-year deal that was pretty much unprecedented in professional sports.  (Unless you count the Islanders’ DePietro deal, which I don’t — that would be like saying the Raiders personnel decisions are in any way comparable to the rest of the NFL.)  Yesterday, however, the NHL nixed the deal (and it appears the Devils may have known this was coming even before the press conference).

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AL and NL Championship Series Predictions

I still can’t believe that the championships series are already here. But I’m certainly not complaining. October is the best sports month, and you can quote me on that one. The NLCS started last night and hopefully the ALCS will start later tonight. As long as the weather behaves. I’m particularly happy about the ALCS this year. The Yankees have actually made it out of the first round. Now there is just one problem: They have to face the Angels. The same team that they are NEVER able to beat. Well the Red Sox ALWAYS beat the Angels and we all know how that changed last weekend. So hopefully the Yankees can finally get over that hump. I know it’s stupid logic but let me have it. I’m scared about facing the Angels!

OK I am done with my rambling about the Yanks. Let’s take some time to congratulate the teams still in. And we ladies… will make some predictions. Continue reading

Surprise, Surprise

Since Monday is almost over and your writer is way under the weather, I’ve decided to go with one of my favorite things to do – CAPTION THAT PHOTO!!

The defending World Series champs just took the NLDS in 4 games moments ago, defeating the Rockies 5-4 after a .  This brings to question the possibility of a Mets fan’s worst nightmare: a Yankees vs. Phillies World Series, but it also made for some incredibly interesting photos to caption.  Take your pick from either the title pic or the choices after the break in congratulations to the postseason victors and have fun!

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Congratulations, Division Champs — Oh, Wait.

So, we got that exciting September baseball after all, huh?  It’s been a while since I followed a baseball game that didn’t involve the Cardinals during my work day, but I was definitely keeping tabs on the first half of that doubleheader.  In between actual work, of course.

In fact, with the Dodgers’ stubborn refusal to clinch their division title and the Braves’ surprising surge against the Rockies, all of a sudden we’re entering the final weekend of the regular season with a few playoff spots not quite settled.  Still, let’s take a minute to congratulate those teams who have already clinched their division — because if there’s anything we here at Ladies… like better than pictures of athletes, it’s pictures of athletes celebrating.

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The Baseball Boredom Scale: NL Edition

What happened to September baseball this year?

This is the time for tight pennant races, epic collapses (or comebacks depending on your rooting interests), and crucial three game series against your division rivals with a wild card berth at stake.

Instead, it seems like this year’s playoff teams have been more or less solidified since the middle of August, if not longer — and the season doesn’t end until October.  Yes, there are still individual incidents like Jays-Yankees brawls to get excited about, but September is supposed to be about “playoff implications,” and the chance for even mathematically eliminated teams to play spoiler.

So with nothing exciting to examine in the baseball world, let’s attempt to quantify just how boring the divisional races (and wild cards) are right now.  First up, the NL.

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Ohhhh Canada: The Canuck Boys of Summer

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Hey, it’s my nation’s birthday today! We’re …old! Today – if the weather and my second sinus attack in a week clears – I’ll be joining my fellow Canadians enjoying BBQ, drinking beer (not Molson), and rubbing red face paint off my tired children’s cheeks as I grumble to Mr. Bee about how we shouldn’t have stayed out late watching the fireworks when we have to get up for work in the morning.

Some random facts about Canada:

  • We are actually 142 years old. 142 is the new 122.
  • We’re not constitutionally required to like Nickelback.
  • I don’t think our prime minister’s hair has ever moved…ever!

Today we’re showing our True Patriot Love by rolling out our favourite Canucks on the mound and at the plate (or in the case of Russell Martin, behind the plate). So be your most polite, apologetic self, grab a double-double and join us after the jump. Continue reading

All-Star Posts, All-Star Posts, Come And Get Yer All-Star Posts

Good morning. How can you just walk on by without one tear in your eye?

(Incidentally, that song reminds me of this, which I swear only makes me cry because I’m listening to that damn song. Insert “unhealthy obsession” comment here.)

(Yes, I know that you’re getting this post after the afternoon post. It’s still morning in California.)

The current All-MLB RAR leader.

The current All-MLB RAR leader.

The rest of the All-Star awesomesauce is after the jump, but first: SPOILER ALERT! NO RED SOX OR YANKEES! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!.

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The Last Time Your Team Won it All: Baseball Teams

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I got the idea for this post when I was talking to my friend about the last time the Yankees won the World Series. It’s almost going to be nine years, but nine years isn’t that long. If I ever complained about a nine-year World Series drought to a Cubs fan, I would more than likely get a smack in the face…and it would be completely warranted.

However, when I think back to where I was the 2000, it seems like ages ago. The last time the Yankees won it all I was a freshman in High School. It feels like I graduated from H.S. ages ago; forget about actually being a freshman. The bottom line is we all follow our team with one goal: to see them win it all at the end. Don’t get me wrong, you can still enjoy the season, but you are never fully satisfied unless your team is the last one standing. Unless you root for the Phillies, Red Sox or Cardinals, the last time your team won it all can seem like a lifetime ago.

So let’s take a little trip down memory lane and see what life was like the last time your team were World Champions. Sorry to all Washington, Milwaukee, Houston, San Diego, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Seattle fans. You need to have won at least one to qualify.

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Hit and Run: In Which Barry Zito’s BABIP Regresses, Right Before Our Eyes!

A.k.a. the “Complete MLB Rundown (To The Exclusion Of Everything Else)” edition. Why? Because I can. Yesterday’s scores presented BBC-style for extra hilarity and confusion.

  • Red Sox 3 – 5 Blue Jays. Sevven sollid innings from Tallet (see what I did there?) provide a lead for Scott Downs to preserve, bringing them back into 2nd place in the mighty AL East. Go Jays!
  • Marlins 7 – 3 Mets. Tim Redding sucks. Josh Johnson doesn’t. Go Fish!
  • Braves 2 – 3 Diamondbacks. There are a lot of 3s today. Eric Byrnes finally does something good; namely, driving in the winning run in the 11th. No, wearing awesome socks doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve done something good.
  • Dodgers 0 – 7 Cubs. Eric Stults fails as Dodgers get shut out for the first time all year. You know, I like the guy, but hey dude, put up or shut up. As in, put up zeros on the scoreboard, or shut the hell up when the reporters interview you and ask why you sucked. Go ahead, say, “I sucked”. David Ortiz did, you can too! Ugh. STULTS. My boy Brent Leach faces 1 batter, records 2 groundouts, because he’s cool like that. Go Dodgers.
  • Twins 2 – 5 Rays. David Price blah blah blah 11 strikeouts blah blah blah 1st Major League win blah blah blah Free Rick Porcello!
  • Reds 5 – 9 Brewers. Some dudes hit some home runs.
  • Tigers 6 – 3 Orioles. Is Luke Scott on steroids? Naw, he’s just in an un-slump.
  • Astros 4 – 7 Pirates. Hey guys, the Pirates just won another game. Meanwhile, the Astros lost another one and are hopelessly out of contention. Kind of like the Nationals.
  • Yankees 10 – 5 Indians. Your first double-digit scoring game of the night was notable only for the fact that CC Sabathia gave up runs. I really hate that guy. Oh, and Nick Swisher (perhaps better known simply as AJ Burnett’s new boyfriend) hit a home run. I’m sure they celebrated in an entirely appropriate fashion that didn’t involve ice cream or maple syrup or leather and chains. No, I didn’t just imply that.
  • Nationals 6 – 9 Phillies. Cole Hamels gets shelled but gets the win anyway. Disgusting. Lidge doesn’t implode, but his ERA is still above 8. Good luck with that, buddy.
  • White Sox 5 – 3 Royals. Gil Meche gets no love from the bullpen. Which sucks.
  • Athletics 1 – 14 Rangers. The average Leverage Index for this game was so low that it actually may have caused a Fangraphs implosion. Seriously, check it out:

  • Padres 7 – 8 Rockies. This game is actually so boring that there’s no proof it happened, so I can’t tell you what happened, although I’m sure if you really want to know you can look it up somewhere.
  • Mariners 4 – 3 Angels. If you’re a Mariners fan, then Jose Lopez is your saviour. On the other hand, if you’re a Mariners fan, then you probably have bigger problems, including the fact that your #5 starter is actually a vampire. That’s my clever way of saying that I sort of have a crush on Jason Vargas.
  • Cardinals 6 – 2 Giants. Zito was doing fine until he gave up 3 consecutive doubles in the 7th. Actually, on a team that didn’t epitomize suckitude, he would’ve had an easy shot at winning this game, except that 1) Albert Pujols is on steroids and 2) The Giants suck, ergo, their bullpen sucks, ergo, their starters don’t win unless they pitch complete game shutouts. Except for that one time, but I’m pretty sure that was an accident. Oh, and Albert Pujols did do something good; namely, he struck out looking on a curveball from Zito that came thisclose to making me scream in delight. (I did actually sort of whimper, but the sexual power of a pitch like that is a discussion for another time. Just watch any Roy Halladay start, or a good AJ Burnett start. You’ll understand.)

Good morning. I know in darkness I will find you giving up inside like me.

The All-Star Break Called… Part Deux

So I’ll admit it, I am a total snob when it comes thinking that the AL is superior to the NL.  I don’t know if its the designated hitter deal, the difference in stadium size (I like my homers in the AL), or the tighter strike zone… whatever it is, I’ve always considered the NL to be the red headed step child of Major League Baseball.  But I set those feelings aside to bring you the All-Star Team of the National League,  Ladies… style.

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I really hate “Manny being Manny”

LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke said it best when he pointed out that neither Clemens, nor Bonds, nor A-Rod had ever been suspended by MLB.

Because even after the Mitchell Report and the hoopla, MLB still has the most lax drugging rules in sports. In other words, to get caught, you have to be pretty stupid.

Or, as Brewers TV color analyst Bill Schroeder said, you have to think you’re above baseball.

Of course, when Schroeder said it, he didn’t seem to understand that Manny does believe he’s better than baseball. What about his antics would have led you to think otherwise?

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Have You Heard of Blake DeWitt?

I’m postponing my epic post about Trevor Bauer because right now, I just need to vent. (You’ve been warned.)

So. The Dodgers. Yeah, you guys, over there, in the hats that match the one I’m wearing right now. One of your bench players really sucks. His name is Juan Castro, and he has a career OPS+ of 56. That’s right, his offense is 44% worse than the average Major League player. So what is he doing in the Majors? Well, posting a 7.6 UZR/150 at shortstop, but that isn’t really my point.

But let’s put that in terms that are easier for most people to understand. From 2002-2008, he’s provided a little less than a third of a win — one third of one win, over the course of 7 years — to teams on which he’s been. Let that sink in for a moment.

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Hot Stove Hottie timeout: Farewell to Mad Dog

Normally at this time we’d be covering the things that went on in the MLB markets in the past week, but this week we’ll stand aside to tip our caps to one of the most brilliant pitchers our generation has seen or will ever see. Winter meetings are going on right now, and you can get all kinds of updates from MLB Trade Rumors, as well as great updates directly from Vegas from Will Carroll, John Perrotto, and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

Now, on to the very sad business of Greg Maddux announcing his retirement today.

The Mad Dog in his Braves days

The Mad Dog in his Braves days

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Hot Stove Hotties

Each week this Hot Stove season, we’ll look at some done deals and juicy rumors involving our favorite MLB hotties. If you want a comprehensive rundown of rumors, go to MLBTR. If you want the pretty, stay right here!

The Royals took the spotlight this week by trading for speedy center fielder Coco Crisp. Kansas City gave up Ramon “RamRam” Ramirez, a reliever who throws a “power change” (seriously) and had a great 2008 season. He also has a perfectly spherical face, which makes me smile every time. Here are Coco and RamRam in their new uniforms.

Coco Crisp, the newest Royal; Ramon Ramirez, the newest Red Sock.

Coco Crisp, the newest Royal; Ramon Ramirez, the newest Red Sock.

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The Ladies … Pick the Postseason (Baseball Edition)

AP/Mark Avery)

Will anyone take the Angels out? (Source: AP/Mark Avery)

October is my favorite sports month of the year, mainly for two reasons.  We’ll talk about the second one next week.  This week, I switched days with SA so I could start October off right: talking about postseason baseball.

This is the first time in many seasons I have not had a clear favorite in either league.  I kind of think people are forgetting about the Angels, though, just because they clinched their division ages ago.  So my picks for the postseason are:
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Yay, Dodgers! Way to, uh, sit there.

My friend Susan is a big Texas Rangers fan. We were in college during that late 90s period when the Rangers won the AL West every year (usually to be swept in the first round by the Yankees). In 1998, the Rangers clinched their division, thanks to an Anaheim loss, while being crushed by the Mariners. We managed to commandeer a dorm TV for the occasion. After the game, the Rangers had the obligatory champagne spraying celebration anyway, to the great confusion of the international student who had been asking us questions about the game most of the evening.

“But they lost, right?” he kept asking. Susan and I attempted to explain about the division title and playoffs, but he couldn’t quite wrap his head around it. “But they lost by a LOT, right?” Eventually, Susan and I left him to figure it out and went down the hall for some celebratory Baskin Robbins. (God, I miss that dorm.)
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What Not To Wear: Los Angeles Dodgers

Dear Dodger Fandom:

I live among you now, and in an effort to assimilate myself and learn your ways, I tagged along to one of your base-ball games last week.

I was hoping things would be different, Dodger Fandom. I really want us to be friends. The problem is that most of you were dressed like this:

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