Moneyball Lives…For Now: The End Of Season/MLB Playoff Omnibus

Although it wasn’t quite up to the standards of last year, with the meaningful games being all about playoff seeding instead of mere survival, at least we had the Oakland A’s and their surprising AL West Title win to entertain us. Is this truly the year of Moneyball? Or is it just going to be the Yankees, Cardinals, or Rangers taking the pennant again? We discuss!

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Yunel Escobar, homophobia and hazing

My apologies on what is likely to become a rather rambling post.

My idea for this post came upon reading this bit by Jeff Passan saying that covering the Yunel Escobar story is focusing too much on the negative and that instead we should have covered the Chris Kluwe/Brendon Ayanbadejo more. And I’ll get to that.

Then Cee Angi wrote this about hazing and homophobia in sports, and I feel like that ties in to what I wanted to say here, too.

Lastly, any talk about hazing in sports is going to raise this sorority girl’s hackles.

So we’ll get to all of that and I guess I just sign-posted for you like it’s a school speech, but I feel like there’s a lot to say on a group of topics that are all related and I might get a little shouty and I wanted you all to be on board.

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Ladies Links: Rafa Hearts Real Madrid

I am having the world’s craziest work week (Wednesday’s job duties  ran the gamut from making a caprese salad to coordinating logistics with a Fox News film crew) and so this will have to be a links post.  However, as I began writing this post I had no good picture to jazz things up a little.  And then, through the power of serendipity, I stumbled onto a little slideshow called “Rafael Nadal Cheers At A Soccer Match.”  And thus my day and, I hope, yours, is saved.  Unless you are a Machester City fan, I suppose.

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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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Ladies… Links: Farewell, Andy Edition

Last Friday night, I sat on a plane to the West Coast and watched what turned out to be Andy Roddick’s penultimate career victory.  Had the weather cleared a bit faster Wednesday, I could have seen the end of his final match on the return flight, but the remains of Isaac lingered in New York just long enough to make sure the match restarted and ended in the time it took us to get home from the airport.  So my last true memory of Andy Roddick as a tennis player (because he is surely as destined for a commentating career as McEnroe) will be of him firing on all cylinders, reducing (with the partisan crowd’s help) his 19 year old opponent to near paralysis with his shot selection and wicked serve.  It’s a nice companion to my other key memory of Roddick, the legendary Wimbledon final he lost to Federer.

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Friday Fellow: Mike Trout

PhotobucketMe upon seeing Mike Trout on the cover of our newly arrived SI this week: “My gawd, Mike Trout has NO NECK.”

Bee Jr., age 11: “It makes sense, Mom. His name is Trout. Fish don’t have necks.”

You can’t script this stuff.

Seriously, you guys, Mike Trout’s story has been an exciting one to watch this season: a bright spot on an inconsistent Angels team, an adorable first time All-Star appearance (he loves Derek Jeter, so he’s alright in my books) and absolutely sick numbers. Consider this analysis courtesy of Bill Chuck over at Billy-Ball:

There are only three players who finished their season with over 20 doubles, over 20 homers, over 30 steals and a batting average of .340 or above.

Mike Trout is at all those levels and soon he will be able to add scored 100 runs.

Now that’s swoon-worthy! So are these photos! I’ll ignore that he just turned 21 on August 7. Continue reading

How’s That 2nd Wildcard Working Out For Ya?

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

When the 2nd wild card for the MLB playoffs was first announced last year, I hated the idea immediately.Yet another gimmick from a commissioner once again looking at something truly great about the game he governed (last year’s epic final day of the regular season) and taking the absolutely wrong message from it.  The fact that Selig forced the new playoffs into this year instead of waiting until next year’s realignment annoyed me even further.

So of course that new awkward one game playoff appears to be my Cardinals’ one chance at the postseason. And I’ve been paying more attention to the Dodgers and the Pirates than the Reds (likely NL Central champ) and the Braves (likely 1st Wild Card). Hmmph.

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So what did you do for six hours on Sunday?

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(AP Photo)

The last time I caught bits and pieces of a marathon baseball game, it was 2010 and I was in a friend’s basement enjoying a potluck supper and watching playoff hockey (we kept flipping back and forth because our hosts were Cards fans, and we couldn’t believe it kept going on…and on…) I thought of that night when I learned that St. Louis was on the losing end of another ridonculously lengthy ball game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates: 6-3 after 19 innings over 6 hours and 17 minutes. You could watch the good Star Wars trilogy over that period of time.

If you’re a Pirates fan, this might be a little familiar. That’s because they were involved in another 19-inning tilt last season, which they lost to the Atlanta Braves. There’s another neat note about this game, which is best explained by the researchers of ESPN:

Since 2007 only 2 players have game-tying RBI in the 17th inning or later… and they are both Cardinals. Coincidentally, Yadier Molina had the last one, in 2010, when he tied the game against the Mets in the 19th inning (the Cardinals lost in 20 innings). Molina singled to lead off the 17th inning [Sunday], and was pinch run for by Ryan Jackson, who SCORED the tying run after the Pirates took the lead in the 17th.

All of this to say you really have nothing to complain about when it comes to those long Yankee-Red Sox games.

So You’ve Got an Olympics Hangover

Maybe this was your first Olympics with access to NBC’s online feeds (or perhaps you are a lucky Canadian who can access live events all the time).  Maybe you coincidentally happened to have 14 days off work (counting weekends) during the 17 days of the Summer Olympics.  Maybe you are now exhibiting symptoms such as disorientation with your sudden abundance of free time, queasiness when watching sports where anthems are played before the game begins, and a compulsion to introduce Olympic athletes into only tangentially related topics (such as, say, Usain Bolt in a conversation about stealing bases on a Cardinals broadcast).  You may be suffering from an Olympics Hangover.  And, like those other types of hangovers, there are various methods for dealing with it.

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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: In a New York Minute

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39, and yet he still does this. (Photo: AP)

Sweet American Jeebus. Because having two aging outfielders simply wasn’t enough for the Yankees, they shipped two prospects to Seattle today in exchange for one Ichiro Suzuki. Classic Cashman for you: just when you think he isn’t going to make a move in late July, this happens.

A part of me didn’t feel the move was necessary. The Oakland series notwithstanding, the team has played well in the absence of leftfielder Brett Gardner, who is now out for the season. But the Yanks do miss his stolen bases, of which Ichiro has 15 this season. That’s more than Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez combined.

So YAY, WE HAVE ICHIRO! Although I feel for Mariners fans, who have had the pleasure of seeing him play in Seattle his entire MLB career.

Ichiro isn’t the only pro athlete packing his bags for the Big Apple… Continue reading

Put Your Back Back Back Into It: Ladies… Home Run Derby Liveblog 2012

If you can’t be in Kansas City tonight, LIKE MISS MINDA (JEALOUS! But we still love you to bits!), hanging out with the rest of us Ladies… is the next best thing. So come on back to the blog at 7:30 EST, pour a glass of wine and snark with us at our annual Home Run Derby Liveblog. We’re trying a new host this time around, over at G-Snap, so you may need to bear with us as we get used to the new platform. If all goes well, we’ll be G-Snapping our way through the All-Star Game Tuesday and the London Olympics as well. Let us know what you think of it, eh?

Here’s the link: http://gsnap.com/ladiesdotdotdot/4338

See you tonight! GO CANO!

I was there: US Cellular Field

Due to the wonders of Interleague (and my boyfriend’s aunt that lives in Chicago) we were able to knock another stadium off our list the weekend after we were in Minneapolis when we saw the Brewers play the White Sox on Chicago’s South Side.

Can we just go ahead and accept that I’m always going to call this stadium Comiskey? “The Cell” is a stupid nickname and US Cellular Field is too long. Plus, corporate naming is dumb (Et tu, Barclay’s Brooklyn?)

(Additionally, we have a US Cellular Arena here in Milwaukee which is called The Cell, leading to too much lame confusion)

Comiskey is super-accessible via the El, both the red and green lines are within a few blocks. The aunt had planned on us taking the red line, but we entered a station downtown that the red didn’t run through. Luckily, a nice man told me we didn’t have to go to another station, but could just hop on the green line.

Follow the jump for pics galore

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I was there: Target Field

I think I’ve mentioned before that we try to visit one out-of-town MLB Ballpark every summer. Since I’m spoiled and got to spend a week in Italy, this summer’s trip had to be a bit closer to home. A weekend jaunt to Minneapolis to see some of the bf’s college friends while simultaneously checking out the Brewers and Twins during Interleague seemed like a great excuse.

It’s about a six hour drive from Milwaukee to Minneapolis, so we headed up Friday morning and drove home Sunday afternoon, since I have class on Monday

follow the jump for pics galore

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While You’re Waiting for the Fireworks….

Happy 4th, America! Hope you are all enjoying the surrealism of a Wednesday holiday. Here is the US Women’s Soccer Team just after their last Olympic tuneup match.  I’m a big fan of the (new?) striped kits, but I do think Nike missed out on a design opportunity by not making the goalie kit darker blue and covered with stars — just think how cool the above picture would look with Hope over in the left corner.

If you are having to work today (or are perhaps one of our Canadian readers), or if you just are looking for some entertainment before the baseball games and fireworks start, we’ve got you covered….

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Happy Birthday, Miss Minda!

In what needs to become a Ladies… tradition, I’m going to go ahead an honor Miss Minda with some of her favorite hotties.

And also to congratulate her as her photography continues to take her to bigger and better places. If you don’t already read her blog or follow her on Twitter, you should. MiLB.com is using some of her pictures. She took the player card pics for the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers. Her pics of the field crashers at the College World Series made the blog rounds. She’ll be press-passing it up at the ASG and HR Derby with ESPN writer Amanda Rykoff.

In that vein, let’s be a little selfish first and start with the pic she posted early this am to celebrate her birthday – as she calls it: Butttttsssss!

Buttttttssss

But beyond that, let’s let Alex Gordon’s forearms tell her to have a great day

Ryan Succop, both shirtless and appearing to issue an invitation…

Lastly, we’ll go for the awwww with injured Brandon Flowers visits children in the hospital

Sorry this is an end of the day wish, dear Minda, but we Ladies.. hope you had a spectacular birthday!

Five For Friday: Summer Reading

PhotobucketIn what I call an act of defiance against the 20 people on my Facebook news feed that seem to be obsessed with this Christian Grey fellow, I bought my first actual e-book today (left, or above if you’re on mobile). Yes, I am one of three baseball fans left on the planet who hasn’t actually read Moneyball. I loved the movie, but I never feel right until I’ve read the book too.

Since we’re looking at a significantly quieter summer (so far my only plans are three days of camping on Prince Edward Island in two weeks and a you-freaking-know-it-will-be-epic Springsteen concert in August) I hope to get a lot more reading done. And yes, I say this every summer and it never seems to happen. BUT THIS TIME FER SURE!

So here’s five books I have on my baseball reading bucket list. Some are recent, some not so much, but all deserve a look: Continue reading

Sports and Media Pop Quiz!

OK, lovely readers.  I, an American resident with broadband internet but no cable television, was following four major sporting events last night.  Which one of the following was I NOT able to follow through live internet streaming?

A. 

St. Louis Cardinals versus Houston Astros: In which the Cards got a much needed win, despite 3 errors, thanks to a brilliant fielding play by Daniel Descalso.

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Ladies Links: Don’t Forget the Chyron Edition

Via Pete Beatty (@nocoastoffense)

My brain is pretty much in the same place as whoever was responsible for that little mistake there, so links it is! Luckily there’s some good stuff you may have missed. Continue reading

On momentos and memorabilia

The uproar two weeks ago about whether or not an adult has to give away a baseball that enters the stands to a child had me thinking about collecting memorabilia.

We have a (wo)man room –  man room sounds better, but honestly, most of the stuff in there is mine…

We don’t have anything that we spent a lot of money on – I think we paid for maybe one signature in the bunch – but we do like to display some of the various things we’ve picked up at games. Aside from stadium giveaways, we have a few banners with logos on them, since I’m a major uni-nerd and we’ve framed programs and ticket stubs from some of the cooler games we’ve attended.

So this got me wondering about whether sports fans inherently become collectors of “stuff” or memorabilia merely by being fans who attend many games. Seems like every sports fan I know has at least one thing that they’re proud to own and show off.

So what are the coolest pieces that we Ladies… own?

Follow the jump to find out
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Hit & Run: Seriously, I’m OK, you guys!

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(Photo: Getty Images)

First of all, many thanks to my friends (including Games Mistress and various members of Red Sox Nation) for pulling me out of my Pinstriped Spiral of Gloom last Friday morning after receiving word that Mariano Rivera suffered a season-and-possibly-career-ending torn ACL last Thursday while shagging fly balls in Kansas City. Honestly, there is nothing like a devastating injury to a beloved future Hall of Famer to remind you who your truest friends in baseball are. Red Sox fans and I may be bitter frenemies when wins are on the line, but when something like this happens, we all feel for the biggest fans of the affected team and athlete. So thanks you guys – you are the best!

And what a difference a day made. It wasn’t long until Rivera’s competitive nature bounced back as he declared to reporters “I’m coming back. Write it down in big letters. I’m not going out like this.” So it won’t be long until you can go back to hating my kind again, Red Sox Nation (know that I say this with love). It’s been reported that three doctors at two hospitals examined his knee today, so hopefully surgery and rehab go smoothly enough to get him back on the mound in 2013. Until then, it’s the Soriano-Robertson Show from here on out. Continue reading

Victoria’s Secret and MLB know exactly what women want to wear. Again.

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Just...no.

Another one to file under Why Can’t We Just Be Women Who Like Sports?

I realize I’m not the target demographic for Victoria’s Secret Pink line for Major League Baseball, and even if I was I’m simply not a fan of large hydrofoil screenprinting on my tees. But news of Blue Jays’ third baseman Brett Lawrie participating in their product launch on Monday caught my eye (for one thing, Brett Lawrie.)

So I kept an open mind…until I heard about the undies (left) and read this quote from the team’s VP of business operations: Continue reading

Baseballs in the stands? To keep or give away

A lot has been made of the scene Wednesday night in Arlington where a couple caught a ball tossed into the stands by Mitch Moreland, seemingly stealing it from a little boy, who ended up in tears.

The couple has gone to the press to say that they didn’t see the little boy. Someone from the Rangers dugout saw the crying kid and tossed him a ball, which seems to mean that everyone left happy, but it does bring up an interesting question:

Is there etiquette for baseballs that enter the stands?

It seems to be a general consensus that there’s a difference between a ball tossed into the stands by a player and foul balls. Players usually target children when they soft-toss into the stands, meaning no adult should ever steal that away. Foul balls, however, are fair game.

But there are some that are saying any adult that catches any baseball in the stands should be handing it off to a child near them.

And frankly, that makes me a little angry.

I’ve never caught or been tossed a baseball and dammit, if I do, I’m keeping that sucker. Don’t boo me, don’t judge me – that ball means as much to me as it would to that kid. I’d put it in a place of honor in our (wo)man room. My parents didn’t introduce me to baseball as a kid – I never got the opportunity to get a ball as a child. I’d be frickin’ ecstatic over that ball and I’m not sure why I should have to give that up. Of course, that only accounts for the first ball. I’m not greedy. If I were ever lucky enough to get a second or third ball, those would, of course, go to kids around me.

Certainly I don’t mean taking a ball from a child, or pushing, shoving or trampling anyone in order to get said ball. But if I’m lucky enough to catch one of those suckers, I shouldn’t be shamed into giving it up.

The scene in Arlington is especially interesting because the child kind of had a tantrum both before and after he didn’t receive the ball. There’s an argument to be made that the kid shouldn’t have gotten a ball just because he was crying – that’s certainly not the type of behavior I’d want to reinforce in my children.

Is there also an argument to be made that at three years old, he’d never remember the incident and wouldn’t be interested in the ball in a few weeks, whereas the couple was clearly thrilled and catching the ball was a highlight for them – they immediately started taking pictures with the ball?

So clearly I’m a selfish, no-kid having bastard, but what do you all think?

Hit and Run: Time Flies Edition

Since the Cardinals played the Opening Night game on ESPN this year, on actual Opening Day I had my pick of games on MLB.tv.  By the time I got home from work, the Indians and Blue Jays were tied in the 9th inning. “Oh, I’ll just watch this quick dramatic conclusion,” I thought.  Then it turned out to be the longest Opening Day game ever played.  It went on so long, in fact, that the benches for both teams saw a lot of work.  Which brought in Omar Vizquel. Who yesterday turned 45.

A longtime Indian now with Toronto, Vizquel got a warm round of applause from the Cleveland fans both when he was first inserted as a defensive replacement, and later when the game went on long enough to give him an at bat.  In an MLB where players my age are now considered on the far side of their prime, and where many of his contemporaries are now mangers, Vizquel’s longevity is both remarkable and jarring.  (Related: Chipper Jones turned 40 the same day. Chipper. Jones. is 40.)

Other sports news properly introduced with “it seems like only yesterday….”

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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

As delicious as a third steak

Here’s a little treat on your Good Friday. New Era, the company that brought you the brilliant Alec Baldwin-John Krasinski series of ads (I watch this one whenever I need cheering up), have launched an all-new rivalry featuring Nick Offerman and Craig Robinson. Yes, friends, Ron Swanson and Darryl Philbin, together at last. Sort of.

It goes without saying that this ranks highly on the Lady Bee Pyramid of Greatness. But I just said it anyway.

It’s Real Baseball!

OK, so it was somewhere between 3 and 6 am in North America and if you were in Oakland you couldn’t watch anyway, but the first official pitch of the MLB season happened in Japan yesterday.  Then they went ahead and played a whole game.  The Mariners won. Breakup the Mariners!

Behold some pictures of yesterday’s action:

Seattle did not bother sending their broadcast team all the way to Japan (a fact you may have noticed if you watched the part of the MLB.tv stream where they bitterly talked about how "all the people who got to go were SO excited about it."

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Sports Developments That Don’t Make Me Want To Throw My Laptop Against The Wall

Let’s see, my beloved Sooner women’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker Tuesday, then yesterday there was You-Know-Who to the Jets, oh, and you might remember my boyfriend’s a Saints fan… it’s been a frustrating sports week.

Here are three things making me happy.

1. Brittany Griner and the Baylor Women’s Basketball Team. I suppose I should hate them since they smoked my girls twice this year, but they’ve smoked everyone this year (at 36-0, their margin of victory was in the single digits only 4 times; 3 of those victories were over Tennessee, UConn, and defending champion Texas A&M).  The Bears, and star player Brittany Griner, are so good that you can’t help admiring their skill.  I know accusing ESPN of bias is nothing new, but let’s just say that if this team had “UConn” on their jerseys we’d be hearing a lot of “Best Women’s Team Ever” talk out of Bristol.  Do yourselves a favor and check out one of their tourney games in the next couple of weeks.

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Guess Who Else Is Back?

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First I hyperventilated. Then I started to cry. Then I had the presence of mind to read the news and call Mr. Bee. And after that, I couldn’t get anything done at the office for a good 45 minutes. Friends, ANDY PETTITTE HAS COME OUT OF RETIREMENT TO SIGN A ONE-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT WITH THE YANKEES. Continue reading

Five For Friday: Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Arse Edition

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Why am I so happy when my NHL team is in 12th place? That picture should give you a hint. Five for Friday after the jump, y’all… Continue reading