Hallelujah, A.J.’s gone! So why do I feel guilty?

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(Photo: Mike Carlson/AP)

The Yankees weren’t exactly making a huge secret out of the fact that they were shopping A.J. Burnett this offseason, so none of this came as a huge surprise to me. What actually surprised me was that a team was willing to freaking take him. So thank you, Pittsburgh Pirates, Good Samaritans of Major League Baseball, for being willing to give up a couple of prospects and a milk crate of batting practice balls knowing what you are getting into. Because even though this is going to cost the Yankees nearly 20 Raul Ibanezs, it is worth not worrying which pitcher will show up every five games: Good A.J. or Bad A.J.

So why do I feel bad about this? Continue reading

Ladies…Book Club: The Baseball Codes


The Mariners’ pitchers and catchers reported last weekend (I guess they need lots of extra practice), almost everyone else reports this weekend — baseball is almost back but we’re still a few weeks from even exhibition game play. Never fear, I have the perfect book for those of you who need a real-game-action-fix now: The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow with Michael Duca.  (The book was released in 2010 so I’m a bit behind. Blame my brother who “meant” to get me this as a present last year, then never got around to sending it to me. He did get me two books this year, of which this was one.) Most baseball fans know of the existence of most of these rules, but few realize how far some players go to enforce them — nor how saturated the day-to-day business of the major leagues is with the business of teaching, following, enforcing, and (as sometimes proves necessary) breaking these unwritten codes.

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Celebrate and remember Pat Burrell, a pillar of this site

Pat Burrell is retiring, which means this site now has to exist in a world without him. Ladies… without Burrell is like Seinfeld without Jerry, like a flower without petals, like Grady Sizemore without that one coffee cup. Just…totally naked, but in like a really sad way.

According to Google, the Ladies… have written about Pat Burrell 118 times. By no means is that the most we’ve ever covered a hottie of sport (paging Tom Brady, Ryan Lochte, etc.), but he is a part of the very fiber of our collective heart nonetheless.

In most of the rest of this post, we'll forget he has a face, too.

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Five for Friday: My favourite move is SUNSET ARMS!

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My brother lives in Calgary and attends a bunch of Flames games. I'm a little jealous right now.

Yeah, I think I just started another new feature. Here’s five favourite things that got me through the week, and a thing or two that I’m looking forward to this weekend: Continue reading

Cool Sports Stuff You Probably Didn’t Get for Christmas

There were a lot of sports-themed gifts given in my family this year. I received a set of Cardinals pens and my first official Jets shirt (right at the time when I was most mortified to be a Jets fan, but that’s another story), my boyfriend received a few Saints items, and a lot of orange changed hands among the 3/5 of my immediate family who attended Oklahoma State.

But, as often happens, it was only this week that I discovered a few awesome sports related items that I really wish I’d known about in early December.

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Our fave sports moments of 2011

PhotobucketYour TV, radio and internets are being bombarded with Year In Review posts and specials as I type this. Well, guess what? It’s no different here at Ladies… We took a few moments this week to reflect on our favourite memories of this past year. Some will be hilariously obvious, others may surprise you. All of them will make you warm and fuzzy, like a delicious flute of champagne.

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Advent Calendar of Hotness: Day 21

Unfortunately for me, there is a bit of a dearth of yumminess on the Brewers. Its such a shame, really. But one of the completely underrated cuties is backup catcher George Kottaras.

Honestly, the absolute best thing about Kottaras is his accent. He’s Canadian and while he’s been playing in the MLB and minors for awhile, every once in awhile the Canada comes out it and its great. You can hear some of it when he answers the second question in this video

He’s also of Greek descent and is fluent in Greek – so there’s always that chance he’ll whisper sweet nothings in your ear and take you for fabulous vacations on Crete.

And if that doesn’t do it for you, Kottaras hit one of just two cycles in Major League Baseball this season.

Follow the jump to peak in on this Canadian cutie

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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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Advent Calendar of Hotness: Day 13

Continuing on my second year football men trend, I accidentally stumbled on this adorable gem in my photo research for yesterday’s ACoH Ryan Mathews.  I have to be honest – I’m not really a Broncos fan, so I sadly missed wide receiver Mr. Eric Decker up until now.  If you’re familiar, you will certainly enjoy the abundance of photos I have collected.  If you aren’t familiar yet, just thank me later ;)

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Advent Calendar of Hotness: Day 11

It’s my turn to be a complete homer. So much of a homer, in fact, that many of these photos are my own handiwork. Today’s hottie is Manuel* Pina, a catcher in the Royals’ system who caught a few games in the Majors last season.

Manny Pina sure is attractive.

That hair...

*He’s listed everywhere as “Manny,” but a little old bird told me he hates being called that.

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Advent Calendar of Hotness 2011: Day 3

OK, y’all. I try not to be too much of a homer for ACoH, but surely I am allowed one Cardinal — especially this year.  So, I hereby appoint as Day 3 ACoH your 2011 World Series MVP, David Freese.

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Five treats you won’t find covered in chocolate tonight*

* in some cases, we wish.

1) Your World Series MVP David Freese

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionLadies, we have a new favourite on the blog to swoon over, and it’s this guy – yes, GM, we’ll wrestle you for him. David Freese also won the NLCS MVP, hit .397 in the postseason, broke a bunch of records, and came through in the clutch. But it’s his humble nature that teammates like Pujols and gals like us love.

But wait, there’s more in our treat bags…

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In Which Baseball Drives Me Actually Insane

Guys! He needs to wear that tonight!

Somewhere in the middle of the ninth inning last night, I realized I was clutching a sofa cushion to my chest and rocking back and forth.  Then Freese tripled with two outs and two strikes and I threw back my head and cackled.

It was about then that I realized baseball had succeeded in driving me mad.

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On Friendships and World Series

Five years ago today, I was sitting in front of my TV when my phone rang.

“You’re watching?” my friend Susan asked.

“I’m watching,” I said.  “I had to stop knitting because I’m too nervous. We’re going to win the World Series!”

“I’m so happy for you,” she said.  “Even if the Tigers are going to lose.” (At the time, Susan lived in Michigan and knew a lot of Tigers fans.)

Susan was one of the first people I met at college, and the very first girl friend I ever had who cared about baseball.  When we arrived at college in 1998, my Cardinals were inching excruciatingly slowly towards the end of a decade long funk that happened to coincide with my entire baseball fandom to that point.  Susan’s team, in the AL, was better, winning their division twice in three years, albeit only to get swept out of the first round by the Yankees both times.

You see where this is going.  Susan grew up a Rangers fan.

Over the years our friendship has continued, our love of baseball always on the periphery.  St. Louis improved, Texas declined, St. Louis declined, Texas improved — in fact in the entirety of our friendship, this is the first year the Cardinals and the Rangers both made the playoffs, much less the World Series.  We graduated college, moved East (Susan then moved South, and North, and South again).  We went to old Yankee Stadium and CitiField together.  We went to Europe together (where, disappointingly, we were a few weeks too late to attend a German professional baseball game).  I was rooting hard for the Rangers during last year’s run, and delighted in their first playoff series win almost as much as she did.

It’s not that I don’t want to win the World Series.  If the Cardinals somehow put two more wins into their pile of improbable, backs-against-the-wall victories they’ve been accruing for the last two months I will be ecstatic; if they lose, there will be a weekend of moping in my near future.  But I will also make that call on the phone, and I will be happy to do it.  If you can’t celebrate a World Series with your best friend, what’s the point?

Good luck, Susan.  Good luck, Rangers. Go Cards!

Ladies… Linkups: Busy Sports Week Edition

St. Louis Cardinals Chris Carpenter

Hockey season is in full swing, I’m 6-and-0 in the Ladies… Fantasy Football League (what the @#$!), the World Series begins Wednesday and in the NBA…yeaaaah, anyway, it’s a busy sports week here at Ladies… I promise I’ll return to some NHL Hotness Profiles soon, but in the meantime, enjoy these stories written by other people:

  • Too soon to talk about an undefeated season for the Pack! Too soon! [ESPN]
  • Carson Palmer, welcome to the Raiders. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Phil Kessel is your first NHL Star of the Week. Be afraid. Be very afraid. [Puck Daddy]
  • Some thoughts about the horrific accident that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon. [NBC Sports]
  • The Rangers return to the Big Dance. [MLB.com]
  • And your Game 1 starter for the Cards is… [StLToday.com]

Finally, I have to tell you I came thisclose to buying these tonight, until I realized that I probably wouldn’t receive them in time for Hallowe’en. Are they not awesome? If only I could hop into my invisible jet and pick them up myself in Pennsylvania.

Super Rain Delay Video Extravaganza (FUNNY!!!!)

(Will that work for a You Tube title, or do I need more exclamation points?)

As I type this Wednesday evening, the ALCS is just getting under way after a two hour delayed start; it remains to be seen how an impending storm will effect the NLCS.  Meanwhile, an unexpected 24 hour “suspension” of my evening plans has forced me to scramble for a post idea a day early.  Remembering an old baseball video we had growing up that featured (I think) Robin Yount and Paul Molitor goofing around during a rain delay, I hit YouTube hoping to find a clip.  Either no one shares my appreciation for Robin Yount, belly padded with towels, pretending to hit a Molitor “air pitch” for a home run on top of a rain soaked tarp (complete with face first slide into home), or MLB’s license police have been really earning their pay, for I came up with nothing.  Fortunately, though, I found other rain delay antics to enjoy.  But first, we have to get that tarp on the field!

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Keep it classy, Boston.

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Francona at his last news conference with the Sox: classy to the end.

Like any true Yankee fan, I quietly snickered when the Red Sox essentially pissed away the month of September, playing crummy ball and falling out of playoff contention. It’s nice to have a little ammo for the next time someone makes a snide comment about the Yankees “buying championships”. Yes, because Carl Crawford came so cheap.

Then I read this feature today by Bob Hohler and…honestly, Sox fans, I don’t know why you haven’t taken the pitchforks and torches down Yawkey Way. Lackey, Beckett, Ortiz…I could go down the list of selfish bums but why bother. It will only make you angrier. And far be it for me to comment on selfish ball players (*cough*Rafael Soriano*cough*)

Selfish athletes can be found throughout the league, and baseball history is full of douchebag moves by douchebag owners and managers. This situation is, for the most part, no different. But…this crap about Terry Francona popping pills? REPREHENSIBLE. The man brought your organization two World Championships, slayed a supposed 86-year-old demon, dealt with effing Manny and this is how you thank him for his time in Boston? Dragging Francona’s personal issues out in public when the real problem is that you have $15 million pitchers who don’t have the decency and maturity to put down that bucket of KFC in the locker room and go support their teammates and stand by their manager when he obviously needed them most? Real classy, Henry, Werner and Co. Here’s a tip: when a staff member is dealing with personal issues – say, a crumbling marriage – try support and empathy you a-holes.

Here’s how awful this is to Sox fans: one good friend of mine is shunning the team he has supported his entire life on account of this.

And now that Theo heading to Chicago, this is likely Ben Cherington’s mess to clean up. Thankfully, he has a bright spot in Dustin Pedroia, who still cares…until he has an opportunity to leave town. Could you blame him?

Red Sox fans, you have given me hell over the years, but you don’t deserve this. Watching a team choke in September is bad enough, but that’s baseball. Watching the smearing of a beloved manager’s name is simply disgusting. And for that, I feel terrible for you guys.

Random Things I’ve Learned By Listening to Playoff Baseball on the Radio

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I don’t have cable, and though my boyfriend has been happy (or at least pretends he’s happy) to let me watch the Cardinals games on his TV, for many of the other games I’ve been listening to the radio feeds through MLB.com.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve listened to baseball on the radio on a regular basis, and even longer since I listened to any baseball on the radio that involved non-Cardinals announcers.  It’s quite instructive. Some things I’ve learned:

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Happy Fan Time

The Milwaukee Brewers open the NLDS at home this weekend, with games 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday. The #7 Wisconsin Badgers open Big Ten play Saturday night against newbies Nebraska and the defending National Champion Green Bay Packers take on Denver on Sunday.

Unless you live in Boston or New York, you’ve probably never experience the Happy Fan Dance that I’ve practically mastered in the past few days.

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Every. Game. Counts. (A Regular Season Wrap Up and Playoff Preview)

Let’s just put aside the fact that I had an actual rooting interest last night — everything that happened in baseball over the last 24 hours makes my brain scream this song:

As someone who has spent the last two weeks watching the Cardinals wait until the last inning to win or lose what seemed like 95% of their games, one of the most surreal things about last night was that St. Louis was the only team that got their game settled right out of the gate, batting around in the first inning and scoring five runs before recording a single out.  Which left me free to enjoy the one day MLB.tv subscription I paid 3.99 for Tuesday night as a mostly impartial fan (possibly the best 4 bucks I’ve ever spent, even if I couldn’t get the Rays-Yankees because of blackout restrictions, and had to switch to the Phillies-Braves radio feeds for the latter innings because of too much traffic on the video feed (and my crappy bandwidth).  At one point, I had three GTalk conversations going and was on the phone to my parents; 99.5 % of the discussion revolved around baseball (I did manage to discuss Christmas arrangements with my folks.  I’m not totally obsessed.)

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What I Think About While Trying Not To Think About the 6 Run 9th Inning Lead The Cardinals Just Blew That Will Likely Cost Them The Wild Card

(Subtitle: Probably I’m Overreacting, Since They’ve Certainly Blown Plenty of Other Games This Season, And Anyway If They Make The Playoffs We’ll Never Get Rid of La Russa and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.)

  • That the AL Wildcard has suddenly gotten triply interesting.
  • That Jeffrey Loria used to own a team with an iconic “M” logo and still thought this was a good idea.
  • That somehow, all you have to do is become a Bengal to act like a Bengal. (Yes, that’s two different stories.)
  • That safeties are awesome.  And even more awesome when it’s a rookie’s first NFL sack (h/t TheJetsBlog)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stare at Rafa in his underwear. I find it clears the mind.

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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Buffalita’s Bachelorette Party Part 3!

Forget the pinstripes, its time to bring in the other boys from New York to wish Buffalita a happy day.

Jose Reyes has gotten an early start on the strip routine.

Prelude to David Wright and Jose Reyes wrestling? We can only hope.

There’s something wholesomely appealing about Chris Capuano. Don’t you kind of want to see him go bad?

Ok, I was looking for some things for Buffalita to take with on her honeymoon, but apparently the Mets aren’t popular enough for that, so its back to the pinstripes for bedroom and beach gear.

But it’s not just baseball or football cuties that want to wish Buffalita a happy bachelorette. The Sabres want in on the act.

Derek Roy is left brooding at the loss of Buffalita from the market.

Shaone Morrisonn and his dog Hazel wish Buffalita and future-Mr-Buffalita luck in their future life together.

Finally, though he’s not the bachelorette type beefcake, we would be remiss if we didn’t have American Hero Ryan Miller here to send Buffalita off right.

Welcome to Buffalita’s Bachelorette! (Part 1)

Never mind Kate and William, or those rumours about Brangelina finally tying the knot. The Wedding We Care About here at Ladies… is that of our own Buffalita, who will be exchanging vows with the soon-to-be Mr. Buffalita next weekend.

Unfortunately, time, money and geography prevents us Ladies… from throwing her a proper bachelorette party, complete with wine, taco dip and game of washers (WHAT! A game of washers was completely acceptable at my baby shower! Maritimers know how to party, yo!)

So instead, we’re sending our best wishes in true Ladies… fashion with this series of posts dedicated to the Best Bride-to-be in NY State. Who needs a male *ahem* exotic dancer when you can run a series of photos of handsome athletes instead? (Besides, it eliminates that messy tipping…)

Let this song set the mood and join us after the jump to see who I picked for Part 1 of Buff’s Bachelorette.

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Visiting the White House

Super Bowl Champions the Green Bay Packers visited President Obama at the White House today. For Bears fan Obama, it was a bit of a heart-break, but for Packers fans, it was a visit a long time coming.

Often, when championship teams visit the White House, they give the president a gift – this is usually a jersey and the number on the back is usually the president’s number in the succession of presidents. (For example, Obama is the 44th President of the United States.)

While at the White House today, Packer Charles Woodson presented the president with a certificate of stock in the publicly owned Green Bay Packers. As a Bears’ fan, Obama took the opportunity as a new “owner” to suggest a trade for Aaron Rodgers.

Considering I’ve usually heard of teams giving the president a jersey, I thought the stock certificate was a pretty cool gift. It made me wonder what other gifts teams have presented to the president.

The Giants also gave President Obama a signed bat and fielder’s gloves for his whole family.

2009 World Series Champions the New York Yankees don’t appear to have given any gifts other than the jersey, but their jersey had the #27 on the back – for their 27 world titles.

Chicago Blackhawks, the 2010 Stanley Cup winners, gave hometown president Obama a Blackhawks sweater and let him try on the ring.

Auburn, 2010 National Football Champions, gave Obama a jersey and a helmet.

The jersey the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins upped the jersey ante by giving Obama one with a captain’s “C” on it.

UConn, the men’s basketball national champions, gave President Obama a basketball with his name etched on it.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who won the World Series in 2008, also gave Obama a baseball.

As far as I can tell, 2008 and 2008 winners the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints stuck to the jersey gift.

Not a gift, but when the UConn women’s basketball team visited in 2009, President Obama challenged a few of the players to a game of P-I-G. Naturally, he won. But the women were wearing heels and dress.

The Detroit Red Wings, 2008 Stanley Cup Champions, gave George Bush Jr two jerseys - one #43 for him and one #41 for his dad. And also invited them to visit on their annual father-son trip. They also gave President Bush a miniature Stanley Cup statue.

So maybe I’m a little biased, but I think the stock certificate might have been the coolest gift in recent memory. The Packers also broke tradition by giving him a Packers jersey with the name on back “Commander In Chief” and the #1.

You can check out video of the Packers White House visit
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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