Hit and Run: I Was There Edition

I moved and changed jobs almost simultaneously this spring. As a result, I’m off the academic schedule for the first time in over a decade and it’s throwing off my whole concept of summer. So Tuesday night I went to check on the Cardinals score and discovered, to my dismay, that they had just finished one of the two games they are playing in NYC that I could actually attend.  Luckily, they were playing the Mets, which isn’t exactly a tough ticket to get at the last minute these days. So Wednesday night, my boyfriend and I headed out to Citifield, where around the actual game action, my blog post wrote itself.

First off — paper all star ballots!  Nostalgia!  Also, once we had established that I somehow didn’t have a writing implement in my purse, we discovered that the plug end of a pair of headphones is actually the perfect tool for punching the holes out of the ballot.

allstarballot2013

The hardest part about filling these out was trying to remember who was on the disabled list, particularly in the AL. (That’s not a Yankees joke — entirely.)  Then we put them in the ballot box to be buried under everyone’s 35-per-person internet ballots. I’m still looking forward to the All-Star Game if only because I was out of town when it was at old Yankee the last time, and since both the marathon and Fleet Week were canceled this past year, we’ve been lacking in the crowds-of-people-in-uniforms-descending-on-the-city-to-be-ogled department.

kiddannouncement

Just before the 7th inning stretch, this happened.  The crowd seemed primarily delighted, with an undercurrent of bemusement.  I certainly think Kidd can handle the in-game/practice side of coaching, but I’m a little unsure how the front office/roster building side is going to go, especially with a front office that can be …mercurial.

The scoreboard proved a great source of entertainment throughout the game.  The consensus in our section was that Matt Holliday has the saddest media photo ever.

sadmattholliday

My boyfriend’s comment: “That’s totally an ‘I’m going to go 0-4 and we’ll lose by 5,’ face.”  So perhaps he’s not sad, he’s just psychic.

Also appearing on the CitiField board, periodic Stanley Cup Final updates!  I didn’t get a picture, but the updates piqued my interest enough that even though the 2 hour and 40 minute game time got us home well before 11, we then stayed up past 1 watching the 6th longest Stanley Cup game in history.

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

Happy Friday! Anyone else going to a game this weekend?

Hope Springs: Pitchers and Catchers Report!

Aren’t you impressed that I refrained from using a caps locky title with multiple exclamation points? BUT IT WAS SO TEMPTING!!!!

Monday was the big day for pitchers and catchers from several MLB teams to report. Others, like my Yankees, report Tuesday. And then you have those like my second husband Derek Jeter recovering from surgery and other ailments who have been at their respective training facilities for a while. All this to say HOORAY FOR BASEBALL’S WELCOME RETURN! How about a photo essay?

Let’s start with new Jay R.A. Dickey, who is kind of an awesome human being in case you weren’t aware. It’s going to be tough cheering against this new AL East foe.

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There’s something about a maple leaf on R.A. Dickey’s hat that makes him even more endearing. (Canadian Press photo)

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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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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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So what did you do for six hours on Sunday?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

(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.

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

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 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.

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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Hit and Run: I’m too hot to come up with a theme

World Cup Soccer

Hope Solo shall have none of your silly goal scoring nonsense. (Photo: Getty Images)

We hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend! I’m still unpacking and cleaning up gear from the Great Island Campout of 2011, in which I did not end up on Princess Kate Watch and did not get to celebrate Brad Richards signing with the Maple Leafs.

And tonight? It’s warm! Summer warm! Finally! Also building heat is Team USA, who defeated Columbia 3-0 yesterday in Women’s World Cup action in Germany. The win clinches them a spot in the quarter finals. They face Sweden tomorrow at 2:45 ET.

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Hit and Run: Things Which Are Ridiculous

 I wanted to watch Game 4 of the Stanley Cup last night, but couldn’t, because it was on Versus, which I don’t have. (NBC opted for Celebrity Minute To Win It, with Steve-O and some other guy from Jackass. If that’s a bigger ratings draw than the Stanley Cup, the NHL still has a lot of work to do.)

I believe I have made my displeasure about playoff games being on cable channels known before, but I still find it ridiculous.  So since I’m battling some serious writer’s block, here are other things which I am finding ridiculous today.
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Vacation Hangover Links

I’ve been back from my vacation in New Orleans* for about 48 hours now, and I’m not entirely adjusted, so please enjoy these links.  Somehow they are all about baseball, but that wasn’t intentional.

*The picture above was taken on my vacation.  That’s New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams 2nd from left, with the GM and President of the franchise, appearing at Jazzfest. I was a little disappointed that no players appeared with them, but Monty Williams is quite nice looking in person.

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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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When Injuries Happen

When news came, first speculatory Wednesday and then confirmed on Thursday, that St. Louis Cardigan pitcher Adam Wainwright had injured his elbow and would require Tommy John surgery, ending his season, many NL Central fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Wainwright was the ace of the Cardinals staff and his loss has a big impact on the other teams expected to compete for the division title – namely the Brewers and the Reds.

So when speculation started that Wainwright was done for the season, over at a Brewers site I write for, the reaction was mostly “man, that sucks – but it’s good for us.” But there were also a few “cheers.”

Most notably, Hall of Fame reporter Hal McCoy reported that the Reds’ Jonny Gomes openly celebrated upon learning Wainwright’s fate. Gomes has since denied that’s why he was celebrating and McCoy has removed the story from his blog.

But it made me wonder – what’s appropriate in this kind of situation?

As a fan, it’s difficult not to have a little private “YES!” moment when you learn that ZiPS projections are for the Cardinals to lose 5-6 more games without Wainwright, leaving them third in the division.

But is that wrong?

I feel like most every Brewers and Reds fan had a similar reaction to mine privately, but would not admit it. It’s not a very tasteful way to handle the situation. Singing and dancing is probably taking it too far, but if had been reported that Gomes showed joy upon learning about Wainwright, he’d probably still have been ripped and called “classless.”

No fan wishes harm upon an opposing player (at least, I hope not.) I had nothing to do with the ligament problems in Wainwright’s elbow, so does my private excitement about what the injury could mean for my team make me a bad person?

I was at a game in 2008 when Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo tore his ACL. Fans from the opposing team actually cheered as he was removed from the game. Clearly, that’s probably a little extreme as far as celebrations go – but where is the line drawn?

I’d probably have been pretty upset at any reaction from the opposing fans, to be fair – we get so defensive in situations like this.

So what do you guys think? Is any kind of happiness or celebration wrong? Or is it just human nature to look at the injury in the way most beneficial to you?

Baseball Rookies on Parade!

Here we are, a little over a month into the new baseball season.  While we try to not panic/be overly confident about our favorite teams’ and players’ seasons thus far,  it’s hard not to get a little excited about the breakout rookies.  Yes, it’s true that some (most)  rookie hot streaks don’t last, and a .360 batting average in the first six weeks of a major league career isn’t necessarily a harbinger of a long and prosperous career.  Still, ten Aprils ago, that’s what they were saying about Albert Pujols.

Let’s meet a few of the newbies, shall we?

Jaime Garcia

OK, not technically a rookie (he appeared mostly in short relief  in 10 games in 2008 before needing Tommy John surgery), but he’s a Cardinal so I’m bending the rules.  He’s also the first lefty to start for the Cards since Mark Mulder and he is awesome. After what the Phillies did to Santana, I was scared to death that Garcia’s hot streak was about to get clobbered by Utley and co. … and then he held them to three hits over six innings.

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Twitter Theater: Mets-Cardinals, April 17, 2010

Cards' beat writer Derrick Goold snapped this picture of his scorecard after the game. (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

I’m sort of new to Twitter (I don’t actually have an account, I just follow people through Feedly), and the handful of people I follow right now are a)Cardinals fans or b)Ladies.  Which made a glance at my selected Twitter feeds during Saturday’s Mets-Cardinals marathon most entertaining. And now, without further interruption, Ladies…Twitter Theater presents: The Twenty Inning Game

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Hit and Run: A weekend of bananas!

Ok, well perhaps not LITERALLY. But c’mon, anyone that watched really any sport (including boxing) knows that this weekend was off-the-charts-bananas! Franchise record with a no-hitter, 20 inning scoreless standoff, NHL and NBA playoffs, drunk drivers…
Here’s a Hit & Run recap of the weekend’s events after the jump.

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Yes, Again: The (Last-Minute) Case For Tim Lincecum

There is a statistically-inclined rant after the jump that I think you all need to hear.

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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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Magic Number Check: AL Edition

For the last few weeks, over at my favorite Cardinals blog, Viva El Birdos, Will Leitch has been tracking the team’s magic number by highlighting a past or current Cardinal player with the corresponding jersey number. Today’s number, for example, is Ozzie Smith.

Earlier in the week, I was hoping I’d get to write a congratulatory post, but then we had to go and lose to the Astros yesterday; the earliest the Cards can clinch the division now is if the Cubs lose to the Giants tonight, but I live on the East Coast and this post is already late as it is.  So since I looked at the NL races last week, I thought I’d steal borrow Will’s idea and apply the player number countdown to the AL races.

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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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