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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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?

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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