I Was There: Opening Day Edition

On a beautiful April day in Cleveland, Ohio I had the privilege and fortune of attending my very first opening day.   The fans in their new team gear, the smell of grilling flesh, the way the afternoon sun sparkles on the fresh outfield – I could not have been happier.  Apparently, this was the first time in years where the city of Cleveland wasn’t covered in snow for opening day, so I feel rather like a good luck charm!

Immediately I was reminded of a very simple truth – there is nowhere on the planet I’d rather be between the months of April and October – than a baseball stadium.

I was also reminded of a few not so beautiful things about baseball season, and that’s what I’ll be sharing here.

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How Sweet the Sting…

It’s been a little gloom and doom in the bomber household these past few days…

You see there was this semi-important professional sporting match on Sunday, and despite my best efforts of yelling and screaming at the tv, my boys did not come away with that Lombardi trophy.

While I hold no ill will towards those gents in black and gold, I can’t help but wallow in my loss.

It got me thinking about championships and fandom- more specifically what impacts us more, the wins or losses?

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NFC/AFC Championships: A Hotness Retrospective

Fine, this was an excuse to post one more Mike Tomlin picture this year.

The big storyline in last year’s Super Bowl was the tradition rich Pittsburgh Steelers and their (then) five Super Bowl victories matched against the Arizona Cardinals in their first trip to the championship.  This year, 3 of the 4 conference finalists have either never been to the Super Bowl or have not been in decades. To put things in perspective, I took a look at the rosters of each team — both from their last trip to the conference game (win or lose) and their last conference championship — and selected a player representative of that era in the team’s history.  You might be surprised who I came up with.

Vintage (sort of) football hotness, after the jump.

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15 Yards for Fugliness: A Photographic Survey of Nike’s New Football Uniforms

Over the last few weekends, Nike has been previewing their latest attempt to “improve” athletic apparel on several premiere NCAA Division I (yeah, that’s what I still call it) football programs.  Now, perhaps these uniforms, designed to be ultra light and form fitting, are functionally a worthy advance, but from a sartorial viewpoint, well, my inner Tim Gunn was making this face. A lot.

A brief survey of some of Nike’s designs after the jump.

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Sports Fan Conundrum: Am I Really That Biased?

How can you hate when he loves the game so much?

A lot of controversy has surrounded a couple of my favorite athletes recently.  First, it was the Tiger Woods’ accident and, most recently, his “transgressions”.  Then it was the 2-game suspension handed to Alex Ovechkin for a knee-on-knee hit on Carolina’s Tim Gleason.  Many folks have had harsh words for both of these guys, but I’ve been trying to avoid the frenzy surrounding both incidents.

The whole thing has made me wonder whether I am blinded by sports-related bias.

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Friday Foodie: Hot Reuben Dip, Spicy Micheladas and Oh Yeah… Yankee Lovin!

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So that happened… my boys in pinstripes won the World Series, Godzilla took home the MVP and all is right with the world.  It’s a bitter sweet feeling, harassing Sox fans since just hasn’t had the same feel.  Is it spring training yet???

But not to worry, I hopped in the kitchen, thought about football and got right back in the swing of things.

So today I bring you another delectable treat, perfect for your tail-gaiting and football spreads!

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First Season Fan: New York Knicks

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I’m not the world’s biggest NBA fan. I have probably watched a total of 10 games my whole life. But the truth is, I never really gave it a full chance. Well this year is different. Baseball season is practically over. Football is only one full day and then one night a week. Having both hockey AND basketball during the weekday, should keep me entertained. I love college basketball so I figure if I give the NBA a real chance, I should like it as well.

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The Curse of Buffalita’s Teams

Fly Roscoe, Fly!

It’s no secret: I love Buffalo sports. But that also means that I’m no stranger with disappointment. After what looked like an amazing start last year in winning five of their first six games, the Bills managed to end in disappointment with a 7-9 record overall. It’s way too early to tell now obviously, but after yesterday’s disappointment (with my fantasy league QB against them not to mention, which creates a whole other moral dilemma by itself) it’s hard not to look back to the last three years of 7-9. And after the Sabres building me up just to let me down last year and the Mets breaking my heart year after year lately, you can’t really blame me in my losing of hope. What’s a poor fan to do? Continue reading

Confessions of a Frustrated Fan

Two Baltimore Heroes: Eddie & Cal

Two Baltimore Heroes: Eddie & Cal

When it comes to being a sports fan, I have ridden the roller coaster of emotions. I have been privileged to experience the ultimate highs and humbled to have experienced the extreme lows.  Recently, I’ve been forced to take inventory of my sports emotions, so to speak.

As most of you already know, I was born and raised in Baltimore in the early 80s.  My first sports love was the Baltimore Orioles.  When I was a little over 1-year-old, my O’s won the World Series.  That was the last time my beloved franchise was blessed with a title.  Of course, I don’t remember the sweet taste of victory, but I did experience it.  My mom-mom packed up my little self, hopped on a bus and took me downtown for the victory parade.  I have a photo of me in my little stroller, waving my World Series pennant with the parade passing in the background.  What I wouldn’t give to recreate that moment.  Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait until that stroller turns into a wheelchair!

Let’s not forget that until I was a sophomore in college, I had never seen a baseball game that didn’t have Cal Ripken, Jr. playing in it.  I wouldn’t say that the Orioles spoiled me, though.  We were good during my formative sports fan years, but all good things must come to an end.  Personally, I don’t think we’ll ever win until someone finally exacts revenge on that Jeffrey Maier kid. Hate him. While I have come to expect disappointment from the Orioles, I’m having a harder time coming to terms with my other teams.

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The First Season Fan Part II: Midseason Anxiety

My friend Sarah is a big basketball and football fan, but as long as I’ve known her she’s never been particularly interested in baseball. This year she’s decided to change that. In Part I, Sarah explained how she chose the Braves as her team.  After the jump, she explains why being a baseball fan in general is turning out to be easier than a Braves fan in particular, and how she’s slowly overcoming her fear of being hit by a ball.

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Happy Fourth of July from the Ladies…

It’s that time of years, folks, when we celebrate the birth of America by stuffing our faces full of barbecue and ogling explosions in the sky.

We here at Ladies…have our own hot date with some marching bands and sparklers. (Not at the same time, kids. Practice safe parading.) As such, we’re taking a bit of a break to celebrate America, apple pie, moms and baseball.

And good looking men doing delightful things involving sports.

Happy Birthday, America. Here, have Mike Rowe singing the National Anthem at a Bowie BaySox game.

The Last Time Your Team Won it All: Baseball Teams

world-series-trophy

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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I love New York. I hate the Yankees.

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It’s rivalry week here at Chez Sox. I’ve had the Sox v. Yanks games on, and have been alternately shouting and laughing at my TV. Everything that could possibly be picked up and thrown has been taken away from me, and the husband has been banished to his computer to listen to his big rivalry games, the Phils and the Mets. Suck it, New York, more or less.

I was going to write this big, magnanimous post about rivalries and how they’re good for the sport and good for the fanbase because a rivalry gives even the most casual fan something to talk about. I was going to be the bigger person and say that my mom is right (and not completely insane) when she says that she kind of likes the Yankees, because Sox/Yanks games are just bigger than the other 144 games for those of us who list our home address firmly in Red Sox Nation.

I was going to do all of that bigger person-type stuff, but the idea of saying anything nice about the Yankees fills me with utter, utter revulsion. I don’t have it in me. I can’t do it.

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The Trouble Is We’re Neglecting Football For Education!

Several years ago when my ballet career was over I decided to leave New York City and focus on one thing, College Football!  I applied to every college with a major football program on the east side of the Mississippi and, being the superstitious lady that I am, decided to go to whomever I heard from first.  It was a glorious day ordained from heaven when I became a Buckeye, but more importantly I became a part of a larger family, the NCAA College Football family.  Every Saturday we commune in bars, parking lots, homes, you name it, and from sun up till sundown, we cheer and scream, drink and eat, and live and die with every play, because, we are … college football fans!

I made a trip last weekend to my alma mater, The Ohio State University, and was immediately struck by how badly I longed for that most glorious time of year, football season!  The first time I ever set foot in the Horseshoe on gameday was one I will never forget;  a sea of scarlet and grey, palpable excitement, beer flowing like wine, making new friends every stumble along the way, The Best Damn Band In The Land playing “Hang on Sloopy,” and thousands of people there for one purpose: to cheer our team to victory.  There is nothing in the world like it, and there is nothing like college football season!  So here they are ladies and gents, my top ten reasons I am so desperately wishing it was football season, in no particular order…

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Take Us Out to the Ball Game: The Ladies…do New Yankee Stadium

New Yankee Stadium has been open for almost two months now, but I finally got to see it for myself this week. I was at the game Tuesday and Wednesday. I wasn’t happy when I first found out that they would closing down old Yankee Stadium and building a new one. But by this time I had pretty much come to terms with it. There was a new stadium whether I liked it or not. However, it was still really strange at first getting off the 4 train going to see the Yankees and it was at a different venue. I saw the Yankees play at the same place for the last 18 years. It was sad seeing the ballpark I ever saw my first game at looking like an empty, abandoned construction site. But enough about old Yankee Stadium. How about the new Stadium that cost a boat load of money to build

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Don’t Be That Fan

So I went to a baseball game last weekend and I realized something. While the majority of fans are cool and well behaved, obnoxious fans are inescapable. And they come in all shapes and sizes. They are the people that make you wonder, why are they even here? Baseball tickets are not cheap. Why come if you’re not even going to be caring about the game?

So I decided to make a little compilation of some of the fans you want to avoid while at the game, and the fans that you definitely do not want to be.

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Little note about the pic choice: I have nothing against the Rays or their fans. But come on, I don’t think anyone needs to be told that is not a good look. The cowbell is bad enough but if I got stuck behind that fro, I would flip.

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Rivalry – Why Vie So Hard?

Lowell vs. Cano

Team rivalry. Seemingly nothing wrong with it, and actually it’s abnormal to not have some friendly competition and strive a bit harder to win against a certain team more than others. Maybe it’s two cities that battle in more ways than sports, maybe it comes about from a trade that develops a grudge, or maybe it’s something rooted in history that carries itself over 100 years of one the most well known and deepest hates – the Yankees and the Red Sox. But why are some rivalries the way they are today, why carry on the tradition of hate throughout generations, and why hate so hard?

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Today we’re gonna party like it’s 1999!

It was supposed to be a new year for us, new stadium, new pitching, new ridiculous salaries that only we could pay, but after this past weekends heart-wrenching sweep by the Sox, I think it’s time for a little throw-back action. Ten years ago- maybe it was chemistry, maybe it was fate, but it was full of hotties and full of wins! I bring you the hotties of yester-year and the team I still wish was drenched in pin-stripes! Your 1999 New York Yankees!

Paul O’Neill
Was it the gold chains, was it the appearance in one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, was it his 19 homers, 110 RBIs or .285 batting average? We’ll never know!
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The First Season Fan Part I: Why the Braves?

My friend Sarah is a big basketball and football fan, but as long as I’ve known her she’s never been particularly interested in baseball. This year she’s decided to change that. We’ll check in on her every so often throughout the season and see how she’s doing with her newfound fandom. After the jump, Sarah explains her history of ambivalence with the sport and how she decided to become an Atlanta Braves fan while living in New York.

Kenshin Kawakami: a new Brave for a new Braves fan

Kenshin Kawakami: a new Brave for a new Braves fan

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The Tailgate with Games Mistress: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Now that it’s been cold enough to break out the wool sweaters, it’s time to share with you all my favorite winter desert: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. This is a really easy recipe and it’s great for those cold, wet game days when you just want to curl up and watch the game in your warm, dry house.

Wouldnt you rather stay indoors and have some chocolate?

Wouldn't you rather stay indoors and have some chocolate?

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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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The Tailgate… with Andrea

We’re welcoming the NFL season by bringing back our weekly food post. This week, I’m going to kick things off by showing you how to make a Cheezy Football and a pitcher of Sparklers.  Let’s start with the Sparklers, so that you can drink while you make your Cheezy Football.

Mmm, champagne.

Mmm, champagne.

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Will Pat Neshek Still Be Able To Blog After Throwing His Arm Out Pitching Side-Arm?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Neshek is out of the Minnesota Twins lineup, likely for the rest of the year. He has an acute partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, as shown on an MRI from Friday, May 9, 2008. Neshek and the organization are hoping he won’t need Tommy John surgery, as that would put him out for most of the 2009 season as well. According to twinsbaseball.com, Neshek said doctors feel the injury can be treated with rest and rehabilitation. “We’re going to prepare for Opening Day next year,” Neshek said. In the meantime, will he still be able to update us on his status in his entertaining and informative blog, On The Road With Pat Neshek? The rest of the story, after the jump…

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Jared Allen: When Good Girls Love Bad Boys

The Minnesota Vikings traded away a first round pick and two third round picks to get Jared Allen from the Kansas City Chiefs last week. (And they still managed to get the Booty in the draft.) His contract could be worth up to $74 million over six years if he reaches certain incentives, including a guaranteed $31,000,069. (His jersey number is 69.) The signing bonus was $15.5 million. (He had 15.5 sacks last year). He is 26 years old, 6’6″, 270 lbs., he used to compete in rodeos and he owns riding horses. All the other hot, and not so hot, stats and information after the jump… Continue reading

We’re This Many! The Ladies… Turn One.

One year ago, a group of female Deadspinners got together and built a website that would forever alter the sportswriting landscape. Some delusions of grandeur, but whatevs.

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Artwork, as always, by the one, the only, the incomparable Lady J-Money, who credits our success to the quality of our ingredients.

When we last saw our heroines, we were raising glasses to six months of this contraption. Since then….where to start? We got out of the house a little, and brought a few friends along for the ride. We stirred up a couple hornets’ nests and got our knees dirty. We launched a blatant homerism lovefest and let lust rule our fantasy drafts. We went undercover with the Mets and the Mitchell Report and got inside with the Tigers. We turned back time and had ourselves a total eclipse of the heart. We pledged our hearts to the World Series, and just about killed ourselves trying to get there, and just about GOT ourselves killed once we were…but that all worked out just fine, didn’t it? We got down and dirty with the history of Rock and championed the little guys. We came heroically close to covering every single bowl game. We said fond farewells to a fine crop of college boys, and found new targets for next year.

And the snacks. Oh, TSW’s snacky goodness. The legendary Buffalo Chicken Dip. The homemade corn dogs. The 9-Layer Ranchero Dip, K2 of snack foods. Pork with more pork. The genesis of our quiche obsession. The other Ladies got into the act, to the tune of Pudding Shots, Beer Bread, Cheese Straws, and a variety of meats and cheeses.

We celebrated (properly) the apex of football season (and then some), and marked the turning of the sports season. We got our gamble on. We gave thanks, wished on our stockings, spread holiday cheer and strove to be better fans. We found humor in the worst of times and stood up for boobs everywhere. We rassled and clawed and even screwed each other.

After the jump, some poetic and prosaic reflections on our year together.

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Stand By Your Man Fantasy QB Results: Week 15 – Dreamboats are out!

Like every other fantasy league, the two top quarterbacks picked a hell of a time to shit the bed and ruin the the playoff runs for their hotshot owners. (Please let this happen in the real playoffs, please let this happen in the real playoffs, please let this happen in the real play offs.)

Favre squeaking by Manning leaves him as the highest remaining seed in the post-season and faces a tough match up in Week 16 as he plays a demoralized Bear team while Kitna looks to walk over the league’s doormat in KC. Brees will not get by so easily this week as he plays Philly while Rivers continues to drive for the playoffs against Denver.

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Stand By Your Man Fantasy QB Results: Week 14 – The Playoffs Are Set!

It feels like just yesterday that we held our Fantasy Quarterback Draft, but here we are after Week 14 facing the playoffs. Interestingly enough, half of the top eight draft picks spent most of the season on the bench. (More on the ratio of hotness-to-stats-to-wins once the season ends. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to figure out how to properly weigh the strength of draft selections in the formula without using a dartboard.)

But first, the results of Week 14. Continue reading