WOOOOOOOO! Or, a US Open Finals Recap

If I knew how to Googlebomb, I’d make sure this image appeared anytime someone Googled “fierce.”

How excited am I about this year’s US Open champions? Well, I’m posting two days early, for one thing. But I also had to engage in a serious internal debate about whether to post Serena’s picture or Andy’s first. Ultimately, I decided on Serena because …well, look at that picture. That woman had a life-threatening pulmonary embolism last year, and this year she won two Grand Slams and two Olympic gold medals. (Her victory celebration reportedly included a karaoke rendition of “I Will Survive.”)
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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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Hit and Run: London is for the Ladies

We knew, going in, that the London Olympics would be the first to feature female athletes from every participating country.  We knew that there were more women than men on both the US Olympic team and at the Olympics overall.  But Thursday, with gold medal matches in both women’s football and water polo, and the first ever gold medals awarded in women’s boxing, seemed even more special for women’s sports (particularly if you happen to be a fan of the US).  The 1918 Hartlepool Expansion Ladies Football Team* up there would no doubt approve.

* Photo via The Public Domain Project, who have a great post of old team photos.

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Beach Volleyball bikinis – Yay or Nay?

It’s no secret that women’s beach volleyball players wear some incredibly skimpy outfits when they compete.

What I guess I didn’t realize is how many pigs are out there only watching them for the T&A. I’ve been pretty appalled by the number of people in my Twitter timeline making sexist remarks about how they shouldn’t even be playing if they can’t do it almost naked. These are friends and other sports writers who I normally agree with and respect.

Here’s the thing – I don’t begrudge these ladies their bikinis. Beach volleyball is a fringe sport that I’m certain struggles to get money and attention. Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are household names and that just wouldn’t be the case if they didn’t do what they do in bikinis. It helps that they’re incredibly talented at it and have won many, many medals and competitions. But people started noticing them because they weren’t wearing many clothes.

And so I say, more power to you, fringe athletes. You do what you need to do to get noticed and get sponsorships and get viewers. You sell your non-profitting selves any which way you can.

Which I suppose isn’t a very feminist point of view. I should be railing against the misogyny that leads to women athletes feeling like they have to use sex appeal to sell themselves and their sport. And while that’s true, it’s a fight we’ve been having for decades and it’s not changing any time soon, so in the meantime, if i looked like these ladies do, I’d be shaking what my mama gave me if it meant TV time and sponsorship money.

So does that make me a hypocrite for getting mad at all the folks who are treating these ladies like pieces of meat instead of world-class athletes?

Follow the jump for Twitter samples and butts. Lots of butts

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Olympic Bingo: Third Time’s the Charm

This lovely picture of London Bridge’s Olympic rings was taken by my sister-in-law. Thanks, sis!

It’s hard to believe, but the Olympics are finally only days away, not weeks away, and so it must be time for Olympic Bingo! (Actually, if our search stats are to be believed, a bunch of you think it’s past time for Olympic Bingo.  Hopefully two days is enough prep time for your Opening Ceremonies parties.)

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Meet Simon Whitfield, Canada’s Olympic Flag Bearer

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(Photo: Postmedia News)

What would you do if you received a call telling you that you have been chosen as your country’s flag bearer for the 2012 London Olympic Games? Burst into tears? Panic? Reach for the wine? Go for a run?

That’s exactly what triathlete Simon Whitfield did upon receiving the news: a jaunt through Victoria, BC all the way to the Terry Fox marker, where he gave the statue a high five.

Whitfield won gold at the Sydney Games in 2000, when the triathlon made its Olympic debut. He picked up a silver in Beijing. He’s also won gold at the Commonwealth Games and has 14 World Cup victories. At 37, he’s not exactly the youngest athlete on Team Canada (that honour belongs to teen gymnast Victoria Moors) but I don’t buy the notion that his age will work against him. It may, however, be one of his last competitions: Whitfield is deeply focused on his role as a father to two young daughters, and training obviously takes his time away from them. You can’t hit a news story, blog post or even his Facebook page without Whitfield talking about them. ADORBS!

And don’t talk to Whitfield about this nonsense of the Flag Bearer’s Jinx! “It’s so last century,” he told CBC Sports. You gotta love his confidence!

Follow the jump for a visual guide to Canada’s Olympic flag bearer!

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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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Ryan Lochte has Michael Phelps’ number when really, he should have ours.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Lochte and Phelps in Shanghai in 2011. They look so happy and non-competitive here. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

As if the London Games weren’t already worth watching, we can now happily set our PVRs for fantastic swimming showdowns between bjillion-time medallist Michael Phelps and our new official mascot since Pat Burrell’s retirement, Ryan Lochte. Hot-chte edged Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska (what up, Miss Minda!), finishing with a time of 4:07.06. Phelps strolled in at 4:07.89. Tell me this battle isn’t going to be fun to watch! Is there a Canadian in this yet? I can honestly say I don’t care. But only this time.

ESPN’s video gallery which accompanies this story includes the feature Ryan vs. Ryan. I’m not sure what was more impressive: his workout regime or his slow-mo dive into the pool.

31 days until the 2012 Summer Games, you guys!

One Step Closer to the Olympics (U.S. Edition)

Trey Hardee, Shotput (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

With just over a month to go before the Olympics, countries around the world have begun selecting their teams. This week happens to be both the US Track and Field and the US Diving Trials (probably on NBC, albeit severely edited, this weekend), which are two of my favorite pre-Olympic events: Track and Field because I was raised by a track geek, and diving because it’s just really cool to watch, and you always know when someone REALLY screws up.

Pictures of striving Olympic hopefuls, and a lecture to the wire service caption writers, after the jump.

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Ladies Links: T-Minus 2 Months Edition

There are less than 2 months until the London Olympics people: today’s links start with another great slideshow of Team USA (distance runner Barnard Legat is just a sample).  Hat tip to The Hairpin, whose staff are clearly our Olympic soulmates.

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Three Day Weekend Sports Extravaganza!

With apologies to the Canadian residents among us, we are standing at the brink of not just a three day weekend, but a three day weekend of potentially epic sporting events. This includes at least one (and possibly two) Rangers-Devils playoff games, which means there is a Henrik Lundqvist picture in this post! Come look at the games you can stay up late to watch and not have to worry about being groggy at work the next day.

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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

Annie Leibovitz has the Best Ever Life!

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Ryan Lochte is ready for London. (Photo: Annie Leibovitz/Vogue)

Amirite? She’s photographed so many beautiful people in equally beautiful fashion. And surely she reads Ladies… and has noticed our affection for one Ryan Lochte, so she did this just for us. OF COURSE! Seriously, Annie, next time you shoot Ryan, call one of us. You could use an assistant, right? Yes, Annie, I’ll make Ryan wetter…

This photo is part of a spread for Vogue’s June issue in celebration of Team USA’s Olympic hopefuls, on newsstands May 22. But Vogue is crafty, and knew that by releasing these tasty photos we’d be snatching five copies apiece of this issue as soon as it makes its way to Wegmans and Shoppers Drug Mart (remember, I’m in Canada.)

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Thanks, Tyson Chandler

Last weekend, while watching the Knicks pull out their one playoff victory over the Heat, I realized that I had barely spoken about my newly discovered love for Tyson Chandler.  I enjoyed Linsanity, of course, and I still think the New York media should cut Melo a break, but I was raised on the bruising, defensive basketball of the Big Eight and Big XII — a true defensive star is always going to catch my eye. Although, there are other reasons for Tyson to catch my eye, which I will be happy to share with you while I gush.

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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

Pat Summitt: A Post-Title IX Baby’s Tribute

I have no particular attachment to Pat Summitt or Tennessee women’s basketball.  I came of age after Title IX, where women’s sports, if not always culturally or popularly supported, at least had an acknowledged right of existence.  The way I understood it during my childhood, Pat Summitt was like any other great coach in her chosen sport; famous, respected, and of course, the architect of teams you never wanted your favorite team to run into in the tournament.

I didn’t know back then, that she started coaching Tennessee before the NCAA Women’s Tournament even existed, for a salary of $250 a month.  I didn’t know that the women’s Olympic team she played on, in 1976, was the first ever women’s basketball event at the Olympics.  (Seriously, go read her Wikipedia page, it’s like a primer in women’s sports history.) For someone my age, she was just always there, glaring over the court from the sidelines.  The media fanfare over her retirement is remarkable because it’s not suprising, simply her due as a prominent figure in her field.

Best of luck, Pat. And thanks.

Belated Bracket Brawl Brap-Up

I really, really intended to post this last week, but I thought y’all would appreciate an Opening Day post on Opening Day (and CuteSports did an awesome job with it, too). Then my weekend social schedule got inverted at the last minute and I never quite got back to the computer.  So, with my apologies, here is the Bracket Brawl Wrap-Up for 2012.  After all, even if everyone expected Kentucky to win, we did make a little history in our tournament.

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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.

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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T-T-T-Tebow and the Jets!

This just in – the NY Jets have rescued Tim Tebow from his rather dire situation with the now Manning-fied Broncos in a trade along with a seventh round pick, giving the Broncos both a fourth and sixth round pick.  I’m pretty sure that at this early stage, I really don’t know what to say about a team that now has two questionable QBs of nearly the same age. So I’ll just put my feelings into song…

Say, Markie and Rexie, have you seen him yet?
But they’re so spaced out, T-T-T-Tebow and the Jets!

 

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

NCAA Tourney, Day 1: The Non-Upset Upset

Today’s zen meditation: when the only upset 3/4 of the way through the first day of play is the one upset everyone was predicting, is it really an upset? (Not to mention that at least one 12 seed has won a game in 23 of the last 24 tournaments, so statistics were even on VCU’s side.)

I delayed and delayed and delayed putting up the post in hopes that March Madness would break out, but despite some close games (and one burgeoning conspiracy theory involving Syracuse), the surprise of this tournament has been the lack of surprise.

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You Go, Girl: Janet Evans

Evans in 1988

In 1988, I started my public career as a sports geek by standing up in front of my entire elementary school and correctly volunteering that the summer Olympics would be held in Seoul, South Korea.  For this feat, I won an official US Swim Team swim cap.

Barely old enough to be one of my babysitters, Janet Evans went to Seoul and won three gold medals.

Now I’m all grown up (I’m actually older than my parents were in ’88) and looking forward to a summer of geeking out about the London Olympics all over the Internet.  Janet Evans hasn’t changed much either: at 40, she’s qualified for this summer’s US Olympic Trials after an unprecedented 14 year hiatus from swimming.

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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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Welcome to Linsanity, or Living in New York when the Knicks are Actually Winning

I had planned to spend this week’s post reviewing an awesome book on baseball I received for Christmas (I will post it next week right before pitches & catchers report – yay!).  However, I live in New York City, and there is one sports story everyone is talking about this week.  No, not the Giants.  The Knicks.  More specifically, Jeremy Lin.

You don’t have to live here very long to learn that, although New Yorkers like football (especially if one of the teams is winning), this city truly lives for baseball in the spring and summer and basketball in the winter.  And while the Yankees have to split the city with the Mets, the Knicks (for one more season, at least) are in many ways the only sports team the entire city can get behind.  Unfortunately, as long as I’ve been here, they’ve also been mediocre at best, or flat out terrible at worst.

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The Ladies… Super Size Super Bowl Preview

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The majority of us Ladies may still be licking our wounds from disappointing playoff losses to either the Giants or Patriots* (not Maggie, obviously) but that doesn’t mean we’re not watching the game!  Lady Bee has a yummy treat for you all tomorrow, so we’re getting a head start on our Super Bowl preview. Our thoughts and picks after the jump**.

*Or didn’t even make the playoffs because of losses to both. Hi, my name is Games Mistress and I’m a Jets fan.

** Are they bringing one of these foam pit things when the Super Bowl is in New York? Because I might have to reconsider my no-way-in-hell stance about going out to the Meadowlands that week.

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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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The Ladies… on Losing

Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

With the notable exceptions of Maggie and Mr. Buffalita (a Giants fan), last weekend’s football games were not particularly fun for the Ladies. After experiencing a bar full of Saints fans taking a metaphorical knife to the gut, I found myself in a philosophical discussion with my boyfriend about what type of loss was worse, as a fan: a heartbreaking last minute loss like the Saints to the 49ers, or a thorough stomping such as the one the Broncos received from the Patriots? Some thoughts, including suggestions on how to soothe the wounded sports fan soul, after the jump.

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