Friday Miscellanea

Anthony Recker, for no particular reason.

Anthony Recker, for no particular reason.

I’m doing the sportswriter-mailing-it-in impression today and writing a post of snippets about unrelated sports things.  It has been an exhausting week.

  • Must read: this graphic essay on The Toast about why sports are awesome. Will be particularly enjoyable for our sizeable hockey fan contingent.
  • Also must read: our own Nicole’s article about the WWII Girls Baseball Living History League, which she recently joined. I am really, really bad at playing baseball, but if there was a New York branch of this I’d endure the humiliation of being unable to catch or hit (I can throw semi-okay) to participate.
  • Somewhat related to baseball history: Baseball Nation’s been photoshopping photos of new-ish stadiums to look like retro postcards. They did Busch III today, but I think my favorite so far is Citizens Bank Park.
  • NYC (along with I think, LA and Dallas?) Time Warner customers are currently enduring a standoff between TW and CBS. CBS is trying to push their luck with ads pointing out that TW customers will be unable to watch the PGA Championship this weekend or their preseason football coverage. Unfortunately for them, it’s hard to threaten “no NFL” coverage when LA has no team and the NYC team in question is the Jets.
  • Also, I refuse to watch pro football before Labor Day, as it is prime baseball season. The Cards haven’t had an off day in almost three weeks and I have at least checked in on every single game (which of course means they started losing a bunch). My boyfriend is streaming the Saints game right now and I’m pointedly not looking at the TV. Related: this might be why I’m usually not prepared for the fantasy football draft.
  • Peanuts and The Simpsons: both good at baseball math. I appreciate this, as I love both of these cultural whatevers, and the improbability of the football scenes in Friday Night Lights still distracts me from the overall awesomeness of the show.
  • Some of you know that I’ve been basically teaching my boyfriend to love baseball during the course of our relationship (for four years as of this weekend – Happy Anniversary, babe!). This week, while watching the Dodgers-Cards series, the instant Jerry Hairston came up to bat, he immediately identified him as “that guy I hate.” While with the Brewers, Jerry’s habit of stepping out of the box after every pitch drew particular ire from my boyfriend (and he saw it a lot, as this occurred during one of the seasons where the Brewers and Cards slugged it out for the division title and then played a playoff series). However, I believe this is the first recorded instance of my boyfriend recognizing a player who was not formerly with St. Louis or New York after he changed teams, without some prompting on my part. Poor Jerry.

Happy Friday!

Manning Brothers Get Us Ready For Football In The Most Hilarious Way Possible

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Not that we’re shilling for Direct TV, but you have to give the company props for pulling together this hilarious promotion for NFL Sunday Ticket that has already gathered almost two million hits as of this posting.

We’ve witnessed Peyton’s comedic chops on various occasions, but I have to admit I didn’t know Eli had this in him. Case in point, this line: “It’s like the milk is like football, and your blouse is the PHONE.”

I…I can’t even.

Blatant Homerism

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There’s just something about hearing that a pitcher has a no-hitter in play that makes you shed your team loyalty and cheer like mad. That’s how I felt tonight when I received the alert that Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, he who was separated at birth from Christian Bale, was working on his 2nd career no-no Tuesday night against the Giants.

A single career no-hitter is an amazing feat on its own. But two no-hitters, and you find yourself in the company of the likes of Nolan Ryan.

Bailey was perfect through seven, threw a total of 109 pitches, 74 strikes and struck out nine batters.

I doubt I’ll pay any more attention to Cincinnati from here on out. But for tonight, it was fun to cheer for the pitcher who delivered the first no-hitter of this season (and the last one of last season!)

So What IS the Problem With Women’s Basketball?

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A couple weeks ago, the other Ladies and I were groaning over a report suggesting some unorthodox but troubling ways to “fix”  women’s basketball. Playing the Women’s Final Four in China was a suggestion, as was banning tattoos – you know, because women’s sports should have to appeal to people who can only accept women who meet a narrow definition of acceptable female behavior instead of trying to expand it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

What I’m reading this week

So I know there are apps and other ways to handle “clipping” things from Twitter and your mobile phone, but when I am scrolling through and see a link that intrigues me, I just email myself the tweet. There’s no need to remember to check another app or anything like that – I’m in my inbox a hundred times a day. It’s a little old-school and probably a little silly, but it’s my comfort zone and I’m owning it.

Anyway, I realized this week I’d sent myself quite a few links, so I thought I’d pass along some of the stuff I found interesting recently:

This ESPN piece trying to understand Italian soccer, hooligans and racism is just beautifully written. The subject matter is baffling, but this is a read that’s totally worth your time. Long form journalism at it’s finest.

Carlos Gomez is having a heck of a year and he’s played enough places that I think you’ll find this interesting: if you hit a ball to center field in Miller Park, the odds are not in your favor that you’ll actually get a hit. According to ESPN.com, of 35 balls hit to straightaway CF, just one of them resulted in a hit. Carlos Gomez has caught 97% of those balls. The major league average is 78%.

But you already knew Gomez was a plus (plus) defender. This year (and the end of last season) he has also figured out how to hit for power. Turns out, his coaches just didn’t know how to harness all his skills before and were pigeonholing him as a ground-ball hitting speedster. 

Did you watch the USWNT play Canada two weeks ago? I have re-watched this Alex Morgan goal a ton of times and I’m still in awe of her first touch. Also, the first few “not touches” if you know what I mean

If you didn’t read this amazing profile of Britney Griner, you should. Great insight into a ground-breaking woman. I don’t watch basketball, but she will always get a hearty “you go girl” from me .

Deadspin ran this excerpt which tells the tale of meeting and hanging out with Muhammed Ali, which on it’s own is just stupendously cool. But then it led to commentors telling stories of randomly meeting with Ali and then I had many warm fuzzies.

That was my first intro to The Stacks at Deadspin. Talk about a rabbit hole. Do yourself a favor and go for a scroll. So much good reading.
Former Badger Hockey player Hilary Knight is probably my all-time favorite. Hard to explain, but I’m still heart-broken she never won the Patty Kaz, especially because her taking time off to play for the US in the 2010 Olympics likely had something to do with that. In those same Olympics it was said she likely has the best shot in the game – she was a Junior in college at the time. Anyway, she plays in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and won their inaugural season MVP. Here’s an interview with her.

In the only vaguely sports related department:

There’s a gorgeous old hotel in Downtown Milwaukee that most visiting sports teams stay at. It’s supposedly haunted. The stories are apparently varied and widespread enough that ESPN the Mag did a story about it. Read all about the Pfister.

I’m a Twitter fiend. I’ll admit it. Yet there is only one account I check in on multiple times daily to make sure I haven’t missed anything – @DUPorterhouse.
Porterhouse is the live bulldog mascot of Drake University in Iowa. He’s a rescued bulldog, winner of the Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest at Drake and very, very photogenic. He’s also an advocate to help end puppy mills bc his native state of Iowa has so many of them.
His mom started him a Twitter account and well, she’s just really good at it. There are tons of adorable pictures and cuteness and Porterhouse consistently makes my day better. He goes to their basketball games and leads them onto the court by chasing the ball. He’s just great.
Seriously, though – here’s a pic of him in Shrek Underoos. Tell me that doesn’t make the whole world better.

From the “not at all about sports” filesL

If you’re a Mad Men watcher and haven’t watched Sunday’s episode, this piece contains spoilers, so be warned. But even if you don’t watch Mad Men, this is a spectacular piece from Tom and Lorenzo that gives a very detailed and interesting cultural look at what it was to be a gay man in 1968.