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.

Hump Day Hottie: Detroit Tigers Rotation

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I recently realized how hot the Detroit Tigers’ starting rotation is. I know I might be late to the party, but until you see them in person, you just don’t realize how beautiful they are. I’m specifically talking about Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer. More so Verlander and Porcello, but Max isn’t too hard on the eyes (that is, if you can get past his weirdly colored ones).

I feel we should honor their hotness with a three-for-one Hump Day Hottie celebration. :)

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Mr. Monday: Robbie Rogers

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Sporting his national colours

So a little history took place this Memorial Day Weekend. Robbie Rogers, whom you may recall from the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Team, not only came out of retirement to join the L.A. Galaxy, but became the first openly gay male athlete to actively play in a Major League Soccer game.

There’s been some debate about this in light of many recent “firsts”, namely that some sporty media types may have neglected to point out that Andrew Goldstein was the first openly gay male athlete to play in a professional league when he was active in Major League Lacrosse in 2005 (which I didn’t know because lacrosse.) Regardless, golf claps all around as we celebrate another step towards acceptance and focus on the REAL reason for this post:

Robbie Rogers is ADORBS! Continue reading

Two Short, Unrelated Anecdotes Tangentially Related To Current Sports News

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1. A few days ago, Paul Lukas posted about the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s suprisingly robust baseball card collection. I was surprised as many people — even more so because until a month ago, I worked less than 100 yards* from said collection, and my employer had a close working relationship with the Met (though the Burdick collection would have been considered “shiny new toys” by most of my coworkers).  I probably could have even wrangled those connections to get an up close and personal view like Lukas — or at least, get in to see the part of the collection currently on display for free. Ah well. Guess I’ve found a reason to go visit the old neighborhood (especially since the Honus Wagner card is going back on display soon). For now, I’ll just browse the collection online.

2.It was March of 2006, and my entire family was in Memphis for my cousin’s wedding.  It was an evening wedding, so the day of, those of us not in the wedding party did some sight seeing. Naturally, we went to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks. Just as we started making our way towards the door, my (then college-age, sports journalism major) brother yelped “hey, that’s Bernie Bickerstaff!”  I looked up to see a stream of extremely tall men in Charlotte Bobcats warm ups filing through the door, on their way back from morning shootaround before their game against the Grizzlies that night.  My brother, who still would consider an NBA play by play gig his dream job, named off every player as they came through the door (I only recognized Brevin Knight and Sean May).  As we left the hotel and walked up the street, he was practically bouncing. “Man, that was so cool!” he said. Then he paused. “Too bad it was the Bobcats.”

If that does not sum up the Bobcats era of Charlotte basketball, I don’t know what would.  Here’s hoping reclaiming the Hornets resurrects a bit of their dignity.

*I just spent about 10 minutes trying to think of a good baseball distance analogy and gave up. It is Friday of a three day weekend and I haven’t had even a sick day off work since February. Brain. Fried.

Brooks Laich Melts My Heart

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Chris Gordon/Russian Machine Never Breaks

So this happened on Monday. I absolutely love when my sports worlds collide, but I especially love it when my hockey world meets my Baltimore world. Being that my hockey team resides in a different city than my own, I love seeing the Caps doing things in Baltimore.

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5 Reasons the NBA Playoffs Are Delightful

Apologies if you saw the beginning of this last night – I’m still not sure how touching a post marked “local draft” in the WordPress app made it publish, but here’s the full version.

We have been watching a LOT of NBA Playoffs at my house. It started because we were checking on the Knicks and the Thunder (uh, and the Nets- we have a lot of basketball allegiances) and yet “hey is a game on tonight?” has become a common refrain.  There’s just so many things I find delightful this year. Here are five of them.

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How the Brewers alienated their female fans and regressed to 1958 or so…

I thought I posted this last night, so my apologies for being late to get this to you all, but if you follow me on Twitter, you’d have seen me ranting the past two days about an even the Brewers are putting on called Brewed for Her. That event, in and of itself, doesn’t thrill me, but to each her own. Unfortunately for the Brewers, it’s not as simple as that and it made me ranty to the tune of about 3300 words.

Won’t you please come over and check it out?

Brewers Brewed for Her Event: Sexist, Offensive and Just Really Bad Marketing

I had planned to post my diatribe here, but was lucky enough to be able to post out to BrewCrewBall, the SBN Brewers blog I contribute to. While I know I’ve got my target audience of upset female sports fans here, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to enlighten a new group of folks. Nor could I pass up the chance that someone in the Brewers Org would see it.

I have been overwhelmed by the support (and lack of negativity) and kind words I’ve received from many corners of the internet since publishing this piece over there yesterday afternoon. I’d love to here from you ladyfolk that put up with this sort of thing on a regular basis, though.

How to Deal

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This is how I deal with bad sports: Adam Levine.

Like Lady Bee, I’m still reeling from watching my beloved hockey team, the Washington Capitals, crash and burn on Monday night. It’s so bad, that I can’t even watch hockey. I know, it’s really bad. Since I’m used to this annual heartbreak, I can’t understand why, this year, I’m so depressed about it.

It’s not like the Caps don’t do this to me every single year. This year I was so indifferent about hockey. I was mad about the lockout, but as a season ticket holder, I was excited to get back to Verizon Center and spend time with my hockey family. That was what I looked forward to: happy hours, victory beers, inside hockey jokes, good times with friends and making fun of our players – not so much the hockey.

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Back on the NHL Wagon

You win, Leafs. I mean, you didn’t last night, but in the battle for winning me back over? I’d say you win.

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Jake Gardiner made it fun to be a Leafs fan for a few minutes Monday night.

So remember last fall when I was pissed off with the NHL? And my utter apathy when it returned earlier this year? I truly managed to go an entire (shortened) season without watching a complete game. I ignored favourite hockey blogs. I occasionally snubbed Sportscentre. I shrugged when I heard the Leafs may possibly be in playoff contention. I watched people who swore up and down on social media that they’d never forgive the NHL forgive the NHL and tune in with days of the league’s return. I was teased by my friends. “You’ll be back,” they said. Continue reading

In Which Our Lovely Readers Get To Help Us Avoid The Facebook Police

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So apparently Facebook now considers the three eponymous dots at the end of our group page name “excessive punctuation” (because that’s clearly the aberrant behavior they should be worrying about) and has instructed us to change it. While I still fail to see how something that technically qualifies as a single punctuation mark is “excessive,” goodness knows we would rather daydream about attaching ourselves to Matt Kemp than die on the hill of internet righteousness. That’s where you, lovely readers, come in.

TLDR: Facebook’s making us change our group page name; we want you to help us decide what we change it to.

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Hump Day Hottie: 2013 NHL Playoffs

David Steckel HOT

Steckel wants to know who you got in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

It’s that time of year…finally! We weren’t sure if we would even have the NHL Playoffs this year, but here we are. While other sites try to compile their own lists of the hotties of the NHL, we know our hockey here, so you can trust us.

As an added bonus, we’re even providing a preview of sorts for those who have checked out on the NHL so far. So strap on your skates and don’t ice the puck…

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Cosmo Thinks They Know NHL Hotties…AGAIN

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild

Hey Cosmo, Over here! Did you forget about me and my Minnesota Wild teammates?

Dearest Cosmo:

STOP NOW. JUST STOP. First of all, we started these hot guys in sports lists way before you did. Also, we’re actual female sports fans, so we, you know, watch games, monitor players and, for the most part, know who to watch for in a game.

I’m not saying that this new list of “NHL Playoff Hotties” is completely bogus, but you clearly don’t know what you’re doing. Granted, you did manage to include some obvious hotties, i.e. Henrik Lundqvist and Kris Letang, who you somehow forgot to include in your original list that we also called you out on.

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Another reason why firsts matter: Jason Collins

I was chatting with the other Ladies… this morning about how I was ready to post tonight on Don Cherry’s Saturday night rant about how women reporters don’t belong in the locker room. Then Jason Collins happened, we all got weepy at our workplaces, and I decided it would be more fun to reflect on the progress of the human race then a loudmouthed former coach defending the likes of Duncan Keith with a patronizing attitude towards women.

(Photo: SI.com)

(Photo: SI.com)

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Ryan Lochte: Reality Star

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As most of our readers know, Ryan Lochte has been a sort of a Ladies… mascot over the years. When his star power blew up last summer, it felt like one of our own had finally done good for himself. Obviously, we were pretty excited when it was announced that Ryan would appear in his own reality show on E! (natch). Lochte live in our living room every week? Where do we sign up?

While Ryan is lovely to look at, he’s not that great to listen to. He says really dumb things that make for great television/Internet meme material. So follow me after the jump for the best of What Would Ryan Lochte Do?

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For the love of Boston

I wanted to write something last night. But I couldn’t. Like many of you, I went through a series of emotions ranging from heartbreak to anger to numbness. Instead, I waited until my kids were in bed, sobbed over the footage on CBC, and then listened to Vin Scully because baseball seemed like the only thing that made sense at that moment. Sports helping us heal: yes, we’ve been here before.

I knew one person who participated in Monday’s Boston Marathon. Some of us with even stronger ties to the city were deeply upset and concerned about family members down there. The person I know is OK. A lot of people are not.

This wasn’t the post about Boston I wanted to write. You see, I had a chance to visit Boston for the very first time last month, thanks to a work-related conference. The city left a lasting impression with me. My disdain for the Red Sox may be well documented here, but in the two nights I stayed in Boston in a quaint hotel on Newbury Street, not far from where Monday’s tragedy took place, I became a huge fan. I love the people, its passion for its sports teams, every grungy alley and gorgeous brownstone. I snagged a terrific seat for the Celtics game that week when the Raptors were in town. 10 rows from courtside. Unbelievable. I have a pile of pictures I’ve been meaning to share on this site, of the game, of Kevin Garnett’s massive frame, of Fenway and the photo of Old Hoss Radbourne I found at this great sports bar on Boylston Street. But life happened, and now this.

I’m not from Massachusetts, not a Red Sox fan, not even American, so I feel a bit like I’m talking out of my ass. But I am a runner, and I am friends with some wonderful Americans (including these Ladies… ), so Monday’s events nevertheless left me shaken and heartbroken. I never once felt uneasy walking through Boston’s downtown core. Maybe it was the friendliness of its people or how it spoke to my Irish heritage, but the city really felt like home. The morning I arrived I took the wrong Green Line train and got lost, but I never once felt uncomfortable. I walked by Copley Square after the basketball game completely confident that nothing bad would happen to me, which I’m sure was the same feeling those runners and spectators and volunteers had yesterday.

So I promise that sometime soon, I will post those pictures. We need to remember why Boston is such a damn fine town, and how it will continue to be. And I will come back to Copley Square, and I’ll bring my kids. And I will continue to run, just like so many did yesterday and today in solidarity. And I will try not to be so angry about what happened, because in a time of need a city wrapped its caring arms around frightened and wounded strangers. You can’t stay angry when there is love.

Phoenix Coyotes Keith Yandle

TGIF: New York is a Basketball Town?

In a year in which New York has not one, but two playoff bound teams (although as I type I’m watching one of those teams blow their thirteen game winning streak), could Madison Square Garden lose its lease?  I’m a Knicks fan, but I’m kind of intrigued by the possibility of a city actually forcing their professional team to move in favor of better infrastructure (even though I’m sure  us taxpayers will probably finance a good chunk of that move, should it come to pass).

Hockey Gifs Galore!

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Hi, my name is Raven, and I’m addicted to HOCKEY GIFS!! Seriously, .gifs in general are the best thing the internet has invented. Somehow, the stupidest of moments caught on tape can bring such joy to my life. Recently, I was introduced to Tumblr, a.k.a. the home of .gifs. It’s such a wonderful place where I’ve found so many many many awesome .gifs. I, of course, love the hockey ones, specifically any featuring Washington Capitals players. So without further ado, I bring you some of my favorite hockey .gifs.

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Supporting women’s athletics, not just paying lip service (Go Badger Women’s Hockey!)

I’m absolutely loving this column Val Ackerman is doing over at ESPNW where she is speaking to prominent male sports executives about the future of women’s sports. It’s at once fascinating, heartening and upsetting. Her most recent is with recent Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke. Burke is probably best known around these parts for his no bigotry stance – he’s one of the few high-level executives out there consistently saying all the right things about why skin color, sexual orientation and really anything other than your athletic ability shouldn’t matter on the playing field.

Ackerman talks to Burke about the rapid growth of women’s hockey. I’m a huge women’s hockey fan and supporter and this was the first I’d heard that Burke was, as well, so I’m always happy to hear that high level men’s execs are also behind the women. I started wanting to break down some of the things Burke says, but ultimately, this quote of his is really what it comes down to for me:

Don’t just say you support Title IX, don’t just say you support women’s athletics; buy a ticket, bring your family. Buy a sponsorship on a team, put some money behind this thing, help it grow. If you really believe in women’s sports, there’s an opportunity to show it in a very direct way. Fans vote with their feet. Show up at a game.

– Brian Burke

I can’t stress enough how important this is and I’m going to go ahead and call each and every one of your out. When was the last time you went to a women’s college or professional game? Do you donate to your local college’s scholarship programs? Buy season tickets? Go to a game? Even at the high school level? Do you support fund raisers or pay admission?

If you do, do you drag your friends along? Do you extol the virtues of your favorite game or team? Do you introduce your friends and family to a sport or team they’re not familiar with and get them as excited about it as you are? Do you take your sister or niece or grandkid to as many different sports as you can and foster their love in a way that we didn’t get when we were little?

Because I didn’t used to do that and this year I made a concerted effort to change that. I’ve always been a hugely vocal supporter of Wisconsin women’s hockey, but I’d never put my money where my mouth was before now.

Follow the jump for more on Badger women’s hockey, Team USA and $5 world class talent
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Hump Day Hotties: NHL Trade Deadline

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Did you know that the Sabres acquired the draft pick they used to draft Ryan Miller from the Florida Panthers in 1999? Well, now you do.

To commemorate today’s impending NHL Trade Deadline, I’m celebrating what used to be my favorite day of the year (it’s been uninteresting the past couple seasons) with some NHL hotties that have been dealt at the trade deadline over the past few seasons.

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Opening Day Moments That Made Us Smile (so far)

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Mo’s last Opening Day. Insert heaving sigh here.

Never mind that it was Easter weekend. Opening Weekend made it more like Christmas Day at the Bee Household, just as I expect it may have been for you this past long weekend. (True story: we spent Sunday morning watching the replay of Yankees-Army at West Point on MLB.tv via Apple TV. And it was glorious.)

While it wasn’t such a great day for my Yankees – and please, let’s all just calm down, alright? – there was so much to celebrate. For one, I was glad to see Francisco Cervelli back in the regular lineup and having a decent outing at the plate, and hearing the Yankee faithful bellowing YOOOOOOOOUUUUK! (Suck it, Boston. He’s OURS now!) For Boston fans, seeing a strong outing from Jon Lester at Yankee Stadium was likely pretty uplifting. Maybe we don’t need to relegate them to the AL East basement just yet.

Here are a few other moments that may have brought a smile to your face:

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