We didn’t end up doing a Call-Up Cuties post this year (I know! Blame Olympic fatigue/2nd Wild Card Frenzy) or you would have seen Manny already. On Wednesday, he became the first player under 21 to hit a Division Series homer (and one of only 4 players to hit a postseason homer at that age). If the Orioles rally to win their series with the Yankees, let’s hope they don’t get cited for providing alcohol to a minor during the celebration.
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!
I am having the world’s craziest work week (Wednesday’s job duties ran the gamut from making a caprese salad to coordinating logistics with a Fox News film crew) and so this will have to be a links post. However, as I began writing this post I had no good picture to jazz things up a little. And then, through the power of serendipity, I stumbled onto a little slideshow called “Rafael Nadal Cheers At A Soccer Match.” And thus my day and, I hope, yours, is saved. Unless you are a Machester City fan, I suppose.
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.”)
Last Friday night, I sat on a plane to the West Coast and watched what turned out to be Andy Roddick’s penultimate career victory. Had the weather cleared a bit faster Wednesday, I could have seen the end of his final match on the return flight, but the remains of Isaac lingered in New York just long enough to make sure the match restarted and ended in the time it took us to get home from the airport. So my last true memory of Andy Roddick as a tennis player (because he is surely as destined for a commentating career as McEnroe) will be of him firing on all cylinders, reducing (with the partisan crowd’s help) his 19 year old opponent to near paralysis with his shot selection and wicked serve. It’s a nice companion to my other key memory of Roddick, the legendary Wimbledon final he lost to Federer.
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.
Maybe this was your first Olympics with access to NBC’s online feeds (or perhaps you are a lucky Canadian who can access live events all the time). Maybe you coincidentally happened to have 14 days off work (counting weekends) during the 17 days of the Summer Olympics. Maybe you are now exhibiting symptoms such as disorientation with your sudden abundance of free time, queasiness when watching sports where anthems are played before the game begins, and a compulsion to introduce Olympic athletes into only tangentially related topics (such as, say, Usain Bolt in a conversation about stealing bases on a Cardinals broadcast). You may be suffering from an Olympics Hangover. And, like those other types of hangovers, there are various methods for dealing with it.
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.
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.)
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….
I swear, we will post about something non-Olympic soon (although my excuse is that I am trying not to jinx baseball with my team of choice just starting to get their act together again), but today we need your help, lovely readers. With Pat Burrell officially retired and London 2012 fast approaching, we’d like to put together a new, Olympic themed cover photo for our Facebook page. Obviously, we will be including the man (who is currently being interviewed on my TV right now! It is distracting!) we all know and love, Mr. Lochte:
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.
Look, it’s just like in 5th grade when your school got the really cool photographer who let you bring props and pose in front of cool fake backdrops. Of course, when you win the French Open, you get a real Eiffel Tower and a real trophy.
OK, lovely readers. I, an American resident with broadband internet but no cable television, was following four major sporting events last night. Which one of the following was I NOT able to follow through live internet streaming?
St. Louis Cardinals versus Houston Astros: In which the Cards got a much needed win, despite 3 errors, thanks to a brilliant fielding play by Daniel Descalso.
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.
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
The uproar two weeks ago about whether or not an adult has to give away a baseball that enters the stands to a child had me thinking about collecting memorabilia.
We have a (wo)man room - man room sounds better, but honestly, most of the stuff in there is mine…
We don’t have anything that we spent a lot of money on – I think we paid for maybe one signature in the bunch – but we do like to display some of the various things we’ve picked up at games. Aside from stadium giveaways, we have a few banners with logos on them, since I’m a major uni-nerd and we’ve framed programs and ticket stubs from some of the cooler games we’ve attended.
So this got me wondering about whether sports fans inherently become collectors of “stuff” or memorabilia merely by being fans who attend many games. Seems like every sports fan I know has at least one thing that they’re proud to own and show off.
So what are the coolest pieces that we Ladies… own?
Follow the jump to find out
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.
Since the Cardinals played the Opening Night game on ESPN this year, on actual Opening Day I had my pick of games on MLB.tv. By the time I got home from work, the Indians and Blue Jays were tied in the 9th inning. “Oh, I’ll just watch this quick dramatic conclusion,” I thought. Then it turned out to be the longest Opening Day game ever played. It went on so long, in fact, that the benches for both teams saw a lot of work. Which brought in Omar Vizquel. Who yesterday turned 45.
A longtime Indian now with Toronto, Vizquel got a warm round of applause from the Cleveland fans both when he was first inserted as a defensive replacement, and later when the game went on long enough to give him an at bat. In an MLB where players my age are now considered on the far side of their prime, and where many of his contemporaries are now mangers, Vizquel’s longevity is both remarkable and jarring. (Related: Chipper Jones turned 40 the same day. Chipper. Jones. is 40.)
Other sports news properly introduced with “it seems like only yesterday….”
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.
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.
OK, so it was somewhere between 3 and 6 am in North America and if you were in Oakland you couldn’t watch anyway, but the first official pitch of the MLB season happened in Japan yesterday. Then they went ahead and played a whole game. The Mariners won. Breakup the Mariners!
Behold some pictures of yesterday’s action:
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.
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.
It is nearly time for the NCAA tournament, and by extension, the Ladies… Bracket Brawl (look for a sign up post late Sunday). Since my alma mater is on year three of Absolute Hopelessness Where Men’s Basketball Is Concerned*, I like to spend conference tourney week selecting underdogs to root for come March Madness Thursday. I keep hoping that one of these years I’ll pin my hopes on an underdog that becomes a true Cinderella, but as of yet, I always bank on teams of the play-valiantly-but-lose-the-first-weekend variety. So join me on my quest to find this year’s VCU, won’t you?
*It’s a real thing. And extra painful when, immediately before the onset of said Hopelessness, you had Blake Griffin.
One of the great things about spring training isn’t just that baseball is back, but that it marks the return of many players who lost all or most of last season to injury. Like our shadow player below. Can you guess who this is?
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.
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.
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.