Hit & Run: Fantasy Football Disasters Edition

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Guess who writes for a sports blog and has Reggie Bush on both her fantasy teams, including one that is in such bad shape as far as running backs go that she is resorting to starting Fred Taylor and 3 WRs for week 3?  Yeah.  So.  (Though as someone who dates a Saints fan, I must note there’s a certain amount of relief among the NOLA fanbase that Reggie’s leg is “just” broken and he didn’t reinjure his knee.)

Injuries and fantasy football lineups thus being on my mind, I thought I’d take a quick survey of other developing situations around the league that might impact your fantasy choices this week.

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Now for a little MORE good news…

With the Cardinals officially eliminating themselves from the MLB playoffs and the Jets managing to embarrass themselves on and off the field, this week has me in something of a funk, sports-wise.  So I took  a cue from Bee’s Steve Nash post, and went hunting for some sports news that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face:

  • First off, let’s congratulate Kevin Durant and the rest of the US team on winning the World Basketball Championship, the country’s first since 1994.  If Kevin Durant smiling doesn’t make you smile, check your pulse.

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Where’s Oswalt?

You may have heard that Roy Oswalt was pressed into duty as a left fielder in the Phillies -Astros 14 inning game Tuesday night.  This was all in a day’s work for Roy, who likes to keep his pitching skills fresh by engaging in a number of varied activities on his off days.  Here’s where you could find Roy this week:

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Call-Up Cuties Returns: Welcome to the Show, Boys

It’s not quite September yet, but plenty of baseball teams  have already started calling up fresh faces for their major league debuts — which means even if your team is out of any meaningful chance at the playoffs (or if you’re trying to ignore the fact that your team is giving away the division right after reclaiming first place, sigh) there’s still plenty of good reasons to watch the games.  I mined the MLB transaction ledger to find every first-time call-up since July 31.  You can thank me later.

Ryan Kalish, LF Boston Red Sox

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Girls in the Dugout

Chelsea Baker and Joe Niekro in 2006

The last year my brothers played Coach Pitch in Little League, their team was assigned two girls.  This was no big sweat for the head coach (my dad) — not only had he begun his long and varied youth sports coaching career with a stint as my soccer coach, he’d also coached kindergarten teeball, which in our area was co-ed.  What did surprise him, though, was that only one girl showed up to practice. After a week or two,  Dad mentioned to this girl’s mother that she wasn’t supposed to be the only one on the team.

“Oh, I know,” the mom said, “she didn’t want to come after what happened last year.”  Apparently the girls had also been assigned to the same team the year before  — only that head coach had done everything he could to make it clear he did not want girls on his team, from making them go last in every single drill to only playing them the minimum amount of innings required by Little League rules.  Both girls (who, I remind you, were eight years old at the time) stuck it out the full season, but now the other girl couldn’t bear to even try again.

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Hit & Run: Not So Fast Edition

Devil for Life? Maybe not.

A couple of days ago it looked like Ilya Kolvalchuk was going to be a New Jersey Devil for more or less the rest of his pro career, as he signed a $102 million dollar, 17-year deal that was pretty much unprecedented in professional sports.  (Unless you count the Islanders’ DePietro deal, which I don’t — that would be like saying the Raiders personnel decisions are in any way comparable to the rest of the NFL.)  Yesterday, however, the NHL nixed the deal (and it appears the Devils may have known this was coming even before the press conference).

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Sports on the Day of No Sports

The Tour de France knows not of your "off day," silly Americans.

Yesterday was the “Off Day” in the All-Star Break, or as it is sometimes called, The Day So Devoid of Major Sporting Events* that ESPN Invented an Awards Show Just to Have Something To Air.   Because this year’s Off Day also fell just after the close of the World Cup, things feel particularly quiet this year.  But that didn’t mean there was no athletic competition to enjoy …you just might have to leave the contiguous United States for some of it.

*Except the Tour de France , which ESPN doesn’t count since Versus has the rights and Lance isn’t going to win. That’s current leader Andy Schleck above. He’s from Luxembourg.

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Of Soccer, Scoring, and Standings

Lo, the Golden Boot.

Standings of the Ladies… World Cup Pick ‘Em Challenge going into the weekend’s 3rd place and Final matches:

1. Games Mistress,  37 pts
2. Wildfor9, 33 pts
3. Missmaegen, 32 pts
4.yosempai, 30 pts
5. Maggie/thistlewarrior, tied at 29 pts

As there are only two points left on the board, I guess I can claim victory.   (Still, don’t let that stop you from making your final two picks — there’s a lot of potential movement left in the standings.  Your pride is at stake!)  Special mention should also go to Wildfor9, who was the only person to correctly guess both semifinal results, as well as Missmaegen, who beat everyone in the round of 16 by predicting 7 of the 8 results.

While we’re on the subject of soccer, individual awards, and scoring, let’s take a moment to review the current standings for the Golden Boot — the award given to the highest individual scorer at each World Cup. These standings are also quite close; it’s entirely likely that any one of these next four gentlemen could carry away that gold-plated Adidas up there.

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On Sale Now!!!

It’s time once again for the annual NBA Free Agent Sale — and this year our deals are hotter than ever! Yes, you too, for a contract totaling only slightly more than the gross national product of Kiribati, can own your very own NBA Superstar Free Agent! We have so many great models to choose from, like this 2010 Hungry Franchise Savior:

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World Cup Hotties: Group G

OK, it was a crazy sports news day yesterday.  There was that tennis match (which may still be going on as you read this), a huge trade by the new Stanley Cup champions, Bobby Valentine may be returning to the NL East, and um, oh right THAT.

But we here at Ladies are bound and determined to finish examining all the World Cup teams for hotties if it kills us.  We are nothing if not devoted.

Group G awaits!  Let’s start with Brazil.

Luis Fabiano

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Hump Day Hottie AND Pick ‘Em Challenge Update

It's the Soccer Super Friends!!! (No? Just me? OK.)

Important Announcement for Pick ‘Em Challenge Participants: Group play concludes on Friday!  That means you have between the close of Friday’s 2:30 pm  matches (usually around 5 pm ET) and the start of the first second round match at 10 AM Saturday morning to make your pick for that game.  (If you oversleep, don’t worry — you can still pick all the remaining knockout round matches until the time the match starts. You just won’t get points for that first game.) Continue reading

Hit and Run: 100% Vuvuzela Free

I know, we haven’t gotten to group H yet, but I’m a little pressed for time and there’s been lots going on in the sports world this week. (Also, I tend to get really distracted while doing the research for World Cup preview posts.  I can’t imagine why.)  So consider these reaction shots of yesterday’s shocking Swiss upset of Spain a preview of what’s coming soon:

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World Cup Hotties: Group C

This being a North American-centric blog, there’s going to be a lot of focus on this group.  But let’s start with the two lesser-known rosters first.

No, wait: first go sign up for the Ladies… World Cup Pick’Em Challenge over here. (The password is “ladies”.) Now, let’s talk soccer hotties.

Slovenia has a nice collection of hotties, particularly if you’re into rangy white Europeans:

Boran Jokic

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2010 French Open Digest: Why Yes, That Does Mean New Rafa Pictures

Nothing sadder than an about to be defeated millionaire tennis player in the rain.

I’m back from my brief moving-related hiatus just in time: the French Open wraps up this weekend, and I’d hate to think we missed the chance to bring you new pictures of certain tennis players who may or may not be the favorite to win this event for the fifth time, especially now that Federer is out.

Yes, that’s right: for the first time in six years (that’s 23 consecutive Grand Slams), Federer lost before the semifinal round of a Grand Slam tournament …

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Baseball Rookies on Parade!

Here we are, a little over a month into the new baseball season.  While we try to not panic/be overly confident about our favorite teams’ and players’ seasons thus far,  it’s hard not to get a little excited about the breakout rookies.  Yes, it’s true that some (most)  rookie hot streaks don’t last, and a .360 batting average in the first six weeks of a major league career isn’t necessarily a harbinger of a long and prosperous career.  Still, ten Aprils ago, that’s what they were saying about Albert Pujols.

Let’s meet a few of the newbies, shall we?

Jaime Garcia

OK, not technically a rookie (he appeared mostly in short relief  in 10 games in 2008 before needing Tommy John surgery), but he’s a Cardinal so I’m bending the rules.  He’s also the first lefty to start for the Cards since Mark Mulder and he is awesome. After what the Phillies did to Santana, I was scared to death that Garcia’s hot streak was about to get clobbered by Utley and co. … and then he held them to three hits over six innings.

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Happy Anniversary, Ladies…!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my fellow Ladies… – this week marks many of our one year anniversary when we joined the Ladies…family!  So to Lady Bee, Lady Liz, Crane, Maggie, Raven, THE Blonde Bomber, CuteSports, and Buffalita, here is our favorite set of abs popping out of a cake :)

Special thanks to Games Mistress and Miss Minda for inviting all of us to be a part of this family of lovely Ladies… and keeping things going between the two generations!

And another special thanks is in order to our readers – we couldn’t have done this without all of you, so thank you for your continued support – keep coming back for more, and here’s to another great year of sabermetrics, football booties, and much, much more!

NFL: I have to root for WHO now?

Do not try to win me over with those abs, Jason. I'm not that kind of girl.

I hate Jason Taylor.

I am a Jets fan, so hating Jason Taylor is as natural as breathing.  Moreover, Jason Taylor has been a Dolphin since 1997, and I have only been a Jets fan since 2002. The Jets have been through 2 GMs, 3 head coaches, 5 starting QBs, and a whole mess of punters in that time — which means hating Jason Taylor has been one of the few consistent things about my Jets fandom.

So you can see how the past week has been a bit difficult for me.

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Twitter Theater: Mets-Cardinals, April 17, 2010

Cards' beat writer Derrick Goold snapped this picture of his scorecard after the game. (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

I’m sort of new to Twitter (I don’t actually have an account, I just follow people through Feedly), and the handful of people I follow right now are a)Cardinals fans or b)Ladies.  Which made a glance at my selected Twitter feeds during Saturday’s Mets-Cardinals marathon most entertaining. And now, without further interruption, Ladies…Twitter Theater presents: The Twenty Inning Game

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Hit and Run: Old Faces, New Places Edition

The Yankees played their home opener on Tuesday afternoon and a lot of the local media coverage in the city focused on the huge ovation for former Yankee Hideki Matsui, who received his World Series Ring as a member of the visiting Angels. (There was also an impromptu group hug with his old teammates, which you can see about to happen in the picture above.)  Granted, I’m not a Yankees fan, but I live in New York and I’d completely forgotten where Matsui had ended up.  And he’s not the only familiar face showing up somewhere new in the first weeks of the new season:

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Bracket Brawl Update (No Fooling, Promise)

Gordon Heyward thinks y'all should have bet on Butler.

I really suck at April Fools’ Day jokes.  Besides, the way this NCAA tournament is playing out, we all look like big enough fools right now, no?  I must say I’ve never been in a bracket pool where everyone’s champion lost before the final weekend of play, but that’s exactly what has happened to us Ladies and our dear readers.  Perhaps we should have taken Butler more seriously.

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Ladies… Bracket Bawl, Um, Brawl, Update

Did you pick West Virginia? Did you know Darryl Bryant broke his foot and is out for the rest of the tourney? Do you still like that pick?

Wow.  So, um, when I said it was the most wide-open tourney in years that was … possibly the only thing I’ve said about the tournament that’s actually been right so far.    The Ladies … Bracket Brawl, like so many other tourney pools this year, is a collection of shredded brackets.  The good news is, with everyone doing so poorly, everyone still has a chance to catch up.  Well, I don’t, but the rest of you do.  Let’s look at the standings after the first two rounds:

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Last Call for Brackets!!!

Just a reminder you have until Noon Est Thursday to join the Ladies…Bracket Brawl.  Don’t worry if you’ve never picked a bracket before or haven’t watched a college basketball game this season — sometimes the best brackets are filled out by people who don’t spend too much time analyzing their picks.

But, if you need some help, here are some helpful strategies for picking your bracket (interspersed, for your enjoyment, with some cute college players):

John Wall

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Hit & Run: It’s Spring Somewhere Edition

I want to go to there.

It rained all day Tuesday in New York, it was cloudy all day Wednesday, and by the time this posts we’ll be in the middle of yet another snowstorm/frozen rainstorm.  I really can not deal with talking about sports played on snow and ice today.  Let’s look in on spring training again, why don’t we?

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Opening Ceremonies Bingo: Now With More Ski Jumping!

Four years later, this low tech illusion from Torino is still one of my favorite Olympic opening ceremonies segments ever:

After this last week, a good portion of North America is going to need some snowed-in activities this weekend. So in honor of the Vancouver Games’ impending opening on Friday, I give you an updated version of Olympic Opening Ceremonies Bingo!

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Hit and Run: Here Comes the Super Bowl!

Three more days to endure until Super Bowl Sunday.  Fortunately, I’ve had a busy week to take my mind off the waiting.  Also fortunately, there’s some great pictures coming out of Miami to whet your football appetite and save me from having to write too much.

First up, Daylife.com (via Getty Images), has a whole series of pictures of the painting of the turf, which I found fascinating.

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Off-Week Diversion: Fantasy Dancing With The Stars Casting Call

The Super Bowl’s not for another week, the Olympics aren’t for another two, and I don’t care about the Pro Bowl.  I think this calls for a post topic that’s completely silly and unrelated to anything, don’t you?  Luckily I’ve been saving one up, ever since I saw this post on one of my favorite dance blogs. For those of you who don’t feel like following the link, all you really need to know is that the title is “I WANT CC SABATHIA TO BE ON DANCING WITH THE STARS.”

Um, you may need to stretch more than that to pull off a tango, CC.

There is usually at least one athlete contestant on DWTS  every season, but none of them has been a professional baseball player.  Ignoring the pragmatic concerns about whether the timing of the DWTS filming would conflict with baseball season (because: silly post), would CC be a good fit for the show?

Pros: Very first contestant from baseball, Yankees would probably encourage it if only to keep him in shape during off season.

Cons: Size (height, too, this is not a fat joke!) might make it difficult to find a compatible partner, might have a hard time getting votes if DWTS fans turn out to be anti-Yankee.

Follows in the Footsteps of: Warren Sapp, Evander Holyfield

But I didn’t stop there!  If scheduling conflicts were not an issue, here are some other contestants I’d like to see on the dance floor.

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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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