Today is not a national holiday… but it should be.
A day to get up to watch a ballgame being played halfway around the world, that starts at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. (5 a.m. for those of us here in the Central timezone.) A day to agonize over batting orders and rotations and scratching due to injury and stats and averages and fastballs that don’t zing fast enough and sliders that don’t kiss the paint close enough and whether to put on the shift and managing the middle relievers in the pen. A day to rejoice over the crack of the bat and the smell of the grass (err… turf) and the freshly chalked lines and the newly broken-in leather gloves and the announcement of the starting lineups and the sparkling clean new uniforms and pitching from the stretch and stealing that extra base and smashing the ball through the gap and careening into the outfield wall for a catch and laying the perfect curveball right over the plate.
It’s time for baseball. And boy have we missed it.
| People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s certainly true for baseball fans who have to endure the long and lonely offseason that stretches through the cold, unending months of winter. But those dark days are officially behind us now: it’s P&C day, y’all.
It’s positively poetic that pitchers and catchers report on Valentine’s Day, because quite a few of the Ladies have ongoing torrid affairs with baseball. And let’s be honest- we’d much rather be treated to the boys of summer than yet another lame box of candy. So we’ve put together a few love letters to baseball – little Valentine’s treats for our favorite teams and players, and the game itself… all after the jump.
It’s time to show some love for the backup – the #2 guy, the benchwarmer, the alternate plan, the man who sits at second on the depth chart. While the starters are out there getting all the love and the limelight, the backup rides the pine waiting for his time to shine. But Mr. Alternate deserves love, too.
Take for example the case of one Johan Hedberg – backup goaltender for the Atlanta Thrashers. The sexy Swede (I have always wanted to write that in a post) may play second fiddle to Kari Lehtonen on the ice, but he definitely wins in the looks competition. Johan was named one of the 50 Sexiest People in Atlanta – and where was Mr. Lehtonen on that list? Nowhere, that’s where.
Plus, his nickname is “Moose” (thanks to Pittsburgh- whose fans gently mocked him for wearing his old Manitoba Moose helmet when he got called to the Penguins at the last minute), which is awesome. And he is super sweet to the kid fans, too:
[A fan] asked Hedberg if he had a moment to take a photo with her daughter at a Thrashers practice. She got more than a picture. “He picked her up and talked to her and snuggled her,” said the fan, sporting a No. 1 Hedberg Thrashers jersey before a recent Thrashers home game. “That’s a big deal for a mom.”
That picture now has a permanent home in her purse and Hedberg cemented another lifelong supporter in a fan club that grows with each person he meets.
So you can have first crack at tending the goal, Kari – and Johan will just have to be satisfied with being sweet and handsome. And don’t look now- but Johan’s getting more playing time lately, so maybe he’ll take over #1 on the ice soon, too.
Lots more Johan loveliness after the jump…
Braylon Edwards has been a victim of what I like to think of as the “Cleveland Effect”: if you play for a Cleveland team, your hotness is camoflaged by wearing a uniform with “CLEVELAND” on it somewhere. Braylon looked hot playing for Michigan, and he still looks hot playing for Cleveland– but a guy has to be extra specially hot to overcome the Cleveland Effect and get his own HDH (see: Sizemore, Grady). Everyone has been busy fawning over the new kid taking his shots for the Browns at QB, but I maintain that Braylon is the best looking guy on the team. He even has his own fan club (of sorts) – the Braylon Bunch… started by eight guys. Such is the hotness of Braylon, even straight men recognize.
But it was this picture in Sports Illustrated that finally convinced me to overlook the Cleveland Effect and make Braylon an HDH – because not only is he beautiful to look at, and talented on the field, but he pledged $1 million in scholarship money for 100 needy eighth-grade students in Cleveland. With that list of qualifications, who cares if he plays for the Browns?
How that group of eighth grade girls can look so bored with that pretty sitting so close by, I’ll never know. Oh, right- they live in Cleveland.
For lots more of Braylon, follow me after the jump…
Your designated Big 10 representative for the evening (Lady Andrea) and the only Big XII representative around these parts (me) were both tasked with a difficult job: watch the Alamo Bowl. Doesn’t sound hard- except that every single other person in the country was watching the Patriots take on the Giants. But Lady A’s allegiance to the Big 10 and my hatred of the Aggies is so strong that we persevered.
Since I’m 99% sure no one else watched the Alamo Bowl- here’s our play-by-play of the important action. You will notice we did not make one single “Remember the Alamo!” pun.
Why, hello, Colt McCoy. Aren’t you looking all fine with that Offensive MVP trophy and those awesome Texas guns? I’m so glad to see you show up in San Diego at the Holiday Bowl without bringing along those friends of yours Mr. Int and Mr. Erception — you know, the ones that have been hanging around you all season. (Although I did notice that you couldn’t get rid of the other member of the Suck Trio, Mr. Fumble – but considering the scoreboard, I’ll forgive you.) You’re like our own Matt Saracen, all grown up – wide-eyed and full of small-town boyish charm. I am required by Texan law to lavish schmoopy praise on our QB- especially when his name is Colt McCoy, as clearly he was destined to lead us to victory with a name like that. (See? There I go again!)
Heck, now that I think of it, just about every member of the Longhorns team that stepped on the field last night looked pretty darned hot– winning will do that for you. Why don’t you all take a step forward so we can appreciate your hotness. NOT SO FAST, CHRIS JESSIE.
I’m pretty sure that you should never, ever, EVER step foot on the field of play again, unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a member of the coaching staff who is not your stepfather. I’m also pretty sure we need to outfit you with one of those child leash things, so that the coaches can yank you backwards like Phillip the Hyper Hypo if you try to run up and grab a live ball again.
Now that we’ve covered that unpleasantness, we can move on to all the pictures of hotties, after the jump…
Picking the hottest Heisman finalist from the field of official photos this year was an easy task- the hottie favorite Colt Brennan disqualifies himself by sporting a wicked bad haircut (and looking like that doofy receptionist guy from Private Practice), Chase Daniel manages to look like an unemployed hobo and/or psycho shop teacher, and Tim Tebow could be a member of the Geek Squad from your local Best Buy. Darren McFadden reigns supreme and wins the official photo battle in a walk.
But Tim Tebow emerged victorious from the Downtown Athletic Club on Saturday, claiming the actual Heisman hardware – which, oddly enough, was not awarded based on how hot he looked in his official press photo. So I’m calling uncle, Mr. Tebow. You won the Heisman fair and square (and were the first underclassman to ever win the award), and so I’m finally giving you your very own HDH post. Even though you play for the hated Florida Gators, I must grudgingly acknowledge that you’ve got gorgeous baby blues and a body that just won’t quit. And when you add in the Heisman hardware (whether I thought you deserved it or not), that’s one mighty appealing package. I might even be able to overlook the Florida colors- as long as you promise not to do that stupid Gator chomp thing with your arms.
Just please, please quit taking hair styling tips from Urban Meyer, OK? Less gel and spikes, more natural tousle.
Lots more Heisman-y goodness after the jump… Continue reading