Hope Springs: Pitchers and Catchers Report!

Aren’t you impressed that I refrained from using a caps locky title with multiple exclamation points? BUT IT WAS SO TEMPTING!!!!

Monday was the big day for pitchers and catchers from several MLB teams to report. Others, like my Yankees, report Tuesday. And then you have those like my second husband Derek Jeter recovering from surgery and other ailments who have been at their respective training facilities for a while. All this to say HOORAY FOR BASEBALL’S WELCOME RETURN! How about a photo essay?

Let’s start with new Jay R.A. Dickey, who is kind of an awesome human being in case you weren’t aware. It’s going to be tough cheering against this new AL East foe.

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There’s something about a maple leaf on R.A. Dickey’s hat that makes him even more endearing. (Canadian Press photo)

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Hit and Run: Time Flies Edition

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….”

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Mr. Mondays (yes, we have three!)

Red Sox

See? The Red Sox still remember how to smile. (AP Photo)

It’s the Monday of a four-day work week for me. Don’t those Mondays seem like the very longest of Mondays? Ugh. And for that reason, I wish I had this post up for you sooner. Forgive me. How about I make it up to you with not one, but three Mr. Mondays!

Let’s start with a belated Happy Patriots’ Day to the good residents of my geographical neighbours in Maine, and further on in Massachusetts. The Red Sox celebrated the day by beating up on the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1. It was like the War of 1812 except, um, not really. At all.

But hey, how about Jed Lowrie who had four hits including a two-run homer! I haven’t done the research, but at .516/.545/.774, is it safe to say that Jed is off to his Best Start Ever? It’s just a shame he’s Scutaro’s backup. The win is Boston’s third in a row, so maybe we’re finally seeing the team we were warned about all along.

See who else made our Monday after the jump.

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Hit and Run: With Spring in our Step

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Here's Marquette, whose victory over Syracuse last night made me cry. (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s Monday. How are your brackets looking? Like hell? Thought so.

First of all, a warm welcome to our special guest Ladies… Bracket Brawl participants: Melissa_thistle, Courknee35, Big10Bias and fellow Canuck/friend of the blog Andrew Bucholtz (you will go read his blog The 55-Yard Line now, won’t you?) Our current leader isn’t in our Ladies… group – due to technical difficulties, we had to create another group on ESPN.com so one gal could get her picks in. That gal is Buffalita, leading the pack with 460 points and picking Ohio State to win it all. CuteSports and Raven round out the Top 3 at 440 and 430 points respectively. Any hopes I had of repeating last year’s surprise success have been flushed down the proverbial toilet. I blame Butler.

Best of luck heading into Thursday! Sweet Sixteen will be hopefully be sweet for some of you.

So what else is going on? Continue reading

I Was There: Opening Day Edition

On a beautiful April day in Cleveland, Ohio I had the privilege and fortune of attending my very first opening day.   The fans in their new team gear, the smell of grilling flesh, the way the afternoon sun sparkles on the fresh outfield – I could not have been happier.  Apparently, this was the first time in years where the city of Cleveland wasn’t covered in snow for opening day, so I feel rather like a good luck charm!

Immediately I was reminded of a very simple truth – there is nowhere on the planet I’d rather be between the months of April and October – than a baseball stadium.

I was also reminded of a few not so beautiful things about baseball season, and that’s what I’ll be sharing here.

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Ladies and stat nerds unite: in celebration of F-Gut!

Stat-nerds have been falling all over themselves in adoration of Franklin Gutierrez’s astounding CF defense, which is so stunningly awesome that the Mariners are hanging on to him for four more years. But don’t leave the F-Gut lovin’ to the statheads* – he’s someone the Ladies… can appreciate as well. Behold:

He is the WORLD. It says so right on his jersey.

*I, much like Crane, proudly belong to that set of people. Give me FanGraphs or give me death!

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MLB Hotties on the Move

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No, no! He's not going anywhere!

Somewhere, in a vast wilderness where cell phones signals go to die and there is no SportsCenter, Crane is feeling a psychic wave of untold joy and relief. That’s because the trade deadline has passed and Roy Halladay stayed in Toronto. Hey, Riccardi, thanks for playing with the heads of Jays’ fans these last few weeks! There’s a special place in hell for GMs like you – right beside John Ferguson Jr.

It’s been a busy few days. Let’s put all the nonsense of PEDs and Papi behind us and concentrate on the actual game of baseball baseball transactions. If your fave player left on a jet plane today for another team and you don’t know when he’ll be back again (hint: check the team schedule), I’m sorry to hear that. On the other hand, if your team has been injected with newfound playoff hope, congratulations! Hope that works out for you guys! Unless you like the Red Sox, and then…you know how I feel. Continue reading

The Last Time Your Team Won it All: Baseball Teams

world-series-trophy

I got the idea for this post when I was talking to my friend about the last time the Yankees won the World Series. It’s almost going to be nine years, but nine years isn’t that long. If I ever complained about a nine-year World Series drought to a Cubs fan, I would more than likely get a smack in the face…and it would be completely warranted.

However, when I think back to where I was the 2000, it seems like ages ago. The last time the Yankees won it all I was a freshman in High School. It feels like I graduated from H.S. ages ago; forget about actually being a freshman. The bottom line is we all follow our team with one goal: to see them win it all at the end. Don’t get me wrong, you can still enjoy the season, but you are never fully satisfied unless your team is the last one standing. Unless you root for the Phillies, Red Sox or Cardinals, the last time your team won it all can seem like a lifetime ago.

So let’s take a little trip down memory lane and see what life was like the last time your team were World Champions. Sorry to all Washington, Milwaukee, Houston, San Diego, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Seattle fans. You need to have won at least one to qualify.

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Misery Loves Company

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With the exception of very few major league teams, more likely than not your season consistently ends in tears.  Sitting in a bar this past Saturday, looking at the faces of those around me wearing Cavs jerseys, I was reminded once again of the ultimate reality of Ohio teams in the post season, and the heart break that lies therein.

The more I thought about it, we are not alone. You know who you are, kings and queens of “there’s always next year,” or preseason shouters of, “this is our year!”  And you can be found across this great nation.

So here begins my little journey across country, to highlight our defeats, but most importantly, the beauty that comes from being a fan, and the hope that maybe, just maybe, this really is our year!

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Hit and Run: In Which Barry Zito’s BABIP Regresses, Right Before Our Eyes!

A.k.a. the “Complete MLB Rundown (To The Exclusion Of Everything Else)” edition. Why? Because I can. Yesterday’s scores presented BBC-style for extra hilarity and confusion.

  • Red Sox 3 – 5 Blue Jays. Sevven sollid innings from Tallet (see what I did there?) provide a lead for Scott Downs to preserve, bringing them back into 2nd place in the mighty AL East. Go Jays!
  • Marlins 7 – 3 Mets. Tim Redding sucks. Josh Johnson doesn’t. Go Fish!
  • Braves 2 – 3 Diamondbacks. There are a lot of 3s today. Eric Byrnes finally does something good; namely, driving in the winning run in the 11th. No, wearing awesome socks doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve done something good.
  • Dodgers 0 – 7 Cubs. Eric Stults fails as Dodgers get shut out for the first time all year. You know, I like the guy, but hey dude, put up or shut up. As in, put up zeros on the scoreboard, or shut the hell up when the reporters interview you and ask why you sucked. Go ahead, say, “I sucked”. David Ortiz did, you can too! Ugh. STULTS. My boy Brent Leach faces 1 batter, records 2 groundouts, because he’s cool like that. Go Dodgers.
  • Twins 2 – 5 Rays. David Price blah blah blah 11 strikeouts blah blah blah 1st Major League win blah blah blah Free Rick Porcello!
  • Reds 5 – 9 Brewers. Some dudes hit some home runs.
  • Tigers 6 – 3 Orioles. Is Luke Scott on steroids? Naw, he’s just in an un-slump.
  • Astros 4 – 7 Pirates. Hey guys, the Pirates just won another game. Meanwhile, the Astros lost another one and are hopelessly out of contention. Kind of like the Nationals.
  • Yankees 10 – 5 Indians. Your first double-digit scoring game of the night was notable only for the fact that CC Sabathia gave up runs. I really hate that guy. Oh, and Nick Swisher (perhaps better known simply as AJ Burnett’s new boyfriend) hit a home run. I’m sure they celebrated in an entirely appropriate fashion that didn’t involve ice cream or maple syrup or leather and chains. No, I didn’t just imply that.
  • Nationals 6 – 9 Phillies. Cole Hamels gets shelled but gets the win anyway. Disgusting. Lidge doesn’t implode, but his ERA is still above 8. Good luck with that, buddy.
  • White Sox 5 – 3 Royals. Gil Meche gets no love from the bullpen. Which sucks.
  • Athletics 1 – 14 Rangers. The average Leverage Index for this game was so low that it actually may have caused a Fangraphs implosion. Seriously, check it out:

  • Padres 7 – 8 Rockies. This game is actually so boring that there’s no proof it happened, so I can’t tell you what happened, although I’m sure if you really want to know you can look it up somewhere.
  • Mariners 4 – 3 Angels. If you’re a Mariners fan, then Jose Lopez is your saviour. On the other hand, if you’re a Mariners fan, then you probably have bigger problems, including the fact that your #5 starter is actually a vampire. That’s my clever way of saying that I sort of have a crush on Jason Vargas.
  • Cardinals 6 – 2 Giants. Zito was doing fine until he gave up 3 consecutive doubles in the 7th. Actually, on a team that didn’t epitomize suckitude, he would’ve had an easy shot at winning this game, except that 1) Albert Pujols is on steroids and 2) The Giants suck, ergo, their bullpen sucks, ergo, their starters don’t win unless they pitch complete game shutouts. Except for that one time, but I’m pretty sure that was an accident. Oh, and Albert Pujols did do something good; namely, he struck out looking on a curveball from Zito that came thisclose to making me scream in delight. (I did actually sort of whimper, but the sexual power of a pitch like that is a discussion for another time. Just watch any Roy Halladay start, or a good AJ Burnett start. You’ll understand.)

Good morning. I know in darkness I will find you giving up inside like me.

The All-Star Break Called…

MP_BaseballThere’s a magical thing that happens every year after the All-Star break… the Yankees start winning!  In an attempt to summon those W’s into our current state of affairs, I thought we’d explore a little all-star action… Ladies style of course!

Earl Weaver would not be happy with our depth at certain positions, but I can’t help that hotties gravitate towards center field and the pitchers’ mound!  There has to be some scientific explanation for this phenomenon.

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The First Month of Baseball

We are only into the second month of this young baseball season. We still have four more months of regular baseball and then another month of lovely October baseball. There is still plenty of time for those last place teams to crawl out of the basement. But still so much has already happened in just a short month. Some things aren’t too surprising: Albert Pujols is still awesome. Some things are a tad bit unexpected: Forget Sabathia, Burnett, or Teixeira. Nick Swisher is turning into the Yankees best offseason acquisition. You better believe it!

Keep reading to find out what else we learned in the first month of baseball… Continue reading

Hot Stove Hotties

Kbai!

"Kbai!"

Each week this Hot Stove season, we’ll look at some done deals and juicy rumors involving our favorite MLB hotties, and the occasional not-really-a-hottie, but still worth talking about.

This was Winter Meetings week, and both New York teams made big moves. On Wednesday morning, the Yankees signed C.C. Sabathia to a seven-year deal that will bring him 37.5 million Baconators (or $161 million). Later, they signed free agent starter A.J. Burnett for five years/$82.5 million.

The Mets made a few moves to bolster their bullpen (Merry Christmas, Metsy!), including signing Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez for  $37 million over three years, with an option for a 4th year.

LOTS more moves (complete with diagrams!)…after the jump!

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A journey in pictures: Kansas City!

After a sweep of the Colorado Rockies, my Kansas City Royals are no longer in last place in the AL Central. (That honor belongs to Cleveland. Here are the standings.) My parents wanted to go to this series, and invited me along. How could I say no? So my camera and I went along to the City of Kansas (and Missouri).

Nowhere else I\'d rather be!!

Seriously, Tuesday was a PERFECT baseball day in KC. I even got to meet some of our readers!

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Down & Out-Douchebagged: The Whole Story

I Eat Dick Salad

Last night was better. Obviously the onfield action wasn’t a high point, but the situation in the stands was much improved from the Disaster That Was Game Three. Texas Gal and I got what we expected as visiting fans, what we wanted all along–the right to root, root, root for the Red Sox without being cursed at, harassed, and treated like we’d committed some unforgivable, anti-Ohio sin like saying Drew Carey isn’t funny or that Bob Evans gives us diarrhea.

That said, I would like to thank everyone who let us just be Sox fans, who let us cheer and let us mourn without criticizing us for either one. Thank you to every Indians supporter who did nothing more than shout loudly for their team, a strong team that played another great game in what has been a magical season. That’s what we tried to do too. Continue reading

Hit & Run-When Making History Isn’t Enough

Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez hit back to back to back home runs Tuesday night. Yet the Red Sox still lost. I guess it was just that kind of night for the Cleveland Indians who are now one game away from going to the World Series. The Tribe beat Boston 7-3 with Tim Wakefield being Boston’s third straight pitcher not being able to go 5 innings. Boo starting pitching. On the bright side, J-Money has said that the fans were a lot better behaved during this game than last. I’d like to believe they collectively read a calling out by a certain blog and feared the wrath of 8 vengeful females.

More pictures from the game after the jump. 

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For Whom The Babe Roots: ALCS

baseball.gifStep right up and strap on your fighting shoes. The other half of the Ladies will now argue for the men of the diamond who’ve captured their collective American League-loving hearts. The incomparable SA pleads for the Indians, with J-Money and Texas Gal wrapping things up with the case for the Red Sox. [Note: Trusty editor Holly, a near lifelong loather of all things base-ball, has been recently converted to the Red Sox; however, not knowing what a walk-off homer is and frankly being a little skittish in this big new pond she's splashing around in, she has recused herself from the discussion.]

Batter up! Take it away, SA.

I feel a little bad for the Cleveland Indians. Despite having tied for the best record in the American League, people (*Ahem ESPN*) still treats them as the second cousin once removed. Many picked the Yankees over them in the ALDS and I would venture a guess in those same people picking the Red Sox over them in the ALCS. Which means they need all the people on their bandwagon they can get. Here are 10 reasons why you should root for the Indians.

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Hump Day Hottie: Grady Sizemore

Sometimes, you just need to give the people what they want. Considering the vast number of hits we get from searches for “Grady Sizemore”- there are a ton of people out there in need of some Grady, stat. I am here for y’all- with a whole mess of photos of the (almost) 25 year-old Seattle native- who sports eye black on a regular basis and wears his pants high-cuffed (as it should be).

Grady still drives his baby blue 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible to his day job as the All-Star centerfielder for the Cleveland Indians. He’s also a very shy guy (who spurns endorsements because he doesn’t like the spotlight), loves watching movies and documentaries- and could have played college ball as the QB at UDub (and the NFL?). But he choose four years in the minors over four years in college- and it looks like that decision was the right one. Cleveland sure thinks so.

Tons more Grady loveliness, after the jump…

Edited to add 4 additional photos from wwi_flying_ace_17!

Edited again: BowdenBowdenBowden tipped us that you can win an afternoon playing wiffleball with Grady. That is not a euphemism.

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