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.

allstarballot2013

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.

sadmattholliday

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.

Two Short, Unrelated Anecdotes Tangentially Related To Current Sports News

Metcard

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.

Who do we love? Kevin Durant, David Robertson and WVU Baseball

First off, we send our love and thoughts and prayers to all affected by the events of the past few days (I say “days” knowing that other states have been reeling from these terrible storms). Knowing that we have team members with close ties to Oklahoma, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this has been, and as such, I find it hard to post about anything cheerfully sporty under the circumstances. But to paraphrase the great Fred Rogers, when terrible things happen, you look for the helpers. Here’s a few worth mentioning today: Continue reading

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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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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Friday Fellow(s): Feeling Good

We’re going literal this week: it’s Friday, and there are some fellows in the basketball world who are feeling (and looking) pretty good.  Feel free to click the above for a soundtrack appropriate to the coming joy…

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Hump Day Hotties: You Make the Call

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Christien Sage of Oklahoma State. One pick Cosmo got right. He kinda reminds me of Austin Nichols in this picture.

As a lazy lady lately (whoa, alliteration!), I’ve been a total slacker about scouting new hotties to show you dedicated readers. I’ve been very anti-sports watching lately (aside from my favorite teams), so I’m completely unaware of fresh meat. With the NCAA Tournament upon us, there is plenty of fresh meat awaiting our ogling eyes. There is always that hot college boy that makes you feel like a pervy old lady.

With that said, Cosmo has been busy covering the sports world again, compiling a list of NCAA hotties to watch. I’ll let you be the judge, but here’s my 2 cents.

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Ladies…Bracket Brawl 2013: This Time It Counts*

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Your tourney favourites (AP Photo)

*Well, if you count bragging rights.

This post is brought to you by Advil Cold and Sinus, so if this starts down the trail of incoherence forgive me. It’s NCAA Tourney Time which means we have a Bracket to Brawl over. You can join our group, Ladies…Bracket Brawl, here on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge (password is ladiesdotdotdot) Once again, we are offering the winner (the non-Ladies… contributor winner, that is) a slot for a guest post. Need some insight? You will find some here and here but you should probably avoid cold medication unless you’re comfortable with choosing Davidson to go Elite Eight. For the mobile minded, NCAA has an app for iOS and Android to help you follow along (sadly, not available in Canada’s iTunes Store. BOO-URNS.)

March Madness starts Thursday, March 21 so get your brackets in now!

Saturday Snap Poll: Court Rushing Ettiquette

Today’s Bedlam (Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma) basketball game was yet another classic, an overtime win for 17th ranked OSU vs. their unranked cross-state rivals. Half of Games Mistress’s family was in attendance. Then this happened:

Bedlamcourtrushing.jpg

Up to the minute phone photo courtesy GM’s mom.

Now, the way I understand the unwritten rules of court rushing, non-upset related court rushing is only permitted if :

  • There is a game-winning buzzer beater (OSU clinched this win with 18 seconds remaining)
  • It is the end of a long-standing losing streak to the other team (OU did win the previous meeting this season, but OSU has won this game at home four years in a row)
  • It clinches a championship. (This game did not.)

To be fair, my mom and brother, both OSU fans, expressed some dismay over the court rushing (though my mom justified it because “it was a rivalry game and it was so close.”)  It should also be noted that this is the first season in quite some time that OSU’s men’s basketball team has been this good.  But, what do you think?

How the NBA Seduced Me Over My Morning Coffee (and What MLB Could Learn From It)

How adorable is it that this is his Twitter profile photo?

Not *that( kind of seduction, Tyson. I’m not going to complain about the tux, though.

A funny thing happened on my slog through the baseball offseason: I fell back in love with the NBA.  Well, maybe “in love” is too strong — let’s say we’re having a “friends with benefits” relationship while my one true love is studying abroad in the Carribbean. In any event I can list the teams in playoff contention in both conferences off the top of my head, or note that the Hornets have gone on a bit of a run since Eric Gordon came back, or chortle through the latest episode of Lakers’ schadenfreude with an enthusiasm I haven’t felt since the Jordan era.  How did this happen?

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Advent Calendar of Hotness Day 15: Derrick Rose

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Alright. I have a crush. I haven’t really been a big NBA fan, but after attending my very first game on December 7th at the shiny new Barclay’s Center to see the Golden State Warriors take the Brooklyn Nets down, I’ve decided that I both enjoy basketball and should pay closer attention. And after researching what basketball players are great AND hot, I discovered that I apparently have just a huge stupid little kid crush on Derrick Rose. I can’t be alone here.

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Ladies Links: It Must Be Witchcraft Edition

Exact quote from the Tigers radio announcers at the bottom of the 4th (after CC was removed):

“Well, we’re back in Detroit and this is uh, this is uh, [laughs] this is something.”

Also, in case you forgot (I did), this is Max Scherzer:

And yes there is nothing actually wrong with people with heterochromia, but it does somehow seem like a symptom of how cursed this ALCS has been for the Yankees that they spent half their elimination looking completely helpless at the hands of a guy who might have been considered a witch a few centuries back. (Sorry, Bee!)

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Ladies Links: Rafa Hearts Real Madrid

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.

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Five for Friday: Superstar Owners

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Smoldering Justin is everybody’s favourite Justin

Remember when Justin Timberlake was a musician? Neither do I. But according to this report, he’ll soon be adding “Memphis Grizzlies co-owner” to his list of roles which currently include actor, SNL quasi-regular, and Jessica Biel arm candy. That’s great. So instead of recording a followup already to 2006′s Futuresex/Love Sounds we’ll have to settle for seeing his mug at Grizzlies games.

(Hey, it’s a good pop album.)

Timberlake isn’t the first celebrity investor to pour truckloads of cash into a sports franchise, however ill-advised it can be. Here’s five more that come to mind:
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Sports and Media Pop Quiz!

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?

A. 

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.

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Ladies Links: T-Minus 2 Months Edition

There are less than 2 months until the London Olympics people: today’s links start with another great slideshow of Team USA (distance runner Barnard Legat is just a sample).  Hat tip to The Hairpin, whose staff are clearly our Olympic soulmates.

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Caption This: NBA Fun Times

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(Photo: Getty Images)

Hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend! Perhaps you wrapped up your holiday by tuning into Game 1 of the NBA East Final last night. In case you missed it…well, you weren’t alone. The Celtics missed it too. They were trounced 93-79 by the Miami Heat. However, the game produced a few memorable moments, notably this one. If you ever wondered how much Lebron douchebaggery could be contained in one photo, the answer is this much.

Yes, the long weekend is fun but it’s time to get your clever brain back in gear. See what you can come up with, caption-wise. Best answer gets…golf claps from all of us.

Three Day Weekend Sports Extravaganza!

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.

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Thanks, Tyson Chandler

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.

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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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Pat Summitt: A Post-Title IX Baby’s Tribute

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.

Belated Bracket Brawl Brap-Up

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.

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Sports Developments That Don’t Make Me Want To Throw My Laptop Against The Wall

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.

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NCAA Tourney, Day 1: The Non-Upset Upset

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.

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The Ladies… Bracket Brawl Commences!

Let’s see, Louisville, Florida State, Missouri … was there any major conference tournament where the 1 seed came out on top?  And are those results foreshadowing another chaotic NCAA tournament, or just a sign of the top teams saving their best efforts for a national championship run?

You tell us, because the Ladies…Bracket Brawl is back!  Just join our Tournament Challenge group (the password is ladiesdotdotdot) and see if you can be the first reader in three years to come out on top.  The Ladies are just playing for bragging rights; our readers are playing for their very own guest post.  Of course you have to win first.  And to win you have to enter a bracket before the games begin on Thursday, March 15.* Just click the link and get started!

*The First Four play-in games, which take place earlier in the week, aren’t included in the brackets. Sorry, that’s just how ESPN sets it up.

Bracket Brawl Prep: In Search of An Underdog


h/t Will Leitch

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.

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Welcome to Linsanity, or Living in New York when the Knicks are Actually Winning

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.

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