Winning it All: The Baltimore Ravens are World Champs

joe-flacco-super-bowlIt’s been awhile since one of my favorite teams won it all, and I’ve missed the feeling. I’ve been on a high since the Ravens beat Denver last month thanks to Jacoby Jones’ “Mile High Miracle,” and I’m not about to come down. The momentum from that game carried the Ravens into Foxborough, 9 point underdogs for the second week in a row. The Patriots did not stand a chance.

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WOOOOOOOO! Or, a US Open Finals Recap

If I knew how to Googlebomb, I’d make sure this image appeared anytime someone Googled “fierce.”

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.”)
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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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The Ladies… Super Size Super Bowl Preview

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The majority of us Ladies may still be licking our wounds from disappointing playoff losses to either the Giants or Patriots* (not Maggie, obviously) but that doesn’t mean we’re not watching the game!  Lady Bee has a yummy treat for you all tomorrow, so we’re getting a head start on our Super Bowl preview. Our thoughts and picks after the jump**.

*Or didn’t even make the playoffs because of losses to both. Hi, my name is Games Mistress and I’m a Jets fan.

** Are they bringing one of these foam pit things when the Super Bowl is in New York? Because I might have to reconsider my no-way-in-hell stance about going out to the Meadowlands that week.

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Advent Calendar of Hotness: Day 22

I waited to post this next ACoH because I didn’t want to adversely affect his last game (shouldn’t have worried) or his Heisman chances (turned out to be a non-factor), or his school’s BCS championship game chances (ditto) and I think we’re far enough away from the Fiesta Bowl that any jinxing will wear off by then.  Thus, I present for your enjoyment Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

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Advent Calendar of Hotness 2011: Day 3

OK, y’all. I try not to be too much of a homer for ACoH, but surely I am allowed one Cardinal — especially this year.  So, I hereby appoint as Day 3 ACoH your 2011 World Series MVP, David Freese.

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Every. Game. Counts. (A Regular Season Wrap Up and Playoff Preview)

Let’s just put aside the fact that I had an actual rooting interest last night — everything that happened in baseball over the last 24 hours makes my brain scream this song:

As someone who has spent the last two weeks watching the Cardinals wait until the last inning to win or lose what seemed like 95% of their games, one of the most surreal things about last night was that St. Louis was the only team that got their game settled right out of the gate, batting around in the first inning and scoring five runs before recording a single out.  Which left me free to enjoy the one day MLB.tv subscription I paid 3.99 for Tuesday night as a mostly impartial fan (possibly the best 4 bucks I’ve ever spent, even if I couldn’t get the Rays-Yankees because of blackout restrictions, and had to switch to the Phillies-Braves radio feeds for the latter innings because of too much traffic on the video feed (and my crappy bandwidth).  At one point, I had three GTalk conversations going and was on the phone to my parents; 99.5 % of the discussion revolved around baseball (I did manage to discuss Christmas arrangements with my folks.  I’m not totally obsessed.)

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Why yes, it IS time for the French Open!

Maria, you're dating Sasha Vujacic. Don't get so excited about the Rafa pics.

We’ve been very team-sport oriented around here lately (though not without reason), so I thought I’d take a moment to skip across the Atlantic and check in on the French Open, which begins semifinal play on Friday (NBC just informed me that they will have live coverage Friday morning, for those of you who have summer work schedules.)

Despite the fact that no one has been paying attention, some interesting storylines are developing at Roland Garros. Chaos has broken out in the women’s draw, where the top seeds remaining are last year’s champ Francesca Schiavione (the 5 seed), and a rejuvenated Maria Sharapova (the 7 seed). The men’s draw has been by-the-numbers, with the top four seeds winding up in the semifinals.  This does not, however, mean these matchups are lacking in excitement — or pictures.

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Blood, Brackets, and Tears: An NCAA Basketball Wrap-Up

It is December 2010.  You’re looking over your holiday gifts lists when there’s a loud pop behind you.  You turn around to seeyourself, wearing slightly less clothing, hair mussed and eyes bloodshoot.

“I came from the future to warn you,” the apparition says.  “Beware the brackets.  UConn will win and destroy us all.”

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VCU vs Butler

So admit it – your brackets are just as screwed up as mine are. Yeah, I know. Lots of upsets, lots of overtime, lots of surprises. But two of the bigger surprises came from the 8th seeded Butler and the young and admirable  Brad Stevens, and 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth (Virginia where?) with their fearless leader – Shaka Smart.  I was almost positive that the earlier Saturday game of this coming weekend would be Pitt vs. Kansas, especially when I was in 1000th place out of millions with ESPN’s bracket challenge after the first round and a half.  Boy was I ever wrong.  Thankfully, these two gentlemen make it very easy to feel good about rooting for the underdogs, and also make one of these final games very easy on the eyes.  Let’s take a side-by-side look at our favorite hottie NCAA BBall coaches  - one of them is guaranteed to be in the Championship Game, so regardless of Saturday’s results, which one wins Ladies… choice?

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Your March Madness Visual Reference Guide

I would be happy to see more of this from Singler, but YMMV.

I’m jumping my usual post day by about twelve hours just so I can remind you that you can still sign up for the Ladies… Bracket Brawl right up until tipoff Thursday (12:15 EST).  Just click the link and enter the password: ladiesdotdotdot.

In the meantime, here’s a quick visual guide to some of the teams and storylines that will be occupying your TV over the next four days (at least).

Uh, that’s Duke over there.  I miss that period when they flamed out in the early rounds every year. Kyle Singler (#12) is the latest in the Duke mold of Awesome Collegiate Players With No Real Chance At A Pro Career.

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Advent Calendar of Hotness – Day 4*

*late because I was a little too busy celebrating last night.

With apologies to Minda and Auburn fans, there was one particular college football player who earned ACoH honors for Day 4 by helping his team win the Big XII Championship: Oklahoma’s Travis Lewis.

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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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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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It’s almost here!

Torres

The rosters have been set. The teams have played their friendlies before making the trek to South Africa. Heck, we’ve even made it through Eurovision. (Congratulations, Germany.)

A week from now? It’s finally time. The group stage of the World Cup kicks off, and even America cares about soccer for at least five minutes. Me? I’ll be eating, sleeping and breathing international soccer until the very last second runs down.

Yes, I love soccer, but there’s just something about International play (and the World Cup in particular) that elevates the game. It turns the already rabid soccer fanbase into a bunch of flag-and-bunting-bedecked lunatics. I challenge anyone who doesn’t like or understand soccer to start watching the World Cup from the beginning. Trust me, you’ll come out at the other end swearing at the Abruzzi for being a bunch of diving whiners or being amazed at just how fast Portugal can move (Damn you, Ronaldo. Damn you to hell.) or harboring a secret love for the Orange.

And you know what else is great about the World Cup? International Eye candy. Above? Spain’s Fernando Torres.

More hotness after the jump.

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Hump Day Hottie: Scott Baker

Seriously, I’m ashamed that I had no idea that Scott Baker was this hot until this past weekend.  My beloved O’s played the Twins in Minnesota, and Mr. Baker had the pleasure of pitching – and earning a win, of course - against them.  I had the pleasure of watching him pitch. 

Now you, too, can enjoy the pleasure of ogling Scott after the jump.

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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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The 2010 Sweet 16 – Now With Captions!

So like many of us, I spent the weekend watching some college teams duke it out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my sh*t together and submit a bracket on time.  So in true lady form, I’d like to list my predictions for this coming week’s Sweet 16 winners taking us to the Elite 8, in beloved Lolcat caption form.

(I’d like to add a congrats to my alma mater – Women’s Basketball at University of Rochester made it to the Final Four!!)

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Who Dat? And while we’re on it, what was up with those ads??

Riding out the Ladies… Super Bowl excitement further, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Drew, Coach Peyton, and the city of New Orleans on winning the 44th Super Bowl!!!  And call it my nature, blame it on where my interests lie, but I found it only fitting to include this awesome video for K. Gates’ “Who Dat”, along with my own analysis and recap of the (incredibly disappointing) Super Bowl ads.

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Congratulations New Orleans Saints, your Super Bowl 44 Champs

We could post picture upon picture from last night’s game and celebration, but let’s be honest, we’re all smitten with Drew Brees after the images of him holding and talking to his child while tears streamed down this face.

The proud papa brought the whole huge party back to a human level and there were plenty of folks who were crying right with him.

Congratulations, Drew, Sean Payton, and the rest of the New Orleans Saints. Well played, guys. Well played.

You can see tons of photos from the celebration and the game in this gallery at nola.com

World Series Poll-o-rama

I have some very happy neighbors, not to mention fellow Ladies, this morning.  (And one not so happy Lady — my condolences, Maggie!)  The Yankees won their 27th World Series last night; Hideki Matsui won the series MVP after tying the record for RBIs in one World Series game (6).  But before we officially adjourn to the baseball off-season, let’s vote on some stuff!

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Hit and Run: World Series Game 1 Edition

I wasn’t sure who I wanted to root for going into this World Series.  On the one hand, I’ve always been a National League girl.  On the other hand, I’ve been a New Yorker for seven years now and no New York team has won a World Series since I’ve been here (and the 2003 Yankees were the only team that won a pennant in that time).  Then there’s the fact that the Phillies gave my Cardinals fits all regular season and that if I had to root for a New York baseball team it would probably be the Mets.

I remained undecided during the first two scoreless innings.  Then Chase Utley hit his first home run, I gave a little “woo!” and discovered I’d picked a side after all.  So, with apologies to Lady Bee and Buffalita, I’m rooting for the Phillies.  National League alliances die hard.

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Congratulations, Division Champs — Oh, Wait.

So, we got that exciting September baseball after all, huh?  It’s been a while since I followed a baseball game that didn’t involve the Cardinals during my work day, but I was definitely keeping tabs on the first half of that doubleheader.  In between actual work, of course.

In fact, with the Dodgers’ stubborn refusal to clinch their division title and the Braves’ surprising surge against the Rockies, all of a sudden we’re entering the final weekend of the regular season with a few playoff spots not quite settled.  Still, let’s take a minute to congratulate those teams who have already clinched their division — because if there’s anything we here at Ladies… like better than pictures of athletes, it’s pictures of athletes celebrating.

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