Never mind that it was Easter weekend. Opening Weekend made it more like Christmas Day at the Bee Household, just as I expect it may have been for you this past long weekend. (True story: we spent Sunday morning watching the replay of Yankees-Army at West Point on MLB.tv via Apple TV. And it was glorious.)
While it wasn’t such a great day for my Yankees – and please, let’s all just calm down, alright? – there was so much to celebrate. For one, I was glad to see Francisco Cervelli back in the regular lineup and having a decent outing at the plate, and hearing the Yankee faithful bellowing YOOOOOOOOUUUUK! (Suck it, Boston. He’s OURS now!) For Boston fans, seeing a strong outing from Jon Lester at Yankee Stadium was likely pretty uplifting. Maybe we don’t need to relegate them to the AL East basement just yet.
Here are a few other moments that may have brought a smile to your face:
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.
There’s something about a maple leaf on R.A. Dickey’s hat that makes him even more endearing. (Canadian Press photo)
This lovely picture of London Bridge’s Olympic rings was taken by my sister-in-law. Thanks, sis!
It’s hard to believe, but the Olympics are finally only days away, not weeks away, and so it must be time for Olympic Bingo! (Actually, if our search stats are to be believed, a bunch of you think it’s past time for Olympic Bingo. Hopefully two days is enough prep time for your Opening Ceremonies parties.)
Somewhere in the middle of the ninth inning last night, I realized I was clutching a sofa cushion to my chest and rocking back and forth. Then Freese tripled with two outs and two strikes and I threw back my head and cackled.
It was about then that I realized baseball had succeeded in driving me mad.
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.)
What with the liveblogging early this week, and an unexpected trip out of town this weekend, I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. Here’s a couple of quick, fun pictures before I get up and resume packing.
Boris Struebel/Getty Images
The US Women are in the World Cup final, and Abby Wambach has another beautiful header goal. The Final is Sunday right when I’ll be heading back from my trip, but I’ll be with them in spirit.
The rotation that will haunt our dreams. (AP Photo)
High socks. Eye black. Dusty mounds. Cliff Lee. Baseball is back for reals, and we at Ladies… couldn’t be happier. Many of us have spent the last few days figuring out how to weasel out of whatever we’re going to be up to at the time our respective favorite teams are playing. Me? TWO HOUR MEETING when Mike Mussina throws the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium. How am I supposed to sneak my phone in to listen to the game? ARGH! (although Games Mistress told me there was lots of rain expected in New York Thursday, so I may get my wish after all.)
It’s Opening Day for these Ladies… faves. Let’s see what they’re up to today:
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.
I can’t help but roll my eyes at all of this. You can’t build a development program overnight, and let’s face it: these athletes are obviously doing something right. Much was made of the fact that we had never won gold in Montreal or Calgary. Today, we have eight gold medals. And we still have curling and mens’ hockey to go!
Look, I never expect Canada to be overly dominant at any Olympics. The U.S. and various EU countries regularly kick our asses in the medal count: fact of life. We accept it. Remember, this is a nation that lost its Expos and hasn’t seen the Stanley Cup travel down Yonge Street since 1967. We’re used to not having it all in the sports realm. And that’s OK. We have a rich hockey history and public health care and we can boast that Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot (NOT DEAD!) all hail from here.
What was the point of this post? Oh yeah: CANADIAN OLYMPIANS WE LOVE, EH?
So if you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve discovered that I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with figure skating. (Okay, okay, that’s like saying John Mayer has an obsession with saying spectacularly stupid things in public.)
Given that I hate most girly aspects of sports (pink anything and everything, Ladies Nights, and the existence of Alyssa Milano’s Touch line, to start) like burning, some of the other Ladies…were mildly confused when I started shrieking about toe loops and salchows. I mean, it’s figure skating, right? I should like manly things, like the biathlon and moguls. I should frown on feathers and sequins and Dick Button.
But here’s the thing. I love figure skating. I loooooooove figure skating.
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.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Dodgers just traded a PTBNL and cash for Jim Thome.
That’s right, the one and only
They say he’ll be a bat off the bench, but I say they should just put him at first base and let him play. But that’s not even the point. The point is, THE HERO OF THE DUGOUT IS COMING TO MY TOWN. HE WILL SMASH TATERS THAT WILL GO LIKE THIS:
OFF THE BAT, OFF AN AIRPLANE, AIRPLANE EXPLODES, PASSENGER CLINGS TO BALL AS IT FALLS, PASSENGER FALLS TO DOOM, OUT OF THE STADIUM.
Or maybe even like this:
OFF THE BAT, THE BALL DISINTEGRATES, THE ATOMIC RESIDUE TRAVELS FAR FROM THIS MORTAL PLANE, REFORMS IN HEAVEN, OFF THE FACE OF OUR LORD, OUT OF THE STADIUM.
Well, it’s all over, including the shouting. Voting in the Final Vote contest has ended and the results have been tabulated. This year’s All Stars, after days of furious campaigning (more on that later) are Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino (and his million kilowatt smile) and Detroit Third Baseman Brandon Inge. (This lady is convinced that Inge is actually thirteen years old and potentially ineligible to work, much less in the Majors, but that is neither here nor there.)
Victorino finished with the greatest amount of votes for any single player in the history of the Final Vote campaign with 15.6 million. (The previous record holder was Evan Longoria with nine million. Once again, the Phillies roll to victory over the Rays. Suck it, Tampa.) Continue reading →
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.)
Nothing too unusual for Doc, who breezed through 9 innings on 103 pitches, giving up 5 hits and 1 run without walking a batter. He faced 30 hitters — 3 more than the minimum — and 72 of his pitches were in the strike zone, in sharp contrast to the MLB-average 60-ish percent of pitches thrown for strikes. In case you’re wondering, he throws an average of 67% strikes, an advantage of being a contact pitcher who stays down in the strike zone rather than a power pitcher who simply tries to blow the hitters away.
You, over there, reading this post. Are you looking for your stoicism? Well that’s too bad, because Roy Halladay took it and it’s unlikely you’ll get it back.
Will anyone take the Angels out? (Source: AP/Mark Avery)
October is my favorite sports month of the year, mainly for two reasons. We’ll talk about the second one next week. This week, I switched days with SA so I could start October off right: talking about postseason baseball.
This is the first time in many seasons I have not had a clear favorite in either league. I kind of think people are forgetting about the Angels, though, just because they clinched their division ages ago. So my picks for the postseason are: Continue reading →
The Ladies… are excited about the Olympics, and judging by your response to the Ryan Lochte Hump Day Hottie, you are excited, too. With that in mind, we didn’t want to wait until August to unveil our Olympic banner. Explanation of who these hotties are and their chances in Beijing are after the jump.
Friday Night Lights has been renewed for a third season via a deal NBC made with DirecTV. I have no idea if I’ll even have DirecTV next year, but that hardly matters because I’m sure I will be able to get the episodes somewhere. This is awesome news, you guys! This is seriously one of the best shows on TV and if you aren’t watching it, I implore you to download it or buy the DVDs and start watching.