Three of my absolute favorite: religion, baseball, and comics. This is a great clip.
Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’
ESPN analysts weighed in today, so I thought I would as well. While pick’em lines are generally meaningless (see the “expert” picks for the 2008 Super Bowl), they are fun. Three out of the four sportswriters I highly respect in the column linked above went with the Phillies (Crasnick, Gammons, Stark, with Olney dissenting), but so did Steve Phillips, who I think is a dunce.
With that said, I watched much of both the NLCS and ALCS, and though I like both teams, I am leaning toward the Rays. Starting pitching, good bullpen relief, and an energized lineup that plays the game the right way give me ample reason to go with the worst-to-World Series Rays. I also believe the momentum carrying over from the ALCS battle with the Boston Red Sox will carry over into Fall Classic success.
While saying “Go Rays”, with their small budget, may be bad for my local Kansas City Royals they are my favorite heading in to tonight. This is the matchup I wanted, so here we go.
I love baseball. And all apologies to Scotland Huber.
There has to be more to this story. The short version: a 9 year old in a New Haven baseball league has been banned from pitching in the league due to his superior talent on the mound. His velocity and control are too intimidating for other 9 and 10 year olds.
I faced guys in Little League that were tough to beat. We never forfeited and packed up because an excellent player was taking the mound. This is baffling.
Yesterday Chuck Russell and I decided to brave the 110 degree heat and head out to the K. The Royals took on the Chicago White Sox and picked up a nice win. We got to see a brawl (click for video), were given coupons for a free hot dogs and drink, and enjoyed chatting with the baseball coach from Pembroke Hill. There were five ejections. Oh yea, and Chuck decided to tie his shirt over his head in a turban, and made the Fox Sports broadcast. I was also on TV, thanks to Chuck’s honorary status as a member of Pale Force. Ryan Lefebvre talked about Chuck for a while.
This season Andrew Conard and I picked up a 21 game season ticket package, and have taken in quite a bit of baseball. I’ve enjoyed watching the Royals progress this year. Right now they are 8 games under .500, so they still possess a losing record. Even though they’ve still lost more than they’ve won, this is a better baseball team than it was a year ago, and I think they are a better baseball team now than they were in April and May. There is still a long way to go for the Royals before they become a playoff contender in the AL Central. They’ll need to pick up more power in the middle of their lineup and see some better production from Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Since the All-Star break Butler has looked better at the plate, has driven in runs, and hit a few dingers. Let’s hope he can keep it going.
Royals (No) Trade Analysis
All the talk in KC in the week heading up to the trade deadline concerned who the Royals might move. Well, the trade deadline came and went and no moves were made. Starting pitcher Zack Greinke was rumored to have been inquired about by other ball clubs. Mark Grudzielanek is a veteran second baseman who hits for average, whom some thought might have some value. The Royals also had left-handed reliever Ron Mahay in the bullpen, and playoff contenders are always looking for quality guys like him. There is also the case of Jose’ Guillen, who wants out of town after just a few months with his new team, and who has two more years remaining on his contract.
In the end, the Royals moved no one. I’m glad. It is better to hang on to guys who can help you learn how to win than deal quality players for warm bodies to fill your farm system. The Royals must not have fielded any offers that would best serve the organization. I’m actually glad they hung on to their current players, Greinke and Mahay especially.
Favorite Deals at the Deadline
Here are my top three favorite trades which occurred at the MLB deadline:
- Pudge Rodriguez to the New York Yankees
- Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Three Way Deal with the Red Sox and Pirates
- Xavier Nady to the Yankees from Pittsburgh
A close fourth might be Mark Teixeira to the Angels, who look even more dangerous with his addition. But the story lines in the three listed above are just too good.
First off, I thought the Yankees were buried this year as last as June. Steve Phillips of ESPN continued to lament the Yankees lack of pitching, and constantly cited the missing offensive production in the Yankees lineup. The Yankees are currently 5.5 games back of Tampa Bay in their division, and 2.5 games back of the AL wild card. They aren’t out of it by any stretch of the imagination. They’ve played better baseball since the All-Star break, with some major offensive explosions. Their acquisitions at the deadline make them more intriguing. There is always pressure to win in New York.
I like Manny to L.A. for simple reasons–he is Manny Ramirez. I love to watch the guy hit. You put a bat like his in a terrible division like the NL West, and anything can happen. Manny might be able to lift the Dodgers by himself, and he seems rejuvenated by being out in the California sun. I like the deal also for the Red Sox, who jettisoned a guy who seemed tired of being there. Even though they are now regarded as part of the Boston “axis of evil” in the world of sports, I started pulling for the Red Sox in the mid nineties while I was learning about the history of baseball. By parting with Manny, I think they may have done the best thing for the club.
Enough Baseball, A Couple of Updates
My parents came in to town this past weekend, which was good. Today is my brother’s birthday. I submitted a piece today to a magazine. And, for the rest of the day, I’m going to do some reading, writing, and reflecting on the authority of Scripture. Later this week I’ll be logging some hours in the bus, so hopefully I’ll be trained, certified, and ready to go by the start of school.
Yea, that’s a long headline, as far as a I go. I stayed up last night for all 15 innings of last night’s MLB All-Star Game, and I enjoyed every minute. Aside from three errors and three strikeouts by Dan Uggla (the errors didn’t cost his team the game, but sure made them sweat), it was a well played game with great pitching, some clutch hitting, and theatrics worthy of the final year of Yankee Stadium. The game ended on a sacrifice fly from Michael Young in the bottom of the 15th, scoring Justin Morneau from third. J.D. Drew took home the MVP, mainly for contributing a 2 run blast over the right field wall in the 7th which tied the game at 2. You can read about it in more than one place, but I thought this piece by Jayson Stark was quite good.
With the game tied at 3 after 9 innings, the pressure was on both managers to utilize their bullpen in such a way that this game would see a conclusion. After the All-Star game resulted in a tie in 2002 at Miller Park, baseball declared never again. After the 2002 debacle, MLB decided that to change the rules so that the game would count, with the winning league earning home field advantage in the World Series.
Fortunately for MLB, last night the game ended before the NL sent David Wright, third baseman for the New York Mets, to the mound.
Long live baseball.
ESPN.com recently featured this piece by Doug Ward on the history of Yankee Stadium. It is a great column. In the summer of 2006 I went to the Bronx and took in a game with Ryan Fitzhugh. It was a Saturday afternoon contest against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Yanks won 5-2, with homers from Cano and Damon, and in the 9th we got to see Mariano Rivera take the field to the tune of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” The weather was perfect, it was a sellout crowd, and our section out on the right field porch featured three fan ejections. It was a great day in the Bronx.
My trip to Yankee Stadium in 2006 was prompted by the knowledge that the “House that Ruth Built” was in it’s waning years. I wanted to take in a game before the Bronx Bombers transitioned to New Yankee Stadium, which will be located right across the street from the old ballyard. I’m on a quest to visit every major league franchise. I’m at 14 of 30, and may go to Cincinnati later this year.
I’m looking forwad to the All-Star game this year, and think it is appropriate that Yankee Stadium will host. Long live baseball.
Tonight my wife Molly and I went out to Kauffman Stadium to watch the Royals take on the Cleveland Indians. Gil Meche was matched up against C.C. Sabathia–at the outset it appeared to be a good matchup. Meche had just come off a win, and Sabathia has had a rough start to the season. At the end of the night, Sabathia pitched six innings and struck out 11. Meche didn’t make it out of the fourth, having given up 8 runs. Molly and I left at the end of the 5th, with the Royals down 10-0.
We didn’t take off simply because it was a blow out. Molly is headed out of town tomorrow morning, and I’m driving her to the airport. I wanted to get home at a decent hour.
I decided to upload a couple of pictures. Above you’ll see how close the season tickets I split with Andrew are to the left field foul pole, and here you see the view we have down the third base line (click the photos for an enlarged view). We’re on the front row out in section 139. This baseball season we’ll be talking theology out in left.
I love baseball.
Here is Billy Butler. The more I see this guy, the more I like the nickname I’ve given him–Pancakes. He hits the ball hard when he makes contact. He also looks like a guy who eats a big breakfast. When he comes to the plate, I thinking his ideal theme music would come from this YouTube video.
Tomorrow I’m preparing to teach and head up our youth group gatherings, while also continuing to work on material related to my studies at KU. I have another couple of weeks left in the semester. That means I have a few papers to put together. This semester has featured an additional load as I’ve been prepping for my comprehensive exams. Written comps are on May 2, and my oral defense will come the following week.
As I prepare, baseball will continue to be a great distraction. Wish me luck.
Yesterday the Royals took a 5-2 win over the Yankees. I was out in left with Andrew Conard. We split a 21 game season ticket package, so opening day seats were guaranteed. KU dismissed classes yesterday in light of the National Championship victory, freeing me up for the game. Other than the 30 to 40 degree temperatures, it was a great day at the ballpark.
I love the game of baseball. I love the fact that Billy Butler looks like he has pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but can rake as a hitter. I enjoyed seeing Joey Gathright swipe three bags yesterday. I was overflowing with joy upon seeing A-Rod strikes out four times (three times looking). As one fan nearby said, “That’s 7 million dollars a strike out.”
Also, the fan chatter was quite entertaining. One dude had torn five ligaments in his foot the day before in a hoops game, and wanted to let everyone around him know how “hardcore” he was for being out at the stadium sans crutches and boot that the doctor had provided him. Another guy was mystified that the vendors wouldn’t sell him 8 margaritas at one time.
America’s pastime is back. I’m ecstatic.