Monday, June 28, 2010

Heart Conflict, Rays Drama

This is a photo of Joe Torre watching his heart-team rally to beat his job-team in the 10th inning.

The three Yankees-Dodgers games in LA this weekend were like a World Series of attractiveness. Thank you Interleague Play for bringing together the two best looking teams in baseball. More thoughts and photos to follow.

In other news, B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria quarreled in the Rays dugout after Upton failed to hustle in a game against the last-place Arizona D'Backs.

The oddly composed top photo of Upton's snarling mouth and Longoria's furrowed brow looks like an oil painting to me. "Portrait of the Rays as a Third Place Team," by The Associated Press.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some...Unless You're on the Phillies

Dear Roy Halladay,

Of course we're all only humans who make mistakes and feel sad and get steamrolled by the Yankees, but remember when you pitched for the Blue Jays and games would move in double-time because no one in the Bronx could touch you? I'm sorry that you signed your life away to that band of uncouth losers who don't groom and can't score and use Ben Fransisco as their designated hitter. I'm sorry that playing in the National League has made you soft and beatable. I'm sorry that we won't see you in the World Series. I hope you're not too depressed. I'm confident that you'll do better next time. I still think of you very affectionately and will wear my Phillies hat on your game days.

Love,
Jenni


Dear Mark Teixeira,

Why are you so, so strange? What are you doing in this photo? Why is your face the way it is?

I'll never understand,
Jenni

Monday, June 14, 2010

All-Star Campaign Posters

There's no time like the present to perform your civic duty of casting 25 All-Star votes for Derek Jeter (or for whatever non-celebrity athlete you idiosyncratically choose to prefer). It's also okay to think of this as casting 25 All-Star votes against players that you hate (i.e. Shane Victorino). This year, MLB.com has taken All-Star balloting to a unprecedentedly personal level by creating campaign pages for select contestants. So, in addition to casting your 25 allotted votes, you can also join player campaigns and encourage your sports buddies to do likewise. Every page is adorned with a graphic that superimposes a glamor shot-y button over a large photo of that player at-bat. While some are predictably and rightfully heroic...


...others are goofy and un-All-Star-like. I mean, really, are those the BEST photos they could find of Casey Blake and Andre Ethier? By now, Sam and I are both willing to admit that Casey Blake may be less good looking than we'd originally thought, but Andre Ethier? He's the Prince of Egypt!

Lest you think that this is some sort of anti-Dodgers overbite conspiracy, here's Matt Kemp looking like the most famous man on Earth. His photo is so hi-res that it's practically three-dimensional.

I want to point out that you can still vote for the freshly retired Ken Griffey Jr. On a related note, you can also absolutely still have him on your Fantasy team in all Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball leagues. I have the personal experience and the losing record to prove this.


While we're on the topic of Fantasy stat killers, here's the campaign poster for last-season-soul-enemy Jayson Werth. Ugh. Don't vote for him.


Finally, here's a bonus screenshot of Cole Hamels and Stephen Strasburg pitching in different games on Sunday. I uploaded this by accident, but now it's part of the internet forever! Hi Cole. GREAT JOB. YOU FINALLY WON A GAME!

Voting ends July 1st.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Miggy Moment

On Tuesday night, Mordecai and I attended the White Sox game. The promotion was a "Hawkisms" t-shirt to honor White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. If you've never heard Hawk call a game, I suggest you tune in. His overt bias towards the White Sox is amusing, if not entirely endearing. This anti-Hawk site is actually really informative; it even has audio clips of the Hawkisms that are on the back of my new t-shirt. The Sox were also scheduled to play the Tigers, so Mordecai and I got tickets kind of spontaneously. Little did I know, not only would I get my awesome t-shirt, but I'd experience one of the greatest moments of my life. Read on!

I was anxious to get to U.S. Cellular Field early to secure our Hawkisms t-shirt (only 10,000 of them!). It had been raining all day, too, so I was afraid that the game would be postponed as well as the t-shirt giveaway. We were like, 20 boxes of Hawkism t-shirts away from not getting one. I saw Tigers fans using it to wipe their wet seats. Anyway, we got to the park around 5:30PM for a 7:10PM game. We were wandering around the 500 sections, upper deck, looking for food, when we remembered hearing about a new Wow Bao concession stand. Mordecai decided to ask Guest Relations since our memory kicked in right in front of their booth. They knew about Wow Bao and recommended Burger Barn as well, and they gave us an elevator pass to the field-level area. 

When we got down there, I noticed that no one was checking tickets for people who wanted to linger near the White Sox or Tigers dugouts. I remember Mordecai asking me if I wanted to go, and I said, "...nah, it's OK." But there weren't a lot of people, so I was like why not, and we trotted down to the front row seats. There were about ten other young boys dressed in navy and orange, waiting for Tigers players with baseballs, autograph books, and Sharpies in hand. No one was out in the field except for crew members pulling the tarp off of the field. But then I noticed a Jose Valverde-like person at the opposite end of the dugout, listening to music on earphones, all "in the zone." 
Then I saw catcher Alex Avila look out on the field briefly before going back into the dungeon.
Before I could start thinking about how long I'd have to stand around until someone from the Tigers hitting well below .200 or with an embarrassing ERA equivalent to my perceived or actual age would come around, my peripheral vision sensed movement from the White Sox dugout. It was none other than MIGUEL CABRERA. My most favorite baseball player was walking towards me (or his dugout) and he was smiling (or laughing at Valverde).
 
Once he saw us asking for autographs, he stopped smiling. But he diligently signed baseballs, autograph books, and my card. When I was in Japan recently, I carried his and Felix Hernandez's card with me in my purse every day for two weeks. I almost brought my 2010 Finest red refractor of Miggy to the game, which I recently got in the mail, but I made a last minute switch and brought one of my favorites, Miggy's 2008 Stadium Club base card. I have many Miggy relic cards (jersey swatches and morsels of bats), but I don't have any autographed cards. This is my first one!
Mordecai kept egging me on to say something. What does a mere commoner like myself say to THE LORD MIGGY? Especially an idiot commoner decked out in White Sox gear? (I had briefly contemplated stacking my White Sox and Tigers hats to the game. For Mordecai's sake, I decided against it.) I had nothing to say except that I was totally starstruck, shaking, and fearful. When you're in the presence of someone you admire so much that you don't even think to soil their presence with your own pathetic existence, you tremble. Tremble I did, but mixed with a kind of rare, pure elation.
I believe it was Ryan Raburn who had also emerged from somewhere by the time Miggy signed my card, and then they started walking into their dugout. Mordecai said Miggy didn't sign very much after my card. On the way down the stairs, they stopped and started pointing at Valverde, laughing and making jokes (above). Then they disappeared. We went to Burger Barn, decided against Wow Bao, and returned the elevator pass to Guest Relations.
I AM SO BLESSED.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

THE FUTURE IS NOW

Washington D.C., here is the face of your baseball salvation:

Stephen Strasburg, 7 innings, 14 strikeouts, no walks, gets the win, gets pied, gets a funny founding father plastic wig.* Nationals, no! Don't burden him with vestiges of your/our country's tepid past. He is THE FUTURE. STEP FORWARD INTO THE LIGHT.

*Actually, this is an Elvis wig and some sort of Nationals dugout tradition. I didn't know this because I've never watched an entire Nationals game...especially not one where they won. Have you?

Monday, June 7, 2010

When They Were Young

Topps 2010 "When They Were Young" is my new favorite series of baseball cards. I'm not sure how the players were chosen, but it almost doesn't matter because all of them look so heart-meltingly adorable.

This card is by far the best of the lot. I love that Lil Papi is wearing tall socks and belted shorts. Not even baby Jeter looked that cool.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This is beyond baseball

On Wednesday evening, I took a nap, which I blame on the Filet-O-Fish value meal I had for dinner. When I sleep, I like to have my phone under my pillow, because one of the things that awakens me is checking my email and Twitter (#realtalk #dontjudgeme). I woke up after the Indians vs. Tigers game had ended, so first I saw tweets from @Official_Tigers about Armando Galarraga's outs: 12 up, 12 down; 15 up, 15 down; 21 up, 21 down; 24 up, 24 down. Then there was a fusillade of tweets from all kinds of sources about Galarraga's last out that should have been, and I knew I was missing something quite serious. I mean, first of all, of all the pitchers who might throw a perfect game, Galarraga?!?! (I should say this about Dallas Braden, but I will follow Jenni's lead and continue to overlook his perfect game on this blog.) I remember being more than annoyed that Galarraga was starting for the game I attended last year in Detroit. But I also remember that he didn't fail that night, that he got the win, that it was the best game I had ever been to, and that it rained the next day when ace Justin Verlander was starting, who I believe took a colossal loss. And second, the call was amazing, not so much because Galarraga didn't get a perfect game on the books that he was entitled to, but because it was followed by some fine human behavior in recent sports. No one says it better than Our National Poet, Ozzie Guillen:
We need to get the ugly flavor out of what happened last night, where everyone knew he was out, and then the umpire come out and said what he said. That part caused one of the ugliest parts of the game to be one of the best ones. I think what they did there was very classy, and I don't know why bad things happen to good people.
I think what Ozzie is trying to say here towards the end is that this is the kind of bullcookie that should happen to subhuman-but-unfortunately-an-MLB-umpire Joe West, who recently called Mark Buerhle on two balks in a game and ejected him for "throwing," or dropping, his glove. Ozzie was fined $7000 for talking trash about West that day when getting ejected, but I think Ozzie is more than happy to pay every penny of the fine. Anyway, this is the kind of behavior I'm more or less accustomed to in baseball.

Later that night, I watched a replay of the call on my At Bat app. I still have a hard time looking at those replays. The look on Miguel Cabrera's face with his hands and mitt over his head breaks my heart, because the corners of his lips are turned up, as if to say that the call is so crazy that it's funny, it must be a joke, hahaha, perfect game, Venezuela's awesome, hahaha. But Ozzie is right, it all turned into great sports feelings. The next day's events were worth a script for a movie that Steven Spielberg wishes he could executive produce: Joyce opted to umpire despite being offered the day off; Tigers manager Jim Leyland sent Galarraga to give Joyce the lineup card; Joyce cried; Galarraga got a congratulatory Corvette; Joyce called Rick Porcello's first pitch a strike. This all makes me feel better*. The call doesn't need to be reversed, by Bud Selig or political figures, because we all know that the game was perfect. Now, this is the time to wrap up my post with a line about the perfection of Galarraga and Joyce's behavior and how though there is no place for that kind of achievement in baseball's official records, there is in our hearts. But I will leave that kind of eighth grade honor roll writing to Jeff Passan. I just hope that from all of this, the image of Galarraga "grinning and patting" the roof of his new Corvette while Miggy "excitedly peers inside" is imprinted in your mind for the rest of your life as it is for me**.

*What did not make me feel better was Bud Selig's decision to not reverse the call, not because I think it should be reversed, but because as I read his statement, I was forced to recall Selig's long, unattractive horse face. 
**Thank you to TBOB reader Andrew who pointed out in the previous post that the New York Times wouldn't stop writing about this event. I read about this scene from this article.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bye Junior

Ken Griffey Jr. has retired. Here's his official statement. Here's a newspaper article. He remains an active bench warmer for Ladies Love Us.