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Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

I think we’d be remiss in not mentioning the start of the baseball playoffs, which begin tonight on TBS with a one game play-in between the Tigers and the Twins for the AL Central crown.  Less than 24 hours after the Metrodome hosted (arguably) the most significant football game in its existence, our beloved ‘Sotans roll out the blue saran-wrapped outfield walls for an (un-)equally important baseball game (I keed, dontcha know).

Heaven forbid we blasphemize Favre with the retired Twins numbers

Heaven forbid we blasphemize Favre with the retired Twins' numbers

Later on the Deuce, the Troy Trojans play the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders in a riveting  listless Sun Belt showdown.  In a mildly ironic twist, the Blue Raiders feature a ‘horse’ as their primary mascot and the battle (Kellen Winslow’s words, not mine) is in Troy’s home stadium (a word of Roman not Greek origin).  If I were the Trojans, I would probably reject any gifts that come to the locker room during halftime (Fool me once, shame on you)…

Speaking of ifs… If I were a younger man, I might pull a sports mini-marathon to catch both of these non-captivating games with the only interruption being intermittent Halo 3 matches and the occasional hiss of a Rock Green Light being opened.  But alas, tonight I must bathe my wife and put her down to bed at 7:30 p.m. then stay up to watch Real Housewives of Atlanta with my 1 y/o daughter.  Or is that the other way around? 

Ah, to be young again…

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As I sit here writing, I am 1-3 in my Fantasy League with arguably the greatest roster ever assembled…  Okay, I lied.  I’m 2-2*, but I’m pretty sure nobody else in my league is even adjusting their roster anymore, which means I might as well be winless.

I’m starting to think my participation in this league is just to prove that no matter how perfect sports appear on the surface, they’ll still inevitably punch you in the face and kiss your kid sister.  How else can you explain drafting the top player at three positions (Peyton, Peterson, 49ers) and having 3 of the top 5 players (Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson) at another position, and still be losing in your league? In the words of my favorite French poet, Connerie, “Ef Emme Elle.”

When it comes to sports, I feel like Martin Starr in a Judd Apatow feature.  I’m pretty much always there but at the expense of myself.  I wanna be Paul Rudd, or better yet Ken Jeong…  Is that too much to ask?

not that kind of fantasy...

not that kind of sports fantasy...

I was a die-hard Marlins and Buccaneers fan, only to move away from South-Central Florida and watch one win two World Series and the other a Superbowl in the span of 6 years… from 1,000 miles away.  I entered college three years after my beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats concluded their greatest 10 year stretch in history…  Only to watch their worst 5 year stretch in history from the comfort of my $5 fourth-row seats.  Repeat after me, friends, “Ef Emme Elle.”

Why are you laughing?  You’re not laughing?  Oh…

We’re all part of a sports punch-line.  If you live and die by a college football team, guess what?  The (BCS) joke’s on you.  You’re an MLB fan?  Good luck with all of those asterisks.  And if you’re into the NFL, you’re a proxy for gambling, fantasy follies and worst of all, performance-enhanced marketing mayhem. Seriously, I’m still amazed that America can be convinced that a GMC is worth purchasing or that Coors is a palatable beer.

What?  You prefer hockey?  I can’t even respond to that.  Honestly…  That’s like trying to ask Audrina Patridge to talk about TNC’s in China.  We’re both likely to respond that venereal diseases can be prevented through proper precautions…

Back to my point (what point?).  You might say, “Dude, you’ve seen 5 championships between your three favorite teams over the past 15 years.”  I’d tell you a) I deserve better than you and b) it’s human nature to always want more…  I spent 3 days of alone time with your WAG the last two weekends but I still want her to “show me her record collection” at least one more time before I die.  (I’ll be here all week, folks.)

We want perfection.  Or maybe we don’t.  Maybe we just want to be there when the proverbial poopoo meets the fan blade.  This is the world that we live in.  We can tweet our favorite athlete (try saying that five years ago and not get banished from your local Sports Bar) and shower with them after every victory (not yet, but if Jerry Jones had his way… watch out) but we’re still just the guy driving to the store in his Silverado to put a case of Coors on our Visa.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the triviality of our collective existence.  And please don’t tell me you’d rather find some deeper meaning in life (or sports)…

* I’m really 3-1, but I’ve never known a good story without someone altering the facts a little bit to protect the innocent.

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America’s Sport?

Named for this nation's capitol , they bring shame to the US.

Named for this nation's capitol , they bring shame to the US.

Baseball has long been called America’s sport or America’s pastime. Everyone in this great nation at least knows a bit about baseball. I’d go so far to say that most boys that grow up in America have played before and understand the rules. There are even two teams right by our nation’s capitol — the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals. And if you combine their number of wins, they’re slightly better than the Yankees.

My point is, our nation’s capitol has two teams and they suck. With every year that goes by, they suck a little more. And it’s America’s sport! I blame Obama. If he had put some of his American Revitalization and Reinvestment Act money towards the baseball teams around the nation’s capitol, maybe things would be looking better by now.

And so, as we move towards the playoffs of the 2009 season, yet again, the Orioles and Nationals won’t be playing. In fact, MLB could move to a 28 team playoff and those two teams would be the only 2 left out. It’s pathetic. Seriously, the DC area has enough decent athletes residing there that maybe it’s time to open up some tryouts. Just see if the common populace is better at baseball than these slackers.

I’m sick of watching small market teams laugh at us. Minne-fucking-sota has a better baseball team. All 9 Minnesotans love going to watch them play. So, maybe the size of the fanbase isn’t important. Maybe it’s the crime rate. We all know Baltimore is the anus of America and I’m sure some of their stink is rubbing off on Washington. But Cincinnati, Detroit, and Cleveland aren’t any nicer. In fact, Cleveland and Detroit suck so bad as cities, they compete with each other to establish who isn’t dead last in this country.

So, what is the problem? Like I said, I blame Obama, the players, and the management. So, congratulations Orioles and Nationals players and management, you’re essentially high school teams. So, this is a challenge to either of you: The Elitist Jerks at EJSIC publicly challenge you to a baseball game. If you win, you can keep embarrassing this great nation’s capital. If you lose, we’ll take over your team and make them good again.

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This is quite possibly the most amazingly specific prediction I’ve ever seen come true. Mike Blowers needs to be playing the market.

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KANSAS CITY – Julie Fisher was flipping through the TV channels Monday night looking for something to watch when she stumbled upon something that shocked her.  A Royals game.

“I thought the season was over,” Fisher remarked.  “Greinke won [Sunday] and that was it, right?”

When told that there were, in fact, six games remaining (3 in New York and 3 in Minnesota,) Fisher didn’t know how to respond.

Two fans watch a Royals game

Two fans watch a Royals game

Jason Allen of Lenexa, had an equally surprised but altogether different reaction when he saw Monday’s game on TV.  “We were playing the Yankees.  They’re pretty good, right?  I thought for a minute that maybe we had made the playoffs,” he said without a hint of irony. “But, then I remembered that you don’t make the playoffs just because you DON’T lose 100 games.”

This is not a new phenomenon.  In a poll, several fans admitted to thinking the season had ended as far back as June.  Conceding it can be hard to keep track of when exactly the season ends, Craig Bartlett, a Raytown police officer,  said “That’s the great thing about this team.  Just when you think they aren’t playing anymore, they show up and play another game or two.  It keeps the fans on our toes.”

However, Bartlett wasn’t all optimistic.  “It probably would be better if the season DID end earlier.  I mean, yeah they played the Yankees tonight, but they lost, didn’t they?  The season’s way too long as it is.  Why should we have to suffer more?”

The Royals did lose to the Yankees, 8-2.

Like most conversations with Royals fans in September, talk soon turned to the team’s neighbors…the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.  Bartlett admitted that it was a dour subject and seemed to grow increasingly melancholy while reminiscing.  “We had a rough one last season.  But that’s over now, too.  The people of Kansas City can rest and look to tomorrow.”

When told that there were still 14 weeks to go in the Chiefs’ season, he abruptly ended the interview and hung up the phone.  Return calls were not answered.

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With Major League Baseball deep in the throes of its annual stretch run, many teams are positioning to achieve a playoff berth. Meanwhile, the New York Mets, baseball’s most lovable losers, are determined to outdo their late season collapses of the past two seasons by finishing in last place in the National League East division.

“We have conditioned our fans to have a certain set of expectations, and we intend to meet them,” Mets General Manager Omar Minaya stated. “You saw us lose it in style in 2007, then we repeated with in 2008; just wait until you see what we’ve got in store for you this year,” Minaya said with a wink and a smile.

In 2007, the Mets led the NL East division by 7 games on September 12th before making history, losing 12 of the last 17 games to succumb to the surging Philadelphia Phillies and miss the playoffs. They repeated their late season swoon in 2008 by falling in 10 of the last 17 to lose the division lead again, as well as their chance at the Wild Card in their final game. This season, the Mets find themselves secured in fourth place in the NL East after September 21st with 11 left to play: 15.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, 13 games ahead of the Washington Nationals, and 23.5 games behind the first place Phillies.

With just 11 games remaining and a 13 game lead over the MLB-worst Washington Nationals, it is mathematically impossible for the Mets to be overtaken. When the numbers were laid out for Minaya, he didn’t seem to understand. When the subtraction was done for him on a nearby whiteboard, Minaya discourteously snapped, “What are you, some kind of astronaut? We’re just trying to lose baseball games here.”

(more…)

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