Tagged: Boston Red Sox

The Worst of 162

Happy 4th of July
to all!  Seems like the perfect day
to enjoy freedom, hot dogs, fireworks and baseball.  As this blog is titled “The Best of 162,” I find it
necessary to reverse my position for today and share what I believe to be
“The Worst of 162”:  Those hideous
red “stars and stripes” caps that all the players are wearing this weekend.  




uggla red cap.jpg

low red cap.jpg


These probably aren’t so bad
if worn with matching colors, but they clash with the majority of teams’
uniforms.  We’ve had the Mariners
vs. Red Sox series on TV at my house for much of this weekend, and the red,
white, and blue looks so terrible with the blue and green that I almost want to
look away.  Just look at those pictures of the Marlins’ Dan Uggla and the Mariners’ Mark Lowe.  Ridiculous.  If it’s a team like the
Cardinals or the Angels, it probably isn’t too bad, but I can’t get over it.  I’m all for being patriotic, but
perhaps a nice American flag patch on the sleeve could suffice.    

 

But while those caps
symbolize the worst of baseball this weekend, I do know someone who symbolizes the
best: Albert Pujols, of course.  Even though I just spent a bunch of time talking about him in my last post, he is worthy of more praise.  Albert hit his fourth grand slam of the season last night!  He was named the National League player
of the month for the second time this season!  Do you think it would be a wise idea to blow some of my birthday money on a Pujols shrine for my room?

 

Last but not least, today
marks the 70th anniversary of one of the greatest moments in
baseball history.  I don’t really
get too emotional over things, but Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech gets me
every time.  On July 4, 2009,
Gehrig delivered his famous speech in between games of a doubleheader at Yankee
Stadium.  There have been hundreds
of inspiring stories or touching memories over the years in baseball, but to
me, Lou Gehrig’s speech is the best.  Do you have a similar memory that reminds you of the “best” of baseball?

We really have been given a
lot to live for.  Enjoy the 4th!


Photo credits: 

Dan Uggla: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/pirates/s_632289.html

Mark Lowe: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/

A Break from the Books

people_studying.jpg

This has been me for the last two
weeks.  I have pretty much failed
at blogging, but until June 11, school is my priority and it’s been eating up
my time lately.  I promise to write
more regularly now; finals still await, but things are starting to slow down
and I can finally pay some more attention to my blog.  I also promise to stop boring you with the details of my
academic life. 

 

But, disclaimer aside, I am wondering:
where has this season gone? 
There’s still a lot of ground to cover, but we’re practically two months
in! An oversimplified, quick look at what’s happened so far:

 

-The Marlins and Mariners found their
respective ways back to the cellar (or at least very close to it.)  My beloved Ken Griffey, Jr. found his
way to the “Who’s Not” list in Sports Illustrated.  Go figure.


-Raul Ibañez is having a career year.  I can’t wait to vote for him repeatedly for the All-Star game and see what else he does this year.

 

-There have been some terrific arguments
and ejections.  I’m sure there have
been plenty that I’ve missed, but Zambrano was ejected this afternoon and there
were some choice words exchanged between Ron Gardenhire and the umpires during
Sunday night’s Twins vs. Brewers game. 
Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who loves watching a good baseball
fight (extra points if the benches are cleared).

 

-Steve Phillips now stars in his own Baseball
Tonight commercial which is nowhere near the greatness of the Peter Gammons and
Buster Olney spots.  He’s supposed
to get me to watch that show?

 

I’m almost embarrassed to post this…it’s
fairly devoid of interesting baseball information.  But stay tuned. 
Later this week I’ll be asking for the help of my fellow bloggers as I
prepare for an epic baseball adventure with my father, and I’ve been cooking up
some fun ideas for the summer.  Until then, I will settle for enjoying tonight’s Boston vs. Minnesota game.  

Rainy Days, Injuries, and Baseball Stats

This
is not really a bad day, by any means, just kind of a dreary one.  My walk to class this morning was
pleasant; it was sunny and sort of warm. 
When I returned to my room four hours later, I was soaked.  Drenched.  And the rain has not let up since then.  But since this is Oregon, that’s not
really news.  So, some baseball
news:

 

Today
became even drearier when I looked at the MLB.com homepage and saw that half of
the news headlines were injury-related. 
It’s good to see that Rick Ankiel was released from the hospital; he
lost a battle with the outfield wall at Busch Stadium and it looked so
painful.  Also, Roy Oswalt left the
Astros vs. Nationals game today with a bruised finger and Jorge Posada was
placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring strain.  What is going on here? 
I hope all of these players have speedy recoveries, but their absences
could make things interesting for their respective teams within the next few
days.  How do you all think
injuries could affect your team over the next week? 

 

Also,
a little bit of “the best”:

 

Jason Bay.  I just saw him hit a home run against
the Yankees, and that’s his 7th this year.  He’s hitting .329 this season, and has been hitting
especially well against the Yankees. 
Sorry, Yankees fans, I know there hasn’t been a lot of great news coming
your way lately (except that A-Rod’s return is nearing), but you can’t deny
that Bay has had a great start.

 

Nate Silver.  Congratulations to Nate Silver for
being one of TIME’s 100 this year. 
The magazine ranked him as one of “The World’s Most Influential
People.”  Before gaining fame for
predicting 2008 election results with ridiculous accuracy, he invented PECOTA
and worked for Baseball Prospectus. 
I also think he used to write those “Modest Proposal” boxes for Sports Illustrated in the baseball
preview issue.  For some reason,
the huge variety of baseball stat acronyms fascinates me, so I think this is
kind of cool.  Maybe next year an
actual baseball player will be one of the world’s most influential people.  Any ideas?

 

I’m
about to settle in with some homework and some Mexican food (Happy Cinco de
Mayo!), but after that I think I’ll be watching the rest of the Sox/Yanks game
and Phillies/Cardinals.   

 

Oh,
and one last thing: in my last post, I put up a YouTube video of a Baseball Tonight commercial featuring
Peter Gammons.  After further
investigation, I have found this one, featuring Buster Olney, to be equally
hilarious:

 

 

Garza and Gammons

One
month down, everybody.  Lots of
different stories, players, and teams have emerged since Opening Day; the one
that stands out in my mind is still Nick Adenhart’s tragic death, and I hope we
can all continue to honor his memory throughout the season. 

 

However…there are a few more recent stories that I’ve found interesting:

 

Matt
Garza was amazing last night.  Even
though I didn’t have the game on TV, I saw highlights, and was amazed to see
him throw a perfect game through seven innings against Boston.  Of course, it won’t show up in the record books because he
didn’t go all nine, but that is still something to be proud of.  And even though Garza was incredible, I
was kind of happy to see that Jacoby Ellsbury was the one who ruined it for
him. 

 

The
best baseball-related commercial I have seen so far this season is this one for
Baseball Tonight, which features
Peter Gammons:



 

Gammons
is obviously a respected baseball journalist and veteran in the field, and this
commercial made me laugh because it made him the baseball equivalent to Chuck
Norris.  I don’t get the change to watch Baseball Tonight very often, but when I do, I love his insight.  Except for maybe the sweet
parking skills, I would not be surprised if all of this were true.  Maybe.

 

And
on top of all of this, it’s Friday. 
This weekend I’ll probably have my eyes on the Twins/Royals series
because Joe Mauer has returned.  Also, I’ll be watching the Mariners because I’d like to see if
they can remain in first place longer than one month and they’re playing a
division rival.  Granted, it’s the
last-place A’s, but I’m looking forward to it.  What weekend game(s) will you be watching? 

Some Love for the Native Son


Oregon may not the most populous or most recognized state in the U.S., but it IS the home of home base-stealer extraordinaire, Jacoby Ellsbury. 

It was the best play of the
weekend by far:  Jacoby Ellsbury
stole home base last night!

I apologize to all
of those Yankee fans.  This
historic moment came at your expense, I understand.  But this was unreal; he just slid in there,
out of nowhere.  He helped lead Oregon State’s baseball team to a national
championship in 2006, and now he’s helping the Red Sox win 10 in a row.


 So, Jacoby,
because the Blazers couldn’t pull out a victory last night, you gave Oregon
sports fans a reason to celebrate. 
That was a pretty wild game; I was watching the game with a friend who
is a huge Yankee fan, and it led her to declare “there is no justice in the
world.”

 

While watching the
game, I thoroughly enjoyed several peoples’ humorous criticism of the ESPN announcers.  I’ve said before that I think Jon
Miller is great, but Joe Morgan is just okay and have never liked Steve
Phillips.  I was laughing pretty
hard listening to some bloggers’ frustrations with Phillips as he continued to
restate the obvious, and it made me wonder: is there anything about baseball
that really irritates you?  Aside
from a rival team, is there anything you really dislike about the game of
baseball, or a certain player you just don’t like? 

 

Back when I first
started watching baseball, I remember a game when Omar Vizquel, then playing
for Cleveland, threw a fit because Mariners pitcher Arthur Rhodes refused to
take off an earring that was a little too shiny for Omar’s liking.  At age 11, I was unable to understand
why he had to get so mad at Rhodes, and even though I laugh about it now, I
still harbor some dislike towards Vizquel.  So, while that is an insignificant example, I have been
wondering…is there anything about baseball that you really don’t like?  Any single players?  Any front office personnel?  Agents?  Commissioners? 
Announcers?  Past or
present, anything goes.

 

I hope everyone is
gearing up for this great day of baseball matchups!  What game(s) do you plan on watching? 

P.S.: I had some pictures up, but I have had many bloggers tell me they can’t see them…I’ve spent some time working on it, but I will try and solve the problem fully as soon as I have more time.  Sorry you cannot all see the greatness of Oregon and Jacoby Ellsbury.

An Extreme Week

This
week seems to be a week of extremes for a lot of teams.  Take the Yankees, for example.  They get to celebrate the well-received opening of a
brand new stadium, but then have to find a way to compensate
for the loss of Xavier Nady.  Or
the Red Sox.  I don’t want to add
fuel to the fire for Sox fans, but they’re having their worst start since
1996.  They did win yesterday, and
it’s the beginning of the season, but still; with such a talented team, I
understand the frustration.

 

There
are also a couple extremes of a different sort.  Extreme grief and sadness.  Nick Adenhart’s death one week ago and the loss of Phillies
broadcaster Harry Kalas on Monday are still fresh in the minds of fans and
players alike.  I’ve only been a
part of MLBlogs for less than a month, but I was amazed to see the huge,
sincere outpouring of support that came from the bloggers.  I enjoyed reading the reflective,
heartfelt tributes and responses to the passing of these two members of the
baseball family. 

 nickadenhart_1_400.jpg


kalas.jpg

On
a lighter note: extreme shock.  The
Mariners are in first place?  The
Padres are in first place (even if it’s a tie)?  The Marlins are in first place?  Wow.  I am
especially surprised about the Mariners; in Ichiro’s first game back from the
DL, he launches a grand slam, which is especially rare for him since he’s more
of a single or double hitter.  I
know, I know, it’s only the second week of the season, but it might be the only
time this season that some fans can celebrate being atop the standings.

 

With
that in mind, how are you feeling about your team’s position so far?  We’re not too far in, so no teams are
facing must-win games, but I’d be interested to hear the reactions of fans
regarding how their team has performed so far, what their team needs to improve
on, and how they see the rest of the season shaping up. 

 

I
have to solicit this information from the dedicated fans because I am not a
die-hard fan of one team.  Portland
doesn’t have a major league club, but we are generally Mariners fans by default
since they’re closest.  So, while
this is a baseball blog, I have to take a few lines to show some hometown pride
for the Blazers!  They’ve made it
to the NBA playoffs and I will be rooting for them!

portland_trail_blazers_logo.jpg

 

And
one final side note…because he will probably be reading this at some point,
happy birthday Dad!  I hope it has
been a great day for you.

 

Happy
almost-Friday, everyone. 


Photo credits: 

Nick Adenhart:  rowlandsoffice.wordpress.com/ 2009/04/

Harry Kalas: http://blogs.phillynews.com/inquirer/zozone/kalas.jpg

Blazers: http://www.apualumni.com/s/43/images/editor/Chapter%20Events/Oregon/portland_trail_blazers_logo.jpg

 

 

Bloody Socks and The Best Game

As
far as “the greatest game ever played” in each respective sport, there is
sometimes consensus and sometimes debate. 
Football has the 1958 NFL Championship Game that pitted the Baltimore
Colts against the New York Giants and was the first football game ever to go
into sudden-death overtime. 
Baseball has…the “bloody sock” game?

 

The
“Bloody Sock Game,” Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS in which Curt Shilling played with
torn tendons in his ankle, has been all over the news today following Curt
Schilling’s retirement announcement. 
I remember watching it four years ago and thinking it was pretty
cool.  But, how long do you think
it will live on in baseball lore?

 

With
162 games every season, there are a lot to choose from.  It might be easier to identify the
“greatest series ever played.”  They
may have had some especially unique quality; they weren’t necessarily the best
game all-around.

 

There
are a few games that stand out to me. 
It wasn’t one of the greatest games ever played in the history of
baseball, but Game 5 of the 2008 World Series was definitely exciting; rain
poured on the field in Philadelphia and made it basically unplayable.  The perseverance of the players,
continuing to give it their all amid terrible conditions, and the heated debate
about whether or not the game should have been suspended combined to make it an
intriguing game for me. 

 

Also,
the game in which Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run will always be
one of my favorites.  That’s
probably cliché, but he played outside a steroid shadow and advanced the cause
of African-Americans in the game. 
If only for the perseverance displayed by Schilling, the “bloody sock
game” also deserves a little attention in my book.

 

Those
are just a couple of examples.  While
the “Greatest Game Ever Played” has been solidified in football, baseball’s is
still up for debate.  What do you think?  Do you think there is
one game or series that can be labeled as the best?  Or, do you have one game that you found especially interesting,
exciting, or intriguing?  On the
flip side, do you think there is a “worst game” ever played?  I can think of a few, one in particular
dealing with a certain headphone-wearing Cubs fan…but I’ll leave it at
that.  I’m too busy watching this great WBC final to write anything else!