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.
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!
fact: I share a birthday with the Sony Walkman. Who knew? It
was introduced today in 1979.
Today begins my last year of teenager-ness. And while I share a birthday with some pretty famous people
(Princess Diana, Carl Lewis, Dan Aykroyd, Missy Elliott, Pamela Anderson), I
really wish I shared a birthday with this guy:
try not to talk about Albert Pujols too much, but I could easily use up most of
my blog posts analyzing and discussing his greatness. I will spare you that, but I do want to congratulate Albert
on becoming the first player in Major League history to have 9 straight
30-homer seasons to begin his career.
Wow. If you could see a picture
of me right now, my mouth would be hanging open in awe. Thanks to SportsCenter’s twitter feed
for providing me with that bit of information.
big news item: the Pittsburgh Pirates’ trades. The Pirates sent outfielder Nyjer Morgan and LHP Sean
Burnett to the Nationals and received outfielder Lastings Milledge and RHP Joel
Hanrahan from the Nats. They also
sent Eric Hinske to the Yankees in exchange for Class A players Casey Ericson
and Eric Fryer. It always hurts to
see favorite players traded away, but this Pittsburgh scenario really seems to
have upset people, specifically Pittsburgh fans. Everyone was shocked when Nate McLouth was traded to the
Braves in early June. Now, the
Pirates just seem to be unloading more players as part of a massive rebuilding
I ask: what makes a trade a “good” trade?
I may not be a front office expert, but when a rising Pirates star like
Andrew McCutchen says the trades made him want to cry, shouldn’t that raise a
red flag? At what point do front
office execs sacrifice some talent in the future in order to maintain morale
and talent on the field right now?
With players like McCutchen and longtime Pirate Jack Wilson questioning
the deals, can the Pirates really afford their rebuild?
do you think there will be any other notable trades in the next few weeks? The trade deadline is now just a month
away, so I’m interested to see what teams make deals and what teams stay put.
disclaimer: Just because it’s my birthday does not mean you have to say happy
birthday to me. I forgot to put my
own mother’s birthday card in the mail on time this year, so I deserve nothing.
Here they are: some pictures from the “epic baseball adventure” I recently took with my padre. I will try not to
bore you with every miniscule detail from everything, but I’ll put in some of
my favorite pictures and moments from the trip.
We took a red-eye, so we arrived in
NYC pretty early. Rain and fog covered the city for awhile in the
morning, so we were nervous about the fate of our Yankees
vs. Mets game that evening.
Luckily, the fog and rain cleared and we were able to enjoy a beautiful
game. (Disclaimer: Last summer, my whole family saw a game at the old Yankee Stadium and I bought a Derek Jeter t-shirt. I have in no way become a die-hard Yankees fan, but I thought I should wear it while I had the perfect opportunity.)
The highlight of this, of
course, was getting to see Luis Castillo’s drop of A-Rod’s pop-up in the bottom
of the ninth. I so shocked that I wasn’t able to take a picture of it, but the crowd’s reaction afterwards
was absolutely ridiculous. There
are few words to describe the craziness that ensued after the win; fans chanted
“Let’s Go Yankees!” the whole time we were walking to the exit, people were
jumping up and down, complete strangers were giving us high fives, and my dad
and I were in awe. Fans don’t act
like that at Safeco Field.
The next morning, we hit the road for Baltimore. It was nearly a four-hour drive, so by
the time we arrived in Baltimore, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore the
city. The city does have a really
nice Inner Harbor area with a nice view of the city skyline and the bay. The picture above is a statue of Babe Ruth, a Baltimore native. Camden Yards probably ended up being
our least favorite stop on the trip, but that was partly because we were seated
in front of a group of four couples who were more focused on their beers than
on the game. We left the game a
couple innings early because we had the urge to drive 45 minutes out of our way
to Washington, D.C. It was nearly
midnight, but we took a little stroll along the National Mall and were able to
see all of its famous sights.
After Baltimore and our quick D.C. detour,
we drove to Pittsburgh. We took another exciting detour, this time into West Virginia (my dad and I are easily entertained),
and arrived in Pittsburgh about an hour before the game. This game, Pirates vs. Tigers, was a
rematch of the 1909 World Series, and both teams wore vintage uniforms to commemorate the 100-year anniversary. PNC Park really is beautiful and was our favorite ballpark of the trip.
This game was enhanced by a visit from the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, which had just beaten the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals. The team (including the amazing Sidney Crosby), brought the trophy for a visit and the crowed went wild. Not being from Pittsburgh, my dad and I didn’t really know any of the players, so we stood in silence and took in the scene. The lady standing next to us asked, “Are you from Detroit?”
Our last stop was Cleveland for the Indians
vs. Brewers game. It was the
longest game of the trip (nearly four hours), but we had a great time. The highlight was batting
practice. We arrived a couple
hours early in order to soak in the park and BP, and during BP, my dad caught a
ball! This was exciting enough,
but later during BP, I snagged Trevor Hoffman’s autograph! We were also able to
see Prince Fielder’s first career grand slam.
So that’s the trip in a not-so-small
nutshell. Thanks for all of the
Also, in terms of real baseball news, I was
watching Sportscenter this morning and discovered what I now believe to be the
best comparison stat ever. A-Rod
tied Reggie Jackson’s number of career home runs last night, and someone has
kept track of the fact that there are five pitchers who have given up home runs
to both players. They are:
Who keeps track of this stuff? Are there any crazy statistics or
comparisons that you’ve come across recently that you find particularly
interesting? Stuff like this
always amazes me because it gives me even more reasons to appreciate baseball. It can be analyzed from so many
Anyways, I’ve got to take some time to
decide which MLB games to check out this evening. As a huge Motown/Jackson 5/”Thriller” fan, baseball took the
backseat yesterday to news of Michael Jackson’s death. He was a pretty weird dude, but an indisputably
great musician. He’s gone, but at
least we’ve still got the tunes!
I’ve been hyping this up for a couple days now, so now I am finally going to
divulge the secrets of my baseball trip.
Forgive me if I sound overly excited, but I have never taken a trip
solely for the purpose of going to baseball games, let alone fly to the other
side of the country to do so.
dad and I are leaving next Thursday for a 5-day/4-game adventure. Of the four cities we are going to visit, I’ve only been to one of them before. So, I am seeking out the wise advice of my fellow bloggers: Where should we go? Where should we eat? What should we be sure to check out at the ballpark? We’d like to explore the city a little bit on top of going to the game, so I’m open to any and all suggestions.
York is my favorite city in the world, so I would be excited to go even if baseball
were not included. However, I will
be officially experiencing the new Yankee Stadium in person. Better yet, it will be an authentic New
York experience: it’s a Yankees vs. Mets game. I’m sorry, Red Sox fans, but I cannot help but be excited about getting to experience the inaugural season of the new stadium in my favorite city.
Saturday, we’ll be heading to Camden Yards for the Orioles vs. Braves
game. I’ve never been to
Baltimore, so if you guys have any tips at all, they would be especially
helpful here. There’s a free promotion that day: crab mallets. My dad was pretty excited about that. It seems like it will be a very authentic New England souvenir.
already received some helpful tips from Matt of The Pittsburgh Peas, who is a Pittsburgh
native, but if you live in Pittsburgh or have been to the park, let me know! We’re going to see the Pirates and Tigers.
the final stop…
going to the Indians vs. Brewers game in Cleveland on the 15th. I am super excited for the game, of
course, but I am also really looking forward to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of
Fame. My dad and I have plans to
go. I am completely addicted to
Motown music, and it’s the record label’s 50th Anniversary this year
so they have a special Motown exhibit at the Hall of Fame.
the trip in a nutshell, but I have one important final question. Somewhere along the way, I would like
to buy one or two t-shirts, they jersey style with a player’s name and number
on the back. This is a very
important decision; I mean, I will be sporting this player’s name all summer,
so it has to be someone good. My
choices are probably limited to Yankees, Orioles, Pirates and Indians since those are the home teams, so let
me know if you have any good suggestions!
Yankee Stadium: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yankee_Stadium_II.JPG
Camden Yards: http://www.robert-o-rama.com/TA/CamdenYards.jpg
The Jake/Progressive Field: http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/PHO/AAGY062_16x20-2006OpeningDay~Jacobs-Field-Posters.jpg
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
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?
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?
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 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Nick Adenhart: rowlandsoffice.wordpress.com/ 2009/04/