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Author’s note: This post includes a graphic video of a Caesarean section. It’s for context, so I’m not sorry. But, anyway, reader discretion advised. 

Just when you thought it was okay to enjoy sports debate again, (Hahaha, there’s never a time when you can enjoy sports debate—I just wanted to see how silly that looked in print) David Murphy decided to be a good husband and father*. Let’s give this story the proper background: Murphy plays for the New York Mets. Murphy left the team Monday to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child (a boy, because I know you wanted to know that). Now, the collective bargaining agreement between the MLBPA and the MLB owners allows players to take 1-3 days of paternity leave for situations just like this. (Let’s keep that factoid in mind). Now, Murphy re-joined the team Thursday (and went 1-3, getting on base twice and scoring a run). So, it’s time to put a bow on this story, right?

No.

If you read TwH, you’re probably familiar with Boomer Esiason. He’s got a radio show on CBS that is (for some reason) aired nationally. When they got on the subject of Murphy, Boomer went on to spew many senseless things (which is sports talk on the radio in a nutshell, obviously). His highlight signature line came when he mentioned that he would tell his wife to have a C-section so that it won’t interfere with, um, stuff. Yes, these were things that were said:

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres

It’s seriously 10:30 am on Opening Day. Can I get this post done before the first pitch happens in 2.5 hours?

If my math is right, this is the 145th season of Major League Baseball. It’s literally the only thing older than my father in law. You’d think that a league that’s been around for so long would be able to get the season opener right, but today is simply Opening Day. Last weekend, the Opening Series was in Australia (that’s not a misprint). Last night was Opening Night in San Diego (which involved a team that was in the Opening Series). Today is Opening Day. Have I lost anyone yet?

Anyway, baseball is soldiering along, senseless starts be darned. Because there’s really nothing that could keep me from watching, I came up with some storylines worth keeping tabs on from now through October. That’s right, baseball is gonna be around for a while. I’m not sorry if that’s not your thing.

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Any observer who doesn’t immerse himself in the intricacies of baseball’s free agency and player development structures should flip on his TV to quickly get up to speed.  There’s a well-known expert on the choices that GMs face, and he can be seen daily if you know where to look.  While MLB Network frequently has knowledgeable contributors from Baseball Prospectus, and even ESPN can trot out a great mind here or there, the fastest way is to find Howie Mandel prodding hapless Joe and Jane Game Show Contestant to throw away their guaranteed returns in hopes of hitting it big.

The current state of the free agent market, especially with regard to mid-tier, mid-career or older starting pitchers, presents largely the same choice a Deal or No Deal contestant would face.  If you’re excited by the idea of securing the decline years of a never-was-great hurler for the annual price of what the Rays will pay David Price this year, you are probably a local radio show caller or an out-of-work GM.  Barring that, you are understandably intrigued by the possibility of the unknown riches which lay in the cases that have yet to be opened during today’s episode of the hot stove game show.

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A lot of people have already said a lot of things regarding the meaning of this strange, scrappy, magical, bearded band of men we call the 2013 Boston Red Sox. After two years that included fried chicken, beers, and the worst season in recent memory, these guys took advantage of the period between the heartbreaking end of the Bruins Cup run and the beginning of Patriots season to bring Boston back to its roots: baseball.

It was awesome to have a baseball team that was not only winning, but also likeable, on the diamond at Fenway again. But if you say you picked the Sox to win the Series this season, you are (probably, most likely) lying. That’s what made October so fun: it was totally unexpected.

Every championship win is special (something that can be kind of hard to remember when your teams have won eight in twelve years), but at the risk of being cliché and repeating something you’ve heard over and over again: this one was more.

The Marathon Bombings shook everyone in the Greater Boston area to their cores. As someone who grew up a mere fifteen minutes from the race’s starting line, who has friends and family who volunteer along the route and at the finish line, never in my wildest nightmares could I have imagined a tragedy like this happening on Patriot’s Day. But—as tends to happen in these situations, far too many of which we’ve seen the past few years—the good in humanity outshone the bad. Not only did Bostonians and marathon runners band together to help one another, so did people from across the country and the world.

Where do the Sox play into all of this?

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“And then? And then, when I walked down the street, people would’ve looked, and they would’ve said, ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.'” – The Natural

Exceedingly rare in sports is the career in which a player maintains a world-class level of dominance through a retirement on his or her own terms. Only a handful of players can even lay any valid claim to that. Wayne Gretzky scored 90 points in his second-to-last NHL season only to fall down to 62, a perfectly formidable number for a 38-year-old center in professional hockey, in his final season, 1998-’99. In the same sport, legendary Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak retired at the age of 32 in 1984 after accumulating dozens of accolades and medals with the Soviet national team and CSKA Moscow and also without ever playing a minute in the NHL. Michael Jordan managed to average 20 points per game in the 2002-’03 season during his second and final comeback, with the Washington Wizards. He even scored 43 points as a 40-year-old, a task suburban dads in driveways everywhere wish to check off the Saturday morning to-do list. Depending on how the next half-decade or so shakes out, Kobe Bryant could be there too. John Elway finished his career at the very peak of the mountain, with two straight Super Bowl victories in 1998 and ’99. A few European footballers, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Xavi Hernandez among them, also had or are having satisfyingly lengthy careers in which they maintain high competitive levels.

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The Yankees have used 45 different players this season. Many of them are awful, like Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart. But at least those guys are career backups who are good enough defensively to justify a spot on the roster. The guys listed below are the worst of the worst. They’re just awful, awful baseball players. “Baseball players” might be too generous. They are average citizens in baseball uniforms, masquerading as baseball players. I would welcome them with open arms to my intramural softball team, but they have no right being anywhere near a Major League Baseball field.  Read More

Since Alfonso Soriano’s strike out to end the Cubs playoff run in 2008, there haven’t been many happy day for Chicago fans. Since then, the Cubs have not been back to the playoffs and have continued a steady decline, losing 101 games last season. Still, there have been some silver linings along the way, including the growth of Starlin Castro and the debut of Anthony Rizzo. But today might be the best day the Cubs have in the past five seasons. Today, July 2, 2013, will always be remembered as the day the Carlos Marmol Era ended.

 This is how I feel. 

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