Category Archives: MLB

I ♥ NY

This is a clip from when I went to a New York Mets game.  It was pretty sweet.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiJw_5TQMb4%5D

– Henry

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The Skinny Post: Freeway Baseball Baby – BRING IT ON

October – Baseball Playoffs and sexy Halloween costumes

October – Baseball Playoffs and sexy Halloween costumes

LA is on fire right now.

No, not in the usual way it’s on fire.

That happens too often for anyone to get excited about it (unless you’re trying to hide from the flames in your hot tub) but LA is EL FUEGO for the Dodgers and Angels right now, two teams separated by about 40 miles of the 5 freeway. The Angels are actually in the city of Anaheim of course, but three years ago became the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, so essentially Orange County was annexed for marketing purposes. Imagine Hamilton’s Super 14 team calling itself  The Auckland Chiefs of Waikato and you get the idea.

No matter. New York and New Jersey have been pulling this crap for years, so why not LA? Continue reading

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Guest Post: 2009 Baseball Playoff Primer – Part 2: National League

Marti

So, the National League… Called the Senior Circuit – cos it was the first before ‘dem upstart American Leaguers bubbled up at the turn of last century – the Nats have fallen on lean times this decade. Last year’s champs the Philadelphia Phillies hail from the National League, as do 2006’s St Louis Cardinals.

But honestly, it’s easier to remember them cos they are the exception rather than the rule. And the American League All-Stars have not been beaten by their National League counterparts for 13 years. Dominance. Continue reading

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Baseball Playoff Primer 2009

MLB logo

It’s business time for the great American game. A season that began among the octogenarian havens of Florida and Arizona in Spring Training, spanned 2430 Major League games across 30 teams (who play 162 games per season, or about six per week), has come down to eight teams vying for World Series glory.

Why its a ‘World Series’ when all but one team – Toronto – hails from the US is a testament to both the power and arrogance of American marketing. But oh well, get over it and enjoy the spectacle.

That odyssey has ended for all but eight teams, most recently for Detroit, where the Tigers have just completed one of the greatest meltdowns of recent history by losing a one-game playoff decider to rivals the Minnesota Twins. Continue reading

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Kenny Powers: A DeadBall Icon

When my ass was 28 years old, I lost my shit watching Eastbound & Down.*

atlanta_card

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Perfection, Presidents & Yoga Butt

pg1Both these men bleed for the White Sox. Sadly, only one of them can actually pitch.

One of Barack Obama’s favourite phrases over the last year is “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
It’s from Voltaire and the way he means it, it makes a lot of sense. Better to do SOMETHING positive now than delay until you’ve found the ‘perfect’ solution.

Except Yesterday.

Yesterday, a baseball pitcher slipped into a historically important category and just to show that whatever’s happening with his economic reboot Obama hasn’t lost his sporting mojo, it was a White Sox pitcher to boot.

Mark Buehrle (pronounced burly and splendidly accurate that is) pitched a Perfect Game against Tampa Bay.
27 batters faced, 27 retired with no walks or errors. Only 18 of them have EVER been thrown in baseball’s long history, because even if you have everything and a ton of luck working for you as a pitcher, that will only guarantee a no-hitter.
That’s not a small thing (usually only 1 or 2 no-hitters are thrown in a 2,300+ game season) but it’s not the great white whale that is The Perfect Game. Because for a Perfect Game to occur you need your team-mates to be perfect as well.
A single error in the field (a misjudged bounce that a player should have caught or fielded, a ball falling out of a hand as he threw, any one of a million basic failures of hand/eye co-ordination) and a runner may get on base without technically spoiling the ‘no hitter’. But the Perfect Game is gone.

Whenever a pitcher starts edging toward a no-hitter, when about the 5th inning everyone becomes aware that something amazing might be happening,  the entire team starts to move differently. There’s more urgency in the dives for groundballs hit into the hole, a bit more zip on the throws to first. The custom is to not speak to the pitcher from then on unless you have to. Some players even stop LOOKING at the pitcher lest it curse him. Jaws clench, backs straighten, fist bumps and high fives disappear, and there’s less grabbing of one’s crotch while on camera. This is serious business.

By the 8th inning, even the other team have become involved. Each batter now dreads being the one to end it, and if its a Perfect Game even more so. Yet once the pitch has been made, once the ball is in the air hurtling toward him, instinct takes over and the swings will still be made with utmost ferocity. Whenever you see a sportsperson on the verge of history, you have to wonder what the opponent(s) are thinking. According to his Letterman appearance even Stewart Cink was rooting for Tom Watson, yet he gave no quarter and probably never thought to. And this was the Tampa Bay Rays, newly risen power in the brutal AL East, and kings of the deadly single. These guys were not cheap outs.

So, in the top of the 9th, with Buehrle three outs away from being the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2004 to achieve a Perfect Game, over 12,000 or so games ago, this happened:

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For video go here.

Dewayne Wise, a nobody brought on late by manager and certified lunatic Ozzie Guillen because he can field a bit, made the catch of his career to rob Gabe Kapler (sorry, had to pause for a quick Welcome Back Kotter flashback) of a heartless dagger of a home run.

He bobbled it sure, but caught it just the same, and it will be a long, long time before Mr Wise has to buy his own beer on the South Side of Chicago.

How meaningful is it?

For Mark Buehrle its a defining moment in a quixotic career and a direct path to the Hall Of Fame for a solid but not exciting pitcher few would remember otherwise. He even got a call immediately afterward from the world’s most powerful White Sox fan.

For baseball, mired in a season so lacklustre Manny Ramirez NOT playing for 50 games was an exciting highlight, its a huge news story not related to PEDs or empty seats at Yankee Stadium.

And for me it was a phone call while I was down at the beach enjoying an afternoon scoping Yoga Butts.

yoga350God bless Juicy Couture & Lulumon.

“Hey, you got to get to a TV.”

“Uh-huh,” attention focused solely on scoping Yoga Butts.

“Buehrle’s throwing a Perfect Game! Seriously, you gotta catch it.”

” Holy Shit!” and I got on my bike and rode to the nearest bar to catch the last inning and a half.

So, how meaningful was it? It got me to RIDE A F*$KING BIKE. That’s Hall Of Fame worthy right there.

– Mark Tierney

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The Skinny Post: Return Of The Show

redsoxhussy

Finally after its winter hibernation, baseball in America is back next week.

Oh sure we’ve had a ton of high-profile trades, steroid drama, sort of gay self-worship drama tied to the steroid drama, spring training, the Grapefruit League and even a full blown pseudo-World Cup played in the sport (well done Japan!) but that’s just baseball.

This now, this is The Show.

This is the baseball that every great, or pretend-great American writer rhapsodises, and has been turned into more decent movies than any other sport. In this regard, it is truly the anti-rugby. I struggled to come up with more than 1 0r 2 truly awful baseball movies that weren’t sequels or made before WW2, and the classics almost anyone can name (The Natural, Field Of Dreams, Bull Durham, Major League, Bad News Bears, etc). Try that with rugby. There’s a lot riding on you Matt Damon.

So, to paraphrase Walt Whitman and Will Leitch, its time for the hush of the outfield grass to give way to the thrill of the opening pitch, the crack of the bat and the roar of the extremely drunk and abusive crowd. Its time for all the guys who paid US$432,000 for field level Yankee season tickets to settle in for their 81 home games, and for Direct TV subscribers to start planning which of the almost 5,000 live games they can watch over the next 6 months.

Welcome to The Show. Continue reading

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