5 Transactions I’d Like To See

The glorious return to blogdom was supposed to happen on Sunday when Weller returned from wherever he was.  Since it’s now Wednesday and the last time I talked to him he was playing Monopoly in Indiana, I’m going to go ahead and start the revolution now.  Or as my wife put it, “You both suck, someone post something.”

This is for you, dear.

Anyway, the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is this Saturday and there will be plenty of action before then.  So for our first post in a while I’m going to give you five moves that I’d like to see happen (or not happen, ooooo).

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So How Are You Doing, Sammy Sosa?

Some of you may have seen this already, but I just thought it was hysterical.

Back in 1998 the entire country was mesmerized by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, myself included.  I loved the home run chase as much as anyone.  I was partial to McGwire because he was a part of the hometown St. Louis Cardinals and he could hit balls into the stratosphere.  Sosa, however, had his own charm.  He gave great press conferences and just seemed to enjoy every second of what was happening.

Later we would find out that the home run chase was steroid fueled and it took a Congressional hearing to find out that McGwire wouldn’t talk about the past and that Sosa couldn’t speak English.  But whatever, that’s not what this post is about.  Mr. Sosa is back in the news.

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2009 Baseball Previews – NL Central

Time for the second to last preview before Sunday night’s opening game.  This one will focus on the NL Central.  You can check out the other four previews here: AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East.  Also, while you’re at it, check out this Jim Thome bobblehead.  Notice something wrong?  Now on to the previews. Continue reading

Final Day of the Regular Season

I know yesterday was a huge day in college football (it almost reminded me of way back in 2007) and we won’t ignore that.  Hopefully, I’ll have some time later to go back and write something up.

Anyway, today I drug myself to a computer lab on campus so I won’t be tempted to watch the Rams get beat or any of the season’s final baseball games.  I have an 8 page paper due tomorrow about the stability of the Russian ice cream market.  Fun.  As you can tell, I’m working very hard.  I have three Yahoo windows open updating box scores from the Mets-Marlins, Cubs-Brewers, and an NFL game at the same time.  Right now the Cubs just intentionally passed Prince Fielder to put runners on first and third with one out in the Bottom of the 7th.  A sac fly from JJ Hardy would tie the game at one.  In the other game, Carle Beltran just homered to tie the game at two heading to the top of the 7th.  (Hardy just walked, come on Cory Hart)

As you all know, if either the Brewers or the Mets lose and the other wins, they’re staying home in October.  If they both win or lose, then we’ll have a one game playoff tomorrow night at Shea.    As a Braves fan, I’m pulling hard for the Brewers because seeing Mets fans in pain makes me laugh.  (Hart struck out.  Come on Craig Counsell)

As for the NFL, Jacksonville just won in OT and Kansas City may get the first win in 2008 for Missouri.  I’d love to give some more insight than that, but I’m in the back of a stuffy classroom writing about how the ’98 Russian Financial Crisis impacted ice cream sales. (Counsell walked! Tie game!)

I hope everyone else is enjoying the drama that is Sunday afternoon.  I sure am.  Stupid Russian ice cream.

Ed.’s note – As soon as this was published, several things happened in quick succession.  First, Wes Helms and Dan Uggla hit back to back homers for the Marlins.  Then, Donnie Avery (!) scored on a 37 yeard rush for the Rams.  Then, Ryan Bruan hit a tie-breaking 2-run homer for the Brewers in Milwaukee.  Now everyone just hold form and we’ll have a nice October.

Good Baseball History? For the Cubs?

Last night, Carlos Zambrano tossed the first neutral site no-hitter in Major League history.  I was going to comment on this today, but I didn’t find it worthy of its own post.  Mostly because I can’t stand Carlos Zambrano or the Cubs.

Then today, I get home from class and Sportscenter has their breaking news update and they let me know that Beanie Wells didn’t play last Saturday against USC.  Once that was over they mentioned that Ted Lilly was no-hitting the Astros through 6 innings.  Naturally, I had to jinx this, so I turned it on my MLB.TV.

I got it on just in time to see a Cubs error and then Mark Loretta’s single to right field.  Brilliant.  Cubs fans, you can blame me for Lilly giving up a hit.  Any other baseball fan, you can thank me for breaking up this potentially disastrous series of events.

I’d also like to point out that the Astros just went 15 innings without getting a hit.  That’s absolutely terrible and should not get lost in all this.

Anyway, Weller will be around later with this weekend’s football recap.

The Baseball Road Trip is Over

Alright fearless readers, this blog is back to having two authors. After today’s 7-4 Cardinals victory over the Pirates, I headed back to Columbia to lead the life of a normal human again. We met many interesting people and saw many interesting things all while sampling the finest in ballpark delicacies. I’m going to break my report up by city. I already did the Sox games because I had some brief internet access, so up next will be our trek through Wrigleyville.

The first game we saw was a day game, so we didn’t have much time to walk around Wrigley before the game. (I’m a late riser.) We took the train to the stadium and joined the swath of people headed into the famed Wrigley Field. I’d never been there before, so I didn’t know anything about how things worked. We didn’t know that the bleachers were unassigned, so all the Bleacher Bums showed up when the gates opened to get good seats. This left Dad and I without much to do during batting practice, so we scouted the food and checked out the stadium. We eventually settled on some bratwursts and settled in to our seats (not pictured at right) to watch the game. While we may not have been directly behind home plate, we were directly behind the Cubs’ dugout, giving us beautiful views of both Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez‘s homers. Ryan Dempster pitched well, Kerry Wood got the save, Fergie Jenkins sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, and the Cubs won 3-1. Then they played that annoying song about the Cubs winning; I’m not real sure where it came from, but it got everyone awfully excited.

A side note about Wrigley: It’s known as the Friendly Confines, but I found that this is completely misleading. The ushers there look harmless since they’re all about 80 years old, but they’re pretty mean when it comes down to it. They don’t like answering questions and they really don’t like when you don’t take their advice. An example: My Dad and I have started collecting samples of the warning track from each of the stadiums we’ve visited. Normally, security guards will look at you funny and leave you alone or in some cases, help you if necessary. We have never encountered a problem when doing this…until Wrigley Field. We made our way down to the front row, where a security guard told us we didn’t have tickets so we had to leave. Dad says we just want to get a little dirt and we’ll be off. He looks at Dad and says, “Take the warning track and it’s a felony. We will arrest you.” Naturally, we were taken aback by this. We left empty handed and quite confused. It turns out that they were selling bottles of Wrigley dirt outside for $5. So, whenever someone calls it the Friendly Confines, know that he or she is lying.

After we left, we headed to Harry Caray’s to have a beer or two and meet some of the local Chicagoans. We ended up meeting a guy who had some great stories about his run-ins with Sox GM Kenny Williams and his trip to the Super Bowl. He claimed he was one of about 20 people who were season ticket holders in the bleachers. I don’t know if this is real accurate, but it made for good conversation.

After Harry Caray’s, we walked a full circle around the stadium in search of the best and/or cheapest food. We came across the cheapest first since some bar was serving two dollar burgers, fries, and beer so we stayed there for most of the afternoon. We met some more Cubs fans, who were very cordial to us, especially after we told them about our trip. One of the main questions I asked the Chicago natives was, “Why are you a Sox/Cubs fan?” and the most common answer I got back was, “Because my Nana was.” I found that interesting. The second most popular answer was, “So I didn’t have to be a Sox fan.”

The second game was just as eventful. If you look carefully in the first picture, you will notice that most people have on shorts. Kosuke Fukudome’s bobble head night was not that nice. The game time wind chill was 35 degrees. I went from buying ice cream to hot chocolate overnight. We signed up for MasterCards so we could get the free blankets that came along with it. Now I have a Cubs blanket that I don’t know what to do with, but it was certainly nice to have at the time. The Cubs won 3-1 again, so we got to hear that silly song which stayed stuck in my head for 2 days. I don’t remember a whole lot else because I was frozen, but both games were a good time.

I will leave you with a quick story from batting practice during the second game. We were standing on the first base side, when a ball got lined directly at us. I didn’t have to move and had my glove, so I was ready to catch it. At the last second, a guy who had run from the middle of the aisle flung his blanket in front of my glove. The ball hit his blanket and then stuck in my glove. He pulled the blanket out and and with it came the ball. I stood in disbelief for a second and then realized that I’d been worked over by a professional. So I tip my hat to that guy, it was a very impressive stunt.

Milwaukee tomorrow…

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