Saturday, July 28, 2007
Raymond. Remy. A battle for the ages.
(click for big)
Labels: baseball, drawn, Jerry Remy, mascot, MLB, Raymond
Thursday, July 26, 2007
So I'm half-watching the postgame show, and notice that they're interviewing Kason Gabbard (Kason!!! And every time I hear or write "Gabbard", I keep wanting to replace it with "scabbard". Which just makes it weird). You can hear the clubhouse music blaring behind him. It's that Rihanna Umbrella song (its official name may not be "Umbrella"; I don't really know, and am not particularly inclined to go check, but you know the one).
So I'm looking at Kason Gabbard's sweaty, unusually red face as he explains why he started struggling all of a sudden against the Indians, while Rihanna warbles "Ella ella ella!" in the background.
It is entirely possible that the juxtaposition has caused my brain to explode.
I mean, a thoroughly chagrined, sweaty and unusually red Kason Gabbard is funny enough on his own. That Kason Gabbard with Rihanna? I think I'm done for the night.
Labels: baseball, Kason Gabbard, MLB, Red Sox
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
This is somewhat belated, but I've been busy, so. Yeah. I was at the Sox/Royals game on the 18th, and naturally took a bunch of photos, all of which you can see here. I wanted to get into some of them, though.
First off, I was very excited to maybe see Real Live Royals Fans at the park. I know that they're a rare breed, and while I have seen some of them on the magical internets, I had never seen one in person... kind of like how I've seen photos of giant deepsea squid online, but I've never seen one in the flesh. The arrival of the Royals at Fenway was a kind of challenge: would any Real Live Royals Fans show up? Do any of them live in Boston? And if so, could I see some?
The first Real Live Royals Fan that I spotted was wearing a Red Sox hat, it is true, but she was also sporting a classic John Buck jersey (I think he stopped wearing #2 and picked up #14, his preferred number, when Tony Graffanino left the team in 2005. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that seems to actually be signed. I (obviously) can't knock someone who loves two teams, and if this girl remains a Royals fan even with the sweet, sweet temptation of Red Soxdom on hand all the time, more power to her.
The second Real Live Royals Fan was all Royalled out. I don't know if his seats were up at field level here, or if he had just snuck down to take some close-up shots of his beloved Royals. Either way, hardcore, man. Major props.
At this point the game started, which made Real Live Royals Fan viewing a secondary pursuit (presumably it would've been better had I gone in for BP, but it was so rainy that day, I didn't end up heading in early, and in fact I don't even know if they took BP).
Real Live Royals Fan #3 was sitting a few rows in front of me, showin' off another classic Royals jersey: Joe Randa, last seen in KC back in 2004. I guess you have to be pretty dedicated to a) be a Royals fan at all and b) be willing to pay Fenway prices to see the Royals in Boston. I guess there aren't too many bandwagon Royals fans. In fact, I would boggle at the level of recently unrewarded dedication it takes to be a Royals fan and actually pay real money for a Royals shirt these days, but I'm a Lions fan who owns a Joey Harrington jersey, so I can't exactly talk.
Real Live Royals Fan #4 was merely a tantalizing fly-by as he walked past my section. I only got a haunting glimpse of his mesh-backed Royals hat and all the royal blue suffering that it entailed.
This was the game that the Royals won 6-5 (with Manny stranding Ortiz/pinch runner Alex Cora at first to end the game), so I hope that all these Real Live Royals Fans thoroughly enjoyed their Real Live Royals Victory in Fenway Park. It wasn't very enjoyable for Red Sox fans; if there were at least a few Royals-faithful in the crowd, we can take solace in the fact that someone had a great time that night.
A few more highlights from the game itself:
Julian Tavarez digging in his pants. It wasn't a little grope, like most ballplayers enjoy; he very deliberately tugged his belt away from his body, plunged his hand down his pants, and did whatever ferocious adjustment he needed to do.
Dustin Pedroia had himself a nice night, both offensively...
(cruising into second with a double here)
Mike Timlin's back to wearing his camo glove.... again.
Julio Lugo has magical powers.
And, just for the heck of it....
This was the first game at Fenway to which I brought my wide-angle lens. To see the difference this makes, you can compare it to this photo, which is basically the same shot, from the same seats, but with a non-wide-angle lens. You can see how much more I can get in the wide lens. It's definitely a neat bit of equipment.
Labels: baseball, in attendance, MLB, photoblog, Red Sox, Royals
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I know that I haven't talked Blue Cats over here in a while. This is because the Lions are so incredibly depressing, regardless of the insanity about the number of wins we can expect this season that various blue cats were delusionally spouting. My dad has taken to referring to football season as "the 16 weeks of self-loathing". All Lions fans can understand that. I have no particular desire to start that period of self-loathing much before I have to.
But Joey Harrington, you guys.
Joey Harrington is going to be the starting quarterback in Atlanta.
Joey Harrington, you guys.
Starting quarterback. In Atlanta.
Because the original starting quarterback, the super-mobile, play-making (former?) quarterback, of course, is being told to stay the hell away from training camp while he's being prosecuted for crimes related to raising battledogs and running dog fight rings.
Can you imagine anything more diametrically opposite to Joey Harrington? I mean, Joey Harrington is your basic mild-mannered piano-playing guy whose idea of quarterbacking is to receive the ball and cringe apologetically until he can get rid of it (a habit learned by playing behind the Lions' offensive line for so long). The idea that he can step into a team used to playing with Michael Vick and keep them going on a similar track is sort of laughable.
Good luck, Atlanta. Good luck, Joey. You're all going to need it.
(No good luck to Michael Vick. Dog fighting is sick, you wacked out freak.)
Labels: Atlanta Falcons, football, Joey Harrington, NFL
Monday, July 16, 2007
I'm a baseball card fiend. That's the first thing you should know.
Topps, in addition to the usual player cards, does these little whole team class-photo-esque cards every year. They're not too thrilling, but what can you do.
Here's the Astros team card from 2006:
Aside from the fact that it's not at all clear whether the 'stros really were in the stands, or if they were Photoshopped in, a wholly unremarkable card.
I got my hands on a bunch of '07 Topps card a couple weeks ago, and was sorting them out so I could file them away in my overly obsessive baseball card arrangement system. Team cards go at the back of each team section in my system (which is alphabetized by team, then by player within team, by year if there's more than one card for a player, then alphabetized by card company for multiple cards of the same guy in the same year...). This means that they're very easy to file in, so I was flipping through them with no more than a cursory glance.
Ho hum, Orioles...
La di da, Red Sox...
Dum te dum, Royals...
... waaaaait a second...
.... that can't be right...
My eyes must be playing tricks on me. Surely they wouldn't... I mean, these are team cards, so... there has to be... a team...
... let me look at that again...
Yup. The Royals team card has no Royals on it.
Lest you think this is some strange ballpark card, as opposed to a team card, I can assure you that the information on the back of it is exactly the same as on the other team cards, and I have a good number of Topps '07 cards by now... and I have not seen another "ballpark" card. I'm fairly certain this is a team card. Just... without the team.
I wonder if this is a deliberate message about the state of the team by a really, really disgruntled Royals fan somewhere in the depths of the Topps company.
Labels: baseball, baseball cards, MLB, Royals
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Personally, I think the best part of this year's All Star Game was Eric Byrnes' dog's mad rush for freedom. The game itself, aside from Ichiro and the very last inning, was fairly boring.
If you didn't see it, FOX had Byrnes out in the Cove (for no discernible reason, except maybe to keep Byrnes out of the hair of the other sportscasters), and Byrnes had his bulldog Bruin with him (in a life jacket). During one slow point in the action they had Byrnes and Bruin on a boat, with Byrnes boasting that his dog had been keen to get in the water all day, and he was going to throw a baseball in for Bruin to fetch.
In went the baseball. The dog wavered in doggy excitement for a minute before, with Brynes' encouragement, he plunged into the water, and... immediately started swimming as fast as his stubby little bulldog legs could take him away from the ball and away from Eric Byrnes. He never hesitated. Not once did he even pretend to be making for the ball, or back towards Byrnes. The moment he was in the water he was trying to make good his escape.
"My dog is trying to escape!" Eric Byrnes exclaimed, although seemingly without much surprise and more with amused resignation. I don't blame the dog. If I was Eric Byrnes' dog, I would try to flee at every available moment too.
Eventually a couple of the other kayakers in the Cove managed to head off the poor beast and hand him back over to Eric Byrnes, but at least the animal can now console himself with the knowledge that his brave actions were seen by millions.
You can read the rest of my thoughts on the All Star Game right over here.
Labels: All Star Game, baseball, dog, Eric Byrnes, FOX, MLB
Monday, July 02, 2007
So, I went to Yankee Stadium yesterday. That photo you're looking at is, of course, former Sox Mike Myers, whom I still can't bring myself to dislike even though he now wears the Pinstripes of Great Evil.
I will freely admit that I went to Yankee Stadium expecting to hate it. It's the Lair of the Beast, the Den of Foulness, the place where iniquity and depravity are nurtured until they are hatched and spewed forth all over the AL East. You don't expect much from a place like that.
Yankee Stadium, however, refused to live up to my expectations, instead turing out to be fairly pleasant, as ballparks go. The place is architecturally bland, without the charm of a Fenway or the innovative interest of a Comerica. The seating, at least in our section, was roomy compared to Fenway (then again, everywhere is). The section numbering was, if I may be so bold, absurd. Half the stadium is odd numbers, and half is even numbers... this means that section 28 is not next to section 27, it is directly across the field. Does that make sense? No. Why not have them consecutive? It's not hard. Who sets up a building like that? Just plain old weird.
ballpark as Captain Obvious
The fact that EVERYWHERE YOU TURN are NY symbols and pinstripes is extremely unnerving. I liken it to the first time I ventured into East Lansing... green and white and Spartans helmets everywhere. I felt like I could barely breathe. SURROUNDED BY THE ENEMY. I didn't want to touch any surfaces for fear of getting the Spartan stench on me. And the thing of it was that I KNEW it was irrational, but that was my gut reaction.
Anyways. That, only with Yankee stuff. Let me tell you: the merchandise stands? With row upon row of Yankee hats and nothing else? The human body can be trained to react with a physical sense of revulsion to a simple symbol. 100% of fact.
With all that said... the park just wasn't as bad as I was expecting. While it lacks any particular personality beyond those arches 'round the top, it also manages to avoid the "inexplicable design elements because we can't think of anything better to do" sickness that afflicts US Cellular in Chicago (random pinwheels for the win!). There were a lot of food options, the hot dogs were (horror of all horrors to a seasoned Fenway-goer) cooked through, there was even a catdamned bakery in the ballpark (did not partake, mostly due to horror at the sight of... cookies frosted with the Yankee symbol. Shudder-inducing).
I didn't see one single rat.
many Yankee fans, no rats
The pitching matchup was to be Pettitte/Haren, which sounds good on paper. It turned out to be not so good. Haren wasn't as sharp as he usually has been this year, and Pettitte got creamed. The A's batted around on him in the 2nd inning, and in that inning managed to score SEVEN RUNS. After having already put up a run in the first inning.
ahhhhh I'm fallliiiinnnngggg
You know how lovely it was to see Pettitte get lit up like that? We're supposed to fear him. And here he was, throwing all the hell over the place. A Yankee meltdown, like a fine wine, should be savored.
i am bobby abreu. i am sad. i make error. crowd make fun of me for rest of game.
i am andy phillips. i play first base because everyone else dead. look at my silly walk.
i am derek jeter. i have owie. i get hit in hand because i lean over plate like homeplate is magnet for my nose.
Oakland, on the other hand...
i am jack cust. i get congratulated because i am perpetual backup who suddenly showing power. i hit 3-run homer against big bad yankees. i da man.
i am kurt suzuki. i am baby. i play almost never. i get RBI single and two runs in this game because yankee pitching really IS that bad.
It was exactly as fun to watch as it sounds.
The entire photo set is here, for your viewing pleasure. I just have one more thing that I want to draw you attention to.
We are all, of course, familiar with the catcher ass pat. It's a time-honored baseball tradition, as everyone knows that a pitcher's sense of courage and stamina is directly tied to his ass, and patting of that ass will ease his pitching woes. Normal. Baseball-y. Imagine my surprise, then, to see that Jorge Posada has taken this tradition a step further.
You're probably going to have to click that to get to the larger version to see this, but Posada is TUGGING ON MIKE MYERS' PANTS. Like, he has a bit of pants material between his fingers, and is pulling on it. This would be totally unremarkable except that baseball pants are so tight... it's like walking up to someone wearing spandex, grabbing a bit of it (probably having to pry it up off their thigh), and tugging. I mean, imagine that. Am I wrong in thinking that's a little... weird? I can't imagine doing that to my friends (whereas ass pats, depending on the friend, I can see in a joking context), so... yeah, I don't know.
Posada has DEFINITELY upped the pitcher/catcher love ante on Pudge Rodriguez, the previously acknowledged king of such displays. Pudge has to step his game up now. All Star Weekend is a prime opportunity, so be on the lookout for that.
Labels: Athletics, baseball, in attendance, MLB, photoblog, Yankees