The first All-Star Game that "doesn't count" has come and gone and I am pleasantly surprised with how much fun it was! I was originally fearful that it may lose the competitiveness or quality, but I don't feel like it did.
In addition to it still being a competitive game, there were some fun moments we'd never seen before. So I decided to put together my top five moments from the 2017 All-Star Game!
5. The fun being had by the players - Hear me out, I know it's an All-Star Game and it should be a fun experience for them, but with it "not counting" this year it felt more relaxed and fun without losing its competitive edge. I loved seeing the guys that played together at the World Baseball Classic interact and act just like they did a few short months ago while that was taking place. Whether it was teammates from the Major's, the WBC, or they knew each other from playing in a different setting, seeing their personalities come out made the 2017 All-Star Game different.
4. Nellie Cruz's selfie with Joe West - This was just a fun moment that was really unexpected. You could tell Joe West was like no, not doing it and then just gave up haha - I also liked that they took the picture and Cruz just slid the phone in his back pocket and went back to playing ball!
3. The insane young talent - I know, cliche of me. But, come on, there were so many impressive guys out there that are crazy young! The Astros, Yankees, and Dodgers alone sent quite a few guys with enormous amounts of talent. To see that showcased in an All-Star Game setting is just something that always impresses me.
2. The Joe Buck/Bryce Harper football exchange - My two favorite sports crossed over and it was awesome! The in game interviews were cool anyway, but Harper just took over and started asking about Dak and the Cowboys (of course I love Dak and Zeke so that was an added bonus!). It was cool to hear the in game interview and hear just a casual conversation about the upcoming football season. More interviews like this please!
1. Yadier Molina - I'm obviously a little biased, but he had a great game! I loved the gold chest protector and helmet (I'm extra like that guys, sorry!), I loved the homerun to tie it, I loved the smile rounding the bases, and my favorite part was by far the hair flip in front of Bryce Harper when he got back to the dugout.. perfect.
Bonus For Me! - The two pitchers I cared most about had great outings! Carlos Martinez had 4 strikeouts in 2 innings, with a handful over 100 miles per hour on the gun. And the pride of Mizzou Baseball, Mr. Scherzer, threw a solid first inning. Way to represent my favorite team and my alma mater boys! ;)
Now bring on the second half of baseball!!
What were your favorite parts of the 2017 All-Star Game?!
Happy MLB All-Star Break!! Jesh can you believe that were already in July?!
We've reached yet another Home Run Derby and I'm a little disappointed with the lineup, but I'll get over it! If you didn't catch the title..
I'm rooting for Stanton! Dude is a beast!
The Home Run Derby has always been one of my favorite parts of the MLB season. Especially when some of my favorites were competing, or I could root against some guys that aren't my favorites.. - I think I can point out three reasons the Home Run Derby has always been a favorite of mine...
1. You get to watch these insanely athletic men hit a ball farther than any person should be able too. And they do it repeatedly. It's impressive! Can't wait to see what the longest one will be tonight!!
2. When I was younger I'd play baseball with anyone and everyone on our Playstation, but usually I'd make them play me in a home run derby.. and I'd win.. The Derby reminds me of that and used to be a good time to brag about my old playstation skills! Haha
3. The celebrity All-Star Game is right after and I always think those are entertaining. Some of my favorite softball girls are playing this year (S/O Jessica Mendoza and Jennie Finch!), plus former players and celebs. It's just a good time!
First Round Winners:
Second Round Winners:
Stanton -- Moose will wear out I'm afraid and I just think Stanton has the edge in his home park and his experience in the Derby.
Judge -- He's a freak of nature. I think he'll breeze through the first two rounds.
Why Stanton? Well Judge is a rookie and doesn't have the experience in these events like Stanton does, plus the crowd is going to be behind Stanton the whole time. I think this is the perfect opportunity for the hometown guy to bring home the trophy!
Timeline of the few last weeks in Cardinal Nation:
Cards go on a six game losing streak, Mo calls a press conference and says no one is safe, including himself, if they don't start playing better. They win the next three days to sweep the Phillies series and hopefully are on their way to a winning streak!
This post isn't going to analyze or even comment much on what Mo said though, it's about my favorite place in the world and the boys that grab hold of my heart every summer. St. Louis has always been a favorite vacation destination of my family, usually highlighted by as many Cardinal games as we could fit in during our time in the city. Whether it was Busch II or the new Busch, it has always been a perfect place in my mind. As for the guys wearing the Birds on the Bat, well when you're 5, 6, 7 years old and one of them decides to give you a whole bag of bubble gum, one let's you in his car to sign an autograph, and they're winning the division or World Series on a regular basis, you get uncontrollably sucked in! It isn't always easy explaining to people why I am a St. Louis fan, but grew up an hour away from KC and Kauffman Stadium, but once I step inside Busch all those long conversations are so worth it. (Sorry Royals fans!)
So what is it about Busch that sucks me in?
It's the views. There's the Arch, Ballpark Village just across the street, and downtown St. Louis in general. You may be a fan of big parking lots with tailgates, but I'm a fan of downtown baseball!
It's the fans. Whether it's 80 year olds from Georgia that have listened to the Cards on the radio for years, or 8 year old little girls at their first game, Cardinal fans are awesome. It's never rare to sit for a Cards game and make friends with the people seated around you, unless they're in Cubs gear..
It's the history. Yeah go ahead and hit me with the "but it's only been open since 2006".. first of all there has been plenty of history in those 11 years, second of all the history from before 2006 carries forward, from Big Mac Land to the names of the concession stands and plaques/statues throughout, they got it covered. Not to mention if you venture across the street the Cardinals museum in Ballpark Village is definitely worth the money!
It's the atmosphere. The way the stadium is full of happy people having a good time, but also wrapped up in all that's happening on the field, it's perfect. - The hype videos used throughout just add to the atmosphere too. Anytime you show highlights from big games and fan favorites, it gets people pumped up.
And lastly, for me, when I see Busch Stadium and walk in or around it I'm instantly happy. As y'all know, sports are my thing. Maybe I'm crazy since sports are one of the things that bring me the most joy, but it's true. I walk into that stadium and I'm just happy. Get me a beer and a funnel cake and it's even better!
So for all of you who have never been to Busch Stadium, GO!
And for all of you who have been, this is your sign to buy some tickets and go to a game the next home stand ;)
As a life long Cardinals fan, I can honestly say you're the best player I've ever seen wear the Birds on the Bat! Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe my feelings when you left the Cards. To say I was angry, also an understatement. I understand why you left, why the Cards let you go, and that you're where you need to be, the American League. Don't get me wrong, seeing you hit number 600 as a Cardinal would have been one of my greatest sports memories, and definitely one of my greatest Cardinal memories, but realistically I get the AL move.
I'm not the bitter person who refused to watch you play because you weren't a Cardinal, I'm a person who can applaud your accomplishments and shamelessly share them because I know being able to witness your greatness, no matter what jersey you currently wear, is something that makes me very lucky. Your accomplishments are historic and the fact that you achieved many of them, or achieved parts of them, as a member of my favorite team makes them even sweeter. You deserve all of the pageantry and praise that St. Louis would have given you, but instead of seeing you at first base every day we'll watch from afar, continue to recognize you as the great that you are, and congratulate you on not only 600 homers, but all of your on the field accomplishments and even greater off the field accomplishments.
So, Mr. Pujols, congrats on the 600 homers, thank you for being a key part of my love for baseball, and good luck on the rest of your historic career!
A girl that you helped fall in love with the game.
It's one of the best times of the year.. the NCAA Softball Tournament! There have been some good games, some scares, and some upsets already but we're heading to OKC now and who knows what will happen!
My early prediction is Florida and Oklahoma, but with the double elimination bracket it's so hard to know who may come back through that thing! Side note: if we could have double elimination brackets in the College Football Playoff or March Madness wouldn't that be incredibly interesting?! Logistically I know that is never going to happen, but it's a fun thought!
Game one, Florida vs Texas A&M, I think Florida has in the bag. I wouldn't be unhappy if the Aggies knock them to the losers bracket though! Especially with the story following Texas A&M's pitcher, losing her dad shortly before Super Regionals and pitching the Aggies to the WCWS.
Game two, UCLA vs LSU, well I am hopeful the SEC shows up strong and knocks off the Pac-12 powerhouse but UCLA has no quit. Their series against Ole Miss showed that, especially the extra inning game I stayed up WAY too late for! I think UCLA will win this game, but LSU is a strong team, that I wouldn't be surprised to see go deep in this tournament. It just may take them going to through the losers bracket instead of the winners side.
Game three, Washington vs Oregon, ugh I just don't really care. I liked Danielle Lawrie when she played for Washington, but usually I just don't take much interest in the Pac-12. They are definitely a strong softball conference and I'm not taking that away from them, but I'd rather root for other teams. I think Oregon will probably win this game, but either way I'm indifferent.
Game four, Oklahoma vs Baylor, Boomer! So if you've seen any of my college football posts on the Touchdowns page you know how much I love Baker Mayfield, but typically root against OU because my dad's an Oklahoma fan.. well softball is the other exception to this rule. Patty Gasso is an incredible coach and they just turn out talent there in Norman. - I also despise Baylor so if they could just lose their first two games I'd be happy!
Who do I want to win? A&M, Florida, or Oklahoma. So here I go putting on that damn crimson and cream and cheering on the Sooners again.. I have faith in the Paige's and their ability to dominate hitters. We'll see if it actually happens!
Also, super excited for the broadcasting line-up! Holly Rowe, Laura Rutledge, Jessica Mendoza, Michele Smith, Sheri Kempf, Amanda Scarborough.. bring on the softball!!
To be truthful I had never heard of Hoover, Alabama until this week and I had never paid much attention to the SEC Baseball Tournament since Mizzou moved conferences. With Mizzou being a bubble team for the tournament and having a pretty good season, I decided to watch games when I could. Oh yeah, and because I'm a crazy baseball fan 😊 - the way the Hoover Met was set up for this tournament made me want to be there in person though!
The Met, although a little wet, has a nice field and is a nice stadium in general. What was really cool was the "fan fest" areas and activities though! With all the rain delays there has been plenty of time to show the crowd and surrounding areas. They have this large indoor area that had anything from air hockey to bounce houses to ski ball. The players could play these games as well as the fans. Now some may think this is a bad idea seeing that an Ole Miss player had a season ending foot injury due to a freak ping pong accident.. but for fans I think it's great!
As someone working her way into the sports industry I see the layout of this "fan fest" as a tremendous idea for the SEC Baseball Tournament and events similar to this! They have a Ferris wheel! And they have a sports bar! It's like a fair is happening in conjunction with the tournament!
We all know that the Olympic sports in college athletics sometimes struggle to fill the stands year after year and it's a shame. When you build an atmosphere and experience that is more than just a baseball game, you spark more interests and it gives your event more to offer. Think about the people who have been in Hoover waiting out 2 hour rain delays back to back (to back?) days. If that were me I'd be a little (okay a lot) tempted to leave after being tired of sitting in the rain and being wet all day. But when they have an indoor area with games and activities inside it gives you a place to go without actually leaving. This is why I think this type of layout and setup are going to become more common. The future of these tournaments and similar events, is having fan fest areas.
Take a look at the SEC's article regarding their fan fest here! I'm guessing the lineup their fan fest has to offer will spike your interest at least a little bit!
I'm excited to welcome y'all to my first post about my favorite sport, softball!! The Women's College World Series is officially under way! Don't worry there's already been controversy though.. we'll get to that, but lets start by giving a round of applause to SEC Softball and getting all 13 of their teams in the playoffs!
The opening round of Regionals contains a 64 team field and is hosted at 16 different locations. The hosts locations generally are picked based off of rankings/seedings. (One year Mizzou had to put out bid for this while graduation was happening and there was concern over hotel space, but still ended up hosting. I can tell you that there are very few hotel rooms graduation weekend, so rankings and seeding definitely matter!) - After Regionals they move on to Super Regionals and then down to Oklahoma City for the WCWS. Throughout the season rankings are given out weekly, which means it should be pretty clear as to who is hosting right? Well maybe not..
As an SEC girl I am in full support of the SEC and total dominance by this conference, however when you look at the way this played out it is fair to at least see why some might think it's sketchy. All 13 SEC softball teams made it to a Regional (Vandy doesn't have softball if you're wondering where the 14th went!) and 8 of these teams are hosting. The SEC is tough in softball, I mean incredibly tough, so to have all 13 teams in isn't a stretch. It is an incredible accomplishment! 8 teams hosting though might be a little questionable. Essentially your saying 8 of the best 16 teams are all from the same conference? Okay, it is possible. Is it possible though that these 8 plus 8 others are better than Minnesota who has been higher than #10 for the majority of the season? Minnesota has 3 losses on the year, while the host of the Regional they'll be playing in, Alabama, has 16. -- I can point out the records, but the counter to this would be strength of schedule. As I mentioned before, the SEC is tough, which means their schedules are a lot harder to get through unscathed than the Big 10. I do believe that Minnesota should host a Regional, but what can ya do?
The political (and monetary) aspect people are pointing out centers around three big names; NCAA, ESPN, SEC. This is the first year that ESPN will be airing all of the Women's College World Series softball games. (YAY SOFTBALL!!) - With this in mind, think about who owns the SEC Network? ESPN. Also, if you're a college softball fan you know that the popularity around the sport is huge within the SEC. The talent, fan base, and success has shifted from the PAC-12 to the SEC over the past ten years. No other conference really even comes close. (Yeah the Big 12 has Oklahoma and maybe one or two other competitors each year, but not 13 teams making the tournament!)
So I say all of this to say that if the SEC fills stadiums during regular season play, they are surely going to sell out in postseason play. Conspiracy theory alert #1: hints why the SEC is hosting 8 of the 16 Regionals.
Outside of the 8 teams hosting, one could also question how all 13 made it to postseason play. Conspiracy theory alert #2: ESPN knows that softball games get great ratings on SEC Network and when shown on ESPN, therefore the more teams you have in the playoffs the more SEC fans you have watching. I'd like to dispute this claim though because people need to look at the SEC teams, who isn't a top 64 team?? I think they all belong.
Alright that all makes sense for the SEC and for ESPN, but where does the NCAA come in to play? Well tv contracts are huge. The NCAA makes a very, very pretty penny off of allowing ESPN to show these softball games. They make pretty pennies off of the tickets sold at the host institutions as well. Money can assist in mysterious ways. Conspiracy theory alert #3: If SEC Softball is what draws the largest crowds and tv ratings that might incline the NCAA to allow certain schools to host over others, or maybe even invite more from a certain conference to boost tv ratings which may contribute to larger tv deals later. What would the world be without speculation huh?
I understand the questioning of the NCAA and the WCWS, but as I reflect on it I realize that the SEC is a great conference for softball. Maybe there is no controversy, maybe the teams really are Just. That. Good. - Let's not take anything away from them, let's acknowledge that Minnesota probably did get screwed over since they've been in the top 16 all season, yet suddenly don't get to host a Regional, and let's enjoy the wonderful time of year that is the Women's College World Series!
We all know that before a baseball game starts no player should step on the foul line and that certain teams have (or have had) some pretty convincing curses to deal with. If you think these things are silly, then it's probably best you pick a different post to read because I'm one of those crazy people who holds the same position all through extra innings after her team ties it up.
I started thinking about this post because of my fantasy team.. (Yeah the one that is an epic fail..) - Let me start with this story. So Dexter Fowler dove for a ball in a game a few weeks ago, immediately got pulled out and has been day-to-day ever since. Basically he has pinch hit just a few times and not seen much playing time otherwise. Well I never took him out of my fantasy team lineup even though I knew he wasn't going to play much. After about a week I was getting ready to put him on the bench (again, I'm really bad at this fantasy thing..), but he pinch hit in the Cards game that day and got an RBI to either tie or put us ahead. Uh okay, not taking him out now because even though he's not helping my fantasy team he helped the Cards win! The next game, he got another RBI and we went on to win. I'll take the L for fantasy points if it means the Birds on the Bat are winning games. Because clearly the only reason he's doing this is because I haven't messed with my fantasy team.. I know, I'm crazy.
If you go back further, when I played softball we played a national tournament and had played somewhere around 7 games in one day, and won them all. My best friend and I refused to wash our uniforms for the next day. We got 3rd in the tournament and I think still to this day we'd agree our dirty uniforms helped with that.
Baseball (and softball) and superstitions just go together, there is no other way to put it. Fox Sports put out an article last year of 10 great baseball superstitions with a little backstory and ranked by effectiveness. I suggest reading it here! - It mentions things like the rally monkeys in Anaheim, nervous tics, and no one speaking of no-hitters while they're in progress. Yep, all things I do. All things that make baseball great. Or maybe just makes it odd. Jonny Gomes has been quoted saying, "You can't explain this stuff. We are all screwed up. That's what the game does to us. And that's why the game is so awesome." Whether you're a player or a fan it's likely you take part in the superstition or believe that they are the reason you are winning or losing.
In the same ESPN article I pulled the Gomes quote from there are examples of player's superstitions and the categories they fit in. Five categories to be exact, Random Acts of Strangeness, Food & Drink, Hygiene, Uniforms, and Randy Choate has a category all to himself. There are some pretty great superstitions in the article. My favorites have got to be Torii Hunter cleaning his shoes before and during games, Alex Gordon never using the on-deck circle to the point where they have to resod it, and Chipper Jones playing solitaire on the computer until 6:55pm every night. There are so many more throughout the article and throughout baseball that you'll see if you just watch a few games.
Thanks for the read & if you see me pacing with a rally cap on, don't expect me to stop and talk.. ;P
Living proof right here that just because you're a baseball fan and can out smart a lot of guys when it comes to baseball, it does not mean you'll be good at fantasy baseball! I take responsibility for my crappy draft class (although I'd like to point some blame in the direction of the 30 second draft limit. I mean seriously, 30 seconds? Who does that?!), but managing my team is a sad story as well..
So aside from my draft class being just bad, I can't manage either. Here's an example, Dexter Fowler was/is having a pretty bad start and finally I decided to bench him. Bench him one game and he's on base twice wth an RBI. Fine, I can handle that. He still needs to ride the bench, others are performing better. Then the next day he hits two homeruns.. fail. - every time I try to move my bench around and play the whole "who's got and who's not" game, it bites me.
but the real kicker is MadBum. I drafted him 2nd overall I think, because he's MadBum, Hello! Everybody was telling me that they wish they would have got him, until this weekend.. what ding dong professional athlete rides a dirt bike during the season?! Down goes MadBum. So now my star pitcher is either the one who needs to focus on the game and less on his hair (Yes, I went there. The stats don't lie.), or the supermodel's boyfriend who can't get his ERA below 6. Yikes.
If anyone has any fantasy baseball pointers I'd love to hear them because I CLEARLY need outside help. My strategy (can I even really call it a strategy?) is simply not working. I guess for now I'll hope that "slow starts" really are the cause of my near Mendoza line batting average and last in the league number of wins.. Or don't send me tips and invite me to be in your fantasy league next year for an automatic last place finisher..
I was sitting at my desk today when an ESPN ticker came across my phone screen, something about MLB and baseball being a “faceless game”. Typically I ignore those tickers, especially the ones that are tied to an article, but not this one. This one made me grab my phone and get ready to read. As I scrolled through the article I started to shake my head and, well decided I had a lot I disagreed with this article about. Naturally I decided to write it all down, ya know, for your enjoyment ;)
The first sentence of Jayson Stark’s article is “Can a game with no face really call itself the national pastime?” Well hello Mr. Stark and thank you for immediately making me angry.
My first problem is with this survey and that it took place November through February.. the entire off season of baseball. I’m a huge baseball fan, but if you ask me in the middle of the NFL season what sports star comes to mind first, it’s probably going to be a football player..
My second problem is that Derek Jeter was the highest ranked current/former baseball player listed and he uses this as proof that there is no current “face of baseball”. Derek Jeter is an icon, an icon that hasn’t been long removed from the game and that people of almost all ages can still remember watching play. I’m not surprised or concerned that he was the first baseball player listed. Michael Jordan was higher than LeBron so can we all agree that sports icons get a free pass here?
My third problem is with his “Could any baseball player be LeBron” section.. ugh.. Alright I have nothing against LeBron, but I could use a LeBron break that’s for sure. “Nearly one in four people who consider themselves ‘avid’ NBA fans say LeBron James is their favorite player,” Stark states. - First of all the NBA has power teams and, even if you’re a Phoenix Suns fan, you’re probably going to pay attention to what the big guys (Cavs, Golden State, etc.) are doing. Even if you don’t want to, we all know that ESPN will make sure you see some kind of highlight from these big guys when you flip to SportsCenter.. In my opinion baseball doesn’t have the two, three, or four All-Star like teams that are the main source of highlights for the sport. Yes there are larger payrolls, which means bigger names, but you have smaller market teams that compete and the farm systems mean that there are guys always coming up that could make your team a contender. - Rich Luker states in the article that the even distribution of favorite players is a mixed blessing because it means the popularity is spread out among teams, but no one athlete is big enough to draw national attention. Some may view this as a negative, but I don’t. I think it helps the organizations and spreads fans, money, and loyalty throughout the teams instead of a select few.
There are plenty of other points this article makes, but I think the whole "face of baseball" question is silly. I think having multiple, popular players in baseball is a unique aspect of the sport.
Maybe, to go back to Stark's first question, baseball is America's pastime because there is no single face or no one player that is 90% of the country's favorite. Maybe it's America's pastime because there is no dominate team (right now) that everyone immediately thinks of. - I'd love for the Cardinals to win the World Series every year, but since that isn't realistic, I think it is awesome that the World Series champ rarely repeats. Dynasties are cool, and what teams like the New England Patriots have done is incredibly impressive, but when the championship is passed around, is won by large and small market teams, and can have an unexpected series MVP, it gives all fans hope. Isn't that what we'd rather see in sports? Large, loyal fan bases of numerous teams and their players versus bandwagon fans of the most successful team and player at the moment?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on "the face of baseball" and if you think there should or shouldn't be one! Leave your comments below!