Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’

Fave 5: Hope Springs Eternal

April 27, 2016

For the second consecutive year, I went through and highlighted a group of five players that I liked coming into this MLB season.

This wasn’t necessarily based playing ability, star status or sometimes even active status. It was simply a guy I found interesting and found worthwhile to pay attention to. For the second consecutive year, it appears that I’ve given the kiss of death to most of, if not all the guys I’ve highlighted. Last year, I picked Buddy Carlyle, Torii Hunter, Mike Olt, Brandon Morrow and Manny Machado as my five favorite players to watch for the season. With the exception of Manny Machado, who had a breakout season, I owe all of them a fruit basket and an apology card. Carlyle appeared in 11 games with the Mets, posted a 5.63 E.R.A.before being sent to the minors and was released this spring, effectively ending his career. Torii Hunter had a solid season based on traditional numbers, with 22 home runs and 81 RBI, but he posted a negative WAR rating and retired after Minnesota missed the playoffs last season. Mike Olt appeared in a total of 30 games between the 2 Chicago teams, batted .191 with 4 home runs and 5 RBI and has been fighting for a roster spot in baseball purgatory in San Diego. Poor Brandon Morrow started off 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA and looked strong last year. Then he tore up his shoulder and had season ending surgery. He’s currently working his way back through the San Diego minor league system.

https://i1.wp.com/www.thecubway.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/mike-olt-2.jpg

I said “I’m sorry”, Mike!

This season is off to an equally inauspicious beginning for my highlighted players. Now, the very nature of picking out of the ordinary players to watch does carry some risk, since they’re typically out of the ordinary for a reason, but I also don’t pick guys I think are total bums. It’s not any fun watching guys who totally stink, unless it’s blatantly bad baseball and you can treat it like Mystery Science Theater or Sharknado and celebrate the badness. It’s still early, and I haven’t given up yet, so let’s take a look at how my hopeful heroes are doing so far this season. (more…)

Lovable Winners: How the Chicago Cubs went from a punchline to contenders.

May 6, 2015

It’s finally almost next year for Cubs fans.

 

I’m friends with a lot of Cubs fans. Not just one or two scattered throughout my life, but a significant chunk of my social circle. While they come from different backgrounds, they all always had one thing in common: they seemed to enjoy the pain and suffering brought on by their favorite team. This isn’t a secret or some type of revelation, the team is even known as the “Lovable Losers”. However, something strange is happening to the North Siders this year; their team is winning, often in dramatic fashion, and they’re actually enjoying it. (more…)

Baseball 101

April 25, 2015

All my life, I’ve been obsessed with sports. While I’ve also dabbled in reading and music, I always come back to athletic competition. As a kid I was always doing something sports related; whether that meant running the pick and roll with my dad on our backyard hoop, playing one person baseball games in the backyard or even organizing my baseball cards into “teams” to compete with one another, I had a one track mind. With that in mind, sometimes I take it for granted that sports were such a big part of my life and I assume that everyone is as nerdy and sports fluent as I am. The other characteristic I’ve had most of my life is a desire to include and educate others; whether they wanted it or not.
Baseball is a relatively simple sport, but some of the finer points are a bit more complicated. So in order to help anyone who is new to the game, let’s dive right in with the basics. (more…)

What’s in a name? The Negro League Player of the Week

April 22, 2015

I’m a very outspoken supporter of modern athletes. Fans of past players may take exception to the facts, but players today are stronger, faster and generally more skilled up and down the roster in any given league. This isn’t a knock on players of the past; any logical thought leads one to see that players in 50 years will be proportionately better as well. While the players are more skilled than their predecessors, one area where players of the past can more than keep up is in the quality of their nicknames. While there are a few decent nicknames in modern sports (My personal favorite is “White Mamba” for Brian Scalabrine), it seems as though players are too concerned with their image and brand to truly embrace a unique nickname or persona. 
Players in the first half of the century had no such worries, and consequently, had some of the best monikers of all time. “The Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams”, “Hammerin” Hank Aaron and “Say Hey” Willie Mays to name a few, some of my favorite players also happen to have some of my favorite nicknames. While some of the names make sense; Leroy Paige earned his nickname, Satchel, when he was a young boy carrying bags (and satchels) at railroad stations for passengers and William Drake got the nickname “Plunk” thanks to his reputation for pitching high and inside, others carry more mysterious back stories. My personal favorite: Floyd “Jelly Roll” Gardner. I’m not sure what a guy has to do to get the nickname “Jelly Roll”, but I don’t imagine it’s based on his slim waistline or speedy base running. While we may never recreate the glory days of cheesy nicknames, thankfully we have the internet and other written records to keep them alive in our hearts.

This week’s Negro League Player of the Week is Theodore Roosevelt “Double Duty” Radcliffe. (more…)