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Playoff Expansion, First Spring Training Game, Conspiracy Theories and All That Good Stuff

Spring Training is one of my favorite times of year (well, spring, but spring is synonymous with Spring Training, right?) because of all the promise and optimism it brings, but also because of the endless news buzzing it creates.  After a long and quiet winter- if you’re a Giants fan, that is, because we’re rather sleepy in the winter like that- it’s endlessly lovely to hear real, concrete news.

I’m not talking about injury news, though, Dan Runzler, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Vogelsong et al., so don’t go getting any ideas.  I would choose a rainy, snoozy news day over a They Are Falling Like Flies day any time.

What I am talking about?  Playoff expansion, for one.  Bud Selig has gotten down to work, following his extra (baseball) life which he was granted over the offseason, and the extra wild card deal was finalized today.  I felt surprisingly ambiguous at the time of the announcement because, heck, it’s March 2nd and the Giants are playing their first Spring Training game tomorrow and the world is beautiful and the playoffs could not be farther from my mind, but as the day went on, my feelings changed.

Which, I am kind of guessing, was part of MLB’s plan.  Ready for my conspiracy theory?  Okay, here goes: MLB is doing this when everyone is out of their permanently touchy offseason modes and still basking in the glow of baseball being back, so as to soften possible backlash.  And it seems to have worked, actually.  Which, yes, could have to do with the fact that we were all expecting this by now or just that no one is genuinely outraged, but that is far of a less compelling thought.  I vote for my conspiracy theory, anyone with me?

Anywho.  The reason I’m not for those extra wild cards, I suppose, is both a pro and con of the whole thing.  I think it makes it all even more a crap shoot, to use a Billy Beane-ism.  People are saying it’s exciting because it makes the playoffs even more “everyone’s game”, which is true.  And I see the appeal of that.  I’m sure that extra wild card team will win the World Series from time to time and it will make for a fabulous story.  But with the 162 game format, I’m more of the opinion that we should shy away from that whole crapshoot thing.  Winning big in baseball is about perseverance and I like it that way.  I think this just changes the game.  For better or for worse?  Who knows.  Only time will tell.  (Other half of me:  Duh!  For worse!  But I’m trying to be all non-judgmental here, so just forget I said that.)

Onto lighter and brighter things, I am soamazinglystokedforthegametomorrow.  I will probably be missing the majority of it due to more umpire training, but I will hopefully be catching- in a purely non-Buster-Posey-ish sense- the beginning.  I’m not even sure what to say about that, except that I’m not even thinking about winning or losing or injuries just… baseball game.  Baseball game.  Say it aloud and grin to yourself.  Do it.

(Try reminding me of that whole “not about winning or losing” thing in September.  Actually, don’t.  I can be snappish, on occasion.  That sounds like an occasion.)

Diamond Girl

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Inspired By @MLB… Some Completely Fab Leaps

This morning, MLB tweeted, “Greatest LEAP ever? RT if you agree, reply with your favorite leap …http://atmlb.com/x0oTMv”.  While that leap is pretty fab, I’m not convinced it is the best ever.  So, in honor of this special February 29th (the first time we’ve celebrated that on this blog!), I’ve decided to make a little gallery of what I consider to be some of the best baseball leaps.  Some are of catches, some of homers and some are of those beautiful things called World Series victories.  I think the most priceless parts of these photos are the facial expressions, but I gotta admit, these guys have some pretty fantastic leg power too.

So, what is your favorite leap?  Since it is a day that doesn’t really exist, I think we should debate completely fun and mindless things like this.  ‘K?  ‘K.

Happy Leap Day!

Diamond Girl

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Belated Celebration Time!

So according to Wikipedia this is old news (as in, it happened on December 21st) but I only just heard it about it, so I’m celebrating now.  Better late than never, right?

Here’s the news:  Eugenio Velez is now a St. Louis Cardinal!

Confetti, please?

Thanks.

Now you know I can’t stand the Cardinals, especially after That Game That I Do Not Mention in last season’s World Series, but I reckon they’re a little higher on the list of Teams I Loathe than the Dodgers, so this is a step in the right direction.

I know that many (most?) Giants fans are not that… fond, shall we say, of Velez, but I am and I’m excited that he has another opportunity.  And I will defend him til the day I die about the whole dropped-ball-rain-thing.  If you are anti-Velez and feel in the mood to annoy yourself, you can read that post here.

Anyhow, however you feel about Eugenio, you’ve got to admit that Cardinal Red should suit his complexion rather nicely.  Better than blue or orange.  Progress, people.  Progress.

Diamond Girl

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This Is the Only Place I Can Really Talk

Not in a depressed, I-am-all-alone sort of way.  Just in a I-officially-lost-my-voice-about-half-an-hour-ago-and-can-only-croak-at-people-now sort of way.  So excuse me if I run on a bit here, because I figure the million-odd words that I would have said in the past thirty minutes are all mashed into this post.

I do like to talk, you know.  (Understatement of the year?  Yes.)

Anyhow!  These past week (it’s almost a week!) since the last out of the World Series has been odd.  I’ve been wearing my coziest jeans and drowning what is left of my brain in chicken soup, but I can’t fully acclimate myself to the offseason because, well, there’s baseball, still.  No small amount of it.  No small amount of Giants in it, either.

First there’s, of course, the Arizona Fall League and there’s the whole Taiwan-MLB All Stars series.  Only two, but enough to blow up my baseball news feed with scores and stats and play-by-plays.  I’m telling you, it weirds me out.

As I have said before, Gameday basically lulls me to sleep in (sometimes less than) 10 minutes, so I am relying on my baseball buddies to keep me updated on all the gossip as to Gary Brown’s virus- or was it that he was just bad?  THE DRAMA.- and Joe Panik’s… panicky ways.  Or something.

As to the Taiwan series, as much as I love Selig and his internationalism, I am having a hard time getting into it.  The All Star Game is one thing, with people from different teams on one, but a whole series?

Wish me and my tortured voice luck, please.  Or some more chicken soup broth.  Oh, yes, that sounds good.  If you’ll excuse me…

Diamond Girl

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Me and the World Series Championship Go Out To Dinner

Let me set the scene: me and my darling hubby, the Giants 2010 Championship, waltz into a snazzy restaurant to celebrate our one year anniversary.  He’s wearing a Dolce & Gabbana suit and I have a beautiful, cream-colored dress from Oscar De La Renta, plus some awesome Louboutin heels.

We order our appetizers and begin to talk.

Me:  Happy One Year Anniversary, honey!

Hubby:  Happy Anniversary to you too, love!

Me:  Can’t believe it’s been a whole year.  I mean, remember the wedding? 

Hubby:  How could I forget?  Biggest moment of my franchise history. 

Me:  Totally.  That is, biggest moment of my life.  I mean, I was so nervous, I nearly forgot my vows.

Hubby:  Or what to say in the post-game press conference.  I was all choked up.  It was bad, but great at the same time.

Me:  Uh-huh.  And all my friends and family were super-supportive, which was awesome. 

Hubby:  Yeah, I mean I couldn’t have done this without my trainers and my family and the fan—

Me:  Uh, yeah.  Right.  This is not your acceptance speech or anything, though, remember?  It was a year ago.  Already happened.

There is an awkward silence in which the waiter appears with a bottle of champagne.  He pours it into the (very snazzy) glasses and leaves, after staring down his nose at our silence for a little while.

Me (laughing):  Gotta say, though, I much prefer drinking champagne this way.  As opposed to, you know, having it sprayed all over me.

Hubby (does not look amused- says coldly)Do you?

Me (laughing trailing off):  Well, yes, actually.  You might not understand that, being a Championship and all…

Hubby:  Are you implying something about me?

Me:  No!  No!  Not at all!   Sit back down, hubby.  Cool off.  I was just saying that, you know, Championships have different preferences than humans as to how they drink their champagne.  I don’t think that’s irrational of me or offensive or anything.  It doesn’t make you worse than me or whatever.  Just… different.

Hubby:  Hmm.  Alright.  Fine.  (At this point the Championship takes out his iPhone and begins texting.)

Me:  (Rolls eyes and drums manicured fingernails on the white tablecloth.)

Hubby:  Oh, honey?   I think I have to get going.  Some other anniversary celebrations to attend.  You don’t mind, do you?

Me:  WHAT?!

Hubby:  Love you!  See you next year!

(I drum my fingers a bit more, stare at him leaving the restaurant and then order up some garlic fries and reminisce on my own.  That is, until the chef comes storming out of the kitchen, asking what I think I am implying about the restaurant by ordering garlic fries.  I seem to be offending a lot of people today.

At last, I go home and reason that really, he is a Championship and I can’t hold him responsible for his non-socially-acceptable behavior.)

Happy anniversary, y’all!

Diamond Girl

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