Monday Musings: A Quick Transition from Baseball to Football

Can’t promise many more baseball centric Monday Musings now that the NFL is here. I’ll probably end up making it a few more weeks before taking the leap over to football. Until then, you’ll have to look elsewhere for some good old fashioned Cam Newton day after fawning.

A Quick Trip Around the Bases

1B – Someone mind telling me why MLB wouldn’t allow the Mets to play in FDNY & NYPD commemorative caps in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11? On the surface, this decision strikes me as totally out of touch with the spirit of remembrance and the healing power of baseball. Commisioner Selig has some serious explaining to do.

2B – Unbelievably, the Tampa Bay Rays have climbed all the way back into the wild card race and are poised to overtake the bruised and battle weary Boston Red Sox? With  the injuries piling up in Fenway, it’s a good thing Massachusetts requires all of its citizens to have health care. You can thank Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for that, although, if you were to ask him now about the program he created, he would probably either deny it or say it was a mistake.

3B – As of this morning, the Detroit Tigers are only 4.5 games behind the New York Yankees for best record in the AL and home field throughout the playoffs. If the Tigers do end up with the best record in the AL, file that under the category of reasons Justin Verlander should win both the Cy Young Award and MVP.

HR – For all that has gone wrong in Dodgertown this season – see the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt – some credit needs to be given to manager Don Mattingly for keeping things together both on and off the field. LA has an outside chance of overtaking the SF Giants for second place in the NL West, a feat deemed inconceivable at the start of the season. It also helps that the Dodgers have a leading MVP candidate – Matt Kemp – and Cy Young frontrunner – Clayton Kershaw.

Extra Bases – Here are a couple of clips that I enjoy revisiting on and around 9/11. Use the memory of those we lost that day as yet another reason to appreciate each and every day of your life.

view from “The Trop” courtesy of @BradGlovrr 

Monday Morning Musings

Here’s your weekly wrap of all the big baseball news with an additional pinch of culture and irreverence.

Hey Tulo, Transformers II was a terrible terrible movie.

Something about Troy Tulowitzki has always bothered me. After watching Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps I realized the reason: he looks just like Shia LaBeouf and I can’t stand Shia LaBeouf. With Shia, my feelings are based on perception more than anything personal as he has always struck me as a smug, precocious mangenue who seems to land choice roles in sequels – Wall Street 2 and Indiana Jones 4 – which aren’t even close to as good as the original. For Tulo however I really had no idea how good of a baseball player he was until I watched him tear up the Mets this past week. He can flat out mash! Of course it helps that the Mets pen is filled with a bunch of has-beens who, for some odd reason, continued to pitch to Tulowitzki even with first base open. Questionable indeed.

view from Coors Field courtesy of @shalek

Achy Joints or Potential China Syndrome?

What exactly is “bilateral weakness”? Here I was thinking it referred to something really really serious like perhaps one of the many problems facing the Fukushimi Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan or maybe something to do with Democrats and Republicans waiting until the 11th hour to pass the federal budget. But, as it turns out, bilateral weakness is an actual medical condition, serious enough, that has forced Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer to the 15 day DL. The bigger issue facing Mauer, and the Twins, is when will they come to the joint (no pun intended) decision to move the all star out from behind the plate to a different position like say OF or 1B? Clock is ticking and the more time Mauer spends on the shelf with bilateral weakness the more imminent a change of position becomes.

view from Tropicana Field courtesy of @stormytpa

Cleveland and Kansas City prepare to play first meaningful series……ever.

First place in the AL Central is at stake when the Cleveland Indians open a four game series tonight against the Kansas City Royals. In the words of Chris Tucker: “do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”. I have to hand it to the Tribe, they completely dismantled my Baltimore Orioles this past weekend and I’m starting to think two things: A) Cleveland – with the likes of Carlos Santana, Travis Hafner, and a healthy Grady Sizemore – has a pretty adequate lineup and B) the Orioles are only as good as their young starting pitching staff and so far this season they have been inconsistent to say the least. Still love Zach Britton, even after he got roughed up by the Indians, and hope Brian Matusz to return from injury sometime soon.

view from Progressive Field courtesy of @mukherjee7

Too Early for Flapjacks?

Here come the Red Sox. I knew as soon as I started bashing Boston on twitter last week that it would come back to bite me right in the derriere but I had no idea it would be this soon. The Sox enter today’s Patriots Day matinee winner of 2 in a row and their starting pitching is the reason for the small turnaround. I should have waited to anger the baseball gods until after the first Sox/O’s series of the season. When will I learn?

view from Fenway Park courtesy of @IamJroc

An Opening Day in the Life of a Baltimore Orioles Fan

I read the news today oh, boy….

When John Lennon and Paul McCartney were writing “A Day in The Life” I wonder if they had the Baltimore Orioles in mind. I say this because the St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released in 1967 back when Baltimore was still a relevant franchise capable of competing for championships and inspiring fans worldwide. Today, the Beatles still matter while Baltimore hasn’t had a winning record since 1997. As a committed Oriole fan – thanks Dad – Opening Day comes bearing all sorts of conflicting emotions. Do I invest in the promise of a young stable of arms and improved lineup or dread the unavoidable fate awaiting after 18 plus games against AL East superpowers Boston and New York?

Seeing as how Baltimore opens their season tonight in Tampa against the Rays, I thought I would share with you a typical day in the life of an Baltimore Orioles fan on Opening Day.

4:33am: Wake up in a cold sweat. Try to fall back asleep by reading Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, and Ken Rosenthal all of who once worked for the Baltimore Sun and this year, for the 10th season in a row, suggest that Orioles will not compete in the AL East until Peter Angelos sells the team.

7:00am: Alarm sounds blasting John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”.

7:20am: Eat a healthy breakfast consisting of coffee, grapefruit, hard boiled eggs, and Old Bay crab seasoning.

7:44am: Start drive in to work. Listening to Mike and Mike in the Morning as Golic mentions that he likes Jacobs Field in Cleveland more than Camden Yards. Switch over to FM, sing along to “Firework” by Katy Perry.

8:30am: Work starts with a morning staff meeting. Boss notices my Oriole tie, asks me if this is the year where the O’s finally crack .500. Meeting adjourns, sneak into bosses office to pour Old Bay crab seasoning into his Green Tee Frappachino.

10:00am: First time at computer, mark all emails “as read” then proceed to check fantasy stats from the night before. Notice that I’m already in last place, instantly regret taking John Axford with my #1 overall pick.

11:30am: Lunch comes early. Go out and grab food with coworkers. Cover hot wings in Old Bay crab seasoning. Overhear Yankee fans at the bar lauding their team for the Opening Day win over Detroit. These fans are convinced that the Yankees will follow up last seasons playoff disappointment with another World Series Championship in 2011. Pour Old Bay crab seasoning in their Red Bull & vodkas.

1:05pm: Conference call with corporate. Keep laptop open during meeting to watch first pitch of Astros/Phillies. Roy Halladay looks good. Halladay could have been an Oriole if organization had the prospects to trade Toronto and if Baltimore were still a place where free agents wanted to play. Drizzle a sprig of Old Bay crab seasoning into my eyes.

5:30pm: On way home from work, wife calls to say that we are out of milk. Stop by the grocery store only to run into a troop of Girls Scouts selling cookies. Go to buy a few packages of thin mints when the troop leader, wearing a pink Red Sox hat, notices my Oriole tie and tell me that the “Sawx” are going to win it all this year. I thank her for the cookies before covering a box of Samoas in Old Bay crab seasoning.

7:10pm: Ready for first pitch when infant son begins to cry. Ask wife if she can feed him in a different room so that I can watch the Oriole game in peace. On way out, wife tells me that she wants our son to root for the Yankees anyway. Skip the beer, go right to the whiskey w/Old Bay crab seasoning.

8:52pm: Well played game so far. Jeremy Guthrie gave the team 6 solid innings and Vladimir Geurerro has two hits including a 2 run homerun. Baltimore leads 3-2 heading into the 7th inning. Buck goes to the the bullpen and brings in Michael Gonzalez. Gonzalez proceeds to walk the bases loaded forcing Showalter to bring in Jim Johnson. Johnson’s first pitch to Evan Longoria is deposited over the right field fence and into the Ray Tank for a grand slam. Rays 6 Orioles 3. All out of Old Bay crab seasoning.

9:45pm: Final score, Rays 7 Orioles 4. Baltimore falls a game behind the division lead which is sadly the closest they will be to winning the AL East all season long. Kiss baby son goodnight, drive out to grocery for more Old Bay crab seasoning.

11:12pm – Finally get into bed, keep Sportscenter on in the background. Baseball Tonight is talking about the Rays/O’s game. John Kruk wonders if all the Orioles offseason moves will make any difference this season at all. Turn off television. Begin cold sweat.

view from Tropicana Field courtesy of @JGuthrie46