Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who are these people?

If you've been watching baseball, you may have noticed lately that the teams you've been watching just don't look the same - the players you've gotten used to are not the players now taking the field.

This is what happens at the tail end of the season. For a team like the Yankees, who clinched the AL East and homefield advantage over the weekend, these games no longer matter in making the postseason. So they can sit their Jeters and their ARods, give them a chance to rest up and/or heal in time for the postseason, and give their recent minor-league call-ups or bench players a chance to shine, or at least see what it feels like to play at the major league level.

This is the time of year when a player like Ramiro Pena, who spent most of the year in the minor league and some time on the bench, gets a chance to hit his first major-league home run, which he did last night against Kansas City. This is the time of year when we welcome back Shelley Duncan, who tears it up in Triple A and who has a powerful major league bat but is just not quite good enough to make the Yankee roster full time during the regular season...although with injuries and retirements and trades, you never know when there's gonna be another opening.

Anyway, if you're watching baseball because you like the way ARod looks in his tight pants - don't worry, he'll be back to playing full time as soon as the postseason begins. So either take a break from the action for the next week, or see if any of these other guys might have something to offer...

PS The Tigers and Twins are playing a doubleheader. This is one of the only races left in baseball till the postseason, so if you want some potentially nailbiting action, this is where it's at. Plus, Joe Mauer, arguably the most talented and best looking guy in baseball right now - so this series has it all. If you don't get it on TV, follow these games online, ya dig?

I think it goes without saying who I'm rooting for, but I'll say it anyway - Mauer Power!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good news and bad news

The bad news is whereas last Sunday all the games lined up perfectly, this Sunday every single game was at 1 - Jets, Giants, Yankees. Oh, and on top of it all, I had to work, so I missed everything.

The good news is all my teams won, so now both football teams are starting the season 3-0 and the Yankees clinched both the AL East and homefield advantage. So, kudos all around. Wish I coulda seen some of it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back to form

Enough of this not making it to the postseason crap from last year. Last night, a Ranger loss or a Yankee win was all that was necessary for the Yankees to clinch at least a wild card spot in the postseason, and by (just barely) beating the Angels, they secured that spot.

These West Coast games really kill me, though. Staying up till 1 on a worknight because the game is tied at 5 in the 8th inning does not make me a happy camper in the morning. Coming out on top helps a little. Thank god for an early game today (12:30 their time, 3:30 ours), but the fact that the Yankees still haven't figured out the Angels, or at best have just barely figured them out occasionally, worries me for the postseason. Angels, Yanks, Boston will definitely be in. AL Central is still a race between first place Detroit and the Twins right on their heels.

We all know I'm biased. I'm kinda rooting for the Twins.

Mauer Power!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sports metaphors a la The Office: A little something fun for a Tuesday morning...

Enough about actual sports for a minute. I was so tired and discouraged last night that I fell asleep before the end of the Yankee game anyway. The following is from the season 2 episode of "The Office" called "Boys and Girls" when Jan, from corporate, gives a "women in the workplace" seminar to the women of the office, in which she explains sports metaphors used in the workplace that may or may not be familiar to the women. I always laugh, although it is the delivery, particularly Mindy Kaling as Kelly, that truly sells this scene for me. Anyway, enjoy!

Jan Levinson-Gould: Sports metaphors are one of the ways women feel left out of the language of the office. Now, I know this might sound silly, but many women ask to go over it. So, fumble means…

Phyllis: Mistake.

Meredith: Slip.

Jan Levinson-Gould: Right. Par for the course is a golf term. It means right on track. Uh, below par means worse. Wait, that should mean better. That doesn’t make sense.

Kelly Kapoor: What about second base? Like, if Michael said he got to second base with you? Does that mean you, like, closed a deal?

Jan Levinson-Gould: Excuse me?

Kelly Kapoor: I mean, that’s a baseball term, right?

Jan Levinson-Gould: I don’t know what… Michael was… talking about, I don’t know.

Kelly Kapoor: [turns to the camera and winks]

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fantasy baseball playoffs begin!

So, I play fantasy baseball on MLB.com. You can have up to five teams. This year I had four. Last year I did really poorly because all my teams were Yankee-heavy, and the Yanks just sucked up one side and down the other. This year, my teams are still Yankee-heavy, but because, despite evidence to the contrary this week, the Yankees are doing well this season, all four of my teams made it to the postseason, which begins today.

It adds another layer of being invested in the season, and it kinda helps you learn who some of the other major players in the MLB are - or, if you're teams completely suck, who they're not. My teams go heavy on Joe Mauer, too, obviously, as well as other AL players, since I'm more familiar with players and teams the Yankees actually play against. Not complaining about having Albert Pujols on one of my rosters though. Never get to see him play unless the Cards make it to the postseason, but arguably the best player in baseball today.

Although I'm still captain of Team Mauer. Don't tell Jeter...

Manning to Manningham to Manninghamton...

...just kidding. There's no Manninghamton. Though if there were a third part of an offensive (that's a play by the offense, not a play meant to offend) play by the NY Giants, they might have to hire someone with a third syllable added on to the Manning - Manningham name just to make it super awesome...

The Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football tonight with four seconds on the clock. This inaugural game at the new Cowboy's stadium between these archrivals was exactly the kind of game you hope for - nailbiting, edge-of-your-seat, changing leads, great plays, lucky plays, etc. etc. - as long as your team comes out on top. Which mine did. Anyway, a lot of the credit for the win goes to Eli Manning's passes and Mario Manningham's receptions. Steve Smith also played a large role, and I urge him to consider changing his name to Steve Manninghamton to complete the pattern. Steve Manninghamly would also be acceptable.

Congrats also go to the New York Jets, who beat the New England Patriots - defensively in the first half, and offensively with some great plays by rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez finally stepping up in the second half.

No comment on my Yanks, who are doing everything in their power for some reason to keep from reaching 100 wins this season...I never wrote that I thought they could do it, so I couldn't have jinxed it...stop settling! Boston has stepped up their game. You don't have to kill yourselves, but strike some kind of fear in the hearts of your opponents. There's no excuse for losing to the Mariners. No offense, Seattle.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A sportscentric perfect storm

Today is the perfect sports-watching day for me. It couldn't have turned out more perfectly. Jets at 1. Yankees at 4. Giants at 8. The Eli Manning Super Bowl jersey has already been donned. Let the games begin!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A few days late but congrats to Jeter...

...for passing Lou Gehrig's Yankee hit record. It happened Friday night. The game was delayed more than two hours because of rain, which actually worked to my benefit as i was driving out east to the North Fork of Long Island for the finale of my month-long birthday celebration. The rain delay gave me enough time to get there and get to a Friday's for dinner where I was able to watch Derek get his record breaking hit. I had my Derek Jeter shirt on in support of him and the bar was full of Yankee fans, so that when he got his single, everyone in the place started clapping and cheering, which was kinda fun. As with most sports, a lot of the fun is in the atmosphere, in being around other people who are having fun and enjoying the game, too, so it was nice that that's how it went down, even though the Yanks ended up losing to the Orioles.

So, a late congrats to Derek Jeter for his new record and for doing it in a year when the Yankees have, for the first time in many years, a very real shot at making it back to the World Series...

Fingers crossed, knock on wood! :)

NFL Week One: A good day for New York teams

This weekend was the finale of my month-long 30th birthday celebration so I'll man up and admit that until noon today, I forgot there would be football games on this afternoon - I know, I'm a terrible fan! But I was home in time watch both the Jets and the Giants and neither game disappointed.

The Jets have a new head coach, Rex Ryan, and a rookie quarterback, Mark Sanchez. I wouldn't say there's been controversy over both, but I will say there's been a lot of off-season discussion about how both will fare. If the rest of the season is like today's game, it seems they'll be okay. Sanchez was completing passes like it's his job - oh wait, it is! - but there's something exciting about watching someone, especially a very young newbie someone, play a smooth, well executed game. It's almost like a beautifully choreographed dance. Or some other disgustingly poetic and girly comparison, ha ha...

I would say the Giants game was not quite as smooth, although they also came away with a victory...Eli Manning is looking more and more like his brother every day, and Steve Smith is the player who particularly stood out today with some outstanding catches on the field.

I watched the Jets game with my dad. He's a huge Jets fan. I'm more of a Giants fan, as is made evident by the two (yes, two) Eli Manning jerseys I own - I don't wear them at any time except Sundays during the football season, but one is a Super Bowl XLII edition. The other, according to my dad, is "not a Giant's jersey" as it's got powder blue lettering and sparkles on it, so I explained to him that it's a girl's jersey and that he's lucky I didn't get the pink one. But I love my girl's jersey anyway...um, and apparently he didn't know I root for the Giants, even though it's been two seasons since I jumped on that bandwagon. Dad, now you know! ... but I appreciate all teams New York, so I enjoy watching the Jets with my dad. He explains all the things I don't understand - and there are still a lot of things I don't understand about the game, so I ask tons of questions - plus, he always has snacks! :)

Next week - Jets v. Patriots and Giants v. Cowboys. Should be good!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New NFL season starts tonight

Just to show how out of touch I can still be even when it comes to sports I watch, I was totally taken by surprise to learn that a new NFL season starts this week. The majority of the games will, as per usual, be played on Sunday, but it's the Steelers versus the Titans, which sounds like it should be a pretty good game.

For those of you who are Yankee fans, they're not playing tonight, so you might wanna check it out. Or you may want to watch the series premiere of The Vampire Diaries on the CW...but that's a whole other post for a whole other blog ;) ...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

if you're not a contender, you're a spoiler

At this point of the baseball season, teams are getting eliminated from the playoff race right and left. In the opinion of some, elimination makes their games meaningless and the players have nothing to play for.

Not true.

Yes, teams that have been eliminated don't have the playoffs to play for, but they get to play spoiler to those teams that still are in the race. These spoilers can make or break the postseason for other teams. The Yankees all but have the AL East wrapped up, but the Red Sox, while in the Wild Card lead, are being closely trailed by the Rangers. Two or three losses can make all the difference in that race, and who can make that happen? The teams they play, even those teams that have no hope of the postseason.

Now, I'm not saying that, say, the Orioles should sit there and consider whether they want to play hard or lackadaisically based on whether or not they want a certain team to have a better or worse chance in making the postseason...but it would certainly be interesting if they did!

2,721 down, 1 to go...

Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig tonight for the most hits ever by a Yankee.

The past couple of days saw Jeter go 0 for 12 before finally getting 3 hits tonight. And though he failed to surpass the record tonight, the season isn't over. And Jeter's career isn't over either.

If you know nothing about baseball, you know the name Lou Gehrig. Possibly simply because of its association with ALS, the degenerative disease that forced Gehrig's early retirement and eventually killed him. But Gehrig is one of the game's greats. And in a baseball era of greed, cheating, and individual fame-seeking, it's nice to see Gehrig's record tied and probably broken by the team player and class act that is Jeter. Plus, in a season where Boston has, yet again, let me down by failing to make the AL East more than a one-team race (if there's only one team in the running, is it even a race?), Jeter's chasing of Gehrig's record adds a little buzz and excitement to an otherwise unnewsworthy coasting to the regular season finish line.

The Yankees have an off day tomorrow, so I'll wish Jeter good luck for the game on Friday, and since I'll be on a mini vacation to the North Fork, I'll hope that I can find a bar with a tv so I can watch Yankee history unfold! :)