Happy New Year (And A Ceremonial First Pitch)

A new season. Finally. And, not a moment too soon.

Can I wish for the World Series?

Too soon?

Well then, let me just wish for today. A day with some baseball.

Where all things are possible.

Here’s your ceremonial first pitch …

 

Now, Play Ball!

(and, go o’s!)

Photo: Orioles Shortstop JJ Hardy. Camden Yards, Baltimore. 2016. © The Baseball Bloggess

My Experts Predict the 2017 World Series

“An hour before Game 5, [Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony] Rizzo has broken out his pregame inspirational and comedic presentation, quoting motivational lines from movies with no clothes on. The Cubs won, so Rizzo did it before Game 6, too. They won again, so he did it prior to Game 7 as well.” ~ Tom Verducci in The Cubs Way

There may be eight-million stories in the Naked City, but that’s city’s not Chicago and Anthony Rizzo won’t be Lady Godiva’ing his way to another World Series. Not this year anyway.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Sorry, Anthony.

How can I be so sure?

Because my crackerjack team of experts told me so and they’re awesome, smart, incredibly good looking, and I believe them. (And, you want to believe them, too. That’s why you’re still reading.)

Continue reading

Happy New Year!

happy new year schoop“Baseball isn’t necessarily an escape from reality, though it can be; it’s merely one of our many refuges within the real where we try to create a sense of order on our own terms. Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket.” ~ Thomas Boswell, 1984

Happy New Year! May your team play hard, win often, keep a ready bullpen, and always recover quickly from bottom-of-the-9th, two-out, tying-run-on-third heartbreakers.

Thank you to those many people who made me both love and understand baseball, including Thomas Boswell and his Washington Post columns, and my friends Jay, Jim, Renee, and Editor/Husband Randy who will sit through long rain delays, and games played through sleet, cold, my bouts of heat exhaustion in summer, leaky bullpens, and late-inning meltdowns in the outfield.

This is our year.

I’ll see you at the game … or I’ll see you in  November.  Play ball!

(Oh, almost forgot. Go O’s.)

Photo: A’s at Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, August 16, 2015. © The Baseball Bloggess

Congratulations!

davenport

Photo By, And Courtesy Of, Jesse Pritchard. 

Sunrise At Davenport. Charlottesville, Virginia.

Congratulations, Baseball Fans … You’ve made it through another off-season.

It’s Opening Day for the National Champion University of Virginia Cavaliers (wahoowa!) (I did mention “National Champion” didn’t I?).

University of Virginia vs. Kent State from Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. First Pitch is at 4:00 p.m.

And, major league pitchers and catchers have been reporting all over the Cactus & Grapefruit Leagues this week. (Fun Fact: The Baltimore Orioles still only have four starting pitchers in their rotation; I’m sure they’ll figure something out.)

It’s a beautiful day … let’s Play Ball!

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“Packing for Spring Training is a pretty easy process. You just throw everything in the bag, throw it in the truck, and hit the road.” ~ Former UVA Cavalier & Current Baltimore Oriole Pitcher Tyler Wilson

Listen to a great interview with Tyler on this week’s Wahoo Central Podcast here.

Baseball Season is Here. ‘Bout Time.

Happy New Year!

Happy Opening Day 2015

Happy New Year!

For just a few more hours, we’re all undefeated. We’re all #1.

(Except for you, last-place Chicago Cubs … and your pesky NL Central … because you had to insist on starting early.)

cubs cards

An Opening Day Prayer

May your team’s errors in the field be few and your run-scoring doubles be many.

May your pitcher strike out the side far more than he falters, and may he never forget to cover first when necessary.

May it always be sunny in your bleachers.

self portrait

© The Baseball Bloggess

Unless, it’s a night game, in which case, may your stadium lights stay on.

And, may your team play through October and never let you down.

opening day lineup

Play Ball!

*        *        *

(A quick update to my World Series post from Friday: Stevie the Cat is not happy about the Craig Kimbrel trade. Not happy at all.)

stevie says 2015

Sleet Happens

The magical and perfect and right thing about baseball is that it is played outside in tune with the seasons.

It begins in the spring as the weather just warms, it heats up in the summer right on cue with the sun, and it winds down in the fall as the temperature, and leaves, and first snows fall.

Games delay for rain and storms.

College ball has a slightly different calendar and baseball can begin in early February.

When temperatures fall to 45 degrees, the University of Virginia promises baseball fans free coffee and hot chocolate.

And, so today, this …

uva 3 31

And, this …

uva 3 31 tweet

Which led to, this …

cocoa

(True confession: This was just the first hot chocolate. It was a two-hot-chocolate kind of day.)

It was in the 40s. It was cold. It was really windy. It was raining.

tarp

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a team to roll up a soggy tarp.

And, then, sometime in the 7th inning, it started sleeting. Hard.

But, they kept playing.

And, they beat Virginia Tech 7-4, sweeping the series.

When asked about playing in the rain today, UVa’s Mike Papi (2-for-4 today, 6-for-10 in the series) quickly corrected a reporter after the game: “You mean the snow, or sleet, or whatever it was. It wasn’t fun.”

Unhappy Papi

Unhappy Papi

Editor/Husband said he felt like he was on the Edmund Fitzgerald. (Click here you youngsters.)

I’m warm now.

And, major league baseball begins tonight and tomorrow. For real.

Opening Day.

This is it …

Groovin’

I always assumed that being “in a groove” came from the days of vinyl record albums when your needle needed to stay in the groove in order to get the music out. (This will date me, but I did tape pennies to the needle arm in order to keep it from skipping.)

Now, I find out – because I love Google – that “groove” is from Middle English and has evolved from “grove” or “groeve” which means a deep pit. (See, and you thought you weren’t going to learn anything from me today.)

So, being in the groove would seem to be a very bad thing.

A groove is also what baseball calls the juicy middle of the strike zone.  Groove one in there, Mr. Hanrahan. Just watch … click here.

That kind of groove is great for a hitter.  For a pitcher? Not so great.

Lots of ballplayers complained last week that they weren’t “in the groove.”  The ups-and-downs of Opening (Day) Week … day game/off day/night game/day game/night game … threw players out of their rhythm.

The first week of the season is sort of the weirdo week of a very long baseball season anyway.

It seems to be so important, and yet no one seems to be in the groove.  The games played in April are important, but aren’t really any more important than the games that will come next week, next month, or the month after that, or the month … oh, you get the idea.

Opening Day games sell out in the middle of the week.  Everyone wants to go, even when the weather is brisk.  An insanely chilly 38 degrees in Chicago for instance.  

(One of many things that makes baseball far superior to football is its devotion to being a warm-weather sport.  There is no place for snow on a baseball diamond. Well, now that J.T. Snow is retired anyway.)

Casual fans go for the hotdogs and beer, the ambience, and to say they’re going to Opening Day, which never seems to lose its nostalgia and luster.

Many just like an excuse to take a half-day at work, and really, who can blame them? Celebrities throw out the first pitches. The best pitchers in the game face off.

And, all the team Mascots are freshly laundered and smell like clean fluffy muppets, weeks away from the grimey, sweaty, mustard stained fuzz balls of mid-summer.

Dedicated fans and sports pundits wrestle with a scant handful of stats from a scant handful of games, but are still ready to make Playoff and World Series predictions, even though there are 156 games left to play.

Some players start off crazy-hot.  Homerun shmoosher Chris Davis, I’m looking at you.  And, you know it can’t last – won’t last – but you try to envision it anyway.  At one point last week, the Orioles’ Chris Davis was on pace to hit 162 homeruns this season.

(The only point to this blog post, really, was getting to say “the Orioles’ Chris Davis was on pace to hit 162 home runs this season.”  You can stop reading now if you want.)

Some players have very, very bad days that skew statistics in most awful ways.

When you’ve played a week and still are batting .000, or are a pitcher with an earned run average of 20+ runs a game, you know you’re definitely not in your groove. (Yet.)

We all have grooves.  We get in them.  We lose them.  We revel in them while we have them, pine for them when they’re gone.  Sometimes we don’t even know we are in a groove until we’ve fallen out and things start going wrong.

Every time I step on my Yoga mat, I know, probably within 30 seconds, whether I’m in my groove or not.   It’s easy to practice Yoga when you’re in your groove.  It is infinitely more important to push through your Yoga when you are not.

I guess that’s good advice for all grooves.

Grooves are fleeting.

Which is why it’s too early to give the Orioles’ Chris Davis the MVP trophy and the Giants’ Barry Zito (2-0, ERA 0.00 in 14 innings) the Cy Young Award (even though I’m a-ok with either).

And, it’s also too early to give up on your team just because they haven’t found a groove yet.  (Unless you’re a Miami Marlins fan, in which case the team owners owe you an apology.)

This is the FOURTH complete blog post that I’ve drafted in the past week and the only one that will see the light of day (true confession: I’ve written that on all the discarded drafts too, so there’s no telling if this one will even make it to the Editor/Husband “here, have a look” stage).

So, clearly, I’m not in my blog groove.  But, I’m still happy that baseball season is here.  And, I’m happy to keep unrolling my Yoga mat because I know there’s a groove hiding in there somewhere.

Not in your groove today?

Here, try this … it’s a guilty pleasure.  “Let the Groove Get In” … Justin Timberlake … definitely worth a spin.  Click here

Justin Timberlake