Dear Washington Nationals Fans

“It is now the Nationals who rule the town and bring the city together.” — Fred Wertheimer, one of the nation’s leading campaign finance and ethics reformers. And, a Nationals fan. via The Wall Street Journal.

Dear Washington Nationals Fans,

This one is for you.

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All of you.

You, the lifelong Nationals fan who is just 15 years old (or younger) so “lifelong fan” is not some throw-away term, but really, truly what you have been since your – and the Nationals’ – embryonic days.

You, the Canadian who saw the Montreal Expos, before they were the Nationals, play in Olympic Stadium and were lucky enough not to be killed when the stadium roof and concrete support beams started to give way in small and not-so-small chunks.

You, the Washingtonian who truly is “long-suffering” as you knew and loved those other Washington teams. The Senators who became the Minnesota Twins. And, the other Senators, who became the Texas Rangers.

You, my friend Colleen – who is the very best kind of Nationals fan, the one who enjoys the moment without making me feel bad about the Baltimore Orioles 108-loss season.

You, who danced with “Mad Max” Scherzer, when he, for once, didn’t seem mad at all. Continue reading

Choosing The Right 2019 World Series Team For You

Back in April my cat, Mookie Wilson-Betts, chose the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series.

Hey! You there in the back chortling. He is a … CAT. Beyond turning his nose up this morning at the expensive food that he thought was so delicious last week that I went ahead and bought him a case … beyond that … what does he know?

I am painfully aware that if you’ve read this far you could very well have no idea who is playing in the World Series, which kicks off on Tuesday.

Pay attention … this will be on the test:

American League Champions

Houston Astros

versus

National League Champions

Washington Nationals

I hate to be a bandwagoneer, but I think we ought to find a team for you cheer for. I’m going to do my best to make this as painless, and as baseball-free, as possible.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way.

Are You From Virginia?

You probably should root for the Nats … they’re close by, sorta neighborish … and they include …

Lynchburg, Virginia-born Daniel Hudson

And, from the University of Virginia …

Ryan Zimmerman

And, Sean Doolittle.

UNLESS … and this is important, people … you’re from the Richmond area, home of …

Three-time Cy Young Winner and Houston Astro, Justin Verlander.

Please consult a map for further direction.

Are You Warm And Fuzzy?

Which fits you better … Continue reading

My Experts Predict The 2019 World Series

Before I unveil my fabulous 2019 panel of baseball experts and their equally fabulous post-season picks, I need to cover two important details.

First, the season has already started. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s kicked it off last week with games in Tokyo, which counted for baseball, but do not count with me.

True Opening Day is Thursday, March 28. This is the earliest Opening Day ever and all 30 teams will play. This early start is to allow teams to scatter a few additional rest days into the season. (Need more rest days? Lose 100 games and you’ll get all of October off.)

The New York Sun, 4/23/1919

Opening Day in 1919?

April 23.

Second, Sports Illustrated.

Hi, SI guys. (And, by “guys” I mean, literally, guys, because girls are generally unwelcome at Sports Illustrated.)

Last year, my experts outsmarted the dude-fellas at SI who were sure the Nationals would win the World Series.

They didn’t.

Neither did the Colorado Rockies, which was the team my cat chose. My cat.

But, the Rockies did make the post-season. Do you know who didn’t make the post-season? The Nationals.

So, Mookie the Cat – 1, Sports Illustrated – 0.

Being outsmarted by my cat apparently did in SI, because there are a lot of words in their latest MLB preview issue (including calling the Baltimore Orioles “ugly” … twice), but no official World Series pick. Best I can tell, they will commit only to predicting the Dodgers will be the strongest team in the NL and the Astros, the strongest in the AL.

Where’s your Series pick, smart guys?

Are you SI, or are you SI’m Afraid To Be Wrong Again?

My 2019 panel of experts is clear that SI is wrong about the Dodgers and the Astros. And, as in previous years, my panel is awesome. Continue reading

Let’s Wrap This Up. (Plus, My Baseball Experts Were Awesome.)

I’ll be brief. (Brief-ish.)

Baseball Is Shorter Than You Think.

For those who believe that baseball games are too long, I have a gift for you … the postseason was shorter than it could have been.

Each World Series team takes a percentage of the profits from the games they play, which means that following this five-but-coulda-been-seven game Series, the Red Sox and Dodgers are each a little poorer this morning than they could have been had only the Dodgers been a little better and the Red Sox a little weaker.

And, while Game 3 took 18 innings, seven hours and 20 minutes, and was the longest game in World Series history, baseball still ended three days early. (I guess some of you “it’s too long” whiners are happy about that.)

Hooray For “Little Yankee.”

“You people have a little pet name for everybody.”

Whether he played for the Orioles (in stints over five seasons), the Rays, the Blue Jays, or the Red Sox, we always call Steve Pearce “Little Yankee.”

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My Experts Predict The 2018 World Series

“The Yankees will bash their way to the AL pennant. In the end, Washington will prevail, thanks to its stars – and, yes, a little luck.” – Sports Illustrated, 2018 MLB Preview

Sports Illustrated’s  pre-season World Series picks have been amazingly consistent:

2017 – Dodgers (wrong). 2016 – Astros (wrong). 2015 – Indians (wrong). 2014 – Nationals (wrong). 2013 – Nationals (still wrong). 2012 – Angels (wrong).  2011 – Red Sox (wrong). 2010 – (I’ve lost interest).

Sports Illustrated has never correctly predicted the World Series winner in its annual MLB Preview. Well, maybe they have. I don’t know. I got bored around 2010.

All I DO know is that my team of experts – first gathered in 2015 – has never been right and during that same period neither has Sports Illustrated.  To be fair, my panel has also included cats and, in 2016, a one-eyed possum and a crow.

(You gotta give SI credit … totally burned by the Nationals in 2013 and ’14, and they’re picking them again this year. Like Selena Gomez who can’t kick Justin Bieber to the curb, they’ve been screwed over – time and again – but SI just can’t quit the Nats. )

My experts can already tell you, SI will be wrong.

My crackerjack panel of experts – which includes people who don’t even like baseball – will probably be wrong, too.

But, my panel has another incentive: If their team actually wins their division – just their division, that’s all I ask – I will bake cookies for them.

It happened last season.

Here’s Victoria, now 4, enjoying her cookies. (She correctly picked the Indians to win the AL Central.) (Yes, I baked cookies and brownies. I’m swell.)

Opening Day is Thursday. The earliest Opening Day ever. Because baseball is more fun when it’s 30 degrees and there’s snow on the ground.

No time to waste. Let’s get this World Series over with.

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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.

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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.)

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Clay Bryant – The Alabaman From Virginia

When a ballplayer’s career in the majors is brief – just a game or two – he is said to have had just “a cup of coffee” in the big leagues.

So, if your time in the town where you were born was brief, does it become your “cup of coffee” hometown?

Clay Bryant had more than a “cup of coffee” with the Chicago Cubs.

clay-bryant-chicago-cubs

The right-handed fastball pitcher spent about six seasons with the Cubs – from 1935 through 1940 – including their pennant-winning and World Series-losing 1938 season.

It’s his birthplace that’s the cup of coffee in this story.

Bryant was born in 1911 in Madison Heights, Virginia.

madison-heights-virginia

He wasn’t there long. Maybe a year – or a couple of years at most – before the family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where his father found work as a pipe fitter. And, that’s where they stayed.

But, being born in Virginia, cup of coffee or not, gets you on my Virginia-Born Project list, even if everyone in baseball forever knows you as “the big, curly-headed kid from Alabama.”

Bryant dropped out of high school when he was 16, and left Birmingham to work his way through the minors. He was called up and played a few games for the Cubs in 1935, and settled there in 1936, where he played until his arm finally gave out in 1940.

Cubs fans who know their history remember Bryant for just one season – 1938.

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“No Baseball Beyond This Point”

no-baseball-beyond-this-point

© The Baseball Bloggess

Baseball is over.

The World Series went seven exciting games, which is as much baseball as one can have. A World Series only promises you four games, so to have the Series go the full seven – and an extra inning last night to boot! – is like taking two brownies from the buffet table. Sure, you know you were only supposed to take one, but the second one was so delicious.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs who won their first World Series since 1908. It took a rain delay and an extra inning, but Cubs fans, no more sad-faces from you, you’re winners now.

And, chin up, Cleveland. You gave it your best.

(The Orioles haven’t been to a World Series in 33 years.)

your-stats-are-booming

And, thank you, Mother Nature for raining on Cleveland at midnight slowing down Game 7 even more. Baseball fans were exhausted, but a bunch of them were also reading my post from earlier this season that explained how long baseball rain delays last. (Short answer: Until it stops raining.)

So, now what? The brownies are gone and what are you going to do with yourself until baseball comes around again?

(Oh, I know, you freakish baseball nerds … the off-season calendar is loaded with stuff. Free agency and qualifying offers and the Rule 5 Draft and GM Meetings and the Winter Meetings and the awards, from Gold Gloves to Cy Youngs to MVPs. But, you know that’s not baseball. That’s just stuff.)

It’s only been a few hours. I miss baseball already.

(And, brownies. I could really use a brownie right now.)

(And, a good strong cup of coffee.)

Photo: 2016. © The Baseball Bloggess

Cubs vs Indians. Choosing The Right World Series Team For You.

world-series-2016

I’m going to have to watch someone play baseball this week. And, so are you. Let’s figure out which World Series team to root for.

The Chicago Cubs last won a World Series in 1908. The Cleveland Indians last won a World Series in 1948.

There’s a certain comfort in being able to shake your head at the end of a losing season and say, “Well, we always lose, that’s what we do.” Fans start to hang on to this excuse like a crutch. It becomes the excuse for every misplay, every error, every loss.

Just to be clear, Cubs and Indians fans, that ends today. No more are you “long-suffering.” You’re now winners. Enjoy the pressure that goes along with that.

A lot of thinking goes into choosing a World Series team to root for. Not by me, of course, but by other people.

You could spend hours poring over ERAs, WARs, FIPs, and Batting Averages.

You could.

You could study baseball stats and figures for the next seven hours and come out convinced that the Washington Nationals will beat the Red Sox in six.

Yup, and where does that put you? Back at square one.

Let’s look at more important things.

When choosing between the Cubs and Indians, here are some facts that may help you choose the best team for your needs.

First, let’s look at 1908, the last year the Cubs won the World Series, and 1948, the last year the Indians won.

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My Experts Predict The 2016 World Series

I’m on to you, Sports Illustrated. You’re picking the Houston Astros over the Chicago Cubs in the World Series just to be quirky. You’re going with hipster picks – just a little off the beaten path, but still kinda making sense. Good for you.

You went quirky last season, too, picking the Cleveland Indians when everyone else was certain it was the Washington Nationals’ year.

You didn’t pick the Royals. No one did.

You all make a living knowing baseball and you still get it wrong.

That’s why, once again, I turn to my own panel of experts – those who admit they have no real knowledge of baseball – to help me pick the 2016 World Series champion.

Sure, go with the ‘Stros if you must. Or, come with my experts.

You want quirky?

Let’s settle this.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AL East ~ Clinton picks the Red Sox

Clinton is a handyman who does lots of fix-it jobs around the building where I have my massage studio in Madison, Virginia. Last year he replaced all the aging and water-stained ceiling tiles in my studio, which may seem like a small thing to you, except when you realize that the average massage client spends a fair amount of their time looking up at the ceiling.

I’m pretty sure the entire building would fall apart without him.

Clinton was, as always, busy working when I stopped him to help me choose an AL East winner. He’s not a baseball fan, he’s all football and roots for that team from Washington.

Why the Red Sox? Clinton may not know that the Red Sox play in Boston, but he does know that his mother is a Red Sox fan, so he picked them for her. (This is especially sweet, because, if you remember last year’s experts, Andrew chose the Red Sox because they were his mother’s favorite team. Based on this anecdotal evidence, I believe that the Red Sox are the favorite team of every mom in America.)

AL Central ~ Parker picks the Detroit Tigers

I met Parker at the local grocery store where he was feeding the goats.

What? Your local grocery store doesn’t have a barnyard of goats? Well, aren’t you all fancy pants with your city-slicker Smart Water in bottles and 20 kinds of Oreos …

Stevie Drinks Smart Water

“I used to be a dog until I drank SmartWater.”

Parker is in first grade and plays first base and pitches for his local Little League team. When I asked him the name of his team he said he couldn’t remember, but I think he was just afraid I would show up at his game on Saturday if he told me.

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