Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball’

Taxes and Jackie Robinson

Yes it is Tax Day, the last day to file your Federal and State taxes here in The United States. I waited much later than usual to file this year. I finished mine this past Saturday and finished Joey’s on Sunday. I know some people that file the day they receive their W2’s because they know they are going to receive a nice refund and usually already have the money spent within days of receiving it. I guess I am more of the delayed gratification type. If existent, my refund is typically so small that spending it on a tank of gas and a sandwich is about as much gratification as I get.

More importantly and much more interestingly, April 15th also signifies the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. It was April 15th 1967 and I am sure Jackie was more worried to worry about whether or not his taxes were properly filed. Racial tensions in the U.S. were still so strong that it would have been hard for anyone back then to imagine that the first day a black man first stepped onto the field as a Major League Baseball Player would now be commemorated with every player on every team wearing that man’s number 42 on their jersey. Jackie Robinson’s number 42 was retired across all of baseball in 1997, meaning no one will ever wear that number again in professional baseball except on this day, the 15th of April.

http://www.mlb.com/news/article//jackie-robinsons-breaking-of-the-color-barrier-was-honored-on-tuesday?ymd=20140415&content_id=72158040

ImageImage

 

 

 

Advertisements

Another Season is upon us.

Ahhhhhh! Great to feel the warm sun and hear the neighborhood lawnmowers hard at work. Well, I actually haven’t heard any mowers today but I did a few days ago. It is a little cool and windy at the moment but the forecast for the week is sunny and high 70’s…perfect weather for the beginning of baseball season!

Yes, the 2014 Major League Baseball season starts in earnest tomorrow, March 31st. Technically the season started in Australia last weekend when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks had a two game series. Ok another technicality is that the Padres are hosting the Dodgers tonight for their season and home opener in San Diego. The free spending and greedy Dodgers have found another way to get more attention by attempting to win their first three games before the rest of the league has even seen their first pitch.  Yes, the games in Australia and the game tonight on the West Coast do count in the standings but 25 other teams begin their 162 game regular season journey tomorrow. The Yankees and Astros start the day after tomorrow and since the Diamondbacks have already played those 2 games Down Under…when you look at the overall schedule, tomorrow truly marks the beginning of baseball!

I am of the opinion that Opening Day for MLB should be a National Holiday if it falls on a weekday, especially a Monday. Games start at 1:00 pm and go until the last game starts on the West Coast at 10:00 pm. How great would it be to have the day off to just veg on the couch and watch as many of these games as possible or better yet, go to the ballpark and catch one live! I know the “all day in front of the TV” scenario does not appeal to everyone, especially the significant others of an avid baseball fan (you know who you are), but what if you have to work and your team plays an afternoon game? My Braves are playing the Brewers tomorrow in Milwaukee at 2:00pm so I am out of luck. I can record the game but it isn’t the same plus I will have already heard the outcome before I get home regardless of how hard I try not to. I have tried before, it rarely works out.

I, like many other fans, will need to be patient for the first night game to be televised in the coming week. Thankfully we only have to wait until Tuesday.

 

Baseball, Baseball, Baseball

We are a little over one week into the 2013 Major League Baseball season and this is my first post believe it or not. I am not sure why I haven’t been motivated until this point because I have been thoroughly enjoying watching as many games as possible, especially the Braves.

Opening Week is always a celebration for me after the long off-season (some one argue not long enough) but the addition of the World Baseball Classic during Spring Training this year seems to have satiated my baseball appetite a bit. It is fun to follow the professional players as they wear a different uniform to represent their country and to discover the hidden talents of players in the non-pro leagues played all over the world, all year long. Team USA had a decent showing but ultimately the tournament boiled down to the defending champions from Japan, two power house teams from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and finally the surprise team from the Netherlands. Congratulations to the Dominican Republic! The WBC isn’t as popular as futbol’s World Cup and may never be but excitement and interest continue to grow internationally for the sport of baseball.

The WBC was great and Spring Training was a good tease but now it is time to focus on the real thing. No team is undefeated and no team is without a win. We are only seven games in but all teams are hopeful and feel they have a shot at the playoffs, well maybe not the Miami Marlins or the Houston Astros, but this is still an exciting time to be a baseball fan.

Living in an Upton World

The Upton brothers don’t need a family reunion or the holidays as a reason to get together anymore. They are now teammates playing for the Braves in Atlanta! Less than two months after signing free agent BJ Upton, the Braves made another rare splash in the off season market by trading with the Arizona Diamondbacks for BJ’s younger and potentially more talented brother Justin.

There will be a lot of who won and who lost in this trade between the Atlanta Braves and the Arizona Diamondbacks over the rest of the off season and into Spring Training and the Regular Season. I think they both won.

As a Braves fan I am sad to see Martin Prado as a part of this trade  package but I also understand that he was the necessary piece to bring the younger Upton to Atlanta. Prado has been a fan favorite and a clutch player for the Braves over the past few years and will be the same for Arizona. Prado’s versatility will be hard to replace but Justin Upton is a much more valuable, immediate game changing factor.

The Braves have always had the fortune of a wealthy farm system so Randall Delgado and the three prospects that were part of the deal seem a minor consequence right now.

We will see…

With the signing of the elder Upton earlier this off season, BJ and his kid brother Justin will join the Braves outfield star in residence Jason Heyward. Jason is the younger of the three at age 23 but he might very well be the clubhouse leader that will inspire these newcomers and the likes of Brian McCann and Dan Uggla to perform up to and beyond expectations, returning the Braves to the promised land of the World Series.

We will see…

Back in the Playoffs and Superstition

I am not generally a superstitious person except when it comes to baseball and even then I keep it fairly low key. Admittedly I have not posted much this year but it seemed like every time I did post the Braves immediately suffered a painful loss of went into a losing streak. I decided to wait until the post season was a certainty before I posted again.

After suffering a terrible collapse last September the Atlanta Braves have made that nightmare a distant memory tonight. They have at least clinched a Wild Card spot for the 2012 Major League Baseball Playoffs and still have a good chance of catching their rivals the National League East leading Washington Nationals….

That was the post I started about 4 weeks ago. I stopped in mid type when I realized I was typing the very thing I feared most. I was feeding into the superstition I had created and while I realized at that moment how crazy that notion was I stopped anyway…just in case.

The Braves did indeed win the top Wild Card spot but with the new 1 game playoff format they were forced to play the St.Louis Cardinals in a do or die situation. They died. I will not rehash all of the details but in summary, the Braves dug themselves into a big hole with uncharacteristically poor defensive play and then any chance they had of a rally was quashed by a an umpire’s poor judgment at a critical juncture in the game. Many water cooler, bar room, and neighborly discussions about that game have taken place since but I finally have reached a place where distance from the event and common sense have prevailed. I had nothing to do with either the Braves great 94 win season or their 1 game playoff collapse.

I have watched other teams and their fans suffer similar circumstances the Braves faced last year leading up to the playoffs, namely the Texas Rangers. I have also seen teams with great expectations like the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals not live up to expectations many were expecting of them in the post season. Most disappointing was perhaps the Baltimore Orioles who had a chance to take the AL East from the New York Yankees but came up short and then couldn’t capitalize on a weak, confused, and injured Yankee team to move on to the AL Championship series.

As the San Francisco Giants and St.Louis Cardinals fight for the National League Championship tied at 1 game each and the Detroit Tigers take the momentum of a 2 game lead over New York into the Motor City I am really enjoying these 2012 MLB playoffs. I am just enjoying the games.

Where is Kevin?

Last year at this time, Kevin posted on this blog that the Braves had everything well in hand. Then things immediately fell apart. When he started to blog last night after the Braves clinched the wild card spot, he remembered how last year’s hubris destroyed it all.
In a scene from Bull Durham, Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) busts in on Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) because her beau for the season has given up sex during the Durham Bulls’ winning streak, and she feels he should give in. Crash rebuts: “I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? They don’t happen very often. If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid or because you’re not getting laid  or because you wear women’s underwear, then YOU ARE.”

 

While the Braves are still in it, Kevin cannot post. Please continue to visit this site in support of his absence, which is a mark of his dedication as a fan. And remember, I have made him commit to all kinds of other things we are not commenting on here. 🙂

Final 40 !

After last night most Major League Baseball teams will only have forty games left in the regular season. It is still way too early to make any predictions but with the new Wild Card format and some surprising performances these last 7 weeks of baseball should prove to be very entertaining.

There are no clear cut, runaway division leaders in either league at the moment. Currently the largest lead by anyone is the Cincinnati Reds with a 6.5 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates and the slimmest lead is held by the San Francisco Giants with a 1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. While no lead is safe or insurmountable it is better to be chased than to be the chaser this time of year. All six of the 2011 division winners were leading their respective divisions at this same point last year, not that it means anything.

People who pontificate about baseball on television and the radio , write about it in newspapers and online, or just like to argue about the sport around the water cooler almost always bring up current and historical statistics. Baseball is built on statistics so I understand why these conversations take place but sometimes they go too far. For instance, the Atlanta Braves had lost 14 straight games that were played on a Monday dating back to last season. What!? Who cares, it is just a coincidence. They could have just as well won 14 straight day games played against teams from the NL West on the road, it doesn’t matter!

I prefer to let the baseball season play itself out day by day instead of trying to frame things based on past events. However, you can’t ignore cold hard facts like elimination numbers this time of year especially when your team is trying to fight their way to the top, it is math and can’t be avoided.

The newest conversation piece for the 2012 MLB season is the expanded Wild Card added to the playoff. Now that the final 40 are upon us this topic is picking up some steam and for good reason. I think I’ll save my rant on that one until we are in the final fifteen. By the way, the Braves broke the Monday night curse by wearing their high blue socks on Monday July 30th to beat the Miami Marlins.