The old switcheroo

Here’s the deal: I intended to move Russell Martin from the bench to catch, as Mike Napoli is on the 15-day DL. However, both of these players are “locked” in the lineup. Honestly, I’m not even sure what that means, except the obvious: I can’t do the roster switcheroo I intended. #disappointed

via sadsportsfans.blogspot.com

In other (incredibly depressing) news, only four of my pitchers are healthy. This is terrible. It’s time to look for some new aces, particularly one to fill the hole left in the rotation by Joba Chamberlain, who likely won’t return this season due to Tommy John surgery. Therefore, I’m calling up at least one free-agent. Now Blue Jay Carlos Villanueva is mine. Here’s an interesting graphic comparing Joba and Carlos in season K’s:

via ESPN.com

So, they aren’t exactly equals.

Also, I swapped Hong-Chih Kuo for Jon Rauch. #onaroll This graph compares the two players’ total points over the season. A little dramatic, shall we say?

via ESPN.com

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Ode to the fan

I love sports fans. There is no experience like the excitement and energy of being around other sports fans. When you share a spectatorship with strangers, it only takes moments to establish an unparalleled camaraderie and esprit de corps. Suddenly, you become part of a brotherhood. You’re part of the club. As I see it, being a sports fan fulfills a basic human desire: a sense of belonging.

via baseball-fever.com

I talk about sports with anyone I can squeeze some team loyalty or athletic interest out of. Yesterday I had an exhilarating conversation with the security guard at my building that started with baseball, and forayed into hockey and basketball. A good sports conversation doesn’t just happen on it’s own, however. I am admittedly an instigator who prowls the streets of the city with my team’s cap on, hot on the scent of dissenters and supporters alike. #talktome

In the age of virtual networking and social media, connecting with other sports fans around the world is now easier than ever. The game itself has evolved with real-time discussions via Twitter that bridge country borders and time zones. Blogs create endless platforms for sportsreaders and sportswriters, whether amateur, casual, or professional. Although this may be a stage for the  stormy squabbles of rivalry, I focus on the opportunity for consolation from my faraway fellow fanmates (I can’t believe that’s not a word yet, I’m writing to UrbanDictionary.com now…). My online network of sports fans is my virtual family, with whom I share a sacred bond, because as one of my classmates reminded me today: “There aren’t any other #BlueJays fans in New York.” Yes, thank you, I am well aware of it. #foreveralone.

Embrace your fandom, your fanbase, and your fanmates, sports fans!

via sports.yahoo.com

… And if you happen to be a Jays fan in NYC, give me a holler.

Cup o’ Joe

I occasionally contemplate the disproportionately high number of men in baseball who carry the name Joe. Think about it, baseball fans. I’m sure you can rattle off two rosters’ worth of Joe’s. I’ll get you started: DiMaggio, “Shoeless” Jackson, Mauer, Madden, Torre, Girardi, Beimel, Nathan, etc.

I’m confident that the reason they put players’ last names on jerseys, instead of first names, is due to the Joe Phenomenon. Can you imagine the announcers’/listeners’ confusion? “…Joe at bat with Joe on first, and Joe in scoring position, Joe leads off at second… and here’s the pitch, Joe deals, and it’s a fastball right into Joe’s glove! Joe is caught looking! Joe strikes out Joe! Inning over! Due up next in the lineup, Joe, Joe, and Joe.”

Joe’s are abundant in Major League Baseball. Ergo, I have formulated this hypothesis: If you’re from the English-speaking world, and you want your son to be a successful ballplayer (so you can see him on tv, have a comfortable retirement, and otherwise bask in his #eternalfameandglory), name him Joe.

It’s good to be a Joe. Take it from Joe.

via TCHuddle.com

Beaucoup de Joe’s (that’s French) in the Bigs likely means that scouts scour neighborhood parks and high school games looking for kids not with promise, nor raw talent (lefty’s), or 97mph fastballs, but kids named Joe. Conclusion: Kids named Joe have a better chance of making it to The Show than kids with any other name (because as a psychology student, I know correlation = causation #badpsychjokes).

Also, for your consideration: If you live outside the US/Canada (DR, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, etc.) the name that guarantees your son’s baseball success is: Jose.

Did you catch that curveball, dear reader? It’s the SAME NAME! #trickery. After observing the associated Jose trend, we have more figures to input to our database, and further evidence to make the case: Molina, Bautista, Reyes, Contreras, Conseco, etc., etc.

I’ll say it again, it’s good to be a Joe Jose.

Getty Images via daylife.com

Thoughts on feelings

I’m about to get sentimental. When I moved across the country for college my baseball fanaticism reached new heights. My boys became my brotherhood. My wolfpack. My sense of belonging. If you’re a true fan, I’m sure you can relate. Baseball is not game; that wouldn’t do it justice. Games are what children play.

Let’s get existential. What is baseball?

Is baseball simply a collective expression — a symbol that represents associated images and objects?

via holytaco.com

Or, Is baseball a feeling?

via english.peopledaily.com.cn

Is that an egg in your pocket? …Or are you just happy it’s baseball season?

I have a new toy. It’s very needy and requires a lot of attention.

Google Images

Actually, not that. But oh how that brings me back to second grade… #nostalgia

I’m a big kid now, and I need big kid toys, and that is why I forked over $79.99 for an MLB.tv subscription. (Yes, I understand that’s enough for like, four tamagotchis). Now, if you’re looking for me, and I’m not in the library, or in class, or at Lids, or at work, I’m probably reclining on my 3inch memory foam mattress pad, sipping filtered water, and watching baseball on the internet. Who new living without a tv could be so glorious?

And while we’re on this tangent, and while you’re out there busy #notdoing what you #shouldbedoing, go ahead and vote for your favorite Midsummer Classic Moment.

Now, let’s get down to business, shall we? It’s time for… another #lineupchange! (a la Vin Scully). Yes, these will happen more than once a month, just to keep things interesting, and to keep me on top of my shit. #myshit= fantasy baseball.

I needed a new catcher/utility man to fill in for my man Russell Martin, as he’s on the day-to-day DL, but really I just wanted to snag this kid. good stuff for a rookie, right? (Not to mention he wears the hats I like). Let it be known, I called up J.P. Arencibia from free agency, and dropped my benchman Milton Bradley.

Also, I grabbed Mr. Nick Swisher, who shaves in the shower,

via NerdOutrage.com

from the bench and swapped him with Ichiro Suzuki for an outfield slot. You might think Swisher, the class clown, is annoying, but he’s a pretty cool cat, and I wish he was on my team so I could watch more of his antics.

That’s something you don’t see every day…. But I do.

Say it with me now… FU-KU-DO-ME! Fun, isn’t it? Of course that’s not nonsense, it’s the name of Team Peppered Fences’ Japanese outfielder. He makes a pretty smooth sliding catch in today’s game against the Mets, so go ahead, grab some peanuts, and watch it here. If Fukudome’s sliding catch wasn’t exciting enough, there’s something

Now this is quite unique, check out Conor Jackson’s upside-down catch over the dugout railing. Dig it?

 

Guess who’s back?

#Iamdisgusted in my poor performance as manager/owner/coach/etc. of the fantastic club, Team Peppered Fences (pun intended). I’m surprised I was allowed to log in to the ESPN fantasy website. My name is on the ballot for the #fantasybaseballhallofshame. What have I been doing for a whole month that led to the uncalled for neglect of my team? Well, if you must know, I: A.) took four college finals, and B.) moved across the country. So call me a wambulance. Needless to say, my #fantasy team won’t even look me in the #fantasy eye when we’re in the #fantasy clubhouse before the #fantasy game. (Do all those #hashtags annoy you?)

After I finally realized: A.) which email address to use, and B.) to which espn account I needed to log into to access my team, I discovered that Team Peppered Fences is in 10th place out of 10 teams #howembarrassing.

Good old (and apparently useless) Casey Blake has been left in my lineup at the 3B slot, despite his ongoing stint in the DL due to an elbow injury. To remedy this, I will do some shuffling of my athletes. I’m shifting Danny Valencia to 3B from 1B/3B, and James Loney from the bench to 1B/3b. Casey Blake is now benched. Additionally, Nick Swisher, OF, has been wishy-washy and on the DL, so I swapped him to the bench to welcome back Xavier Nady.

And by jove, what is spreading in the bullpen? Four out of my nine pitchers (Jonathan Broxton, Rafael Soriano, Johan Santana, and Hong-Chih Kuo) are on the DL. Did someone say desperate times?!  This is harsh news to hear after a month-long hiatus. No wonder Team Peppered Fences slipped into last place with about a 200-point deficit.

Lessons learned: 1.) Don’t abandon your team! 2.) Don’t abandon your team!

I suppose it takes a true rookie to make mistakes like these!