I counted the days until to pitchers and catchers finally reported. I continued counting the days until the first spring training exhibition game. Today, that count stands at the loneliest number of one. Finally! Tomorrow, the St. Louis Cardinals take the field.
So, I began checking out my options for taking in this game. I go to MLB.TV. I am shocked to find that the options next to the match up between the Marlins and Cardinals are BLANK. No MLB.TV. No MLB.TV Premium. No Gameday Audio (not Home, not Away, not Alt Away nor Alt Home). Not in English, Spanish, Mandarin or even Pig Latin.
I go to my TV, with my newly installed satellite service that offers the MLB Network and all the Fox Sports name-that-region channels. Again, no Cardinals.
Finally, to my standby: XM Radio. I check tomorrow’s schedule. Unbelievably, no Cardinal game is listed.
Desperate at this point, I browse to the St. Louis radio station, KTRS, that is the home of the Redbirds. When I click on “listen now”, a warning message appears that says, “Due to MLB restrictions we are unable to stream the Cardinals games, please purchase an MLB subscription through MLB“. You cannot be serious!
Both as a MLB.TV subscriber and as a member of Cardinal Nation, I have a MLB Gameday Audio subscription. I would be happy to log on to MLB.com and listen, if they would actually broadcast the game. If MLB is not broadcasting the game, why can’t I listen to it online at KTRS?
I want to see baseball or at least listen. I am obviously willing to pay since I have XM Radio, MLB.TV and Satellite subscriptions. Is this not America where there is a desire, there is someone willing to fulfill it and make a buck in the process?
Which, brings me to the biggest complaint in my baseball-loving life. It’s not PED’s, the Yankee’s payroll, the speed (or slowness) of the game, maple bats, cub* fans booing at Busch Stadium, ticket prices, inter-league play, the designated hitter, the World Series being played in November or any other controversy you can name. Really the only baseball complaint I have is that I cannot watch a live St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on MLB.TV.
*Lower case “c” in cub is intentional.
Yes, it’s true. I live 502.9 miles from Busch Stadium, yet I am considered to be “In Market”. So, although I can watch the games on demand after they are over, I cannot see one live. In addition, other teams I am not allowed to watch live are the Rangers (191.54 miles), the Royals (376.74 miles) and the Astros (413.25 miles). I live in a state that has no major league team, but I am in four markets. Nevada has the same problem. I believe they are in the market of all the California teams plus the Diamondbacks. Maybe they should throw in the Rockies and Mariners, too.
The antiquated “market” rules are a throw back from the 70′s that were designed to allow regional stations to develop a market. This would be fine if I lived in St. Louis where there is a local affiliate to broadcast the games. Sometimes, games are on Fox, ESPN or TBS. Sometimes, I am allowed to watch. Sometimes, I am not. My mom, in flipping over to check the score because she knows I care, swears that you have to sneak up on them.
It’s beyond ridiculous. Why would you have rules that prevent fans from seeing games? Here I am crazy, psycho Cardinals baseball fan with disposable income to spend. I am willing to pay. I am willing to watch whatever advertising you can sell, and I am likely to purchase junk from your advertisers. Just let me see the game.
I am very much a baseball purist, but the 70′s are so over. The information age is coming into adulthood. The game of baseball does not need to change, but the fan has. We have adopted technology and expect (for a price) to have any and all information only a click away. So, the manner in which baseball is delivered must keep up with the fan.
The restrictions are no longer helping to develop a market by limiting competition; they are preventing the development of a whole new market. Here we are! We want to see whatever game we want whenever we want! If you sell it, we will buy!
But, for tomorrow, I will not hear the crack of the bat or the cheer of the crowd. I will not see young Hawksworth’s form. I will be following the game using the “MLB At Bat” application on my iPhone (hopefully, that works!).
Ah, spring! A time of hope and renewal, where anything is possible and the sky is the limit.
So much good news has filtered out of the St. Louis Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida! Adam Wainwright looked good in live batting practices. So, did a HEALTHY Chris Carpenter. Of course, when pitchers look too good in live BP, I worry that there’s something wrong with our hitting. It’s only the first week, so maybe, I worry too much.
The Cardinals also made it through the first week without a player logging a season ending injury. Woo-hoo! The two pitchers (Mitchell Boggs and Matthew Scherer) that experienced soreness early in the week are healing nicely.
Redbird Migratory Paths
Two former redbirds have roosted in the Tampa Bay Rays camp: Adam Kennedy and Jason Isringhausen. If the Rays repeat this year, they may both look at their last rocky days in St. Louis as a blessing in disguise. Seeing Izzy not in a Cardinals uniform is beyond weird. As the all-time Cardinals saves leader, he has earned his place in Cardinals history. It is “unfortunate” (a word Tony LaRussa used) that Izzy could not finish his career with a strong year in St. Louis.
Cooler Heads Did Not Prevail
The controversy of the week involved Jose Oquendo, Cardinals Third-Base Coach and Manager of Team Puerto Rico, not choosing Joel Pineiro for Team Puerto Rico’s starting rotation. For Team Puerto Rico, the starters will be Javier Vazquez (Braves), Ian Snell (Pirates) and Jonathan Sanchez (Giants). Looking at last year’s numbers, I could not see a clear cut reason why these pitchers, except for Vazquez, were picked over Pineiro:
Javier Vazquez 12-16, 4.67 ERA, 61 BB, 200 K’s 208.1 IP
Ian Snell 7-12, 5.42 ERA, 89 BB, 135 K’s 164.1 IP
Jonathan Sanchez, 9-12, 5.01 ERA, 75 BB, 157 K’s 158.0 IP
Joel Pineiro 7-7, 5.15 ERA, 35 BB, 81 K’s 148.2 IP
Joel Pineiro did pitch well in the 2006 WBC (2.08 ERA, 4 BB, 5 K’s, 8.2 IP). So, perhaps there is another reason. The manner in which Pineiro took the news, venting his displeasure to reporters, claiming he was “disrespected”, and giving in to his emotions made me wonder if Oquendo’s pick had more to do with temperament than performance. Pineiro is an emotional player, and when things start to go badly in a game, his emotions can get in the way.
Or, perhaps it was Pineiro’s mindset. Maybe because he and Oquendo are teammates and he started in the in the 2006 WBC, he thought he was a lock for the rotation. He already purchased tickets for his family to the WBC. He thought Oquendo was joking when he first suggested that Pineiro would be in the bullpen rather than the rotation. Did Pineiro take too much for granted?
Coaches typically do not appreciate players who assume too much. One of the few starts I got in all my years of playing basketball came when the coach overheard some of the starters use the word “indispensable” in regard to their value to the team. Of course, after about five minutes of my stinking up the court, they were in and I was back on the bench where I belonged. Still, we learned a valuable lesson. Work hard. Be ready. Assume nothing.
In the end, it is Jose Oquendo’s team and his decision. Pineiro has every right to feel “disrespected” or disappointed or upset, but it is not cool to unleash those emotions outside the clubhouse and express your displeasure with your coach to the media. If he wants to be respected, then he should know that his comments made him look like a spoiled, petulant child rather than a man worthy of respect that he insists he is due.
Crash Davis School of Clichés
You remember the scene that went something like this:
: It’s time to work on your interviews.
: My interviews? What do I gotta do?
: You’re gonna have to learn your clichés. You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to know them. They’re your friends. Write this down: “We gotta play it one day at a time.”
: Got to play… it’s pretty boring.
: ‘Course it’s boring, that’s the point. Write it down
: (Writing) …one day at a time
Following Crash’s guidelines of “boring is good”, I tried to rework Pineiro’s statements.
Original Statement: “[Oquendo] said if I went, it was going to be in the bullpen. Everybody knows that’s not my role. I was very disappointed, very heartbroken…I felt disrespected. I mean, everybody knows there’s only been two pitchers in Puerto Rico which has 8-10 years [as a] consistent starter, which is Javier Vasquez and myself….everybody knows if I go out there as a bullpen guy, I’m going to get setback here…if I would have been there as a starter, it would have been my normal exhibition game starts…But, after I was informed that I was not going to be a starter, I was not happy about that.“
Boring Statement: “Oquendo said he had a spot for me in the bullpen, but not as a starter. If I went as a starter, I could prepare for the season the same as I would here. Unfortunately, I can’t do that pitching out of the bullpen, so I made the tough decision to stay here, work hard and be ready to go in April. I am disappointed that I will not be representing my country in the WBC, but Puerto Rico has other great pitchers to take my place. And, I’m happy to be here. I hope I can help the ballclub. I want to give this season my best shot and the good Lord willing, things will work out. Instead of playing in big games this spring, we’ll be playing in big games in October.
Of course, if he said that, there would be no controversy, and what would I write about? This may all work out for the best for Pineiro. He was both injured last year and not particularly sharp. His hold on the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation is tenuous at best. He should be hearing the footsteps of capable young arms gaining on him, ready to take his spot.
In one of his statements he said, “I felt, I’m a veteran guy. I’ve been around long enough to know that I should be there representing my country. I deserve that respect. That’s the way I look at it.” A sense of entitlement, does not typically get one the respect they feel they deserve. Actions do. If he wins a dozen games, gets his ERA under 4.0 and learns how to control his emotions so he can pitch himself out of a jam, then he will have my respect, the respect of his teammates, and, I dare say, Oquendo’s too.
After the passing of “Calvin and Hobbes”, my life was bereft of a favorite comic strip. I like “Cathy”, but it is spelled wrong. One day I stumbled across the Wiley Miller’s comic strip, ”Non Sequitur”, and it quickly became my favorite.
Non Sequitur is latin for “it does not follow”. So, a non sequitur should not make logical sense, yet often this comic strip makes a world of sense.
I thought of myself and all my blogger friends when I saw today’s comic strip. So, I had to share….
If you would like to become a Non Sequitur addict as well, you can go here.
Pitchers and Catchers reported to work on Saturday, but they were not the only players working out at the Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida. Since the moment Jason Isringhausen faltered in 2008, the biggest question in Cardinals Country has been, “Who’s going to close?” The oldest question is, “Will Chris Carpenter ever return to the rotation?”
Now, there are other questions. With both Miles and Kennedy gone: “Who is going to play second?” With Troy Glaus rehabbing from surgery until May: “Who is going to play third? Then, the glut of able-bodied outfielders begs the question: Who will fill those outfield spots, who will be on the bench, and who will be back in AAA Memphis?”
Barring injuries, the only certain positions are Albert Pujols at first, Yadier Molina behind the plate and Khalil Greene at shortstop. Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick will most likely find themselves some spot in the outfield on opening day, and Skip Schumaker will lead off somewhere.
So much uncertainty means competition. Big time competition. The players know it, and they are there early to get any edge they can. Everybody in the running for 2B, 3B or an outfield spot is already in camp working out. No one is taking anything for granted.
Many of the 2009 Major League teams will be defined by the free agent they signed or did not sign in the off-season. The 2009 Cardinals will be defined by the strength of their farm system, a system that has come through in the past.
I like it. I like it a lot. Most fans would be more comfortable with fewer questions and more proven veterans, but I like the kids. The young, hungry, talented kids with something to prove. The 25 men on the opening day roster will be young warriors. They will have earned their spot. They will know what it takes to win.
No, not really. But, if there was a 40-man roster for MLB fan blogs, I would have made the cut. This week, Redbird Chatter debuted at #33 on the MLB blogs leader list.
I started this blog as a writing exercise and as a journal for myself. I did not expect anyone to read it! And, I certainly did not expect to stumble into this wonderful online baseball-loving community. Thank you to all that write, read and comment!
In the community tradition of dedicating one’s ranking to a player of the same number, I give you #33 Barney Schultz.
Barney Schultz, a knuckleballer, from Beverly, New Jersey spent a good chunk of his career in the minor leagues. He played for 23 seasons, only seven of those seasons include major league time. I will gloss over his first tour with the Cardinals as well as the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tiger years, and I will proceed directly to 1964. Yes, that Cardinals’ World Series winning year, 1964.
In 1964, the Cardinals acquired Schultz, 37, and sent him to AAA Jacksonville, where he posted a 0.85 ERA in 35 relief appearances, earning him a call-up in August. When he arrived on the scene, Cardinals were in sixth place, trailing first-place Philadelphia by seven games.
Schultz made 30 appearances in the 60 remaining games, posting an ERA of 1.64. He won one, lost 3 and saved 14. Playing less than half a season, he finished in a three-way tie for 5th in most National League saves. He was instrumental in helping his team get to the World Series.
Unfortunately, he did not shine so bright in the World Series. He got the save in Game One, but the Yankees figured him out. In Game Three, there came the match-up of every pitchers dream (or nightmare). Schultz faced Mickey Mantle in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied one all. Schultz’s first pitch to Mantle was a knuckleball that did not knuckle. He crushed it over the right field fence.
The story has a happy ending since the Cardinals go on to win the World Series, and Barney Schultz goes on to work and coach in the Cardinals organization until 1975.
Thanks Mr. Schultz for your fine relief pitching that helped us to win the pennant in 1964, and don’t feel bad–Mantle took Bob Gibson deep, too.
Photo Credit – http://www.baseball-almanac.com
The winter was long, dark and cold. The hotstove was not so hot. Some old friends moved on. Some new faces moved in.
We sat in the dark in anticipation of the dawn. The dawn that comes todoy. Finally… (cue the violin music)
At last….. my love has come along
my lonely days are over
and life is like a song
Oh yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
-Mack Gordan/Harry Warren
While other girls are hoping for roses, chocolates or jewelry from their Valentines, I only want diamonds….baseball diamonds. So, this Valentine’s Day, My Love is coming through for me. Yes, my Cardinal pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training today in Jupiter, Florida. The off-season is over. Winter is over. My lonely days are over….
There were many heralds of spring this week.
The deadly tornados that ripped through my state. (See photos here.)
The crocus in my mom’s yard….
(No, you are right. That is not a crocus, and it is not in my mom’s yard. That is last year’s daffodil from my yard. Mom’s crocuses did bloom this week, but they croaked before I could shoot a picture.)
The sandals that would not stay in my closet on a 70 degree day.
(Fine. I am busted. AGAIN. I wore sandals, but I could not find these in my closet. I might have accidentally left them at Neiman Marcus since they cost more than my house payment)
And, finally the words, “Pitchers and Catchers: Report Today”. And, the “card” telling me my Valentine’s gift had arrived. It is not “Play Ball”, but it is close.
Spring is here. Baseball is here. And, life is like a song.
Here is little overview of some of the guys reporting today.
Yadier Molina (C) – Actually, he’s now Gold Glove Catcher, Yadier Molina. At only 26 years of age, he has 4 1/2 years of major league experience. He gets better every year. Last year, he had a break out year offensively, but did not throw out as many runners. The young and unfamiliar pitching staff may have contributed. What will be better this year? More pop in the bat? More runners caught stealing? I can’t wait to see.
Jason LaRue (C) – Most teams struggle to field one solid defensive catcher. The Cardinals have two. LaRue is everything a team could ask for in a backup catcher. He is a veteran who understands his role and is always ready to go. He does not hit for average, but he has a bit of power.
Adam Wainwright (RHSP) – In the absence of Chris Carpenter, Adam has been the staff ace. Oh, what 2008 might have been, if not for the “pop” in his finger that kept him out of the rotation for roughly two months. Having Waino healthy for the whole season is one of the keys to Cardinal success.
Kyle Lohse (RHSP) - Hopefully, “this year’s” Kyle Lohse will be as good as “last year’s”.
Todd Wellemeyer (RHSP) – Welly rounds out the rotation’s top three. However, he has stated that he would love to pitch in the All-Star game, so this pitcher is not satisfied to be part of the rotation. He wants to be the best.
Chris Carpenter (RHSP) – The big question mark. He proved last year in the few innings he pitched that he still has the stuff. Hopefully, his body is healed, rested and healthy enough to support that deadly arm. If he can return to his previous form and make his starts, he makes this rotation lethal.
Joel Piniero (RHSP) - Piniero had his ups and downs last year. When he pitched well, he got no run support. When he had run support, he sometimes self-destructed. The potential for greatness is there.
Brad Thompson (RHRP/RHSP) – Last year, Thompson was a valuable spot starter and long reliever. He is one of the few guys still around that was with the Championship 2006 team. (Pujols, Molina, Wainwright, Carpenter and are the others.)
Kyle McClellan (RHRP/RHSP) - The role of last year’s Cardinal Rookie of the Year is uncertain. If Carpenter is not healthy, he is likely to be in the rotation. If not, he will be in the bullpen.
Mitchell Boggs (RHSP/RHRP) - Boggs made six starts and two relief appearances for the Cardinals last year. He won three and got the crap beat out of him in two. I will probably be watching him pitch in Memphis next year. I challenge him to prove me wrong.
Ryan Franklin (RHRP) – Sometimes he closes. Sometimes he sets up. But, with Russ Springer gone, he is the veteran of the bullpen. I am thinking setup guy in 2009.
Jason Motte (RHRP) – This catcher turned pitcher came up in September 2008 throwing fire. Eleven innings, five hits, one earned run, .82 ERA. This guy has a legitimate shot at the 9th.
Chris Perez (RHRP) – Perez’s arm is another flame thrower. He got some very valuable experience last year in the closer role. He saved 7 out of 11, with a 3-3 record and a 3.46 ERA. Not bad for a rookie. He is another contender for the 9th
Josh Kinney (RHRP) - Kinney came back in September 2008 after Tommy John surgery. He pitched seven innings, walked one, struck out 8, gave up 3 hits and NO runs. People are not talking him up much as a closer, but he is in running.
Jaime Garcia (LHRP) – This young leftyspent some time in St. Louis last year. Got his first save. Got his first win. Got his first loss. Sixteen innings, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts and a final ERA of 5.63. Great potential. Tony will probably want two lefties. I am betting on Garcia and Miller.
Trever Miller (LHRP) - If the Cardinals had passed on Miller, Ryan Franklin would have no one in the bullpen that could discuss the 70s with him. Miller could sing the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve been everywhere, man.”, but his last tour of duty was with the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays. His numbers do not give Cardinals fans a warm fuzzy feeling, but he will most likely be on the opening day roster.
Blake Hawksworth (RHP), Charlie Manning (LHP), Royce Ring (LHP) and Matthew Scherer (RHP) round out the 40-man roster. It will be interesting to learn about these guys. Also, on the guy to watch on the list of non-roster invitees is Jess Todd (RHP). Last year, He won the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.
Bye-bye love, I’ll catch you later
Got a lead foot down on my accelerator and the rearview mirror torn off
I ain’t never lookin’ back. And that’s a fact.
I’ve tried all I can imagine
I’ve begged and pleaded in true lover’s fashion
I’ve got pride, I’m takin’ it for a ride
Bye-bye, bye-bye, my baby, bye-bye
That song could apply to the end of every one of my love affairs. When I am in, I am all in. When I am done, I am all done. I have never reunited with an ex after a break up. Maybe, that that makes me a “hurt me once, shame on you…hurt me twice, shame on me” kind of girl. Or, maybe, I just like closure.
Now, just because I do not get back together with exes does not mean I hold onto bitterness or resentment. I wish nothing but the best to ALL of the men I have ever dated. Over 95% of them have a special place in my heart. The other 5% have the great capacity to bring pain and suffering into their life all on their own. They do not need my ill wishes. Isn’t Karma great?
The new baseball season will be heralded this weekend with the reporting of pitchers and catchers. Before I can start a new relationship with the 2009 Cardinals, it seemed fitting to bid adieu to the 2008 Cardinals that will not be a part of this year’s love affair. It turns out that I am a ‘closure’ girl.
Cesar Izturis – Shortstop
AP Photo by Jeff Roberson
I will miss your easy smile, gold glove plays, bunting skills and stolen bases. We have a new guy in your spot that they think can hit better than you, even though he did not last year. They say he is a great defender, but I know when it comes to defense you are the king of the left side of the infield. The Baltimore Orioles are lucky to have you. I hope you have a great year.
Braden Looper – Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
AP Photo by Bill Boyce
My fellow, Okie, I would love to have you back this year, but alas…sigh….it is not meant to be. You were the healthy, innings eating, keep-the-Cardinals-in-the-game pitcher that we desperately needed. We had good times: The full-game shutout. We had bad times: The rough start in Houston that I watched from the Crawford Boxes. I loved the way you helped yourself out at the plate. It will be tough to see you in that Brewers uniform, but I hope
she it makes you happy.
Aaron Miles – 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF and P
I already said good-bye to you here. I will miss your versatility and willingness to be a true team-player. In an interview at Cubs Fan Fest, you said that you had been dreaming of being a Cubbie for a long time. I hope you were referring to your childhood, because it would be wrong to be thinking of another club (especially that club) while wearing a Cardinals uniform. Very, very wrong.
I am not sure why anyone would rather be a Cub than a Cardinal. Money aside, of course. You better do everything you can to get your old pal, So Taguchi, on the roster, because that is the only way you will ever win a World Series in that uniform. (See why here.)
Felipe Lopez – 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF
AP Photo by Jeff Roberson
I barely got to know you, and now you are a Diamondback. In your short time with us, I never got a good feel for your defensive skills. Maybe, you did not either since you were playing all over the place. But, there is no denying that the Cardinals uniform woke up your bat. I am curious how you will do as a Diamondback, so I will keep in touch.
Russ Springer – Right-Handed Relief Pitcher/Set-up Guy
Although I took the loss of Aaron Miles harder, I will probably miss you most of all. You were the one reliever that I never worried about getting the job done. Consistent, efficient and effective. Even though you did not retire after all, I’m glad LaRussa let you get the last out in 2008. It was a sweet good-bye kiss. Have fun with the kids in Oakland, Old Man.
Ron Villone – Left-Handed Relief Pitcher/Lefty Specialist
AP Photo by Gene J. Puskar
Oh, Villy. We had our ups and downs, but you play the game with heart and passion. I respect that. My favorite moment is when it took both Jason LaRue and Josh Kinney to keep you from rushing to Aaron Miles’ defense and murdering Doug Mientkiewicz. You are an animal. I respect that, too. I hope you find a nice club to take you in.
Adam Kennedy – Second Base
AP Photo by Tom Gannam
You and I never really connected. That’s okay. It happens sometimes. Perhaps it was my fault for paying too much attention to the guy that was beating you out of playing time at second and not really taking the time to get to know you. Maybe, it is your fault for putting your need to be an everyday player ahead of whatever your team needed you to be.
When you asked for a trade during the later part of the season, I was not hurt that you no longer wanted to be with us. I just thought you should have waited to ask until the season was over. So, you should not be hurt now that you have been cut from the team, although you might think we should have released you as soon as the season was over. Now, you are free to pursue that everyday job without restriction. I really do wish you all the best and hope you find a happy home.
Jason Isringhausen – Right-Handed Relief Pitcher/Closer
Hey, Izzy? Baby? Where are you? You don’t call. You don’t write. I know things ended badly, but you don’t have to shut us out. Maybe, you are done. Maybe, you will come back with another club. Either way, I will always remember the good times: the summers, the saves and all the ninth inning doors you slammed. Don’t be a stranger. We can still be friends.
Bye-bye, Love. It was a good run.
I cannot wait to meet you!
I am always hungry for a new book. Some books I savor like a nice glass of Chardonnay. A few, particularly the ones that are supposed to be good for you, I nibble on for a time, but then leave them on the nightstand to mold. (I occasionally finish one, but truthfully, I like the idea of ‘reading the classics’ better than actually reading them.) When a favorite author has a new book out, it is like getting a home cooked meal from mom–predictable, hearty and satisfying.
Then, there are the books that I devour whole in one sitting like a starving person. Just like I know when I pop that first Twisted Cheeto in my mouth that I am going to eat the whole bag, I know in the first chapter that I am going to eat the book whole in one delicious, juicy bite!
Last night, I gorged on Jane Heller’s “Confessions of a She-fan, the Course of True Love with the New York Yankees”. When I arrived home from work yesterday, I found the book in my mailbox–finally. I took my first bite of the book around 6:30 and was licking my fingers by 11:15. It was tart, spicy, sweet and oh so satisfying.
The book was what I’ve come to expect from Jane’s Blog. Laugh out loud funny both in obvious and subtle ways. Reflective, smart and packed with all the emotions that go along with being the thing they call a baseball fan. The thing we are.
She captures all the stages we go through in the love affair with our team. Puppy love, crushes, going steady, marriage, divorce and reunion. She describes how she goes from being a loyal-through-the-bad-times kind of fan, to one who is angry because her team is not performing. We have all seen the angry fan. I have never understood the angry fan until now.
Perhaps, I am still in the blush of new love with my Cardinals. I am sad, not angry, when they struggle–much like we are at the beginning of any relationship. I make all kind of excuses for them, and I’m always looking for the bright spot.
However, the next step is tricky: commitment. The Yankees gave Jane championships, which is like your boyfriend saying “I love you.” Once he says it, the expectations go through the roof. Expectations no one can live up to, followed by disillusionment and resentment. It’s not right. It’s not fair. But, it’s often part of the course of true love.
Jane’s journey to prove her worth as a true fan takes her across the country where she and her husband visit ballparks and meet all kinds of fans: angry, crazy, drunk, life-long, first timers, die-hard, tenacious, sweet, courageous and hopeful. It’s a journey I enjoyed taking with her in the pages of the book, and the kind of journey I hope to make someday myself.
Above all, this book is a great read. A must read for she-fans and he-fans alike. Perhaps, even therapy for angry fans. Eat it…I mean….read it before opening day and you will be ready to face the season with joy, hope and the perseverance to carry you through the long 162+ (hopefully +) game season.
To Jane–thanks for this delicious novel! And, tell Michael that it’s a good thing I live hundreds if not thousands of miles away and have a day job, because otherwise I would be showing up on your doorstep offering to crew for him. My two favorite places in the world are at a ballpark and on the deck of a sailboat (maybe not in a hurricane though). AT&T Park in San Francisco pushes me over the edge because you could either be on a sailboat watching the ballpark, or at the ballpark watching the sailboats. It’s just too much.
I also found a nice spot for your book–between my Albert Pujols bobblehead and my Whitey Herzog ball. They may not be Yankees, but you are in good company:
On Friday, Venezuela, with a 5-0 record, won the 2009 Caribbean Series. So, on the last day of the series, only bragging rights were on the line.
Venezuela played for a perfect record.
Puerto Rico played for the right to say they were the only team to beat the Champion.
Mexico played for the home country crowd and to finish above .500.
The Dominican Republic played for their 2nd win, to beat the #2 team in the series and to end on a win.
Who won the bragging rights?
Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela
The Puerto Rican Leones de Ponce finally threw the monkey off their back on Friday, winning their not only the first game of this series, but their first game in the Caribbean Series since 1982. Now, with the series ending, they seem to be on a roll. The Leones scored 9 runs total in the first five games. In this last game, they scored nine runs in one inning.
The Venezuela team came into this series with the least amount of rest. So, maybe it was fatigue. Or maybe, having the series bagged dulled their edge. Whatever it was, their performance in this final game was flat. Puerto Rico won 9-1.
However, the whole atmosphere of the game seemed relaxed and fun. And, why not? Both teams were walking away with something, a championship for Venezuela and a second win for Puerto Rico.
Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
Coming into the Caribbean Series, the Dominican Republic was the favorite to win, but they fell short in close games. In the final game, the Dominicans showed off their power, with two home runs, to win over Mexico 5-3.
In the Mexican lineup, Adrian Gonzales was missing and his brother Edger was DH’ing. One of treats of this series has been watching these two brothers team up on the right side of the infield and in the lineup.
Watching the Caribbean World Series has on one hand been a treat, like a warm sunny winter day. On the other hand, it made me hungry for baseball season, kind of like how eating one potato chip makes you want the whole bag.
Also, I’m thinking some year a little trip to the Caribbean Series would be a fabulous vacation: warm weather, sunshine, beaches and baseball. That is my personal heaven. I probably will not make it to Margarita, Venezuela next year, even though it sounds like my kind of place. But, some year I will be in the stands of the Serie Del Caribe singing, dancing and yelling the only five Spanish words I know: Queso! Taco! Cerveza, por favor! Gracias! Wow, that’s six!
Today was the day!
Finally the launch of the MLB Network….at my house!
James the DirecTV Guy was scheduled to install my new system this afternoon, So, I got up early on a Saturday, posted my Serie Del Carib recap and got after cleaning my house.
Much to my mother’s dismay, in my world cleaning sits at a medium-low priority. Well, she would say low, but laundry sits at a high priority, so I average the two. Serious house cleaning only happens when company is expected. Or, when James the DirecTV Guy might need to crawl behind my TV. I am not ashamed of this. I will even own up to the fact that the ‘cleaning’ today involved taking down Christmas decorations. When I am old, I will never bemoan the fact that I spent too much time cleaning. But, I digress.
James showed early and had me wired up in short order. The first channel I tuned to was the coveted MLB Network. I quivered with anticipation of what I would find. A vintage World Series Game? That top nine thing? One of those cool player interviews on the mini-baseball field?
Oh, no. Of course, not. I tune in to the news that Alex Rodriguez is alleged to have tested positive to PED’s in a now-not-so-confidential 2003 drug test. To add to the joy, there are 103 other players that are alleged to have tested positive, too. So, much good news to look forward to. I can’t wait. I’m still quivering, but not with anticipation.
You are kidding me, right? I cleaned my house for this?