“Hey, check it out… puppies!”

Most baseball bloggers, at this point in the year, are talking about the state of their team, or who should be traded and whatnot. I tried that. It wasn’t so much fun. So here are a bunch of random photos I scrounged up featuring baseball players and various furry critters. Cuteness…. this is much more my style.

***

Timmy Lincecum shares a smooch with his French Bulldog, Cy.

Mr. and Mrs. Chase Utley with some puppies.

Brad Penny visits with some St. Bernards (at least I assume that’s what they are.)

OK. So this is a little bit scary. But you have to give Tony LaRussa props for his charitable efforts.

The Astros, apparently, have done a lot of pet calendars for charity. Which is cool, but I don’t like not knowing if this is really Craig Biggio’s dog, or if it is just some random pooch that they borrowed for a photo shoot.

I’m not sure who this random Astro is, but I love this picture. It makes me think of this.

Click here to see a photo of Ryan Dempster and his dog.

I am sort of assuming that this cat does not belong to Matt Wieters. But don’t they rather look alike?

***

To be continued!

Advertisements

2010 MLB Year in Superlatives: Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of the FBB’s year in review! This will be the last installment. As far as I know…

Are you ready for some more bests, worsts, and mosts? Then read on, my fair viewer, read on.

~

Outstanding gloviness: Oddly enough, two of the coolest plays of the year belonged to pitchers. How ’bout three more cheers for Mark Buehrle’s Opening Day gem and Paul Maholm’s equally awesome (in my opinion) play from just a week later.

Greatest Robbery:

My top giggle-inducing moments: I did feel bad for laughing so hard when Miguel Olivo ended up being hurt from this play, but it was one of the funniest “slides” I’ve ever seen.

Also, this:

And THIS:

Minor League call-up to remember: The Pirates Erik Kratz. *Sniff*

Best blog-post incorporating the Cubs and “Lost”: This piece legitimately made me LOL.

Postseason highlight: Roy Halladay’s no-hitter is an easy choice. It gave even Phillies anti-enthusiasts such as myself something to cheer about.

Coolest lady: 18-year-old Japanese knuckle-baller Eri Yoshida, of course.

Random video and audio clips of the year: Timmy the Wizard and Barry Zito: Unicorn Master… On a side note, either one of those could be adapted into a sensational TV series.

Greatest Quotes : Jamie Moyer, on being informed that he had just become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a shutout:

Really? Cool.

And a gem from lovable Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld:

102 years is not that long.

Goodbyes: Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre (?), Ken Griffey Jr… I mean, the list just goes on and on.

And finally…

Thing of the Year: To me, the most memorable and outstanding  thing/event/game of 2010 was the Armando Galarraga- Jim Joyce game. It provided as potent a fodder for the waxings of baseball sentimentalists (like me) as ever there was. I’ll remember this game longer than I will remember that the Giants won the World Series, or that Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jiminez and whoever else threw no-hitters. The behavior of both men was exemplary. The class of Mr. Galarraga and Mr. Joyce will stand out in my mind far longer than the perfect game would have.


 

 

 

“Toasted Ranger, anyone?”

Before I say anything, let me just state that the title of this post does not imply that I assume Texas is toast (Rhyme!) I simply happened to have the quote in my database and figured a more opportune time to use it was not likely to soon present itself.

The Rangers may not be toast yet, but the fact is, they have their backs to the wall. Both their fans and bloggers who picked them to win are now nervous. Coming back isn’t impossible, but it ain’t looking likely.

Tonight’s game will feature the repeat match-up of Timmy Lincecum and Cliff Lee. While the first go-around of this battle-of-aces was a thorough disappointment, I think round two will be different. I think (or at least hope) that both pitchers will be their acey selves this time. But who has the edge? This is the way I see it, broken down into a few important factors:

Track Records : This is Mr. Lincecum’s first postseason and World Series, and only Mr. Lee’s second so this factor doesn’t hold too much weight. Both pitchers have performed very well in their limited postseason experience. I see the scales tipped ever so slightly in Mr. Lee’s favor.

Composure: Not that Timmy is uncomposed or anything, but this category I also give to Mr. Lee. He always seems to eat pressure for brunch.

Hair: If any pitcher is capable of drawing some Samsonian power from his locks, it is Mr. Lincecum.

Height: Mr. Lee obviously gets this one. Sorry, Tim… it’s only fair.

Hitting: Unfortunately, neither pitcher will get to hit tonight in Texas. Cliff Lee would best Mr. Lincecum if they did. I consider it a true shame he’s been an American League lifer.

Middle Names: This one is tough. Clifton Phifer Lee or Timothy LeRoy Lincecum. In the end, I have to go with Mr. Lincecum purely because another great pitcher by the name of Halladay also bears the middle name LeRoy.

Offense & Defense: Who will be face the tougher batters, and who will be better supported their teammates? It’s impossible to know for sure. On one hand, Texas put forward some of the best offensive stats of any team during the regular season. On the other hand, the Rangers bats have been effectively silenced thus far and the Giants hitters have burst out from outta nowhere. On a third hand, it is hard to believe that such a potent offense as Texas has will be kept at bay for very long. Whether it is too late for them to salvage the series or not, I feel that the Rangers offense will do enough to support Mr. Lee tonight.

The Bottom Line: I’m giving this one to Cliff Lee and his Rangers. I think they will live to fight another day. There is still, of course, the very real possibility that tonight’s game will be the last of the 2010 Major League Baseball season. I highly recommend tuning in. You know… just in case.

R is for Rookie

In honor of the American and National League Championship Series, we’re going to take a fun little stroll down memory lane and revisit what some of the more prominent players looked like as rookies (or, even better, minor leaguers.) Why? Because it’s fun.

~

NLCS

Tim Lincecum: Insert your own caption here. My head is about to explode with all the possibilities…

Jimmy Rollins: You know how in some sitcoms they’ll do flashback episodes and give the main characters ridiculous hairstyles to communicate the point that they’re supposed to be younger? It’s the sort of thing audiences laugh at because it is so silly and unrealistic. Yet if you put a braided wig on Jimmy Rollins now… would he not look exactly the same as he does on this card?

Harry Leroy Halladay:

Jayson Werth: I know that I have posted this photo before, but I simply can’t get over it.ALCS

Kerry Wood: Before he lost the baby fat.

CC Sabathia: His baby fat never went anywhere.

Derek Jeter: I could have produced an entire gallery of just amusing Derek Jeter rookie photos. Not even joking.

Josh Hamilton: The face is the same… the forearms, not so much.

Vladimir Guerrero: When Vladdy was but a laddy.

Cliff Lee: Clifton Phifer Lee looks exactly the same now as he did 8 years ago. Ten bucks says that another 8 years won’t change him a bit, either.

“That’s just hair-ible!” Part Two

Over a month ago I started a list of the worst hair and facial hair stylings in Major League Baseball. Then, I totally forgot about it. Until yesterday.

I know that you, my viewers, have an almost infinite array of blogs to choose from if you want to read about how hopeless the Cubs are, or about the race in the NL West, or about what a great pitcher Felix Hernandez is. You can find such stuff anywhere, and almost anyone could give you better information on any of those things than I. You come to The Fair Base Ballist to find out which ballplayers have the worst hair. You probably don’t really need me to tell you that, either. But maybe, just maybe, you need the occasional breather from the Cubs, the NL West race, and Felix Hernandez. The FBB is here for you in those times.

And so, I give to you Part Two of the hair-ible countdown. (Part One is here, if you’d like to catch up.)

~

#5/#4. Bobby Jenks and Ryan Franklin: What these men have growing on their faces defy the term “chin animal.” There could be actual chipmunks hiding in there and we would never know it.

#3. Tim Lincecum: There can be no doubt that Timmy looks more like a little girl out of the 16th or 17th century than any major leaguer in history. I congratulate him on the achievement.

#2. Jayson Werth: Wilder looking than any Oceanic Flight 815 survivor ever was.

#1. Manny Ramirez: No ballplayer’s locks have ever disturbed me more. Perhaps because I can’t shake the notion that they’re alive and almost certainly hostile. Manny’s hair may yet kill us all.

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”

Spring is in full swing, guys. At least in Arizona and Florida it is. It’s still about 2 degrees here in Virginia. The first game of the exhibition season was played Tuesday, and the Cubs have their first this afternoon. Randy Wells will take the bump! Perhaps the biggest question is whether or not I’ll burst into tears the moment those sweet words, “Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!” reach my ears. *Ahem.* Anyway, all I’ve really got for y’all today is a mess of springy odds and ends.

Around The Majors

-Up-and-coming Washington outfielder Nyjer Morgan is apparently an Alex Ovechkin fan and hockey enthusiast in general. And when I say “enthusiast,” I mean he moved to Canada for four years to play hockey. Check out the video interview Yahoo’s Big League Stew put up. You learn something new every day, eh?

-Pheeew. That Tim Lincecum just has a way about him. Click here and watch the hilarious video, which features everyone’s favorite diminutive Cy Young winner doing some Snuggie modeling. (Also, look out San Francisco area Bed, Bath & Beyond shoppers! You might see little Timmy one of these days. And apparently he will drop his pants at the drop of a dime.)

-Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ 15 million dollar baby, has been living up to the hype so far, displaying both sick pitching prowess and poise. Whether he’ll start the season in the Major Leagues remains to be seen. Washington manager Jim Riggleman had this to say: “He could probably do it. We all know that already. But there’s a lot more that goes into it than that. It can’t hurt him to go somewhere and work on his craft, to get used to pitching every fifth day instead of every six or seven days, which is the schedule in college. The most important thing is how long he’s going to pitch in the major leagues, not how quickly he gets here.”

Regardless of where he starts out, it looks like the Nats found a keeper.

From Cubs Camp

-Starlin Castro won’t start in the Cubs’ first Cactus League game this afternoon as was originally reported, but is supposed to be coming off the bench. Hopefully within the next few weeks we’ll all have a good idea of what’s cookin’. Lou Piniella observed that, “He handles himself very professionally for a young kid out here, he really does. He’s calm. He’s not awed by being here. He’s relaxed. He’s not starry-eyed. If you didn’t know he was 19 years old, you couldn’t guess he was 19.” Bench coach Alan Trammel, who himself debuted at shortstop for the Detroit Tiger at 19, added some observations of his own: “He showed professionalism. I know he’s young and most guys are quiet, which he is, but he’s attentive and he’s under control.” From this and everything else I’ve heard, I feel like Starlin has the right kind of attitude.

-Comcast Sportsnet Chicago has a nice little video library. Check out the one from 2/27 to catch some glimpses at Mr. Castro and some fellow prospects. While you’re at it, take a look at the Xavier Nady clip. I keep forgetting about him, but if this guy is healthy he could end up making quite the impact.

-Has anyone seen Micah Hoffpauir lately? Man alive! It looks like he’s trying to give Jeff Samardzija a run for his money in the hair department. You would hardly recognize him. Unfortunately I have been unable to procure any photographs.

One for the road.

The FBB’s Year In Review: The (Unconventional) Bests, Worsts & Mosts of 2009

Well, dear reader, 2009 is drawing to a close. In a few days a new year will dawn, bringing new hopes and dreams with it. Before we embark on that new 365-day journey, let us take a moment to reflect on the many unique events that filled the last one…


BEST broadcasting moment: This remarkable call comes from the Seattle Mariners radio announcer Mike Blowers. If you haven’t seen/heard this yet, you must. (Honorable Mention: Ron Santo singing “Kumbaya” on air)

BEST catch: OK, so this is a conventional category. The “catch,” though, is anything but. It involves some ballet-like teamwork and two Pittsburgh Pirates you’ve probably never heard of. I’m probably the only person stiffing the Dewayne Wise catch in this category. Speaking of which…

BEST pitching performance: Everyone automatically thinks, Mark Buehrle’s perfect-o. That’s probably what everyone should think of, as a perfect game is a very rare and special accomplishment. No disrespect to Mr. Buehrle, but I’m gonna give this one to the San Francisco Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez. Because the Wise catch would have been a home-run 99 times out of 100. Because the only thing that kept Mr. Sanchez’s no-hitter from being a perfect game was a fielding error. And because I just want to be different. So there.

BEST line uttered: Courtesy Tim Lincecum, who was describing his panda bear-ish teammate Pablo Sandoval:  “His hair’s pretty fuzzy looking. He’s got a cute little smile and he gives really good hugs.” (Honorable mention: from Greg Maddux’s number retirement speech at Wrigley Field, “Let’s beat the Marlins today!”)

BEST worst headline: From ESPN’s website, “Texas Rangers Quietly Make Noise At Winter Meetings”

WORST headline: Sports Illustrated’s big headline for its World Series preview article read, “BIG SEXY SERIES.” Really, SI? Really?

MOST weepy events: The death of Nick Adenhart and Ernie Harwell’s farewell speech to Tigers fans.

BEST “news” article: The Phillies should have done a little research, because Roy Halladay doesn’t actually exist.

MOST exciting/improbable play-off series: I gotta give a shout-out to the hometown boys. Our Rebels, with a line-up depleted by injuries, defeated the bitter rival Luray Wranglers in the first round of Valley League play-offs. N’er have I been so proud!

BEST name: My second favorite part of the MLB draft (behind hearing a familiar name called) is some of the truly odd monikers of the selected players. This year’s greatest name was Seth Schwindenhammer. That’s a 15-letter surname (look out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia!) Runner up: Dexter Bobo.

MOST laughable PED accusation: Ryan Theriot… some journalists clearly had too much time on their hands.

WORST gameday weather: Will anyone who was there ever forget the crazy New Market hailstorm of ’09?

MOST readable preseason coverage: Walkoff Walk’s “BONILLA Projections” were the only ones worth reading, in my opinion, and are worth a looksy even now.

BEST musical performance: Mr. T’s rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame trumps all. Sorry, Alicia Keyes.

BEST baserunner: This guy.

WORST celebration: Some people thought this was fun and innocent. I thought it was garbage. (Honorable mention: I heard that when the Dodgers beat St. Louis in the NLDS, they used up all their victory champagne and beer and eventually started pouring water and milk on each other.)

MOST heartwarming first pitch: At least the Brewers are capable of doing something classy.

MOST gutsy glovework: I just wanted to slip this Sam Fuld catch in somewhere…