February 2008

It’s Our Season Now

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It’s time to give a Say-Hey to brand-new Sphere rookies like The Baseball Diet, Fenway Franks, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Who’s your tiger?, 90 Feet to Home, Reds Field Level, Perfect Pitch and for anyone who ever wondered what it’s like to live out a dream, Joe Fuller Red Sox Fantasy 08. Also to Nat-King, who’s reppin’ Washington as they get ready for a gorgeous new ballpark.

In honor of our friend Bill over at Phightin’ Phils Phorum, whose profile pic features the Citizens Bank Park dugout phones, we thought we would post a dugout phone shot from our own digital pic…and many other summertime fixtures just to help set the tone here. That includes a shot I took of Willie Mays above the night before the Dream Induction last July in Cooperstown. Baseball. It’s our season now, so let’s clean out the Canon Powershot.

To start out, remind yourself of the sweetest swing. Not once in this person’s career has it resulted in anything short of 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. No Major League career ever has compared so far. I took this during the 2006 NLCS at Shea…

This will be the last year that anyone ever will call from these phones in the Yankee Stadium home dugout:

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This unquestionably gets transplanted in the new Yankee Stadium for 2009 — and it will even be the 60th anniversary of the date that Joltin’ Joe said it. Yankees traditionally slap this overhead as they walk the tunnel from clubhouse to dugout.

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Yeah, right:

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Oops, where did this come from. There’s a new Joe. This one’s gone Hollywood.

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I took this video at Big Cat Country inside Comerica during the 2006 World Series.

What’s on tap across the street from Fenway. In 2007, believe it or not, I made my first-ever pilgrimage to the legendary park. I wound up spending most of my October there, standing next to Papelbon and Youk as they did their strut on the infield following Game 7 vs. Cleveland.

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The best food known to man…

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And even better here (picture from my fat pre-running days)…

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Check out this video. My favorite one from my own camera. Jeremy Bonderman rescues everyone around him during a Tiger BP session:

Two friends and "geniuses" whose teams’ 2007 seasons did not end the way they had hoped — another lesson that what we expect rarely will happen:

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Terrific Tom is just a great memory around Shea Stadium. After 2008, Shea Stadium itself will be nothing more than a memory to Mets fans. Think back to the Summer of ’69, and what it was like on this field. Maybe Shea will go out in style now that they have another pretty dominating pitcher in the fold and the guy who I think is the best player in the National League (David Wright).

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Cub fans can’t wait to get into the gates for their 100th anniversary season…

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Bless every usher, from the youngest at any ballpark to all of those senior citizens who wipe the rain off your seat at the Friendly Confines and help you find your way.

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This, to me, is baseball. It is the consistent knock of a bat on a baseball, spraying them around a place like Chase Field (below) to keep a swing honed over more than half a year. It is players and coaches hanging around the cage, exchanging banter for 162-plus. It is the nucleus of the game — BP, and attempted execution follows it every time.

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Valentine’s Day is almost here. Pitchers and catchers and ballpark dogs and BP and rickety Fenway seats and Pujols’ swing and Comerica fun and Wrigley optimism and New York nostalgia and the game we embrace every year again at this time. True love.

UPDATE 2/6: Take a look at the fourth comment on the MLBlog of David Mickey Evans, director of "The Sandlot" and the recent major motion picture "The Final Season." It’s Kent Stock, who was portrayed in "The Final Season." That’s pretty cool.

Bring on Opening Day

Finish2Updated after the Super Bowl: My unquestioned objective in life is to tie everything that is good in the world to baseball, and I do it in the form of hundreds of MLB.com articles each year. That includes writing a regularly updated story on the homepage main panel during every Super Bowl, and you can find the latest one there now. I had to share with you this email from a crestfallen Patriots fan in Red Sox Nation, and I can’t think of a better way to remind us all of how much Yankees and Red Sox fans love each other and how I can’t wait for that regular season finale between those two clubs at Fenway Park: " Your unduly ebullient recounting of the The Giant’s (sic) victory leaves my stomach unsteady. I’ll attribute it to that niggling
"Objectivity" you journalist-types get all puffy about.  Yes, the
Giants won, yes Mr. Manning had a good game and won the MVP one following his
brother, yes I needed to have a kitchen knife wrested from my trembling hands as
I tried to plunge it into my carotid artery." Have at it, MLBloggers!

OK, I had to throw a running picture on here so I can look back on a typical balmy August afternoon at the ballpark and see how it felt to be really cold after running the Manhattan Half-Marathon last weekend, two laps around Central Park. By the way, PR baby – 2:18.58. Next 26.2 mile voyage is April 6 St. Louis Marathon, so I get to train during Spring Training, too. Any runners, hit me up. . . . We want to welcome our friends over at the Colorado Rockies front office, because now they have their own official MLBlog — Rockies Inside Pitch. It’s another unique opportunity for a team’s fan base to comment and interact directly with their club, for information minus the traditional media filter. . . . Kids say the funniest things. Just ask Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey, who blogged about the questions they just asked him. And by the way, feel free to leave a comment on Slowey’s post asking him what he thought about the Johan Santana deal. Santana to the Mets? All I can say is this is going to be one unreal Sendoff Season for both New York ballparks, with a Sendoff Series certainly not an impossibility. . . . It’s amazing how many teams you could easily pick right now as world champs. I’m going down the list and literally could do that with more than half the clubs and have no problem with it. But out of everyone, the Angels look scariest to me. What an outfield, what a team. MLBlogs are made for preseason predictions, might as well leave yours here with URLs. . . . Sixers Dancers vs. Phillies Ballgirls. . . . How many people plan to liveblog every game this season? . . . Now that it’s February, and football officially hands off to baseball, what are you main blogging plans for this season? Have fun.

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