25 September 2016

José Fernández

Coming out of "retirement" to write a few things.

Honestly, while I do love baseball, I can't muster the same kind of enthusiasm that I had when I first began running this blog... or even before I began this blog, really.  Is that what growing up is?  I guess not, really.  It's personal issues that have hampered/dampened my excitement -- while I don't tend to speak about these issues on a "public" blog like this one, this is the reality I live in.

That being said, I do still love baseball, and I enjoy watching it, and there are still individual players that can coax me the midst of the dull haze... my usual darlings and lovies, and, though he wasn't a part of the Braves organization, José Fernández.  I remember gushing to Lauren on more than one occasion how much I just love José.  I love watching him pitch, love watching him hit, love watching his antics in the dugout, love reading and looking at his Instagram.  He was just instantly loveable, to me.  I think I fell in love a little the moment I first saw him on television.  How can you not?  He was so very adorable -- that face!  That dazzling smile!  He just seemed so very happy.  The happiness he had just from... breathing... it was... it IS magenetic.  It was magical to watch him play baseball

I had just seen him play the Braves... September 14, 2016.  A great match up.  Our own adorable Julio Teheran vs the vibrant happy José Fernández.  I was sitting in the front row of section 118, right next to the dugout.  I was less than 20 feet away from him.  I could see his teeth because he smiled so widely as he spoke exuberantly to his coaches, his teammates.  I could hear him laughing and gesturing wildly.  I saw him playing with his hair.  He was lively, unabashed, totally at ease, and full of cheek and mischief.  He was so very animated.  Just looking at him made me smile; he utterly melted my ice-cold heart from the get-go through the television... so in person, it was even more intense.  This wasn't the first time I've seen him live, but it was the first time I was so close.  The seats themselves make me smile, but in spite of the Braves losing, I couldn't stop grinning.  The fans around me were very confused when I cheered simultaneously for the Braves and the Marlins.  I couldn't help myself... Martín Prado?  Jeff Francoeur?  Giancarlo "Mike/I'm not even a rookie anymore" Stanton?  Suzuki Ichiro?  And that ebullient, joyous José Fernández?  Yes please, all of this forever.  I, in fact, told my friends that, with the exception of a few players, I would have been perfectly pleased to exchange the entire team with the Braves.  I love the Braves, but the Marlins are simply more fun and more entertaining to watch.  Not because they are now winning... but they just... they're more fun.  It's just true.

In my head, I called him "Baby Boy."  I don't think I told anybody that, because it's just silly... I didn't know him!  It seemed presumptuous, but I felt like I DID know him... He had that sparkle of kid in the candy store about baseball -- it emanated from him in tidal waves.  If you had any kind of soul, you could feel it -- in person, on television.  It was palpable and real.  You could tell he didn't take himself too seriously.  I couldn't help but adore him.  I got actually mad when fans of my team booed him.  (He had beaned Nick Markakis -- also one of my boys... and then our guy tried to bean him back... aimed for the head from what I saw.  Our guy got thrown out.  I don't like beanings, but I also get it... but not the head, people.)  (Also, I generally hate booing.)  He took all of it in stride, and though he struck out, he kind of shrugged and smiled once he was back in the dugout... and proceeded to dismantle us when he was back on the mound.  All while smiling.

I feel incomprehensibly and incredibly saddened by his death.  I felt sickened, to be honest.  I still feel a bit nauseated, actually.  I'm currently out of town, in Durham, NC, working a bead show with my mother.  The convention center in which the bead show is hosted is connected to a hotel... and the hotel bar/lounge area has televisions.  I was passing by the lounge to get coffee for my mother when I saw images and videos of Fernández plastered on 2 of the screens (but I was too far away to read the text or hear any of the audio).  As soon as I got her coffee, I took out my phone and Googled him, thinking, "He must've done something amazing during a game... or at worst, he got suspended for something silly and ridiculous."  To my horror, the first thing I saw was "Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez, 2 Others Killed In Miami Boat Crash."

Wait, what?

I remember gasping and tearing up and feeling an overwhelming urge to vomit.  Is this a joke?

I got on Twitter.  (I get news from Twitter, y'all.  That is the state of journalism nowadays... that is tragic.)

It was not.

It was not, from multiple sources.  I Googled again, hoping that this was the worst, most tasteless hoax.  Some terrible hack.

But it wasn't a hoax.  It was not a joke.  How can this be real?

My first thought was, "Oh, God... but his girlfriend and their baby... oh, no, this can't be."  Followed by, "Does Lauren know?"  I didn't want to break the news to my girl so early in the morning.  (Because of the bead show, I've been up since 6 AM.  I think I found out around 8:15...)  I still feel ill.  Lauren ended up contacting me, actually.  We are mourning together over the internet.  We are feeling sad for his family, for his girlfriend, for their baby-on-the-way...

I've been all over Twitter, reading about his smile, his infectious beautiful genuine smile.  His laughter, his liveliness.  There were mentions of his baseball prowess, of course.  But mostly?  Everybody spoke of his heart, his laughter, his smile, his journey from Cuba, his relationship with his family.  What a legacy to leave at only the age of 24... that he remembered first and foremost for his vivacious personality and his love of family and life... and then his dominance in the baseball world.

Rest in peace.  May you continue to shine down upon us, and may your joyousness serve as a reminder and example to others to live life passion, to love life as hard as you can, and to laugh through it all.

19 March 2012

Braves License Plate!!

Here is a link:  http://braves.com/tags

Go on.  Click on it.  

This is pretty cool stuff, y'all.

"Atlanta Braves fans will soon be able to show their team spirit and support the Atlanta Braves Foundation as they traverse Georgia's roads and highways, with a state-issued Atlanta Braves license plate. Before this plate can be produced, we must collect 1,000 commitments from Georgia drivers who want to show their Braves pride on their license plate. Place your $25 manufacturing reservation below today, and be among the first to get the new Braves tag.

Your credit card will not be charged until 1,000 commitments have been received. Once manufactured, you will request and pay for your Braves plate from your local county tag office. For new and renewal license plates, there will be an annual charge of $35 for the specialty plates in addition to your regular vehicle registration fees and the $25 manufacturing fee charged here. Further details will be communicated to all applicants once the initial 1,000 submissions have been received."

This could be your license plate.  Dig it.

15 November 2011

As Molly Would Say, "I Will Cut You"

Do you see this tweet?  DO YOU SEE THIS TWEET?  Unacceptable.

I am devastated, you guys.  I realize that I’ve completely lax in posting anything of merit on this here blog*, but I am simply devastated at the thought that anybody would EVER want to trade Martin Prado.  No good willcome from this.  There is a not a single player, no combination of hotshot prospects, no right handed power bat, no veteran presence that would EVER make a Prado trade OK, ever.  EVER.

Lauren called me dramatic (jokingly), but whatever.  All of these jerks on sitting behind their computers, playing GM, trying to trade my INVALUABLE favorite player is going to make me pretty upset.  You would not like it either if there were constant rumors swirling around about YOUR favorite player being snatched away from you and you know it.  Don’t even front.  

Also, by the way, people.  Don’t try to sit here and placate me like I’m a child, saying, “I understand why they did/want to do this, because blah blah blah.  It’s what is best for the team.”  You just sound like the teacher from the Charlie Brown specials.  Don’t you try to lambast me with your “superior” baseball knowledge either; so you know how to read the Internet and watch the game.  Guess what, Sherlock?  Me, too.  Don’t you tell me to be reasonable like, “Trading him would result in a better future for the team.”

Whatever.  I do not give a rat’s behind.  He should stay, plain and simple.  There, I said it.  I am NOT interested in your opinions as to why that isn’t true.  You can say I’m wrong all day long, but that won’t make a lick of difference to me (because I’m right).  There’s no point in getting into an argument with me; I will win out of sheer stubbornness (as well as the fact that I am RIGHT).  I know how to construct a clear-cut logical and persuasive argument just as well as any debater can, and I am stubborn. 

At least I know that Molly and Jane have got my back on this.  And I know some of the other readers out there understand.  This is Martin Prado we’re talking about here!

All of this is quite distressing to me.  The Braves’ supply of Venezuelan lovies dwindles, and my patience wears thin when there are threats (yes, THREATS) of trade of the remaining and most beloved Venezuelan, the man who can do anything/everything.  Seriously.  You want to trade Mr. Sunny Skies??????????????  Please do us all a favor and evaporate from existence.

Martin Prado is off-limits.  Do not touch.  This is NOT ok.

[pictures to follow.  I'm on my lunch-break now, and I do not have access.]

*Yes, I have been busy.  And yes, I actually have been writing posts, but things are happening too fast for me… and the quality of the post just… was not good.  I don’t claim to be the best writer in the world, by any means, particularly when writing about sports, but still.  There is a certain standard of quality I try to follow before I decide to publish something that I wrote on the internet for the 10 of y’all to see.  In other words, I have a backlog of posts about the playoffs, the World Series, Farewell-Player posts, and trade rumors.  Maybe i'll post some of them, or edit them so that they aren't so... obviously overdue.

05 November 2011

Playing Catch... Up.

Yeah, so I'm constantly playing catch up, but...

I got a new phone, and several "shouty" posts I had made never actually made it to the Internet.  I don't know if  it is me, the network, or the phone.  Either way, I'm weighing in.

You know, because MY opinion is extra interesting and important.  You're just dying to hear it.  Don't worry.  I will deprive you of this no longer.

  2. Frank Wren is entertaining offers on JAIR JURRJENS WTF.
  3. JC Boscan and Alex Gonzalez are both free agents.  NOT COOL.  WE ARE RUNNING LOW ON OUR SUPPLY OF VENEZUELANS.  
  4. Fielding percentage and errors are overrated ways to decide who is a better fielder, unless there is a large number of errors and a very low fielding percentage, since it is up to the official scorer.  Therefore, I don't give a rat's behind that Tulo had a better percentage and less errors.  Our Gonzo was robbed and that is that.
  5. I, for one, will miss D-Lowe.  I am well aware that last year was a terrible year and that he had a monster contract and blah blah blah.  I do not care.  I will still miss him because he was fun, and damn it... the tenacity from 2010 really endeared him to me.  I love that I witnessed his first home run.  I know that it is better for the team, and that's great.  But this could have been avoided by NOT giving him a ridic contract in the first place, which forced us to trade JAVIER VAZQUEZ.

01 November 2011

03SEPT2011: Braves Family Field Day

I’ll be honest. I was reluctant to go when I discovered it was going to be FAMILY Field Day rather than a ladies-only Baseball 101 this year. It isn’t that I dislike children. I don’t. I rather like children. Now, whether or not they like me, on the other hand, is a whole other story. But with the addition of children to the mix, as well as parents-who-are-watching-their-kids, now, I was a little wary on the whole thing. BFFD was not particularly expensive given all that was included, but when one is on a budget, one begins to think very carefully about how to use one’s “disposable income.” (You’ll have to forgive me, I was an Econ major for a long time.)
A picture of all of the crap I got.  Yeah, about that.  Fail.  I completely did not do that.
It was a fun day, though, it began on a slightly silly/panicked note. A friend of mine, Tyler, was leaving town the night before (Friday). (This blog, incidentally, shares its birthday with Tyler. Hurray, Tyler! He is not a baseball fan. But he is an Atlanta fan.)

Friends circa elementary school.  :)

I went out to meet up him, his girlfriend Awesome Amanda, and a bunch of friends. But before that happened, I met up with my best HAC Linda, since I was going to be watching her toy fox terrier, Izzy. (Izzy is very small, and very sweet, and very neurotic. All of these traits lead to hours of hilarity.) I got home, exhausted, since I have a Big Girl Job now (no more waitressing, y’all. I don’t know if I ever mentioned that. I’m no longer in Customer Ser—Oh, wait. Sigh), and I have the attention span of a 3-year-old and the energy level of a 60 year old. (I made those numbers up. With SCIENCE.) I was not home at the time I intended to be home in spite of my Big Girl Job, which mentally exhausts me. I’m masochistic, it seems. And then I wonder why my body hates me. :P

Best HAC Linda & the Roaring Izzy-Boo

So I set the alarm and went to sleep, intending to check my email in the morning to confirm final details of BFFD. I knew that it started at 10, so I figured that I would get up at 7:45. That… turned out nice. I had forgotten that I had a dog with me, you see. And she was simply not cooperating that morning. She wanted to cuddle and sleep, but also run around and meet all the strangers with their strange new smells. I just wanted her to pee and poo. She didn’t/wouldn’t. I left the house at 8:53 after making some phone calls to Lauren about details, as my email told me pretty much nothing.
Screencap:  My email

Screencap: Lauren's email

Lauren: Did you check your Spam folder?
Me: Yes. In spite of the fact that I have it set specifically so that anything from “@braves.com” would not go into the Spam folder.
Susan: I got a phone call to confirm what my email address is, and I got the same email as Lauren.
Me: >:|
I’m beginning to think my email address is on some kind of taboo list or something for Braves related emails (unless they’re trying to tempt me into purchasing their wares with promises of discounts and/or free shipping and the like). Maybe they’re trying to tell me something? :(
After securing a promise from family members to watch the pup, let her out to do her business (which, they later reported, she didn’t do… she just sniffed everything and strained against the leash, trying to dash across the street and into the yard of a neighbor with a dog that is probably a gazillion times her size), I set off to Turner Field. I got there at 9:57AM. Signed in, dashed around the stadium and into the stands, where everybody else was, and found Lauren and Susan.

check out the enthusiasm on everybody's faces.  ;P
And here were our “instructors.” Hello, C-Mart, Georgie, Meds, Brooksy, EOF, & Deer Jonnay!
They were so excited (especially Brooks).
And off we went!

First station was the hitting station. There were at least 30 of us in a group, I think. And Jose Constanza was the hitting instructor (with the little kids) and then someone-whose-name-I-can’t-remember-who-was-very-nice taught the rest of us. We hit off a tee. I whiffed first. It was… amazing. Lauren has a picture of me missing the ball ON THE TEE. D; My own pictures weren’t so amazing… And I am not very good at editing photos, I feel. (That’s why the idea is to always try to get it right the first time.) But I got 2 good shots of Susan, and that was really about it… Everything else was blurry. Basically? Photography FAIL. And this is why I am an amateur. :P

Photo was SO dark, but Susan is SO cute!!
Had to keep it.
Next station: RUN THE BASES. This was staff, and no players. I did not run those bases. Are you kidding me? It’s nearing noon in Atlanta in the summer and you want me to run these bases in my inappropriate shorts and bad knees? Nope. I skipped that, yessir. I did not take pictures. I thought about it briefly.
Third station: Fielding grounders with Brooks Conrad and Kris Medlen. The group split into two, with no real guidance as to how many Brooksy should take and how many Meds should take. Brooks was closer, so most people stayed with him. Lauren, Susan, and I (aside: I just noticed that all of us are “uns”… our names… right, irrelevant) headed over into Meds’ line. He asked if we wanted gum, and then tossed a handful at us like… confetti. Except that it’s gum. (And it was GROSS… like… seemed like it’d already been chewed!) And we laughed at him for throwing it at us like he’s on a parade float or something. He shrugged and said, “I gotta bribe people to come hang out with me” or something along those lines. (Oh, Meds… don’t be ridic. Like you actually need to bribe people with gum to hang with you. Honestly.)
I don’t have a glove, so Lauren lent hers to me. Let me just say, that I haven’t put a glove on my hand since I was in the ninth grade. I won’t tell you how long ago that was, since it sort of depresses me. And I hadn’t thrown a tennis ball (much less a BASEBALL) in at least five years (hmm, just checked. Yep, still depressed.). So you can imagine my shock that the ball actually almost made it all the way near Meds. He was not super close either. And he would trick you after a couple of turns. This was my second favorite station because Meds was so fun, and because our line was so short, we could just continuously get back in line and field-and-throw. He gave pointers (“Ok, plant your feet!  Good!”), and he was totally encouraging when you made throws that fell just a little short (“You almost got it!”). Good times. When I did get one to him finally (guess I was sufficiently warmed up by then?), he said, “Hey, good job! You got it all the way over!” Cue Aly BEAM.
Pictures are few and far between. Sorry. I think, at this point, I decided that I was going to play with Lauren’s New Camera (part 1).  As such, Lauren's camera suddenly got a jillion pictures because of my messing with it.  Sorry!!
Station 4: Jonny Venters & Eric O’Flaherty, our cutie lefty bullpen monsters, in the visitor bullpen. This, I was nervous about.
1. I cannot catch. I have the very worst hand-eye-coordination of any relatively healthy human being I know.
2. I cannot throw. I know I just threw with Meds, and I USED to throw in the baseball games with all the neighborhood kids we could scrounge up. But that does not mean I can actually throw. Plus, my old wrist “injury” (for lack of better word) still plagues me a little bit.
3. Um, hello?! I’m standing next to members of my darling Braves. That’s going to get any girl nervous. I’m not exactly known for being outgoing and gregarious, you know. [This reminds me of an episode of Doctor Who called “The Girl in the Fireplace.” One of the lines goes (about the King of France), “He is the King, and I love him with all my heart. And I look forward to meeting him someday.” Obviously, these guys are not kings, but it’s kind of a similar thing? Sort of? Ok, maybe not. I’ll shut up. But… check out that episode. Totally awesome.]
Here are some pictures I took of EOF.  While I’ve managed to get several great Jonny pictures in times past, pictures of EOF never seem to do him justice.  I was on a mission.  And that mission was to get a flattering shot of EOF.

This was not it.
This is blurry and generally bad, but so cute.
So it stays.

Isn't our Eric O'Flaherty gorgeous?  Our Reliever is Better-Looking Than Your Reliever.  Depend on it.
This picture STILL doesn't do him any justice.

This is the best I could manage.  I took a lot, too, I am ashamed to admit.  Why do I fail??

It seemed as though we weren’t going to end up pitching though, because… again, the lines were not organized, it was just “Ok, we’re gonna coach you a little bit on how to pitch. THROW A BUNCH OF PITCHES GOOD JOB!” We didn’t get near able to go when they started calling time, and trying to usher us along to the next station. I was about to be resigned that we weren’t going to be able to pitch when Lauren walked right up to EOF and said, “We’ve got time for pictures, but not enough time for everybody to pitch?” Eric looked genuinely sorry, and said, “You didn’t get to throw? You should have gotten in there! Some of the kids went 2 or 3 times.” In my head, I was thinking “Yeah. In each line.” I’m an older sibling. I’m also the oldest cousin. So I’m used to just letting kids do whatever while I watch. But honestly, that’s a bit stupid since I had to pay to participate… only not to participate. So Eric O’Flaherty being super-amazing, told us that he would catch and we could throw RIGHT THEN AND THERE. By this point, EVERYBODY in our group except Lauren, Susan, and me were out of the bullpen. It was literally our group guide, Jonny, EOF, and us girls.
It just occurred to me that I could/should have mentioned that it would be my birthday the next day. Guess that shows how important it is to me. Like, I recognize that it is my birthday. But I don’t plan or expect fantastic things to happen. It’s just another day. If I do something cool, “yay!” If not, that’s fine, too.
Right. So Susan went first and did such a great job! (Let’s take a second to talk about how ADORBZ Susan is, please. She’s so cute!! And funny. <3) I went next, and felt utterly stupid. I had no idea what I was doing, honestly. My first pitch made it to EOF, and he was very much like, “Hey, not bad!” But when he threw it back, I couldn’t catch, and it hit me in the chest, after I fumbled the ball. I’m not used to gloves… or catching. This has never in my life been a strong suit. I have an ill sense of balance as well. I can only sort of walk in a straight line, and I cannot stand still without swaying and maybe falling. These are true statements. So if I am ever pulled over stone cold sober, and given field sobriety tests, I’m pretty sure that my butt is going to be in county lock up. I told EOF that I couldn’t catch in what must have sounded like a pathetic voice, but I really was mortified. I CAN sort of catch… sometimes. He on the other hand, was apologizing for throwing it at me… but come on… I’m supposed to catch it and throw it back. Jonny was like, “I’ll catch it for you, don’t worry.” Thanks, Jonny! So after I embarrassed myself a little bit more (I think one of pitches went the complete wrong direction, groan). EOF made the most hilarious “oops/yikes” face. Then Lauren goes, throwing hard, and the guys are all surprised. Meanwhile, she’s like, “Oh, that was soft.”
Susan and me: “hooooookay.” (with a side of rolled eyes for me)
EOF: “That was NOT soft.”
Jonny: :O “Looked pretty good to me!” :O
Yes, Lauren. We know you throw hard. ;)

Much to the relief of our chaperone/guide person, we made our way over to Station 5: Pop Ups with Cristhian Martinez. We were way behind the crowd. Cristhian saw us approaching, and came up, held out his hand. “Hi, what’s up?” I shook it, “Hi!” Lauren shook his hand, “Hi, we’re sorry we’re a little late!” Susan shook his hand and said, “Hi. I’m Susan.” (See, not only is she cute, she’s a smartie, too.) Cristhian seemed kind of taken aback by this, but only for a split second, grinned and said, “What’s up, I’m Cristhian.” We took pictures with Cristhian instead of catching pop ups. Then we took pictures of ourselves. Then a nice man took a picture for us. And then… it was time to go, and I didn’t catch a pop up. But like I said… I can’t catch. Really, though, at that point, all I wanted was water. It was a very hot day.

Attempt 1: I like this one best, but I do NOT enjoy my hair.

Attempt 2:  Why am I leaning so awkwardly??

Attempt 3:  A nice man took this picture...
I want to crop myself out of this otherwise great photo.

Station 6: Autograph Session – You know. A line forms. You get your crap signed (in my case, the free t-shirt from the event which I will never wear), exchange small talk and pleasantries, and shuffle along. I got a picture with awesome Eric O’Flaherty… I heart him forever, to Infante and beyond. (Can we have a conversation about how this man is literally gorgeous? Absolutely beautiful.) Got one with Brooksy, too. Yay! And also, Jose Constanza. Yay! Everybody was so nice. Loved it. Then it was time to eat… I ate a hamburger and then I downed 2 bottles of water and half a bottle of Coke.
OK.  Pictures!  Bwaahaha!

Eric O'Flaherty :)
(I look like I'm up to something...)

hehehe, Jonny's trying to get out of the way of my pic with Brooksy

Brooks Conrad is all grins!
(Jonny succeeded, sort of, in ducking out of the way...)
(I look 12, wtf)

Cute Alert:  Susan with Jose Constanza
(so adorable I want to barf  ^_^)

Jose Constanza!  (I love how happy he always is!)

Thanks for taking those photos, Lowen!

I did not go on the free tour because I wanted to leave the oppressive heat for some air conditioning. I am a delicate flower, y’all. I wilt in the heat, and I throw “like a girl.” (The heat this is actually somewhat of an issue. I hate the heat; I do not handle it well. I do not like the sun. My tan does not indicate that these things are true. Thanks, Braves, for luring me out of my cave to be in the sun and get some vitamin D.)
Overall it was a fun experience. My girls and I hung out and “played baseball.” The players were all ultra nice. But I think my conclusion would be this: I’m not sure I would go to another Family Event. The kids were pretty cute. But I’m a single chick at said “family event.” Which, honestly, really meant, “Kids event with lots of chaperones.” So of course they got all the attention and instruction. Again, it’s fine to give kids a little extra, but hey… us single ladies (and guys) paid for this as well, so of course, we’d also like a fair share of instruction. That just didn’t happen. By all means, give the kids extra, but please make sure that the rest of us at least have a turn too.
Photobucket link for mediocre photos.
Lauren’s post is over at Braves Love. Be sure to give it a read for a different perspective (hint: there are more pictures. I gave up bothering) (yes I’m sure you’ve actually already read it shut up).
Aaaaaaaaaaand I’ll try to crank out a few more posts soon!

13 October 2011

Premature Baseball Countdowns

Please note the sidebar.

That's right.  I already have countdowns to AWESOMENESS in 2012.

And let me tell you, I cannot wait.

Behold, readers, the Atlanta Braves 2012 Regular Season Schedule!
(Also note the Blue Jays 2012 Regular Season Schedule.)

I am so excited.

April 5, April 13, June 8-9, September 4...

I cannot wait until the Boys of Summer are back, and this time around, they're going to drive us full throttle into October.

I also have grand plans to travel to various stadiums to check out some games... especially the Marlins' new ballpark.  Although... whoever made the MLB schedule this year did not take my schedule into consideration.  The Braves do not have a single weekend series, at home or otherwise, against the Marlins in 2012.  I mean, WTF.  How'm I supposed to go see this thing??


05 October 2011

Good-Bye Birthday Buddy

Jordan Schafer:  batting practice, 30 JUL 2011

Do you see this picture? I took this picture the day before my baby was traded.

(Anonymous Snarky Internet Moron: “Aly, just how many babies do you have?” Me: “What exactly are you trying to accomplish by asking me this question?”)

On July 31, 2011, the Atlanta Braves traded Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, and Juan Abreu for Michael Bourn. Last year, I would have made a post when I got the tingling sensation that I call my Spidey Sense; usually these posts would be about why we SHOULDN’T trade my boys. I sense trades, you know (I called the Yunel, Gregor, and Omar trades). This year, I’ve been so distracted, that I didn’t say anything. But I knew, y’all. That sinking feeling of dread. But I just kept hoping…

I was really looking forward to celebrating my birthday with a Brave, you know. And I waited for 2 years so that it could finally happen.

Frank Wren clearly hates me.

I found out, by the way, when I got up to go to the game that morning (I got up early, with every intention of going to BP… I did not end up going to BP). Poor Jordie was so sad. You know he wanted to be a Brave (and honestly? Who DOESN’T want to be a Brave? The ones that don’t are not fit to don a Braves uniform, hmmph!).

Wish you the best, my darling Birthday Buddy. Light Houston afire with your blistering speed, your ridiculous arm, flat-brim hat, and awesome tats.

Love, Aly.

P.S. I’m sure by now, everybody and their great aunt and their cousin’s step-uncle’s grandchild knows about Jordan’s legal issues. Which saves me the trouble of having to discuss it here. I’m just writing here, in case my Birthday Buddy ever reads this, that I’m not going to be judge-y or discuss this any further than this post right here. I don’t care what anybody thinks. If they choose to judge you, that’s their problem. You’re still my birthday buddy, and I still miss your hat and socks and tattoos and catches in our outfield. There.

P.P.S. No, I do not care what you (negatively) think about my birthday buddy. So don’t bother telling me YOUR opinion about what is going on with him; I’m not interested. You have the rest of the Internet to blab. I’ll just delete it here. So go waste your time elsewhere. That is all.

P.P.P.S.  I am slowly finishing all of my 20 unfinished posts, and also writing new posts.  This is what I will do for the next 6 months… reliving the 2011 Regular Season.  :)

28 September 2011

Best Fans in Baseball

The last series of the season, and I am embarrassed to consider myself part of “Braves Country.” Actually, right now, I’m going to say I am NOT part of Braves Country, because I am NOT impressed with the fans who populate Braves Country.

The last couple of days have been rampant with “boos.” Oh, it’s the Phillies fans, you say. They boo anyone and anything, you say.

I think Braves fans need to take a look at themselves before they make such claims anymore. I don’t care if Phillies fans freakin’ boo the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. That’s better than OUR OWN FANS BOOING OUR OWN BOYS. What is WRONG WITH YOU?

Did Derek Lowe pitch poorly yesterday? Yes. Does that mean you boo him? No. Because in spite of being displeased with his performance, we still have 8 other guys on that field, and 31 other guys in the dugout and in the bullpen, and they need to be cheered on; we’re still trying to pull out a W here, aren’t we? To them, it doesn’t make any difference that YOU are booing specifically Derek Lowe. To them, it sounds like you are BOOING one of THEIR boys, and you may as well be booing THEM.

13 September 2011

To Infante and Beyond!

All right, so I didn't come up with that... These people did:
August 29, 2010
Needless to say, though, Omar Infante is amazing.  All you stat-heads out there?  I don't give a flying *expletive deleted* what you have to say or what numbers you try to throw my way.  I can read and analyze just as well as you can... hell, I even know how to do the maths and all the economics of baseball.  Imagine that.  But I don't give a damn.  Omar Infante is amazing and there is pretty much nothing you can possibly say that will ever change my mind.  Don't tell me how to be a fan, jerks.  (As you can see, I've had problems with this.)

So, clearly, this is going to be an Ode to Omar post.  If you don't like Omar Infante, I'd stop reading now.  Also, I'm surprised you would even be here, actually... considering my inordinate love of Braves (or former Braves... or non-Braves) of Venezuelan descent.

One more note before I begin... Yes, I will post Braves and Blue Jays related things soon.  I've been having issues with 1) my camera's memory cards, 2) my computer's hard drive, and 3) my stupid Internet.  But I've gotten several game day posts half-written, with pictures that need to be inserted and captioned, and properly uploaded.  Now... onwards!

How about some recent clips of Omar being fantastic?  I vote Yes.

Five ribbies against the Pirates (9/9)?  Sure, why not.

Omar:  Yeah, I guess I'll start things off here... someone's gotta get on the board first.  May as well be me.

Omar:  19 doubles?  Let's make that a nice round even 20, shall we?  Oh, and was that another RBI?

Omar:  I think I am going to go for a few more RBIs now... PS, thanks Pirates outfielder!

How about a couple double plays against the Phillies on my birthday (9/4)?  You know it!


How about some photos?  I love Omar photos, don't you??  (The correct answer is "Yes!")  Unfortunately, that will have to wait a bit, as I will have to search the archives for particularly fantastic Omar Infante shots.  But these will be posted as well.

In the meantime, I leave you with this gem.  Neat freak.

Edit 9/13:  I see that some of the video links appear to be black boxes rather than videos.  I will see what I can do to fix it, soon.  Not much I can do, though, I'm afraid, other than go re-find all of the videos I liked and post the link straight to the MLB page.  I will get on that when I get off of work, as my lunch break is just about to end.  Thanks.

23 June 2011

The Perfect Storm of Baseball Fandom

I think I've mentioned before that I started a new job not too long ago, and I've been experiencing a great amount of fatigue lately.  A friend suggested that I'm in the "Jet-Lag" period of the job.  I doubt it, but I'll go with it for the time being, because that explains why I haven't posted much in the blog as of late.  Your girl is TIRED.

And for the series that the Braves just concluded with the Blue Jays, which I had been looking forward to ALL YEAR (pretty much as soon as they announced the schedule, I put a countdown on my blog), I had planned a series of "essays" to write to kick off the whole thing.  I even made notes!  Talking about Adam Lind, Joey Bats and his Bautista Bombs, my precious Yunel Escobar, Magic Man Johnny Mac--Prime Minister of Defence, Aaron Hill (because even if YOU don't love him, I DO), Rzep, Jon Rauch, etc.  I had lists!  Links!  Photo examples!

... But the series is over.  And I'm still going to talk about those things, but less in an "introductory" sense, and more of an "And in conclusion, the Blue Jays are still rad even though they were swept by the Braves."  After I finish editing my 3000+ pictures.  Sigh.

Hat tip to one of my first readers, Parker (Blue Jays fan represent!!), for naming this post for me.  Thanks!!  You're awesome.

And yes, Braves readers, I still love the Braves.  Obviously.  And no, I won't take any of your shit for not rooting for the Braves completely during this series.  Because I don't care what your opinion is on that subject.  I love who I love, and that's that.  (Thanks to Lauren T. and Eric for both reassuring me that my guilt is unfounded and silly.  Also, once again, thanks to Parker for straight up telling me to root for the Jays.  ;)

Right.  So I obviously don't have my gazillion photos edited yet.  But I have a few pictures of "loot."  Wanna see?  Sure you do!

Firstly, I took this photo:
Yunel Escobar, BAMF. 6/20/11

This is clearly the best photo I've ever snapped of Yunel Escobar... or of anybody, really.  And I cannot believe I got that shot, that I caught him in midair, with that shadow, about to fire the ball, smirking.  Me!  

Lauren T. was kind enough to print a copy for me so that I could get it signed.  But I'm useless when it comes to stuff like this sometimes.  I can't yell, I am too flummoxed and shy.  But uh, when I get to sit front row next to the visiting dugout on the last day they're in town?  Girl is on a mission.  And that mission is to find an excuse to say hi to my other favorite favourites (that wasn't a typo).

Thus, fueled by my new-found courage-of-sorts, and with the rather quiet Lauren O. egging me on (instigator Lauren T. wasn't present, sad), I went to go grin like an idiot at my Northerly boys, Eddie-ball and Sharpie in hand.  (Aside:  I love Eddie Perez for giving me this ball.  All of them.  And that Sharpie, y'all.  It has gotten AROUND.)  The fact that I managed to speak at all (while sweat is pouring from all of my pores--not at all attractive, but what can you do?  It's 1 PM in Georgia) was amazing.  I'm a generally shy person, so I have a hard time talking unless someone else starts the conversation.  Otherwise, I go into Waitress Mode, which I've mentioned before... somewhere.  So here I am, near my other favorite team, and I'm wordless.  Gross.  

The first Blue Jay that I saw was Marc Rzepczynski.  I felt like a total tool, y'all.  Some other guys asked him how to say his name, and he pronounced it for them, and I felt proud of myself that I already knew it.  Then I kind of sidled over, much to L.O.'s amusement, and asked him to sign my ball.  "Of course!" says he.  I gushed a thank you, and he looked me in the eyes with a smile and said, "No problem" before he walked away.  HAPPY.  And instantly regretted not asking for a picture.  He's adorbz.

Brandon Morrow and Zach Stewart made their way over after they warmed up a bit, and I managed to very normally ask if they would sign my ball, and take a picture with me (my wits were more about me this time around, you see).  ZS was WAY nice about it and his eyes are very pretty.  And Brandon Morrow?  Can you say gorgeous?  Yes.  I felt like a TOOL.  And my pic with him is ugly.  As in I'm gross, and he's beautiful.  SIGH.  (PS--L.O., I'm not saying anything about your photographing abilities... I'm mostly concerned with my crazed expressions and general sweatiness and bad posture and all-around awkward limbs... sigh.  Why can't I just pose normally??)

Curly (and New) Zach Stewart!

How to be Awkward in a Photo with Brandon Morrow
Example 1
PS- Lauren T.:  THIS is what "GET OFF" actually looks like.  Your supposed "get off" picture is pretty much the opposite.  Ugh.  I look like I'm trying to push him off.  I wasn't.  :P


He was SWARMED y'all.  My new friend Neil (from Kitchener, ON) and I were the only ones wearing Jays gear.  Oh, yes.  I broke out my Jays hat for this game, that's right.  I was not messin' around.  So, Joey Bats was trying to sign a kid's ball, and the pen didn't work, so I gave him my Sharpie to use.  He signed my ball after that.  And I told him he was amazing, and he smiled and said, "Thank you."  I never said I was a conversationalist, y'all.  I got out of the way, so that other people could get their stuff signed, and then everybody left, and he had a really long conversation in Spanish with someone... and then I asked if I could get a pic with him, and he was like, "I can't..." when he saw how many people started coming back.  "I've gotta go back down, I'm sorry."  And he smiled apologetically.

In-Depth conversation here.
At this point, Lauren said how attractive Joey Bats is.  :)

Later, a couple Jays started slowly coming back up into the dugout (AaronHill and Mike McCoy).  Some guy started shouting at Mike McCoy and then these little boys showed up, calling for AaronHill.  ("Mr. Hill!!  Mr. Hill!  Mr. Hillllll!!!!")  So I popped up and went to get my ball signed too.  I mean, really.  He was RIGHT there.  I told him that he's great, and that I hoped the Jays won.  (SO creative, I know.  Shoot me.)  Then the kid behind me asked if he (AaronHill) like his (the kid's) hair.  AaronHill looked confused for a sec until the boy's mom turned him around; the kid had gotten a #2 buzzed into the back of his head!  AH cracked a smiled at that, and then laughed.  "That's great!" he said.

Note:  I am the only adult here.  /groan.

So, check it out!!  My Blue Jays autographs on my Eddie-ball!

Brandon Morrow (#23)

Marc Rzepczynski #34
Zach Stewart #56
Aside:  Look at how considerate they were to keep all their signatures all lined up!  (Even though there was SO much space.  Morrow (above) and Hill (below) totally found white space to sign.  (I didn't include Rzep, because he signed first.)

Aaron Hill #2

AND THEN!  Yunel came out of the dugout (with the starting lineup) to do pre-game warmups.  L.O. is quiet.  And more shy than me.  And I told her I'd yell at Yunel for her.  So as soon as he ran out, I yelled, "Yunel!!"  He looked back, saw Lauren (waving her Escobar #19 Braves jersey) and me, smiled, and motioned "later."  

Sure enough, he came back and signed my pretty picture and Lauren's jersey.  And grinned at us both.  I could just die!!!

Of course, because of this, I missed JoJo and JP Arencibia coming in from the bullpen and back to the dugout.  And I missed Adam Lind.  And Johnny Mac.  But... you know what?  That's ok.  Because Yunel Escobar signed my picture of him!  :D  Lauren and I, btw, were both stunned by how massive Yunel is (even though we knew), but you know, then he's right there, looking at you in your face... and you are simply struck.  He's a big dude!  And we failed to do the following:  1) ask for pictures, DUH.  Giant gorgeous man, standing mere inches from us, and we don't ask for pictures?  Ugh.  Just shoot me.  Seriously.  And 2) forgot to tell him to whistle during Chipper's at-bats to annoy him.  :D

Look how big and loopy his autograph is!  LOVE.

OK.  Here are some teaser pics from Game 3 of the Braves/Blue Jays series:  

Nate McLouth + Jose Bautista converse in Spanish.  AWESOME.

More to come soon.  No procrastinating on these, for sure!

14 June 2011

I'm Still Alive

Hi there.  I'm still alive.  I don't have anything new (as far as photos, etc.) to post at the moment... Not done editing.  I've been extremely busy... AT MY NEW JOB!!

I'm still in the adjustment period, fighting insomnia, sheer exhaustion, and apprehension (of doing something terribly wrong at work)... which leaves little time for blogging, I'm afraid.

But there WILL be posts!  Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to do proper gameday posts for the ones that I'm already behind on.  However, since my computer has finally started to behave again, i should be able to at least edit them and upload them to Photobucket.  I'll pull my 2-3 favorites from each album, and just make a giant post.  Ok?  Ok.

01 June 2011

I Still Miss Gregor Blanco

It's four in the morning, and I've been having an extremely hard time getting back to sleep.  This happens on occasion, and it really can't be helped.  I tried to read, but I should know better than to read the Internet if I want to get back to sleep.  And yet, somehow, I still manage to ignore that knowledge.  Many sleepless hours have been wasted reading Wikipedia.

The point is, I read this post by Andrew StoetenIt features a video of Gregor Blanco's bat flip... you know, the one that landed standing up.  It featured a video of someone wearing #1 which made me think of Gregor Blanco.  It made me really upset.  Way more upset than a normal person should be over a baseball player's trade.  This happened almost a year ago, Aly.  Time to get over it, now.

Sorry.  Not going to happen.  I'm not a normal person.  I'm an avid fan, as friend Jennifer would say, and I really adored Gregor Blanco.  I don't care if he DID talk to the media with some attitude regarding his belonging in the Majors instead of the Minors.  I don't care that the Braves don't keep "troublemakers" around.  If his mouthing off was a problem, then I could go on a tirade about why half the team should already be traded away.  It was a stupid trade and complete bs, plain and simple.  He proved time and again how much he could contribute, and he proved that he was more than capable and good enough to be in the majors.  The hustle.  The speed.  The plain GETTING ON BASE.  And yet, that didn't matter.  Because he mouthed off a little, a WHILE ago.  I don't buy it.

Anyway.  Back to why I'm still awake.  I read Andrew Stoeten's post and watched that bat flip video, and, really, at this hour, I obviously do not have full possession of faculties.  Or, at least, rationality.  I was seized with a sudden urge to watch videos of one of my favorite Braves, Gregor Blanco.

  • Fact:  It is completely irrational to be upset over a worthless trade at 4:35 AM almost a year later.
  • Fact:  Insomnia does not lead to reason; it leads to being lost in confusion.
  • Fact:  I don't care if you don't care, as long as he doesn't go.
All right.  Now that I've gotten my embarrassingly bad attempt at working the Cardigans into this post out of the way, I'll move on with my point.  The point being:  I miss Gregor Blanco, damnit.  And this isn't one of my usual "I Heart Venezuelans" sentimentality.  This is a legitimate gripe.  I've loved him since he was a rookie in  2008.  And watching video highlights of him as a Brave?  Not a very good cure to insomnia. See, kids?  This is what reading [the Internet] gets you.  Instead of gaining any useful knowledge that could help you make use of your time productively, you stay up until 5 AM mourning the loss of a favorite player because somebody on the Internet wrote something about a bat flip posted something that reminded me of Greg White.

blog 29 MattE Gregor
blog 33 blog 38 blog 18

I couldn’t find a good clip of the bat flip, so you’ll just have to do with the clip that is posted on the ScoreBuzz.  Edit:  It appears that the bat flipper is Tony Pena, Jr.

Edit (08/23):  The actual bat-flipper is not Tony Pena, Jr. nor is it Gregor Blanco.  Instead, it is Gregor's fellow countryman... you guessed it.  Martín Prado.  How could I forget this?!?!  I am a terrible fan.

Otherwise, here are some nice Gregor highlights/pictures:

That’s all for now.

25 May 2011

Baseball with Mom

In the past few months, it seems that I have managed to infect my mother with the baseball bug.  This has led to several hilarious (and occasionally infuriating) remarks about the games.  Let me just put out there that my mother is not a conventional sports fan, and she does not really know baseball.  The sport that she does watch on a regular basis and know pretty well is tennis.  Personally, I think watching tennis on television is probably one of the most boring things in the world.  And it's not like the commentary is going to set you on fire with excitement either.  (She has also taken an interest in the NBA playoffs.  ...Much to the delight and chagrin of my brothers, in much the similar fashion as myself.  She thinks that Jamal Crawford is adorable because he looks alert like an owl, and agrees with me that Al Horford is mega cute.)

Mom, when watching baseball, doesn't really believe that the pitchers actually know what they're doing.  She doesn't think that they actually KNOW where the pitches are going to go, or that they MEAN to locate a ball somewhere.  And, in some cases, she is definitely right.  My dad and I had to explain to her that it's like taking shots at a basketball hoop; you don't throw and just hope it goes in (well, maybe).  You practice your accuracy, and use that accuracy to score points in order to help your team win.  Of course, that explanation did not fly during some of our more annoying losses.  "See?  They don't know what they're doing.  They're just throwing and hoping for the best."  And in those cases, it was really hard to argue with her... because she was sort of right.  Which was infuriating.  (For those of you interested in the cultural aspect of this in a literary sense, there is a chapter in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan which talks about chess strategy.  It's a similar situation, and Amy Tan is a better writer than I am... especially since this is just a blog post.)

Anyway, it's summer break and I'm job searching, and my mother relaxing at home for the time being... and what is better than watching baseball.  Seriously.  Not even a question.  

NOTE:  Please keep in mind that most of these conversation snippets that I'm about to relate are translated (poorly) from Chinese, and as a result, there is always a bit of something lost in translation.  Also, I'm simply not a professional interpreter, even if I am fluent in both English and in Chinese.  

Before I get started though, I want to say a few things about her observations.  I don't want anybody to get offended or be appalled when these comments are taken out of context of the culture in which she grew up and in which I was raised.  Some things, which would be perceived as insults in American culture are not necessarily insults in our culture... more like good-natured ribbing.  Also, my mom's English is quite good, but she forgets where to add S's and when to NOT add S's.  She also sometimes reverts to using Chinese grammar rules with English, which doesn't work very well.  It's a little bit harder for her to code-switch that it is for me.  And yes, she can pronounce her P's, T's, L's, and R's, and I'm phonetically exaggerating her accent (she does have one) for comedic effect.  And articles (like "a" and "the").

·      ·         Birthday buddy Jordan Schafer was the lead off batter today [25MAY2011: @Pirates, Minor vs. McDonald] , and my mom just LOVED him.  "他好cute! 像小孩子一樣.  他怎麼那麼小啊?  打棒球要幾歲才能打?"  [He's so cute!  Like a child.  How is he so small?  How old do you have to be to play baseball?]
"He's, like, 24, Mama."
"He look like fourdeen."

·         Gonzo was up to bat, and I mentioned that I loved him.  “What, who?  Him??”
“Yes, #2.  He’s so awesome.”
“But his face is so chubby.”
Later:  “Is he really that good?”, skeptically.  My dad had not been impressed with Gonzo the last few games he actually watched, and he was vocal about it.  Mom heard.
“Yes.”  (He singles.)  “See?”
“All right, pretty good.”

·         Chipper Jones is “ChippaJone.”

·         “Is that Ah-glah?”

·         On Birthday Buddy again:  真的像小孩子一樣.  好小!  好可愛喔!  他的helmet怎麼那麼大? 頭好小喔.”  [Really looks like a little kid.  So little.  Precious.  Why is his helmet so big?  His head is small.]
·         On Freddie’s double:  只跑到第2壘而已.  這個人跑得有一點慢, 因為他太肥了.  這第4號的比較搜, 可能跑得比較快.”  [Only to second?  This guy runs a little slow, because he’s too fat.  This #4 is skinny, he probably runs faster.]
·         On He-man’s homer (specifically the bat drop, the slow strut before the home run trot):  好噁心喔.  你看他.  好了不起的樣子.”  [This is hard to translate without the correct context (i.e. how we use it), so I’m going to just do my best and give the so-called American equivalent.  Amused, complete with a smirk:  “Gross.  Look at him.  Acting like he’s all amazing and big and bad.”] 

I would like to interject at this point and tell you that the players my mother thinks are cute, adorable, or good-looking up to this point:  Jordan Schafer (obviously), Brandon Beachy (“Oh, this one has a good face”), Eric O’Flaherty, Joe Mather (“Yeah, he’s pretty good-looking”), etc.

·         On Eric O’Flaherty:  “Oh, 2-2.  Strahck heem out!”
Close-up of EOF’s face:  “Oh, yeah, he’s cute.”  Cut to JJ.  “No, not him.” 

·         Nudges me, giggling about Schafer’s baserunning.  你看, 你看!  Look like teen-ager!” [Look, look!]
·         About a Pirates reliever’s pitch:  “Looks a leetle beet high.”  Upon the replay, sagely.  “Mm.  Strike.”
·         On Chipper Jones’ swinging strike:  哎呀. ChippaJone 好像在隨隨便便.”  [Chipper doesn’t look like he’s even trying.]
·         On Chipper Jones’ called third strike:  “Sheeit.  至少要揮棒吧!”  [Shit.  At least swing the bat!]
·         On Jordan Schafer’s stolen base (since they initially only showed the Doumit’s throw to 3B):  “OH.  MY.  GAWD.  Oh.  Ok, good.”
·         On Jonny Venters’ inning (when I made her switch it back from the early rounds of the French Open):  不看還比較好一點.  Sheeit.  mistake!  Sheeit.”  [It was better not to watch.  Shit.  There was even a mistake!]
·         “What do you think of this guy [Jonny Venters]?”
“I need to see his face.”
Cut to a shot from behind, about to pitch.  他是白的嗎?  怎麼那麼肥啊? !  真肥.”  [Is he white?  (note:  this is a non-sequitur.)  How’s he so fat?  Wow.  He’s fat.]
Later:  “hmm. 他的屁股還滿好看得.”  I started laughing hysterically.  “No, 從後面看.  還不錯.”  [hmm. His butt is pretty nice.  No, look, from behind.  Not bad.]
·         “A man’s butt is important, too, isn’t it?  A man with a flat butt is really just unattractive.”  (Yes, I got tired of typing out the Chinese.)

·         About Freddie’s stretch after that sick double play that Huggla and Gonzo started:  “Wow!  Our first baseman is good.  Look at that stretch.  He’s like a horse.  Freeman.” 
·         Mom was walking around when I told her, "The butt you like is back on tv."
"I've seen it already."
"You don't want to watch it again?"
She came back and sat down.  "Hm.  So perky."
·         “What’s a pinch runner?  What does that mean?  They run for him?  Oh, he has nice dimples [Wilkin Ramirez].”
“Yeah, for Mac, because he’s kind of slow.”
“Because he’s chubby.”

·         After Brooksy’s homer:  “This pitcher just said ‘Sheeit.’  He really just said ‘Sheeit’ after that pitch.  Everybody [on the Pirates] just said ‘SHEEEEEIT!’”
·         On Freddie:  “He’s kind of cute.  Just a little bit chubby.  And his mouth is always open.  But cute.”
·         On Kimmie:  “He pitches funny.  Why does he have to bend over like that?”
Later:  “He’s got a nice face.”
“But he bends so low!  I guess that’s his style.”
“His waist looks thick.  His butt is too big.”
“His face is so red.  Why is it so red?”
“Men cannot have butts that are too big.  That’s unattractive.  But they can’t have NO butts, either.”
·         On Brooksy rounding the bases.  “Guh.  Look at his butt.  My goodness.”
·         On Rossy.  “He’s so tall.”

Do y'all have any humorous Baseball with Mom stories?  Please share them in the comments.  :)