Tag Archives: MLB

Some Thoughts on The Rockies’ 5-2 Start

Welcome to the 105th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where things are lookin’ up. Let’s get into it…

On Instagram straight flexin'. #OpeningWeek

A post shared by MLB ⚾ (@mlb) on

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Let’s talk some baseball, folks. The Rockies have played seven games and won five of them. They’ve played four games on the road and won all four of them. They are off to an awesome start.

My favorite part of Opening Day and, by extension, Opening Week and the weeks that follow is the free-flowing optimism that permeates most every team and fan base in the league. When the Rockies jump out to a quick start, their fans fit the mold. Hope springs eternal. Optimism overflows.

With that in mind, I’m taking a stance with which I am verify unfamiliar. I’m playing the BringDown card. This is not something I’m wont to do when it comes to the Colorado Rockies, but hear me out.

Last season, sometime in mid-May, I was convinced the Rockies would finish above .500 and were a playoff contender. They finished the year 66-96.

This year the Rockies have to play 155 more games over the course of five and a half months. Things have gone well in the first week, but I’m not ready to move off my prediction of somewhere between 69 and 75 wins for the Rockies.

The reasons will not shock you:  1) Starting Pitching. 2) Injuries.

While it’s encouraging that the Rockies are 5-2 without any contribution from Jorge De La Rosa, the starting rotation is just too shaky and shallow for the team to be a contender. If Kyle Kendrick’s first two starts are any indication, his year will be a roller coaster. Eddie Butler has great stuff but hasn’t really been able to harness it in his two starts. Jordan Lyles has been solid. Tyler Matzek was pretty unimpressive in the Home Opener. JDLR should provide stability when he returns soon, but it’s just hard to envision those five guys leading a baseball team to a winning record.

And of course, the ever-present elephant in the room is hanging above our heads like a balloon we’re all hoping doesn’t pop. Injuries are going to happen. I hate to think about these things, but Precautionary Measures will transition into Day-To-Days, which will transition into 15-Day DLs, which will transition into 60-Day DLs. All we can do is hope the key players don’t miss more than a week or two at a time. If that’s the case, I do think the Rockies can outperform a lot of expectations, including my own. But I’ve learned over the years that a casual scroll of Twitter or an unexpected notification from my CBS Sports app or a text from a friend with similar Rockies-fan interests can quickly ruin my week and change the entire course of the Rockies’ season.

(As an aside, if the Rockies’ shortstop does go down, Daniel Descalso hasn’t done much to instill a lot of confidence as a backup.)

Now I want to be clear that I am not saying you shouldn’t enjoy these games and take pleasure in these wins and wonder What If?. Indeed, the seven games the Rox have played thus far have been an absolute blast. (Well, five of them at least.)

Take for example, the third game of 2015. which brought probably my favorite moment of the first week when Carlos Gonzalez hit a ball really far. I love CarGo’s I’m-pretty-sure-I-just-hit-that-ball-to-the-moon pimp strut so if you need me, I’ll be at my desk watching this GIF for the next few hours. The gorgeous swing! The bat drop! The stare! The strut!

One interesting thing I noticed after watching that about 500 times:  Immediately after the swing, the camera-person zooms out and starts to pan left under the assumption that Carlos is about to, like, run to first. Nah, bro. Not when you bounce it off the scoreboard about 30 feet up in dead center.

The official distance on that homer was 466 feet, but as Drew Goodman said on the broadcast, it sure seemed closer to 500.

But you get my point. That was fun! That’s vintage Carlos Gonzalez, something we haven’t seen much of lately. And vintage CarGo is a treat to watch. If you can’t get pumped and enjoy the hell out of that home run, you’re simply not a Rockies fan.

Through seven games, the reasons for optimism are there. The lineup looks really, really good. (DJ La Maheiu is out there for his defense and even he’s hitting .517!) The non-LaTroy Hawkins bullpen has been pretty much perfect. Walt Weiss is using defensive shifts! Walt Weiss is not messing around! (If you blow a couple saves, you’re not the closer anymore.) And yes, the starting pitching has been more than acceptable.

These are all good things with potentially positive implications, so if you feel so inclined, live it the hell up. All I’m saying is the more level-headed, less volatile among us might also see reasons to curb that enthusiasm and measure that optimism.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to watch that Carlos Gonzalez homer a few more times.

Some of the other notable stuff from baseball’s first week:

The schedule-makers didn’t do the Rockies any favors in scheduling them to play the Giants in the Giants’ first home game since winning the World Series. (The Rox won anyway.) The celebration featured Madison Bumgarner bringing in the World Series pennant… on a horse… on the field… for real.

The Marlins take the postgame interview antics to the next level:

Probably the coolest moment from around the Bigs this week was this walk-off grand slam game-saving catch from George Springer.

And here’s the other your defensive play of the week from Andrelton Simmons. We’re partial to Troy Tulowitzki ’round these parts, but yeah, Simmons is okay defensively.

And let’s hit the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

You might not have heard, but Jordan Speith had a pretty good weekend. This is my favorite moment, when he found his grandpa for a long hug after WINNING THE MASTERS. That’s not something you see too often.

Also studly from Augusta: Jack Nicklaus’ shot in the Par Three contest on Wednesday afternoon.

Douche of the week:

This douche is hilarious. HAM IT UP, PAL! YOU DID IT! … Just maybe wait til you cross that finish line first.

(Fox Sports, FTW)

That WTF look on his face when he realizes what just happened at about the 11 second mark is priceless. What a dork.

Photo/Tweet of the week:

This one pretty much speaks for itself. It is very, very amazing.

NBA Tank Watch 2015:

Only one game remains in the NBA regular season for most teams, so these are likely to be your final Tankandings. The Nuggets will finish with the seventh-worst record in the league. The day Brian Shaw was fired, they were 20-39, meaning they’ve played almost-.500 basketball (10-12) under Melvin Hunt. Before that stretch of terrible wins, they had the sixth-worst record in the league and appeared poised for a push to catch either the Magic or Lakers, or both. Stupidly, the Nugs went in the opposite direction. So much more could have been accomplished.

With the seventh-worst record, the Nuggets will have a 4.3 percent chance at landing the #1 pick and a 15 percent chance at sneaking into the top-3.

  1. Minnesota, .198, 16-65
  2. New York, .210, 17-64
  3. Philadelphia, .222, 18-63
  4. L.A. Lakers, .259, 21-60
  5. Orlando, .309, 25-56
  6. Sacramento, .346, 28-53
  7. Denver, .370, 30-51
  8. Detroit, .384, 31-50

And finally, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these will not ever get old.

That dad is awesome.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for readin’. See ya next week.

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Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

 

Your Weekly Roundup From the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to the 22nd Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am not deterred by an apparently broken laptop. I overcame that shit like a champ this week. Lots to get to, starting with some random sports thoughts.

Someone told me the Broncos played a preseason game. Nobody got hurt, so it was a success. I’m convinced the NFL preseason only exists so sports talk radio hosts in Denver can babble about specific inconsequential nothings each day for about a month. The NFL preseason is probably going to change soon. If it were me, I’d eliminate 2 preseason games and keep the regular season at 16 games in 17 weeks. That’s two weeks less of something resembling football though, so America probably doesn’t agree with me.

Peyton Manning didn’t get hurt in the first preseason game. So that’s good. AP Photo

The Rockies completed a franchise record-tying worst road trip ever with a 1-9 journey. Then they came home and swept the team with the best record in baseball. They are weird like that.

The Dodgers are 38-8 since June 22. They look like a World Series team, which sucks because I really don’t like them or their fans. But still, you heard it here first.

Johnny Manziel is probably going to get suspended because he signed autographs for money. That NCAA rule is just lunacy and will probably be changed soon, but I don’t understand why a rich kid with so much at stake would do that. Really weird story.

I’m excited for the launch of Fox Sports 1 on Saturday. This is the first time somebody is coming into the cable sports game with the goal of being a serious competitor to ESPN. The channel will air marquee events and be in tens of millions of homes when they launch, so I think their chances of hanging around are pretty good. Also, there’s a growing population of people (yours truly) that are just getting sick of ESPN and lots of the stupid things they do. When I was in middle school and high school my favorite show was SportsCenter. I watched the entire hour almost every day. Not anymore. I bet I haven’t watched an entire SportsCenter in eight years. It’s just not compelling. All you see is contrived debate on the same stupid topics. Anyway, FS1 could flop, but I don’t think it will. More on this battle in the LA Times.

I watched this live and thought That would make a great GIF in my blog. And here we are.

via @sbnationgif

Phil just strutting over a rope with no hands and two cheerleader-quality, chin-high leg kicks. Who says these guys aren’t athletes? Seriously though, I bet I couldn’t do that.

Jason Dufner wastes no time.

via @sbnationgif

Hey Jason, you may or may not be on camera after winning the PGA Championship. Just a thought.

An announcer said Nelson Cruz has, “Taken a dump on the Texas Rangers” and that made me very, very happy. Because I have the sense of humor similar to that of a third-grader, anyone using any form of the phrase “take a dump” can make me laugh instantly. I can’t embed the video, but I found it here. Some form of the “Taken a dump” phrase should be said in every future sports broadcast.

For example: “The Rockies have really taken a dump on Edinson Volquez this year.”

“It didn’t take long for Mark Sanchez to come in and just take a dump all over everything again.”

“Jon Embree tried his best, but he really took a dump on the Colorado football program.”

I could go all day, but I’ll stop at three.

This large lady(?) made some kind of strange Derek Jeter mask, and it is not something anyone should enjoy looking at.

via deadspin.com

Here’s an equally disgusting and creepy GIF from a baseball game. I apologize in advance for Charlie Manuel’s dentures:

via @corkgaines

I mean, that is seriously gross.

I enjoyed this video of Harry Carey interviewing Bill Murray 25 years ago before the first night game at Wrigley Field.

Tom Brady is a womanizing creep just like the rest of us.

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Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter of our generation. He has a shot a second consecutive triple crown this year. We are legitimately watching one of the best hitters of all-time. So here he is falling down.

via ftw.usatoday.com

Check out the kid in the front row (blue shirt, red hat) who goes straight Nelson Muntz.

I’ll balance out that non-smooth with a whole lot of smooth.

via guysim.com

And this is just sweet.

via guyism.com

This cartoon/column on why we love sports is really cool.

Since I’ve twice documented fans behind home plate interacting with foul balls, I felt inclined to link to another one. This lady is really scared.

Here’s a video of some Mormon missionairies hustling some black dudes in “the hood”

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If you can get over the strange robot news lady, this is pretty awesome.

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And finally, if you have five minutes and feel like smiling…

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Maybe it’s a PR grab, but you’d have to be quite the cynic to not enjoy that kind of stuff.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

My Thoughts on Von Miller and Everything Else From the Past Week

Welcome to the 19th Tuesdays With Mitch, where it’s supposed to be a slow time of the year for sports but there is sure a lot going on. Optional background music for this blog in honor of Von “rolling” or “tripping” or whatever on something called “Molly”, which I was surprised to learn is not spelled “Mali”, can be found here. Let’s go!

Von Miller did something stupid. AP Photo

So Von Miller got busted for smoking grass and reportedly taking Molly. (I say taking because I don’t know how one consumes Molly. Do you just eat it?) Anyway if you play in the NFL you’re not allowed to do those things, and I think Von Miller probably knew that. He did it anyway, and that was really, really stupid.

By all accounts Von Miller is a really good dude. He’s always said and done the classy thing. His Twitter account (more on that in a moment) is generally not filled with the illiterate jibberish you see from so many young athletes. Doing these drugs doesn’t make him a bad dude. It does make him irresponsible and reckless and immature and stupid. It was harmful to his reputation and his teammates and his fans and the organization as a whole.

From a football standpoint, this is bad, but not horrible. Miller is probably the best defensive player in the league and not having him for a quarter of the season means the Broncos may lose a game or two they would have won had Miller played. But really, the Broncos should still win the AFC West and if they do, the regular season doesn’t matter a whole lot.

The Broncos are a Super Bowl favorite and their real season starts in the playoffs. Having homefield advantage and the bye week didn’t matter last year for the Broncos or the team that won the Super Bowl.

Miller is denying everything, which isn’t the best way to go.

Miller tweet

I have a lot of thoughts about that tweet/statement. First, why did his handlers let him write this himself. If you’re using Twitter as the avenue to… you know, DENY ILLEGAL DRUG USAGE, maybe put some professionalism behind it. Generally in these situations people will break a statement up into one or two tweets that actually spell out the words “about” and “suspension” and “will” and “disappointed” and “to” so it doesn’t read like a text message from a 17 year old girl. (I’m glad he used an apostrophe in “I’m” and ended with a period though.) I’m all about Twitter and insist on people embracing it, but in this situation it would have been better to just issue a statement like this was 2010.

Now regarding what was actually said in that tweet…  Deny til you die! Really? Who told him this was a good route? I guess he had to do it since the case is in the appeals process, but this is always, always, always a bad look. We would all be much more forgiving if you said something along the lines of, “I made a mistake. I apologize to all of my fans and the Broncos organization. I understand the severity of my actions and am very saddened by what I have done.  I hope to put this behind me and rejoin the Broncos as soon as possible and go win a Super Bowl this season.”

How hard was that? That literally took me about 90 seconds, which is sadly probably nine times longer that it took Miller to send that tweet.

Anyway, I don’t like the denial route because now Miller is not just an irresponsible and reckless and immature and stupid drug user. He’s also a liar.

Own it. Apologize. Put it behind you. America will forgive you. Your fans will forgive you. Don’t lie to everybody, bro. That doesn’t help things.

The Broncos are having a nightmare of an offseason and now the whole organization looks like a bunch of drugged out alcoholics. For John Elway, football games can’t come fast enough.

Speaking of liars and denials and getting suspended. Let’s talk about Lyin’ Ryan Roidin’ Braun. From February 2012:

He is spitting fire there. He is not passive or regretful or remorseful. He just comes out guns blazing.

There’s also these yet-to-be-deleted gems. The account isn’t officially verified but it appears to actually be Ryan Braun. (It may have never gotten verified because he has only sent out 5 tweets.) Anyway:

braun tweet1 braun2 braun3

Ummm….  What a piece of garbage.

This is a complex story but to me the most fascinating aspect is the way Braun carried himself during his last run in with getting caught cheating. He won an appeals process on a technicality and then got a little too full of vinegar. He attacked people’s character and played the, “I told you! You should all feel terrible for doubting me! How could you?!” card. He was lying and roiding the entire time.

I said doing drugs doesn’t make Von Miller a bad person. All of this stuff definitely makes Ryan Braun a bad person.

From a baseball standpoint, this is encouraging. The cheaters may always be one step ahead of the enforcers, but the culture in the MLB regarding steroids is changing. Players are no longer looking the other way regarding this stuff. They want the cheaters to get caught and are speaking out against PEDs, which is a very good thing.

More suspensions from the Biogenesis case are coming and Alex Rodriguez is about to get hammered. So that’ll be fun for everybody.

Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus make up the left side of the infield for the Texas Rangers. They have a very interesting rapport, summed up perfectly in this video:

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This is one of the stranger GIFs you will ever see:

via deadspin.com / @bubbaprog

What in the hell is happening at that baseball game? What in the hell.

This kid reminds me of a young me.

But seriously I was pretty slick with the glove between ages 4 and 12. Not sure what happened after that.

Someday. Someday…

via deadspin.com

This will be me.

When I was four years old I could recite Dikembe Mutombo’s full name. (Still can, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo and yes I had to look up the spelling). Apparently the guy just really resonates with young children:

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This would suck:

via deadspin.com

It also gives me an excuse to link to this HOF GIF from April.

The dude pitching against the Rockies tonight has one hell of a story that you should read.

And finally, what would you do if your dog Toaster was being attacked by a raccoon? For your dog Toaster’s sake, I hope you would do this:

That has 5.4 million views in three days and I understand why. I think about 100 of them are from me. No hesitation, shirtless, two hands, over the head, sending that maniacal rodent with ill intentions head over heels about ten yards and down a stairwell with his evil glowing eyes looking back at you with each rotation. Maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

Now all I can think about is it what it would be like to throw a live raccoon as far as I can. Would I take a running start? Would I shuffle step and go across my body like I’m dumping a heavy bucket of water on an unsuspecting friend? Perhaps I would try a one-armed fling to the side or back. Maybe I could perfect one of those soccer inbounds plays when they do a little flip. Should I spin around like an Olympian in the shot put? I bet I could throw an adult male raccoon over them mountains if I really wanted to.

Happy Tuesday everybody. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

What to Watch For in the Rockies’ 2013; Lawson Injury is Huge; Other Stuff

My official prediction for the Rockies’ 2013 season: 75-87.

I’m slightly more optimistic than most, which is really saying something since I’m picking them to finish 12 games under .500.

The single reason for all the pessimism and negativity and complete lack of excitement about this team is the starting rotation. Anybody with a clue knows the rotation stinks. Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio, Jeff Francis and John Garland. Seriously. Those are the five starting pitchers on a Major League Baseball team. In 2013. (Deliberate sentence fragments for dramatic effect).

Jorge De La Rosa

If Jorge De La Rosa can regain flashes of his old self that would really help the Rockies because, you know… They don’t have any good pitchers.

I suppose I’m a little more bullish than most because I can’t imagine the rotation is as bad as last year, even if it consists of the guys mentioned above. Last year the rotation was historically bad. It was a laughing stock. It was legitimately one of the worst performances by a starting staff in the history of baseball. If nothing else, regression to the mean suggests they’ll improve at least a little bit.

The key is Jorge De La Rosa. A few years back he had the makings of a legitimate number-2 starter and borderline ace. Then his arm exploded and he had Tommy John surgery. If he can his regain his control and throw in low-to-mid 90s (rare from the left side) and win 13-16 games, that would change the dynamic of the rotation and bullpen dramatically.

Aside from the rotation, here are some things worth keeping an eye on:

THE NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST could be the best division in baseball this year, which doesn’t bode well for the Rox. The Giants are trying to establish a dynasty. The Dodgers are spending more money than any team ever. The Diamondbacks should be battling for positioning with those two. Even the Padres have a bunch of decent pitchers in a pitchers’ park and a fringe MVP candidate in Chase Headley (who’s a Fountain-Fort Carson grad). And the Rockies… don’t have any pitchers. Is it too late to change my prediction?

DEXTER FOWLER could be an all-star.

TODD HELTON IS 80 hits shy of 2,500. He’ll get there if he stays remotely healthy. That would be a significant milestone in his Hall of Fame case.

Here’s hoping 2013 sends the Toddfather (and hands-down my all time favorite athlete/childhood hero) out in style. Nothing in sports would make me happier than watching Helton belt opposite field doulbes off the wall and turn on down-and-in fastballs and slap bloop singles after flicking away six 2-strike pitches and charge bunts like a mad man and scoop up bad throws like a ballerina with a glove all summer long. (Run-on sentence for dramatic effect).

TROY TULOWITZKI’S HEALTH. If he misses long stretches again this year, that’s just who he is. Then we start talking about “glimpsing greatness” and “what could have been” and making stretch comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. and Kerry Wood. (I know, I know. That’s why I said stretch comparison.)

HOW LONG NOLAN ARENADO AND DREW POMERANZ  are playing in Colorado Springs. It would bode well for the Rockies if they both headed up I-25 and contributed sooner than later.

CAN WILIN ROSARIO catch the damn ball?

WHO EMERGERS AMONG all the role players. Jordan Pacheco hit .309 as a rookie last year but Chris Nelson is starting at third base. What about Arenado? DJ LeMahieu could be a decent player. Josh Rutledge came out guns blazing last year, then faded. So did Tyler Colvin, who is starting the year in AAA. Jon Herrara has had his moments. Why is Reid Brignac on the roster? Can EYJ ever be an everyday player? Can Dan O’Dowd trade all of these guys for a starting pitcher?

ATTENDANCE. Will the fans continue to support a bad baseball team? Attendance has not suffered much the past couple of years, despite the team’s failures. If Coors Field continues to host 30,000 or more each game, it’s hard to see the Monforts changing their business plan.

OTHER STUFF FROM THE SPORTS WORLD AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB

The Nuggets championship run may have been completely derailed when it was announced that Ty Lawson had a complete tear of his plantar fascia. Lots of confusion around this one. Ty said he was at about 60 percent when he played (and aggravated his injury) against San Antonio. Nobody can seem to figure out why in the hell he played in a game the Nuggets didn’t really have to have. Also a little weird that he figured out what the injury was nine days after he injured it. Also a little weird that he is listed as “day to day” when this injury usually takes several weeks to heal.

The bottom line is, regardless of seed, the Nuggets won’t be going to the NBA finals without Ty Lawson and his incredible speed and his incredible burst flying around at 100 percent. With Manu Ginobli’s injury announced on Monday, it seems like the road is being paved for another Heat-Thunder finals. I honestly had no idea David Stern had the power control which players get injured.

Not all that surprised though.

Just look at the reaction of these people.

@worldofisaac / guysim.com

Of course, if you haven’t been living in a cave since Sunday, you know those people recoiling in horror just saw Kevin Ware’s leg do several things a leg is not supposed to do. If you haven’t seen it and want to, you can find it on YouTube. For me, the most interesting aspect of Ware’s injury is the way the media handled it. Should we show it? Should we link it? The reaction of people on social media was naturally way over the top, acting like we had just seen live video of someone entering a woodchipper in Fargo and anyone who references or shows or links to it is a crazy animal.

Don’t get me wrong it was gross. I squinted, pushed away from my laptop, made a face like I smelled rotten milk, covered my mouth with the back of my hand and said something along the lines of, “Hohhhewwwwughh.” But we didn’t watch anybody die. I have no problem with news outlets linking or showing the video with a little warning. Hell, Daniel Tosh makes a living out of showing crap like this with no warning whatsoever.

Also, the whole incident provided one of the sports images of the year.

This made it’s way around Twitter Sunday. I’d prefer it without the hashtag, but what a great shot.

Trey Burke will probably win the national Player of the Year award and on Saturday night he hit the biggest, most unreal shot of the tournament.

Onions.

Are these the best commercials ever? Seriously, everybody just loves these. I’m an avid commercial muter, but if I’m in the room with someone and one of these comes on, demands of, “Unmute it!” are flung in my direction. One would have to imagine they’re scripted, but the kids are just goofy and sincere enough and “that guy” is just enough of a dick to really make it seem like they’re not.  There’s like 15 of different ones, but I suppose this one is my favorite. (Just ahead of “Hold on I’m watching this” and “Sand full of sugar” and “Tape a cheetah to her back“.)

Naturally they went and ruined the concept by making these horribly acted, horribly scripted spots with basketball legends.

This is what happens when you combine “Peter” and “join us.”

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Ocean’s 11 was based on the thievery of masterminds like this:

Or maybe not.

A couple links that are about sports, but aren’t really about sports:

This moving story about overcoming adversity.

This long feature about douchey NBA players competing in the world of high-end fashion.

And finally, my prediction for the rest of the NCAA tournament: Give me Louisville over Michigan Monday night in a game that isn’t particularly close. All that talk about having “no elite team” in college basketball is way off base. Nobody is beating the Cards.

Happy Tuesday everybody.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

There’s Just Something About Opening Day

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field. This game. It’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”

There’s just something about Opening Day. For one day each year, the game of baseball provides us all with reprieve from our daily lives. Opening Day is magic.

The pageantry of Opening Day is is hard to top.

Say what you will about baseball and professional sports, but on Opening Day stories like Ryan Braun’s testosterone level, Joey Votto’s outrageous contract, A-Rod’s purple lips and Ubaldo’s beef with Tulo take a back seat to the crunching of peanut shells, the encouraging tempo of the organ, the pop of the catcher’s mitt and the warmth of sunshine on faces. Opening Day is simple. Opening Day is pure. On Opening Day, if only for a moment, everything makes sense.

The inner-child in all of us comes out on Opening Day. It should at least. We should all remember getting yanked out of school at 11 in the morning in our favorite team’s gear, slapping on a ball glove and taking in the pageantry of Opening Day with wide eyes and full hearts. Across America little hands will be raised with pride and excitement when teachers ask which students won’t be at school on the day of the ballgame.

The grown-up equivalent of this takes place when bosses question fake coughs and roll their eyes at hoarse voices as adults play hookey from the office to imbibe a couple beers and hope that this is their team’s year.

Hope. If there’s one theme of Opening Day it’s hope. Eternal optimism. For one day (in theory anyway) every team is in first place. And not in some kind of lame everyone-gets-a-ribbon-on-field-day sort of way. No, on opening Day everyone is in first place because, on that day, everyone deserves it. This could be their year. Our year. On Opening Day, every fan of every team has a right to dream.

Those dreams are welcomed with pomp and circumstance. Flyovers, fireworks, all-out national anthems and bunting all are on display on Opening Day. (Bunting, the red, white and blue decorative semicircles displayed in stadiums across the country, not the physical act of tapping the ball softly with the bat. You know what I’m talking about).

Put away the hoodies and gloves and boots. Get out your sandals and shades. Baseball is back.

Few things can cause me to write and speak in such romanticized terms and I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly brings it out of me.

There’s just something about Opening Day.

**And here’s the video of the quote used in my intro. If baseball has ever been a part of your life in any capacity, this is automatic goosebumps.

I’m no Roger Ebert, but I’m pretty sure that ginger beard represents our daily lives. Commitments, deadlines, bosses, etc., tugging at us in various directions. James Earl Jones is that voice inside of us saying, “Not today. Not on Opening Day.”

Happy Opening Day to all.

How Can Anyone Not Love Sports?

In the wake of the best postseason baseball game of my generation, I’m a little giddy. (Keep in mind Oct. 1, 2007 is considered a regular season game). Watching all the reaction from the night has led me to ask the simple question stated in the title of this post: How can anyone not love sports? I mean, think about it:  There are people in the world who were just walking around doing laundry and studying and sleeping and watching the Food Network during that game. Strange folks.

This is why I love sports:  Try telling me which video has the happier people…

This group of grown men:

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(Notice our joyful friend in the red hoody and the Yadier Molina helmet spike at the 11 second mark).

Or this little kid on Christmas (whose video has like 15 million views):

.

Pretty close call. Tell me, other than sports, what can make hardened, gritty millionaires act like that kid?