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Archive for the tag “St. Louis Cardinals”

Two Stories To Get Your Inner Sports Fan Boiling

Let me paint you a picture: Cardinals Centerfielder Jon Jay is patrolling the greens of Great American Ballpark when he suddenly hears some heckling coming from the PNC Power Stack area.  This cheering section-esque group of fans, The Power Stack Pack as they are called, has decided to make Jay a target because he’s an opposing team’s outfielder…half the fun of sitting in the outfield is heckling opposing players.  I’m sure you can imagine the harsh and horrific words spatted at Jay….but did the words, “Jon Jay, Jon Jay, you have two first names” come to mind?  That vitriolic chant–venomous as a Black Mamba’s bite–was the choice of the Power Stack Pack.  Obviously, the chant brought much horror to a pair of Cardinal fans sunbathing near the PNC Power Stacks and promptly reported the section to security.  Security asked the Power Stack Pack to calm down and chose a less offensive chant; telling the Power Stack Pack they were offending a pair of Cardinal fans.  Now, in a move only describable as legendary, the PSP made victims of the women and chanted, “Whiny birds”.  Clearly, the Cardinal fans were brought to tears and left…but not once again reporting the group to security.  The PSP was chastised and told if behavior of this type was to continue there was no place for the group a Great American Ballpark…

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I’ve had similar experiences with fans as this.  At an Ohio State football game, I was seated in the nosebleeds of the student section as the Buckeyes and freshman Braxton Miller–my boy–played Wisconsin.  Here’s a link to help you remember the game which was kind of intense…like camping.  During the game, my compatriots–my brother and his housemates–were accosted by a couple of BUCKEYE FANS who were seated directly in front of us.  As we yelled and screamed and clapped and whatevered the Buckeyes as they attempted to beat a team which outmatched them in every way, the two women in front of us turned and asked if we could quiet down.  Now, a couple of things the ignorant should know about Ohio State football: 1) There are over 100,000 people at the games, 2) about 48,000 of those tickets are obtained by students.  Now here are some things of note about a college football game in general which apply to Ohio State: 1) The games are extremely noisy, 2) The student section is the nosiest place in the stadium aside from the band section when instruments are being played.  When taken into consideration that Ohio State’s student section wouldn’t even fit in the University of CIncinnati’s Nippert Stadium, one could assume the student section would not be the place to go to seek serenity.  The women would turn around and ask more than a dozen times if we could be quiet, singling our group of four out from the nearly fifty thousand Buckeyes chanting…well I suppose the number is about 47,994.  Obviously our yelling was far more dramatic and I consider their accosting a compliment, because us four can be heard over 47,994 other people.  Her excuse for asking our silence?  She had a headache…

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To what ends do people hope their means will come in these situations?  There are a couple places, possibly none, one can venture in the outside world–meaning outside one’s own home–where absolutely every last factor can be controlled.  In a restaurant you cannot control if the kid in the booth behind you won’t shout his damn mouth.  On an airplane you can’t slouch into the lazyboy recliner.  And at a goddamn sporting event you can’t control a goddamn thing about anything around you because everyone else is busy being themselves–cheering on their team and heckling the other team–to worry about you.  If you’re going to Great American Ballpark as a VISITING fan and expecting your players to not receive an ounce of heckling–especially when you’re cheering on the Reds’ biggest rival, the hated Cardinals–you’re out of your damn mind.  If you meander into Ohio Stadium and waddle up the stairs to the cheering section and you expect to have absolute silence then you’re not only out of your mind and ignorant but only stupid can describe your being.  In all honesty, what does one expect when they go to a game?  If you want to watch the Cardinals play and not deal with Reds’ fans, Great American Ballpark should be damn well near the bottom of your list.  To think those two fans had the audacity to take offense to such minutia is offense to sports fans everywhere.  Should fans be expected to adhere to golf course etiquette at every sporting event?  Standing should be outlawed.  Yelling is definitely out, after all, I have a headache.  Fans should have to remain seated unless going to use the restroom or purchasing non-alcoholic Smirnoff’s from the concession stands.  Vendors can get noisy as well, so I think they should be banned.  How is this fun anymore?  How is this sports?  Sport is about competition and competition is being mortality wounded by people who expect to have their own way all the damn time.   Sport is being ruined by not keeping score, by awarding everyone the same trophy, by firing coaches for yelling at players.  I’m not saying The Power Stack Back should be able to yell racist slurs at Jon Jay or tell him to f*** off.  A coach shouldn’t be able to Mike Rice his way through a job.  There are extremes, and when the extremes are met they should be handled appropriately–being chastised or escorted out of the ballpark.  Youth sports are less competitive than youth spelling bees and now Ballparks and Stadiums are more restrictive than a the local T.G.I. Fridays.  If you don’t want to hear someone heckle your Centerfielder with trivial insults such as having two first names then for God’s sake sit in your living room and watch the game on TV or listen to it on the radio.  If you have a headache, please don’t sit in the Ohio State cheering section because it will be loud.  Sport is losing it’s competitive intensity and it’s–ironically–starting from the bottom up.  Kids are fragile because we’ve made them fragile and it has bred a generation of fragile fans who cannot accept “Jon Jay, Jon Jay, you have two first names” without offense and “Whiny birds, whiny birds” without being brought to tears.  There is courtesy and there is respect which should be expected when walking into a ballpark, stadium, or arena; however, you cannot expect to have everything be your way.

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Wake Me Up In August: a reletively uninterested baseball post

This season’s early baseball season has featured a plethora of over-achievement from a multitude of teams.  The Baltimore Orioles returned to the frightening logo of just the weird bird face on their caps, but have mustered a 19-9 record, are far and away the biggest surprise, and leading the division here on May 7th.  But the formerly over-rated a season ago Los Angeles Dodgers cannot be far behind.  Not only are bad teams playing well, but the good teams are sliding faster than Bernie Brewer down his yellow twisty slide.

Pussy doesn’t even go head first.

The Angels were many people’s World Series favorites, but have mustered only 12 wins in 29 games.  Albert Pujols didn’t hit a homer in April and honestly the starting rotation looks like the Knothole squads practicing at the local grade schools.  The Yankees are in fourth, the Red Sox in fifth, and we cannot even be sure the Philadelphia Phillies remember how to hit a baseball.  When it’s all said and done, however, this baseball season will likely resume course.  Despite the surprises of the early season, we can soon expect teams to fall into their usual roles of bottom-feeders and contenders when autumn roles around.  So without further ado, here are some current lists for basetball:

Power Rankings (Top 10)

#1. The Texas Rangers: Without a doubt, these guys are the favorite to win the World Series.  Back-to-back trips to the fall classic help the cause, but with an offense that scores like a grade school football team, you can pretty much put Texas back in the playoffs again .

#2 The Washington Nationals: The Nats are not a surprise.  No one paid much attention, but Washington has been getting really good for a long time.  Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg may not only be the best 1-2 punch in the National League, but the two best pitchers overall.

#3 The Cincinnati Reds:The Reds are only a game above .500, but they have the talent to be one of the best teams in the league.  They have the MLB’s best bullpen and that’s a luxury which every team would trade for.

#4 Tampa Bay Rays: Still holding strong, the Rays are undeniably more talented than the Baltimore Orioles.  Before long, the O’s will settle into the cellar and Tampa should pick up where they leave off atop the division.

#5 Philadelphia Phillies: The team is struggling, right?  A game below .500 and they don’t seem to be going anywhere quickly.  Just relax, Philadelphia, your team is extremely talented and that rotation is going to find it’s stuff.  Patience.

#6 Detroit Tigers: If you did not pick the Angels to win the World Series, odds are the Tigers were your choice.  If Smyly and Verlander find a couple other arms to join them then Detroit can compete with Texas.

#7 Los Angeles Dodgers: Every year I look at this team and think they should win the weak NL West.  This year I looked and thought, “it’s the same team, they’ll lose as always”.  This year, L.A. looks set on winning.  Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball.

#8 Atlanta Braves: I hate throwing another NL East team on here, but that division is loaded.  Atlanta has the second best bullpen in the majors and Michael Bourne is unparalleled as a lead-off hitter.

#9 St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols?  Who is Albert Pujols?  Is that the guy who has hit one home run in Anaheim…I mean Los Angeles?  Wow, he must not be very good.

#10 Baltimore Orioles: the O’s will falter, I guarantee it, but they are 199-9 and deserve a little love from the Power Rankings.

5 Biggest Surprises (positive)

#1 Baltimore Orioles: Clearly, I mean some thought the Orioles would lose 100 games this year.

#2 Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Jays: Traded by Cincy for Scott Rolen, Eddy has 9 long balls and 25 knocked in.

#3 Ryan Dempster, SP Cubs:Empty the dumpster?  No longer, Dempster’s e.r.a is a crisp .95 even though he’s 0-1.

#4 Derek Jeter, SS Yankees: Too old?  Guy’s a legend and is batting .397.

#5Cleveland Indians:The tribe is 16-11 and in first place.  Who’d have guessed?

5 Biggest Disappointments:

#1 Albert Pujols, 1B Angels:this is what you get for signing that contract and raising all these expectations.

#2 The Los Angeles Angels: Read the above statement

#3 Ivan Nova, SP Yankees: His banner year might be the worst thing for New York.  Too much expectation/faith.

#4 Boston Red Sox: How can a team have this much talent and suck so bad?

#5 Yonder Alonso/Edison Volquez: people who mocked the Reds are laughing last as the two sent for Mat Latos struggle mightily.

Player to Watch Going Forward:

Aroldis Chapman, RP Reds: He may be the best relief pitcher in baseball and perhaps the most unnoticed superstar this year.  His 0.00 era is pretty good and he’s on pace for 150 strikeouts in just 84 innings.

Player to Forget Going Forward:

Justin Morneau, DH Twins: as if you already hadn’t.  The guy just cannot do it anymore.

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