Opening Day awaits us all

Tomorrow is the greatest of all days in any sport if you want my opinion. The aces are ready, the new cleats are laced up. The smell of pine tar, hot dogs, and beer will be in the air. With each team taking the field around a different Major League city tomorrow, new hope arrives in the top of the 1st.

The great thing about Opening Day is that everyone has that new hope. Anyone can go out and win the whole thing. We all enter tomorrow with this hope and the ability to see something new and exciting. We enter with the possibility to see anything.

For everyone, that everything represents something different. Some are more of a given, some are a distinct possibility. Some are long shots but they’re still possible.

Will the Yankees send out Yankee Stadium with a championship? Will this be the year we meet youngsters Jay Bruce and Evan Longoria and welcome them as future stars of the league? Prince Fielder could hit 60 home runs; clean. What young hopeful right-hander that scratched and clawed his way onto your squad in spring training will flirt with or perhaps throw a no-hitter? Who’s going to go after .400 until the second half of the season? Who’s going to chase down Joe Dimaggio? They’ve got 162 games to do it.

Will we see a new rivalry opened up with a brawl? Will Albert Pujols be Albert Pujols as he always is? Ken Griffey Jr. approaches 600 home runs. Will your team go after that big move because they’re in unexpected contention after the first few months into the season?

There’s a million storylines and as of now they’re all within the wonderful realm of possibility. That is what makes this day so great and what keeps people coming back through the turnstiles each year in a flock.

Wherever you choose to enjoy Opening Day, I hope it’s a day that builds a lifelong memory. For me, Opening Day will always have me thinking back to 2005; my senior year in college. Blowing off class after waking up to find a text message from my Uncle in Cincinnati that he’d landed us two tickets to see the Reds. Grabbing my frat brother and 12 tall boys and pounding them in a parking garage before we headed in to see the amazing new atmosphere of baseball. Adam Dunn homering off Pedro Martinez (of the mighty Mets) to break up the shutout and then off Braden Looper to tie the game and send it into extra innings. And of course little Joey Randa going walk-off in extras to win it.

Just remember tomorrow as the season truly begins: you could see anything.

Opening Night Commences, Ryan Zimmerman christens new Nats park

It was opening night in all of baseball and opening night in Washington, D.C. as the Nationals opened their new stadium. Ryan Zimmerman made sure it would be a memorable night forever (reminds me of when the Indians won in extra innings at Jacobs Field). Zimmerman hit a walk-off home run off Peter Moylan in the bottom of the 9th to give the Nationals a 3-2 with the pitcher of record John Rauch for the Nats and Moylan for the Bravos.

“We’ve waited for so long for a place that can be our own,” Zimmerman said. “There are just too many people on this team that are tired of being mediocre.”

Things are indeed looking up in a hurry for this franchise, who got 5 innings of 1 run, 4-hit baseball out of the world’s most ordinary opening game starter, Odalis Perez. They mustered only 4 hits the entire ballgame, as Tim Hudson went 7 strong innings (3H, 2ER, 0BB, 3K).

Baseball is here folks, and game #1 on U.S. soil was a very good opening act.

[Box Score]

Dispatch to Cincinnati for Opening Day part IV

This is a picture of Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. It’s pretty famous to the general Cincinnatian. Since I was a kid I’ve been around that area for many events in my lifetime and it’s basically the center of the city. I worked in the building directly across from it. It symbolizes that city to me.

So from here forward I’ll be in Cincinnati (until monday night). This is my fourth straight Opener in Cincinnati. I’m excited about it.

I guess the Nationals did get a new park

I told a friend the other day who asked ‘Did the Nationals get a new park’ en emphatic no. I have learned something. Literally, I didn’t think this thing was going up for another few seasons.

It’s really amazing when talking about new parks around baseball, how they seemingly throw these things up around different Major League cities. I remember when the Reds new park was being built and I saw the construction with every trip to Cincinnati. It seemed like such a big and overwhelming job that I didn’t imagine it could ever get done.

The Nationals new park looks to be a true beauty. For a more extensive look at it, visit here.

How I (TheNaturalMevs) would pick 2008

As part of a preview to get everyone ready for the regular season, we’ll be throwing up some predictions until monday morning so we can look back and see how everyone did at season’s end. Here’s my 2007 predictions, not that bad. Looking back I am not sure why I picked the Red Sox so low last year, but all I can do is try to learn from my mistake. Here’s how I see things shaking out in baseball this year:

American League

AL East:
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

AL Central:
Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians*
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins

AL West:
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers

National League

NL East:
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

NL Central:
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs*
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West:
Arizona DiamondBacks
San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants

*-Denotes Wild Card team

Detroit Tigers over Seattle Mariners
Cleveland Indians over Boston Red Sox
New York Mets over Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers over Arizona DiamondBacks

Cleveland Indians over Detroit Tigers
New York Mets over Milwaukee Brewers

World Series
Cleveland Indians over New York Mets in 6 games

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
NL MVP: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
AL CY YOUNG: Felix Hernandez, Seattle
NL CY YOUNG: Jake Peavy, San Diego
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Francisco Liriano, Minnesota
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Ben Sheets, Milwaukee
AL Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge, Cleveland
NL Manager of the Year: Ned Yost, Milwaukee
Team that will most resemble the 2007 Colorado Rockies: Milwaukee Brewers
AL Manager first fired/hot-seat: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox
NL Manager first fired/hot-seat: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco
AL Team Worst Record: Baltimore Orioles
NL Team Worst Record: Pittsburgh Pirates

A Poem from The Fan

Excited and anxious I await my dream
To escape, applaud And embrace my team
Opening day I always can trust
It’s just for this high That I crazily lust
Return of our hero Does brighten the days
Just briefly, my troubles Get lost in the haze
The grace from the field Arouses the crowd
Reflects on the days When I was quite proud
I’m more entranced Than the average fan
I used to play, you see And I know I still can
That time I drove the ball With such loft
My exit atop shoulders As they carried me off
This pastime and I Just fade into one
Expanded upon From father and son
My boy is young And awkward for now
I just need the time And can show him how
I really am quite close Just a break away
From straightening things out And being okay
I can help my team To regain its glory
With just a little twist To the same old story
Players say now They play for themselves
This causes a burning Within me that dwells
The fan is the one Who pays for the game
Which bestows all the riches And welcomed fame
The players will listen But really don’t hear
All the while just hiding Behind an invisible tear
I grow tired now of all this greed
And chart a course to set things free

Throwing it around

A great sports night on tap. Jose Canseco will appear on ABC’s Nightline at 11:30 PM ET. Before that you’ve got the beginning of the Sweet 16. This weekend should be an Omega Weekend. It’s building up to be a great Opening Day of festivus. Check out the best baseball links around the web for this thursday:

-The title of the blog says it all. It’s been around since 2002 and I just now found it? [Only Baseball Matters]
-The San Francisco Giants are removing all their Barry Bonds flair from around the park. [Y! Sports Big League Stew]
-The Milwaukee Brewers release of Claudio Vargas sets their rotation for the season. [Babes Love Baseball]
-Opening Day in Cleveland is going to have slightly better weather than last year in C-town. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be pretty. [Waiting for Next Year]
-A blogger who obviously feels the same about Opening Day in Cincinnati as we do. [Blue Collar Baseball]
-Another ‘how did we ever not find this blog right away’ type site. We’re now informed that Gary Majewski has been sent down. [Chris Sabo’s Goggles]
-Homer Bailey has been sent down to start the season in AAA Louisville. [Sports Illustrated]
-If someone hits the red pickup truck in center field at Great American Ball Park, someone wins the truck. The truck is over 500 feet from home plate though. [Crosley Field Terrace]

Not as gramatically sound as Tom Emanski

As I watched this video of Jose Canseco’s baseball camp, I wondered what thoughts he had in his head as he was working with these youngsters. I wondered if he’s thinking the whole time ‘these stupid little fuckers are worthless and will never be ballplayers’. It’s hard to say but not out of the real of possibility (and that would explain all the twitching he does). I guess after hearing about how bad Jose was for showing up to any affair that didn’t interest him, the kids were lucky he even made an appearance.

Not excluded from this video is that bad and incomplete English in which Jose spoke for much of his young career. No wonder all Jose wanted to do back in those days (according to his ex-wife Jessica) was ‘eat, fuck, and “where Iguana?” ‘. Painted on pants, sleeveless tee, full mullett and those little white helpless pixie shoes.

'Vindicated' is coming….

The book will be released April 1st, but if you’re as excited about it as I am you can read a decently-sized excerpt from it here.

Right after he shot me up, I half-expected to feel this huge rush, and that maybe I’d run into the street and flip cars over just for fun. After all, as a wrestler once put it, when you take steroids, you can just lie in bed and feel yourself grow. But that didn’t happen. Nothing happened. I waited for that initial rush, and as I waited, I began to freak out a little. I wondered if I was going to develop a third eye, smack-dab in the middle of my forehead. Or if one of my arms was going to blow up like a balloon and pop. Or maybe I’d go home and look in the mirror and find a complete stranger staring back at me. None of that happened, of course. Nothing happened. At least at first. I finally noticed something about three weeks in, and even then the change was gradual. One day, I was doing my regular workout, but it somehow felt much more efficient than what I was accustomed to. I felt like I had more energy, more of a pump. Within a month, I started gaining weight and seeing some real definition, and as the weeks went by, I felt myself getting stronger and stronger. I felt good about myself, too, confident, and that gave me a genuine psychological edge. I began to think, Man, this stuff is really working!

Other than a bit here and a bit there, if you’ve read Juiced, then you’ve got a lot fo Vindicated. I’m a little disappointed and a little worried that this was nothing more than recycled Canseco once-told stuff to get him some type of paycheck.

Of course after I read this great work by Pat Jordan; I was sure that Canseco was just trying to get paid. All the interesting stuff is revealed by Jordan over on Deadspin; and not Canseco.

Still, I’ll pony up the $20 (knowing Canseco’s style it might be $35) because I don’t want to sit in Barnes & Nobles around the corner from my house six different occasions for around 2 hours each. There’s better stuff there to discover.

Diamond Hogger Mom Visits Spring Training!

My mother and some of her friends are in Florida for the week. They’re in Port St. Lucie, about a mile from the Mets Spring Training complex. When I heard that she was seeing the Mets play the Marlins, I went nuts!!!! I told her that the Mets were possibly a World Series team this year. She was not only cool enough to decide to go to a game without me urging her to, but nice enough to email me some pics by request.

Remember: CLICK on the images to see them larger (this means you mom)

The mighty Beltran at the plate. Mom did a great job here of getting a shot of Beltran’s signature stance.

A pitch about to be delivered at Tradition Field. It has a capacity of 7,347 people. Today 5,658 crossed through the turnstiles including the World’s Greatest mom.

I told my mom I wanted some pictures of Carlos Beltran. It looks like he’s wearing some kind of helmet here. Beltran went 1 for 4 on the day. Will this be the year that he finally earns the huge contract New York paid him to bring him to the Big Apple?

Jose! JOSE JOSE JOSE! The cover boy of the video game I am currently pretty happy with, Major League Baseball 2K8. Reyes is an electrifying player and has taken over as the face of the Mets franchise. He’s another I told my mom to make sure she’d get a picture of. She’d never heard of him.

Beltran rounding the bases. Don’t pull a hammy bro.

Harden stars as another year of baseball in Tokyo comes to an end

We’ve seen A’s pitcher Rich Harden as a star for a long time now, but it hasn’t happened. This morning, over in the land of the rising sun; he pitched like one.

Harden went 6 innings, allowing only 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 9 Red Sox hitters in a 5-1 Oakland victory.
“Rich showed tonight against the World [Series] champions how good he is and how much we need him,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Tonight, he pitched the way we know he can, and we’re hoping to get 30-plus more of those.”
“My catcher, Kurt Suzuki, called a great game,” Harden said.
“[Harden] had an overpowering fastball,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona added. “When he even got in hitters’ counts, he threw his offspeed, his split. He kept us off-balance. That was a very explosive game that he pitched.”
The big blow for the A’s offensively was a 3-run homerun hit by Emil Brown to make the game 4-0. Manny Ramirez scored the only Boston run with a homerun, driving in his 5th run in two days.
This Harden kid really impresses me and I think he could be the next great one in the AL. I feel badly because he’s been a forgotten man, but when he came up I thought he’d be better than Hudson, Mulder, or Zito ever were. I think he’ll be that good.
“It did feel a little different pitching in Japan,” Harden said. “It felt almost like a playoff game. But you just got to treat it like any other start.”

Gil Renard; Renard & Garrity Hunting Supplies. Are you happy with your current supplier?

Addaway Bobbay!

As you can see the performance on this puppy is really something. (Shaving hair off leg) Any more of these demonstrations and I’m gonna have to start shaving the hair off my ass.

Opening Day, Opening Day, you gave away the Opening day tickets? (Cracks neck slowly)


I remember when Mick wrote this one in ’78, we had a wild party afterward.

-Gil’s Son: Jason Pelligrini says Mick Jagger is gay.

Ya well Jason Pelligrini’s dad takes it up the ass.

Positive things happen to positive thinkers!

JUST WANNA TELL HIM ONE THING. JUST WANNA TELL HIM ONE THING. Don’t swing at anything. Step on the eggshell and squash the bug. Don’t swing at anything. (To Little League Coach) Give him something he’s a kid.