NON-BASEBALL POST ALERT: I’ve finally found something that can interest me in the summer evenings when the Reds aren’t hitting or when my fantasy team is shitting the bed.
I will never forget this summer of 2014, a summer in which I traveled on a magical journey to Albuquerque with Walt, Jessie, Hank, Hector, Gus, Tucco and a whole other magical cast of characters.
I will likely finish the series tonight – if not a day or two later – but likely tonight since when I start watching, I simply can’t stop. And I’ve found something else that parallels baseball season in that; I wish Breaking Bad was another five seasons longer than it’s going to be, because I’m not really ready for it to wrap up.
Never before has television; or a series for that matter been so beautifully and artistically done. If you’re one of those people who has briefly heard about it and has delayed watching it; please do yourself a favor and get Netflix or watch it by any means necessary. I didn’t think it was possible to be as good as people made it out to be. The truth is, it’s probably better. You’ll get hooked like Skinny Pete on some blue persuasion meth (just watch the damn show).
I usually watch baseball like a madman from 7:00 until the last pitch is thrown well after midnight in the eastern time zone. I am grateful to Heisenberg and family for welcoming me in this summer and creating a distraction that I desperately needed. It’s truly the greatest television I’ve ever enjoyed and I only fear that nothing like it will ever come again in my lifetime. It can’t possibly.
This is a must-click link that will lead you over FOX Sports, as Eric Malinowski ran a popular story he did the other day on good old Tom Emanski.
If you grew up in the era that we did, you long for the old Emanski commercials to just play late night one more time, but like anything else in life they quietly faded away off television and are no longer seen.
Time catches up to everyone – even Fred McGriff who was always seen in that hideous ‘Baseball World’ trucker hat in the commercials.
Before everything in business was dot com, there was Tom Emanski and his VHS tapes. You’ll enjoy this read.
If this All Star Break went on one more day, we don’t know if we would survive. We’ve gone through some serious baseball withdrawal the past few days. As we type this post, most players are probably arriving back in their home MLB cities from their respective hometowns.
The good news is tomorrow, there’s a full slate of action and everyone will be suiting up. The bad news is there’s less than half of the season remaining. We’re just not going to be quite ready this year to flip it over to football season. If the season were 13 months long, we would still be greedy and want another month of it.
For me in particular, the 2014 second half will be my last half season without a kid of my own. This is weird; because baseball in a lot of ways has always reduced us back to the inner child within us. It’s going to be a big adjustment, but it won’t be without some fireworks before we have to worry about fatherhood.
It’s going to be an action-packed and drama filled second half. In your wildest imagination, you can’t even guess at the drama we have ahead of us. That’s what we say to all the crap talk that baseball is dying.
No superstars? Watch Trout play sometime, soccer fan.
There’s a lot that can be said about Yasiel Puig. He’s talented. He drives really fast. Sometimes he shows up late for pregame practice. His face looks kind of squishy. He’s a lightning rod. All of the above are true, and now we can add another thing to that list: He’s a pretty incredible bat flipper.
Last week against the Marlins, Puig hit a towering home run that was presumably fueled by all of the Cuban food that South Beach had to offer. But, no one really noticed the home run. What people noticed, was this:
Say what you will about the unwritten rules of baseball, that bat flip was fantastic. So fantastic in fact, that it seems that Puig is running with the whole bat flip idea. Running with it with so much devotion, that he’ll bat flip whenever he damn well pleases.
Even during a routine flyout to center.
I am not the world’s biggest Puig fan, in fact, I think the Dodgers should seriously look into trading him. But I am all for bat flips, even bat flips on foul balls. So, keep flipping that bat, Yasiel. Maybe one day you’ll have that looks this incredible:
Dare to dream, Yasiel. Dare to dream.
Kyle Seager poses while Josh Fields watches his handiwork
In a game between two pretty bad teams, Josh Fields turned out to have the worst day. Attempting to close the game and protect a one run lead for the Astros, he gave up three runs in walk off fashion. Kyle Seager has been awful this season until his two home runs in this game. I wouldn’t have minded having Seager and his .158 BA up to the plate plate with the game on the line, but he did 22 home runs in 2013 and should be expected to provide that kind of pop going forward.
So exactly how did the 9th inning go for Fields…let’s take a look.
After a pair of singles, Field was able to strike out and a game ending double play was in play. But Fields threw a fat 4 seamer that Seager deposited over the wall. Game.
The Astros did take 2 of 3 from the Mariners on the road which is a nice accomplishment, but still lag a game behind for last place. After a hot start, the Mariners have fallen flat on their faces. Nobody really thinks either of these teams is going anywhere this year, but it could be an interesting race for last place.
We may have witnessed the worst relief performance possible. Forget Aroldis Chapman, the Reds just need Jonathan Broxton back. JJ Hoover has been good as a reliable bullpen arm an has worked out of plenty of jams. Tonight he put himself in one and then decidedly did not work himself out of. He came in to close with a one run lead after Brandon Phillips helped the Reds get the lead with a two run shot.
This was his line:
I guess you could say that Joey Votto didn’t help him by going for the double play instead of taking the out at first, but the rest was very bad. Lead off walk, bunt for hit, walk, grand salami. What the f*ck? That is very bad. The Reds love Hoover…as a regular relief guy. Not as the best arm in the bullpen.
Good luck to the Reds as they continue to chase their second win of the season.
Yeah. Deadspin said it best.
Is Tommy Lasorda about to sex that spaghetti? Who is the unseen spaghetti-wrangler presenting the gob of spaghetti that Tommy Lasorda is about to sex?
We could have tried a cheap one-liner here easily enough, but we’ll just let them have the spotlight here.
The past few nights, it’s been depressing around my house. I’ve found myself watching Pro Wrestling (and that’s actually not the depressing part) along with actually following the NBA a little bit. Watching Pro Basketball and having a rooting interest is the equivalent of hitting rock bottom. And I’ll admit it – I’ve resorted to gambling on the NBA. It’s a shameful act. Those point spreads. Those totals. Only a fool of a man would take his hard-earned money and lay it on a team to cover by sums of 10 or 11.5. I am that man.
Baseball season is a stark contrast to that. It’s like hearing sounds of Heaven non-stop for six months. And every day you’re rewarded with a new nightly slate that runs deep into the night hours. It is honest and true. It’s a sport I actually know and understand.
We have two months remaining until that glorious March 30th evening. Two long, grueling months. Any kind of man can make it through two months, surely.
This baseball season, I plan to visit MyTopSportsBooks.com to place my baseball bets. I’m going to do some major damage, starting with Opening Day. It’s going to be a glorious celebration of not only my favorite sport by also my favorite thing to wager on.
The Super Bowl is this Sunday. It’s culmination always sends the official countdown into full-force and begins toughest stretch of the year after for us die hard baseball fans.
So work late, hit the gym a few extra days, join an extra rotisserie league to prepare for; whatever you need to do to pass the time. With any luck, MLB The Show ’14 will be out sometime in March and we’ll have the NCAA Tournament to get us through the final stretch. There is a light at the end of the tunnel men!
It’s weird to sit and think that it’s really 2014.
The numeral just seems weird. Time is going by way too fast. And in all the same for a baseball fan right now it’s going by all too slowly.
We’re at that point in the sports calendar where the college football bowl season is winding down. NFL football during the week has been reduced to just a few (albeit typically marvelous) playoff games on the weekend. The things that pass the time until baseball season are really dwindling. And up against all this is February. The most dreadful, long, barren wasteland of a month of all.
But soon it will be a new year. Fantasy draft magazines will hit the shelves. We’ll decide on our sleepers. Pitchers and catchers will report. The thought of retreating to Florida with some of them will sound enticing. And before we know it it will be that glorious March 31st Monday, when the long baseball calendar begins. The days will get longer and the parking lot slush will slowly fade to warm sunlight.
This blog began back in 2007. We had no idea it would last this long. We’ll keep bringing you nuggets and baseball commentary to share with us for yet another year. Happy 2014, fellow Hoggers. Here’s to a great year for all of us.
This is it – the Reds regular season really comes down to today and tomorrow. The Indians, Rangers, and Rays are trying to resolve their drama. Others are trying to decide home field advantage throughout the postseason (must be nice).
And I would bet the house on Cincinnati today. They’ll take this out until the final bloody Sunday; the final day of the regular season. There should be no doubts. This is a team that will make you skip watching your precious football only to lose 8-1 for you.
It’s hard to believe this is the final Saturday for so many teams around the league. It seems like the year just started in a lot of ways. I say this every time we hit this point; but I wish the baseball season ran for the entire year.
So enjoy your final Saturday of glorious baseball – and thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. Another season is nearly in the books here (that’s six and counting).
I am in Washington DC, checking out Nationals Park for the weekend. Make sure you have a great Saturday and check back soon for all the goodies I bring back.
And hopefully Bryce Harper goes deep.
These two will be slugging it out in the second half
The first half of the season has been a great one. Highlighted by Chris Davis’s home run bonanza, no hitters by Homer Bailey and Tim Lincecum, two brawls in Los Angeles, the upstart Pirates claiming the 3rd best record in baseball, Miggy cementing himself as the most dominant hitter since Barry Bonds and other great moments. The standing may not look very much like I thought they would at the beginning of the season but they are nonetheless interesting. Here’s where we stand so far in both leagues:
A few observations:
- The Red Sox, the only team I said didn’t have a shot to win the AL east, are in first place in the toughest division in baseball (sorry NL Central).
- The Pirates have had another great first half. Can they avoid another second half dumpster fire?
- Oakland has the best record in baseball over the last 162 games. Look at the roster. It’s incredible.
- My NL World series pick, the Giants, are not making me look good. I still feel a second half run.
- The Houston Astros and Miami Marlins haven’t let anybody down by being the worst teams in baseball.
This isn’t really the mid point in the season. Teams have played over 90 games. They have less than 70 games to keep their lead or make up ground. Buster Olney put together a list of the toughest schedules left among the contenders. (Insider) Hint: It’s the Royals, Braves have easiest. I think the Red Sox and the A’s end up with the AL wild cards. The Rays, Tigers, and Rangers will take the divisions. In the NL, The Dodgers and Reds will manage to get the wild cards while the Braves, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks will win the divisions.http://diamondhoggers.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=14977&action=edit
Maybe the biggest question looming over the second half is whether Chris Davis can continue his torrid pace and get over the 60 HR mark and prevent Miguel Cabrera from winning his second straight Triple Crown in the process. I’m pegging Davis to come up short of 60…somewhere around 55-57. Which, clearly is still ridiculous and will be enough to stay ahead of Cabrera.
What about some of the smaller plots? Let’s see:
- Can Max Scherzer hold onto his sizable lead in the AL Cy Young race? No. I’m going to go with Yu Darvish. Hopefully his injury issue is nothing and he’ll be right back.
- Who will be the big buyer/seller at the trade deadline? With team’s valuing their prospects more, the big deals are harder to come buy, but I think the Dodgers will make some moves now that they are within striking distance. The White Sox will definitely be unloading and, despite the public saying to the contrary, the Phillies will figure out that they need to blow that thing up.
- What will happen with the Biogenesis scandal? Who will get suspended? I’ve made it known I don’t agree with the MLB’s investigation tactics, but it looks more and more like they will suspend somewhere between a few and a bunch of players. This is going to get ugly before it gets better.
- When will Ryan Ludwick come back and help the anemic Reds offense? Just kidding…nobody cares about this.
These questions and more will be on the mind of baseball fans for another few months. We’ll get answers and most of us will have sarcastic things to say about it on Twitter. Enjoy the second half.
This post was sponsored by The Sports Geek. If you like baseball, and you like to bet; we suggest you give them a click and check it out.
Freddy Galvis ran into one to steal the series for the Phillies
The Reds have been red hot of lately and looked like they were set to take another series win against the Phillies. That was not to be today. Aroldis Chapman has been one of the better closers over the past year and a half, but when he’s missing some movement on the fastball, it’s not too difficult to run into. And when someone runs into a 99-100 mph fastball, the ball tens to travel far. That’s what happened today.
Erik Kratz hit a solo home run and then Freddy Galvis hit a home run. Game over. One funny quirk to te 9th inning was Charlie Manuel pinch running Cliff Lee for Delmon Young. Lee was promptly picked off of first and prevented Kratz’s homer from being a walk off. No worries when Freddy Galvis is involved though.
Jeff Bianchi delivers a single up the middle to give the Brewers the lead
John Axford was an early season source of rank relief, but since he was moved to middle relief he has mostly stayed off the radar. Fortunately for him, he actually pitched well today and backed into a win. Joe Kelly was the loser today. In the bullpen after losing the fifth starter spot to Shelby Miller (smart choice), he came in today in a tied game in extra innings – a high leverage situation. He started off rough with a couple singles. Let’s see what happened.
3 singles, 1 walk. He almost got out of it with two ground outs, but Bianchi came through to seal the game for the Brewers. The Cardinals have had some some bullpen issues with Jason Motte out fo the year and having to send Edward Mujica down to the minors for a stint. If they want to keep the best record in baseball, they better fix it.
We know it won’t happen often so let’s celebrate when Axford gets a win. Bourbons on me.