Tagged: Cardinals

2011 BAPL Crystal Ball

crystal2.jpegHere’s your highly anticipated BAPL predictions for the 2011 season:

AL East
Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Yankers, Orioles

– Unless the Baseball Gods cast another injury spell upon Boston, the Red Sox should easily conquer the mighty AL East.  The Rays won’t suffer from their off-season roster exodus as much as everyone thinks, but will still fall short.  Toronto will have a great year, but unfortunately, they live in AL East.  The Yanks will take a hard fall this year and heads will roll in The Bronx.  Buck will make the Orioles respectable, but the birds in this division would all be better off if they flew west.

AL Central
White Sox, Twinkies(WC), Tigers, Royals, Injuns

–  With the Red Sox taking the East, the Year of the Sock Drawer will continue in the Central with Ozzie leading the South-Siders to a narrow division title over the Twinks…it will probably come down to another last day/tie-breaker in September, but the White Sox will prevail and Minnesota will claim the AL Wild Card.  The Tigers will hang in there, but ultimately fade by September.  The Royals could probably win the division if they’d DFA 90% of their big league club and call up their loaded farm system.  Cleveland is, well, Cleveland, though I’m looking forward to seeing a full season of Carlos Santana behind the plate.

AL West
Rangers, A’s, Los Anaheim, Mariners

– I’m probably being a homer by picking my Rangers here but honestly, after a miserable spring training, I’m not exactly brimming with confidence.  As usual, the pitching sitch is not looking very promising.  But I had my doubts last year and 2010 ended up being the most successful year in franchise history…they should take the West, but it won’t be easy…or pretty.  If the Rangers don’t take it, then I’m pretty sure the Oaklanders will.  The A’s pitching staff is top notch and they made some off-season improvements at the plate, so it’ll be close.  Los Anaheim may surprise us all and just kick the living sh!t out of Texas and Oakland.  They’ve got the starting pitching and a great skipper for sure, but lots o’ questions on offense and in the bullpen.  Seattle is a great city (Mrs. Jonestein and I honeymooned there) and I hear Safeco is an awesome ballpark….they also have Ichiro and King Felix.   *awkward silence*

NL East
Bravos, Phillies(WC), Fish, Natinals, Mets

R2C2 will be really good for the Phillies, but only good enough for the NL Wild Card, as the Braves surprise everyone by taking the East.  Josh Johnson will win the NL Cy Young and the Fish will stay in it till the end, just coming up short.  The Natinals will finally work their way out of the cellar, which will have a new tenant this year, the woeful New York Mets.

NL Central
Reds, Brew Crew, Cards, ‘Stros, Cubbies, Pirates

This will be one of the tightest races in baseball, with the Reds prevailing over the Brew Crew and Red Birds late in September.  The Astros will make another late season charge, but fizzle.  The Cubs will stay out of the cellar only because it is perpetually occupied by the AAAA Pittsburgh Pirates, who will continue to audition Andrew McCutchen for his eventual ascension to a big league club.

NL West
Giants, Rocks, Padres, Dodgers,  D-Backs

The defending champion Giants will once again claim the NL West, but have to scrap it out with the Rockies late in September.  The Padres may challenge again, but I doubt it.  The Dodgers ownership soap opera will continue to help stifle this otherwise decent club, and Arizona will continue to be a great place for Spring Training.

World Series: Phillies over Red Sox in 6

Happy Opening Day Eve!

–Jonestein

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Loyalties

mlb_blog_sig.JPG

Folks at work often stop by and comment on all of the Texas Rangers/Dallas Stars junk cluttering up my cubicle.  They see my Houston Astros season schedule and probably think “Oh, that’s understandable, they’re a Texas team.” (I actually lived in Houston twice during my life, so my support of the Astros comes naturally…Summer of 1980 = AWESOME!)

Then they notice I also have a couple of Boston Red Sox trinkets adorning my geeky cubicle (geekible?), and more than once I’ve been schooled on this (apparently) unwritten rule:

“You can’t root for two teams in the same league!”

I’ve also seen this rule cited on many a baseball site, and I’ve never understood why it exists.  I can only assume it is a result of narrow minded, absolute thinking, so I suppose I should explain my fandom rationale/methodology:

First of all, when push comes to shove, I am only a “fan” of one MLB team, and that team is the Texas Rangers.  In other words, if someone has a gun to my head (this IS Texas) and tells me I have to choose one and only ONE team to root for, there is absolutely no hesitation in my response: “Whichever team Jessica Alba roots for…”.  But seriously, I’m only a fan of the Rangers.

However, at a more meta-level, I’m a fan of baseball in general, so naturally, there’s a darn good chance that I’m going to follow and “support” other teams outside the realm of Rangerdom.  The Astros are easily my NL team, because of proximity and my aforementioned tenures of residency in Houston.  Do I follow them with the same fervor and attention I give the Rangers?  No, but I always keep an eye on the goings-on down yonder.  Sadly, those goings-on have not been pretty the last few years and I don’t see much hope on the horizon.

So how do I justify my support for the Red Sox?  This just HAS to conflict with my Ranger fandom, right?  Wrong, but I’ll get to the actual fandom rationale here in a sec.  First, the obvious question: “Why the Red Sox?”  Back in 2000, while on a bidness trip to Boston, I naturally took in a game at Fenway Park, and instantly fell in love with the place.  The baseball atmosphere was incredible, so I’ve been a Red Sox supporter ever since.  I even returned there back in October of 2009 (the atmosphere wasn’t near as exciting, but it was just a meaningless end-of-regular-season game against Cleveland).

Anyway, on to my fandom methodology, or how I avoid conflicting American League baseball loyalties:

1. Head-to-head.  I always root for the Rangers when they play the Red Sox, unless the Rangers are so hopelessly out of the playoff picture and the head-to-head game is a “must win” for the Red Sox.  Even then, I’m hesitant.

2. AL Wild Card Race.  No brainer here.  If the Rangers and Red Sox are neck-and-neck in the race for the AL Wild Card spot, then I’m full-throttle Rangers.  No conflict here.

3. Someone in the AL East has to win the AL East.  This is unavoidable.  So I root for the Red Sox to win the AL East because I like ’em and they are not the MF Yankees.  I see no harm in this.

4. Post-season Baseball.  Until 2010, the words “Post-season” and “Rangers” hadn’t really been mentioned in the same sentence since the mid-to-late nineties, and I like to have someone to root for in the playoffs.  The last ten years, the Red Sox have pretty much been there, so I’ve rooted for them.

So I guess you could say I’m a conditional supporter of the Red Sox, and while this still probably breaks the silly One Team Per League unwritten rule, ultimately, I don’t really give a shiite…I’ll root for whatever team I want to root for.  :^P

I hope that clears things up.

Cheers,

-Jonestein

Ohthankgawd!

bbalgod.jpgFor the first time in my baseball life, The Baseball Gods have bestowed upon yours truly a mercifully short off-season.  Don’t get me wrong,  hockey has done a very admirable job of sustaining me through The Bad Time the last coupla years, but brother, it just ain’t baseball.

Pitchers and Catchers, come hither, The Baseball Gods-Uh hath summoned thee!

Hells.  Yeah.

–Jonestein

2010 BAPL UAC Predictions – NL Central

Genesis.  Redemption.  Forgiveness.  Those who dwell in Bronze Age fairy tales will no doubt claim these words to be of their realm, to which the BAPL Uniform Aesthetics Council and at least one portly comedian would exclaim, “Nay, Nay!”

No, dear readers, to the UAC, these three words, aesthetically speaking, are associated with one thing: the NL Central.  That is, four of the six teams occupying the NL Central.  You see, if it wasn’t for the late 70’s/early 80’s
incarnations of the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee
Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals, the UAC might very well not exist.

Genesis
al_1981_texas_02_road.jpgCouncil
members growing up in North Texas during this dark age of uniform
aesthetics already had to deal with the hideous powder blues of the Texas Rangers
(UAC team of choice).  While mainly used as road uniforms, young future
council members still had to endure road game highlights during the
sports segment of the local news.  The seeds of UAC genesis were being
sown.

nl_1980_pittsburgh_01.jpgThen came the 1979 World Series
between the Pittsburgh “We are Family” Pirates and the Baltimore
Orioles.  Not only were young future council members subjected to the
retina annihilating yellow and jimpalmer.jpegblack unis of the Pirates, they were forced to endure the alien-like, orangy-bronze skin of Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer.  Nightmares were had.  Beds were wet.  Therapy was sought.  It was traumatic, to say the least.

nl_1980_houston_02_home.gifThen, the summer of 1980, when, at the tender age of 15, UAC founder
Jonestein was sentenced to a summer of hard labor at a wallpaper
warehouse in Houston for the heinous crime of being “little brother”.  
What at first seemed like a  merciful gesture from Judge Mom, i.e. a
giant package of Houston Astros tickets (lower level, 3rd base side,
between home plate and 3rd…they freakin rocked) for the summer,
proved to be an aesthetic nightmare for young Jonestein.  A summer of
watching the “Rainbow Era” Astros aesthetic barbarism was capped
off with more of the same in the 1980 NLCS, with the added assault
of the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies powder blues.

al_1982_mil_stl_01.jpgThe final straw came during the 1982 World Series, or “Powder Bluetzkreig”,
as it is affectionately called in UAC circles, between the St. Louis
Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers. As if the sight of Pete Vukovich
wasn’t enough, the Brewers road PBs with their yellow trim were truly
horrid. (The image to your right doesn’t do them horrific justice).
This traumatic assault on the aesthetic senses made the founding of the
council inevitable.

Redemption & Forgiveness
The BAPL UAC has come a long way since the Powder Blue Dark days of
Mordor.  Frodo has since dropped the Evil Powder Blue Ring into the
bowels of Mount Doom and at last, the Four Batsmen of the Aesthetic
Apocalypse have managed to find some fashion sense.  And while the
council will never forget, they most certainly do forgive: 

1. Milwaukee Brewers MLB_Uni_MIL.PNG
Perhaps
one of the UAC’s favorite set of uniforms.  They sport the colors of
the national Libertarian Party and fit well around the belly of Brewers
portly first baseman Prince Fielder.  And did we mention the beer?

Colors (Navy Blue, Gold, White): A(Strongest asset of Brewerwear)
Cap Insignia(s): A 
(We likee)
Team Logo: A (We still likee)
Mascot: A+ (Makers of the council’s favorite beverage, can’t go wrong there.)

2. St. Louis Cardinals MLB_Uni_STL.PNG
Assuming you’ve read the previous prognostications this week, you might
be inclined to wonder how a team with red foundations manages to rate a
number two spot in the aesthetic standings.  Simple.  The boys from Saint Lou
actually do the color justice, not over using it on their traditional
home whites and away grays.  Plus, they stick with the classics,
something that will almost always sway the aesthetic hearts of the UAC.

Colors (Cardinal Red, Navy Blue , White): A  (Judicious use of the red, navy blue always a plus)
Cap Insignia(s): A 
(Time honored and highly recognizable)
Team Logo: B+ (While the council generally isn’t fond of birdlike logos, this one flies)
Mascot: B (Of all
the bird mascots in baseball, we’re betting the Cardinal was the
beneficiary of Blue Jay and Oriole lunch money back in songbird grade school.)

3. Pittsburgh Pirates MLB_Uni_PIT.PNG
Oh,
how the Pirates unis have come along since 1979.  The home whites and
away grays are hella-nice and almost make up for the eye-trauma caused
by the ’79 monstrosities.  The first alternate violates UAC Code 86A – Sleeveless Jerseys Look Silly,
but the away alts with their black jerseys adorned with the Pittsburgh
“P” are nearly fangasm-worthy.  The council also gives extra kudos to
the three major Pittsburgh teams for being consistent with their color
schemes. (With the exception of the Penguins powder blues…blech)

Colors (Black, gold, white): A  (Black and gold, when used properly, look sharp.)
Cap Insignia(s): A 
(Simple, looks nice)
Team Logo: D (
Nah, we do not likee)
Mascot: C+ (
Possibly the only team in the sports universe that it works for)

4. Chicago Cubs MLB_Uni_CHC.PNG
Council members have never like the Cubs “C” logo, and can’t
come to a consensus as to why.  Even back in the day when the council
would watch the Cubs on WGN whilst pretending to be home sick, the “C”
was not the slightest bit appealing.  Otherwise, the cubbie unis look
great, especially the road grays.

Colors (
Blue, Red, White): A  (Lots o’ blue…beddy nice)
Cap Insignia(s): D 
(
Meh. Mentioned above)
Team Logo: D
(Ditto)
Mascot: D-
(Kind of wimpy.  No, not kind of…is wimpy)

5. Houston Astros MLB_Uni_HOU.PNG
While the council has forgiven the atrocities of the “Rainbow
Era”, this confusing “Red Brick” color utilized as a highlight color on
the home and aways, and predominately on the alternates, makes the
council think the color red and the color orange have been making incestuous whoopee,
with unsightly offspring consequences.  The home pinstripes can stay,
as can the away grays, but the alternate love-children from the hellish
red/orange union must join the Rangers powder blues in the depths of
Mordor.

Colors (Black, Brick Red, Sand): F  (Think we covered it)
Cap Insignia(s): A 
(Looks great on the black cap)
Team Logo: C+
(Not awful.)
Mascot: B-
(Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the space programs associated with Houston, but with Astroturf…so we are told. )

6.  Cincinnati Reds  MLB_Uni_CIN.PNG

Red.  Reds.  Alternate reds.  Blech.
Nuff said.


Colors
(Red, White, Black): F  (Again, red. Blech)
Cap Insignia(s): C 
(Meh.)
Team Logo: C
(Meh.)
Mascot: C
(Meh)

Actual BAPL Predictions for the National League Central as mandated by BAPL UAC32910:

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals (Albert & Co. will reign supreme in the Central once more)
2. Chicago Cubs (The Cubs will fall short once more)
3.
Milwaukee Brewers (At least the Brewers will look good being in third)
4. Cincinnati Reds (Fourth could just as easily go to the ‘Stros)
5. Houston Astros (Fifth could just as easily go to the Reds)
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
  (Home Sweet Home)


Next up: the NL West

–Jonestein

Note: For those of you out
there that share the BAPL Uniform Aesthetics Council’s weird obsession
with uniform aesthetics, be sure to check out the Uni Watch site.

Old style uni images from the Dressed to the Nines uniform database.

Current uni Images swiped from team pages on Wikipedia.


FALL on the BALL!

saintsvikes.jpgYesterday’s hella-exciting NFC Championship game should have been one-to-two Minnesota touchdowns less exciting.  Why?  Because the New Orleans Saints have apparently forgotten one huge football fundamental that even I had drilled into my head as early as JUNIOR high football: when the ball is loose, FALL ON THE $*&#$& THING!  Every time the Vikings flubbed the ball last night, not ONCE did a New Orleans defender adhere to this simple, proven, pee-wee football fundamental!  Instead, their egos tried to scoop up the ball and run with it…GAHHHHH! 

Even one of their 5-ton defensive lineman tried to play Walter Payton last night…I was screaming at the top of my Cowboys-fan-get-revenge-on-the-run-up-the-score-Vikes lungs…ARGH!  Oh well, the Ain’ts have finally made it to the Supe…way to go guys!

In other news…

* Looks like my Texas Rangers are nearly out of the ownership woods – yesterday, Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenburg and Rangers legend Nolan Ryan cleared the first hurdle in buying the Rangers from Tom “Too-Many-Irons-in-the-Sports-Franchise-Fire” Hicks, i.e. they’ve reached an agreement with the Hicks Sports Group, the same group that is destroying the Dallas Stars and Liverpool FC.  The deal still needs approval from 75% of MLB owners, the NHL, and the army of banks that Hicks owes money to.  Hopefully, all of the above are just formalities and the handoff can happen before opening day.

* Due to my writing inspiration woes of late, I haven’t said much about the Hot Stove here in Arlington.  In a nutshell:

1. The Rangers acquired Rich Harden from the Cubs, but it cost us Kevin Millwood(who went to the Orioles in a salary dump move). If Harden works out, it will definitely be an upgrade to our numero-uno spot in the rotation.  Millwood was, at best, a very good number three starter.

2. We got Vlad from Los Anaheim of California.  Hopefully, that bat he’s used to bludgeon the Rangers with over the years still has some bludgeon left in it.  We’re gonna need it, seeing as how Seattle‘s hot stove has been cookin’ with gas this off season.  The M’s look mighty mighty on paper.  Hopefully, like Communism, they’ll just look good on paper.

3. Our other limited budget, risky business moves include reliever Chris Ray (from the Orioles in the Millwood deal),  presumed number-three starter Colby Lewis (from Japan’s Hiroshima Carp), former Ranger and fan favorite reliever Darren Oliver (from Los Anaheim), and utility fielder Khalil Greene (apparently from the loony bin).

On the hockey front –

* My new-found love for hockey continues, unfortunately, the Tom Hicks owned, 25th-in-the-NHL-in-salary Dallas Stars suck this year, and will likely continue to suck as long as Hicks owns the team. 

* The Texas Brahmas continue their up-and-down season and despite a barely .500 record, are clinging to third place in the CHL-Southern Division.

* I was rummaging around in my pile of barely played/never played PS2 games this weekend and discovered I had NHL 2001, still in the shrink-wrap.  Like the real-life game of hockey, I’m kicking myself for not discovering the game years ago!  Mrs. J and I were up all night on Saturday playing the game.  Fortunately, my PS2 hockey procrastination payed off – since this was NHL 2001 , the PS2 Dallas Stars roster was that of their 1998-2000 glory years with Brett Hull, Derian Hatcher, Ed Belfour, and in-their-prime Mike Modano & Jere Lehtinen.  Much fun was had.

— Jonestein
 

BAPL in Beantown, [Continued] – Fenway Pahk, Mr. Dooley’s, and Hahvahd; PLUS – BAPL Divisional Playoff  Predictions

FenwayPressbox.JPGI’ll spare you the remaining pics of my Fenway Park tour, like the ones posted yesterday, they were taken from my cell phone camera and the quality, well, ain’t.

Anyway, after the tour, my buddy and I hopped back on the subway, headed back to the hotel, and much to my surprise, the bag American Airlines so kindly lost for Mrs. J and I showed up at the concierge desk.  Good thing, because it contained 95% of our clothes, which included our Texas Rangers jerseys.  I was going to wear my Red Sox gear to the game, but Jeff, Mrs. J, and I decided to “represent” our boys by sporting our royal blue Texas Rangers jerseys and assorted hats.

(Note: The above/to-the-right pic was taken from our seats)

I was very surprised by the Fenway crowd, most congratulated us for our team’s better-than-expected 2009 season, however we did get several incredulous “Texas?!?” exclamations by passers-by, non of which sounded the least bit threatening, just fun, rivalry razzing.

Here are some pics from that incredible place called Fenway Park:

1. View of the field from our awesome seats:

FenwayMonster1.JPG

2. Mrs. J and I enjoying some first class ballpark food (really, it was awesome):

FenwayJnJ1.JPG

3. Mrs. J and I from the aisle next to our seats (also my new profile pic):

4. My buddy Jeff and I at the same spot:

FenwayMonsterJohnJeff1.JPG

5. The John Hancock big screen:

FenwayHancock.JPG

6. Jeff and I down by the field after the game:

FenwayFieldLvJohnJeff.JPG

7. A couple of me at the same spot:

FenwayFieldJohn.JPG

FenwayFieldLvJohn2.JPG

After the game, we went back to the hotel, changed clothes, and headed over to this great little pub called “Mr. Dooley’s”.  We landed at Mr. Dooley’s all three nights we were in Boston.  Here are some drunken pics:

1. Mrs. J and I, pre-sloshed:

DooleysJohnJac1.JPG

2. Jeff and I flashing our “gang signs”.  We dubbed our street gang “The Blubs”:

DooleysJohnJeffGang.JPG

3. Me, apparently trying to impersonate a rotund Tony Romo with hypertension, decked out in Red Sox gear.  I was several Smithwicks in by this point so I honestly don’t have a clue what the context of this pic was (but I’m pretty sure my pass was intercepted by the ghost of Michael Collins):

DooleysJohnSox2.JPG

I won’t bore you with the touristy details surrounding the remainder of the trip…I’ll just bore you with a few more pictures:

1. Jeff and I outside Mr. Dooley’s right before we left for the airport:

DooleysJohnJeff1.JPG
 

2. Mrs. J and I at the Hahvahd subway stop:

HarvardJohnJac.JPG

3. Revenge of the Legal Seafood Lobster!:

img373.jpg

4. Jeff and I at the aquarium:

AquariumJohnJeff1.JPG

5. And finally, Mrs. J and I at the aquarium:

AquariumJohnJac3.JPG

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.  Fenway was beyond awesome, Little Italy The North End was heaven (I could spend weeks there gorging myself on Italian food), and MAN, my feet are tired!

Thanks for the great time, Boston!

 

2009 Off-the-Cuff BAPL Divisional Playoff Predictions

1. ALDS – Red Sox/Angels

As much as I want my #2 Sox to win it all, I think the Angels just might take ’em this time.

BAPL Predic: Angels 3 games to 2, pulling out a heart-stopping win in Game 5

2. ALDS – Twinks/Yanks

Not to take anything away from the Twinks’ impressive AL Central Tiger-thump, but I’m pretty dang sure my Rangers would do a much better job of getting swept by the Yankees in this one.

BAPL Predic: Yankees 3 games to 0 in a yawner.

3. NLDS – Rocks/Phils

Gotta give the Rockies credit, they had an awesome second half run.  Too bad it’ll end here.

BAPL Predic: Phils 3 games to 1.

4. NLDS – Cards/Dodgers

His Albertness shall dominate.  Nuff said.

BAPL Predic: Cards 3 games to 2.

 

Cheers,

–Jonestein