Friday, May 31, 2013

The Perennial Plight of the Pittsburgh Pirates (or) You Seriously Can't Lose Them All, Right?

Baseball has many streaks and superstitions. In a sport where a hitter may get three or more chances at the plate per game, in 162 games, streaks are inevitable. But when the individual becomes a part of the whole, those streaks can manifest into a period of futility rarely seen in professional sports.

Friday, May 17, 2013

And On Into the Night: Opening Day for the Gary Southshore Railcats

Along the Southernmost reach of grand Lake Michigan, lies a city long in the tooth of industry. Gary, Indiana. A place well framed in a legacy of both pride and plight. Generations have earned their livelihoods in her steel mills. The grit of no-collar profession is embedded in the seams and cracks of a once flourishing Chicago suburb. Gary is of its own prerogative, never bowing to the stagnant woes of an ill reputation. Nestled between fourth and fifth avenues, a ballpark seems politely out of place among the burgeoning ghost town in its company. Yet just inside U.S. Steel Yard, the home of the Gary Southshore Railcats, an oasis is laid out in serenity between two foul poles.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Children's Game: Walking Off and Coming Home

Home. It can be a physical place. It can be a state of mind. The word 'home' conveys a sense of comfort. A feeling that wherever you go, no matter how far from it you may stray, home is there, waiting patiently for your return. As a child, playing outside late into the twilight of an endless summer, home was a reluctant retirement to the day's activities. Still, there was the notion in the back of my mind that this is where I belonged. It is the emotional comfort of a home, whether it is as much as a town or as little as a long ago memory, that calls us back time and time again to unwind and rid ourselves of any worry. Home is where you start. It's where your life begins. It's where you make your first mistakes, and where you achieve your earliest goals. Failures are the building blocks to success. In baseball, it is often said that even the best hitters in the game will fail seventy percent of the time. Yet through the tribulations a batter will face, sometimes he will find himself coming home in the grandest fashion.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Los Angeles Aggrivation: A Lesson in Economics, Brought to You by the Letters W and L

Whappens when a baseball player is given an absurd amount of money to play a children's game? What are the expectations of a pitcher with a seven year, $200 million contract? What about a first basemen set to make nearly $100 million more than that over ten years? Whatever the answers to those questions are, the Dodgers and Angels are not getting it. At the time of writing this, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in last place. Yes, it is barely May, but the signs so far are less than comforting. They have given up thirty-six more runs than they have scored. Their American League counterparts, the Angels, aren’t much better. There is plenty of time for their respective teams to get back on track, but if the slow starts turn into struggling summers, heads may roll in the city of angels.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Avoiding the Inevitable: James Anthony Happ and the Inherent Risk

Sixty feet, six inches separate the pitching rubber from home plate. Subtract a yard or so for pitcher follow-through. Now add a tightly-wound, fist-sized missile. There is not much time to react. Yet since the game's humble beginnings, pitchers have managed to escape a fatal blow to the head. Tuesday night, Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ took a Desmond Jennings comebacker off the left side of his skull. The ball trickled toward the outfield. Happ collapsed to the ground. With all of the pitches, in all of the games, in all of the seasons in Major League Baseball's history, Happ's brush with fate may be the one to finally initiate the conversation of pitcher safety.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Sun Will Rise: Matt Harvey and the Renewable Resource of Talent

For nearly two decades, I have followed a number of sports with heartbreaking loyalty. Be it baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, or tennis, I can be found lurking a stat sheet or highlight reel any given night. I've seen some of the greatest to play their respective sports. Athletes who are so transcendent of their game, they are instantly recognizable by one name. Jordan. Manning. Bonds.Woods. Sampras. Before they were legends, there was Bird. Montana. Rose. Nicklaus. McEnroe. Historic talent replenishes itself. This has always been one of my favorite aspects of professional sports.

Chase Down the Rising Sun: Shohei Ohtani Faces the Hype

Twenty-three year old Shohei Ohtani took the mound for the first time in a Major League stadium on Sunday. His slender, six-foot-four frame ...