Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Surviving the Long Distance Baseball Relationship: Pro Tips from the First MLB Fan Cave Couple

March 4, 2013

Kelsey on the first official day of stardom in the WBC Fan Cave! [Photo courtesy of MLB Fan Cave's Facebook page]

Kelsey on the first day of stardom in the WBC Fan Cave with Miss America and three other Dwellers! [Photo courtesy of MLB Fan Cave’s Facebook page]


If you haven’t heard yet, Kelsey was selected to represent Team USA in the World Baseball Classic version of the MLB Fan Cave and has been in New York City for about a week now! She’s absolutely killing it in the Fan Cave and USA could not ask for a more passionate fan.

But what does this mean for our relationship? Cue daunting music here! Just kidding — remember that Kelsey is a Cardinals fan from St. Louis and we’ve spent plenty of time thousands of miles apart.

Living on opposite coasts isn’t fun, because my cheesy baseball pickup lines (“Hey baby, wanna lay down a squeeze?”) don’t work as well through a computer screen. But if anyone knows how to do it, it’s Kelsey and I. Here are a few pro tips from the first-ever MLB Fan Cave couple on how to survive this type of long-distance, baseball-loving drudgery:

Tip #1 – You Can Sleep When You’re Dead

Jeremy: I have a full-time job, but in times like these, sleep is overrated. The World Baseball Classic’s schedule doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a normal R.E.M. cycle, with many of the games starting at absurd hours like 2:30 in the morning. But Kelsey’s job is to stay up and watch every inning of every game, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up. So far, I’ve only missed a few innings of the opening round. I get to chat with my girl and watch a premier international baseball tournament? Count me in.

Kelsey: I’m actually luckier than Jeremy. I get to sleep during the day while he goes to work. But he’s absolutely right! As long as you’re functioning well enough in your job, take that time to connect. It’s important to continue your relationship and find your new rhythm — it will probably be different from the one you have when you’re both at home.

Tip #2 – Surprise Each Other

Kelsey: A good surprise is a special way to remind your partner that you think of them. It shows you’re going out of your way…This could be a package, an unexpected call, even a silly poem. Jeremy and I have been known to have fun with song parodies through text message.

Jeremy: How convenient! It is, after all, Kelsey’s birthday on Friday. She knows there is something coming, but has no idea what is in it. All I can promise is that it’s a little more well-thought-out than a texted song parody. Though a performance of “Don’t Go Chasing Curveballs” might suffice for another occasion.

Tip #3 – A Little Social Media Goes a Long Way

Jeremy: Snail mail takes days, and stamps are annoying to find. Plus, who wants to write a long diatribe with a boring old paper and pen when you can crop it all down to 140 characters and a few hashtags? When Kelsey is doing such a social media-heavy job, she’s bound to be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tout more than most humans are in a lifetime. A favorite here and a retweet there reminds her that I’m paying attention, even from 3,000 miles away!

Kelsey: Gold stars are like virtual kisses and hugs! And this works both ways. Live-tweeting a game can make it feel as if you’re hanging out together. Just make sure to supplement it with personalized text and other forms of communication to make sure your partner knows they’re special.

Tip #4 – Watch Something Together

Kelsey: Baseball games, movies, TV shows…YouTube videos, even. All can be things you share together, even from miles and miles away. It may be tricky to find the time, but hopping on the phone or on Skype and watching something can make it feel as if you’re both in the same place.

Jeremy: Isn’t social media technology awesome? Believe it or not, one of the first memories I have our relationship is watching Inglorious Basterds together on Skype. Meaning, we synced our starting times and each watched in our respective homes as we chatted. It’s not exactly the same, but as good as it gets for replacing regular movie night.

Tip #5 – Keep the Connection Any Way You Can

Jeremy: Not THAT connection. The one that got you together in the first place! America’s pastime. For example, in my daily perusing of baseball news, I saw an article that piqued my interest. It was about Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina giving unprecedented amounts of praise to a minor league pitcher he caught in Spring Training. The content meant a whole lot more to Kelsey, and she told me as much after I sent the story to her. Baseball is our glue, so we keep applying more, no matter what.

Kelsey: Luckily, baseball is one of the sports that has most embraced social media and the online world. It’s easy to share baseball-related content from far away. This will remind you of some of the things you have in common and keep you talking about daily life apart from work and sleep.

To see more pro tips from the first-ever Fan Cave couple, visit our last two blogs. First, one from Valentine’s Day. And how to survive rival fandom.

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A Reasonable Attempt to Explain Unreasonable Fandom

January 23, 2013

dodgers niners logoUsually when this topic comes up, I think, “Whatever! I don’t need to explain myself!

But upon further review, I really do have to justify it.

Such is the life of a Los Angeles Dodger/San Francisco 49er fan. It’s a strange, cross-state rivalry fandom that has just so many awkward, twisted aspects to it that it must not go ignored.

When my ecstatic tweets about the 49ers advancing to the Super Bowl subsided on Sunday, I had plenty of very confused and/or upset Dodgers followers who could not fathom me rooting for a team from San Francisco.

So let me offer my sincerest apologies for injuring said egos. But I will not apologize for my fandom. And this is why, from the beginning:

I’ve been a fan of both teams for so long that I can’t even remember the “Ah-ha!” moment of my fanhood. It’s just been ingrained in me since the day I was born, passed down from my father, who also supports both teams.

See, he grew up in Southern California and worshiped the Dodgers much like I do today. And while he was in the Raiders and Rams and Chargers zones down there, he appreciated the way the 49ers ran their organization. So, his favorite football team has always been the Niners, despite the geographic difference.

Luckily, he moved with my mom up to the Bay Area right before I was born. We got out of the smog and into my favorite place in the world. But even if we had stayed in SoCal, I would still be a 49ers fan. It’s in the family blood. That’s just how it works with sports.

Plus, L.A. is a football graveyard now. What I’m trying to say is…blame my dad if you want a scapegoat.

Just kidding. Sorta.

Yes, it’s weird growing up in Giants country as a Dodger fan. But from a young age I realized the theory of fair weather fandom and front-runner fandom and just thought it was plain stupid. So for the sports I cared about the most, it has been do-or-die, thick-and-thin, win-or-lose support for the last 24 years. That’s something any true fan should respect.

I’m writing this mostly for my Dodger fan friends who are aghast at the possibility of a member of the family rooting for anyone from San Francisco. Well let me tell you something, guys and gals. It’s not a geographic rivalry — it’s a sports rivalry.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. There is a geographic rivalry between SoCal and NorCal. I’m not sure why, since L.A. has the Dodgers, nice beaches, and a whole lot of nothing else. Whereas San Francisco has everything you could want in a hometown (to summarize: NorCal rules, SoCal drools).

So the hella dank California rivalry is kinda jaded bruh. It should not factor into the Dodgers-Giants rivalry (which, for those of you who have forgotten, started in NEW YORK). What should matter is that I always have, always do, and always will bleed Dodger Blue, whether I’m in San Francisco, L.A., Newfoundland or Timbuktu.

And another thing — 49ers fans here aren’t all Giants fans. Remember, there are two teams in each sport in the Bay Area, and all four teams have a large legion of fans. I know plenty of 49ers fans who despise the Giants and root for the A’s, and vice versa.

So…yes. I can love a team from San Francisco. I can also hate a team from San Francisco. And I do love a team from San Francisco, and hate a team from San Francisco. The only things those two teams have in common is they play within the same city limits.

kemp niners hat

All the while, I’ll love the city of San Francisco, love a team from L.A., and hate the city of L.A. These are values I’ve held since the day I was born (legend has it I wore a Dodgers hat and a Niners shirt in the womb, actually), and I don’t intend to give them up. I will not change my sports faith just because it’s logical.

To settle the final score, since this is mostly for people on Twitter, it seems like a good time to remind you who else roots for the Dodgers AND 49ers.

If you can’t accept any of the other reasons I’ve laid out for you; that I was born this way, stayed true, and don’t connect it to the geographic rivalry, then just tell people it’s because Matt Kemp is my idol.

After all, that’s true. And he plays for my favorite baseball team, while rooting for my favorite football team. Don’t forget it! Oh…and…um, please don’t unfollow me on Twitter. My social media presence is pathetic already…thanks.

So prepare to watch me happily tweet away as the 49ers take on the Ravens in about 10 days. And when Opening Day rolls around, you’ll see nonstop Dodger tweets filling your timeline. It’s up to you. Can you handle it? Can you make any sense of it? Either way, you better get used to it!

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman. Until he tweets about the 49ers. Then you will unfollow me. Damn.

How I Became the World’s Biggest Cardinals Fan Overnight

October 19, 2012

It’s not what you think. Nobody actually convinced me to join the Cardinal-colored dark side. I’m not a front-runner, fair weather fan, nor did I only title this blog to score points with my girlfriend, who sees the world through red, white and navy blue lenses.

But the second Sergio Romo struck out Scott Rolen looking in Game 5 of the NLDS to send the Giants to the next round, I knew it would be a toss-up between the Cardinals and Nationals for my undying fandom this week.

When the Cards pulled another rabbit out of their hats in the 9th inning of Game 5 of their series to advance, it was confirmed: Jeremy Dorn, the most devoted Dodgers fan in the world, was briefly going to trade alliegences. That’s what you do in a rivalry; you root for your team until your lungs bleed, and when they are eliminated, you do the same for any team playing against your rival. Only when your rival’s season end, does the fan settle down, relaxed and waiting for another shot next year.

See, in case you didn’t learn anything in school, the Giants and Dodgers are the sports world’s greatest rivalry. Ever. It’s not even close. Sure, the Red Sox and Yankees get the most publicity and Duke versus North Carolina is an annual battle of the beasts…but no rivalry in a professional American sport comes close to matching the clout of Dodgers/Giants.

The two teams first met in 1883, and have since played  over 2,300 games directly against each other. The Giants have a slight edge, about 20 more wins total against the Dodgers. Both teams have won 21 National League pennants and six World Series titles.

And I don’t even need to go into the on-field, off-field and cross-team hatred and violence that has sprung out of this rivalry.

I’m not condoning any violence that has taken place, whether a fight between fans, a bat to the head during a game, or flinging insults at each other through the media. But that is how this rivalry works. And that is how, as a fan of one team involved, we are wired to think.

We want our team to win more than anything. If our team is eliminated, we want the rival team to fail more than anything. The cliched saying “My two favorite teams are the Dodgers and whoever is playing the Giants” is absolutely true.

Hell, even some players think that way. This season, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong admitted that he was raised through the Giants system hating the Dodgers and would like nothing better than to beat them. The two franchise’s greatest and most celebrated individual players (Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays) refused to sign with the rival team later in their careers. Robinson elected for retirement, Mays accepted a trade to the Mets.

Ask a Giants fan – they took great happiness in helping to knock the Dodgers out of Wild Card contention in the last series of the season. Even though they had clinched the division days before that. 

Ask a Dodgers fan – we are ALL rooting for the Cardinals to kick the Giants in the teeth and send them home. It’s not about winning or losing for us anymore, because it can’t be. It’s about causing as much failure-inflicted misery upon the team and its fans as we can possibly fathom.

Don’t cry foul – it works both ways. Giants fans love the Giants. Dodgers fans love the Dodgers. We despise each other’s teams (though not necessarily each other as fans – a good percentage of my close friends are Giants fans), and root for our team’s success and the other’s ultimate failure.

I tell people that even if the Dodgers miss the playoffs, it’s a good season if we beat the Giants. This season, that clearly didn’t happen. The Giants are three wins away from going to the World Series. The Dodgers are three strokes away from breaking par at Pebble Beach.

But if the Cardinals win tonight, the Giants will join the Dodgers on the golf course, and all was for naught. It means both of us failed. That the Giants are not better than us. And that is a small consolation for Dodgers fans who agonized over a roller coaster season that ended in pure disappointment.

I love the Dodgers. Therefore I hate the Giants. If the Cardinals are playing the Giants, I root for the Cardinals to destroy them, so I can live vicariously through that victory.

The Cardinals are one win away from knocking the Giants out. One good game. It could happen tonight. And as the rivalry goes, that potential win would craft an evil smile along the faces of an entire legion of Dodger fans.

That’s baseball, that’s life, and that is this rivalry.

And THAT is why I became the world’s biggest Cardinals fan overnight.

Case for A.J. Ellis

May 20, 2012

I’ll admit it (raises hand shamefully). I was NOT on the A.J. Ellis bandwagon when the season started. I figured he was the ultimate, lifetime backup catcher and that his pleas for playing time was a bunch of malarkey (I actually used to know someone with the last name Mularkey, so that word always weirds me out).

Watching Spring Training, I’d rue the day we ever set Russell Martin free to the Yankees. And then the 2012 regular season rolled around.

Did anyone in their right minds have A.J. Ellis as one of the best all-around catchers in baseball? If you said “Yes” just now, you are an evil and a heathen and you shall burn in Hellllllllsinki.

Yikes, that was harsh. I hear it’s cold there.

Anyway, as of the day this post is published (I say it that way, because technically I’m FINISHING it on Tuesday, May 22nd. Shhhhhh. But it’s posted as May 20th. Shut up.), Ellis is hitting .321 with a .446 on-base percentage.

Those numbers are good for third and first, respectively, among a loaded class of National League catchers. And the OBP isn’t even remotely close. We Dodger fans have gotten used to Ellis getting on base, one way or another. And he’s a major reason why we are holding the best record in baseball.

Having your number seven hitter getting on base nearly half the time he comes to the plate is an invaluable tool to a successful lineup. It’s a luxury most teams can’t claim, and never will. And despite the gaudy offensive numbers, and the fact that he has almost flawlessly handled the second-best pitching staff in the Majors…nobody knows who the hell A.J. is.

And we’ve all seen it a million times; that’s going to extend to the All-Star voting. With names like Yadier Molina, Brian McCann and Buster Posey, along with breakout seasons from Carlos Ruiz and Jonathan Lucroy, finding a spot on the National League team would be tough for Ellis.

But he absolutely deserves to go. And not in the “please let him in, he’s such a nice guy and he really wants it” type of way. He has played his way into a backup role on that team, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better role player to have on a squad that determines home-field advantage for the World Series.

I’ll tell you what – as a Dodger fan, with my team now a legitimate postseason threat, I feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with Ellis pinch-hitting in the eighth inning of a tie game in the All-Star Game with that home-field advantage on the line than McCann of the Braves and his .254 average.

But history and popularity says, McCann will be in Kansas City in July. Ellis will be at home, enjoying his days off.

Here’s my take on it:

Based on all-around game, Molina is the hands-down starter for the National League. He’s a four-time Gold Glover and now the best hitting catcher in the league (apologies to Ruiz, who is having a great season, but everyone outside of Philly knows this won’t last). McCann and Posey are the big names who should be left out because, though they are having solid seasons, have not been as good all-around as the other four. If three catchers go to the All-Star Game on the N.L. roster, I’m left with Molina, backed up by Ruiz, then Ellis.

If it’s two, I’m torn. Props to Lucroy for stepping up this season, but your 7-RBI game skews the power stats a bit. And you can’t handle the glove as well as my man A.J. While I’d love to see Ruiz earn that All-Star bid, how are you going to ignore a guy who has such a high OBP?

While it’s an unloved stat still, getting on base is the most important part of an offense. Here’s a simple formula for all you math duds out there like me: get on base, move to the next base, score more runs than the other team. That’s the basic idea behind baseball, and nobody is doing it better this year than Ellis.

I know this is a big ol’ waste of time, considering it’s going to be Molina, McCann and Posey in the All-Star Game. But these things must be blogged about, even if just so my poor little head doesn’t explode all over my laptop’s screen.

Just keep the numbers in mind when voting, and cast your vote for the Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis for the 2012 All-Star Game! Our team’s World Series home field depends on it!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman

Clayton Kershaw Gives Vin Scully the Flu

April 10, 2012

Good news! Clayton Kershaw is feeling better and ready to roll in his first real start of the season today. Keep an eye out on MLB.tv if you have it, or just follow my frantic tweets @Jamblinman, as first pitch is in about FIVE MINUTES!

Unfortunately for Dodger fans and baseball fans everywhere, Vin Scully is under the weather and won’t be able to call the home opener for the first time in almost 30 years. As entertaining as he is to listen to, Scully isn’t on the field.

But the guys that are taking the field soon are impressing me so far.

Kershaw, despite being limited to 3 innings in his Opening Day start, looked great. He’s defending his Cy Young campaign of 2011 and looks to get off to a hot start with his first win today against Pittsburgh.

The ultimate MVP snub of 2011, Matt Kemp, has started the season hitting .421 with 2 home runs, 8 RBI and a stolen base. His partner in crime is Andre Ethier, who also has 8 RBI and a home run thus far.

What I’m looking for today is how Dee Gordon bounces back from an ugly game against the Padres in the series finale on Sunday. He made an error at shortstop and was nowhere to be found offensively. I fully expect a couple hits and stolen bases in today’s game.

James Loney should bounce back. He hit the ball hard three times on Sunday, but they were right at people. He comes into today’s game 0-for-12 on the season.

My biggest worry is the bullpen. Luckily, with Kershaw on the hill, it’s reasonable to expect him to go 7 innings and then hand the ball over to Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra for the last two innings. As long as Todd Coffey and Jamey Wright aren’t trusted with leads, we should pull out the home opener.

I wish I could be down in L.A. to see this game – the house should be rockin’ what with the fans’ renewed faith in the new ownership. Baseball is back in Chavez Ravine, and it’s finally FUN again.

Here’s to a big win. Go Blue!

Season Ticket Saturday!

April 7, 2012

I had a mini fantasy baseball catastrophe today. Forgot to start Miguel Cabrera (he of two home runs). Bummer. But I’ve been watching the Giants lose and drop to 0-2, so I feel better.

Today is all about Season Ticket! If you don’t already like the Facebook page, get on it! If you don’t already follow us on Twitter, get on it! If you haven’t checked out our video plea to Ellen DeGeneres…GET ON IT! We’re about three weeks away from starting this epic adventure and could use all the support we can get.

For those of you who have ignored my bombardment of links to this point, here’s a quick rundown:

The name of the project is Season Ticket: The Ultimate Baseball Project – 30 Parks, 1 Summer. We are road tripping across the United States starting at the end of this month in the home of the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, and ending in the new Miami Marlins’ stadium just before October.

Along the way, we’ll see one game at every stadium, all the while blogging, podcasting, vlogging, Tweeting and Facebooking our adventures. But this isn’t just a glorified summer vacation. My girlfriend and travel partner, Kelsey Shea and I are both serious writers trying to get our work out there.

Still, that’s not enough is it? That’s why our ultimate goal with the trip is to determine the best baseball experience in America! Is it better to catch a game in San Francisco or Los Angeles? Detroit or Chicago? New York or Boston? That is exactly what we are out to determine.

We want people to follow the journey, get involved (we’ll be posting trivia questions and such along the way to keep everyone interested!), and help vote their city and team to the top of the rankings!

This is a project that has no competition; we’re the only people doing it. We just need a little financial help. We’re doing a side project with BleacherReport.com, hopefully making revenue off our YouTube channel (subscribe, please!!!), and using some of our own funds. But we still need more.

So reach out to any baseball-happy, charity-friendly people you know and tell them about our project. We have three weeks to make a little moola to assure this dream trip happens! We have an IndieGoGo account if you’re feeling extra generous.

Baseball all summer? In person? Yes please.


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