Posts Tagged ‘Matt Cain’

The Lost Art of Sportsmanship

June 17, 2012

I hate to name names (no I don’t , who are we kidding here?), but @MattKempFanPage on Twitter is a class A douche. And it sucks, because he’s a Dodgers fan. Which isn’t always a compliment.

Look, I love my Dodgers. That stems from loving baseball, which stems from loving sports, which stems from loving competition and challenges. I’ve played, watched, talked and written sports since I was just a toddling waddler, but along the way I never forgot the core values that sports demand. Specifically, sportsmanship. 

Sure, I’ve had my moments. In high school, I faked a tag at second base and the kid slid in hard, hurting his ankle. A few times I half-heartedly shook the soccer referees’ hands after a match and glared instead of saying “good game” (this may seem paltry, but I assure you that’s unsportsmanlike in soccer). And as all kids do, I refused to lose in anything, forcing as many rematch as possible against any opponent who beat me in any athletic competition.

But I’ve grown up, and every day that I watch baseball I realize another way that the game is beautiful and brilliant and perfect.

Baseball demands respect. It demands its disciples to play a fair, passionate, exceptional version of sport. Mental wars rage between and during every…single…pitch.

Not only do pitchers, hitters, coaches and fans have to be smart and loyal to love this game, but they must be quick, yet patient; relaxed, yet stubborn. And then after all the dust settles, even in the face of their most bitter rival, or even a day after an all-out brawl, they must be professional, courteous sportsmen to the highest degree.

Don’t get me wrong here – baseball is no golf or tennis. And you may even be confused by the vision of the winning team high-fiving and jumping around after each victory, as the defeated sulk back to their clubhouse, not a congratulations to be uttered.

But these players have the utmost respect for one another, and show it after the after parties end. Many of them are friends from meeting during Spring Training, or through agents, or media experiences. They take to Twitter to thank fans for their support, give props to fellow players on big games.

And the most simple-minded fan should understand. We should all realize that even more than our respective favorite teams, our favorite players and everything in between…the game itself is above it all.

It’s an art form, and it deserves to be treated like one. Therefore, when a piece of art is twirled as fine as something like a perfect game, you give the artist the congratulations and respect he deserved. Regardless of the jersey he wears.

The hatred I feel towards the San Francisco Giants is like nothing I’ve ever known before. It comes with the territory of being a die-hard, true blue Dodgers fan since the day I was born. I live in Giants country, and immerse myself in the greatest rivalry outside Yankees/Red Sox on a daily basis. I’m behind enemy lines, and I know more about the rival fan base than I ever cared to before.

And yet, I watched the end of Matt Cain’s perfect game. I enjoyed it. I frowned when the Dodgers lost that night, and the Giants gained a game in the standings. I was upset that my team lost a game they should have won. But that night was Matt Cain’s and Matt Cain’s only.

He threw a perfect game. It was incredible. He’s one of only 22 successfully perfect pitchers out of the thousands and thousands who have tried. And we all should revel in the moment as fans of this game. 

Dodgers fans get a bad rap from other baseball fans – some deserved, some based in fiction:

FACT – “We,” on average, show up late and leave early. That’s the nature of the beast when you’re living in Los Angeles, traffic capital of the universe.

FICTION – “We” have thug fans, more focused on picking fights than enjoying the game. L.A. is a rough area, and as with every fan base, we have some tough fans. But it’s hard to find a fan base whose population dedicates its heart to a sports team more than the Dodgers.

But let’s not give the rest of the fans out there another reason to hate on us. Let’s not be classless.

When the Giants score, let’s curse the day the opposing pitcher was born. When they win a game, let’s throw something at the TV screen. But when their ace pitcher throws one of the most ridiculously impressive, artistic games in the 150-year history of this sport?

Let’s stand up and give him a quick round of applause. Giants fans would do the same for us. Sometimes the ones you hate win and the ones you love lose. That’s the way sports work. If you can’t handle it, you’re in for a lifetime of misery and internal anguish.

And as for Twitterius Angrius Maximus from the beginning of this blog? Your hero Matt Kemp would surely congratulate Cain on such a fine performance.

Get a grip. Be a good fan of the Dodgers and the sport itself.

On a Happy Father’s Day, I’m going to keep preaching exactly what MY old man always taught me. Whether it be baseball, soccer, horseshoes or Scrabble. Play fair, play to win, and above all, be a good sport.

The Most Pun You’ll Ever Have In a Baseball Blog

April 13, 2012

I love puns. I even still say “Oh, dear” when I see a deer on the side of the road. And chuckle to myself. It’s a personal problem.

I also love baseball. And with a plethora of goofy names at my disposal, I find myself stumbling across accidental puns every single day when talking baseball.

Now, I like my fantasy baseball a lot. But I’m curious – would one of my teams drafted purely on stats and analysis, beat my newest team? The one I’m going to build right here in front of your very eyes? The all-time pun team??

Here goes nothin’:

Catcher – John Buck

Get your mind outta the gutter, people! No cussing necessary! We could be talking about how John “bucks” the trend of most catchers. Perhaps he wears one of those big, stupid cowboy belt Buck-les. When he hits a homer, is it like Buck-shot?

Honorable mention – A.J. Ellis: What the Ellis going on?!

First Base – Justin Smoak

Too easy. He hit a home run in Japan to kick off the 2012 season, and I saw no less than 3,587 tweets within ten minutes about how Justin “Smoaked” the ball. When he’s playing poorly, could he be “smoaking” too much druggage? In a rain delay is he Smoak on the water?

Honorable mention – Adam Dunn: Get ‘er Dunnnnnnn!

Second Base – Jemile Weeks

One of the things I’m really looking forward to this season is for Weeks to start heating up. When he drops a big bomb this year, it’ll be a lot of fun to pull out the double whammy: “He hit that ball a Je-mile! It took Weeks to come down!”

Honorable mention – Dan Uggla: Ohhh man, that was an Uggla swing. (Like…ugly? No?)

Third Base – David Wright

Not only is Wright one of the best players in baseball when healthy, you can expect plenty of easy puns with that last name. Is grabbing David as my third baseman the Wright move? You tell me!

Honorable mention – David Freese: Tonight’s forecast…a FREEEEEEESE!

Shortstop – Derek Jeter

“Jeters never prosper” is still one of the best fantasy team names I’ve ever seen. I really can’t think of much else that works for him but “cheater.” Given the massive amount of fans that seem to hate him, I guess that’s appropriate though.

Honorable mention – Troy Tulowitzki: He threw that ball wayyyyyy Tulo. Heh.

Outfielders – Corey Hart, Andre Ethier, Hunter Pence

That Corey guy on the Brewers really has a Hart of gold doesn’t he? Ethier that or all the ladies Hart Corey! I can’t decide – I Ethier take Andre or Hunter. But Hunter always swings for the Pences.

Honorable mentions – Ryan Braun, Shane Victorino, Jay Bruce: Despite being so Brauny, Jay is a Bruce cannon. Can he still get a Victori…no.

Starting Pitchers – Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Yu Darvish, Matt Cain, Mike Minor

For the defense behind Roy, it feels like a Halladay when he’s pitching. Cain Mark be any more Buehrle? And the Yu puns are just a Minor offense. Do Yu think Yu knows all the words to Yu-th of a Nation by P.O.D.? I surely do. But, do Yu?

Honorable mentions – Doug Fister, Chris Sale, Matt Moore, J.A. Happ, Phil Hughes: It’s a fire Sale in Chicago this year…could they be any Moore pathetic? I guess it’s just Happ-enstance. Chicago fans must be Hughes-d to it by now. (No, I’m not going to even try with Fister…use your imagination, you dirty scoundrels…)

Relief Pitchers – Grant Balfour, J.J. Putz, Brandon League, Jason Motte

I can’t think of a surname worse for a pitcher than Balfour. Usually, that means you just walked the guy. J.J. really Putz people in their places in this League. Was that play even League-l? He’s definitely Motte your average closer.

Honorable mentions – Todd Coffey, Javy Guerra, Aaron Crow, Tyler Chatwood: I could really use a good cup of Coffey. Sweet Crow hop, Aaron! You know what Chatwood be weird? Talking about Javy the Guerracuda. (Okay, that’s my own creation on the last one. I just love me some Javy in the 9th inning!)


There you have it. The all-pun team of 2012! My outfield and pitching is pretty loaded, but I could use a little help at catcher, first and shortstop. I’m accepting all and every trade, so comment below and send those ideas my way! Happy Friday the 13th…don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman. Thanks for reading.

Aces Wild

April 12, 2012

Let’s match the ERA’s to the aces through the first week of the 2012 season:

Matt Cain – 7.50

Tim Lincecum – 12.91

C.C. Sabathia – 6.75

Yovani Gallardo – 5.91

Zack Greinke – 6.75

Josh Johnson – 8.38

Dan Haren – 6.97

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???

I know it’s early, but my goodness those are some crooked numbers. My fantasy team got hit especially hard yesterday, when Sabathia, Lincecum and Johnson all got absolutely rocked in their respective starts.

Well, who’s for real? Who is going to bounce back and who is in trouble? I’ll tell you…NOW!

First of all, let’s be realistic. These guys are aces for a reason – there are four Cy Young awards spread throughout that group and a whole bunch of pretty stats. So they will all bounce back. But only to a degree. Here goes nothin’:

1. Matt Cain, Giants

The Giants made Cain a very, very rich man recently. How does he go out and reward them? By posting a hefty 7.50 ERA in his first start. Well, let me point a couple things out. Cain was throwing on the road against a red-hot Diamondbacks offense. Not to mention, I watched that game and it was really just a couple bad innings. He looked pretty solid for most of the game, but the hits kept piling up when he was missing location in a couple innings. Cain will be just fine.Panic Level 1-10 (10 is high):3

2. Tim Lincecum, Giants

The Freak is a huge reason why the Giants are floundering in last place early in the season. When Barry Zito (CG, 0 R, 4 H vs. Rockies) is your most reliable pitcher, things need to change. And quickly. Lincecum’s double-digit ERA is especially frightening, because he’s looked awful in his two starts. He’s lost velocity on his fastball, the breaking balls aren’t biting, and he can’t hit the broad side of a barn consistently. This is the second year in a row Lincecum’s velocity has dropped. Panic Level: 7

3. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees

I picked C.C. as my pre-season Cy Young favorite in the American League, so the big boy has a lot more than just his stats to worry about. I mean, would you want this human bicep coming at you?! Stop laughing…anyway, Sabathia’s 6.75 ERA is frightening. He’s getting on in age, and his last start was against the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, they have a penchant for big offensive outputs, but it’s still a last-place team that was ripping C.C. apart. Panic Level: 5

4. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

Gallardo got absolutely torched by the Pujols-less Cardinals at the Milwaukee home opener last week. He allowed four home runs. In one inning. It was just stupid. Gallardo has a tendency to be very inconsistent. His stuff is some of the dirtiest in the game if he can get it over the plate. But when he starts hanging breaking balls like he was against St. Louis, the Brewers are in for a world of hurt. I’m calling this early-season struggles, rather than a decline in talent. Panic Level: 4

5. Zack Greinke, Brewers

Has the rest of baseball figured Greinke out? Aside from his Cy Young year in Kansas City, Greinke hasn’t been THAT good. He’s similar to Gallardo, where his stuff is dirty, but he needs to consistently get it over the plate. If both these guys struggle in 2012, the Brewers are in for a very long season. I think Greinke will bounce back to have respectable numbers, but he’s never going to return to the award-winning form we’re accustomed to. Panic Level: 5

6. Josh Johnson, Marlins

Okay, Johnson worries me. He got shelled by the oft-injured Phillies lineup yesterday, and got touched up for a few runs by the Cardinals on Opening Day. It’s not his abilities that have me wary – it’s the fact that he’s coming off an arm injury. Is he fully healthy? I hate to speculate, but this is so out of character for the young righty, that I think something must still be bothering him. Panic Level: 8

7. Dan Haren, Angels

The Angels have been struggling big time, despite their big free-agent transactions this winter. It’s partly due to an offense that is still struggling to find its identity. But Haren isn’t helping matters either. He only allowed three runs to the Twins in his last start, but got hit hard against the Royals in his first. I’m not worried about Haren yet. He’s still got a 12:2 K-to-BB ratio, and is always solid. Give him another start or two before the panic meter rises. Panic Level: 2

There you have it! Comment below and let me know who I missed or who has a level that’s terribly skewed. Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!


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