Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

The Windy City

May 3, 2012

I really got the travel bug last summer when I went on Semester at Sea (to date, the greatest experience of my life!). I feel that after these past few weeks, I’ve now hit nearly every major city in America. Still missing are Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas.

But today, I arrived in Chicago. I like it already, but I’ve yet to fully explore what it has to offer. As I told my girlfriend earlier, I’ve never met a place I didn’t fall in love with, whether that be for ten minutes or ten years.

Luckily for me, the Dodgers are coming into town to play the Cubs this weekend! So I’ll definitely be looking for tickets. Okay, so I sort of already did. A million times. WHY the hell are bleacher seats at Wrigley Field nearly $60?

Is it because it’s a Saturday afternoon? Doubtful, considering the same tickets on Sunday are under $25 a pop. Is it because the Cubs are winning so much? HAHAHAHA. No.

So, I’ve come to the only logical conclusion – that it’s because they are playing the epic, talented, first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. And yes, while I’ll probably pay the higher fees to see Matt Kemp shred Matt Garza in the Chicago wind, it’s still annoying.

Maybe I need to come home, where the A’s offer $2 tickets to anyone with a pulse. Granted, it’s a much worse baseball experience, but at least it’s easier on the wallet.

Check back in after the game to see what I thought of my experience in the legendary Wrigley Field bleachers!

Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

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Opening Day Predictions

April 4, 2012

Okay, okay. I know the A’s and Mariners played in Japan and the defending-champion Cardinals already defeated the Marlins at the new stadium earlier tonight. But a big slate of games is finally set for tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

We’ve got seven games lined up for tomorrow, capped off with reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and my Dodger squaring off against the Padres in San Diego. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for tomorrow’s games:

Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers: This is the first of the great pitching matchups we’ll see over the first weekend of play, but it might just be the best one. Jon Lester will take the hill against last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Normally, I’d expect a pitcher’s duel, but Lester is a notorious slow starter, so look for a big game from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and the Tigers to take the home opener 5-2. (Side note: Jose Valverde will get his 51st straight save, creeping slowly towards the record of 84)

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: I like this pitching matchup for a number of different reasons. First of all, I really enjoy watching Tommy Hanson pitch. If he’s healthy for Atlanta this year, it’s going to be huge for their playoff aspirations. But the real story here is Johan Santana’s return to the hill after a multitude of injuries have crippled the former Cy Young winner. I’m going to take my first upset, but don’t expect the Mets’ winning streak to last long. Give me the Mets 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates: Another former ace takes the hill on Opening Day, hoping to rebound. Erik Bedard won’t have as much success as Johan does in New York, although I do expect an above average season out of the lefty in 2012. Roy Halladay is going to be too much for the young Pirates offense, and the Phils take it on the road 5-0.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs: Raise your hand if you’re as excited to see Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow as I am! He takes on the re-tooled Cubs and Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. And I’m sorry Cubbie fans, but the curse will continue, starting with an ugly loss at the hands of the Nats. I’m going to enjoy watching Strasburg go 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians: This might be the most underrated pitching matchup of the day. If you like young, up-and-coming stars on the bump, this is the game for you. Ricky Romero is my dark horse candidate for A.L. Cy Young this year, and Justin Masterson for Cleveland isn’t far behind. I think this is going to be the best pitching duel of the day. Toronto takes it 1-0 on a late solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: One of the Marlins’ big free agent acquisitions is opening this series, and Mark Buerhle can certainly be trusted to give a quality outing. Johnny Cueto gets the ball for Cincy and two very strong offenses will have their respective hands full. Give me the wily veteran for the new-look Marlins’ first win in a 4-3 game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: You know this is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about. You’ve gotta like the young lefty Kershaw to start defending his Cy Young title with a pretty dominant win at Petco Park. I think the Dodgers put up a five spot on Edinson Volquez early and chase him from the game. I want to give the Padres a pity run to sound unbiased, but they just aren’t a good enough team to score against Kershaw. Final score: 6-0 Dodgers.

That’s all folks! Call in sick tomorrow, ditch school, and watch MLB Network all day to see my picks put into motion. Happy baseball! Peace.

Manny Mania!

February 21, 2012

Billy Beane is running a circus in Oakland, and I love it. The A’s are going to challenge for the worst record in the Majors this year, so why not have a little fun? After stealing Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes about a week ago, Beane moved in and signed potential Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez to a 1-year, $500,000 contract. I know what you’re doing right now. You’re moaning and groaning and crying CHEATER!

Well folks, get over it. Because it’s going to be the only thing worth watching at o.Co Coliseum in 2012. Let me preface this blog by admitting that I have a problem. I’m a Manny fan. I think he is absolutely hilarious and a complete dick. But not in the cocky way of A-Rod. More like the “this game is really fun and enjoy hitting a baseball very far for a living” way. How can you hate a guy that has such a damn good time on the field?

And if that isn’t enough for you, at least watch him hit and tell me he doesn’t have the sweetest right-handed swing in the game. No type of fertility drug can create a swing that perfect. Regardless of how many hormones he has swimming around in that body of his, Manny is one of the best hitters to ever play the game. Same as Barry Bonds, he tarnished his legacy with the failed test, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a spectacular player to begin with.

Back to Oakland – Manny will miss the first 50 games of the season due to his suspension. Which is perfect. Because that gives all our young prospects who have either been blocked for years or just sucked the big one when they got their shot, 50 games to prove themselves. If any of them hit like crazy, they will stay in the lineup and Bob Melvin will find a way to get Manny in there. If they don’t hit, they blew their chance and we’ve got a Hall-of-Famer hitting cleanup.

And if Manny hits 10 home runs in 110 games this year, it’s well worth the 500K. If he hits 10 home runs by the trade deadline, I guarantee Beane will squeeze a top prospect out of a desperate AL team in need of a DH for the playoffs. It’s a win-win situation. No harm, no foul, unless you are seriously offended by men injecting female junk into themselves. Or if you hate dreadlocks.

I promise, A’s fans. It’s going to be fun. And you’ll love watching Manny being Manny. It may be the only bearable part of a long, sad season.

Who knows…maybe he’ll give you a high five after a play!

Three Strikes and You’re Out

February 14, 2012

That title is not my cleverly worded get-back at an ex on Valentine’s Day. I’m no Taylor Swift. But it is also somewhat misleading. It really has nothing to do with baseball. I just wanted to express something before the real fun starts. Nicki Minaj had a big ol’ swing-and-a-miss at the Grammy’s. It was creepy, annoying, painful and hardly music. That was strike one. This morning, she checked her swing with her new single Starships. Heard it on the radio. Almost cried. Isn’t she a rapper? Isn’t that why I enjoyed her stuff in the first place? Listen to it if you enjoy the sound of excruciating disappointment. Nicki is down 0-2. Time to choke up and make some contact, girl.

Okay so back to sports. I have one HUGE story to chat about, then we return to the Fan Cave saga! My boy Billy Beane did it again in Oakland. He made an absolutely baffling move to cap a frustratingly confusing off-season. I can understand adding Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes – he’s got power to all fields, he’s a plus defender and has good speed. It’s a great gamble. But why get him in the same winter that you trade away back-to-back 15-win seasons in Gio Gonzalez?

I realize Beane got about 46 of the top prospects in baseball for his dealings over the last few months, but to me, signing Cespedes says “We want to be competitive.” And in a division that absolutely loaded itself full of talent, by a team with no money and very few big-league ready players, this is a bold risk. I like the risk overall, because Cespedes will be fun to watch and will put butts in the seat, no matter what Chris Townsend says on the radio (don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about a few extra fans per game over the course of a season, so they might get like, a million total this year).

But as much fun as Cespedes should be to watch in 2012, the A’s need more than one potentially good bat in their lineup. I truly believe 100 losses is still a possibility in Oakland with the team they will be trotting out there, but adding Cespedes at least gives us hope. Time will tell. Again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have a monster first half and then gets traded off to New York for 18 draft picks and a AAA pitcher.

Back to the Fan Cave, Batman! Just like I promised. First of all, it is a Hallmark holiday all about love today. So what I need you to do is toss the roses you bought me, give the chocolate to the annoying dog next door and log on to http://atmlb.com/yU5WYF to continue voting for me! The more you vote, the more I know you love me. And my mom really loves me, so she’s probably already voted 100 times today. There’s your competition. So get to lovin’ and clickin’!

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for what I find to be a hilarious, self-created PROMO VIDEO for the Fan Cave being posted on the Facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/JamCave) and my Twitter (@jamblinman) tomorrow. If I think it’s funny, then it must…well….it probably won’t be. But I embarrass the hell out of myself so that alone is worth watching and tossing a few thousand votes my way.

This is the internet, so I’m allowed to choose my own Valentine today. If you’ve followed this blog in the past, you should have an idea of who it’s gonna be. Surprise! Just kidding. Good luck and good night, lovers.

 

How About a Little Cougar Lovin’?

February 13, 2012

Yes, I am hoping that title attracts the bulk of 18-24 year old men to this blog. And it should. But for a different reason. I’m talking about my alma mater, Washington State University and our proudest sports product, Klay Thompson. The 11th overall pick in the NBA draft last year is having himself quite a rookie season. And people are finally starting to take notice.

Don’t ask me how this kid didn’t make the rookie-sophomore all-star game, or how he’s relatively unknown outside Pullman, WA and Oakland, CA. And definitely don’t ask Warriors coach Mark Jackson. After a slow start this season, all Thompson is doing in February is averaging 10 points per game off the bench. Not just any 10 though. He discovered his long-range stroke and is hitting treys like Chris Brown hits…nevermind. He’s on fire, is what I’m trying to say.

Thompson was arguably the biggest recruiting coup in Washington State basketball history. Hearing we would have the son of a former first overall pick suiting up got things buzzin’ in Pullman. And Klaymania got off to an early start, when He’s a freshmannnnnn became regular in Beasley Coliseum as Klay’s sweet stroke started enveloping the student section.

By his sophomore year, he was far and away the best player in crimson and gray on the court every single night. And by his junior year, he was dropping 40+ points in pre-season tournaments, averaging over 20 a game during conference play and on a short list of candidates to even get consideration for National Player of the Year awards. Yet he stayed relatively anonymous, staying away from the spotlight, patiently awaiting his name to eventually be called in last year’s June draft.

The day Thompson announced he was foregoing his senior season at WSU to jump to the NBA, it was honestly like a natural disaster had hit the campus. Our snowy little town of 30,000 people (22,000 students to give you a better idea…) might as well have just been hit by a deadly, contagious disease. Oh, wait that happened too. Anyway, nobody took the news of Thompson leaving harder than me. Sure, I was graduating but I still was looking forward to him leading my Cougs on a final NCAA run.

Then, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in June, I received an e-mail. Then another. And another. And finally one from my Mom with the press release attached: Warriors select Klay Thompson 11th overall in draft. As in the Golden State Warriors. As in the team that plays 25 minutes from my house. I was giddy. I ran down the halls of the ship looking for my fellow Cougs. I found them. And we celebrated this little stroke of luck.

Now that little stroke of luck is coasting on the big stroke of Thompson’s right arm. He’s quickly becoming one of the best overall rookies of the 2011 draft. He’s helping the Dubs stay afloat in their quest to return to the postseason. He’s trying to be a savior for a franchise which, save for 2006, has been a league doormat for years because of bad coaching, a lack of star power, and failed drafts.

But as Thompson continues to sink three’s and make pinpoint passes and play suffocating defense, Pullman and Oakland won’t be the only places noticing the gold mine the Warriors stumbled upon. Forget former Warrior Jeremy Lin and all his hype. Thompson is the real deal and he’s here to stay. I assure you, if his clutch, late-game heroics continue, the Warriors will find a way in eventually. And you’ll have a young, silent assassin to thank. Go Klay Thompson. And as always, Go Cougs.


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