greensword: (the boys of summer)
I love baseball. I really love baseball.

I like basketball. A lot. And I'm good at soccer. I could spend a whole day playing tennis, or swimming, and I've even been known to enjoy frisbee and football.

But I really, really love baseball.

I love throwing the ball. I love throwing hard and fast and the loud smack it makes when it lands in someone else's glove. I love catching fly balls. Not easy fly balls, but the ones you have to run for, diving forward or reaching out, over the back, Willie Mays style. I'm not much of a fan of baserunning, although collisions at home can be cool.

But I really, really I love hitting baseballs.

There is something about just the swing. This is going to sound crazy to those of you who haven't experienced it, but there is something inherently delicious in swinging the bat. I don't have my bat with me in Sacto and I never brought it to college, but sometimes at home I would just take it out and stand in the middle of a room and swing it. There's no way to describe it except I think there must be endorphins released by my body when I swing it. It's like getting a hug, or something.

And when you're actually swinging at a ball... in a game... with the game on the line...

I used to be really into baseball. A lot more than now. There was one summer, when I was fourteen, when I played on two softball teams and a baseball team. One of the softball teams was a pity thing. It was my school team, and we were terrible, to the point where I got more hits than everyone else combined. The baseball team was an all boys team. I got a lot of stares at the games. We never played against another team with a girl. Some of the kids on the team made fun of me, others were cool about it. I was only an okay player (it was weird switching to smaller balls, longer basepaths, overhand pitching) but I cleaned the fuck up in batting practice, which I think helped them respect me. Inasmuch as they could respect me. Fourteen year old boys aren't really built for respect.

The third softball team was a traveling team. And when I say traveling, I mean traveling. We went up to Massachusetts and down to Virginia, and played teams from as far away as Florida, Ohio, Maine. Once school let out, we played 6-10 games a week, and every weekend was a tournament weekend. It was intense, but it was fun. I even started lifting weights to increase my power... my teammates and I would go to the gym to bulk up.

That wasn't the life for me, though. One season of that was enough. When I got to high school I decided I'd rather be on the debate team than the softball team. A lot of my teammates were playing for college scholarships, though. That, and love of the game. I remember our best player, Amanda. She hit around .500, even in our league, where pitchers regularly threw at 60 or 70 mph, which is about as fast as fastpitch softball goes. She was a home run hitter, she had more extra base hits than singles, she had a great arm and great instincts. She was named to the North Jersey Little League All Star team and actually it was she that made me join my own town's Little League team - I didn't know girls could do that until I met her. Most of the other girls just played softball, though. Girls are shunted towards softball. It's weird, 'cause they don't just make the field smaller like they do in basketball or the game shorter like they do in tennis. They fundamentally change it.

As good as Amanda was, I met girls who were better. As much as I loved baseball, I met girls who loved it more.

And it makes me so fucking angry.

There are thirty major league teams, each of which has a farm system with at least four more teams. That's 120 teams. Each usually has at least 40 players. That's 480 players. If we assume an average career turnover rate of, what, five years? That's 4,800 ballplayers in the last fifty years. Probably the number is more like 10,000, maybe even 20,000. Think of all the flame-outs who spend a season in the farm system and give up. All those boys signed on a decent high school career and a whim.

How many girls have ever been signed to play even a single day of single A ball?

0.

And don't give me any of that boys are physically superior bullshit. Because that's what it is, complete fucking bullshit. Maybe there'll never be a female Barry Bonds but there sure as hell is a female Chuck Knoblauch, a female Omar Visquel, a female Pee Wee Reese, a female Phil Rizzuto. I'm naming Hall of Famers here. I'm naming World Champions. I'm naming people who made millions of dollars from playing a game, a game which they loved.

But hey, a girl who loves baseball can always go coach a high school team, right? It's like practically the same thing.

I love baseball. I was never good enough to play professionally but I knew girls who were. I never wanted to play ball professionally (not after I turned ten, anyway) but I knew girls who did. But they couldn't. Because they were girls.

I know there are a lot of worse things happening to women out there, I know that in the broad scheme of things discrimination in professional sports is not that big a deal, but it still pisses me the fuck off that when I want to watch a ball game all I see are men.

Because don't you know that men are the only ones good enough to play baseball? Don't you know that a woman couldn't even dream of being good enough to even try to play with the men?

But that's okay, you can have your girls only team, your girls only league. It'll be just like the boys team, except they won't pay you as much, or come to watch you, and probably it'll fold after a few years. And if there's a sport where women have physical advantages compared to men, well, we'll be sure not to care about those! Oh, and while we're at it, we'll turn sporting events into dick-measuring contests. We'll tell you you're only a yankee fan because you think Derek Jeter's cute. If you come to a game we'll chant at you to take off your shirt.

When I turn on the t.v., I see men dominating the political sphere, the entertainment world. I'm not going to turn it on to watch men dominating the sport I love. I'll be damned if I give major league baseball the time of day again.

What?

Jan. 5th, 2008 09:28 am
greensword: (Default)
Dear Congress,

Leave my Yankees the fuck alone.

Sincerely,
Shauna


So, apparently congress is hauling Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Chuck Knoblauch in for questioning.

Look, I'm as anti-steroids as the next person. I know this sounds hypocritical coming from a Yankees fan, but I like the pretense of an even playing field and, more importantly, I don't want kids in single A ball feeling pressured to take stuff that could kill them. Also? I am one chick who doesn't dig the long ball. I like when baseball scores don't look like football scores.

But seriously? Congress? Aren't there better things to do with your time? Like, say, impeach Dick Cheney (there's already a bill with 22 cosponsors), or bring Blackwater back under American law (so they can't kill Iraqi civilians or rape their own employees with impunity), or pass a telecom bill without retroactive immunity for multinational corporations who didn't bother reading the fourth ammendment when Bush asked them for a favor, or hey, maybe you could try again with that energy bill and not subsidize the fucking oil industry (you already gave them Iraq on a platter, isn't that enough?) and ooooh, what about finally making Karl Rove and Harriet Miers testify after they gave you (and the constitution) the finger SIX FUCKING MONTHS AGO when you wanted to know if they'd outed a CIA agent and compromised the position of unknown others JUST TO MAKE AN OPPONENT LOOK BAD.

But what can I expect from a body that decided they had to vote on whether or not a Move On ad was in bad taste or whether Terry Schiavo should die?

What's next, guys? A sense of the Senate that the Yankees shouldn't have fired Joe Torre?

GOD I HATE CONGRESS.
greensword: (Default)
So, I was listening to the Yankee game today and I suddenly realized how fucking awesome the Yankee lineup is. Seriously, folks. Look at this:

1: Johnny Damon - .300 with 22 HR and 73 RBI
2: Derek Jeter - .340 with 12 HR and 83 RBI
3: Bobby Abreu - .357 with 2 HR and 15 RBI (only 115 at bats)
4: Jason Giambi - .260 with 36 HR and 106 RBI
5: Alex Rodriguez - .279 with 27 HR and 96 RBI
6: Robinson Cano - .332 with 8 HR and 52 RBI
7: Jorge Posada - .268 with 16 HR and 68 RBI
8: Bernie Williams - .286 with 11 HR and 55 RBI
9: Melkie Cabrera - .287 with 7 HR and 41 RBI

So the average Yankee in this lineup hits .301 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs. And this is not including Sheffield and Matsui, who are both injured. To give you an idea of how fucking formidable the Yanks would be with Matsui and Sheffield healthy, look at these stats:

Matsui, 2005: .305 with 23 HR and 106 RBI\
Sheffield, 2005: .291 with 34 HR and 123 RBI

Lastly, Alex Rodriguez is having kind of an off season this year. Last year he was the league MVP with a batting average of .321, 48 HR and 130 RBI. Now, he's not going to be the MVP every year but I just wanted to point out that the numbers listed above are misleading.

Even without Matsui and Sheffield, even with A-Rod hitting a measly 27 home runs, look at those numbers. LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS. The number nine hitter is batting nearly .300! My dad and I were brainstorming for teams with a better lineup and we couldn't find one - not even the original Murderder's Row. Because Ruth and Gehrig were amazing and Lazerri was damn good but they weren't an entire lineup. Maybe, maybe the Big Red Machine, or the As teams in the mid seventies.

It's just... weird. While I wasn't looking, the Yankees built up one of the greatest teams of all time. The pitching isn't half bad, either - Johnson and Wang have both won over 15 games, Mussina and Wright have 13 and 9, respectively, and Rivera is still the greatest closer in baseball history.

Like, okay, I don't like the way the Yankees buy talent, but holy shit. If the Yankees don't win the World Series this year they should all retire.
greensword: (Default)
I realize this is the sort of livejournal entry that the vast majority of you will probably skip, but I'm going to write it anyway.

We spent most of tonight going from bar to bar, ordering appetizers and trying to watch the five hour, ten inning Yankee/Red Sox game. It was by far the best of the series, the rest of which we've caught by sitting around the radio. The shortest game of the series was, I think, three hours and fifty-five minutes. Friday night's game, the second of a double header, was the longest nine-inning game in baseball history. Not that length necessarily makes a game good, but nail-biting, bases-loaded situations and multiple lead changes make a game long. I'm surprised how much I'm enjoying this. Me? Appreciating slugfests?

There was a moment, though, in the top of the ninth, where the Yankees needed a single run to stay alive. They got a runner to third with one out and Damon was up. Now, I have nothing against Johnny Damon, but it takes me a little while to warm up to new players. I'm still not sure about Roger Clemens, and he came and went years ago. I watch Damon walking to the plate and I think to myself, "He's going to strike out." There's only one out, he doesn't need to get a hit, he just needs to get the ball into the outfield. But Damon? Three pitches, three strikes. Two outs. And then I said to myself, "Jeter's going to get a hit. He's going to drive in the run. He's got ice in his veins." And he did.

Which doesn't really say anything about Jeter or Damon, because they're both clutch hitters. It says something about me. The reason I haven't paid much attention to the Yankees over the past three or four years isn't because they haven't been winning, it's because of who's been doing the losing. Not lifelong Yankees, cultivated through the farm system, not journeymen players, neglected by other teams but now thriving. I would watch Andy Pettitte lose. I would watch Scott Brosius lose. I would watch Joe Girardi and Chuck Knoblauch and Shane Spencer and John Wettland and I would watch Paul O'Neill lose every fucking day if I got the chance.

Instead there's Damon, and Rodriguez, and Giambi, and on the pitcher's mound there's Mussina and Johnson and why am I supposed to care about them? Because they led some other team to a championship? Because they're getting millions of dollars? Tonight I tried to pick a favorite Yankee and I ended up with Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Do you know how long I have been avoiding picking Derek Jeter? Do you know the kind of looks a girl gets if her favorite player is Derek Jeter? People assume you just think he's cute, that you haven't really thought about it, but I have thought about it, and Derek Jeter is it. Posada is boring, Rivera only plays once every three games, and Bernie Williams is old. The last thing I need is another favorite who's going to retire soon.

I am off topic. What I mean to say is, the Yankees have two distinct styles, and they always have. Derek Jeter is like Joe DiMaggio. They're the sort of players who eat, sleep and breathe pinstripes. They're the sort of players who would take a pay cut to stay with the Yankees, but are so good they never have to. Damon is like Reggie Jackson or even Babe Ruth. Hired gunmen. Did Reggie and the Babe win the Yankees a half dozen championships? Of course. Did DiMaggio and Jeter win the Yankees even more? You bet. Did they do it without saying obnoxious things like Jackson's "I'm the straw that stirs the drink. Munson thinks that he stirs the drink, but he only stirs it bad." Okay, that quote is actually kind of awesome, but the point is that Reggie Jackson was a jackass, and not really a Yankee, and while Damon may not be a jackass, he's not really a Yankee either, and as such it's kind of hard to root for him. It's hard to root for a team of people who aren't really Yankees, except for Jeter and Rivera and Williams and Posada, which is four out of, like, forty, and maybe Robinson Cano too because he likes New Jersey and lives with his mother.

It is late, and clearly I should go to bed, but I am glad to have gotten this all off my chest.
greensword: (Default)
Man, we may be having the most awesome NBA playoffs ever. It feels disloyal to say that, since my Kings didn't make it past the first round, but seriously? They've already set the record for most within-two-points games and overtime games, and we're only at game one of the conference finals. :)

Also in sports news - Derek Jeter is one hit away from his 2000th hit. Craziness. I remember when he was a rookie! (When I made this remark to my dad, he rolled his eyes.) I love Derek Jeter, I really do. I didn't for a long time, just because everyone expected me to - I remember when my sister and I were at Cooperstown cooing over the Yankee section and this middle-aged man asked, "Who's your favorite player? Derek Jeter?" And we just said witheringly, "Paul O'Neill." (Or in her case, she said witheringly, "David Cone.") But he's one of the few players left from the 1996 and 1998 teams, which were the teams I really loved. Paulie's gone, Coney's gone, John Wettland and Scott Brosius and Andy Pettitte are gone. Honestly, I can't get that excited about A-Rod and Randy Johnson and Giambi and all those giant names that were bought for huge sums instead of scouted out cleverly or raised through the system. They're not Yankees. Derek Jeter, whatever else you have to say about him, is a Yankee.

... I miss Paul O'Neill.
greensword: (Default)
I have to say, the dumbest thing in baseball is the way that bullpens run onto the field during a brawl. This is because

a) they can't see anything, so they don't know what's happened or who's fault it is
b) by the time they get there, it's usually over
and c) it's not like anyone's afraid of the pitchers, anyway. ("Oh, god! Greg Maddux is coming for us! Run!")


Also: I don't know whether anyone else on my friendslist has opinions on the Gospel of Judas, but I figure I'd link for you all the two who did. Here. And here.
greensword: (Default)
The facebook NCAA tournament pools amuse me. Apparently I'm ranked 150,706th, which sounds bad until you realize over half a million people filled out brackets. Half a million. What? In addition to individual rankings, they've also got school rankings - the average of all the students at that school. George Mason is #2, which makes sense, because pretty much no one predicted them getting this far, but I bet a lot of students there picked them to win everything out of (not so misguided after all, huh?) loyalty. What I want to know is how the hell Boston Conservatory has a better average. Is that where sports analysts are secretly trained? Did they all pick George Mason out of admiration for the founding father's anti-slavery stance? Is the "average" really just one lone sports fan who, teased by his music-loving peers, devoted hours to researching the tournament and picking the best bracket?

Anyway, I really wish I could've seen GMU take down UConn, but as awesome as Erik's car is, it doesn't yet have ESPN. People are calling George Mason's run the best in tournament history. And they have a decent chance against Florida on Saturday. At least, better than they would have had against Villanova.

Speaking of Saturday, I'm having a basketball-watching party starting at 6. I only invited people I know are into basketball (or sports in general) but anyone is welcome to come, just let me know.
greensword: (Default)
I think this may be the first time I've ever agreed with William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas all at once. I could probably find one or two other instances, if I searched through the Supreme Court archives, but damn it, one doesn't go looking for common ground with the enemy. What do you think I'm trying to do? Understand them? Talk to them? Compromise?

Well, here's the dissent I agree with, anyway.

In between that and, you know, feeling bad that I don't feel bad for working for The Man - or, as Alex put it, letting some asshat make money off my brain power - I think I'm going to go sit in the corner and read Das Kapital or something.



Oh, yeah, and warning: picspam WAY TO GO SPURS! )

All right, [livejournal.com profile] aliterati, they're not as gay as the soccer players, but I think they're cute.

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