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Just something about it

Dan the #1 Rays fan wanted to try his hand at writing a post for thefoulline. Take a read and let him know what you think.
Thanks,
Dave

There is nothing in all of sports like baseball’s opening day.

Week one of the NFL season is great. So is the NCAA Tournament. Everyone loves the Olympics, and the World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the entire world. But none of them even come close to comparing to the start of another baseball season.

What is it about opening day? Is it the renewed sense of hope felt by every single team? Where teams like the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros can be tied for the best record in baseball after one game? Or is it the sense of family bonding, where you play hookey and pull your kids out of school to head over to the ballpark? Or is it the atmosphere, with the cold beer, sizzling hot dogs, fresh cut grass and warm sunshine? ( Well maybe not at Tropicana Field). What is it about opening day that makes it so great?

One thing that has always made me wonder is why does a loss on opening day hurt so much? It counts in the standings the exact same as a loss on June 13th. But it just FEELS so much different doesn’t it? Almost as if an entire offseason of expectations and hope have been dashed by one ill timed poor effort during the first game of the season. I love it. It adds to the magic of opening day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s become a National Holiday for all Americans, a day they look forward to the second after the last pitch of the previous season is thrown, and our World Champions are crowned. Only one team can reach the mountain top. For the other 29 losers, it’s always “wait until next year”.

Well next year has arrived. Opening day has come and gone, and now we have 160 games over the next 5 months to enjoy the roller coaster ride of another baseball season. It’s sure to be a long grind.

But theres just something about opening day.

Dan The #1 Rays Fan’s quick hits:

- Heading to opening day at the Trop was an amazing experience as usual. Tailgating and having a few beers with thefoulline crew made it even better.

- Dennis and Willis are great guys who really know there baseball.

- And Willis makes an amazing ham and cheese sandwich.

- The Atlanta Braves are the best team in baseball.

- The Colorado Rockies are the worst.

- It wouldn’t be right to write a post for thefoulline and not mention there beloved Boston Red Sox. They look awesome. If Dempster pitches well and Ellsbury is healthy there dangerous.

- Im starting to hate the Baltimore Orioles. They are legit.

- How smart does Dave look right now? Every move he made is working out. Justin Upton and Bryce Harper are tearing it up, Freddie Freeman looks like the MVP, and Yu Darvish and Jeff Samardzija are the front runners for the CY Young. Ridiculous.

- Shoutout to sportsmanMike. His team is having a great opening week, and the moves he made look to have improved his team. Fantasy sports are more fun when your team is good and your making deals and talking smack.

- Dont forget to like Yaysports Real Talk Radio on facebook!

- Thank you to thefoulline.com upper management for allowing me to write this guest post. I have been an avid reader of the site for a long time, and it’s an honor to write a post for you guys. I hope to write for you guys more in the future if you’ll have me back.

It’s that time of year again… Baseball is back! Enjoy the ride.

Blowin’ In the Wind

My good friend Dylan – original thefoulline.com fantasy league member and Foul Line contributor – and I have a tradition where we go to at least one spring training game a year. This has been going on for several years, and it’s always a great time. The thing about going to a game with Dylan is that something crazy/fun/outlandish happens every time. That, and I’m pretty certain that we’ve never witnessed a Red Sox victory. During the years of going to games with Dylan, some of the highlights have been seeing the two Red Sox World Series trophies and getting great pictures with them, getting interviewed by MLB.tv, the Jed Lowrie foul ball game, meeting Nick from the Penalty Box bar in Rhode Island, the Great Ellsbury Birthplace Debate, and meeting Dewayne Staats. But today’s game may have been the craziest. Today’s game will be known as “the one where we almost watched someone die.”

The best thing about going to a game with Dylan is the constant banter. All the topics are covered: baseball, personal lives, politics, travel, The Foul Line. It’s always witty, and I’m constantly laughing. It makes for a great baseball viewing experience. A few weeks back, Dylan texted me and asked if I wanted to go see the Sox and Cardinals play on February 26th at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers. He was going to get standing-room-only Green Monster tickets. Of course I was in.

I picked him up at his house for the five-minute drive to the park. Upon getting to the stadium an hour and a half early, we noticed a strong 30-mph wind blowing straight out to center field. It was going to be a bad day to be a pitcher. Dylan grabbed a sausage & pepper sandwich with a Sam Adams. I opted for the Fenway Frank and a 312 wheat beer, and we made our way to the top of the Green Monster. The thing about jetBlue Park is that that everyone working there is a prick. I didn’t see one person smile the entire day. They’re working at a beautiful stadium, watching the most beloved team in all of sports, and they treat everyone like they’re wearing an “I love George Steinbrenner” shirt. It’s bizarre.

Anyhow, Dylan and I grabbed a spot on the wall and started watching the Cardinals take batting practice. Balls just started launching out of the park. Texas-Leaguers were carrying in the monsoon-like winds. At this point, more and more people were making their way to the top of the Monster with hopes of catching a BP ball.

It was the typical crowd: the 45-year-old dude who brought his mitt and was chasing down every ball with Jim Edmonds-like enthusiasm; the dad with his kids trying to score two souvenirs for his baseball-loving boys; the middle-aged woman who flinches and ducks at any ball that hints at hitting the wall; and Dylan and me, eating our food, sipping our beer, and watching ball after ball fly over our heads.

As the Cardinals were wrapping up their batting practice, some unknown player started crushing balls over the wall, one after another. The souvenir-baseball feeding frenzy was in full effect. People were chasing down balls like they were the Wonka Bar golden tickets. Dylan and I continued to watch and take it all in.

As Mr. Unknown was winding down his impressive power display, he launched one more ball high over the wall. As the ball carried, it appeared to be hit so well that it was going to leave the entire stadium. At the last minute, an overaggressive ball-hound jumped up for the ball and began to tumble over the rail to a 25-foot fall. When he was half way over the wall and on his way down to certain peril, the 45-year-old, with his mitt still on, dove and grabbed the guy’s legs, saving him from having a really bad day. It was the best and most important catch of the day.

This led to me saying to Dylan, “Damn, that guy almost died!”

To which he replied, “And that’s why I don’t chase after BP balls.”

And here are your Dylan-centric Quick Hits

  • Due to predicted lousy weather, both teams put all their scrubs in the starting lineups. When Daniel Nava is the big name, you might be in for a snoozer.
  • The experience of watching a game from the vantage point of the top of the Green Monster is unparalleled to any seat at any sporting event I have ever had. I highly recommend it.
  • Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster was on the mound today. With the scrubs backing him up in the field, Dylan commented that he hoped Dempster had his Eh game. You know, because he’s Canadian. It’s funny, eh?
  • There are fewer things I enjoy more than a Fenway frank, a cold beer, and watching baseball.
  • Dylan was able to turn two standing-room-only tickets into two prime seats on the monster, just by being in the right place at the right time.
  • (For the confused Rays fans, “Standing Room Only” seats are when your team sells all the seats at your park, and your only option is to stand.)
  • 312 beer is poured using an old telephone receiver tap. I’m not sure why, but it was awesome.
  • We’re still waiting for the final three spots to get filled on thefoulline.com fantasy league. Clock’s ticking.
  • I’m returning to the Yankeehaters team name. It was fun being the Boston badboys for a season, but the Yankeehaters just feels right.

Thanks to all for reading! The baseball draft is ONLY 4 weeks away! Start prepping now.

Follow @thefoulline on Twitter.

Here I go again

Hey gang! It’s so nice to hear from you all again. I’m amazed at the loyalty and dedication you have shown this this little blog of ours. I haven’t wrote a thing in a year, and you guys keep hanging around. I appreciate it. Thanks!

I’ve read your recent comments. I’ve met with my Quality Assurance Committee. And in a continued effort to give you what you want, here’s what we’re planning on doing.

>More posts… Short and sweet. More Quick Hits, less War & Peace.

> In the past, I would write something, send it to my editor. She’d clean it up and post it. Now, I’m just going to write and post. Please forgive me in advance for the occasional misspelled word or dangling participle. I think it will increase the amount of posts.

> I will definitely write the Draft day diary. That will be a long one.

> Dan will get his 2012 Champion post.

Keep the ideas coming. If you guys are taking the time to read this stuff, I want to make it worth your while.

Quick Hits:

  • I  planned on going to the Rays Spring Training practice. Due to lousy weather, I’m at thefoulline.com’s headquarters planning for our Fantasy draft.
  • All ten owners have committed to being back for 2013. Amazing!
  • Some Fantasy leagues award trophies or money for winning the championship. At thefoulline.com, you get a couple of poorly worded paragraphs acknowledging your victory.
  • The first three picks in the draft in no particular order will be: Braun, Trout & Miggy. This is is the first time I’ve ever wanted to be in the top 3. I’d  gladly take any of those 3.
  • Is it too early to start with the mock drafts?
  • Will Bossman Junior and Justin get along in Atlanta? I know they get along great, but I worry that if one gets pissed off, it will affect the other. The Upton’s have had attitude issues in the past.
  • Has anyone ever noticed that all thefoulline.com posts the last couple of years have been song titles?
  • I think the AL East is overrated.
  • It’s going to be a Nationals & Tigers World Series. Call Vegas!
  • Spoiler alert: 5 stud players  I will not draft regardless:. Buster Posey, Adrian Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Felix Hernandez, Curtis Granderson.
  • Congratulations Sportsman Mike on graduating from the police academy and getting hired with Pinellas Park PD. Be safe out there.
  • Follow us on Twitter @thefoulline

 

 

Weapon of Choice

Democracy is a wonderful thing. This is pretty much the extent of what I learned in my 8th Grade social studies class. Being able to choose what we watch, music we listen to and what we decide to consume is one of our rights. Some of these choices are pretty easy. Coke is way better then Pepsi, McDonalds is superior to Burger King and of course the Yankees suck and the Red Sox rule. These decisions are pretty simple. What can be really difficult to decide on is what player you should draft in Fantasy baseball. There are so many players that are very similar, that have comparable Average Draft Positions, that choosing one from the other really comes down to personal preference. I came up with a group of players that may make you dwell a few extra seconds on draft day before making your choice.

Justin Verlander vs. Roy Halladay
Either one of these guys could be the first pitcher taken off the board on draft day. Both play on good teams, will give you 200 innings and 200 Strikeouts. And you count on a minimum 16 wins during the season. This is a tough decision, but I’m going for the younger arm and taking Verlander.

Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Curtis Granderson
Last year I reached a little and took Ellsbury in the fifth round. LBC’s waited and took an injured Granderson in the 9th. What are the chances of that happening again? Ellsbury broke out in 2011 becoming a legit speed and power threat. Everybody knew he was fast..no one saw the power potential! He finished second in the AL MVP Race. I do not see a repeat of last season, but I predict a .300/23 hr/38 SB in 2012. As for Granderson, it’s amazing what happens when he adjusted his swing and could start hitting left handed pitching. His batting average is a little shaky, but 41 dongers is no joke. He may be the nicest guy in baseball..but my choice is Ellsbury. Better average, more steals.

Evan Longoria vs. Jose Bautista
I need to disclose that I don’t like either one of these guys a whole lot. Joey Bats may have had back to back 40 homerun seasons, but for some reason I can’t completely trust this guy. Maybe it’s because he got hurt minutes after I traded for him last year? Who knows? I would not be surprised to see him regress to mere mortal numbers. I have no empirical proof for this, just my gut. As for Evan Longoria… there are a million reasons that I would like to punch him in the face, his homerun in Game 162 for starters. But I will try to stay impartial and evaluate him on purely Fantasy baseball standpoint. Longoria is the best third baseman in baseball! If he can stay healthy for a full season, he will put up crazy numbers. He missed 29 games in 2011 and still raked 31 bombs and 99 RBI’s. Impartiality over…he’s the Mark Texiera of third baseman, and a total douche. With that being said, he’s my choice on draft day. May God have mercy on my soul.

Joey Votto vs. Adrian Gonzalez
Remember that time that Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez got totally crazy after a game…and smiled? Yeah, me neither. These guys quietly go to work day in and day out. Put up great numbers. Play Gold Glove First base and you never hear a thing from them. Is that good? I don’t know. I prefer my All-star First baseman to have a pulse and a little personality. Both of these guys should go in the first 12 picks on draft day. I was going to make this one a tie, since its such a tough decision. But this is a manly site and I need to choose. I’m taking Votto..just to make sure the Love Boat Captains don’t get him again.

Dustin Pedroia vs. Robinson Cano
Everyone knows Pedroia is my favorite player in Baseball. Heck, he might be my favorite player in any sport on the entire planet. I have a Pedroia Bobblehead on my entertainment center right next to my TV. And I have been known to “bobble” his head for good luck when he’s up to bat. What’s not to like about him as a player? Gold glove defender, 20 hr/20 steal .300 average, heart and soul of the Sox! But I’m choosing players for a fantasy team, and the best second baseman in the world is Robinson Cano- even if he is a damn New York Yankee. Cano is good for 25 HR’s, .300 BA and 110+ RBI’s. He’s a fantasy monster worthy of a first round pick. This choice stung a little.

I really want to win the league this year. To do so, I need to pick players with my brain and not my heart. So give me the jerkiest guys in the league ( this means you Longoria) and we’ll see if there is a new champion in 2012.

You know what they say about “nice guys” and where they finish.

True Colors?

I’m a pretty loyal guy when it comes to the sports teams that I follow. I never expect my team to win every game or be choir boys on their days off. But I do expect them to have some character, and not be a bunch of whiny self-involved idiots. Until October of the 2011 baseball season, I was under the impression that the Boston Red Sox were one of these “classy” teams. I was wrong.

I really don’t have a problem with them going 7-20 down the stretch and missing the playoffs. Their pitchers stunk and the once potent offense disappeared. That’s ok, that happens. What bothered me was the tales of drinking beer during games, John Lackey glaring at Tito Francona whenever he was pulled from yet another lackluster performance, and the “anonymous” leaks in the front office that told everyone and anyone about the state of disarray the Red Sox were in. These are not the characteristics of a storied and proud franchise.

The Red Sox players, Owners and the rest of Red Sox Nation should be embarrassed how the 2011 ended. Infighting, backstabbing, lack of support for one another. This can not happen again! The new addition of Bobby Valentine may help, but its going to take some players stepping up and start to hold each other accountable. I want to see Dustin Pedroia stick his size 8 1/2 cleat up someone’s ass if they don’t hustle down the line. I want Adrian Gonzalez to put down the rosary beads and get in Josh Beckett’s face when it takes him seven minutes to throw a pitch.

The culture needs to change in Bean Town.
If it doesn’t, this loyal fan may be forced to jump ship…. maybe I’ll start following the Yankees or Rays?

OK, maybe things aren’t that bad.
Go Sox!