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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

#IStandUpFor

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For the World Series this year, MLB is partnering with a different charity for each game, and the first game is partnered with Stand Up 2 Cancer. Not as well known in the UK until last Friday, but I wrote a little post on it last year. MLB have invited everyone to fill in this card with the hashtag #IStandUpFor to let everyone know who they stand up for, and everyone in the stadium tonight will hold up their own card in a moving tribute.

istandupfor me-and-grandad

Player love or Team Pride?

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It’s been a while since I posted about baseball, so if you’ve started following my blog recently and are expecting back to back book reviews, I’m sorry! It’s not been the best season so far for the White Sox, but we’re slowly climbing our way back up the standings. There are a few bright sparks on our team, like the fact that Paul Konerko is leading the AL in batting average, and Chris Sale and Jake Peavy are both in the top 5 for ERA in the AL.

But back to the reason for my blog post, MLB Europe posed this question on Twitter earlier:

(If your favourite MLB team switched rosters with its biggest rival, which team would you root for? Player love or team pride?!)

It’s an interesting question because the players really make a team, so my first instinct was to say that I’d root for the players. But if you think about it more closely, the trade market in baseball is always so active that a team one year will almost certainly be different from the next, and two or three years down the line you might not even recognise it. It’s easy to get attached to the players on your team, but the chances are that unless you have a homegrown talent with a strong desire to play for the team, you’re going to lose him to a different team sooner or later.

There are players like Derek Jeter who are ‘franchise players’ and you know they’ll never leave, but most other players have a price – look at Prince Fielder, and more to the point, Albert Pujols. Both signed for new teams earlier this year and you wouldn’t have expected that to happen. So saying that you’d stick by your players is silly, because you’d eventually end up supporting every team in the league and it’d be a bit hard to keep up.

Another thing that would influence my decision is the fact that our biggest rival is the Detroit Tigers, and there are a lot of players on their team that I wouldn’t mind joining the White Sox; Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to name a few. And who wouldn’t?! Of course, I’d rather have these three alongside my favourites like Konerko, Pierzynski, Floyd and Sale, but we all know that’s probably not going to happen!

whitesox-tigers-lineup

So for me, it’s definitely Team Pride all the way. Players are a big part of a team, but there are many other factors too. I love the team, the coaches, the ballpark, the city and the history.  It would be hard to give all that up and switch to the team you’ve been programmed to hate.

So I’ll ask you the same question (if you’ve actually managed to read this far). Player love, or team pride? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Review: Dirk Hayhurst – Out of My League

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dirk-hayhurst-out-of-my-league-e1330855312503It’s been a while since I posted a review, not been feeling great the last few days so had a break from the laptop. But this book was awesome! I kind of knew what to expect from the book after reading Hayhurst’s first book (The Bullpen Gospels), and I most definitely wasn’t disappointed.

This book was just as funny as the first book, it had me laughing out loud quite a few times! Lines like this were just what I expected:

Hitters are stupid, if they weren’t, they’d be pitchers.

The book is refreshingly honest, and gives you a great insight into what life is like for a baseball player, and a better understanding of just how big a difference there is between the lifestyle of the minor leagues and major leagues.

I felt like this book was a lot more personal than the first one, and contained a lot more about his relationship with his girlfriend/fiancee/wife Bonnie. He lets you in on a lot of events in their relationship – the proposal, the wedding, and even a huge argument they had shortly before the wedding after he had pitched a bad game. I liked that this was included, he wasn’t afraid to include the bad parts of himself as well as the good.

The book ends just as he has been claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays, setting up very nicely for book number 3. I have a feeling it’s going to be longer than I would like before it comes out though!

I’d recommend this book to any baseball fan, and also anyone who just wants a good laugh. If you’ve read this book and enjoyed it, you should definitely check out The Bullpen Gospels too. You should also follow him on twitter – @thegarfoose, he’s just about to start playing in the Italian baseball league which should make for some interesting tweets.

5-5

Now Reading: Dirk Hayhurst – Out of My League

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dirk-hayhurst-out-of-my-league-e1330855312503I’ve been waiting for this book since I pre-ordered it in October, so I’m very glad that it finally arrived, especially when I started seeing a lot of tweets about people in America reading the book when I still had 2 weeks left until it would be dispatched.

It will be the second book I have read by Dirk Hayhurst, although you may also know him as @thegarfoose on Twitter. His first (The Bullpen Gospels) was fantastic, I remember laughing a LOT when I read it, so I hope this one will be just as good. If it’s anything like the first one, I’ll probably be finished with it by tonight, I just couldn’t put it down.

Merry Christmas!

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It’s a bit late in the day now, but wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great day. Mine was surrounded by family; chatting, laughing and opening presents – and eating turkey of course! The only thing missing was Cameron! I got some really cool stuff, including books, DVDs, music, make up and charms for my bracelet.

I wanted to share this picture that someone posted on Twitter, it really made me laugh:

4722038_orig

I hope everyone enjoys boxing day, recovering from the over indulgence today! I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite quotes this Christmas:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Luke 2:14

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

Wakey!Wakey!, Casey Shea, To Kill a King Part 2

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Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to the Family Records for this really kind blog post – it put a big smile on my face when I read it last night!

http://twitter.com/#!/familyrecords/status/123845324958744576

Yesterday was the second part of our Wakey!Wakey! October tour. Show-wise, it was better than Nottingham, but I have to say I enjoyed Nottingham more – although this had nothing to do with the show or the venue.

The problem was parking in Manchester city centre. After driving round in circles in rush hour traffic for an hour trying to find somewhere to park, and to get TomTom to figure out where we were, we finally found a multi-storey car park. Drove in, parked up, went to walk out and saw a sign that said it closed at 10pm. We knew the gig wouldn’t be over by that time, so we left straight away, but it cost us £3.90 to get out.

After driving round a bit further, we finally ended up in an NCP car park, but that would only let us park for a maximum of 4 hours, meaning we had to leave the gig while Wakey!Wakey! were playing their last song, and couldn’t stay around to meet them again after. We had to walk through the guys from To Kill a King to get out, so I definitely felt rude. The worst part was when we got back to the car park there were only about four cars in there, so I don’t know why they wouldn’t let you pay for more than 4 hours.

The gig was at a place called Night and Day Café, which seemed smaller than the Rescue Rooms, and was infinitely hotter. We were so hot stood watching, it must have been way worse on the stage under the lights. Lets just say everyone looked kinda sweaty – especially Casey who came back out wearing a different shirt shortly after he finished. That being said though, it was a great venue. I love the smaller places – the gigs seem much more intimate, and you’re guaranteed to be able to see the stage.

caseyshea_inyourhead_500x500_mediumAgain, Casey opened the show, and there were more people listening this time, which I was glad about. Another awesome performance, I’m hoping that he may release a stripped back CD with just him and his guitar, I can feel so much emotion when he sings like that.  I also picked up his new CD last night, which is not on iTunes yet. I have a feeling it’s gonna be on repeat for quite a while. I’m also hoping that he may come back to the UK for his own tour, so that he can play for longer than just the opening act!

To Kill a King had some equipment issues last night. Firstly, there were guitar cable problems and there was a quick scrabble to find another cable while they were still playing the first song. Then there was a drum issue, which meant that they had to improvise and play a song without the drums. I have to say, they played on really well despite the issues and performed another cracking set.

http://twitter.com/#!/ToKillAKingUK/status/123863401654005760

Wakey!Wakey! performed more songs last night than they did in Manchester (they didn’t have to finish at 10, which was great). They played a few more new songs, which I love already, and of course the old songs with most of the audience singing along. There were a lot more stories last night too, including a story of Casey Shea’s wild Karaoke adventure on the first night of the tour in Canada. The only thing that could have been better would be if we hadn’t had to leave early.

We’ll have to bear that in mind for our next gig in Manchester – Pearl and the Beard on the 5th November. Really can’t wait for that – tickets are only £5 too!

 

Ultimate Batting Practice? Maybe Not…

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The MLB Fan Cave tweeted a link to this video earlier this week.

http://twitter.com/#!/MLBFanCave/status/101053302896214016

When I first watched it, I thought it was quite impressive, but now I’m 99% sure it’s fake. Even so, it’s a pretty good fake video, definitely amused me the first time.

(**Update: The video has now been removed from YouTube as it apparently violates the YouTube Terms of Service. Make of that what you will.)

600 Homers or 3000 Hits?

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Last night, The MLB Fan Cave posed the following question on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/MLBFanCave/status/93080982881697792

(More impressive milestone: 3,000 hits or 600 home runs?).

First of all, both milestones are pretty damn impressive. You have to be at the top of your game to be able to notch up that many of either. To answer the question as it is posed, I would have to go for 600 home runs. There’s something about the home run that is inherently exciting to watch. It’s also pretty much impossible to get a bloop home run whereas bloop singles happen all the time (no disrespect of course).

Now we all know that the question in this instance is really Jim Thome vs Derek Jeter.

First of all, I have massive respect for both guys. As far as we can all tell, they’ve played the game the right way. Getting these records without resorting to steroids (especially during that era) is something that has to be commended. I’ve also heard nothing but good things about the attitude of these players, both on and off the field. Both seem like genuinely nice guys, who have a great passion for the game.

Obviously Derek Jeter is Mr Yankee, and Jim Thome has played for 5 teams (Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers and Twins). I think this gives Jeter a bit of an advantage in getting to his milestone, in that he hasn’t had to adjust to new teams and new ballparks.

Another advantage that Jeter has is regular playing time. He’s not that much younger than Thome (which surprised me when I looked it up – 37 to Thome’s 40), but he is still playing regularly at shortstop, and doesn’t show much sign of slowing down yet. Thome is now exclusively a DH, and has been hampered by injuries the last couple of years which have prevented him from getting regular playing time.

Despite all this, I would still pick Thome over Jeter every time. Even throwing out the anti-Yankee bias, I have had a soft spot for Thome since he started playing for the White Sox (a couple of years after I started watching baseball). He’s a genuine good guy, doing a lot of charity work with his wife. Even other MLB players agree – in 2007 he was voted the second friendliest player in MLB, tied with Mike Sweeney.

Thome is currently at 596 career home runs, and I will be watching very closely for him hitting the 600th. He deserves to get that milestone, and I would hope that he is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame 5 years after he retires.

Let me know if you agree…

The Grubbs Effect

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This week my website is ‘suffering’ from what I have now deemed ‘The Grubbs Effect’. Usually, my website gets between 50-150 views a week. After I went to the Wakey!Wakey! show last week, Mike Grubbs re-tweeted my website link:

http://twitter.com/#!/WakeyWakey/status/81279347998199809

After he put this on twitter, my website stats went through the roof – 736 views in one day – that’s a 1,386% increase on the previous week!

website-stats1

Now that his re-tweet is not the latest tweet on his timeline, the tweet is not on his website homepage, so stats have started to come back to normal, but the post is still getting 30-40 views each day. I will be interested to see if the stats stay higher with people checking back – leave me a comment if you are one of them!

That’s gonna leave a mark…

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My favourite baseball player Gordon Beckham got hit in the face last night by a relay throw in the game against the Blue Jays.

gordon-beckham

It looked really painful – the last I heard, his eye was working but he was going to hospital to check for fractures. Let’s hope he’s okay and he’ll be able to get back soon!

gordon-beckham-shiner
http://twitter.com/#!/CSNChi_Beatnik/status/74306181874712576