My goal is to add perspective to subjects other than the regular headlines.
Contact Stephanie at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com



Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 Season in Pictures

Pictures from some of the MLB games I've attended this season so far (6). Enjoy =)

Monday, April 12th, 2010: Cubs Home Opener vs Brewers
Wrigley Tradition, Bars open at 6am around the stadium! 4-12-2010

The Game Day Crew at the Cubs Home Opener, 4-12-2010

Cubs Players lining up for Opening Ceremonies... Kicking off Wrigley 2010!


Friday, April 16th, 2010: Cubs vs Astros
Another beautiful day at Wrigley, 4-16-2010, Cubs vs Astros
Casey's new (and favorite) T-shirt... Cost $1

Derrek Lee 3 Run Homer!!! Btm 7th when the Cubs put up a 6 spot!

Sunday, April 11th: White Sox vs Twins
Watching Mauer warm up Blackburn in the bullpen!

Blackburn warming up in the pen, 4-11-2010

Michael Cuddyer, one of my all time favorite players!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010: White Sox vs Rays
David Price getting his warm ups in before the start!

Dioner Navarro pre-game, throwing with Price

View of US Cellular Field from our seats in the bullpen patio

TBL,
-S

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Players for the Planet- Earth Day is here!

Baseball World- It's officially Earth Day and this is your chance to give back to this beautiful world while still keeping it baseball related!


Cincinatti Red's outfielder, and my friend, Chris Dickerson is the creator of a charity revolution called Players for the Planet. Chris has gone above and beyond to make a difference in this world, and with our support we can help make it an even bigger impact. Visit the site today and get tips on how to live more environmentally friendly and how you can get involved!


"Players for the Planet believes the greening of the world must take place in all types of venues. Thus, the organization has dedicated its resources and the talents of the professional athletes who support its mission to educate all involved in youth, amateur and professional sports on how best to adopt environmental practices that will preserve the playing fields and stadiums where we all enjoy playing and watching sports," -Players For The Planet, About





What will you do to make a difference today?

Clean up garbage you see on the sidewalk, walk/ride your bike to work instead of driving, recycle at work and at home! IT ALL MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE! 1 and a 1/2 years ago at my work I started a recycling project on our baseball turf. It's still there today and still has the signs coworkers and I made to help encourage others to recycle! When it first started, I took home pounds of paper every weekend to recycle on my own until finally we got a recycling system in place at work. The recycling I took home amounted to over 75 lbs, and it was all thanks to everyone who made a conscience effort to simply put used paper in the green container next to the garbage can! That easy.

But, I decided I could do more, as we all could. Normally it takes me an hour to get to work everyday, which is 2 hours of polluting the air daily. To stop that I just leased an apartment RIGHT NEXT to my work and I will be walking/riding my bike to work everyday!  I also try to cut back how often I drive to Cubs games, and now have all the Metra train lines practically memorized! It's the little things that honestly make a difference and I urge you to do something, as well. It's not always easy and sometimes requires effort but think of the bigger picture.

Now imagine if we all made an effort! Can you imagine what our world we be like? Acting environmentally friendly not only creates our future generations with a cleaner, more ecofriendly world, but it promotes good will throughout our societies. Cleaning our Earth brings us together, just as ball games do. Together we can conserve the world and promote the good actions of others, and that is why I am so happy and proud to help spread the word about Chris's charity. This truly is a charity run by a man who is entirely dedicated the cause.

Here is a video about e-recycling events Chris will be holding today and Saturday.







Spread the word! Wear a green ribbon or lace today to show that
you support the efforts by Chris Dickerson and the many other Major League baseball players!


Happy Earth Day from The Baseball Life
-S

*Images from www.PlayersForThePlanet.org
*Green Lace image from the GreenLace facebook group

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hilarious Videos

My friend sent me these videos this morning and I thought I HAD to share them with you! Probably the funniest things I have evey watched before in my life, no lie!

First up, FAU Rain Delay!


And lastly, a little Chan Ho Park action while he's answering to his critics!


Sniper in the bleachers! Sniper in the bleachers! LOL

TBL
-S

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blog Archive

I've had this blog/site for over a year now and I love looking back at my older entries, not only to see how I've grown as a writer, but to relive the moments that have defined my Baseball Life. Every article I write is written because there is something of value within it that I want to share with the baseball world.

When I visit stadiums and I'm on the flight home writing about it, I'm hoping that my words will be enough to push someone else to do the same. My hope is that others will read my experience and go out and live it themselves. Like when I meet a player and tell the funny and enlightening stories from these guys- all I want is for you to approach that player the next time you come across them at a game and have an experience of your own to share with others. Baseball is a beautiful game, full of people who celebrate together over a common love. So why not share my experiences in hopes that one day I can come across someone else who can say, "Tommy Lasorda told me that story, too!" Or even, "Ian Snell was so funny when I met him, too!"

The reason I have branched out so much with baseball is because I have provide myself with opportunity and I have taken advantage of life, and I turn it into a Baseball Life. Basically, I try not to waste a single moment. I go to every game possible, even if it means rushing from Wrigley Field down I-290 to make it into work without a minute to spare. Never stop moving. Never stop living. Isn't this the reason RedBull was invented?

Memories are everything to me, and I live everyday with the mentality that what I do today should be something worth remembering forever. One day when I'm really, really old and I'm laying on my death bed, I'm certain that the memories racing through my mind behind my closed eyes will be of those from the many sunny afternoons at Wrigley, my frist time walking into PNC and heckling Ian Snell, witnessing Buehrle's no hitter live at The Cell, road trips to St Louis to see the Cubs take on the Cards, starting Cub chants in the bleachers of PetCo Park, watching highlight reels of legends on the Dodger Stadium jumbotron, spending countless rainy nights within the dome of Miller Park, waiting out rain delays for hours on end... the list won't ever end. I'm greatful for each and every moment baseball has given me over the years. And here are some of my favorites that I have written over the past 13 months:

My Very First Blog Entry - Why I started this blog!
Peter Gammons - One of my baseball idols
The World Baseball Classic - My experience interacting with the Korean baseball fans!
Doug Deeds - Prospect Watch for the Cubs (from March 2009)
2009 Marlins - Ever wonder how I could like the Marlins? (Especially since I'm a Cubs fan...)
The Glory of Their Times - A book review about the early days of baseball
Science of Pitching (Stephen Strausburg) - Great info for anyone who wants to know the forces behind a pitch.
My first trip to PNC! - One of the greatest trips of my life
Pat Venditte - I wrote about him before ESPN had a feature about him! Video included.
Jose Canseco- I have some hard words for him, but after his twitter rant today I don't take them back. I did back Manny in this piece, but try to skip past that part, haha.
Elvis Andrus - My fan fest for him started back in 2009
The Greatest Day of My Life, 2004 World Series - no explanation needed.
6 games to start the season - Want to see how I live? Read this, lol
Jackie Robinson Day 2009 - My experience from the game/thoughts
Rick Reilly - Sports Writing that changes lives... What inspires my writing!
Fan Etiquette- One of the funner articles I wrote, feel free to comment with your opinions!
Cubs vs Cards weekend 2009 - good times
Cubs vs Cards, fan rivarly - good article attached from a fellow blogger
Moneyball - The Movie... in the process?
Statistics!!! - My secret love... not really that secret, I suppose.
Walk Up Songs - So much fun writing this one and finding out player's songs!
Sox vs Mariners matchup - A game preview before an early 2009 game


All of the above are from March and April 2009
Click here for May 2009 which includes articles about Bobby Scales and the first time I got to meet Tommy Lasorda!

PS. Kruk just owned Soriano on Baseball Tonight..

TBL,
-S

Sunday, April 11, 2010

High School Baseball Spotlight: Mike Foltynewicz

It's officially baseball season and with that brings me to one of the best parts of spring, or as these kids would call it - second semester!

For high school baseball players around the country, the spring is time to play ball with their classmates while hoping to break out and catch the eye of a scout or get a scholarship for college. This year I have a few cousins playing high school baseball, so I make it a point to go out and support them while they play. One of my cousins is the #1 starting pitcher for Joliet Catholic and I try to go his games as often as possible.

His curve ball is amazing, and not just for a high school senior. And trust me, I am not being biased just because he is family. I think if anything, I've proven that I am very realistic when it comes to judging baseball performance. I give kudos when deserved and I acknowledge when improvement can be made. I try to stay away from negativity though. In my mind, if it's baseball then there is always something positive to say, with the exception of Milton Bradley. Sorry, he's my only complaint in baseball.

Anyways, tomorrow my cousin, Kendall, will be throwing for Joliet Catholic versus Minooka. You can expect 30 scouts to be at the game at JCA.. and it's not for my cousin, unfortunately, although he's had some looks this year, too. Tomorrow, Mike Foltynewicz will be in the spotlight.

Mike is a senior at Minooka who's fastball consistently sits at 94-96mph, while belting homers out of even the deep fences of Joliet Catholic's stadium. He is undoubtedly the #1 prospect out of Illinois, and we should be proud. He's got an incredible head on his shoulder, the confidence of major leaguer, and he is already media savvy.


Here is an interview from the Sun Times on Friday, April 9th, 2010 by Taylor Bell:

You are regarded as the No. 1 baseball prospect in Illinois. What does that say about you? It means a lot to me. There are a lot of great players in Illinois. It is a great honor to be rated as the top player. I think I deserve it. I've worked hard to get where I am now.


Last week, 30 major-league scouts showed up for one of your games. Everyone is interested in me. All I have done has worked out in my favor. In my mind, I was shocked, seeing 30 radar guns behind home plate. They were even watching me when I was warming up. Sure, there is some pressure. But when I go out and do my thing, bear down, pitch like I know I can pitch, it will work out in my favor.
 
In your first nine games, you are 3-0, your fastball is at 94-96mph and you are hitting .400 with six homers and 24 RBI. Does it get any better than that? Pitching is what I love to do. But I love to hit, too. I like to whatever I can do to help my team win. When I'm pitching, I feel I am in great control of the game. I know what I can do. It gets me excited and pumped up. I feel I have an edge over any batter.
 
You are committed to Texas, one of the premier college baseball programs in the country. Why Texas? It was my dream school. I grew up liking Texas, since I was 13 and went to see them at the College World Series in Omaha. Augie Garrido was a big influence. I heard stories about what a great coach he is. And Texas has great tradition in baseball.
 
The major-league draft is in June. How badly do you want to play in Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium? It's been a dream of mine. I'm hoping I will get a chance to sign. It will have to be a life changing amount of money or a high draft pick. Otherwise, I still have a great school to fall back on.
 
Coach Jeff Petrovic said he would be "shocked" if you aren't selected in the first three rounds. What is your projection? I'm just excited to see all the scouts showing up at my games. I want to keep my fastball above 90mph for the whole season. The scouts don't like to see a decrease. I'm at 96 now. The don't want to see high 80s. And I want to keep my earned-run average and walks as low as possible.
 
What do you have that excites the scouts? I have a tremendous amount of competitiveness. I'm one of the most competitive people you'll meet. I have a good mind-set for the game. I'm a leader and I have a great attitude. I have size and  a 90 plus fastball. The scouts are looking for that.
 
Your fastball has been timed at 94-96mph. How badly do you want to throw even faster? Adding a couple of miles per hour would impress the scouts. But I have to stay within myself. All my work in the off season has turned into something good. Last year, I threw only 91-92. In the summer, (pitching coach) Bill Coop [editors note: coach is Bill Copp, misspelled in Chicago Sun Time, -S] worked with me. I changed my motion, strengthened my legs and improved my arm strength.
 
Are you superstitious? I play drums before a game, ever since I was 8. I also wear Texas shorts under my baseball pants.
 
If you could pick the brains of one pitcher or one pitching coach, who would it be? Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. He is one of those people who you want to watch when he is pitching. He has a 98-100mph fastball for nine innings. He also has a sick curveball and a good changeup. When he is on, he is as good as there is. I love to watch him pitch.
 
What does it take to be a great pitcher? Mental attitude. You've got to want to learn things, to take criticism well, to get better. You must have confidence that you can pitch seven or eight innings strong and know you did your best. You also have to be calm when bad things are happening and be cool under pressure.
 
 
Maybe Zambrano could take some notes from this kid!!! He's really seems to have it all together, especially mentally which is not something that is easily taught. Honestly, those were great responses to the interview and probably some of the most confident I've ever heard and its from an 18 year old. Besides pitching, the 6-5, 205 pound Senior can also play first base remember.
 
If you want to see him head out tomorrow, Monday, April 12th to Joliet Catholic High School at 4:30pm.
I'm not sure if he will be pitching, but my cousin will face him at the plate. If you are coming from the city or suburbs just take I-355 south to I-55 South, exit south on Weber Rd. After that you follow Weber all the way (it turns into another street, I can't remember the name) then you'll see JCA on the left (turn left at Ingrams Rd.) and the ballfield is right there. I won't be there because I'll be in the bleachers at the Cubs Home Opener at Wrigley but I will be at future games, and I'm making it a point to go watch this kid play.
 
(All images found via google image search)
TBL,
-S

Friday, April 9, 2010

Remembering Nick Adenhart

Remembering Nick Adenhart
LA. Angels - #34
August 24, 1986 - April 9, 2009

Today marks the one year anniversary of the loss of Nick Adenhart. He was taken from us at such a young age, with so much going for him. He had just pitched his breakout game in the Major Leagues and he had just began to attain the dream he's had since he was a child. He pitched the best start of his major league career and hours later his life was taken from him.



Take a minute today to do something today to remember Nick, or to remember anyone in who has left us too early. Remember that you are still here, and use that opportunity to do some good in this world. Your existence on Earth should be lived by doing good- by helping others. There are hundreds of mlb players who run chairties that you can become involved in today. Take today as an opportunity to leave your mark on this world but helping others.

If anything, the loss of life reminds us to appreciate our own. Do something with it.

A must read article about Adenhart: http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/columns/story?id=5065546



Gone, but never Forgotten. We miss you, Nick.
TBL, S

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Buehrle's Amzing Flip Play


No words are necessary. Buehrle is legit.


More pictures from White Sox Opening Day:
Starting the season off right! Opening ceremonies honoring our country!

Game shot: JJ Putz making his White Sox debut

The ladies of our group at opening day!

TBL,
-S

Sunday, April 4, 2010

White Sox Home Opener 2010

Monday, April 5th, 2010
Chicago White Sox Home Opener at US Cellular Field

If you happen to be at the game, come stop by and say hi! I'll be posting in section 164, trying to sneak up as close as possible!

Tailgating starts at 10am when the parking lots open, so look for us around the gate 2 entrance if you want to have a beer with us. I'm hoping to catch batting practice and will tweet as much as possible throughout the day. Remember to follow me on twitter at Twitter.com/TurnTwo34! It should be a nice day... always seems to be sunny and enjoyable for the Sox opener. Then a week later at Cubs home opener we'll probably be stuck in 2 rain delays with freezing winds, hahaa. Wouldn't have it any other way.

It's OFFICIALLY baseball season everyone! Make sure to bookmark The Baseball Life and live your life consumed with baseball, as I clearly plan to do (and have done!).



TBL,
-S

Friday, April 2, 2010

Home Run Draft 2010

I decided to switch it up a bit this year. Usually I will do 1-3 fantasy drafts and manage the teams throughout the summer. Rotisserie is my favorite by far, and I prefer 6x6 to 5x5. Last summer I had 2 teams but I really did not have the time to manage them and it became pointless. I traveled too much and didn't have the luxury of being near a computer to set my lineups every nights, etc.

So this year I am doing a Home Run Draft. Basically, it is run by a guy in Palatine, Illinois and entries must be post dated by April 3rd to be accepted. It costs $11 and $10.50 of that goes into the "Prize Fund." For an additional $10 you get 3 Standings Reports that are sent out periodically throughout the season so that you can see your rank, and for another $9 you can get a Pick Sheet which shows all the selections made by every entry. Basically 1 in every 30 entries wins something. Last year there were 350 winners. First place got $9,999.00 while 22 people won $1,000 or more.

The object is to pick 16 players who will give you the most home runs, but there is a catch. There are 7 groups of players. In Group A, you pick one guy. In Group B, you do the same. Group C, you get to pick 2 from the list, then in Groups D, E, F, and G you pick 3 from each.

Here are this years groupings with my pick(s) in red:

Group A [pick one]: Prince Fielder (46), Ryan Howard (45), Carlos Pena (39), Albert Pujols (47), and Mark Reynolds (44). I took Howard b/c he has the most consistantly high totals over the past 3 years, even though my first glance said Pujols.

Group B [pick one]: Nelson Cruz (33), Adam Dunn (38), Adrian Gonzalez (40), Alex Rodriguez (30), and Mark Teixeira (39). I chose Tex.. it was a toss up between him and Adrian for me. I figured if Adrian could hit 40 HRs in the least friendly hitters park and in a year he will most likely be traded that he should be a sure bet. But, then a friend reminded me that Tex is someone who is overly-cue the magic word-consistant with putting up homerun totals in the mid to upper 30's.

Group C [pick two]: Jason Bay (36), Russell Branyan (31), Miguel Cabrera (34), Aaron Hill (36), Raul Ibanez (34), Derrek Lee (35), Adam Lind (35), Kendry Morales (34), Justin Morneau (30), Jayson Werth (36).  Right away I took out Lind and Hill b/c they had freak seasons where they were each predicted in the single digits but ended up hitting 35 and 36 respectively. My first toss up was between Cabrera and Ibanez. 34 is my lucky number so I felt safe chosing between the two but then I decided on Miggy since he's younger. Next I felt D Lee would be a solid choice since he started off spring training with a HR and stayed strong the whole spring. I also think this will be a very fun and enjoyable season for the Cubs and with D Lee as their captain he should play big.

Group D [pick three]: Ryan Braun (32), Michael Cuddyer (32), Andre Etheir (31), Curtis Granderson (30), Ian Kinsler (31), Evan Longoria (33), Hideki Matsui (28), Joe Mauer (28), Troy Tulowitzki (32), Dan Uggla (31), Chase Utley (31), and Ryan Zimmerman (33). First choice was Uggla. After being picked up in the rule 5 draft in 2006 he's hit +/-3 homers from 30 every season since. I'm predicting lucky 34 this year for him which will be a career high. Utley- no explanation needed. And Kinsler... I love the direction that the Rangers franchise is moving. I think that guys like Kinsler set the tone for this team and with his great leadership he'll be going big all season. He set a career record with 31 last year, but I still expect him to hit at least 29 this year (he hit 14 in 2006, 20 in 2007, and 18 in 2008).

Group E [pick three]: Jermaine Dye (27), Brandon Inge (27), Matt Kemp (26), Paul Konerko (28), Jason Kubel (28), Carlos Lee (26), David Ortiz (28), Luke Scott (25), Nick Swisher (29), Justin Upton (26), Kevin Youkilis (27), and Ben Zobrist (27). I chose Kemp b/c he has tons of upside and reminds me a lot of Andre Dawson- frame of a power hitter and plus plus speed. Pauly and Papi were easy choices. I like veteran guys that are consistant and since they are both in the AL will still be brought in late in games to do specifically what I need them to do- hit homeruns.

Group F [pick three]: Lance Berkman (25), Hank Blalock (25), Robinson Cano (25), Jack Cust (25), Adam LaRoche (25), Jose Lopez (25), Hunter Pence (25), Juan Rivera (25), Pablo Sandoval (25), Ian Stewart (25), Joey Votto (25). Once again, I went with consistancy. The Kung Foo Panda is the only one of the three who solely had his big year last year, but he's a powerhouse and should keep it up. I'm not really a Hunter Pence fan, but the guy can hit so I'm comfortable assuming another 22-25 homers for him. Cust doesn't hit shit for average, and thankfully that doesn't matter here. He underachieved just a little last year, but hes a solid pick in this grouping.

Group G [pick three]: Clint Barmes (23), Mike Cameron (24), Johnny Damon (24), JD Drew (24), Brad Hawpe (23), Matt Holliday (24), Victor Martinez (23), Miguel Olivo (23), Hanley Ramirez (24), Cody Ross (24), Jim Thome (23), and Josh Willingham (24). Holliday and Hanley were two picks I was kind of on the fence about. I rationalized that Holliday will only benefit with McGwire as his hitting coach- he was afterall, one of the main reasons he resigned with St Louis. I love the Marlins, and took a chance that Hanley could revert back to 2008 when he broke 30 homers. As Willingham's replacement, Ross has stepped up to the plate. In 2008 he was ridiculous in May with 10 homers which basically solidified his spot with the team. After a good 2009 I expect him to be grounded and come through strong for Florida.

So, those are my picks for the 2010 Home Run Draft. Agree? Disagree? Post your comments here or email them to me at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com.

Opening Day is almost here!!! Happy 2010 Season!

TBL,
-S

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cool Site/Series for Yankee Fans

I come across a lot of interesting e-mails from people who have a good site to share or a company looking to broaden their audience. This e-mailer is from the company I am about to plug, and after viewing the site and videos, I'd have to say it'd be cruel of me not to share this with Yankee fans!

This is from the MSG Network on a new show called, The Lineup, which is a new original series and interactive fantasy game that determines the best baseball players in the history of New York. Last Tuesday, they named Lou Gehrig as the all time best first basemen in New York history. You can visit their site by clicking here: The Lineup.

On April 6th they will be naming the greatest secondbaseman in NY history, so be sure to vote! They are even giving away free baseball memorbilia from legends of the game.

Official Press Release for TheBaseballLife.com:
“The Lineup: New York’s All-Time Best Baseball Players,” a new original series and interactive fantasy game that will determine the best baseball players in the history of New York, premier tonight on MSG Network with “Catchers,” the first of ten weekly episodes. Each 30-minute episode of “The Lineup” will present a number of nominees for consideration at each position, from the Yankees, Mets, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, with one episode dedicated to the best New York manager of all-time. MSG’s Fran Healy will host a panel, consisting of Hall of Fame Mets catcher Gary Carter, former Yankee bullpen ace Sparky Lyle, New York Magazine contributing editor and baseball aficionado Will Leitch, and executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau Steve Hirdt. The panel will whittle down a larger list of players from each position and determine the top five from each spot on the diamond. By the end of each episode, they will crown the top player at each position and name him to the official “Lineup” card.

With an interactive fantasy game launched in conjunction with the on-air program and hosted on http://msg.com/lineup/, viewers can see how they stack up against The Lineup's experts. Fans will try to predict the five players who will be nominated each week and ultimately who will be selected as the starter in the final “Lineup.” Participants will receive points for each correct pick and will be eligible for weekly prizes such as signed memorabilia from baseball greats like Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter. At the end of the series, the participant with the most points will win a Grand Prize. The site will also feature chats for fans to interact and debate each position, quizzes about the nominated players, photo and video galleries, and player statistics for fans to comb through before making their picks.

If this is something you know a yankee fan would enjoy, pass it along. I'm all about sharing relevant and unique sites and ideas with the readers here. I especially love the emails with sites that you guys send to me. There really is some cool stuff out there and I wouldn't know about it if it wasn't for you!

TBL,
-S