“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): The Nationals are no longer the hot pick, so they might as well win the NL

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to (and in some cases the aftermath of) the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. This is the Nationals entry.

Last season, the Nationals were the trendy pick to win the World Series. This year, they are not.

Which probably means they’ll go and win the NL because baseball history is full of teams going on to win after everyone else has moved on to a new pick. The best Cardinals team of this century (2004) didn’t win the World Series, but two years later (2006) a 83-76 team won it, for example. Plenty of people probably picked the Cardinals in 2004. I doubt as many picked them in 2006, at least once the playoffs started and they only had a 83-win season.

So… why not the the Nationals? They still have Bryce Harper, they still have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Jonathan Papelbon is…well…. Jonathan Papelbon, for better and for worse. Maybe Daniel Murphy will be even half as good as he was in the postseason last year. Are they as good on paper as some previous Nationals teams? No. But, well, these games aren’t played on paper.

So… why not the Nationals?

 

The 50th BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: DC’s greatest heroes and villains… PLAY BASEBALL? (BLOGATHON ’16)

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

What more can be said about DC Super-Stars #10 that has not already been said? Larry Granillo has looked at it, so did internet-based comics fan extraordinaire Chris Sims, a comic book blog ran a whole series on it, SI Kids actually pulled up WPA for the game, and probably plenty of others have also done a look at it.

But… if there is something better suited for the 50th installment of Bizarre Baseball Culture, this site’s signature series, I don’t know what it is. So buckle up, because here we go with DC Super-Stars #10 from 1976… “The Great Super-Star Game!”

superstargamecoverGO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE:

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“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): Are the Washington Nationals going to win it all? Well… Maybe?

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today: The Washington Nationals, my early favorite for World Series champion.

I think the Washington Nationals will win the World Series this season. And yet, I’m not 100% sure why I think this.

Maybe it’s the pitching. They have added Max Scherzer to an already excellent staff that includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister.

Maybe it’s because this might be the year that Bryce Harper returns to form after an off-year last season.

Maybe it’s because of Anthony Rendon.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because this will be the year where things click, where the odd breaks that have gone against them will go for them, where the bullpen won’t screw it up, and they finally go to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know, but for some reason- and I’m not sure what- I think this is the Nationals’ year.

Maybe.

BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Strange Sports Stories #1… “TO BEAT THE DEVIL!”

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Last time, I introduced you to “Strange Sports Stories”, the on-and-off anthology of DC Comics’ Science-Fiction and/or Fantasy tales involving sports. That past installment was from the 1960s Brave and The Bold run of SSS, but this time, we’re looking at the Strange Sports Stories stand-alone series, from 1973. It only lasted six issues, but it’s first issue prominently featured baseball (amazingly, it wasn’t in any of the other five issues, and as far as I can tell no sport was featured more than once) in a tale called “To Beat The Devil!”

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Written by Frank Robbins (who was primarily an artist, most notable for having helped create the character of the Man-Bat for DC Comics), penciled by Curt Swan (who is best known for his work on Superman comics) and inked by Dick Giordano (best known for his partnership with artist Neal Adams on Batman and the socially-conscious Green Lantern/Green Arrow book), this tale, as the cover (done by Nick Cardy, who according to Wikipedia is best known for his work with Aquaman and the Teen Titans) indicates, is about a face-off between a baseball team and the devil himself. The Devil, of course, is no stranger to baseball, primarily known for his involvement in baseball-themed musicals, but this is the first appearance by Satan in Bizarre Baseball Culture. Well, unless you count this weird guy from the second AAA Baseball/Marvel comic. I don’t.

Anyway, go below the jump for more:

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Bizarre Baseball Culture: “CHALLENGE OF THE HEADLESS BASEBALL TEAM!”

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

This is gonna be fun. Today, I take my first look at a quintessential part of Bizarre Baseball Culture: “Strange Sports Stories”. A short-lived DC Comics anthology banner that popped up a few times during the 1960s and 1970s- at one point even having it’s own book for six issues- it’s title told you everything you have to know about them: they were sports stories that were strange. Sometimes they would be sports mixed with magic. Other times it would be sports mixed with science fiction. No matter what, though, they were most definitely bizarre. And, so, by definition, all baseball installments of “Strange Sports Stories” are going to be Bizarre Baseball Culture.

And we’ll begin with the very first “Strange Sports Stories” story, from waaaay back in December 1962 or January 1963 (it’s cover date was January, but comics often come out before the cover date, so it likely was already out in December- if not even earlier, as the GCD says it was on stands in late October), in The Brave and The Bold #45, the first “Strange Sports Stories” installment ever: “CHALLENGE OF THE HEADLESS BASEBALL TEAM!”

Note that this isn't an actual picture of my cover- my cover is in sort of crummy shape- the book is over 50 years old, after all.

Note that this isn’t an actual picture of my cover- my cover is in sort of crummy shape- the book is over 50 years old, after all.

Let’s go below the jump for more.

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