CONTINUUCAST 7: 2016 Season Opening EXTRAVAGANZA!

It’s time for another Baseball Continuum CONTINUUCAST! This time with Eric Stephen, Travis Sarandos, and Michael Clair! In addition, Dan reveals his picks for the season! Hit play above, download by right-clicking here, follow the RSS feed here or follow on iTunes here or Stitcher here (if the latest episode isn’t up yet, it will be shortly).

 

Dan Glickman opens up the 2016 MLB Regular Season with a Continuucast with a record THREE guests, and also gives his season predictions!

 

First (at 3:10 in the podcast), Dan talks to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA about the Dodgers, covering their spring injury bug, Corey Seager, Vin Scully, and several other topics.
Then (at 23:24), Dan welcomes Travis Sarandos of Brew Crew Ball, BP Milwaukee and the “Dingers, Doubles and Drunks” podcast. They talk about the Brewers, whether Braun and/or Lucroy will be traded, the NL Central in general, the many excellent prospects on the way to Milwaukee, and whether Travis had any idea that his article theorizing that Hank the Ballpark Pup had been replaced would end up becoming so big.

 

The final guest (at 42:55) is Michael Clair of MLB.com’s Cut4 and formerly of Old Time Family Baseball! The two talk the MLB season, how awesome Opening Day is, Michael’s beloved Pittsburgh Pirates (and how he fell in love with them), give their championship predictions, and complain about how disappointing the Batman vs.  Superman movie was (SPOILER ALERT!).

 

Finally (at 1:18:19), Dan gives his season predictions for Major League Baseball in 2016! They will almost certainly be wrong, but now you have a recording to keep him from claiming otherwise.

 

Music/Sounds Featured:

 

“The National Game” by John Phillip Sousa

“The Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy

“The D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song” by Danny Kaye

“I Love LA” by Randy Newman

“Beer Barrel Polka AKA Roll out the Barrel” by Frankie Yankovic

The Theme Song from Happy Days

“Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa

“You Gotta Believe” (The early 1990s Pirates theme song)

“Bugler’s Dream/Olympic Anthem”

Excerpt of “Pennant Fever” from the Major League soundtrack

 

All sound and music used is either public domain or is a short snippet that falls under fair use.

 

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(Blogathon ’16) Greg Gay: Victim of Circumstance

This guest-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. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

Circumstances conspire to form our major league baseball alliances. Perhaps we live near a team and going to games forms an unbreakable bond with the franchise. Maybe our rooting interests were handed down, family member to family member, a continuous line of Cubs or Reds or Orioles fans.

My circumstance was my mother handing me a pack of baseball cards.

She had just returned from the grocery store. It was 1974 and it was the first time I had ever seen or even heard of baseball cards. It was a cello pack, which contained around 35 cards back in the mid-1970s. Don’t ask me how I remember this, but the first card I pulled from that pack featured someone on the brink of a career-threatening injury. They thought he’d never pitch again.

I didn’t know any of that as an 8-year-old. I just knew that I liked this Tommy John fellow, standing there on this piece of cardboard, with a glove held up in front of his chest, his mouth half-open as if he wanted to tell me something. Instantly, I pledged allegiance to the team featured on that card, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers were my team from that moment, even though I lived 3,000 miles from where they played their games. It was a tenuous relationship, which could have withered and died, if not for circumstance.

A few years later, during the first year that I actively watched baseball on TV — my interest in cards had blossomed into a full-fledged love for baseball — the Dodgers made the World Series. My Dodgers. The guys I collected on bubble gum cards.

I lived in Upstate New York, Yankees country. Almost all of my classmates were Yankees fans. They were relentless. I could never hold onto Yankees cards because everyone around me always wanted to trade for them. Gradually, I grew tired of their hounding, their superior attitude as they bragged about how good their teams’ players were. And now my Dodgers were playing their Yankees.

My Dodgers lost. Something about Reggie Jackson hitting three home runs in Game 6. The following year, my Dodgers played their Yankees again in the World Series. Something about Reggie Jackson sticking out his hip. I was deflated. Two years in a row of my team losing to the team everyone around me thought was so superior.

I resented them. But the experience strengthened my resolve. Circumstance saw to it that I remained a Dodgers fan.

In 1981, the Dodgers obtained their revenge, beating the Yankees in six games, just as L.A. had been beaten in six in ‘77 and ‘78. I saw that my team COULD beat their team in the ultimate series. I went to school the next day and announced to the Yankees lovers in the hallway, “How about those Dodgers?”

In 1986, I picked up a book called “The Boys Of Summer.” I was in college, a journalism student. Roger Kahn’s famed memories of the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers appealed to me as a fan and a future writer. But I didn’t know how fascinated I would become with my team, thanks to that book.

Kahn’s very human stories of the very human Dodgers, and what became of them, sealed my allegiance forever. I was proud of the stories my team had to tell. Jackie, Pee Wee and the Duke. Campy, Billy Cox and Joe Black. The Dodgers’ history is as rich as any team in  professional sports. I wanted to follow a team like that.

Circumstance — an interest in stories and the human condition — drew me tighter to this team. Forever to this team.

Today, I appreciate every moment of my Dodgers’ history. My favorites — Kirk Gibson in the ‘88 World Series, of course — are both large and small. Ron Cey’s crazy RBI April in 1977. Reading about Fernandomania from afar on the floor of my dining room in 1981. Shawn Green’s four home runs against the Brewers in 2002. I could go on for pages. And the characters–so many. Tommy Lasorda. Mickey Hatcher, Nick Punto.

The Dodgers, in my lifetime, have experienced highs (the epic 4+1 home run comeback game against the Padres)  and lows (which franchise gave up both Hank Aaron’s and Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home runs?) . They illustrate the humanity of baseball as well as any team. Bob Welch’s and Steve Howe’s battles with substance abuse. Brett Butler’s battle with cancer.

Living so far from my team, I have watched them play in person only once (Eric Gagne’s blown save in his hometown of Montreal in 2002). But thanks to my third-shift job and night owl habits, I can keep careful track of my favorite team from a distance, far better than when there was just a newspaper and a Saturday Game Of The Week.

I am a victim of circumstance. A faithful fan following his team from the other side of the country, spurred on by a single baseball card and some well-placed moments in time.

And to think my mother — not a baseball fan in the least — started it all by handing me a pack of cards in 1974.

Thanks, Mom.

Gregory Gay is a editor and sportswriter for a newspaper in Upstate New York. He operates the popular baseball card blog “Night Owl Cards,” under his blog alias “night owl.” His twitter handle is: @nightowlcards.

This guest-post has been 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. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

(Blogathon ’16) Eric Stephen: On Baseball and Brothers

This guest-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. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

At the end of January, I am reaching the point of restlessness in the offseason, much too far removed from the end of the last baseball season and still too far away from the starting of spring training this season. With 2016 a bit of a milestone year for both me and one of my brothers, I thought I’d share one of my favorite baseball memories with him.

My two brothers are the reason I love baseball so much. Kelly is 15 years older than I am, and Greg is 10 years older than me, and were largely responsible for molding me into the person I am today. They loved baseball, so it had to be great. I had to find out about this thing my brothers loved so much, and I soon found I would love it too.

Given the age difference between us, Kelly and Greg were more than brothers and role models for me. They also had somewhat of a fatherly role, too, when I was younger. Our dad passed away from pancreatic cancer in January 1987, when I was 10, and they did their best to fill that void in my life when I needed it most.

The 1988 Dodgers will forever be the sports team I most identify with, one that captured my heart when I was 12. I grew up in Palm Springs and, being two-plus hours away from Dodger Stadium I didn’t go to too many games as a kid. I went to two games in 1988 – Game 2 of the 1988 World Series, with Kelly; and July 6 against the Cardinals, with Greg.

To date, Game 2 remains the only World Series game I have ever attended. But that July 6, 1988 game will always stick with me, too.

It was just Greg and I, which meant a lot of knowledge was getting passed down to me. Previous lessons included how to keep score, proper strategy, and even when to cheer. That last one was more important that you might think, especially for someone not familiar with depth perception at different sections of the ballpark.*

*In other words, not in this game but when I was much younger, I once stood up with arms raised upon bat hitting ball, not realizing this high fly ball wasn’t destined for the seats or even the outfield, but rather settled nicely into the waiting glove of the second baseman, much to the embarrassment and horror of my brothers.

Anyway, back to this July 6 game, there was nothing special about this relatively nondescript Wednesday night game. It did happen to fall on what would have been our dad’s 54th birthday, and was just his second birthday since his death.

The Dodgers were down 3-0 to the Cardinals after seven innings in this game, but as they did all year managed to rally to tie the game in the eighth inning. But the rally wasn’t over.

Even after tying the score, the Dodgers managed to load the bases against ace closer Todd Worrell, with first baseman Franklin Stubbs coming to the plate. Stubbs was a former first-round pick who never managed to live up to the advance billing, but on this night he came through.

Stubbs ran the count full and on the eighth pitch of his battle with Worrell launched a ball well into the right field pavilion, helping to give the Dodgers yet another improbable victory in a season full of them. What I remember most about the moment of the grand slam was the utter euphoria in Dodger Stadium, enhanced because I was there with my brother Greg.

I can still feel the goosebumps today when thinking about that game.

Greg lives in Baltimore now with his wife and three kids, so we don’t see each other as much as I would like. But this year he turns 50 in February, and I turn 40 in March, and with Kelly the three of us plan to celebrate these milestones with each other during a week in spring training in Arizona.

It is as perfect a combination that I can think of – me, baseball and my brothers. I’m getting goosebumps already, and I can’t wait.

Eric covers the Dodgers for True Blue LA and is an editor at SB Nation. You can follow him @truebluela.

This guest-post has been 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. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

(Blogathon ’16!) Renaming Moved Teams

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.

There are four teams in MLB who have kept their names despite moving to different cities (or at least parts of a town where it’s enough where they change the first words of the team): The Angels, the Dodgers, the Athletics, and the Giants. What, however, if they had had to change their names? And, no, I’m not letting them just take their old Pacific Coast League team-names.

Let’s go place by place:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California, USA, North America, Northwestern Quadrant, Planet Earth, Sol System, Milky Way, Local Group, The Universe

There was a very good reason why the Angels were originally called the Angels when they started playing: they were actually in Los Angeles, playing at Chavez Ravine. In addition, the LA Angels had been one of the flagship franchises of the Pacific Coast League, so the name had history. But as they moved to Anaheim and went by “California Angels” and then “Anaheim Angels” and now “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”, they have become more and more detached from the name. So what if they had abandoned the “Angels” moniker as soon as they left Chavez Ravine? Assuming that they had adopted California as their “first name” after leaving the ravine, perhaps they would be California related, perhaps the “California Bears” or the “California Trout” (ha). Or maybe they’d be more Anaheim-focused, with a name like “Oranges”. Personally, I think they would have to go with “Anaheim Mice”. In addition to the obvious Disneyland connection, there is the fact that mice are said to scare elephants, which would be a nice little poke at the Athletics. Well… it would be if…

The Oakland Athletics

Kept their Elephant logo despite changing to a new name. I think it’d be cool if they still had an old-timey sort of name. How about the “Oakland Eurekas”, after the California State Motto? (For the curious, the Pacific Coast League Oakland team was called the Oaks.)

Los Angeles Dodgers

If the Dodger brand hadn’t been so firmly established in Brooklyn, it feels likely they would have been renamed when they headed west. After all, “Dodgers” has basically nothing to do with Los Angeles. But what would they have been called? I personally think that they would take advantage of Hollywood and go with the name “Los Angeles Stars”. Oh, yeah, that was the name of Hollywood’s PCL team, but, guess what, it wasn’t LA’s, so it counts. So, “Los Angeles Stars” it is.

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Prospectors, or “Pros”. That was easy.

At 3 PM: MR. GO!

This post has been 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.

 

 

Nothing good can happen tonight in Mets-Dodgers

(The following is about 90% sarcastic. I hope.)

Given that Chase Utley is going to be eligible, here are a few possibilities of what could happen tonight:

Scenario One: Nothing.

Utley doesn’t play. There are boos and stuff during the pre-game and during the game, but no retaliation is done and it more-or-less is uneventful. However, this just means that the bad stuff will happen later. This is the least-bad scenario.

Scenario Two: The Mets Go Bad

The Mets are America’s darlings right now and most everyone is feeling for them after what happened. However, imagine if tonight Chase Utley doesn’t play, but the Mets go for their vengeance anyway. Perhaps they do a hard slide against a Dodgers middle-infielder, or decide that Adrian Gonzalez would make a nice substitute for Utley at the plate? Then, all the sudden the Mets look like just as big of bullies as the Dodgers, and while the home crowd will eat it up, almost everyone else will be disgusted.

Scenario Three: The Carousel of Boos

Utley plays, but doesn’t do much at the plate or in the field and the Mets don’t retaliate either. He just hears very loud boos all night long. One of the least-bad scenarios.

Scenario Four: Taken Vengeance

This scenario is simple: Harvey or another Mets pitcher pegs Chase Utley with a pitch. Maybe they get thrown out, maybe they don’t. Whatever happens, though, Utley just walks to first, knowing that he deserved that. The score more-or-less settled, the game goes on.

Scenario Five: Throwdown in Flushing

Like the above scenario, except Utley, possessed by some strange demon, charges the mound. Low-level fisticuffs are had, people’s mothers are insulted, there is pushing and shoving, and both Utley and the pitcher who hit him is sent to the showers, perhaps with other players as well. It’s a bad look for MLB and the two teams.

Scenario Six: Doomsday

You’d think the above would be the worst scenario. You would be wrong. Here’s the worst scenario:

Utley plays. In his first AB, he homers or does some other big play that scores runs for the the Dodgers. The fans are incensed, especially because they believe he should have been suspended. Things are thrown on the field, the game is delayed for a time, security is heightened.

And then things get worse. The Dodgers start to go nuts at the plate, running up the score. And then, during his second AB, Utley gets beaned. All hell breaks loose. The benches clear, the bullpens empty, actual punches are thrown. In the chaos, fans who have been drinking for most of the day (it’s Columbus Day and some will have been off, after all) begin to rush the field. NYPD and stadium security is hapless as anarchy descends upon CitiField. Bartolo Colon throws a trident. One player is caught on camera knocking out a drunk with one punch. Mr. Met’s head inexplicably ends up on eBay.

When the dust finally settles, the game is called and the Mets forfeit Game 3, leading to outright soccer-style rioting outside of the stadium that eventually leads to the Mets also forfeiting Game 4 and thus the series. The entire incident goes down in history as the ugliest fan moment in baseball history since at least Disco Demolition Night.

 

So, yeah, this could ugly.

The Best Unofficial Baseball Shirts for Postseason Teams!

Last month’s look at unofficial and unlicensed baseball shirts was a big hit, even being picked up by SI.com’s Extra Mustard. So, since I’m never the type to quit while I’m ahead, I’ll do another. So, with the postseason starting tomorrow, here are the best unofficial and/or unlicensed (or, in extreme circumstances, just plain cool) t-shirts for those teams. Click the links to be brought to the stores that are selling them.

(Note: Some of these are not technically unofficial, but are rather licensed by individual players or the Hall of Fame. You’ll see, for example, a HOF Reggie Jackson shirt that conspicuously doesn’t have any Yankees logos on it.)

(GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE)

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MVP of Yesterday (Sept. 29, 2015): Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out 13 last night, getting the win as the Dodgers won the NL West title, eliminating their arch-rival Giants.

Standings, as always, after the jump:

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