Category Archives: Weekend Hijinks

Handicapping the Oscar Races for Baseball Fans Part Two

With Oscar Day nearing, here are the rest of our inane, wildly important comparisons between Oscar nominees and their MLB counterparts. As Stanley Kubrick once said, “The Oscars and MLB go together like…” Who knows what he said, but the connection was there!

The Supporting Actors

 

Alan Arkin

 

Above: Everyone’s Grandpa. A man meant for the movies, and good for everyone he encounters.

Arkin won his first Oscar in 2006 for Little Miss Sunshine, but he also received two nominations in the ‘60s. He’s never been the It Guy at any given time, but Arkin has been giving memorable performances like this one in Argo since the Millard Fillmore administration, give or take. A Hollywood kid from a Hollywood family, Arkin’s been one of the good guys in the business for half a century. Can’t imagine he has an enemy anywhere. Alan Arkin is…Kevin Millwood. Looks like a really nice guy, and there’s no evidence to suggest he’s otherwise. A long career of solid, and at times All-Star, performances. He even deserves more than what I’ve just written. Oh well, for another time.

 

Happy where he was, and the baseball world better for it.

Robert De Niro

He’s actually asleep in this picture. It’s just how his face relaxes.

 

With a legitimate chance at winning on Sunday, De Niro will be seeking his 3rd win. This marks his 7th nomination (7th!). As usual, De Niro seems to be right in the midst of the big race as well, as Silver Linings Playbook is a favorite to snag Best Picture. He’s been turning in iconic performances since he was Vito Corleone and even before, but his role in Playbook was filled with real, pure emotion, perhaps marking a difference from many of his bigger, louder roles. A man who would have been a HOF lock two decades ago, De Niro has not shied away from expanding his repertoire at any point, even allowing his role to become a supporting one so as to allow young stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper to shine. De Niro is…Todd Helton. He still delivers remarkable performances, but still he allows for younger stars to shine as the franchise/films shift towards the next generation of talent.

 

Helton reacting to finding out he made it onto our blog. Wonderful to see such enthusiasm from such an accomplished man. The privilege is ours, Todd.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

PSH releasing Andrew Garfield from captivity, it would appear.

 

With his nomination for his work in The Master, PSH has now received nominations in four of the past eight Oscar races, with a win in 2006 for Capote. He’s a quirky man, to say the least, but Hoffman has been doing it right for a long time, including 2008, when he received two Golden Globe nominations. A true student of the craft, Hoffman has shown in recent years the ability to jump from biography to political drama to romantic comedy (HOW DID HE NOT GET AN OSCAR FOR ALONG CAME POLLY?!?!) without sacrificing his effectiveness. He does have a baseball connection, having portrayed Art Howe in Moneyball despite looking NOTHING like Art Howe! Not necessarily a late bloomer, but he has received well-deserved praise—at least from the Academy—only in recent years, as his prime seems to be dwindling. PSH is…Roy Halladay. Somewhat of a late bloomer, at least late to become a certified star. Also, both men are certainly quirky fellows trending towards crazy, “method actors” in their respective fields.

Can’t deny his talent…or the crazy eyes.

 

Tommy Lee Jones

 

BUT I AM SMILING!

Jones won an Oscar for The Fugitive in 1994, and this year marks his fourth nomination. He has a good chance this time around (in case you haven’t noticed, this category is WIDE OPEN, with 5 worthy nominees), and maybe a win would even get a smile out of Agent Kay. A wily, stoic veteran of the trade, Jones has been frowning his way through hits since Fugitive and then some. Lincoln was fantastic, and in this “credible” critic’s mind, the Picture race should come down to it and Playbook. That being said, I don’t think Jones should be bringing home a trophy of his own. Nevertheless, he has cemented himself as a staple of the industry and a stabilizing force amidst the chaos that is Hollywood fame. Tommy Lee Jones is…Michael Young. The workman of baseball, pure consistency over the course of a career, all accomplished without controversy or smiles. Epitome of professionalism as well as stoicism.

I’M SORRY, OK? I’m just not used to doing this.

 

Christoph Waltz

Just wanted to make sure more people got to enjoy this laudable facial hair/armor.

 

Having won a fully deserved BSA Oscar for Inglorious Basterds, Waltz has a good chance at making it two wins in two tries, thanks to his unique work as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. We naïve Americans unfortunately did not know of this Austrian treasure—the anti-Schwarzenegger—until recent years, but I for one am glad we have the chance to see what we can. A delightful presence onscreen and off, and a solid SNL host if you didn’t see, Waltz is a late bloomer to our country but is making the most of his time. Tarantino knows he has a keeper, and don’t be surprised to see Waltz lurking in this category a couple more times before he’s done. Christoph Waltz is… Ichiro. As soon as he got here, his presence was felt with MVP caliber performance and sustained excellence. We wish he had been here longer, but we should enjoy the time we have to admire his unique brand of individual brilliance.

Shame he has to wear that jersey, but still a talent to be enjoyed by all.

 

  

The Supporting Actresses

 

Amy Adams

 

I’ll be yah Doug!

Only 38 and now four Oscar nominations with her work in The Master? Damn, girl. Four nominations in eight years is quite the run. Adams also has a baseball tie, but we as a site have decided to deny the existence of Trouble With the Curve, shockingly not nominated for any Oscars. She’s been always entertaining for about a decade now, whether as a nun, Chahhhhhhlene, or Princess Giselle. Side note: I am not ashamed to admit that Enchanted is and always will be wildly entertaining, and I can only hope the rumored sequel will soon become reality. A talented and adaptable performer with plenty of time left to fill up her trophy case, Amy Adams is…Prince Fielder. The fact that they look like siblings aside, both are winners who we often neglect when considering the finest in their generation. Overshadowed by other talented people at times, both continue to deliver impressive work. Princess Giselle and Prince Fielder? You’re welcome, future lovers.

 

I I do NOT eat meat! ‘Cept for steak, ham, bacon. You know how it is.

Sally Field

Oh sweet, Sally Field. You’re just so casual.

 

Can’t say I’m a huge fan in general or of her performance in Lincoln itself, but I cannot deny that this is her third nomination, with two wins in her first two tries. Still find her a little annoying, and her barely bearable Oscar victory speech (NO, I will not provide a link. I’m not an enabler.) is, well, barely bearable. She’ll be remembered as a talented, successful actress who was recognized for her notable performances. Still, Sally Field, I really don’t like you. I really, really don’t. Sally Field is…Alex Rodriguez. He was great then he bottomed out, was sort of great, then plummeted again. He is a member of the I Could Have Been One of the Best Ever Without PEDs But Now My Career is Forever Tarnished group. Field has no known link to PEDs, but for me her career was tarnished when she seduced her way to earning Forrest Gump a football scholarship.

Which half is the ass?

 

Anne Hathaway

She can be happy! Be happy, girl. You’ve earned it.

 

The probable winner in this category, Hathaway now has two nominations for uber-depressing performances, for Les Miserables this year and Rachel Getting Married in 2009. A somewhat polarizing actress since her breakthrough in 2001’s The Princess Diaries (everyone loves it, so don’t be ashamed), Hathaway has confirmed her place among the elite performers of her generation, and she will undoubtedly be found on A-lists and Oscar lists for years to come. Forgetting Bride Wars, as I’m sure she has, Hathaway has built up an impressive body of work, including her great performance in last summer’s blockbuster Catwoman Rides the Batpod. She has her prime before her at only 31, and her talent is apparent. Anne Hathaway is…Ryan Braun. An electric young talent with nearly limitless potential, generally admired but with some polarizing feature. Hathaway perhaps acted with a chip on her shoulder following personal troubles. Braun’s middle finger to the world of a 2012 season was fun to watch and underappreciated.

He don’t look like he’s done proving himself quite yet.

 

Helen Hunt

Helen Hunt? Jodie Foster? Yes.

 

Real talk: no one saw The Sessions. No disrespect, and it’s nice for Hunt to receive a second nomination (she won for As Good as It Gets), but she will not be taking home the statue this year. She was in Twister, so there’s that. Certainly talented and respected by most everyone (me included, despite this mean take), Hunt is enjoying the ride as she nears 50. She had a solid ‘90s run as a go-to big name, but now Hunt is a solid performer winding down an All-Star, but probably not Hall of Fame career. She is… Edgar Renteria. He had some memorable moments around the same time of Hunt’s peak (see his 1997 World Series heroics), and he got a win as his career dwindled (2010 with the Giants), but in all truly a somewhat typical career. Sorry, you two.

Just happy to be here. Thank you. Red Sox fans wonder how he won two World Series.

 

Jacki Weaver

Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Jacki! Yes, she is actually that short.

 

Two nominations in three years ain’t so bad, and as you may have noticed, I unabashedly loved Silver Linings Playbook. She probably won’t win, but Weaver helped make a film that should not only be recognized as this year’s best, but as one of the best works in recent years. I’m not being mean about this one; Weaver actually hasn’t done that much work that anyone will remember. At 75, she seems content with the excellent performances she’s turned in the past few years. With great talent that most of us have only seen for a brief time period, Jacki Weaver is…the inverse of Rocco Baldelli. He came up as the prospect to watch and then burned out for reasons out of his control. She came to the forefront late but made an impact. She’s a little old for Rocco, but their careers kind of complete each other. Sounds like a movie waiting to be made…

HOW did I end up on your blog again?

Well, that concludes our biting Oscar commentary. Enjoy Sunday night and what is sure to be a memorable performance by Seth MacFarlane. Some have been alluded to, but here are our final predictions for the big ones:

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway

Director: Steven Spielberg (although David O. Russell would be a worthy victor)

Picture: Silver Linings Playbook

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Weekend Hijinks: Why Baseball is Great

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.  I’VE JUST BEEN HANDED A PIECE OF BREAKING NEWS: BASEBALL IS BACK AND IT IS AWESOME.

As I sit here watching the opening weekend of the new baseball season, I cannot help but think about how much I love this sport.  Fantasy baseball has only expanded this love, as now I actually have a reason to care about Willie Bloomquist’s day-to-day game log.  Fantasy baseball comes out somewhere around #115 on the list I have in my head of why baseball is great.  So in honor of the REAL opening day(s) (sorry, Japan), here are a smattering of reasons why baseball is great that are floating in my brain right now.  Enjoy.

#8,536,443,213,991

that’s Chewbacca.  On a pitcher’s mound.

#999,888,777,666 – Laughing at people who don’t get it.

#66 – The Lingo

If the name of our blog wasn’t a clue….

Baseball has a whole dialect, a whole different set of idioms, analogies and traditional phrases that simply don’t make sense.  I made this a general topic so it would include everything from home run calls to dugout talk because it is all great.

2 out hits get you to heaven.

#42 – BASEBALL CARDS!

In his day, he was a handsome man.

They’re going out of style, sort of, but man do I love baseball cards.  Every parent has a story about them.  Seriously, go ask.  They’re the only sports cards that are cool.

Do you know someone, old or young who collected baseball cards?  I’m sure you do.  Do you know anyone who isn’t a complete goof who collected another sports card?  They’re probably weird.  Just sayin’.

#24 – George Kenneth Griffey Jr.

This is meant to be a light and silly post, so I will not spend nearly the appropriate amount of time gushing about one of my favorite players in any sport of all time.  He was a joy to watch, both offensively and especially defensively in his heyday and brought such crazy goofy joy to the sport it was hard not to root for him.  He grinned like a kid every time he made one of his signature up-the-wall catches as if he was surprised by his agility too.  And damn, those catches.  You can see him narrate some of them in a cool MLB.com clip here.  Or MLB.com’s top ten memories here.  Or do a Google search to pull up any of his dozens of jaw-dropping web gems.  He also had one of the greatest baseball games of all time, for N64

classic classic classic

#13 – The Seventh Inning Stretch.

Mr. Caray loved his job

I feel this needs little explanation.  Do other sports take a break and have the whole stadium sing?  I rest my case.

#10 – Peter Gammons

the mustache presented without comment.

Peter Gammons is a national treasure.  I honestly cannot tell you a single negative thing I’ve heard about the guy.  He’s professional, witty, beyond knowledgeable and overall a nice, likable guy.  Oh, and he jams.  He is the baseball reporter reporters strive to be and has been for decades and is a constant in the sport.  So why doesn’t he have a theme song you ask? Oh wait, the fine Youtube user mhouchin created this gem:

Simply splendid.

#9 – Ted Williams (okay, Joe DiMaggio too)

I’m a baseball history junkie and these two players, any and all admitted bias aside, are simply two of the most fascinating men to ever play the game.  If you’ve never read Richard Ben Cramer’s book What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?  I’ve linked to it for you (click) so you can buy it on Amazon.  Just a revelation on what made Ted tick.  He is a truly unique and uniquely quotable man.  As for DiMaggio, it goes without saying you should learn about him.  From the streak to Marilyn Monroe to having this song written about him (and curiously called out by Simon and Garfunkel.  Joe’s response to Ms. Robinson? “I just did a Mr. Coffee commercial, I’m a spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank and I haven’t gone anywhere!”  Heh.).  Joe DiMaggio lived a life most of us only dream about and both he and Williams were figureheads of the defining era of baseball, in my opinion.

#5 –   The Sandlot. More generally, baseball movies.

Without baseball, we would never have the greatest sports movie of all time.  We also wouldn’t have this one

Or this one

3 of my favorite quotable scenes of all time.  Thank you, baseball.

#2 – The Knuckleball

Other sports copy it.  Millions try to imitate it.  For me, there is something delightful about the pitch so few can throw.  It kind of makes them like Jedi.  It defies gravity and logic.  It also is my way of cheating and tying in Wiffle Ball into the discussion, as despite what history might say, I’m going to assume someone invented the Wiffle Ball in an attempt to recreate a knuckleball on a smaller scale.  That’s just what I’m choosing to believe.

I’ve sat here trying to think of another sports equivalent and am generally coming up empty.  What else is so odd, rare, yet effective as a knuckleball.  Well, this:

But that only matches in oddness.  Anyone can learn to shoot a free throw like that.  I bet you can’t throw a knuckleball.

#1 – The Fans

Awwww.  Will, you’re such a softie!  No, not exactly.  Baseball fans are such an interesting mix to me.  Some of the smartest minds in the world become complete buffoons when talking baseball and some of the biggest buffoons in the world can instantly make you feel small with their impeccable baseball knowledge.  With the emergence of sabermetrics and advanced statistics, the blending has become even more pronounced.  I don’t think other sports have the same diversity in types of players, employees, and fans.  One of my favorite examples is in Texas, where the Rangers spend millions on Latin players, have a GM who looks like he’s 16 who was a nerd at Cornell, and are owned by one of the most firery farmboy flamethrowers of all time.  There are plenty of things you could tell me are wrong with baseball, but the smash-up of cultures and personalities has always been (and hopefully will continue to be) what makes the sport so deeply fascinating to me, beyond even the game itself.

he owns a team, folks. and the guy getting whupped manages one.

There’s my smattering of reasons.  It is by no means a thorough list (The real list goes on and on in my head.).  To any readers and all people accidentally reading this page in the hopes of finding actual ducks on water, why do YOU like baseball so much?  Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter.

Happy season, everyone.

-w

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Great Piece (Amazingly) Not Written By Me…

 

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Here’s a fantastic look into the new-look Marlins for 2012.  New stadium, new logo, new start.  Revision turned the Devil Rays into the Rays and goofballs into contenders.  This is a savvy move by the Marlins, let’s see if Florida eats it up.

pretty cool, if you ask me. click the image for a sweet webcam view.

 

Like I said, great piece from my associate over at ECSBS, outlining the changes.

 

Enjoy.

 

 ARTICLE AGAIN.

-w

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Weekend Hijinks: Asian Baseball Edition

 

I’m not sure what’s more entertaining- the pitch, the EXTREME CLOSE UP to start with, or the crazed reaction afterwards…

 

Isn’t baseball a great international game?  Let’s see soccer put a video like that out, topping the absurdity.  Wait for it… wait for it…

 

 

that is so freakin ridiculous I can barely handle it.

 

Have a great weekend folks,

tip your barkeep.

 

-w

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Weekend Hijinks

Because, why not.  Don’t put your fingers anywhere if you can’t handle the heat- fantasy words to live by…

-w

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Weekend Hijinks: Trades of Fantasy Relevance Edition

Miggy Tejada–  to the Padres, will apparently get time at short.  This is only fantasy-relevant because Miguel Tejada is a name.  He’s probably most useful in NL-Only leagues now

Austin Kearns– aquired by the Yankees for a Derek Jeter signed bat.  He’s having a great year and is headed to a launching pad… and fewer AB’s.  Still, he’s worth watching

Roy Oswalt– Lost his first start in the Illadelph, but looks to not continue his losing ways for a better team (13 losses????? Really!?That’s Bonderman-esque!)

Dan Haren– Got doinked his first start for the Halos, see Oswalt situation for new team/hope for fewer losses scenario

Jorge Cantu, Cristian Guzman– Aquired by the Texas Rangers.  Classic case of great deadline dealing for the stretch run (you watch, the Rangers are dangerous this year), very boring for fantasy.  Both are middling players in the fantasy realm, Texas is a great hitters park, yadda yadda yadda, are you really that excited about either player?

Edwin Jackson– to the White Sox.  Hmmmm…. lots of walks in a homer-friendly park… Dislike button.

Dan Hudson, however, is going to the D-Backs.  Who play in the NL West.  Where apparently it is against the rules to try and score more than 5 runs a game or something (Dodgers, what gives?)

Mike Jacobs– Just kidding

Brett Wallace– The Heir to Lance’s big booty throne.  I like him a bunch hitting in Houston.  He and Chris Johnson are a pair of corner IF’s to watch…

Matt Capps– Twins.  Having a great year, better team, still lots of close games, Jon Rauch waiting in the wings.  Nuff’ said.

Lots of deals to come.  Stay tuned in to see if the likes of Jose Bautista (likely), Corey Hart (not so much), and Dunn move.  Also, Ted Lily may be involved, going to that NL West… I’ll keep you posted.

-w

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P.S. I know Berkman is heading to the Yanks, but that hasn’t been made official yet.  And I’m in denial.  $tupid Yankees.

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Random Thoughts for the Week Ahead: 7/26

Here’s some stuff kickin’ around our brains we thought we’d share with ya’ll.  Our pleasure to drop such exquisite and random knowledge on the loyal population of readers, even if it is only 3 of you.

–> Carl Crawford suffered one of the strangest sports injuries we’ve ever seen.  It got me thinking about where it ranks with some of the odd injuries that have befallen baseball players (like, say, holding back a sneeze or carrying meat from the hunt).  And I have to tell you, that is one hell of a cup-check there, Jake Arrietta.  And what a break in the bro-code by Wiggington, you gotta stop that baseball, man!  Baseball injuries rank atop my list, followed by football, because the way  Belichick revolutionized the vagueness of the injury report leads to endless amusement from pretty much the entire league.

NOT the right Wade Davis.

–> I know I hyped (excessively) his would-be replacement, but Wade Davis has been really solid recently. Whether he goes to another team or stays with the Rays, he looks like he has worked out some kinks going back through the league.  Watch him at the deadline, as his moving or not moving has serious, legitimate, playoff-for-fantasy altering ramifications (as well as the less-important-but-nationally-relevant real life baseball ones).

–> This is frankly an astonishing story that Dave found (ny times) from 2008.  What an ingenious player, Mr. Newsom.  I’m surprised something like this hasn’t taken off yet.  It’s a pretty great idea.  I wish I had thought of it.  Are you teased enough? Read the damn article!  He has since retired, but good for a Northeast fella for making a name with not only baseball but being clever (how’s that working out for you?  being clever?)

–>Dan Haren to the Angels.  Yawn.  This move bores me.  But it does allow me to discuss a highly sought after prospect who DIDN’T move, Mike Trout.  Here’s a scouting report with video linkage on the man, who’s really just a boy.  In addition to having a stupendous baseball name, Trout profiles as a speedy and dynamic (read: fantasy relevant) player who is on track to big league standout. He runs very well and hits for raw power.  We will be keeping tabs on him for you, but mostly for ourselves going forward.

Related to the deal, I like it for Joe Saunders‘ fantasy future.  Saunders gets to face the Gents, Dodgers, and Pads all the time now.  Even if the D-Backs aren’t great, those less-than-stellar offenses should do nothing but improve a solid AL pitcher into a very useful NL one.  Remember Clayton Richard?  Well Saunders is a better pitcher than him.  Think about it.  People own Richard.  You’ll like having Saunders.  This is all I’m saying.

–>  How great was that Fight Club clip?!  Here’s where I got it:  (via)

–> Some guys that need to move at the deadline to get us excited for them in fantasy:  Jose Guillen (Dejesus would follow, but the man just smashed himself into a wall); Ichiro.  Yup, we went there.  We come to take Ichi for granted in fantasy.  Imagine him in a playoff race on a good team?  My goodness I’m already drooling; Oswalt is an obvious name, but my god if he doesn’t need a change of scenery, I don’t know who does; JJ Putz– GET HIM SOMEWHERE WHERE HE IS THE CLOSER AGAIN ALREADY!  Yeeesh; Adam Dunn as a DH somewhere.  This would make his value skyrocket in the fantasy world.  Imagine him in Detroit behind Cabrera.  Go ahead, think about it.  Awesome;  Ty ‘Nutella’  Wigginton– on a better team with a good offense (read: the Yanks),  Wiggy is a super-utility fantasy stud;  Dan Johnson could use a move, so he could attempt to be good once again in the MAJOR leagues.  For now he will continue to rake for the Rays minor league team; Brad Hawpe needs to get out of Colorado; So does Iannetta (hellooooo Red Sox?  Please?); Aaron Harang should plead to move at the deadline- what happened to him????  The Phils could use an open OF spot (Raul Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, are all part of this list) because the second coming of Eric Davis, aka Dom Brown is on the rise- look the ‘f’ out;  Doesn’t it seem like Ryan Dempster has been pitching for 100 years?  I know you said yes.  And that is reason enough for Dempster to go somewhere a little less… dysfunctional than Chicago.

–> Another Northeast guy is making waves in fantasy, as Chris Denorfia, the former Cincinatti great, is raking for the Friars in Petco.  I snagged him in a deep league because, well, he has an outstanding name and is a power/speed combo guy who is hot.  Do I really need more of a reason?  Look at his minor league stats.  Maybe he just needs the right role in the right place?

–> Look at Brandon League‘s pitching motion (in sweet, sweet superduper slo-mo).  He throws 99 MPH.  This blows my mind.

–> Final thought: the Reds can mash and are heading to Milwaukee this week.  I expect sparks to fly.  Go Gomes Go.

CONGRATS to Andre Dawson, great player who looked great in the old Montreal Uniforms.  Love the flow, Hawk.

-w

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Weekend Hijinks Bonus: Field Stomping Poll

This is ridiculous.  so let’s ask- do you think this is because of the backlash from the Phils-taser kid?  I mean, how can someone possibly go this long without being taken out.  This is embarrassing.  The cops should be able to taze, tackle, just generally lay out any moron like this kid, especially at an Orioles game- just sit down and enjoy the fact that you paid 5 bucks and can get down to the 5th row, ya ijjit.

But what does everyone else think?

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Weekend Hijinks

AWESOME

WHAMMY! the first video is from mlbplayers trust is a great thing the players do and is hysterical- watch the Swisher video below and check out J-Roll and Ryan Howard in another clip.

After that is a brilliant brilliant iPhone ‘commercial’ with the star of Party Down and those excellent ESPN baseball commercials Adam Scott.  Simply funny stuff, folks.

thunderbolt

iphone4

as always, enjoy the Black Keys, and Wally Backman

-w

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Weekend Hijinks

Back after a much-extended All-Star break, we give you more Weekend Hijinks.  Here’s some highlights of the first half (nicely done to the first person editing the video, lovin’ the music too);

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and the best non-Buehrle play I’ve seen this year.  Best catch hands down.

seriously, click it.  As someone who played center when I played baseball, I am in awe of this display of althleticism.

Enjoy Phoenix

-w

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one more time, watch it

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