bring on the olympics

have any of you been watching the olympics? we watched off and on this afternoon and while there are some olympic sports that still surprise me (ping pong and badminton anyone?), there are several that i always watch: swimming, diving and gymnastics. we watched synchronized diving this evening, and it just amazes me how two people can be so in synch and dive right at the same time. i’m sure it takes a *lot* of practice.

my favorite summer olympic sport is gymnastics, which is probably because i’ve always wanted to be able to do gymnastics but never could. i can barely do a cartwheel! we just watched the first of the chinese women’s gymnastics team perform. they say that athletes are supposed to be 16 years old to compete, but she wasn’t 16. you could tell just by looking at her face. she didn’t look any older than 12, and even that was a stretch. even the announcers said she wasn’t 16. seriously, just go look at her picture. how do they get away with using such young girls?

i’m still amazed at how talented these athletes are. what’s your favorite summer olympic event?

class act to reach third milestone

what do the numbers 200, 150 and 3,000 have in common? they’re all milestones reached by atlanta braves pitcher john smoltz. well, almost all have been reached. tonight, smoltz is expected to reach 3,000 strikeouts. he comes into tonight’s game against the nationals only four strikeouts away.

but, not only will smoltz join only 15 other pitchers to record 3,000 strikeouts but he will become the *only* pitcher to rack up 200 wins, 150 saves and 3,000 strikeouts. he also is the only pitcher to ever go from starter to closer and back to starter successfully. both positions are demanding, hard jobs. the starter has to try to strikeout the other team and keep the score low. the closer has to come in at the 9th inning if his team is up by no more than three runs and knock out the last batters to win the game. that has to be the hardest position in baseball, and there are very few closers who are good. it’s very tough mentally. so, you can see how going back and forth between the two positions is hard.

it’s going to be a great game tonight at turner field. it’s one of those nights when i wish i could be there in person.

the power of the rally cap

i’m not one for sports superstitions. when joe told me how he and a college roommate spent an entire baseball game sitting indian-style on the floor because they thought getting up would cause the braves to lose, i laughed. when he put his baseball hat on inside out and wore it as a rally cap at another game, i rolled my eyes.

after monday night, i’m starting to become a believer in superstitions. it was a chilly night at turner field, and our section in the outfield was packed. fans pulled their jacket collars up over their necks, hunched in their seats and huddled under thick blankets as we watched as the braves and pirates battled it out during the home opener. the score fluctuated back and forth, but in the 9th inning, the pirates broke out of the tie and scored five runs, bringing the score to 9-4. by the bottom of the 9th, the stadium emptied as most of the fans left, sure that the braves couldn’t come back.

but that was when the braves started to come to life. and that was when we started to rally. my section began to do the tomahawk chop non-stop. i found that when we did it, the braves threw more strikes and got more hits. the chops and cheers continued as the team came back to tie the score again 9-9.

opening day 1

two scoreless innings passed, and in the 12th inning around midnight, the pirates’ xavier nady hit a 3-run homer off braves reliever blaine boyer. at that point i think we were all tired and again down because we had fallen behind. more fans left. i was ready to go home. but, when the braves came back up to bat, one of the guys in our section said, “come on guys, it’s time to put our rally hats back on.”

another replied, “i never took mine off.”

and despite the late hour and being down by three runs, we jumped to our feet. we cheered. we did the tomahawk chop. and when jeff francoeur hit a home run and mark kotsay hit a double to knock in a second run, we high-fived and hugged each other. there was still a chance.

and then the game ended with one catch of a fly ball. and just as quickly, we quietly gathered up our belongings and left the stadium. some say it was “an opener to forget“. i see it as a game that will always stand out in my mind. yes, it was disappointing to lose the home opener and start the season with an 0-2 record, but it was the hard core cheering, the rally caps and the superstitions, and the devoted few who stayed no matter the hour or the score that made it great. that’s what baseball is all about.

opening day 2

a comedy of errors

joe and i watched a show of atlanta braves bloopers last night. at least that’s what it seemed like we were watching. the first inning of the braves vs. nationals last night was anything but good. it was a bad throw here and a missed catch there along with many bad pitches by starting pitcher tim hudson.

it was the first time i had wanted to turn off the game during the first inning. hudson and the rest of the team got their acts together from the second inning on, but the damage was done. the only positive moment was that the first home run hit in the nationals’ new stadium was by our chipper jones.

we fought back and tied the score in the ninth 2-2, but the nationals ended up losing when reliever peter moylan gave up a run. one thing we can always count on is that our bullpen will screw things up.

joe and i are headed to turner field today for the braves’ home opener. we’re pumped, and tonight’s game better be good. tom glavine is pitching, the first time he’s been in a braves uniform in a number of years, and they’ll have the home crowd on their side. it’s time to start our winning streak.

of baseball and brackets

last night was a big night for sports in our house. i had my fantasy baseball draft, and i also had to fill out a bracket for the ncaa basketball tournament. i was not really excited about the bracket because i don’t follow basketball (college or professional), and the sport really doesn’t interest me. but, one of my coworkers wanted me to join in the fun, so i decided to humor him.

ncaa bracket 2

the highlight last night was my draft. i look forward to this every year because it means the start of baseball season is right around the corner. now that my team is set (and what a monster team it is), i cannot wait until march 30. the last two years, i have had bad luck with my teams. i’ve had player after player assigned to the disabled list, which knocked me from the top of the pack to the bottom.

this year will be different, though. i got some kick ass players, and i know that my team is going to rock. i have home run hitters and base stealers. i have some fabulous pitchers and decent (hopefully) relievers. if saves is the only category i’m at the bottom in i’ll be in good shape.

fantasy baseball draft 1

my team’s name is the best part: HomeGrownHitters. using the capital letters you get “hgh”. haha. so fitting for baseball. all credit for the name has to go to my husband. he always comes up with such creative team names.

my last pick of the night was tom glavine. i figured i should get another pitcher, and considering glavine is coming back to the braves for what probably is his last season, i thought it was fitting.

fantasy baseball draft 2

i’m going to kick some fantasy baseball butt this year, and i can’t wait.

baseball and friends

our tickets for the braves home opener arrived today! ripping open the envelope and seeing the tickets made me *so* excited for the 31st. i cannot wait for the start of baseball season to arrive.

speaking of baseball, we have booked our trip for july. we’re going to new york to catch a game mets game during their final season at shea stadium. we’re staying at the holiday inn laguardia airport, which is fabulous because it’s only a 10 minute walk to shea stadium. it’s also a 10 minute walk to the subway, which will make it easy for us to get into the city on sunday and do some more sight-seeing. and, as an added bonus, we found out our friends tim and mindy were planning their trip for the same weekend, so we got tickets together for the game. they’re also staying at an airport hotel, so we’ll be able to hang out for the weekend, which will be *so* much fun! i cannot wait until our trip. the only thing that could make it better now is if johan santana is pitching.