july 20

hosting the Brewers

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Here’s some interesting information. The last two times the Senators hosted the Brewers on July 20, Richard Nixon showed up!  Now, rather than the Senators the Nats will host the Brewers on July 20. The last two times that happened, President Richard Nixon showed up. The last time, in 1971, he came with about 3,800 of his best friends. He waved to Washington’s pitcher, chatted with Ted Williams and received a warm greeting from the crowd. Sadly, it won’t happen today but I am sure President Nixon will be at the park in spirit!



Let’s talk ball. This past weekend, the opportunity to go to Cooperstown was in our hands and we gladly jumped on that train. Thanks to our friend, Patrick (HSO!) the three of us set out on the journey to Upstate New York last weekend. And as you guessed it, our first stop was Cooperstown. Sure, I love baseball but there is no comparison when it comes to how much Matt loves baseball. Take a peek at the guest blog below from Matt. Matt recaps his visit to the holy land: Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. If you haven’t been and even if you have, he writes it in a fashion that you are enjoying his pilgrimage alongside of us that weekend.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

my pilgrimage to the baseball mecca

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him!

As a diehard baseball fan, I had never made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and IMG_0400Museum. I’d actually never even been to New York before. How sacrilegious is that? With so much history, tradition and baseball in one place, how had a fan, like myself, never set foot on such sacred grounds?

Well, that all changed the second weekend in June as Kendal Ann, Patrick and I had planned to go up to Upstate New York for a long weekend and made a pit stop in Cooperstown to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame. Let’s just say that I was mesmerized by how much baseball tradition is enshrined within the walls of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After parking the car and wandering down Main Street, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of baseball heaven, we finally made it to the coveted Baseball Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and we picked a great weekend to visit. Not only was the ‘Iron Man’ Cal Ripken, Jr. there himself (we unfortunately did not see Cal) for various events throughout the weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame actually was opening a brand new Babe Ruth exhibit on the day we went. Talk about great timing.

Once inside, we picked up a map and started to decipher where to go and what to see first. After opting to start on the third floor and work our way down, we entered the “Sacred Ground” exhibit. This exhibit featured quite a bit of information about the ballparks, past and present, themselves. It also featured a ton of new and old memorabilia, such as the Rally Monkey, which is a plush monkey that made appearances in late-inning situations for the 2002 Anaheim Angels’ World Series-winning team.

The exhibit changes from ballparks to players, highlighting individual records that each player has accomplished. Records such as Ripen, Jr.’s consecutive games played streak and the most games played in a career (Pete Rose; 3,562) are records that may (will) never be broken. Finally, upon exiting this exhibit, they have replicas of each ring that the World Series champion receives. It was interesting seeing how gaudy the rings have gotten over the years; it really is all about the bling.

After seeing some great exhibits on the second floor, we headed back to the first floor and walked into a shrine filled with the greatest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. The bronze busts of each National Baseball Hall of Fame member fill the oak walls from top to bottom. There are 306 total people lining these walls, enshrined in this temple of baseball holiness forever. It was a beautiful sight to witness, one that I never will forget. On the back wall, the original class of Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson, is singled out and makes known the start of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Finally, the other neat exhibit on the first floor is a small one and somewhat hidden. It features all kinds of memorabilia from baseball films. Being the movie buff that I am, especially with a soft spot for baseball-related movies, I got a kick out of this exhibit. There’s even a list that gives all the names of the baseball movies, which was quite informational – I mean, did you know there are three Sandlot movies? I knew of two, but not the third. There was even a great black and white photo of my brilliant Twitter avatar, (if you don’t follow me, you probably should @hamsterjockey) Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn, made famous in the Major League films.

Overall, my first trip to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was a definite success. It was so much history packed into one visit though, but that just means I will have to go back. I highly recommend that if you have not been there, visit as soon as you can. If you have visited there, I highly suggest that you go back.


pocket full of posey

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

My last article I wrote about Pocket Full of Posey (PFP) was listed here, and it talked about my upcominfantasy-baseballg new team for the season. Looking at this roster makes me chuckle because since then, my teams has changed in leaps and bounds. The worst thing about any fantasy sports league is putting all of your eggs in one basket. I suppose you can say that’s true with the real game, too. When you choose a team, you typically go for players who perform well and ones that you like. After creating my team, not even a month into the season, four of my men have consistently been on the DL, which is not a great place to be for the start of the season.

 Learning about fantasy and baseball is hard, but it’s something I really like to do. It doesn’t hurt that I have a great teacher either (SO: Matt). From what I understand, by what Matt tells me about the fantasy league we are in the league is a 5×5 league, meaning there’s five offensive categories and five pitching categories, making a total of 10 categories. Since there are 12 teams in the league, the maximum points you can obtain for each category is 12. Example: if I had 12 points in all 10 categories, my total would be 120 (simple math). From those points, your team is given an overall number taking into account each categories’ points. That overall number is the number that determines what place you are in in the standings.

For my team, they are a lacking a few things, which is keeping them in the bottom half of the league. [Boooooooo] I would like to think a lot of what they are lacking in Saves, ERA, WHIP, Stolen Bases and RBI has to do with the fact that FOUR of my best players have been constantly injured. Currently, PFP’s stats for those categories are 3.5, 1, 4, 3.5, which is bringing down PFP’s overall total.

Not only do you have to understand the game of baseball, but you also have to follow players and the news. Now, I will admit that I don’t follow baseball related news that closely or follow player news, but I have Matt and he informs me of everything I need to know for my team.

cast a ballot for change


you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

I am all about the Brewers especially when they have a great team which low and behold, this year that are trucking along in the GREAT category. With the All Stars right around the corner, we need a Brewer in the game! Milwaukee Brewers’ catcher Jonathan Lucroy just earned a whole ton of All-Star votes from everyone who is not a St. Louis Cardinals fans.

From a statistical standpoint, Lucroy is the clear choice as Molina is hitting .284 with five home runs and 25 RBIs this season. But if that isn’t enough, the sound of a baby crying over an image of the Cardinals catcher should be enough to earn Lucroy a spot on the NL roster. Folks, let’s get on the bandwagon! After all, if nothing else, vote for Lucroy because “most importantly, he’s not a St. Louis Cardinal.”

for the love of the game

fantasy baseball

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

As you may recall, last year Matt, asked me to join a Fantasy Baseball league halfway through the season. I even blogged about being a newcomer to fantasy baseball. At first, I was skeptical but I grew to love my team, Pocket Full of Posey (PFP). PFP, cleverly named thanks to my catcher- Buster Posey, took a lot of hits last season. When I came on as manager, they were dead last, 12th place with 20 points. There was nowhere left to go, other than up. I managed my heart out of PFP and we placed 7th at the end of the season. We had a great run.

Since I am involved in a keeper league, we are allowed to have six of the same players from last year. This year is going to be different for PFP. I have high expectations for this team and I am planning on taking 5th place, which is a manageable goal for this set of men.

Allow me to introduce you to my 32-man roster.

batters pitchers

Above all, this year is about fun. Sure, it’s my first full year in the league, but I don’t think that changes anything. I know you want to win, who wouldn’t want to? With winning comes bragging rights and a celebration.

opening day


you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

It’s the moment we have been waiting for, baseball is back. After a long winter, spring couldn’t come soon enough and with spring that only means one thing; baseball! No matter how baseball tries to disappoint you at times, Opening Day is still a welcome and special moment after that long and cold winter.

Baseball, is the greatest game of all. It is your life played across nine innings. It comes with hits, runs and errors. It is played by people who are rather isolated on the field—the pitcher, the shortstop, the center fielder—and when they make a mistake, an error, it’s there for all to see. But they do what you must do every day: Get back in the batter’s box and keep on swinging.

Love-MLB-copyToday, a long-awaited, frenzied and fantastic Nationals Opening Day will start the season.

It’s about time.


it’s about time

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Finally, it’s that time of the year when everything seems right in the world. My friends, the greatest sport known to mankind is back. Baseball is back. This is going to be one hell of a season and I am more excited than ever to see what is in store for my teams, the Nationals and the Brewers. The power, the awe, the greatness, and everything we love about baseball is finally back. Here’s to another season of American’s pasttime, because the wait is over and baseball is back!



spring training

Much like Matt, I love baseball. I wish I could say I love it just as much as he does, but I don’t think that is humanly possible…for anyone. The start of baseball is finally here. Read below to learn more about Matt’s love for baseball.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

& the joy of baseball

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him

Welcome to my favorite time of the year. Why is it my favorite time of the year you may ask? It’s because baseball is finally back. The smell of freshly cut grass, the taste of hot dogs and ranch sunflower seeds, the loud roar of the crowd, the heckler down the first baseline who won’t stop jeering Ryan Braun for taking steroids, the crack of the bat and the snap of the catcher’s mitt after receiving a 98 mph fastball – those are some of the greatest sounds, smells and tastes associated with baseball season now here.

Baseball is in my blood. It always has been, ever since the first time my Dad put a baby baseball glove in my crib as an infant. I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe baseball. I’m a diehard Cubs fan, (or the “Little Bears” as Kendal Ann likes to call them) with every season being an up-and-down rollercoaster ride.

In the last two days, I’ve watched four Spring Training games. For me, baseball is baseball. I don’t care if the Opening Day starters are playing or if the prospects or Non-Roster Invitees are playing, I’ll watch it. For example, I’m currently watching the Washington Nationals versus New York Mets. In 30 minutes, I’ll be flipping to the Chicago Cubs versus Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game. Like I said, I love baseball.

Hip hip hooray for baseball being back on TV. I know Spring Training doesn’t mean much, but it’s the last time from now until November where there won’t be baseball on TV. That right there brings joy to my heart.

beards over birds in 2013

I asked my baseball crazed boyfriend to write a post about the World Series. I’ve been writing heavily on baseball in the past week because of the World Series and the Washington Nationals signing a new manager: Matt Williams. Neither Matt or I have an affiliation with the Boston Red Sox or the St. Louis Cardinals (thank God), but we love baseball. I’d argue that after reading parts of this he could be a Red Sox fan, who knows…it’s probably just all of the excitement of the World Series and a big win for Boston. Congrats on your big win, Boston! You deserved it! #bostonstrong.   Matt blogs on his own time and this entry is posted up on his blog as well. Check out his blog.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

it’s okay to let your inner Bostonian out because the Red Sox are the 2013 World Series champions!

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him!

Let me start off first by saying PAPPPPPPPPPPPIIIIIII!!!!!!!! Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I would like to congratulate the Boston Red Sox aka God’s Team aka the Boston Ryan Goslings (props to if you know where that is from) on winning the 2013 Major League Baseball World Series. This is the third time since 2004 that the Red Sox have won the World Series and what a World Series this was. Plus, who doesn’t love burly and bushy beards? I mean, I’ve always wanted to grow a beard as long as Mike Napoli’s. Now that takes skill.

For example, this World Series featured two firsts: Game 4 ended on an obstruction call, with the Cardinals coming out victorious and Game 5 ended by pinch runner Kolten Wong being picked off first base to end the game. If those two things don’t shed some light on how insane this World Series was, then you need to check your pulse.

Another example of this crazy World Series focuses in on one player particularly with that player being David “Big Papi” Ortiz. This man was a freak in the World Series after playing poorly in the American League Championship Series. In the ALCS, Papi batted an abysmal .083 with two hits in 22 at-bats. During the World Series, Papi went 11-for-16 and reached base 19 times in 25 plate appearances. That’s absurd. He hit two home runs and drove in six RBIs in the World Series and in Game 6, Ortiz went 0-for-1 with two runs scored and four walks.

One interesting fact about the Red Sox was that while Ortiz was hitting the cover off the ball, the rest of the team was batting a mere .169 in the World Series. Two dark horse offensive players for the Red Sox were Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes. In Game 4 with the score tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Gomes hit a clutch, three-run home run to give the Red Sox the victory. In Game 6, Victorino hit a bases-loaded double to put the Red Sox up 3-0 in the third. If you recall in Game 6 of the ALCS, Victorino hit a grand slam to give the Red Sox the victory over the Detroit Tigers and propel the Red Sox into the World Series. Now that’s clutch.

The one thing that really kept the Red Sox in each game was their pitching, especially Jon Lester and Koji Uehara. In two starts, Lester went 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA, allowing one run in 15.1 innings and striking out 15. At the end of the games for the Red Sox, Uehara was a dominant stopper. In five games, Uehara had two saves and struck out three. He made some big outs and got the final out of the Game 6 victory last night.

For me, postseason baseball is what October is all about. When I think October baseball, I think World Series and I think about listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Baseball is my passion and that passion is expressed even more during October. It’s not about the teams that are in the World Series, because we all know that my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, won’t make the World Series for at least five more years, but it’s all about the game of baseball itself. It’s played with more heart and more feeling because each game means so much more. Each game is one step closer to advancing to the next round or packing up your bags and waiting for the next season to begin.

So now that the World Series is officially over, that marks the end of the 2013 baseball season. It’s sad. But on the bright side, there’s only 104 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in 2014!

So here’s to the 2013 season and here’s to the offseason! May your team sign some great free agents, but no free agents that the Cubs are connected too. That wouldn’t be very nice at all, would it?

the world series

the history of the world series

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

The World Series is underway. We are a few games in and it is a breathtaking game. There is still no outcome of who will win and come out on top. It is a fist clenching series, which will keep you on the edge of your seat.

To me, the World Series are an important time in baseball, and I would argue that any baseball fan feels this strongly about the World Series as well. The World Series isn’t about your team, it’s about the game…okay, okay it is a little bit about the teams, but if your team doesn’t make it, then it’s absolutely about the game. It’s about the beauty of uncertainty, power, the excitement and the fans. Sometimes there is an underdog who takes it all; honestly it’s about the game.

There were other postseason championships that took place as early as 1884. These were World Series, too, matching the champion of the National League against that of the American Association, but when the latter circuit folded in 1891, there was no interleague postseason contest until the warring AL and NL came to a peace agreement in 1903. The World Series is Don Larsen’s perfect game. The Babe’s called shot. Willie Mays robbing Vic Wertz.

The World Series is about the best of the best that season. Each year, teams play each other in hopes that at the end of the season, they will play in the championship. The World Series is a best of seven series that celebrates our national pastime. I would say this is an event every year which is as an important as any holiday. This is as important as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and even the Fourth of July. Just  like the start of any season, we are anxious with anticipation; we are anxious for the World Series. I am more anxious for the World Series than I am for Christmas Eve.

For a little history, many changes were on the horizon and in 1901, the American League was established much to the dismay of the senior circuit. Suddenly, baseball found itself engaged in a “civil war” as both rival leagues competed separately for the fan’s loyalty and attention. Two years later, a truce, previously known as the “National Agreement”, was redefined outlining baseball’s employment, salary and travel requirements. The 1903 compromise produced the business blueprint for major-league baseball and resulted in a merger that has lasted to this day. Once again, Boston and Pittsburgh, the top American and National League teams, found themselves competing against one another in the first official “World Series”.

in closing, I read an article the other day that just about sums it all up. The article was found on Slate.com and called, Why Kids love Baseball, by Jordan Ellenberg.

I tried to make my son into an Orioles fan, like me. But the day at Miller Park he saw Carlos Gomez steal second, then third, then break for home, scoring on a wild pitch, like he was playing Atari baseball against a team of hapless 8-bit defenders, he became a Brewers fan for life. (To be precise, he describes himself as 70 percent Brewers, 30 percent Orioles.) We get along fine, in our mixed household. The inconsistency of our rooting interests doesn’t bother him. If there is a lesson baseball can offer us, it’s one about our deepest commitments; that they’re arbitrary, and contingent, but we’re no less committed to them for that. If I’d been born in New York, I might have been a Yankees fan, but luckily for me, I was born in Maryland, so I’m not. Jerry Seinfeld once remarked that baseball fandom, in the age of free agency, amounted to rooting for laundry. That’s not an insult to the game, as Seinfeld, a giant Mets fan, surely understood; it’s a testament to its deepest strength. My son’s love for the Brewers, like mine for the Orioles, is a love with no reason and no justification. True love, in other words.

There you have it folks. You just love the things you do, and there is no changing it. To me, baseball is something I will always love; baseball was the first thing I fell in love with. It is like true love.