MY WEEK IN BASEBALL: 4/3/16–4/10/16

(Photo via MLB’s official Instagram)

WARMUP: WHAT THIS IS

I’m Leesa Cross-Smith and this is My Week in Baseball: THE DELUXE OPENING WEEK EDITION. This was the first week of the 2016 season so I wrote more than I usually will. Also it was Spring Break for me and my family but it was also cold and we didn’t do much outside. From here on out I will write about some games I watch and any baseball news, what was fun in baseball, what wasn’t fun in baseball, whatever I want to talk about. I’ll be posting these sometimes when I’m feeling it on Sunday nights/Monday mornings, wrapping up my life in baseball from the week before. I will also say that I am a homebody, a house cat, an introvert, although I do not come off as one IRL. This means more than almost anything else, I like being home watching baseball games or in my car listening. So yes I watch/listen to a lot of baseball games.

Mostly what this is: WHATEVER I WANT IT TO BE. I am a writer, an editor. I write a lot of things for other people, I am asked to write a lot of things for other people, which is pretty dope. No complaints. I love it. I edit things, I format things, I run social media for my literary magazine, we make chapbooks, I submit things and wait to hear back. BUT this is not any of those things. This is what I want to write, when I want to write it. I do whatever I want! Yay!

Like my dear friend Sean said this week: LIBERATED FANDOM! I am free! And JSYK I am a baseball fan in this order: 
1. the game 
2. the players 
3. the teams 
(So no this isn’t a die-hard team update/news place and I make no apologies for that. THERE ARE PLENTY OF THOSE and I love a lot of them. I love the game more than any singular team. We do not have a home team here in Kentucky so I am free! But obvi, of course, I have my favorite and least favorite MLB teams. Spotting my faves will be easy if you read this because I COME OUT AND SAY IT and also, I watch my favorite teams/players play more often but just because I don’t write about a team doesn’t mean I don’t like them. Honestly? I’d wear a t-shirt from any of the thirty teams because baseball is cute and so are the t-shirts.)

This is a safe place for me where I don’t have to prove anything, not even to myself. I started writing My Week In Baseball because I wanted to watch baseball deliberately and stretch my sports writing/baseball muscles in the way I wanted to. Baseball for baseball’s sake. Baseball feelings plus whatever is going on in my life. This is My Baseball Journal. It is public because people like reading things. It is public because I like writing things. Baseball makes me feel safe. So I call it.

(Me. Photo via me, my Instagram, my bathroom, face and phone.)

ON DECK: OPENING DAY

I was wearing my Rangers/Hamilton shirt. I got it for cheaps when Hamilton went to LA. I still have it and Hamilton is back in Texas. Also, where is Tim Lincecum? Tim, come back I miss you! I made burgers and my husband grilled them. My kids blew up red and white and blue balloons because America and Opening day. My fantasy team is called TVEIT FOR IT bc I love Aaron Tveit. My league is BASEBALLEXANDER GRANDSLAMILTON bc I love Hamilton. Other names I considered: BRYCE HARPER’S EYE BLACK (thought of it too late) and MAX SCHERZER’S BRIGHT BLUE EYE/MAX SCHERZER’S DARK BROWN EYE (too long/wouldn’t fit).

LEAD OFF

I read some predictions/articles like these:
-Every MLB Team’s Fatal Flaw For The 2016 Season @ Sporting News
-2016 Predictions @ SB Nation
-Staff Division Winners And World Series Predictions @ Today’s Knuckleball
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It All Starts Here @ Washington Post
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And last week I wrote this re: Bryce Harper (with Stacey May Fowles) and Bryce clicked the little heart on my tweet about it, which was very exciting and cute for me because I adore him.

MY WORLD SERIES PREDICTION

-I have one and it is strong, but I cannot actually type it out bc I’ll jinx it. so stop thinking about it or you will jinx it too. But the two teams from AL and two teams from NL I think have a good shot of making it to the World Series are: Blue Jays, Royals, Cubs, Giants. Astros are really good too and I can’t count out the Dodgers. And I would love to be pleasantly surprised by the Nats this year. THERE ARE ALWAYS SURPRISES. And there is a strong wish I have in there re: one of those teams. STOP THINKING ABT IT OR YOU WILL JINX IT. Also my dad says the Reds are going to win. Sometimes my dad says this every year. Baseball is hope.

PLAY BALL!

4/3 CARDINALS v PIRATES
Flipping cold in Pittsburgh. Thirtysomething degrees. I love baseball but no. I need at least 50 degrees to wanna sit outside and even still, no. But ppl looked adorable in their big fur hoodies and I love when the baseball boys wear their ear flaps but at first I didn’t see any players wearing the ear flaps. I did see Mike Matheny tho. Mike Matheny is very handsome, easy on the eyes, nice to look at, etc. Jaso has dreads. Freese is a Pirate now and it’s awkward for a guy to play against his hometown/former team. Liriano got the first RBI of the 2016 baseball season. A pitcher! And there were plenty to times when the umpires stood around in their black jackets wearing headphones, looking at a screen. MLB Replay Opening Day. Matheny remained handsome throughout. I checked. The Final Boss came out for the Cardinals in the bottom of the 7th. Francisco Cervelli is one of my favorite catchers, he’s also adorable. TBQH this game was pretty boring but I’LL TAKE BASEBALL-BORING. Pirates won 4–1.

(Photo via Kevin Kiermaier’s Twitter)

4/3 BLUE JAYS v RAYS
I adore Chris Archer. And Josh Donaldson. And Russell Martin. And Kiermaier, mostly Kiermaier. (How baseball beautiful is KK tho? Mad respect. And he also does this crouching down thing when he’s on second that pleases me.) Watching this game was more than okay for my crush heart. Kiermaier did an amaze job of avoiding the tag at first base thing but was still ruled out. Archer settled into his nerves, his slider is filthy nasty. Stroman was bringing heat like always, as well. I made a new cup of rooibos in my Superman mug and watched this game. There were a lot of hits and dirty uniforms. I LOVE THE DIRTY UNIFORMS. Tula hit a home run! The first of the 2016 MLB season! Also KK was doing all kinds of wild things and remained dreamy. And the Rays rallied in the bottom of the ninth! I LOVE A GOOD RALLY! THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD GAME. Enjoyed it way more than the Pirates/Cardinals game. Jays won 5–3.

4/3 METS v ROYALS
The Sunday Baseball Tonight game and Jessica Mendoza calling it. Love her. World Series rematch. A beautiful night for baseball. Volquez was wearing his spring training cap when he started pitching, then he changed into the right one in the second inning. Whew. I’m not a big-time Royals fan but the Royals are fun to watch, ngl. And the fancy glittery gold Royals and numbers on the uniform was super-pretty. I was knitting, watching. Matt Harvey wasn’t 100%. I’ve had bladder infections, been on antibiotics for them. They suck. Royals fans ruh-eally love the Royals. This game felt a bit boring and I left the house to go for a ride to the country with my family to do some star gazing. We listened to the game on the way. The Mets radio commentator is amazing and I love listening to him. We got out, looked at the stars for a bit. Beautiful. Love. On the way home, the Mets scored and we had a game! An eighth inning rally! I’m more and more impressed by both Wade Davis and Yoenis Cespedes, the more I watch them play. I read on Twitter that Wade Davis has never blown a save in the ninth inning during his career. Swag. This game was super-good. An amaze start to this season. Royals won 4–3.

4/4 NATS v BRAVES
Harper hit a home run at his first at bat of the season because of course he did. I listened to half of the game in the car on the way home from Slate, Kentucky. Also, Max Scherzer is one of my favorites. He gave up two home runs. But but but! This game got so good and there was a problem w/the Nats pitching and they walked in a run THE WORST but there was a beautiful bunt and it went to the 10th inning. FREE BASEBALL ON OPENING DAY! Nats won 4–3. (Bryce Harper wore a MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN hat in the postgame conference. WE ARE BASEBALL BLESSED.)

(Photo via Rays official Instagram)

4/4 BLUE JAYS v RAYS
Kevin Kiermaier is handsome, got a single and turned it into a double. I turned on this game after the Nats game was over. I had dark chocolate and almond butter and rooibos tea. Josh Donaldson had his hair done all fancy because he is a Baseball Blessing. The TB commentators were talking about Bautista’s bat flip AGAIN. zzzzzz. I love Bautista. Bautista is baseball. *deal with it* gif. There was a long break and review where they were trying to decide if something was a catch or not but they played “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and that is my jam so it was okay. Also Kiermaier almost caught the ball that ended up being a 2-run homer. Whenever I write about the Rays I will inevitably end up writing act how adorable Chris Archer and KK are because they just are and it’s something we all have to deal with but it’s a blessing not a burden. I’m gonna be watching the Rays more this season. I added them to my favorite teams on my MLB app. THIS IS BIG TIME. The teams I have on there are ANGELS RAYS GIANTS CUBS NATS and now RAYS. And Kiermaier smacked Longoria’s butt in the dugout, I missed it, my husband told me about it and clicked it back so I could see it and it was my love language. Ilu, Rays. But they lost. Jays won 5–3.

(Photo via Cubs official Instagram)

4/4 CUBS v ANGELS
Faves! These are two of them. Again. Loyalties divided when I watch them play. Arrieta is the Cubs ace. Richards is the Angels ace. Richards’ ERA was 3.65 last year. Arrieta’s was 1.77. CJ Wilson is on the DL and Weaver’s not really producing as much of late. The Angels need better pitching they need better pitching they need better pitching. Angels won the night before in a game that didn’t count. MY PREDICTION AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS GAME WAS THAT THE CUBS WOULD WIN. And aw I missed Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza! Their voices are in my house every night, they’re so comforting to me. I followed Mark Gubicza on Twitter when I was watching and right after, he favorited my KEVIN KIERMAIER IS GOOD AT BASEBALL TWEET. That was cute. Arietta struck out Trouty and I tried to listen to what Trouty’s new walk-up song was but missed it. Also while I was watching this Villanova won the NCAA Men’s Championship Tournament at the buzzer because sports are exciting and emotional and fun. Cubs were winning 3–0 and it felt like my prediction was going to come true, also I was sleepy. Montero hit a 2-run home run. It was 5–0. Angels pitching not coming through. The Angels have Mike Trout and their big huge problem is pitching pitching pitching. I was still sleepy. Watching two teams I really love play one another isn’t so bad because although one of them has to lose, either way: I WIN. Arireta struck out Trouty again in the seventh. Kris Bryant remained handsome and he is the one baseball player who I think is more handsome WITHOUT his hat on. I prefer most of them in their hats. I can’t explain all of these things. @theaceofspaeder tells us: Jake Arrieta last 13 regular season starts: 0.38 ERA & 0.608 WHIP. Apparently Arrieta has decided that he doesn’t allow runs. I wanted to go to sleep but I kept watching. Top of the ninth, Cubs had the bases loaded. Two runs scored so it was 9–0. Super-sleepy and the Angels need better pitching. Yawn. I went to bed. My prediction was right but I’m not like, heading to Vegas or anything. Arrieta pitched seven dirty nasty gorgeous innings. The Angels were shut out on Opening Day for the first time since 2002, they also won the World Series in 2002. I’m not saying that means anything. I don’t think the Angels will win the World Series but I do love stats. Cubs won 9–0.

(Getting mad respect for my deep baseball analysis)

4/5 METS v ROYALS
A lot of people thought maybe there would be Royals/Mets brawl because of THE PITCH from last season when Syndergaard threw over Escobar’s head. It was fine. They played in bright sun and shadows. A woman in the stands had a sign that read: NOAH RINGS FOR YOU which was pretty savage. Syndergaard’s hair was majestic, blowing in the wind like yooj. I am completely in love with the gold on the Royal’s uniforms. The bright home whites slooowly getting dirty. I had dinner when this game was on. Salmon cakes and veggies. My husband and the kids went to shoot hoops and I stayed behind, made tea. The Royals announcers make me pretty sleepy but I didn’t feel like turning it over to the Mets broadcast. Tuesday chill. Top of the eighth, Mets were leading 2–0. The Royals are very dangerous when they are behind late in the game. I LOVE THAT GOLD SO MUCH IT IS TURNING ME INTO A ROYALS FAN? Royals lost. Mets won 2–0.

4/5 BLUE JAYS v RAYS
I really wanted the Rays to win so they don’t have to start out the season 0–3. Brad Miller’s walk-up song is Bone Thugs and Harmony. Bless Brad Miller. Russell Martin is a very good catcher so you shouldn’t try to steal on him. Top of the fourth Jays were up 2–0. Dickerson hit a bomb off Sanchez and got the Rays on the board in the bottom of the fourth. 2–1. During this game I started following @Kevin.Baemaier on Instagram because I found it relevant to my interests. I will not apologize for KK’s handsomeness and neither should you. Neither should he. It’s okay. We’re all okay. I drank all my tea so I made more. I let my kids stay up late because it was spring break. Bottom of the eighth, KK was HBP and then Forsythe hit a bomb two-run HR giving the Rays the lead. BASEBALL WILD: Top of the ninth, Bautista grabbed Forsythe’s leg on the slide at second base and obstructed his throw to first. Rule 6.01. I LOVE A WEIRD WILD FINISH And yay! Rays won 3–2.

(Me. Photo via me, my Instagram, my bathroom, face and phone. I want this same exact style shirt for all 30 MLB teams. MLB Shop, holla @ yr girl.)

4/5 CUBS v ANGELS
The Angels need better pitching. Rizzo and Fowler hit two-run bombs. Trout and Pujols aren’t doing anythingggg yet. But they will. Craig “KittenFace” Gentry, I like you. West Coast games make me sleepy. Cubs won 6–1.

4/6 GIANTS v BREWERS
Tuned in at the top of the seventh. They play “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC when someone strikes out at Miller Park. I watched the Rays win (yay!) and Donaldson leave because of an injury (no!) Get well soon, Josh! I walked five miles earlier then it rained and I felt good about coming home and couching it and watching baseball. Pagan has gorgeous hair. Miller Park also plays “Hangin’ Tough” by NKOTB. The music person at Miller Park is a boy band fan. Bless them. Braun got on base and they played “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan. I am in love with the person who does the music at Miller Park. I was doing other things when this game was on but I left it on because that’s how I do. Brewers won 4–3.

4/7 MARLINS v NATS
Nats in Home Whites. I love Home Whites. I also love super-patient batters who get walked a lot. I made ginger tea because my tummy was bugging me. Marlins took the lead 3–0 in the first but then Murphy almost hit a granny—a dope triple that tied the game in the bottom of the first. I had a good feeling about this game even though it looked like part of it could get rain delayed; baseball is hope. It rained hard. The tarp came out @ 4:50. They said the delay would be about 30 mins. I started heating up dinner even though my tummy was weird and I wasn’t very hungry. I listened to Fetty Wap and Rihanna when the MLB.tv banner THIS GAME IS IN RAIN DELAY was blazing. The game came back @ 6:16. Did I mention how much I love the Home Whites? Bryce had the top button of his jersey unbuttoned and he was wearing gold cleats, also beard; I am okay with all of this. It started raining again in the fifth. Phelps pitched around Bryce; Bryce is baseball-patient. I was knitting and knitting. He hit his 99th HR in the bottom of the seventh and he is very good @ baseball. Marlins won 6–4.

4/7 CUBS v DIAMONDBACKS
Scrappiest, zaniest game and so fun to watch! Stolen bases, an inside the park HR, wild pitches, throwing errors, everything! Scrappy baseball, I love you. Cubs got five runs in the forth. (And boo sadness, an awful outfield collision: Get well soon Schwarber!) Ten walks. This game, this game. I love how Rizzo’s HRs sound coming off the bat. Cubs win 14–6.

4/7 RANGERS v ANGELS
Two of my fave teams @ the same time which makes my baseball-watching easier and I was watching this one @ the same time as the Cubs/Diamondbacks game anyway. At the end they walked Trout and pitched to Pujols which always baffles me because Pujols comes through most of the time. And he did. Angels got their first win of the season. LIGHT THAT BABY UP. Angels won 4–3.

4/8 PADRES v ROCKIES
Not such a good day but an okay day made better. I made this casserole and it was like therapy for me. I walked my miles before baseballing. It was cold and raining. I was watching to see if the Padres would/could score their first run of the season. My casserole was delicious. Matt Kemp is handsome. Padres loaded the bases, but didn’t score. Padres loaded the bases again, but didn’t score. FINALLY the Padres scored YAAAY! Then I turned it off to watch The Force Awakens Blu-ray special feature on how they made BB-8. Super-dark super-delicious chocolate and almond butter for dessert. I was wearing my new Cubs shirt. I was stoked for the Rays/Orioles game later. The Nats had the day off. Padres won 13–6.

4/8 RAYS v ORIOLES
Chris Davis still keeps an ENORMOUS wad of chaw in his mouth. Ah, baseball is back. It looked cold in Baltimore and barely anyone was there. The boys were wearing their keeping-warm-things and toggis in the dugout. Longoria hit a bomb, top of the first. Archer was pitching. One of my fave pitchers. The day got better. Crush Davis hit a HR because that’s what he do. I turned the game off for a bit to watch Hamilton stuff because I’m #Hamiltrash and when I turned the game back on it was 6–1 Baltimore because apparently errybody hit a HR off Archer. Aw, boo. (And in the Red Sox/Jays game Donaldson brought the rain and hit a grand slam.) SO MANY HOME RUNS. THREE grand slams in the MLB tonight. Orioles won 6–1.

4/8 RANGERS v ANGELS & CUBS v DIAMONDBACKS
I drank a Michelob Ultra and watched both of these games @ the same time. I also ate some habenero cheese. Diamondbacks walked off 3–2. First loss for the Cubs this season. West Coast Game Sleepytime but it was only the top of the seventh when the Cubs/Dbacks game was over. I also turned it on the Dodgers/Giants game because it was tied 2–2 and it was raining and Roberts got ejected and BASEBALL DRAMA. Aaaand a walk-off HR by BCraw in extra innings. Heartbreaking loss for the Dodgers tho. Giants won 3–2. (I went to bed and didn’t finish the Rangers/Angels game.) (I found out when I woke up that the) Rangers won 7–3.

4/9 DODGERS v GIANTS
Battle of the aces. Kershaw v Big Country. The game started in a rain delay. The Marlins/Nats game was postponed. I went for a long walk with the hubs and got back in time for baseball. Rain delay baseball. I had dinner. Grilled chicken and chard and mushrooms. A mango La Croix. The game came on and I almost forgot abt MadBum’s haircut but there it was! In the first inning a Dodgers fan almost Steve Bartman-ed but it was all okay. (Bless Bartman.) And also bless the boys in the dugout wearing team toggis to keep warmsies. Those matte SF batting helmets are dope too. MadBum hit a homer in the bottom of the second because he’s good at hitting home runs AND pitching. I made rooibos in my fancy new pretty glass infuser cup. It was very warm and everything else in the world was cold because Spring came for a moment, then forgot about us. Buster Posey is one of my fave ballplayers. Also Hunter Strickland came in the game, top of the eighth. Hunter posts a lot of hunting pics on his Instagram. Hunter likes hunting. I listened to the end of this game in the car because we went to the park a bit before sunset. The Rays/Marlins game was postponed. Dodgers won in extra innings, 3–2.

4/9 CUBS v DIAMONDBACKS & RANGERS v ANGELS
How many team colors do the Diamondbacks have because I’ve counted @ LEAST 40. Their unis are WACKY & WILD & also, random. And let me tell you something I love: when I’m watching two screens/two games on MLB.tv and the pitchers pitch the ball in both games on both screens @ the same time. If you know what I’m talking about you know what I’m talking about. Cubs won 4–2. I’m still waiting for Trouty to hit a home run. Also, I miss Bryce Harper. I needed snacks to get through the rest of this game because West Coast Game Sleepy Time. Rangers won 4–1.

4/10 RAYS v ORIOLES & MARLINS v NATS
The Orioles are 4–0. I was watching both games @ the same time and I do love the Sabbath and Sunday afternoon games. I looked down to do something and when I looked back up the Marlins had scored so. Bryce was wearing a red keeping-warm thing around his neck and some hardcore eye black. Both of these games were cold. I like when they play the opening chords to “Blister In The Sun” at baseball games. They played it right before Bryce almost hit a homer but it was cold and the ball didn’t go out of the park even though it did score Rendon, tying the game. Bryce’s first double of the season. Then Bryce got caught trying to steal third. Manny Machado hit a two-run HR on the other screen because that’s what he do. I was being hilarious with my friend Aaron Burch on Twitter during these games. I missed some stuff. They walked Bryce intentionally. Rays/Orioles game was 4–2, Orioles. Marlins/Nats game was tied at 1. Bryce hit his 100th career double. Werth got his first base hit of the season, first RBI. Yay Nats! Robinson got his first hit, 2 RBI. Goodstuff in the seventh inning, Nats! I was drinking mint tea from a Harry Styles mug. Papelbon gave up a homer in the ninth but Nats won 4–2. Orioles remain undefeated, won 5–3.

(Photo via MLB’s official Instagram)

EXTRA INNINGS

WHAT MADE BASEBALL FUN THIS WEEK. YAY!
-Bryce Harper wearing his MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN hat. (meta)
-I got my copy of The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays by Andrew Forbes and Invisible Publishing and I got to blurb it.
-I learned this week that the bat smells differently when it comes to foul tips vs. balls hit squarely so that’s why some batters sniff them? I learn something new about baseball everyday. 
-Cueto and Braun did a cute thing.
-Dexter Fowler’s two-year-old daughter talking to her daddy on the TV after his HR.
-Kiermaier’s walk-up song is “Everyday I’m Hustlin’.”
-These baseball poems by Sandra Marchetti @ Hobart. 
-This Billy Hamilton catch and how people were saying he was “young, scrappy and hungry” because his name is Hamilton and that’s a lyric from Hamilton, blending two of my most favorite things about being a human: baseball + musicals.
-No Man Alive Could Hit These Three Noah Syndergaard Pitches @ The New York Post
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Is A’s Reliever Sean Doolittle The Most Interesting Man In Baseball? @ ESPN
-Two knuckleballers in the 4/9 Red Sox/Jays game!
-Robinson Cano & Carlos Correa: HR Kings
-Eric Hosmer being more popular than Justin Beiber
-Mike Trout REALLY loves weather and gave a weather update
-This picture of Maxwell Scherzer with his two-diff-eye-color dog. Twin cutes!
-Bartolo!
-Jake Arrieta.
-TREVOR MOTHERFREAKING STORY! SEVEN HOME RUNS THIS WEEK.

WHAT MADE BASEBALL NOT FUN THIS WEEK. NOPE.
-The Royals played “American Woman” when Syndergaard was warming up.
-Gibbons said “maybe we’ll come out wearing dresses tomorrow” re: the new slide rule call that allowed the Rays to win on 4/5
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-Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber had to be carted off on 4/7 after an outfield collision. Torn ACL and LCL. Out for the season. Sad, sad. :( Sending much love to Kyle.

It’s a long season. Praise!
xo,
LCS