Friday, May 27, 2011

A Minor Thing....

I've been trying to hold off writing a post on minor league baseball until I had a chance to go see number one draft pick Bryce Harper play. Then I thought....screw you, Bryce Harper! I was in the minors way before you ever were!

And also, I have no other topic picked out to write about.
So, here is my memoir to my days in minor league baseball. It's a bit self-indulgent, but it's Friday ya'll! I'm allowed to be a little self-indulgent on the weekends, right? Right.

The Hagy Suns 2003 Intern Crew
Working in minor league baseball is like Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities....the best of times and the worst of times (sorry CD for the paraphrase). Instead of laying it out essay style, I thought I'd share with you a list of truths and lies you'll find down this career path. Ok? Ok! Here goes:

  • can work for ten days straight, 14 hour days, and not get paid a cent. Which sucks because you also tend to drink a whole lot to make it through the pain. That costs money.

  • Lie.....working in sports is glamorous. Umm, no it's not. At all. You've got to love it to survive it. It's blood, sweat, tears, and pretty much free labor. And all you wear is brightly colored t-shirts and khakis.

  •'ll meet your best friends and gain your worst enemies in your co-workers. You're with these people 24/7. And did I mention there's a lot of drinking involved? That leads to numerous inside jokes, long-lasting bonds, and a lot of screaming matches.

  •'ll get to hang out with (and maybe marry...if you're a female) athletes who will one day become superstars. First of all, the number one rule you learn when walking through the door is "Don't hang out with the players". Second, most of these fools don't make it to the big leagues. They live in other people's houses for a few years, earn less than minimum wage, and then go off to become accountants or skill instructors or salesmen at the Gap.

  • Truth....tarp pull sucks. A lot.

  • Lie...tarp pull doesn't suck. And you won't have to do it that often. You'll never see so much rain in your life. And you'll watch the weather radar like it's your second job (that you don't get paid for).

  • Truth...just because you "can't" hang out with the hottie baseball players, doesn't mean you won't find a hook-up.  Look, I'm not trying to throw minor league ball under the bus as an unprofessional work place environment, but let's be real....if you're a female intern, chances are you're going to have your pick of whoever you want with whom to do whatever you want. You've got front office staff, grounds crew, game day staff, other interns, and even a ball boy or two to pick from. Ladies' Choice....pinkie swear.

  • Lie....there are intangible benefits like free food, free clothes, and free fireworks shows! Yes, there are, but you'll be sick of wings, hot dogs, and popcorn in about two seconds. The free clothes are (as previously mentioned) brightly colored t-shirts with hideous slogans on them. And after picking up fireworks remnants until 1 o'clock in the morning every Friday night for eight weeks straight, you'll never want to see them again.

  • Truth....working in baseball is hard. Between pulling tarp ten times a day, making hundreds of cold calls to people who don't want to talk to you, trying to pull in a commission check on advertising opportunities day in and out to earn some money, putting in long hours, not getting sleep for four or five months, feeling under appreciated, and making sure fans have the best time they possibly can, you'll be exhausted and frustrated.

  • Lie...I hated my time in minor league baseball. No, I loved it. Despite my whining, I gained valuable lessons in work ethic, became passionate about the analytics of finances, and basically grew up. I know the exact weather conditions that will dry out a field the quickest. I got to see Florida Marlins reliever Clay Hensley pitch a perfect game. I got to meet (and see almost every day) legend Bob " The Steamer" Stanley and World Series champ Mike Ramsey.  I made friends that I share a strong bond with. And day in and out, I got to watch America's pastime...the beauty of the athleticism, the thrill of the rally, the excitement of the long bomb, and the joy of the last out.
 I also have a drawer full of free t-shirts with really stupid sayings on them, so really...I think we can all agree I won in this situation.

Raise your glass if you've ever worked in the minors! (not if you did this when you WERE a minor...completely different)

Words cannot express the fondness with which I remember my time in the minors, but hopefully the above did me and it justice. Shout out to all my Hagy Suns peeps that read this! And if you ever worked or do work in minor league baseball or sports in general and can relate, let me know what resonates with you!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Under Pressure

Americans are pretty rabid sports fans. Not quite at the "I'll shoot you down like Andres Escobar if you mess up" level (thank goodness!), but still....we give crazy about leisure activities the ol' collegiate try. Clapping thundersticks, waving towels, forgiving people felonies....America is here for its sports!

But fanatic as we are, the level of pressure to win falls short of Canadians and their hockey. Now some of you might be saying, What you talking 'boot Willis? (Ok, so maybe you're not, but I really wanted to use the word 'boot instead of 'bout. I'm speaking Canadian, eh?) It seems like children of our northern neighbors come out of the womb in pads and carrying a hockey stick, ready to take the ice before they even open their eyes. As such, they are expected by God and Country to perform to their upmost ability in putting a puck in a net more times than the other team they're playing.

Case in point....remember the panic that struck when the US beat Canada in the men's qualifying rounds during last year's Winter Olympics? The powerhouse team, led by NHL star Sidney Crosby, was expected to bring home the gold in front of the Vancouver home crowd. I imagine that none were more happy to beat the same US team in the Gold medal finals than those players, if simply because they knew they wouldn't be chased across the border by a swarm of Mounted Police. Oh Canada!

Now that we're reaching the finals of the NHL playoffs, once again a Canadian team is feeling the immense pressure. Vancouver, who finished with the most points in the regular season (earning them the President's Trophy), was immediately predicted by many to win the Stanley Cup*. Furthermore, the Cup hasn't been brought home to Canada since Montreal won it in 1993....almost 20 years ago.
Vancouver looks to be the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since 1993
Vancouver's regular season success, combined with such a long drought, has turned the boilers up to red hot under the Canucks. I've been told that should the Canucks meet up with the Bruins in the Cup Finals, the Bruins would have the advantage, mainly due to goaltending. Regardless, I hope that the immense pressure is an equalizing factor. Cause I'd hate to see an angry Canada, wouldn't you?

So, NHL fans....can Vancouver do right by its country and bring home the cup? Can Luongo keep from sucking? Do you really wish the Mounted Police ride Moose instead of horses? Holla at your girl and let me
*I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend who provided me with some NHL insider info that inspired the post. Of course, he also thought the Blackhawks would beat Vancouver in the first round, so what does he know? Just kidding....god bless friends in (somewhat) high places, eh?

Thanks to the Sports Betting Journal for the image.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Intrigue of Interleague

Interleague play. Who knew it was so controversial? I sure didn't. But apparently in Major League baseball, it's the next biggest debate behind the age old "does a designated hitter ruin the purity of the game" argument ( I say no....American League all the way baby).

For the next month or so, American League and National League teams will co-mingle, bringing about entertaining regional matchups such as the Windy City series (Cubs/White Sox), the Ohio Cup (Reds/Indians), Freeway Series (Angels, Dodgers), Citrus Series (Rays/Marlins), the Subway series (Yankees/Mets) and my personal favorite, the Beltway Series (Orioles/Nationals).

As someone who comes from a family divided between Orioles fans and Nationals fans, it's always fun to see them play each someone bragging rights for a few days. Well, if we cared enough to brag about which one of our mediocre teams happened to win the series (I do, for the record....I'm so that girl). 
And my New York fans out there (hi Dave Bailey!)...Fuggetaboutit! It's on like Donkey Kong when the Mets and Yankees battle it out.

I also personally love the fact that the Os don't have to worry about playing AL East opponents week in and out for a month or so. The Birds need all the help they can get, am I right? I'm right. Teams just need a break from the same old, same old, and a chance to play in someone else's sandlot.

We get to play teams other than the Red Sox and Yankees this month? High Five!
So why all the fuss about playing with the kids from the other side of the tracks? Well, some folks out there feel strongly that the AL and the NL shouldn't meet up unless it's an All-Star game or the World Series. Supposedly it takes the "special" out of the occasion. Umm, ok. That's stupid. This rule doesn't apply to any other sport. I also discount the argument that injuries to American League pitchers becomes an issue, because they aren't used to batting and base running. These guys are professional athletes, and there is always the chance that they'll get traded to or signed by a National League team at some point in their career. Do they not train for this other than those few weeks of interleague play? If not, that's a problem with the teams' management, not a problem with the situation.

I DO see the validity in the argument of scheduling inequities (ie a good Cubs team playing a good White Sox team six times a year while a good Cardinals team gets to play a crappy Royals team six times). But let's be real, sports aren't about being fair....the BCS set up and the Yankees payroll come to mind. It is what it is, so deal with it. Man, I sound like my mother right uncool.

Interleague Play. So it's controversial. I like it. And you should too. If you don't, well...who asked you anyway? Just kidding! Let me know your feelings on the matter!


Photos (from top to bottom): and

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chasing the Crown: Round 2

The 136th running of the Preakness is tomorrow. This is probably the sixth biggest day of the year in Maryland behind the first Ravens game, the first Redskins game, the first Maryland Terps football game, the first Maryland Terps basketball game, and the first day you can get crabs (the food, not the venereal disease).

Although I live relatively close to Pimlico, I've never actually attended a Preakness. To be honest, I'm not an infield kinda girl. I like more refined things in horse race a seat...and a toilet. And not having to avoid a mixture of bodily fluids and drunken debauchery.

Despite that, I love the Preakness as a race. Truth be told, the race itself appeals to me moreso than the Derby. I guess it's because I now have a horse to root for based on something deeper than it's name or the silk colors of the jockey.

That said, it's relatively easy to guess that I'm pulling for Animal Kingdom. And at a 2-1 odds favorite, I guess I'm not the only one.

Someone's a Jersey Shore fan...fist pump!

Two things that intrigue me about this horse and this race are his post position and jockey. Animal Kingdom will take the 11th post in the full field of 14. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that's a good place for the young colt to be. He drew the 16th post in the field of 19 for the Derby, so his position will be similar.

The colt will also be ridden again under John Velazquez instead of original Derby jockey Robby Albarado. Poor Albarado...he's learned his lesson not to get kicked in the nose two days before the biggest horse race in America. But you know what they say...break your beak, lose your seat (or something like that). While I think that having the same jockey and mount combination for each race in the Triple Crown is key (yes, STILL bitter that Calvin Borel chose to ride Rachel Alexandra over Mine that Bird two years ago), I suspect Albarado will be out for revenge aboard his mount King Congie.
I'm taking down that damn Velazquez if I have to get on a stool and punch him in the face

Anyway, I think Animal Kingdom is in it to win it, but who else? According to a Preakness Analysis, horses who haven't raced in the Derby usually don't win the Preakness, so that would leave out 10 of the 14 in the field. Good news for the front runner...he apparently has a one in four chance of winning! Ok, so clearly that's not realistic. Here's who I DO think stands the best chance to take the upset:

  • Mucho Macho Man- finished 3rd in the Derby and is a favorite with the crowd....and the The Village People.

  • Midnight Interlude- faded late to finish 16th in the Derby but has the preferred running style that favors the shorter distance of the Preakness. Plus, I love Bob Baffert, who was quoted as saying his horse would definitely improve his finish position....seeing as he's only racing in a field of 14 (cymbal crash!).
  • King Congie- the horse, being ridden by snubbed Albarado, is a 20-1 longshot and has never won on a dirt track. Wow, that sounds vaguely familiar to another horse....King Congie is possibly the next Animal Kingdom. Just like Project Runway, one day you're in and the next day you're out!
So yeah, I don't know who will win. I'm guessing it won't be Norman Asbjornson (bless his poor long, weird named heart). I'm hoping it will Animal Kingdom. Cause I want a Triple Crown winner. America wants one. Do it for America, Animal Kingdom. Or Robby Albarado's horse will kick you in the face.

Thanks to for the images.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who is John Beck?

I have three life long goals: own a pair of Christian Louboutins, attend the Kentucky Derby, and own the Washington Redskins.

Yes, the Redskins are one of my great passions in life. So far I've held off on blogging about them (mostly because it's the off-season), but partly because sometimes it hurts too much. Let's be real...they've not exactly been the cream of the NFL crop lately. I still cringe thinking about the Eagles game last know, the one where Michael Vick had a bazillion yards passing and rushing and the score was somewhere in the vicinity of 2 million to nothing by the half? (slight was 45-14).

And yet, it's like a crack addiction (or what I imagine that to be like....I don't know from personal experience, I swear dad!). It's terrible for you, but you need it in your life. That's pretty much the summation of my relationship with the Skins. They cause me such agony, but I always come back to them. No matter what.

Although this one had me reconsidering my loyalty and affection

So the fact that a Redskin story made the top headlines of today made me stop and pause. Huhhhhh??? Do my Scooby ears detect some positivity about my beloved team? Why yes, they do: it appears the Skins might have a new starting qb in John Beck (so says the player himself with kudos from head coach Mike Shanahan).
"I had a lot of confidence in John Beck when he came out in 2007," Shanahan said, according to The Washington Post. "I evaluate the quarterbacks every year, and I do have confidence in John Beck. He was by far my No. 1 guy. I think the world of him."
Well....yay? This sounds great, considering the Redskins failed to draft anyone at the qb position a few weeks ago, and 2010 starter Donovan McNabb looks to be on his way out. to be Donovan McNabb. Remember his glory days when his mama was telling us all to eat Campbell Soup?

Sidebar to my sidebar...if you google McNabb and Campbells Chunky soup, you will get disturbing footage of him yakking during a game. Um, gross.

Anyway, it looks as if John Beck might be the starter in 2011 (if there is a 2011 season, that is). One question though...Who is John Beck? (shout out to my Atlas Shrug peeps...holla!). I, for one, have never heard of the guy. Does this make me a bad Redskins fan? A bad NFL fan? A bad college football fan? I'm getting a complex thinking about it.

Beck, who played for Brigham Young University, was an O'Brien finalist, a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award finalist, the Mountain West Conference 2006 Offensive Player of the Year, and the 40th overall draft pick in 2007 (thanks to wikipedia for filling me in). In fact, Shanahan, who apparently scouted Beck, touted him as the best quarterback in the draft that year....a draft that included number one overall selection JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, and Kevin Kolb. I've already talked (unfavorably) about two of those guys already, and Kolb is the back-up at Philadelphia. Sooooo.....

Maybe Shanahan knew what he was talking about after all. Only time will tell, and there is a lot that can happen between now and September 11, when the Skins are scheduled to play the NY Giants. But for now, I'm all aboard the John Beck Mystery Machine. Hail Victory!

May the Force Be With You John Beck....

Photos provided by CBS Local Sports and Guys Nation.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Big (Leaguer) Boys Don't Cry.....

This past weekend I took a roadtrip to Roanoke, VA, and I must admit that sports were pretty far from my mind (except for the Salem Red Sox game we were going to attend but somehow didn't get around to doing). Apparently the sporting world didn't get the memo, though. Occasional Twitter checks and perusal of my ESPN app on my phone reminded me that unfortunately, the world does not revolve around me as much as I think it should/does/should.

So while I was in my own little cocoon, the NHL conference finals started, Chad Ochocinco sat on a bull for less than 2 seconds, and somebody beat somebody else in the NBA playoffs (seriously, is ANYONE going to give me a reason why I should care about this league? Anyone? No One?) But the one story that did happen to permeate through was the alleged temper tantrum thrown by NY Yankee catcher/DHer Jorge Posada.
No, I will NOT bat ninth. You can't make me....

I'm not a Yankees fan, but Posada has always seemed like a decent fellow. And I'm sure he is. For some reason, though, Jorge thought it would be a good idea to pull himself out of the batting line-up after being pushed down to the ninth spot (read....the loser spot). While the official story given by management was that Posada was having an off-night and needed a break, and Posada himself claiming a sore back, speculation has run rampant that the real cause fell closer to wounded pride.

Comparing it to having a "Scottie Pippen" moment, ESPN writer Andrew Marchand surmised that this will put a blemish on the All-Star's career, bluntly stating that Posada "quit on his club."

Wow...way harsh Tai. That's like the ultimate playground insult in the sporting world....saying someone quit on their team. But there's some truth to be had in the or not, hurt feelings or not, Posada is under contract to perform and help his team win. Actively refusing to do so is not only a professional breech, but a slap in the face to each and every teammate.

So a word to the wise for all you pro athletes out there....don't tuck your pants in your socks, don't try to fill out your uniform by medicinal methods, and for God's sake, just bat ninth.


In other news, I attended the MAC Coaches' Caravan in Inwood, WV this past Wednesday evening and had the pleasure of seeing former WVU football coach Don Nehlen, current head coach Bill Stewart, WVU AD Oliver Luck, women's head basketball coach Mike Carey, assistant men's basketball coach Billy Hahn, and former star athletes Greg Jones and Anthony Becht. I thank Anthony Becht for being gracious enough to take a picture with me, but regret not asking him to switch places so I could be photographed on my left side (it's my better side...just saying). Ergo, the picture turned out with me looking somewhat like a twelve year old by the former NFLer's side....ah well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Let's talk about entering the NBA Draft early. No, first let's talk about how I'm already back to writing about professional basketball. Weird, right? But for some reason (although none were given to me on my earlier blog post), people seem to love this league. It's been all "Lakers are losers" and "Heat are in it to win it" lately on ESPN, so I'm sucking it up and giving the people what they want.

This weekend many college basketball fans and coaches waited anxiously to see which previously draft- bound players would actually remain declared or would come back to play another season in school. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was one of those fans. As the Mountaineer Nation out there know, one of our own (Kevin Jones) was testing the professional waters. Will Kevin stay? Will he leave? Will Huggs have anyone left to field a team next season? Can I eat just one more cookie tonight without exploding? These questions swirled around my head until finally, at around 8 pm on Sunday evening, this popped up in my twitter feed:

Good to know the boy has just as many conversations in his head as I do...makes him relatable, ya know?
well I been going backand forth with this in my head and I feel this is the right decision im comin back 4 my senior year
WVU's Kevin Jones will return for his senior season
Excited and relieved,  I immediately retweeted the message and then called my mother to tell her (she thinks KJ is her honorary son after meeting him his freshman year in Eat N Park...don't ask). In retrospect, I probably should have switched that order, but my mom's not going to make me famous and Twitter might. Priorities.

KJ joined a small list of returning players including Pitt's Ashton Gibbs, UK's Terrence Jones, and UC Santa Barbara's Orlando Johnson. Of course, there was seemingly twice as many underclassmen who decided to take the plunge. So the question is....what are the pros and cons of entering the draft early?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Showing My Roots (A Mother's Day Tribute)

Many people often ask me how I got to be so interested in sports. This is usually the follow- up question to "did you play sports in high school" after they find out I have two sport management degrees (for the record, no). Truthfully, the answer is quite simple: I am NOT the original sports-o-nista.

You see, while I may have coined the term (or at the very least brought it to your attention), my passion for all things sports and sport-related comes from a source close to mother.

My mother is a woman who can still tell you about the Shepherd College football games she attended as a young girl with her aunt and uncle. Her father, having no sons, would cart her and her friends all around the state to attend athletic events.

She is a woman who, especially during college football season, is a virtual encyclopedia for all things ESPN programming-related. On any given day, I can get a phone call from her just to tell me something that was said on Sports Center, Around the Horn, or PTI (or heck, all three). How many among you can say your mother even KNOWS what Around the Horn or PTI are?

At one of the many Gator Bowls we've attended

(Quick shout out to my dad who totally does not know what those shows are. This is the man who tried to buy me NHL tickets during the lockout. And who also bought me a scale for my birthday one year so I wouldn't get fat in college. But that's a story for another day, right dad?)

A fan through wind, sun, snow and rain (rain pictured here)
 Anyway, she is the woman who once got into a fight with a college basketball coach, who thinks all WVU athletes are part of our family, and who bought me a drawing of Pat White, Steve Slaton, Noel Devine, Owen Schmitt, and Jock Sanders because she couldn't bear the thought of anyone else owning it.

She is the woman who got so emotional after West Virginia beat Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl that she sat on my bed and cried for a good five minutes, and the woman who advocated for me when I wanted to go to the Champs Sports Bowl this December and no one else wanted to.

She's the woman who always tells me I need to have my priorities straight. Those priorities would include spending over $1000 from my savings to buy a seat at a National Championship football game should the opportunity ever present itself.

She'll miss your wedding if it's in the fall and WVU is at home. She'll walk up to a random tall guy in a mall to ask if he plays basketball. She leaves the room if she has to listen to something on the radio because "she can't control the outcome", and she ALWAYS stays through the end of the game.

So she's also somewhat crazy (and yes, mom, I used the word "so" just for you). But her enthusiasm and knowledge has helped shape a large part of who I am today. For that, I thank you mom. I wear the passed down crown from the original sports-o-nista with honor and pride. Oh yeah, one more thing...I love you. Happy Mother's Day!


This post was originally going to be called "A Blog for Mama". Then I realized that my stroke of title genius was due to the fact that I had already read a hilarious Mother's Day post of the same name written by the very funny (and lesser-known friend of Mark Titus/Club Trillion) Andy Keller. I hope my mother appreciates my tribute half as much as his mother probably did his.

Friday, May 6, 2011

He could've been a contender....

This just in: Uncle Mo has been scratched from tomorrow's race. Please disregard the section in my Derby post about him.

Woe is Mo
Thanks to for the image.

Let's Get Ready to Rumble...For the Roses

Derby Day is upon us, and this sports-o-nista could not be happier. For one, I love a sporting event where you get to wear a big hat. And for another, I love the fact that this Saturday only marks the beginning of a six week journey into horse racing's elusive and exclusive top prize, a Triple Crown winner. But mostly, I love that the same amount of excitement and tradition we usually would apply to our more popular sporting events - Super Bowl, World Series - gets crammed into 2 minutes of an exhilarating race down the backstretch. And did I mention I get to wear a big hat?

Yay Pretty Hats!

Now is the time in the blog that I tend to throw in a witty anecdote about my topic of choice, but the Derby is a serious matter (can I get a dimming of the lights and a Kenny Mayne scowl please?). Looking at this year's wide open field, it's safe to say that it's pretty much a crap shoot as to who will walk (trot?) away with the blanket of roses. But I'm here to give my expert advice on some horses to keep your eye on. Let's start with....

1. The Odds-On Favorite: Dialed In, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Julian Leparoux, is coming off a win at the Florida Derby. A Nick Zito trained horse and a 1st place finish in one of the more formidable qualifying races is a stellar combination, but in the recent past, the post-time favorite usually blows it.

2. The Pletcher Prodigy: Uncle Mo, who comes into the Derby as the highest graded winnings earner, is touted as the next super star by trainer Todd Pletcher. No matter how much Pletcher waxes poetic about this colt, though, it's hard to ignore the fact that Uncle Mo is still recovering from upset tummy issues (aww, a horse after my own heart).

3. The Up and Comer: ArchArchArch, who placed first in the Arkansas Derby, is apparently one to watch on ESPN's Claire Novak's list. The colt has posted eye-opening workout times this week, and any horse trained by a man named Jinks is sure to have something special. But jockey Jon Court is going to have all he can handle with drawing the dreaded rail post.

4. And These Three: These three horses are the ones that have caught my eye (which of course means you should like them as well, n'est-ce pas?).

- Pants on Fire- The Louisiana Derby winner, this colt loves to race in the dirt. Plus, he's being ridden by jockey Rosie Napravnik, who will be only the sixth woman to ever ride in the Derby. I love a good trailblazer!

- Midnight Interlude- Bob Baffert's only horse in the field hasn't had much experience, but he had a great workout on a sloppy track Monday and finished first in the Santa Anita Derby. And who among us doesn't enjoy a good midnight interlude now and again? Yeah, I don't know. Bear with me...

Because finally, my money might just be on Twice the Appeal. He's posted weak speed figures (although the incoming rain should make for a slower track), but I can tell you this one and very important thing.....Calvin Borel is his jockey. You may recall I mentioned Borel in my post on Wednesday (or you may not....but hopefully you do...stop drinking those Oaks Lillys!). Borel has taken 3 out of the last 4 Derbies, including a winning ride on super longshot Mine That Bird, who stumbled out of the gate and fell an initial 8 lengths behind the field. So yeah, if Calvin was riding a three-legged donkey in the race, it would still probably be my pick.

My fav Crazy Cajun Calvin Borel
Ok Derby fans...who do you like to win on Saturday? Do you think Borel can make it 4 out of 5? Do you know all the words to My Old Kentucky Home? Let me know!


Since I gave you the recipe on Wednesday for the official Kentucky Oaks drink, the Oaks Lilly, I figured I'd better share a recipe with you for the drink of the Derby...the Mint Julep:

The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint                                                                            
  • Crushed ice
  • Early Times Kentucky Whisky
  • Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
The best times are enjoyed responsibly.
 Early Times Distillery Co., Kentucky Whisky. 40 percent Alc. By Volume. Louisville, KY 2006

Thanks to for the images and drink recipes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....

No, not March Madness (close second). Not even the first WVU football game (close second 2.0). Yes, my fellow sports fans, the most wonderful time of the year happens this Saturday, May 7 in a little place called Louisville, Kentucky. It's an event that is over in two minutes and features the toughest and hairiest athletes in the to the German Women's wrestling team (I kid, I kid...danke schoen). You guessed it, it's Kentucky Derby time.

But before the main event happens on Saturday, a lesser-known, but equally thrilling race occurs on Friday evening. The Kentucky Oaks, or "Lillies for the Fillies" as the race is affectionately known, features the best 3 year old fillies in horse racing. The Oaks garners favor with the locals, and that fact alone warms a place in this sports-o-nista's heart. Because if it's good enough for the locals, it's good enough for me.

Probably not many of you out there follow the Oaks, but I'd like to share a story with you that might peak your interest for future races. In 2009 (two years the math), a filly named Rachel Alexandra was making waves. She was a tough and talented broad, but her owners didn't want to race her against her colt counterparts. After blasting the competition in the Oaks (winning by 20 1/4 lengths...that's a lot, trust me), Miss Rachel was sold to a new owner, who suddenly realized that perhaps he should be racing her in higher graded stakes. Next thing you know, that little filly stole the Triple Crown from Mine That Bird due to a sworn allegiance by her crazy cajun of a jockey Calvin Borel, who had ridden both horses to victory at Churchill Downs but picked Rachel as his mount for the Preakness. Long story short, Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness, the 2009 Eclipse Award Horse of the Year and is now breeding somewhere in a California field.

Why do I tell you this story, you ask? Because, frankly, I'm still bitter about Mine That Bird losing and needed to vent. But let's let by gones be by gones, shall we? On Friday, let's all raise our drinks* in celebration of Ladies' Day in Kentucky.


Official Drink of the Kentucky Oaks...the Oaks Lilly:
The Oaks Lily® ingredients include:

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 3 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Triple Sec
When the ingredients are mixed, place the pinkish cocktail in an official Oaks Lily® glass (stem-less wine glass) with crushed ice, add a straw and garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.

After you're done drinking, tune in on Friday for my offical Derby Post!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Congratulations on Getting Drafted....Now What???

Truth be told, I love football. A lot. College, Pro (no NBA-like feelings here), high school, pee-wee, you name it, I love it. But I'm not a back-office kind of girl (ironic, considering the two Sport Management degrees). I'm focused on the game in-season....otherwise, I've got other things to do with my life. Wait, why am I writing this blog again? the NFL Draft...well, I can take it or leave it.

But since I've already started writing this post on the NFL Draft, let's just pretend I'm in a "take it" mood. One thing I notice is that there is always that ONE player who thinks he's the "be all, end all" of college football and is either a) pissed that he didn't get drafted higher and holds out on signing (cough *Brady Quinn* cough) or b) is the top pick and holds out on signing (how's unemployment working out for ya, JaMarcus Russell?). In a league full of multi-millionaires, I get that these players want to make what they think they're worth, but play a game or two first before you start demanding a $50 million plus salary. Men like Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger, and yes, even the NFL's golden boy himself Tom Brady all rose through the ranks of obscurity to stardom through their talent, not their draft ranking.

This year, the NFL draft has come and gone, but it seems like the off-season drama will be bigger and better than ever. With the lockout back on (after being off, and on, and off), draftees can't be signed by their new teams. They just have to sit around on hold until the owners can claim them. Kind of like layaway. And those players out there who weren't "sexy" enough to be taken during the six rounds? They're pretty much out of luck, since free agency is more taboo right now than the Tea Party.

The thing I love most about professional sports is that they seem to persevere, no matter what. Hockey and baseball have both survived recent management/player negotiation stand-offs, and I have no doubt that football will do the same.

So fellow football junkies, what intrigues you most about this 2011 NFL draft? Do you think the lockout will end before the season starts? Do you think Roger Goodell ate a whole bunch of Snickers after people booed him (ala those great Not Going Anywhere for a While commercials)? Let me know!

Quick Shout-out to 2011's Mr. Irrelevant Cheta Ozougwu from Rice University. Carry on the title well sir!

Design by Custom Blog Designs/FreeStyleMama Creations