Sports alert! A beginner’s guide to the baseball playoffs

sox_t730

Our statisticians believe there is a roughly 100% chance the Red Sox won’t win this year’s World Series

As you probably were (not) aware of, the Major League Baseball playoffs begin tonight with a play-in game between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics. They continue tomorrow with the other play-in game (San Francisco Giants-Pittsburgh Pirates) before the real series start on Thursday.

If none of that made any sense, fear not! Blog is here to explain things.

All you need to know about the way the playoffs work is this: five teams in each league (American and National) make it. The two worst in each league–the ones already named above–play a single game against each other to determine who goes on and who goes home. Then the remaining eight teams are paired off into four “Division Series” in which the first team to win three games wins. Then the remaining four teams are paired up in “Championship Series” in which the first team to four games wins. Then the last two teams–the winners of the American and National Leagues, respectively–play in the World Series, which is also won by the first team to four games. The winner of the World Series wins everything!

But, you ask, which team should I root for? Or, more accurately, which teams are playing? Or perhaps, most accurately, why should I care? The final question we can’t answer, besides that baseball is, uh, our national pastime.

But consider: despite all the talk about the demise of baseball, revenues are at an all-time high and local TV ratings are (generally) very strong. So other people care, which means you should too! Now, to answer the other two questions, here’s a beginners rundown of the teams competing this October:

American League

Kansas City Royals

eric-hosmer-alex-gordon-mlb-tampa-bay-rays-kansas-city-royals1

Sports are fun!

Two-sentence bio: The Royals are among the lovable underdogs of the year, having made their first playoffs in 29 years (29 years!!!!). Unfortunately, they’re not actually that good, having made it in despite one of the worst offenses in the league; they’ll rely on pitching and defense to advance past the play-in game and truly break their playoff-free streak.

Informed-sounding comment: “Boy, those Royals sure get going on the basepaths, don’t they?” [This is a reference to the team's ability to steal a lot of bases.]

Players to name-drop: Starting pitcher James Shields; Closer Greg Holland; Left fielder Alex Gordon [above left]; Catcher Salvador Perez.

Most fun name: Mike Moustakas (third baseman).

Uniform quality: The Royals recently brought back their baby blue shirts to great effect, making them one of the more well-dressed teams around.

Should you root for them? Probably, yeah. Everyone loves a Cinderella story.

Continue Reading


Imagine 250+: Ra Ra Brunonia: Brown Stadium

brown-stadium

Today, students and alumni alike will make the seemingly transcontinental trek up Elmgrove Avenue — clearly a made up place — to watch our beloved Brown Bears take on the Harvard Winklevi in a rousing match of hand-egg (see below and take note).

At the tailgates, middle-aged men (and women! and phes!), sipping on their b-o-u-r-b-o-n, will be far drunker than is socially acceptable, and undergrads will leave behind an aluminum mess to rival that of the People’s Climate March. At game time, however, they will all pile into what is probably only the second biggest pure concrete structure on campus to watch some good ole’ fashioned American Football.

hand-egg-football-07072014

But what about that large-ish — seriously, the Scili puts everything in perspective — concrete structure we’re standing in during our beat-down of the Excellent Sheep from Cambridge? Brown Stadium, which no alum has paid to name after him/herself (yet), has an impressive history to it.

According to Encyclopedia Brunoniana, the stadium opened in its current location in 1925 and can actually fit up to 27,646 people. We were so excited about our new digs that in the stadium’s opening year, we decided everyone would have to come to us to play. We’re not lazy; we promise!

Continue Reading


Sixth Man: Volleyball

 

The "jump up and block the ball" move is just one of many possible types of "volleys"

The “jump up and block the ball” move is just one of many possible types of “volleys” at a volleyball player’s disposal

This column used to exist regularly, we swear. You can find the archives here. This year, it spontaneously rises from the dead, like Neo amidst a hailstorm of bullets from Mr. Smith. Welcome back to Sixth Man. 

Here is the problem with going to a Brown sports event: you feel like you don’t fit in. At last night’s volleyball game, the surprisingly large crowd was composed of the following members: me, the weird guy sitting behind me definitely reading my notes over my shoulder the whole fucking game, 50 or so athletes, a bored-looking 9-year-old with an iPod, and a smattering of players’ parents bickering over how to pronounce various other players’ names. This was not the ideal atmosphere to take in my first-ever Brown volleyball game, alone, but I suppose that’s what you get when you don’t have many friends and agree to cover Brown sports.

I showed up five minutes late, which, to my dismay, was just in time for the national anthem. This isn’t an ultra-relevant concern, but why do we bother with the national anthem before sports games if it’s a generic taped CD version? I say it’s live or bust. You could even bring out one of those classically trained 11-year-olds to stumble through a botched rendition who makes it even more uncomfortable for the crowd than for her. That’s what we go to sports games for, right?

Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk volleyball. Brown was off to an 0-4 start going into Tuesday’s game, which sounded a whole lot worse until I found out that Tuesday’s opponent, Providence College, was 0-7 with straight-set losses to possibly fictional colleges Gardner-Webb and Southern Utah. They were not better than expected, either. I’ll save you the suspense–Bruno picked up its first win of the year in consecutive sets, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18.!”But what do all these numbers mean???” I hear you probably (not) asking. Good question. Volleyball matches are played in intervals of 25-point sets; win three sets, and you win the match. (I think there’s something special about the fifth set, if it comes to that, but this one didn’t go that long, so who cares.)

Continue Reading


Sixth Man: Meet your CollegeInsider.Com tournament field!

I guess Jeremy Lin played in this tournament one time when he went to Harvard

Jeremy Lin played in this tournament one time when he went to Harvard

It’s March! It’s Madness! The sportiest of Brown students might know that yesterday was Selection Sunday, when the 68-team field was set for the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Yeah, yeah—YAWN. The real bracket came out hours before. That was the mothafuzzin’ COLLEGEINSIDER.COM TOURNAMENT bracket, featuring your very own Brown University Bears!

There’s actually a pretty decent chance you’ve heard about this game, because the athletic department has been bombarding the student body with emails about it as if there were a Beyoncé concert taking place on the Main Green, when in fact it’s actually a first-round game of the fourth-most important postseason college basketball tournament. Nonetheless, it happened, and Brown is in it. And because we know you’re already at Pizzitola for the free food from Spats and Paragon (!) and exciting basketball (…) and want to know how Brown stacks up, here is a breakdown of the entire 32-team CIT field. Note: CIT is what tournament insiders call the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, not a popular workspace for Computer Science concentrators.

BROWN: Popularly known as the “kill squad” in college basketball circles, some experts forecasted a 28-0 season from the Bears before a few tight games tripped them up on their way to a solid 15-13 finish. Widely acknowledged as the overwhelming CIT favorites.

HOLY CROSS: Brown’s first-round opponents, Holy Cross are nicknamed the Crusaders and finished 19-13. They played a game against UNH in November that was broadcast on the Live Well Network, which is kind of funny.

Continue Reading


Alums who do cool things: MLS stars Thomas McNamara ’12.5 and Dylan Remick ’13

Dylan Remick '13, background, and Thomas McNamara '12.5, foreground,  in action for Bruno

Dylan Remick ’13, background, and Thomas McNamara ’12.5, foreground, in action for Bruno

Just last year, Dylan Remick ’13 and Thomas McNamara ’12.5 were leading Brown men’s soccer to its seventh NCAA tournament in eight years. Now, they remain on the pitch, playing professionally in Major League Soccer (MLS)–Remick for the Seattle Sounders and McNamara for Chivas USA.

On Saturday, Remick grabbed some of his first meaningful MLS action, getting the start and playing the full game for Seattle in its season debut, a tight 1-0 overtime win over Sporting KC. The Sounders are one of the most popular clubs in the MLS, and Remick played in front of an electric crowd of 39,000. Last season, he led the Sounders’ developmental club in starts and minutes played, grabbing 105 minutes for the pro club as well. He appears set to remain with Seattle for the full year in 2014.

Sunday, McNamara followed up with a highlight performance of his own. He started the season opener for Chivas USA, an LA-based and formerly Mexican-owned club now in a transitional phase after being purchased by the league prior to the season. He scored his first professional goal in the 59th minute by drilling home a cross to give the squad a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Fire; they would eventually win 3-2 after McNamara left on a substitution in the 79th minute. It was a triumphant professional debut for McNamara, who exercised an extra season of college eligibility after graduating from Brown by playing at Clemson in South Carolina, where he excelled enough to be named Second Team All-American. Both Remick and McNamara project to continue as starters as the MLS season progresses, a rare professional athletic success for Brunonia, and one worth getting excited about. Go Bruno!

Image via

 


"So mysterious to meeeeee"

Ways to get hyped for Sochi 2014, even if you hate sports

"So mysterious to meeeeee"

“So mysterious to meeeeee”

It feels like just yesterday that Ryan Lochte and his grill swam their way into our hearts, but, it’s time once again to rally around a new pantheon of athletic demigods. Sochi 2014 has been a long time coming, and, unless you have been living adrift on an ice flow, you have been hearing about the trials and tribulations leading up to this round of winter games.

There are a lot of us who don’t necessarily relate to the Olympics. The peak of our athletic careers consisted of four days in middle school when we were really excited about Wii Fit. We watch the Parade of Nations…for the fashion. The only thing we really remember about London 2012 is Tom Daley’s abs. Trust me; I get it. However, the Olympics are about more than just sports – they are about all sorts of things that Brown students love, like multiculturalism, community, and being really cold all the time. If you are someone who doesn’t like sports, here are a few ways that you can stay up-to-date and get into the Sochi spirit. Continue Reading