My favorite A’s player from my childhood retires: Thank you, Mark Ellis

Last night, my favorite Oakland A’s player from my childhood announced his retirement. Mark Ellis joined the A’s in 2002 and was so consistently amazing with the team until his trade to Colorado in 2011. Even though he wasn’t a big name like Miguel Tejada or Erich Chavez, he stuck through some tough years for the team but remained professional.

Drafted by the Royals in 1999, Ellis came to Oakland with Cory Lidle in a three-team trade in 2001 for Angel Berroa, A.J. Hinch, and Ben Grieve.

“It was definitely time,” Ellis told The Chronicle on last night about his retirement. “My kids are getting older and I kind of realized it was time to do something else.”

What made him so endearing for me was that he always seemed to be clutch at the plate. But his offensive stats aren’t what made him a player with so much longevity, rather it was his defense. His .991 career fielding percentage is fifth best all time among second basemen. He even set a then record .997 fielding percentage in 2006. It still shocks me that he never won a Gold Glove in his career.

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Giancarlo Stanton’s new helmet has a pretty cool facemask

Giancarlo Stanton’s new helmet has a pretty cool facemask

Samuel:

I like the design. It’s personal but not over the top. This is a different kind of look the facemasks we’ve seen before and I think it works well with the overall aesthetics.

Originally posted on For The Win:

(USA TODAY Sports) (USA TODAY Sports)

Giancarlo Stanton will step into a batter’s box for the first time Thursday since taking an 88-MPH pitch from Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers directly to the face in September.

The pitch resulted in a gruesome laceration, multiple fractures, and dental damage.

It also had many calling for better helmet protection, something Stanton’s new helmet has.

The custom-made helmet made by Schutt Sports has a faceguard and a nifty letter “G” woven into its frame. According to the Miami Herald, the faceguard has “a carbon steel frame that can withstand 100-mph pitches.”

via the Miami Herald:

Stanton wanted something that would not only protect the side of his face, but a helmet that would allow him open sight lines and freedom of movement.

The one-of-a-kind…

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Check out the Cleveland sports activity book

Remember the series of Cleveland sports coloring books that came out? Creator Scott O’Brien has unveiled his latest project: The Unofficial Cleveland Sports Activity Book.

The description from the site:

An entertaining activity book for the whole family, with puzzles and games inspired by our favorite moments from Cleveland professional sports in the past year!

The Unofficial Cleveland Sports Activity Book, 2015-16 contains 28 pages of games and activities that were inspired by our favorite moments in Cleveland sports over the past year. Includes mazes, mad-libs, a crossword puzzle, coloring pages, word hunts, connect-the-dots, bingo pages and a lot more – all inspired by Cleveland sports! Great for the whole family.

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Browns unveil tweaked helmet design and new Dawg Pound logo

The Browns are getting a new uniform this year and today they unveiled their new helmet and and alternate logo. I was hoping for big changes. Instead, the changes are minimal.

Let’s first look at the helmet. The Browns are adding a brighter shade of orange to their identity, which means their logoless helmet will remain logoless, just with a different shade of orange. And instead of a gray facemask, it is now brown. The brown facemask is a first in the NFL I believe and it adds some identity to the helmet. I actually like this change. I was hoping for a logo on the helmet but that wouldn’t work for me. The Browns will always be a team without a logo for me and they stuck with it.

Here is a word from the team:

Our updated helmet logo is reflective of today’s modern Cleveland – the design honors the past while evolving into the future. The iconic brown and white stripes stand tall over the orange helmet – a new orange color that matches the passion of the Dawg Pound. The new brown facemask represents the strength and toughness of Cleveland.

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How the Timberwolves-Rockets sleevefest uniform matchup doesn’t bother me

Sleeves are bad. But the designs are nice.

I don’t like sleeved uniforms in the NBA. In fact, any sleeve uniform I just cringe when I see them. Yet for some reason, this matchup right here doesn’t bother me. I don’t know why.

First, this is the Rockets’ Chinese New Year uniform and it actually looks really good. Aside from the sleeves, the design is simple yet still captures the identity of the Rockets team. As a one-time deal, this one actually looks like it belongs in the NBA. In fact, this seems like a design I might see in a league in China.

The Wolves, out of all the sleeved jerseys out there, have one that doesn’t offend me so much. I like it also because of the simplicity. Black is a safe color to go with when it comes to sleeves and the side panels work really well with their identity.

So in a battle of very ugly jerseys, the two that were least offensive to me met on the court tonight. If you just look away from the sleeves, these jerseys aren’t too bad.

The Miracle on Ice happened 35 years ago today

What a moment! That was 35 years ago today.

On this day 35 years ago, a miracle happened in a game somewhere in New York. And to this very day, it is still considered the greatest, and also most important, sporting event in United States history.

A few weeks ago I decided to watch clips from this game and every time I watch it, I tear up. The moment was amazing. The timing was perfect. The story was too good to be true. But it did happen. The upset was unexpected and the victory was like a dream.

Take a look at the photo on the right. It is, in my opinion, the best photo ever taken at a sporting event. The jubilation of that moment was captured perfectly. The moment was so big, Sports Illustrated ran that as their cover photo without any words other than the magazine name. That powerful.

Wow. It’s been 35 years. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

I just got back from the Stadium Series game and I’ll tell you about it

A view from my seat.

I just got back from the Stadium Series game at Levi’s Stadium and I had a pretty good time. I went to last year’s game in LA and that was my measuring stick for this one. It didn’t meet the excitement and standard to the LA one, but there were a few highlights.

First of all, I love outdoor hockey games so this one was nicely set up. The ambiance was pretty unique and the setting of the California terrains and the water with the bridge was really unique and nice to the setting. Aside from the actual game, which made me sad because the Sharks lost, there were some few interesting things about the experience that stood out to me.

They kept encouraging fans to be loud and displayed a decibel meter but it never got loud enough to make any significant difference. That was foolish. After all, Levi’s Stadium is still too new and the identity of the place doesn’t warrant such a gimmick.

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