Thank You, Jim Edmonds, For Being My Role Model

Thank You, Jim Edmonds, For Being My Role Model

An Ode To The Greatest Center-Fielder That Ever Lived

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Imagine you're a parent and grew up living and breathing sports. You go to all the games for your city, support all the local professional teams, and can't get enough of it until you have your firstborn son and you get a chance to pass that passion onto him. So you enroll him in a CYC (Catholic Youth Council) soccer program and go to his first game.

You watch in awe as your six-year-old prodigy, the second coming of Cristiano Ronaldo, starts making dirt castles away from the play.

That was me. I was that kid. When I first started playing sports, my dad told me I would be running around with my arms out making airplane noises while the other kids were chasing the ball.

Which was strange, to him, because I'd sit on his lap and watch any sports with him all day long, whether it was the Rams for football, the Blues for hockey, or the beloved St. Louis Cardinals, who at the time, were absolutely dominating the league with postseason appearance after postseason appearance.

Around the age of 7 or 8, the flip switched. I went from chasing butterflies on the soccer field to chasing hat tricks and, my dad, seeing the potential for athletic growth, signed me up to play baseball too.

The transition for me was fairly easy given all the running I had been doing in soccer and the number of my times my dad and I would play catch in the backyard after watching another Cardinals win. I knew the game well and knew that I wanted to be a center-fielder, just like my favorite player, Jim Edmonds.

So at that time in CYC baseball, kids weren't expected to be good. They did the whole charade of letting everyone bat, the outs don't really matter and the records didn't either, that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, my childhood best friend and I didn't get that memo.

I remember making diving catches at shortstop, throwing to first base with plenty of time to get the runner, and the fans cheering, surprised by a two-foot toddler actually being able to make a play.

So my friend's dad started a select team the next year, and I found my home in the outfield. I loved running down balls and getting that same surprised reaction from fans and even players who were sure they hit a ball that would drop easily.

I didn't care as much about batting, but that feeling of "yeah, I caught that" was absolutely addicting. I would still go home and play catch with my dad, but if he made the catches too easy for me, I'd tell him to lead me more, until we'd be out there for an hour and a half just working on tracking hard to catch balls at full speed and I'd come inside to deal with the wrath of my mother about the grass stains on my clothes.

I'd go to my uncle's house, who had a desktop computer AND color printer, and he'd let us print out any pictures we wanted off the internet. So I looked up the coolest picture I could think of; Jim Edmonds picking a home run with his backhand just centimeters before it touched down, printed it, framed it, and hung it on my wall.

As I got older, in select ball you got to pick your numbers every year, so I always picked #15. Our team got to walk on the field at Busch Stadium and I kept trying to dig my shoes into the wall to see if I could reach to rob one, I made my first email and made my username twelcher15. Along with playing catch with my dad, I'd go with my neighbors to the common ground in our subdivision and play whiffle ball and every time I went yard, I'd drop my bat and extend both arms over my head as my role model did in the '04 NLCS.

But there's one experience that really stands out.

It was a night game, in between games of a doubleheader, and the field we were going to playing our next game on was absolutely saturated. Our coach could not believe it wasn't canceled, but we were young enough, we didn't care we just wanted to play.

So after my mom got me a Gatorade and a hot dog, I came back and asked one of my teammates if they'd play catch with me for a bit and they said sure. 10 minutes later, I was laying out for balls, getting absolutely soaked with water and caked in mud, without a care in the world. After a while, my teammates joined me in the outfield while one of our buddies launched balls into the atmosphere with only one rule, the catch would only count if you dove to get there.

We called the game "Jimmy Edmonds" and I'll never forget that day or what that game's namesake meant to the development of my love for baseball and sports as a whole.

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9 Of The Hottest Baseball Players To Look For This 2018 Season That Will Make You Want To Watch Baseball

Take me out to the ball game!
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It is finally February and you know what that means (if you don't know well then I am here to tell you). This is the month that BASEBALL SEASON begins! Whether it be MLB Spring Training or college baseball this is the month where the sport gets into full swing - no pun intended.

Do I understand and like the game of baseball? Yeah, sure I do.

Do I like the cuties in the baseball pants who play the sport more than the actual game? Yes, of course.

That is obviously what is more important! If you are like me and are wondering who it is to look for this coming season, then this is the place to find out! Through online searches across a variety of platforms and a ton of rosters, I have put together my own list below of the top hottest professional baseball players. With this said go ahead sit back, grab some Cracker Jacks and scroll away!

1. Kevin Kiermaier

This Tampa Bay String Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier with the gorgeous green eyes definitely deserves a spot at the top of this list. He could probably rank the highest on a list for the "Most Gorgeous Eyes".

2. Adam Duvall

A 2014 World Series winner with the San Francisco Giants, Adam Duvall is now a left fielder and first baseman for the Cinncinatti Reds.

3. Charlie Culberson

Wow, does this picture even a caption? Charlie Culberson is an infielder who recently was picked up by the Atlanta Braves only a few days ago so disregard the LA Dodgers gear and become a Braves fan!

4. Ian Desmond

As a Colorado native, I am a for sure a fan of my home team. The tall, dark, and handsome Ian Desmond is a left fielder and first baseman for the Rockies who can pull off the color purple very, very well.

5. Kris Bryant

Not only does Kris Bryant play third base and outfield for the Chicago Cubs, he was also featured as a male model for Express. Google that. You will be happy you did.

6. Bryce Harper

All in favor say "I"! Bryce Harper is a right fielder for the Washington Nationals. He also modeled in ESPN's magazine with very minimal clothing. So, create another browser tab ASAP and google image search.

7. Jorge Soler

Look at that smile, so, so cute! Jorge Soler is a designated hitter and outfielder for the Kansas City Royals, as well as a known previous team member for the Cuban national baseball team.

8. Jake Lamb

Umm, the fact that this photo is a candid just blows my mind. He is standing there doing nothing and somehow manages to look like that!? Jake Lamb is the third baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks as #22.

9. Grady Sizemore

Grady Sizemore is an outfielder for the Cleveland Indians and those dimples are, needless to say, irresistible!

Cover Image Credit: Nathan Shively

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The Ultimate Guide To ​Baseball Slang

Seventy-one words and phrases commonly used by baseball players, explained.

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I've spent most of my life playing or being around baseball. With college and high school teams already playing a month and a half and MLB having started their season a few days ago there is a language most people don't understand but will commonly hear during games. You'll hear these from coaches, players, and commentators but most will be used by high school through minor league players.

Ace — the best pitcher on a team who gets extra special treatment from coaches in the lower levels of play.

Alley — the best place to hit a ball in the outfield where it drops between the outfielders. Best hits are line drives that hit and roll through the alley to the wall, commonly resulting in a double or triple and in rare occasions an inside-the-park home run.

Around the Horn — a double play that starts at third going around the infield to second then to first. Can sometimes be a triple play where the third baseman steps on third before throwing to second.

Backdoor Slider — a pitch that starts out or appears out of the strike zone that breaks into the strike zone. Typically thrown as the third strike to get a player to hack at it to strike out swinging or to get caught looking.

Bad Hop — when you go to field a ball and it hits the ground and curves away from you or bounces over you.

Baltimore Chop — a ball hit that goes almost straight down hit hard enough and at a decent angle to hit home plate or in front of home plate but bounces into the outfield over the infielders.

Bang Bang — a play where the runner hits the bag right before the ball or where the ball reaches the fielder's glove right before the player reaches base.

Basket Catch — when a fielder, typically an outfielder, catches a ball in an upturn position around the belt. Usually when a fielder has his back to the ball and is running towards the wall.

Bat Flip — a cocky move when you hit a dinger and toss your bat in different fashions to assert dominance towards the pitcher. Best when the opposing team is in the first base dugout.

Bean or Beaner — a pitch, most commonly a fastball that hits a batter in the head.

Bench Clearer or Bench Clearing Brawl — when there's a fight and the benches and bullpen run out to help. Typically just to assert dominance towards the other team and rarely are they ever good fights.

Big Dick Energy — having the confidence to know you're gonna take a pitcher 450 dead center but staying cool and not having the cockiness to talk trash beforehand. Not the kind to do a bat flip or talk trash but to still have his presence known.

Blue — refers to the umps or umpires and usually a derogatory term often combined with a phrase calling them blind.

BP — no not the oil. BP is batting practice where players, especially in Bush League or lower, have dinger derbies.

Brusher or Brushback — an inside pitch that doesn't hit a batter but makes them jump back or drop to the ground. Typically an intimidation move by the pitcher to assert dominance or to back the batter off the plate.

Bush — to make an amateur play or to act amateurish and not like you're a pro.

Bush League — lower levels of the minors such as Single A, Single A Short, and sometimes Double A.

Camping — when a ball is hit as a popup and the player is just waiting for the ball to come back to Earth, typically followed by a can of corn catch.

Can of Corn — typically said as "Canna Corn" is a catch a baby could make with or without a glove. Most commonly is a popup that is hit where the fielder is already standing and just camps under it.

Caught Looking — when a third strike is thrown and the batter stands there watching it.

Caught Napping — when a baserunner is thrown out either by not paying attention or reacts too late.

Cellar — when you're in dead last for your division. Honestly at that point why show up to games.

Cheddar — refers to either a pitcher throwing good pitches to have a dinger derby or when the coach is throwing perfect pitches at BP to hit cage bombs or yet again have a dinger derby.

Cheese — a sexy fastball to a batter where he can go 450 Dead Center on a pitcher. Sometimes refers to a good fastball that flies right past the batter for a strike.

Chinner or Chin Music — a very high and inside pitch that buzzes close to the batters chin.

Circus or Circus Catch — a web gem catch either on a sacrifice your body type of catch or acrobatic jumping catch followed by a summersault. Pretty much outfielders attempting to show off because they just sit out in the outfield bored most of the game.

Cycle — the greatest feat you can do as a batter where you hit a single, double, triple, and dinger all in the same game.

Daddy Hack — a swing that takes all your power and throws you on your ass. The batter swings envisioning a dinger but usually does a daddy hack on a third strike breaking ball.

Dinger — a homer that is destined for the moon maybe even another solar system that you just sit and salute as it flies and then assert your dominance on the pitcher with your cockiest bat flip and jog around the bases as you talk trash the whole time.

Dinger Derby — refers to BP where players are hitting nothing but dingers or to a game where the pitcher is throwing cheddar and batters are hitting nothing but dingers.

Dirty — one of the ways you can say something's nice. Honestly, baseball players can use so many words to equal that's nice.

Filthy — used to refer to anything that looks good such as a hit, a haircut, an accessory, etc. Just another way to say something's nice while using a word that typically means unclean.

Fireman — a closer who can typically throw a scary fast heater and leave you scratching your head in the breeze off of it.

Five Tool Player — a guy who can do everything and do it perfectly such as fielding, hitting, hitting power, throwing, and running.

Frozen Rope — a well-hit line drive. If playing third it was nice knowing you when one comes to the hot corner.

Fungo — a type of bat used by coaches during fielding practice that makes the balls go semi-crazy when hit but provides fielders a chance to do a web gem.

Gap — essentially the same as an alley. The best place in the outfield to hit a ball.

Get Bucket — at the end of BP or during BP someone has to pick up all the balls and put them in a bucket. Sucks to suck if your a freshman or a rookie.

Golden Sombrero — when a batter strikes out four times in a game. You never want to be the player wearing the golden sombrero.

Good Game — if you don't know then you aren't one of the trusted ones with this butt slap and grab ceremony and no it's no homo.

Go Yard — to hit a dinger 450 dead center while making your cockiness and dominance known.

Heat — when a pitcher, typically a fireman, is throwing primarily heaters to assert his dominance as you stand and watch or duck away till you strike out and go cry in the dugout.

Heater — a four-seam fastball in the upper 90s going up to 105 or 106. Pitches if you're able to hit will go for dingers as your bat explodes to show your dominance, if not definitely a good pitch for the pitcher to show his.

Hot Corner — refers to Third Base where especially right-handed will pull a ball hard towards third down the line. If playing third and a line drive comes your way you better catch it.

In the Hole — not the batter in the on-deck circle but the batter after him.

Jacked — a player that's probably on roids because he's so big or got big fast.

Jam — when a pitcher gets into a situation usually with players on base, one or no outs, and is behind in the count with a batter.

Jammed or Jammer — when you hit the ball with the handle of the bat rather than the barrel, typically on a high and inside pitch that sends a shock starting at your hands going through the rest of your body. Can also refer to a tight swing on a high and inside pitch where you can barely swing but still get a hit.

Meatball — a juicy fastball that hangs right down the middle and is an easy hit typically for a dinger.

Mendoza Line — a line around the .200 batting average in which you never want to drop under or else you legally suck. Named after Mario Mendoza who was one of the leagues worst hitters.

Moon Shot or Moon Blast — a dinger that is hit very high like it's a rocket on its way to the moon.

Ofer or O for — someone who didn't get a hit in a game but grounded or flied out so he can't wear the golden sombrero.

Pegged — to get hit hard by a pitch that will definitely leave a bruise.

Pepper — a fielding game where players catch a hit ball and throw it to the hitter so he can hit their throw. Only for the brave.

Phiten — necklace and bracelet company that players swear gives them superpowers. But for the most part, it's just another form of swag.

Pickle — when trapped between two bases in a rundown. If you have moves you might be good if not just stand there and take it like a man.

Pimped It — to destroy a ball on a good hit typically for a liner or a dinger.

Roids — Steroids or also called juice is commonly used in baseball to get that extra power or edge.

Rhubarb — a fight. Typically doesn't last long but sometimes a good punch is thrown. Best is when there's a bench-clearing brawl.

Seeing Eye Single — a ball hit between infielders typically picked up by an outfielder but gives enough time for a runner to reach first.

Shagger — someone who goes to pick up foul balls or dingers hit in BP so there's still balls to hit. Again sucks to suck if your a freshman or rookie.

Shoestring — a catch made around the shins to the foot before the ball hits the ground.

Stroking — to hit good, whether in a game or at BP. More than likely BP where you get too cocky.

Table Setter — a leadoff or number two guy that is generally a faster player who is just to get a runner on base so a power hitter can drive them in.

Tape — whether it's athletic or batting tape, either is the duct tape for players respecting it like the God it is.

Tape Measure — a dinger that isn't always a high hit homer like a moon blast but is hit out of the park and far enough to say let's get out the tape measure.

Tommy Johns — a surgery to add a tendon from the knee to one's elbow to make the UCL stronger for throwing.

Ugly Finder — a foul ball typically hit during BP that goes straight for a player who usually is not prepared. Can refer to a foul ball that goes straight into the dugout during a game. Either way, if it hits your face, even if you were pretty before, you aren't now.

Wheelhouse — a pitch to the batters hot zone typically waist high and dead center of the plate that typically results in a good liner or dinger.

Yakker — a very good curveball that leaves them daddy hacking or caught just looking. Best Yakkers are curves thrown by a lefty.

Yoked — being a huge probably on roids player who is straight jacked.

Those are some of my favorites but in the game of baseball, the terms change all the time. There are terms from the old days that remain but some might be forgotten for some new term that has more swag to it because baseball is all about the swag.

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