America’s Favorite Tag Team - Baseball and Tobacco

This article has been submiteed by Michael Cascone.

America’s favorite pastime has always held a certain level of intrigue. There are a number of nuances in the game that you won’t find in any other professional sport that has been heavily commercialized, anything from the lack of video replay to ridiculous bench-clearing brawls.

However, I’m talking about a different type of intrigue. The kind of intrigue that fathers won’t explain to their sons while watching a game; the kind of intrigue that makes every game that much more enjoyable. That’s right: dip.

Tobacco consumption during games is considered completely taboo in most, if not all, major sports across the world. Except for baseball. It is so engrained in baseball culture that it would be rare to not see a massive first baseman struggling with a chew, and weird to not see a starting pitcher with a lipper packed. How did this seemingly familial bond first emerge, you ask?
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Your Own Spring Training - Getting Ready for Your Baseball/Slo-Pitch Season

This article is a collaboration by Blake Murphy and Michael Cascone.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my buddy Sean about how best to get your body ready for the baseball season. Keep in mind here that I am by no means a physical specimen or workout guru. Instead, I am a researching machine and extremely able pseudo-baseball coach. So as one of my best hitters was seeking advice on how to improve his long-ball without losing speed, I figured it was a good idea to look into it for him.

Fast forward four weeks, and I’m just sitting down to do it now. I knew a couple of overarching things already – a lot of your power comes from the hips, a strong core improves everything, and you don’t have to make a lot of drastic changes to improve some areas of your game.

And then I got distracted again, and commissioned Mike Cascone, a fantastic center fielder and long-time baseball player, to help me out with it. Now, we have quite the developed plan. It’s not spring training, but with the less competitive baseball seasons not kicking off until May, there is still plenty of time to incorporate these tips into your planning for the baseball season.

A note to those who play Slo-Pitch in place of real baseball – Step 1 is without a doubt to start drinking, heavily, at all times of the day and in as many different situations as possible. This will no doubt help you on a cold and windy August Saturday morning when you’re still a little drunk from the night before or on a sweltering July Sunday afternoon when you’re half in the bag for a championship game. Trust. Anyways, on to the tips you haven’t already started practicing.
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The Round of 16: Your Soccer Lesson Part 2

TottiThis article has been submitted by GMIL highlight Michael Cascone You can find part one here.

Last Wednesday, the Champions League Round of 16 continued with a few surprises and some fantastic soccer. Here’s Part 2 of your Champions League lesson…

AS Roma (Italian Serie A) 4 – Real Madrid (Spanish Primiera) 2
In a well fought matchup, Roma overcame Spanish opponents Real Madrid with 2-1 wins at home and away. I won’t lie and tell you that I’m not biased towards the Roma side, but they deserved to win both games. They outhustled Real in the first match and were rewarded with the victory.
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The Champions League Round of 16: Your Soccer Lesson Part 1

soccerThis article has been submitted by the debuting Michael Cascone. Italians do love their soccer.

In the exhausting UEFA Champions League journey, the Round of 16 represents the finish line somewhere on the horizon. After emerging successfully from numerous rounds of qualifying and a pressure-filled group stage, the European club teams remaining in the competition were set in a number of elite matchups.

For those of you who don’t fully understand the Champions League system (and even if you do, you know that it’s ridiculously intricate), club teams are selected from their respective national leagues based on last year’s record. Each domestic league sends a certain amount of top teams through to the group stage automatically, while many more are sent to compete in qualifying rounds for the remaining group stage spots. While this ensures that the best teams will compete, it is an exhaustive process that takes away from a club team’s national schedule. Kind of like that friend who always wants to get sauced…and you fail your midterm.

The Round of 16 is a two leg (home and away) series in which the team with the higher aggregate score moves on. In the Round of 16, the stakes are raised and many teams get to face their first true challenge. Perhaps the most intriguing round, this year’s 16 featured traditional powerhouses as well as surprise performers, giving everyone someone to cheer for. Here’s a little review of the action you may have missed so far (given the shoddy TV coverage, there’s a good chance you did…unless you were in Cuba over reading week, in which case it was fantastic):
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