Riley Neubauer

The Playoffs: A Whole Different Ball Game

kansas city royals postseason

Being a fan at a Major League Baseball playoff game is much more intense than being at a regular season game. There are more fans tailgating with elaborate meals before the game, the fans are more dressed up in their team colors, and they are on the edge of their seats the entire game!

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Cooperstown Collector Preserves Baseball History

brad horn cooperstown baseball hall of fame

Ever wonder how items from famous baseball games end up in the Hall of Fame? Or who decides which pieces are worthy?

The answers to both questions lie with Brad Horn, Vice President of Communications and Education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. 

Before Tuesday’s AL Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium, for instance, Horn read that ESPN commentator Jessica Mendoza would be the first woman to call a postseason game. Before the game, he walked up to Mendoza on the field and asked if she would donate her scorecard from the broadcast for the Hall of Fame’s “Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball” exhibit. She happily agreed. Now, a signed scorecard from the Astros’ 3-0 victory over the Yankees is headed to Cooperstown. 

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Jake Aron

Rangers Bring Postseason Excitement to Texas

texas rangers 2015 playoffs

In the middle of August, my brothers and I went to see the Rangers play the Seattle Mariners. What started as a terrible season was starting to get a little better. And we were there the day Derek Holland was back for the first time since the home opener.

Making the playoffs seemed pretty unlikely. But when we saw the Rangers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, and we saw how great Holland pitched, we started to get excited.

Now, here we are in early October. Texas is American League West champions and I can’t wait to get home from school today so I can watch the Rangers — in the playoffs! They begin their divisional series against the AL East champs the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon.

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Legendary Artist Todd McFarlane Talks Baseball and Toys

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  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • October 8, 2015, 11:03 AM

todd mcfarlane

The 2015 New York Comic Con (NYCC) opens today, and for four days the center of the comic book and entertainment world will be Manhattan. The event not only allows fans to get the latest info on upcoming books, movies, and TV shows. It also gives them a chance to meet their artistic heroes. And for most people, Todd McFarlane is very high on that list.

He began his career in the mid-1980s before becoming a superstar drawing Spider-Man in the late ‘80s and early 1990s. But in 1992, he joined a group of other comic artists to form the independent company Image. There, McFarlane published the book Spawn, which has been running non-stop for more than 20 years and was turned into a movie and cartoon series.

McFarlane also created toys based on Spawn characters, which allowed the artist to branch out from comics. He designed lines of action figures based on monsters, movie characters, and athletes. His baseball, football, hockey, and basketball toys are the most realistic sports toys ever created. The success of McFarlane Toys, along with his reputation as a comic artist, has made McFarlane one of the biggest names in pop culture and a fixture on the comic convention circuit.

But comics and toys aren’t his whole life. He’s also a huge sports fan (especially baseball and hockey — he once owned a stake in the Edmonton Oilers) and a committed youth baseball coach. Team Spawn, which is based in Arizona, is made up of 13-year-olds and funded entirely by McFarlane. The team is the real deal. It has been ranked the number-one 13-year-old team in the country and has won numerous national tournaments.

We caught up with McFarlane at last year’s NYCC and again at Toy Fair in February to talk baseball and toys. The following Q&A is a condensed version of those two conversations. 

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Cubs Shutout Pirates in NL Wild Card!

chicago cubs nl wild card 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) — These Chicago Cubs are supposed to be too young to be here. Or maybe they're just too good to care.

Jake Arrieta allowed four hits in nine dominant innings and the Cubs rolled to a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL wild-card game on Wednesday night.

Arrieta struck out 11 without a walk. He also dusted himself off getting plunked by Pittsburgh reliever Tony Watson to send the Cubs to the NL Division Series in St. Louis starting on Friday.

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Astros Rocket Past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game!

houston astros new york yankees american league wild card 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros defied expectations all season long. Facing his biggest test yet, the bearded ace beat the odds and the Yankees once again.

Pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his career, Keuchel baffled the Yankees for six innings of three-hit ball, Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez homered, and the Astros blanked New York 3-0 Tuesday night in the American League wild-card game.

The orange-clad Astros, who secured their spot in this winner-take-all game on the last day of the regular season. now advance to the AL Division Series. They will face the defending AL champion Royals, starting Thursday night in Kansas City.

"To come to Yankee Stadium and play that well was truly remarkable," said Keuchel, the AL's only 20-game winner.

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Max Ferregur

Talking with Kris Bryant, Before He Became a Star

kris bryant chicago cubs

The Chicago Cubs are back in the postseason for the first time since 2008, and Kris Bryant’s a big reason for it. In 151 regular season games, the third baseman hit .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs. Of his 99 RBIs, 48 came with two outs. His power stats — not to mention his skill in the field — made the rookie a star (his jersey was the biggest seller on, earned him a trip to the All-Star Game, and set him up as the favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year. There are plenty of other good candidates, like Dodger Joc Pederson, Giant Matt Duffy, and Pirate Jung Ho Kang. But those players didn’t put him Bryant’s numbers or have his consistency. And Bryant has a chance to bring his team to victory in the playoffs. The Cubs visit the Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. (Kang has been out since mid-September with a knee and leg injury.)

But before all that, Bryant was a top-five prospect in the minor leagues. Last year, I had a chance to meet Bryant at the 2014 All Star Futures Game. He told me then that when he was 8 years old and hit his first home run, his Dad gave him $100. Now 15 years later, Bryant has turned into an MLB star with a future of many more rewards and awards. Good job, Dad!

Check out my interview with Bryant below!

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