Thursday, November 30, 2006
Ripken and Gwynn are shoo-in, first-ballot enshrinees, but society remains ambivalent about "taking stock" and doing some serious soul-searching re: the state of the sport which Big Mac singlehandedly saved for the children outweighing the state of the sport when Big Mac singlehandedly took it away from the children with his testimony before Congress in '05.
We'll see a lot of crusades and pep rallies in the months/years ahead.
And, it'll be big fun watching sportswriters and sportscasters AK-47ing us with their flip-flopping, backpedaling and bandwagon-jumping.
Honestly, how much crebility is there contained within a HOF band of voters which A) Doesn't pay to attend MLB games and B) Has visited Cooperstown once, maybe twice?
A guy scribbles down some quotes from C.C. Sabathia -- and now that guy is voting for alleged MLB immortals?
America has a serious disconnect with "the process," so ya might as well have Costa Ricans voting on North Dakota re-zoning initiatives.
This Haystack's stance was made abundantly clear years ago, so there's no need for a Haystack re-hash right now.
The only sensible mode is to put it in the hands of the fans. They pay to watch ballgames, they pay to keep Cooperstown open on summer weekdays.
"Yeah, but then it becomes a popularity contest."
It already is, Jasper ... it already is.
Maybe with the fans in control, Hall of Famers such as Jim Kaat, Ted Simmons, Tommy John, Lance Parrish and Bob Boone will be inducted before they're dead.
Maybe Buck O'Neil, too.
That's why it was amusing to hear an interesting exchange on radio yesterday between The Sports Reporters' co-host Steve Czaban and Comcast's Carol Maloney.
Maloney made a good point that, 100 years from now, Ripken's consecutive-game streak (2,632) is what they'll still be talking about.
Zabe made a better point.
CZABAN: "100 years from now, they'll be talking about our war with Mars."
Speaking of the Ghosts of MLB Past & Present, approximately one month before the '06 season ended, Tim Kurkjian occupied the airwaves of the X Games Network and pondered potential classic matchups which extended beyond the perameters of a time/space continuum.
In his Top 3 of pitcher-batter matchups that he was Jonesin' to see, Kurkjian offered the following (in reverse order):
3) Walter Johnson vs. Barry Bonds
2) Randy Johnson vs. Ted Williams
1) Nolan Ryan vs. Babe Ruth
At first glance, a showcase of The Big Train, The Big Unit and The Ryan Express bringin' the heat against the ball-whacking acumen of Game of Shadows, The Splendid Splinter and The Bambino might appear fascinating. Upon further review, it's unoriginal and passe (and that conclusion is from a Haystack which is usually pro-Kurkjian).
The argument against such matchups is that Hollywood already addressed these matters when, in "The Natural," we saw Roy Hobbs strike out The Whammer (both were wearing street clothes) in that clearing by the train tracks.
Then, Hollywood gave us a few legendary matchups when John Spartan and Simon Phoenix slugged it out after years spent in cryogenic purgatory.
True, some will argue that there's no way that the Alien should EVER beat the Predator (especially for those of us who bet the "over"), but then Freddy and Jason went one-on-one and, well ... Hollywood was clearly making a mockery of serious confrontations.
So, to counter Kurkjian's assertion -- and to get our minds off of Big Mac not gettin' an invite to the party -- time might be better spent pondering blockbuster showdowns, rather than "Sandy Koufax vs. Albert Pujols."
First AB: Grounder to third ...
Second AB: popout to SS ...
Third AB: strikeout swinging ...
Fourth AB: sharp single to CF ...
Then again, that's playing by 1960 rules.
Playing by Y2K06 rules, Pujols is spending his third AB facing Don Newcombe and his fourth AB digging in against Orel Hershiser.
That's why it's more enjoyable to ponder matchups with more zing -- such as Lou Gehrig vs. Brett Myers.
First AB: The Iron Horse hits the first pitch into the upper deck for a 2-run HR.
Second AB: Looks at two pitches, lines the third off the fence in RCF for a triple.
Third AB: Myers nibbles with two off-speed pitches, Gehrig fouls back the third, then hits the fourth into the third deck in RF for a 3-run shot.
Fourth AB: Lou is walked intentionally. Roberto Clemente follows with a 3-run HR.
Fifth AB: Batting against Charles Nagy in relief of Myers, Gehrig lines the first pitch he sees off the top of the fence in RCF for a 2-run double.
What a great day for Larrupin' Lou ... 2 doubles and 2 unforgettable homers.
Next up: It's Warren Spahn vs. Adam Dunn.
By the end of the eighth inning, Dunn has struck out four times on a total of 12 pitches (one of which he did manage to foul tip) ...
These are the matchups which boggle the mind.
Steve Carlton vs. Scott Spiezio ...
Bob Gibson vs. Phil Rizzuto ...
Whammy Douglas vs. Lou Klimchock ...
This could go on all day.
And, just wait 'til we start with great goal-scorers vs. great goaltenders.
Who wins between Syl Apps and Jarmo Myllys?
Think it over, America ...
Sunday, November 26, 2006
"Jinxing the Steelers' 2006 season."
As they say on the legal-TV shows ... "amend the indictment."
Solely based on her last name, Marilyn Devine should've known that she was messin' with forces more-divine than mere mortal crimes.
Simply stated, she doomed Steeler Nation last March 6 when she jacked the National City Bank in the Century Square shopping center on Lebanon Church Road in West Mifflin.
SOME OF US didn't need to wait around 'til the autumn to read the writing on the wall in a typical read-it-n'-weep scenario.
The sad truth is this:
"NO NFL TEAM HAS EVER REPEATED AS SUPER BOWL CHAMPION THE SEASON AFTER A 75-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FROM THAT SUPER BOWL CITY HAS COMMITTED A BANK ROBBERY WHILE WEARING A KNIT CAP WITH THAT TEAM'S COLORS AND EYE HOLES CUT OUT OF IT."
Following today's 27-0, prison-cell, spooning-session in Baltimore, many fans/observers are declaring that now (albeit practially-but-not-officially) the Steelers are finished in their attempt to earn at least the No. 6 seed for the AFC playoffs.
Given the way that Pittsburgh had pissed off the bank-robbin' gods, it was merely a matter of time.
(Note: If it's any consolation for citizens of The 'Burgh, at least there's not a statue of Bradshaw outside the stadium wherein the Hall of Fame QB has a "package" the size of a canteloupe/volleyball as a sculptor defamed/mocked Unitas on the statue of Johnny U. outside M&T Bank Stadium ... "Johnny's got a lotta junk")
Some people are likely to claim that THE portent of a bumpy '07 for the Steelers was when safety Chris Hope signed with the Tennessee Titans. In some people's minds, the headlines screamed, "STEELERS WILL HAVE NO HOPE IN '07."
Right .. blame it on Chris Hope when it was not HE who wore the black-n'gold knit STEELERS cap pulled over his face (with tufts of gray hair sticking out) while using a 9mm handgun and ordering two different tellers to fill the white garbage bag with money.
As if that wasn't crazy enough, Marilyn's escape (with the $5,300 and the UNLOADED 9mm tossed into the back seat of her tan Ford Escort) reached the break-neck speeds of 45 MPH as she went across Lebanon Church Road, onto Delwar Road and across railroad tracks onto Streets Run Road into Baldwin Burrough.
When she was finally boxed in at the intersection of Joseph and Agnew Streets, it's probably a good thing that she didn't pull a Larry Phillips/Emil Matasareanu (nine years earlier, almost to the day, in North Hollywood) and keep police at bay by firing off hundreds of rounds from an AK-47 she had in the trunk.
Since there exist no diary entries, it's unclear as to when Phillips/Matasareanu went on their shooting spree on the last day of Feb. '97, if the plain black knit caps they wore were a sign were a sign of protest against the NFL Establishment from sins committed two years earlier (when the silver-n'-BLACK Raiders were allowed to move from L.A. back to Oakland; when the Rams left Anaheim for St. Louis; and with two expansion teams -- Carolina and Jacksonville -- permitted to have BLACK as a team color.
These are the issues which clutter the mind once a Steeler team is realistically-but-not-mathematically removed from the wild-card playoff equation.
The questions abound, such as: Why is the OL blocking like shit? Why is the front seven kinda harmless? Did they really think they could get away with having three exploitable cornerbacks (sorry, Deshea, Ike and Bryant) for the third year in a row? Did anyone expect success when Cowher cannot decide what to do with that sloppy, unmanicured quasi-goatee? Can we all get over the fact that the "power running" of The Bus and his "locker room leadership" might've been a little overrated the past two years? What's the deal with all the fumbles? Should they tank the rest of their games to move into prime position to draft the exciting Calvin Johnson? Should we believe it when an offensive lineman says, "We probably shouldn't go out drinking three nights a week?"
Jeez, even the fans are goin' soft. Usually, games against he Ravens in Baltimore are usually bad-blood affairs with the stadium filled with a 50-50 ratio of fans. This time, the buzz was almost totally pro-Raven, which is a credit to the charisma/magnetism one-two punch which is Prof. Billick and God's Linebacker (according to a recent SI cover story ... but, according to an animated SNL sketch fresh from the Cobalt Lounge aftermath, a cartoon Ray sang, "I didn't kill no motherf---ing lion!").
Back on the field, Steeler fans need to decide for themselves where this 27-0 shellacking ranks in the Browns/Ravens/Art Modell series. The leading candidates seem to be the '00 season opener (when the Steelers and new QB Kent Graham were worked over, 16-0, by the eventual Super Bowl champs -- a game which was so rotten that when Kordell came in to run the goal-line offense, he was soundly booed by the Three Rivers fans ... oh, and that 51-0 loss at home to the Brownies in the '89 season opener, that was some brutal, sadistic crapola ...).
So, how odd was it that this playoff "elimination" defeat occurred on the same day that the he North Carolina State head job suddenly had a vacancy once it became official that the barrel-chested, squeaky-voiced Chuck Amato had been fired?
Will Cowher take that job at his alma mater? Or will it go to Lispy McMushmouth (read: Holtz), the guy who recruited Cowher to play at NCSU?
Even though Lispy McMushmouth (read: Holtz) was a magnet for NCAA sanctions when he was at Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina, it's a perfect fit for the guy who will turn 70 the first week of February.
By "perfect fit," we mean "getting his unprofessional lispy, mushmouth nonsense off of TV."
Please hire Lispy Lou, please hire Lispy Lou. please hire Lispy Lou, please hire Lispy Lou, please hire Lispy Lou, please hire Lispy Lou ...
Anyway, for the next two months, the Steelers can still put that "defending Super Bowl champion" tag before their name. And, if nothing else, at least now they've ascended to the realm of "now, there's a team no one wants to play, Steve!"
Some of us are not about to fret over the '06 developments, notwithstanding Marilyn Devine's mental state and the whereabouts of her unloaded 9mm and the black-n'-gold knit cap.
The Steelers will be back. There are scads n' scads of NFL teams who didn't play in Super Bowl XL and won't be participating in Super Bowls XLI (41) thru LVIII (58) -- yeah, that means you, Jets, Chiefs, Saints, Vikings, Browns and Lions.
In the end, no doubt the current state of the Steelers reminds some of us of and earlier era when, minutes before game time against Tigris of Gaul, a certain gladiator made a bold statement.
"Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome. This is not it! THIS! IS! NOT! IT!"
It might help to localize the story if you substitute "Marcus Aurelius" with "the Rooney Family" and substitute "Rome" with "the Steel Curtain."
Then, pretend that it's Cowher, not Proximo, yelling, "We mortals are but shadows and dust, Maximus! Shadows and dust!"
And then imagine that he's shouting to the gladiators known as Chukky Okobi (#56) or Clint Kriewaldt (#57).
This season's over in Pittsburgh. So, now it's time to start hurtin' some people and turn their playoff futures to shadows and dust ...
Urb got his nose out of joint during the past several days when somebody hinted that his football team's chances of earning a berth in the BCS title game may actually hinge more on "style points" or "sex appeal" than piling up W's.
In other words, Urb is confused and bemused, but not amused -- and, that may strike America as an attitude for a coach at a university whose basketball team won the '05/'06 NCAA championship by winning our hearts with stylish and sexy performances.
On top of that, somebody forgot to tell Urb that he coaches a football program (or, as they say 'round Gainesville ... "proGRUM") which, five years ago, had a QB (and Heisman Trophy runner-up) nicknamed "Sexy Rexy."
Urb hasn't minced words during the past two weeks after lackluster Alligator victories ... that the system needs to be "imploded" if his victories are viewed as needing more T & A.
Knowing this, it's obvious that the "stop dissing the Alligators!" is Urb's cry for help from BlogAmerica.
Well, we've received the Bat Signal -- and it's our job, Blogmerica, to furnish "The Sexucation of Urban Meyer: The Complete How-To of Getting the BCS in the Sack."
Chapter One: Urb opens his mind to the incontrovertible fact that "sexy is a state of mind" ... that "sweet nothings" and delightful naughty teasers whispered into the ear are sometimes more powerful than three margaritas and a few light strokes of the inner thigh.
It does seem odd that WE need to sex-ucate Urban Meyer, college football's quivalent of Agent 007. After all, he's smarter and more-handsome than any of us ... and he maintains JUST enough of that soft-spokenness (while suppressing his egomaniacal undertones) to keep us from slapping his face and gasping, "How dare you get fresh with me!"
(Note: The most-viable Y2K-compliant expression there should be "No you ditt-INT!" or "You dawg!")
Logic would suggest that a handsome chap such as Urb would comprehend the inner-workings of this cat-n'-mouse game. After all, when it was Auburn's Tommy Tuberville using that Southern twang to gripe about no justice for his 11-0 Tiger ballclub (as he did two years ago), America looked at the whiner and figured it was just a hillbilly with an axe to grind.
When it's Urban Meyer, though -- with his wholesomeness and Middle America values (head coaching stints at Bowling Green and Utah) -- his lamentations come off more as a thinly-veiled declaration of "Look at me! Look what I've done!" after being left with a roster of players left behind behind that by Satan himself: fireronzook.com.
Therefore, Urban Meyer wants you, BlogAmericans living in BCS, USA to hear him when he gets all indignant. Maybe the powers-that-be won't listen to a simple bumpkin like Urb -- like the way that they opened their minds, opened their hearts and dropped their trousers when Mack Brown's southern drawl and tender blow job got the Wronghorns into the Rose Bowl two seasons ago.
"Lobbying" -- or whichever term ya wanna use there -- it's the axis on which the world of the sex-ucation of Urban Meyer rotates.
And, lobbying is nothing more than a fancy term for salesmanship, ergo, Urb's best strategy is to lay it on thick with the flattery.
If it seems insincere, hey ... that's part of the game plan.
Work it, Urb ... work it.
The wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am approach sometimes makes the victim, errrr ... the young goddess feeling a little used.
The good news for Urb & His Alligators is that he's beggin' for some BCS tail from the sluttiest sluts in SlutTown, so no problem there.
If he tries to get anyone intelligent between the sheets, good F-ing luck, Urb.
It's not that he's not sauve, etc ... it's just that the "difficult schedule" argument is, for lack of a better term, hard to shallow.
For anyone who's watched college football in '06, that "difficult schedule" angle sounds as though someone's willing to break the cardinal rule of sex: "fornicating with an agenda."
In other words, he's ripping off the blouse a little too quickly.
Does Urb think he can get in our pants with this?
Those three victories in Sepember (over Tenn., Can'tucky and 'Bama) were a little shaky. Those nailbiters would've been more attractive if they'd been W's over the 12-0 Tennessee team of 1998, the 11-1 Kentucky team of 1950 and either Alabama's 1978 national champs or the 1993 national champs.
For those of us who've watched college football since BEFORE 2002, well ... those three victims were adequate teams, nuthin' special.
The win over LSU to begin October? OK ... what team comes out of the locker room for the second half and then gaks the second-half kickoff for a Gator safety?
An up-and-down erratic and ... RIGHT! It's LSU '06!
Moving on, a win at Auburn might've been a bigger feat if we're talking about 13-0 Auburn '04 or 11-0 Auburn '93 (the Pat Dye probation team coached by rookie Terry Bowden), but, alas, this was Auburn '06 -- a team which got worked (simply WORKED!) at home (at home!) by Arkansas and Georgia, so ...
Speaking of Georgia and the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party ... the Gators' 21-14 win might've looked more handsome if the offense hadn't gone into a shell after the 9-minute mark of the second quarter (zero points thereafter) and if the opponent had been Georgia 1980 or Georgia 1982.
But, this was Georgia '06 (with dozens of problems at QB), so ...
A 25-19 win at Vandy? A 17-16 win over South Carolina wherein USC refused (simply refused) to take a W which Fla was ready to hand over ...
Oh, and that 21-14 W vs. FSU ... that would've had a nicer ring to it had it been the '93 national champion 'Noles or the the '99 national champion 'Noles, but, alas ... it was FSU '06, which, in its previous home game, got worked (simply WORKED) by Wake Forest, 30-0.
Wake Forest is a nice story in '06 -- a scrappy, well-coached team -- but not a 30-0, let's-let-Wake-pee-on-us-at-home squad.
There's some nice wins in their for Urb. But, nuthin' that's a knockout. Not all the beer goggles in the world can make those look like anything other than clumsy, awkward sex where we don't even know her last name.
We can't even remember if her first name is Sharon or "Did she say Sherri?"
So, no, BlogAmerica ... don't let Urban Meyer put roofies in your drink!
True, his team has stuck to wearing the more-attractive white cleats all season long, but what about that game (we think it was against 'Bama) where the Alligators wore the WHITE helmets with small, block "F"?
That was almost as un-sexy as when Nike put a gun to the heads of all teams which had orange in its color scheme and made 'em wear those jerseys with the orange-colored left shoulder/left sleeve.
Florida, Va. Tech and Miami all participated in the orange shoulder/orange sleeve project in '05.
Nike thinks that Nike can walk into any party and sex up whoever Nike wants to sex up.
There ya have it. So, before Urb gets any crazy ideas about imploding anything, maybe he needs to think about what he's imploding. As he heads into Saturday's SEC title game against Arkansas (a quality Arkansas team, but not Arkansas '98, okay? .. this team did get worked -- simply WORKED! -- by 'SC at home to open the season), Urb needs to remember what an inexact science the ranking system really is.
Urb probably isn't oo old to remember a time back during his college days at the 'Natty in the mid-'80s when he'd put away a few beers and he and the boys would scribble on napkins in the bar their Top 10 favorite Clash songs of all-time.
Even when this undertaking occurs during full-blown sobriety, mistakes and oversights are bound to occur. Somebody makes "Guns of Brixton" their No. 1, but then someone else goes with "Julie's In The Drug Squad."
"Clampdown" ... good choice, bro ... good choice.
Whereas the public outcry is that "they play the best football in the SEC!," that's usually coming from folks who've only heard "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" or "London Calling."
As if anyone bothered to scribble on their napkin "Someone Got Murdered."
Still, ya gotta give mad props to anyone who might've had "Armagideon Time" on their napkin/ballot.
"A lotta people won't get no supper tonight / A lotta people won't get no justice tonight ..."
We miss you, Joe Strummer.
That's the human element to the poll process. For the modern-day pollster, it's like picking the top blonde recording artist ... and while two drunk guys are slobbering about Britney or Christina, the other drunk guy is making Gwen Stefani his No. 1).
Drunk dude: "No, you dit-INT! No, you dit-INT!"
And then another drunk guy leans over while spilling half of his Pabst and blurts, "I like Kournikova!"
We all do, Steve -- and you're in no condition to drive.
Can I walk ya to your door, Urb? You look totally hot in that blue fleece sweatshirt ...
Friday, November 24, 2006
WHEN YOU SEE LISPY McMUSHMOUTH (READ: HOLTZ) SPITTLING AND LISPING AND UNENUNCIATING FLUFF ON ESPN AND, ON THE CHANNEL NEXT TO ESPN ON THE REMOTE-CLICKER, YOU'VE GOT BETTY NGUYEN DELIVERING NEWS IN A SEDUCTIVE-YET-PROFESSIONAL MANNER, WHICH WAY YA GONNA LEAN?
EXACTLY ... THE "DEFINITELY-WORTH-STALKING" (IF WE WERE INTO SUCH PRACTICES) BETTY NGUYEN GETS THE NOD OVER "DEFINITELY-WORTH-RUNNING-DOWN-IN-THE-CROSSWALK" (IF WE WERE INTO SUCH BEHAVIOR) LOU HOLTZ EVERY TIME.
BETTY THE BOMB IS BABE-ALICIOUS.
AND SHE GIVES GOOD HEADLINE.
PLUS ... SHE KNOWS MORE ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL THAN LISPY McMUSHMOUTH (READ: HOLTZ).
THE FACT THAT HOLTZ DOESN'T KNOW SQUAT ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS ONE THING. THE FACT THAT HE MASKS HIS IGNORANCE WITH ARROGANCE IS ANOTHER MATTER ENTIRELY.
HE'S AN NCAA-SANCTIONS MAGNET (HOW-DEE-DOO, ARKANSAS, MINNESOTA, NOTRE DAME, SOUTH CAROLINA). ONCE HOLTZ GETS THE DEATH PENALTY FOR ESPN, NO ONE'S GONNA WEEP.
'CUZ WE'VE GOT BETTY NGUYEN.
SHE'S DEFINITELY WORTH F___ING IN THE A_____.
ANYWAY, LISPY LOU IS GETTIN' ALL ARROGANT ABOUT HOW NOTRE DAME WILL HANDLE USC TONIGHT. THE WORDS HE LISPED IN UNENUNCIATED FASHION WERE THAT N.D. WOULD BEAT 'SC, "FAIRLY EASILY."
NEAR AS ANYONE COULD INTERPRET.
THE NORMAL REACTION TO A LISPY LOU COMMENT SUCH AS THE ABOVE WOULD BE, "WOW, SUMMM-BUDD-DEEE IS HAVING A BAD REACTION FROM MIXING JOHNNIE WALKER RED AND VIOXX."
BUT, THEN WE REALIZE THAT MAYBE THE OLD COOT REALLY IS THAT CLUELESS.
KINDA LIKE HOW EARLIER THIS SEASON WHEN LISPY CONFIDENTLY TOLD AMERICA THAT EAST CAROLINA WOULD HANDLE NAVY -- HOPING THAT AMERICA HAD FORGOTTEN THAT HIS UNTALENTED SON, SKIP, IS THE HEAD COACH AT ECU (NAVY CLOCKED 'EM, OF COURSE).
THAT'S WHY BETTY NGUYEN IS THE VIABLE LAMEDAY OPTION. SHE PRESENTS THE NEWS ("DOES SHE EVER") ... SHE DOESN'T BECOME THE NEWS.
OH, AND TO FILL IN THE BLANKS OF THE SENTENCE WHICH ENDED THE PREVIOUS GRAPH, THOSE WORDS ARE: "FOLLOWING" AND "AIRPORT."
WHAT KIND OF A SICKO ARE YOU?
DON'T ANSWER THAT BECAUSE WE'RE AFRAID SOMEONE MIGHT BE PANTLESS WHILE WATCHING LISPY LOU ON ESPN.
ONE OF THE SIGNS HELD UP BEHIND CHRIS-LEE-HERB KIRKSTREIT READ: "WHO GETS THE FIRST REACH-AROUND?"
AND, SOMEONE HOLLERED -- AFTER THE POIGNANT PIECE ABOUT WAKE FOREST LINEBACKER JON ABBATE AND HIS LITTLE BRO (A STORY WHICH USA TODAY HAD TWO MONTHS AGO) -- SOMETHING ABOUT THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE BEING GAY (AS THE CAMERAS PANNED TO A CLEARLY PHALIC SYMBOL ... THE TORCH AT THE TURNSTILE END OF THE COLISEUM).
GAMEDAY IS SO LAMEDAY. EVERY NOW AND THEN, THE THREE STOOGES ACTUALLY MIX IN SOME PERTINENT COLLEGE FOOTBALL DATA (BUT, RIGHT NOW, THERE'S MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL MATERIAL FOUND ON THE NETWORK'S WORLD SERIES OF POKER BROADCASTS) -- WHICH IS WHY THERE'S A MOVEMENT AFOOT TO CLICK OVER TO CNN AND SPEND AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME BREAKING DOWN BETTY'S GAME.
SURE, SOME PEOPLE ARE GOING TO ARGUE THAT BETTY HAS, ESSENTIALLY THE SAME HAIRSTYLE AS COLLEAGUE VERA DE LA CRUZ ... WHILE OTHERS WILL REASON THAT BETTY NGUYEN IS TOO HOT FOR TV AND THAT, AS SUCH, SHE MIGHT LACK THE ANCHOR-DESK SAVVY OF KITTY PILGRIM.
WE CALL THOSE PEOPLE "LOSERS" ... JERK-OFFS WHO SIMPLY DON'T UNDERSTAND OUR COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP WITH BETTY AND SCUMBAGS WHO WEAR NO PANTS WHILE HERB KIRKSTREIT'S HAZEL EYES AND PEPSODENT SMILE TRY, IN EARNEST, TO CONVINCE AMERICA THAT N.D.'S OFFENSIVE LINE NEEDS TO PROTECT BRADY QUINN (AND BRADY QUINN'S DELICATE-BUT-INCREDIBLE KATE-JACKSON-ESQUE CHEEKBONES).
SAY, HERBIE ... ISN'T "PROTECTING THE QB" KINDA-SORTA-TOTALLY THE KEY TO EVERY FOOTBALL GAME PLAYED? WHAT HERBIE NEEDS TO DO IS TO STOP TAKING HIS FRUSTRATION OUT ON AMERICA ... THE LATENT BITTERNESS WHICH LINGERS JUST BECAUSE HIS OL AT OSU DIDN'T PROVIDE MAX-PROTECT AND THEREFORE DIDN'T GET HIM ON ANY HEISMAN WATCH LISTS.
HERBIE HAS TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT HE WAS MERELY A QB STOP-GAP BETWEEN KENT GRAHAM AND BOBBY HOYING (AND BECAUSE JOE PICKENS NEVER PANNED OUT AS QB SAVIOR).
EVEN WITH A BETTER OL, TORRETTA WAS STILL GOING TO BEAT OUT HERBIE FOR FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICA HONORS, ANYWAY (ALTHOUGH, IF HERBIE SHELVES HIS PERSONAL ANGUISH FOR A MOMENT, HE'LL REMEMBER HOW BADLY THE DOWNTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB COMPLETELY F'ED-UP AND MISTAKENLY AWARDED TO GINO THE HEISMAN WHICH FLORIDA STATE LB MARVIN JONES HAD EARNED).
IN CASE AMERICA WAS WONDERIN', HERBIE AND HIS LAMEDAY POSSE CAN'T SEEM TO GET OFF THEIR DEAD ASSES TO PROVIDE A FEATURE OF A COLLEGE LINEMAN OF NOTE THIS SEASON.
BETTY NGUYEN, ON THE OTHER HAND, WOULD BE OUT "IN THE FIELD," PROVIDING THE RIGHT BALANCE OF NEWSWORTHINESS AND FEMINITY.
TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT, LAMEDAY HAS NAMED TWO, POSSIBLY THREE, OFFENSIVE LINEMEN IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS SEASON.
1) N.D.'S RYAN HARRIS AND HIS MUSLIM WAYS IN CATHOLICTOWN.
2) DUKE ROBINSON OF OKLAHOMA RECEIVING MAJOR PROPS FROM RECE DAVIS THAT NIGHT WHEN RECE PHONED INTO "COLLEGE LAMEDAY FINAL" WHEN HE WAS ON THE ROAD THE SATURDAY THAT FOWLER WAS COVERING THE BREEDER'S CUP IN LOUISVILLE.
HENCE, WHEN HERBIE STARTS HITTIN' AMERICA WITH VAGUE RHETORIC REGARDING THE FARTING IRISH'S OL, AMERICA ASKS, "ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT NOTRE DAME GUARD TOM REGNER? OR MAYBE THE CENTER, DAVE HUFFMAN? WHADDYA THINK OF TACKLE ANDY HECK? ARE YOU GOIN' TO MENTION TACKLE LUKE PETITGOUT?"
THAT'S WHAT'S AWESOME ABOUT LAMEDAY ... THEY COULD THROW THOSE FOUR NAMES OUT THERE AND NO ONE WOULD NOTICE BECAUSE LAMEDAY IS ABOUT TALKING HEADS BLAH-BLAH-BLAHING ABOUT NUTHIN' (AND ABOUT WHO CAN SNEAK THE CRUDEST SIGN INTO THE CAMERA'S LINE OF FIRE).
REMEMBER THE CORSO/DELAWARE-LIQUID-STEROIDS STORY WE BLOGGED ABOUT LAST WEEK?
TO ITS CREDIT, ESPN THE MAGAZINE SOMETIMES OFFERS SOMETHING A LITTLE DEEPER THAN THE SUPERFICIAL, THANKS TO SOME OCCASIONAL QUALITY FROM PAT FORDE AND TODD McSHAY -- BUT WITH MORE KUDOS TO A WRITER SUCH AS THE MIGHTY TIM KEOWN, WHO AUTHORED THAT EXCELLENT IN-DEPTH ARTICLE EARLIER THIS SEASON RE: CAL BEARS LINEMEN MIKE TEETER AND RULON DAVIS.
IS THAT THE LAMEDAY MOTTO: "GO READ ABOUT IT IN OUR MAGAZINE. WE HAVE ENOUGH TROUBLE TRYING TO KEEP THAT BOOZEHOUND, MAGUIRE, IN CHECK."?
WHAT IF BETTY NGUYEN PULLED THAT CRAP? "READ ABOUT ME ON-LINE, OKAY, SAILOR?"
IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. BETTY'S A REPORTER WHO LOOKS VERY NICE.
A JACKASS LIKE CORSO IS A COSTUME-WEARING KNOW-NOTHING ... HE MIGHT AS WELL DRESS UP LIKE A SPACE MAN FOR ONE SEGMENT; AS A BIG, YELLOW-AND-PINK-STRIPED RHINO FOR THE NEXT; AND AS THE JACK OF DIAMONDS FOR THE ONE AFTER THAT.
IN OTHER WORDS, CORSO IS VITALE WITH HAIR.
EITHER WAY, IT'S NO-TALENT VS. NO-TALENT ... AND AMERICA LOSES.
UNLESS AMERICA IS WATCHING BETTY NGUYEN.
OR ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMING ON AL-JEZEERA.
FOR THE RECORD, TOM REGNER PLAYED ON N.D.'S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OF 1966; DAVE HUFFMAN WAS THE CENTER ON THE IRISH'S '77 NATIONAL CHAMPS (JOE MONTANA AT QB); ANDY HECK WAS THE STALWART LINEMAN OF HOLTZ'S '88 NAT'L CHAMPS; AND EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT LUKE PETITGOUT WAS A STARTER FOR THE '98 IRISH BEFORE HIS CAREER W/ THE NYG.
THESE ARE THE WAYS THAT AMERICA FILLS IN THE GAPING HOLES LEFT BY LAMEDAY -- BY DOING OUR OWN RESEARCH.
LISPY SEZ N.D. WILL BEAT 'SC "FAIRLY EASILY" -- WHICH, IF YOU'RE WATCHING COLLEGE FOOTBALL FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME TODAY, MAKES PERFECT SENSE.
FIRST OF ALL, GRANDPA MUST'VE FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT THE UCLA-ND GAME WHEREIN THE BRUINS FRICKIN' WORKED THE IRISH IN SOUTH BEND-OVER FOR THREE-PLUS QUARTERS (A GAME WHICH UCLA LOST BECAUSE SOMEBODY THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO SEND THE CARDBOARD-CUTOUT KARL DORRELL AND UCLA TO DO A MAN-SIZED, USC JOB -- AND N.D. STILL NEEDED A MINI-MIRACLE).
SECONDLY, GRANDPA HAD TO GO SLEEPY TIME BEFORE THE END OF THE MICHIGAN STATE-N.D. GAME ... THE ONE IN WHICH MSU WAS MICTURATING AND DEFECATING ON N.D. INTO THE THIRD QUARTER UNTIL, WELL ... UNTIL JOHN L. SMITH LOST HIS MARBLES (NO WORD IF THEY ARE THE SAME MARBLES WHICH HOLTZ KEEPS IN HIS MOUTH TO MAXIMIZE THE MARBLE-MOUTH EFFECT).
GRANDPA FORGOT ABOUT TWO GAMES WHEREIN N.D. WAS GETTIN' ITS COLLECTIVE ASSED KICKED BY EXTREMELY-MEDIOCRE TEAMS (AS OPPOSED TO SOMEWHAT-MEDIOCRE TEAMS).
FINALLY, GRANDPA PROBABLY DOESN'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE ESPN VAULT AND THE ARCHIVED FOOTAGE OF TREV ALBERTS, BEFORE THE JAN. '05 BCS TITLE GAME BETWEEN USC AND OKLAHOMA, WHEREIN TREV JINXED EVERYTHING WHEN HE PROCLAIMED, "I THINK THIS GAME GETS AWAY FROM USC IN A HURRY."
TRUE DAT, TREVOR!
IF PETE CARROLL HADN'T REINED IN HIS TROY BOYZ IN THE SECOND HALF, THEY'D'VE WON, 80-13, INSTEAD OF 55-19 WHEN THEY SPENT THE FINAL 15 MINUTES COASTING.
SEE, THAT'S WHAT SETS BETTY NGUYEN APART FROM LAMEDAY. SHE DOESN'T GET ALL POLITICAL AND ENGAGE IN PERSONAL ATTACKS OR FLIMSY HYPE, EVEN IF SHE THINKS PREZ. BUSH IS A TOOL.
BETTY NGUYEN .. HOT, BUT BALANCED.
LAMEDAY, THOUGH ... IT KINDA REMINDS YA OF THOSE TIMES IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN YOU WERE STANDING AT YOUR HALLWAY LOCKER BETWEEN ENGLISH AND SOCIAL STUDIES AND, AS YOU SPUN THE DIAL, YOU LOOKED OVER AT LAMEDAY AND SAID, "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU, ANYWAY? YOU USED TO BE COOL. ONCE YOU STARTED DATING DISNEY, YOU REALLY BECAME A MAJOR PRICK."
SADLY, THERE IS NO GUIDANCE COUNSELOR AT ESPN TO SAY, "BETTER STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT, LAMEDAY."
IT'S GETTIN' CLOSE TO NOON ... WHICH MEANS THAT SOON WE'LL LEARN ABOUT REACH-AROUNDS AND THE HOMOSEXUALITY OF THE FOUR HORSEMEN.
WORD IS, THEY LIKED TO WATCH EACH OTHER SHOWER ...
Thursday, November 23, 2006
THE single greatest football announcing moment of this calendar year occurred in the first week of January -- in the BCS title game between Texas and USC -- when 93-year-old Keith Jackson saw 'SC coach Pete Carroll stop for the briefest moment on his way down the sideline as he said something to #10 seated on the 'SC bench.
93-year-old Keith Jackson then informed America that it appeared imminent that Coach Pete was ready to make a switch at QB, replacing #11 Matt Leinart with #10 John David Booty.
Never mind the fact that backups DON'T sit on the bench during a game. Or that no one saw Leinart "getting injured" up to that point.
Or that if #10 was preparing to come into the game, he wasn't warming up his right arm to replace Leinart's left arm.
Or that the #10 that 93-year-old Keith Jackson saw was actually linebacker Brian Cushing.
Thankfully, Keith Jackson retired after that game (to see if he could find his coherency and lucidity which retired in 1995) -- but Cushing is still around "on the defensive side of the ball" for 'SC and he's the #10 for the Troy Boyz who is NOT J.D. Booo-tayy, who plays "on the offensive side of the ball."
Early sidebar: That's always a vintage colloquialism ... using "offensive side of the ball" and "defensive side of the ball" to, we guess, make "offense" and "defense" sound more prolific or scientific, we guess ...
Seems as though "10s are wild" in '06.
Let's see, there's Ohio State's #10 (Troy Smith) who, last week, all but clinched the Heisman Troy-phy with the "W" against Michigan. And, this week, the feature game offers USC's #10 on the offensive side of the ball (Booty) and the Trojans' #10 on the defensive side of the ball (Cushing) vs. Notre Dame's #10 (Brady Quinn) who plays on the offensive side of the ball.
Second sidebar: There's a lot of people out there who think that ND's "Brady" is the one who'll replace N.E.'s "Brady" (super-hunky Tom) as the next dreamboat QB. However, for the people out there who own a Patriots #12 jersey (or who would like to see their boyfriend-girlfriend wearing nuthin' but a Patriots #12 jersey), they might've forgotten that Tom Brady wore #10 at Michigan ...
If there's a #10 on the back-burner, it must be West Virginia sophomore TB Steve Slaton, coming off that monster game vs. Pittsburgh by tuning up for Rutgers next week with a battle against South Florida. And, no one's talking about Cal's #10 Marshawn Lynch since his Heisman candidacy died early on -- just as no one's talking about Navy's #10 Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada because, apparently, his Hawaiian last name is so much more difficult to pronounce than standard last names such as "Tuiasosopo" and "Gbaja-Biamila."
Sidebar, part III: Two of the most-appealing national champions of the past 15 years -- Florida State '93 and Oklahoma '00 -- had star linebackers who wore #10 (Derrick Brooks and Torrance Marshall) and last year's national champ, had a #10 at the controls "on the offensive side of the ball" (Vince Young) ...
The jockeying will continue this weekend to see just who is worthy to face the Buckeyes in the BCS title game on Jan. 8.
Kinda makes ya wonder about the notes SweaterVest Tressel will be taking Sat. nite when he clicks on ABC. If SweaterVest scribbles onto a legal pad, "Must stop # 10 ..." will we know who SweaterVest Tressel is referencing?
Speaking of unclear meanings, what's the deal with this week's Sports Illustrated cover? We see the photo of #10 Troy Smith -- and the block-lettered proclamation is: "The Best. Period."
Is SI stating that Troy Smith is the best (period) -- or that the Buckeyes are (period)?
Is SI asserting that Troy Smith is the best QB EVER (period) or that the Buckeyes are the best team EVER (period)?
Is SI claiming that all previous polls were bogus, but now, with SI's blunt "Period," SI's blessing has made it official?
Would it not have been wiser to have it read: "The Best. Period. Case Closed. End of discussion"???
Or is SI's real subliminal message: "The Best ... Period ... We don't have to answer to you, so step off, Jack!" ???
Sidebar, fourth installment: Does "S.I." stands for "super insecure"???
Until we receive confirmation from the lab boys, we need to run down this handful of games which are shaping up nicely to have some serious impact on bowl games which range from the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl to the Brut Sun Bowl.
Sidebar, No. 5: Remember in college when you'd splash on some Brut (by Fabrege) before that "big date" (which you hoped would result in minimal effort to achieve the bed-sheet sweat-up)? In retrospect, it sure seemed silly to apply an aftershave which was 99.9 percent alcohol when nowadays all the guys gotta do is spray some Tag and chicks' shirts and undies are on the floor in one-tenth of a nano-second. In other words, it was better when Vitalis was sponsoring the Sun Bowl ...
Anyway, let's make this rundown a crisp and well-executed hate crime:
Notre Dame @ USC -- The real story here isn't about how the ND seniors which were in Tyrone Willingham's '03 signing class (Quinn, Samardzija, Zbikowski, Abiamari) are hoping to avoid going 0-4 vs. 'SC.
No, there are more-important factors in play here, such as: "How can Charlie Weis work green into the road uniforms?"
Last week, the Farting Irish wore the green shirts in the win vs. lowly Army. Since this is a road game wherein ND must wear the white shirts, it makes ya wonder if Weis would have his lads outfit themselves in green PANTS.
Think about that one for a minute.
Then again, with the way ND wears black socks with their black cleats (Brady wears those black knee-socks, yahoo), it may not matter.
It wasn't always this way. Here on the cover of the game program from the '82 game at the Coliseum, we notice that ND QB Blair Kiel is wearing white cleats, white socks, a white jersey with a green #5 and green wristbands as he's being pursued by George Achica.
Yup ... I was at that game (my dad got the tix, but Pops made me go w/o him when his arthritic knee left him on the D.L. for the afternoon).
'SC won w/o my dad, anyway ... a 17-13 victory which was meaningful because it was the "Win One For The Fat Man" game -- the last of John Robinson's first stint as 'SC coach.
'SC finished with a 8-3 record that year (no bowl game due to NCAA probation) and the win over ND was the last one for 'SC until a 27-20 win over ND in '96 (the fourth year of Robinson's second go-'round with the Trojans).
The weird thing about that one was that a family friend of my then-buddy was at the game -- and that spectator died of a heart attack without seeing the end of 'SC snapping its 13-year winless streak against ND.
I blame you, Blair Kiel. Your bad karma and mediocrity is what causes knee injuries and heart attacks.
Same to you, Sean Salisbury ... who has mentioned this week that he'll be on the sideline with his son.
"Standing around on the sideline" ... that's exactly what the Trojans' leading passer in '82 (Salisbury) did as we who were seated in the Coliseum watched Scott Tinsley direct the "the offensive side of the ball."
All ribbing aside, you can't say enough about 'SC's defense this year, given the before-the-season retirement of the Doublemint-twin, smashmouth DBs, Brandon and Ryan Ting.
It was always so exciteTING to watch them put a hurtTING on enemy ballcarriers and pass-catchers.
Without the Ting Twins, you gotta wonder if Pete Carroll has any other secret weapons that he can unveil -- such as the one he unleashed on an unsuspecting Cal opponent last Sat. in prime time.
Buehler looked like a prototypical 'SC linebacker -- tall and robust with hands and elbows taped up and equiped with a neck roll -- when he was sent out in the third quarter to attempt a 49-yard field goal with Troy trailing, 9-6.
Buehler drilled the kick ("with plenty of leg to spare" as they say) and everyone on the 'SC sideline seemed to have a good chuckle.
The booming kick by the kid (who may be a recruit from an 'SC intramural team) ended up as a sidebar after Booty tossed the two fourth-quarter TD passes which were the difference in the 23-9 victory.
It's doubtful that ND can furnish new heroes, let alone do anything to "wake up the echoes." In fact, the only quality opponents that ND has faced in the Weis Era have knocked Charlie around like he's a giant Weebil.
No change this time.
USC 27, Notre Dame 15
Texas A&M @ Texas -- Which t-shirt to wear for this one? It's sad when you have two Longhorn t-shirts and one A&M t-shirt -- and you really aren't stoked by either program.
Reveille ... THAT'S a handsome mascot.
Texas was mighty sloppy and outta sorts in that loss to K-State, but with nearly two full weeks to recover, they'll probably pull through.
Wronghorns 18, A&M 11
LSU @ Arkansas -- America is a better place when we are afforded the opportunity to spend the day after Thanksgiving transitioning from Texas' COLT McCoy QBing on ABC to LSU's COLT David PKing on CBS.
It's almost as though we're living a dream life in the United Colts of America.
Anyway, ever since Arkansas bailed on the SWC and joined the SEC before the '92 season, the Razorblades and Bayou Bengals have regularly made this the regular-season-ender.
And, even though the Razorblade call their 72,000-seat, on-campus stadium their home, the the Hogs and the Tigers always play this one in Little Rock's, 55,000-plus-seat War Memorial Stadium.
Two years ago, LSU came into War Memorial Stadium to face a team which, despite a 5-5 record, was 15-0 in that arena since Houston Nutt took over before the '98 season.
Shoulda played that one in "the Nutt House" on campus.
LSU won, 43-14 and ruined any remote chance that the Hogs had of going bowling.
This time, there's a lot more at stake for Little Rock-native Darren McFadden, the sophomre tailback who would be the Heisman Trophy winner if A) Sophomores were eligible, instead of unofficially ineligible and B) Level of teammate talent and opponent skill-level was factored into the equation (Troy Smith played two tough games and 10 scrimmages).
McFadden has 1,303 yards rushing with 12 TDs and he's 3 for 3 passing with 2 TDs -- and he's just fun to watch in that Nutty offense.
Aside from McFadden, though, the weapons on the offensive side of the ball, other than Marcus Monk ... yeesh. Casey Dick isn't much a QB and phenom Mitch Mustain is stil learning.
Also, Arkansas has already clinched its berth in the SEC title game next week (against Florida) so, without a miracle handy to reach the BCS title game, motivation and a sense of urgency could be a key.
After all, losing to LSU and beating the Gators still gets the Hogs to whichever bowl they were 'sposed to go to (as pre-determined by God).
LSU? A win by the No. 9-ranked team over the No. 5-ranked team (on the road) helps solidify a BCS-bowl opportunity. And, while Arkansas did barely enough to beat patsies such as Utah State, Alabama, Vandy, Mississippi State, LSU has pulverized all the weaklings (winning by 42 points three times, by 32 over Fresno St., by 31 over Miss. State and by a 49-0 score over supposedly-improving Kentucky).
JaMarcus Russell has THE cannon of an arm in college football (last year, he threw one 70 yards on the fly at the end of regulation of the loss to Tennessee, launching it from his own 30 to where it was intercepted on the goal line ... frickin' phenomenal).
Still, the kid lacks consistency.
But, he'll probably have enough to get it done this time.
LSU 22, Arkansas 18
Florida @ Florida St. -- The only enjoyable aspect of FSU football these days are the time spent looking at receiver DeCody Fagg and wondering why Bowden doesn't get that big Fagg more involved in the offense.
Of course, DeCody Fagg reminds us of the great names FSU has had at receiver the past 15 or so years.
Laveranues, Tamarick, Anquan, Atrews, Talman, Craphonso, Chauncey ... who we leaving out?
Actually, there's another delightful angle to FSU football -- and it involves opening an Excel spreadsheet and charting Bobb-buh as he tries to stay ahead of JoePa in the horse race of:"Which Septuagenarian Coach Will Reach 400 Career Wins Before His 100th Birthday?"
In bar-graph elegance, we have charted that, beginning with the final year of the old millennium (1999), Paterno had 307 wins, Bowden 292.
Then, the race got interesting.
Thru '99 -- Paterno 317 (breaking Bear Bryant's record of 315), Bowden 304
Thru '00 -- Paterno 322, Bowden 315
Thru '01 -- Paterno 327, Bowden 323
Thru '02 -- Paterno 336, Bowden 332
Thru '03 -- Bowden 342, Paterno 339 (Bobb-buh surpassed JoePa on Oct. 25 with a 48-24 win over Wake Forest, the 339th win of his career -- a game in which Chris Rix passed for 339 yards. JoePa was stuck on #338 for almost two months)
Thru '04 -- Bowden 351, Paterno 343
Thru '05 -- Bowden 359, Paterno 354
On Thanksgiving Day '06 -- Bowden 365, Paterno 362
JoePa got crushed during the rebuilding years of '00 and '01 (kinda like the way his leg was crushed against Wisconsin a few weeks ago) when PSU won only 10 games total while FSU won 19, not to mention the woeful seasons of '03 and '04 when his Nits won only seven games while Bobb-buh and the 'Noles won 19.
But, now JoePa is on the mend (sort of ... PSU goes into its bowl with an 8-4 record) while Bobb-buh has flattened out.
And, Bowden doesn't figure to get daggum Win #366 vs. the Alligators. Let's face it: Chief Osceola and the flaming spear driven into the 50-yard line at Doak Campbell ... NOT INTIMIDATING TO ANYONE.
Just ask Wake Forest, which came in and bitch-slapped FSU, 30-0, two weekends ago.
Hard to believe that it was 10 years ago when the No. 1-ranked Gators came into Tallahassee to face the No. 2-ranked 'Noles and crawled away with a 24-21 loss (in a game in which Spurrier griped mightily that future NFL'ers Reinard Wilson, Andre Wadsworth and Peter Boulware were cheap-shotting his precious QB, Danny Waffle, well after the whistle).
Good gravy, that FSU team was loaded. Two future NFL fixtures on the OL in Walter Jones (Seattle) and Tra Thomas (Philly) and a receiving corps which was so deep (with Andre Cooper, E.G. Green, Wayne Messam and Peter Warrick) that newcomer Randy Moss had to leave before ever playing a down.
However, the Gator pass-catchers back then -- Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green -- were actually better than FSU's ... and Danny Waffle proved it when he lit up FSU's exploitable secondary in the Sugar Bowl.
Everyone remember that as a 52-20 blowout, but the game was 24-17 at the half.
Another thing: In case anyone asks, that 31-yard TD catch by Hilliard in the second quarter -- the one where he made a leaping catch on the slant route, landed, stopped on a dime, then cut and veered back to the sideline ... THAT was the best catch in college football history.
The athleticism ... the instincts ... the vision ...
It was the best.
"Because I said so, that's why."
Oh ... this game.
Who gives a flyin' fig?
Alligators 23, Semis 12
Wake Forest @ Maryland -- The Deacs are gonna be breathin' fire after what The Turtles did to Wake's field hockey team in the NCAA championship match six days earlier.
Let's face it ... it's impossible NOT to get caught up in the Demon Deacon, feel-good funfest.
Looks as though Wake is more than the program which graduates 80-85 percent of its student-footballers (and 95-100 percent of its b-ballers) while Maryland is usually among the bottom three in the ACC's graduation-rate paradigm.
By the way, there's no amusing, clever, tongue-in-cheek way to say it: The Ralphfrigerator's team is one sorry-assed 8-3 team.
Probably the worst 8-3 team ever.
Not because we said so, but because we've watched 'em.
On Sat. nite, we watch 'em go down.
Wake 22, The Turtle 19
Boise St. @ Nevada -- Someone made a very good point the other day (but we can;t remember who it was or where we were, etc ...).
Doesn't it serve the Wolf Pack's best interests to tank this game?
That is, tank it in a discreet, non-obvious manner (unlike a tank job where it's SOOOO obvious that point-shaving is taking place).
Seriously ... UNR's chances of winning aren't great, anyway, but, let's suppose the Boise Boyz are a little off their game on Sat. since they will be playing away from the legendary SmurfTurf back home.
If UNR were to pull an upset, that would knock Boise out of a sure-fire BCS bid -- which would mean a $13-15 million windfall for the WAC would go out the window.
So, breaking down the X's and the O's here (which isn't what we do in this space, anyway) doesn't make much sense.
Economic viability is the name of the game here.
"Can you believe it?! Reno just fumbled on it's own 1-yard line AGAIN!"
Footnote: Ron Franklin is doin' the play-by-play for this game; Dr. Jerry Punch is workin' the sideline. What makes this interesting is that, back in the day, some of us liked it plenty when ESPN had Franklin and Punch as members of its broadcast first string, but ever since the Worldwide Leader became part of The Disney Football Enterprise, the mission statement became "America Needs More Herb Kirkstreit In Its Diet."
Speaking of which ... Herbie will be doing the game tonight (Thanksgiving) in the presentation of "BC vs. The U at The O.B."
Flutie's 'sposed to be in the booth to spend 1,000 minutes talking about his Hail Flutie and 0 minutes discussing the other parts of the game which made that 45-42 win over Miami great 22 years ago (such as Kosar flingin' the ball everywhere and frickin' Melvin Bratton runnin' all over the place).
For Flutie, a chance to reminisce ("okay, twist my arm, I'll talk about it again") sure beats where he was two weeks ago when he was stuck in a pressbox in DeKalb, Ill. watching a Fog Bowl classic between Northern Illionis and Toledo (last week, the featured MAC Sack o' Crap featured a game from The Other Miami where Rece, Lispy and Mark May were sent to report on "The O" -- which may or may not be what they call Miami of Ohio, right, Big Ben? -- beating BGSU, 9-7, in the all-time Mud Bowl).
Now, just so we have our records up to date: While 93-year-old Keith Jackson gave us THE finest ("period!") piece of announcing from this calendar year, technically ... that Rose Bowl was part of last season.
And that means that THIS season' top-notch broadcast moment goes to Herb Kirkstreit, who had a gem during the Ohio State-Michigan game five days ago.
When Brian Robiskie caught that short TD pass from Heisman Troy-phy in the fourth quarter, Herbie tried to inform America that "this is what college football" when Robiskie hauled in the pass with both sets of toes barely inbounds.
Herbie spent a minute or two acknowledging the work of a side judge who he I.D.'ed as "John Lucivansky" (sp.?).
Lucivansky (sp.?) eyeballed Robiskie and thrust his hands in the air in the univerally-accepted signal for "touchdown!" (period).
Said Herbie: "Good technique."
Dude wasn't kidding around, either.
Sayeth a son to his father when Homer was smothering Bart and Lisa: "Dad, I think we liked your half-assed under-parenting better than your half-assed over-parenting."
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
For those of us who live in what the locals call "Hard Canny," we salute you RyinHard, 2006 NL MVP.
And major props to you, Canada's own Justin Morneau.
Now that we have our two semi-surprise MVPs (Howard and Morneau) of '06, it's time to rip apart their games ... to put them under the microscope andWAIT-A-SECOND! You can't put those guys under a microscope! That would require peeling off their flesh and placing onto the slide an examinable sample of those players' DNA makeup and molecular/enzyme interaction.
This is not the time to get all proton-oriented.
Big-Fly Ry edged out Phat Albert (or, if you like the super-queer tag which Berman invented ... "Winnie The Pujols") because, "neer iz ennywun kin figger," Ryan Howard put the Phillies on his back and carried the ballclub through late Aug. and early Sept.
'Round here, we like to think of these awards as the "Most Outstanding Player" or "Player of the Year" -- which is why we're still steamed that Don Mattingly's 1984 A.L. MVP was given to Willie Hernandez and his 1986 A.L. MVP was givenj to Roger Clemens (to its credit, The Sporting News made Donnie Baseball its Player of the Year for 1984, 1985 and 1986).
Once we open the Pandora's box which is what's "valuable" and whose OPS bags more women, well ... once you go there, girlfriend, the name-calling and switchblade-pullin' gets mighty intense, not to mention indiscriminate.
Admittedly, Howard might've had a better supporting cast with the table-setting Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, but, on the other hand, Howard DID have Pat Burrell hitting behind him (one of the most-one-dimensional hitters alive, despite his so-called "numbers").
Howard's 58 HRs, 149 RBI and .313 avg. were gigantic, maybe moreso when one considers that during the final two months of the season (58 games), Howard had 23 HRs, 62 RBI and a .365 avg.
For 96 percent of the baseball players in your baseball card collection, they would've killed for 23-62-.365 for an ENTIRE SEASON, not just two months.
Those whopper stats, luckily, obscured Ryan's insanely-high 181 strikeouts, although none of us who watched him closely will forget how during the final three weeks, Howard lost his bid for 60 homers when a potential grand slam which was grabbed at the wall by Andruw Jones and an opposite-field homer at Minute Maid Park which that little kid in the front row couldn't hold and dropped back onto the field, which caused the umps to call it a ground-rule double.
Comparing Howard to players in St. Loo, it's funny how the St. Louis infield of Pujols, Aaron Miles, David Eckstein -- each of whom had 426 ABs -- had 202 strikeouts in 1,982 ABs.
In many ways, batters who make consistent contact are more of a threat to an opposing pitcher than the big, fence-busting hackers, so no one can claim that Pujols didn't have a supporting cast.
Because he did.
The super-weird thing about the Cards was how Jason Marquis and Mark Mulder, in a combined 50 starts, teamed for a 20-23 record with an ERA of 6.38.
Ergo, St. Louis' "most-valuables" were Carpenter, Suppan and guys in middle relief who really clutched-up.
In the A.L., some of us had Joe Mauer penciled in as the sentimental favorite, mostly because he became the first catcher in A.L. history to win a batting title (with a .347 mark).
Sentimentality aside, Joe Mauer was probably "the best player."
It's difficult to emphasize to people the degree of difficulty in playing catcher ... and to play it better than batting .246 due to season-long wear n' tear.
Putting on the mask, chest protector and shin guards for nine innings on a sweltering night in Arlington or Baltimore ... and then still doing better at the plate than 1-Hit-Per-3-ABs ... that's frickin' insane, okay?
Something else: In the climate-controlled Metrodome, Mauer batted .335 -- on the road, he hit .359 (in more ABs ... and 10 of his 13 homers were away from the HomerDome).
Something else we like around here: Joe Mauer was 5-for-5 in stolen bases on the road.
(Pat Burrell has gone the past two seasons without attempting a stolen base .. which is exactly the kind of "athlete" you want out in left field ... a frickin' statue ...)
Ya can't say enough (ya can try, but it can't be done) about the St. Paul Stud who, in the eyes of many, should have been the Florida State QB in 2001-04 instead of Chris Rix, who replaced Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke (also a St. Paul native).
Just for fun, we explored Howard's home/away figures and it mapped out like this:
He batted less than .200 in five different stadiums (Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Rogers Centre in Toronto).
In the "However for Howard" quotient, he frickin' wore out the five teams in the NL East (the Braves, the Mets, the Marlins and the Nats). In 36 games in their home parks, Howard hit .391 with 13 HRs and 38 RBI.
That's sick, sick, sick.
In every statistical sense, Joe Mauer was The MLB's most-consistent player, start to finish, in baseball this past season season. In addition to being a freakish hittin' machine, Joe played (let's say it altogether) "cat-shurrr."
It's a just a guess, but Joe Mauer could play first base a lot better than Pujols or Howard could play catcher.
Morneau, meanwhile, ripped it up during the final four months (.352), but was kind of a brick during the first two months (.244).
He was good ... but not Joe Mauer good.
And, he didn't play catcher.
So, that's a wrap.
Ryan Howard and Joe Mauer were your Most Oustanding Players ...
"Now, Bo and Woody are together ... watching from above."
First, we should probably define "from above" as having more of a Heavenly implication than "from their general admission seats in the upper deck."
Actually, if there really exists a wing of Heaven reserved for college football coaches, how do we really know that Bo and Woody are rubbing elbows? For all we -- the undead who Bo left behind to roam aimlessly about this blue marble floating in the solar system -- know that Dead Coaches Association is perhaps not as we imagined.
For one thing, John McKay just "accidentally" flicked one of his cigar ashes into Bo's glass of ginger ale.
That was right after Bear Bryant sent Bo to the store to get a few more bags of Tostitos Scoops because Bo screwed up on his first trip to the Heaven mini-mart, buying bags of Tostitos Restaurant Style.
The topper, though, was when McKay and The Bear monopolized the La-Z-Boys and any time Bo tried to join the conversation, John and Paul would do what a lot of us did in high school or college -- y'know, covering your mouth to mask a fake cough which was you blurting "bullshit!" or "blow job!"
Only, in this case, it went like this:
McKay: "That's great, Bo." (fake cough) "rosebowl!"
The only defense Woody could offer for his dead Big Ten brother was to recite what's on his own headstone back on earth.
"And in the night of death, hope sees a star / And, listening, love hears the rustle of a wing ..."
All of those images would've raced through my mind when they were eulogizing the dearly-departed Glen Schembechler yesterday in the Big House. When bold, symbolic words about hope seeing a star and the rustling of wings eludes us, it's always best to have back-up material handy.
Rather than talk about the empty gesture I made of using my index finger to jiggle the 2-inch-tall bobbin'-head Woody and Bo magnets stuck on the freezer door of the fridge, I instead found myself amazed and amused to learn that my mother-in-law had a rather friendly relationship with Millie Schembechler from their younger days spent together in Buffalo, NY.
According to my Mrs. PF7, Mildred was a very kind woman during her days spent married to Don Cunningham, a famous Buffalo radio personality.
When Don passed away, that's when Millie (somehow) took a shining to a (mostly) uncharismatic football coach who hailed originally from Barberton, Ohio.
Lord knows how they met ... I didn't ask.
What we do know is that Bo and Millie's only child was affectionately nicknamed "Schemmie." What my Mrs. isn't too affectionate is the fact that, after Millie died of adrenal cancer in '92, Bo remarrried less than a year later -- a violation of my Mrs.' grief-and-mourning policy.
Me to the Mrs.: "Why can't you give Bo the benefit of the doubt? For all you know, during Millie's illness, maybe it was Cathy who provided Bo with great comfort, support and partial nudity. Bo was 63 at the time and, ummmm ... he probably had needs."
The thing is, less than two weeks before Mille passed, Tom Monaghan (Domino's Pizza) fired Bo as president of the Detroit Tigers in favor of hiring Mike Ilitch (Little Caesar's Pizza).
Other than that, if my Mrs. had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to testify, errrr ... ummmm ... if someone had requested that she eulogize Bo, she, no doubt would've chosen her words carefully as she recounted the time during her sophomore year in college when she was at an IU @ Michigan basketball game in Crisler Arena.
My Mrs. told me that it was at that game where she happened upon Millie and Bo seated in the first two seats along the aisle. Wearing a red sweater and an anti-Wolverine button (no, it wasn't the famous "Muck Fichigan" button), my Mrs. and Millie exchanged warmed pleasantries and casual conversation ... "How's life treatin' ya?" ... "Is Schemmie stayin' outta trouble?" ...
The Mrs. recalled: "Bo had the aisle seat and I was leaning over him for about five minutes. And we never said a word to each other."
That's what Bo gets for kickin' the crap outta several defenseless Indiana teams.
My Mrs. is always amused when I bring up Bo's Ohio State nightmare during his early maize-n'-blue tenure.
1970 -- took a 9-0 record to Columbus, lost 20-9 (no bowl game)
1971 -- was 11-0 with the Buckeyes coming to Ann Arbor; won, 10-7 (but lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl)
1972 -- a 10-0 record was negated when OSU won, 14-11, in Columbus (no bowl game)
1973 -- took a 10-0 record into the Buckeye showdown, tied 10-10 (OSU got the Rose Bowl bid; UM got nothing)
1974 -- 10-0 going into Columbus ... lost 12-10 (no bowl game)
1975 -- 8-0-2 with OSU comin' to town ... the Wolverines lost, 21-14 (and, since this was the first year that the Big Ten was allowed to play in bowl games, Michigan took an 8-1-2 team to the Orange Bowl -- whereupon Oklahoma whipped the Wolves, 14-6
All of Bo's undefeated seasons ruined by Woody ... and there wasn't a Carquest Bowl available for the Big Ten so that Bo could take out some frustration on a Long Beach State or a Drake.
Now, Bo is "up there" ... getting treated rudely by John McKay, who's, once again, covering his mouth to mask the fake cough ... "rosebowl!"
But maybe Bo is getting the last laugh by asking McKay to see his national championship rings from 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1974.
McKay would look at his ringless fingers and suddenly realize -- "you can't take it with you."