Friday, April 20, 2007

9,967 (BonusCoverage: Alligators and VPI)


Jeez ... that reads a lot more like the warning on the visitors' clubhouse wall in Cincinnati -- the one which Manager Manuel forgot to remind his Phillies of before tonight's game -- rather than the signs posted along the shore at Lake Baldwin here in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park.

In other words, there are dangers everywhere.
On this Friday when some of us were avoiding the gators on the west shore of a lake called "Baldwin," the rest of us were aghast at the voicemail message (to his daughter) by an actor named "Baldwin."
And, neither Baldwin should've mattered because this was the day in which we were supposed to wear our maroon and orange for Virginia Tech (which some of us did ... in the form of a $5 cap which was purchased by the Mrs. in, of all places ... Ocala).

When the MET-Rx World's Strongest Man Network showed highlights of VPI's baseball team in action during the school's first athletic event since the Monday slayings, the Mrs. alertly pointed out her favorite player (the lanky kid who wears #21 ... the guy who fits the "good patient/quality individual profile" ... Robbie Waszkiewicz).

The bad news is that due to an underdeveloped attention span (not to mention a sense of empathy), most of America spent today forgetting to mourn for the slain VPI students while occupying their minds with what Alec screamed on that voicemail msg. to his daughter, Ireland.
(Wow ... just the mention of a female with the FIRST name "Ireland" makes ya think of a female with the LAST name "Ireland" -- and then we're reminded that Jill Ireland was probably too good for either David McCallum or Charles Bronson ... so the Lord took her away before her time ... )

The good news is that Alec told us how he REALLY felt, so none of us will be surprised when he supposedly "snaps" and shoots up a college campus.
None of us can say we weren't warned.

(And, in a related note, some of us wonder why there aren't any VPI-logo'ed caps, sweatshirts, etc. -- rather than "VT" -- given that the university is "tech"nically THE Virginia Polytechnic Institute ... not to be confused with Georgia Tech, which, "tech"nically is the Georgia Institute of Technology and/or Texas Tech, which had its name changed, thanks to Bob Knight, to "O'Reilly Auto Parts University")

If it's any consolation to VPI, any minute now, CNN, CBS, CBC, the BBC, NBC, MSNBC, ESPN, E.T., E!, FOX News, FOX & Friends will get their trucks out of the VPI parking lots and get their mikes out of the faces of the VPI students so that the extended Blacksburg community can grieve in peace while the rest of America can forget about 32 faceless victims while getting its fix of the 11th or 12th "Inside The Mind Of A Killer!" special.

Back by the lake, though, a lot of us wondered about the lack of documentaries re: "Inside The Mind Of An Alligator!"
The sign instructed us to refrain from actions which would attract an alligator.
Which means that we have to wash off this Tag Body Spray.

The situation in the Situation Room is clear: This state is full of lakes (thousands of 'em) -- and those lakes are full of alligators.
Hungry alligators.
Except for Lake Lorna Doone -- the lake which, apparently, was named for a tasty cookie.

Lake Lorna Doone is across the street from the north end zone of the Florida Citrus Bowl ... the 60-plus-year-old stadium which has served as the home for so many of the greatest Tangerine Bowls ever played.

As this Planet has reported during the holiday season, that crummy, ol' no-frills, cement stadium in the rough section of Orlando was the site of the Tangerine Bowl from 1947 thru 1982.
Then, it was gone.
But, then, it came back as the Blockbuster Bowl (1990 thru 1993).
Before it was renamed the Carquest Bowl for four seasons (1994 thru 1997).
Before it was known as the Micron PC Bowl for three years (1998 thru 2000).

THEN (!) ... somebody put the tangerine back into the Tangerine Bowl -- the topper being in Dec. '01 when the bowl was called the Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl (when the word VISIT was painted in one end zone and the word FLORIDA was painted in the other end zone).
What was the Florida Tourist Board trying to say to us?
That they wanted us to pay a visit?
To Florida?

(Note: Philip Rivers was the losing QB in that Visit! Florida! Now! Tangerine Bowl, although he was the game's MVP one season earlier -- as a freshman -- and two years later, as a senior ... and some say it might be the only bowl games Philip Rivers will ever win ...)

Anyway, in 2002 and 2003, it was the Mazda Tangerine Bowl ... and, for the past three Decembers, the game has been known as the Champs Sports Bowl (sponsored by Champs Sports).

It's important to note that when the Tangerine Bowl suffered its first death following that 1982 tilt between Auburn and Boston College, the bowl itself didn't die.
It was merely renamed "the Florida Citrus Bowl" from 1983 thru 1993 ... then it became a New Year's Day staple beginning with the 1986 season ... then it became the CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl (1994-1999) ... then it was the Florida Citrus Bowl in 2000 ... then it was the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl for two seasons (2001-2002) ... and, for the past four seasons, it's been known simply as the "Capital One Bowl."

That's right ... for the past 16 holiday seasons, we've had TWO bowl games played each Dec./Jan. across the street from Lake Lorna Doone, the glittering waterway that we see from the blimp shots provided by the MetLife airship, Snoopy 1 (or Snoopy 2).

To refresh your memory, Wisconsin has won the past two Capital One Bowls (with wins over Auburn and Arkansas from the "vaunted" SEC) -- but, when Tennessee appeared in the Citrus Bowl three times in four years ('New Year's Day '94, '96. '97), Steve Spurrier quipped that you can't spell "Citrus" without a "UT."

And, leave us not forget that the final game that Nick Saban coached at LSU was the Capital One Bowl game played one year after he'd won the national championship -- only the sting of the 30-25 defeat was punctuated by Iowa's Drew Tate chucking that 56-yard Hail Mary TD pass on the game's final play ... a play in which no Tiger DBs felt compelled to cover receiver Warren Holloway.

Alas, if only there was a Tangerine Bowl-Florida Citrus Bowl-Capital One Bowl or a Blockbuster Bowl-Carquest Bowl-MicronPC Bowl-Visit Florida-Champs Sports Bowl for the Phillies to shoot for.
Or, if only there was a gator-filled lake for Manager Manuel to dip his head into.

Tonight's dilemma in Cinshitnati had nothing at all to do with "manual labor" -- but rather "Manuel/Lieber."
Lieber came out of bullpen exile to pitch a gem vs. the Redlegs ... but then he was removed from the game in the 6th inning, having allowed only one hit.
The Phils had that 1-0 lead when Freel got to second on that throwing error by Nunez ... and then Freel moved to within 90 feet of scoring the tying run when Lieber's pickoff attempt went into CF.
But, then Leebs got big-swingin' Adam Dunn -- only Geoff Geary was summoned to pitch to Brandon Phillips.

What kind of backwards logic is that?
OK ... so maybe Skipper Chuck didn't wish to burn out Lieber's arm in his first start (although, to that point, he'd thrown only 77 pitches).
Did Jon have a blister?
Did he leave the stereo cranked in his aircraft-carrier-sized truck back home?
Did "the book" state that Brandon Phillips would have far less success vs. Geary than Lieber?

It mattered not.
Geary walked Phillips ... and then Matt Smith walked red-hot Josh Hamilton to load the bases for Edwin Encarnacion to face 6-fingered Alfonseca.
Alfonseca got the inning-ending forceout ... and he worked a clean 7th ... whereupon the new set-up guy (Brett Myers) retired the Reds in the 8th.

Then, Flash came on for one of those formulaic saves ... and, after groundouts by Hamilton and Encarnacion, Scott Hatteberg torches him for the game-tying homer -- only the Reds' second hit of the game.

We all know how it ended in extras.
And, on top of everything, the winning pitcher for Cincy was some guy named "Cunnilingus."
The dude's name isn't "Cunnilingus," but "Coutlangus."

Oh, well ... given what VPI went through four days ago, the Phillies' dreadful 4-11 record is definitely nuthin' to get all worked up about ...

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