Tuesday, September 25, 2007

GundyGate in Stillwater

Though it occurred a few days ago, it seems as though America will remain engrossed and fascinated for at least a few more days re: the rant in which the father of Gunnar Gundy, Gavin Gundy and Gage Gundy chastised that female reporter from the Daily Oklahoman (apparently, her name is "Jenny").
Such a tirade should not frighten Americans -- mostly because such a reaction from a football coach re: something that was written provides American families with something to talk about other than "Jena 6" when they gather at the dinner table.
That is, if America still owns dinner tables (or, if you prefer ... "dinette sets").

More to the point, "Jena 6" is a sensitive issue which shouldn't be trivialized in dining rooms.
We leave that matter for Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room."

However, when the buzz 'round town is matters pertaining to the Okie State Cowpokes football, Chick Reporter Jenny has it all scribbled down on her Steno pad.
In case it slipped your mind, America, the OSU 'Pokes are the defending Independence Bowl champions.
If you forget again, Gunnar Gundy, Gavin Gundy and Gage Gundy will remind you.
With fists of fury, perhaps.

However, the fury which was on display by Gunnar, Gavin and Gage's pa was something that Chick Columnist Jenny typed up about OSU QB Bobby Reid (apparently) being a mama's boy and maybe - - just maybe - - he isn't up to the challenge in the demanding world of Independence Bowls.

Kinda makes ya wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, when it comes to OSU QBs, most of us remember that Mike Gundy spent his career handing off to Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders and pitchin' passes to Hart Lee Dykes -- so, most of us feel disinclined from ranking Gunnar, Gavin and Gage's papa ahead of OSU QB legends Rusty Hilger and Asoteletangafamosili Pogi.
We'd like to put Matt Holliday (the Stillwater legend) on that list, but, alas, it was nearly a decade ago when the 2007 N.L. MVP candidate elected to sign a baseball contract instead of leading the 'Pokes to three consecutive Cotton Bowl victories.

Notwithstanding that, it seems as though the Gundy who didn't have the guts to name his boys "Ghandi Gundy," "Gumby Gundy" and "Burundi Gundy" got his shorts in a bunch at what he perceived as some sort of Jenny jive.
If this is something more than a Wanna-Be Macho Coach vs. Chick Wanna-Be Sports Reporter paradigm at play here, the best reference point that America has to draw from is that classic male-female awkwardness from that scene in "The Office" when Pam was sobbing and Dwight K. Schrute, seated next to her, offered some words of solace and comfort.

Dwight (as usual, w/o expression): "You're PMS-ing pretty bad."

THAT was frickin' astute 'cuz it shed some light on a basic truth:
Guys understand chicks about as well as chicks understand football.
Which is to say, not at all.
Which is why guys PMS pretty bad at the end of each Fantasy League weekend.

A textbook example of this phenomenon was provided a few weeks ago when a local TV/radio personality - - Carol Maloney - - commented that the problem with the blocking mechanics of Washington Redskins rookie o-lineman, Stephen Heyer, was that "his base is too high."
An observation such as that - - from a source with zero credibilty in that arena - - is the same as a guy opining, "Your children have developmental problems because of the lack of nutrients that they received from inside the walls of your uterus. Oh ... and in the delivery room, your footwork in the stirrups was OK, but your base was too high."

In a more-perfect world, it would be refreshing to see/hear about "what happened" rather than to read/hear opinions which have no basis in fact or which completely lack context.
This isn't a guy-vs.-gal, gender-agenda issue - - there's hundreds of pencilneck guys and fat dudes out there who have about as much insight into football as they do editorializing about a symphony or nuclear physics.

"The oboe? Great job. The contra bassoon? Totally mailed it in."

"Those neutrons need to get after it and put a hat on some protons. They gotta wrap up, play well in space, run downhill, catch the ball at its highest point, make sure their base isn't too high ..."

Again, this isn't about chicks sticking to the reportage of souffle recipes, open-toes sandals (and/or 3-inch pumps) or the never-ending conflict of saline-vs.-silicone.
It's probably more about so-called journalists transitioning a little too freely into the world of amateur psychology -- writers whose agenda is "Player A" quit or "Team X" choked ... and here's why.

Thanks to the blogosphere, we have options ... which means that we no longer have to read between the lines when Jenny hits us with:

"Dear Readers: Saturday's Oklahoma State loss was totally like my boyfriend. I'm, like, ready for our trip to the mall ... and then he's all, 'I'm not going.' ... So, I'm all, like, 'You promised,' and then he's all, 'When did I promise that?' ... and I'm, like, 'When I got back from gettin' Virginia Slims from the vending machine when we were waiting for our table at Chi-Chi's, remember?' ... so, he's all ... and I'm like ... then he goes ... so, I'm like ... and he's like ... so, I'm all ... and he goes ..."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Phillie/Steeler Overlap

Well, we THOUGHT there'd be overlap since the Phillies-Nats game (the final game in the history of RFK Stadium) started at 12:10 and the Steelers-Niners game on FOX was scheduled to begin at 1:00 -- but then both the D.C. and Balt. affiliates chose to show Ravens-Cards (a real game for the birds ... laugh track).
Since there actually WAS no overlap, we had to gut it out with the Phils in their wild-card quest ... wishing, though that we coulda bonded w/ the Steelers, just as we'd done in Week 1 vs. Cleveland and in the home opener last week (w/ throwback jerseys n' helmets) vs. Buffalo.
It would've been a treat to see the new mascot, Bruno McSteel (or whatever his name is) along with the other new '07 faces, such as coach Mike Tomlin (who, when he removes his headset, has "Motorola-'fro") and rookie tight end Matt Spaeth.
Spaeth has caught a TD pass in each of his first two games, yet, a little-known fact re: the young ex-Golden Gopher TE is that some people call him The Spaeth Cowboy ... some call him the Gangster of Love ... and some people call him "Morrrr-reeeece" (woot woo!) ...

So, since we didn't get to see the Steelers exact revenge against Joe Nedney for that OT FG which he nailed as a Tennessee Titan which knocked our boys out of the '02 playoffs (sure, we always coulda gone to a Dave & Buster's or wherever, but, seriously ... ), it was difficult to stay focused.
That's to say, Ryan Howard's MLB-record-tying 195th strikeout was not seen in this household because, hey, that bowl of soup ain't gonna microwave itself.
Special guest star Frank Howard saw Ryan Howard go down and, let's face it, the Capital Punisher could not have been too pleased that his namesake has whiffed so often in '07.

Some of us definitely appreciate the strength of the big kid, but until he gets that K total down a little, we're never going to put him in our Top 3 First Baseman of All-Time (currently reserved for Gehrig, Mattingly and Kluszewski).

Just a fun FYI: In 1934, the Iron Horse had 49 HRs and a .363 avg. -- and struck out only 31 times ... in '36, he had 49 HRs, a .354 avg. and only 46 strikeouts (and there are theories that his condition, due to ALS, might've begun to erode his skills as early as five years before his death in 1941).
Klu, meanwhile, was a 40 HR / .316 avg. / 34 strikeout guy in 1953 -- and went 49 HRs / .326 avg. w/ only 35 whiffs in '54, followed by 47 / .314 / 40 in '55 (with biceps the size of garbage cans ... back in the days before BALCO turned every player into a Kluszewski).
Finally, in '85 and '86, Donnie Baseball had 66 HRs, 258 ribbies, a .338 avg. -- and struck out only 76 times.
Ya gotta love those all-time, first-sackers -- especially since we don't need their full names ... just Iron Horse, Klu and Donnie Baseball ...

Sometimes, stadiums are just as recognizable w/ merely the initials ... such as "RFK."
Some might say it's fitting that it was the Phils who said goodbye to the ol' park ... ever since Philly's JFK Stadium was demolished 10, 15, 20 years ago (some of us are too uninspired to look up the exact date because, well ... there's a rumor goin' 'round that Jack n' Bobby were regularly nailing the same chick whom neither was married to and, well ... neither JFK nor RFK put out any quality punk-rock albums, like, say, the Dead Kennedys did).

For some of us, our only trip to RFK was on Labor Day '05 ... when Gavin Floyd (who hadn't pitched in 2 1/2 mos.) trudged to the mound with his 14.14 ERA.
Gav -- the former hot prospect -- didn't pitch all that poorly (the only runs he allowed in 6 IP came on a 3-run HR by Brian Schneider). Yet, some of us held him in contempt and blamed Gavin Floyd for the Phils missing the playoffs by one game that year.

We can all mock Floyd for his problems this year (when he would've had trouble retiring slo-pitch sluggers), but as of this moment, Gavin is 1-5 with a 5.71 ERA while the player he was traded for (Freddy Garcia) finished his '07 campaign at 1-5 / 5.90.
Eerily similar.
Except that Freakin' Freddy's 1-5 / 5.90 cost the Phils $10 mil.

It'll all be water under the bridge next year when Freddy is leadin' the Dodgers to the World Series.

On the bright side, Phillie Phan HAS to love the way Adm Eaton pitched balls out last night and got his MLB-worst ERA down from 6.36 to 6.33.

ALAS, TODAY didn't work out well for the Fightin's ... as the D.C. crowd saluted their ol' relic of a stadium, punctuated by Chad Cordero's game-ending punchout of Jayson Werth (ya can't get on Werth too much because he hit that HUGE 3-run blast the other night, keeping the playoff hopes alive).
We could pin this one on a sub-standard relief effort from Antonio Alfonsucksmuch.
If only the Big Ol' Yokel Mgr. had a middle-relief guy like a Joe Bisenius, hmmmm ...

No time to play the blame game because even if the Phils DO make the playoffs, who amongst Phillie Phans has one ounce of faith in THAT pitching staff?
That's a rhetorical question for another day because it's time to dispense the congratulatory head taps all around at the Haystack Headquarters ... to the #01 Steeler bobblehead WR atop the fireplace mantel ... to the #1 Steeler bobblehead next to the Michigan State #1 bobblehead on the coffee table ... to the James Farrior Bobbin' Head Doll atop the CD case ... to the Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robot wearing the micro Steeler helmet on the kitchen window sill.

A real team effort in takin' down 'Frisco, 37-16!
Who could go for an icy-cold Olympia right now?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Phillie/Sooner Overlap

There was a time when we were kids and when we'd leave the house wearing an Oklahoma Sooner shirt and a Phillies cap (possibly turned backwards in the days before everyone wore 'em backwards) there was no color clash or discoordination because, after all, the OU red was more to the red side of the official crimson and the Phillie red was more like reddish-maroon than a pure maroon.
It ain't like that any more - - probably because it's been 15 years since the Phils switched from the maroon they wore from 1970 thru 1991 to the red they wear nowadays ... or because a lot of us fell off the Sooner Schooner following the 55-19 loss to 'SC in Jan. '05 and, subsequently, watched our crimson-coloured Sooner memorabilia get blackened in the bonfire of lost dreams ...

Anyway, we were at a Phillie/Sooner crossroads tonight for the first time since our childhoods - - because the Fightin's were tangling with the Nationals at RFK (on Channel 44) while the Schooner was mixing it up in Tulsa (on Channel 30).
It was an intriguing parallel, given that it took us back to 1977 (when the Phillies season ended in disaster in Games 3 and 4 - - "enough said" - - and the Schooner got its spokes all jammed up in that god-awful Orange Bowl against Lispy McMushmouth's Arkansas Razorbacks).

Actually, for some of us, when we saw that it was a road game at Tulsa, we panicked a little. That's because we remembered what happened in 1916 when OU opened the season with a 27-0 victory over Central Oklahoma and followed that up with a 107-0 win at Oklahoma Baptist and a 140-0 triumph over Southwestern Oklahoma - - thus, taking a 3-0 record into the showdown vs. Tulsa.
Which the Sooners lost, 16-0.
Which was sad.
For America.

So, if this overrated version of the Sooners was to erase the memories of the 1916 overrated Sooners, "Stoops Troops" would have to put on a show.
And, they did -- again demonstrating how Stoops doesn't get enough credit for the way he rallied last year's team back from the 0-12/Rhett Bomar season of '05.
And, two of Coach Bob's shrewdest moves of this season have been: A) Putting the players' names on the backs of the jerseys (which the players didn't have last year) and B) Going with the white cleats for road games, rather than the black footwear.
Those moves are huge.

And, say, wasn't it good to see Josh Heupel wearin' a headset on the OU sideline? It sure was ... though some of us have mixed emotions about hotshot QB Sam Bradford wearin' Josh's #14 (even if Bradford was Sam-tastic once again, displaying a real "can-do" spirit -- 16 of 22 for 244 yds. w/ 3 TDs -- in the 62-21 romp over the Golden Hurricanes).

Still, it was necessary not to spend this Fri. nite providing balance between Ch. 30 and Ch. 44, so the JUMP (previous channel) button on the SONY remote clicker got a real workout (back to RFK ... over to Tulsa ... what's the score at RFK? ...).

Bottom line: Even though Sam Bradford's efficiency rating is a bodacious 220.01, Phillie Phan has to respect the way that Adam Eaton got his W-L record up to 10-9 and lowered his ERA from 6.36 to 6.33 with that steady performance (despite those two walks and a hit-batsman in the first inning) -- and the Phillie bats did the job with Howard hittin' the game-tyin HR in the top of the 2nd; Utley's RBI single snapping the 1-1 tie in the top of the 3rd before Burrell added some breathing room by following with his 29th dinger and J-Roll providing some window-dressing with his 29th HR (although he STILL needs those two triples to join the elite 20-20-20-20 fraternity that Juan Samuel COULD have been a part of if he had really applied himself.

Howard's two ribbies -- on a night when he went 4 for 4 -- put him at 124 for the season while Utley's up to 99, Burrell has 93 and Rollins has 90 (Rowand has 88). If those guys go nuts during the final eight games, there could be five Phils with 100 ribbies (which would be a fitting tribute during this, the 10th anniversary of "A Season With Danny Tartabull" ... 3 games of action, 11 plate appearances, no hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, 159 games on the DL during Manager Francona's rookie season).

With the Phils somehow remaining in the hunt for the playoffs ("with THAT pitching staff? all it's missing is Pat Combs and Omar Daal!"), it's difficult to give our undivided attention to the myth which is college football (the sport which, like that girl in Social Studies, we had a crush on -- until we got to know her better and discovered that she was a real ho-bag with a coke problem).

This is Weekend #4 of the CFB season -- and it's hard to predict if we'll get gems like the ones we got from Weeks 1-3.
Week 1: "I don't see a whistle!" -- Pusburger screamed into the mike when Cal linebacker Worrell Williams scooped up a fumble by Tennessee QB Erik Ainge and was racing 50 yards to the end zone ...
Week 2: "Do you know the nature of Chad Henne's injury?" -- Bonnie Bernstein to Michigan coach Lloyd Carr as he was walking off the field at halftime of the demolition in the Big House vs. Oregon.
Carr-to-the-mike-which-BonBon-clutched-close-to-her-ta-ta's: "I sure do." -- and then he turned and walked away. THAT was a frickin' scream. BonBon was speechless and breathless, as if the guy she'd spent the night with had just said, "Pay for your own F-ing cab fare home."
Week 3: "That's the beauty of college football -- it all gets decided on the field." -- Herb Kirkstreit, during the third installment of ABC's Sat. nite yearlong lineup of snoozefests.

The thing is, if America avoids making eye-contact with Herbie's hazel eyes and that delicately-jelled coiff, America CAN avoid buying that lemon which used-car salesman Herbie is trying to unload.
If these games ARE decided on the field, then why was Michigan ranked No. 5 in the first polls -- and then erased from the face of the earth following the L at home to Appy State?
Seems like a flimsy Top 25 if a team can be shifted around so arbitrarily.
"Hey, let's vote Iowa State number 7 this week!"

It's merely one of the dozens of examples of the capricious nature of the sport which is a bit of a ho-bag and may have a coke problem (and is flunking Social Studies, by the way).
Steve Spurrier has admitted in the past that his first poll of every season has Duke ranked No. 25 because that was the university which gave him his first coaching opportunity.

There was a simpler time in America ... when Spurrier's Tampa Bay Bandits were looking to overcome the feisty Birmingham Stallions.
The Jacksonville Bulls are goin' all the way this year ...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Herb Kirkstreit & ESPN: Not Earth-Friendly

Which is a real shame because the so-called "worldwide leader" -- the Disneyland Sports Station (ESPN) -- should think twice about unleashing Herb Kirkstreit's steely-cold blue eyes (or are they hazel-colored?) and his raspy, authoritative voice on an unsuspecting planet.
For those of us who acknowledge that college football was not invented in 1998 by Herb Kirkstreit himself, we know that he wishes that he was as sex-bomb sexy as Trev Alberts and as knowledgeable as Dr. Jerry Punch.

What happened today was merely the latest Disneyland execs' attempts to sex up college football (kinda like when Erin Andrews' clingy, sleeveless tops accentuated the melons she "put out there" for the Little Leaguers in Williamsport).
This time, Herbie cut out early from the "Game Day" pregame circus in Blacksburg, Va. and completed a cross-continent trek to be in the booth for ABC's primetime tilt between Cal and Tennessee in Berkeley, Ca.

Obviously, Herbie did not travel by Conestoga wagon, hydrogen-powered roller blades, the bullet train or solar-powered glider, so ... what Disneyland's message to America was: "Please carpool to work, everybody, so that those fossil fuels which you would waste can be re-assigned in order to jet Herb Kirkstreit all over the nation and provide you with inane commentary for Pusburger's asinine play-by-play."

Al Gore's inconvenient truth is this: You coulda put a jack-o-lantern next to Pusberger and the broadcast would suffer only negligibly.
Still, it was pretty cool during the game's first TD when Cal LB Worrell Williams scooped up that fumble by Vol QB Erik Ainge near midfield -- and while Williams was in the clear on the way to the end zone, Pusburger screamed, "I DON'T SEE A WHISTLE!"
Neither do us, Pus .... neither can us!

Disneyland pulled this crap a few times last season (i.e. when Herbie was jetted from "Game Day" at Auburn to State College, Pa. for a throwaway Penn State game that night).
The amusement level gets ratcheted up a notch when we consider how, yesterday, the Little Leaguers from Japan and Korea were on their way from Williamsport to BWI Airport (just south of Baltimore) ... and the bus caught on fire, causing the kids to change busses (nobody was injured, they say).

The kids eventually took another bus to the airport, but, what a hassle for the 10 days spent in Williamsport gettin' exploited by Disneyland Sports and tempted and taunted by Erin Andrews' ta-ta's.
Alas, Disneyland saves its best jets for the hazel-eyed hunk of hair-jelled coll. FB wisdom (who used to do a real bang-up job holding on placekicks for Tim Williams, we should add).

Rather than decry the incredible waste of fuel and manpower hours required to deliver His Highness Herbie from Point A to Point B, it might be wiser if we just "played along."
To do this, Americans can pitch in and NOT act locally by NOT think globally -- thereby punching a hole in Al Gore's ozone and melting Al Gore's polar ice caps.

If every American walked out to their driveway, started the car and allowed it to idle for 30 minutes, that would be a start.
If every American who's not into Herbie's overratedness drove to the mall, put the car in park and allowed the engine to run for the next hour while he/she completed a Sudoku puzzle, we could foreseeably put college football underwater by the Year 2018 when the ocean level rises 10-15 feet.

Of course, Disneyland would, in the Year 2018, send its top-of-the-line luxury submarine to transport Herbie to that Saturday's water polo "Game of the Week" -- but Americans need to stop thinking about me, me me and shift the mantra to "her-BEE, her-BEE, her-BEE."

Most of all, we need to think about the children.
No, not your children ... Herb Kirkstreit's children.
And, Herb Kirkstreit's children's children ...