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 ...

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