Saturday, October 27, 2007

dixsin 4 highsmin

Some of us didn't bother with Game 3 of Sox n' Rocks in Rocktoberfest because it would've violated the sanctity of a College Football Saturday -- but, even so, it still hurts any/every time that Herb Kirkstreit violates our personal space.

Herbie acted all authoritative and know-it-all-ish when he told Fowler that Street Sense would win the Breeder's Cup Classic (an obvious attempt to make a "Streit/Street" connection) and, several hours later, he acted more indignant when he told America that nobody east of the Mississippi has seen Dennis Dixon play.

Street Sense, to the surprise of no one who thinks that Herb Kirkstreit is all show and no go, didn't win the Classic.
For those of us us (in this market) who actually HAVE seen Dennis Dixon play as many times as we've seen THE Ohio State University BLACKeyes play (in this market), we're repeating our mission statement to all those whose market is polluted by Herbie:
"He's less-knowledgable than Dr. Jerry Punch and less-dreamboat than Trev Alberts ... "

Herbie is merely a cutey-pie Fred Edelstein ... that's about it.

To bring America up to speed: We ain't in Rocktober any more ... Street Sense is a fourth-place nag ... and a great many people with basic cable and medium-def TV are able to form a coherent and cogent evaluation of Dennis Dixon's talents (without being influenced by the opinions of a slacker who couldn't beat out a stiff named Kent Graham for the starting QB job).

Let it be known, though, that this was a sad college football weekend from the standpoint that Bonnie Bernstein wore rain gear to report from the sideline at the soggy West Virginia/Rutgers game (thus covering up the only thing she has going for her -- "the bon-bons") ... this, two days after Erin Andrews had to cover up her sole assets (rack/caboose) with a slicker while workin' it at field level of the BC/VPI game.

What Americans east of the Mississippi need to see (FYI, Herbie) is these gals gettin' wet while wearin' nuthin' but t-shirts once we add some precip to the equation.
They owe it to the memory of Adrian Karsten.

Bonnie: "Do you know what the injury to Chad Henne is?"
Lloyd Carr: "I sure do." (Walks away).

Who thought we'd ever find ourselves sayin', "Goddamn, that was frickin' priceless, Lloyd Carr" and actually mean it?

Alas, this is what happens when we live in a land wherein a "Girls Gone Wild" DVD is edited poorly by Joe Francis and the end-result is so-called "cutting-edge sports journalism" instead of Bonnie and Erin doing what might come more naturally to them.
Topless and lip-locked.

Back on Earth, some of us DID click away from Disney Football and click over to FOX Sports to see Dennis Dixon QB'ing the Oregon Ducks past USC (even though Kirk Herbstreit told us not to because it might influence who HE thinks should win the Heisman).
Note: WVU @ Rutgers offered some intrigue, but we've sworn off all games in which Paul Maguire is clutching the microphone in the same manner that he likely carresses a bottle o' booze ('cuz even if his blood-alcohol level is hovering slightly below .24, the blood-stupidity level is locked in at 113 percent).

Anyway, 'SC was defeated in Eugene -- a loss which was cemented by two INTs by Duck DB Matthew Harper.
It was reported the Harper is the son of former Nebraska All-America LB Willie Harper.
This is intriguing from the standpoint that Willie was a 'Husker hero in '71 and '72, although he wasn't much of a head coach for those piss-poor Menlo-Atherton's teams of the late '80s).

However, Willie's knack for grinding out top-flight offspring, so it would seem, is impressive.
Although some of us don't know jack about Matthew Harper, we sure as heck-fire remember the good ol' days when we were dazzled by the talents of Willie's sons at Fremont High ... Willie Jr. and Johnny.

For those of us who reporting from the field when Willie, Jr. rushed for 190 yards in the third quarter of that game against Cupertino (Willie, Jr. finished with 350- or 360-some-odd yards), well ... we always knew in our heart that Johnny was definitely the better athlete (as his San Jose State career would attest).

Some of us can't remember if Willie. Jr. and Johnny were half-brothers -- and we don't know if Willie, Jr., Johnny and Matthew are half-half-half brothers.
What difference does it make, anyway?
We're all in the same tribe.

Besides, we can ask Willie, Sr. all about it when we see his next son starring for ASU or Cal in 2021 or 2022.

Yet, this isn't about Willie Harper, Sr. or Willie Harper, Jr.
It's 'sposed to be about Dennis Dixon rising up and becoming our fave Duck QB of all-time.
Ahead of those Duck QBs who lacked the necessary ooomph to win the Heisman ... Dan Fouts, Joey Harrington, Bill Musgrave, Tony Graziani, Kellen Clemens and, good gravy ... don't forget Akili Smith!

Friday, October 26, 2007

VomMatt 4 Hizeminn

That WAS a breathtaking scene on our TV screen last night ... the image which got burned into our brains of that Boston College super-dork fan, standing in the rain in Blacksburg, holding up a t-shirt with the block letters which read: RYAN FOR HEISMANN.

Nobody's really sure if said super-dork was attempting to amuse us with the extra "N" at the end of "Heisman," however, the misspelling on the t-shirt might've actually paled in comparison to the moment when the Disneyland Sports cameras captured the BC QB in question -- Mattt Ryann (the one we're supposed to give the Hizeminn Trofee to) -- standing on the sideline and puking.

Not once, but twice.
The vomit looked a little watery, to be perfectly honest.

Still, it was quite fitting for Day One of the final week of "Rocktober."
And, Rocktober sure went fast, didn't it?
It rocked in with the Rocks rockin' the baseball world -- and now it's ending with the RedRockin'RockSox rockin' the Rockies to sleep while most of us are rockin' on another channel (any channel which isn't isn't hyping the ChowdSox as the modern-day Murderers' Row when we all remember how Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd crammed it up Beantown's ass in Games 3 and 4 before Sabathia and Carmona couldn't pull the trigger and euthanize Irritation Nation).

A lot of us didn't spend much time cuddling with BC-VT because we were on another channel, agonizing along with Dunder Mifflin's Andy Bernard as he tried to complete the jingle: "Gimme a break / Gimme a break / Break me off a piece of that (Chrysler car! Grey Poupon! Fancy Feast!)."

Life is so much simpler in Scranton, Pa. (even if they DO film "The Office" in L.A.).

No one seemed willing to help Andy with the ending to that jingle -- and god-only-knows if anyone's gonna tell him that the Rockies and Ryan are flukes.
With a capital "F" -- so "break me off a piece of that Chrysler car/Grey Poupon/Fancy Feast!"

Watching Andy struggle with that lyric was almost as painful as watching VT try to knock off BC, the so-called -- extend air-quote fingers here, everybody -- "Number Two team in the nation."

What a sorry nation.

The Hokies had basically trashed Mat Rion's Highsmin hoaps, but then the Eegul QB carved up his opponent during those two drives in the final six minutes, capping it with the winning TD throw to Challenger or Callender or whomever in the final 14 seconds.

There's probably a "story" behind why that knucklehead had an extra "N" in "Heisman."
Or why Beamer saw fit to rush only 3 in the final stages.
Or why B.C. has chosen such an awkward-lookin' font for its game-jersey numerals.

Speaking of numerals, Ryan was puttin' up some lousy ones until the end.
And he was bein' a real bore about it.
Now, it's time to kiss the Hizeminn goodbye, Number 12.

"VomMatt" has no other choice, really, but to accept the fact that, in the pantheon of our all-time fave Chestnut Hill QBs, we're feeling inclined to rank him behind Glenn Foley or maybe Flutie or possibly Elisabeth Hasselbeck's brother-in-law (but not Elisabeth Hasselbeck's hubby) ... and, quite likely, behind our fave Steeler backup QBs from BC -- Mike Kruczek and Brian St. Pierre.

Matty doesn't crack the Top 5, so, no Hisemen will be forthcoming.

Which serves the greater Boston area right for being such as pain in the ass lately.
The re-birth of Kevin Millar as alleged folk hero is undignified and foolish.
This ... because Mariano Rivera walked Kev and his lifetime .268 avg. three years ago instead of grooving a pitch that Kev could've rolled gently to Jeter for the 6-3 putout???

"Let's throw a parade for Ray Bork!"

Beantown wouldn't be the same without its Beanclowns.
Such as the ones who can't spell "Heisman" ...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Football On Another School Night

Well, technically, Friday night isn't what's generally termed "a school night" -- in fact, Friday nights are, in theory, what is supposed to be reserved for high school football under those Friday night lights.
And, there was a time when the Apostles vowed, "There will be no college football broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 on Friday nights so as to protect the sanctity of high school football."

Fortunately, most of the populace in the upper end of the age 18-34 demographic will have to wait another six or seven years before Friday nights are reserved for their daughter (or step-daughter) Sasha bringing home her freshman friend Naomi for Dad (or Step-Dad) to grope, but, until then, ESPN was kind enough on this fine Friday to indulge us in a pivotal conference (although we can't remember which conference) matchup:

Hawaii at San Jose State.

Upon viewing this titanic tilt played on a soggy, swampy Spartan Stadium field, America made a few mental notes:
A) The defending New Mexico Bowl champs probably won't be back to defend their New Mexico Bowl title.
B) Colt Brennan looks like the real deal.
That is, if "the real deal" is interpreted to mean "David Klingler Revisted" or "Tim Couch, Part 2."

SJSU -- home to this planet's most-renowned competitive eater (Joey Chestnut) and the alma mater of one of this nation's chief iconoclasts (Pitchfork7) -- took one on the chin by blowing leads of 28-14 and 35-21 in a 42-35, overtime loss to the Rainbow Warriors.

While this outcome can't touch the first two Hawaii-SJSU showdowns of June Jones' college coaching career (a 62-41 Hawaii victory in '99 -- in a game which SOME of us ALMOST attended -- and a 57-48 SJSU win on the island in '00), this outcome should be enough to put Hawaii on the inside track to the Fiesta Bowl and a berth against Pete Carroll's fire-breathing USC squad (since Ohio State and Oregon will tussle in the Rose Bowl in a rematch of '58 Rose Bowl when the leadership and ability of senior Galen Cisco and junior Dick LeBeau led the Buckeyes to a a 10-7 victory which cemented a national championship for Woody Hayes).

Gettin' back to the future, Hawaii's victory "on the mainland" probably should earn the Rainbow Warriors a spot in the Top 10 alongside this year's Top 10 powerhouses such as Boston College, South Florida and South Carolina (which features QB Smelley 'Cock).
All the credit goes to the pollsters for doing a bang-up job this season (beginning with the lifetime ban from the rankings imposed upon Michigan after losing to a respectable-but-somewhat-unknown Appalachian State team in Week One ... and ending with that slap on the wrist to USC for losing to that junior college team from Stanford last Sat.)

However, one confused guy who owns a vote (the Disneyland Sports Network's very own Chris Fowler) was somewhat incoherent in the aftermath of last night's Wake Forest win over Florida State.
Twice, Fowler informed America that FSU was "in deep trouble" following the defeat.
"Deep trouble" of what?
Making the playoffs?
Missing the playoffs?
Trying to look down Erin Andrews' blouse? (wink, wink)
Getting busted for staring at Erin Andrews' bust? (nudge, nudge)
Getting busted for players receiving passing grades for classes which they didn't attend? (shhhhhh ... not in Tallahassee!)

It's unfortunate that the Disneyland Sports Empire doesn't have Adrian Karsten or Dr. Jerry Punch to set the record straight and to inform America that a loss at Weak Forest by Free Shoes U. -- the defending Emerald Bowl champion -- does NOT represent "deep trouble" in the bid to become this nation's first "two-time defending Emerald Bowl champion."

So, it's in that spirit (i.e. Fowler's cluelessness) that some of us will boycott another Punchless "College Game Day" tomorrow morning (hosted by Fowler).

Many in the 18-34 demographic will be mesmerized by Herb Kirkstreit's hazel eyes and jelled-hair giving America his usual in-depth analysis, such as Team X needing to "get after it" -- but there is a name for that region of America which believes that Herb Kirkstreit offers anything more than empty, vapid opinions to go along with the hair product and the $750 sportcoat and the $175 necktie.

That region is known as "Loserville."

This is RRRRRRRRR kun-treeeee ...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Football On A School Night ...

... is best when it's packaged NOT as it was last night (MNF in Buffalo for the first time since 1994), but as it was tonight (the AFC Championship Game from Jan. '96 -- Steelers vs. Colts).
Thanks a million, Disneyland Sports Mishmash/Hodge Podge.
This worked out nicely as part of the healing process for America, now that the Yankees are finished (and now that we no longer will glare at our TV screens and wonder why the Pinstripe players were wearing that #10 on their sleeves ... seriously, our beloved #10 Chris Chambliss is alive n' well, is he not? So, what's the deal? Just as what was the deal with the black armband below the #10 for Chris Chambliss? Was the black armband for Cory Lidle or Hank Bauer? +++++ Too much mystery, too much melodrama w/ that franchise ...)

So, now it's back to football (and, better yet, football which doesn't involve the 5-cent analysis from everybody's buddy with the $5 haircut, Sean Salisbury).
That replay of Steelers-Colts from Jan. '96 ... just what the doctor ordered.

It was the usual great package from NFL Films ... the camera angles and slo-mo ... the interspersed interviews with the key participants ... the spliced-in radio broadcasts of the action.
It was refreshing to hear Jim Harbaugh say that in 15 years of NFL action, the only player he feared was Greg Lloyd ... and, in case we'd forgotten, the key pass from Neil O'Donnell to Ernie Mills and his dandy toe-drag down to the 2-yard line which set up the go-ahead TD in the final two minutes was "80 Semi Go" from the playbook.
Tough break about that double-move, Ashley Ambrose.

Speaking of tough breaks, it's often eerie to see close-ups during these re-broadcasted "classics" of players who are no longer with us.
Such as the slo-mo shot of a lead-blocking Justin Strzelczyk.


What's THIS on the Versus Network (the sports-like network which is an unknown channel on most of America's cable systems. (Is it Channel 63? Channel 28? Channel 144?)
This get-together in blogdom is over because it's a re-broadcast of the USC-Stanford game.
Time to watch closely and ponder what the aformentioned Harbaugh can do with a gritty group of upstarts against the Troy dynasty now that he finds himself trailing, 9-0, at halftime.
Word on the street is that Pete Carroll, with his windswept hair and seductive poses, wanted to shove this one so far up Harbaugh's ass that it would shut up the Stanford coach forever.

Well, if Pete can coax his lads into playing an inspired second half of quality football, then, yes ... a 51-0 victory should keep everybody satisfied ...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sexing Up Southern CARROLL-fornia

With the past two weekends of upheavel in college football bowl-game subdivision -- most notably, Colorado's upset of No. 3 Oklahoma and Stanford's mega-upset of No. 2 USC, we're looking at some juicy bowl-game possibilities.
America definitely needs to brace itself for the Fiesta Bowl which'll make last January's Boise State heartstopper look like the 1956 Tangerine Bowl (your final from Orlando, Fla.: Juniata 6, Missouri Valley 6).

It's shaping up nicely for a barnburner in Glendale, Ariz.: South Florida, the '06 Papa John's Bowl Bowl champion vs. Boston College, the '06 Meineke Car Care Bowl champion.
Corporate sponsors and TV execs are holding their collective breath that USF and BC can, as they "run the table," because nobody wants to see a fiesta-less Fiesta Bowl matchup between Cincinnati and South Carolina.
Nobody finds Steve Spurrier's USC team sexy (blame it on Smelley 'Cock at QB) -- therefore, Plan B is already in the works.

We saw the gears beginning to grind when Southern CARROLL-fornia lost to Stanford.
Much of America was outraged when 'SC dropped merely from No. 2 to No. 10 by losing at home to an opponent of Stanford's extreme feeble-ness.
After all, ever since leading Oregon at halftime, 31-24, a few weeks ago, the Cardinal was outscored, 31-0, in the second half of that game ... outscored 41-3 last week by Arizona State ... and then was down 9-0 at the half vs. 'SC.
The equivalent of two full games, Stanford was 81-3 on the losing end -- but then Stanford rookie coach Jim Harbaugh demonstrated how he earned the NFL's 1995 "Captain Comeback" moniker.

Harbaugh took a bunch of doofuses which were recruited by Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris -- dorks who were 1-11 last season (but a team which actually played poorly enough to be 0-15) -- and Captain Comeback made those ugly football step-children believe in themselves.
Handsome Harbaugh knocked off Super-Dreamboat Pete Carroll in highly-improbable fashion.
And, because America wishes it could spend every morning spooning with Pete Carroll, the Trojan drop was only 8 spots in the rankings.

When Appalachian State -- the two-time defending Div. I-AA champion -- edged Michigan in The Big House in Week One, the Wolverines were banished (for all of '07, it seems) from the Top 25.
Something would seem out of kilter given that result and 'SC's defeat -- but it's a simple rule of the jungle:
When Lloyd Carr gets a little more sex appeal (like the yummy, look-at-that-wind-tossled-hair Pete Carroll), Michigan won't be penalized as severely as it was for losing to a better-than-people-realize App. State squad.

Pete Carroll is the butt of a tired, old riddle (Q: "What's the difference between Stanford Football and a bucket of shit?" A: "The bucket."), but because Pete has a butt which just won't quit, he'd need to lose, 155-0 to Stanford to dip to No. 11 in the polls.
And, Col. Jessep barks, "You want me on that wall! You NEED me on that wall!"

The Fiesta Bowl wants/needs Pete Carroll as its safety net ... just as it needed hunky, yummylicious Urban Meyer two years ago and everyone's Senior Ball prom date, Bob Stoops, last year.
But, then Boise State totally F'ed up the "Win A Makeout Session With Bobby Suave" by tearing Oklahoma's blouse and panties during that roughhouse romp in that Fiesta Bowl that we ain't never gonna forget.
Best prom date ever!


This began as all-in-jest poke at the college football rankings, but there's nothing playful and light and free-spirited about the whores n' pimps who've turned this year's voting into a greater farce than the traditional farce that it usually is.
For those who watched the game, Pete Carroll got violated in savage fashion by an opponent which MIGHT be competitive vs. junior-college teams.

To be honest, the Pete Defeat was more brutal than prison sex -- but Sweet Pete remained in the Top 10 (which kinda makes a college football fan wanna go to the top of that building near the 'SC practice field and re-enact that gag Carroll engineered two years ago in which a dummy in an 'SC jersey was thrown from the rooftop to simulate a player committing suicide -- only this time, wouldn't it be funny to re-create Mario Danelo falling off that cliff just after New Year's Day ... wouldn't that be a crack-up, gettin' our blood-alcohol level up to .23 and messin' 'round on rooftops and cliffs? ).

Sadly, the latest fall-off-the-cliff (or rooftop) twist to this BCS B.S. is what happened to the Florida Alligators.
A rebuilt team played balls out in one of the toughest stadiums (Death Valley) and, if not for five gambles by Les Miles, the Gators woulda pulled off the upset over the No. 1 Tigers.
Good effort, good game ... and, yet, Florida dropped from #7 to #14 in the USA Today poll.

Since USA Today is the coloring book of print journalism -- and since it's a "coaches" poll furnished by coaches (errrrrr ... "SIDs") who didn't watch one minute of college football Saturday (and who spent all day Sunday breaking down game tapes so that their frickin' 3-3 team can get to the Papa John's Bowl or the Meineke Car Care Bowl), these polls carry no weight.
They are invalid.

In the past, it was annoying.
Now, it's inched its way up the food chain to "disturbing."
It won't be long until it reaches a full-scale violation (don't worry, though, America ... the emptiness in Herb Kirkstreit's hazel eyes and the hollowness of his "analysis" will get us there!).

What college football needs now more than ever is a "Situation Room" ... just like the one they have at CNN where Wolf Blitzer calls the shots and rules with an iron fist.
If we had that, America could invite Lispy McMushmouth (Lou Holtz's real name) into the Situation Room, steer him to the third-floor window and then swiftly and brusquely shove Lispy McMushmouth out the window and then boldly proclaim, "Lispy McMushmouth just received his lifetime ban!"

That'd be fun.
Yet, there is nothing fun or funny about college football in '07.
But, you're on the right track.

Gimme an "F"!
Gimme a "U"!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Segovia Sighed ... Bisenius Cried ...

... and Eppa Rixey STILL doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.
So what if he won 10 games as a Phillie rookie in 1912. Eight of his nine seasons in Philly were too dadgum mediocre to merit enshrinement.
Everybody knows it -- even if Eppa Rixey's grandkids can't/won't admit it.

Anyway, maybe it's a good thing that Eppa Rixey wasn't alive to see Game 2 today ... and witness the manner in which rookie Kyle Kendrick kinda melted down before the Phillies' bullpen imploded.
Yet, unlike Eppa Rixey, Zack Segovia and Joe Bisenius did not roll over in their graves (although nobody's sure if they didn't spend today digging holes in the backyard and practice rolling over in their graves).

Phillie Phan might've forgotten about Segovia and Bisenius. Those two were the rookie Phillie pitchers who performed during the first week of the season for the '07 N.L. East champions -- and then were summarily dispatched to the minors (never to be heard from again).
Possibly never again.

Segovia pitched in one game -- a start against the Martians on that first Sunday of the season ... a game at Dolphins Stadium in which the Phils scored 3 in the top of the first before Zack gave away the lead by allowing 4 in the bottom of the second.
While five runs allowed in five innings cannot be classified as "a bang-up" job, it probably wasn't any worse than many of the starts made by Adam Eaton in '07.
And, it sure didn't merit a demotion.

Bisenius? He made two relief appearances during that first week (2 IP, 2 hits, 2 BB, 3 Ks, a 0.00 ERA) before gettin' his big-league pink slip.

During this, the October of '07 (before the summer of '09 when Segovia is goin' 7-2 for the Brewers while Bisenius is saving his 13th game in 14 chances for the Blue Jays), it wouldn't be a shocker if Zack was on his cell, tellin' Joe, "You would've come in and mowed those guys down" -- before Joe snaps back with, "If you had started Game 2, I wouldn't have been called in until the 7th or 8th, anyway."

The Phillies' Dugout Director of Operations, Charlie Man-Yuu-"L," took a little longer to lose faith in Kendrick than Gillick and BiologyDegreeFromStanford Amaro did in Segovia and Bisenius.
Kyle's excellent 10-4 / 3.38 season went down the tubes when The Yokel waddled out to the mound after somebody named "Seth Smith" hit that cue-shot, bleeder up the third-base line to load the bases.

Kyle2 then replaced Kyle1 and found it necessary to groove one to somebody named Kaz -- and there went the season, kids.
Phillie Phan profusely showered Joe Table with boos after his four-batter, one-hit, two-walk, one-third of an inning -- but maybe it serves Phillie Phan right for believing that Joe Table shoulda been out there instead of Joe Bisenius.

On the other hand, Phillie Phan should avoid using terms such as "shock" to explain Games 1 and 2.
"Shock" is best used to describe what it was like to be 15 years old and havin' your heart racing as Garber retires the first two Dodgers in the 9th before the Davalillo-Mota-Lopes-Russell scenario unfolds and then rips that fast-beating heart right outta your chest.
"Shock" is when Rickey's single lands between Nails and Eisey and plates two runners to make it 14-13 before Devon's liner bisects the gap between Nails and Eisey for a two-run triple which puts the Blue Jays up, 15-14 -- and leaves ya thinkin' that if Dutch's drive down the RF line hadn't curled foul and been a near-miss grand slam before he was hit by the pitch which forced in the run that made the score, 14-9, hell ... even if it HAD been a grand slam to put 'em up, 17-9, in the late-night drizzle, it just woulda meant that the Jays were gonna win, 18-17 ...

Those were the "shockers" when some of us were directing the Special OPs Division for the Phillies' West Coast Bureau (in the Dodgers' back yard) "back in the day."
It's true ... the '70s were a lot more harsh than this "Rock Shock," once you consider that the maroon-pinstriped superteam which oftentimes mauled opponents in The Vet went 0-6 there in the '76/'77/'78 playoffs (particularly tough, given the 60-21 record at home in '77).

And, if it wasn't a Rock-slide takin' place at The Cit, who's to say it wouldn't have been just as bad if the LDS opponent been the Pod Squad, the D-Backs, the D-Rays, whatever ... ?

This is exactly where the 1-2 pitching punch punch of Myers and Garcia could've earned their place in Phillie lore -- instead of leaving it up to Kyle Kendrick (who was only three seasons removed from a combined 5-16 record as a 19-year-old for the Lakewood Blue Claws and the Batavia Muckdogs ... and who was only 4-7 at Reading when he "earned" his '07 promotion) to bail 'em out.

Myers, the guy who ended the regular-season with that insane, final-pitch, knee-buckler of a curveball, pitched a semi-meaningless inning yesterday ... which, though not fault of the Yokel Skipper, is NOT where one of the staff's "leaders" is supposed to be at this time of the season.

Funny thing is, even if the Phils had, hypothetically, clinched the East with a 152-10 record while the Cubs had, theoretically, won the Central with an 80-82 record, The MLB wild-card mixup STILL would've had the Rocks playing the Phils since no wild-card team can, in the first round, meet a team from its own division.
Even Eppa Rixey would admit that such backwards thinking is soooooooo 1912.

Pure logic states the playoffs are supposed to be 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3.
No one's talkin' 'bout abolishing the wild-card, but, it could be streamlined ... and made "less wild."
A simple reconfiguration would have the East as: Phillies, Mets, Braves, Nats, Martians, Pirates, Cubs, Reds while the West would be D-Backs, Rocks, Pods, Dodgers, Giants, Astros, Cards, Brew Crew.
With 12 games against each divisional opponent (84 total), eight vs. the other division (64 total) and 14 vs. a rotating A.L. schedule (14 total), it COULD be a viable format.

Then again, chicks dig the longball ... so longball is what the chicks shall get.

Re-configured or not, the Phils' pitching staff was never going to carry them very far, anyway, so stop beating yourself up, Kyle Kendrick, for serving up homers on consecutive pitches to Troy Toiletwhiskey (into the flower bed!) and Matt Holliday (who cleared the flower bed).
The Phillies were doomed the minute that Eric Young and Pete Gammons completely lost their marbles by picking the Phillies for the World Series.

Luckily for some of us, the FedEx guy arrived in the nick of time and delivered the new Steelers sweatshirt before the game ... so nobody really cared when the Phillies' Hawaiian-style shirt (purchased at The Cit during the first week of that stadium's history) was ditched and replaced in the top of the 9th by the Black N' Gold.
It's called "dressing for success."

Maybe for Game 3, Phillie Phan who lives in/near Philly can slip on his/her yellow-n'-powder-blue jersey which the Eagles were wearing when they completely destroyed the Lions nearly two weeks ago.
'Cuz, if the Phillies get swept (which many of us forecast that they will), it's gonna make for one surly-ass crowd showin' up at The Linc on Sunday for that Eagles game.
Which doesn't mean squat for those of us wearing the Black N' Gold as the Curtain hosts Seattle in the re-enactment of SB XL.

Sucks to be you, Eagles fans who burned your SB XXXIX sweatshirts ...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No One's Afraid Of You, Jeff Francis

And the reason that no one's afraid of you, Jeff Francis, is because we remember when you were QBing the Tennessee Vols back in '88 -- and we'll never forget how you disgraced Rocky Top by guiding the team to an 0-6 record at the season's midway point, even if you did recover to lead the team in the Creamsicle-colored jerseys to a 5-0 finWAIT!!!

Are we talking about JEFF FRANCIS, the Tennessee Vols' right-handed QB from nearly 20 years ago or the JEFF FRANCIS, the Colorado Rockies' left-handed southpaw pitcher who was 17-9 this season, yet, in two starts against the Fightin' Phils, had a 15.12 ERA?

It makes ya wonder how many times ex-Vols QB Todd Helton and ex-Vols QB Alan Cockrell walk up to the pitcher in the Rockie clubhouse and ask him if he's aware that he has the same name as an ex-Vol QB.

And, in a semi-related note, ya wonder how many times people go up to Jerry Colquitt -- the Vol QB who got hisself all injured in that national TV game vs. UCLA (we remember this because it was the first, last and only time that some of us threw back some gin n' tonics and shot some stick in a Philly bar -- because we were one week into The Strike/Lockout/Whatever of '94 -- as UT-UCLA was on one TV and Oklahoma was blowing that 24-0 lead in a 30-29 loss to Sorrycuse on another TV ... and the only reason Helton was playin' was because Colquitt was injured on the game's first or second play and, now that ya mention it, didn't Helton get hurt and, thus, lead to the debut of that gangly frosh QB named "Peyton") -- and how many of those people ask Jerry Colquitt if he's related to the famous line of UT Colquitt punters ... (brothers Craig Colquitt and Jimmy Colquitt .. and Jimmy's son, Dustin Colquitt ... and, the joke's on you, Mister, because all them Colquitts is white boys and Jimmy Colquitt is black ... ) ...

Getting back to yesterday's Jeff Francis and today's Jeff Francis, the Phils need to re-connect with the Jeff Francis who pitched 8 1/3 innings against 'em this season and got cuffed around to the tune of 14 runs and 20 hits.

Y'know, the sad part of highlighting a dreadful stat such as that is oftentimes a super-jinx -- and almost always means that the guy you've singled out with the 15.12 ERA is guaranteed to pitch a complete-game, 5-hitter.

Happens all the time.

Anyway, Phillie Phan better get his/her mind right and realize that the Rockies don't have the Padres' pitching, but the Pod Squad doesn't have the batpower that Colorado has. Everybody knows about Helton and Holliday, Helton and Hawpe, but role players such as Troy Toiletwhiskey and Yogurt Torrealba are dangerous, too, despite their kooky names.

Before we get caught up in "Rocky Mountain High" euphoria, Colorado did everything in its power to give away that play-in game last night. Jake Peavey did a No. 2 on the mound and somebody named Brady Clark was attempting to play CF for SD.

The Fightin's vs. the Rocks has a myriad of X-factors -- such as Game 1 starter Cole Hamels (who hasn't been the losing pitcher since July 19) vs. a lineup with the usual assortment of players who have the usual Coors Field Compartmentalization Syndrome.

For example, Garrett Atkins (Chase Ugly's teammate at FUCLA) is a .349 hitter at Coors; a .254 hitter on the road ... Tulowitzki bats .326 at Coors; 256 on the road ... Hawpe (who is benched for Game 1 despite 29 HRs / 116 RBI) is a .308 hitter at Coors; .273 on the road.

Still, despite his struggles against the Phils, Jeff Francis is 8-0 in day games (for whatever that's worth).

Here's the so-called "kiss of death," though: On the late version of Baseball Tonight this evening, former Rockie, Eric Young, predicted that the Phillies will beat the Yankees in the World Series ... while ESPN's dummy llama (Gammons) proclaimed that the Yanks would beat the Phils in the Fall Classic.

That's a bad, bad sign, Phillie Phan.
The Phillies cannot perform if they use the all-too-familiar card of "we shocked the word" and "none of y'all all believed in us, but we believed in ourselves."

Bold prognostications which are "jinx factors" are dangerous -- and then there's what Dusty Baker said one night earlier when he -- acting all P.C. because he might want to wear wristbands and suck on his toothpick in the dugout as an MLB mgr. once again -- pontificated that the way to win in the postseason is to basically get your pitching staff all lined up so that your three or four aces can pitch those four-hit shutouts.

NOTE TO JOHNNIE B. BAKER: The way to win in the postseason is to somehow get some lights-out piching from unlikely sources, be it rookie Marty Bystrom for the '80 Phils or the poster boy for "pitching enigma" -- Anthony Reyes of the Cardinals (5-8 w/ 5.06 ERA last year ... strong outing vs. NYM in LCS, folk hero in Game 1 of the W.S. vs. Detroit, then ... the kid parlayed all that fame -- and that super-flat brim of his cap -- into 2-14 w/ 6.04 ERA this year ... ).

If we listened to Johnnie B., we'd be wondering what happened to all of that World Series hardware won by Moneyball's three aces Mulder, Zito and Hudson.

It didn't happen.

That's pretty much what the postseason is all about, considering that none of us knows if the world champion Chisox staff of '05 (Buehrle 16-8; Contreras 15-7; Garland 18-10; Garcia 14-8 ... all of 'em, nails during the playoffs) is as good as it was then or as bad as it was this year (Buehrle 10-9; Contreras 10-17; Garland 10-13; Garcia 1-5 w/ Phils).

So, the Phillies are going forth into this postseason with Hamels (who is only 23, lest we forget) and rookie Kyle Kendrick (the 23-year-old who was only 4-7 for Double-A Reading when he was called up) as the credentialed No 1. and No. 2 starters.

That big yokel, Chuck Manuel, is forced to do it this way because Brett Myers is a mental midget as a starter and because nobody knows when Jamie Moyer's 37 MPH pitches are going to get whacked around the yard.

It's a crapshoot relying on kids as No. 1 and No. 2 postseason starters (and, say, is Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee still seething at the organization -- his own -- which traded his son, Michael, to acquire Tad Iguchi?)

Bottom line: Francis' 8-0 record during day games ... a legitimate source of worry.

As legit as anything else in this postseason.