Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fightin's Hijack Sooner Schooner

We had a serious case of Phillie/Sooner overlap today at the La-Z-Boy Lounge, a Code Orange which escalated to a Code Red once Brad Lidge began pitching and FOX Sports' Tim McCarver began play-by-play duties behind the mike.

And, when Lidge allowed a run and had the bases loaded w/ one out and the only-dangerous National (Ryan Zimmerman) at the plate, well ... once Zimmerman's sharply-hit grounder headed up the middle, the thought that crossed everybody's mind was, "At least in the bottom of the 9th, it'll be pinch-hitter, Rollins and Werth and ..." [scratch that]Rollins went to his knees, made the stop, shoveled to Utley, et cetera, et cetera ... ballgame.

The Phillies are now 2008 N.L. East Division champs, a banner to fly at The Cit next to the 2007 N.L. East Division banner -- flags which SOME PEOPLE thought would be flyin' high over The New Shea Stadium next season.

Right ... as if the New York Mess can just whip up a Constitutional amendment to be ratified in time to ensure their inclusion in the postseason, blah blah blah ...

It was definitely a weird one at The Cit today ... not as tidy as last night when Howard cleared the flower bed for a 3-run homer in the 1st and then Utley rattled one up against the flower bed for a 3-run double in the 2nd before Howard followed that by banging an RBI double off the flower bed-railing for an RBI double ... 7-1, Phils in a display of serious daffodil-denting.

This victory ensures that Hamels can rest up tomorrow and ready himself for the playoff start he'll make Weds. -- and, by that time, maybe McCarver will've finally realized that Roger Bernadina is NOT Emilio Bonifacio.

McCarver's broadcaster sidekick, Tom McCarthy, wasn't available in the booth in the top of the 9th because he was making his way down to the field for interviews.

Hence, McCarver had to fly the plane all by himself and, Christ ... he crashed us into a hillside.

Obviously, the toxins in Tim's Miss Clairol hair products were the cause of the hallucinations which prompted Bernadina to twice be I.D.'ed as Bonifacio before Timmy regrouped to twice call Roger "Bernardino."

Tim McCartney is definitely rounding into postseason form!

And, to our island neighbors in the Dominican Republic (where Bonifacio is from) and in Curacao in the Netherland Antilles (where Bernadina is from), Tim McCrappy would like you to f**k off.

SO, IN THE NIGHTCAP OF THIS SATURDAY TWINBILL, Sam Bradford and Manuel Johnson did a dandy job for the Sooner Schooner with their TD hookups of 76, 55 and 63 yards in the 35-10 win over TCU which will propel OU to the No. 1 ranking (thanks to 'SC's tank job vs. the raging Beavers two nights ago).

The real story here might be that OU MLB Ryan Reynolds capped this eventful Saturday by marrying Scarlett Johansson.

We don't know too many LBs who wear #8 ... and we don't know how a gal named Scarlett feels about the fact that her new husband doesn't actually wear scarlet when he plays, but crimson and [wait a sec.] There's another Ryan Reynolds?

Okay, fine ... but nobody tell McCarver.

It'll mess with his head -- and then he'll take it out on America ...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bronx Bummer (No Thanks, Yanks)


A "Fairwell To Yankee Stadium" w/o Don Mattingly (a.k.a. "Donnie Baseball")?

Is that a surprise to the Pinstripe Nation which, when it's not wearing pinstripes, bleeds the team colors of "midnight and battleship gray"?

Actually, for those of us "outsiders," it seems like fairly typical behavior from the front office which allowed Billy Crystal to suit up and get an AB in a spring training game.

How unappealing for fans of "da Jankees," who should've seen this coming when Virginia Tech pitcher Robbie Waskiewicz needed only 7 pitches to retire Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano and Shelly Duncan in that early-March exhibition in Blacksburg.

Sure ... everybody knows that Mattingly's absence was tied directly to his prior commitment to helping ex-Yankee skipper Joe Torre build a baseball dynasty in L.A., but, c'mon ... how many times to we have to see Aaron Frickin' Boone hit that frickin' homer (or hear Sinatra singin' somethin' about waking up in a city that never sleeps, etc ...)?

Admittedly, some of us didn't immerse ourselves fully in the all-star tribute to the big, ol' ballpark tonight -- so, if there actually was a montage on the JumboTron/DiamondVision/Whatever which featured Our Heroic #23 assaulting and abusing A.L. pitchers, circa 1983 thru 1988, we didn't see it.

The Disneyland Baseball Channel known as "EpsyTime" didn't mention a Mattingly Montage -- yet, would not America have benefitted from a re-airing of the all-time ESPN/Yankee moment?

You remember: July 7, 1996 ... Strawberry's season debut after beating cancer (it was never proved that DARE-rull! DARE-rull! rumaged through the belongings of other patients in the cancer ward in his quest for cigarets he didn't have to pay for) and ESPN brought tears to America's eyes by showing EACH AT-BAT of Straw's 0 for 4 day (lineout in the 2nd; forceout in the 4th; groundout to first -- with the pitcher covering -- in the 6th; and a flyout deep to RF in the 9th after Tino had just homered to cut the Brewers lead to 4-1 ... Jeter was a rookie batting 9th that day ... Boggs struck out with the bases loaded to end the game ... but he'd get the last laugh that season when he climbed aboard that horse after the World Series ... a highlight which STILL receives more airtime than Mattingly ripping a shot to the gap for his third double of the day ... ).

If only Big Stein's health wasn't failing and prevented him from making the trip from Florida, he'd've said what he said when he learned that George was working for Tyler Chicken, "I'm blown away, George. Blohhh-ohhh-ohhh-nuhhhh away!"

So, even though the Pinstripe Nation considers itself the all-time classiest outfit in the history of pro sports, it's more Mickey Mouse than Mickey Mantle when it comes to tributes and cermonies.

To us "outsiders," we'd've rather watched Mike Pagliarulo and Butch Wynegar in the shower -- or Chili Davis tapping a dribbler up the first-base line -- than watch that fricking homer hit by Aaron Frickin' Nobody or Wade Frickin' Boggs climbin' aboard that frickin' horse.

At least there were some cool subtleties tonight, such as:
A) Footage of the Bambino touchin' home plate following a home-run trot -- and Gehrig NOT acknowledging Ruth as the Iron Horse readied to settle into the batter's box (awesome!)
B) Jon Miller mentioning that game at The Stadium ... the "old" Yankee Stadium ... in 1966 when the Yanks n' Chisox played a makeup game before a crowd of 413.

No word on what percentage of that 413 stuck around for the top of the 9th when Tommie Agee and Tom McCraw -- pinch-hitting for ex-Yank Moose Skowron (a teammate who Joe Pepitone described in his autobiography "Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud" as a guy who looked like a baby robin and moved like a dump truck) -- hit back-to-back homers off of Dooley Womack in the 4-1 Pale Hose victory.

Bottom line: When the Yankees are the shits, they're a delight to mock ...



Friday, September 12, 2008

ON HOLD: 600 In A Row For The WheelBurrell

Technically (and literally) Pat Burrell's current MLB record of "most consecutive games without a stolen-base ATTEMPT" reached the 600 in a row milestone three nights ago in that difficult 10-8 loss vs. the F-L-A.

Officially, though, The MLB usually only recognizes regular-season streaks, etc ... so, by removing the three NLDS games vs. Colorado last Oct., the 600 in a row landmark was supposed to occur tonight.

Amid enormous fanfare and hoopla.

'Cept the Phils-Brewers was rained out.

And, that might be a good thing, given that WheelBurrell can now pursue his record on the Fox Game of the Week.

As we're all painfully aware, Pat The Bat doesn't concern himself with flights of fancy on the basepaths -- because he's paid $14 mil-per to be the hittin' machine which earned him the "Pat The Bat" distinction.

Although he batted .181 in Aug. (notwithstanding that huge 3-hit, 5-ribbie effort vs. L.A. on the Fox Sat. game three weeks ago), he's lookin' to turn it all around during this huge Sept. push.

Sadly ... he went 0 for 3 vs. the Brew Crew last night, dropping him to .154 (4 for 26) so far this month.

Now, unless he goes crazy and hits something like .623 during these final two weeks, it looks as though "The Bat's" .259 career average will dip slightly.

This could make him less-attractive in the free agent market he's about to enter (unless he re-signs w/ the Phils, ha ha).

Naturally, Burrell's handlers will dodge the sensitive nature of 599 games in a row w/o a SB attempt.

It makes ya chuckle, though.

After all, in his two full seasons in Philly, Jim Thome was 0 for 5 when stealing bases (although he's got one or two -- last time we checked -- since he went to the Chisox).

Also, during the past seven seasons ('02-'08), Greg Maddux is 7 for 7 in stolen-base attempts.

It's quite the conundrum ... especially for those who knew The Bat when he was allegedly athletic enough to play QB for Bellarmine Prep and supposedly athletic enough to play 3B for "The U."

The talk around town is that The Bat has bad wheels ... alleged foot problems which are beyond the realm of "tough-actin' Tinactin."

To us skeptics, it sounds like a cop-out. For proof, we need look no further than Darren Daulton and his 11 knee surgeries ... operations which didn't render him a cripple (during his final season in the bigs, Dutch, at age 35, was 6 for 7 in steals and legged out 8 triples).

Although his triple in the 10-8 loss to the Fish gave The Bat three this season, everybody who loves the guy who goes commando loves the way that it takes two triples to score Burrell from first base.

Whether we claim that the 600th In A Row occurred three nights ago or we say it'll happen tomorrow, it's anyone's guess as to whether Burrell will be wearing Phillie pinstripes when the streak climbs to 700 In A Row.

That's what makes Burrell special.

He's the p-a-t in "basepath" ...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Violated By Rule 9, Section 2, Article 2c

That's right, America ... the officials stole the game from the Washington Huskies ... the guys in the zebra outfits, according to some mighty self-righteous media types, committed an unspeakable gang-rape and, thus, decided the outcome of the game which BYU won, 28-27.

America will, most assuredly, put an asterisk next to this result (although, one month from now, that asterisk will have shrunk from "gigantic" to "who gives a crap?"

For those of us who actually watched the game, we are disturbed not by the call of unsportsmanlike conduct against Jake Locker when he was flagged for flinging that football wayyyyyy too high skyward mere moments after he'd crossed the goal line on that TD scramble w/ :02 showing on the clock.

No, we who actually watched the game are hurtin' real bad for BYU's two 245-lb. RBs -- Harvey Unga (23 att., 136 yds.) and Fui Vakapuna (#1 on his jersey, #1 in our hearts who tied the game, 21-21, with that 11-yard TD rumble).

Because of the reaction to the refs (not from a ref's action), Unga and Vakapuna might not receive enough recognition for the heroism they displayed in leading the Coogs' program to its first nonconference road win since beating Utah State in '02 in addition to its first road win vs. a BCS opponent since beatin' Miss. State in '01.

And, for those of us who watched the game, the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Locker was no worse of an alleged "blown call" than the three other "misses" earlier in the final minute -- 1) Locker's flip of the football which looked more like a fumble than intentional grounding 2) The pass that D'Andre Goodwin was ruled to have caught when he actually did not possess the ball until he was out of bounds and 3) The no-call against BYU DB Scott Johnston two plays before the Locker's TD when Johnston clearly interferred with Kavario Middleton in the end zone.

Unfortunately, people who DIDN'T watch the game will play judge, jury and executioner with "how we need to change the rules, goddammit!"

Some of us, though (call us the ones who watched the game), are intelligent enough to realize that America needs these rules -- just as we need to flag violators of said rules, even if the application of those rules seems arbitrary and capricious.

Without the yellow hankies thrown against QB rule-breakers, chaos would yield to anarchy -- and, before ya know it, these QBs are in the NFL, breaking rules on a grander scale, such as fathering bastard children out of wedlock (Brady, Leinart) and/or acting as ringleader to dog fighting (Vick).

The Disneyland Football Network known as ESPN will, no doubt, weigh in on this sensitive issue by telling us what to believe and when to believe it.

It's very amusing, to say the least, considering that the Espy Channel plays video montages every 15 minutes of that famous "hard hit" wherein USC LB Rey Maualuga destroys UCLA QB Patrick Cowan in that game from '06.

For those of us who saw THAT play when it happened, we're still waiting for someone somewhere somehow to throw the flag on Maualuga.

You can watch that one on YouTube over and over -- and it still turns out the same.

Maualuga led with the crown (top) of his helmet and smashed it into Cowan's facemask as the QB was going out of bounds ... a hit which should have drawn a personal foul penalty as well as led to Maualuga's ejection from the game.

RIIIIIIIGHT ... as if Myles Brand and/or Pete Carroll give a shit about player safety and/or good sportsmanship.

Ditto for those three eggheads on "College GameDay."

Their lack of outrage is further proof that football is about two things:
1) Talking trash and 2) Thinking about talking trash.

Which is why a class act like Tyrone Willingham probably won't react too angrily (outwardly) about Locker's end-zone antics.

Coach Will knows that the quote-unquote "controversy" didn't have a damn thing to do with why his Husky D yielded 475 yards of total offense and allowed BYU to convert 12 of 14 third downs.

Unfortunately, Tyrone's even-keel temperment is probably going to get him fired at season's end -- and another "real" issue re: college football (such as another quality black head coach getting the axe) will get swept under the carpet because, WHAT AN OUTRAGE, THE REFS STOLE THE GAME!!! WE'VE GOTTA DO SOMETHING!!!