Saturday, October 08, 2005

Diary: One of Those Days

It's one of those sports days. You know the ones, where there's big games happening in a few different sports. As a dutiful sports fan, I plan to settle in on my couch, and take it all in. And blog. It's also raining outside, which provides a convenient excuse to do this.

This would be a bigger day if the Red Sox could have rallied and forced a Game 4, where they would have had post-season god (and my favorite ballplayer) Curt Schilling going. I'm not bitter. (Actually, that's a lie. I am, I'm just saving my bitterness for my post-mortem on the 2005 Sox season, coming soon to a blog near you).

Here's what's on tap today:
College Football
#2 Texas vs Oklahoma. This is Texas' year, with OU rebuilding and the Horns having Vince Young, the most exciting player not wearing a Trojan uni. If they don't break the 5 year losing streak today, they never will.
#5 Georgia vs #8 Tennessee. Huge SEC game, featuring the greatest mascot (Uga) to boot.
#6 Ohio State vs #16 Penn State. PSU's making a comeback this year, we'll see if they're for real against a loaded team from THE Ohio State University.

Game 4 - New York vs Anaheim. Yanks face elimination at home. Just writing those words brightens my day.
Game 3 - Atlanta vs Houston. Nothing to add now, but should be entertaining.
Game 3 - St. Louis vs San Diego. Does anyone think the Padres will win? Anyone? I wonder what the line on this game is.

(Disclaimer: I'm a hockey polygamist, I like Toronto, Edmonton, and Boston. I cheer for all three of them, but don't feel a passion that even remotely approaches how I feel about the Red Sox, or Notre Dame football). This is probably why I'm not as big of a fan of hockey as I am of baseball and football (and basketball, sometimes). No team resonates with me the way teams do in other sports. I've been really passionate about two teams: the Oilers of the late 1980s (when Grant Fuhr was my favorite player and I dreamt of being a NHL goalie) and the 1993 Leafs, who should have gone to the Finals, but had the deck stacked against them. The best example: Gretzky highsticks Gilmour in Overtime of Game 6, and gets away with it. (A highstick is about the only penalty they call in OT games). The Leafs surely would have put them away on the powerplay. Instead, LA won and went on to take Game 7. Game 6, however, taught me a valuable lesson: Life isn't fair. I was 11 at the time. Next to the hours I spent watching Rush Limbaugh's TV show that year, nothing from 1993 was more of a formative experience, with the possible exception of Beverly Hills 90210. (End digression).

Toronto vs Montreal. My dad and my brother are huge Canadiens fans (I partly ended up cheering for the Leafs out of youthful rebellion I'm sure.) In fact, my entire family on my dad's side can be classified as either a Leafs fan or Habs fan, and we always let the other side have it when we win. So even if they're playing on the first weekend of the regular season, it's a biggie.
Edmonton vs Vancouver. The Oil beat the Avalanche at home, this is a bigger test, against arguably a better club, and on the road. Plus if the Oil win, the Sports Matters team will get to hear our buddy Mitz predict an Oilers Cup win.

I'm watching ESPN College GameDay now, I'll start updating once OU-Texas starts at the top of the hour.

12:49: Apparently the game starts an hour later than I thought. This is good, since it allowed me to go to Buckley's and get my guitar restringed without missing any of the action. Good times.

1:06: Dan Fouts mentions how Adrian Peterson (OU's stud running back, who torched Texas for over 200 yards last year) looks really banged up. Not a good sign, since the Sooners don't have a QB who can throw.

1:08. Kickoff. Keith Jackson is doing play-by-play. Awesome. Texas fumbles the kickoff, but recovers.

1:12: Just checked and found out that the Angels-Yanks game has been rained out. You know, if I'm Joe Torre, I definitely go with Mussina in Game 4, especially with the extra day off. I don't care how well Shawn Chacon pitched down the stretch, he's still Shawn Chacon.

1:14: The video feed for OU-Texas cuts out. Add in the problems I'm having setting up my WWE Fantasy Team, and this has not been a good few minutes.

1:15: Texas just converted a fourth down, I believe. We're getting audio, but not video for the football game.

1:23: Checked the listings and found out that the NHL Network is showing Game 7 of the '86 Smythe Final. They're in the thrid period, meaning we've already missed the Steve Smith goal. Ugh. I flip back to football to see "Coming up: Vince Young's pre-game music". If you think I'm changing the channel now, you're crazy.

1:27: They show Vince Young warming up, listening to music, while ABC plays the Kris Kristofferson classic "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys". Sadly, Todd Harris clarifies that Young listens to a song called "Tha King" by T.I. I'd have enjoyed this much more if he DID listen to Kris Kristofferson.

1:28: When Kimmis reads this, he's going to have a heart attack when he sees that I've mentioned Kris Kristofferson twice. Make that three times now. If I can find a way to reference Robert Palmer and Michael Penn, Kevin will probably start touting this post for a Pulitzer Prize.

1:49: OU just got a FG after recovering a Texas fumble on the kickoff. 7-6 Horns. Texas has looked sloppy, fumbling three times and losing one. Todd Harris tells us that Adrian Peterson is getting taped up again, not a good sign for the Sooners.

1:50: As I was typing that last paragraph, Texas Freshman Jamaal Charles ran 80 yards for a touchdown. They needed that. The longer OU hangs around, the more I like their chances; Texas needs to break this one open fast.

2:05: They just interviewed OU great (and current Dallas Cowboy) Roy Williams, not to be confused with Texas great (and current Detroit Lion) Roy Williams. Roy's advice for OU's defense: "tackle". Deep.
(This has been the only highlight of the last 15 minutes. Really. The only thing that comes close was me breaking out the leftover chips and salsa from last night. I'm almost done, which will necessitate a convenience store run soon.)

2:18: Still 14-6. They show a shot of Bevo, Texas' mascot. This seems like the perfect place to relate on one of the more amusing/disturbing anecdotes from College Football lore.

Back in the early 1990s, Texas had a non-conference game against Mississippi State. During the week leading up to the game, Mississippi State Head Coach Jackie Sherrill devised what he thought would be a great motivational stunt for his team. What did he do? He had a steer castrated on the Bulldog practice field. Yup, read that part again. Isn't your life richer just knowing that? (For what's it worth, the Bulldogs won that game, though whether it was in part or in spite of the stunt is up for debate).

2:27: Texas' offense had been sputtering for some time, and OU finally took advantage with an Interception they returned into the 'Horns end of the field. Texas gets away with one, since the Sooners are flagged for pass interference on what looked like a questionable call. They're leading, but Texas keeps getting away with mistakes. I don't think this can keep up.

2:30: Vince Young on a draw. Compared to the Rose Bowl last year and the OSU game from last month, this is a completely different Vince Young today. He's mostly been a pocket passer, with a few draws and scrambles thrown in, compared to the run-first QB I'm used to seeing. That may be why the offense is stuck in neutral.

2:44: A routine check reveals that Ilya Kovalchuk has signed a five-year deal with the Atlanta Thrashers, averaging around $6.5 million a year. He should be in the lineup next week, we'll see if he's rusty at all.

2:47: VInce Young connects on a bomb to a wide open receiver in the final 30 seconds of the half. The Horns should take a 24-6 lead into the half. I like their chances much more than I did 20 minutes ago, especially since OU hasn't moved the ball on offense at all, and their Quarterback's first name is Rhett. Neither of those things inspire confidence in me.

3:14: Back in time for the second half kickoff. We're also 20 minutes away from kickoff in Georgia-Tennessee, and about an hour away from the first pitch in Houston-Atlanta. So as notable Oklahoman Jim Ross would say, "Business is fixin' to pick up".

(As an aside, good ole JR is expected to be replaced as the announcer on Monday Night Raw any day now, basically as soon as the WWE finalizes a deal with UFC announcer MIke Goldberg. Sad day for wrestling fans everywhere, many of my best memories as a fan involve Jim Ross. ANYWAY, between JR getting turfed, and a potential blowout loss to Texas, this could be the worst week in the history of the state of Oklahoma.)

3:32: I hate to say this, but the game is becoming a snoozer. OU can't do anything on offense. Lucky for them, they're defense is holding just enough to keep Texas from running away with the game. The highlight of the past half hour has been downloading the new Goo Goo Dolls single off of iTunes. It's called "Better Days", check it out.

3:34: Georgia-Tennessee should kick off any minute. Though I pledge my undying allegiance to Notre Dame, I always have a soft spot for Georgia too. I hope they roll Tennessee.

3:37: D.J. Shockley takes the snap for Georgia and scrambles around for a loss. This is his first year starting, after backing up David Greene for something like 17 years.

3:38: Georgia runs a reverse on the second play! Just like I would in Madden (or NCAA). I love this team!

3:45: Texas has added another touchdown to go up 31-6, basically sealing the deal. I don't think I'll be flipping back to that game. Meanwhile, Georgia couldn't score on the first posession, which they ran completely out of the shotgun. Add in the D.J. Shockley runs, and it's like their playbook was composed while their offensive coordinator watched a Texas game and said "let's do that!"

3:49: I'd be remiss in not mentioning the other games that were on earlier: Florida-Mississippi State, and Boston College-Virginia, which is still going on. I haven't flipped to either game once, nor do I think I will.

4:07: Nothing much happening in the football games. I switched it to sportsnet to see a replay of an old Twins-Yankees playoff game. Huh? I don't know what's going on.

5:01: Took a trip to the grocery store, since I needed stove top stuffing. Thanksgiving hasn't really been a big deal since I was a kid, mostly cause one or both of my parents are generally traveling at this time. But when we do have thanksgiving, the unquestionable highlight for me is always Stove Top Stuffing. I could eat it every day. Anyway, after searching the entire grocery store (you'd think it would be obvious to find), I finally tracked it down. In a sports-related moment, I was inspired to do the Derek Jeter fist pump upon success. In other news, I somehow managed to buy $55 worth of groceries when I went to buy $2 worth of stuffing.

5:43: Quick updates, Uga leads 10-0 with the second half starting. Also, Texas Tech, on the heels of a 70-10 blowout in last year's game, lead Nebraska 21-14. If there's any justice in the football universe, Nebraska will never have a successful season again as punishment for abandoning the option. You're never going to change my mind on this.

6:12: The updates have slowed considerably, and likely will until baseball starts. The Dawgs are up 13-0 and look to be firmly in control. Part of me gets the feeling that this is one of those games where one team dominates for 53 minutes, but doesn't put the team away, before the team rallies for 2 TDs to win.

6:13: Yup, as soon as I typed that last paragraph Tennessee picked Shockley off and returned it to the 1, setting up a 1 yard QB sneak the next play. 13-7.

6:18: "The entire Georgia team will have its eyes on D.J. Shockley". You think, Verne Lundquist? Who else are they going to watch? The Left Guard? I miss Keith Jackson.

6:29: Georgia fumbles inside the Tennessee Red Zone. Uh-oh.

7:13: Just got back from a dinner break to see that Georgia's gone up 20. Less than 2 minutes left, and the Dawgs are in total control.

7:17: 27-7 final. Half an hour to Ohio State-Penn State.

7:31: Fox Pre-Game. Todd Zeile is the token post-season third man in the booth, joining "I Dream of" Jeannie Zalesko and Kevin "Porn Stache" Kennedy.

7:34: Interview clip with Randy Johnson. He admits he stunk, I can respect that. Randy's something like 2-8 in the LDS, which is odd given his World Series dominance in 2001. When you think about the fact that 1, if not both of his LDS wins came in '95 against the Yanks, you have to wonder if he's really that much of a clutch player. Which is the true Johnson, the one who dominated in the World Series and the '95 LDS, or the guy who has pretty much stunk (0-8 in the LDS since '95) in every other series. I'm perplexed, though he won 3 games in the '01 Series, so that probably gives him a free pass in the playoffs for life.

7:38: The most notable thing about Todd Zeile: the expressive hand motions. Those things don't stay still. He's almost as bad as the guy who does college basketball for Sportsnet. It's so distracting that I can't concentrate on anything else.

8:03: OSU draws first blood with a FG 9 minutes in.

8:04: Flip to hockey for the first time, to see Montreal miss 2 great scoring chances, then get a penalty. Scoreless game early in the 2nd. I forgot that hockey started an hour earlier, I thought I'd be catching the beginning now. Oh well. At least I missed Coach's Corner.

8:06: Montreal gets whistled again! Things have been looking up since I switched to the game (*knock on wood*)

8:12: The 'Stros have Roy "Lee Harvey" Oswalt going, one of the underrated aces in the game. In the first, he retires the side in order. Looks like he has his A-game going, let's see how the Braves respond.

8:13: Ugh. Montreal's on the power play. I shouldn't change the channel again.

8:14: I'm considering switching to Radio-Canada, so I won't have to listen to Bob Cole and Harry Neale. Plus I love the French announcers. "Et Le But!" has to be one of the best phrases in ANY language.

8:15: Damn. Montreal's on the board first. Glad I didn't hear "et let but!" in that case.

8:18: Small-ball alert! Small-ball alert! Houston gets the leadoff man on 2nd, then tries to bunt him over. If he's watching right now, Avi's head just exploded.

8:19: Tavares fouls off 2 bunt attempts, then strikes out looking. Next thing you know, Sosa plunks Lance Berkman, and there are 2 on and 0 out.

8:22: 3-0 Buckeyes after 1. I need picture-in-picture to facilitate flipping between games.

8:23: What! I flip to baseball for a few minutes and miss 2 Leaf goals! They scored twice in a minute, even Domi got on the board.

8:23: "Whoaoa Whoaoa Oaoaoa oh oh oh oh". I love 'Zombie Nation'. It might be the best hockey arena song, taking the crown away from 'TNT".

8:24: Montreal ties it up, Nicklas Sundstrom was wide open. Bah. Back to baseball.

8:25: Bases loaded, 1 out, 1 run in already for Houston. I change my mind about picture in picture, what I actually need is at least 2 TV's in the room, so I don't miss a second of any game.

8:26: Sac fly to right-center. 2-0 Astros.

8:27: Football: They just showed highlights of a PSU pep rally last night, where Joe Paterno appeared to be doing some sort of dance move akin to Norman Smiley's "The Big Wiggle". The less said about this the better.

8:29: Turn to CBC just in time to see Montreal score on the power play. My roommate Paul sums it up: "every time you turn it back, they score!" Yup. Suffice to say we're cutting hockey out of the rotation for the next little while.

8:31: Damn. Jocelyn Thibault didn't start. I knew I should have gone with Ty Conklin ahead of him on my fantasy team.

8:32: Resisting urge to check the hockey game. Must...not...jinx...Leafs...any more.

8:35: Oswalt just got called for a balk. Or maybe a walk. Nobody's really sure. 2 on, no out for the Braves in any case.

8:35: Jeff Francouer hits into a double play. The throw to first pulled Mike Lamb of the bag, but he held on and tagged Francouer during a collison. Nice. Any time the game gets physical, you know it's going to be good.

8:36: The announcers were talking about how Francouer could have gone to Clemson on a football scholarship. The color guy, who might be Steve Lyons, says "Maybe he would have been like Deion Sanders and never tackled anyone". Zing!

8:39: Brian McCann with another big hit to cut the lead to 2-1. There's something about the playoffs that always seem to bring out the best in Catchers. Seriously, look how many light-hitting catchers have had career months in October. Some years they even win the World Series MVP. McCann and Benjie Molina (3 HRs) are more than carrying the torch thus far.

8:40: Still haven't checked hockey. PSU's gone up 7-3.

8:41: The pitcher gets a hit to tie the game! Wow, you gotta love that.

8:44: Another TD for the Lions to go up 14-3. They scored on the option too! Yes!

9:06: Bob Davie is doing color for ESPN? Bob Davie?! I can't f'n believe he'd get a job anywhere after killing Lou Holtz' legacy at Notre Dame. What a shitty coach. Gah.

9:07: We have a reader from Nebraska! I can't tell you how exciting this is. Tangentially, here are two questions I've always wanted to ask a Nebraskan:
1) Out of this list of famous Nebraskans, who would you be most proud to call your own and why?
2) What are your thoughts on Bruce Springsteen's album 'Nebraska'?

(Feel free to respond, Theresa, or any other Nebraskan who's reading this. It might even becoming a running column, a sort of reverse mailbag where I email questions to readers and they respond.)

9:29: Flipped to hockey, they're showing the end of the Ottawa-Buffalo game (5-0 Sens), so the Leafs-Habs must be over. I haven't heard from my dad or my brother yet, so this might be good news (crosses fingers).

9:31: Nope. Montreal held on 5-4. I won't be answering my cell phone for the next little while.

9:35: Just checked my fantasy hockey league. Kevin added Blackhawks Defenseman Brent Seabrooke on the heels of his 4 assist game. Kevin's so predictable, there's about a 75% chance that he'll pick up any player on the heels of a big performance, no matter how good this player actually is. Big week for Kevin, found time to jump on the Seabrooke bandwagon and the Josh McCown bandwagon in football. Is this unique, or does every fantasy league have a player like this?

9:56: Nothing much happening. We're between hockey games, PSU's holding a 17-10 edge, and Roy Oswalt is cruising along in the 7th with a 3-2 lead. I've been amusing myself trying to learn 'Brilliant Disguise' on the guitar. You can never know too much Springsteen.

10:54 AM, Sunday: Ended up calling it quits early to hit the town, hence the lack of an ending. Anyhow, here's what we missed: Astros took Game 3 7-3, Penn State held on to win 17-10 and the Oil beat the Canucks in a shootout. Jussi Markannen started in goal for Edmonton, meaning none of the three goalies on my fantasty team got the nod last night. *Rage* At least I'm still beating Kimmis in our head-to-head matchup this week. Once the Pats roll over the Falcons, methinks I'll give him a call.


At 4:31 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Um, actually Ed Bruce wrote "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys", and the song was made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

Good stuff guys...when you have a break check my blog out for a laugh.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...


You said on your blog that you like everything from Fitzgerald "except The Great Gatsby." I don't know if Abboud and I can support a blog that disses The Great Gatsby. It's like supporting the Yankees--evil.

Thanx for checking us out!

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Give me some jokes or something, Abboud. Some angry Abboud-isms, maybe. You are killing me here!

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I'm willing to give Theresa a chance, since we need the readers (and it's nice to have female readers too). Plus she's from a Red State. Probably listens to John Cougar Mellencamp.

But Theresa, I am curious why you don't like the greatest novel ever written.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Grabia, I'm trying. But between the grey, gloomy weather outside, and my killer hangover from last night, I'm not in my wheelhouse right now.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

LOL! Fair enough. And yes, Theresa, we want the readership, and we want you to spread the good news about SportsMatters. I am just confused as to why you don't like The Great American Novel. I mean, Gatsby is no Amory Blaine, but still.

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Are you dead, Abboud?

At 1:26 AM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...!!!

Comic Book Guy


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