Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday, Monday

Ba-da ba-da-da-da
Ba-da ba-da-da-da
Ba-da ba-da-da-da

Where to start? What a Monday night. Thank God the Oilers game was a late one. I think I would have thrown my arm out and needed Tommy John surgery if I had been forced to add one more channel to my repertoire. You had a great Steelers-Chargers (San-Di-e-go-Sup-er-Chargers!) matchup on Monday Night Football, Game 5 of the ALDS between the The Angels Angels of Anaheim (I have taken the liberty of doing the translation for all non-Latino readers) and the New York Fucking Yankees (this translation is for all non-New Englanders), as well as Stephanie McMahon and Triple H on Raw, all starting at 7 p.m. Toss in the Oilers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (or are they the Los Angeles Mighty Ducks of Anaheim? I can't keep track.) at 8:30, and you have a sports fan dying, absolutely dying, for TIVO to come to Canada.

Monday Night Football, Week 5

Monday, monday, can’t trust that day
Monday, monday, sometimes it just turns out that way

It is hard to turn the channel when you have a football matchup like this. Two of the best teams in the AFC, indeed the entire NFL, meeting for a game on the show with Madden and those "big ol paws". Throw in those vintage Chargers uniforms, and I am sold. I think the best thing about those uniforms isn't actually the powder-blue jerseys, but the white helmets with numbers. Plus, the lightning bolts down the side of the pants always make me think of one of my favorite super-heroes, Black Lightning.

I can't believe I am going to say "funny" and "Sinbad" in the same sentence, but he did a sketch on SNL where he played Black Lightning attending the funeral for Superman, and no one knew who he was. Killer. It was right around when DC did that lame one-off of Supes getting offed by Doomsday. Jerry Seinfeld must have fell into a coma over that one. But Chris Farley as The Hulk=Guaranteed Laughs. I used to have that entire episode on tape, actually. It is simply dynamite. You get the Cluckin Chicken commercial, two Deep Thoughts, Bram Stoker's Blacula, The Office Thanksgiving skit where Adam Sandler plays a retard, and a Nat X skit with Sinbad as Joe Jackson. "Now, my first guest tonight is the envy of most men in America, because he is known to have slept with Janet Jackson. Please welcome her father - Joe Jackson!" I would go so far as to claim, in fact, that other than the Justin Timberlake episode in 2003, the Sinbad episode is the best single episode of Saturday Night Live ever.

The game was rather uneventful, actually, until the end. The Steelers defence once again held an opposing team's running back to under 100 yards rushing, doing it this time against the NFL's premier back, LaDainian Tomlinson. And sure, there was the Edwin Moses hurdle by Steeler James Harrison, which Daniel Graham of the Patriots had also pulled off on Sunday. And the Steelers won. Blah blah blah. But the only thing of importance in this game, at least to me, was that Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had to be carted off at the end of it. Why do I like this injury? Several reasons. It hurts an opponent in my fantasy league, whichever one has him. It hurts the Steelers, who I don't like. But most importantly, it hurts Kevin Kimmis, who now cheers for the Steelers under the suspicious claim that "my brother likes them." I think Kevin's gradual switching of allegiances has more to do with the Mike Martz era in St. Louis than his twin, but I suppose I have to take him at his word. The Rams did appear to be his favorite time a few short years ago, though. Either way, these pictures are the highlight of my night. Following upon my thrashing of Kevin this week in the fantasy pool, that statement pretty much assures that Kevin won't speak to me for at least a month.

"Nice pick, Cowher!" Man, that never gets old.

One last thing about this game. With close to ten seconds left in the game, and the Steelers about to kick the winning field goal, Chargers coach Marty "Big Game" Schottenheimer called a time out. The announcers stated that Schottenheimer's plan was to "freeze" Steeler kicker Jeff Reed, making him have to think about the kick for an extra two minutes, and thereby increasing the chances that Reed would miss it. Of course. The freeze strategy. Now, I can't really go after Schottenheimer specifically for this call, because every NFL coach makes it. It is as ironclad a rule as, I don't know, always doubling down on eleven. Here is my question, though: does it really work? Actually, I have a second question. How do you know if it works? Has anyone actually crunched the numbers to see how many times coaches "freeze" a kicker by calling a timeout, and then checking to see how many attempts are made after these time-out calls? Furthermore, if the kicker misses after the timeout, how do you know that it was the timeout that caused the miss? I mean, kickers sit on the sidelines for about 98% of the game. I can't see how adding an extra two minutes to their thought process will affect anything. Of course, I am willing to look at the numbers. Only one problem: they don't exist. Do they? I have never seen any statistic during a telecast. And they have stats for everything. If it existed, wouldn't it appear on the screen at some point? "John, Mike Vanderjagt may be Canadian, but he has never missed a field-goal after an attempted freeze." "Ya, Al, this just doesn't make alot of sense to me. And if they stopped the Colts on third down, they wouldn't have to be in this situation. Did I ever tell you about the time I ate a Manitoban?"

American League Division Series, Game 5

Oh monday mornin’ you gave me no warnin’ of what was to be
Oh monday, monday, how could you leave and not take me

Yesterday afternoon, I was convinced the Yankees were going to win this series. Here is why. Likely Cy Young winner Bartolo "I Have A Cheeseburger Caught In My" Colon was available to the Angels for game four Sunday night. But instead of using him and trying to close out the series in New York, Angels GM Mike Scioscia decided to save Colon for game five. He even went so far as to send Colon home while the rest of the Angels played, assumingly so that he could get some proper rest in Anaheim. The problem was that game four starter Jarrod Washburn came down with strep throat, and could not play. So instead of having his ace available to him, Scioscia was stuck with fittingly named John Lackey for the game four start. I would say that I didn't believe it, but I did. The Yankees always get breaks like this. I was convinced, therefore, that the Yankees would move on, and that Red Sox fans would have to hear "well, at least we made it to the ALCS" every day for the next six months.

Well, the Yankees lost. Life is good. The odd thing is, I knew they were going to lose from the second inning on. The moment I saw Gary "I Could Just Kill A Man" Sheffield and Bubba "My Daddy Ain't David" Crosby smash into each other in centre field, I knew that the Baseball Gods had already decided the Yankees fate. It was reinforced by one other play: the call out at first of Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano for running inside the baseline in the fifth. It was so reminiscent of A-Rod's interference with Bronson Arroyo in Game Six of the 2004 ALCS that it might as well have been a (black?) lightning bolt.

Speaking of A-Rod, he went 2-for-15 in the series, with a .133 batting average, no RBI's, and a very costly error in Game 2. In his new book, Bill Simmons talks about how A-Rod is notoriously good during games and times that don't matter. Sure, he is awesome during the regular season, and when the Yankees are up by eight runs, but Simmons argues that in the playoffs and in close games, A-Rod chokes. A-Rod's response to losing this series?

"I had a great year, something I'm very proud of," A-Rod said. "I left my guts on the field, I left my heart out there. I'm not going to hang my head. I'm going to learn from it and become a better Yankee."

It sounds almost exactly the same as what he said last year after getting knocked out by the BoSox.

Compare and contrast this with Derek Jeter, who may have average numbers during the season, but is clutch during games that count, especially the playoffs.

"We don't play to just make it to the playoffs; we've been to the playoffs before," New York captain Derek Jeter said. "We play to win, and we fell short again."

Jeter was 7-for-21 for the series, with a .333 batting average, four runs, two home runs and five RBI. That includes three hits, one run, and two RBI in game five. He hit a homer in the eighth inning to draw the Yankees to within two, and he even got on in the top of the ninth. He was forced out in a double play by--who else?--Rodriguez.

Having done the quick research, however, Simmons argument doesn't really hold up, at least not in the playoffs. In the series with the Angels, Jeter's OBP was .348, his SLG was .619, and his OPS was .967. A-Rod's? His OBP was .435, his SLG was .200 , and his OPS was .635. So in this year's series, Jeter holds the edge. But over their playoff careers, their stats compare as such (explanation of the batting statistics can be found here:


• 31 Games
• 19 Runs
• 36 Hits
• 6 Home Runs
• 16 RBI
• 15 Base on Balls
• 4 Stolen Bases
• .305 Batting Average
• .401 On Base Percentage
• .534 Slugging Average
• .935 On Base Plus Slugging


• 115 Games
• 81 Runs
• 142 Hits
• 16 Home Runs
• 47 RBI
• 50 Base on Balls
• 16 Stolen Bases
• .307 Batting Average
• .378 On Base Percentage
• .463 Slugging Average
• .841 On Base Plus Slugging

I haven't looked at the defensive numbers, nor can I count intangibles like "big plays" (obviously). But A-Rod's playoff numbers seem to hold up with Jeter's, at least in terms of offensive production. Of course, Jeter has 4 World Series rings and A-Rod has none, so in the end, where the only thing that matters is winning, Jeter has a large edge. Personally, I hope the number of World Series rings stays exactly the same for both players. Unless one of them ends up on the RedSox. Shudder.


Monday, monday (ba-da ba-da-da-da)
So good to me (ba-da ba-da-da-da)

I have nothing to add here, but it was nice to see Stephanie Mcmahon's awful attempt at a snarl again. That and her fake puppies, to borrow a term from Jerry "The King" Lawler. Oh yeah, for some reason, the WWE has decided to give some Rick Rude wannabe an angle where he fights old wrestling legends. Last week, he got splashed by Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Tonight he had to fight Doink the Clown, who is only a wrestling legend if you have a very twisted sense of humour. I do, and therefore found the whole match to be quite enjoyable.

Oilers Hockey

Whoa, monday, monday, won’t go away (ba-da ba-da-da-da)
Monday, monday, it’s here to stay (ba-da ba-da-da-da)

Even in the new NHL, games with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks are incredibly boring. I hate watching Ducks games, always have, and it appears that nothing has changed. They represent everything that has been wrong with professional hockey for the past ten years, and it won't be rectified in my mind, even with their attempt at having decent hockey uniforms.

Ray Ferraro made a comment tonight about "some people" worrying that there would be no room for hitting in the new NHL. Those crazy "some people." I don't know who they are, but I fail to see how they could think this. As well, I continue to be flabbergasted by people who are upset that the clutching and grabbing is being eliminated from the game. Either these people never played the game, and have been brainwashed by bad product for the past ten years, or they played the game for too long, and also got brainwashed by bad product. Does that make sense? I can't tell. I have been writing this post for a small eternity, and I am starting to see Smurfs dancing in my line of vision. My point is this: I don't care if they call twenty penalties a night for the rest of my life. I really don't.

Back to the hitting. There was lots of it tonight, and I think it will continue to be there. In fact, it might become an even more important part of the game, since you can't pin a body to the ground like an Inuit seal-hunter anymore. I see the big open-ice hit making a comeback, along with the hip check. Maybe the Oilers can hire career-killer Craig Muni to be a bodychecking coach? It seems to be working with Craig Simpson.

Normally, that last statement would have been a cheap shot. But the Oil are on fire with the PP, and are now 3-0 on the season. When was the last time the Edmonton Oilers started the season at 3-0? I feel like I have been slipped some Rohypnol, so I can't look up this query. Perhaps someone can leave me an answer to read when I awake from my slumber.

Ba-da ba-da-da-da
Ba-da ba-da-da-da
Ba-da ba-da-da-da


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