Columbus Day Musings – The Sequel

Greetings from the crotch of football mediocrity. Yes, yes, yes here along the shores of Lake Ontario we have Syracuse University jes’ a li’l stretch east on the thruway. The Orangemen continue their descent into the college football abyss (don’t look now they might be neck and neck with the Fightin’ Irish). The Orange have dropped so much that they now advertise season tickets for $110. Now I may not be a very smart man, but D1 college pigskin for less than $20 a game is maybe too cheap. Bring back MacPherson!
Then we have the Bills to the west. Please for the love of God and for Nukes, Murph, and Wu don’t let the Bills embarrass themselves on MNF. I probably shouldn’t comment on the NFL. I have managed to watch all of fifteen minutes this season. Can’t explain it. Probably has something to do with Tiki’s unctuous farewell tour – leading to his borrowing Madden’s bus to throw Coughlin underneath – leading to his backing up the bus to throw Eli under it. And if that wasn’t enough-the whole Strahan dilemma bored me to tears. If I wanted a soap opera I would tivo mid-day tv. (Actually, don’t have tivo, wouldn’t know how to tivo – just thought I’d sound like a hipster by saying tivo.)
And he we are in Rochester – stuck in the middle.
Been a long time since we have had a chance to partake in the playful banter. I’d explain, but that’s boring.

Sounds crazy but one year ago we started this online sports discussion with an informal e-mail. Thought I’d dig it up for y’all.

The Oakland A’s. New York Mets. Detroit Tigers. The St. Louis Cardinals. I can live with that. I don’t have to concern myself with a team owned by Jeff Loria ambushing the World Series trophy. I won’t have to worry about viewing games from the pool cam at Arizona. Most of all I don’t have to worry about seeing George Steinbrenner dressed in his always too tight turtleneck trying to look like he really knows what is going on down on the field. I can’t really cheer for any of the four remaining teams (I wouldn’t want to break any man laws), but I can fall asleep at night knowing that the World Series winner will have some tradition and integrity. But questions remain…

First – when will the Yankees get it? The last time they won the series a guy named Brosius played third, O’Neill roamed right field, Tino Martinez held down first, and Pettite and Clemens anchored the rotation. Character guys. Champions. So what’s the logical thing to do after winning a chan’ship ( think of Magic Johnson-I stole this one from Wally)…change as much as possible. Yeah, Paulie retired and they didn’t really have much control over that. Pettite needed to be closer to his family, and Clemens made like he was retiring.

The rest of us would have wanted to hold on to every last vestige of that team. Not George. He needed headlines: YANKEES SIGN GIAMBI. YANKEES SIGN BROWN. YANKEES SIGN BOONE. YANKEES SIGN MONDESI. (Wait…was that a headline?) YANKEES SIGN SHEeFIELD. YANKEES SIGN A-ROD. And now six years later and zero championships: YANKEES TO FIRE TORRE. Please fire him. Maybe now another team can win the AL East. All the guy has done is to win his division every year. I guess only Bobby Cox and Bill Cowher can enjoy the job security that comes with consistency.

Does anyone outside of the Yankee front office really believe that guys like the aforementioned headlines were true champions? For example, does anyone remember game one, inning one 2004 ALCS. Sheefield rounds third and scores. He promptly jumps up and wants to start bumping chests with anyone. Jeter stares at him as if to say: “Yo Bri, you are a part of the Yankees. You are supposed to act like you have crossed home plate before.” Over the last six years Joe Torre has done the following: served as wet nurse to one purple-lipped, tomahawk choppin’ fellow known as A-Rod, (this just in A-Rod is a bargain on the trading block for $75,000,000. I don’t know if I want him to stay a Yankee or get traded. Whenever A-Rod leaves a team, they improve. That means the Yankees would get dangerously close to number 27. On the other hand, if A-Rod stays in the Bronx the law of averages has to come into play and they will eventually win a title with him. By the way, did anyone read how A-Rod is now comparing himself to John Elway. That is like comparing Newkirk and LeBeau from Hogan’s Heroes to Andy DuFresne. Newkirk and Lebeau might have done a lot of escaping from Stalag 13, but they didn’t have to crawl through “five hundred yards of sh**-smelling foulness.”), tended to the Jason Giambi apology (for what we still do not know), lived through the Mondesi acquisition (yeah Torre really wanted that distraction in the clubhouse), let’s not forget DARRYL STRAWBERRY, and any other fiascoes that I am forgetting. Yeah it makes sense; fire Torre. He hasn’t earned the right to go out on his own terms. At this rate the Yankees will fire Donnie Baseball and bring in Danny Tartabull as their hitting coach – wait…Tartabull might still be stuck in traffic with George Costanza. I can’t wait for the Lou Piniella tenure at Yankee Stadium.

More musings – Kel and I were once again blessed with the opportunity to watch a football game at the Notre Dame stadium. After the game on Saturday we ambled across campus to the post-game mass at the Stepan center, and on to the famed Huddle for eats and more sports viewing. I was struck by the image of one NOMAH Garciaparra taking his place at the end of the Dodger bench with yet another injury. Don’t get me wrong I still stand by my statement that I would rather have had NOMAH than A-Rod for the 2004 Sox team, but what a journey that guy has had: he has gone from (as Bill Simmons stated) near the Boston sports pantheon, to getting injured, to not agreeing to a multiyear, multimillion dollar (someone please refresh my memory as to the specifics) contract from the Sox, to pouting while the Sox made themselves whores in the A-Rod sweepstakes, formerly known as the help Tom Hicks out of his gaffe sweepstakes, to becoming a clubhouse cancer that required trading at the deadline, to thinking about becoming a stud on the Mia Hamm farm (can you see twenty-five years from now one of their kids trying to reenact Nomar’s batter’s box routine on the soccer field?), to accepting less money than Rafael Furcal to play first for the Dodgers, to earning Comeback Player of the Year, to getting injured and watching as his team bows out from the playoffs.

Sunday ride home – Lite Beer from Miller billboard in Cleveland reads: “Man Law – Logos on football helmets not allowed.” How about you guys get a competitive team and then we will consider your man laws. If this were the English Premier League you guys would be fodder for relegation discussions.

Sunday night at home – Cardinals and Padres. It’s the seventh inning and LaRussa goes to his bullpen. The back of the reliever’s shirt reads J-O-H-N-S-O-N, but Joe Buck reads us a biography for a guy named Kinney. I am wondering if I am having a Ray Kinsella moment as Buck narrates this guy’s career and how he spent time with the River City Rats. Tim McCarver sits by and lets his partner continue with his foul up. That’s one way to get McCarver to shut up: make a fool of yourself in front of a national television audience.

Georgia Tech still has only one loss: at home to the Irish. So why did ND drop in the polls after beating the Ramblin’ Wreck?

And some classic responses. First from Wally:Great ramblings, Paul.

How can Torre be the fall guy for a team that led the majors in runs scored for the season and then somehow did not score a run for something like 25 consecutive innings in a playoff series? How is it HIS fault???? The Yankmees gagged … the multi-millionaires choked and that’s all there is to it. Props to Detroit !

A-Rod needs to get outta there … so he can breathe … and go back to being a sure-fire 45 HR, 140 RBI guy and future Hall of Famer. The ChiSox can certainly use him at short, but I doubt they would ever make that move … but they could afford him. So could the Cubs … OBVIOUSLY.

I’m rooting for (not predicting) the A’s to triumph in the World Series over the Cardinals. It’ll be a win for small-ball, money-ball, unappreciated minor markets, and the admirers of Reggie, Catfish, Campaneris, Bando, Rollie, Tenace, Rudi, Vida, Blue-moon and those awesome green and gold uniforms with the white shoes!!! Go A’s!!! Actually … for any of these teams left to win it all is a good outcome … even the Mets cuz that’ll make Steinbrenner madder than hell and second fiddle in NY 🙂

ND is not out of it … they will need some luck with other teams losing … and they’ll need to improve that D to beat SoCal … but chan-ship aspirations (thanks, Magic) should still burn within them. There’s a lot of college football left over 7 weeks!


Then from JD:
Funny that you should make such proclamations about the Yankees on
Columbus’ Day, he of the search for the Far East and the riches of
that world. The Yankees “Search” for a way to win the world series by
buying players to try and fit into a system once again fails. Instead
of the silks and riches of a Championship, they are once again left
scratching their heads wondering how they ended up in the strange,
confusing abyss that comes with the realization that maybe they were
not as good as the hype. Yankee Fan also shares this look of
bewilderment and feeling of hopelessness. Kind of like that
rudderless ship floating on the ocean looking for a lighthouse, a sign
that maybe things will be okay again, but knowing deep in their heart
of hearts that firing a manager or getting rid of a player will not
lead them to the promised land.
Unfortunately I believe Notre Dame shares the same, “We can outscore
any team in the land” philosophy that doomed the Yankees. In terms of
championships, coaches, or should I say good coaches, know history and
do try to replicate it – Defense wins Championships. Do you here me –
Defense Wins Championships. Tiger knows that, Phil doesn’t. Tiger
hits a 2 iron at the British Open, never even pulls out driver I believe for
the entire week while Phil hits a 3 wood out of the rough at the US
Open. We all know what happened.
By the way when are we going to get rid of the Ferry. In the time it
has taken me to write this sad little response it has cost the city of
Rochester about $500. Nice.
Remember Vote Democrat – it’s the only logical choice.

And last from Crossword Pete:You knew I would respond to paragraph 2. Defense does USUALLY win
championships, but there is the rare time when scoring more points than
the opposition is enough. Notre Dame is the team to make this one of
those rare times, though if ND holds to traditions, Weis will not win
that championship until next year. Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Devine,
and Holtz all won championships in their THIRD season at ND.
Otherwise, I am really glad that Gotham gave you a chance to ramble and
rant about all that is messed up in the world (of sports). P

Sure is crazy how things get recycled. Once again Torre is on the chopping block. To all Yankee fans: please read everything above. Notice that I am giving your guys props and will continue to give props. But I do find it kinda amusing that a Red Sox retread saved you guys last night. How are y’all feeling about the FOUR year contract for Judas Damon? Especially when you have to make a defensive replacement for him late in the game. Do you now understand why the Sox only offered him three years?

Another thing Yank fans – Giambino?!?!?! For the old-timers doesn’t this reference incense you? How does Jason Giambi merit such a comparison? That would be like the Sox re-naming the right field pole – Pedroia’s Pole.

JD is actually cheering for the Yanks over the Wahoos because he wants to see the two combatants slug it out for the pennant.

All in all the Yanks – Sox rivalry can only get better (if that is possible) over next few years. Both teams have reloaded with a fine stable of farm boys (This just in: An addendum to the Joba Rules: Joba does not pitch during swarms.)

On to the Irish: Yikes!!!!! How the mighty have fallen. I have heard a couple of noteworthy theories. Young Goodman Reynell has noted the Irish lack of line strength on both sides of the ball. The line does seem of particular weakness – maybe that is why ND couldn’t seem to execute a successful snap for the first five games. Patrick has also mentioned that many, if not all of the big programs, have experienced a trough. Happy Valley wasn’t quite that a coupla years ago when the Lions couldn’t get out of their own way. Once there was a time when the Cornhuskers ruled the roost. Not so any more. But they will return to the top 10. As will the Hurricanes some day.

Crossword Pete has a theory of merit: Uncle Charlie is learning the difference between being a good coach and being a good college coach. Makes sense considering that Charlie did his winning with guys that were groomed in the basics by Ty Willingham. Now Uncle Charlie has openly admitted that he is simplifying everything. Sounds like the coach got a tad ahead of soldiers.

While on the topic of college pigskin – cheers to the geeks from Stanford and their coach Jim Harbaugh. Fourth and twenty- not a problem for the Cardinal. Chalk another one up for Pete Carroll. One week after his guys dropped from the #1 spot, Carroll couldn’t motivate his Trojans to beat the lowly Cardinal. How well would Pete do if he coached at an institution like Stanford where they make graduating more important than getting drafted in the NFL?
Cheers also to Boston College – top ten in the football polls and top ten in graduation rates!

Is anyone falling for Marion Jones and her crocodile tears? Guess we shouldn’t complain. At least she is man…errr…(Did I say that?) woman enough to own up to her faults. Hey Barry! Are you listening? Hey Floyd did you hear that?

Anyone catch this comment referring to the raucous crowd during game 2 ALDS Indians vs. Yanks: “The atmosphere here at the Jake is like an English Premier League soccer match. Brilliant!!!!!!!

Any guesses as to the number of touchdowns Randy Moss will score this season?

Here’s hoping Wally picks anyone other than the Sox to take the Series. First there was the wise one’s labeling of the Tigers as MLB’s hungriest team. Then Wally started rooting for the Mariners – somehow the M’s forgot that the purpose is to score more runs than the other team. Alas, Wally had the ‘Drew’s Revenge’ prediction during last year’s NFL playoffs. Of course Wally will remind how us all how he correctly picked last year’s final four – three #1 seeds and a #2 seed – maybe the blind squirrel and acorn theory applied.

Congrats to Mike Kelly ( a proud member of the Clipboard community)! Mike was recently named head baseball coach at Monroe Community College.

Casey/ Mercy/ Paul

13 Responses to "Columbus Day Musings – The Sequel"

  1. Z Dubbs   October 9, 2007 at 12:36 am

    I am just heartbroken that I have to say the same quote I have been saying since I can remember: “Wait till next year…” in regards to the Cubbies. (I still see Alou screaming his head off at Bartman in my sleep)

    And Joe Torre deserves better than being thrown into a media circus about his future. Best of luck to Joe, one of the bright spots from the Evil Empire.

  2. Big Nuzzy   October 9, 2007 at 7:40 am

    What else can I say?…Personally I’m not a huge college football fan and watch the NFL somewhat but what is unbelieveable is the display the Yankees put forth this ALDS. I think the person that needs to go is Steinbrenner with his uncalled for remarks about Joe Torre’s future as the Yankees manager. Steinbrenner should show some professionalism and treat Torre like the man who brought him 4 World Series rings and brought him to 6 World series in 11 years. I mean we can all take the easy way out and blame A-Rod but shame on us for having the audacity to leave a fellow ballplayer out to dry. We’ve all been there and know what it feels like to fail in a pressure situation or in that matter to be in a pressure situation at all.

    Bobby D.

  3. ccww   October 9, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Bobby D.,
    Great to hear from you. Can’t agree with you more.


  4. Wally   October 9, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Tribe vs BoSox should be one helluva series. Will be interesting to see if Cleveland’s talented top pitchers hold up like I know Beckett will. I guess I’m rooting for Cleveland and Colorado … just COL has never won and CLE hasn’t won since 1954 or something like that.

  5. ccww   October 9, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Whew! Wally is cheering for Cleveland.

    What? Did we forget how to comment online? 🙂

  6. Wally   October 9, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    One might think the Bills didn’t embarrass themselves Monday Night given the final score and incredible rally by the Cowgirls, BUT it was totally embarrassing not to win THE GAME after winning the turnover battle 6-1!!!! All your QB had to do was NOT throw an INT with 6 minutes left and you skate home. Repeat after me: THE BILLS SUCK! THE BILLS SUCK! THE BILLS SUCK! And I root for the Bills … have always liked ’em and I know my outlaws in Rochester are sick about this. (Hey … love the retro uniforms … I say keep those and trash the others). One HUGE flaw the Bills have: Dick Jauron is your head coach. Take it from a Bears fan and previous DJ victim … FIRE HIM IMMEDIATELY!!!!

    Did the Cubbies gag or what? I guess you could say that about all the teams that were swept or lost 3-1. Joe Torre is such a class act and a very good manager. Because of that, I have always hoped he retained his job. However, common sense has overcome me and I hope he gets fired so that a more deserving team can hire him.

    Lou Pinella should be renamed Lou Pinhead. In Game 1 vs ARZ, how do you take out Carlos Zambrano before starting the 7th in a 1-1 tie, after he looked great and only threw 85 pitches?!?!? The answer is: Only an idiot would!!! Thanks for setting the losing tone, Lou!!!

    On to predictions for the two LCS:
    NL: Rockies over D-Backs in 7
    AL: Red Saux over Tribe in 6

    Rockies are a team of destiny … i’m convinced some way, some how they will find a way to prevail in this very tight matchup. Boston will capitalize on one of the best home field advantages in all of baseball … and on their considerable post-season experience. Plus they have the better closer. I am rooting for CLE though. Nothing personal against RSN … just like to see a long-starving fan base get rewarded … similar to Boston in 04 and Chisox in 05.


  7. ccww   October 9, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    aaargh – Wally how could you predict a Sox victory?


  8. Z Dubbs   October 9, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    I hate Tim McCarver and will be watching games on Fox on mute.

  9. Muels   October 9, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Any true Red Saux fan stays clear of predictions. That said, watching the Tribe win with their clutch hitting reminds me of the Red Saux back in the early part of the season when everything was going right for them. Championships are not won in April and May (though without it we don’t win the AL East) but now the Saux are finding Manny being Manny with the bat for the first time all season, and Big Papi continuing to ignore the pain that he has stuggled with all year (somebody needs to explain how he managed to hit for his best average ever)…

    I can’t believe that with the Red Saux in the playoffs, and the Patriots readying for the Cowboys, I am actually looking forward to the first week of the NBA season, when I can get the sneak preview of the NBA DirecTV package and watch my Celtics! What is going on with me??

    Tim McCarver is the athlete-turned-commentator who has run out of interesting experiences and now talks simply to feed carbon dioxide to the trees of our world- I would say that he is trying to keep Fox “carbon neutral”, but he is too much of a negative to get a neutral rating in anything…

    Am I way off base in thinking that the best thing for the Yankees would be to give their young talent a year to take their knocks, then mix their new homegrown base with a new mix of veteren free agents for long-term success? Not chasing after A-Rod would free up $30+ million/year to bring in quality character players for a cohesive clubhouse…

    Do I want the Red Saux to chase after a free agent A-Rod? NO FREAKIN’ WAY!!!!!!!! Please give Mike Lowell a sweet 2-3 year deal and lock up their kids (Paps, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Clay). Pay Schill for one more year and pray that JD Drew can earn some of his money for the next 4 years. Keep Coco in center and Ellsbury as the 4th outfielder until Manny walks away from Boston (who knows when that will happen)…


  10. Cletis   October 10, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    The Yanks seem to be getting the message. The only way they won the wildcard is by relying on the kids in the minors. They brought back some fun to an old team. Keep Torre one more year and let’s see what he can do with these young pitchers and position players with a small mix of vets.

  11. Wally   October 10, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    How could I pick the Saux?

    1) Fenway is one of the most intimidating venues for opposing teams. The Saux play great there in big games.

    2) Beckett gets 3 starts if it goes 7.

    3) Papelbon is the “new Rivera”

    4) I wanted to jinx ’em, so the Indians would win 🙂


  12. ccww   October 10, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Cletis – thanks for stopping by and yes the future Yankees look exciting.

    Z – I have refined the art of drowning out McCarver without even using the mute button. How are things at U of R?

    Muels – McCarver and carbon dioxide – you can put a positive spin on anything. Muels and the NBA – can’t wait.

    Wally – darn you.


  13. Crossword Pete   October 22, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I was at ND stadium on Saturday to witness the drubbing USC handed the Irish, but I also witnessed the further evolution of Charlie from pro coach to college coach. He deferred on the coin toss. In the pros you take the ball; in college you defer. To my knowledge, it is the first time in 3 years Charlie has deferred. There were other examples as the game profressed; he made decisions that were out of character, but were good college-coach decisions. I know the score did not reflect it (because he has a long way to go), but I am seeing progress. Let’s see how it plays out, heh?

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