Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday A.M. Quickie:
The Gamble(r) Pays Off

I remembered last night that one of the coolest moments in sports is when you see a player having what is obviously the greatest night of his career.

It makes it even more special when the player is over 40.

And even more special when he's doing it against an opponent that has pummeled him mercilessly in the past.

And even more special when it's happening in the playoffs -- playoffs that as recently as a few seasons ago seemed like a laughable notion.

Now, those same laughable Tigers are one win away (home or away) from eliminating the Yankees, and they can thank Kenny Rogers for shutting down arguably the greatest lineup in baseball history en route the the performance of his life.

It's so interesting: I think in terms of what detail from a player's career will stand out in the first paragraph of his obituary, career or otherwise.

In Rogers' case, it was always going to be his tussle with the photographer last season.

Amazingly, he has replaced that with a dazzling performance that will be remembered long after he retires -- even more if the Tigers go on to eliminate the Yankees. That was a "wow" night.

Speaking of the Yankees, the loss triggers the new question: What if they LOSE this series?

Already, it seems like trading A-Rod is inevitable. (My brother is visiting me in NYC and says a fair deal would be A-Rod for Aramis Ramirez. Not even sure the Cubs would do that.) Would an ignominious LDS exit trigger the firing of Joe Torre? How about imploding the team?

More on today's radar:

Buck O'Neil, the legendary Negro League baseball player, died at 94. I knew he had been sick, but as recently as early this summer, he had been on the ballfield during a minor-league exhibition game. He was one of the great ambassadors of baseball -- and certainly of the Negro Leagues. Sad news...

A's advance to ALCS: And if the Tigers win, don't the A's get home-field advantage? (Am I mistaken about that?) They looked fantastic sweeping out the Twins, who learn the hard way -- much as the A's have learned throughout the decade -- that 162 games doesn't mean squat in the playoffs. Finally, the breaks have gone the A's way, making their first ALCS since '92.

(And it keeps alive the glorious scenario that my preseason pick of an A's-Mets World Series might happen. It would be my Greatest. Prediction. Ever.)

The Titans might not bring back Albert Haynesworth after his suspension. That's tough talk from an 0-4 team...

Nomar has a torn quad. Gee, WHAT a surprise...

Every time Louisville scores 40-plus points without Brohm or Bush (even if it's against Middle Tennessee St.), I keep them among the half-dozen or so BCS-league teams with a shot at going undefeated.

Chris Henry suspended two games by NFL: Could it have been helped by the Odell Thurman incident two weeks ago?

Garrett Wolfe's Q-rating has gone up substantially this week, so he better deliver with some monster stats today to justify the hype. It's the only way the Northern Illinois RB will stay on the Heisman radar. It'll take Barry Sanders-style stats. And, even then, he has little chance of winning. A "win" would simply be being invited to New York for the Heisman Ceremony. (That shouldn't be taken as me dissing him -- I love that little guy, and totally root for him.)

More on new NBA ball: Regular blog readers know I have been saying the new NBA ball is, staggeringly, the No. 1 plotline of the new season. Here's yet another story about the ball and the players' complaints.

Big Ben Wallace hearts hates Flip Saunders: Chris Sheridan's ESPN Insider piece from yesterday is a must-read, but if you don't have a subscription, here's the gist: Ben Wallace hates Flip Saunders. Good times!

Random stuff: Colts don't want to pay Simon (yikes)... Here's what we're missing in the Stephen Jackson gun-shots story: Any talk from the NBA about a suspension. Does that mean there won't be one?... North Dakota suing NCAA over Fighting Sioux name.

Our usual Saturday college football tailgate is coming later today. Be sure to check in to check out the comments -- and maybe throw in some analysis of your own. I've got to go get ready to watch GameDay from Gainesville...

-- D.S.

12 comments:

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

No Dan you're not mistaken--wild card never gets home field adv. Remember in '03 when the Cubs had HFA over the Marlins even though the Marlins had a better record?

tbmd96 said...

1. Is it really the greatest lineup ever in baseball history? Its undoubtedly the most expensive, but I wouldn't say the best. I'd rather face this Yankee team than the Yankee team that steamrolled through the regular season ('01 or '02?), the Big Red Machine, or even the '27 Yankees.

2. After watching the game, its obvious that MTSU was just overmatched athletically by Louisville. They didn't near enough speed to compete. But that won't be the case when WVU plays them. That will be great game.

3. Its great that NIU plays on Sunday this weekend. I'll definitely watch to see if Wolfe can roll up 300+ yards against an absolutely horrid Miami team.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

Dan,

1.) Northern Illinois plays my alma mater Miami of Ohio Sunday night.

2.) The Big Red Machine is better than this year's Yankee team. They had the best catcher of all time and best 2nd baseman of all time. Davey Concepcion should be in the Hall of Fame, but he simply played on a team that had too many stars.

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

You don't think a perfect game is bigger than a forced confrontation with some winking camera guy?

Hokay.

krossfader said...

Rogers aside, the crowd in Detroit last night was insane. It's an awesome sight to see a hungry sports town get behind a team like that. Tigers are a classic franchise, and it's great to see an atmosphere where the emotion is palpable through the TV broadcast. I can only hope that the Rogers game propels Detroit to bigger things this postseason.

Anonymous said...

Oh hell, lots of things.

1. The humble pie is delicious. The Yanks didn't quite come close to those 11 runs.

2. Speaking of the Yanks, I don't see Torre getting fired. Not only has he done miracles with this team this year (I would argue it's been one of his best managerial seasons), but it seems like the scapegoat is going to have to be A-Rod.

3. As far as he goes, I'm guessing the Yanks not only trade him away, but agree to take on a good deal of his salary just to make a trade realistic. The Yanks need pitching again if they're gonna ever make another October run and I can't think that there are too many general managers that wouldn't trade two pitching prospects for A-Rod (especially in say, oh, the NL) straight up.

4. The worst thing about the Chris Henry suspension? It's because he violated the substance abuse policy (when already in the program, you can't drink or do anything...the police statement and his vomitting, and Marvin Lewis admitting that Henry did something wrong by sitting him made him guilty). This two game suspension might get even LONGER because the whole "being arrested FOUR times thing" hasn't even come across the Commish's desk. Marvin Lewis already cleaned out Odell Thurman's locker. Just kick Henry out too.

sigszilla said...

It's a GD shame that Buck O'Neill died. MLB and the HOF should hang their heads in collective shame for not inducting him, and then having the big, hairy ones to have Buck speak at the ceremony. Yet another idiotic move from the big 3's most idiotic brain trusts.

Maher said...

aren't the yanks only eating 15 of the 25.2 mil/yr of a-rod's salary anyway?

Todd Ching said...

It really is sad that Buck O'Neil died last night.

I never met him, but seeing many interviews and reading so much about him, he seemed like such a good man. Considering he had overcome so much in his life, the segregation, the racism, and most recently the despicable disrespect of the Baseball Hall of Fame, he always had a warm, inviting, and cheerful disposition.

To have gone through what he had, and still be as warm and caring as he seemed is incredible.

But he persevered with his good natured attitude, and did something more important with his life, and educated so many on what he and others had experienced. He told the story of that which should not be forgotten. Because of Buck, so many stories and so much knowledge of the Negro Leagues will live on.

Not only did sports lose an incredible ambassador, but we all lost a great human being last night.

Dan Mega said...

I'm wondering where Kurt is and what happened to the Yankees 10+ runs they were going to score.

Spaced Cowboy said...

Rarely do I cry at the loss of a professional baseball player, but he was way more than that to many. Crying shame that he will probably make the hall of fame when dead for being the greatest living baseball ambassador.

Death is not fair. -sc

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