Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thursday A.M. Quickie:
We're Headed to Game 7!

The only thing tarnishing the usually untarnishable "Game 7" situation is that everyone is pretty convinced that no matter who wins the NLCS, they will get stomped by the Tigers next week in the World Series.

Otherwise, what's not to love about a Game 7 in ANY sport's playoffs? It combines the pent-up drama of the previous six games with the do-or-die urgency of the NCAA Tournament, the NFL playoffs (or the college football regular season).

It's hard to figure out who has the edge: The Mets are playing in front of what will be a rabid home crowd, coming off last night's desperation win, where John Maine pitched the game of his life, with 0 ER and only 2 H in 5.1 IP. (I'm already sick of jokes off "Maine.")

But the Cards are throwing Jeff Suppan tonight (0 ER in 8 IP in Game 3), while the Mets will be throwing Oliver Perez, who will be throwing on 3 days' rest after giving up 5 R in 5.2 IP on 92 pitches in Game 4. My guess? The Mets will use every pitcher but Maine and Glavine -- and even then, you kind of want to say "Suck it up and throw if you have to!"

(Suppan has a nice little history in NLCS Game 7s: He beat Roger Clemens in 2004 to lead the Cards to the World Series.)

Meanwhile, Mets SS Jose Reyes had his national breakout: Lead-off HR in the 1st, scoring 2 runs and collecting 3 hits and 2 stolen bases. (On the other hand, who else thought Billy Wagner was going to blow it?)

Lance and Matt: We're not gay.
Or so they say.*

(* - Not that there's anything wrong with that. And thanks to TheBigLead for the tip-off.)

Yesterday's NFL bomb threat: Everyone from terrorism experts to the NFL is skeptical of yesterday's bomb threats for this weekend's NFL games. Still, I'll be curious if any fans with tickets don't show up.

Favre rips NFL for its substance-abuse policy towards Koren Robinson, banning him from the team and its facility. Favre seems to think that Robinson would benefit from being around the support system of his teammates. But wouldn't he be better off getting treatment away from the temptations of the NFL lifestyle? I guess Favre's point is that the choice should be Robinson's (with the team's help), not the NFL's.

T.O.'s latest gripe? He's not getting the ball in the first half enough. "I feel like I need to be in the offense, involved a little bit earlier in the ballgame." But he's caught as many passes in the first half as the second half this season; he's obviously talking about TDs. But, seriously, won't this guy EVER shut up? I wearily suspect not.

Mark Brunell: Out on a limb. Brunell calls the Redskins' game this weekend "must-win." Given that they're playing at Indy, I'll say "Good luck with that." Maybe after they lose, the Skins will finally bench Brunell for Campbell. There hasn't been a more disappointing team this season than Washington (and that includes Pittsburgh).

Marcus Vick is the new Wes Welker: I find the twists this week in the Marcus Vick Story to be fascinating. He's gone from collegiate (and draft-day) pariah to one of the most intriguing players of Week 8. Who doesn't want to see Vick top Reggie Bush in all-around stats?

He might return punts. He might return kickoffs. He might play WR. (Hell, if I was Nick Saban, I'd introduce a package or two that feature him as a QB option.)

Adrian Peterson said he intends to play in Oklahoma's bowl game if he can. Someone (presumably from the lowly NFL teams thinking they might draft him) needs to lock him in a closet for bowl season. I appreciate his school spirit, but can you think of a dumber way to tempt your professional fate?

Here's a fun way to spend the second half of an NBA preseason game: Looking at police lineups to see who mugged you the day before. That was Sebastian Telfair's experience. Making the situation weirder, the guys who mugged him are reportedly the ones who shot rapper Fabolous, who may or may not have built a rap career on a misspelling.

Isiah Update: If Isiah Thomas is going to feel it necessary to take shots at EVERYONE who ripped him for drafting Ronaldo Balkman*, he's going to leave little time for coaching, because EVERYONE ripped him.

Here's what Isiah said about Greg Anthony: He should "never ever be in a position to question myself** on anything about basketball because I do remember the kind of player he was."

* - Based on 3 preseason games, Balkman certainly looks like an NBA-worthy player. Will he be a star? No. But will he provide productive energy off the bench? Absolutely. And I predict when we rank last year's draft class at the end of this season, Balkman will be in the top 20 players.

(** - One of my pet peeves is people who mis-use the word "myself.")

Melee in Miami, Cont'd: Here's why I defended Donna Shalala's reaction to the Miami Melee: At least she was decisive. How often do we criticize leaders in sports for dissembling on punishments?

Realize: It's the media's business to be contrarian. No matter WHAT Shalala would have done, there would have been hysterical criticism. She could have kicked players off the team and folks would have screamed "Too harsh!"

In a no-win situation, she did the best she could do: Make a decision that seems reasonable and stick by it. Anyway, this is a non-issue by week's end (short of Miami losing to Duke), much in part thanks to Shalala dealing with it decisively.

Evgeni Malkin scores in his NHL debut. OK, so maybe the mystery kid will match the hype.

Was sports-radio yapper Tony Bruno fired yesterday from his job at KMPC in LA? All employees were let go, so, yes, it looks like he was.

Would you want to put your favorite MLB team's logo on your casket or urn? Me neither. (And you all know I'm a sucker for innovative marketing ideas. This ain't one of 'em, although the company is getting a TON of publicity out of this.)

Finally, let me point all of you to the New Kid on the Block: A new sports blog called With Leather, from the successful deviants who brought you "What Would Tyler Durden Do?" It's edited and written by Matt Ufford, who many of you might know as "Captain Caveman" from the Comments section on Deadspin and as part of the blog collective, Kissing Suzy Kolber. Welcome to the neighborhood!

-- D.S.


Big D said...

I posted in the last set of comments, but it applies here as well...

Can't you just see FOX using this as their promo?

"Catch Playoff Fever

It's the NLCS - Game 7!
Oliver Perez! Jeff Suppan!

Feel the excitement?!"

And people wonder why the National League is considered second class...

Anonymous said...

Wait... The professional Miami football team is in the news for players breaking the law, and now the amateur Dolphins team is hiring Marcus Vick?

I've never been there, is it true that Miami is run by Hispanic gangsters? Is that what's going on down there? Should I rent Scarface?

Brian in Oxford said...

Wes Welker is also Miami's backup KICKER! Remember the game a couple of years ago in Foxboro, he filled in for an injured Mare and made an extra point (I don't remember any FG attempts) and handled kickoffs. Let's see Marcus Vick do THAT!

(Is Wes Welker related to Frank Welker, the voice actor who did Fred from Scooby-Doo? Does anyone know?)

Who else remembers Tony Bruno being Mike Golic's original AM partner on ESPN radio? the "Bruno-Golic Morning Show, on ESPN radio", the precursor to Mike & Mike.

I thought it was amusing to see Telfair in SI's spread on the new wave of point guards, in light of how it appears he may have competition from Rondo just to start for the team.

Cards are now 1-8 all time in game 6 when leading 3-2 in a series.

Is Brett Favre even still in the NFL?

Anonymous said...

Brett Favre isn't in the NFL anymore, he's in the NFL's development league, it's called the NFC North.

And, yes, the Bills actually lost to the Lions... moment of silence please...we coulda had Lienart...~sob~

Dan Shanoff said...

Hey Phil: You make a fair point, but it was Shalala who went on the media tour yesterday, getting her ass kicked.

I think I'm filtering this through the lens of "what would I do if I was her," or -- more accurately -- analyzing how people handle scandal (and how that's perceived), which was a frequent subject in the Daily Quickie.

And, by going out and sticking to message, she put up probably the best fight she could. Again, this was no-win; it was more a question of how much damage-control she could do.

Jingoist said...

"And I predict when we rank last year's draft class at the end of this season, Balkman will be in the top 20 players."

Way to go out on a limb for the 20th player selected, Dan. (And let's not argue he should havebeen 2nd round material).

rob (warwick)

Big D said...

@ nyc-steelers fan:

I agree 100% that the Mets got shafted when their #'s 1 AND 2 starters went down for the playoffs (and for Pedro, most of next year). But that doesn't change the fact that this game is going to be absolutely atrocious to watch.

As for '03... I can't remember one person annointing the Yankees champs after the ALCS. If anything, it went the other way - people (i.e. the media) consistently said that they would be worn down after the 7-Game slugfest with Boston.

Now, the '90 A's - that's a valid point. The Reds had no business winning that series, and certainly not in a sweep. But I guess that's why they play the games.

Oh God - did I just channel Chris Berman? I apologize to all of you.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Go Vick! I hope he works out, as a Dolphins fan who bought the hype (but KNEW he shouldn't) of this season I hope Vick is something we can build on.

As for Welker, is there is anyone that does more for his team? The guy constantly gets the big catch, the great return, or the key block (even at 5'8") down the field! As my friends and I joke...MVP!

Finally, Shalala. Her job as University President is to do what is best for the university. Since she has arrived at Miami, she has increased academic standards in athletics, helped clean up most of the football program, and been instramental in improving Miami's image nationally.

If she feels that the suspensions are adequate, I'm willing to give it a shot. (This is coming from a Gator)

Joe (Dayton)

Matt Berg said...


You completely miss Favre's point. The NFL is treating substance abuse like a behavioral problem and Koren Robinson like a child needing a time out. People who abuse have a medical problem - both a physical and mental dependencey - and they need treatment. The problem with taking him away from the NFL and his support system, well, you pointed that out yourself. If the NFL is the environment that is triggering his problem, shouldn't it be precisely the enviroment in which he is treated? I agree that he shouldn't play, but to be taken away from the NFL altogether seems like the wrong decision.

ToddTheJackass said...

Matt I think you're exactly right.

The policy of excluding him from even the practice facilities are a little extreme. Even if he couldn't play in the games, being in the practice facility working out with teammates and others would undoubtedly give him a sense of inclusion, and make it less likely that he might feel isolated. I can't think of a worse solution for someone with alcohol problems then to isolate them from people who might be able to help him and be concerned with him.

Basically I don't see how the NFL thinks it could possibily be helping Robinson by turning his world upside down. They're just making a volatile situation even more volatile.

I actually gained respect for Favre for sticking up for his beleaguered teammate yesterday.

Ed Lamb said...

Dan asks: "Who doesn't want to see Vick top Reggie Bush in all-around stats?"

I ask: Who possibly could?

Unfortunately, I see, several commenters. WTF?

Vick is a gifted athlete, but while off the field (and sometimes while on it) over the past three years, he has literally done everything in his power to make sure he doesn't get use those gifts. He was a bad influence at Virginia Tech -- something the Hokies are still felling the effects of -- and I don't suspect he'll behave any better in the NFL.

Why root for the guy?

Reggie Bush and his family may been involved in some money scams, but nothing Bush did on or off the field actively hurt his team.

Christian Thoma said...

I think Favre's point goes deeper than that. I think the concern is that with all the free time/unstructured environment, he's more likely to lapse. At least if you keep Koren under team supervision, have him in the training facility with coaches a couple hours a day, etc., you're giving him an environment to rely on. Basically what the NFL is doing is akin to a wife kicking the husband out of the house until he stops his drinking/carousing. That usually doesn't work.

Unknown said...

Miami penalties are ridiculous.

Miami is playing Duke - winless, terrible Duke this weekend. Miami could take an all freshmen team and beat Duke. The suspensions this week are meaningless.

The helmet flinging should have resulted at least in a 3-4 game suspension. Stomping the guy on the ground should prevent the player from EVER playing in the NCAA again. Miami should be banned from postseason this year and have a couple scholarships taken away for next year.

One of my favorite college football games was when the Miami players tried walking through the Syracuse team during warmups and talking smack. There was no brawl but the Cuse beat them something like 63-7. Of course times have since changed.

As for TO, his basic problem is that as an amazing athlete as he is, he is equally as dumb. If TO was not playing football, what would he be doing? Parcells doesn't even allow his assistants to talk to the media, I wonder what he is thinking about doing with TO to shut him up.

Jake C said...

I think the big issues with Miami is that they repeatedly have instances on and off the field. Then, when something like this happens, it's the school who rarely sees this who deals out the tougher (and more appropiate) penalties.

Fact is, "she didn't watch the tape." I don't care if you were at the game...honestly, I don't care if she was on the field. You NEED to watch the tape to see the ones who deserve more severe punishment (i.e. stomping on people's calves).

There is no "new" Miami, it's the same old thuggish crap as always...and ONE game suspensions against Duke will not send the message. If anything, it sends the message that something this heinous only gets you one who cares.

As for the Mets...yeah, they still need to beat Suppan who shut 'em down harder than Onyx in game 3.

Unknown said...


this is where i wish i had the elias sports bureau at my disposal......
Oliver Perez won 1 game this year in a mets uni but could win 2 for them IN 1 PLAYOFF SERIES! i'm doubting this ever happend before. any1 know otherwise?

interesting dilemna about the bomb threats.....what happens if (cv) 1 acually goes off? think about it. When i told my dad about the threats (he used to be secret service, cia, fbi, nsa) the first thing he said was "if even 1 goes off, it's the end of football. at least for the season, maybe forever, and possibly other sports."..............your take dan?

I wouldn't underestimate the skins goin into indy on sunday after portis said how much he wants the ball and indy's 31st ranked rush D (even with the addition of booger)

and Isiah is an idiot

Lew said...

Being an Indiana native who recently moved to the DC area I find myself drawn to watching the Skins and cheering for them, but ultimately my allegiance lay with the Colts.

All that said I like the Skins against the Colts. I think the Skins matchup will and can beat the Colts. On the stipulation that they run Portis, run Portis some more, run Betts and Duckett and balance that out with running Portis even more.

The Colts run defense is terrible. If you keep Manning off the field you have a chance to win. Yes, they picked up McFarland, but I still think the Skins can pull off the upset.

Will they pull off the upset? Probably not. They have a 700 page playbook and get way to pass happy.

jhawkjjm said...

Anyone else the see the irony in Marcus Vick playing in Miami after this past weekend?

(Remember he was finally booted from VT for stomping on a players leg during the bowl game last year)

WuzUpG said...

Not only did Malkin score, he also hit a post and shattered glass on a slap shot!

Maine pitched well last night. Not bad trade for the Mets in giving up Anna Benson.

mattie said...

The Tigers must love going from 'the team no one gave a second's thought to beating the Yanks' to 'complete unstoppable American League machine.' At the least, they must appreciate the irony (as I suspect both the Mets and the Cardinals do at this point) of all these certain predictions, when nothing is certain from day to day.

Oh, and LET'S GO METS! At this point, they could use 9 pitchers for 9 innings and no one will care as long as they win. Frankly, if Perez gives them more than 3 innings tonight, that's got to be seen as a blessing. I say every pitcher except Maine, and Trachsel (for obvious reasons) manages to see some action tonight. ;)

Who doesn't want to see Vick top Reggie Bush in all-around stats?

Ummm. Me? Why would I want to see that? The novelty factor doesn't outweigh the Vick-is-a-jerk-while-Bush-is-not factor, not even close.

I can't even deal with Isiah Thomas. I'm too busy trying to pretend the Knicks do not exist, the better to maintain my sanity! (I'll say it again, LET'S GO METS!!)

Re: Miami. She was decisive? About what? Is this an attempt to give her credit for the inspiring decision to say that the school has 'zero tolerance' for thuggish violence? Or for the groundbreaking way she let some 1-game (meaningless game) suspensions stand? Or for daring to break out and give out one whole indefinite suspension? I'm just not seeing where this decisiveness on punishments is supposed to be.

And seriously -- who would have screamed 'too harsh!' for real punishments, except for Miami homers? We saw a stomping in the NFL, and I don't recall people freaking out over that suspension at all. And even granting that there would be a bunch of media and fans somewhere who would actually have a problem with serious consequences for the fight...wouldn't decisive leadership come from NOT CARING about other people's opinions? From doing what you think ought to be done, and not throwing up your hands and blaming the contrarian media for the fact that not everyone will agree with you?

The fact that it may a non-issue in a week says more about Miami's completley screwed sense of priorities, ethics, and discpline, and about their ability to change the subject when things go wrong than it says anything positive about Shalala's so-called 'decisiveness' or leadership.


big bri said...

thanks for recommending the other blogs. wwtdd is hilarious.

Unknown said...

Can we ban 'big d' if he keeps ripping Bill Simmons off without any shame whatsoever?

I think his first post might be a word-for-word quote from oh....100 different Simmons articles.

Channeling Chris Berman? ugh.

Tsk, can't even respond to the quickie now! I'm disgusted!

erocking said...

I'm with Ed. I hope I never see the punk Marcus Vick out perform the much more classy Reggie Bush.

Allen Wedge said...

Lets see,

Marcus Vick: broke the law & tried to break someones leg in a game

Reggie Bush: Broke a debated NCAA rule & immediately donated money and continues to donate % of jersey sales to katrina relief and rebuilding...