Saturday, October 29, 2011

10/29 (Cardinals!) Quickie

What an amazing World Series champion -- one of the most unique in baseball history. You don't have to be a Cardinals fan to appreciate what they did (or, more importantly, how they did it).

They came back from 10+ games behind at the end of August. They played a big role in "Game 162." They beat Roy Halladay in an elimination game. They played in that unreal Game 6 on Thursday night. The rain-out let Carpenter pitch in Game 7. They have the best player of the generation (yes, who might leave in a few weeks). They have a polarizing manager. They have a group of no-names and reclamation projects and hometown kids and mid-season trades. They have a World Series championship and the accompanying baseball immortality.

More than anything -- and apologies in advance for the trite observation -- it reminds that just when you think sports can't get any more amazing, they do.

College Football Saturday: LSU and Bama have a bye week to get ready for each other next week in the Game of the Year, but plenty of intriguing games on the schedule today:

*Is at USC the trap game for Stanford? (Remember when Stanford was the trap game for Pete Carroll?)

*Is this the week (at GA Tech) that Clemson finally pulls a Clemson? (Yes.)

*Can Baylor and Robert Griffin keep up with Oklahoma State in Stillwater? (Unlikely.)

*Does a bitter Oklahoma take out last week's season-killing disappointment on still-unbeaten K-State in Manhattan? (Yes.)

*Does a bitter Wisconsin take out last week's season-killing disappointment on Ohio State? (Yes.)

*What's the "let-down" factor for Michigan State at Nebraska? (Big enough.)

*Has Georgia-Florida ever been less exciting? (In 11 years of avidly following, nope.)

*Nominal Upset Specials: Tennessee over Lattimore-less South Carolina in Knoxville, Purdue over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Oklahoma over Kansas State doesn't count.

So maybe Stanford, Oklahoma State and Clemson will all win -- although, after last week's insanity, the chance is better than not that one of them will stumble -- but each team gets a chance to bolster its resume and reputation with a quality win.

-- D.S.

Friday, October 28, 2011

10/28 (Cardinals! Game 6! Holy S--t!) Quickie

As a sports fan, I live for those rare moments of pure unexpected drama-infused joy-hysteria-awesomeness. Last night was one of them.

Without hyperbole or typical "instant-history" crazy, it was one of the greatest baseball games of all time.

Joe Buck takes a lot of grief, but even he nailed the perfect climactic note, echoing his father's famous "We will see you tomorrow night!" from the walk-off Game 6 20 years ago.

I want to do it justice here, but I'm not sure I can. Instead, I'm putting all my energy into Quickish -- into creating the best collection of columns, front pages, videos and Tweets you'll find anywhere.

Please give it a look (and pass it along to your friends). What a night and what a day-after. (And Game 7 coming tonight. Whew.)

-- D.S.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Night the Red Sox Won the World Series

So 7 years ago tonight the Red Sox won the World Series. I was leaving the next morning for my honeymoon, and I knew I wouldn't be able to write about it after the fact.

But the Sox winning the World Series was such a HUGE deal that I just had to have my say. So in the Quickie before that Game 4 the Sox clinched the title, I wrote everything I would have said had I been writing the next morning, one of the more memorable columns for me:
Two Words For You:

It's over, and this time I really mean it.

There will be no historic 0-3 comeback. We've already had one of those. Laugh at the people who cite the ALCS as some kind of precedent.

Once you give yourself over to the only conclusion possible, it hits you like very few feelings you've ever had as a sports fan:

The Red Sox.

Are gonna win.

The championship.

I'm so sure that Boston is going to capture their first world title since 1918, that I'm going to pre-empt the series' remaining games and write a "Sox Win!" lead today, to beat the crowds.

(Okay, I'm also doing it because I'll be on my honeymoon starting tomorrow -- and it's so wrong that I might miss commenting this moment.)

Break out the champagne ...

Sox Win!?!?
"Pre-printed" from after the Sox eventually win, despite the hostility today from my "believe-it-but-can't" RSN friends to stop me:

What the hell happens next? For sports fans everywhere, the reality we have all known, grown up with and lived with for our entire lives will change.

What's that? Jumping the gun?

No more Curse? No more New England fatalism? No more self-loathing?

RSN is averting their eyes...

Clocks will be re-set: Not Daylight Savings, but some kind of Spiritual Savings, at least for Red Sox Nation.

Protest howls! (And peeking?)

As for the rest of us, we can simply bask in experiencing something that no one younger than 86 has ever been around for.

It's okay, Sox fans. Embrace it! I'm already on the other side, and I can tell you: It's the most liberating sense you've ever had!
Fun times.

-- D.S.

10/27 (Tebowing) Quickie

I'm in the 99th percentile of people who pay attention to the Tim Tebow phenomenon, and even I have to step back and marvel that two days ago some dude created "Tebowing."

Game 6 can't get here fast enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10/26 (Game 6) Quickie

*Would love to have the World Series Game 6 tonight -- unclear if the weather will accommodate. It'll change the pitching availability a bit at the margins, particularly for a Game 7. (Game 6 pick: Cards)

*I don't mind admitting that the NBA Lockout discussion -- which is full-throttle, every day, if you're following NBA folks on Twitter -- is wearing me out. I think I'm in the silent majority (which includes plenty of NBA media) that sympathizes with the players but would rather see the season start now than the players get a fair deal. It's abhorrent but true.

*As I have been since the start, I am totally down with Theo in Chicago. As a die-hard Cubs fan as a child (if not today), I can get behind this.

*More good Tebow analysis.

Pop by Quickish for a bunch of good recommendations (on a surprisingly slow day).

-- D.S.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10/25 (La Russa) Quickie

What happened last night in the bottom of the 8th inning -- La Russa's debacle -- was so inexplicable (literally and metaphorically) and so unexpected (not to mention so critical in the grand scheme of winning a World Series title) that I found myself rooting on the insanity.

Partly, that's because I'm not a huge La Russa fan. Partly, that's because I enjoyed the irony of the folks who just a few nights ago were praising TLR as a genius now burying him. Partly, that's because it was just so damn fascinating.

Frankly, this is what Quickish was made for: This morning, I've pulled together the best reactions to La Russa. Quickish showcases a money quote, but you can click through to read all the various rippings of the manager, all deserved.

(It's worth noting that if the guy had simply said: "Cripes, did I mess up," it's mitigated. But by obfuscating and throwing his coaches under a bus, he compounds his initial problems. Remember: The cover-up -- in whatever form it takes -- is almost always worse than the crime.)

NFL MNF WTF: I didn't watch, but from all accounts, the Ravens-Jaguars game -- featuring what I think we can all agree was a stunning JAX upset of a team many thought was a contender in the AFC -- was a dog. I will say this: I won my fantasy league week in dramatic come-from-behind fashion thanks to Josh Scobee. So there's that.

Have you seen that Wade-CP3-Melo TV ad yet? It might be my favorite ad since the Volkswagen Super Bowl "Star Wars Kid" ad. Check it out here. I don't want to spoil it, but let me just say that I thought I had seen my favorite part when -- BOOM -- the ad takes it to an entirely new level of awesome.

More later.

-- D.S.

Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24 (Tebow) Quickie

As a longtime Tebow-watcher, the defining moment for me of yesterday's Are-You-Not-Entertained?! game was just after Prater kicked the game-winning field goal in OT. Tebow's reaction was to drop to a knee, then calmly walk around hugging his teammates. No jumping around. No histrionics.

Tebow was clearly glad to have won the game, but he clearly understood that his performance for the first 55 minutes was sub-par. Partly that was him, partly that was the typically orthodox-to-a-fault Broncos coaches' play-calling.

When things opened up in the furious final few minutes -- the first successful NFL comeback from 15 points down with 3 minutes to play in 40 years -- good things happened. John Fox could learn a lesson from that.

Prepare yourselves: It's going to be a long week of Tebow mania -- not from me, but from the mainstream media; I'm demure by comparison. I think it's fair -- even predictable -- that Tebow's performance gave both the fans and the haters something to latch on to. Wouldn't be any other way.

Other notes from NFL Week 7: Drew Brees was incredible, even if it was against the Colts... Aaron Rodgers' 2011 season is quite possibly the greatest I have ever seen by any NFL player (or perhaps any team-sport athlete)... Love the breakouts, including DeMarco Murray's... I have to admit: I thought Carson Palmer would be a lot better (then again, that's a low bar).

CFB: LSU-Alabama? Yes! Twice? No! I said this below -- I think that LSU and Alabama are clearly the two best teams in the country, and that won't change after they play on November 5. But this idea of a rematch in the event the other unbeaten teams get nicked (and it could easily happen -- OK St losing to Okla and Stanford losing to Oregon and Clemson losing to anyone) is brutal. The amazingness of the game on Nov. 5 is that it is a de facto playoff; that is entirely undercut if the idea is that the loser gets another shot. I'm aggressively anti-Rematch.

(I am, however, rooting for the above-mentioned unbeatens to lose; I'd love to see a LSU-Bama winner vs. Boise national title game, even though there is an entirely fair argument that penalizing a 1-loss team (or teams) for having an infinitely more difficult schedule than unbeaten Boise is patently unfair.)

MLB: Derek Holland's mustache is as amazing as his performance last night. This is one hell of an entertaining World Series, and the idea that it's now a best-of-3, with Carpenter vs. Wilson tonight in the so-called "pivotal" Game 5, is quickly bringing this Series up the all-time best-ever rankings.

-- D.S.

This Week's BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot

It's LSU and Alabama. I'm already weary of the ludicrous talk that there could be a rematch for the national title. I hate that idea -- it diminishes the game on Nov. 5. If they're just going to play again, who cares who wins? The whole idea is that whoever wins this game on Nov. 5 means EVERYTHING. It's a de facto playoff, which is a huge part of its appeal. I'm 100% against the "rematch" idea.