Sunday, October 07, 2007

Start spreading the news. The Yankees aren't quite dead, at least not for the moment. Maybe it was George Steinbrenner and his statement that Joe Torre would be looking for something to do with his time other than managing the New York Yankees if the team did not prevail in this series. Or maybe the announcers were right when they compared the Yankee offense to a 2 liter bottle of soda that had been shaken and shaken and was due to explode at any moment. Whatever it was, it happened. The Yankees won and they play again tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the Angels lacked the will of a warrior and fell victim to Humpty Dumpty and the Boston Red Sox. So now the Red Sox have a chance to rest and reset their rotation as they wait to see whether the Yankees can come back or the Indians will win their divisional series matchup. If this were another team with another group of players, perhaps one might worry that this lag time might dull their wits and adversely impact their readiness to play.

However, with this version of the Boston Red Sox, one needn't worry about any situation having an adverse impact on the wits of these players. In fact, with titans of the intellect like Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon in prominent roles, one could fairly say that the wits are this team's least vulnerable spot.

It is a good thing that the Yankees came back tonight, if for no other reason than it redeemed Roger Clemens, at least until his next turn to pitch. Unlike a certain element of Red Sox fans, led by Bill Simmons, I harbor no resentment for the way Clemens left town. I don't believe athletes owe the fans a damn thing. Especially after winning a few Cy Youngs, having a couple of 20 win seasons and setting the MLB record for Ks in a game.

I'm not sure I'm ready to see Clemens retire. He's been such a big part of my memories of watching baseball for so long, I just don't remember a time when he wasn't pitching. I think Bill Simmons is just a total d bag. After all, he whines about the Yankees bringing Ronan Tynan in to sing God Bless America in the seventh inning stretch. Even if it is a long version, it's still the best rendition out there now.

Perhaps the Yankees should trot out 14 year olds who couldn't carry a tune if their lives depended on it, as the Red Sox have been known to do. Or maybe they could resurrect hard rock has beens who haven't had a decent song since Carter was President like Steven Tyler. Speaking of Aerosmith, I wish someone could explain their comeback. Outside of Dream On, their songbook is weak, to say the least. If Run DMC hadn't covered Walk this Way, would anyone have remembered them to stick a banal song on the Armageddon soundtrack?

To make a long story short, I still have hope that a team can step in and stop the Red Sox. And the Indians, even with Carmona and Sabathia don't seem to be the team to do it. I realize that Colorado and Arizona had success against Boston earlier this season, but that was a long time ago now. Plus I don't see the Red Sox folding like the Cubs. Nor do I see the Colorado lefties laughing at Ortiz and the other Sox lefties the way Howard and Utley did.

No matter what Red Sox fans tell you, you know that they fear the Yankees a little bit. 2004 is ancient history. Beckett might have been lights out in Game 1 against the Angels, but there's no guarantee that he can do it again. And if Matsuzaka pitches the way he did in Game 2, something tells me the Yankees might do a tad more damage than the Angels did. And Schill might want to sit this one out, unless he can whip up another ready-made "blood"-stained garment for the occasion.

As for this weekend's football games, Notre Dame finally won. Say what you want about the UCLA quarterback situation and their offensive ineptitude, but the Irish won a game no one thought they could. This could be the start of something interesting. I'm not holding my breath, but it's possible.

The Patriots continue to roll, but then who really thought the Browns would be the team to end the streak. The Chiefs and their subpar offensive line continue to drag my fantasy team down because they can't block for LJ. Far more vexing is the fact that I shall soon lose Travis Henry to his pending suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the third time.

I'm not going to be the guy to pile on him when he's down. I just have to laugh a bit at his grand sense of timing. Henry was due to rotate out of the substance abuse program on October 1st, and he had to get high in September. I realize that a guy might need a little pick me up to take the edge of the whole 9 illegitimate kids situation. But it might have been nice if he thought of me and my fantasy team in all of this.

I think the real story of the NFL weekend came from the Seattle Pittsbugh game. It was a very good thing that the Seahawks were motivated by the outcome of Super Bowl XL. Otherwise the 21-0 beating the Steelers hung on them this afternoon would be quite humiliating. Perhaps this was some novel strategy of Mike Holmgren's. After all, letting Denver score a TD to get the ball back in Super Boxl XXXII worked so well, maybe letting Pittsburgh score three unanswered touchdowns today is just setting them up for some vague game to be played in the not too distant future.

I hate to see guys like Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander unhappy. They have done so much to elevate the profile of the NFL the way they whined about the officiating in that Super Bowl, they deserved better than what they got today. I think the only way to evaluate that officiating, which did leave a lot to be desired, is to ask whether Seattle would have objected had calls like that gone in their favor. If they would have been quiet if the calls went against Pittsburgh, then they should let it go at this point.

In tonight's Bears vs. Packers game, I was interested to hear John Madden mention that the Green Bay Packers expect AJ Hawk to start having a bigger impact on their defensive performance. Perhaps they need to find the man who wielded the ugly stick to such great effect on Hawk's wife, the sister of Brady Quinn and the fleabag who sported the trashy makeup and jersey tailor made to show her divided loyalty when the Irish met the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago. Surely he could motivate Hawk to perform up to expectations.

I have been defending Cedric Benson for so long now, it has become a habit. He did get plenty of carries tonight, for a change. And he didn't gain enough yards to justify his salary, or the Thomas Jones trade today, even though Jones didn't exactly reverse the rotation of the Earth in the Giants Jets game. He had some very promising runs, but he wasn't consistent.

I thought the offensive line was better tonight than they were against Detroit, and better than they have been in any game this season, for that matter. That said, this group still hasn't been good enough at any point in 2007. For what the Bears do in running the ball, relying on play action passes and using deep drops in the passing offense, the offensive line needs to stay on their assignments longer and generate more push up front. So I'm not ready to turn on Benson yet. I think I'll wait until Mariotti praises him.

Even though Griese finished with 2 TDs and came out on the winning end, I'm not thrilled about him as the Bears try to dig their way out the hole that they still haven't escaped. It was good to see both TEs involved in the game plan. The Bears still have albatrosses around their neck and will have them as long as the O-line underperforms, and they need much more production from the wide receivers. Tonight the best wide receiver on the team was Mark Bradley, and that just can't happen every game if the Bears are to get back to where they were last season.

For all the Bears did, and with Benson's decent numbers, I still need a very good game for Tony Romo and Terrell Owens tomorrow night. So I have a lot on the line, with the Yankees playing for their lives, with the Cowboys playing for my hopes of a Patriots humiliation and my fantasy life (I am one game back in a playoff race, with a log jam at 2-2). So I'll either be very happy, or very unhappy tomorrow. Even if the Cowboys are outstanding, but the Yankees fail, I will be disappointed, in case you care.

I should, while I think of it, address the recent comments on my posts. To answer Alle, yes Guerrero might have left on account of the pitch that hit him. But unless he needed some sort of critical operation, there is no reason a guy should leave a game his team desperately needed to win. If he can hold a bat, he has to stay in that game.

And to the author of the anonymous comment pointing out that I was mistaken when I attributed the song "Uncle Albert" to the Beatles instead of Paul McCartney, I would apologize, provided that I gave a damn. I guess the only reason the song impressed me as having any merit is that only one of the Beatles was involved in the project so the collective power of the suck factor couldn't taint the entire song. So my bad.

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