Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. It has been an interesting fall in Austin. While the days have begun to grow shorter and the leaves have begun to fall…the temperature stubbornly held in the 90 degree range. But, as they say…all good things must end. With the cold front this past weekend, we actually saw the mercury fall into the low 50s. If I am looking for a jacket, Halloween must not be far behind. Mother Nature reminded sports fans that of her power by forcing the postponement of game 3 of the ALCS. I have asked this question before and I guess it is one a question that I will continue to ponder…given the technology available today, why would a baseball team build a stadium that does not have a retractable roof? Having the ability to play a game despite the weather would seem like something that is a very attractive option. Anyway…despite the one day delay, Tuesday delivered two more terrific post season games. Okay…after watching the Giants and Royals play in the playoffs, I have to admit that both of these teams have captured my fancy. The Giants are unique in the manner that they win games. It seems that they use everything except a hit to score the winning run. On Tuesday night, it was a walk off bunt that bested the Cardinals. I have to chuckle to myself watching the successful use of the bunt during this postseason. I chuckle because I know how much the sabre metric folks deplore the use of bunting. I realize that the propeller heads have added value to baseball, but the part of the story that these guys overlook is human error. While it may appear simple for a pitcher to field a bunt and throw to first, in a pressure packed situation like a playoff game…the act is not always automatic. It is basic baseball for me…in the bottom of the 10 inning, runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs…that is a situation that begs for a bunt. Randy Choate’s wild throw gave the Giants the game on Tuesday, but given the Giants ability to win ugly…it was probably just a matter of time before they squeezed across that winning run anyway. The Giants have a one game advantage, but those Cardinals are pretty salty as well. I still think that this is a 7 game affair.
The Royals snatched another one run game from the O’s Tuesday night. I thought that this might be the game that the Orioles might take. I did not think that Jeremy Guthrie could hold down the potent O’s bats. Boy was I wrong. Guthrie threw a three hit gem to once again stifle Baltimore. Coming into this series, the buzz was about the running game of the Royals. You have to tip your hat to Buck Showalter for his goofy, yet very effective manner of positioning Pearce to hold the runner at 1B. I have never seen this and apparently it has somewhat unnerved the Royal base runners. It is funny…I was watching a bit on the MLB channel talking about the Royal team speed. Typically, we think of the team speed with regard to stolen bases, but that speed can come into play in other ways. A baseball axiom is to always build a team strong up the middle…as in catcher, middle infield and center field. The Royals certainly got the center field position covered well. The Royals are blessed to have two great centerfielders on the roster. I really like how Yost brings Jarrod Dyson off the bench to pinch run, then moves Cain to right field and Dyson to center field. Is it any wonder that teams have a difficult time scoring runs against the Royals? The gaps are covered; the dying quails are scooped up. As a former outfielder, I just marvel at the skill of these guys. For me, it is definitely part of what makes this KC team so special. Of course, that bullpen does not hurt either.
Jarrod Dyson was asked about the series heading back to Baltimore. His reply has created a bit of a stir with the media…”we expect to finish the series in Kansas City and so does Baltimore…” or something along those lines. Maybe he should have left out the part about Baltimore thinking they were done…but words don’t make a team play better. This Oriole team is a very talented, proud team and they have given every bit of effort in each game. The baseball being played has been fantastic. Despite this fact, the media somehow still finds it necessary to try to stir up shit. Up 3 to 0, I expect the Royals to take care of business in game 4…but the Orioles can always remember the Red Sox improbable come-back. The words of Kevin Millar are forever immortalized, “Don’t let us win tonight. This is a big game. They’ve got to win because if we win, we’ve got Pedro [Martinez] coming back today, and then [Curt] Schilling will pitch Game 6, and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.”
You just can’t make this stuff up.As improbable as an Oriole win is, there is always that crazy chance. I know I will be watching.
Regardless of time...OU still sucks.
Last weekend was the annual Texas vs OU rivalry game. Despite the fact that Texas lost to OU, I was very pleased at the progress that the Longhorns have made. I am sure that offenses that have faced the Horn defense this year will agree that this is a very good defense. In the days of Coach Fred, Texas won with defense and special teams. Those old Horn offenses were boring, but they won a ton of games despite the lack of offensive firepower. Charlie Strong is on the right path with his defense, but poor special team play can and will get you beat. In losses to Baylor and OU, special teams have killed Texas. Quite honestly, Texas is just not good enough to allow a blocked field goal or kick returns to good teams. I was proud of the effort Texas gave and will borrow the words from perhaps the best rant ever…”they were who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.” Yep, I actually thought that Texas had a chance to beat Oklahoma this year. When OU has an experienced QB, they are tough to beat. Trevor Knight may be a playmaker in time, but to this point, I am not impressed.
I must admit that I was shocked to see Dallas beat Seattle on the road last weekend. It was one of the best Cowboy games I have watched in many years. With this win, I am encouraged, but I realize that there are 10 games left to play in the season. As happy as I was to see the Cowboys win, there was a surprising sense of dread as well. Coming into this season, expectations for this Cowboy team were low. I won’t say that Dallas snuck up on early opponents, but at least the hype was limited. Now, that is no longer the case. Suddenly analysts want to know if Dallas is the best team in the NFL. Best team in the NFL? How about starting with being the best team in the NFC East? Of the 6 games the Cowboys have played, they have played zero against the NFC East. I like what I see and truly think that Dallas has a good chance to win their division, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a very good reason that smart coaches refuse to look beyond the game at hand. To do so, frequently gets you beat. The other thing that comes with Cowboy success is all those haters that fire up the hate wagon. Yeah, I get it…once upon a time the Cowboys won many games. They were anointed “America’s Team” and this pissed many people off. When I look at how this Dallas team has been constructed, I see many similarities to those Cowboy Super Bowl teams. Those Cowboy teams did not rely on Aikman to win games; they ran the ball behind a huge offensive line. This is exactly what Dallas is doing now. If you watched what Dallas did to Seattle, they did not have a first down in the first half. Dallas had long sustained drives that kept their defense fresh. To be truthful, if not for the mistakes Dallas made, they would have blown the Seahawks away. One thing that everyone said before the Seahawk game is that this game would tell us much about this Cowboy team. While I think this is true, we also learned quite a bit about the Seattle team as well. This is not the same Seahawk team that routed the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson is a talented kid, but why did the Seattle coaching staff not pound Lynch when they took the early lead on Dallas? I think that the Seahawk coaching staff got their ass kicked in this game. I am reminded just how hard it is to repeat after winning a Super Bowl. Successful teams lose players to contracts, injuries or attrition. This is one reason that I have been so impressed by what Belichick has done in New England. Although they have not won it all recently…they have been in the conversation for a long time. Is Dallas good enough to be in the conversation this year? I definitely believe they are, but they will need to win a few games in December first.
Like it or not, the media is responsible for public opinion. This is not conjecture, but a fact. Here is an example of how this works… Last Sunday, Victor Cruz went down with a torn patellar tendon. It was a horrific injury that I was really sorry to hear about. A picture was published by the New York Daily News that had a member of the Philadelphia Eagle’s staff cheering the injury to Cruz. People everywhere jumped to criticize Philly. The fact is this team staff member (named Charlie) was not cheering the injury to Cruz, but only the fact that the pass was incomplete. I think that Charlie’s words will explain exactly what happened:
Angelo, I never call the radio,” Charlie told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday morning. “I just want to be clear. I don’t want to make it look bad for Philadelphia, especially me. I got to live with myself. It was fourth and two, which is an exciting play, the ball was overthrown and I just reacted like we just stopped them, so I was just cheering. As soon as I saw him [Cruz] hurt, we—everyone stopped cheering. I didn’t cheer for that. And honestly, if anyone in the media followed it, they’ll see me go down to my knee—not with the players, but I’m actually, I said a prayer for him as well. It was terrible. I would never do that.”
Hey…I have taken plenty of shots at the Philly fans over the years. They did in fact boo Santa, cheered Michael Irwin’s career ending injury and have been well known for throwing batteries…but in this case, the truth is this criticism was misplaced. Here is the article in case you want the entire story: http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2014/10/13/6968881/victory-cruz-injury-new-york-daily-news-cover-media-misrepresent-philadelphia-eagles-fans
It is always a good idea to slow your roll...and get the facts, even if it is Philly.
Kickers take quite a bit of abuse for being…well, kickers. Dayton has a kicker that made a play worthy of a look. Here it is…
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I'd just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months warm, happy, and floating...you finish off as an orgasm.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…