"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Era of Good Feelings

(Obviously, New England looks just like that right now.)

Hypothesis: Short of the Red Sox being in the playoffs and advancing to the next round (which, really, we all knew wasn't going to happen), this weekend was perfect for a New England sports fan.

Prove or disprove.

As Marianne pointed out, "perfect" would have included a loss by the Colts, but what we did get was pretty damn close.

Obviously, the crowning moment was the clusterfuck on the part of the Yankees. I shall quote the Guinness commercials here when I say, "Brilliant!" And it really, really was. There's nothing quite like watching a bunch of overpaid, overhyped All-Stars crash and burn. Or rather, fold and choke. Becoming quite the experts at the choking of late, aren't they? Evidently, Steinbrenner has spent $1.2 billion in player salaries (plus luxury tax which is not insignificant) over the course of the past six seasons and has zero championships to show for it. And, as we all know, in New York, nothing means anything if you don't win it all. I'd imagine those Yankees and their fans are feeling mighty unfulfilled lately.

Of course, talking about the Yankees' flop takes away from the impressive and gutsy play on the part of the Tigers. I know the Tigers had the best record in baseball this season and their appearance in the post-season isn't really a surprise to anyone but I've always thought of them as a scrappy team. They're young, tough, loose, fun and everything the Yankees aren't. They have veteran leadership with Pudge and Kenny Rogers (to whom I sang "The Gambler" for four straight innings on Friday night). And they have a crusty old baseball man as a manager who always looks like he's about three seconds away from lighting up an unfiltered Winston and yelling at those damn kids to get off his lawn. It's everything you could want in a baseball team. And if your team is out of it (thanks, Tommy Lasorda), you can surely do worse than to root for the Tigers. Three years ago they nearly set a record for baseball futility and now, here they are, gearing up to play the A's in the ALCS. As Marianne, resident Orioles fan said, "They give hope to shitty teams everywhere."

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't taking immense pleasure in the sturm und drang going down in New York right now. According to nebulous "sources," the entire organization is in upheaval and everyone's just waiting for George to blow a gasket and hire the hastily reanimated corpse of Billy Martin to manage the 2007 team. A-Rod's in denial about how badly he played and people want him shipped out of town. We're blaming Torre, Cashman, A-Rod, YES, and the peanut vendors at Yankee Stadium for this year's failure. Interestingly enough, no one's blaming Jeter. I didn't realize this until I was watching one of those talking heads shows at the gym yesterday and a caller took issue with this fact.

"No one ever says it's Jeter's fault," the guy argued, "They always say, 'Oh, Jeter's the captain. Jeter's the leader. Jeter is the heart and soul of this team.' And I say, well, if that's true, then how come Jeter never embraced A-Rod? How come he never welcomed him to the team? How come he never stands up for him? Your captain has to take the bullets for everyone else and Jeter never does that when it comes to A-Rod. How is A-Rod supposed to perform if he knows that Jeter's already hoping he fails?"

Ignoring for a second the delightful picture of a jealous lover's quarrel that the astute caller paints for us, he makes a valid point. I mean, I'm not saying that I'd want to stand up for A-Rod either, but Jeter has been conspicuously absent in these discussions. And he is the captain, he does garner some accountability solely for that reason. Of course, you can't possibly blame anything on Jeter because he is clearly God's Chosen One. I'm sure I will be struck by lightning for so much as suggesting it.

Anyway, I think my point was...Go Tigers!

As far as football goes, Amy and I had a discussion about Joey Harrington this weekend based on the fact that even though the Dolphins were trailing the entire game, the announcers could not stop praising him until the final minutes when they changed their tune from, "OMG Joey Harrington is the bestest QB EVA!" to "Well...you just can't make those mistakes against the Patriots. You just can't."

Me: Joey Harrington and Chadrick Pennington IV are totally BFFs. They are going to hang out on Pennington's yacht.

Amy: The yacht is totally named "Quattro."

Me: Absolutely. They are going to spend this week on the yacht drinking wine coolers and discussing the many ways in which they are better than Tom Brady. "Yeah, well...I could sleep with a bunch of smokin' hot actresses if I wanted to. He's only got one. What? I totally could. I just don't feel like it."

Amy: "Harrington" and "Pennington" are the most prissy rich boy names ever.

Me: I'm also pretty sure that their daddies are part of the same law firm and they refer to each other as "The Chadster" and "Jo-Dog."

Amy: In the offseason all they do is cruise for college and 18-year-old high school girls, smoke pot, and play video games.

Me: They're obsessed with "Madden" but they always refuse to use good quarterbacks and play as themselves.

Amy: Those games always end with scores of 6-3 or 84-78.

Me: Always setting new records for fumbles and interceptions.

Amy: Imaginary Chad Pennington and Joey Harrington world is fun.

Me: We don't know it's true. But we know it's true. You know?

Amy: I know.

And then, Pennington lost. As did Chadrick, to the tune of 41-0 at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was especially sweet because not two hours before, every talking head on television was annointing him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Sweet, sweet irony.

And then, of course, the Steelers lost, prompting a shot of Ben Roethlisberger standing on the sidelines after throwing an interception and chewing on the chinstrap of his helmet.

Me: I have figured it out. The Ben Roethlisberger face is one part Mike Scioscia Face, one part Peyton Manning Face, one part big, dumb dog that just took a shit on the carpet and one part "dumber than a box of hair."

Amy: That is exactly correct.

Other than the fact that I fear that Sebastian might need to be put on suicide watch, it was a good sports weekend. I'll be rooting Tigers from here on out and shall look forward to next week's Patriots bye by randomly screaming nonsensical things at various other teams and writing odes about Troy Brown.