Monday, September 27, 2010

Sports Musings

1. Ron Gardenhire is the best manager in baseball. Year after year after year. The Twins have won what, 6 of the last 9 division titles in the AL Central? And with a clearly small-market team with a generally smaller-market payroll, a team that was discussed for contraction within the past half a decade or so. And they lost Mauer for most of last season and much of this season. Justin Morneau has been gone for much of two straight years as well. Joe Nathan blew out his arm and had Tommy John surgery like two days into the season this year. And yet here they are again, playing it out for the best record in all of baseball. What can you say? Tony LaRussa? Bobby Cox? Lou Piniella? Give me a break -- I'll take Ron Gardenhire any day of the week.

2. What can I say about the Phillies? I mean, obviously all those players read my blog, I've suspected that for a long time, but when I called those guys out right here in this post, apparently I really hit a chord with the team, and I downright motivated the shit out of them. Maybe I should be in coaching. I mean, I read these guys the riot act about not really caring about winning this year on the morning of August 27, and all they've done since that very date is go 22-5 and moved from 2 games back in the NL East to 6 games up and about to clinch their fourth straight NL East title, something that has only been done in the NL East by one other team since expansion in 1969, the Atlanta Braves squad that amazingly won 11 straight divisional titles between 1995 and 2005. One thing is for sure this year with the Phillies -- there have never, even in this franchise's history been higher expectations for the team to obviously walk into the World Series. Not only is Philly the two-time defending NL champions, but we have easily the best starting rotation in the NL if not in all of baseball, and seemingly the best offense in the league as well with everyone starting to hit the ball finally in the last third or quarter of the regular season. Nobody is even seriously considering the possibility of anyone other than the Fightin Phils back in the World Series in a month or two out of the National League, and the big story on this half of the bracket will be how the Phillies handle those expectations of returning to the Series that are higher than any team I can remember in my lifetime.

3. Michael Vick clearly gives the Eagles the best possible chance of winning games this year, seemingly far and away better than the team's chances with Kevin Kolb at the helm. In that sense the switch to Vick is the clear "right" decision. But, the whole story is a tremendous embarrassment to the entire Eagles franchise, from the GM and team president all the way down to the coach. To trade away Donovan McNabb in the offseason and publicly proclaim how the Kevin Kolb era is beginning, and then make a switch after seeing less than one half of Kolb's play this year before switching to someone else? That is just plain laughable, even for Philadelphia sports. That's the kind of thing the Philly fans would do but no one in management is supposed to blatantly embarrass the franchise with such silliness.

4. On the topic of Vick, I the feeling I am left with after watching him sling another 3 touchdown passes and run in a fourth this weekend on the road, is one of happiness. I am actually happy for the guy. I mean, what he did was illegal, and more than that, it was disgusting. But let's not forget, he served a year and a half in jail, suffered a more than two-year suspension from the NFL, and at the end of the day Mike Vick got all this after never hurting another human being. Not excusing his actions, but to my sensibility this is building week by week by week into one of the feel-good stories in the NFL in years, and a great story of comeback and of redemption for a guy who clearly deserves a second chance. When you've got Donte Stallworth killing an actual human being driving drunk and then back on the field 30 days later -- and I could go on and on about examples of guys in the league who have drove drunk, hurt or abused their wives or other friends or family, etc. -- the people who are still on their high horse about what Mike Vick did given the debt he paid just boggle the mind.

5. Memo to the Washington Redskins: How you feelin' now about that McNabb trade? Is McNabb still the man, after last week in overtime and now this week's depressing showing? This was without a doubt the first time in at least three or four seasons this weekend where it was actually clear that the Rams were destroying some other team. Yes the Shanahan-led Redskins clearly suck, but this is the very first sign we've seen that Steve Spagnuolo might actually have a future with this team and in head coaching in general in this league. And cue the bright lights, because Week 4 brings McNabb back "home" to Philadelphia for his return to his old team in the first faceoff between the Skins and Eagles of the 2010 regular season, in what should be this year's version of last year's return of Brett Favre to the confines of Lambeau Field.

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Blogger Bayne_S said...

Either Vick is truly reformed and remorseful for his actions and his prison stint or he has been coached by the greatest PR firm of our generation.

Braylon Edwards was out drinking with Donte Stallworth the night he killed someone and he still failed to learn to call for a car service.

12:22 AM  
Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

The Redskins' have the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL. You can't pin that on McNabb.

8:32 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Agree with you about Vick. He paid a higher price than almost any pampered athlete has paid for crimes much less worse than many have other athletes have committed.

10:52 AM  

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