Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bring on the Rants

So the World Series is over. I will admit to feeling a slight twinge as I watched the San Francisco Giants climb all over each other, a feeling that someone else was celebrating something that wasn't theirs, that belonged to my team. But in the end, that's a good thing. I'm from Philadelphia, and to be honest, as sports fans we are incredibly demanding on the micro level, often known for booing our hometown heroes when they fail to come through in a big spot in a given game, but on a macro level, we Philadelphians just have low expectations when it comes to championships. It's not like it's in the water or anything, but it's just a reflection of the historical reality: we haven't won much. When you go 25 years and 100 seasons between the four major U.S. sports between 1983 and 2008 without a single championship for the city to celebrate, when your baseball franchise remains the first and only franchise in all of professional sports to lose 10,000 games, when your basketball team has basically been hanging out in the pooper since the mid 1980s save for a few good years a decade ago under Allen Iverson, you just start to accept it. So yeah, I know the Phillies had the talent to win another World Series this year, and believe me as a long-suffering Philly sports guy I very tangibly feel our failure to nab that elusive World Series title this year while we had the chance and when we had come so close, but I mean, come on. I'm not a New York sports fan. These aren't the Yankees here. My Phillies have just won their fourth consecutive NL East for the first time in franchise history, we went to back-to-back World Series before bowing out to the eventual WS champion in the NLCS this season, and we've got an incredible pitching staff and most of our powerful lineup locked up for at least another year heading into 2012, plus one of the best, most devoted young GMs in the game today.

Try as I might, I just can't get crazy about the Phillies not winning the World Series again in 2010. I felt a twinge all right watching the celebration last night, but that's all it was. This Giants team clearly deserved to win the championship this year. As I wrote all about before the NLCS began, this Giants' staff posted the best team ERA in more than 60 years over the final 8 weeks of the 2010 season, and in the end it was their pitching that dominated, all through the playoffs really. Sure, it's easy for us Philly fans to get mad at Ryan Howard and his 12 strikeouts in the NLCS, or Chase Utley's and Shane Victorino's inability to get a big hit after coming through in the clutch so many times in postseasons past, but the rest of the sports-watching country sees the real reality: these Giants pitchers are fucking good. They made the Philly hitters look bad -- it's what they do. Matt Cain didn't give up a run in the entire postseason for the Giants. 21-year-old Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 shutout innings in a huge spot in the World Series. The Texas Rangers, who led all of MLB with a .276 batting average during the regular season, hit just .190 in the Series overall, with Giants ace Tim Lincecum beating superstar Cliff Lee not one but twice in the span of a week to clinch the championship in 5 games. This Giants team was the best team in the league when it came right down to it this year, and Bruce Bochy and those players deserve a hell of a lot of credit for coming together and peaking at the absolute best possible time, and playing their game despite consistently being picked to lose in the postseason along the way. Congratulations to the fans of the San Francisco Giants, who are celebrating like crazy today after the franchise's first championship in 57 years, and first ever while in the Bay Area.

But there is a lot of other crazy sports news going on out there today, isn't there?

For starters, this Randy Moss stuff is just craziness. Four games after the Minnesota Vikings actually trade away a third-round pick to the Cheatriots to acquire troubled wide receiver Randy Moss, Brad Childress up and cuts the guy after a bad loss to the Cheatriots in which Moss had just one catch for seven yards. Four games? For a third-round draft pick? I'm sorry, but is Brad Childress literally trying to force his owner to fire him? I mean, Chilly was already probably gone after this season -- after all, he is a stone cold jackass and has no control over this team -- but this move simply boggles the mind. Was Moss that much of a cancer in the locker room? Probably. Where hasn't he been? But how you simply cut a guy to waivers after four games when you gave up a 3rd round pick to get him, and when you will likely be on the hook for most of his $6 million salary now as well? That is some fucked up stuff right there. And meanwhile, Moss is quoted as saying he would like to go back to play for the Cheatriots again. Yeah right. For starters, the Cheatriots currently sit with 1 loss and the best record in all of the NFL, which means they are 32nd out of 32 teams on the waiver wire, and IMO Moss is not likely to slip through every other team in the league without being claimed by somebody desperate for some help on offensive in the ultimate win-now league. But even assuming Moss did manage to slip by without any other team in the league claiming him, I say no way he ends up back in a Cheats uniform. You're telling me that Bill Bellichik is going to take back the guy who nearly came to blows with the Cheatriots' offensive coordinator less than a month and a half ago about lack of focus on him on the offense? With his team sitting with the best record in all the league, he's going to welcome back a locker room cancer who's already caused trouble on this very team in this very season and who basically forced a trade after malcontenting his way through the preseason and five regular season games already in 2010? Fat chance, my man Randy. I don't think we'll be seeing you in a New England uni anytime soon, bro. Some bridges you just can't un-burn.

Another great NFL story from this past weekend, in particular for me personally -- is this whole saga with Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan in Washington. When the Skins took the ball with under two minutes to go in their game at Detroit on Sunday afternoon, Shanahan shocked the team by benching McNabb in favor of backup Rex Grossman to run the two-minute drill. Immediately following the game, Shanahan candidly told sideline reporters that he benched McNabb due to concerns over McNabb's "competence" with the two-minute offense, but then a day later after persistent questioning, Shanahan has now changed his story to the benching instead being about McNabb's conditioning more than his mental capacity to run the two-minute drill. For my money, it really doesn't matter a whole lot which one of Shanahan's totally different explanations is right, because either way we already know the true reason -- Shanahan doesn't think McNabb is good enough to be in there in that spot. That's it. With the game clearly on the line and his team down by less than 7 with 1:50 to go and needing a touchdown, the Redskins' head coach decided to bench McNabb in favor of a longtime shitty backup who hadn't really taken crucial game snaps in some two years. Whether McNabb's perceived failings were mental or physical doesn't really matter in the end. As I've been pointing out repeatedly during this season after the Eagles traded him away to the Skins -- within the division no less -- the Eagles obviously saw something (or many things) they didn't like in McNabb as the season wore down to a close, and it looks like they were right. And if Shanahan isn't careful (he usually isn't), he will soon get to experience firsthand what a pussywhining McNabb is like as well, another annual occurrence that the fans and the team management just got used to over time in Philadelphia, but which will likely be very poorly received in a new city, especially given McNabb's pace for his worst full season ever as a pro in 2010, including throwing more picks than interceptions and really failing to fully take the reins of the offense yet even through seven games of the regular season. I was always a big McNabb fan in Philly as I've written about here many times, but I won't lie -- I smiled a lil bit when I saw this story, and with every passing day as McNabb comes closer and closer to publicly griping about it, I am enjoying watching the Skins squirm more than little bit.

Oh, and here's another thing in the world of sports that I find utterly ridiculous right now: the BCS. I'm not going on a general rant here about how stupid the whole system is, the impossible to follow formulas, the computer ranking, or the lack of a playoff system or a true national champion which clearly keeps the sport from growing by probably several multiples with every passing year. No, I'm just talking right now about the unbelievable bias in this thing towards the big-conference teams. I mean, this shit is as close to a set-up for the big conference schools as it could ever be. This whole BCS thing, with each of the big conferences exerting some elements of shared control and manipulation, is one of the biggest scams I have ever seen accepted by the American sports-watching public. How many fucking teams have to lose before Boise State is given a chance to play for a national title? Just one chance is all I'm asking for here guys. If they play for a title, and some big-conference team with one loss during the regular season blows them out by 40 points, then I'll shut up. I'll stop complaining about it right away because then I'll know, then we'll all know. But instead, this team has been top-5 all season long. They were top 5 last year, and when given a chance during the regular season last year, they took down a top 10 team. They took down top-5 TCU in their bowl game last year. They started this year in the top 5 again, and they haven't even let anyone get close to them so far this season, including a solid beating of then-top 10 Virginia Tech this year as well. Boise State has played three top 10 teams in the last two seasons and beaten them all, so in the few chances they've been given at a fair shot at the top teams, they've risen to the challenge every single time. It's not their fault if none of the other big conference schools won't schedule a fair home-and-home series to play Boise State during the regular season -- these schools are scared to death of Boise State! They would rather play almost anyone than Boise, so Boise just takes their two shots a year at the big boys and dominates them all, and otherwise totally flattens everyone else in their path. Now this season was supposed to be all about Notre Dame, but they quickly proved that they suck by losing early. Perennial powerhouse Florida dropped a game in the earlygoing as well to lose their shot at a title. USC quickly lost as well to take their NCAA-embargoed self out of the realm of the unbeatens. Overlooking Boise State completely after three early favorites lost games, the BCS controlled solely by the big conferences lifted Ohio State to then the overwhelming favorite early on, until they too lost a shocker a few weeks back. Then it was Alabama leap-frogging Boise State, with all the talking heads on ESPN proclaiming that Nick Saban's team would never lose a game this year and roll on to another national title. Until they lost a couple of weeks ago to South Carolina. After Michigan State and Missouri both lost their undefeated records this past weekend, I figured the case for Boise State could no longer be ignored by the BCS, but then boom! Now it's Auburn -- another big conference school who had hardly been talked about at all until just a couple of weeks ago -- who is the new greatest team in the league this year. And when they lose the SEC championship game to Alabama in a few weeks, then you know what's gonna happen with the BCS, right? Then Alabama with one loss will be back to being ahead of Boise State again. With Ohio State right behind, how much you wanna bet.

Boise State is The Best Team in NCAA Football in 2010. Period. The big schools refuse to ever play them during the regular season except in unfair, highly favorable circumstances to the big school teams. The big conference-controlled BCS then promotes every single undefeated team over Boise State week after week, even switching it up over and over with every passing week as every single team without exception that the big schools have tried to inflate this year have done. This past weekend has now brought it all to a head as the BCS is now forced to start talking about promoting one-loss teams over Boise, who has beaten three top-10 squads in the last two seasons while dominating everyone. It's simple. Boise State is the best team in the league. Yes, they would beat Alabama if they played them right now on a neutral site, and yes they would beat Ohio State as well. Open your eyes and stop believing what the totally and laughably biased BCS is telling you and trying to change on you week after week after week after week. Congratulations to your Boise State Broncos, the real national champions of the 2010 NCAA football season.

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Blogger davidmartin said...

no joke here: preseason i bet 2500 to win 25000 on boise to win the BCS championship. it looked like a lock a couple weeks ago, and now it looks like there is no chance at all. in your estimation, if TCU loses to Utah this weekend, Auburn loses @ Alabama later in the year, AND Oregon loses one along the way: WILL BOISE GET IN THEN OR WILL THEY CONTINUE TO BE DENIED? its just ridiculous that all the teams they need to lose, do lose and yet they continue to drop. its insane

9:32 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Honestly, I believe at this point the BCS will not allow Boise State to play for the championship regardless of what happens. After all these teams have lost and now I hear people calling for Alabama and OSU to climb back up the list even with one loss, it all became clear to me this weekend that this is how it's going to go. It's pathetic and I think incredibly lame, but I think that's what's going to happen this year.

I even think they would let Utah play for the title before they would let Boise State at this point.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

Oregon would beat Boise State 56-42

11:58 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Oregon looks like the best team in the country to give Boise a run for their money the way I see it. I would love to see an Oregon - Boise State national championship game. Instead I predict it will be Oregon vs. either Auburn, Alabama or Ohio State, whoever is ranked highest by the biased BCS at season's end, all of which will be above Boise I bet if they do not lose any more games.

1:36 AM  
Blogger GnightMoon said...

I could be wrong here, but I don't believe an undefeated Boise would finish behind a one-loss Bama, Auburn, Ohio St, or any one-loss power conference team. Bama would be their greatest threat due to very impressive strength of schedule. If a team like Ohio St did pass Boise in the BCS, the public outcry would be deafening, hopefully enough to blow up the BCS and the ridiculous bowl system once and for all.

If the TCU/Utah winner goes undefeated, however, Boise may have a problem. If Oregon doesn't drop a game (and it doesn't look like they're going to), that would likely leave Boise in third.

Whatever happened to Obama saying he would like to see a college football playoff? Time to crack some skulls, Mr. President.

2:13 AM  

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