Monday, September 18, 2006

A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent.

Personified in this case by an 'orrible...ahh, Bill Belichick. Did God put you here to punish me?

Four things by way of introduction: The sports section of this post is decidedly not a bitter “my-team-should-have-won” rant; with that in mind, the Jets really are not terrible; with that in mind, the Pats really aren’t that great; moving sucks.

Making the Family Skeleton Dance

This weekend was about family, in good ways, and in bad. My brother, it seems, has lost his goddamn mind. It would not shock me in the least, if when Roger Clemens eventually comes to the Red Sox he kicks off their season opener with 7 perfect innings, and my brother picks up the phone during the 7th inning stretch and says “You know Rocket has a perfect game going, here?” Apparently this kids’ proclivity to curse a team on a roll is uncanny. To wit: First quarter of the ND game, the Irish are off to a bit of a slow start. They finally get some offense going with a nice drive, and follow that up with a nice sack and an interception on the defensive end. Great. The Irish D is playing pretty good ball. They took a lot of flack in the pre-season as a glaring weakness, and were identified as the reason Notre Dame couldn’t win a championship. 2.25 games into the season they seem to be proving some doubters wrong. Joe calls at this point, and excitedly declares: “This is NOT last year’s defense. With this D they can beat Ohio State.” Over the course of the next two Quarters the Wolverines score 24 unanswered, the Defense gets embarrassed, and Brady Quinn throws his way out of the Heismann conversation and maybe even the first round of the draft. College football needs to change their rules. Your team loses one game, and essentially there is not much of a reason to watch the remainder of the season. Thanks Joe.

Then get this: a little divine intervention gets me a quadruplet of tickets to the Jets game yesterday. I invite Joe. He can’t come. Doesn’t seem to have a reason. But whatever. So I invited my dad, obviously, and Uncle Fred, and then invited my Aunt along as well. Poor lady is a Jets and Phillies fan. So we are at the game, and if you watched you know that the first half was the most atrocious half of football the Jets put up since opening day 2005 (and that is saying something.) But you also know that the second half was probably the most promising half of football they have played in a couple years. After trailing by 24, the Jets make a run to get 14, and are knocking to make it a 3 point game. On the Pats 20 they have first and ten. The phone rings, and it’s Joe. “Hey you guys are watching an unbelievable comeback!” Like clockwork, the Jets inexplicably run twice for no gain, and then Chad gets sacked. They kick a field goal, the Pats manage the clock Brilliantly, so that even when they have their field goal blocked late the Jets don’t have enough time to march back and try to tie it. And the tone in my brothers voice was almost sadistic. Its like he was calling to jinx them. I kid you not.

The good news? I spent some time with some family members whom I probably don’t see enough, got to complain about the Jets with people who know what they are talking about. (Fred’s knowledge of team history is tremendous.) And just as importantly, the Jets played valiantly in a loss, which is more than you can say about almost every loss under Herm last year. I said at the beginning of the year that I would rather have a few extra losses, but at least a glimmer of hope that the team had a decidedly different character, and they showed that yesterday. Losing sucks, always, but it sucks a little less when you know your team is playing every down like it counts.

A few game notes, and then I will end the football meanderings:

Bill Belichick is smart. But he is also a hot-headed, arrogant, prick. Guys like this do two things, as coaches: they win; and they, inevitably, alienate themselves from other teams, league officials, and eventually their own players. I repeat, this is not a fan-boy rant, but Billy-boy made just as many STUPID moves, trying to be cute and arrogant yesterday, as he made smart ones.

Some smart ones from the GEEE-NEEE-USSS: rushing the offense when the Jets were mixing in packages so that they had to burn TOs or were caught offgaurd; short routes to get 5 when that’s exactly what they needed; clock management (how is it possible that the Patriots seem to be the only team in the NFL who know how to manage the damn clock?)

Some stupid Billy-moves: a pitch on 3rd and 7 when they were up 24 early in the third quarter. It was a message play: “I can do whatever I want. We are running all over you, and I will probably gain 6 yards and get this first down. If I don’t, oh well.” What ensued was 17 unanswered. Tom Brady didn’t get any rest (and got roughed up a bit in that final quarter, when he should have been resting with a secure lead.) and the Pats narrowly escaped with a win, when they really should have been marching out after a trouncing. The red-flag on the Cotchery play. Everyone in that stadium knew Cotchery got the TD. Bill was pissed at his D, didn’t take it out on them, and instead looked like a whiny child who didn’t get his way, debating a clear-cut TD. He threw away a TO for nothing. Taking the delay of game to push back your kicker 5 yards. If you hit that kick you have a ten point lead with less than a minute and a half to go. If you push it back five yards and burn the clock? Well the Pats did that, the kick got blocked and the Jets had almost a minute to try to tie the game. Something tells me that against better teams the Patriots fans are going to be pining for a few guys that Bill and the brain-trust decided were expendable. Their names are Branch, McGinest and Vinatieri. On the positive side for Pats fans: Teddy Bruschi is not overrated. Nor is Tom Brady.

Moving. Just Keep Moving.

I hate moving. You throw out tons of crap that you never should have had in the first place, and give away even more of said “junk,” you put your life into boxes, and sit around in desolate empty rooms, waiting to trade spaces. You spend your weekend in Lowes and Linens and Things, and you tread water. Then you move and it takes weeks, or months to settle in and get things the way you want them to be. It sucks. But in this case it will be worth it. Some good news: you get to eat out more often. I had an amazing hamburger on Friday night, as well as the best Oktoberfest I think I have ever had. Brewer, in particular, is confused about the wreckage that is our former apartment. Maybe he is just wondering why his peoples cut his hair down.

Nick Cafardo gets it wrong (and his editor doesn’t bail him out.)

Not sure what the hell Nick Cafardo was thinking when he decided to write this little bit in his article about how David Murphy (for some unspecified reason) needs to live up to his hype on a shorter time-frame because he was a first round pick in 2003:

“The '03 draft produced Rocco Baldelli, Mark Teixeira, Jose Reyes, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Morneau, Johan Santana, Travis Haffner, Hanley Ramirez, Rich Harden, Lastings Milledge, Brandon Wood, Nick Markakis, Chad Cordero, and Rickey Weeks.”

The truth is that Johan was drafted in 1995 (and won the Cy Young in his FIFTH year in the league, 2004.) Mauer and Teixeira were draftees in 2001, Hafner (with one, “F,” Mr. Cafardo) was drafted in 1996 but didn’t make the pros until 2002, and Morneau was drafted in 1999! That is just atrocious reporting. But it amazes me that it made it past an editors desk. I am not the smartest baseball fan in the world and I noticed most of these errors on first glance. The rest I identified with about two minutes of research. How does an editor not pick these up?! Good question, Geoff. I emailed the Globe and will let you know what I hear.

Going to pick up the new BPB album tomorrow and will hopefully be able to provide a little more insight than you might find elsewhere. Don't drink and review, people. Also, I have a review of To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever, that I never submitted to I will try to get that posted here, soon. This week: packing. This weekend: fun with the college gentlemens. But we’ll talk before then, won’t we?


At 11:59 AM, Blogger jake said...

What's more amazing about the draft blunder is that the writer knew so little about baseball as to assume that Johan Santana was drafted in 2003. He'd already been in the majors for 4 years by then, and won the cy young the next year! These are the mainstream media folk we're supposed to get our information from?


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