Three more in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown...
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where we're just grinding away...
Rice Gets 2 games…seriously?
Ray Rice, has been a steady dependable running back for the Ravens and has been so going back to his days at Rutgers, I was seriously disappointed in his actions where he was in a physically abusive altercation with his then fiancé now wife. Rice, to his credit owned up to the deed. But the NFL gave him a two game suspension, consider that Albert Haynesworth got 5 games for stomping on an opponent during a game, a coach got 6 games for his involvement in Bountygate, Odell Thurman was out multiple seasons. The most suspect of suspensions was the 5 game dock that was given to Terrelle Pryor for his involvement in the tattoos for memorabilia that ultimately brought down the reign of Jim Tressel at Ohio State. Sheriff Goodell has hand a long history of being heavy on those miscreants that he feel has violated the conduct standard that the NFL holds strict to. The phrase “Protect the Shield” has rung long and often by officials and former players. But this suspension is a joke, and NFL VP Adolpho Birch went on Mike & Mike Monday Morning in a feeble attempt to defend and justify their actions. Greenberg and Golic lit in to him and repeatedly tried to pin him down on giving a justifiable reason for such a puny disciplinary action. He couldn’t and I applauded Mike Greenberg for his sharp criticism of the suspension and the words of Mike Golic who pointed out that had either of his football playing sons had been the focus of the suspensions for those actions, that they would face a lot worse discipline from him than a coach or league.
Hall of Fame gets a classy class
Cooperstown got a real class group this year. Four I thought were no doubters and two I was never big fans of but the numbers are just too good to ignore. The four no-doubters are Tom Glavine, long time ace of the Braves, Greg Maddux the Clark Kent clone who seemed to crank out wins and strikeouts as the years went by. Managers Joe Torre and Bobby Cox who managed lots of places but were most famed for winning with powerhouse teams in the Yankees and Braves respectively. The two I shrugged on were Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa.
In depth: Glavine won 20 or more games 5 times and netted 2 Cy Youngs, never an overpowering pitcher, he always was on point with his control and was a reliable pitcher. Starting in 1991 he had 13 consecutive winning seasons. Glavine was nothing if not consistent and he won. He passed the 300 win threshold in 2007 and might be the last pitcher to win 300 games.
I wanted to despise Greg Maddux, because he was so good and I detested the Braves. But Maddux looked more like Clark Kent or an accountant than a beastly pitcher. Like Glavine, Maddux took a couple years to get his sea legs then became a model of consistency. Look at his season by season numbers and you might not be impressed until you see that they cross 23 years spanning 3 decades. He only won 20 games twice once as he was hitting his free agent year with the Cubs and the first with the Braves where he spent the bulk of his career. He won four Cy Youngs in a row from 92-95. Maddux won 15 or more games each season from 1988-2004 and struck out 100 or more batter for 21 consecutive seasons from 1987-2007, that’s the hallmark of consistency. He was an innings eater and workhorse stopper. Don’t let the specs fool ya, he was a game competitor who took pride in his craft, fielding (he won 13 consecutive Gold Gloves, missed a year then won 5 more) and batting.
I have always loathed the White Sox, though for some reason I’ve always liked their colorful play by play guy Hawk Harrelson, he was the one that gave the quiet slugger Frank Thomas his nickname “The Big Hurt” Lord, that man could hurt ya. He swung like he was trying to hit the ball into Lake Michigan when the Sox played at Comiskey and more often than not hit he’d hit it hard. Say what you want about the so-called steroid era, Thomas was legitimately strong. My relatives down south used to call it country strong. Made his debut in 1990 and everyone knew he was gonna be special, from 1991-1998 he knocked in 100 or more RBI’s every year; he hit .300 better in all but one season from 1991-2000. He won 2 MVP’s and was a consistent long ball threat. I wasn’t a fan of his, and didn’t think much of his numbers till I looked at them over the course of his career. He was good and where 500 homers is shrugged at now as no big deal, he still had 521 homers and few every doubted that he earned them, he was always a home run hitter and for a while was the frightening combo of power and average
On the Managerial side, all three skippers have won World Series rings. Bobby Cox managed like forever for the Braves and cranked out divisional titles in assembly line style. Though his career started forgettable with Braves in the late 70s and was replaced by some guy named Torre (but we’ll get to that forgettable guy later) He resurfaced with the Blue Jays and made them steadily better but was haunted by his team blowing a 3-1 lead in the ALCS to the Royals, he returned to the Braves as GM and then returned to the bench in 1990 and after a rough 40-57 conclusion to that season began to win and win and win. From 1991-2005 the Braves never had a losing season and made the postseason every year. Read that last part again… Every year that there were playoffs from 1991-2005, the Braves were there they won 100+ games 6 times, 4 NL Pennants and the 1995 World Series. Cox was seemingly always getting tossed from games, but his players loved his straightforward style and played hard for him consistently.
Cox got replaced in his first stint as Braves Manager by Joe Torre. Torre won a division title with those Braves in 1982, but not much else his first three managerial gigs with the Mets and Cards and when he was hired by the Yanks in 1996, the papers derided the decision with one paper blaring the headline “Clueless Joe” But Torre instead proved to be the perfect buffer between the players and the Boss, he could parry with the media who held him in high regards and backed with Yankee money skillfully managed the Bombers to 12 consecutive playoff appearances and Five AL pennants and four World Series titles, rings that eluded him as player he got as a skipper and the call from Cooperstown that also was just out of his grasp as a player was a no brainer as a manager.
Finally there is LaRussa, whom I was no fan of. I thought he was egotistical and the media always lauded over how great and smart he was. Yeah I get that he managed 33 years and won better than 2700 games, 6 pennant and with Sparky Anderson was one of two managers to win World Series in both leagues but I look at the fact that his teams won 100 or games 4 times and never won a World Series. I remember how he got outcoached in the 88 and 90 World Series and was cannon fodder for the 2004 Red Sox. He did go out with a bang, retiring after his Cards won a thrilling 2011 Series but I never was a fan of his.
McGwire: Too good for Canseco
Mark McGwire was a protégé of LaRussa and played almost all of his career under his stewardship, I find it humorous that the overly pious McGwire is um bashing Jose Canseco for his expose into the tawdry world of PEDs McGwire says that he will never speak to Canseco again and refused to do so during a 25th anniversary fete for the 1989 World Series champ A’s. I find it funny that McGwire acts like he was so pure and Canseco was the cheater when it seemed that he has that PEDs taint on himself too. Canseco who never came close to making the Hall of Fame looks like his usual hustlin’ for a buck self while the pious McGwire is the hitting coach for the Dodgers which I always found funny a .260 hitter teaching hitting.
Can Scott return the Lake Show to primetime?
The Lake Show finally has a coach. After 3 long years of Kobe running the team, he has finally decided to let an established coach with real playing credentials take the helm. I’m sorry, the pair of Mikes in the seemingly petrified Mike Brown who seemed frightened to even correct Kobe and the clueless Mike D’Antoni whose offensive style was ill-suited for the Lake Show and seemingly was getting more and more ignored by the player as their disastrous 27-55 death march season ground on, don’t count. Byron Scott was named head coach of the Lakers over the weekend. Scott is well traveled as a coach having had stints in Cleveland, New Orleans and most successfully in New Jersey where he lead the Nets to their only Finals appearances where they were sacrificial lambs to the Lakers and Spurs respectively. Scott would at least have the attention of Kobe who was a briefly a teammate of his for a season when Kobe was a rookie and Scott was at the end of solid career where he garnered 3 rings as a member of the Showtime Lakers. The Lake Show might have he first coach since Phil Jax that has the street cred and playing weight to put and keep Kobe in his place. Will the Lake Show be anything more than 3rd best in their building for a while? No, but I still think that Scott is a decent choice and gives the team a decent credibility bridge from its halcyon days of the 80s Scott is the 6th former Laker to coach the team (Mikan, West, Riley, Johnson, Rambis.)
The Red Sox have long had to labor under the immense shadow of their hated neighbors the New York Yankees but the Red Sox can hang their hat on the fact that in this Century they currently have a 3-1 lead on the Bombers in World Series titles. So it would be a bit surprising that a Yankee fan would return a Red Sox World Series ring but Luigi Militello, owner of Luke’s Bar and Grill in NYC, found the ring worth close to $30K belonging to Drew Weber who is the owner of one the Red Sox minor league affiliates. Weber who said that he hardly ever wears the ring left the ring in the men’s washroom and Militello found the precious bauble when Weber who had searched his domicile in vain for the ring called the eatery as a last resort, Militello reported he had found the ring after some good natured razzing. Weber who frequents the restaurant returned the next day. Militello refused any kind of reward money, but Weber did hook him up with tickets to the final games of Yankee Captain Derek Jeter’s career which will be play at Fenway.
ESPN for dropping the ball in the debate and discussion over abuse and the NFL’s handling of such matters. ESPN’s and First Take did a quick though weak repudiation of the loquacious of show debater Stephen A Smith’s comments that were made Friday which came off as sounding like that a woman provoked a fight and deserved the abuse. Smith, to his credit, did apologize and make an attempt to correct his comments while reiterating that he does not condone abuse in anyway. But instead of using that as a springboard for a thought provoking debate and discussion with First Take host Cari Champion or possibly Michelle Beadle who rightfully called Smith to task for his comments as misconstrued as they could have been, instead turned away from the topic to opine about LeBron James’s jersey number switch. ESPN and the powers that be at First Take blew a golden opportunity to take the lead on the discussion of the topic itself, not is so much Smith and his mea culpa which I attribute to poor phrasing and word choice in an attempt to sound more bombastic than his debate partner than braying hack that is Skip Bayless. The show proceeding First Take, Mike & Mike in the Morning were very eloquent in their opinion on the matter and were very clear on their stance as I pointed out. That was the kind of lead in and alley-oop that First Take should have hit 5 miles and slammed home. Bravo to Ms. Beadle who bravely called out a colleague but the Head Slap goes to First Take who missed a perfect opportunity to follow in the words of their show “Embrace Debate”
Sterling’s bid to block the sale of the Clippers has been tossed out…bye Felicia
Kevin Love decides against playing for the national team due to the trade concerns…ummm yeah.
Johnny Football jersey sells for $100k…for real?
Gordon wins the Brickyard…again
Derrick Rose feels good…how long is that going to last?
Thats the View From the Hoodwood, Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!
Greetings from Minnesota/South Dakota!!! As you read this, Jerry and I are now into Day 4 of “World Tour Stop #4”. Today we’re driving down I-29 from Sioux Falls to Kansas City to catch the Royals host the Twins tonight. This is the 21st Century version of home movies, but here we go:
We bitch a whole lot about what’s wrong with sports, but let me tell you what doesn’t suck: A warm summer day sitting in the stands and enjoying a ball game with good food. The sunshine of the day and yes the clouds and rain to cool it off, the singing of the national anthem by a kid while the American flag is being raised by an Active Duty Marine and family (Seattle style). The seventh inning stretch while the singing of “God Bless America” followed by “Take me out to the ball game”. Listening and feeling the excitement after the Twins won only their 3rd game of a ten-game homestand. Talking to the guy sitting next to you with whom you have nothing in common but Baseball and enjoying his perspective on his team and talking about other teams and other stadiums. Watching the priceless looks on kids faces at the game and how much fun they seem to have – it kind of puts sports in a bit better perspective.
Minneapolis. A very fun time and an interesting city, but expensive. Traffic patterns are tough, it’s easy to get lost, and the freeways are usually pretty packed, but the people are really cool. We hit a three story English Pub with actual lawn bowling on the top floor. Unfortunately, the lawn bowling was replaced on Sunday with a modern version of Shakespeare. We then looked for some dinner, and while the juicy lucy eluded me, I finally got one for dinner and it didn’t disappoint! Then after hitting a very bad comedy club, my old butt called it a night to finish watching the Dodgers/Giants.
Minnesota Sports Scene. It’s tough here. Vikes, Twins, and Wolves are struggling, There isn't much to write home about on the college front, except for D-2 Minnesota Mankato. Though this hockey mad region has a lot to be happy with regarding the Wild and College Hockey of course. But as this is my third visit and I admittedly don’t know as much as I should, I fail to understand how it is so hard to attract free agents here in any sport. I get it in Basketball, the ownership and management are clueless. But I can think of a lot worse places to spend a Summer than Minny.
Fans totally and completely support their teams here though they may have given up on the T-Wolves, and for that I can't blame em. It’s an outstanding and very knowledgeable fan base who come out in droves to the games. Every time I have been here, jerseys are worn everywhere by everybody.
Stadiums are in a bit of flux. Target Field is brand new. Target Center (Wolves) is getting a 50 mil facelift, and finally the Metrodome is officially gone. I’m told the building of the new stadium at the same site had 50 trucks bring in the second largest crane in the world to start the process of building this new and incredibly visionary stadium that will host Super Bowl 52. If you haven’t already, go to YouTube and check out this incredible plan.
Co-Douche Bags of the Week. Let's keep the Minnesota theme going:
Chris Kluwe would make a good Gabber, and he’s one helluva follow on Twitter, but he needs to STFU. When you’re willing to speak, you’d better be ready for the repercussions, and When you sue and threaten, you’d better make sure your dirt is on the down low, especially if you are threatening to expose other players activities. But then again Vikings, if I recall your recent history, you aren’t exactly lily white either. It would be in both sides best interest (despite the entertainment value) to do this stuff in closed court, because both sides will get hurt and the potential for this to blow up into a social issue is great.
Kevin Love either is immature or is getting some seriously bad advice. Not wanting to play for Team USA because he’s too wrapped up with “trade drama” while trying to force his way out of town? I get that the Wolves organization is a shit-storm, but this is bush. I hope Jerry Colangelo never takes this guy back on Team USA. If I was here this coming Winter I’d go to a game to boo the ever loving shit out of this ass-clown. I don’t have my certificate with me, but if I did, I’d personally walk it to him and deliver it. Be a man and accept this token of our disapproval!
Target Field…has a bit of a minor league feel to it – it’s hard to describe, kind of a like a down to earth homey type feel. Friendly people everywhere just enjoying the hell out of a ball game – a completely different vibe from games in Cali, you have no problem bringing your kids here for a fun day at the park. Wide concourses and the smells of Food was everywhere. I personally was overwhelmed and drawn to the smell of the sausages though I drew the line at Sauerkraut. The food was tremendous and certainly had the Midwest flair. You absolutely have to try the sausages, and for those beer aficionados, this place doesn’t disappoint. My dad wasn’t a sports guy, but he would have loved this place.
As with all other towns there are those places near the stadium fans just crowd into prior to going into the game and here is no exception. If you ever are here, I highly recommend a place called Cowboy Jacks just two blocks from the gate, a three story restaurant/bar with the third floor being the rooftop which had a tiki bar type set up of its own and a live band playing. Best wings I’ve ever eaten, a Bloody Mary Bar, and a mechanical bull.
Sunday the Twins celebrated the 20th anniversary of the movie “Little Big League” with Luke Edwards, Sacramento’s Tim Busfield and Jason Robards. For those who don’t know it was about a 12 year old baseball junkie whose grandpa owned the Twins, died and gave the kid the team and he promptly fired the manager and named himself the replacement. It was a silly, yet at time funny flick. Anyway, the kid (Edwards) is all grown up now and he was on hand to throw the first pitch, then host a showing of the movie on the big screen post-game for anybody who wanted to stay in the lower bowl and watch.
Minny isn’t for everybody, but if you get a chance, come here and don’t miss a game at Target Field.
Oh, and Beeze, there were North Dakota Fighting Sioux hockey sweaters being worn at the game. Just thought you’d enjoy that.
Minnesota Twins. The game was fun and it went 2:45 (an AL game?) with the Twins beating the White Sox 4-3 to close out a ten game homestand 3-7. The weather went from hot and sweltering to cool, breezy, and rainy and changed every five minutes back and forth. A Chicago pitcher threw a pitch and the ump IMMEDIATELY went to the mound and examined the pitcher, who was sent to the dugout to remove “excessive rosin on his left sleeve” and to remove a bracelet he had tucked under that sleeve. On the very next pitch, the pitcher immediately started throwing wildly and the Twins went right to work, scoring three runs. Coinky-dink? Another interesting thing was Oswaldo Arcia getting pissed after a strikeout and breaking his bat over his knee.
Fans are pissed about the record, but I look at the names on the team and I think that while the Twins certainly aren’t world beaters, I think they have a bit more talent than they are getting credit for, and while it’s kind of taboo to say this – I think Twins fans should be patient. Maybe I’m wrong, but I like Fuld (LF), Trevor Plouffe (3B), Danny Santana (CF), Brian Dozier (2B), Eduardo Escobar (SS) and Josh Willingham (DH) while the numbers say that Arcia may be a good one in the future. Oh, and did I mention Glenn Perkins the closer? The Twins clearly evident need is pitching. Yohan Pino looked pretty good yesterday, though I’m told he’s maddingly inconsistent though he did have a no-hitter into the 5th. Pitchers jersey numbers were all in the 60’s, so that tells you what’s up there.
Overall the Twins are in a rebuilding process and it will take time. They are a few years behind Cleveland and KC those terms, but I can see something building there and I like Ron Gardenhire as the skip. I think he’s the perfect guy to bring this team along. For what it's worth, I'll be cheering from afar.
Minnesota Vikings. Got the opportunity to attend Vikings camp yesterday for their morning walk-thru and something I noticed: besides QB, this offense has weapons now. AP, Rudolph, a MASSIVE O-line, and Patterson, Simpson, and Jennings at the wide-outs. If anybody can step up at QB, Norv Turner may have a very tough offense, and he was on them today like stink on dookie. Not sold on the “D”, but we’ll have to see.
Farewell Minnesota and South Dakota. My guess is that we won’t be back anytime soon if at all, but you were a tremendous host and you’ve got a lot going on from many different and positive aspects. I know that I’m too much of a sissy to sit through one of your winters, but you’ve got some great people here and your Summers are pretty awesome. I don’t know what it is about this place, but I always come away impressed. Minnesota is kind of like the America that we all envision.
To the University of Sioux Falls, I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart from giving my kid a chance and putting up with him (wink, wink). I know he has learned a lot there and I hope that he in some way has contributed to you somehow. I’m sure leaving was bittersweet for my son. He made lots of friends, but he sure isn’t gonna miss the winters back here, that’s for sure and he is now on to his next adventure which is…
Junior College Football. It can now be announced that my son has been hired to become Defensive Line Coach at a Junior College here in California for the upcoming season. So once I get him home, he almost immediately has to leave to start that job where he’ll get room and board and a paycheck. Happy for him and I hope he enjoys it. There is a future goal in mind here which I don’t want to jinx and I hope it works out for him. Good Luck son!
I hope you enjoyed the discussion of Minnesota sports, perhaps a place that is a tad bit overlooked.
Welcome to Monday Moaning...And look what I found...If anything should happen to Mrs. Beeze, God forbid...I know who the next target on my list...Look at that...Good body...You know I love the red hair...And look at the skills...Clearly this gal is a dick-wrecker...Just pull it out, stand behind her and see how long you last...Just imagine what else she can do with that body...Wrecking dicks left and right!
Have I objectified women enough yet? Hey, that's my bread and butter people...the words in between the T&A is just quality filler! And why do I start each Monday Moaning post with an image of an attractive or clearly talented lady (like the one above)? Because it draws eyes to the blog...And once they get past the ass, the read my ranting and raving post, and hopefully it made people laugh, or smile, or think, or even pissed off...As long as it does something for ya...
Am I objectifying women by doing this...Sure, I guess so...Is that wrong? No...Why is it not wrong? Well, lets just start with the gal at the top of this post...She stood in front of some one with a camera and did this...And put it on the internet...So if you put it out there, how have I done anything wrong? And the same goes for when I use a model's image...They put it out there...I'm just spreading the love they shared...
People have commented that I have daughters, how could I objectify women...Well, I'm a man...I'm a horny all my fucking life, man...I like attractive women...If some guy posted pics of my daughters I'd be pissed...I can't lie about that...If they were done without my daughters knowledge, I'm killing the mother fucker...If my daughter put it out there herself, she'll have to deal with the consequences, including me being pissed at her...
So why is this the topic I'm writing about this week? Because ESPN's Sam Ponder decided to throw out a tweet that insinuated guys like me who post pics of women on blogs can't be mad with the NFL's weak stance towards Ray Rice beating the shit out of his wife...WHAT!?! Are you fucking high you idiot bitch!?! Never have I come out as pro-wife beating...I don't pictures of women being choked, and fisted...I've never written, 'Make the world a better place, punch a bitch in the face!'
Posting an attractive woman's picture and some how jumping to 'They're all about beating women' is just fucking ridiculous...Some guy posts my daughters picture on a blog, that she put on the net will piss me off...Some guy punches my daughter, and they'll never find his fucking body..."Objectifying" women and beating them are different worlds dummy...
Oh, and how did Sam get her ESPN Job? Her job, standing in front of horny college guys, trying to string together a couple sentences about football that make sense....
Oh, that's right...She looks good...She was objectified by the ESPN suits....
Seriously, if I had that ass, blonde hair, and those boots, I'd be killing that Game Day job!....I hate to come across as a total, male pig, but she only has that job because she's good looking...Because college guys get all horned up for her...Like this classic sign from last year...
Oh, and Sam is not alone...WEEI in Boston just suspended a Radio host, Kirk Minihane who trashed Erin Andrews after her piss-poor performance at the All-Star game...Dude called her out for what she is...A bad reporter...A bobble head with a good body, and if it wasn't for her looks she wouldn't be where she is...Why did WEEI take so long to suspend Minihane in this day and age of PC bullshit, and quick to fire because some one was offended crap? Well, they actually stood by him until FOX pitched a bitch, and pulled all their advertising from the Radio station...
Fox....Fox Sports that regionally pushes it's merry band of hotties at Baseball and Hockey games...
FOX....FOX Sports1 which features and promotes its stars....
I'm sorry FOX buy I'm calling bullshit...You lead the league in objectifying women...You have the elite crew of ex-sideline "reporters"...You know, the hotties that asked the coach idiotic questions as he ran to the locker room for halftime...You have a cream of the crop of bobble-headed, bleach blonde news readers...Get off your high horse...Dude called your girl out for being the hack she is, and it was funny...Tell her to shut-up, and get naked in front of another camera, because that's all she's good for...We've all seen her commercials...She sucks at those too!
Oh, and as for my official stance on Ray Rice...The NFL is full of shit...Smoke weed, 6 games...Smoke weed again, the season...Punch the fuck out of a women, 2 games...Fuck the NFL....Ad as for Ray Rice...He needs to be pistol-whipped! That's how I feel about fuckers hitting women...
Now be a good girl and go get a hula hoop and get that ass in game-shape!
Last year, on this weekend, I was bemoaning the fact that I was middle aged and in pain after failing at getting up on water skis. This year, I’m a year older, but I did correct my mistake I noted last year, and got up on the skis. It felt great, but that middle aged thing has a way of letting you know it’s still here. It didn’t take long for my feet and ankles to get fatigued so after a few turns around the river it was time to let go.
In contrast to the catastrophic sort of fail that was me attempting to ski last summer, this year I gracefully slowed to a stop, and waved a graceful wave of goodbye as I slowly sunk below the surface. How very un-Mo like.
It was kind of funny, because I actually got to watch someone else take on my customary role, when they failed to turn their canoe into the boat’s wake and were summarily capsized. We went over to offer assistance (after all, we did kind of knock them over) and I was pretty sure the dude was going to go at it with us, but he was far too out of shape to do much other than accept our offer to come aboard and take a ride back to their camp. I felt badly for his passenger as she lost her car keys when she was knocked out of the boat…but then it occurred to me (and I know you’re saying the same thing), who brings their car keys out in a canoe? Just her. And now they’re on the bottom of the river. Hope you have a spare set.
Otherwise, the weekend was a fine time to clear out the headspace that’s been clogged for about a month now. It’s a stressful, busy time of year at work and man did I need a getaway. I NEEDED to sit beside a river, I NEEDED to get on that boat, and I NEEDED to waterski…and then I NEEDED to sleep. Ohmigod did I need to sleep. All that action just wiped me out…all that action being about 5-10 minutes waterskiing. I slept a good 10 hours solid, but woke up feeling about as clearheaded and refreshed as I have in months. Turns out sleep is a really good thing…you know, when you’re old and stuff.
And speaking of being old, this week I’m finally getting out and seeing my first concert of the summer – KISS and Def Leppard. How old am I? I remember when the drummer had two arms.
Here’s what unnerves me. We spend so much time waiting for the hands on the clock to move, “can’t wait for Friday,” or “I can’t wait to get out of here” that we wind up wishing all our time away. I love Football season, but I love summer – even though it’s the craziest time on my work calendar – and I’m not willing to wish it away. Sure I bust hump in summer, but you know what? I wish July had 9 weeks. I’d work this crazy schedule all year if it meant I could have summer as long. I’m thankful for the beginning of the week, I’m thankful for the end of the week, and everything in between. So I refuse to wish away my time – we don’t know how much we actually get.
That’s why I love baseball. There’s no clock. Just innings. You can while away time watching or listening to a ball game and not be thinking “CLOCK.” I love Football, probably because it’s a fall/winter sport – I don’t mind clock watching in the winter. I don’t mind wishing away winter months – part of the reason I really need to move to a Caribbean island where it’s always summer, I guess. Anyway, the trade deadline is fast approaching and the Red Sox just dealt Jake Peavy to the Giants for 2 top-10 prospects. Yeah, I make that deal every day. Peavy was just what was needed last season, this season? There’s only so much pitching a last place team needs to carry on payroll – time to start thinking next season.
And so, the World Series Champions are now in last place – one of the few “sellers” in MLB. The 2013/2014 Red Sox remind me of the song “We Built This City” by “Starship.” This song was #1 on Billboard for a week back in November, 1985 after climbing the charts leaps and bounds (incidentally, just before the Sox blew the 1986 World Series…) and then, just a precipitously, fell off the charts.
Now, the 2013 Sox are not regarded as the Worst Champions of all time, that title belongs to the 1987 Minnesota Twins, but could quite possibly join another exclusive club of WC Champs finishing last with The Giants and Marlins. “We Built This City” is ridiculed almost 30 years after hitting #1 because it was created by the machine the song itself ridicules. The Sox have somehow escaped the wrath of fandom, simply because they’re not the Yankees, but they do seem to play the game (i.e. buy their team) the way their hated rival 200 miles to the south does. Red Sox nation refuses to believe we’re as bad as the Yankees, possibly because we’ve heard the “19-18” chants for so long and, let’s face it, those cats are pretty nasty with their “27 rings” talk (fact: the first rings were awarded in 1922 and the Yankees gave their first rings after the 1927 series, so at best we’re talking 26 rings – just sayin’), but over the last decade plus the Sox have been playing in that water.
The song talks about how the city was built on rock and roll, yet sounds nothing like anything considered to be rock and roll, the Sox built their championship on grit and comradery, yet this year’s team shows none of that.
So, instead of watching baseball and mindlessly whiling away the summer, I’m trying to take as much of it and live in it. It won’t be long now that the kids are back in school, and we’re thinking about Halloween, thanksgiving, and Christmas. Let’s keep summer just a little bit longer.
First off, there needs to be a better way to describe this. The “playoff” is four teams, but there was a championship game under the BCS and you could describe the other major bowls as “BCS bowls” without confusion. CFP (college football playoff) bowls maybe? I guess I’ll call them that.
If you’re not aware, there is a three-year rotation for the semifinals. Year 1: Rose and Sugar. Year 2: Orange and Cotton. Year 3: Fiesta and Peach. So I’m going to go through all three possibilities using last year’s pre-bowl rankings.
The Top Four
Going by the BCS standings, this is how the semifinal would have looked last year:
Rose: Florida St. vs. Michigan St.
Sugar: Auburn vs. Alabama
However, I don’t think it would have happened that way. I think given that Alabama did not have a particularly strong non-divisional schedule (Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Colorado St., Georgia St., Chattanooga), did not win the conference, and lost its final game, they would have been seeded no higher than 4th. When the loss takes place isn’t stated as a criteria, but I can’t imagine that wouldn’t influence the results.
I don’t think Stanford, which had the toughest schedule according to many and which won its conference, would have gone ahead of Alabama, but that’s another possibility. I would have picked Stanford myself.
I’ll just go with Alabama though for this exercise. I think making them #4 instead of #3 would have been a significant enough departure from all the major polls.
Year 1: Semifinal
So this is what I think the semifinal actually would have been:
Rose: Auburn vs. Michigan St.
Sugar: Florida St. vs. Alabama
Year 1: Other CFP Bowls (those bowls in the rotation but not semifinals in Years 1, 4, 7, etc.)
The Orange Bowl is the only one where we have any guidance really since the ACC #1 goes to the Orange Bowl if it’s a year where the Orange Bowl is not a semifinal. In this case, it’s actually the ACC #2 since the ACC #1 obviously would have made the semifinal. I think with a fairly highly-ranked alternate of the same conference, the Orange Bowl still would have picked Clemson. The other Orange Bowl spot is for and SEC or Big Ten #2 or Notre Dame. I don’t think they would have fought the Cotton Bowl over Missouri, and Ohio St. was a very attractive pick, so actually, that’s the one relevant bowl that I don’t think would have changed.
Orange: Clemson vs. Ohio St. (actual match-up)
Cotton: South Carolina vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta: Stanford vs. Baylor
Peach: Central Florida vs. Missouri
Year 2: Semifinal
Cotton: Auburn vs. Michigan St.
Orange: Florida St. vs. Alabama
Year 2: Other CFP Bowls (those bowls in the rotation but not semifinals in Years 2, 5, 8, etc.)
It’s a little more straightforward not to have the Rose and Sugar as part of the semifinals. My understanding is that in Years 2 and 3, the SEC takes the highest non-semifinal Big XII and SEC teams no matter what, and the Rose Bowl takes the highest Big Ten and Pac-12 teams no matter what.
To editorialize for a moment, I don’t know why the Rose and Sugar would be paired as semifinals. It should be like Sugar Fiesta one year, Rose Peach the next, and Orange Cotton the next. That way you’re only disrupting one major bowl arrangement at a time. In the years that the Pac-12/Big Ten game doesn’t take place, there should still be the SEC/Big XII game and vice versa.
Sugar: South Carolina vs. Baylor
Rose: Stanford vs. Ohio St.
Orange: Clemson vs. Missouri
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Central Florida
Year 3: Semifinal
Fiesta: Auburn vs. Michigan St.
Peach: Florida St. vs. Alabama
Year 3: Other “Playoff” Bowls (those bowls in the rotation but not semifinals in Years 3, 6, 9, etc.)
These years will be the most restrictive since there are three bowls with pretty specific formulas.
Sugar: South Carolina vs. Baylor
Rose: Stanford vs. Ohio St.
Orange: Clemson vs. Missouri
Cotton: Oklahoma vs. Central Florida
All years: Other Bowls (rough guess)
I looked at the anticipated bowl lineup and used my best guess as to how it would have worked had next year’s bowls all been in place last year. Keep in mind that there were two more bowl slots among the major bowls since last season, there was a national championship game made up of two separate teams, but this season it will be made up of winners of bowl games. Oklahoma St. would have been bumped in my estimation so it would not have played in the Cotton Bowl. The Peach Bowl will be very different, so neither Duke nor Texas A&M would have been under consideration for the new CFP bowls. In the case of Texas A&M, however, I think their spot in what will be a major bowl would have been taken by another SEC team: in this case South Carolina. So that would leave the Big XII and the ACC with another team for the remaining bowls, pushing the other teams of that conference down the ladder.
I do think some of the bowls would have been the same due to regional interests. It made sense to have two Louisiana teams in the New Orleans Bowl, for instance. It made sense to have Maryland playing in Maryland and North Carolina playing in North Carolina. The bolded teams are those who were bowl-eligible but did not actually play in bowls last season. There were a record number of bowl-eligible teams last year, so I’m not entirely sure there will even be enough bowl-eligible teams next year. I guess the NCAA will cross that bridge when it comes to it.
This is just an informal sort of exercise, so don’t make a big deal out of it. I’m going by what I’m told the rules will be next year as far as the preferred conferences, etc. Most conferences do not fill all their contractual slots though. I wasn’t always sure which bowls would have gotten the #8 team from a given conference and which would have had to find another team.
New Orleans: Tulane vs. ULL
New Mexico: Washington St. vs. Colorado St.
Las Vegas: USC vs. Fresno St.
Idaho Potato: San Diego St. vs. Buffalo
Camelia (new; Montgomery, AL): Ohio vs. Troy
St. Petersburg: Middle Tennessee vs. South Alabama
Boca Raton: Toledo vs. Florida Atlantic
Miami Beach (new): BYU vs. Texas St.
Poinsettia (San Diego): Utah St. vs. Navy
Bahamas (new): Northern Illinois vs. Boston College
Hawaii: Oregon St. vs. Boise St.
Russell Athletic (Orlando): U. Miami vs. Ball St.
Armed Forces (Ft. Worth, TX): East Carolina vs. Louisville
Heart of Dallas: North Texas vs. UNLV
Military (Annapolis, MD): Marshall vs. Maryland
Pinstripe: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
Sun (El Paso): UCLA vs. Texas
Holiday (San Diego): Nebraska vs. Arizona St.
Liberty (Memphis): Rice vs. Western Kentucky
Texas: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi St.
Detroit: Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota
Independence (Shreveport, LA): Arizona vs. ULM
Music City: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
Belk (Charlotte): North Carolina vs. Cincinnati
San Francisco: Washington vs. San Jose St.
Outback (Tampa, FL): Iowa vs. Georgia
CapitalOne (Orlando): LSU vs. Wisconsin*
Tax Slayer (formerly Gator; Jacksonville): Duke vs. Texas A&M
Alamo: Oklahoma St. vs. Oregon
Valley of the Sun (Tucson, AZ): Michigan vs. Kansas St.
Birmingham (formerly BBVA Compass): Vanderbilt vs. Houston
GoDaddy (Mobile, AL): Bowling Green vs. Arkansas St.
*It may have been the case that due to the fact that LSU plays Wisconsin to start this season, this match-up would not have been made. It’s possible that Georgia would have leapfrogged LSU, leaving the Tigers playing Iowa anyway. But as I said at the top of the section, it’s just sort of a rough guess. I left LSU there because they were apparently seen as the more desirable team. Also, some may recall Miami played Florida St. in a bowl game in 2003 only to play them again at the start of the 2004 season.