Hello folks and welcome to this week’s Grumble… new time, new date, same old cantankerous ranting and raving! First things first, I want to thank storminnorman for doing me a solid and switching days with me… from now on, he’s in the top slot on Saturdays next to SunTzu. Thanks again, buddy.
This week went a little bit better for the IHM household… lil IHM is back up and full of beans, but Mrs. IHM caught a pretty nasty case of strep throat, so I was home taking care of her (when the stubborn ol’ woman would let me) for a few days as well. So far the worst thing I’ve had is a tickle in my throat, a little bit of coughing, and a plugged up ear… hoping it doesn’t find its’ way to me next!
Before I move on to sports, I want to pass along condolences to the massive Boston conglomerate here at the Gab on the loss of former Mayor Thomas Menino, the longest serving Mayor in the city’s extensive history.
Pretty big week in sports… we crowned a new World Series champion (congrats to BOB and his Giants), tipped off the WWE (I mean NBA) season, and we still have the NFL and NHL in full swing… plus the NCAA put out their first Top 25 for the college football playoff.
Let’s kick off the sports talk with the man who is most deserving of the top billing anywhere these days… Madison Bumgarner, a.k.a. the scariest thing you can Trick or Treat as in Kansas City this year! Not only does the guy go out and pitch on three days rest after throwing a complete game shutout (just a few days after going seven strong and picking up his first win of the series), he dominates the final five innings, giving up a goose egg and picking up the save as the Giants topped the Royals 3-2 in game seven. Overall, he was 2-0 with an ERA of 0.25, picked up a save, and went 21 innings in this World Series… the guy was just on cruise control out there. As cool as it would have been to see the Royals get their first World Series win in 29 years, it was pretty cool to see the way Bumgarner dominated this series.
As for the Giants on the offensive side of the baseball, how about the work Pablo Sandoval (what else is new, right) put in over the entire postseason. Struggled all year, picks it up when it matters most… the guy set an MLB record with 21 total hits over a single postseason, and if it weren’t for the domination of Bumgarner, is probably looking at a World Series MVP trophy. In game seven, he was at it again, with three hits and scoring two of the Giants three runs on the night.
And how about we finally give some credit to Bruce Bochy? Seems like he is forgotten every time there is a discussion about the best managers in the game, yet all the guy has done in San Francisco is win titles! Three in five years… if I used the word, I’d say that qualifies as a dynasty… but personally I think the word is overused and overrated. Bochy always seems to know which buttons to push and when, and the proof is in the pudding.
Overall, it was a pretty damn good series if I do say so myself… The Royals fought hard, and didn’t embarrass themselves by any means. Taking a team like San Francisco to the limit is a feat in and of its self… just ask the Tigers! Hopefully this isn’t a one hit wonder in KC, and the Royals can continue to build for the future and get even better still moving forward. But the Giants and the team brand of baseball they play really took me by surprise and took the series. Congrats again to BOB, and to the rest of the fans out in the NoCal area.
Sources say that the Cubs are close to reaching an agreement with Joe Maddon to be their next manager. Is he the guy to reverse the curse? I don’t know if even Maddon has the ability to get that team a World Series.
Over in college football land, the first ever college football playoff rankings were released earlier in the week… and surprise, surprise… we’ve got a ton of SEC teams in the top six… and another one at #11! But four of the best six teams are in the SEC West? Amazing. Georgia of the SEC East sits at #11. Oregon snuck in ahead of Bama at #5, and the defending champs from Florida State sit at #2. Of course, each of the four SEC West teams in the top six all play one another at some point, so that will sort its self out eventually. Just have to bide your time and not shit the bed, other conferences.
As for #11 Georgia, who has really not shown any ill effects of missing star RB Todd Gurley due to the autograph signing fiasco, they got some decent news on that front. Gurley will be allowed to return (lucky him) and play after two more games. So, if Georgia makes it to the SEC title game, Gurley will be there to try and knock off the SEC West “superteam” that survives that melee.
This week’s schedule features a couple of biggins, as we have four (five if you count Thursday night’s FSU vs. Louisville matchup) ranked vs. ranked games on tap. On Saturday, #7 TCU heads to West Virginia to play the #20 Mountaineers and their senior star QB Clint Trickett. #3 Auburn heads to the Grove to face #4 Old Miss. #12 Arizona heads to Hollywood to tangle with the #22 Bruins, and the #17 Utes try to deal with the Devil… the #14 Arizona State Sun Devils that is. Should be a nice day of college ball… enjoy it folks.
After spending Wednesday night flipping around between game seven (watched all but commercial breaks), the Wings game, the Pistons game, and the Bulls-Knicks game on ESPN, I can honestly say that this has to be the absolute best time of year to be a fan! Hell, even Thursday night we get college football, the Thursday night NFL game (Saints-Panthers), and a combination of NBA/NHL coverage on various networks… just awesome. Baseball may be finished for the year, but what a great season it was this time around.
The Wings game last night gave me a bit of hope that this team might actually be a contender after all. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are back and healthy; Abelkader is benefitting from being on the Pavel/Hank line and already has 5 goals on the season. Jimmy Howard is playing over his head right now… or maybe he’s finally figured things out! Still nervous about the lack of muscle on this team, but if Pavel and Hank continue to shine like they have, they might just be able to overcome it and become a threat in the East, especially with Boston missing that monster Chara for a while… but we all know how deep the Eastern Conference is.
On a sad note before leaving hockey, Mr.Hockey Gordie Howe suffered a serious stroke on Sunday. The stroke has caused him to lose some function in the right side of his body and he has been having difficulty speaking. He is 86 years old and all, but still sad to see a legend and a class act like Gordie Howe suffer that kind of incident. Howe was a six-time MVP and four time Stanley Cup champion with the Wings. Best wishes go out to Mr.Hockey and his family.
As for the NBA, they kicked off the season Tuesday night by giving us a solid game between the defending champion Spurs and Mavericks… then they followed it up with the Rockets and Lakers. The next night… yeah, the fucking Lakers again… in case you don’t get it yet, I’m sick of seeing the fucking Lakers already! I get it, Kobe is on the team… but he’s surrounded by Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, and another 12 nobodies that nobody in their right mind wants to watch! Oh, and tonight… we get Cavs-Bulls and then, you guessed it, the goddamn Lakers! At least they’ll get smoked by the Clippers again… that’ll be fun to see.
Over to the NFL, the Lions hit their bye week sitting pretty at 6-2, thanks in large part to their newfound ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Even last year, they always seemed to find a way to shit the bed… but this year, it looks like things are different. Maybe, just maybe, a decade plus of Karma kicking the shit out of the Lions and their fans has swung back around, and now we get to see how it works in reverse. Last week in London (evidently a home game for the Falcons, not the Lions, so that was my mistake last week), the Falcons jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half. The Lions somehow found a way to tighten things up, and in the last seconds, they screwed themselves right into a fucking win!
Screwed themselves into a win? That’s right… Matt Prater was lined up for a game-winning 43-yard attempt (nerve wracking for a Lions fan this year, given all the kicking issues we’ve had), and the kick he got off was shanked wide right. Luckily for the Lions, they forgot about a little thing called the play clock… delay of game, five yards back, now we’re looking at a 48-yard attempt for the win. Kick is up, it’s good, Lions go home winners, and Mike Smith is left picking grass and wondering where his life went wrong! One of the more bizarre things I’ve ever seen go in the Lions favor, for sure.
Thanks to the Saints beating Green Bay last week, the Lions are a game up on the Pack, who are also on their bye week. The Bears also get the week off… although they have been a train wreck this year! The Vikings get a returning RG3 and the Redskins, fresh off their impressive Monday Night win in Dallas.
The big game this week would have to be the Pats hosting the Denver Broncos, a game that features a couple of fairly good quarterbacks named Brady and Manning. Hopefully this game is broadcast in my freaking market… because somehow it’s not the Sunday Night or Monday night game this week.
That’s all I’ve got for today folks. Thanks as always for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out, and make sure to head on over to Hal’s blog on the left and get your fill of NFL news and notes. And make sure you tune in tomorrow to check out storminnorman's Saturday featured blog. Happy Friday, Happy Halloween, and enjoy your weekend, Gabbers!