Thursday, January 25, 2007

Stepping out of character

Ok, I know this is a baseball blog. I set it up. I know. And this post is about football, sure, but it is inextricably linked to baseball. I promise.

It won't be hard to follow, since I have neither the wherewithal nor attention span to make a J Leo-sized post. I just don't have it in me.

Now, I know I get no sympathy for liking the Pats. I don't. The Patriots, in an ironic and horrifying twist of fate, are the Yankees of football. No one but Patriots fans ever want them to win. We find Belichick's eccentricity to be a sure sign of genius, and his cut-off, ratty-ass sweatshirt the calling card of a mind that is on another ethereal plane. We worship the ground Tom Brady graces with his Adonis-like form, and find owner Bob Kraft repulsive but a born winner who accepts nothing less than perfection.

Compare these to Joe Torre (who, like Belichick, has been scrutinized for having a far superior team and has been accused of not being able to win elsewhere (look what happened to B in Cleveland)), Derek Jeter, and The Boss (Steinbrenner, not Springsteen). The Colts are the Red Sox - the lovable little scamps from the hick town who can just never quite pull off the upset.

But, like the Yankees, the Patriots have gotten old. They have not been able to replace "character guys with character guys," to steal a line from the Sports Guy. Without Rodney Harrison, the secondary couldn't help stop the run even if Rhodes and Addai had been running off to marry their moms. Backup linebacker Larry Alexander gave it his best, but they looked mushy in the middle. Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney gave it their best for a couple of Gators (still bitter about the Buckeyes getting raped), but Deion Branch and David Givens each had nearly what they combined for in the regular season.

True, they have up and comers - Lawrence Maroney looks like the back for the future, Tom will be around and dominant (if he gets his head out of his ass) for six or seven more years, Assante Samuel tied for the league lead in picks this year, and Vince Wilfork - well, dude's bigger than a Yugo.

What it comes down to, I guess, is that in baseball we're lucky to have several chances to prove ourselves. I feel like the Pats could have beaten the Colts in a best of five, or even best of three, series, but they just got the best of them that one game. In football, there are no down-three-games-to-none miracle comebacks, and that makes me sad.

What it comes down to, I guess, is that when I walked out of the bar on Sunday, my first thought was, "Hell, it's only like a month before Dice K shows up in Fort Myers for training camp, right? Life ain't so bad."

Now, I just have to stop thinking of myself as a Yankees fan.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Confessions of a Hall of Fame voter

I feel stupid.

I feel stupid because I didn't recognize the obvious signs. Perhaps I did, but I lied to myself. I didn't want to be the curmudgeon, the naysayer, the pundit, the guy everybody hates. I ignored the complete lack of logic during that magical season of 1998. I jumped on the train with everyone else and celebrated.

Now, since everyone realizes what was going on, I feel dumb. I feel dumb for fallign for it, for allowing myself to be blissfully ignorant. Of course, if the fans and other media weren't so concerned about this, I wouldn't be either. You can call me spineless. I can call myself a hall of fame voter.

You may be wondering why we're all ganging up on McGwire, a likable guy who's obvioulsy not the only great player during that era who was juiced. We're not saying anything right now about Clemens and Bonds and many, many others who have really ominous signs. Well, it's just that: we're sending a message to the public that we (now) care so much about steroids that we're willing to make a scapegoat out of the most popular guy in the past ten years. We'll deal with those other stars later.... and we'll see hwo the public reacts then.

Is this unfair? Of course it is! When have we been fair? I've ignored Andre Dawson and Jim Rice for years. Why? Because I'm a hall of fame voter. I like to think that with my priviledges, I can be a higher authority on baseball and not listen to common sense. I have my own rules, and I love the feeling of being better and smarter than everyone else, who doesn't get a vote. I don;t like feeling stupid.

And I feel stupid right now.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What the Eff? Who's running this shit show?

Breaking the silence on this beast because of Randy Johnson. What team in their right mind trades FOUR PLAYERS for a 43 year-old pitcher coming off of back surgery. Having done that, what team gives said pitcher an EXTENSION on an already over the top contract?

The guy is 43. Name a pitcher besides Phil Neikro (and possibly El Duque) who has had much success after that age. Jamie Moyer perhaps, depending what you consider successful to be.

All the same, this trade makes no sense. I hope this deal dies somewhere along the approval lines within the league office, because this is damn near the stupidest trade I've ever heard of. The guy is going to fall apart and the Yankees knows it. I can't see the motivation for this trade from the D-backs perspective at all, except maybe from a marketing standpoint.