Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Today I was rifling through my wallet looking for some dollar bills with which to purchase a luncheon sandwich. This is not so simple a task as you might expect, since I have a packrat mentality when it comes to small pieces of paper. I have little notebooks everywhere: at least three on my desk, one in the pocket of each coat I own, a couple in my backpack, one in my purse, etc. And I just tend to keep slips of paper of all descriptions.
So there's some cash in my wallet, sure, but there's also a handful of old movie tickets, receipts, at least 5 bookstore gift cards with less than $5 on them, business cards for people I should probably remember but don't, cryptic little lists that say things like 'mars black not ivory, raw umber not burnt,
cream naples yellow', an Unofficial Red Sox Nation Member Card that I made one day in a fit of boredom and Photoshopping*, and other such things.
Anyways, I was in a pretty good mood, because I had on my paint-smeared Sox hat, and I had just read the '2004 World Series Champions' text at the top of the aforementioned card again, and I had been wearing my Superbowl XXXIX Champions Patriots tshirt the day before, had just walked past the art student from Somerville who is a huge Pats fan and always high-fives me whenever we see each other. And then I pulled something out of my wallet. It wasn't shaped like a gift card, it wasn't money, it wasn't the size of the note paper I use. I didn't look at it right away, because I finally found some actual, you know, dollars, and I paid for lunch.
Then I looked at what I had pulled out. It was a ticket. Section 124, row 35, seat 17. Blue burning down to black for a background, with a single silver helmet held aloft by an anonymous gloved hand as the graphic. Game 7. Thursday, November 25, 2004. 12:30 pm.
Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts.
Yeah. That game.
Thanks, wallet. Way to knock me down a peg.
Anyways. Quick Pro Bowl thoughts, and then baseball.
So, was anyone surprised that the AFC beat the NFC? Seriously, the NFC had been getting its collective ass handed to it every Sunday during the season, why would the Pro Bowl have been any different? It's just not fair, really. Let's see, for your starting wide receivers you could have, um, Marvin Harrison and Chad Johnson or, um, Muhsin Muhammed and Joe Horn. Do you even need to contemplate that matchup? No, you do not.
Both the Superbowl QBs looked just exhausted. The announcers all harped on how tired Brady was, how exhausted he'd been all week, and although they didn't come out and say it, the implication when he threw that interception was that, hey, the guy just won the Superbowl, he's zonked. I don't recall hearing much about how tired McNabb must have been too, even though during the game it was pretty obvious that he was running on the distant molecular memory of fumes. Hmm. Guess that's the advantage you get when you're the winner.
My AFC player of the game? Ugh. It pains me to say this, but Hines Ward. The guy was good, what can you do. NFC player of the game? Michael Vick. Every time I hear about this guy I start to think he's overrated, the media is playing him up, and every single time I actually see him in a game I am reconvinced that he is exactly as advertised. Dude was fast, strong, accurate. Just watching him throw is exciting, since he does it so different from Tom Brady (stationary in the pocket) or even Donovan McNabb (a scrambler, but still throws with his feet planted). When Vick throws he's always on the move, half the time he's got one leg high up in the air as he releases the ball, he absolutely zips the pigskin (at one point he threw one to Torry Holt that was so fast that Holt could only turn his head and watch it go by his hands), and of course there's that rare left arm.
Of course Vick was going to do pretty well, it was his coach on the sideline, but still.
Moments of the game?
Jason Mraz singing the national anthem. This is only awesome if you are a Lions fan (which everyone in the room was), because if you are you immediately know that Jason Mraz is one of Joey Harrington's favorite musicians, and indeed Joey once appeared in concert with him and some guy from Blues Traveler. There was not a single guy I was watching this game with who did not know this fact. We are so sad.
At one point Jason Taylor and Tedy Bruschi collaborated to tackle a guy. I was floored with disbelief. How was it possible that the field did not spontaenously combust from the combined hotness? By the pure and simple laws of physics, this should have happened.
Every shot of Tiki and Ronde Barber, getting to play on the same team for once.
One of the announcers calling Chad Johnson 'Charles Johnson' three times in a row, shortly followed by the same announcer calling Marvin Harrison 'Rodney Harrison'. This prompted one of the guys I was watching the game with to throw his hands up into the air and scream, "I CAST THEE OUT, FOUL SHADE OF TIM MCCARVER! HIE THEE HENCE! GET THEE GONE! BEFOUL OUR TELEVISED SPORTING EVENTS NO MORE!" I am never watching football with an english major again.
Michael Vick's touchdown, which ended with him going down and Ed Reed nearly taking his head off, sending his helmet flying. When he returned to the sideline, Jim Mora pulled him over to some other players and used him as an example of bad helmet protocol.
All these guys sitting in my room fighting over who was manlier and how many of them it would take to make one Shaun Rogers. That's normal. The great bit was that, for part of this, I was talking to my mom on AIM, leading to conversations like this (screennames changed, you know the drill):
mymom (9:12:25 PM): Why does everyone at the grammys look old and used?
thefelineanarchist (9:12:34 PM): *snort*
thefelineanarchist (9:12:38 PM): bad makeup weather, maybe?
mymom (9:13:17 PM): sex, drugs and rock and roll. Too much of the second I think
thefelineanarchist (9:13:33 PM): yeah, them and jason giambi
mymom (9:13:51 PM): did you see Canseco on 60 Minutes?
thefelineanarchist (9:14:11 PM): no!
thefelineanarchist (9:14:14 PM): how was it?
mymom (9:15:07 PM): Very emphatically defending his allegations. Apparently he was up close and personal with eveyone else's butts (injecting right and left)
thefelineanarchist (9:15:33 PM): yeah, i've read that
thefelineanarchist (9:16:00 PM): all 'i was crammed in a bathroom stall, injecting steroids into mark mcgwire's butt', bloggers everywhere going 'thanks, too much info'
mymom (9:19:04 PM): I thought that too. How much butt wagging was going on anyways? Canseco still promotes steroid and growth hormone use. Thinks it's a good idea.
thefelineanarchist (9:33:43 PM): wow, alan rossum
mymom (9:33:51 PM): Now that's just retarded football.
thefelineanarchist (9:33:53 PM): hey, most of that was sideways, but it was pretty cool
mymom (9:34:42 PM): Oh no one was really trying. Face it!!
thefelineanarchist (9:47:38 PM): ok that was unfortunate [Tom Brady had just been intercepted]
thefelineanarchist (9:48:01 PM): ha ha, yeah, it was an eagle
mymom (9:48:05 PM): The beauty of the Pro Bowl. Things happen that do not happen in the real football world.
thefelineanarchist (9:48:05 PM): one game too late indeed
My mom is awesome.
Tom Brady, near the end of the game, standing next to Champ Bailey, chatting. At the same time, they both realized the camera was on them, and smiled. Brady pointed to Bailey and started shouting the word, "Champ! Champ!" while Bailey stood there looking moderately embarassed. Cue joy.
And thus ends the 2004/2005 football season.
The helmets that Wolverine catchers wear are possibly the best baseball helmets in the history of ever. Ever.
I'm actually going to try to get down to at least one Michigan baseball game this summer. It's kind of difficult, because they don't start playing home games until late March, and I'm out of here in late April, but we shall see. It would be fantastic if this could happen. Also, one of our outfielders is a Red Sox fan. He's in the Red Sox Nation group on the facebook and everything.
It's possible that I just sunk to a new low there, but we'll ignore it and move on.
So I guess it's spring, because the Yankees have started spring training, and the New York Post is publishing torrid little missives about them again.
"Captain Derek, back at shortstop, and dear old Tino, a familiar link to a dynastic past, stayed to field grounders." OK, first of all, I will call number 33 Captain, I will call him Varitek, and Jason, and 'Tek, and O Captain My Captain, and The Best Thighs in Baseball, but I am laying down the law right here, right now: I will never call him 'Captain Jason'. Captain Varitek, maybe. I draw the line. Also, dear old Tino, a familiar link to a dynastic past? You know that thing that happens when you throw up a little in your mouth**? Yeah.
"Look at the teams that have won," Jeter said. "They say, (Joe) Girardi was a leader, (Paul) O'Neill was a leader, Tino was a leader, Jorge's a leader, Bernie's a leader, and we won. You want more leaders. Leadership is just going out there and playing the game the right way, playing hard, take into consideration the team before you think about yourself, and you just go out there and do it. You don't have to speak about it. We want 25 leaders." That'll work out real well for you, Jetes, 25 leaders. Best case scenario there is 25 guys all leading towards the same place but refusing to defer to each other at any point because, hey, each and every one is a leader unto himself. That's not good group dynamics, kiddo, surely you've been around long enough to know this.
I do like the last sentence, though.
"Behind him, Derek Jeter was running windsprint after windsprint, chasing the Red Sox."
Hey, thanks to Bronx Banter for the link! Oh, the irony.
Now, you want to read something really delightful, check out Trot Nixon's sound-off on A-Rod. Thanks for that link go out to Kristen (via email).
"But when people ask me about the Yankees, I tell them about (Derek) Jeter and Bernie Williams and (Jorge) Posada. I don't tell them about Rodriguez. ... He can't stand up to Jeter in my book or Bernie Williams or Posada." Dude, that's what I said in the comments section of the last entry, like, mere hours ago. I have had variations on that conversation at least 10 times since the ALCS. Trot Nixon, finger on the pulse of Red Sox Nation. As ever.
"Nixon also criticized Rodriguez for slapping the ball away from Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo along the first-base line during Game 6 of the AL championship series and then complaining when he was called out. 'You're the one that swung the bat and hit that little nubber down there,' he said of Rodriguez." I don't even need to add anything to that, do I?
This, though. This is my favorite. Remember how A-Rod was crowing about how hardcore his offseason workout was like a month ago?
"He didn't say that A-Rod had criticized his workout regimen. But Nixon but did say that Rodriguez boasted about his own regimen. 'Like Rodriguez says,' Nixon said, 'his running stairs at 6 in the morning while I'm sleeping and taking my kids to school. I'm like, well I'm not a deadbeat dad, Alex.' On Nov. 18, Rodriguez's wife gave birth to a daughter. 'He's got a kid now, too, so I guess he'll have his limo driver take her to school,' Nixon said."
Oh Trotter. May you never get too religious to grant us such choice tidbits of commentary. Maybe it's like with Curt, though. The whole 'I am a wicked big Christian athlete, but this does not translate into being charitable to those more downtrodden than me, i.e. losers and Chokers' thing. God bless 'em.
Earlier today Terry Francona was during a phone interview with WEEI while driving around in Florida, which, OK, Tito, get off the phone when you're driving, OK? Especially in Florida, where half the drivers are too old to be competent, half are drug dealers ready to shoot you if you cut them off, and a third half are probably not even licensed. Hey, art student, me no do math good, OK? Anyways, he got rear-ended during the interview. He's perfectly OK, so it was funny for two reasons.
One, the car that rear-ended him apparently had a Yankees decal on it, which Terry said over the phone right before hanging up, "Guys, I gotta go, I just got rear-ended. You're not gonna believe this, but he's got a Yankees decal on his car." Two, right when he got hit, you could hear a thump over the phone and Terry says, no kidding, "Oh jeez!" Seriously. Oh jeez. Either Tito's got an amazing presence of mind and knew better than to swear on live radio, or he honestly is that adorkable***.
Aaaawwww Peter Gammons just said that Derek Lowe showed up to the Red Sox spring training facility and was practicing, until the Sox told him he had to go to wherever the Dodgers were supposed to be. Oh DLowe! *wipes a tear of selective memory and nostalgia from eye*
Hey, the Nationals reported to camp, for the first time as, well, the Nationals. Now, I have a friend at school in Montreal, and she seems to enjoy it, but these guys looked pretty damn happy to find themselves out of there. Take it how you will. For whatever it's worth, the unexpectedly and somewhat shockingly good Nationals blog agrees with me, and I assume he'd know more about it than I would.
Well, crud, I need to wake up in a timely fashion tomorrow morning. We're gonna end with, first, the latest Dugout thing, about Farnsworth coming to the Tigers. I chuckled heartily, I did.
And I'll close with this quote from Scott Van Pelt, a Sportscenter announcer who rose about 500 points in my estimation earlier tonight when he introduced a segment with the following:
"I'll say this slowly, so those who have waited 86 years can soak it in: The World Champion Red Sox report to spring training."
I don't know about you kids, but I think I can go to bed relatively happy.
*Feel free to print out and use for yourself. I printed it on photopaper, trimmed the corners to round them like on a credit card, and stuck a few layers of clear packing tape over it to stiffen it. Actually looks pretty professional and hey, it's better than the official one because a) it's free, b) it has pictures of players on it and c) it says 'member' instead of 'citizen', so you avoid all those uncomfortable Brave New World/communist mental associations.
**AKA 'The McNabb'.
***Word originally used to describe Tom Brady saying things like 'Gee!'. Stolen from someone, probably either one of the other three football chicks. Or possibly Amy.