Friday, September 30, 2005
Things I can't believe
1. David Ortiz. (no words necessary)
2. People who take the elevator down in my dorm. I understand taking it up. I understand taking it down if you're carrying something bulky or have a broken leg or something. But if you're a perfectly able-bodied person with nothing heavier than a backpack on, why would you use the elevator? Why? We're only on the 5th floor. I mean, I get it if you don't want to schlep up the stairs, but to be too lazy to go down... oy.
3. That the season has come down to this. Seriously. What the hell, people? Three game series in Boston, against the Yankees, and it's for the division? The drama is almost absurd. The most insane rivalry in sports, to finish out the regular season. ESPN has probably salivated so much by now over these games that their headquarters are going to slowly float away by the end of the weekend.
4. Adam Vinatieri. (no words necessary)
5. Cadillac Williams. Can't last, right? I mean... nah. Can't last.
6. That Michigan is 2-2 right now and out of the polls for the first time in seventysixbillion years. And is going into Moo U (that being Michigan State) on Saturday. Drew Stanton, urrrrgh.
7. The four-in-hand file. If it is possible to be in love with a bit of tempered steel used to file wood, then I am in love with this four-in-hand.
8. Trotter wearing Kapler's number on his helmet. Too cute. Are they BFF or something? Because I'm pretty sure it's Trot who has the signed shirtless photo in his locker.
9. The Braves. I still can't believe they survived the regular season with that many rookies.
10. The hotness of Brandon Inge's ass. I was at the game on Wednesday night, by the by. We had great seats at one point, because my friend used to work there and had no trouble just walking down to sit two rows above the Tiger dugout. I got some nice shots, and you can see all the photos from that night here.
edit: 11. How awesome Amy is. You guys, she is wicked awesome. I've had a horrible busy week filled with stress and pain and what should I find in my mailbox today but a package of homemade cookies for a belated birthday present from a Sox blogger I've met all of once in Real Life. Talk about glorious. They're ridiculously yummy too.
Baseball blogging, kids: it gets you cookies.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
OK, Curt Schilling can infuriate me along with the best of 'em, but I do love it when he says stuff like this.
On ESPN tonight:
"Those games, when I'm on the mound, it should be automatic, and it hasn't been... and that's bothered me."
*respectful pause while Curt looks all woeful and dramatic and Curtish*
"My fastball control... it's been horseshit."
Of course they bleeped it out, but when he says "horseBLEEP", I think we can be fairly certain he's not saying "horsewhillikers" or "horsepoobuckets". I don't know, it just brought me a wonderfully mellow joy, probably because Curt is one of the more intelligent and eloquent guys on the team (probably the most intelligent and eloquent, if we're no longer counting Gabe Kapler, which, by the way, *sniffle*), and hearing him say "horseshit" is the sort of thing that makes me snigger.
Didn't see either game in the doubleheader, because they were conveniently scheduled so as to coincide exactly with two three-hour studio classes of mine (1:30-4:30, and 7-10). I haven't even seen the details, because I didn't get back from classes until around 10:30 (that last class being on North campus), and then there was homework to be done and OK so I watched some of the Toledo/Fresno St. game, what do you expect from me, sports nunnery? God. I get home from an excruciatingly long day, I want to watch football or baseball, any football or baseball.
I honestly can't believe that this is coming down to those last three games. I really can't believe it. It is almost inconcievable that it should come down to the wire in precisely this fashion. I don't know what I'm going to do over the weekend either... that Saturday FOX broadcast had bloody well better be national.
I think we all know what else is happening on Saturday... no, I do not want to talk about it, because, ohhhhh man. Drew Stanton can be dangerous and we won last year because he came out injured and and and our defense has been bad anyways and Chad Henne is looking like he doesn't know where to throw the ball and and I think I just made myself sick. I might need to go curl up on the bed for the night.
Well, here's MGoBlog's reaction to the Wisconsin game, and it is Good. Go see. Be (only, alas, momentarily) soothed.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
It's that time of the year again!
Three Chicks Talk Football is back, only this season it's 'Chicks Talk Football', because there are four of us instead of three. Participants are my sad, Lions-fan self, Patriots fans Beth and Kristen, and Eagles fan Mer.
But be not fooled, readerfolk, we will most definitely talk about the entire league, not just our particular teams. Indeed, we've already gotten started, and the discussions are many and varied and there's a photo of Tom Brady cuddling a goat in there somewhere so you really ought to go check it out.
Chicks Talk Football
Let the excitement begin.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Warning: Rocky Roads Ahead.
That's probably not exactly what this sign means (it's probably something more like 'Warning: Paved Road Ends Ahead'), but it's close enough. Either way, appropriate, no?
I mean, the Sox are winning, finally, and I'm certainly not about to complain about a sweep of the Birds, but because we had been busy sucking so badly before this, we're no longer winning to retain a snug lead. We're winning to keep pace with the goddamn motherfucking overpaid overhyped utterly despicable and suddenly, sadly resurgent Yankees. And yes, I know that the Sox are also at least two of those things (overpaid, probably, and overhyped, according to everyone in the universe who is not a Sox fan), but I hate the Yankees and I will be irrational about it if I bloody well please.
So, yes, we slugged the rosin out of the Baltimore pitching. I'm still pleasantly terrified about any number of things. I hate that we've lost Kapler at a time when we desperately need more depth... hell, defensive depth helped us win the Series in a big way last year. Of course, so did pitching, and I could tell you that with this series I've regained confidence in our pitching but that would be a big fat honking lie because I haven't. The pitching on the Sox baffles and terrifies me.
Matt Clement? Good kid. Really, I love him to bits. I want to hold him down and uproot the small elderberry bush that's taken up residence on his chin, and I want to take him before every game and make him receive at least 10 David Ortiz hugs in a row to get his self esteem up, and I want to buy him a humidifier so his asthma won't make him wheeze at night. And I really, really want him to get to the postseason, and I really want him to step it up big once he's there. But I just don't know. The closer we get to October, the more nervously I'm awaiting the giant tearful breakdown.
Same with Bronson. I know that he can, but I just have The Fear that he will not. It's still better than cruising into the late stages of the season with, say, Derek Lowe on your roster, because if it's not actually the postseason DLowe will be much more concerned with getting the ballgirl's phone number than how well his sinker is sinking, whereas with Bronson you at least know he's capable of pitching well, sometimes.
David Wells is awesome except when he occasionally forgets to eat an entire 5-course meal before one of his starts, in which case he spends the entire game thinking about Twinkies, and the cream inside the Twinkies, and the possibility of deep-frying said Twinkies, and he just doesn't pay attention at all to his curve, and he gets slammed.
Don't even ask me about Curt. It's possible he'll have some kind of insane adrenaline rush and reel off 18 innings of perfect work over the next couple of weeks, but it's likely that we used him all up last season. He's got the heart to get us there, no one can dispute that, but the season is dragging on, and you don't pitch with your aorta.
Wake is probably the pitcher I feel most comfortable about, and that's not because I have overwhelming confidence that he's going to be lights-out every time he's up, although he's certainly been doing that lately (fat lot of good it's done, what with the offense deciding to not show up on those days and all). It's just that you know what you're going to get with him. The knuckler will knuckle, and he'll be untouchable, or the knuckler will be flat, and he'll get tattooed worse than Dennis Rodman.
As for the bullpen...
No, you know what, I won't even get into the bullpen. I'm not quite that masochistic this late at night.
So we've been winning, lately, because David Ortiz has been doing what he does, and Manny's been hitting, and Johnny's been tying twine around his shoulder and going out to play anyhow, and Baltimore's pitching was just inept enough to let it all happen.
A real confidence-booster for the end of the season, huh?
Rocky roads ahead!
I am not sure I could have dealt with life if the Patriots had lost to the Steelers. I mean, I hate the Steelers. Hate them. So hard. And when Rodney Harrison went down... hoo boy. It wasn't a dirty play or anything, but I'm going to be furious and hold it against the TowelBoys anyways. Obviously, for the safety of all future Patriots players, that entire stadium needs to be blown into little teeny tiny bits, set aflame, and paved over. Can we ever go in there and not have a valuable member of the team get injured?
And the towels. Seriously, guys, your fans wave towels. Rally monkeys, hard as it is for me to say this, are better than the Terrible Towels. Nasty black and yellow, ugh, such Hawkeye colors.
But, yeah, life without Rodney Harrison? Possibly without Matt Light (cause yeah, it was fun watching them immediately run over the rook who got stuck in his place)? Rocky roads ahead!
As for the Lions... well, they didn't play this week. Rocky roads ahead? Probably. Knowing the Lions, almost certainly. I'm still in denial and thinking that Game 1 was the true Lions, and Game 2 was some kind of hideous fluke.
If someone can think of a way we can realistically win the Big 10 title with two losses, one against a Big 10 rival, please, go right ahead and share. I've been trying to think of how this can happen, given how everyone else in the conference is playing, and all my brain keeps coming up with is, "Ohmygod we're playing the Spartans in their own stinking stadium next week WHY MUST THE NEEDLES KEEP STABBING INTO MY BRAIN WHY WHY OH GOD WHY."
Rocky roads ahead? *sob* God. More like GIANT RAGGED JABBY ROCKS THAT RIP UP YOUR TIRES AND MAKE YOU WALK BAREFOOT AND SCREAMING ACROSS THEM in the road ahead!
And just for fun, the Dolphins! What the hell! They're good? Gus Frerrotte (I misspelled that, in all likelihood) can throw the ball! He can! Honest! In the proper direction and everything! And the defense is just as good as they've always been, and we have guys making spectacular catches, and it's all very foreign and strange. And Jay Fiedler got into the game for the Jets today and had to leave with a hurt somethingorother.
A side story.
What's the deal with the sign? Well, a couple of my friends and I took a little roadtrip up to Lansing on Saturday to throw around flyers for the Clemency Rally we have to put on for one of our classes (October 7, noon, on the steps of the statehouse, if any of you kids are in the Lansing area and want to come laugh at my misery-- or, you know, if you care about the wrongful imprisonment of battered women who killed in self defense). Along the way, we saw this sign. None of us had ever seen it before, so naturally I had to leap out of the car and take a picture.
We hit up a bunch of coffeehouses with flyers, and one had this bulletin board where people took cups with the coffeehouses' logo on it (Beaners, for the Michiganders) and took photos of the cups in various crazy places. Someone had a photo of a Beaners cup in front of the Eiffel Tower, someone had the Beaners cup being held by a windsurfer, etc. Someone had put a Beaners cup at the foot of a statue... specifically, this statue. Heh. Awesome.
Also on this trip we ventured into ENEMY TERRITORY (i.e. East Lansing). I'd never been before. It's nice enough, I guess, even if the entire time we were there I kept wanting to wash my hands, because I just felt so dirty. Also, numerous vacant storefronts right in the center of campus... heck, right across from their Union? You fail at life, Michigan State.
Proof that I was there. Long before you get to campus, really, long before you get to East Lansing, you start running into Spartan Country. Much of the state roots for U of M, but much of the state roots for the Spartans, and it's often regionally-based, so once you get into a certain region you start seeing Spartan helmets painted on store sides and such. It's terrifying and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. That much green and white just is not natural.
Lansing was depressingly vacant, although not quite as rundown as Detroit, obviously... not really derelict, just very blah. We did see the Lansing Lugnuts ballpark, though, and that was cool. It looks like a nice park. They've got a little smokestack thing across the street with a giant lugnut 'round the top, so that was nice. We also hit up Lansing Community College with a few flyers, and on our way out we ran into this fellow making an unholy racket.
So, uh, yeah. I visited the state capitol and the best thing I came out of the trip with was an encounter with a chipmunk. Way to go, Michigan. Rock on.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Sorry 'bout that kids, but I'm not in a terribly rational frame of mind right now.
Why does this team hate Tim Wakefield so much these days? Did he and Dougie have a drinking match that ended with them both puking all over the clubhouse floor, thereby disgusting and infuriating the rest of the team?. Because I honestly don't know. I do know that it is not big or clever for the Sox to keep on wasting perfectly good Wake outings like this.
The standings, well, yes, there you are, you all know where we're at. I don't want to talk about it. So, let us speak of other matters.
Ryan Church, Washington National: confused about Jews. Seriously.
... Church [was quoted] as saying that he had turned to [team chaplain] Moeller for advice about his former girlfriend, who was Jewish. "I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed? Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word," Church said.
I don't know what's more worrying: the fact that he seems to have happily discovered evangelicalism; the fact that a Major League baseball chaplain is telling his players that Jews are doomed to, presumably, an eternity of hellfire and George Steinbrenner; the fact that Ryan Church so clearly has no knowledge whatsoever about any religion other than his own; the fact that this is probably true of many ardent Christians in this country; or the fact that he uses the word 'like' more than I do, and I'm a college-aged female.
But don't worry, fellow Jews, it's not our fault we're sentenced to damnation. If only we knew!
I don't really find the whole thing offensive. It's much more worrying than offensive, on several levels, not least of which is the level where it becomes clear that Judaism in baseball and, by extension, the country, is a highly marginalized and ignored religion.
At least it's not his throwing arm? Sorry, O's fans. I don't mean to throw anymore fat on your already towering bonfire of a season, but I didn't know that what BRob had injured was his pronator tendon and his UCL.
That isn't just a badly tweaked elbow. That's serious, serious bad news. Wonked UCLs lead to Tommy John surgery in pitchers, and a bad pronator, if left untreated or if treated insufficiently, can up the strain on the UCL and lead to a later UCL blowout. Troy Percival sustained an injury this season to his pronator bits, and it's probably ended his career.
I'm not saying BRob's done for life, of course... he's much younger than Percy, and it IS his nonthrowing arm, and it's not as though he's a pitcher, putting stress upon repeated stress on it. But the seriousness of the injury really can't be downplayed. Those are extraordinarily vital parts he's gone and had shredded.
Kameron Loe is one tough sonuvabitch. That little blurb doesn't at all explain what happened. Vlad hit a linedrive right back at him, and he took it off the head near his temple, all Matt-Clement-style.
So Loe goes down... onto one knee. And turns his head to track the ball, which had ricocheted off his skull and remained in the air, over into Michael Young's glove for the out. Then he stood up. Barajas and various trainers ran out the mound, where Loe allowed them to massage his head and ask him some questions to see if his brains were liquefied or not. He never lost consciousness. He never dropped to the ground. He was able to talk to the crowd on the mound, and it actually looked like he was about to go right back out there and start pitching again for a minute, before he was led docilely off the field.
I mean, man, I know he's a big dude and all (6'8, 225), but he took a Vladimir Guerrero linedrive to the head, and he never even ended up in the dirt. Mad crazy.
Also, things you learn when you go looking for a blurb on the site of another team: the Rangers have a pitcher trying to learn the knuckleball. Always of interest to Sox fans, home of the latest and greatest knuckleballer of our era. TOO BAD HIS TEAM WON'T GIVE HIM ANY SUPPORT. But, yeah, neat, it'll be interesting to see how that works out for the Rangers.
That dull thwacking sound you here is the final nail being driven into the coffin of the 2005 Detroit Tigers season. I'm not sure it's possible to wave a white flag any more clearly than this. Oh, and Pudge forgets how many kids he has. Awesome.
That's all I've got, folks. The team could really use this offday, and they had better do so. They had better spend the entire fucking day thinking about what they've done and how they can fix it. Any stories of them going out and boogyin' down with girls my age will be met with extraordinary rage. I don't care if that's how you unwind, boys. Focus, or suffer my vast blogger's wrath.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
In my bio lecture today I sat with my friend Helena, and we got to talking before the professor started, because she used to be in the art school but transferred out a couple of years ago, so I rarely get to see her these days, and we're still catching up.
After complaining about how tired we both were, she asks, "But how are you doing? I mean emotionally." Which may sound weird but is totally a Helena-type of question to ask.
"Oh, fine, actually," I said, this being true, "but I'd be doing better if they were." At 'they' I tapped the sawdust-smeared B on my hat with my pen.
Helena was confused. "The Red Sox," I explained. "They're in first but they're not doing very well."
I must have looked especially woebegone when saying this because Helena looked extremely concerned for a minute before clucking her tongue at me and shaking her head and saying, amused disbelief plain in her voice, "Your emotional health depends on that?"
"Well, yeah," I muttered, flipping through my notes to see a doodle from last week of Edgar Renteria dropping a baseball and falling on his ass, wedged between paragraphs of cramped writing about phylogenetic trees. "In September and October it sure does."
Instructions for Use of Emergency September Baseball First Aid Kit
1. Turn on baseball game.
2. Note which useful player has an injury keeping them out of the lineup tonight.
3. Grasp kit by the bottom and hold at the ready.
4. Commence watching game.
5. Clutch kit in hands until crackling noise drowns out announcements of defensive miscues.
6. Switch briefly to a football game played by teams you absolutely don't care about in an attempt to stave off imminent collapse.
7. Switch back to baseball game in time to watch starter get removed from game after a very small number of innings.
8. Raise kit halfway to mouth.
9. Watch bullpen come into the game.
10. Watch pathetic opposing offense put up 12 and a half runs immediately on bullpen.
11. Raise kit to mouth, inhale and exhale rapidly until heartrate slows down or unconsciousness is achieved, whichever comes first.
12. Turn off game and go do some work. You know you have to anyways and there's nothing to be gained by passing out and groggily reviving every inning for the rest of it anyhow just to see Manny strike out behind Ortiz and some poor sclub with webbed feet and three amputated fingers on his throwing hand try to pitch out of our bullpen.
13. Check standings next morning and see how much closer the Yankees are. Sob uncontrollably.
The paper antihyperventilation bag, kids. Learn it, love it, use it. I know I'll need to.
Monday, September 19, 2005
What was that? What was that? What the hell happened today?
Bloody heck, I know Oakland is all "RARGH! We will rise up and bother the hell out of the Angels!" and Eric Chavez is all "RARGH! Must give people an excuse to say things like 'as Chavez goes so go the A's' again!" and Kirk Saarloos is all "RARGH! There are so many vowels in my name!" But did we have to make them look that good? Did we really?
Matty had this to say about his outing: "I've said this in the past, usually when I give up a lot of runs, it usually has something to do with control as far as walking people, hitting people, giving up a hit here or there, then a big hit."
Clement bounced early; Sox routed
Gee whillakers Matty, isn't that kind of the DEFINITION of a crappy outing? I mean, how does one even have a bad outing otherwise? Does he mean they just weren't hitting homeruns off of him in every single at-bat? Because, I mean, if you're walking people, hitting people, giving up a hit here and there, and giving up the occasional bomb, yes, that means you are DOING EVERY SINGLE THING WRONG.
And of course Youks left the game with his finger in bloody tatters. I mean, of course! It's not like we're already getting short on competent backup fielders or anything! Ha ha! Who needs silly things like 'depth'? Not us! No Kapler, maybe no Youks for a time, we'll be just be PEACHY FUCKING KEEN for this HORRIFICALLY VITAL FINAL PUSH into autumn.
At least the Blue Jays held on. And even that required a freakish event, in this case a broken bat sailing out to the mound and nailing Jaret Wright on the elbow, knocking him out of the game. It seems like a dumb thing to say when we're still in first place, but I have The Fear right now. And you all know exactly what I mean.
I wish I could say that a trip to Tampa Bay was just what we needed but, much as it pains me to say this, the DRays can really play when they want to and on some days they are more than capable of beating the green out of Wally. We just have to hope that a) they hate the Yankees as much as we do and are willing to cut us some slack, b) they suddenly forget how to run the basepaths, c) there's a massive brawl and half their team is injured while the Sox emerge miraculously unscathed and/or d) Lou Piniella finally breaks down and does something so insane, so mad, so terrifyingly feral that I can't even imagine it. But you know it'll be a humdinger when he finally blows that last gasket.
As for the Lions...
I know... you can't see... the grimace... of pain on my face. But I assure you... it is there... because I am... gouging my stomach out.... with a straight chisel... and it is... less painful... than that game.
I don't even want to talk about it. All I have to say is that 5 interceptions+ missed route by Roy+ the defense we were afraid we were going to get in the first game+ injuries to Fernando Bryant and James Hall (James Hall! My baby! No!)+ a frightening glimpse of Life Without Jason Hanson (hint: it ain't pretty)+ oh yes, 5 interceptions= WOE WOE WOE. And a loss. A big one. To the Bears.
Kyle Orton is really, incredibly not cute at all, and I don't know why Joe Buck had such a blatant mancrush on him.
Also, that crown-of-the-helmet hit that knocked Marcus Pollard down for a bit? That was filthy and dirty and the Bear responsible barely even made a pretense of going for the ball. I want him fined. Actually, I want him drawn and quartered, but there's no provision in the NFL rules for that, so I'm willing to settle for a fine.
So what, you ask, what the dickens is the deal with the photo at the top of this entry?
Ah, you see, Sunday may have sucked ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF A SUCKABLE SUBSTANCE AND/OR OBJECT, but Saturday was a day for college football, and Michigan did play Eastern Michigan, and we did make fun of their initials (EMU) by referring to their pathetic offense as a giant overweight flightless bird. And we did win, and the score was 55-0, which is a nice round score and is evidence of a nice round amount of manhandling with just a sprinkle of cocky subbing-of-lesser-players-at-the-end thrown in.
I did take a lovely lot of photos, including these two, which I quite like (click for bigger):
Chad Henne about to huck the ball. I never seem to catch him actually in motion, so I liked this for its moderate lack of relative suckitude.
The punter, Ross Ryan, stretching on the sideline during halftime. Because c'mon, that's awesome.
There are tons more in the gallery, though, which you ought to look at, just because. It's more fun than a jab in the eye with a pointy stick and less depressing than a Red Sox game.
This game also featured the BEST HALFTIME SHOW I HAVE EVER SEEN, EVER. The band did a reenactment of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with the God face showing up on the big board, and the stadium announcer doing voiceovers, and the band doing a musical accompaniment and acting some of it out, and the 'knights' being Sparty, some dude in a Wisconsin jersey wearing a cheesehead and toting a giant inflatable beer stein, something for Ohio State that I wasn't immediately clear on, and the Michigan drum major as the good guy. They were questing for the Big 10 Grail and many adventures befell them, and my god.
I can't even really explain it, without a transcript of the whole thing, but it was MAGNIFICENT.
They had the killer bunny rabbit too.
And they had the band form up in the shape of the Black Knight and various little pockets of band separated out as each of his limbs was chopped off.
And when the Wisconsin guy perished, the announcer said something like, "And brave Wisconsin, laid to rest. He drank too much of Milwaukee's Best," and they carted him off on the athletic trainer's cart with someone yelling, "Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!" and the crowd went nuts.
They did the bit with the bridge, and 'everyone who has won a Big 10 championship in recent years may pass', so poor Sparty was left there all alone to answer the three questions, and they were as follows.
Bridge man: WHAT is your name?
Bridge man: WHAT is your quest?
Sparty: To gain the Big 10 Grail!
Bridge man: HOW do you lose a 17 point lead with 6 minutes left in the game?
To say that the crowd went nuts here would be an understatement.
It was really, really, really something else, and I am ever so proud of our band for doing it, and doing it so well.
Does all that make up for the absolute pile of fetid suck that was Sunday? Not really. After all, it was just EMU, it's not as though it was a conference rival or anything. But it was awfully nice, and that 55-0 really mellows you out some if you think about it. I would very much like the Sox to start putting up similar numbers. Oh, I know, it being baseball and all they can't really put up a score of 55-0, but they certainly can put up the spirit of 55-0, and in my much-ignored opinion, they should.
Oh yes, and a very guarded 'thanks' to any Spartans out there. Much as I loathe your team and your 'school' (I use the term loosely, see), I really couldn't stomach another Notre Damn victory, so thanks for taking their swollen golden domes down a notch or two.
So, good job, Michigan Wolverines. Keep on keepin' on. Sox, Lions... you both go to the Blue Cats corner until further notice. Sox, you can get yourselves out quicker than the Lions can. Make it so. You don't want to stew there in the presence of the crumbled, tearful (but still pretty) brow of Joey Harrington any longer than you have to.
(why am I up this late? ha ha ha oh yes that would be the bio paper I am submitting right at this very moment. hooray for college!)
edit: I have reached a decision. This week shall be declared a temporal anamoly. There was no Sunday. Seriously, folks, last week ended at Saturday, and this week started today. It makes perfect sense if you have a deep and thorough understanding of advanced quantum mechanics and string theory. Yup. It's all got to do with curled extra dimensions and disruptions in the Higgs Field. I assure you that it is valid science.
So let this post stand as a curious artifact of a time that has been purged from (or never properly existed in, whichever you like, it's all semantics) the history of the universe.
Except for the bit about the Michigan game Saturday, that still stands.
Friday, September 16, 2005
The Sox game happened while I was in class today, so I didn't get to see it. Happily, the Tigers are on the west coast so I did manage to catch most of their rare victory (over Swollen Colon, no less). It was a very nice victory, with an inside-the-park homerun (Granderson), a beautiful leaping catch to rob one of them Molinas of a homerun (Granderson), and the silencing of a lot of rally-monkey-toting fans.
So I was cruising, what with the interminable day (9 am to 10:30 pm! very nearly straight through! hooray for college!) finally over and the weekend in sight (minus woodshop tomorrow), and the Tigers having beaten the bacon grease out of Bartolo's curly mop, and the insane babbling email my friend Jenna had left in my inbox that boiled down to The Farns' 13th save of the season, and all that. Then I remembered, ah, you know what, if they didn't get rained out the Sox just might have got their game in. I ought to check the score.
Cruising, remember. Tigers win, Farns does well, survived approximately 12 hours of classes, didn't slice anything off in wood, good football to look forward to, did I mention Tigers win? But, hey, gotta see what the Sox did.
Like a pedestrian going up onto the hood of a speeding vehicle with no regard for crosswalks.
At least Johnny was back, and hitting, even if I hear tell he was a bit tender on some of his throws. I guess that's about it for positives, especially when you factor in the leg-twisterification on poor Gabe Kapler last night. I am all in favor of heading down to the BirdDome or whatever they're calling it these days and just ripping up all their turf and throwing it up on top of the roof so that when they retracted it the clods could come raining down, rock-hard from prolonged exposure and ready to take out some players. Seriously. That fucking turf could have just cost Kapler his entire career. If there's a Hell for flooring products, I hope it goes and suffers an eternity of hellfire and heavily staining cat vomit.
Bad games are bad games, and everyone has a stretch of them, but I'd be much calmer about this if the nicest, smartest, prettiest (excepting Mr. Mueller, who really is a category all his own) guy on the team hadn't just gone down for no good reason at all, and if the Yanks weren't now only 1.5 games back. 1.5 games. This is not a lead we can count on, not with the Yanks playing to win these days and the Sox, apparently, playing to lose.
I'll try to watch the game tomorrow, I guess, but I can't promise I won't flip over to Smoltz/Pedro if the knuckler isn't knuckling. Once again, I'm just hoping for football this weekend. Because the battle of the Large Predatory Mammals (Lions/Bears) is a big one, and if Michigan loses to Eastern, I'm joining those suicidal kids in the row behind us and hurling myself down the stadium stairs.
In a futile attempt to bring some smiles to RSN's dark and joyless life right now, I bring you some Rod Allenisms from tonight's Tigers game. I've attempted to recreate his verbal emphasis, but if you haven't heard him before I'm afraid you may be missing out.
Rod on Orlando Cabrera's batting helmet: Well he played in Boston last year, you KNOW all those cats have NASty stuff on their hats.
Rod after a foul ball nearly popped into their booth: Oh you got to look ALIVE up here!
Mario Impemba, his broadcasting partner: Shoulda brought my glove. You bring your glove?
Rod: No. *beat* I got you covered tonight. I got you covered.
Mario: As usual, heh, I'm countin' on you.
Rod: I got you covered. I got you covered. (waaaay too sincere, if you were trying to figure out what was funny here)
Rod upon seeing the replay of Curtis Granderson rounding the bases in the wake of his in-the-park homerun: He's smellin' it now! Now he's smellin it! And Sammy [third base coach Juan Samuel] is like, let's go!
Rod on Granderon's defensive play to steal a Molina homerun: Man that's pretty. That. Is. Pretty.
Rod on the Tigers' huge top of the 5th: Oh they beatin' on Colon like he STOLE somthin!
I feel like there was something else to say, but I can't for the life of me do so right now. Too tired. Too much Woe.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
He's got a 5-1 record, with 21 saves. He's got an ERA of 1.38 and a WHIP of 0.96. That's comparable to the Fruitbat, who has a 1.44 ERA and a WHIP of 0.84 in less innings pitched. He's young and talented.
And this is what happens to him when the Oakland A's leave Barry Zito in charge of rookie hazing.
I don't even know what to say. Huston Street... I'd feel bad for him, but a) he is actually, horrifyingly working the knee socks; b) the hair coordinates with the plaid, which I think has shocked my brain into a state of frozen amazement; and c) he seems to be enjoying it. Check out the security guys laughing at him in the background too.
Click the photo for a larger version, by the way. It simply must be done. You must appreciate the full majesty of the thing.
Of Street, Zito said, "He looks good in skimpy clothes.''
"Huston, you're hot!'' said first baseman Dan Johnson, dressed as a bottle of mustard.
See also Freddie Byrnum dressed as, um, a Jamaican belly dancer, Nick Swisher as a plug, and Dan Johnson as a bottle of mustard; Joe Blanton dressed as a socket; Keichi Yabu dressed as a geisha and Ron Flores dressed as an angel, or something.
The most disturbing parts of that are the implications involved in the Swisher and Blanton costumes. I mean.... look at where Swisher would be plugging in. Good lord.
Not part of rookie hazing, but my friend Jen also emailed me this image of Rich Harden in a SpongeBob SquarePants costume, which looks like it must have come from some Oakland TV ad. I wouldn't know, having never been there, but whatever, it is simply too awesome to not share.
Now if that didn't thoroughly distract you from the sheer horror of what the Sox have been doing lately, nothing can, and I can no longer help you.
Monday, September 12, 2005
That, most unfortunately, was the Wizened Unit we all feared the Yankees were getting at the start of the year. The enormously tall and irritable left-hander, whose rage at the loss of his precious mullet is matched only by his hatred of Jorge Posada, giving him a curious and unexpected point of similarity to Pedro Martinez, yes, the very same, but this time around with the fastball to call to mind his old, fully mulleted glory days of yore.
Ugh. Bad enough to run up against that, bad enough to have it pitching for the Yankees. But to have Wake match him point for point, right down to the personal catcher (although not because Wake has any particular vendetta against Varitek; also without the unfortunate past hairstyle choices; and quite a few inches; and their personalities; and their pitching styles and you know what, they're nothing alike. SHUT UP!)... to have Wake give up 1 run on 3 hits with 12 strikeouts (12! 12! Roger fucking Clemens considers 10 a good day!) and still have this one go down in the books as a loss... ugh. Ugh.
I officially vomit upon this game.
I mean, I love Youks and all but, batting him third? He hits tolerably well against lefties, but, still. Third? Of course he was one of the only guys on the night to actually get a hit, so what the hell do I know.
I really don't want to talk about this anymore, it's too depressing, and I start thinking about the Fruitbat and how good he is and that depresses me, and then I start thinking about being depressed and that makes me start thinking about Chad Henne staring unseeingly down the field and chucking the ball to a nice bit of turf with no one on it and my eyes start to get all twitchy and then I accidentally break the pen I've got clenched in my teeth. You know how it goes.
If it's baseball stuff you want, I suggest you check out Rebecca and Jere (Parts 1, 2, and 3) for some amazing stories of Red Sox stalking and many, many glorious photos. I'm not jealous at all, honest. I also have to say that Keith Foulke rose somewhat in my estimation. Like with Curtis Granderson, I can't help but like the guys who are good with the fans.
And because I'm absolutely shameless, I demand you all go read Alan Trammell and the Grim, if only because I giggled while writing it, so it should be worth at least an eye-roll or two to you folks.
On to happier things. Like the image at the top of this posts suggests.
I will be wanting to post this every Sunday from now on, but for now, the first of the season.
Forward down the field!
A charging team that will not yield!
When the Blue and Silver wave,
Stand and cheer the brave!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Go hard, win the game!
With honor you will keep your fame!
Down the field and gain
A Lions Victory!
Oh hells yeah. Hey, hey Brett Favre! You're OLD and you're BROKEN-DOWN and you HAVE NO EYEBROWS. You may have Ahman Green(bay) but we've got Kevin Jones! You may have, I don't even know, some dudes that are receivers, but we have like 12 more dudes that are receivers! Marcus Pollard whut whut! Mike Williams gets his first professional reception and it's for a touchdown! JOEY HARRINGTON THROWS THE BALL DOWNFIELD REALLY WELL AND LOOKS REALLY COMFORTABLE IN THE POCKET AND NO INTERCEPTIONS AND GENERALLY LOOKS HOT AND ALSO LIKE A QUARTERBACK WHO CAN ACTUALLY QUARTERBACK IF THAT WAS A VERB WHICH IT ISN'T BUT PERHAPS IT OUGHT TO BE! I'm sorry but I'm REALLY EXCITED!
The best bit? The one thing I was so fucking sure was going to kill us, our defense, the one thing we didn't go out and draft for and shore up right away... what did they do? They only went out and HELD THE BIG STINKY CHEESE TO THREE POINTS, THE FIRST TIME IN 5 SEASONS THAT THE CHEESE HAD NOT SCORED A TOUCHDOWN.
Penalties absolutely murdered Green Bay. I have a sneaking suspicion that we're going to have quite a few games like that, but luckily today was not one of them.
Charles Rogers fell down on his shoulder and DID NOT BREAK HIS COLLARBONE. It is, like, a first. He made it through one game. The possibilities for the future are endless.
There were only two downsides to this game. One was the fact that Jason Hanson tweaked a hamstring or something. He came in to kick two extra points just fine (the last one, especially, was fine... straight down the middle), but I'm not sure if it's something that will tighten up overnight and keep him out in future games, or if he can kick long field goals anymore, or what. If he can't do so, and if it's really hurting him, we are, to put it delicately, screwed up the bum. We haven't go anyone else who can step in, and Hanson is one of the better kickers in football right now; we lose him and we lose a nice reliable source of points, something that can never ever ever be underestimated on a team like the Lions.
The other downside was that they were wearing the black jerseys. So aesthetically unfortunate.
Now I desperately need to sleep. If you need soothing after that Sox loss, just repeat after me:
Manny and Oritz will hit when it counts, Jason Varitek can lead even when he can't hit, someone will step up in the rotation when we need them to, and in Theo We Trust. There's a time for panic, but we're still on top. Not yet, kids. Not yet.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Oh my goodness that sucked worse than something Denny Neagle would pay.
After the game Lloyd Carr said something along the lines of, "Some coaches are OK with losing games so long as the team plays well, and they don't like winning games if the team doesn't play well. Not me, though. I just want to win. I don't care how well we play if we don't win."
Which is a lovely and admirable sentiment, maybe, but which is a sentiment that has little or no bearing on this game. Because we neither won nor played particularly well.
I had art students leaving me messages on my phone and on AIM asking where our defense was. Art students! They barely know what shape a football is! They are more interested in the graphic design of the helmets than the actual game! They think 'hart' is a misspelling of the vital muscular organ! And even they can see that we have shit for defense.
No, that's not fair. Shit smells bad and would presumably form some sort of grotesque deterrent to opposing teams. We haven't even got that. We've got a small puff of colorless, odorless, and utterly harmless gas for defense. We have the most inert and thinly spread gas possible for defense.
Some of Henne's passes honestly looked like he wasn't even seeing the field past 5 or 6 yards. Did he forget to put his contacts in today or something? Did Matt Gutierrez steal them to play tiddlywinks with? Were his eyes scalded in horror by the tan-gold bland helmets of the Domers? Am I now critiquing the design of the helmets? Yes. Shut up. I may enjoy sports but I am still an art student.
Darius Walker (reluctantly captured on
film memory card and displayed above) tried his darndest to remind us of last week's Garrett-Wolfe-containment debacle. When there's one guy, and we KNOW the ball is going to him, and we can't. do. a damned. thing. about it.... I can't take another game like that, I just can't. I can't go into the Eastern game next week and suddenly discover that Eastern has some amazing running back with a single-digit number who they're going to give at least 1 out of every 2 balls to in the first half and against whom we are going to be completely and utterly helpless. I'll break down sobbing in the stands or something equally out-of-character and disturbing.
Those overturned calls... oh boy. Look, that happens to you once in a game, you grind your teeth and chant "buuuuuullshit, buuuuuuullshit" along with the rest of the student section and accept that it's part of the game. When it happens to you more than once, you start to wonder if the umps are particularly devout Catholics or something. The guys behind us took it particularly hard, and I actually thought at one point that one of them was going to hurl himself down the stairs in despair. Since we're in row 47, that would be a considerable tumble.
The crowd eventually started expressing its displeasure by chucking bottles (plastic, you nutters) onto the field and, in some cases, at Notre Dame fans in the stands.
The fact that we had to watch this game in the brutal blistering heat in the Big House didn't really help either. I slathered on a ton of sunscreen, and still managed to get burnt, probably because the sunscreen got sweated off. It was even hotter than last time, and I hadn't thought that was possible. I can't freaking wait until this heat crap ends and we can start wearing sweatshirts and jackets to the games again.
I don't really want to talk about it anymore, except to say that Charlie Weis is not allowed to ever look Tom Brady in the eye again. Jerk.
Oh, yeah, and I did take photos. I don't think the lens hood made a whit of difference, except to make the camera look bigger and fancier than it is, therefore garnering me more comments on it.
I guess I'm happy to see that both the Sox and the Tigers won, because I kind of need something to make up for this... this travesty of a game. It must have been refreshing, for those who saw it, to watch Curt perform like something approximating his old self again, and to see Manny break his homerless streak, to see the Yankees commit a bevy of errors, and to see what I hear tell was a truly massive shot from Olerud.
It was nice to see the Tigers win because, uh, they hadn't won anything in the past twelve trillion weeks, and it was starting to get to the point where you wondered if they were actually capable of winning anymore, or if they even remembered how to spell the word 'win'.
Lions tomorrow (later today). Please, Blue Cats. Please please please.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
There was some speculation during this game, once we realized that the Bleach Crew had clearly gotten to Jeremi Gonzalez as well as Curt and Millar, about when they were just going to get the entire team to bleach their hair. Behold my 10-second artist's rendition of Matt Clement with his proposed rally hairdo.
That's got nothing to do with anything, but the game was so miserable that I figure I may as well start you off with the lightest horror.
I don't want to talk about the last two days of baseball.
Happily, I have Michigan/Notre Dame to look forward to in a little under 8 hours.
The Red Sox... the wonky defense got us again. I don't know what to say about Edgar. I don't know that I've ever actually seen someone throw the ball, on a relay, directly at the ground before. That was special. Special like a tiny, tiny kitten with one eye and extra toes and a smashed-up persian-style face so its tongue is always sticking out and it's drooling. Also it has the mange. And the runs. THIS KITTEN IS THE METAPHOR FOR EDGAR RENTERIA THROWING THE BALL AT THE GROUND. PICTURE IT. PICTURE IT IN ALL ITS SWEETLY, HEART-WRENCHINGLY DEFORMED KITTENNESS.
And then, of course, we got Sveumed. Because it wouldn't be a big game unless Dale Sveum decided to be a GREAT BIG STUPIDHEAD and send someone home from third when there was NOT A TINY PLANCK'S LENGTH-SLIVER OF A CHANCE that they would be safe at the plate. Case in point. Jason Varitek heads to third base. Dale Sveum sends Jason Varitek home. Jason Varitek rumbles down the line while Derek Jeter (Captain Intangibles, His Holiness, Keeper of the Calm Eyes, Mr. Autumnal Month Associated with Pagan Holidays, Baby Daddy [to A-Rod]) captured the ball and threw it down the line. To the Chinless Wonder. Who had the ball in his grubby little peed-upon hands while Varitek was still a good solid 30 feet away.
Varitek saw this and realized that he was out by pterodactyl wing-span, so, with nowhere to go, he did the only thing he could do... charge in full-bore and attempt to level the Chinless Wonder. He did his best, but tCW doesn't whizz on his hands for no reason, and his grip was true, and Varitek was blatantly, painfully out. At the plate. Thanks to Dale Sveum.
Thanks, Dale! Thanks a great big sopping lot!
Wells wasn't great either, although of course he claimed that umpiring had at least a sticky finger in that mess:
If anything displeased Wells more than what he felt was an early hook, it was a 2-2 cutter to A-Rod that he felt was strike three. Home plate umpire Bill Miller saw otherwise, and the next pitch was the homer.
"It was a backdoor cutter," said Wells. "Unless I'm blind, that was right down the middle."
official site recap
Now, David Wells is a great many things, but I don't think 'blind' is one of them. He is 'loud' and 'out-spoken' and 'occasionally obnoxious', but for whatever it's worth I thought the pitch he's talking about was a strike too at the time. Also, he called Jorge Posada's homerun a 'cookie'. I am utterly unsurprised by the choice of culinary metaphor, although it's interesting that he goes for the sweets instead of the more familiar 'tater'.
By the way, how hard does Matt Lawton suck? Wicked hard. Too bad we couldn't, you know, exploit a REALLY OBVIOUS WEAKNESS or anything. Sigh.
Things I've Failed to Mention Here Because The First Week of Classes Has Sucked the Life Out of Me But Which I am Now Mentioning and Which You Ought to Have a Look at
--My birthday was shared by Jere, who is one whole Tony Graffanino older than me. Because both of us had our birthday on September 8th, and because we are both clearly more awesome than a pair of the Pants of Awesomeity, September 8th was long-ago declared Red Sox Fan Appreciation of Awesomeness and Overuse of the Word Awesome Day, or something along those lines.
Rebecca, another Sox Fan on Awesomeity, but not one born on the aforementioned Awesome day, drew us a logo, causing me to say to things like "YAY PRETTY" for several hours straight through.
After an absolutely horrible day of classes, I came home (at 10:30 at night) to find that the SG crew had left me a little something. A little something AWESOME. They know my tastes far, far too well over there. Actually, for internet people, they know me far too well over there. Heh.
September 8 was also my friend Tomàs' birthday, and he's exactly the same age as me, so happy birthday, Tomàs, if you ever read this, which is doubtful because you are an art student and I am not at all sure that you actually know what baseball is.
--Kristen explains the difference between Patriots fans and Raiders fans. With photos! Terrifying, terrifying photos.
--McCovey Chronicles has far and away the best take on the entire Bonds situation I've seen, anywhere. It involves Star Trek and the phrase "rolled around in the pile like a sea otter on ecstasy", so you know it's well-worth reading.
--Most amazingest Michigan/ND preview ever, comin' to you from the obscenely thorough yet hilarious shore of (where else?) MGoBlog. One day, someone will approach Brian's high pedestal of college football blogging majesty, but that day is not yet upon us.
--Catfish Stew gets in the zone. Creepy if true. Well-written in any event.
--Lookout Landing takes a look at underrated and overrated players. Fascinating stuff, and I love it when people crunch this stuff with actual numbers, so I don't have to. I am pleased the Jeter clocked in at number 1 for overrated players. In his 'flying under the radar' section, though, I was shocked at the Craig Monroe representation. Craigger's that underrated? Weird.
--Football. Beth. Everyone rejoices. That time of the year again! Yeah, I know what I'll be doing this Sunday. You know too. Go on. Guess.*
--If you haven't read the Being Edgar Renteria Quiz yet, I don't know what to do with you. You are just a bad human being. Go read it now and claim some small scrap of redemption. Or pee your pants laughing, whichever.
--An Indians blogger has a very simple take on the Wild Card.
--Kyle Lohse went RARGH and got all demolition on his manager's office door. Hee hee. Whatever, don't bother with that, just go check out some of the Twins' September callups, as 'hot' chicks. Hottness in title, not actuality.
And now sleep. I would have gone to sleep earlier but SOMEONE ON MY HALL WAS HAMMERING POSTERS INTO THEIR WALL AND I WILL HUNT THEM DOWN AND KILL THEM LATER. Football soon! I'm bringing my camera to this game too... there were some color issues in the NIU photo batch, I think because the sun was so bright, so I'm bringing the lens hood to this game. Maybe it will make a difference.
*Watching the Lions game, wearing a Lions jersey, clutching either the Lions car flag or the Michigan football helmet pillow, screaming at the TV. You know you're jealous.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
John Madden just had this to say about Tom Brady:
"Look at how calm he is under pressure. [camera zooms in on a slow-mo shot of Brady's footwork while faking a hand-off and dropping back to pass] Even his feet are calm."
No no no this is NOT happening.
TOM BRADY DOES NOT HAVE 'CALM' BODYPARTS. NOT CALM FEET, OR CALM HANDS, AND ESPECIALLY NOT CALM EYES.
Oh god, and the broadcasters are just talking Patriots Patriots Patriots and Bill Belichick is a genius and everything Tom Brady does is good and Corey Dillon and Rodney Harrison and of course I agree with it, but if you were a Raiders fan trying to watch this broadcast... if you were a fan of any other team, really... man, how annoying this must be.
I love that the Pats are such a good team (although I'm waiting on my Blue Cats, as ever), and I love that their good player-ness is being widely acknowledged. But I hate that it's happening at the expense of, well, any attention at all to the other team.
I really need to reassure myself about this.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
The Patriots are not the Yankees of the NFL.
And coverage of Tom Brady, playing football, during a football game, should NEVER EVER EVER have ANY cause to be compared with the media fellating of Derek Jeter. Stop it, media. Stop it right this very second. There is to be no use of the adjective 'calm' with regards to various bodyparts, not now and not ever.
Oh, holy freaking kittens.
I have officially achieved Barry Sanders' numberdom.
I AM OLD.
So, yeah, since I have 13 hours of class tomorrow, effectively squashing any and all pretense of fun, could everyone just, I dunno, win tomorrow? Because I'd appreciate it. And it would be nice.
Also, A-Rod is launching his own MLB-sponsored website, complete with journal. I laughed so hard I could barely see to type. Oh, Alex. When the Flash animation at the top kicked in, I literally started crying, I was laughing so hard. The floating photos (including one of his face, grimacing, as though someone has a death grip on his testicles), the signature writing itself... the ridiculous brushstroke lines in that logo he's using... I can't even get into it in proper detail. I just.. I keep laughing. And the fact that the whole thing is embedded in the official MLB site... tears. In. My eyes.
AROD.com. Man, I'm surprised the domain name hadn't already been taken by a porn site.
I mean, Manny's website has some serious, serious issues (chief among them the pointless intro, the bouncing text, the extraordinarily poor graphics, and the fact that the entire thing appears to have been designed by a budding goth 5 year old with dark rage in his soul and a fetish for gradients), but at least its particular horrors are not officially sponsored by Major League Baseball.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Yesterday, during the ESPN broadcast of the Sox game, the announcers mentioned the Kevin Youkilis as the 'Greek God of Walks' thing. They paused to either savor or silently mock the phrase, then Miller said, thoughtfully, "He's actually Jewish, you know."
That, and Tony Graffanino's 3-run homer, made the game worthwhile. I could pretend that I hadn't spent part of it flipping back to the Braves game, but no, lies. I'm in denial, maybe, but I'd rather remember Curt-the-starter as the guy who saved our collective posterior last season, not as this shattered wreck of a pitcher. It's not even that he's pitching hurt, because I don't think he is, not anymore. He's been moving around fine and he hasn't been lunging shy of his ankle on pickoff moves or runs to cover first or anything. It's just like something is messed up in his mechanics, in his delivery, and whatever made his pitches move and his control exact, it's just not there anymore.
Anyways, it's probably bad to want to lie down and die after two classes on the first day, right? I mean, this is something that'll get better once I'm into the groove of things and don't have to dash around buying books and supplies between classes, right? Right?
On the plus side, there's actually someone I know in my bio class. Shocking. I always know at least someone in my art classes (unless they're ones I'm making up that I missed due to the dual-degree, in which case they're all freshmen and I feel old and suchlike), but I never know anyone in the big LSA lectures. But I charged into bio today and there was my old friend Helena from freshman year.
OK. Only two more classes to go today. Sadly, that means 6 more hours of classes. Not counting transit. All you people who say you fondly miss college, you can just go shove your head in a toilet. Or Yankee Stadium, whichever's nearer. The effect will be the same.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
You think you remember what it's like, every year, but you never really do.
I've been to what you can really call 'a few years' of Michigan football now. I've been on hand for the glorious Ohio State smackdown of 2003, and I was in the stands for the 5 and a half hour marathon that was the Michigan State triple OT game in 2004. I've sat with various different people; friends from science classes, friends from my hall, people I didn't know but met because they were sitting in my section, and this year, an art student. I always walk the long route down, the leisurely 45-minute-to-an-hour stroll through the Diag (squirrels), down State St. (frats, volleyball), around Hoover (house parties), over the train tracks (train tracks) and up to the Stadium (big). It should all be old hat by now.
Of course that's an utter load of wank. You know that the frats are going to be in the finest of forms, but you're still amused to see the giant inflatable slip'n'slide outside of Beta, to see all the Pike guys wearing royal blue Pike tshirts. You know that Bongo Man is going to be sitting outside of the IM building, bongoing away, but you're still surprised by the sheer number of people who catch sight of him from down the road and scream, "BONGO MAN IS BACK!!" and run down to stand around him, clapping and smiling.
You know that it's the first game of the season, but you're still a little confused to see a guy in a hot dog suit jog up and get on his friend's shoulders, then get carried off with a group of guys who immediately break into a, "J! E! T! S! Jets Jets Jets!" chant, which had to be the single most surreal and inexplicable event of the day. But it's the first Michigan home game of the season, why not dress like a hot dog, ride your friend's shoulders, and shout your apparent love of the New York Jets?
You always forget how big the Big House really is, how hot it gets with the sun beating on the bleachers, how much of a physical ordeal it is to stand on said metal bleachers for 4 quarters without sitting down or passing out (you don't sit in the student section unless it's a time out). You always forget how truly awesome the wave looks when it's done in slow motion by 110,000 people, the pretty tinkling sound of several thousand keys jangling on third downs for the opposing team, how cool and professional the band looks even though you really just know they have got to be dying from heat in those uniforms.
How good an entire stadium filled with maize and blue looks, and how nasty the red patches of NIU fans look.
So, right, well, anyways, the game.
--OUR DEFENSE SUCKS. Woe! Massive, immense, tragic woe. No, seriously. After the first, oh, I dunno, 5 minutes of the game, we knew that they were giving the ball to Garrett Wolfe as often as was humanly (or football-ly) possible. We knew that he was going to be getting the ball. And we still couldn't stop him! At all! The dude ran rough-shod over us and left our defense all with wibbly little flattened bits from where he'd run them over.
It got so frustrating that by the third quarter, whenever the announcer fellow would say, "Ball carried by. Number One. Garrett Wolfe," I would shake my fists at the skies and howl, "WOW, GARRETT WOLFE IS TOUCHING THE BALL, WHAT A SHOCKER." Seatmate Rachel was amused and, I do believe, kept trying to remind me that it was just a game. I know that. I just get, y'know. Worked up about it.
Plus, our defense sucked so hard, they deserved it.
--Chad Henne is a god in yellow spandex pants. That about sums it up, but really, every time someone says his name now, I feel like I should cross myself. I'm not Christian, though. There ought to be some kind of alternative gesture I could use in a similar fashion. Perhaps I should work out a way to sign a giant M. Left hip, left shoulder, sternum, right shoulder, right hip? Let's get that going.
--Even when he wasn't getting a ton of yards on the play, Mike Hart was just breaking the hell out of tackles. It seemed like on every run he had one or two guys hanging off of him, and he was shaking them off to plunge forward for another yard or two. Nothing too spectacular, but a ton of scrapping, and cumulatively that added up to a pretty darn good game. Plus he had two touchdowns (one running, one receiving), that didn't exactly hurt.
--I know Garrett Wolfe was supposed to be very, very good, but did we have to make him look that good? Did we really? Because we made him look like the next coming of Barry Sanders out there. I realize that this is just harping on how bad our defense was some more, but I can't help it. They just barely, barely started containing him at the end of the game, somewhere near the end of the 3rd quarter. Of course then NIU just started going to some other receivers, assuming (quite rightly) that we were finally concentrating on Wolfe, so they could move the ball pretty well with some other guys. Just terrible.
--Dudes, did you see Ross Ryan? Our punter is good now! He, like, had some really good kicks and, like, actually put the ball in the endzone or managed to hang it up and get it downed within the 5 yard line and, like, he's good! Progress!
--I honestly did not remember there ever being that many media timeouts. The game wasn't even being nationally televised, what the hell was going on? There were hardly any in the first quarter, but for the rest of the game it was media timeout after media timeout. They called them so often that by the 4th quarter the student section was booing loudly when another one was announced, and when the game finally ended many students started yelling, "Media timeout! Media timeout!"
--I was kind of expecting Steve Breaston to step in and become the new Braylon Edwards (although, to be honest, I don't think we can really have another Braylon, he was kind of in a class all his own; he was at the game on the sidelines, by the by. My family [who were sitting on the other side of the stadium] saw him coming into the stadium in his Bentley), but it was Jason Avant who showed up big. Henne was on the mark, of course, but it looked like Avant had some really good hands out there, and while he didn't have any insane breaks after the catch like Braylon used to, he didn't look like someone who was going to catch the ball and fall down on his ass every time either.
--We got to see the Gut! Matt Gutierrez, that is. Lloyd Carr pulled Henne after a bit, even though the game wasn't terribly blown open (he's very good friends with the NIU head coach, Lloyd is; not wanting to embarass his buddy might have had something to do with that decision). He was supposed to be the starting quarterback last year, but was injured. That's why we had True Freshman Chad Henne starting. And thank god we did, because Henne turned out to be the next coming of... hell, I don't know, the next coming of some previous really good Michigan quarterback. Take your pick, there've been tons of them.
--Garrett Rivas still pisses me off. Placekickers are one area where I absolutely hate college football compared to pro football. Maybe it's because the Lions have Jason Hanson, who is great; the Pats have Adam Vinatieri, who is, um, the God of Clutch; and the Dolphins have Olindo Mare, who is sometimes the number one source of scoring on the entire team (number two being the defense, number three being the kick returner, number four being the actual offense). Michigan? Has Garrett Rivas, who gets the occasional extra point blocked (as he did here) and who can't kick anything particularly far (he missed a long one here), and who annoys the hell out of me (for those reasons, and just in general).
--The halftime show was allegedly karaoke. The band played songs that they thought people would know the words to, and invited the crowd to sing along. It didn't really work, though, because they didn't put the lyrics up on the scoreboard, and how can you have karaoke without the lyrics up anywhere? A few people scattered here and there were singing along, but overall it was a failure.
--I took a lot of photos. We don't have amazing seats... we're literally right in the corner of the stadium, which isn't the best view ever for seeing how many yards downfield a guy gets or anything like that, and we're in row 47, which is about halfway down and isn't bad but isn't great. The New BCRS Camera of Awesomeity works just as well from there as it does at Fenway, though, so I got some relatively nice shots. You can see them all right here.
Highlight of the day: A run broke through the Husky defense, and the Michigan announcers said that the guy responsible was Kevin Grady, our super-young rookie. The crowd cheered wildly, since it was his first career carry as a Wolverine and all that. It quieted down immediately after, and a girl a few rows up from us screamed at her friend across the section.
"Oh my GAWD! Kevin Grady!!! AND YOU MADE OUT WITH HIM!"
The entire section dissolved.
I like to think that that is a very good reason why college football is sometimes better than the NFL.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
There are some things that are absolutely hilarious across all cultures, to people from all walks of life, and one of them is watching people who really cannot run at all try to hustle.
The Red Sox have been good to us in this respect, because we've gotten to see Tim Wakefield rounding the bases with flaily hands and an entirely bizarre, inefficient gait; we've gotten to see Big Papi huffing and puffing while trying to stretch one base into two, hurling himself forward and sliding in on his ass or his stomach almost exactly like a jumbo jet; and tonight we got to see Doug Mirabelli, already pumped up in his strange Dougie way about his homerun earlier in the game, stealing a base.
He was 2/3rds of the way to second before Colome even realized what was going on. I don't blame him. You'd no more expect Cecil Fielder in his later years to take off from first base. Dougie motoring forces you to picture a small windup toy, with a perfectly cube-shaped body and little tiny stick legs jittering out the bottom, all stiff and awkward, all making a wheezy little ticking sound while it winds down. Perhaps it's a windup Spongebob Squarepants.
In any event, it is not fast. But it is fucking hilarious.
Also, rock on, Kevin Millar's bleached hair. I'm still waiting from him to discover colored hair dye. Barry Zito had blue streaks, there's no way Millar can be one-upped in coiffure-weirditude. But if simple bleach is enough to get his bat going, then by all means, bleach it into oblivion. Bleach it whiter than Bronson Arroyo. If that's possible.
I'm signing off for the rest of Thursday and probably most of Friday, since it That Time of the Year again. Yes, it is time for the Great (and by Great I Mean Terrible) U of M Move-in of 2005. WOE and ANGST and HORROR. I love Michigan, and I love being there, but I absolutely hate move-in and move-out. So, yeah, 12 hour drive today, madness of move-in Friday. Wish me luck, kids, I shall have need of it.