Thursday, November 30, 2006
Every day I check the latest baseball news. Every day it's the same question. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET MUMMY I WANTS MY MATSUZAKA NOOOOOWWWW.
And every bloody day, the answer is the same. NO. WE'LL GET THERE WHEN WE GET THERE. BE QUIET OR NO MATSUZAKA FOR YOU.
When I was a little kid and my family would take long road trips (before the days of iPods, GASP), I would have to amuse myself to keep from being driven insane. I can't read in the car without getting sick, so I would draw (if the road was smooth enough), or play those games where you look for things out the window and try to find more of them before your stinky little brother does (look, a cow! look, a dead raccoon! look, a highway sign with an exploded truck on it!) or where you tally up the colors of cars you pass. Eventually we would get wherever it was that we were going, and I would have a newly intimate knowledge of the denizens of the highway.
That's what's going on with this Matsuzaka business right now. We're stuck on this highway, and Mummy LuchWerNry and Poppy Boras are not going to take any shortcuts to suit us kids.* So we've got to stare out the window and pretend we give a flying squirrel carcass about all the stuff on the side of the road. Look, a new Dodger uniform! Look, another Manny trade request! Look, more Japanese postings! Look, a surly San Franciscan man with a giant head!
I'm glad we won (paid for) the rights to negotiate with the kid. The odds are good for him being a pretty effective pitcher, and this past season taught us once and for all that you can NEVER have too much pitching. Plus it made the Yankees look bad. But can you imagine how BAD we would look if we were willing to shell out all that posting money, and failed to get a deal done? Can you imagine the gleeful cackling in the Bronx? Can you imagine how many death threats Scott Boras would get from the New England area?
I just want to get out of the car already.
In other news, the Detroit Lions are bad, and steadily getting worse. But I watched them play on Thanksgiving! We got Rally Tails! Joey Harrington returned! Photos! Other than that, I don't want to talk about them any more than I want to talk about all the Manny shit, and I want to talk about all the Manny shit not at all.
edit: Joy of Sox is up for a 2006 Canadian Blog Award. Because the idea of a Red Sox blog winning a 'best of sports blogs' award in Canada tickles my deranged fancy, I suggest you all go vote for him (section 13). And, you know, there's the small matter of JoS being an extremely deserving blog for any award. Voting ends tomorrow. Go and see to it that justice is done!
(thanks to Jere for the heads-up)
*Honestly, I think I just severely freaked myself out by taking a moment to consider a conglomerate being made up of Lucchino, Werner, and Henry, what it would be if it was female, and then what it would be if it married Scott Boras and had a bunch of Red Sox fans as children. These are places I never wanted my brain to go.
Labels: baseball, Daisuke Matsuzaka, MLB, negotiation, offseason, Red Sox
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Things to be Thankful for
-Taking (the right to negotiate with) Daisuke Matsuzaka away from the Yankees.
-The slim yet still-present possibility of Michigan going to the BCS title game despite The Game Last Weekend of Which We Shall Not Speak.
-The Colts losing.
-The removal of Gary Sheffield from the AL East (although this is, obviously, a bit of a double-edged sword for me... now that he's a Tiger, I've got to eventually wrap my mind around the concept of rooting for him. Haven't been able to do it yet).
-Getting to see Joey Harrington back in Ford Field (ha ha! ha. ha. oh god).
-Kevin Youkilis winning an imaginary MVP award, basically for being Jewish and not overtly failing at life.
-A psychotically entertaining, high-rolling offseason baseball free agent market.
-Jeff Garcia starting.... but not for the Lions.
-Ha ha, if Papi can't have it, at least you can't have it either. Although seriously. Justin Morneau? Really? Did they just take the remaining names, after they'd weeded out Jeter, and pick one from a hat?
-A ballpark that's not named after a company of questionable merit... or any company, for that matter.
-The Tigers' 2006 season.
-The Red Sox 2004 season.
-Wolverines baseball taking the Big 10 title in the 2005 season.
-Knowing that, no matter what, at least I'm not attending Ohio State.
As per usual, my family will reserve giving thanks for anything until after we've sat through the Lions game. This is our tradition, and it works out well for us; if the Lions win, we can give thanks for that, and if they lose (as is far more likely), we can spend the entire ride home giving thanks for surviving yet another miserable game and not actually perishing in the stadium from sheer shame.
Gooooooo Lions! Hope springs eternal and all that. Happy Thanksgiving!
Labels: holiday, humor, list, random
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Hour and a half 'til we get going. Damn. What do you even say? The entire state's kind of stunned right now; the campus is simultaneously boisterous and subdued. There were loud drunken choruses of Hail to the Victors all up and down my street around 2 am last night, but it's silent right now.
Someone put some yellow flowers on top of the little University sign in front of Schembechler Hall.
You want to say that if we lose now it doesn't matter any more than if we had lost before this happened, but of course that's not true. We'll feel worse. Because it's already hard to feel great going into a game when something like this has just happened. There's a reason Ohio State is ranked number 1 and we're ranked number 2. The game's in Columbus. I don't feel great about it. I was OK with that, was just hoping we could keep it close enough to make a case for getting another shot at them in the BCS title game. Now? It's going to be hard to take any kind of loss with such equanimity.
I don't know. Heading over to my tailgate soon. It's at the same house we've been going to all season.... right across from the Stadium. I wonder if they have something up on the big signs. Probably do. If there's some kind of memorium, we can probably see it from the back porch.
I'm sure there'll be more to say after the game.
Go Maize. Go Blue. Win.
Labels: Bo Schembechler, Buckeyes, football, in memory, Michigan, NCAA, OSU, rivalry, Wolverines
Monday, November 13, 2006
OK, this is priceless.
The University just sent us all an email about the Michigan/OSU game this weekend and how you can go to their big sponsored tailgate if you're in Columbus for the game and whatnot. That was just the very beginning of the email, though. The rest of it was a list of things to do and not do if you are a Wolverine going to watch the game in Ohio.
I shall reprint the list here, for your amusement.
We know that it can be uncomfortable being in an opposing team's environment, especially when the stakes are so high. We would like to offer a few suggestions in order to help you stay safe and have a positive experience this weekend:
--Try carpooling to the game; if possible, drive a car with non- Michigan license plates.
--Keep your Michigan gear to a minimum, or wait until you are inside the stadium to display it.
--Stay with a group.
--Know and obey the laws regarding alcohol use.
--If you are of legal age to drink, use alcohol in moderation. Stay in the blue.
--Stay low-key; don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
--If verbally harrassed by opposing fans, don't take the bait.
--Avoid High Street in Columbus.
If at any time you feel unsafe, you should call 9-1-1 for assistance. U-M campus police also will be available in Columbus to support our fans. You may call them with non-emergency concerns at (734) 216-9159.
I think this mostly speaks for itself, but still.
Now, I won't say that if the roles were reversed, the game was this big and it was in Ann Arbor, some of these things being warned against wouldn't happen to OSU fans. It's a college campus, there are ALWAYS going to be at least a few kids acting like wankers. A car with Ohio plates might get keyed, a guy wandering around near the frats wearing red and gray might get a beer tossed on him-- ESPECIALLY if the Buckeyes were representing after the game and Michigan had just lost.
But this list... man, I just could not help it. I cracked up. Try to blend in!! Don't wear attention-getting colors!!!! Stay with a group!!!!!! DO NOT STRAY ALONE! OHIO STATE FANS, MUCH LIKE THE BLOODTHIRSTY LION, PREY UPON THE WEAK AND THE ALONE!
My friend Meg called me earlier to bitch about the art school (an activity we have occasion to indulge in all too often out here) and asked if I'd read the email. "Can you believe that?" she asked. "What the hell is all that about?"
"They're Ohio State fans, Meg. They're animals."
We laughed, but dude, reading this list? Seeing the fear for their students (and alums) stamped across the faces of University officials? I'm not so sure I can call that a joke.
Also, the injunction to simply AVOID AN ENTIRE STREET? Freaky. I've never been to Ohio; what's this mysterious "High Street"? Is it like a warzone? Is there some red-and-gray-clad gang that's claimed that street for their own, ruling the black market organ trade, drug flow, and prostitution rings based there with a meaty, cabbage-scented fist? I am frightened, but intrigued.
Oh, and that image up at the top there is something I drew for a Chanukah card one year. I just use it here because, well, it's a Wolverine, and festive, if inappropriately so. I'll try to whip up some UM vs. OSU kind of drawing soon, if the work I have to do doesn't destroy my soul beforehand.
Labels: Buckeyes, football, humor, list, Michigan, NCAA, OSU, rivalry, Wolverines
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Ah ha, I nearly forgot-- the last home game of the season was this past Saturday (all the photos from it are right here), and many disturbing things happened, like Mike Hart fumbling for a safety, and Michigan struggling inexplicably against Ball freakin' State, and a hilarious fight in our section.
But none of those things are the best bit.
The best bit is who was on the field, schmoozing with the band director before the game, and then up on a ladder conducting the band at halftime.
PATRICK FREAKIN' STEWART!
The Royal Shakespeare Company was in town, putting on a series of shows at the Power Center. I didn't get tickets to any of the plays (sold out like woah), but I did get to see a lecture from their design team. And then suddenly at the football game, THERE WAS PATRICK STEWART! On the field! In my stadium! Saying, "Beat Ohio State! Make it so, Number One!" to delirious cheers from the student section.
My joy was dorktastically unbounded.
Labels: football, Michigan, NCAA, Patrick Stewart, Wolverines
Monday, November 06, 2006
That Patroits game was supremely frustrating. My hatred of Peyton Manning and his pantheon of advertisements grows daily. Plus it was painful for my brain to handle all of the former-Wolverine-on-former-Wolverine action when Tom Brady went up against Cato June. Oh, and seeing Adam Vinatieri in that blue and white was a great deal more agonizing than I had thought it was going to be. So let's move on.
Forward down the field,
A charging team that will not yield,
And 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!
Don't get to write THAT very often.
This was especially enjoyable, given the fact that the last time I had seen the Lions play the Falcons was Thanksgiving of last season, where Michael Vick ran all over the field, dancing here, trotting there, hither and indeed yon, making out with Jim Mora Jr. on the sidelines, doing whatsoever he pleased, so on and so forth. So it was very, very, VERY nice to see the Lions manage to come out on top. All you need to win is a team that has a passable defense and some small modicum of belief in their ability to play football, and a coach whose head is not actually encased within the humid confines of his own lower large intestine while on the field. Who knew?
And so I am proud of the Blue Cats. I am proud of Jon Kitna for playing with what looked like a giant red slug eating his face (and I have no idea when he sustained that; I was dropping my friend off at the airport for part of the game, but I happily DID get to hear the vaguely uncomfortable comments by the announcers about how 'welt-y' it looked near the end). I am proud of the defense for stepping it up and holding on even without their best player. I am proud of Kevin Jones for trying to be a little bit more like Mike Hart every day. I am proud of Mike Furrey for EXISISTING-- in fact, this is a whole separate future entry on its own.
I am not proud of Dre Bly for still insisting on trying to make tackles by slapping at opposing players with his open palms instead of, you know, actually throwing his body at them.
My ire is really reserved for a perhaps unlikely target. I know he's a good player; I know he has potential to be an Amazingly Great Football Player Who Catches the Football Amazingly Well with His Amazing Good Hands. I know he's only 24. I know his arm socks give him extra ball-catching p0w3rzzZZZz and Attitude Points (disclaimer: not an actual stat).
But GODDAMMIT Roy Williams, STOP CELEBRATING AFTER FIRST DOWNS.
You score a touchdown, FINE. You're young, you're exciteable, the Lions are not exactly the biggest offensive powerhouse out there. A touchdown is a time for celebration, within reason. But a first down is (supposed to be) a commonplace occurrence in this game which you are playing, you know, American football, with American football rules, where first downs happen all the time, YOU KNOW THIS ROY.
So when you make a first down, stand up, PULL AN IMAGINARY ARROW FROM AN IMAGINARY HOLSTER ON YOUR BACK, AND FIRE IT DOWN THE FIELD FROM AN IMAGINARY BOW, you are saying one of two things.
Roy Williams' intended message possibility #1:
My team is so freakin' pathetic that we have to sarcastically celebrate first downs, because we will have no other occasions to celebrate during this game. We are barely even a real football team.
Roy Williams' intended message possibility #2:
Hey opposing team, I am showing you up after this relatively low-impact play, because I am an immature cloacaface. Eat my Honolulu Blue and Silver jock.
Quite frankly, neither one of these are messages that Roy should want to be conveying. And this is not first time he's celebrated after a first down either... this time it was just even MORE worth bringing up because he went so far as to FIRE AN IMAGINARY ARROW DOWN THE FIELD. Holy FREAKIN' cats, Roy. Chad Johnson watched you do that, shook his head, and said to himself, "Damn, that kid's a little too excited out there."
That pissed me off at the time, and the more I think about it, the worse it looks. I really don't know why the refs haven't hit him up for excessive celebration already, except I guess it's possible he's catching even the refs off guard... who expects excessive celebration after a first down conversion? Maybe they're too busy laughing at how pathetic it is.
Still. The Falcons aren't a nothing of a team. It's not like we beat the Cardinals (also known as the only team in football worse than the Lions are right now), or even a team keeping badness pace with us, like the Steelers (HA!). And we HAVE had a lot of near-miss games, although that's a little misleading, since usually the games turn into near-misses because the Lions manage to shoot themselves in the paw before the end.
The surprising part about this win was not so much that the Lions played well; it was more the fact that the Lions DIDN'T forget that they have to play all 4 quarters somewhat cleanly.
Anyways. Two-and-six. The season of dreams is NOW!
Labels: football, Lions, NFL, rant, Roy Williams, win