Archive for the 'sports' Category

Clearly, I’ve Lost My Mind

First the Rangers win the pennant and advance to the World Series. Then the Baylor Bears win their sixth game and become bowl-eligible. Now, today we learn that the Bears are in the Top 25. In both polls.

It’s become evident to me that somewhere in the past week I must have lost my mind.

The proof is in the Top 25 polls. Check out the photo at the bottom of the post. I snagged it from ESPN’s website. The AP Top 25 has the Bears at #25. The USA Today poll has the Bears at #24. The thing is, if you look, the Bears’ position looks the same. It’s because the AP poll has only 24 teams. There’s no #6 in their Top 25.

I must be hallucinating.


Granddad Would Have Loved This

Nineteen years ago, I sat in my grandfather’s bedroom on a summer afternoon and talked baseball with him. We talked about the Texas Rangers and how they were faring. I remember talking with him about a young outfielder named Juan Gonzales and my grandfather’s expectations for him. A few minutes later my grandmother came in and ushered me out of the room so that Granddad could rest. He was bedridden with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. That conversation was the last I had with my grandfather; he passed away a few weeks later.

He was a devoted fan to his Cowboys and his Rangers, if a somewhat jaded one. His favorite phrase to utter as the ballgame inevitably fell apart was, “Well, there goes the ol’ ballgame.” He wasn’t a curmudgeon, merely a realist. He knew the game, and he knew the inevitability of the Rangers’ fate. It became something of a humorous thing for my family, but when he said those words, he was usually right.

I feel like that’s the kind of following that the Texas Rangers had. Growing up in West Texas, the Rangers were my team. My grandfather’s phrase colored my expectations for the Rangers and still does. As the Rangers struggled down the stretch of the regular season, I thought to myself that the inevitable post All-Star break slump had finally arrived, they were going to choke, and end up watching the playoffs from their living rooms yet again. But it didn’t happen.

When the Rangers dropped two games at home in the ALDS when they had the chance to send the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays home, I thought that we were doomed to another year as the only baseball franchise without a postseason series win. But that didn’t happen.

When the Yankees exploded in the 8th inning of Game 1 to take a 6-5 lead, I thought, “Well, there goes the ol’ ballgame… and the series.” I expected the Rangers’ confidence to crumble and the Yankees to plow through the Rangers like they had in the Rangers’ only three previous playoff appearances. But that didn’t happen.

In Game 4, the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 4th Inning and A.J. Burnett looked solid, I thought to myself, “Well, there goes the ol’ ballgame.” I thought the Rangers were going to fizzle, and that the Yankees were going to climb back into the series. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Bengie Molina hit a first-pitch, two out curveball down the left field line and into the Yankee Stadium bleachers, clinching a 3-1 series lead.

After a slight, but not unexpected, speed bump in Game 5, the Rangers dominated the Yankees in Game 6 to send the Yankees home crying and the Rangers to their first-ever World Series. They dominated. They made the Yankees pay for their strategic decisions and their mistakes. It was a beautiful thing to watch. As Alex Rodriguez watched as a Neftali Feliz slider slipped past him (poetic justice for a player who called the Rangers “24 kids” when he demanded a trade out of Arlington), the celebration that had been building in the stands exploded onto the field, the traditional team dogpile happening somewhere between home plate and the pitcher’s mound. The Rangers had defeated the New York Yankees. They are going to the World Series.

Granddad, I think we can finally retire the saying.

He would have loved this team. These Rangers love baseball; watch for a few innings and it becomes apparent. From The Claw and The Antlers to the ear-to-ear grins after a home run, to manager Ron Washington pounding the rail and running in place as his players race down the basepaths, it’s easy to see that these Rangers love the game of baseball, and they love each other. When one struggles, another steps in with a clutch hit or play in the field. They are family. They’re the kind of team to believe in. They were my grandfather’s kind of team, where everybody contributes, nobody loafs, and fun is had all around.

Granddad would have loved this.

Josh Lewin Out of the Rangers’ Booth

As if the Rangers’ squandering of their 2-0 series lead against the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays wasn’t heartwrenching enough, the announcement was made today that Josh Lewin, 1/2 of the entertaining pressbox duo known as Josh ‘n Tom, will no longer be broadcasting for the Texas Rangers.

Josh posted a thank-you and goodbye on the the site Lone Star Ball. Check it out here.

We’ll miss you, Josh.

Now We Know Their Secret

I’ve always wondered how the Detroit Red Wings have remained so good for so long. Of course, we all know they are part of the secret cabal of Sport consisting of the Yankees, the Lakers, and Manchester United which conspires to keep the rest of the sporting world underneath their collective thumbs. But now we have another reason for why the Santa Suits are so dominant… Ninjas.

Sic ‘Em Bears!

Congratulations to the Baylor Men’s Basketball team for winning their first ever berth to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament! This has been an interesting March Madness to watch, with upsets galore, but I am still in a bit of shock that my Bears are the #3 seed in their conference, still alive, and that they basically will have home court in Houston next Friday. Here’s hoping that it’s an evening game that I can zip back to Houston to attend!

Go Bears! Beat St. Mary’s!

Liverpool Lamentations

This past Saturday, a fluke goal may have cost the Reds their hopes of a nineteenth English Premier League title. I realize that it’s still early and stranger things have happened, but the Reds’ fourth loss of the young campaign leaves them eighth in the Premier League table. Last year they lost two matches over the entire Premier League season and still only finished in second on account of the many draws that they suffered. This week they lost to Sunderland, 1-0, on a fluke goal that probably should have been disallowed. Sunderland’s Darren Bent took a strike at the Liverpool goal, not even five minutes into the contest on Saturday. The ball struck a beach ball that was sitting on the pitch in front of the goal, deflecting it past Liverpool defender Glen Johnson and keeper Pepe Reina and into the back of the net. In many respects, it typifies how the early part of the season has gone for Liverpool. Strange goal, lackluster performance following the goal, and a disappointing finish. Granted, the Reds were without their top two players in Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, but they had plenty of chances on goal.

Then we learned that the Premier League will not seek a replay of the match, something that has happened before when a refereee made a game-altering error. But for their part, the Reds chose not to press the matter. I think that’s a decent thing to do. Take your lumps, move forward, work on getting better.

As frustrating as the game was to watch and as disappointing as the result was, there was one humorous consequence to this loss. All of the major sports news outlets took time to cover this, many of whom did so in ironic style. Check out some of the headlines below.

Liverpool Deflated by Bizarre ‘Beachball’ Goal
Stray Beach Ball Punctures Liverpool’s Title Challenge
Life’s A Beach for Jubilant Bruce & Sunderland
No Excuses from Deflated Benitez
Reds Beached?
Darren Bent’s “beach ball goal” leaves Rafa Benitez all at Sea

Running It Up

BU-NWSULast night I saw something that I had seen before only in Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy. With the Bears up 68-13 with a little less than 8:00 remaining and the ball on the Demon’s 6-yardline, the Bears took a knee four times in a row to give the ball back to Northwestern State. Many in the crowd began to boo, and many of those that didn’t headed for the exits. It was clear that this game was over. After the game, Coach Briles talked about his reasoning for kneeling, saying, “I’ve been on the other sideline and I know how it feels.” He saw no point in running up the score further and causing the other team any more humiliation.

This got me thinking, though. Which is more humiliating to a team being blown out: to have the score run up against you or for the other team to kneel on each of its offensive snaps midway through the 4th Quarter? The former says, “We are totally destroying you. We will continue to destroy you.” The latter says, “We don’t even have to play you. We’ve already destroyed you.” Ultimately, I think that it’s probably the run-up that is more humiliating, but I think that kneeling may be a bit more insulting. Whatever the effect, though, I know that wasn’t Coach Briles’ motivation. That man is a class act. Thoughts?

Incidentally, that was the highest number of points scored for the Bears since 1929.