Historic collapse? Maybe. But certainly not the worst
I know the allure of the game is often how it unfolds at a less-than-frenetic pace, with long, lazy games and a long, lazy season.
But those 10 or 15 minutes in the wee hours – when Longoria homered and the Red Sox finally choked the life out of themselves – were as outstanding a few hectic minutes as I can remember in decades of following the game.
And I really wish I had listened to Boston talk radio last night – or even this morning – because the historic collapse of the Red Sox would have been fodder for some of the greatest fan angst in the history of sports.
But since I have some history myself with that franchise, I am going to say this:
The slow implosion this year would be third, at best, in the litany of Red Sox Chokes that they’ve subjected themselves to over the years.
First would still have to be 1978, the one-game playoff.
I remember driving back from the University of Welland that day, stopping a saloon somewhere around Port Robinson (I should have gone to Mike Smrek’s house, in hindsight) and watching aghast as Bucky Effing Dent hit that homer, Lou Piniella bluffing a catch in right field that ultimately saved a run and Yaz – YAZ! – popping out harmlessly in foul territory at third to end it.
The ignominy of losing to the Yankees, at home, after that 14-game mid-summer lead was a crushing blow to a young man’s fandom and while My Friend Stella wasn’t around at the time, someone else kept me company right off.
The second? Has to be ’86, right?
I’m on a couch at Super Dad’s house back in the day, all by myself, a glass of nectar at the ready, on the phone with a friend about to live the glory, totally prepared to celebrate like seldom before. After all, it was destiny, right? They had to win after all those years of letting us down.
Mookie. Buckner (who should have been out of the game for defensive purposes) and the rest, as they say, is history.
So last night, while comical for the outcry it will create and historic in its nature, was just fun to watch. It wasn’t the worst by any stretch of my imagination.
You know me and respecting the game – any game – right?
Well, imagine the angst and utter hatred of that putz Reyes from the New York Mets for what he did yesterday.
And it’s a perfect example of the disrespect I find so galling.
Dude’s in a race with Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun for the NL batting. Reyes gets a hit – a bunt single – in his first at-bat to get his average to .337, ahead of Braun, who’s playing later.
And the guy TAKES HIMSELF OUT OF THE GAME TO PROTECT HIS LEAD!
Sure, he wins the title when Braun goes 0-for-4 (he would have needed three hits as it turns out) but if there ever was a case for an asterisk beside an individual title, this one cries out for it.
The right thing to do is play the game, get some hits and see what happens; trust your own abilities rather than take the chicken way out and ask out of the game an inning into it.
I tell you, somewhere Ted Williams’ frozen head is spinning in its cryogenic chamber.
(Williams, of course, played an entire double-header on the final day of the 1941 season, went 6-for-8 and finished hitting .406; he would have hit .400 or better if he’d taken the day off).
Maybe we’re evolving?
Somehow I believe every newspaper, television and radio station and website missed the glorious 39th anniversary of, well, The Goal.
Sept. 28, 1972.
Now, since we seem to dredge that moment up as the shining example of our spectacular pucks past, the fact the anniversary came and went without special sections or hour-long reminiscences tells me it’s time to maybe move on?
Oh, wait, most fans were wondering and anxiously waiting to see who’d be suspended for some head hit, no wonder they missed it.
Since I’m bored with the minutia of the NBA labour talks – really, this weekend is big, bigger than big; a must-settle time or, if they don’t, the next one is a must-must-settle time, as my man Smitch would say – here’s a way to make a point about it:
Q: Hey Doug. Don’t you think competition and even quality of teams would improve if teams in the NBA had power to cut players loose with out paying them off? For instance, Marbury case, Curry with his contract, Arenas and the guns, even Ellis a year or two ago.
Long contracts are nice to have, but at the same time its no secret, that players tend to improve their play, or at least try harder on contract years. I understand that its nice to have a job security, and to have long 15 year NBA career, but how many players getting big bucks to sit on the bench. IMAO, this is actually what killing many teams.
Alex V, Toronto
A: What’s killing many teams is bad management, bad scouting, bad negotiating, bad coaching, bad players and bad luck.
Now, while there is no doubt the league is littered with players on bad, long-term contract, I’m not exactly who it is you think is at fault. I cannot imagine you think it’s the players’ fault for taking contract they’re being offered, do you?
The owners are simply trying to save themselves from themselves and the men they hire to put teams together and to take back things they collectively bargained in past years.
Would the league be better with shorter term, not-fully-guaranteed contracts? Probably yes. But unless the owners are prepared to give something rather than take, take, take then I don’t blame the players for staying out.
We are way down on the mail quotient, folks.
Hate to put the pressure on you but …
It gets lonely not having fun stuff to read.
Okay, I’m sure you’ve all read about the women and the win over Jamaica last night that – at worst – gets them into the final London Olympics qualification thing next summer, right?
Well, if you didn’t, you can go here and then you can go here and get a true first-hand accounting of it from Kim Smith’s little blog.
Day off for the ladies, they get the surprisingly unbeaten Argentines in Friday night’s semifinal with Cuba and Brazil in the other.
All along, I figured this one would come down to Canada-Brazil for the one automatic berth and I’m sticking with that right now.
But regardless of what happens on the weekend, the women will have next summer to look forward to and that’s a rather big accomplishment.
You should pay attention to this team and this program. Really.
Okay, after the Niagara morning there’s a big high-level confab back at the Mother Ship to see if we can’t find ways to jazz this little piece of the interweb up a bit, or at least put in some changes to make it more fun.
Stay tuned, almost time for some alterations, methinks.