(subject was an actual quote by your truly)
Whew...I just don't get around these parts much anymore. And thanks to a few text messages from TLBR enthusiasts, I've succombed to peer pressure.
So let's discuss a few topics that have piling up on my internal pasteboard.
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Wow. Watching the Patriots make the comeback of all comebacks. For them to play as poorly as they did. For them to rack up as many penalty yards as they did - some deserved, some not. For Tom Brady to have his worst statistical game of the season. For all that to happen in one 60:00 game, and still orchestrate the come-from-behind win and the big plays at the biggest moments...
It's safe to say that the Pats have smooth sailing the rest of the way. And, oh yeah, they just clinched the AFC East. And probably home-field advantage. Playoffs at the Razor the whole way.
Onto the other topic that surrounded the Pats the last week or so: running-it-up-gate.
Background: the Pats were up big in the 4th, and kept going for it on 4th down, and kept scoring touchdowns.
National pundits - and idiots galore - decried Bill Belichick for being a bully. He runs up the score to prove a point. He wants to stick it to the man. And playing the role of the man in this performance is Roger Goodell, the NFL, Eric Mangini and, well, anyone not associated with the NEP.
I say horsefeathers.
Running up the score is not something that should be associated with professional sports. These folks are paid. They're professional. It's their job. If one team gets killed on the scoreboard, it's because they aren't good at their job that particular day. If it's a pattern, then it means they're not very good at their job, in general.
One of the Redskins defensive ends - Phillip Daniels - thought the act of trying to put points on the board (BTW, the central goal of all offenses in sports that keep score) was classless.
Daniels said: "You've already got a giant lead and you still want to go for it on fourth down? To me, that's running up the score, no matter how you look at it."
Ok, I'll translate: "We sucked that day. And by that point, we'd given up. That touchdown made us look bad and really made it look like we had quit."
If you don't like getting scored on, then play defense and stop it. If you think that these "unwritten rules" are sacred, then write them down.
And, by nature, you can't compare football to other sports in terms of actions/reactions in the case of blowouts.
In basketball, you can put in the second, third, or even fourth stringers. You can opt not to run razzle-dazzle plays like alley-oops. At the end of the game, you can take a shot-clock violation. You can play four corners. You can do that. But trust me, on the other side of the ball, that sort of thing pours rubbing alcohol on the series of papercuts that is a blowout loss.
In baseball, you can opt not to take extra bases on basehits, steal bases, bunt, or tag up. You can also empty the bench.
In hockey, I dunno. Who cares? It's hockey.
But in football, it's a contact sport. If you go half-speed and get hit by someone not-going-half-speed, congratulations...you'll be eating soup through a straw for a few months. Football players need to get after it. And, with the limited amount of playing time for reserves in the sport, if you get your chance, you need to shine.
Case and point, Matt Cassel, Patriots backup quarterback. He was inserted into the NEP lineup in a blowout against Miami. He sucked, the Dolphins scored twice, and he got pulled. His head coach was pissed. So next time, trust me, Cassel was not going to screw up a second time. Ask Drew Bledsoe, Rohan Davey and Michael Bishop about that.
The win today that puts the New England Patriots at 9-0 ought to kick the "'72 Dolphins Watch" into full gear. The worst part about that?
The '72 Dolphins on television. F Mercury Morris, Larry Csonka, Don Shula, et al.
THE BOSTON RED SOX
When the Sox won the World Series in 2004, I cried. I ran around. I called all my friends and told them I loved them. I cried again. I put a few bucks on "24" at the roulette table. I drank a few celebratory beers. I bought the World Series locker room t-shirt in New York City (not at the Yankees Store, which profanely asked me to leave...). I watched every single Sox recap show. I bought every DVD. Have every magazine in mint condition, sealed up. I got the playoff highlights emailed to me in mp3 format. I memorized the calls of the ALCS and World Series final plays, even tried to get Castig's intonation down. I still weep watching "Faith Rewarded," or the "groundball, stabbed by Foulke, he underhands it...and the Red Sox are the World Champions..." Throughout that playoff run, I tried to get my hands on every playoff ticket I could. I even mulled over flying to St. Louis, just to be there.
When the Sox won the World Series in 2007, I thought to myself "wow." I sent a few texts. And then I set my sleep timer for 15 minutes and woke up the next day really concerned about making sure I got the basketball programs printed.
It's different. It has to be.
Different isn't bad.
I never saw the field goal go through the uprights when the Pats beat the Rams for that first Super Bowl. I was a mess. I was crying, sobbing, shitfaced, and it was surreal. The next two Super Bowl wins were EPMD, baby: strictly business.
As I'm typing, I was flipping through the channels and landed on Home Shopping Network. Mike Lowell is on there. He's helping to hawk a Red Sox jersey, signed by all 25 members of the 2007 Red Sox World Series team. The price? $4299.95, plus $22.95 shipping and handling.
Are you shampooing kidding me?
Minutes after the final out - and please, please, please, please...no one cares who has the ball from the final out...seriously, no one - there were commercials for the $130 engraved commemorative bat.
And the friggin' Dropkick Murphys.
And the parade.
And the dancing.
Stop. Act like you've been there. Because I remember when you were and I remember when you did. In fact, I'll never forget it. And 2007 is close to becoming forgettable.
I never liked the Celtics like all my friends did growing up. I thought Larry Bird was good. I like DJ. Had no opinion of the Chief, Ainge, et al.
I was a Laker fan. Loved James Worthy - even owned New Balance Worthy Express kicks. The ugliest purple and gold kicks you could ever imagine, but I loved 'em. Loved Michael Cooper - long socks, shot the three, locked up dudes on defense. Loved Magic, Kareem, Rambis. All of them.
But with the new Celtics - Ray Allen (one of my favorite college players of all time), Paul Pierce (no opinion), and Kevin Garnett. Garnett is one of my favorite players in the NBA, which quite frankly isn't a great award to win b/c I never really cared about the NBA.
Garnett is one of "those" players that make you compelled to watch all 48 minutes. And a 22 point/20 rebound/Five assist debut makes me compelling to come back.
The History Channel just gave an hour to a show profiling 9-11 conspiracists.
I won't give it 15 more words. What the shampoo? Go back under your parents' kitchen sink, douchebags.
"THIS THING OF OURS..."
Sucks, to put it mildly.
It's run its course. Time to either get what Asante Samuel's tattoo says, or get gone. Dec. 1 is the first step of option 1. Jan. 2 will yield further answers. April will be final re-evaluation.
This thing of ours started off as a true labour of love. Since then, the animal has mutated. The underlying principles are not the key elements, but with the increased work load and responsibilities and the less-than-increasing compensation, it's no longer an option. Oh well. One last run.
Until then, it's stay the course.
Just a sad, terrible tragedy. My thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.
To be so young, so talented, and on the verge of really breaking through... The U.S. is experiencing a true distance running renaissance. Shay was to be a big part of that.
Ok, that's about it for now.