Archive for October, 2010

Too Bad, So Sad

October 30, 2010

The Wasilla Whackjob won’t be coming here after all.  No doubt, someone else offered her more cash to inappropriately display her special needs son, aka her baby prop, to her mouth-breathing worshippers. 

Please don’t forget to exercise that most precious and important of rights and VOTE on Tuesday.

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Snowbird Snooki

October 29, 2010

Oh, swell.  Now she’s coming to NJ.  First, we get Glenn Beck in an amusement park, now Half-Governor Palin on Halloween.

The jokes just write themselves, don’t they?

Giants 41, Cowboys 35

October 26, 2010

I’m starting to think we might have something going on here.  I did not like the Giants’ chances last night and they wound up getting that most valuable of NFL victories — a division road win.  Fourth straight win for Big Blue as they head into their bye week with a 5-2 record (1-0 in division, 4-0 in conference).

After a very shaky start (two INTs in first two possessions), they dominated the under-achieving Cowboys and may have ended their season.   In a little less than 14 minutes bridging the second and third quarters, the Giants outscored the Cowboys 31-0 and knocked Romo out of the game.

It’s still early, but what they’ve proven so far is , at their best, they can beat any team in the league and sometimes in dominating fashion.   Think about it:  they had five turnovers and allowed a 93-yard punt return TD and still won the game handily…on the road.  Here’s why: veteran offensive line, two good backs, championship QB, outstanding young receivers, great pass rush, improving linebacker group, good cover corners and three good safeties.  A lot of really good signs.

Although they appear to have cleaned up the undisciplined penalty issues from earlier this year, there is still a singular, and potentially devastating, problem:  at times, they are very sloppy and careless with the football.  The backs fumble, the QB forces some bad throws, the receivers let too many balls tip off their hands.  Believe me, careless turnovers will break your team eventually; clean that up and we will have something going on.

Post-bye, we travel to Seattle against an improved team in very tough place to win.

American Patriot

October 24, 2010

Lt. Col. John F. Bird, USAF Retired, 87, passed away peacefully this week in his adopted home state of Florida with two of his children, my cousins, at his bedside.

Lt. Col. Bird was my uncle and he will be missed.

In a time when every idiot with a keyboard, a microphone or a Congressional office loudly declares their “patriotism,” my uncle was a man of few words who walked the walk in a 29-year career of service, sacrifice and true heroism in ways most of us cannot imagine.

His remarkable life and career spanned three wars in which he flew as an Air Force pilot — WWI, Korea and Vietnam — and I’d tell you about battles and medals and such, but I wouldn’t know because, similar to my father and brother who served in wars, he never really talked about it.  It was his job and he did it with a quiet sense of pride and dignity that is both rare and admirable.

But, of course, he was much more than an Air Force pilot:  a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother-in-law, an uncle.  A commanding presence to be sure, but a man of great humility and a wonderful sense of humor.  As all military families do, they made great sacrifices.  My late, unique Aunt Joan who  loved and led her family in his absence and my cousins who moved from base to base so frequently I can’t even recall all the places they lived.

So, condolences to his family and a final, proud salute to Lt. Col. John Bird. 

R.I.P., sir.

ALCS Game 5 – Yanks 7, Rangers 2

October 20, 2010

In retrospect, predictable.  Ace pitcher and experienced, proud, veteran team — defending World Champs — refusing to go down easily and let the upstarts take them out in their house.

CC didn’t have much; he allowed 11 hits in six innings, but he battled them with 7 Ks and held them to 1-9 with RISP.  Cano and Granderson continue to be seemingly the only Yanks hitting well, although Posada, Berkman and Swisher also contributed today.  Two strong innings in relief from Wood, Mo for the save and back to Texas we go.

I still don’t like our chances Friday night.  The place will be nuts as the Rangers try to win their first-ever pennant, and make no mistake, this is a good team playing very well right now.  (Texas, Seattle and Washington are the only franchises never to have been in the World Series, unless you count the NL version of the Brewers who made it as an AL team back in 1982.)

But you never know.   The fat lady may be clearing her throat…but she ain’t singing  just yet.

ALCS Game 4 – Rangers 10, Yanks 3

October 20, 2010

The “You Know Your Season’s Over” Moment:  Bottom of the fifth, two on, no one out, middle of the order up, Yanks ready to extend their one-run lead.  Tex hits a grounder to third, blows up his hammy on the way to first, A-Rod then hits a DP grounder, Yanks never challenge again.

The “Who Knew At The Time?” Moment:  One out in the sixth, Cruz tags up on a deep fly to center.  With first base now open, Yanks decide (correctly) to walk Murphy intentionally to get to Molina who hits the first pitch for a three-run HR.  Game. Set. Match.

Remember what I said in playoff preview about heroes and legends being made in October?  Exhibit A: Cliff Lee.  Exhibit B: Josh Hamilton.

Rangers lead series 3-1.

ALCS Game 3 – Rangers 8, Yanks 0

October 19, 2010

Rangers win their second straight and regain home field, behind a dominating game by Cliff Lee, to take 2-1 series lead.  Andy Pettitte gave the Yanks what they needed — a solid effort from a starter — with only two runs allowed in seven strong innings, but it wasn’t enough.

Yeah, Robertson blew up the game in the ninth, but the Yankee bullpen had 10 consecutive scoreless innings in this series and you can’t really complain when you only get two hits and have 13 Ks over the first eight.   Lee shut them down, you tip your cap and move on.

The Rangers needed this one more: if their ace loses and they go down 2-1, they might never get back to Texas.  Now, we have a series and the Yanks need to respond, especially with the bats.  The sticks need to wake up, no doubt about it.

I know everyone’s focused on, and worried about, AJ Burnett and I get that.  Here’s my question:  is anyone worried about Tommy Hunter?  Anyone think he’s shutting down the Bombers tomorrow night?  If he does, then it’s time to worry.  But not tonight, and not yet.

Giants 28, Lions 20

October 17, 2010

We’ll take that, thank you very much, and move on to Dallas next week.  A mostly routine home win over the improved, but still not very good, Lions.  The Giants ran the ball well — over 100 yards for Bradshaw and two TDs for Jacobs — and threw it efficiently enough (two TD passes for Eli).   They were fairly consistent in scoring a TD in every quarter and played their cleanest game of the year with only two penalties and no offensive turnovers.

The only negatives were three bad plays that helped the Lions get 17 of their points.  Dodge dropped the snap on the first punt (dropped it twice, actually) and gave Detroit a short field for their first TD;  Rolle took a terrible sideline angle on Calvin Johnson resulting in an 87-yard TD pass; and they gave up a long kickoff return after their final TD which the Lions turned into a FG.

Good news?  We’re 4-2, we’ve won three straight, we’re 3-1 at home and 3-0 in the NFC.  I’ll keep saying it: the NFC East games will tell the tale.  Six of the last 10 games remaining and 3 of the last 4 home games are division contests.

ALCS Game 2 – Rangers 7, Yanks 2

October 16, 2010

No comeback this time.  The Rangers got a game they absolutely had to have and tied the series at 1-1.  The Yanks lose for the first time this postseason and the Rangers break a 10-game playoff losing streak against the Pinstripers, going back to 1996.

Texas made all the plays, made all the pitches and got all the big hits today.  The Yanks made the first mistake — a brain freeze throw to second by Posada that allowed Andrus to steal home in the first inning — and never got a clutch hit all night.  They had seven hits and seven walks, but left two runners on in the second, third, sixth seventh and ninth innings.

The real issue, of course, is that you cannot overcome bad starting pitching night after night.  The key stat through two games:

  • NY starters:  8 innings, 16 hits,  12 runs
  • NY relievers:  9 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs

Now it’s back to New York for three games starting Monday night. 

Tomorrow?  Let’s go Big Blue, Giants-Lions at 1 pm.

ALCS Game 1 – Yanks 6, Rangers 5

October 16, 2010

Nolan Ryan’s face really says it all, doesn’t it?  Like a kick in the groin.  Obviously, I was wrong in my earlier post about the last three outs of a playoff game; I meant to say the eighth inning.  The Rangers sorry bullpen couldn’t even get this game to their closer.

As always, baseball is made up of seemingly tiny yet key moments:

  1. First Inning, CC has nothing, bases loaded, tough right-hand hitter Cantu up ready to blow the game open and the first pitch is over Posada’s head.  Knucklehead Nelson Cruz, last seen styling a triple into a double in Game 5 vs. Tampa, tries to score from third and is out on a great play by Posada/CC…inning over.  You’d think Cruz would know that the backstop in his own park is a brick wall and the ball will come flying back to the catcher.  BTW, for all the bitching about umps, great call at home plate, ump was in perfect position and Cruz appeared safe, but replays showed him clearly out.
  2. Third Inning, Rangers have a runner at third, less than two outs, ground ball to A-Rod, he gets in front of it, knocks it down, throws guy out, no run scores.
  3. Eighth Inning, with the bases loaded, A-Rod hits a rocket to third, Michael Young does an ole, ball gets by him, two runs score.
  4. Eighth Inning, Kinsler walks on four pitches and gets picked off by Kerry Wood.  Do that in a high school game and you’ll be running laps for hours.

In baseball, the little things add up.  Yanks lead series, 1-0.