Monday, October 03, 2005

Sports Update

There has been a request for an explanation of the recent sports happenings.

Baseball

The Yankees and Red Sox made the playoffs; the Indians did not. The Indians suffered a late-season collapse reminiscent of, well, of the performance of just about every decent Indians team in the history of the universe.

I hate to be callous, but here are two pieces of knowledge that Indians fans NEED to have. One, by caring at all about any American League team, you are damning yourself to an eternal roasting on Boog Powell's barbecue spit, watching four-and-a-half hour, 11-9 games that feature pitchers you have never heard of, old fat guys hitting .240 swinging for the fences on every pitch, and no offensive substitutions of any kind. Two, when you have a thought that begins with "Maybe the Indians will..." and ends with anything other than "collapse down the stretch," you are having an acute hallucination. Seek medical attention.

All non-Yankees fans everywhere (translation - all humans not born in the Bronx who do not deserve to be beaten to death with a tire iron) are asking the same question - can anyone stop the Yankees?

The answer, for once, is "probably." These Yankees aren't that good. They've gotten some really good performances from young, inexperienced starting pitchers, and that simply never holds up in the postseason. You need real pitching, not "overachieving" pitching, to win the series. What you should really be asking is if anyone can stop the Cardinals from holding a World Series celebration in the ugliest sports venue in the non-Minnesota world. The answer to that is "probably not." The team with the best hitter and the best pitching staff usually wins the Series in five games or fewer. That's the Cards.

Football)

So, the Pats are 2-2 and got stomped by a San Diego team that hasn't looked all that good this season. Is the Belichek era finally drawing to a close? No, but this isn't the Pats' year. I see a 9-7 type year for them, with a return to glory in 2006.

The schedule makers showed their amazing understanding of the ebb and flow of the football tides by scheduling teams with a combined record of 2-10 in the two Week 4 prime-time games. These schedules were made before the season, but I know of no serious football fan who thought that Green Bay, Arizona or San Francisco would field a decent team this year. I'm not sure what the NFL was thinking here.

The Cards and Niners lived down to expectations last night, staging a contest that included six lost fumbles, tying it for sixth on the all-time list for most lost fumbles in a game. The teams played like there wasn't much on the line - which there wasn't, since neither team shall sniff the playoffs this season. There is a lot at stake in the Monday night game, though - the team that loses will retain sole possession of last place in its respective division, while the team that wins will merely be tied for last place. Feel the excitement!

Boxing

Roy Jones, Jr. lost to Antonio Tarver again, this time by a decisive and largely uneventful unanimous decision. Roy wants to fight Tarver a fourth time, because fighters can never internalize the fact that they aren't very good anymore. Roy Jones was once one of the greatest fighters of all time. Now he is a bum. The longer he fights, the greater the chance that he will be remembered as a bum instead of as one of the greatest fighters who ever lived. Time to retire, Roy.

Side note - there are only a few great fighters who retired when their skills began to tarnish, Rocky Marciano and Lennox Lewis. Neither is a consensus pick to be among the top five fighters of all time. As boxing fans, if we would really prefer to see the best fighters retire before they are old, pitiful and brain-injured, we shoud think about giving Rocky and Lennox a bit more historical credit. One retired undefeated, the other with no unavenged losses. They are the only two heavyweight champs ever to accomplish these feats. Pretty good. Yet there are MANY top-five lists that include neither fighter. So when boxing enthusiasts lament that the champ always hangs on too long, we should remember that it's partially our fault.

The only argument against either man is competition. In Marciano's case, it was partially Rocky's fault, since he didn't become champ until he was fairly old, and didn't defend his title very many times before retiring. But Lennox Lewis held the linear title for the better part of six years, and fought everybody worth fighting. He just happened to be around in an era where there weren't a lot of other great heavyweights. We should note in Lennox's favor, as well, that two guys who were considered to be potential champs were destroyed by Lewis and were never the same again (Michael Grant and "Foul Pole" Andrew Golota.) These guys are considered cream-puffs now but both were thought of as very good until they ran into Lewis.

BTW, anyone with Mike Tyson on their top-five list is simply wrong, and probably a Yankee fan.

4 comments:

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Erik Mann said...

great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA

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