Wednesday, June 09, 2004

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Time now for the weekly sports post. Semi-weekly, anyway- can't remember if I did one last week. First up, the Official NHL Team of the JBS, the Calgary Flames, came a cropper in their quest for Lord Stanley's Cup in a hard-fought (and not always wisely fought) series that matched them against a team which was very similar, both talent-and-hustle-wise, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, under ordinary circumstances, say if the Lightning had been up against the Red Wings (no offense, Annie) or Rockies, I would have rooted like hell for them...but I had already been swayed by the upstart, scrappy Flames. Besides, the Flames' jerseys are about 150% cooler than the 'Ning...I like the lightning bolt on them, but they really, really really should get rid of that mega-cheesy "Tampa Bay Lightning" in that mega cheesy font on their shirts. The bolt is classy and stylish, but the text just ruins it. Plus, oddly enough for someone that tends to root for a hockey team operating in Arizona, it just doesn't seem right to me to have one hockey team in Florida, let alone two. But that's OK. The 'Ning deserve the Cup, they just plain old out-scrapped and out-played my Flamb├ęs.

In baseball, my Sox are playing pretty darn well right now, despite their closer troubles (in the words of Don Fred Flintstone: "Billy Koch, you are dead to me now. Dead." It's that stupid-looking goatee he wears. If he shaved that thing off, he'd remember how to throw strikes. I know it.). MLB is beginning interleague play, a blatant grab for fan support which I supported at first...until I saw how they decided to do it. The schedule is now a monstrosity, unbelieveably unbalanced, because they don't let every team play every team, instead drawing up the schedule to have teams from this division playing teams from that division only, and not any others. This rotates on a something like three year basis. So like everything else MLB does, from the designated hitter on, it's done in a half-assed fashion. I know, I know, it's more important to have NL teams playing the bulk of thier schedule against NL teams, and the same for the AL, but because MLB thinks it has to have home-and-away series with the teams, plus certain sexy "rivalries" like the Chicago Cubs vs. the Chicago White Sox, Mets-Yankees, and so on, then what we have is a big blip in the middle of the summer, and divisional rivals playing two weeks' worth of series in May and not seeing each other again until September, and that's not right either. The schedule is a mess, and it bugs me. I think, as with a lot of things, I'm in the minority here, but frankly I wish they'd scrap interleague play altogether if they can't give us TRUE interleague play. Like the DH, which is offensive on a lot of levels but never more so than because one league has it and another one doesn't. Make both leagues use the DH, or drop it completely. I have spoken.

Football never really goes away, and this year has been no exception. My Falcons haven't made too much noise in the free agent market, so I haven't been following it as closely as I could or probably should. Kinda wish Atl would look into signing UK grad Tim Couch as Mike Vick's backup and let Ty Detmer (I shudder as I type t hat name) go back to working in a construction crew or whatever the hell he's been doing since his NFL career tanked. I think Kurt Warner is going to be a lot better than people think for the don't really want to throw Eli Manning to the wolves right away, and people just don't seem to understand that Warner's hand was injured. You can't throw a football, something which quarterbacks are asked to do quite often, with a hand injury. That will affect your playing time, stats, game composure, and a hundred other things, which has been pretty obvious over the last two years in St. Louis. Sure, he's been a head case a lot lately, and his wife is obnoxious, but most of that is frustration and perceived lack of support from his coaches, and that will make even the most even-tempered among us a bit cranky. Warner seems to be healthy, and has something to that makes him real dangerous in my book. Also, since we were discussing schedules in the last paragraph, have you ever noticed that whenever there's some sort of major player or coach move or shakeup, it never ever fails- the team to which the player or coach goes (if it's acrimonious, even better) will ALWAYS play the team they left that upcoming year? An example: Terrell Owens wants to leave San Francisco. He wants to go to Philadelphia, but his agent screws up in submitting his free agency papers, and the Niners gleefully trade him to the Baltimore Ravens, much to Owens' dismay. The league steps in, compensates the Ravens, and disallows the trade, allowing TO to go to Philadelphia as a free agent . The Ravens are pissed, but whaddaya do? A lot of rancor is exchanged between Philly, Owens, Baltimore, and San Fran. So when you look at the schedule for the upcoming NFL season, what do we see? Why, of course- Baltimore plays Philadelphia on Halloween. The only surprise is that is it isn't in Baltimore. There have been many, many other examples of this happening over the years. No, I'm not going to give you more instances, life is short. You'll have to take my word for it. Now, I'm not one that sees conspiracy everywhere he looks, cheese notwithstanding, but if I wanted to build the argument that professional sports (especially the NFL) are as scripted as pro wrestling, then that's one of the first points I'd make.

This has been the semi-weekly sports post. We now return you to your regularly scheduled comics, music, TV and movie blogging.

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