According to my wife, I'm now officially a man and if that wasn't enough of a wake up call then this revelation opened my eyes like a shot of espresso: It's all because of her. I'll revisit this in a bit, but first let's talk sports.
If hockey can make us sit through four rounds of seven game series' why can't baseball give us three? This five game nonsense does the league no justice when nostalgic teams like the Yankees, Cubs and Phillies may be out of the playoffs in just three games. After following their teams for 162 games, fans quite frankly deserve more. Attending a playoff game or being told by your dad that you can stay up late this one time so you can sit next to him and watch as your team plays on baseball's biggest stage is a memory that can last a lifetime. Why deprive fans of all ages these opportunities to share a special moment with family, friends or that drunk guy at the end of the bar who kept sending you shots every time the Indians crossed home plate Thursday…ugh?
It's the playoffs so no one should be surprised that A-Rod went 0-4 tonight with three strikeouts in a 2-1 loss to the Indians. He can win all the regular season MVP's he wants to but there's only one Mr. October and he's not him.
Props to Joba Chamberlain for his post game comments about the bug situation in Cleveland. He shouldered the responsibility and did not allow the bugs to be a crutch for him to lean on after giving up the game tying run to the Indians in the bottom of the eighth.
Speaking of the MLB Playoffs, all four series have teams leading two games to none, but the drama is still there. From the Indians taking the Yankees' best shot and still winning in the bottom of the 11th to Manny's walk-off home run in the ninth, if Friday night's games are any indication fans should be in store for a lot more excitement and down-the-stretch heroics this weekend.
Speaking of the MLB Playoffs II, the best commercial being aired right now is of the Holiday Inn guys sitting together in the hotel room singing REO Speedwagon's "Take it on the Run."
One last thing about baseball and I promise I'm then moving on. Can someone explain to me the science behind the Pitch Tracker that TBS and ESPN use to mark pitches? They throw this graphic up onto the screen every time there's a close pitch and all that happens is a red dot appears either in the strike zone box or outside of it. Umm…okay. Great. How do we know the accuracy of this thing? I was watching closely all night when it was used and I'm telling you where the red dot appeared did not always look like where the pitch was. Maybe I'm nitpicking here, but I'd rather see a blue line tracing the entire path of the ball like in a video game so I can truly decide for myself whether the pitch was a strike or not.
What a great weekend of college football we have in store. I think every game across the country is being televised in some form or another except the Arizona versus Oregon State game. Nice work Commissioner Hansen. Once again you've outdone yourself in standing behind a conference policy that frowns upon two Pac-10 games being televised at the same time. As our Editor-in-Chief Brad Allis so duly pointed out in his Tidbits Column this week, while your intentions to not have conference teams go head-to-head in viewer ship seems okay on paper it's an absolutely ridiculous real world policy that alienates fan bases and prohibits schools from maximizing television revenue. Name me one other BCS conference that has worse officiating, a worse television contract and worse bowl game alliances, and I'll show you some oceanfront property in Arizona.
Sorry, I think I pulled a Frank the Tank and blacked out for a second. What happened? What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, there are some great college football games going on this weekend.
There are six games on Saturday that pit ranked teams against one another and that doesn't even include the game played last night which featured #8 Kentucky against #11 South Carolina. It also doesn't include the Georgia/Tennessee, Wisconsin/Illinois or Kansas/Kansas State games, which should be great ones to watch. Granted, with five of the Top 10 teams losing last weekend some of the shine is gone from contests such as Oklahoma/Texas and LSU/Florida but there's no denying that these rivalry games won't be as heated and as exciting as ever to watch. While they're being televised, many Arizona fans will be glued to their radios to catch the play-by-play of the Arizona/Oregon State game. There's nothing like lighting up the barbeque and knocking back beers with your buddies as you all huddle around a transistor radio in someone's backyard. Okay, I'm being sarcastic but seriously, this is not baseball. "It's Division I football! It's the Pac-10! It ain't intramurals!"
While on the subject of college football, I love the ongoing debate between NFL fans and college football fans. While I'm a fan of both, I definitely lean toward the college game. Most fans I've found also lean one way or the other and some, at times, are adamant in favoring one and opposing the other. For these fans, the biggest argument from NFL backers is their brand of football is better because any team can win on any given Sunday. While that remains true, it appears that the college game is moving more and more in that direction as well. Last season saw tons of upsets of the nation's elite teams and things this season have picked up right where they left off. Last week's collection of upsets was just an incredible turn of events and this week we've already seen South Carolina put a hurt on Kentucky and Louisville get beat by Utah on their home turf.
After adamantly denying it for years, track and field star Marion Jones has testified that she's been lying about her alleged steroid use the entire time. People are already beginning to draw parallels between Jones and baseball slugger Barry Bonds, hinting that a day will come when Bonds must tell the truth over his own alleged performance enhancement drug use. The key difference between the two though, and the argument that Bonds will always have to hang his hat on is that the drugs he's been accused of using were not banned by baseball at the time he may, or may not have been using them. Unfortunately for Jones, the Olympics have had a longstanding performance enhancing drugs and doping policy which will make it much easier for them to strip her of her Olympic medals if they decide to pursue that course of action.
Remember my "Art of Shaving" sales pitch from a few weeks ago. I have a new slogan for them that they should go to market with. I'm calling it the, "Art of the Most Painstakingly, Miserable Shave You Could Possibly Imagine for $40." Seriously, this stuff makes Gillette look like cocoa butter. From the day I started using their products, my face was slowly being massacred. Thankfully, after two weeks of bad shaves and muttering things like, "this can't be right," I righted the ship and went back to the greatest men's facial product line on the face of the earth – no pun intended – Clarins.
Props to UCLA for inking Ben Howland to a new seven-year contract. As much as I love to hate the Bruins the truth is that Pac-10 basketball is just not Pac-10 basketball when the Bruins are bad. The same can also be said for Arizona. Arizona as a nationally ranked team is much better for the conference then one that is unranked so here's to the Wildcats getting it together on the defensive end and having a strong season.
Like I said two weeks ago, now that I'm watching television in HD I'm really digging NASCAR. Of all sports, and I sincerely hate to admit this, nothing comes in crisper or clearer in HD than NASCAR. This weekend the fellas are at Taladega and in honor of them, I'll now explain why, according to my wife, I'm officially a man. You see, once we turned in the Mercedes, a day that in and of itself practically stripped me of my manliness, I inherited the Mini Cooper that my wife's been driving for the past two years. I know, shoot me. But it was either the Mini or the Prius and I could list 1,000 reasons why I made the decision not to drive the Prius. Anyway, the Mini is a manual transmission and I've never driven stick before. So, now that I do, my wife is claiming sole responsibility for the recent issuance of my Man Card.
In a nutshell, that's my life right about now. Driving a Mini, writing stories into the wee hours of the morning, and listening to Arizona football on the radio. As bad as it sounds, it's actually pretty great and I wouldn't trade any of it for the world, especially my new Man Card.
Bear Down, Arizona! Beat the Beavers!