Thursday, August 26, 2010

Go West, Young Man. Again.

Some of you might have noticed that my updates have been somewhat sparse lately, and I will plead your forgiveness by offering a few reasons why. You see, the month of August 2010 has been particularly busy for me, with work, weddings and travel galore. Also, the downtrodden Mets have left me with little to be excited about in sports beyond the start of Southampton's League One season and the run up to the Aussie Rules Football Finals, which Geelong should figure to impact rather heavily.

But y'all cats aren't necessarily interested in all that, though perhaps the coming start of Northwestern's college football season might excite you. Or maybe not. I'm sure my four readers would feign interest while I rambled about the Cats' prospects at a surprise Big Ten title or my Geelong Cats' prospects of a third premiership in four years, but I wouldn't want to make hypocrites out of all of you.

In any event, I will come clean and tell you all why this month has been so busy, and essentially, I will revolve it around my zany trip to San Diego to see the annual Comic-Con, and a trip I made two weeks ago to see my friends Dave and Caitlin tie the knot in Portland, Oregon. This would be the same Dave with whom I saw that magic moment for Ken Griffey Jr. last June. In between all of those events I've been juggling a typical work schedule, the precipitous downfall of my Mets, the impending start of the season for my Giants, the fact that Ilya Kovalchuk somehow still isn't under a contract that passes muster and my brother's impending nuptials this Sunday.

See how I slipped that in there? Eh? Eh?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Shot Heard Round The World

As a 16-year-old nerd in high school I once took a trek to the NAQT National Quiz Bowl Championships with my high school team. We were pretty good that year, winning the first of two state championships and every regional tournament we participated in with the exception of one in Princeton, which we lost to the eventual National Champions by half the value of one question.

I bring this up because the NAQT National Quiz Bowl Championships in 2002 were in Rosemont, Illinois, a town right outside of Chicago that has little import beyond its proximity to O'Hare Airport, and while my biggest memory from that was probably a Yankees-White Sox game at new Comiskey during which one of my clueless teammates continually clamored for Jason Giambi to "hit the moneyshot", it was almost decidedly more impactful on me because while waiting in O'Hare for my flight home, I purchased a book called "The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant!" -- a personalized retelling of the the famous 1951 National League Pennant Race as told by Bobby Thomson, the man who brought the thrilling chase to an end with his momentous home run off Ralph Branca.

That I own this book was the first thing that came to mind yesterday afternoon when I heard that Bobby Thomson had passed away at the age of 86. As I always say when someone passes away at that age, it's hard to be too upset when a man or woman dies in their mid-80s. After all, they had a pretty good run, they beat the odds, and in the case of Thomson, they experienced what must be one of the most incredible moments anyone can, a walk-off home run in the postseason to win a pennant and devastate your historic rival after closing an almost absurd 13 1/2-game gap in the standings from the summer. Thomson's life was a different breed than the rest of us, not just because he was a good baseball player, but because he created the signature moment for an entire sport in what was a solid but otherwise unremarkable career.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's a Great Time For All My Teams

When I perused my twitter feed this morning an interesting thought came to mind when I saw this tweet from @TheHappyRecap noting that of the four New York sports teams he follows, the one that had a starting wide receiver accidentally shoot himself in the leg while wearing sweatpants was probably the least embarrassing. Because I went to sleep fairly early last night, it was after this that I saw that Francisco Rodriguez had gotten himself arrested last night after apparently taking a swipe at his father-in-law at Citi Field following the Mets 6-2 loss to Colorado.

Man, I love this team.

With the Mets set to conclude their three-game set with the Rockies this afternoon, reports are coming out that K-Rod is still being held in police custody at Citi Field, and while I'm sure, in the long run, this incident will start to fade from memory, it brings up an interesting question of which team I follow, or perhaps in a larger context, which team in general, has had the most embarrassing history. The Mets are making themselves strong contenders with this latest dust-up piled on top of a litany of others -- The Wilpon-Madoff Connection, The Adam Rubin Incident, The Midnight Massacre of Willie Randolph, The Mo-Licious, Mark Corey being unable to handle his Pot, the Vince Coleman Firecracker Affair, that whole massive collapse in consecutive seasons thing, just to name a few -- but why stop there when I have plenty of other reasons to be embarrassed by the teams I dedicate so much of my time to?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Perhaps Elena Kagan Can Rule Fred Wilpon Unconstitutional

Some of you might have heard that the high court got a little bit of a makeover this week when Elena Kagan was confirmed and sworn in as the 112th Justice in the history of the United States Supreme Court. No one really knows just what kind of judge Kagan will wind up being -- her scant track record was probably one of the reasons the Obama administration thought she was a fit choice for easy confirmation and eventually sitting on the bench -- but I already like her. No this is not just because she noted when asked about the underwear bomber that, like most Jews, she was probably at a Chinese restaurant at the time.

Nuh-uh. I like Elena Kagan because, as I've mentioned before, we finally have someone to balance out Sonia Sotomayor and bring some Mets fandom to the highest court in all the land. In general, it's just nice to know that people have succeeded to great heights when they've suffered just like you have. I wonder if she, too, has cringed at nearly every back-breaking loss the Amazins have suffered this season, or been perturbed by the front office's inaction at the trade deadline that has rendered the team all but irrelevant this season.

And if she has, I have one request. Use your power.

Use your power to lean on the Supreme Court to rule Fred Wilpon's ownership of the Mets unconstitutional somehow. Please. I'm no legal scholar, but I'm sure there's a way to get the team back into the arms of either Nelson Doubleday or the Payson Family. Better yet, tell Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver to pool some resources and rescue the franchise, because it just might be in dire straights.

Need evidence? Here you go.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh The Fates, Ye Be Cruel

Ok, let's be honest here. No one actually wants a championship ring so they can wear it. They're gaudy, heavy clunky things that attract way more attention than most people are comfortable with in their private lives and not always the good kind.

But they're also really, really cool to look at. Duh.

Who wouldn't want a championship ring of some sort, really? They're fun to show off and a sense of great pride if acquired through an actual accomplishment even if it spends all of its time in your safety deposit box. Of course some people just want them because of their value and will acquire them through whatever means they wish, which is surprisingly easy if you've got a big bank account.

Finding rings in eBay auctions (some more bizarre than others) isn't all that unusual, and seeing them randomly wind up in pawn shops isn't so rare either. Of course, sometimes the means aren't all that legitimate.

So I hear the questions. "Dave, why are you talking about this? You're never going to get a championship ring for yourself. You're just a wee wannabe sportswriter." True, this statement may be, but working for a team professionally has been a thought in the back of my mind from time to time, and regardless, having a championship ring of any sort would be pretty sweet, even if I had to keep it locked up at all times. A burden, sure, but one I'd love to have even if it were just for bragging rights, but either way, it's never been a prospect I've thought I'd have a real shot at or seriously entertained.

And then I came across this story.