Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Last Night Counted Right?

Anyone who has seen a lot of sporting events with me would know that I have a tendency to get antsy during blowouts. Don't get me wrong, they're fun. And I'd rather be on the long side of one than the short one, but whenever I see the Mets pile 11 or 12 runs on some unsuspecting team I can't help but wish they were saving some for the next day. Particularly considering that 2006 is really the only year I've ever seen the Mets have an offense that seemed somewhat relentless.

When it happens in football the scoring doesn't seem quite as effortless and I don't get quite so nervous that the offense is being wasted, though as New York's big blowout in Seattle last season proves, the effectiveness of an offense from one week to the next can really be meaningless. But it was a special breed of uninteresting meaningless when the Giants absolutely walloped the Chicago Bears last night to the tune of 41-13 at New Meadowlands Stadium. Sure it was fun, and I never mind seeing the Giants reach the end zone, but it was also, you know, the preseason. And wins in the preseason and a quarter will give you 25 whole cents.

As the Giants ran up the score, I watched with a pretty mild strain of apathy, which certainly wasn't helped by the other fact that makes the preseason unbearable, you guessed it, injuries. And boy did the Giants get a fun one last night. The secondary is going to have to do some reshuffling after lynchpin cornerback Terrell Thomas tore his ACL last night in a flukish collision with Jason Pierre-Paul with all of 22 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Giants season isn't over, but Thomas' injury far outweighs the specter of victory, which was noted by one columnist who pointed out that Chicago left embarrassed, but they also left healthy. I would have taken that gladly. Such is the nature of the curiosity that is preseason football, an utterly meaningless affair that we still watch with full dedication because we are just so damn football deprived. In some senses I feel like an addict.

I imagine the side effects of actual addiction are worse than the disappointment of a frontline player being lost for the season, but it still makes you wonder if preseason is a sensible product to subject your better players to given the physical grind of the NFL. It almost seems as though keeping starters out in general, such as San Diego used to do with LaDainian Tomlinson, might be the wisest idea. That, however, is somewhat foolhardy. Freak plays like the one that sidelined Thomas could happen in any game at any time, which makes cherry picking games in hopes of avoiding them a tricky and borderline ridiculous process.

Still, things could be worse. The entire world could know that you almost missed your at-bat because you had to run to the toilet. Really, if you're reading the game story of a baseball game, and the word "bathroom" is in the headline, it must be the Mets in August.

In any event, when the dog days of August are pounding down on you, it's important to remind yourself that the season won't be over because of one injury. Losing Terrell Thomas is a devastating blow to be sure, but the Giants have made a habit of losing impact players before the regular season.

In 2007 the significantly now less venerated Will Demps was lost for the season before it started, and New York won the Super Bowl. In 2008, I assumed the hopes of a repeat were done when Osi Umenyiora was lost for the year, and while the Giants didn't win it all again, they went 12-4 and took the NFC's top seed, spending much of the season as world beaters. Last season New York still won 10 games despite a significantly battered secondary that spent most of the season without Corey Webster and Aaron Ross.

Essentially, what I'm convincing myself of, is that the season is far from over. In fact it hasn't even begun. And I'm still excited and optimistic for Big Blue's 2011 campaign.

Now if Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks and Justin Tuck all go down next week in New England, maybe I'll change my tune. But it hasn't happened yet. I'm still holding on.

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