Slant Pattern Odds and Ends

I don't write about baseball much. I don't watch baseball much, except for the Indians. But I have caught Rays fever. I love a good worst-to-first story anyway, but watching David Price in Game 7 of the ALCS sealed it for me.

It's probably because this Rays team keeps leaving indicators that have me waxing nostalgic for the Tribe of the '90s.

Price was only drafted last year, and only joined the big club in mid-September. When he struck out J.D. Drew in the eighth inning and the bases loaded, it reminded me of an ending-inning strike three pitch Chad Ogea threw in the 1997 ALCS to get out of a jam. On that telecast, when strike three was called, the announcers said nothing, and allowed the stadium ambience to tell the story. With Price on Sunday, the announcer simply yelled, "Strike three!" and let the stadium ambience tell the story.

Yes, Chad Ogea. You probably don't remember him. He and Jaret Wright were the two Tribe pitchers to carry the team into the postseason as rookies. I hope Price does not suffer the same long-term career fate of either of them.

After a week with really no good college football games (there was Missouri at Texas, but I think we all kind of knew Texas would win big), there's nearly too many to name this Saturday. You have Oklahoma State at Texas (Texas's biggest home challenge to date), Georgia at LSU, and Michigan State at Michigan (okay, but I'm a Big Ten guy so this one is always a staple), all at 3:30.

In prime time, again, three to choose from: Alabama at Tennessee (okay, Tennessee sucks, but see my comment for Michigan/Michigan State and apply it here for SEC fans), Notre Dame at Washington (I've eaten a lot of crow defending Tyrone Willingham and impugning Charlie Weis, and with that analysis going up in flames, please, Tyrone, find a way to pull the upset; save me some face and save your job, if it even can be saved at this point), and Penn State at Ohio State, which seems very likely to be the de facto Big Ten Championship Game. Your 10:15 nightcap will feature USC going on the road to face a non-terrible team, Arizona. We have seen USC lose focus in these games before.

As a final treat, ESPN wisely scheduled a Sunday night game this week. Sunday Night Football is taking a week off as a bow in the direction of the World Series, but ESPN knows there is a market that will take football over baseball every time. It's not the greatest game, UCF at 22nd-ranked Tulsa, but UCF did play South Florida and Miami close.

For that matter (this is turning into a retread of my last column about what a great sports weekend it was, but oh well), there's more than the usual interesting games and story lines in he NFL, too. You have the Bucs at the Cowboys, Rams at Patriots (I defy you to figure out which suddenly resurgent team is more for real ... and who would have predicted at the beginning of the year you could use the word "resurgent" to describe the Patriots less than half the season in?), Chargers vs. Saints in London, and Cardinals at Panthers.

Yes, that's right, the Cardinals at the Panthers is actually a marquee matchup, and you heard it here first: the 2009 Arizona Cardinals will be the NFL's answer to the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays. Behind Kurt freakin' Warner, or all people. They will make it at least to the NFC Championship Game, and we will all be reminded ad nauseam of how Warner's wife bravely beat cancer. And that her salt-and-pepper hair will once again demonstrate how Warner eschewed the typical athlete's trophy wife and hence he is a god-damn beautiful, inspiring man. You will think it's 2000 all over again.

I won't be watching, though. I have committed to opening up a local chapter of the IUTMKWCJA (I Used to Make Kurt Warner Concussion Jokes Anonymous).

Comments and Conversation

October 23, 2008

Kurt Fan:

Dude, get your facts straight. Kurt’s wife didn’t have cancer - that was Farve’s wife. And her hair is blonde now!

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