Monday, September 24, 2007

The Wild Card and A Book Review

I must admit it would be delicious if the Yankees caught the Red Sox and won the division just because it would knock the Sox off the perch they've been looking down from all season, and because it would be a stunning turnaround considering the boys in pinstripes were down 14.5 games in July. Ouch. But the truth is, it doesn't much matter anymore because either way (most likely) both teams will make the playoffs and neither will have home field advantage in the first round. The chase has been intriguing, but imagine how intense it would be if there were no fall back position. Win the division or stay home. People would be hanging on every pitch. Back pages would feature screaming headlines every day. Manny Ramirez would play--well, maybe. If he felt like it. He is only getting paid $18 million. Anyway, the Wild Card has been good, and overall makes things more interesting, I think, but this is one case where, the added intensity of the old days would be nice.

Enough reminiscing, though. Here's a book review I wrote for Live link to the Fanatic home page at the bottom, so if you haven't yet bought a copy of the book, fire away.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Here's the text of a Q&A I did with for anyone who's suffering insomnia.

Also, a very happy birthday to reader No. 1. You know who you are, and let me be the first to tell you, you don't look a day over 49.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Though Experiment, Part II

I'm back. Went on vacation and just about stayed there. Last I recall we were in the middle of arranging a hypothetical sequel, i.e. The Next 10 Things All Sports Fans Should Blah, Blah, Blah...The first five (or third five depending on how you look at it) were World Cup Soccer, Heavyweight Title Fight in Vegas, Duke-Carolina at Cameron Indoor, Australia-New Zealand Rugby, and the Bassmaster Classic (for the reasoning behind those picks, scroll down). Here then are the next five.

6. The Rose Bowl. Great tradition and festivities and pageantry that stretches well beyond the game and makes this one more than just a sports event. I remember watching the parade from the time I was a kid. I would want to catch it on a year it's hosting the National Championship, though.

7. Canadians v. Maple Leafs. Two of the NHL's oldest and Canada's most beloved teams. Their proximity to each other and there games carry the undertone of cultural and linguistic tensions adds to the rivalry. Too bad you can't still go to Maple Leaf Gardens or the Forum for this one, but the new venues will do as long as the teams are wearing those that are as iconic as anything in sports.

8. Spring Training. I'd like to spend a week in the late winter driving from ball park to ball park to see a whole string of spring games. It's not so much the whole renewal of hope cliche, but the idea of watching guys whole never have cup of coffee in the bigs playing their guts out.

9. The British Open. As a golf guy this is a hard one for me to turn down. Seeing the game played on any of the classic courses would be great, but I'd really love to make it to St. Andrews, Turnberry, Muirfield or Carnoustie.

10. Midnight Madness at UK. College basketball is a religion and the University of Kentucky, sometimes to the point where they love it so much they just about suffocate it. Still, when the university was getting ready to announce the hiring of a new coach last spring, more the 15,000 people logged on to the UK basketball message board. That kind of intensity funneled into a fun, upbeat event like Midnight Madness would have to be a great time.

Well, that's it, although I could easily rattle of a bunch more.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One More for the Road

Another online review popped up today on Joy of Sox, so I decided to throw up a quick link before shipping out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thought Experiment

Okay, I'm going away for a week so I'll leave you with little theoretical exercise: If there was a sequel, what should the next 10 events be? Trust me, no such plans are currently in the works, but if...

Here are my first five. I'll roll out the next five after I return. Meanwhile, feel free to agree, disagree, or add your own thoughts by clicking on the comments section below.

1. World Cup Soccer. My one biggest regret from the first book was not getting soccer in the mix. I've watched a quite a bit of the last two Cup final rounds and I find it fascinating, from the intensity of the games, to the passion of the crowds to the operatic drama on the pitch. The fake injuries alone are enough to keep me spellbound for weeks.

2. Heavyweight Title Fight, Las Vegas. This one is tough, because boxing has had the lifeblood sucked out of it—case in point, there are currently 54 heavyweight champions, all of them from former Soviet satellite countries—but if you could get a post-Olympic up and comer with a little momentum and one of the Klitschko brothers (I'm not sure which one is currently holding a belt or two, or that there are actually even two of them, but...) you could have a real old-fashioned, smell-of-blood-and-money-in-the-air prize fight. I'd like to see that.

3. Duke-Carolina at Cameron Indoor. The hatred, the atmosphere, the closeness of the sweaty little arena, the sight of all those spoiled morons leaving with tears streaking their face paint after the Heels stomp the Devils on their home floor. Hand me a tissue Coach Kry my little heart is breaking.

4. Australia-New Zealand Rugby. The Kiwi All Blacks are legendary and the Aussies have long-been a power. Great rivalry, unique, unfamiliar cultures, fascinating sport. Couldn't ask for much more. Dare I say, scrumdilicious?

5. The Bassmaster Classic. Another one the just missed the first edition. Hey, 15,000 people in an arena screaming their heads off while rock music blares and guys logoed out togs hold up big ugly fish can't help but be fascinating. If you can't find a few interesting stories to tell in that crowd you never will.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Boston Bump

Got a nice shout out this week from the, a site devoted to travel in the Boston area. The guy who runs it is a good dude and if you live in Bean Town you should make his site a regular stop while surfing.

And while you're in Boston, light a candle for the Sox. Here come the Yanks!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New Reviews

Our efforts to build a grassroots campaign rumbles, well maybe stumbles, onward. Two very perceptive and highly intelligent bloggers have weighed in on Fanatic. You can get Jason Reiger's Cubs slanted insights at Goat Riders of the Apocalypse and a Villanova viewpoint at LetsGoNova.

In other news, I may be out of job soon, as it seems the sports world is on the verge of imploding. I'm not even talking about Barry Bonds, but rather about my old classmate Tim Donaghy and this Russian tennis player who might have faked an injury to lose a match in which he was highly favored and on which huge sums of money had been bet on his opponent. Both reek of outside forces attempting to influence games and if that happens, professional sports goes away and Sports Illustrated goes with it. So, you know, save me a corner of your basement to crash in.

As for Barry, I've been rooting against him for years, and when I can muster the energy to care anymore I wish he would just go away. At the same time, what's really been lost? Baseball's already been through a dead ball era, a juiced ball era, which distorted numbers, a spit ball era, sign stealing scandals, etc. The sport in many ways is already a joke and Bonds was far from the only guy using (allegedly). Even Hank Aaron, an honorable man with a social conscience and a buttload of courage, played the majority of his career in Atlanta, which is more than 1,000 feet above sea level. Does the advantage of playing half his games every year in thinner air somehow make his record less worthy. I know, that's apples and oranges. All I'm saying is the whole thing's been a cesspool for years, and we've all been bathing in it quite happily, so it's somewhat disingenuous to look around now and wonder how come we smell like shit.