1) Where do I start? How about with a little Baseball history? Today, the Philadelphia Phillies completed one of the most improbable comebacks in the long history of the American pastime while the New York Mets fulfilled their part of the bargain by engaging in the biggest collapse the last three weeks of a season have ever seen. With 17 gamess left in the season, the Mets led the Phillies by seven games. They then proceeded to go 5-12 down the stretch while the Phillies went 13-4, and as a result, the Phillies finished the year 89-73, the Mets 88-74. I have to say, it was a LOT of fun to watch, not because I hate New York (well, I do dislike Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado, but not intensely), but because Philadelphia showed so much heart and overcame one of the more abysmal pitching staffs a division winner has ever had in order to get to this point. I do feel badly for the Mets' fans, who are not the obnoxious, arrogant know-it-alls that Yankees fans are. They have to be wondering what in the world happened to their team. What I think ultimately doomed this team was, to be blunt, a lack of heart. Talentwise, New York is every bit as good as Philadelphia, and most likely better. Yet, the Mets were never able to salt the division away. Manager Willie Randolph will take the heat for the collapse, and I would be shocked if he were not fired, but he wasn't out there blowing saves or striking out with men in scoring position. Still, like the cliche goes, it's much easier to fire one guy than 25, so he is likely going to be looking for a new job relatively soon.
2) I don't recall a weekend in college football like the past one. Oklahoma, Florida, West Virginia, Texas and West Virginia all went down to defeat, and all were favourites. So, at this point, we have two clear cut favourites to play in the BCS title game, LSU and USC. Everyone else is a pretender.
3) I'm a pretty good fantasy baseball GM. My teams, regardless of whether they are in freebie or money leagues, are almost always in the top half of the league, and are usually a threat to win it all. Fantasy football.............well............that's a different story. Last year, I actually won one of my two money leagues, which can be explained by nine words: LaDainian Tomlinson, Carson Palmer, Baltimore Ravense defense/special teams. Other than that, I am generally non-competitive, as (sigh) will be the case again this season, where I am once again in two moeny leagues, and will be 1-3 in each of them after this week's debacle. The bottom line to me: This will likely be the last season I participate in fantasy football.
4) I am one of the few people I know who paid attention to the Women's World Cup, if only because the games were often on at 6 a.m. and being shown by ESPN or ESPN2 when I am at the gym. I developed a rooting interest in three teams; the U.S., Canada and Australia, with the full knowledge that only the American team had a real chance to win the title. However, the U.S., which was the #1 ranked team in the world, did a colossal bellyflop in the semifinals, getting crushed 4-0 by a Brazilian team that had only beaten it twice in their 20+ previous meetings. This has to rank as a major disappointment for the American side.
5) Hockey season started yesterday, when the Los Angeles Kings beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks (it still feels WRONG writing that) in London, England. I'd love to know what "genius" (helloooooooo, Gary Bettman!) decided that it would be a good idea for the NHL to open with two team that have no drawing power outside their region on a weekend with a ton of NFL and NCAA football games, and on which the final games of the baseball regular season are being played. If that game drew more than a couple of dozen viewers, I'd be shocked beyond belief.
6) I don't know what it will take for NFL teams to learn that Norv Turner is a lousy head coach. He's failed in two previous stops, and now he's busy wrecking the season of a pre-season Super Bowl favourite, the San Diego Chargers. Last year, the Chargers went 14-2, but because they lost to the New England Patriots in the playoffs, head coach Marty Schottenheimer was unceremoniously shown the door. Enter Norv Turner, and a team that had dominant defense and an exceptionally dangerous offense is now 1-3, with a suddenly sieve-like "D" and and "O" that generally sputters. Since these are essentially the exact same players as last year, this is one of those occasions where maybe the coach DOES deserve the blame.