Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Obama's Dukakis Moment

In one of the 1988 Presidential debates, Michael Dukakis was famously asked if he would seek the death penalty for the hypothetical murderer and rapist of his wife, Kitty. Of course, the correct response to a question like that is, "No. Not really. I think I'd prefer to kill the bastard myself...with my bare hands." Instead, without so much as raising one of his bushy eyebrows, Dukakis calmly and dryly reiterated his opposition to the death penalty. Many political pundits thought the question was out of bounds. In terrible taste. Should've never been asked. Months after George Bush defeated Dukakis in the general election, Bush's campaign advisor and noted GOP dirty trickster Lee Atwater was asked for his take on "the question."

Atwater said that the "murdered and raped Kitty" question terrified him as it was being asked. Because he saw it as a total softball question for Dukakis...a chance for the cold, unemotional Democratic nominee to go ballistic with no consequences. Atwater was afraid that Dukakis would give an answer similar to the one I proposed and that his favorable numbers would go through the roof the next day. Didn't happen.

I think Barack Obama had a big-time Dukakis moment in the Democratic debate last night in Philadelphia. Here's the question and Obama's response:

Brian Williams (Moderator): Senator Obama, we're going to transfer into a new area here. A question specifically for you because you're in a rather unique position. It's about religion and misinformation. Governor Romney misspoke twice on the same day, confusing your name with that of Osama bin Laden.

Your party is fond of talking about a potential swiftboating. Are you fearful of what happened to John McCain, for example, in South Carolina a few years back; confusion on the basis of things like names and religion?

Obama: No, because I have confidence in the American

And I don't pay much attention to what Mitt Romney has to say -- at least what he says this week. It may be different next week.

But there is no doubt that my background is not typical of a presidential candidate. I think everybody understands that. But that's part of what is so powerful about America, is that it gives all of us the opportunity -- a woman, a Latino, myself -- the opportunity to run. And, listen, when I was running for the United States Senate everybody said nobody's going to vote for a black guy named Barack Obama; they can't even pronounce it. And we ended up winning by 20 points in the primary and 30 points in the general election.

The way to respond to swiftboating is to respond forcefully, rapidly and truthfully. And I have absolute confidence in the American people's capacity to absorb the truth, as long as we are forceful in that presentation.

And we are seeing it. As we travel all across the country, we have received enormous support, in states where, frankly, there aren't a lot of African-Americans, and there aren't a lot of Obamas.

Still awake? Look...I'm sorry...but when you're asked, "Senator Obama, does it bother you that a douchenozzle like Mitt Romney is out there calling you 'Osama' from one end of the country to the other?," you've got to get riled up. Like Atwater said back then, that was a no-consequences opportunity to tee Romney up and whack him. To let the American people see some fire behind the ice. Again...didn't happen. Barack, you sold me on your boilerplate a long time ago. Now sell me on your heart. I want some passion. I want 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speaker Obama. I want to see how bad you want it. I want to believe, but...dude, you're losing me.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sports Weekend: Wicked Pissah

In good-natured deference to JMac, Sara, and all the other lifelong Boston fans with deep, long-term attachments to the team and region, I'm going to start off by saying:

Five Nice Things About The Red Sox

1. In Terry Francona, they are led by a guy with class and character. Even after the miracle of 2004, writers like Bill Simmons kept trying to turn Francona into Jim Donnan (you know...barely tolerated when winning, thoroughly disposable when losing). You should check out the Boston newspapers' Sox coverage sometime. You've heard that managing in New York is like being under a microscope? In Boston, it's like a proctoscope. Good to see a nice guy like Francona get the last laugh.

2. It's nice every once in a while for the actual best team in baseball to win the World Series. I think we were only one more fluke world champion away from an onslaught of "What's wrong with baseball?" articles. Make no mistake, the Red Sox are worthy and deserving world champs.

3. As I discovered a couple of years ago when I first got MLB Extra Innings, Sox color analyst Jerry Remy is the most entertaining announcer in baseball. Check out his Zapruder film-like breakdown of a fan being hit upside the head with a slice of pizza.

4. Manny's slide in game three was freaking sweet. It's not on YouTube, unfortunately...but that slide away from the plate, gingerly reaching over the catcher's leg, slapping the plate and popping up to his feet with the "safe" call...awesome. Too bad he was out.

5. Got nothin'. In fact, I had to stretch for just four.

And of course, the hands-down worst thing about the Red Sox winning the World Series? It means baseball season is over....(sniff). It should be tumultuous off-season. A-Rod's up for grabs...and, c'mon...I'm begging here, can we please not pretend that Boston fans would do anything other than turn cartwheels if he signs with the Sox? The Braves will look for someone to inherit centerfield from Andruw Jones. The Yanks will introduce a new manager. Me? I'm going to use this off-season to finally throw myself headlong into Sabermetrics. I've always been a dabbler...but now I'm going to take it to the next level so I can converse with the cool kids at the Think Factory. Only four months until pitchers and catchers report!

My take on The Celebration? Not my steamy cuppa joe. At all. But I take Mark Richt's word when he said that he didn't give the guys any specific guidelines for it and it wound up getting out of hand. I don't think that it suggests any kind of dramatic shift in the way Coach Richt and his staff approach things in terms of sportsmanship. He wanted to do something completely unexpected and out of the blue. As you can see from that clip and the looks on Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow's faces, they sure never saw it coming. a one-time gimmick, aimed at seizing emotional momentum in a series where Georgia has too often worn that shell-shocked expression themselves, I got no problem with it.

Gotta get after Kentucky and Auburn now. Tennessee trips over their own feet one more on it. But Georgia needs to put themselves in a position of take advantage of it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Carnival Time Again

I knew that stepping way out there precariously on that shaky limb and picking the Red Sox would pay off! HYH made the Carnival of Bloggers again! To see the HYH entry the same time...pick and choose from a veritable feast of Georgia-oriented blogs, head on over to the Radical Georgia Moderate when you've got some time to kill and pig out. On a serious note, the first section of the Carnival...dealing with the Georgia water must-read stuff. Grift, as ever, is all over this story from an environmental standpoint and my Athens dawgs JMac and Blake have all the political angles covered. All in all, it's one of the best Carnivals yet. Thanks so much to Rusty at the RGM for hosting this latest edition and for showing HYH some love.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sox In Five...Maybe Six, Tops

I have held this World Series up to the light, turned it upside down and shook it...heck, I've even given it a good, squinty, Larry David-style hairy eyeball. All in the desperate hope of finding an angle from which the freaking Red Sox do not end up as world champions.


It just doesn't compute. Dammit, they're going to win. Look at this...Look what happens when I try to type 2700 Wrldo Cmhpnoia Corodalo Skieroc. My fingers won't even let me conceive of it. Maybe if they steal one of these first two at Fenway. Let's say the Rocks lose to Beckett tonight. In game two, they get to Schilling. Pull one off in dramatic fashion. They come back to Coors with some momentum. Maybe then they've got a shot. I swear I don't see it, though.

This Sox team is just flat-out loaded for bear. Manny and Papi. Solid citizen Mike Lowell (Lowell's kind of like Mike Piazza on those 90's Dodgers teams...the one guy I really liked on the team I couldn't stand). Papelbon is a drooling simpleton and John Rocker minus the white sheet...but, damn, that boy is the dictionary definition of "lights-out." You know Schilling is ready to run through a brick wall to visit the White House one more time while Dubya is still there. AND home field advantage? Forget it.

I know crazy shit that don't make no sense happens in the World Series. It sure did last year. I just don't see it happening two years in a row. I love the Rockies. I'd especially love to see Todd Helton get a ring. I think they'll win game three at home on pure Coors-fueled mojo...and maybe they'll steal another one along the way. But no more.

Sox in five...Maybe six, tops.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When The Rain Comes

Somebody get Mulder and Scully on the phone...For the past couple of days here in Winterville, there's been an unexplainable phenomenon taking place. I know this is going to sound nuts...but...there appears to be water somehow falling from the sky. What's up with that?

Alabama Governor to state of Georgia: "Drop dead."

This bears repeating: There are so many good reasons Mitt Romney shouldn't be President that his unusual religious beliefs aren't even in the top ten.

Waffle House, huh? Well, you can say what you will about Kid Rock...but at least you can't say he doesn't keep it real.

Dude, if Pat Quinn wants to coach the Thrashers, hire him now. Sure, he's getting up there in age...but he'd be a fine two-to-three-year steward for a veteran-laden team like the Thrashers. (Not that I think Bob Hartley should've been fired in the first place, mind you.) Plus, how cool would it be to have an old Atlanta Flames legend behind the bench?

The WNBA is coming to Atlanta! Yeah...go ahead. Make your jokes. And, when you get done? Bite me. know what? Eff WNBA haters. Sports talk radio goes on and on about how, since they personally don't care for it, the WNBA shouldn't even exist. That bugs the hell out of me. People losing their minds because somebody dared to put a sports league together that doesn't cater to middle-to-upper class, beer-drinking white guys. I'm one of them and I'm here to tell you...we suck. Nobody's putting a gun to their heads and forcing them to watch. Every TV in America has 100 channels these days. Watch something else and freaking zip it.

Me? I plan on being there opening night/day. Since the league has gifted Atlanta with the fourth pick in the WNBA draft, I fully expect Tasha Humphrey to be suiting up for Atlanta. And the team's front office would do well to look over the pending free agents list and either sign or make trades bringing other former Georgia Lady Bulldogs to Atlanta.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where Have You Gone, Bob Gibson?

(Post title courtesy of AtlPaddy at Rowland's Office.)

Manny Being Manny

Admiring a walk-off jack job in extra innings.

Manny Being Bush

Admiring a solo shot, five runs down in a drubbing.

If I'm Eric Wedge, Manny gets one square between the "two" and the "four" tomorrow night. Like I said over at the Office, at least A-Rod in committing what Red Sox fans howled was The Bushest Act In The History Of The Game...was trying (albeit spastically and idiotically) to make a play in a tight game.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pulling Double Duty

I swear I haven't forgot about my loyal HYH'ers. The two of you should know that I am flat-out up against it right now. I've been put in charge of starting up a new blog for the Fastbreak Club, the University of Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball booster club, and it has been taking up just about every spare moment that I'm torn away from the kids and running (and, in the interest of full disclosure, watching postseason baseball). In addition, I'm also the editor of the club's monthly newsletter...whose deadline for this upcoming issue is rapidly approaching. So...that's where I've been.

And I actually made time for a little fun and relaxation this past weekend. My brother and I went to the big TNA pay-per-view, "Bound For Glory," at the Gwinnett Arena. TNA is trying to make their own little niche in the wrestling market by using older guys at the top of the card and dedicating the undercard to what they call their X-Division. It's basically an "edgy" name for their cruiserweights. The TNA X-Division guys put on an energetic show...with an emphasis, of course, on highspot after highspot. Unfortunately, a lot of their offense shows enough light to read a phone book by in the cheap seats. After a while, it's like watching a movie with nothing but car chases, you know? You start longing for a match that actually tells a story. That's where Sting and then-TNA heavyweight champ Kurt Angle come in.

Angle and Sting (pictured) staged one stemwinder of a main event title match. Sting can't go like he did fifteen years ago, obviously...but the 2007 Sting is a far cry from the kicking, stomping, and punching Sting of the "WCW Monday Nitro" era. Maybe working with all those young kids is rubbing off on him. Angle had a really nice moment in the match when he cinched Sting from behind and gave him three consecutive German suplexes. The fans who recognized that series of moves as a tribute to the late Chris Benoit responded with a round of respectful which Kurt responded with a briefly flashed thumbs-up. Kinda we shared a moment with him. The ending was an old-school WCW-esque schmozz that saw interference from Kevin Nash backfiring and Sting ultimately winning the title. A fun evening all around...and I'll definitely be setting the TiVo for "TNA Impact" on Thursday nights from now on.

But, because I was so swamped, there were no Quick Predictions this weekend (I would've nailed all of them, you know) and I didn't get to follow-up on the results of the Holyfield fight...Evander lost a lopsided decision and vowed afterwards to soldier on until he gets another title shot. Good Lord. Basically, I'm just checking in. My dance card is still chockablock with booster club stuff to do for the next three or four days, but then...hopefully...I'll be able to dote a little more on HYH. Because you guys deserve it. Both of you.
[Sting/Angle pic courtesy of...Me!]

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Surreal Deal

A little over more than 24 hours from now, there's a pretty good chance that Evander Holyfield will once again be wearing a world heavyweight championship belt. A five-time champ, at 44.


Even with his now-diminished skills, Evander has shown in two years of tuneup fights that he still has enough in the tank (or, as Rocky Balboa might say, "in the basement") to get a pretty good fighter out of there. And, quite frankly, that's all WBO heavyweight champ Sultan Ibragimov is. A pretty good fighter. I only hope that someone is in Evander's ear who can convince him, should he defeat Ibragimov, that attempting to unify the heavyweight title is a health-endangering...scratch fool's errand. I imagine WBC champ Oleg Maskaev would be Holyfield's next target...and he's another paper champion, a lumbering, slugging granite statue, that Evander could conceivably prevail over. After that, it gets scary. IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko is the last man in the world Evander Holyfield should ever see in the opposite corner of a boxing ring. I've blogged about a potential Klitschko/Holyfield fight before. It must never happen.

This is all about legacy for Evander. The man has all the money any human being could ever need. He's set for life. His kids' kids are set for life. He obviously wants to be remembered as one of the elite heavyweight champions of all time and he thinks that taking an alphabet soup belt off a heavyweight "champ" that no one's ever heard of will tilt the scale back in his favor historically...despite the fact that he has, with his late-career losing streak prior to this comeback, lost almost a quarter of his professional career fights. Still, I love the guy and can't help wishing him the best. I'll put the Holyfield/Riddick Bowe trilogy of fights right up there with Ali/Frazier...with the second fight, the notorious "Fan Man" fight, being the single most exciting boxing match I've ever seen.

So, even though I won't be watching...who can afford pay-per-view anymore?...I'll be online, surfing for updated round-by-round results during the afternoon tomorrow. Here's hoping I read about Evander delivering a quick knockout or breezing to an easy, boring decision...and then taking his belt and going home. For good. Here's hoping, ultimately, that he realizes being a warrior doesn't mean you have to end up being carried out on your shield.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Magic" Thoughts

[Inspired by an e-mail exchange with Herb Urban.]

I've had Bruce's latest, "Magic," on an endless loop on my MP3 player for a little over a week now. Since the overwhelming critical meme for this record seems to be " It's Bruce's best album since _________," I'll chime in with "...since "Tunnel Of Love," a criminally underrated record, BTW. After all the acoustic stuff, the rootsy stuff, and even E-Street rock that was artistically noble but earnest, Debbie Downer material ("The Rising," which, just to affirm, I loved), I have been so ready for Bruce to rock out with the band again. He's always said that he makes records so he'll have an excuse to tour and, make no mistake, the songs on "Magic" are going to be killer onstage. Vocally, Bruce hasn't sounded this good in years. A lot more crooning and a helluva lot less rasping.

Weird thing, though...even though it's an E-Street album, it sounds like it was made with a smaller combo. My pal Herb Urban said that the more he listened to it, the less he heard the band. And I can see that. "Magic" sounds like the record "Lucky Town"/"Human Touch," a combo that was too laid-back and SoCal-sounding, should've been. Don't go looking for the big, "Born To Run" wall of sonic boom-boom. The rockers (like "Radio Nowhere") have a garage band-y feel and even the "big" songs sound pared down. The Professor's heavenly glockenspiel and bells are nowhere to be found, for instance. But the damn thing jumps right out at you. It didn't take nearly as long to grow on me as "The Rising." Especially in terms of concert preparation. I knew I'd be squirming a bit during...say..."You're Missing" or "After The Fire"....but take my word for it, there are no bathroom-break songs on "Magic."

And as unfair as it might be to expect Bruce, at 58, to still be writing the kind of fist-pumping anthems that can only be fueled by youth and idealism, there are more than a few songs on "Magic" that have the potential to eventually become part of the Sacred Bruce Canon Hymnal. "Radio Nowhere" and "Livin' In The Future" will be concert setlist mainstays for the next decade while "You'll Be Comin' Down" sounds exactly like what we old farts used to call a "hit single." The gorgeous "Your Own Worst Enemy," with its "Eleanor Rigby" string intro and "Pet Sounds" sleighbells and harmonies, sounds like no other track on any other Bruce album. "Gypsy Biker," "Last To Die," and "Long Walk Home" are already drawing raves in concert reviews.

So...yeah..."Magic" is terrific. While other rock legends like Dylan, The Stones, and even Paul McCartney keep churning out "one listen" new material, Bruce manages to remain vital and necessary. May I age even a quarter as gracefully.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And Now, The Sequel...

Wrestling With Playoff Predictions

There are two things one needs to know heading into MLB's League Championships: 1. Who's going to win? 2. Who do you hide behind if a bench-clearing brawl breaks out? Let's take those two question in reverse order:

Even if he's got nothing left on his fastball,
Eric Gagne looks like he could deliver a mean piledriver.

We'll never know if Eric Byrnes has a Dirty Dick,
but we sure know he looks a lot like him.

"Have a nice day, Todd Helton!"

Paul's already buried the Yankees alive.

Love 'Tek...but that sissy-boy facewash
on A-Rod was no Russian Sickle.

Troy Tulowitzki looks like Randy Orton.
(Sorry...the guy's got no "hook.")

Meng, King Haku...whatever. It's a look that's just an
Oscar Gamble Afro Blowout Kit away for Jose Mesa.

As for who will win:

NLCS - Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Rockies in six.

ALCS - Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox

Sox in seven. (Dammit, dammit, dammit!)

Monday, October 8, 2007

The 2007 Petit Le Mans

Saturday was a sensational day at Road Atlanta. Moderate temperatures, some cloud cover...perfect racing conditions. Over 100,000 of us gathered at the track for the tenth annual Petit Le Mans, a 1,000-mile endurance race whose winners get their tickets automatically punched for next spring's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's greatest automobile race. Full race results can be found on the official ALMS site. Here are just a few of my pics:

Biggest Petit crowd ever. 100,000-plus!

The safety car pulls off and the field is away.

Tracy Krohn is "beached" as the two Audis pull away.

Chris Dyson's Porsche RS Spyder prototype.

The obligatory shot of the field rolling through The Esses.

Marco Werner brings his damaged Audi R10 behind the wall.

This pic shows how close fans can get to the action.

A disappointed Marco gives me the stink-eye.

Blogrolling = Logrolling

HYH is now offically an award-winning blog. Regionally acclaimed raconteur and notorious soccer mom lothario Herb Urban has bestowed upon us a Blogger Reflection Award. The picture of Dude Love on the award says everything about my relationship with Herb. Lots of pretend pounding the snot out of each other, mangled foreheads, spilled blood, and...ultimately...Dude Love. If only he didn't have to go dissing Kelly Ripa, who's been firmly ensconced on my Short List dating all the way back to "Dance Party USA," in his presentation spiel... Still, an award's an award. In acceptance, I can only quote the great Randy Bachman and say, "Any lovin' is good lovin', so I took what I could get." Thanks, Herbie!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Volunteer Effort

Tennessee - 35, Georgia - 14. Congratulations, Vols fans. Your team just bought some time for Phillip Fulmer. I know that delights y'all. Look, I know you can't win them all. But Georgia simply didn't look ready to play today. That's kinda unacceptable. Oh...and all that talk I've been harping on and on about? You know...about the division still being wide open? Scratch that. I hate to be Debbie Downer...but Georgia just didn't show up this week. How does that happen in a conference game? Hopefully it won't happen again next week against Vandy.

Two Quick Predictions For Tomorrow

A fantastic Petit Le Mans today, but more about that later. On to tomorrow's picks:

Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit

I say the kid clinches his championship in China.

1. Lewis Hamilton - McLaren
2. Kimi Raikonnen - Ferrari
3. Felipe Massa - Ferrari

UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

"Smoke" takes the first COT superspeedway race.

1. Tony Stewart
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Martin Truex Jr.

Quick Prediction: The Georgia Game

Sorry for being incommunicado today. Grocery shopping, running, birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (hey, that's what happens when you appoint a three-year-old to be your party coordinator)...anyway, let's get after it: Long story short, the "Fire Phil" movement gains momentum. The Vols lose a late lead when their coach makes a dumb, indefensible decision. Georgia capitalizes. I dance a small jig at Road Atlanta as day turns to night.

I'll be at the race. Y'all enjoy the game.

Georgia - 24
Tennessee - 20

Friday, October 5, 2007

Eighties Hits Or Porn Titles?

1. Talk Dirty To Me

2. Leather And Lace

3. Summer Of '69

4. Any Way You Want It

5. Come On Eileen

6. Straight Up

7. Our Lips Our Sealed

8. Lick It Up

9. Pink Houses

10. We Are The World

[Answer: They are, in fact, all porn titles.]

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Last Thoughts At 45

Maybe I'm getting slap-happy and putting the cart way ahead of the horse...but as I round back into shape while rehabbing from my heart attack, I find myself perusing the "Upcoming Races" section on the various Georgia running and track club sites. Back around 2001-02, I was running a ton of races around town. I've even got a desk drawer full of trophies and plaques to show for it. All of my top finishes (including three age-group wins) came in the 34-39 age bracket. Then, a funny thing happened. I turned forty. The first race I entered in the age 40-44 bracket, I got SMOKED. Those guys were blowing past me like I was Tim Conway's little old man character from The Carol Burnett Show. And I was posting almost the exact same times as I did the year before...when I was consistently top five or so in my class. Check it out next time you see a group of serious runners. I guarantee you the guys over forty will so be lean and sinewy that they look like they're constructed out of Slim Jim. Something about turning forty, I guess. Maybe that's the magic number that triggers guys to take that internal inventory and figure out what they need to do if they want to live a little longer. If so, I'm late to the party...but I'm finally there. Racing is still way down the road. Hell, I haven't even timed my mile since I've been back out there. But, watch this space. The road beckons.

Slava Kozlov wuz robbed! Seriously.

Kurt Angle: Intensity, integrity, and intelligence...oh, and also intoxication. It's been a rough week all-around for pro-wrestling world champions as earlier this week WWE champ John Cena tore a pectoral muscle on RAW and will be out of action for 6-8 months. Nobody likes to get hurt...but the timing might actually be pretty good for Cena. As big a fan of the guy as I am, even I admit that he was in danger of becoming the most overpushed and overexposed WWE champion since Hulk Hogan. Some time off of TV and pay-per-view will give fans a chance to miss him and the inevitable, built-in "comeback storyline" when he returns (somebody else will be wearing the belt he never lost in the ring, after all) will give his character some edge and purpose. Right now, WWE fans are eager to embrace Triple H as a babyface. So why not put the belt on Randy Orton, who's white-hot as a heel right now, and let HHH chase him for a few months?

Water rationing? No already-promised-to-Zoe snow at Stone Mountain? Lord have mercy...I wish it would rain. (Preferably at night and early in the morning...not when I'm out running.)

Finally...Tomorrow's my 46th birthday, bitches. Shower me with your best wishes in abundance. To the left is what my mother-in-law got me. A Sandisk Sansa e260 4GB MP3 player. Pretty sweet little gadget, huh? I'm not an iPod guy. I can't stand the idea of having to rely on iTunes. The Sansa, which works seamlessly with Windows Media Player/Center, holds over a thousand songs, displays album art while playing, and I can also put video on it...even though trying to watching something on a 1.8-inch screen for more than five minutes would probably turn me into Migraine Boy. I've also uploaded a ton of family photos. In fact, I've damn near maxed the thing's memory out already. But here's the cool part...the memory is upgradable using microSD memory cards. So that's next on my shopping list. All for under a hundred bucks. Highly, highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Division Series Quick Predictions

National League

Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - I think the tone for this series will be set with tonight's game. If Brandon Webb stakes the Snakes to a one-game lead, they'll take the series. Chicago plays tight when they get behind and tighter still in the postseason at Wrigley. Best case scenario for the Small Bears: Alfonso Soriano leads off the game tonight with a homer.

D-Backs in five.

Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies - Potentially the most entertaining of all the early-round matchups. Two hustling, scrappy teams that play balls-out. Tons of great young players that nobody's ever heard of. Naturally, MLB is burying the first two games in the three o'clock graveyard time slot. Heaven forbid that Joe Torre or Kevin Youkilis might pick their noses without all of America admiring their haul in prime time, right? Colorado has to be gassed after closing the season winning 13 of 14 and then enduring that 13-inning marathon play-in game with the Padres, right? I'm thinking so.

Phillies in four.

American League

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Diddy Ali vs. Boston Red Sox - It's a struggle to be objective here because I actively loathe the Red Sox. But when the Sox are on, they're a juggernaut. Beckett and Dice-K in the first two games? With Schilling waiting to take the mound for game three? Forget it.

Red Sox in a sweep. Four games, tops.

New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians - These two teams are so even that little things will decide this series. Cue up the "Blah, blah, blah....nobody does all the little things like Derek Jeter...blah, blah, blah" white noise. (Personally, I believe that...but liking Jeter makes you a pariah among "real" baseball fans.) The Yankees' starting pitching is iffy and, if I'm the Indians, I never want to go into the postseason counting on Paul Byrd. I give the Yanks a slight edge...thanks to their experience and a couple of guys named Chamberlain and Rivera. Borowski might blow one for the Tribe but those two will carry the Yanks into the ALCS.

Yankees in five.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Simply An Abomination

I possess no sensibility that this cap does not offend. I mean...of course...good on the Rockies, but there's almost nothing in baseball much more bush league than celebrating "winning" the wild card. It makes rally monkeys look classy. Oh well, at least they aren't calling themselves the "Wild Card Champions" like the Mets did in 1999. Plus, it's ugly. Wild card team fans, root like crazy for your guys to advance so you can upgrade caps and send this thing to Goodwill...if not Hell itself.

Was Blind, But Now I See

First of all: Most Unoriginal Blog Entry Title Ever! Seriously, do a Google search for "was blind but now I see" and check out how many times that phrase has been whipped out by my fellow self-absorbed, navel-gazing hacks. But...yeah...I finally got tired of not being able to read without discomfort and got myself checked out by an optometrist. I wore glasses for several years to correct a slight distance issue that was associated with migraines. That condition improved over the years and so I ditched those specs. Well, the examination yesterday revealed my distance viewing to still be slightly off...but the bigger issue was that I direly needed reading glasses. I'm not going blind...just "typical age-related degradation," as the doctor put it. His original prescription was for bifocals but, after some additional testing, he determined that the distance issue should still be okay for a few more years as long as I could read traffic signage and drive at night without squinting. When I told him about my spotless driving record, he okayed getting only reading glasses for the time being. Now even the phone book looks like it's in large print. Or, as I Twitted this morning, it's like the world is now in hi-def.

That was one pret-ty, pret-ty good October appetizer between the Padres and Rockies last night. Let's see...Peavy getting lit up? Check. Something crazy happening (like an obvious home run being missed by the umps or the winning run scoring despite the plate never being touched)? Check. Helton right there in the middle of things with a homer, a great catch, and scoring the tying run? Check. Rockies win? Check. Sometimes I scare myself with these predictions, folks.

Obama is moving to protect his left flank. That looks to me like a pitch to the voters who are drawn the old-school progressivism of John Edwards. He's apparently not going to go after Hillary agressively until the race is winnowed down to the two of them. Problem is, as the latest fund-rasing numbers demonstrate, the whole field except Hillary may be winnowed out after Iowa/New Hampshire. This is the third quarter, the time when initial "The race is on!" enthusiasm dampens and donors aren't as generous...yet the cash is still rolling in for Hillary. The nomination always follows the money.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Bowing Out: A Newt And A Bee

What. A. Crock. Newt Gingrich really thought that he could go get "forgiven" by a fellow charlatan and scoundrel like the late Jerry Falwell and then extort the money he needed to run for President? Let me tell you...Newt couldn't be elected to the county commission of the reddest county in the reddest state. Did he not do any focus group studies before going off on this fool's errand? Newt Gingrich is, simply put, still one of the most despised figures in American politics today. Truth is, I'm almost sorry (but not at all surprised) that he punked out of the race because of the joy I would've taken in his inevitable winnowing-out after the Iowa caucuses. Oh, well...At least he's still got his little "non-partisan" think-tank where he can be the big, pale, doughy fish in a small pond. For a good laugh, check out Grift's take on just how non-partisan Newt's little side project really is.

Padres and Rockies for the National League wild card tonight. As crazy as it might be to pick against Jake Peavy, I have to go with the team that's delighted to be playing tonight over the team that led the wild card for weeks and considers this one-game playoff to be a pain in the ass. Plus, the game's in Colorado. I'm not real big on home-field advantages in baseball...but I've got a feeling that something crazy is going to happen at Coors Field tonight and the Rockies will somehow find a way to pull this one out. I'd love to see Todd Helton get a big hit to aid the effort. One of the game's unsung heroes.

Speaking of unsung heroes, how about this guy to the left? I've always had a soft spot for the Astros. I know the Braves always heard all the "choke" talk because they didn't win more world championships...but, thanks in large part to Atlanta, Houston usually never even got far enough to choke in the NLCS. But I came away with the utmost respect for Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Derek Bell, Brad Ausmus...heck even The Big Unit and Roger Clemens didn't seem like such bad guys when they were Astros. Bags left the stage last year and now Biggio's gone. Those two guys sure did their bit to restore respectablity to the term "Killer Bees." I won't miss his nasty-ass, pine-tar-encrusted batting helmet...but I'll miss Craig's hustle and classy demeanor. It'll be very weird to watch an Astros game next season and not see him out there. [Biggio pic courtesy of AP]

The Rebel Base Has Been Destroyed

Georgia - 45, Ole Miss - 17. Boy, this was such a hectic weekend that I didn't get a chance to get my post-Georgia game Quick Prediction gloating up until just now. But, c'mon...Close until halftime? Georgia pulling away in the second half? Not too shabby, huh? And with Florida going down, all I can do is repeat what I've been saying to anyone who'll listen since the South Carolina game: This division race is far from over. It'll be tough next week going up to Rocky Top. It always is. I'll be listening to that game at Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans weekend! Woot!) and hoping to hear some more of that classic, pound-it-out ball control offense that the Dawgs displayed this past weekend. You can look it up...When Georgia runs the ball, it's usually a good day for the red-and-black.