Monday, August 14, 2006

Playing Catchup

No time for a real intro, so here are some observations from the weekend:

On July 22, the San Francisco Giants were in 1st place in the NL West with a record of 51-47. Needing another bat for the final push in the season, GM Brian Sabean traded for 1B/ motivational speaker/ boat inspector Shea Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand has hit .230 as a Giant and the team has been a dismal 3-16 since the trade and now finds themselves in last place, 7.5 games out. The ship may have been sinking in Toronto, but the rat aboard has fled to San Francisco and infected his new team with the plague.

In Saturday's game, after the Dodgers scored the go-ahead run, the stadium speakers blared, "Whoomp....There It Is!" I knew Hollywood was out of original ideas, but do they really have to play a song that was tired two weeks after it was released in 1993? Karma will strike them down for this.

In my younger days, I hated any athletes who played for the rival of my favorite team no matter what. Now that I'm older, I find that I'm able to appreciate greatness in sports even if the gifted athlete is wearing the wrong jersey. As such, I've always enjoyed watching Reggie Bush play, even tho I hated that he was contributing to the succes of the Trojans. Ideally, I wanted Matt Leinart and the USC defense to fall apart and nullify Bush's play, but unfortunately that combination rarely occurred. Prior to Reggie Bush, I'd only seen two other college running backs who looked like they were just toying with the defense whenever they touched the ball- Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk. (LaDanian Tomlinson had a similar presence, but TCU ran the option; and I've always been skeptical of RBs in an option system. It's fair to say that LT has erased that skepticism.) This weekend, Reggie Bush made his NFL debut, and it looks like he's still up to his old tricks. On a play that was designed to go left, Bush stopped, reversed field and ran down the right sidelines for a big gain. It was one of those, "what are you doing? oh..great play!" moves that very few athletes are able to get away with. I am very excited about the Reggie Bush era in the NFL.

The only downside if Bush is in fact the second coming of Barry Sanders? Listening to Chris Berman shriek "woooop" during any Bush highlight where he makes a defender miss. On second thought, I'm a little less excited about the Bush era than I thought I was.

Bill Parcells really, really, really doesn't like Drew Henson. In the first preseason game for the Cowboys, Parcells elected to play Tony Romo at QB for the entire game. Henson looked to be in midseason form as he was forced to hold a clipboard on the sidelines for four quarters. I can't remember ever seeing a team play only one QB in a preseason game- especially week 1. To get an idea of how liberal coaches usually are with playing time in the first exhibition game, here's a list of QBs who you'll never watch play a meaningful NFL game who received more playing time than Drew Henson did over the weekend: Lang Campbell, Bryan Randall, DJ Shockley, Shane Boyd, Chet Lemon, Cody Hodges, Quinton Porter, Ingle Martin, and Brad Gradkowski. At this point, Drew Henson's football career is going so poorly that it's made his stint as a baseball player seem like a success.

As for Brad Gradkowski, he has a pretty interesting pregame ritual- vomiting. Early in the game, Bucs starter Chris Simms looked over on the sidelines and saw Gradkowski on a knee heaving into the grass. His vomiting was far more beneficial to him than it was to Donovan McNabb in the Super Bowl, as when Gradkowski finally entered the game two quarters later, he went 11 for 13 with 104 yards and 2 TDs. After the game, Gradkowski admitted this wasn't the first time he went with the Lohan diet strategy before the game.
"Yeah, my nerves were running a little bit. I hate sitting around waiting. I used to [throw up] in college. And every time I did, I knew it was going to be a good game.''
If Gradkowski does by some miracle ever become a starter, this could make for some great pregame information for gamblers and fantasy players. Finally, there's a use for sideline reporters!

Speaking of which, the NBC broadcast of the Bengals/Redskins game is making me rethink the idea of finally making the leap to HDTV this season. While she's a capable reporter, seeing Andrea Kramer in high def on a big screen might just haunt me for the rest of my life. On behalf of any future erections that I may hope to achieve, I just can't take that risk.


At Mon Aug 14, 04:03:00 PM PDT , Anonymous The Big Picture said...

thanks for reminding me about the giants. real sweet of you.


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