Andy Williams had it all wrong. I’m sorry, but I’ll take September’s non-stop MLB pennant chasing + NFL + Notre Dame losing to Michigan combination over cold and snow and fake Santas any day. In fact, since it’s an election year, we get even more drama to go with our Irish-trouncing, and if you wait until the end of this post, you’ll even see that the Republicans have JOKES!
But first thing’s first: TUNE IN TO BASEBALL. My lord, between the AL Central showdown, the A’s/Angels wild card battle and the AL East title three-way, I can’t imagine a more exciting scenario (except maybe a non-baseball related three-way, but that’s for a different blog). Consider the NL wild card race and the fact that one of the three AL East teams could also nab the last AL West wild card spot and now allow your mind to be blown (again, maybe better for another blog).
And I haven’t even mentioned the myriad story lines decorating the start to the NFL and college football seasons!
The fact is, for dudes like Mr. Krause and I, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Unless you want to throw in some flaccid punchline deliveries (ZING!)…
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I couldn’t be more excited that the NCAA seems to be extricating its head from its nether regions to finally consider instituting a college football playoff. The only thing better than the thought of the classic matches to come is salivating over the classic matches that could have been. Sure, I know that Michigan wouldn’t have had a chance against Florida in that 2006 matchup but most people thought Ohio State was going to plow the Gators under so you never know. That’s the thing about football and a one-game playoff system. It sucks when you’re on the losing end but it’s great when you win.
But baseball is different. Sure, there’s a thrill to ending the season on a one-game intra-division playoff and some of those games have become instant classics. However, despite being the baseball progressive half of the RSBS duo, I find myself wondering about the MLB expanded playoffs. A play-in wildcard game? Sure, it’s great for ratings. And obviously it means a lot more than something like the NCAA basketball play-in game. But I’m just not sold on it.
On the money side I get it. A one-off play-in is bound to be a huge financial bonus. Last year it would have meant keeping the Red Sox and their fans around for one extra game and MLB loves those ratings bonanzas. But the beautiful thing about baseball is that its also about playing consistently. You have to play well over a 162-game grind, which only gives you the chance to do it all again in grueling 5 and 7 game series. The extended series in baseball are like life while football’s one-and-done playoff model feels more like the movies.
I’m sure I’ll come around. MLB has finally taken care of the uneven league issue and and with even divisions, teams now have more incentive than ever before to win their division. The play-in is great for strong divisions where a couple good teams trapped behind a spectacular team will finally get a chance to make the playoffs. But, do we really need to have 3 NL East and 3 AL East teams in the playoffs every year, even if one of them falls out during the play-in?
As a fan of Michigan sports and especially University of Michigan football, I can’t help but experience an inordinate amount of glee in the problems currently roiling the Ohio State football program. You can say I’m a bad person for feeling this way but if you ask a Buckeyes fan, I’m sure they’ll admit to feeling the same way when Gary Moeller was forced out as the coach at Michigan. Sure, you’d like to be able to beat a team on their own terms but when they’ve got your number, it’s a little satisfying to see the person responsible for that get the boot.
And it’s not just football. With the Tigers playing in the same division as the Indians and the Indians currently whipping everyone’s butts, it’s just one more reason to dislike Ohio. But maybe I should be a little more empathetic and feel sorry for Ohio. After all, there must be some truth to this graphic:
So, Ohio, I’m going to go easy on you. You’ve had a rough year with LeBron leaving town and Tressel’s sweater vests hiding a growing laundry list of sins. But when the dust settles and Tressel gets forced out, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to have a drink to celebrate. Same goes for when the Indians come back to earth.
I’m proud to be from Michigan. We’ve got four of the five Great Lakes and really, how great is Lake Ontario anyway? Without Michigan, you don’t get Kid Rock or Ted Nugent and how many other states let you show people where you live just by holding up a hand?
However, I’m not always proud of Michigan. Sure, it’s a great state but there are some issues. You know, like the fact that half of Detroit is functionally illiterate. Seriously, half. Even Togo does better than that.
Some of our other citizens don’t fare much better either. You could call it a blond thing, you could call it a Michigan thing. All I know is that it doesn’t say anything good about us.
There are two things that give me hope, though. First is the fact that we still have Justin Verlander and that’s like money in the bank. The second thing? Actually, it’s the hand thing. Come on, that’s pretty cool.
The awards are all in here at RSBS and it would be hard to find a more deserving bunch of winners. However, we have to wait to hear who Major League Baseball determined to be the most valuable players and we like a little diversion during these times. So, since it’s a Saturday and since Michigan just got beat like a red-headed step-child, we turn to Celebrity Jeopardy:
SNL with Will Ferrell, the gift that keep on giving (unlike that punk, Rich Rodriguez).
At this very moment, as I sit here writing this blog a long, long way from Comerica Park, the Tigers are attempting to sew up the AL Central title. But I’m worried. Very worried. I mean, there are the usual reasons as I explained the other day but this time there’s a much more relevant reason. Comerica Park is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Now, I don’t know that the SI cover jinx applies to ballparks or cities but why would SI even risk it? It’s not as though the Detroit (or the state of Michigan for that matter) has anything else going for it. Yeah, the Lions may have finally won and the University of Michigan has eked out some close victories. But that’s no reason to be going around messing with curses. That’s some potent stuff.
I’m not really a superstitious man. I mean, it’s not my fault that my teams do better when I don’t watch them. That’s just how it is. But the SI cover? That’s fact. Just like the Madden cover is fact for the NFL. I don’t buy all this “regression from the mean,” scientific mumbo-jumbo. I believe what I see and what I see is that Sports Illustrated jinxes people by placing them on the cover.
And when you take all of this to its (il)logical extreme, does this mean that all the people sitting in the stands when the picture of the park was taken are jinxed, too? Thanks a lot, Sports Illustrated. Just what Detroit needs: more bad luck.
I have an idea, though. I’m inviting you, SI, to come visit Detroit with me. I have a beautiful old building with a very special elevator shaft I’d love to show you. Make sure you dress warm.
I don’t like it when things come down to the wire. I like to know early what’s going on and then just settle back and not worry about it. Perhaps this explains why I often miss incredible finishes, like Boise State beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple years ago. Or Michigan coming back against Notre Dame. And Indiana. I’m not sure what it is, maybe my German blood, but just like I don’t enjoy gambling, I don’t enjoy close finishes.
Which is why I’d like the Tigers to make up their mind about the AL Central title. A friend of mine used to describe this peculiar inability to make a decision with the phrase, “Either sh!t or get off the pot.” And maybe someone needs to pointedly remind the Tigers of this. At this point I don’t care so much how it ends (OK, that’s not exactly true) but I’d just like it to end.
Would it be exciting if the Tigers and Twins ended the year tied and (once again) had to go to a one game playoff? Sure. Would I enjoy it? Not one bit. I can deal with it when it’s teams I don’t care about because, well, because I don’t care about them. But watching Michigan when they’re down 5 points in a dogfight with Indiana? Or the Tigers as they try to redeem the season? I’d rather just go to bed. That isn’t going to make me an ideal candidate for Lipitor.
So, here’s the deal, guys. If I wanted drama I’d just pop in some HBO on DVD. If I want mind numbing entertainment, I have the internet. But is it too much to ask for my sports teams to either just win or lose convincingly? At least the Lions have that one down. Kind of.