Sunday, October 29, 2006

There isn't one of these lines/That I would erase

Picking at a few leftovers while wondering if David Eckstein secretly longs to be a dentist . . .

• Though I suppose it means we'll be inundated with another half-dozen groan-inducing books on the genius of Tony La Russa, I truly was happy to see the Cardinals win the series. Not only are they a remarkably stable and accomplished franchise - truth be told, I didn't realize this was their 10th title - but their fans are famously classy. That was never more evident than in 2004, when a certain baseball team that matters somewhat around here won the Series on their turf, and St. Louis folks not only were gracious losers, but the Cardinals allowed Sox fans waiting in anticipation outside Busch Stadium to come inside and watch the celebration they'd been waiting years to witness. If that isn't justification for wishing them well in turn, I don't know what is. (Although the fact that the Official Muse of TATB is a Cards fan certainly might qualify. She's the one on the right, wiseass.)

• Taking just a couple more wild swings as we lament the end of baseball season, and dreading the cold days spent awaiting the next one's arrival. Here's hoping the rumors the Sox have significant interest in Mark Mulder are false. He's not nearly the pitcher he was in his Oakland heyday, and it's doubtful he will be again. His stats have declined for a few years now, his fastball is fat, he has a chronic hip problem, and he's coming off shoulder surgery. Do we need another Steve Avery here? Bad idea, Theo. Bad, bad idea . . . How bummed must Tigers fans be about losing the clinching game of the World Series to one of their all-time enigmas, Jeff Spicoli-Weaver. Come to think of it, I can't imagine Yankees fans, Dodgers fans, or Angels fans were too thrilled watching him finally pitch up to his ability, either. Are we sure that wasn't really Jered Weaver out there? . . . The Yankees did us a favor this week by picking up Gary Sheffield's option, with the intention of trading him and keeping him from the Red Sox. Sheffield is aging, divisive, and judging by the postseason, rapidly declining. Let him become someone else's problem . . . Hard to believe now, but the Blue Jays thought so little of sore-armed Chris Carpenter that they released him after the 2002 season. Think they'd like to have him paired up with Roy Halladay at the front of their rotation these days? . . . Though I can't resist the temptation to note that half of his eight "hits" were due directly to pure luck or poor defense by the Tigers, I can't argue against Eckstein's selection as the Series MVP. I just wish Fox and every damn middle-aged knight of the keyboard would quit portraying him as America's Gritty, Gutty Mascot. The over-the-top fawning over this oh-so-adorably average ballplayer almost rivaled the verbal backrubs Captain Fist-Pump used to get every October. You know, back when the Yankees made the Series.

• Yup, I think I've booted the Dunkin' Donuts large iced coffee regular habit for good, thanks for asking. It's been a dozen days without a single relapse, the hellacious headaches have subsided, and you would not believe how much more alert I feel. Of course, I need six naps a day now and I'm still sniffing glue like a madman. But let's just work on one vice at a time here.

• Hey, what say we call this segment Four Downs With Finn! Awesome title, huh? Whaddaya mean it's taken? 1) Sure, Peyton Manning still looks like he cuts his hair with toenail clippers, but man, did ever expose that speedy and talented Denver defense today. Well done, Doofus Spawn of Archie. And thanks for getting it all out of your system this week. 2) Got a chuckle out of watching the Colts' sideline react to Adam Vinatieri's predictably perfect game-winning boot. You didn't need to be a lipreader to decipher what Tony Dungy was saying: "Right . . . down . . . the . . . middle." It was quite a contrast to their playoff loss to the Steelers last year, when Idiot Drunken Vanderjagt's last-second kick shot off in the direction of French Lick, and virtually everyone from Dungy to Manning to Johnny Unitas In The Great Beyond reacted the same way, mouthing, "He missed it," followed by a disgusted headshake, like that was just what they expected to happen. I'm not sure the Patriots made a mistake in letting him go - I'm a Gostkowski Believer - but given their recent history, the Colts certainly were wise to sign him. 3) Tell me you didn't enjoy watching Romeo Crennel remind Eric Mangini of his not-so-lofty place on the Parcells/Belichick Coaching Tree this afternoon. Take that, son. Now go do your homework. 4) Oakland 20, Pittsburgh 13. Now that's what you call a lingering Super Bowl hangover.

• One more NFL rant: I believe in Reggie Bush and remain convinced that Houston made a franchise-altering blunder in passing him up for generic Mario Williams, but jeezus, I think he has more combined commercials and ESPN highlights than he has total yardage this season. I believe the hype with this kid . . . but does there have to be so much of it?

• Further proof that Paul Pierce respects the game more than the old-school, better-in-my-day wheezers and geezers would have you believe: "I think [my teammates] really have to understand the history of the game. And Red is a big part of the history of the whole NBA — not just the Celtics, but the whole NBA." Amen.

• Thanks to Jim's warbling on The Office an episode or so ago, that atrocious so-called song "Lovefool" by the Cardigans has been stuck on repeat in my ear for a good week. Well, I'm glad to report that it has at last been muted . . . and replaced by Jon Bon Jovi's latest piece of earnest, irresistible American cheese, "Who Says You Can't Go Home." You bet I'll take that tradeoff. At least hearing Bon Jovi reminds me of cruising the mean streets of Bath, Me. during high school, kicking ass and taking names. Okay, so I was usually candlepin bowling, chickening out on making a move, and hanging out in the McDonald's parking lot . . . but you get the point. I was a cowboy, on a steel horse I rode, and I was wanted dead or alive, dammit. The song's tolerable as far as earworms go, and yeah, I'm glad Bon Jovi somehow endures. Anything to make these old bones feel young, people.

As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

Because sometimes, it really is random.

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• I'm hoping to write something worth reading on Red Auerbach Monday afternoon, then live-blog the Bethel Johnson Bowl Monday night, so be sure to check in during the game if not before. Programming on this station is always subject to change, of course, depending upon the sleeping patters of a blue-eyed angel/devil of a 2 1/2-year-old and her 2-month-old bro, but I'll do my best to get both posts cranked out.

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