Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day of reckoning

Ten free minutes for me, 10 free game-used U.L. Washington toothpicks for you . . .

1. All I ask of the Mitchell Report when the juicy details are revealed today is this: Please, not Papi. And if there's no mention of Manny, well, I'd be grateful for that, too. Clemens is all yours, however.

2. Bo Jackson is the most dynamic, electrifying athlete I've ever seen, and to all you kids who think us 30-something geezers are exaggerating his exploits, all I can say is you'll never understand what you missed. But as the great Joe Posnanski reminded me recently, Herschel Walker, in his freshman year at Georgia, was a phenomenon in his own right, as breathtaking and charismatic and unstoppable as Bo at his all-too-brief peak. These two stories - this ESPN feature on Bo, and Poz's on Herschel - are delightful flashbacks, the next best thing to watching them play again.

3. Whenever I'm worried about the Patriots' chances in a particular game, they have a uncanny habit of absolutely pulverizing their opponent that week, which I suppose bodes well for this Sunday's uncivil war with the Jets. Because, well . . . I'm a little nervous about this one, particularly if the Mother Nature decides to even the playing field a little bit by dumping a foot of snow in Foxboro Sunday morning. Now, I don't think the Pats will lose, mind you, not with revenge on their minds and malice in the hearts - at this point, I wouldn't be stunned if Belichick attempted to pistol-whip the reprehensible Eric Mangini during the postgame handshake. It's just that the Jets aren't that bad, and a point-spread of 20-something strikes me as a little bit ridiculous. (And now that I've said that, call your bookies and bet the over.)

4. Very interesting timing of that Miguel Tejada trade, wouldn't you say?

5. I do miss "The Office," though I'll admit the show was . . . just a little off this season, I guess. I got the sense that the writers hadn't quite figured out how to handle the new Jim/Pam dynamic; the characters' understated longing for each other, so subtle and heartfelt through the first three seasons, always provided the balance to the over-the-top antics of Michael and Dwight. Their emotions kept the show grounded in reality. This season, with Pam and Jim the seemingly happy, boring couple, the show teetered toward the ridiculous (example: Michael driving his car into a pond) a little too often. I am confident the writers will hit their stride once their strike ends, whenever that may be. The people behind this show are too smart to let it become just another sitcom.

(As for the obligatory Official Muse of TATB, Non-Wife Division photo . . . well, I know what's expected of me. Here you go:)

(Wait! You mean there's a whole slideshow? Parade magazine, you are awesome! I'll be in my room.)

6. Before he went 0 for 4 from the field in tonight's win over the Kings, none other than Rajon Rondo had the highest field goal percentage among all guards in the NBA (.547). That's a little bit misleading, of course, considering that he rarely shoots unless it's a wide-open look or a layup, and actually, I wish he'd shoot more. Rondo's a delight to watch just for his sheer athleticism and quickness, but I wish that he's stop kicking the ball out to the perimeter so often after he blows by his defender. It's almost like he can get to the hoop at will, but he's still too unselfish after that initial move. Who knows, if he stops passing up open layups, maybe he'll get that shooting percentage even higher.

7. I don't think Jim Rice will get into the Hall of Fame this year, and if I'm being completely honest, I'm not certain he deserves to. (Check out his home/road splits sometime.) But I sincerely hope Cooperstown does call for him on this, his 14th year on the ballot. I could argue that I think he should be enshrined because he's was the American League's most feared slugger for the better part of a decade, but really, I'm crossing my fingers for him because Rice was one of my childhood heroes, and I still can't help but root for him.

8. One more reason it's too bad Harry Caray's not still around: I suspect he would really come up with some very interesting pronunciations of new Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome's name.

9. While snooping around the other day, I stumbled upon this almost unbelievable statistic: In 1998, the San Diego Chargers' quarterbacks - a couple of scatter-armed gems named Ryan Leaf and Craig Whelihan - combined for 10 touchdown passes and 34 interceptions. I'm not saying it was the worst QB tandem in NFL history, but I'm pretty sure watching those two on his TV every Sunday is what killed Don Coryell. Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison both played on that team. Something tells me they appreciate Tom Brady even more than most.

10. As for today's Completely Random Football Card:

Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the infamous Snowplow Game. So yeah, I guess you can pinpoint the exact moment Don Shula's irrational hatred for the Patriots began.

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