The Audacity Of Nope

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys

If you haven’t watched the Miami Dolphins play football this season, it’s perfectly understandable because well . . . . nobody has. Four games into the 2019 season, they’ve already been mathematically eliminated from postseason play. Their record stands at 0-4, which is bad. They made the plenty good but certainly not great Baltimore Ravens look like Joe Montana’s ring bearing 49ers teams, which is worse. And in their four losses, they’ve been outscored 163-26. Which is history’s way of saying “Are you fucking kidding me?”.

In case you were wondering, and I’m not sure why you would be wondering, but okay . . . the Dolphins point differential through the first four games of the season is the worst in NFL history. If you’re playing along at home, the league was born during the W administration, as in Woodrow. Wilson. Which means that when teams were playing football with cinder-blocks and no helmet whilst their head coaches pointed a gun at ’em for motivation, the worst team was still coming up bigger than these Fins.

So yeah, my boys are a lost cause on the level of a pair of Isotoners gifted to Johnny Cochrane. And you know what? That is plenty fine with me, because as Jimmy Stewart is my witness, lost causes really are the only ones worth fighting for in this world. And don’t take my word for it, here’s Jimmy to provide . . .

Alls I know is, my Dolphins are relevant for the first time since Dick Cheney’s twenty eighth heart attack (That would be 2008). It would be the last time a team from the AFC East not named the New England Patriots won the division. Since then, my team has gone through ten quarterbacks, six head coaches and a handful of uniform changes.

Fast forward to present day and the Dolphins are relevant again. Problem is, it’s in the same way a Trump tweet or Ebola is relevant. Because once the shit gets loosed into our cranium or bloodstream, all manner of zombie apocalypse prevails. And the Dolphins are fifty three dead men walking . . no, marching. Loudly. Right onto the four lane highway those horsemen from the law firm Pestilence, War, Famine and Death are busy crunching their radials on whilst blue-tooth deep in negotiations with God and Lucifer.

Pro football experts are shouting mighty daggers into the Dolphins organization for tanking a season so obviously. Welp, I guess these geniuses didn’t watch the final season of Game of Thrones. Because those fuckers had WAY more talent and money going on than the Dolphins do.

And yes, the results are uglier than Gordon Ramsey in traffic. But it’s not like it ain’t been done before. Once upon a time, teams like the Cubs and Astros gutted their roster and started from the bottom. And it paid off with titles in both instances. In basketball, the 76ers took half a decade off during “The Process” in order to compile high draft picks in the hopes of fielding a winning team and now they’re one of the favorites to win it all. And the Browns transformed losing into the kind of art form that would’ve inspired Andy Warhol to buy them. And while they ain’t won jack yet, their team is interesting as hell with a punchers chance to do some real damage this season.

Optically, the dynamic blows. Because to charge major league money to the fans whilst rolling out a minor league product is certainly not good business practice. Last week’s game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami was played to a half empty stadium, which shocked the hell out of me because I was wondering what in the hell was wrong with the half that showed up.

So the Dolphins will take a hit- both in the sports columns and in their bottom line. And it’s the latter that will keep this tanking expedition from going on indefinitely, because billionaires like Stephen Ross ain’t made their money by mistake. I figure a year, maybe two of really putrid football will result in enough draft pick sustenance to build a solid foundation. And yes they have to hit on their picks, as well as be smart with the free agent acquisitions, but to my way of thinking, it’s a chance worth taking.

I’ll take breaking bad over plain old mediocre every day of the week and for sixty minutes every Sunday. Because over the last eight seasons, the Dolphins are 66-66 with exactly nothing to show for it. There is nothing worse than mediocrity, and that includes a possible 0-16 campaign.

I’m done with asshats like Jeff Ireland running things into the ground and then skipping town for greener pastures. I’m sick and tired of clowns like Jay Cutler receiving a ten million dollar retirement package to achieve absolutely nothing. And I absolutely cannot stand the country club atmosphere that has held sway over the organization since Dan Marino stopped throwing footballs in anger.

Several weeks ago, when it became clear that the Dolphins mission was to suck balls, several prominent Dolphins players got on the phone with their agents and told them they wanted out. And that’s when I realized something was very different about the current brain trust. Because instead of sweet talking these guys back with drinks at the Clevelander and a cushy bonus . . they traded them. The message was clear as day.

You’re in or you’re out. No more in the middle.

It’s uncomfortable sure, but that signals growth. Change. Difference. And I could kiss Brian Flores and Chris Grier for having the cojones to undertake a strategy that might end up costing them their jobs. I hope it doesn’t, because they’re good football men who give a damn and I want to see them hoisting some hardware for all the shit they’re gonna be put through.

If things work out, the Dolphins’s fortunes should start looking up right around the time Tom Brady and the Patriots are decommissioned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And so I’m rooting for my lost cause of a football team . . to suck mightily. For now. Because I’m done with the middle. In an all or nothing NFL world, I’m willing to take the latter for now. Because it’s a chance, which is something we haven’t had since Bill Clinton was installing a strippers pole in the Oval Office. And if this tanking strategy doesn’t work, the Dolphins can always dial up Pat Riley, who’ll be cooling his heels in retirement down in the Keys by then. And so what if he doesn’t know a lick about football.

He’d be perfect.

Damn Patriots

I was talking to a friend after the AB circus was cancelled in Oakland, leaving the deranged diva as the most toxic free agent since Kim Kardashian filed for divorce five minutes after marrying some NBA player.

“As long as Brown doesn’t sign with the Patriots, I’m good,” I joked.

“Dude . . Brown just signed with the Patriots . . ” My friend replied.

Of fucking course he did.

If there was any debate as to the most reviled franchise in professional sports, the New England Patriots just won it, again. Seriously . . gimme a more hated group than the boys from the 508. And no, ISIS doesn’t count.

Once upon a time, my beloved New York Yankees held that title with a seemingly eternal grip. In a swath of history that began with the Murderers Row lineup of 1927 and plowed through war torn lineups in the ’40’s, the golden age of baseball in the ’50’s and expansion in the ’60’s, the Yankees remained the most recognizable symbol of enmity in sports. They were immortalized on stage and screen as Damn Yankees, harmonized in Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson and despised by opposing fans everywhere.

They answered an eleven year championship drought- from 1964 to 1975- with a bunch of mercenaries and sons of bitches when the “Bronx Zoo” iteration won three straight pennants and two World Series titles in the late ’70’s. After which came ever more creative rivals to their most hated throne. The Los Angeles Lakers held a time share for most hated team in sports in the eighties, but Magic buffered any possibility of nuclear enmity. The Dallas Cowboys took up Mickey’s mantle in the ’90’s, but not for long enough a time to breach the gap.

The Russian hockey team was hated whenever the Winter Olympics came calling, but that was a matter of Stalin and Sputnik more than sport. The Edmonton Oilers were hated until Gretkzy was traded to America, after which all was forgiven. The Mets moved out of the Yankees basement in the mid eighties and became a renegade team of hate-worthiness, but their hard partying ways derailed any chance of a long term reign.

By the time the James Gang Miami Heat went Banksy on the Association in 2010, it was too late. The Yankees had already lost their Evil Empire to the New England Patriots. And it wasn’t even close.

The nexus of this changing of the guard came in the fall and winter of 2001-2002. The Yankees were at the height of their villainy entering a campaign in which they had added ace pitcher Mike Mussina from the rival Baltimore Orioles to a team that was favored to win a fourth straight title. When September 11th happened, it muted the national hatred for the pinstripes. Some fans even forged a temporary alliance with the Yanks on account of a city’s gaping wound. When the Yankees lost the World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks, it signaled both the end of a dynasty as well as their title as the most hated team in sports.

We just didn’t know it yet.

In February of 2002, the Patriots upset the heavily favored Rams in Super Bowl 36. To that point, Bill Belichick had been a middling disappointment as head coach and Tom Brady was a little known backup QB turned starter. The irony is that the Patriots shouldn’t have even made it to the Super Bowl that year, but for the “Tuck Rule Game” in which a Tom Brady fumble was ruled . . get this, an incomplete pass. Oh, and the team they beat in that infamous game? Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders. You really cannot make this shit up.

Fast forward seventeen years and the Patriots just screwed Gruden and the Raiders again with their signing of Antonio Brown. Unlike that first Super Bowl victory, the Patriots are no longer a feel good story. They have presided over an unprecedented run of success and scandal in the time since, collecting 6 Super Bowl titles, 9 Conference titles 16 division titles and more -Gates than the poshest neighborhood in Hollywood.

So now the most hated team has the most hated player. It’s the sporting equivalent of the Manson family adopting Pennywise. And okay yes . . Tom Brady is probably going to start acting his age this season and the Patriots can’t possibly make it back to the Super Bowl again and oh wait . . hold on I’ve got a phone call. Hey! It’s me calling, from this time last year!

Hey what’s up? Oh really, I said the same shit this time last year? 

Umm . . . never mind.

It doesn’t seem possible that a team birthed by monarch butterflies on a farm (I read it on the dark web) . . a team that once wore uniforms straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting . . a team that calls itself Patriots, could elicit the sort of rage my Yankees once took for granted.

It’s gotten so bad that after my pal Big Papi’s Orioles were basically eliminated from postseason play back in June, he told me he would be rooting for my Yankees to win it all. To which I replied with “Fuck you,”

I wonder if Antonio Brown plays baseball.

 

 

 

 

Snide of the Yankees

All that romance I was painting when I wrote about a day at the ballpark turned out to be a much needed prescription for my home town Bombers. Because after being held to one run in that eleven inning loss last Saturday, they exploded for thirteen runs the next day. And they haven’t lost since. I like to think we served as a baseball talisman for the pinstripes. It’s not the coziest notion, seeing as how there are thirty thousand peeps who think the same thing. But it still counts.

Anyways . . I figured since I was gifted with some free baseball at no additional cost (since the MLB hasn’t figured out how to tack that on yet ), Imma pass it along in kind.

  • The only time a hot dog is an entree is at the ballpark. Something happens to the little fuckers on the other side of the gates that ups the flavor equation exponentially. There’s nothing like having a dog at the game, because the game is the only place it tastes like Kobe beef with a fried egg on top.
  • That thirty thousand (or thereabouts) was the attendance for a Saturday afternoon first place showdown in which the weather was picture perfect says everything about the insane price structure of game tickets. In the quest to make each game an “experience”, the MLB has beaten the living shit out of the sticker price. I’d be sadder if I didn’t have the MLB network on speed dial.
  • As for those prices, it ain’t reserved for the seats. We grabbed a foot long, a bucket of chicken tenders and garlic fries with three drinks for the princely sum of $51 U.S. Mantles. I could have hosted a BBQ block party for less.

10148_1558851187135.jpeg

  • And no, alcohol was not included in that price, which would have added a ten spot to the bill.
  • Because I do not drink alcohol when the sun is in prime time. It’s not because I’m an alcoholic vampire, but thanks to the memory of a football game in Baltimore in the middle aughts when I made merry under the sun. The resultant headache had me wishing I was Tracy Mills from the movie Seven.
  • The wave has made a comeback at stadiums across the country. And it made me wonder where this collective psychosis originated, so I found this article that settles the matter.
  • It should be illegal for a man to wear a jersey . . even at the ballgame. It also should be illegal for a woman not to wear a jersey, wherever they like. Sorry dudes, they’re just better at it.
  • Is it wrong to feel provoked when I see a flat bill on a baseball cap?
  • Eleven dollars for a 16 oz Bud Light is only worth it if there’s a bottle of Jim Beam inside the can.
  • If you’re not in line to see Monument Park before 11:50 am, you’re out of luck. The gates open at 11:30 am. We were unaware of this short window as we strolled over to find our seats and then grabbed some dogs before heading over. We made it with three minutes to spare. Babe Ruth’s number was three. Coincidence? Probably, but I like to think the dogs worked in our favor. Even at six bucks a pop.
  • As we waited in line to get into the Stadium, a sixty something dude who was six pack pregnant took off his t-shirt to put on his Rays jersey. If I hadn’t already spent forty five bucks to park my car, I’d have given him a fifty spot to keep his t-shirt on. We’re standing right in front of a fucking sign that prohibits just about everything short of breathing but this guy can go horror story on our eyeballs. Jesus!

10113_1558851222020.jpeg

  • Why is it that conversations about sports always seem so smart when you’re spikes deep in them, but mindless when you’re eavesdropping?

About that Seinfeld skit: I spotted a fella of Italian descent several rows below us sporting a Jason Giambi t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. And my mind went here . . .

George: (Laughing) Jer, check out the guy in the fake Giambi jersey . . . amateur.
Jerry: Wait a minute . . are the sleeves cut off?
George: They are! Do you think he cut them off on purpose?
Jerry: What other possible explanation is there?
George: Who does that?!
Jerry: It’s unheard of!
George: There’s no room for people like this in civilized society!

From there, Jerry engages the fan in a conversation that goes sideways. After which Jerry and George end up being escorted from the Stadium by security.

  • The shift is the new phone booth stuffing. Scientifically speaking, it’s when the defense only butters one side of the bagel. It’s done so’s the hitter can’t pull the ball into real estate where they ain’t and it looks something like this.

The Shift

  • Players don’t know how to bunt any longer because bunts don’t get them paid.
  • It’s frightening how many dudes leave the men’s room without washing their hands.
  • What do you answer hot dogs, chicken tenders and a pound of garlic fries with? The responsible choice would’ve been salads, ice water and laxatives. Let the record show that a case of White Castles ain’t the responsible choice.

10149_1558322573582.jpeg

Welp, that’ll do it. I’d like to send out a special thank you to Gary Cooper’s stylish Brylcreem, Derek Jeter’s tarnished reputation and the lost (then found) files of Kate Smith.

Always bet diamonds.

I Got 99 Problems But A Pitch Ain’t One

10114_1558318092320.jpeg

Going to the new Yankee Stadium is an exercise in the megalomaniacal excesses of old money crashing head long into new money and making babies; entitled little creatures whose trust funded silver spoon was upgraded to platinum in the reboot. For a culture stuck in a perpetual hunger for all things next gen, this joint plays a peach melody.

I’m plenty fine with the new digs, really. It’s just that, as a Yankee fan of a certain age . . I adhere to the bargain basement sensibility that asks, “If it’s swimming just fine, why the harpoon?”. Of course, just like Jeopardy whiz James Holzhauer, I know the answer before the question is set into its stone foundation. Yankee Stadium Part 3 is a masterstroke of inevitability run amok. Where sports stadiums have become premium tier caviar cribs, loosing a greed-think philosophy which has turned a day at the ballgame into a Disney vacation replete with fine restaurants and overpriced everything else. Seats have become investments, patrons have become guests and season tickets have turned into catching a couple games a year, maybe.

I miss the Yankee Stadium that was replaced by this one. The history of that place alone should have placed it on the National Register of Historic Places. The names that played its stage define an epoch of sporting accomplishment. From Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio to Mantle, Jackson and Jeter. Not to mention the rivals who graced the coliseum of a golden age: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Satchel Paige and Hank Aaron. And that’s just the first chapter.

10123_1558318113368.jpeg

And oh yeah . . Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi coached there. Joe Louis and Max Schmeling fought there. The 1958 Title Game (“The Greatest Game Ever Played”) between the Colts and Giants was played there. And Pope Paul VI and later Pope John Paul II celebrated mass there. And that’s just chapter two.

As we’ve seen, Cathedrals do fall and time is an impatient beast when it comes to change. Hell, the game has been transformed into a stat geek’s paradise; what with infield shifts that resemble pileups on the BQE and players who don’t know what a bunt looks like, and feast or famine box scores. But through it all, the game is really still as simple as a pitcher telling a little white pill what to do while a batter tries to talk it into doing something else.

10125_1558318120713.jpeg

So it was that I took my son and his young bride to see the Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon, in a battle for first place in the American League East. A match-up of team aces, with the Yankees sending out Masahiro Tanaka and the Rays answering with 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell. Thing about aces, there are expectations. The crowd expects A plus cooking, so when he starts scribbling B work, the chatter can get colorful. I happen to think there’s a beauty to watching a pitcher negotiate outs from the third rail. And these two pitchers ransomed zeroes from their respective arsenals, as if devils at the wheel. Tanaka’s four seamer was flat lining and his slider called in sick and yet, he was able to muster six scoreless innings before getting hit on the shin and becoming the latest Yankee to hit the injured list, which reads like a Hemingway tally.

His counterpart, Blake Snell, has stuff that’s more wicked than a trigger happy ridge runner. And while his curve ball wasn’t fooling anyone, his Hi-Lo game kept the home team at bay; with a fastball that salted the rim and a change up that tossed them into the drink time after hopeless time.

10137_1558318150749.jpeg

One of my favorite things about the game is the down time, with which a writer chisels out Longfellow, Hopper and even a little Seinfeld. I talked with my son about that magical ride of a ’96 Yankees club. And then I studied the iconic facade that wraps itself around the holler of blue seats whilst pitching a Seinfeld skit inspired by the Goombah with the Giambi t-shirt a couple rows south of us that had the kids cracking up. We figured out the Yankees Rushmore somewhere in between.

As is my baseball ritual, I honed in on the infinite ripples of a game. Like how Tanaka stops on a dime at the quarter pole of his delivery. And how Luke Voit plays first base like the most earnest of rugby players. And how Kevin Kermaier of the Rays became my Grand Master of a most favorite baseball funk, with his insane between pitch stretches and his bantering to teammates and that Tarantino howitzer of an arm.

10142_1558318161622.jpeg

As is the new age custom, the bullpen took the keys a little more than halfway through and outside of a few hiccups, they made it into extra innings after a Gio Urshela drive to deep right died two feet short of a walk off home run celebration for the Bombers. In Kermaier’s mitt, because of course. And then Austin Meadows of the Rays tore a moon beam into those same right field seats two innings later to give the visitors the lead for good.

The 2-1 win gave the Rays temporary possession of first place. And from the looks of it, these guys are intent on being a thorn in the sides of baseball royalty this season. Talent is the greatest equalizer, and when you have the chops to do something about it, you always got next.

Because some things never go out of style.

It’s Deja Vu, All Over Again

Fucking Patriots.

They make me want to dabble in communism. They make me feel like the Brits were misunderstood. They make me want to subvert the steeple chase of a nut that Thomas Paine broke bread with once upon a time. The one that made babies with capitalism and stirred up tasty drinks in the form of monthly baby daddy payments to Uncle Sam’s house of rocket fuel.

This ain’t bitterness talking. It’s . . . wait for it . . . common sense.

How do we find ourselves here for the third time in five years? Because the Patriots are more buttoned up than Luca Brasi on a Smith and Wesson bender. While rival clubs engage in trade demands, holdouts and the kind of drama that would make Meryl Streep get all hot and bothered, the Patriots simply are. They are not exciting like the Chiefs, they do not possess the soap opera twists and turns of the Steelers and they are nowhere near as pretty as the Rams. All they’re good at is winning the last game of the year. And to that end, they are really, really good.

I’ll take Marco’s loose thoughts for a dollar, Alex . . .

  • Tony Romo is a maestro when it comes to calling a football game. And you know why that is? Because the dude is unpretentious, that’s why. He refuses to chime and dime on the dilly of the current template. Where “running north to south” and “going vertical” are downhill slang terms used by the so called experts who feel the need to justify the Armani. Until they’re cut loose for being nickels on a dollar’s worth of investment. Romo is different. He’s bright, he’s real, he’s effusive and he knows what is going down. On a Buffalo Springfield level of expertise.
  • Sean McVay didn’t lose his smarts overnight. But its funny how a dude twice his age kicked his ass in the biggest game of the year. Convincingly. Will rival executives have an “oh shit!” moment as a result? Because there were a lot of dudes hired because they worked under McVay or they were FB friends with McVay or they rode an elevator with him once. Moral of the story? Winning organizations act. Everyone else reacts.
  • My silver lining in Sunday night’s shit show was Brian Flores, the brand new head coach of the Miami Dolphins. His defense looked like the ’85 Bears. Now, he goes from a team that does its business the right way to the South Beach Social Club. I believe he’s up for the challenge, but time will tell.
  • Someone please tell Adam Levine that showing your nipples ain’t worth the price of admission unless you’re Janet Jackson.
  • Price of admission is Gladys Knight. She is velvet to the senses when her syllables take flight. I remember seeing her in Vegas and marveling at how she turned every single song into Friday night.
  • Remember back when everybody was bemoaning the lack of defense after that 54-51 game the Rams and Chiefs played earlier in the year? Peeps insisted the game had morphed into the NBA. Welp, the Vegas books put the over under for total points scored in the Super Bowl at 56 points . . to which these offensive juggernauts answered with 16 points. I guess defense still matters, after all.
  • Tom Brady looked like Mark Sanchez for most of that game. But for a couple passes in the fourth quarter that were bread basket perfect. Some players, such as Jared Goff, find it damn near impossible to face up to the big moment. Brady lives for it.
  • I dunno if the Saints would have been able to fare any better than the Rams against that suddenly tenacious Patriots defense. But I do know they could have done better than three points. Hell, the Dolphins could have done better than three points.
  • It’s pretty sad when, up until the fourth quarter the highlight of the game was a punt. I believe it was a record setting one, but I forget and you know why? Because it’s a punt . . .
  • It almost looked as if the Patriots D knew what was coming before the Rams snapped the ball. Which, if you’re a follower of the NFL, is always going to make you wonder, given the organization’s rap sheet.
  • Bravo to the Swiss Army Knife known as Julian Edelman for being the MVP not named Brady. Edleman missed the first four games of the season due to a PED suspension. If this were baseball it would have been a major story but in football, it’s an accepted fact.

And my one final thought on the national nightmare that is the New England Patriots.

They’re gonna have to be taken out the way Luca Brasi was taken out. By a band of young turks that wield knives on a doctorate level of Dante. The end of this reign must be certain, swift and surgical. And make no mistake, they will not surrender until the throne is taken from their cold dead hands. The team that slays this dragon is gonna have to do what the Patriots coaches are doing right now, as we speak.

Start planning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roman Numerals Gone Wild!

Super Bowl

The Chicago Bears will take on the New England Patriots in Atlanta tonight in the . . . oh shit, I’m sorry. I was thinking ahead to next year’s Super Bowl, my bad! This year it’s the Rams, next year the Bears and after that the Federal Regulatory Commission will force Bob Kraft to sell Tom Brady to science, with the rest of the team being sold for parts. Bill Belichick will be extradited to Gondor.

Lots has changed since the last time the Rams and Patriots met in the Super Bowl seventeen years ago. In Super Bowl 36, the St Louis Rams were heavy favorites, had the MVP quarterback and were going for their second title in three seasons. The Patriots had gotten to the big game on a fluke play, their head coach’s job security had been called into question a year prior, and their quarterback was a skinny backup named Brady who scored the starting job after starter Drew (Wally Pipp) Bledsoe went down with an injury.

Fast forward to now, and the Patriots are Team Google while the Rams are back in Los Angeles, even if most Angelenos are probably unaware of this fact. New England is the Vegas pick while the Rams are the new darlings of the dance. And the only reason I’m excited is because we’re gonna be chowing down on Jimmie John’s.

We’ll have a few things to say about those chowdah head fans who ain’t coming to Atlanta, seeing as how they’ve done it every other year for two and a half decades. And we’ll have a few more things to say about the Los Angeles Rams being a misnomer for displaced Lakers fans who got priced out of the Staples Center when LeBron hit town.

Some relatively true facts about the big game ? Why the hell not . . .

1- The Super Bowl was named after a bouncy ball.
2- The Detroit Lions are banned from Super Bowl competition as a result of their proximity to Canada.
3- Tickets to the first Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders went for $12. The price of a Super Bowl LIII game program goes for $18.
4- The Patriots pushed to seal records proving Tom Brady was a stonemason in medieval times, which would make him 1,543 years old. If the documents were to be released, New England’s titles would be vacated since vampires are only permitted to work for the league office.
5- After Miami won Super Bowl VII, Coach Don Shula’s watch was stolen by a fan who shook his hand on the field.
6- Even though Chik-fil-A has a restaurant inside Mercedes Benz Stadium, they won’t be open today on account of that other holy day.
7- Seventeen million people will call in sick tomorrow. No word yet as to whether the Trump administration will declare a national emergency.
8- Janet Jackson contemplated putting her famous Super Bowl halftime nipple up for auction at Sotheby’s before deciding against it. Her business manager explained that Jackson wished to hold onto her titular rights.
9- It is estimated that more than thirty percent of the ‘fans’ in attendance at this year’s game will write it off as a corporate expense.
10- More than two billion wings will be consumed during the Super Bowl. And this ain’t even mentioning the fact that the game essentially serves as Black Friday for pizzerias.

Super Bowl Sunday is the one day of the year when Americans can eat whatever the fuck they want, drink copious amounts of alcohol and behave like children. Check that, it’s the one day of the year when all that shit is celebrated. Some peeps even want to petition to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. The petition drive never gets very far on account of the fact most of these peeps are alcoholics or degenerate gamblers. In most instances, both.

I don’t have a legit rooting interest seeing as how my Dolphins are conscientious objectors when it comes to the last game of the year. The last time I had a legit rooting interest in the Super Bowl, Budweiser was my beer of choice and I was going to marry my high school sweetheart(s).

Even my cat, Mr Speaker, is at a loss when it comes to the outcome of this year’s game. After correctly predicting the last two champions, we couldn’t get him to pick a winner this time around. Our voting system consists of post it notes and treats, but this year, he wasn’t having it. My daughter says it’s because he thought the system was rigged.

And he’s not even from New Orleans.

BREAKING NEWS . . . . After an impasse last night in which Mr Speaker refused to cast his vote, a special session was convened early this morning. The results of this ‘runoff’ have the Rams defeating the Patriots. 

Ruth and Consequences

 

Babe

It doesn’t feel like fourteen years.

That’s how long it’s been since the Yankees and Red Sox last met in October. It was the year when A-Rod became the biggest four letter word in baseball after being traded to the Yankees. The year when Curt Schilling became the biggest four letter word to Yankees fans. And it was the year when the Sawx erased an 0-3 deficit in the ALCS and took down the Bronx Bombers, giving Babe Ruth a much deserved sleep after eighty five long years.

As a Yankees fan, it was a fucking nightmare.

My team was Vegas buttah that season. They were Shakespeare on paper and savagely expert at winning big moments once the leaves turned. They owned the diamond in a way Liz Taylor would’ve appreciated, and they were spit roasting the New England Nine over the first three games of the 2004 ALCS to the tune of 32-16. The Evil Empire was primed and ready to quash the rebellion and take their arch-rivals out in a four game sweep. It was over . . .

And then Dave Fucking Roberts stole second base off the great Mariano Rivera and changed everything. When Roberts scored to tie the game at four in the bottom of the ninth, it was a tremor and when Big Papi smacked a two run walk off homer in the twelfth to stave off elimination . . it was a quake. But when Big Papi hit another game winning homer in extra innings the following night to cut the Yankees lead in the series to three games to two?

Shit . .  got real.

The rest became Dickens, with a tale that two cities will take to their blessed baseball graves. To anyone who calls the 2018 division series between these blood rivals a chance for pinstripe redemption . . or reaffirmation for the Bosox, well . . they have no idea what they’re talking about.

This, ain’t that.

Truth be told, I’m glad the “Curse of the Bambino” won’t be painting the corners of this series. As romantic a notion as it was, it also happened to be complete bullshit.

The “Curse” refers to a long held notion by certain baseball peeps that when Boston sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919, it unleashed a sinister pox on their title chances forevermore. What these peeps were saying, in essence, was that shitty management and even shittier performances in pressure situations had nothing to do with the fact that Boston couldn’t win. It was all Babe Ruth’s fault. For eighty five years, the Yankees behaved like the grown ups at the table by taking care of business and collecting more hardware than a mechanic. While the Red Sox played hide and seek with Babe Ruth.

Okay, when the light hitting Bucky Dent did this to the Red Sox in the 1978 one game playoff at Fenway . . the dramatic effect was Bambino’esqe. But it was one game, one lucky shot.

Between 1919 and 2004, the Red Sox won the division title five times and the pennant twice. And it would be worth noting they beat out the Yankees to do so each time. Hell, it could be argued the other New York team delivered Boston its most wicked October pain when they did this . . .

And no, Babe Ruth never played for the Mets.

The Yankees and Red Sox didn’t meet in a legit playoff series until 1999, after MLB expanded the playoffs. Their 2004 tilt was only their third playoff meeting, ever. And ooookay . . the memories of what happened the year before were still fresh in the minds of every New Englandah worth his chowdah . . .

But Aaron Boone’s family tree ain’t got the Babe sitting up in it, so there’s that. Quite simply, it was the self full-filling prophecy of an organization that tripped over its shoelaces more than Charlie Brown. All that bad juju was their own damn fault, but like every other loser, the Red Sox had to blame someone else. So why not the dead guy?

Until 2004, when they stopped taking no for an answer and made October theirs for the first time since Woodrow Wilson was in office. And it pains me to say this but Imma do it anyway. That’s how it had to go down, if the Red Sox were ever going to get past all the curse nonsense. They had to rip the hearts out of every Yankees fan, the way New England’s heart was ripped out inside all those winters that came much too early. It was only fair.

Tonight isn’t about Bucky Dent or Dave Roberts, Ron Guidry or Curt Schilling. Big Papi and A-Rod are making tee times now. Aaron Boone will take the field, but this time as Yankees manager. All those names have been replaced with Judge and Torres, Betts and Bogaerts, Sale and Happ.

The Sox have won three World Series titles since breaking through in 2004 while the Yankees haven’t won since 2009, so yeah . . things have changed considerably since they last faced off. And while I never did buy all that curse business, let’s just say I wouldn’t be upset if the Babe decided to tune in.

For old time’s sake.