Monday, October 27, 2008
First off, I now have a favorite NFL football coach. Hall of Famer Mike Singletary was named the interim head coach of the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and coached his first game on Sunday. Although the Niners got beat by the lowly Seattle Seahawks 34-13, I firmly believe that he's got what it takes to be a successful NFL head coach.
For a guy that's never been a head coach before, he sure hit the ground running. In the second quarter, he benched starting quarterback J.T. O'sullivan after he threw his second interception of the game. Then, in the fourth quarter, starting tight end Vernon Davis (a former first round pick) got an unnecessary roughness penalty after he slapped the facemask of a Seahawks defender after a 7 yard reception. The following is an excerpt from the Associated Press article on NFL.com about what happened when Davis went to the sideline...
Davis tried to avoid his coach as he ran to the sideline, but Singletary got in his face and gave him an earful before sending him to the bench. Singletary said he was upset by what he considered a nonchalant attitude by Davis, who did not seem to understand why his coach was so upset.
Singletary later walked over to talk to Davis on the bench, yelling some more at the former No. 6 overall pick in full view of his teammates. Then with 10:41 remaining in the game, Singletary went back to Davis and told him to go to the locker room. Davis started walking before being called back to get his helmet. He then waved his helmet at the crowd as he left.
"I'd rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team," Singletary said. "It is more about them than it is about the team. Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them. Can't do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win."
Davis wanted to talk to his coach after the game, but Singletary advised against it.
"I told him he did not want to talk to me," Singletary said. "I assured him, 'You do not want to talk to me right now.' "
I sincerely hope that Mike Singletary is able to get a full time NFL head coaching job after this season. I hope that the Detroit Lions are aware of this...
Now, back to baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies are now 1 game away from winning the World Series. The Tampa Rays are experiencing something similar to what the Red Sox experienced during the ALCS. Their heavy hitters are not hitting. Evan Longoria is 0-16, Carlos Pena is 0-13, and ALCS MVP B.J. Upton is only 4-16 with 0 home runs. Combine that with the Phillies bats coming alive (Ryan Howard hit 2 home runs and drove in 5 last night) and that makes it all the more difficult for the Rays to win. Unless the Rays start hitting, this series will end tonight.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Denis Savard today...AFTER 4 GAMES!!!
Hours after winning their first game of the year against the Phoenix Coyotes, Savard was let go. The Blackhawks were only 1-2-1 on the very young season so far.
Since I am still new to the game of hockey, I decided to do a little bit of research. Savard was 40-34-8 while having a bunch of young hockey players take a lot of minutes. This was their first 40 win season since the 2001-2002 campaign. Over his Blackhawk coaching career, Savard posted a record of 65-66-16 over parts of three seasons as a coach.
It seems to me that Savard had the Blackhawks heading in the right direction. But then I thought to myself, "was it personal?". Unless Savard did something so horrific in the past three games, it couldn't have been personal. The new owner has been there for a little over a year and if he didn't like/want Savard as coach, then he would have made a change already.
But why make a change now? The Blackhawks management had to have known that they wanted to make a change in the off season, or even during pre season games. Why not make a change then?
I just don't understand why they would wait until this early in the season to make a change. With a hockey legend like Scotty Bowman in the front office, I would think that they would be smarter than that.
Joel Quenneville is the new head man on the Blackhawks bench. He has been around and will bring a wealth of experience the this young team. Previously, he had been working as a scout for the Blackhawks.
It will be interesting to see how this change affects the Blackhawks this season. I for one, will be paying attention.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees' longtime ace and current pitching coach, told how he came to believe in the power of foul-line avoidance. He said that a Yankees coach, Jim Hegan, told him one day before a game with the Twins that it was a silly belief, and that stepping on the foul line would have no effect on his performance.
Stottlemyre thought he might have a point, and cavalierly stepped on the foul line as he went out to face the Twins. Here's his account of that day's game in "The Baseball Almanac":
"The first batter I faced was Ted Uhlaender, and he hit a line drive off my left shin. It went for a hit. Carew, Oliva and Killebrew followed with extra-base hits. The fifth man hit a single and scored and I was charged with five runs. I haven't stepped on a foul line since."
The Twins made the World Series that season, and Viola learned that Dornfield didn't have a ticket. That prompted Kathy Viola, Frank's wife, to call Dornfield up and offer him tickets to Games 1 and 7. As SI reported, "With the banner proudly unfurled, Viola won both games and was named Series MVP."
Monday, October 6, 2008
I'd just like to take a moment here to apologize to the Boston Red Sox. It was my fault that they lost last night. It was my fault that they did not clinch the division series.
How could I, a sports fan in Kalamazoo, have any affect whatsoever on a Boston Red Sox game? Plenty.
As some of you may know, I can be superstitious when it comes to sports, especially baseball. When I was working Battle Creek, with the Michigan Battle Cats, I thought that I was a jinx on the team in the playoffs. In fact, no team that I ever worked for had won a playoff game. So when the 2000 Midwest League playoffs started, the Battle Cats were playing at home for the first two games of the opening round of the playoffs verses the Fort Wayne Wizards. I was at the game, but I didn't watch one pitch. I spent most of the game either underneath the grandstand or simply looking down at my feet. Most people outside the baseball community would say that this was stupid, but when the Battle Cats won those games I was even more convinced. When the series shifted to Fort Wayne, the entire front office staff decided to go. I stayed behind because if I went, I was sure that they would lose. So I stayed behind and listened to the game on the radio in my parents car in the driveway (I don't remember why). I was busy that night and wasn't able to start listening to the game until the 4th inning. Well, the Battle Cats won that night to clinch the series! So, naturally when the next series came about, everyone traveled to the game except for me. And I wouldn't go out to the car to listen to the game until the 4th inning. And guess what! The Battle Cats didn't lose another game for the rest of the playoffs! They won the Midwest League championship and I got a ring!
What does this have to do with the Red Sox/Angels game last night? Well, my normal routine is 2 chicken strips with ranch dressing at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the chicken strips in the toaster oven until the second inning (with the Red Sox already down 1-0). Then I forgot to set temperature on the toaster oven, so they weren't done when the timer went off.
So I set the temperature again and went back to watching the game. During that time, the Sox retook the lead, 3-1. Then Angels catcher Mike Napoli came to the plate just as the timer for my food went off. Normally, I don't like to miss any of the game. I'll wait for commercials to go and do anything. But, I didn't want my chicken strips to burn, so I figured that I'll hurry up and just get them. WRONG DECISION!! During the 30 seconds that it took to get my food, Mike Napoli hit a two run home run to tie the game!! I only saw it on replay.
That's just a coincidence, you say? Well, a couple of innings later I came back out from the other room to watch the rest of the game in the living room. While I was switching rooms, Mike Napoli was up again. And guess what!?!? During my room to room switch, that guy hit a solo home run to put the Angels up 4-3!!! Coincidence? I think not. So I made it a point to sit in one spot for the rest of the game and not leave the room for anything. And it started to work because the Red Sox were able to tie the game.
Alas, my efforts were too little, too late. So I'd like to apologize the the Boston Red Sox. And I promise to never again sway from my superstitions during the playoffs again. The chicken strips with ranch dressing will be baked and ready to consume by the time that the first pitch is thrown.
Also, for those keeping track at home, I went 3-0 on my college picks and 12-4 (my best week ever) on my NFL picks. That gives me a cumulative record of 53-29 on the season and a success rate of 65%.