Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Kicks

I am traveling on Friday, so these Free Kicks are being put together on Thursday night (I just couldn’t bear to leave my regular segment to the whims of Windsor or Falco- I don’t want to make them stoop that low). Luckily the blog is a good deal more entertaining than enduring the flailing about of Casey Bramlet, not that I can blame him having been signed today. How exactly do you even begin to understand anything in a playbook in the 6 or 7 hours of study he was able to get in before being thrown out onto the field? Hell, I would imagine all he would know how to do would be how to line up for the kick.

Dead Means Dead… Unless You’re ESPN

I was already getting tired of commentators asking “Are the Yankees dead in the playoff hunt?” when the Red Sox-Yankees hysteria was renewed a few days ago. After the Red Sox won the first two games of the series, the second by convincing fashion, there was the regular rounds of asking whether there was any chance the Yankees would come back. Almost universally the answer was “No, the Yankees are done.” But what was today’s most prolific topic of baseball conversation after the Yankees orchestrated a comeback win? “Are the Yankees REALLY dead?” Look, dead means dead- or at least it should.

If you are going to say that it is over completely for a team, stick with it for a bit. At least 24 hours, that is all I ask. But without people making wild declarative statements and withdrawing them the next day, people might not lay down before the invented rivalry and begin to pay attention to the teams that are actually leading the standings. Has it occurred to anyone, by the way, that these teams are not even at the top of their division? Give me the NL Central race; even give me the NL West race. Being in New York or Boston doesn’t make you special- it just gives me a headache.

Football is Here, Hide the Children

I love college football, I am seeing a game this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited. I love pro football- if the tickets didn’t cost more than a kidney on the black market I would be able to go. A world where every game has playoff implications (or the imaginary college National Championship) is absolutely thrilling in stark contrast to the 162 game marathon of baseball that is wrapping up. Soon the sports world will be overwhelmed with the “next Boise State” or the “next New York Giants” or any “next” the sports commentators decide to come up with. I care about South Carolina-NC State (I am rooting for the Ol’ Ball Coach, by the way), I will care about Jets-Dolphins in Week 1. Baseball is great, but there is nothing like the suspense and excitement of a great football game. Go Terps, Go Ravens, and enjoy the season.

Some things are Just Baltimore things

My girlfriend is from out of state, and while a big college sports fan and a big tennis fan, she has yet to form a strong tie to any professional teams. Naturally, I have tried my best to subtly (and not so subtly) nudge her towards the Ravens and Orioles. I am lucky- I grew up here. You can’t explain to someone why a game at Camden Yards is such a wonderful place to go even when the Orioles lose (and is special because you can still call it a great day even after the loss). You can’t explain to someone how a 10-3 defensive struggle from the Ravens D is somehow just as exhilarating as a 38-31 shootout. It is hard to teach someone why the memory of the Baltimore Colts still matters, or why Cal Ripken is a hero in retirement (and why the name “Ironbirds” is so very clever for his team). Some things you don’t understand unless you have been here for your youth, unless you have grown up in the spirit of this overlooked but beloved city of Baltimore (and state of Maryland, for that matter). Oh well, I guess I’m just lucky.

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