Thursday, October 30, 2008

Philadelphia Freedom

Last night something happened in Philadelphia. It was more than just a win. It was more than a World Series championship. It was a giant sigh of relief. A weight was lifted off an entire fan base. After 25 years of no championships for a city, years of almosts wons, years of letdowns, last night the city rejoiced. And I was lucky enough to be around for it.

After a monsoon suspended the game, Philadelphians started to think that even God was conspiring to keep them from winning a championship. The faith in this team started to wane and doubt was creeping into the city that had been smiling just days earlier. Yes, it was really odd, people in Philadelphia were uncharacteristically happy. There was a gasp of inevitability when Rocco Baldelli hit a home run to tie the game for Tampa. And then Pat Burrell crossed the plate on a hit by Pedro Feliz to take a 4-3 lead and the team never looked back. And then, last night the city celebrated.

People rushed onto Broad Street. There was much hugging and high five-ing and general good will. Yes, there was some mayhem, some banners torn down, some lights broken, a few cars flipped, and a few fires started. But the overwhelming sense was not one of a riot scene but more of a big party. For all the videos on youtube of people acting the way you would expect Philadelphians would, there were far more people toasting the city, and just being drunk, happy fans.

I was almost disappointed in the lack of destruction. I expected a little more from the city of Angryville. But maybe this is a different city now. One that doesn't boo every time something goes a little wrong. One that doesn't feel the need to destroy all the city that finally has a championship. We'll see what happens as the afterglow fades. Since the moment Brad Lidge finished his perfect season, this city has been in emotional overload. There was laughing and crying and hugs and kisses and cheers and car tipping and fires. This was a moment that changed the lives and attitudes of every Philadelphia fan.

Why Can't Us is now YES US CAN!

Congratulations Philadelphia, it's been a long time coming.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ravens Offense Runs Wild

This weekend was a little bit of sports overload for me. Homecoming, World Series, Ravens game, as well as an exam on Monday and a paper due Thursday left me a somewhat overwhelmed. So while I was super excited about the Ravens' win over Oakland, it was hard for me to find time to write about it. Please excuse this late editorial about last weekends game. It was one of the most fun games to watch in a while. It was almost as if Oakland was so bad the Ravens felt they could just run any offensive scheme. And well, they were kind of right.

The Ravens are a team that relies on its defense. Defense wins championships. This is something we have been taught again and again and again. But as many times as I hear this adage, it doesn't matter, offense is fun to watch. And as a Ravens fan, offense has been sorely missing. When there is something exciting happening in a Ravens game, it's usually bad, or a brief moment of defensive brilliance. But offense is what crowds want to see. And the Ravens came through winning 29-10.

Last weekend the Ravens went wild. Defensive players playing offense. Quarterbacks playing receivers. Trick plays, running plays, passing plays, overwhelming amounts of offense. Forget Miami's Wildcat, Baltimore has their two quarterback offense. And I'll take any offense that scores points for the Ravens. Especially when there is an extra skilled player, Troy Smith, on the field.

I think Flacco is great. Or at least is going to be great. He has shown poise and the ability to bounce back after losing. But I feel a little twinge for Troy Smith. He won a Heisman and would have been starting this season if not for a virulent strain of tonsillitis. He lost over 20 lbs. in two weeks. Man I want that diet, except if I lost 20 lbs I might shrivel up and die. Anyway, he is a great player, even if he's not our starting quarterback, it helps to have him on the field.

And this weekend the Ravens coaching staff came to the same conclusion. So Cam Cameron, Rex Ryan and John Harbaugh decided to utilize this valuable asset. And it worked out well. It was really fun to watch Troy Smith throw a 43 yard pass to Joe Flacco. Flacco could have had a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown if he had not tripped near the goal line. But still, an unusually fun game by the Ravens.

Yes, it was against the Oakland Raiders. And without their star running back Darren McFadden. But still, it was good to see the Ravens offense put the points on the board. This was a showdown of defensive coordinators. With the Ravens Rex Ryan going up against his brother, the Raiders, Rob Ryan. It was clear the Rex was the winner on Sunday.

I hope the offense continues to produce. I also hope they keep utilizing all the possible strengths and assets that are available. If they do, it'll be a fun season for Ravens fans. Because while our defense will continue to be stellar, our offense will finally start to match up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Suspense is Killing Me

Last night was the night the Phillies were supposed to end their city's misery. Last night, the unstoppable Cole Hamels took the mound to finish off those upstart Rays and clinch the World Series. But alas, it was not to happen. Mother Nature, father Commissioner and Big Brother network colluded to play in terrible conditions. It was raining when the game started. And as the field turned to swamp and the base paths turned to bog, the game was not called.

The Phils went up 2-0 in the first inning. And it was not until B.J. Upton scored the tying run in the top of the 6th that the game was suspended. This is a game that should not have been started. It should have been delayed. But Commissioner Bud Selig gets different weather reports than everyone else. His reports only called for a little rain. But he was still worried before the game started. He told the managers that this game would not be called because of rain. I think that was the right call after a initially wrong decision.

Even starting the game earlier would have led to playing in terrible conditions. But there was no way that could have happened. Fox was not going to let this game be played in any spot other than prime time. Even if the forecast had been better. Bud Selig wouldn't have had the power to go against the mighty network that already dictates so much of the World Series schedule. Even the game that was supposed to be restarted today was not going to get broadcast until 8 pm. However, Mother Nature is still not cooperating. It is absolutely miserable today. Rain, possibly snow in some places, is pounding the area, and even if it stops the wind is gusting.

MLB has announced that the game will not be resumed tonight but will have to wait to try again tomorrow. This is much to the chagrin of the Rays. They had checked out of their hotel yesterday before the game. And the hotel was booked for tonight by the out of town fans. So they had to scramble to find a new place to stay last night. Let's hope they still have rooms open for tonight.

But back to Selig's decision. No player wants to win or lose the World Series due to a rain out. It seems unfair. And I understand Selig's reluctance to call the game. But there should be some contingency plans for bad weather. Especially as the baseball season gets longer and longer. The game could have been suspended before it was complete, which would have led to it being continued when the weather allowed. Selig waited too long to suspend the game. But suspending it was the right thing to do. Even if he did wait til the game was tied. Hamels had lost the ability to control the ball and couldn't pitch anything but fastballs. But Kazmir and Balfour both had to deal with the same conditions. And the fielding was equally as hard for the Rays as the Phillies. No one should have been playing in those conditions. It took away the pitchers' control, the fielders' grip, and the runners' speed. It was a miracle that B.J. Upton was able to run through the muck and mire to make it home.

But there is one other group that did not want this game postponed. It was the Phillie fans. They wanted to go to the game last night. They wanted to see their team win. They did not want another day off to wait to celebrate. The fans could almost taste the victory. They could sense the agony of 100 years without a championship was about to end. There would have been unhappy people in Philly no matter what Selig decided to do. Philadelphia may be pissed about the way last night was handled, but they would not have been happy regardless. The weather was not cooperative for them.

I'm not that upset. I wasn't really that excited about going and celebrating in the cold rain that came down last night. I'm sure the fires from the riots that I'm sure will ensue if the Phillies win might have helped to keep me warm. But I had my fill of drinking outdoors in the rain at homecoming this weekend. So maybe tomorrow night will be better. And maybe tomorrow night will finally bring the celebration this city is so craving.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Black Out

This weekend I traveled back to Maryland to go to the Homecoming game. And by game, I mean tailgate. I went home to see my brother and some friends who I thought were going to the game. In typical Meghan fashion, I made no plans beforehand about tailgating and didn't make any definite plans with my friends. We all just said that we would meet up at the tailgate somewhere. "Send a text when you get there" type of thing. Of course, this led to none of us having actual tailgates. I also had no ticket to the game. I figured if the weather was decent I'd scalp a ticket once I got there.

Luckily my sister has more organized friends. So my brother and I crashed her tailgate. We brought beer and put in some money for food, so we weren't total freeloaders. And then basically we drank in the rain. Which actually was beneficial for some of the games we were playing. Please ask me how to play shotgun, shotgun. Because the sky continued to open up and pour down on us, my brother and I decided to forgo the game and just watch it at a bar where hopefully we could dry off soon.

But the game was not on TV! I'm serious! THE MARYLAND HOMECOMING GAME WAS NOT ON TELEVISION, NOT EVEN IN COLLEGE PARK! Not even on some crappy channel. Maryland is ranked in the AP poll this week. They had not lost to a ranked team. What the hell. I didn't even think to check if the game was televised. How could it not be. I have never hated all networks more. I sat dripping wet in bar in College Park and all I wanted was to watch my alma mater beat up on NC State.

Maryland did go on to win the game. I listened to some of it as my brother drove us home to Baltimore. But really, I don't want to talk about. This game made the Terps bowl eligible. This win ties Maryland for first place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. The Terps finally beat a team they were supposed to beat. This game was could have been so special. This was a chance for the alumni to watch even if they weren't at the game. To celebrate in College Park. But in wasn't the rain that put the main damper on the mood. It was the inability to watch the game.

Stupid networks.

Yeah, I'm still a little bitter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Talkin Bout a Ray-volution

Last night was Game 2 of the World Series. The Phillies played roughly the same game as they did in Game 1. But this time they did not have their ace, Cole Hamels pitching and as a result, the game had a very different result. Neither team was very good at getting hits with runners in scoring position. But Tampa Bay managed to get people on early and then score on ground outs. So they managed to drive in runs without hits and win the game 4-2. Jamie "Big Game" Shields managed to live up to his name and pitch 5 2/3 scoreless innings. And the young pitching star Price came out and stopped Philly for the last few innings. He even helped to increase the drama by throwing erratically to walk Utley on four pitches only to strike out the next batter, Howard.

But that kind of play was the standard for the Phils all night. The Phillies are now 1 for 28 with runners in scoring position this series. They were 0 for 13 in the first game and 1 for 15 in game 2. The Rays had similarly bad numbers but managed to score anyway. And they showed that they will keep finding ways to win. While it seems like the Phils are trying to find ways to lose.

There is one positive for me about the Phils loss. It now means that the Phils cannot sweep the Rays and end the series on Sunday night. I have an exam on Monday and therefor would not be able to join in the raucous celebration on Sunday. So thank you Ryan Howard for going 50 at bats without a home run. I know you just want to let people savor this series. The city of Philadelphia would like to enjoy this moment for as long as possible.

Tomorrow the series moves to Philly. Hopefully the home crowd will help inspire the Phightins to get some hits and actually get some runners home. This team left 11 runners on base last night. That's just sad. I can already hear the boos if this keeps up. And with the ALCS MVP , Matt Garza, taking the mound tomorrow, the Phils are really going to have to find their swing. We'll also get to see if Jamie Moyer can use his experience to shut down this young Rays lineup. Or maybe the Rays will break out like they did in Boston? If so the Philly bullpen better be ready to come out early and work hard.

I'm still pulling for the Phillies. But as I said before, I'm an Orioles fan and consequently no stranger to heartbreak. Anyway, GO PHILLIES!!

Side Note: I wrote most of this post on the way back to Maryland for the Maryland Homecoming tomorrow on the Chinatown bus. I know, it's crazy to think that cheap crappy bus now has free Wifi. But I forgot one crucial lesson when riding the Chinatown bus, never sit near the back unless there are no other seats available. The closer you get to the back the closer you get to the bathroom and the more it smells. I had forgotten this and just wanted to pass on the word. For anyone not familiar with the Chinatown bus, its a cheap bus that will take you up and down the northeast corridor from Chinatown to Chinatown. It costs $15 to go from Philly to DC or Baltimore and even less to go from Philly to New York. Despite its sometime smelly nature, its cheaper, more reliable and faster than Greyhound. I figure with the way the economy is looking, cheap transport is in pretty high demand. Plus now they have free internet. So its not all bad.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phillies Win Despite Trying to Blow Game

Last night was Game 1 of the World Series featuring the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays. And despite the Phillies attempts to lose the game, Cole Hamels' amazing performance propelled them to a win. While Kazmir pitched a great game, Hamels was the more dominant pitcher. He has now won 4 games in the post season. Which is a feat few others have attained. It sets the stage for a Hall of Fame career. He's young and has a great upside.

The rest of the Phillies kind of bumbled there way to the 3-2 win. They stranded eleven players on base and had a pretty bad communication with at a play at first in the first inning. Somehow no Phillie made it to the bag after a routine grounder. Luckily B.J. Upton hit into double play to erase the mistake. But for a the first few innings I really thought Philly was trying to screw it up. I mean they are cursed. And I am cheering for them now, and everyone knows I'm a sucker for a heart breaker. Yeah, having me rooting for the Phillies might not be what the city wants right now.

The other shining star of last night was Chase Utley. His first inning two run home run created a lead the Rays were never able to overcome. And the run Victorino managed to score was enough to keep the Phils on top for the game. But man, are those guys going to have to play better tonight. It'll be hard to win a lot of games playing like that. Especially if the Rays find their swings. Hopefully the bats of the Phillies will come alive tonight and help propel them to a 2-0 game lead heading back to Philadelphia.

Side Note: Jayson Werth looks like a meth addict. I must have said this about 50 times last night. But every time I saw him I was just as shocked. Does he really think he looks good? Really? Really?

The Rays have feed off adversity all season long. They lost the first game of the ALCS to Boston and then managed to split in Tampa and then took two in Boston. So Philly needs to watch out for this scrappy team. They don't have any playoff loss history to bog them down. The Rays can come back and will try to tonight. It should be fun to watch. The Rays don't have as big a drop of from their number 1 to number 2 pitchers as the Phils do. Both the starting pitchers can be brilliant but they can also be a little shaky. Pitching is the key to this series, just like every series. But with two teams with big bat potential, its the pitcher that can keep the other team in check that will dominate this game. (I should be a TV sports commentator with obvious statements like that...Networks I'll be waiting for your call.)

Game 2 is about to start, so I'm going to watch and I'll try to get back here tomorrow with more pithy commentary about the state of the series.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can Both Teams Win?

I've said several times that I was glad there was going to be a Rays-Phils World Series. And while I am excited to see two fresh faces in the line up, it leaves me with a slight dilemma. Which team should I root for? My team's season is long over. So that leaves me a free agent of sorts. I have no plans on being loyal to this team after the season, but it's more fun to watch sports when you're cheering on a team. My sister and I used to watch Monday Night Football together, each pick a random team, and then cheer as hard as we could against each other. In competition, you have to pick a side. Here are the arguments.

Rays Pros: They're a miracle team. They went from last place to World Series in one season. This brings hope to all those other fans of terrible teams. The Rays are also a group of young athletes playing for way below the league average salary. I think the average Ray makes $414,000 a year. It seems like a lot of money to me, but in baseball thats petty cash. Also, this scrappy team bonded together and even got their manager to get a Rayhawk. Add to that, they kept the Yankees out of the playoffs and Boston out of the World Series. Also, I just think the American League is inherently better, mostly because its the league that the Orioles play in. Yes, I'm a homer. Oh yeah, I also love the way this team celebrates. They want to mark every minor milestone with a party. And that's a mentality I can get behind.

Rays Cons: They play in the same division as the Orioles. I wouldn't exactly call them division rivals because until this year, they were mostly just competing for the last spot in the division. But still, I shouldn't like them because of the whole same division thing. Supposedly, they also have no fans. I don't know how true this is, they do have terrible attendance, but they were terrible until this year. And most of the people in Tampa Bay are over 80, so it's hard for them to stay up for a 7:30 start time. The thing that really bothers me most is that Dickie V is their biggest fan. I had a hard time cheering for US Mens Basketball because Coach K was their coach. Well, that and I don't like pro basketball in any form. My hatred of Duke runs really deep. And while Dickie V is not nearly as bad as Coach K, he is probably the biggest Duke fan ever. On the other hand, Dickie V does talk up the ACC as much as possible, which I do appreciate since it's the best conference in College Basketball. Regardless, Dickie V still annoys me.

Phillies Pros: The Phillies haven't been to a World Series in 15 years, they haven't won in even longer and well the city is starved for a championship. Philadelphia has all 4 major sports and has gone 25 years without a championship in any of them. That's just sad. It makes you kind of want to cheer for them. Also, Phillies fans seem to be slightly optimistic this year, and less mean. Less booing, more cheering, more happiness. It's weird to see the city like this. Last year when the Phils made the playoffs, people were excited but then the Phils got swept by the Rockies in the first round and people seemed resolved to their fate. Really, the biggest thing Philly has going for it is that this is where I live. I get to celebrate with this city if they win. And this city knows how to party.

Phillies Cons: Philadelphia sports are heart breakers. They lose, they choke, and they crash and burn. They have a history of not being able to close. The Rays have no playoff history, except the one they are writing now. And that so far has been a winning one. Philadelphia sports are cursed by William Penn. It's hard to get behind a team that seems so likely to fail. Also while Phillies fans this year haven't been that bad, Philadelphia sports fans in general are among the worst. And it's hard to want the people who boo Santa to actually get a championship. Plus, I like to think he National League is inferior and if they lose the World Series again, I can believe that for another year.

Well, in the end I'll be happy for either team. But after living in Philly for a little over two years the Phillies have started to grow on me, kind of like a cancer. And I as much as I like the upstart Rays, I get to party in Philly if the Phils win. So, I guess, GO PHILLIES!

Work In Progress

Hi everyone,

If you've been here before you probably noticed I've changed a few things. I decided to change the name to just "Girls Don't Know Sports." This is the way I think about it and it matches up better with the blog's url. I'm starting to get occasional links on other sites and Idle Chatter just didn't feel right. So I cut the title while hopefully retaining the sarcasm. I also added a different banner and I'm going to be experimenting with the format a little. A special thanks to Dewey from Blogimore Ravens who made the new banner. Don't worry, you'll still get the same quality drivel from me. I'm just trying to figure out how to make this sight more visually pleasing to the readers. And nothing is set in stone. So if the site looks different, don't be alarmed. And if you have any strong feelings on any of the changes I'm making, please comment or email or whatever. Suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for your patience.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Day for Ray Ray and the Rays

This was a great sports weekend for me. But since I already addressed the total madness that is the Maryland football team, I'll limit this post to the events of Sunday Funday. It was a really good day for the Ravens. In a game that they needed to win to keep the faith for this season, the whole team stepped up and played solid football. Also, the Tampa Bay Rays restored hope to all the perennial cellar dwellers by holding off another Boston comeback to go from last in the division to ALCS winners in one season. Thank you for that.

The Ravens had to win this game. They had lost three in a row and were beginning to look like the team everyone thought they were going to be this season. Hell, I couldn't even bring myself to write about last weeks game. It was just too painful. But after throwing just one touchdown and seven interceptions this season, Flacco came back with a solid performance with a TD and no interceptions. He seemed to still be confident even after a being picked apart last week. I met another Ravens fan at the bar yesterday while watching the game who said he lived in the same building as Flacco. He told me that after last weeks game, him and his wife wanted to get a cardboard cutout of Troy Smith and put it in from of Flacco's door as if he were knocking. I think this is hysterical. But after Sunday's game, Flacco really doesn't deserve it. Oh well, I'll take a win and a solid showing over a good prank almost any day.

What was really great about the Miami game though was the Ravens' defense. They managed to contain Miami's wildcat offense that had wreaked havoc on other teams. They were also responsible for a TD that helped the Ravens put Miami away for good. The Ravens scored 27 points and could not have done it without the brilliant play of the defense. The Ravens are known for having their defense carry them. And this game was a good sign that defense will continue to shoulder some of the weight as Joe Flacco continues to improve into the future of this football team. With every game he should be able to rely less and less on the defense, but as long as they are contributing, it takes some of the pressure off of him and lets him play and mature without the whole weight of the team on his shoulders.

With the Ravens playing the lackluster Raiders next week at home, they should be able to garner an above .500 record. The Raiders star rookie, Darren McFadden will have to contend against a defense that has not allowed a 100 yd rusher in 25 straight games. The best in the league. And while the team managed to earn its second win against the Jets on Sunday. They'll have a very different team to contend with this coming Sunday. Let's hope the Ravens step up to the task and continue to shut teams down and win.

The other great story on Sunday was the Tampa Bay Rays managing to keep Boston at bay and win the ALCS. Matt Garza got the MVP for pitching two solid games. Last night he continued to throw strikes and get players out even after pitching the magic number of 100 pitches. This makes me question the seemingly widely held belief that pitchers should be taken out after 100 pitches. Every pitcher has his own limit and if he's in a groove or 'settled in' and doing well, why bring in someone new. Will pitching an extra 15-20 pitches make it that much harder to recover and be able to pitch again four days later? I am asking this sincerely as I really don't know anything about pitching and how much it tires you out.

I was worried after the Rays blew game 5 in the last few innings and then couldn't seem to get their act together for game 6. But those scrappy Rays came out ready to play yesterday and even after going down by one run in the first inning never gave up hope. They fought back, held on, and managed to strand Red Sox base runner after base runner. Every time a Red Sox player came up to bat, I thought this was it, this was the batter that was going to swing the momentum back to Boston, this is the one thats going to end it. But that never happened. Even after errors and a bunch of pitchers. Tampa hung on for all 27 outs.

After the last batter grounded out, the team rushed the pitcher. There was giant mound of celebrating Rays. I was actually worried that the pitcher, Price, would get hurt. Afterwards he said he couldn't breathe at the bottom of the pile, but wouldn't change it for the world. I love the way the team celebrates. The players were soaked before they even got the ALCS Champ trophy. Their Rayhawks were dripping. This is a team that really treasures the victory and appreciates how far its come. They are a team that gives hope to all the other losing disheartened teams out there.

It'll be great to see two new teams in the World Series. I know the Phillies are not a new team but they haven't been in a World Series in 15 years. So they're not the teams we've seen in the playoffs year in and year out for the last few years. And the Rays have never been in a playoffs before, let alone a World Series. I'm still deciding who I really want to root for. But I think I'll be happy either way. Wednesday should be fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Terp-ulent Season

Once again Maryland managed to show up and beat a ranked team. Good for them. I didn't watch because ESPN 360 somehow let me keep reseting my password but wouldn't actually let me watch the game. But either way the Terps not only won, but shut out a ranked team. Which can only lead me to believe the Maryland's defense was on point today. Even if Wake Forest's offense was awful, and again I didn't watch the game so I really don't know, it takes some work for a team to shut out or blank another team.

Side Note: When did the term blanking become so prevalent? The ESPN recap only used that word for the shut out, and I read several other articles today that overused the word blank. Maybe it's just me, but when I hear that a team 'blanked' another team, I feel like the authors have censored some dirty four letter word.

So, what's up with the Terps? They can beat ranked teams, in fact have beaten three ranked teams in a row, but can't manage any type of offense against Middle Tennessee and Virginia. This seems terrible right now. Duke beat Virginia 31-3 and then Virginia beat Maryland 31-0. But is UVA really that terrible? After today they are 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC Costal Division. They just beat ranked UNC in OT. So maybe the Maryland game was just a rallying point for UVA. We'll have to see how the season plays out, but right now UVA is not looking like the pushover team that it was when Maryland went in there.

I'm not sure what this will all mean at the end of the season, and I'm not sure what will happen next week. But I think this season is a testament to how crappy BCS rankings are and how evenly matched/wide open most of the ACC is. Right now the ACC seems pretty wide open. No team has really pulled away from the pack. There were three ranked teams this week, two have lost and one is losing in the 4th quarter. All to unranked conference teams. The ACC is not an elite football conference, no matter what the people who added BC, Florida State and Miami want you to think. But we have showed we're not total pushovers this season.

Also I'd like to take a minute to express my feelings about the BCS rankings. I know there are way too many teams in Division I for there to be an objective system of ranking during the season. That being said, there's got to be a better ranking system. I mean its been fun watching what seems like ten upsets a week, but come on, there's got to be a few dominant teams. The BCS rankings this year has been all over the place. I recommend the BCS hire Nate Silver to figure it out. He has not only been the most accurate predictor of the recent primary elections but he came up with PECATO for baseball fanatics. I mean he has got to be the most brilliant stat guy of this generation. Hire him to come up with a new formula. Even if it doesn't work, I'll be placated for at least a few seasons. Did I mention I have a huge crush on this guy, he uses his nerdiness to figure out sports and politics. I think I'm in love. And as a result I have total faith that he can figure out a way to make the BCS better.

Overall, I'm thrilled at the position my Terps are in right now. We're one win away from a bowl game and overall we've played ok. And when it comes down to it, I'd rather see them beat the big teams than beat up on the crappier teams. The elation I feel when we win is so much higher when its against a Cal or Clemson or even Wake Forest. So Maryland, if you can only win so many games a season, well then, I'm ok with you only winning the big ones. I think maybe next year the Terps should only play ranked opponents. I'm not exactly sure how to schedule that in advance, but cutting out any out of conference cupcake teams could help. Don't schedule Delaware of Middle Tennessee next year, instead schedule Penn State and Pitt or even a WVU. And if we don't win, at least we'll get more televised games and hopefully better recruits so we can become an even better team. But then again, what do I know.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Seriously, Again?

OK Boston, I was wrong. I was wrong to count you out even though it was the 7th inning and you were down 7-0. I was wrong to think the Rays could hold you off for 7 more outs. I had written you off by the fifth inning. But somehow you came back. Even when you scored four runs, I still was confident the Rays could keep you at bay. I don't know exactly what happened because I turned off the TV and went to bed. But I can't say I was all that surprised when I woke up this morning and saw you had come back to win.

Maybe it was the idea of losing three in a row in the playoffs at Fenway. Maybe, it was because the bandwagon fans left in the 5th and only the true fans remained. Maybe Tampa Bay got complacent and let the momentum slip your way. Maybe the Red Sox can only win when they truly believe they are the underdog and can summon an us against the world mentality. Maybe it's a combination of all those things.

What I'm wondering is how gut wrenching is it to be a Red Sox fan? Yes, comebacks are great when they happen, and the Red Sox are better at coming back in the playoffs than any other team, but the fans still have to sit through the three agonizing losses and resign themselves to the idea that the Sox could get eliminated. I guess the highs are higher when you've had to face the lows, but still doesn't it annoy Boston fans a little to have to go through this every year now. And if they lose tomorrow, was it all just false hope?

Are the Rays destined to become the next Cleveland Indians, a byline in the Red Sox unbelievable but now predictable comeback story? Will there be another swarm of gross little insects? Or maybe some other plague like frogs or the water in Tampa turning to blood to show us that the Red Sox are truly destined to win this?

Can't anyone put these guys away? The Rays still have the upper hand when it comes to games needed to clinch the series, but after last night, will their faith be shaken. They are a pretty resilient team. They lost the first game at home and then came back to win three in a row, two of those at Fenway. So they can rebound, they have in this series already, but are they mature enough to do it again. I hope so.

I don't know if I can deal with the Red Sox fans if they are able to pull this off. And it'll be worse if they pull it off and then beat the Phillies in the World Series. The Patriots fell last year in the Super Bowl and then had Brady go down in the first game of this season. When will this collapse happen to the Red Sox? Cause I'm ready for Boston to go down. So come on Rays, you're 29 outs away from a World Series. Imagine what the party for that will be like.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Can't Us?

There's something about these Phillies fans that is overwhelmingly entertaining to me. They qualified for the World Series and still there not cocky. My friend wanted a NLCS sweatshirt even before they won "just to prove they were in the playoffs in his lifetime." Now, that they've won, I wondered if he wanted a World Series sweatshirt, not just a NLCS champion one. His response, "Don't be ridiculous, you're going to jinx us." Even though they soundly beat the Dodgers and are playing great ball, there's still a cautious feeling about the World Series.

Don't get me wrong, the city is the happiest I've ever seen it. The sound of cheering filled the night last night and the celebrations went on til the early hours of the morning. But this isn't like Boston where even though they're down 3-1 in the ALCS, they still think they're going to come back and not just go to the World Series, but win it. Phillies fans know what heartbreak feels like. And while they are giving their whole hearts to their team, they're not still not really sure it's going to work out. They're wishing and hoping and praying, but not bragging. I admire that.

So congratulations Philadelphia. It's been a long time but if any Philly team deserves to make it to the big stage it's the Phillies. And I wish you hopeful, grammatically challenged fans the best.
Maybe this really is the year Philadelphia breaks their curse.

On a slightly unrelated note, I think the entire city of Philadelphia smells like cheese steaks right now. I swear to god, I live on the 18th floor of my building and my apartment right now smells like I have 10 cheesesteaks sitting on my table. The odor of cheesesteak is wafting in my window. I think this is a good sign for the Phils.

After soundly defeating the Dodgers 3-1 in the series and clinching it with a decisive 5-1 win by NLCS MVP Cole Hamels yesterday, the Phils are well situated for this series. They've shown that their pitchers can stay calm not get flustered by even big hitters like Manny. Yeah, he had a lot of hits, but he really didn't get to score that often. They were able to neutralize him as a threat. That should serve them well in the World Series.

The Phils also had solid production from their line up. Everyone on the team seemed to come up with big hits at the most opportune time. Whether it was Matt Stairs with the two run homer to take the lead in game four or Jimmy Rollins homering to start off game five. Everyone played a part. And that team mentality is important. I think Pat Burrell might have even smiled. Though I can't confirm that.

Right now the Rays are leading the Red Sox 5-0 in the fifth, so it looks like there will be a World Series of two underdog teams. I can't wait.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Maybe This Year?

I know that I usually hate all sports things Philadelphia. Mostly because of the booing. But I can't help but wonder if maybe this is the year for the Phillies. And I hate to admit it, but I'm happy for them. Maybe over two years of living in this city has worn me down or maybe I just like to see the team that never wins have something good happen to them for a change. I know what baseball heartbreak feels like, and I can sympathize.

The Phillies are by far the most likable team in Philadelphia. And the fans seem to have moved past the days when they threw batteries at players. Sure, they still boo. But it seems like it happens less often. Maybe it's just the optimism of Philly this year. It seems like for the first time, people actually believe the Phillies can pull this off. While watching the game last night, I was pretty sure it was all over. Lowe was pitching like a machine. He looked unhittable. But then an error on a throw to first base, a home run and two batter later another home run gave Philly the lead they wouldn't relinquish.

I was surprised by the stat the Phillies are perfect when leading at the end of the 8th inning. Maybe that's not that weird. But as an Orioles fan, I wish I could say that. Because, I usually go into the ninth inning with a sense of dread. No lead is ever safe. But the Phillies are a different matter. They played a great game and didn't get rattled when they were down by two.

So could this be it? Could this be the year the Philadelphia sports breaks the curse of building higher than William Penn on City Hall? It doesn't look like the Eagles are going to do it. Not in the brutal NFC East. The Flyers looked good last year but hockey season is long and just getting started. So who knows what's going to happen. I have no idea what the predictions for the Sixers are. Frankly, its the NBA so I don't really care either. But the Phillies, I find myself rooting for. They really are fun to watch.

I don't know what I'll do if it's a Phillies-Rays World Series. Which underdog team to cheer for? It might be the Rays. I admire the way they've turned things around. And I like the way they celebrate every win and every milestone. They seem to really appreciate that just getting this far is great. But somehow this seems like the Phillies year. I can't explain it. But the feeling is palpable in the city. For the first time since I've been there, it seems there's actual hope.

This team and city have faced so much heartache. Last year they made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, only to be swept in the first round. Now this year could end crushing defeat, the AL East has a way of doing that to hopeful teams. Look at the way the Red Sox dismantled the seemingly unstoppable Rockies last year. But I know one thing. If the Red Sox beat out the Rays. I'm becoming a Phillies phan. Even if it's just for these playoffs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's Better to Be Lucky Than Good

There might not be another sport where luck is suck a huge factor in overtime games as the NFL. But maybe that's the way the NFL likes it. So much of whether a team wins or loses in OT is based on the coin toss. A random coin toss. That sucks. If you win the toss and manage enough offense to get into field goal range, you win overtime. So basically unless you have the kind of offense Baltimore had a few weeks ago, you win the coin toss you win. It's really unfair.

In no other sport does only one team get a chance at offense. Baseball has extra innings, and if the visitor scores, the home team has a chance to tie or win. If the home team wins, they don't finish the inning, it's a gentleman's game and not about rubbing the win in another teams face. But both teams get a chance at offense. In basketball, theres a whole overtime period. They play the whole thing, it's not whoever scores first wins.

College football has a great system. The teams line up on the 30 yd line and on tries to score. If they score then the other team gets a chance to score. So, if team one can stop team two and then score on their turn, they win. If team two scores a field goal, the team one has a chance to score a touchdown and win or a field goal to tie. If team two scores a touchdown, team one can score a touchdown to tie. And if there is a tie after that round the teams do it again until someone wins. It's a fair system.

Watching NFL overtimes are just so frustrating. I think the NFL should change to the college football overtime. That would make overtime about scoring. And everybody likes to watch scoring. It would make the game more fair. Overtime would no longer hang on the coin toss.

I know it will never happen. Trying to change the NFL is like trying to change the college bowl system, it might make sense but it's not going to happen. But a girl can dream. I think this would make overtime games more fair and more fun to watch. Which is something worth considering. Hey, even fantasy fanatics would be excited by this change. Any chance to score more points is good for fantasy. And players would get more time to increase their stats. And both teams actually have a chance to win.

Everyone wins in this new college football overtime goes pro. But that's just what I think. What does a girl know about sports?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hokies are Turkeys

This weekend I headed down to Virginia Tech. Not only did I unexpectedly get to enjoy their homecoming, but I also was busy celebrating their win during the Maryland game, so I got to miss out on that agony. And while I thought the five hour drive back to Baltimore was long and painful. It probably wasn't as bad a watching the Ravens blow their lead in the fourth quarter after a hard fought game. The Ravens offensive line was impressive and prevented Flacco from getting sacked by one of the best defenses in the league. I'm not saying the Ravens didn't play well. I'm just glad I didn't have to watch them lose.

Two seasons ago the Ravens were 2-2 after their first four games. They went 11-1 for the rest of the season. Flacco is progressing nicely. The defense is doing great. And they've faced some really tough games. I'm optimistic for next week against the Colts. Not only do I despise the Colts, but they are not having the best year. I think that the Ravens' defense will be able to do well, especially since the Colts are not known for their tough physical game. Hopefully, the Ravens will be able to turn this around.

This weekend instead of watching my teams lose, I watched VT win their homecoming against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Some of my brothers friends were making fun of the Hilltopper mascot. It's a big red furry thing. I can't really describe it all that well. But I thought it was funny considering the Virginia Tech mascot is a Hokie, otherwise known as a turkey. The VT fans even make turkey sounds when cheering on their team. But despite this, VT fans get very upset if you call the hokie bird a turkey. I mean I'm a little more afraid of giant red monster than a turkey. I'm just saying.

No disrespect to VT. It was an awesome place to visit. And a great place to tailgate and watch a game. I really forgot how much I like watching college football live. It's fun because any play could truly be a breakout play. And the level of excitement is so high. It could just be because it was homecoming, but I think that it's probably like that every game. WKU was an inferior team. I'd like to see VT fans when their team is playing a competitive game. I highly recommend a visit, even if it's not to see a game. Blacksburg is really cute and the campus is made completely of hokie stone (local granite) and is really pretty. Plus the fans are really friendly and nice. But remember to not call the hokie a turkey.