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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glorious Day of Sport (AND MUSIC!!!)

Whether you hate baseball or not I feel it is important to know what is going on.  And if you don't know what is going on please pay attention.

Last night was probably the greatest regular season day in the 100 plus year of professional baseball in this country.  This, on a day when Jose Reyes took himself out of the game 1 inning in as to protect his batting title.  It wasn't classy when Willie Wilson did it in 1982, and it ain't classy now.  Unless you are hurt and cannot perform (or are held out due to management decision, I would ask you play the entire game.  Reyes played 125 games this year (missing many due to injury.)  He made about $6 million this year.  His team once again missed the playoffs.  Their average fan spends $100 a piece to see them at Citi Field.  Ted Williams played a double-header 60 years ago with his average at .400.  All he did was go 6-8 in the two games and raise his average to .406.  No one has batted .400 since.  More importantly, we fail to play the game this way.  We take short cuts.  We rest on laurels.  And we bask in mediocrity.

The real beauty of last evening was the playoff push and ultimate collapse of Boston and Atlanta.  Buster Olney from ESPN states the magnitude quite succinctly here:  Long story short, 3 teams were one out from either going to the playoffs or sitting home.  Atlanta could not keep a lead in the 9th and eventually fell in extra innings.  At 11:40pm they had tied the record for biggest collapse in MLD history.  20 minutes later the Red Sox surpassed it when Jonathan Papelbon refused to throw his split finger fastball and surrendered a 3-2 lead to the undermanned but resilient Orioles.  And finally Tampa Bay (down 7-0 to the Yankees with 6 outs to go) rode an extra inning home run by Evan Longoria to capture the final playoff berth.  Mind you, the Yankees have not blown a 7-0 lead since the 1950's and Boston was 76-0 this year when leading after 8 innings.

Pure sporting magic.  The smiles on Longoria's face and utter disbelief on Boston's David Ortiz's aere etched in my mind.  The superlatives from all the broadcasters dumb-founded mouths were priceless.  For once, you could not believe what you were seeing.

These are the times when baseball reigns supreme.  It is the cliche "2 outs/bottom of the 9th" stuff.  It is the "not over, til it's over."  No clock telling you when it is over.  Hero's can be a guy sitting on his ass all game and getting a call for one swing of the bat.  Journeyman pitchers asked to get a few outs to protect a lead.   Overworked rookies expected to get 3 more outs to preserve a win.  Arrogant and complacent superstars failing in big spots.  Underdogs playing for the shear joy of the game, if only to feel proud for one moment during an otherwise lost season.

Me?  I did not have a dog in the fight.  My team was eliminated somewhere around March 1.  Not the point.  In a season when Ted Danson is now a forensic specialist and Tim Allen is back on tv, you may not find more drama the next few weeks.

Have you heard the Tigers of Detroit have the best pitcher in baseball?  Do you know he pitches against the Yankees tomorrow?

Do you know the Brewers are a likable, young and hungry bunch eager to show the World their stuff? Take a peek at Ryan Braun, Zach Greinke and Prince Fielder over the weekend.  Don't act surprised when the race past much heralded Philadelphia.

And let's not forget Kirk Gibson and his last to first Diamondbacks.  This is a great story and if you don't get chills thinking of his limp around the bases in 88' you should have your head/heart examined.

Payrolls be damned when it comes to the playoffs.  Talent can overcome most anything and money doesn't guarantee anything.

We will have plenty of time to watch the No Fun League for the next few months.  I admit, I love football and like nothing more than some couch time on a cold Sunday afternoon watching America's new pasttime.

But there promises to be many thrills over the next few weeks on Fox.  Buckle up and enjoy.

Music to play when Joe Buck and Tim McCarver start blathering:

The National:  "Mistaken for Strangers"

Psychedelic Furs: "The Ghost in You"  Prepping for the show Monday.  Cannot wait!!!

Caveman "Old Friend"  Clearly my favorite song of the year live.  But their debut album "CoCo Beware" is an exceptional first record.

Foster the People from SXSM "Warrant"

Cut/Copy "Take Me Over"  Cuz I am part lady (and so are you)

Lykke Li "Get Some"  Just an incredible pop song. Go find a better percussion line...  I dare you.

Band of Horses "The First Song"

Decemberists "Calamity Song"  Offer still stands from Colin Meloy to give this song to Michelle Bachmann as her campaign theme.  She has declined to date.  Tremendous and smart video with a history.  Worth a look:

Naked and The Famous "Punching in a Dream"

Wilco "Born Alone"  Finally gave this album a hard listen and this is the track that stands out for me.  It's all strong though.  Newsflash:  Jeff Tweedy has ability.

Washed Out "Amor Fati"  My daughter's highlight from Montclair show.

That should be a nice start for the weekend.  Enjoy the action!!!  Jump on El Tigre and Brew Crew bandwagons while you are at it!!!

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