Now that baseball season is over and the NFL just finished up a few days that show it simply refuses to get less entertaining as the season rolls on, I thought I'd split this post between the Giants' World Series victory and a discussion of some truly bizarre football headlines. Here we go...
The San Fransisco Giants are World Series Champions. Just let that sink in for a moment baseball fans. After fifty-plus years since their move from one coast to the other, the Giants won the World Series in short order on Monday night, making quick work of the Texas Rangers and their previously indomitable line-up of hard hitting American League bats. The Giant pitching was absolutely dominant this post-season and their ace hurler Tim "The Freak" Lincecum once again stared down the Ranger's Cliff Lee to wrap up the series in five games Monday in Arlington. Lincecum was absolutely brilliant Monday night, pitching a breathtaking 8 innings before allowing the Giants' real freak, Brian Wilson, to slam the door shut in the ninth and bring home a championship for this unlikely squad of Bay Area misfits.
Manager Bruce Bochy calls his club The Dirty Dozen and while his math is a bit off, his summation of their make-up and attitude is spot on. The Giants' barely snuck into the post-season on the last day of the regular season and then proceeded to laugh at any critic who questioned whether or not they should be there by beating the Braves, Phillies, and now the Rangers without breaking a sweat. The Giants' line-up didn't have nearly the pop that Texas boasted coming into the World Series, but they proved the old adage that pitching wins championships is as true as ever over the last week.
Not only Lincecum, but fellow young arms Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner (a truly spectacular athlete name, by the way) proved that the way to the title always goes through the pitcher's mound and are the backbone of a rotation that is going to wreak havoc on hitters for years to come if things shake out right. The Giants' hitters are a lot of no-namers (ahem, Cody Ross) and old pros that most thought washed up (ahem, series-winning home run hitter Edgar Renteria) that proved good enough to compliment their stellar pitching staff all the way to a championship in 2010.
And their hitting wasn't timely, sports media knuckleheads. I swear, if I hear one more talking head use the phrase "timely hitting" to describe when a team with less-than-heralded hitting prowess proves it can score runs I'm going to go straight Michael Douglas in Falling Down and get seriously destructive on my television and radio. What other kind of hitting is there that wins ball games? Hits with runners on base score runs and lead to victories, hits with them empty or swings and misses don't. That seems to me to be what the boys back home call "run-scoring," not "timely hitting". Ugh, the sports' media's reliance on tired cliches used to be charming and folksy, now it just seems unoriginal.
Before I get too bitter, congrats to the Giants on an incredible post-season and many cheers for the city of San Francisco for finally grabbing that World Series ring that has been so elusive all these long years.
On to the gridiron.
As far as bizarre weekends/beginnings of the week, I can't recall one more obviously head-scratching than what we've witnessed in the NFL over the past few days. There were a few surprises as far as outcomes on Sunday, the most glaring being the Jets goose egg against the Packers, but the fall-out from two losses by the Vikings and Redskins are what's really tilting the balance on the insanity scales right now.
The Minnesota Vikings fell to the New England Patriots on Sunday, a game that left Brett Favre in the fetal position on a cart on his way to the locker room and Randy Moss without a job. Favre got his clock-cleaned by the Patriots Myron Pryor, who caught him right under the chin and left the ol' Silver Fox dazed, confused, and damn near dead. As I watched Favre try to walk and then eventually be carted off the field, Onion-esque headlines danced through my head such as "New England Patriots Win, Kill Brett Favre".
Personally, I thought the injury was more serious, perhaps being a busted collar bone or some other more serious break, but it turns out Favre just needed stitches on his chin and some time to clear his head. I guess some cockroaches just won't die. Oh well, he isn't even the real story coming out of the Vikings loss, because his newly acquired and much needed game-breaking wide receiver Randy Moss was waived by the Vikings on Monday. For those of you who don't follow sports that closely, dood got fired.
And after this rant, it isn't exactly surprising.
Wow. For a guy that just got traded to the Vikings from New England three games ago for shooting his mouth off and an eerily similar rant during a presser after the Pats won in week one, this was a ballsy move. But this is Moss. This is what you get to go along with his hall-of-fame talents, a hall-of-shame mouth. Moss has been mired in controversy since the infancy of his career and he has never been one to shy away from telling the press how he feels, but this is some next-level shit, even for 84. He throws his current team under the bus, glows about his former team that just handed the Vikes a loss, and tells the room that he will be interviewing himself for the remainder of the season, something I hope and pray with all my heart he stays true to. Randy on Randy would be some fascinating stuff.
My take is that Coach Brad Childress and Vikes owner Zygi Wilf (another doozy of a sports name) knew what they were getting when they shipped a 3rd round draft pick to the Patriots to acquire Moss, and they really shouldn't have been too surprised by the things he said, considering. The Pats dealt Moss because of his mouth (though they artfully danced around that fact, as only The Hoody and company can do) and it absolutely blows my mind that Childress waived Moss on Monday, despite his words after the loss.
Not only that, but he didn't even consult Wilf on the move. Not telling the owner of the team that you're firing one of your best players is career suicide if I've ever seen it, and I highly doubt that you'll see Chili on the Vikings' sideline next year following what I'm sure will end up being a disappointing season and this latest head-scratching move. Hey Chili, turns out that Mr. Wilf is the name on the paychecks, not yours. Watch who you give the axe to without fair warning, homie.
Randy's a handful, but the Vikings brass knew that going into the trade. Caveat emptor and I'm out.
Now on to yet another dumbfounding-ly dumb move by a head coach, this time in our nation's capital. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan pulled his starting QB, Donovan McNabb during the last two minutes of Washington's loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, inserting perennially underwhelming back-up Rex Grossman to try and lead the team down the field for the W. That's right, he pulled a potential hall-of-famer for Rex Grossman.
Yep, that Rex Grossman:
Now if you want to pull your starting QB at the most critical juncture of the game, there has to be a good reason, right? Wrong. Shanahan first cited Grossman's superior knowledge of the two-minute offense they run in Washington, because he was the back-up under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan when the two were both in Houston together. You know, when Grossman was the, uh, back-up. Now if that doesn't seem at all plausible, just wait, because Shanahan followed that apocryphal explanation with an even more unlikely story, that he questioned McNabb's cardiovascular endurance when running a two-minute drill.
So the guy who led your team in rushing during the game is too out of shape to make it another two minutes at the game's biggest moment? Yeah, I can buy that. Next you'll tell me that JaMarcus Russell is going to get a phone call to come workout with the team. What? They what? They didn't. I give up.
That's right, not only did Shanahan yank McNabb and feed the press two bullshit excuses as to why, but now he wants to give what many consider to be the biggest draft bust in NFL history a shot at the job he doesn't seem to think Donovan is in shape enough to perform. Russell is the guy that damn near broke the scales every training camp he was lucky enough to attend and is more famous for falling on his face professionally and getting his lean on then any kind of accomplishment on a football field. This stuff is absoultely mind blowing. In an NFL season that seems to go from weird to strange to enigmatic with every coming Sunday, week 8 gave us some truly perplexing stuff to digest.
Good thing the 'Skins are on a bye this week so Shanny can get his story straight and I get a little more time to try and make sense of all this nonsense. Did I mention how much I love the NFL?