12 November 2012

Tuesday Morning Football: Midseason rotisserie review

The short version:  Excuses line up here; explanations, there.  The season has sucked for all three teams, except for Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and the Houston defense, which are keeping both my NFL.com teams in the top half of their respective league tables.

The Fluttering Horde (4-6):
Office of Secret Intelligence offense,
Orange County Liberation Front defense.
Whose job was it to feed the butterflies?  You'd think that a team that has Ray Rice, Steve Smith, Wes Welker, Darren Sproles and Denver's Manning-to-Decker combination would dominate its 16-team league.  Yahoo! thought as much of my flagship team, The Fluttering Horde, projecting it to finish 11-2.

With just a bit of luck, the Horde would be on track for an easy division title.  In fact, just one 11-yard touchdown pass between Peyton Manning and Eric Decker would be enough to give the Horde an 8-2 mark.  Instead, the Horde -- losers by 1, 2, 4 and 5 points in four failures -- is stuck at 4-6.  Only its season total score, third highest in the league, is keeping it in playoff contention.

The Ghost Grey Cats (6-4):
Fully recovered from
their trip to the pet hospital.
Meee-ouch!  Injuries have hobbled The Ghost-Grey Cats, who spent three weeks without a first-tier running back and four more without my best receiver, Danny Amendola.  The Cats' higher-profile receivers -- Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston and TE Antonio Gates -- haven't helped with their inconsistency.  If they can stay out of the hospital, the Cats can still win a title.

Time and Again (5-5):
Against expectation,
winning on occasion.
Tick, tick, tick...  I'm actually pretty proud of Time and Again, whose personnel (particularly Demaryius Thomas) have individually exceeded expectations.  In a stunning midseason turn, the Timers saw Jason Witten go online just as they also picked Owen Daniels off waivers.  At the beginning of the year, I expected no more than six wins, but the Timers have made it to 5-5.  They're the best managed of my teams.

That mark should be even better, but the Timers' has almost as bad as the Horde's.  In three of their losses, they caught Jamaal Charles, Rob Gronkowski and Andrew Luck on their best weeks.  No such problem cropped up this past week, as the Timers romped to a 70-point win.

02 November 2012

Friday Double: (13) Stormy baseball edition

There's so much to say about Hurricane Sandy, but apart from the new tagline in this blog's header, I'll limit myself to a couple of comments.
  1. Any elected official who's acted the way leaders should in a disaster like this gets a big win this week.  President Obama and New Jersey governor Chris Christie (whom I otherwise don't like) get high marks for dropping the party labels and just getting to work.
  2. On the other hand, Mitt Romney can add "loser" to an impressive list that already includes "liar," "thief," and "biohazard disposal bag."  Smooth move with those cans from Walmart, Money Boo Boo.
  3. In the middle, where he always looks comfortable as a cat in a box, sits another bag of money, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Ordering shelters and cabbies to let evacuees take their pets was cool.  Keeping the New York Marathon going this weekend when so much of the city needs that event's resources?  Not so much.

Sergio Romo and the Giants win the National League pennant,
in glorious San Francisco rain.
[Getty Images/Ezra Shaw]
On a much smaller scale, baseball had a couple of notable events this week, and they're the focus of this Friday Double.

Yay! Giants!  There's something exhilarating about watching bad weather roll in just as your favorite outdoor team wraps up a convincing semifinal victory.  Back in early 1986, at the end of the NFC Championship, that incipient snow that fell on Soldier Field was the best part of the fumble recovery that Bears used to finish off the then-Los Angeles Rams.  A couple of weeks ago, I felt the same warmth as the Giants reveled in the rain that helped them dismiss the St. Louis Cardinals.

As I keep telling friends and family here in exurban Chicago, my ten-year stay in California led me to, among other things, defect from the Cubs to the San Francisco Giants.  The only bad thing about their Game 4 win in Detroit last Sunday -- and the World Series title that came from it -- was that the ninth inning conflicted with The Venture Brothers Halloween special.  Lots of unnecessary clicking took place.

Key to my eventual conversion to a Giants fan was the construction of the their waterfront stadium in 2000.  Back when it opened, it was called "Pacific Bell Park," but then PacBell went through so many mergers.  Every acquisition caused the official name of the venue to change, so by the time it became "AT&T Park," I just gave up.  Because it's so compact, I've taken to calling it just "The Phone Booth of Doom."

The real charm of attending Giants home games is getting to The Phone Booth of Doom.  Sure, you can drive, but it's a lot more fun to take BART to either the Embarcadero or Montgomery stop.  From there, the quickest way is to take the N-Judah.  The most fun way, though, is to walk the dozen or so blocks to the park.  That way, if my friends and I decided we were thirsty, we could stop off at any of the numerous watering holes on the way.  If not, the exercise is always useful.

This aspect of going to the game wasn't lost on the Giants organization, which put out a memorable ad that managed to sell both The Phone Booth itself and the experience of walking through San Francisco's South of Market district to get there.  Petula Clark's "Downtown" provided the background music, and it fit like a glove:

¡Felicidades a los Gigantes!

Remembering Pascual "Perimeter" Pérez:  It was sad to hear of his murder this week.  I remember him less for his actual Major League Baseball career (which ended up being riddled with drug problems) than for the timing of his arrival in the majors 30 years ago.  Cable television was becoming the norm throughout the U.S., and Atlanta's Channel 17, WTBS, was turning the Braves into everyone's second team.  To believe announcer Skip Caray was to buy into the notion that Pérez would lead the Braves into either the Promised Land or the NLCS, whichever was closer.

The Braves had just called Pérez up, and he was scheduled to start at grand old Fulton County Stadium.  Still unfamiliar with Atlanta-area geography, he missed a freeway turn, and ended up taking a couple of trips around the city.  It was comical. [Not least because I doubt that, were someone to suddenly teleport me to Santo Domingo one morning and tell me to get to the stadium by 13:00 that day, I'd do a whole lot better.]  From then on, he became Pascual "Perimiter" Pérez.

Anyway, this 1980s classic form Dead or Alive came to mind when I heard the news about him.