…. They are the knuckle-size nugget in the gold pan of sports. The winning lottery ticket for a long-suffering, semi-loyal fan base. A lifetime memory for the really loyal fans close to a program Those bright shining moments when an obscure team, or individual, flashes across sports celestial firmament …. It’s Zach Johnson at Augusta, George Mason in March, Grobe’s Deacs in Miami, Colorado Rockies in October and …. Missouri’s Tigers this Saturday (UPDATE = PHOOEY!).
Updated 11:45 PM Saturday night ….
DAGNABIT … DARN IT …. HECK … PHOOEY!
Because “$$$$ controls pretty much everything”, it is a given that the well-funded juggernauts will always be the ones still standing at the end. Red Sox, Yankees, Patriots, Tiger, Phil, Ol’ Roy’s Boys, Rick Hendricks’ drivers, Pat Summit’s gals, Anson’s flying ponytails, et al …. The Big Names become big names by repeated appearances in the spotlight. Success breeds success and familiar names mean higher TV ratings and more soap gets sold.
I saw a cyron scrawl on Sportscenter yesterday where so-and-so signed a 3-year deal with some team called the “Devil Rays”. Turns out they are a major league baseball team in Tampa …. Who knew?
I looked it up. Every game the Devil Rays played in Fenway Park this past season was Sold Out. What a thrill it must have been for a father and son from Shrewsbury to score a pair of ducats to see their beloved D-Rays in person…. PLUS The Green Monster, Manny and Big Popi. As a died-in-the-flannel baseball fan I hope that father/son combo soaked in all the pure essence of “a ball game” despite the whozits opponent.
It doesn’t bother me at all that the Yankees try to buy next year’s world series rings every off-season, nor does it bother me when Josten’s or Balfour or whoever makes the rings say “sorry, your right to purchase has not been validated …. maybe next year.”
I look at each game in a vacuum. I block out Scott Boras or the number of out-of-wedlock children spawned by the players, or their abysmal SAT scores or the heavy-handed attempts by owners to force a community to build fancy stadia.
Loon Logic says the fix is always in and the famous big name teams get favored treatment from the “lousy crooked refs/umps/reply officials”. I’m not convinced that 45 year old Little League right fielders are always privy to that info.
As an unrepentant right wing religious zealot (“MERRY CHRISTMAS” y’all) I have no problem believing that Li’l David picked out a smooth river rock and nailed that Philistine with the thyroid condition right between his eyes. And every time a little David does vanquish a Goliath I pledge to follow sports for another week or so.
Step aside Beyonce. There is a new Destiny’s Child at center stage – an anonymous coach, a gamer kid named Chase, a silly Tiger named Truman and a bunch of giddy bandwagon fans from Sedalia, Fulton, Rolla, Jeff City, Moberly, Raytown, Wentzville and towns so small their only claim to fame is that Jesse James once robbed their bank.
If you took away “the big cities” of St Louis and Kansas City, Missouri is pretty much like probably 40+ of the continental 48. It has its share of loonies and louts and “exotic dancers” and political scallywags (can you spell The Widda Carnahan and Gephart boys and girls?) and its inferiority complex and its silly sense of irrational entitlement like most states including that one just south of Emporia VA.
But, like The Carolinas and The Dakotas and the assorted “fly-over states” that fill spaces on a map between the more glamorous New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Vermont (just checking to see if you’re paying attention!), most Missourians are just regular folks with cell phones, jobs that get tedious, relationships that can get tedious too, Cracker Barrels, a choice of Target or Wal-Mart, cable TV without NFL Network. They are, like the rest of us, completely mystified by Oprah’s “popularity”. Oprah and electricity …. Don’t spend time and energy trying to figure out either, just accept them. …… and THIS WEEK Mizzou-Mania grips the state’s length across I-70 and it’s breadth from Poplar Bluff to St Jo. It’s a good thing.
Missouri plays a for-real college football juggernaut (Oklahoma) in San Antonio on Saturday night. If Missouri wins they will (OH, MY GAWD!) play in the BCS National Championship Game on January 7 in New Orleans…. There will be “bonfires on Broadway” (their quaint Franklin Street!) …. And POSITIVELY another column about’em here! If Missouri loses Saturday they will go to “another bowl” that no one but hard-core Tiger fans like Jim Sterling and Tom Sowers will even recall two years from now.
It has been a very long time, if ever, that any one more than a border state removed has cared about Missouri Football. In other words, just like “sleeping giants” Carolina Football, Virginia Football, Iowa Football or 75% of the programs in Division 1-A. They all field teams regardless and begin each September chock-ful of optimism that “this could be OUR YEAR if we avoid injuries and get a few breaks. It’ll be tough though because we are so (taa daa) young and inexperienced.”
Football coaches use “we are so young and inexperienced” like politicians always whine “my opponent refuses to discuss the issues that you, the voters, care about” ….. yawn, burp, gurgle.
Those “Big Dawg” programs begin each September debating if their rock star coach should be fired immediately after the second loss or wait until the third one? Mack Brown “only” won nine games. The firemackbrown.com website is up and running again. There actually was a firegarypinkel.com site a few years but it was done just to make Gary feel like a big time coach.
I will bet you a Red Schoendist baseball card that 50% of the bandwagoners caught up in Mizzou-mania this week could not name the head coach or pick him out of a line-up with Fred Patek, Mark Bolger, Kit Bond, and the Hansbrough Hottie (hint, she’s the blond!)
The game itself is a “pick’em”. Mizzou played the Sooners very tough in Norman in October with two turnovers in the fourth quarter proving fatal. Mizzou survived a pot-boiler of a rivalry ruckus in Arrowhead last Saturday that had much more of an emotional component than this one does. Chase “Chip Hilton” Daniel led them to victory securing his spot along with Musial, Brett, Twain and Truman on Missouri’s Mount Rushmore …. if there was one.
I’ll be glued to the screen Saturday night because I have various, well documented, connections to the program. If the Sooners prevail I will say “darn it” and otherwise be OK. I can’t speak for Mizzus or Kid. Especially Mizzus …. This whole thing has awakened a long dormant “give a damn about sports” gene in her. She has painted orange stripes on our cat and suggested we have a son so we can name him “Chase”.
If Mizzou’s magical ride ends on the floor of the Alamo Dome, some constipated used-car salesman from Booneville MO will go on TigerBeat.com and post “…. same ol’ bunch of losers. Fire the stoopid coach and that idiot AD.”
But I prefer to remember a March night in 1957 when an excited kid got to stay up late and watch Tommy Kearns jump center against Wilt The Stilt. Before there was Dean or MJ or Tyler there was Frank and Lennie and Joe and Bob and Pete and Tommy and a reserve named Danny. A bunch of bandwagon fans jumped on board for that magical ride and 50 years later we still get goosebumps. …. Wuffs, feel free to substitute a certain 1983 bunch of Cinderellas “looking for somebody to hug”.
A lot of stuff about sports, and life, really sux ….. but not when your team is riding a comet across sports’ celestial firmament.
How did Hannibal curmudgeon Sam Clemens
derive his pseudonym “Mark Twain”?
Mike McGee was AD at the USCs …. SoCal and SoCarol. Kind of like if Dickie becomes AD at Univ of Northern Colorado. UNC … get it?
More evidence percolating that Apples Cheeks Edwards is naught but an avaricious “taker”. SURPRISE! He tried to further sweeten his “poverty scam” deal with Gene Nichol to include a bunch of Dean Dome tickets. Just another incredibly stoopid “gimme grab” by Robbins’ most shameless fraud. Ain’t it about time to tar & feather this clown and drop him in University Lake?
Butch worked a dog-gone miracle …. he’s only been at Carolina twelve months and “Hark The Sound” will be played at a BCS game this January. ….. Missouri’s and UNC’s Alma Mater use the same tune. Jimmy Sexton will probably expect $50,000 everytime it’s played…. and we’ll probably pay him too!
Why was Steve Spurrier in Derm this week? He is part-owner of that whorehouse that Mamma K operates at Hope Valle CC. They were opening up a new S & M parlor and Steve supplied the whips and chains.
My vote for next Duke coach goes to ….. STEVE LOGAN. Logan & K could be a Butch & Sundance duo …..
“Cameron Outdoor” earned BobLee a new plaudit. The column was posted on Duke Basketball Report and BobLee was actually referred to without toxic obscene adjectives. I am now the only UNC alum EVER to be so honored by BOTH DBR and StateFans.com. I am truly honored to be so honored.
Rick Reilly is quitting SI. This week was his final inside back cover column. Apparently he was introduced as “sort of like BobLee” one too many times recently. Grizzard is dead … Will Rogers is dead … Look out Keillor. Your powdermilk butt is next on my hit list.