Showing posts from October, 2012

When Our Outlet Fails Us

You unwrap the new video game. You turn on the sporting event. You go see the movie. You tinker around in the garage. We do these things because they relieve us from reality. On a day where work, home, family, or friends disappoints us, we have that optional list of things that keep us from thinking about reality for a while. Some people call it their "outlet." But what happens when the thing that causes us to jettison out of reality abruptly crashes to the ground? Or - even worse, slowly sinks into oblivion. What happens then? I am asking myself that question tonight, on a night where my outlet - sports - failed me. Michigan couldn't score a touchdown in a 23-9 loss to Nebraska, and the Detroit Tigers couldn't score a run in a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants. My night ended with a bad taste in my mouth, when it could have just ended on a good, relaxing note simply by ignoring both games. Instead, I listened to the Tigers game on the radio (I refu

Let's Get This Thing Started!

On Thursday, the prospect of playing the National League champion felt completely manageable.  On Friday, it got cloudy.  On Sunday, it got scary. And on Monday, it got scarier. Now I don’t know what to think anymore.  On one hand, the Tigers have dominant pitching and the Triple Crown winner. On the other hand, the Giants are riding the most giant wave of momentum there can be, with their aces and shortstop taking them off the cusp of elimination…again…and into the World Series with just a day’s rest.  The Tigers will be forced to go against the trend - in the three times where one LCS champion has swept and the other one won in seven, the one that went the distance won the World Series. Including 2006. I want to believe that the writers and analysts will pick the Giants to win on the basis of which they can’t be eliminated. They’re like the John McClane of baseball right now. The problem is, the media isn’t. They are declaring that while the Gian

Celebration Time is Over.

So here we are again. Back to another World Series, six years after we experienced an eerily similar situation. Survived an ALDS, swept the ALCS...and a little under one week before the first World Series game. I remember having a week of glee, of giddiness. The Tigers are going to the World Series! Just the fact that they were going was enough to make the city of Detroit beside itself with joy. The team had just endured over a decade of bottom-of-the-barrel failures, including the infamous 2003 season that saw them nearly break the record for most losses in a season. So the fact that 2006 brought so much joy in the first two postseason series was enough to lift the spirits of the city (and the fans all over) for another few years. The Tigers were finally relevant again. Comerica Park wasn't a sellout for just Opening Day anymore. The summer once again revolved around the Tigers. I printed out the Tigers' season schedule so I could keep track of where they were (and what

A National Mystery

Amidst the media crisis that is the Yankees, there only seems to be three markets that remember that there is another Championship Series going on in baseball right now: San Fransisco, St. Louis, and the MLB Network. I have been prone to dismissing the National League Championship Series, simply because my Tigers aren't in that league, and barely plays any of the teams in that league. Such dismissal happened back in 2006, when I was wrapped up completely in the Tigers' improbable World Series run. That was a big mistake - the St. Louis Cardinals kept cruising after a 7-game series with the New York Mets and beat Detroit in five games. I forgot that not every team was going to roll over for the Tigers in that postseason. I barely heard much of anything about the NLCS this morning as I prepared for work. Actually, I barely heard anything about the ALCS, either. Any baseball news was all about instant replay and how Joe Girardi - who three years ago was insistent that it not

Which Team Does Derek Jeter's Injury Hurt More? (I'm Serious!)

In the top of the 12th inning in tonight's game, Derek Jeter was going for a routine grounder to short that went to his left side. But he didn't get up. He ended up fracturing his left ankle, and his manager is reporting that Jeter is out for the rest of the postseason. Tigers fans might initially say, "Yess!!" Jeter is gone! We don't have to face him in the lineup! The gold-glove infield has a hole in it! But take a step back. Teams that lose their captain usually rally very well. They get behind the team. They regroup and strike back with a force previously unseen. And the Yankees aren't a sub-.500 team who might just collapse and give up the rest of the series. These guys won the Eastern Division and fought back to win a series against an upstart Orioles team. They aren't just going to roll over. I could easily see Alex Rodriguez suddenly be inspired to hit again...if Joe Girardi even puts him in the lineup in this series. But then again, the Ti

Baseball...It Prevents Us From Going Crazy

You may think that the title of this blog is a little off. After all, the four series that took place this week all went to five games. A fan of any of the eight teams might be feeling a little crazy right now! Between the team that lost two games at home but managed to win all three games on the road (in a row!) to the teams that kept going into extra innings, to the team that just had to win one on the road...and it took them three tries and an inconceivable performance by their ace to do it. But could you imagine a fall season without baseball? It has happened before - but that was eighteen years ago, in 1994. Sportscenter was just beginning to become the regular hangout for people when they woke up in the morning. ESPN2 was still the place for skateboarding shows and men lifting tractor tires. Our normal lives kept the human race from going nuts. But in the days of 24-hour sports networks, Internet blogs (like this one!), and the constant barrage of social media, baseball is t

9.79* Reflection

If ESPN is doing one thing right, it has to be their 30 for 30 documentary film series. 30 films on 30 different subjects by 30 different directors. Each documentary that I have watched has been very compelling and informative, and I highly recommend watching them when you can. Tonight's doc featured the eight athletes who participated in the 100m final at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. This was the race that featured Ben Johnson's unprecedented demolishing of the world record and subsequent gold medal. It also brought on the most thorough and media-scrutinized doping scandal in the days following, also featuring Johnson. The 30 for 30 film interviewed all eight athletes, and each of them got into the sport in their own way. But each of them (except Johnson, who has already admitted to doping) talked about training "clean," even though half of them had been implicated in doping either in 1988 or following. It was a little disheartening, as an Olympics fan, to see

Educate, Don't Condemnate

The Kansas City Chiefs fans are getting a lot of flack today for how they reacted to their own quarterback's injury. When Matt Cassel went down with a possible head injury, the KC fans cheered the injury instead of showing the normal respect shown to a player on either the home or visiting side. These may have been the same Kansas City fans who, earlier in the week, came out in droves to cheer on Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera as he accomplished the Triple Crown. What makes the two of them different? I believe that it all depends on how you teach. People were keenly aware of the magnitude of Cabrera's accomplishment - and instead of booing an opposing player, they cheered the accomplishment. On the other hand, Chiefs fans were expressing frustration in a way that may have been inappropriate - especially if Cassel's injury had been worse. But they didn't know how bad the injury was. And maybe - unfortunately - it was because these fans hadn't bee

MLB Postseason...A Whole Other Animal

You always hear that the postseason of any sport is the "second season." All the work over the long regular season has subsided, and a new method of playing the game has to be implemented. But let's face it: baseball is waaaay different from any other sport. When the NBA or NHL seasons begin, it's hard to tell that the regular season has ended until a few weeks into the playoffs. The NFL has a one-and-done playoff method that keeps the desperation of the end of the regular season at full tilt even as the playoffs begin. But when it comes to baseball, the regular season and the playoffs are so different that you can't help but notice the contrast. The game is the same between the foul lines, but the energy can't be more diverse. Take the crowd. For a normal Major League Baseball game in the middle of June, you'd normally find several groups of people present: regular season ticket holders who follow their team all year, groups who have purchased tic