Month: January 2004

Snow Day

We were having a great winter, all things considered, until last Sunday. Only one small snowstorm, no super cold weather, no ice. Right now, it’s snowing for the fourth time this week and we’re supposed to get sub-zero temps tonight. Working from home kind of eliminates the snow day option, unfortunately. It doesn’t stop my hands from turning into blocks of ice after about 3:00 when the shade covers my side of the house, though. I must say, our neighborhood looks very nice covered in a layer of the white stuff. Our subdivision decided rather than street lights, each home would have a small lamp in the yard for nighttime lighting. On a normal night, it keeps it very dark: almost too dark. But for the past week, with snow covering everything, the nights have a warm glow from the lights reflecting off the ice. It feels like a Swiss chalet. OK, that’s stretching things. Almost makes winter tolerable.

People I hate: People who drive pickups fast in the snow, especially small pickups. Listen, you’ve got no weight in the back and the roads are slick. There’s no reason to go 50 in a 35. I have four-wheel drive but still try to keep it under the speed limit when you’ve got four inches to plow through. Slow it down, Jethro.

You may recall my elaborate plans for wooing Carmel High School’s Josh McRoberts to attend KU that were ruined when he committed to Duke. Well, McRoberts spent the first month of the season on the bench while a back injury healed. He finally returned to action a couple weeks ago. Although I didn’t go to his first game back, I did watch the Carmel High School TV station’s coverage of the event. The coverage is great on a normal night. A single, shaky camera mounted among the bleachers. A super staticy video feed. And a couple high school kids in dress shirts and ties commenting on the game. Yes, I’m intensely jealous I didn’t have this kind of opportunity 15 years ago. Anyway, before the pregame introductions, the announcing team was rightly talking up the event. The opposing team was introduced, followed by the first four CHS players. Just before McRoberts’ name was called, one announcer excitedly said, “Here he comes! Here he comes!” McRoberts is introduced to a huge roar from the completely full gym. Once the applause dies down, the announcer shared his assessment; “I’ve got chills up and down my spine!” I love this kid. He perfectly summed up what it’s like to have a superstar on a high school team. I remember trekking all over KC in the winters of 1988 and 1989 to watch any and every player who was Division One material. I did again later with Tyronn Lue, Derek Hood, and, of course, the Rush brothers. There’s an innocence that comes with being a high school star. Maybe it’s the endless reservoir of opportunity in front of them. Most importantly, there’s a forgiveness factor that disappears the moment they put a college jersey on for the first time. The stars in high school are larger than life, yet regular kids too.

Speaking of high school stars, a local channel shows a slightly higher quality game of the week each Friday night. Last week, #1 Lawrence North faced #2 North Central. Two proud schools (home to Eric Montross and Jason Gardner respectively) in a key clash before district play begins. North Central features top 50 senior AJ Ratliff, who’s signed to attend IU next year. Lawrence North features super sophomore Greg Oden, who checks in at 7’ and already has a better body than KU’s David Padgett (not saying much, I realize, but the kid is 15!). Ratliff was silky smooth, and I had no idea he had 22 points by the third quarter. Maybe it’s because LN was just destroying them. Oden, who reminds me of a young Patrick Ewing, was simply amazing on offense. He absolutely attacks the rim, dunking ferociously over and over. On defense, he’s not quite as advanced. He may take it easy to avoid fouls, but he really should be more intimidating than he looked Friday. There’s already talk of him going straight to the NBA in two years. It’s scary how good he’s going to be as he gets older.

I didn’t follow the Democratic presidential candidate process much until about two weeks ago. Is there a more uncomfortable look than the look on the face of someone who’s a political giant, but in the first or second contest, is forced to drop out? Dick Gephardt had that look in Iowa. There’s nothing like spending a lifetime fighting for a particular set of values, then having a huge percentage of the voting population tell you they don’t care about that view. I’ve read about candidates who lose in the general feeling this overwhelming sense of loss and depression when the election is over. And these are people who got 40 million votes. Imagine just getting 8,000. Don’t you always go to the “We fought the good fight” card at that point?

I keep hearing this buzz that Rachel Ray is the new “it” girl on the Food Network. What are these people smoking? Giada De Laurentiis is clearly the best thing about the Food Network. In a simpler time, you’d hear a lot more about her from me. To the point where some of you would probably worry about me. In these more complicated times, I’m forced to refer to her as “the really skinny girl on the Food Network”. Check out Everyday Italian sometime and judge for yourself. I’m required to not say anything else, lest I get smacked. She doesn’t read, but she knows.

 

The Whole Story

I know why you’re here, and I refuse to disappoint. Most of you have heard the news, but if you’ve not checked your e-mail, or you’re just passing by, I am going to become a father sometime around August 8. It was great to finally be able to tell those of you I talked to yesterday, and to send the mass e-mail as well. I’m good at keeping secrets, but seven weeks is torture. It’s almost as if none of this was real since we weren’t telling anyone until S hit 12 weeks. So I’ve been experiencing a ton of emotions as it all kind of hit me.

I imagine those of you who haven’t talked to one of us yet want to full scoop. Well, maybe not the full scoop. I’ll let you figure out the beginning on your own. We found out on December 11. I had been traveling all week, we were headed to Kansas City the next day, and I was having an awful, awful day at work. I think I was sitting at my desk with my head in my hands, contemplating whether to quit right then, or wait until after the holidays, when S yelled at me from our bedroom if I was busy. I said yes, but did she need something right away. “I need your help for just a second if you can.” I needed the break, so I went upstairs and she was standing there giggling the way she does when she knows something I don’t. It didn’t register at all, so I didn’t notice. “Jackass,” the stuffed penguin we keep in our room, “has something he wants to tell you,” and she pointed at our bed. I could see a lump under the covers, so I pulled them down. Jackass got wrapped up in the blanket and kind of rolled over. I thought, “What the hell is going on?” Seeing her plan had gone awry, she reached in and grabbed this thing she had propped under Jackass’s arms and gave it to me. I looked, saw a digital readout that said “Pregnant” and just blinked. S shoved me and said, “We’re going to have a baby!” and started laughing. I still didn’t get it. It felt like an hour, but was probably only 2-3 seconds before it even registered. I don’t know what I said, when I finally said anything, but I’m sure it was extremely eloquent. Probably something like, “No shit?” Or maybe “Holy shit!” Shit was involved.

I think it was probably not until that evening when I finally reached the first level of understanding. Sure, we had been trying and had not been taking all the precautions we had both been taking for over a decade. But it all seemed too fast and too strange. To be honest, in some ways I’ve still not gotten past that first stage. I think a big part of it was not telling anyone. It was a secret, which made it seem not real in some ways. I don’t know, it’s a strange, strange feeling.

Anyway, we had to figure out how to handle the weekend in Kansas City, not to mention the holiday parties back in Indianapolis later in the month. At my step-dad’s on Friday night, S and I would casually exchange beers when mine was almost empty. I’m quite pleased of my performance at the Sinatra Party, making her a Sprite with a lime in secret and handing her “gin and tonic” to her in full view of others. Sean M. asked, “Are you drinking tonight, S?” She tipped her glass towards him and said, “Yes!” and he responded, “That answers that question!” I’m a fucking genius! It helps to be at a big party where lots of people are drinking heavily. The third degree is hard to pull off when you can’t put three coherent words together. We used a similar tactic at a Christmas party the next week, making sure S got the same glass that people who were ordering mixed drinks from the bar were drinking in. New Year’s was a tougher task, since one of the couples we rented the cabins in French Lick with had been really grilling us. When we told them yesterday, they said, “But you were drinking at New Year’s!” No she wasn’t. She was just using every trip to the restroom or near the sink to dump part of her drink when no one was looking. That’s tough to pull off over 36 hours in a small cabin, but she did it. She’s a fucking genius too!

We did tell our immediate families on Christmas Day. S was working that day, but was able to leave the hospital long enough to eat dinner with the family. We had saved the gifts for us as a couple until she arrived, and after opening those, I stood up and said we had a gift for the entire family. I grabbed by backpack and carried it to the table, all while telling some story about how S had forgotten to wrap the gift before she left for work that morning, and I’m a horrible wrapper, so I apologized for the way I was presenting it. I dug around in the backpack for a few seconds, then said, “But you can’t really wrap our gift, because we’re having a baby.” S’s step-mom, who is the most gung-ho about grandkids, started screaming, and everyone else started cheering. I couldn’t believe a couple of her sisters who were staying with us hadn’t called us out yet (Like when she had burst into tears over burnt cookies, or told them to stop talking about their grandmother’s bad breath and looked like she was going to puke). So that was fun. It was also fun to call my step-dad that night and tell him. He’s never had kids of his own, so he said, “I don’t really have any advise for you,” in kind of a sheepish tone. I think he’s still in the state of near shock I’ve been in.

As I mentioned, S did have a rough 5-6 weeks. As soon as we got back from Kansas City, she started having evening sickness. Each night, shortly after dinner, she would get these horrible waves of nausea. She never got sick, but she’d roll into a ball and not be able to move for hours. Other nights, she’d fall into the deepest sleep I’ve ever seen her in. Somehow, whenever we had guests or were at a party, she was able to either ignore it or convince it to take a night off. For the first, and I’m sure not the last time, I’m glad I’m not the one carrying the baby.

So that’s our story so far. It’s been a strange time and will only get stranger. But it’s also an incredibly happy and joyous time. Another common theme I’ve found in my sampling of the Blog universe are blogs by soon-to-be parents. I assure you I’ll keep everyone updated on little Fetus’ progress, S’s health, and all the ups and downs and unknowns of prospective parenthood.

Cursed By Curls

I was quite close to the lady that cut my hair in Kansas City. I went to her for almost 12 years so she was more a friend than someone I visited for 30 minutes every four weeks. She cut my mom’s hair, still cuts my step-dad’s hair, as well as the hair of the oldest son of the Raytown Nesbitts. Other than when she went on maternity leave, I refused to let anyone else touch my hair. No one else could understand how the hair on the sides needs to be cut just so or how the curls on the front were temperamental. So I was faced with a huge dilemma when we moved to Indianapolis: finding a permanent replacement for her.

I was stubborn and refused to find anyone at first. I let it grow an extra two weeks so when I returned to KC in August, I could sneak out to Lee’s Summit for a quick visit to my old friend. When we returned to Indy, I rebelled by letting my hair get as long as it’s ever been. I went almost nine weeks without a haircut! My hair tends to grow more up than down, so in the mornings, it was scraping the ceiling. I looked like a deranged Kramer. When I finally gave in, I held my nose and went into a Super Cuts, or some other local strip mall chain. I half expected lightning to strike me when I walked in. Trust my hair to someone who doesn’t know me, may never see me again, and for all I know could be on a work release program?!? This couldn’t work. I escaped with minimal trauma and a decent haircut and have returned four times since.

Alone, that isn’t necessarily interesting (yet I spent two paragraphs getting this far). What’s fascinating is each time I go, whatever ethnic stylist in the store immediately jumps up and accepts my business. I’ve tried to figure this out, because there have always been white women there who just sit in their chairs when I walk in. (There seems to be a 2:1 ratio of white hairstylists to African-American/Latin hairstylists in Carmel, IN.) Is my hair really that unique that I am automatically apportioned into the “ethnic” slot? One look and they think, “Oh Lord! Let Ramon/Rene/Beyonce cut that boy’s hair!” If so, that’s pretty damn cool; the ethnic identity I’ve always craved! Or is it some socio-political thing? When I walk in, they assume I’m a guilt-laden, white liberal who lives the good life in the suburbs, and thus I want to help any minority I can find to ease my burden. I doubt that’s the case, although I’m sure they discuss the issues of the day in great depth.

I share all this because I got my hair cut yesterday. I walk into an empty store with two white women and one large, middle aged, African-American man sitting at their stations chatting. Yep, “Bill” jumped up and offered to help me. Bill wasn’t exactly flaming, but definitely fit the stereotype for male hairstylists. He had at least one, large silver ring on each finger. Both wrists had several layers of silver bracelets. His ears were tugged towards the floor by heavy, silver piercings. And, of course, he wore all black, with his shirt unbuttoned just a little too far. Why can’t I get some 19-year-old girl who works nights at PT’s to cut my hair dressed like this?

I had to stifle a laugh the entire time because really, what are the odds this is going to happen five straight trips? I kept thinking about getting home and telling S, “It happened again!” and would almost lose it each time. In between discussing barbecue (When I told him I was from Kansas City and had just found a decent barbecue place, he half smiled and said, “But you have to go “into the city” to get real barbecue,” raising his eyebrows on “in the city”. I whole heartedly agreed, and observed that people in Indy don’t seem as eager to cross the racial lines of the city for food as Kansas Citians are.) he softly hummed along with the lite rock playing in the store. I got a little nervous when some Phil Collins song came on and he seemed to really get into it, actually singing in a deep, resonant baritone. I was reminded of the Seinfeld when George sends the film with a revealing photo on it to his favorite photo shop clerk but gets a similar pose from a large Black man in return. This guy looked and sounded a little like that actor.

Fortunately, Bill stopped singing to me and I made it out without incident. I may have to finally break down and call a “real” stylist that a friend goes to. Surely my hot streak at Great Clips can’t last and I’ll just be saddened when some white girl named Judy cuts my hair.

 

Bill Simmons

Most of you are regular readers of ESPN’s Bill Simmons. If you’re not, you should be. Among all the regular great stuff in this week’s column, point 13a below made me fall out of my chair. It’s good to see other ’03 newlyweds are going through some of the same cohabitation issues we’re going through.

I owe you a pick. I really, really want to pick the Colts. It seems too obvious. OK, maybe they can’t play perfect offensively three straight weeks. But if Peyton only completes 50% of his passes, they still have a great chance to win. They turned the sloppy field at Arrowhead into a track; no reason they won’t be able to do the same on the frozen surface in New England, right? Here’s why I can’t pick them: 1) The defense was only marginally better than the Chiefs’ last week. Give KC two more possessions in the game, they win. It’s a defense built for the artificial turf. I see them getting pushed around, missing tackles, and being totally confused Sunday. 2) The Patriots mystique. Brady, Belichick, Boston. I think that trumps the Colts hot streak. Peyton, Marvin, and Edge are great again, but their defense lets them down. Bonus difference maker note: I’ve never lived in a city when its team was in the Super Bowl. The two football seasons we were in San Francisco, the 49ers lost to the Giants and Vikings in the playoffs. The Chiefs were 0-fer. Why should the Colts be any different?
Patriots 30 Colts 28 But if the Colts win, I’ll tell you on Monday I’m not surprised.

NFL’s conference call

NFL Playoffs

What an incredibly enjoying weekend of football (unless your team lost). Has there ever been a better four pack of games in NFL history (unless your team lost)? Parity in the NFL may suck in a lot of ways, but it certainly makes for good playoffs. Every single game had twists and turns, glaring coaching errors, amazing changes in momentum, and plays that fans of every team will be talking about for years. I don’t particularly like Carolina or St. Louis, but my palms were plenty sweaty during overtime of that game. My stomach turned when I was 20 seconds late switching back from whatever else I was watching and missed the winning touchdown. “What the hell happened?!?” The final five minutes of the New England – Tennessee game were almost too much to take. Every play, it seemed, was either more Patriot post-season magic, or just another obstacle for Steve McNair to somehow overcome. You didn’t know which it would be, but everything was setting up so that after the game, the writers had plenty of material. How Drew Bennett dropped the fourth down pass after making two sick catches earlier in the drive I’ll never know. Terrific drama to say the least. Missed field goals, fourth and 26, unbelievable penalties, amazing catches. You can’t ask for anything more from four games (unless your team lost).

Being super busy last week, I wasn’t able to go into depth about the Indy perspective on the epic Colts-Chiefs clash. Even though I work from home, I got plenty of questions about whether I was ready to “take a beating” from people who assumed I was a Chiefs fan. The look on their faces when I told them I had never been a Chiefs fan might have been more fun than if I actually was a Chiefs fan and had given them something back. The best call came during the game, “Hey, D., are you having a hard time knowing who to cheer for? Go Chiefs? Go Colts? Oh…..Mark just told me you’re not a Chiefs fan. Never mind then.” That’s certainly still the case, but I’ve not turned into a rabid Colts fan, either. I figure if I lived in Kansas City for 23 years without becoming a Chiefs fan, it made no sense for me to buy an I Believe in Blue shirt, or get a Touchdown Monkey doll (Although it is hard to resist the allure of the pigskin primate).

Nonetheless, I was pleased with the match up. That meant a week of coverage from the Plaza and references to barbecue on the local news. Lots of features on interesting things to do in KC (more barbecue, Jazz Hall of Fame, Negro Leagues HoF, references to the loss of the NCAA). Interviews with men and women on the street in KC. And despite my lack of fondness for the Chiefs organization, there is a certain level of pride that comes from all the coverage of how amazing an environment Arrowhead is on game days. I may not like the Camaroheads, but they were my neighbors and coworkers.

I’m pleased to report that Indy fan behaved in a manner similar to Chiefs fan over the past week. There was a promotion Thursday at the RCA Dome that basically shut down half of downtown for a couple hours. Someone was handing out free posters and blue ribbons. The catch was it was a drive-through event. You drive up to the Dome, people hand the items directly to you in your auto, and you drive away. People spent as long as two hours in line to get an ugly poster and a piece of cheap ribbon. The wind chill was around 0 all day Thursday. So that means people drove from all over the city, sat in line with their heaters blasting, and wasted gas for 90 minutes. All for some free cardboard. I would imagine had I gone to a bar yesterday, there would have been people who took their free posters with them. “Gotta support the team.” It’s amazing what some people will do. Like Peyton Manning would think of all the great Colts fans back in Indy who say in line for hours and were sitting at home, waiving their posters while he was calling an audible.

Speaking of supporting the team, what’s with these people who take the little hand puppets to games? I know every person has their own way of expressing their support for their favorite teams, but who the hell decided that taking a puppet to a game would help? And why did other people have the same idea?

The game itself was more like a college game than a professional game. You just don’t see playoff games with a complete lack of defense from either team. Peyton Manning has been nothing short of phenomenal the last two weeks. I liked him in college, and enjoyed the way he’s played in the NFL, so I think it’s cool he’s finally having some success in the post-season. I’ve never liked Dick Vermeil (remember, he was the Eagles coach back in the day, including the 1981 NFC Championship game against Dallas. Yes, I cried when the Eagles won.) so I was pleased that his team lost.

Indy is in a state of delirious disbelief today. I think a lot of people expected the Colts to win this week. It’s the way they won that has people amazed. There’s the realization that the team is 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. Jim Harbaugh’s bunch of rag-tags that made it within a Hail Mary of the Super Bowl in ’96 were different. They were Cinderella, full of good karma and happy-go-lucky players. This year’s team can clearly win it all based on talent, not luck. People were reserved about this team all season (witness the three games that weren’t sold out early enough for local TV coverage earlier in the season). Most cities would concentrate on the come back against New England. Local fans seemed to take it as a sign the Colts were, once again, just not good enough. The near loss in Houston was another sign, rather than a playoff bound team taking it easy late in the season. Suddenly, people believe.

Philly will beat Carolina in a close, ugly game. Fox would be better suited reairing this week’s games. I’m struggling with the AFC game. I have a hard time believing anyone is going to beat New England at home. EVERY thing goes their way at home. But can you pick against Peyton now? If it comes down to a field goal, Mike Vanderjagt is Gary Anderson waiting to happen, while Adam Vinatieri is dead clutch. This one warrants more deliberation.

Royalmania!

To quote Lionel Richie, “I had a dream, I had an awesome dream.” The next-to-last dream of my slumber this morning (the one interrupted by the first time my alarm went off) included driving to a friend’s house to watch the last game of the coming baseball season between the Royals and the Minnesota Twins. The winner goes to the playoffs, the loser stays home. I’m pleased to say, in extra innings, the Royals prevailed and advanced to the post-season for the first time since 1985.
In college, I had an uncanny ability to dream about future sporting events and see those dreams reflected in reality later. Is this a sign of things to come? The bad news, though, is apparently the AL Central is really going to suck next season. With the win, the Royals finished the season at 82-80, the Twins dropped to 81-81. Start budgeting for playoff tickets!

D’s Notes

That ended up being some exciting ending to the Sugar Bowl. And yes, I stayed up until 2:00 waiting for the final AP poll. Not on purpose, mind you. It just kind of happened that way.

Brent Musberger is an awful, awful announcer. He drives me batty every fall doing games. He’s so judgmental in his analysis of college players. He predicts things that won’t ever happen. He gets excited about things that have no bearing on the game (“Now wait a minute, LSU players say they have the ball!” after the officials already gave possession to OU. Like LSU players have veto power or something.) ABC somehow continues to think he’s best suited to do the marquee game of the season each January. CBS wised up and booted his ass during the 1990 Final Four (not that Jim Nantz is particularly dynamic or knowledgeable). Why can’t ABC do the same?

I forgot to post my NFL playoff predictions before we left. I picked Tennessee to beat Baltimore in a tight game, possibly on a last minute field goal. I thought Carolina would roll over my Cowboys. I thought Green Bay would win a nail biter against Seattle, possibly on special teams or a turnover. And I expected the Colts to just destroy Denver. Honest, that’s exactly what I typed Wednesday.

OK, seriously, I like the Colts to beat the Chiefs in an extremely tight game. Both teams have balanced offenses, with the Chiefs running better and the Colts passing better. But the Chiefs problems on defense will be too much to overcome, where the Colts defense is really humming right now. I like New England to win a surprisingly easy game over Tennessee. Rams win big over Carolina. And the Packers pull a shocker in Philly. Two upsets!

There are a lot of cool things in the NFL. The anticipation when Dante Hall gathers in a punt. Peyton Manning throwing a laser beam to Marvin Harrison. Ray Lewis chasing someone down. Knowing Tom Brady will find a way to win. Steve McNair. But nothing is cooler than Bret Favre running around in celebration after a win.

My picture with the rules for our cabin in French Lick turned out nicely. Here’s how we were instructed to operate our furnace. All grammatical errors are the responsibility of our hostess.

Your Furnace
If you want your furnace to keep you warm follow these suggestion’s!
1. Cabin will be comfortable when you arrive. Please keep door’s closed as soon as possible.
2. DO’NOT open window’s!
3. Keep register’s free from clothing, baggage, blanket’s, chairs, tables, etc. This is your furnace vent’s!
4. Keep inside door’s open for complete circulation as much as possible!
5. Adjust thermostat only few degrees at a time or unit will SHUT DOWN!!!

Isn’t it amazing I got any sleep with all that material? Sentence #3 is especially inspiring, using both correct and incorrect plural forms. I’m amazed the words circulation and thermostat were spelled correctly. And was she a weather girl in a past life? What’s the deal with all the exclamation points? This could be a long, lost relative of Gary Lezak we were dealing with.

Have you seen this low-carb Angus burger at Hardee’s? Have you seen this? A burger with onions, tomato, cheese wrapped in lettuce. I understand the Atkins Diet works for some and thus is quite popular. But I love the fact someone was sitting in a Hardee’s and thought, “We could pull the bun off and market our crappy burger as low carb!” Brilliant!

Speaking of low carb, I enjoyed a Queso Burrito at Qdoba Saturday. Rice, beans, chicken, and a three-cheese sauce all wrapped in a big, fat tortilla. I could probably have run a couple marathons on all the carbs that sucker had. It’s nice to not have to worry about that.

D’s Notes

I hope you’ve all returned to the office rested and ready to face a new year. Doesn’t January completely suck? Shitty weather, none of the warmth and happiness of December, and all the stuff you avoided in December is now waiting for you with a big grin. The only bonuses are college hoops getting into full gear and Super Bowl parties. Anyway, some thoughts while watching LSU manhandle Oklahoma.

“How was French Lick?” you might ask. Very well, I would answer. We enjoyed our time there. Only downsides were extremely hard mattresses, which even after drinking until 2:00 AM, made it very difficult to sleep comfortably, and the lack of cable TV. We could get all the networks from Louisville, but we weren’t able to watch Sportscenter or any of the bowl games that were on ESPN. It was woodsy and rustic. I kept waiting for the Looney Tunes hillbillies to come running down the drive in their floppy hats, bib overalls, and bushy beards. There were some classic signs on how to operate the various heating/cooling and kitchen devices posted throughout the cabin. I tried to take a picture of one I need to check for focus, but suffice it to say in addition to speaking Kentuckian, the old lady that runs the place is quite fond of using the apostrophe to pluralize words. And yes, this is one of my biggest pet peeves so it drove me nuts. My favorite misspelling was rather than don’t, she used the interesting construction don’not. We had a lot of fun with that one. We also learned that if we were cleaning fish, we needed to put fish parts in the white buckets at the cleaning station. On our way down, I met a very nice Indiana State Trooper who gave me a warning for “excessive speed”. I was doing about 59 in a 55 coming down a hill. He was hiding in the darkness (this was around 8:30 Wednesday night) and got me at the bottom of the hill. We decided he was pulling over pretty much everyone to take a sniff for alcohol or drugs. He was quite pleasant, though.

Apparently if you lose the Big 12 championship game and still get invited to the BCS championship game, your role is to roll over and get worked. Nebraska did it two years ago, Oklahoma this year. This one is shocking, though. You figure with a loss and a month, Stoops would have the Sooners raring to go. I’m amazed at how good LSU is. That said, I’m all for USC winning the AP national championship. Let’s split the title this year, and every year there’s that option, until we get a playoff. Every argument against the playoff is stupid. The “sanctity of the bowl system” is already completely screwed, so that one is idiotic. You can easily play even a three week, extended playoff during the period when almost all BCS schools are in winter break, avoiding academic conflicts. I would prefer a three game playoff. Take #1 vs. #4, and #2 vs. #3, and then have winners play winners. I know, then maybe #5 or #6 really deserve to be involved. But teams at that level generally have multiple losses, or a significant difference in strength of schedule, so the controversy is less resonant as the ruckus this year or in 2002.

Loser of the week: Ell Roberson. Dude, what are you thinking putting yourself in that position two nights before the biggest game in the history of your program? I didn’t watch all of the Fiesta Bowl, but when I did switch over for good, it was obvious the entire K-State team started the game in a daze. They were making Ohio State look like an offensive juggernaut. Even when they righted the ship and charged back into the game, Roberson was never himself. He may very well be cleared of any wrongdoing. But he proved that he’s not a leader. And I was shocked, shocked I say, that the K-State administration were able to determine so quickly that no crime took place. I don’t know what the right answer in that situation is. But flatly stating that no crime took place before the local law enforcement has made a determination seems a bit hasty.

Runners up: ESPN and Pete Rose.

ESPN: Thanks for allowing a three hour TV block for a bowl game and scheduling a basketball game immediately afterwards. Between extended commercial breaks and long halftime, bowl games run closer to four hours. I was lucky enough to see the final 5:25 of the first half of the KU-Villanova game following the Peach Bowl. Put the game on the Deuce, for crying out loud.

Pete Rose. My opinion on his whole mess has always been: there was overwhelming evidence that he bet on baseball, and probably on games involving the team he managed. Enough evidence that he accepted a life time ban rather than have the details drug out in public. When Bart Giamatti dies, suddenly poor old Pete was tricked into an agreement he didn’t understand. He never bet on baseball! There was no evidence! Horseshit. I think Pete belongs in the Hall of Fame, but his plaque should say along with collecting the most hits ever, that he bet on baseball and was banned from the game. He should never be allowed to take a formal role in any baseball game. He can go to all the games he wants. He can throw out first pitches, wave to the crowd, and accept awards. But he should never, ever be allowed to coach, manage, or assist in running an organization.
Now suddenly he’s prepared to admit he bet on baseball so he can get his sorry ass back in the good graces of the game. I think he’s more hungry for the continued attention. He wants his book to sell. He wants to gain sympathy. He needs the validation of being a Hall of Famer, along with the no doubt tearful induction speech. Fine, put the sorry, bitter old man in the Hall. But don’t ever let him back in the game completely.

Crap, OU has cut it to seven, meaning I may have to rewrite some of this tomorrow.

 

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