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The Big Game

Just a quick football opinion, before we turn back to our usual subject. After all, the aftermath of Super Bowl XLII seems much more enticing than discussing which of the local nine is in better shape

My take on the Super Bowl (besides the fact that I can make terrible predictions with the best of them): Karma still exists. The Giants’ stunning upset of the Hoodies in Super Bowl XLII is proof of the above.

I speak, of course, of Randy Moss, and I’m sure Raiders fans know to what I’m referring. The fact that Moss quit on the Raiders during his brief two-year stint with them is unforgiveable. It’s one thing to say a situation is a hopeless joke (which in the Raiders case, it is), but to admit that you only “play when I feel like it,” is the worst thing a pro athlete can do. It’s bush on so many levels, we could spend an entire day discussing it.

Thus, the idea of Moss winding up with a ring on an undefeated team while earning accolades as “team leader” was enough to make any Raiders fan puke. Add the prospect of adding “game-winning touchdown” to that scenario would’ve been too much.

Thanks to Eli Manning and David Tyree , Plaxico Burress and the Giants’ relentless defense (one of the greatest performances ever), Moss didn’t get any of those things.  It’s nice to see that the earth hasn’t completely fallen off its axis.

Hearing a lot of commentators suggesting this was not the biggest upset in NFL history. Not only do I disagree, I rate only the USA’s Miracle on Ice hockey win against the USSR in the 1980 Winter Olympics as a bigger upset in U.S. Sports. Take into account the stage, what was at stake, and the dominance of the favorites.

As far as baseball upsets that compare? How bout these:

— 2004 Red Sox over the Yankees in the ALCS: Overcoming a 3-0 deficit in games is probably the only way you can find a true baseball equivalent to the odds the Giants had to overcome in their Super Bowl win.

— 1988 Dodgers over the A’s in the World Series: Conventional wisdom said it all fell apart for the Bash Brothers when Dennis Eckersley gave up Kirk Gibson’s famous home run in Game 1. I say it went to smithereens when Eckersley walked Mike Davis just before it.

1972 A’s over the Reds in the World Series: That dynasty’s first title came against a team that was supposed to dust them in the Fall Classic. The A’s got three of their four wins on the road, including the last one.

1969 Mets over the Orioles in the World Series: Man landed on the moon that summer, and the Miracle Mets beat a 109-win juggernaut three months later. The latter seemed more outlandish. 

– 1954 Giants over the Indians: Cleveland had won 111 games, 65 of them coming from their Big Three of Early Winn, Bob Lemon and Mike Garcia. But Dusty Rhodes’ pinch-walkoff home run in Game 1, and Willie Mays’ amazing catch were the equivalent of knocking a QB on his butt a half-dozen times. 

On vacation for the next two weeks. Next blog will be Feb. 18, when spring training will be in full swing.

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A Giant nothing

A few baseball thoughts while lamenting how the Chargers upset try against the Patriots in the AFC title game was Norv’d (terrible play-calling inside the 10-yard line) , and wondering what happened to the Packers’ Brett Favre in the second half vs. the Giants.

— Slightly less than a month until the Giants report for spring training, and Aaron Rowand remains their only major move. How disappointing is that? Obviously, the Giants will be laying a lot on the line with their dynamite starting staff, but Rowand (while a great clubhouse addition) is not a panacea for the offense. The Giants may be trying to position themselves to win a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games, but if no more moves are made, they’ll find themselves losing more games by those scores than they win.

— The A’s signings of Huston Street and Joe Blanton to one-year deals last week mean nothing in terms of their long-term future in Oakland. But the hunch here is that both will start the season and that both could stick around for a rebuilding effort if the A’s perform better than expected in 2008. We’ll know where they are by the trading deadline, when Blanton, in particular, could really net a lot.

— Had an hour-long conversation with an A’s executive last week, and what I can reveal is that one very interesting question was raised. Of all the A’s who have departed as free agents or been traded since Jason Giambi walked away in 2001, which one or two would you still like to have in 2008? My somewhat-lame answer was Miguel Tejada, but you know what, right now, today, I wouldn’t want him. He’s going to make $18 million this season, he’s lost a ton of range at shortstop, and his best days as a hitter are behind him. Still, I would’ve loved to have seen what the A’s could’ve done in 2004, ’05 and ’06 had they signed Tejada to an extension.

— On that subject, the A’s are promoting their annual FanFest hard, with the key attraction being a tour of the team’s clubhouse. Can just hear it now: “This is where Nick Swisher used to locker. This is where Dan Haren used to locker. This is where Miguel Tejada injected steroids ….”

— On the steroids topic, the back-and-forth between the camps of Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee keeps getting more and more interesting. Can’t wait to find out which one purges himself in front of Congress on Feb. 16. Then again, anybody think Clemens is actually going to show up?

— Meantime, it seems as if Andy Pettitte is doing some spin control of his own, regarding his friendship with Roger Clemens.

Finally, a Super Bowl prediction, because it’s never too early:

Patriots 52, Giants 10.