A couple of sports quickies

Congrats to the Detroit Red Wings on their Stanley Cup victory. Yes, the game-winning goal was ugly, but the ugly ones count just as much as the pretty ones. The Penguins put up a good fight, but the Red Wings were just too dominant. My finals prediction was Penguins in 6, and it ended up Red Wings in 6, so I really only missed by one. I haven’t watched a lot of playoff hockey this year, but I always enjoy watching the final (i.e. Championship) game of hockey or baseball, even if I don’t care who wins it. I watched the last ten minutes of the third period of game 5, and assumed like everyone else that Detroit would win it and that would be it. Also like everyone else, I was stunned when Pittsburgh scored with 35 seconds left, and resolved to watch the end of the game. The first overtime period was amazing, and I missed about half of the second OT because Gail returned from a Board of Education meeting and we chatted about it for a while. Just before the third OT started, I got sleepy and decided to watch the rest from bed, since Gail was going to stay up and work for a while. I was standing in my room brushing my teeth when the winning goal was scored. Last night I played baseball, so by the time I got home and turned the game on, there were only five minutes left in the third, but Pittsburgh scored with a minute and a half left to cut Detroit’s lead to one, and I thought “here we go again — can Detroit be a minute away from the Stanley Cup two games in a row and still lose?” It turns out the answer was no, but damn, that shot that trickled by Osgood with a second left on the clock was awfully close…

I’ve heard from a bunch of hockey people in the last 24 hours that the Penguins time will come, and very soon. With all the pressure that’s on them now, I kinda hope it does. They were “allowed” to lose it this year — even the mighty Edmonton Oilers were swept in their first Cup appearance in 1983 — but with all these analysts talking about them like it’s a given that they will win Cups in five of the next ten seasons, they better win one within the next two or three years, or their confidence might get rocked, and then they’ll go from perennial Cup contender to “they used to be good” before you can say “Ottawa Senators”.

Hey Ozzie Guillen — I need you to do one of two things, OK? Either (1) grow up or (2) shut up. We’re all tired of your childish little tirades. If you can’t keep your head on straight, just keep your mouth shut. Just manage your team, give the press the standard clichés and that’s it. Thanks.

I was working from home today, and I planned on bringing my laptop into the family room this afternoon and working while watching the Jays-Yankees game, but I completely forgot about the game. I left to go pick up Nicholas around 5:00, and turned the game on in the car. When I turned it on, it was 8-6 Toronto, bottom of the ninth, two outs, B.J. Ryan pitching. I figured I’d hear the end of the game before I got to Nicky’s caregiver’s place, and one way or another, I was right. A-Rod, who was on first, took second on defensive indifference, then Matsui his a single up the middle to score him. Now it’s 8-7, but still 2 outs and B.J. Ryan pitching — no problem, right? The next batter is Jason Giambi, who takes two quick strikes as I pull into the driveway. I decided to listen to the next pitch and hope for a strikeout or groundout and the game would be over. Well, the next pitch was a strike, technically, and it did end the game, but not in the way I was hoping. Giambi hit it over the right field fence for a walk-off home run. Yankees win 9-8. Yuck.

Both Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan had breakout seasons last year, and I remember thinking before this season started that if they do half as well this year, and none of the pitchers gets injured, then the Jays pitching staff is looking pretty decent. Well, Marcum and McGowan are both pitching just as well as last year if not better, Halladay has been his normal self (dominant pitcher, complete games all over the place, but he could be 10-3 instead of 7-5 if he had more run support), and A.J. Burnett has been, well, A.J. Burnett — sometimes unhittable, sometimes quite ordinary. All four are at or above .500, and the highest ERA of the four of them is Burnett’s respectable 4.32. If all that wasn’t enough, along comes Jesse Litsch, the former Tampa Bay bat boy, who’s currently 7-2 with an ERA under 3 ½. The Jays quite possibly may have the best starting rotation in the game.


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