I'm honestly not exactly sure where to begin this morning.
I could begin with The World Series, which should be a great matchup if everyone involved doesn't freeze to death thanks to Major League Baseball's brilliant decision to push the climax of its season into November. I could also talk about how fortunate Yankees manager Joe Girardi is that Andy Pettitte got him close enough to Mariana Rivera that his middle relief pitchers (in this case Joba Chamberlain) only had to get him two outs in game six. If the Yankees lose that game--and for a while there it looked as if they might leave 100 men on base before the night was over--even with CC Sabathia pitching game seven the spectra of another ALCS collapse would have had people in New York in panic mode. An Angels victory might have caused the stock market to go down 400 points.
I'm honestly not sure if Girardi is that good a manager. He's so by-the-book (witness the pitching change with two outs and no one on in game 3 that led to the Angels win not to mention leaving A.J. Burnett out there WAY too long in game 5) and when he talks I swear to God I feel like I'm listening to Jim Zorn. The difference, of course, is that Girardi has so much talent that he could be the best or worst manager in history and it might not matter. What's more, if he wins, it DOESN'T matter. So we'll see what happens in The World Series. I'll also be fascinated to see how Alex Rodriguez does now that he's finally on the game's biggest stage. His numbers in postseason are great but how tight did he look to you with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. He fouled off a batting practice fastball on 2-0 and looked absolutely relieved when Dale Scott gave him ball four on a borderline pitch a moment later. Maybe I'm imagining things. We'll see. I'll say this, Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee is about as good a game 1 matchup as we've seen in a World Series in a long time. The key though may be how the guys pitching behind the studs pitch. The x-factors could end up being Pettitte and, believe it or not, Pedro Martinez.
In the meantime, I've tried to swear off writing anything about The Washington Redskins because it's become a little bit like battering a piñata that's already burst open and fallen to the ground. Still, after Vinny Cerrato's performance on Friday, I have to say something. Let's start with this: Who does this guy think he's kidding. His boss/lord and master, Dan Snyder, simply refused to speak to the media during the season. Cerrato spends the whole week ducking the media then goes on his own radio show (how did he get a radio show? Snyder owns the station) and "makes news," by saying Zorn won't be fired during the season. Whether that's true or not remains to be seen but then the guy has the NERVE to criticize the media. I'm sorry did the media lose to the Detroit Lions, the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs? Did the media completely fail to understand the importance of an offensive line? Did the media put itself in a position where it had to hire Zorn as head coach because no one with experience wanted the job? Has the media been so arrogant, so obnoxious and so money-gouging in almost 11 years of ownership that it has turned one of the great NFL towns against its NFL team?
I have suggested to some of my Washington Post colleagues that someone from the paper should be assigned after every game--win or lose--to walk up to Snyder and say, "what's your comment on today's game?" Snyder can refuse comment, can sick his bodyguards on the guy, can scream profanities (something he's famous for--ask Norv Turner among others) or he can discuss the game like an adult. His call. But MAKE him do it. Don't just accept the, "I don't speak to the media in-season," copout. He OWNS the team. He put together this team. Poor Zorn tried to claim a couple weeks ago that "most," NFL coaches meet with their owner during the week. NO THEY DON'T. Not the good coaches with good owners that's for sure. Do you think Bill Belichick spends a lot of time game-planning with Robert Kraft? If Snyder wants to run the team--which he clearly does--then he needs to respond to the public when the team goes bad.
Who knows, maybe the Redskins will win tonight with the bingo-caller running the offense. Then Snyder and Cerrato will spend all week sneering at people even more than normal. The Eagles are banged up and coming off an awful loss at Oakland so who knows if they're any good. Regardless, it won't fix a broken organization and that's what the Redskins are right now. And Vinny Cerrato--smarmy little mouthpiece that he is for Snyder--should shut up. If Snyder wants to speak to the media, legitimate media not people who work for him, fine. But that's it.
Onto more pleasant topics. No wait, I have to say something about officiating first. I was watching a college football game this weekend and a kid made a spectacular catch in the end zone. He stood up, put the ball between his legs twice and then dropped it on the ground. He was whistled for excessive celebration. Hello? What are these guys thinking. Is there NO common sense out there anymore. My God. There are only two reasons to flag someone for excessive celebration: If a group of players get together for something that's stage or if there's taunting--I mean in-your-face taunting. That's it. Or if someone pulls out a cell phone. One other thing: there needs to be a rule that if a replay official can't make a decision within two minutes, the call on the field stands. The delays have become ridiculous.
Okay, NOW a more pleasant topic. It's a long way from bad owners and bad officials to this but I want to thank everyone who wrote in either through a post or an e-mail to comment on the blog I wrote last week on my friend Patty Conway. It was especially nice to hear from friends from Shelter Island I hadn't talked to in a long time and to know that so many people shared the feelings that my kids and I had for Patty. Bob DeStefano, Patty's teacher and long-time boss at Gardiner's Bay Country Club reminded me that Patty was presented this summer with a junior, "Lifetime Achievement," Award during the annual junior awards banquet. Too often in life we honor people after they're gone. I'm glad Bob and his daughter Nancy thought to honor Patty in August--even before she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
I can almost hear Patty's voice right now talking about Rickie Fowler, the 20-year-old phenom who almost won on The PGA Tour yesterday. "Hey, he's kind of cute isn't he?" Then a pause. "Of course I like his golf swing too."
As luck would have it, I finished a golf book I've been working on for a good long while this weekend. It'll be out in the spring. It's called, "Moment of Glory," and it chronicles the 2003 majors when four first-time winners won the four majors: Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel. Furyk was well known when he won the U.S. Open; Weir was known when he won The Masters but Curtis and Micheel were complete unknowns when they won The British Open and The PGA having never won before on tour. The book's about how life changes when you are suddenly thrust into the public eye in ways you couldn't possibly have imagined.
The dedication for the book reads as follows: "This book is dedicated to the memory of Patty Conway who was loved by so many but none more than Brigid, who will always think of her when she hits it past the big kids."