The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2009 Topps Baseball - A Review

So I've hit the 400 total card mark with Topps Baseball Series One, and I've come to a few impressions on the set so far:


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Today is the day.

Sports fans reckon today as the real New Year's Day. Today is the four sweetest words in all of sport, the words that indicate that spring is on its way, that all things are once again new and filled with hope.

Pitchers and Catchers Report.

Now, granted, not every team has its spring report date today. The Cleveland Indians, however, open their camp for their catchers and their pitching staff – including reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee.

What's important is that the season unofficially starts today. And, fans of every single team in the majors hopes that it's the beginning of a long ride that doesn't end until late in October with a trophy and a victory parade through downtown.

The hope that springs eternal with the beginning of Spring Training is badly needed in times like these. Hope is hard to find when the economy is so bad, people are losing their jobs and scandal rocks the sports world.

Teams are feeling the crunch of the poor economic times – some more than others. The oldest NL franchise, the Cubs, is up for sale as its parent company declares bankruptcy. Meanwhile, another team – the Mets – are dealing with the fallout not only from their new ballpark's naming rights holder, but with the financial swindling by a financier of the team.

What should be a year of celebration – two brand new ballparks in New York City, the final year of a monstrosity in Minneapolis – has turned into a tour de farce. Steroid scandal has reached from Roger Clemens and his "dirty needles" to Barry Bonds and his charges of lying to congress. And as camps open, the story suddenly has a new face: Alex Rodriguez, whose reputation had already taken a hit over the off-season from name calling by his former manager, Joe Torre.

There should be expectation in the air, as the second World Baseball Classic is upcoming. Unfortunately, uncertainty in south Florida over a new ballpark could mean their last year in a stadium that was never meant to be a baseball field. And even as they celebrate an American League pennant across the peninsula in Tampa, there are questions over the Rays future. Can they hope to compete when they share a division with two teams that try desperately to outspend each other annually? Is a new ballpark in their future? Or are they going to be the ones that leave for greener pastures?

While the City of Brotherly Love basks in the glow of the Phillies' second world championship in franchise history, the city of Oakland is wondering how much longer it will have the A's as its own. Their owner, Lew Wolff, has been actively pursuing a new ballpark down the road in Fremont – though that has been fraught with hurdles that make about as much sense as the BALCO grand jury's actions.

Excitement is brewing in Milwaukee after their first playoff appearance in over a quarter century – but there's also a fear that they may not be able to replicate that feat with the loss of their mid-season acquisition CC Sabathia. The question as to whether Braden Looper can be an adequate replacement for Ben "Ouch" Sheets got kicked off the sports pages when – once again – Brett Favre told everyone he was retiring. "And this time, I mean it."

Still – it is the true first day of spring, the day that pitchers and catchers report. For at least one day, anything is possible. Teams can see ways that they could be this year's Rays or Phillies; young rookies look more promising, while aging vets are trying to recapture lightning in a bottle

Let the games begin. We've got eight more months before the World Series gets underway.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

Some random thoughts for a Sunday:
* - Sorry, I just wanted to see if I could get some web traffic here. I've already asked for forgiveness.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Steelers win number six.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers pull it out. I'm still not entirely sure about that fumble. Why didn't the Cards linemen jump on it instinctively?

The game really wasn't as close as the score would indicate, bottom line.

Well... that's it for me for the night.

Super 43 - The Last Three Minutes

Cardinals get the free kick at the 36. Need a touchdown to take their first lead in your first Super Bowl.


Arizona 23, Pittsburgh 20 with 2:37 to go.

Fitzgerald was looking to see who was behind him on the video screen.

Big Ben: you want the Caddy? You gotta do it on this drive.

Pittsburgh with exactly two and a half to go, and 78 to go.
Final Two Minutes.

Dear Ben: Your Escalade Hybrid is waiting.

27-23 Pittsburgh, though the Cards have two timeouts, and they have to score a touchdown to win.

Three words: Not gonna happen.

35 seconds. 77 yards in 29 seconds against the best defense around.

Fitzgerald catches it, time out.

I can't even blog this one.

Super 43 - The Last Waltz

Half a quarter to go, and the Steelers have it at their own 24 on the runback.
Cards with their season on the line and 75 yards to win the game?
Steelers lining up in the end zone.

Super 43 - The Final Act

And here we go. Cards at the 20.
15 Minutes Left.

NFL's advertisement:Usama Young of the Saints. "It's just a commercial, son." Nice.

By the way: the 3-D commercials weren't that good on OTA television.

Back to the Cards:
Steelers can ice this one with a touchdown.
Steelers punt it away - and knocked down at the 13.

By the way: crashed after their free breakfast offer.
Hulu = zombie invasion? Typical.

Super 43 - Third Quarter Again

Steelers start out deep in their own territory...
And, after a brief bladder break... Third and short.

Second Half time.

30 minutes until the Steelers get their 6th ring...

You know, if Fitzgerald was the receiver on that play, I'm not sure Harrison gets the pick. Ifs and buts, of course.

Time to get a touchdown, gentlemen.
(Aside: YAY! Free breakfast at Denny's!)
Arizona now has to punt. He's got another challenge.

Heh, Steelers' Holmes learned from his last time, and called for a fair catch.

Super 43 - THAT was a first half.

Forget it. Steelers going in with the 17-7 lead? No way Pittsburgh, barring a massive collapse, loses this one.

Super 43 - Second Quarter

Oh, THERE'S the monkey commercial. Castrol GTX? Oy.

Steelers continue:
Commercial time - oh geez, Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell?
Cards take over after a few Bud commercials. Oh, wait, that's a STAR TREK commercial!
Next set of commercials: Oh, great, the "G" commercials. And that was a commercial? Ugh.

Pittsburgh's back on the field, up 10-7. Rackers: send the ball into the End Zone. Okay, not quite.
Cardinals BIG return of the punt! No touchdown, though - never been done in a Super Bowl. (Keep that in mind for future reference...)
The 3-D commercial don't work for me, mostly because - well, I am color-deficient. Red-blue shifting doesn't do it for me. Sigh.

Anyways... Under three to go and third and halfway to Tallahassee:
Nice coverage by the Cards. Steelers start at their own 16. (Sorry, Lisa, but I'm not going to watch halftime. I know your hubby will be plastered to the TV for it.)
Subtle, Mr. Leno. Now, back to the Red Machine in the Two-minute Offense:
Last 18 seconds of the half. Cards get six here, different game. AND they get the ball in the second half.

PICKOFF! Touchdown - but there's a flag. A 100-yard Interception return. That's GOT to be the longest in Super Bowl history. (Thanks, Al.) Harrison got in, I think.

Super 43 Post 2

Arizona's first possession thoughts:
Now the Steelers' 2nd possession:

Forty Three

Some thoughts as we kick things off:
I know, I should be twittering this instead of blogging. I don't care. :P