Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Meissnervations











It's (YAWWWWWWWWN!) Monday morning. Here's what's up....

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Both "my" football teams lost this weekend. The Oregon State Beavers lost at home to Cincinnati 28-18 on Saturday. The Beavers just sputtered on offense, especially in the 4th quarter. And the ground game never got going either. Arizona is up on Saturday, in the Pac-10 opener in Corvallis. Kickoff is 7:35p.m. EDT and will be televised live on Versus.

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The Edmonton Eskimos hit a long pass play with just over a minute to go last night, beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders 31-27. The Riders, who played pretty well, were hurt by not being able to convert scoring chances into touchdowns more often. Saskatchewan threatened at the end, but a desperation pass on the games' last play fell incomplete in the endzone. Riders are at Edmonton this Saturday at 6:00p.m. EDT.

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Saskatchewan, Edmonton and Calgary are all tied for first in the CFL West at 6-5 for 12 points. BC is 4th at 5-6 for 10 points. Montreal is in firm control of the East at 9-2 for 18 points, with Hamilton second at 6-5 for 12 points. Toronto and Winnipeg are both 3rd at 3-8 for 6 points.

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Remember back in August, when Winnipeg rolled at BC, and the Bombers got 260 yards rushing from Fred Reid and 110 for Yvenson Bernard? Reid hasn't even gotten close to that in the past three games combined, going for just 18 yards on 11 carries at Montreal yesterday. Bernard, part of the Oregon State North group that plays for the Bombers, didn't run the ball once and caught one pass for two yards. Apparently, BC was that bad back on August 21st. I still say Winnipeg could have the best running back tandem in the CFL, but lately, it seems to be 1 step forward and 3 steps back in Winnipeg. Simply brutal.

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Major League Baseball is heading into the home stretch of the 2009 season and a couple of the races for post-season berths are heating up. In the AL East, the Yankees are 5 ahead of Boston, Detroit is 3 ahead of surging Minnesota in the AL Central and the Angels lead Texas by 7 1/2 in the AL West. Boston is 8 ahead of Texas in the Wild Card. In the National League, Philadelphia leads Florida by 8 in the East, St. Louis is 10 ahead of the Cubs and the Dodgers lead the West by 5 over Colorado. In the Wild Card, things remain a bit tight. Colorado leads San Francisco by 4 1/2 games, with Florida 5 back and Atlanta 5 1/2 behind.

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The Cubs suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season for running his mouth about how he views the state of business in Cubbie Land. Is anyone surprised? He's been trouble too many times. Seven teams in a ten-year career is a pretty telling sign.

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The Tampa Bay Rays beat Toronto 3-1 yesterday. They've won 4 in a row now, but a recent 11-game skid has left them 18 behind the Yankees in the AL East, and 13 behind Boston in the Wild Card. They've already been eliminated in the division race, and their elimination number in the Wild Card is down to 1. Oh well, better luck next year, I guess.

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The NHL pre-season is well underway. The Tampa Bay Lightning hosted the Atlanta Thrashers this past Friday. We got free ticket vouchers through my wife's job. Upon arriving at the St. Pete Times Forum, we were greeted by a monster line at the ticket window. However, the Lightning(Who clearlt "get it" while the Rays and Bucs don't) had a representative passing out tickets to those who had the vouchers. We ended up getting seats three rows above the Tampa Bay goal. Way cool, eh? Jimmy had a great time at his first "Big Boy's" hockey game, which the Lightning won 2-1 on a Martin St. Louis power play goalgoal with 25 seconds left in overtime, shortly after rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped a short-handed breakaway.



The Lightning are 1-0-0-1, losing in a shootout at Dallas last Wednesday, then beating Atlanta in O.T. on Friday. The excitement of the game, the simple fun of just watching live hockey again, would make anyone jump, ya know?!?!

And if you think that's cool, look at the picture of the scoreboard, when they posted pictures of the two teams' starting goaltenders in Friday's game:











Before you start searching through the NHL record book to see when goaltenders with the same name have ever opposed each other, it was a mistake. Ondrej Pavelec played the entire game for Atlanta. Oopsie doodle!

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The Portland Winterhawks were an absolute mess the past three seasons. An incompetant ownership group, poor player selection and a major disconnect from it's fan base resulted in three-straight seasons with less than 20 wins and attendance that dwindled to the point where the life expectancy of the team was being measured by some in months, rather than years. But, three straight solid drafts, new ownership and a renewed committment from it's players, has resulted in a team that lost it's first game this pre-season and hasn't lost since, winning it's last five pre-season games, then winning it's regular season opener on the road, beating Seattle 5-0. The Hawks look like they may well have skipped at least two or three years in the rebuilding process, and could be championship contenders in the Western Hockey League this season. Now, if they can reconnect with the fan base(Raising ticket prices like they did after last season was an extremely questionable move), the franchise could recapture a meaningful place in the Portland market. Good luck to them.

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My old team, the Tri-City Storm, is 0-2-1 in the USHL pre-season. New owner, new coach, same results. Some teams just take longer to rebuild. I think, from what I've read, they'll get there. But, it may be another season of no playoffs before they get there. Now, like in Portland, they need to reconnect with a severely alienated fan base. I'm hearing they are making strides in that area as well. That's good. If they don't, then one skate is in the grave and the other is on a frozen bananna peel. But, that goes for every team in every sport. What I don't really care for though, is that they appear to have reported an attendance estimate of 1,500 for each of their two home games with Omaha. If the numbers were accurate, then I'd say they were encouraging. We'll see. A friend of mine, whose family held four season seats for several years but didn't renew last season, were FINALLY contacted and asked about rejoining the Storm "family." (Gee, what took 'em so long?) Now, the next move will hopefully come in a much closer administration of the Community Ambassador program. The concept is good, but it has been so mis-managed, that it has come nowhere near what they were hoping to accomplish with it. It sounds like they might be close to a radio deal too. That will be a HUGE positive for them.

The Storm simply have too many twenty-somethings in charge of things. I may well have worn out my welcome there, but if you really knew what sparked my frustration there, you'd have a much better understanding.

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Week two of the NFL is just about in the books. Backtracking to week one's Monday Night double-header, New England beat Buffalo 25-24 and San Diego topped Oakland 24-20.

Yesterday, the New York Football Giants won in Dallas 33-31, in front of an NFL record regular season crowd of 105,121(Field goal on last play of game was the difference). Byron Leftwich threw for 296 yards, but looked really shkaing at times, as Tampa Bay lost at Buffalo 33-20. Houston scored late to beat Tennessee 34-31, Cincinnati got a late score to win at Green Bay 31-24, Atlanta beat Carolina 28-20, and Washington outlasted St. Louis and Steven Jackson's 104 yards rushing, 9-7(Refunds available at the box office). Oakland edged Kansas City 13-10(How bad are the Chiefs if they lose to the Raiders? At home, no less? Forget the Lions, these are easily the NFL's two worst teams), the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets beat New England for the first time at home in nine years 16-9, Arizone beat Jacksonville 31-17(Gonna be a looong year for NFL fans in Florida North of Miami), New Orleans stopped Philadelphia(Despite Kevin Kolb's 391 passing yards) 48-22, Minnesota beat Detroit 27-13(Brett Favre's 271st consecutive start is a new NFL record, while the Lions lost their 18th consecutive regular season game, another new record), San Francisco(behind Frank Gore's 207 yards rushing, that including two TD runs of over 79 yards each) beat Seattle 23-10, Denver pounded Cleveland 27-6, Chicago beat Pittsburgh 17-14(236 yards passing for Jay Cutler) and Baltimore sli[pped past San Diego 31-26. The Monday Night game is Indianapolis at Miami. A win would finally push Payton Manning past Johnny Unitas for most QB wins in Colts history(They're tied at 218).

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Mark Martin won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Cup, outdueling Juan Pablo Montoya off a restart with seven laps to go. For a guy who's 50 years old and supposedly retired two or three years ago, this is a great story.

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Fall baeball is trying to get underway around here. My first game, scheduled for last Wednesday was rained out when a thunderstorm dumped two inches of rain on Jack Russell Stadium. (JRS is the former spring training home of the Cardinals and Phillies, but is mostly just a field these days, with most of the old grandstands gone.) I'm looking forward to working with my new umpire's association. They look like a highly skilled and committed group. And, of course, as a general rule, most baseball fields in Florida are palaces, compared to most states. Hopefully, the rain holds off for next Saturday's game.

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That's it for now. Have a great week everyone!

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