[Business Day One] The Royal Sampler
I went into Boston’s Chinatown Sunday afternoon and feasted upon Dim Sum. If you’re not familiar with this magnificent tradition, you’re missing out. It’s a buffet that comes to you, delighting your senses and satisfying your hunger with a savory variety of dumplings, rolls, and buns. Like football, it is best enjoyed on the weekend and in a pair of stretchy sweatpants. Inspired by this glorious meal, I am presenting to you Business Day One Dim Sum – a sampling of news from across the entirety of the sports world. And like Dim Sum, it should satisfy everybody.
Shrimp Dumpling: The New York Mets are not going to the playoffs. Their season ended with Tom Glavine allowing seven runs in a third of an inning, while one state over the Phillies put the finishing touches on a playoff clinching win. Mets Manager Willie Randolph is not going to get fired, nor should he. He’s a quality manager with a lot of experience that can handle the scathing New York media. There are going to be some off-seasons changes, to be sure, and the team taking the field next year will be markedly different. There’s a lot of great young talent on that team, but I think this year was their big shot and they slowly bled it out.
Lo Mai Gai: After upsets demolished half of College Football’s Top Ten, the rankings look fairly bizarre this week. I’m having a lot of difficulty with my Boston College Eagles sitting at 6 in the USA Today poll and 7 in the AP. Doug Flutie got us midway up the Top Ten before, but I was still wearing feety pajamas and learning how to eat with a fork at the time. I’ve followed this team for what is approaching a decade now, and I’ve never seen a BC squad better poised for greater accomplishments. The defensive line is patchwork but they still stop the run and our quarterback had two straight mediocre games but still moved the offense down the field. Even without the engine running smoothly, the car is going. That said, we moved up five spots by beating a Division I-AA team (UMass) in sloppy fashion at home. With all the upsets ahead of us, we just happened to be in the right place at the exact right time. Still, I’ll take what I can get.
Chicken Feet: Auburn’s freshman kicker downed the Florida Gators in the closing seconds of Saturday’s game by booting not one but two 43 yard field goals. You see, Florida Coach Urban Meyer tried to “ice” the kicker by calling a timeout a fraction of a second before the ball was snapped. The whistle wasn’t heard on the field in time (since Meyer had a vice grip on the shoulder of the head referee, keeping him on the sidelines until the exact moment of the time-out call) and so the snap was made, the kick was up and it went through. But since the time-out was whistled, the freshman Wes Byrum had to do it all over again. And he did. Icing the kicker is part of the game, but I always thought it bordered on classless in college football. It gives me another reason to dislike Urban Meyer. Go Auburn.
Spare Ribs: Hope Solo was replaced with Briana Scurry as the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team goaltender before their game with Brazil before Thursday’s game. In related news, the U.S. lost by a 4-0 score. I am obviously not the coach of women’s soccer, nor do I have any particular interest in the sport. But the goalie change was made 24 hours before game time and was undoubtedly a huge distraction. Every player on the team must’ve been asked about their thoughts. I’d bet the 95% of the questions asked of the coach had to do with it. Even if Scurry had embibed a magic elixer that boosted her reflexes, gave her precognition and limited teleportation, could the upgrade at netminder offset the clear change in team chemistry and the burdens of increased media pressure? Apparently not. The U.S. Women’s participation in the World Cup will now be defined by this one decision. And that’s a real shame for a classy team like this.
Crispy Fried Squid: Brett Favre has earned two honors this weekend – the all time NFL leader for career touchdown passes, and being celebrated as John Serpico’s Favorite “aww, shucks”-style quarterback. For me, the second is more important than the first. For whatever reason, I just don’t enjoy watching the down-home guys from the farm handle the media after the game. When I watch a post-game press conference, I love getting nice, pointed insight from the guys on the field. I don’t much care for a “Gee wiz, all I did was go out there and throwed the gosh dern football” response. But Favre finally won me over. He’s played through pain that would put me in the hospital and was the favorite son of a part of the country that doesn’t have a whole lot going for it… unless you like ice-covered fields and cheese hats. Something about seeing him, with grey whiskers dotting his chin, talk about Dan Marino last night in hushed and reverential tones made me really, really glad. I’m glad a class act took the record from another class act. It reminds me that some things in sports are still pristine.
Turnip Cake: Raise your hand if you actually knew the NHL season has already begun… Right. Right. You in the back there? No? You just had an itch? Gotcha. Can I start a motion to removed Hockey’s “Big Four Status” from American sports? No league managed so horrendously deserves it.
A waiter will be by to ring you up shortly. Hope you enjoyed your meal.