Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Billy Packer said the game was over- why are they still playing?

It was 9:29pm when Billy Packer opened his mouth. I know because at 9:29:31 my friend sent me an instant message that said, "Did that guy just say the game was over."

Before I even read it, I had already sent a similar but much more profane response to her.

To those who don't believe in the jinx, there is nothing I can tell you. But at that moment Kansas had a 38-12 lead but there was still 7:37 left in the first half. Yet as the game went into a timeout, Packer declared the game over. Even his partner Jim Nantz was shocked and just yelled, "Wow."

Both of us knew what was going to happen. And I bet all across America people spit out their drinks. The game is never over until it is over.

Now as I write this post, the game is not over. But North Carolina is now down five and that prick Billy Packer (aka Mr. ACC) was acting all shocked at the turn of events. Now I am not saying I have magical powers but the tide has slowed somewhat once I started to blog this.

People often talk about momentum and how the swing of Big Mo can change a game's outcome. A little roll one way or the other can affect play. When it is on your side, as player you think nothing can go wrong. When it is against you, you can think nothing can go right. This is where coaching can have the most impact. What team is most prepared to ride out a wave one way or the other. What team can shut off their thoughts and just play as they have practiced.

But sometimes when you get cursed there is not much you can do.

And even if this seems silly and Kansas still finds a way to win. Packer's comment is an example of why I dislike him so much. Packer thinks he is smarter than the rest of us. He was the one who said a few years ago George Mason did not belong. He is one who every year screams at the committee for leaving out ACC teams. He is so arrogant he can declare a game over despite there being 27 minutes left. Gus Johnson would never call a game over. Bill Raferty would never declare a game over. Those two gentleman love the game. They have the passion of a fan and yet remain professional. Yet it is Packer who thinks he is better than the game and the fans- who always finds the way to be the most unprofessional.

The game isn't on TV?

Today's game is not on TV and that makes me sad. FOX pays big bucks to televise major league baseball so no one else can show a game when they do. Most markets adjust and move their start times to avoid a conflict. That is the reason why the Indians almost never have Saturday day games. But Oakland doesn't have a large fan base so moving a start time for them makes no financial sense. Hence for the second straight year the only Indians game not televised takes place in Oakland.

The silver lining is instead of Matt Underwood's stumbling and bumbling, I get to listen to Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan. I really enjoy the pair but on a day I am stuck in the house- images would be nice. My only complaint with Direct-Tv is that I can't turn off Underwood and put on Hamilton as I can't get the sound to match up. I was not a fan of the man Underwood replaced but I miss when Rick Manning and Mike Hegan worked together. I liked them. Underwood is used to being a radio where you have to talk a lot more- therefore having stories makes sense. Although sometimes now he is on radio, Hegan can forget to call balls and strikes- sometimes even total at-bats. My only wish is that Underwood would talk less and let the game unfold before our eyes. We can see what is happening. Just find a way to add to it- don't drown it.

One reason I love baseball best is that just about every day at 7pm, I can sit down and watch the game. Except that has happened just once so far this season. Oh well.

Changing gears the final four finally gets going tonight. With four number one seeds, I have almost no real interest in the games. I suppose I will back Memphis. But when it comes to college basketball, I like cheering for underdogs. I have no rooting interest locally and all four coaches are big names- so I can't even cheer for a coach. I am sure I will still watch but if they are blowouts I will turn it off.

Why would anyone read this far? Anyway sorry this sucked.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

I decided to take the rapid to the game. I knew parking would be a nightmare and from everyone I talked to- it was worse than that.

I just missed a train when I got there and as I made my way down the stairs to the platform- the theme song from Twin Peaks was playing. Weird. I have never heard that song outside of an episode before. I decided that it couldn't be a good omen.

If you have read me for a while or know me, you know I hate Jim Thome. I still love Manny and I will never boo Manny. But I have no love for Thome and no one will ever convince me otherwise. To me Thome is Shooter McGavin or David Simms from the movies. He has a public persona and he is someone else in private. And thats fine- but Thome love was always exaggerated here. Sure he hit near the bottom of the lineup in 1995 with Manny- but look where he also hit in 1997. When he has been asked to carry teams- he hasn't. Look at Philly and the White Sox- again no shame in that. But people want you to think he is a hall of famer. He isn't. And I don't think it is close. 500 home runs is not what they used to be. He can aw shucks with the best of them- but you can't take the money after saying it wasn't about money and get to stay Opie. Again I have no problem with taking the money. Thome leaving is one of the main reasons why the Indians are good now. If he had stayed- this all would have been stunted. But the country boy sure owed C.C. today.

The seven run second got me so giddy- I sent a text celebrating it before the inning was over. Not like the a never superstitious me. And sure enough the world still revolves around me as in the next instant Victor Martinez gets hurt.

In the eighth when things looked bad, Micheals made a nice play on that ball on the wall to make the White Sox hold Crede. If JoBo ever blows up- and to me the man has iron cajones- put me in the camp of making Jensen Lewis the closer. We need Betancourt in the 7th and 8th. Maybe two calls went our way but the man made pitches to get us in an opportunity to make plays. What good is a closer without a stud set-up man. Today's closers are built for three outs. Give me a Betancourt that I can use when the game is really on the line when I need him.

I could not believe that call on the interference. But as nuts as Ozzie Gullien is- even he said when he saw the replay it was the right call.

Peralta still scares the crap out of me. He had two throws in the late innings that could have been a disaster. But the man has worked hard and he was a clutch hitter in the playoffs.

Just about everyone in this town has had a love-hate relationship with Casey Blake. But he was arguably our MVP last year. When Marte flamed out and Garko blossomed- he wordlessly moved back to third without a complaint. He is the clubhouse leader on this team. And he deserves to have the moment he had in the game. People take shots at Blake and his batting average last year with runners in scoring position. But Blake has had some big moments at the plate in late innings over the years- game seven aside.

I am not going to make predictions. But I will say this- I like our chances. But if you want two bets I would make. The Cubs will not make the World Series. I don't think they will win their division. And while it is easy to say the Yankees won't make the playoffs- my gut says the Mariners and Angels both make it and Boston doesn't. They seem set up for a fall. And the Yankees are the Yankees I don't see the Evil Empire collapsing so easily.