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Old Sport Shorts: Old Timer #1185

I spent yesterday in baseball mode, despite the big games in other sports on T.V. As I was traveling to my baseball card luncheon, for example, I.U. basketball somehow beat #11 Ohio State, despite 1-17 shooting in the last ten minutes of the first half. It was better that I was in the car and didn’t witness the pathetic 20-36 free throw shooting. Later in the day, I missed both NFL Playoff games because of a lengthy Old Timers Baseball Banquet. A few beers, four speakers and two unavoidable naps later, I was ready for bed. I did however enjoy a short conversation with 82-year old Pete Ward, a White Sox teammate of Sherm Lollar back in 1962. I think that he was disturbed that I was wearing a Cubs shirt while claiming to be a Sox fan. I also won a book by Jack Dunn, From The Third Base Coach’s Box.  

Today it’s raining buckets so I will definitely watch the Packers vs. Seahawks game. With the 49ers already in the winner’s bracket, West Coast fans are anticipating a Seattle vs. San Francisco match-up with the winner going to the Super Bowl. I’m also watching Purdue’s dominant first half performance against conference leader Michigan State. I’m not always a Purdue fan, but hatred is a relative thing. One of last night’s speakers was Mark Wasikowski, the new head baseball coach of the Oregon Ducks who was previously at Purdue. He talked of the in-state rivalry with I.U. In 2018 the Boilers finished 2nd in the BIG with a 17-9 record but were eliminated by Houston in the NCAA Regional. I.U. went a step further but lost to Texas, after a 14-9 conference season and a split record against Purdue. Texas failed to get through the first round of the 2018 College World Series

I last saw I.U. Baseball lose to defending National Champion Oregon State at T-Mobile Stadium in Seattle last year. Back in 2013 with Cubs’ star Kyle Schwarber in the line-up, Indiana made their first College World Series but also lost in double elimination to Oregon State. I followed University of Texas while we lived in Austin, and the success of I.U., U.T., and O.S.U. inspired me to attend the College World Series two years ago in Omaha. Texas was there, but I.U. failed to return. Oregon State emerged as the Champion in dramatic fashion. It was a sports bucket list accomplishment for me to attend the games. It was a lot more exciting than last night’s speakers that included another pep talk on luring Major League Baseball to Portland. I have a sinking feeling that I’ll really be an “Old Timer” when that finally happens!

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: New Year Review #1178

As I look back over the past 21 New Year’s Eve celebrations with my wife, 2 have been spent in the hospital, 3 with family & friends, 12 in fancy restaurants, and 4 at home with the dogs. Allow me to reflect on just this past year of memories that have been both good and bad, in no particular order of importance. Only two, including tonight, have ended with a relaxing night in a hotel room. 

The Year in Review:

My son turned 45

Two of my wife’s daughters wed great young men, so I’m now twice a step-father-in-law, joining my expanded family of a daughter-in-law of now over ten years

The two very different ceremonies were at The Presidio in San Francisco and Powell’s Rare Book Room in Portland. 

Both newlywed couples took gift honeymoons from us in Hawaii, while my son and his wife enjoyed our time-share condo in Orlando

We sold our stand-alone Portland condo in twelve days and at a profit. 

My oldest grandchild turned 12 and he took up golf

My middle grandchild turned 10 and we help her with dance lessons

My youngest grandchild celebrated her first birthday and I started her college fund

My wife joined me in retirement just a few months ago, while I just enjoyed my third full year

We traveled together to Thailand, Florida, Phoenix, Tucson, San Francisco, Walla-Walla, New York, Indiana, Maui, Vancouver, Chicago, Steamboat, Seattle, and McMinnville.

We saw Elton John, Pink, Goo-Goo Dolls, and Train in concert

I grew my Ancestry family tree to include over 18,000 relatives

We helped free a Jeep stuck up to its front axle in deep Panama City Beach sand 

I donated blood on several occasions 

I finished with over 15,000 Buffalo Wild Wings points to use for future “Leadership Meetings”

We moved to a downtown apartment and started using public transportation

We lost cat Frankie and schnauzer Tinker to old age

We attended our 7th Outstanding In The Field in Vancouver, BC – our first international dining event

My wife’s mother sadly died at age 97

We saw Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge, and Tootsie on Broadway

I missed my 50th high school reunion

I lost two college fraternity brothers

We saw the 60th annual Twilight Zone movie presentation on the big screen

I.U. soccer lost to I.U. Santa Barbara and failed to reach the National Championship like last year

We watched I.U. baseball win and lose in Seattle and Oregon State beat I.U. the same weekend. The Beavers were not able to return to the College World Series

I.U. football earned a spot in the Gator Bowl

I.U. basketball failed to make the tournament again

The Chicago Bears failed to make the playoffs

The Cubs did not win the Division or make the playoffs. The White Sox didn’t come close

The Portland Trailblazers enjoyed playoff success but fell short to the eventual champion Warriors.

I saw Oregon basketball beat Memphis at the Moda Center

Oregon earned a spot in the Rose Bowl

I’ve added to my Sherm Lollar baseball collection while drastically downsizing my Cubs memorabilia to accommodate our much smaller living space

I gave-up my once-framed I.U. jersey to its rightful owner Kent Benson #54

We had Portland visits from my wife’s Indy girlfriends, my wife’s youngest daughter, and our Decatur friends

We reconnected with many old friends around the country

We paid off all our credit cards and the balance on our Decatur, Illinois mortgage

We eliminated most of our wine club memberships

We invested in more Marriott Vacation Club points

We planned and paid for many trips next year including Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Spring Training, Alcatraz, the Great Pyramid, and Glacier National Park

We bought the Regal Unlimited movie pass for next year and can easily walk to the theater

My wife’s oldest daughter and husband bought their first house. They also adopted Falco to play with now lonely Tally, our 10-year old schnauzer

My wife’s youngest daughter took a new job with Stanford Hospital and moved with her husband to San Francisco

We’ll end the year and day #7,861 together with dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa and start the New Year with theme park visits with my grand children

We looked at retirement properties along the Gulf Coast of Florida

We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary at Joel Palmer House in Oregon wine country

We met my cousin in Phuket, Thailand

I finished Game of Thrones

We went to the King Tut exhibit at OMSI in preparation for next year’s trip to Egypt

I completed the 11th consecutive year of my daily running streak

I had just one minor cold this past year

I just now finished my 1,178th blog post

 

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: World Series Time #1107

We’re headed to the antique and collectibles show, knowing that we don’t have room for any purchases in our new apartment. In fact, we just spent weeks getting rid of many of our possessions in an effort to fit into half the space. However, just walking through the aisles will undoubtedly bring back many memories of similar treasures that may have passed through our lives. Each one has a story that is often times the clincher for a sale. For example, we still have goods from the Capone and Studebaker families, not to mention family heirlooms that have more meaning than value.

I’ve recently become interested in these shows because of my sports collection. For awhile, I had some custom built-in cabinets that needed to be filled. Recently, however, I’ve had to reluctantly pass much of this memorabilia on to my son and other friends.  I’m left with a guest room/office that my wife has graciously allowed me to decorate with my remaining autographed posters, balls, bats, Sherm Lollar uniform, and ticket stubs. I also somehow got a shelf or two to store my binders of baseball cards, pictures, lanyards, and big game memories. The windows in front of me look out at the surrounding hills and colorful leaves of fall. It’s World Series time – the Fall Classic! Who will be crowned Mr. October, or what looks like November?

One of the framed posters on the wall hold our World Series tickets from 2016 along with pins and pictures of the Cubs victory. Series hero David Ross was just named their new coach. I also have a plaque commemorating the White Sox of 2005 and their World Series sweep of the Astros. My media credentials from that accomplishment are stored in a binder. The Astros are back again this year and tied the series at two games each with the Nats. In 2005 the Astros were in the National League and the Montreal Expos played for the first time at RFK Stadium as the newly formed Washington Nationals. This is their first trip to the World Series, and they have so far failed to win a Fall Classic game at Nationals Park. They have another chance tonight before the event moves back to Houston. In fact, neither team has claimed a home game. 

The big story yesterday for me was not the World Series, but rather the I.U. football victory at Nebraska. This was a statement win for the Indiana Hoosier program that has always been firmly embedded in the second division of the BIG Ten Conference. I.U. had not won in Lincoln, Nebraska since 1959. I clearly remember watching on TV a 1978 drubbing by the Huskers of 69-17 in Bloomington, along with four other thrashings before yesterday’s 38-31 victory. Things were apparently different before I was born, as Indiana actually leads the overall Husker-Hoosier series 10-8 with 3 ties. To me, Nebraska has always been a football school and Indiana a basketball factory. Nebraska even had their legendary blackshirts on in their historic stadium to honor their great defensive squads of the past. To make victory even sweeter, the win makes I.U. bowl eligible and resulted in a three-game BIG streak for the first time in 25 years. Bring on Northwestern for a potential fourth!

To make the Fall day even better yesterday, the Oregon Ducks pulled out a 37-35 victory over Washington State Cougars for their seventh straight. I stayed up to watch the end even through it was well past my bedtime. I can’t imagine having to drive back to Portland from Eugene, even despite the adrenaline rush from a winning field goal with no time on the clock. It was a thriller, as the Cougars took a one point lead with a touchdown drive leaving less than a minute in the game. The Ducks will move into the Top 10 nationally with losses by Notre Dame and Oklahoma. 

It must be Sunday! The Bears will try to rebound against the Chargers as the Colts try to pick up their 5th victory against the Broncos. Oops, there goes another Bears field goal attempt off the uprights! I’m not sure I can watch any more. Instead, I’ll be antiquing but will be back home in time for World Series Game 5. If it weren’t for the NFL, a retiree like me wouldn’t know what day it is!

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Red Zone #1099

My favorite teams aren’t getting much TV support on the West Coast. Nobody cares about I.U., Indianapolis Colts, or Chicago Bears so I’m forced to follow games on the internet or the NFL Red Zone. I did watch the Ducks beat the Huskies yesterday, while monitoring I.U. versus Maryland on my phone. The football Hoosiers won their fifth game of the season – one away from a bowl invitation. After two straight 5-7 seasons and consecutive Decembers off, a holiday bonus game would be a welcome present. It’s about all I can ever expect from this consistently second division BIG Ten team. Even a major bowl appearance is probably never a realistic possibility. 

Rainy weather yesterday turned me into a couch potato, always a grateful role for a home – make that apartment – body like myself. It was rare to see both the Hoosiers and Ducks win at virtually the same time. The Timbers unfortunately were not as lucky as their season came to an end against Salt Lake. I.U. lost their first BIG conference game in four years to Maryland, reminiscent of last year’s trip to Santa Clare and National Championship defeat to these same Terps. College basketball is about to start, but the Hoosiers are expected to finish in the lower half of the conference – just like football. It’s frustrating when the round ball was always a welcome relief to a disappointing pig skin performance. Now, I.U. appears to be marginal in both money sports, with only soccer earning national respect. 

It’s the Nationals and Astros in this year’s World Series, certainly not what I expected. The Nats easily swept the Cards, proving once again just how poor the Cubs were this past season. However, it was good to see Cardinal fans humbled. We’ll see how the Cubbies perform next year without the services of Coach Joe Maddon, who will be guiding the Angels. I think perhaps the White Sox will be worth following in the future. My new office is now essentially an equal combination of Sox and Cubs memorabilia. Most of my Cubs merchandise was passed on to my son in Florida, since space did not allow. I’ll be taking some more items to him in a few weeks. 

The Hoosiers travel to Nebraska next week, a football team they haven’t beat since 1959. I was 8 years old and don’t remember, but I do recall some thorough thrashings by the Cornhuskers long before they were conference foes. My other team from Indiana, the Colts, are currently prevailing over the Texans in their quest to command the AFC South division. (Colts win 30-23). I’ve been a Colts fan since they were in Baltimore, but somewhere in the transition I began to follow the Bears. It’s rare when the Ducks, Hoosiers, Colts, and Bears win in the same week. It could happen by the end of the day, but the 5-1 Saints stand in the way. That’s next on “Couch Potato” Sunday, as I continue to watch the Red Zone

P.S, The Chicag Bears (No O) lost to the Saints at Soldier Field. Mitchell Trubisky was truly awful, and their pitiful offense was limited to a kick-off return along with a late touchdown pass, 2-point conversion, and an on-side kick recovery (nearly two) that led to another TD when it mattered little. Defense wasn’t much better, giving up a blocked punt for a safety. It was still 36-18 at the two minute warning and 36-25 with less than a minute remaining, despite their too-little-too-late comeback effort.  Final score: Saints 36 Bears 25 (17 rushing yards).   

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Hook Me Up #1086

I came back from Florida to a cluttered apartment filled with extra furniture and framed pictures that needed to be hung. We had even utilized an additional storage unit and every space in my car to hold excess items while my wife entertained friends from Indianapolis over the extended weekend. We got together yesterday after going our separate ways, to consolidate, terminate, and eliminate. As a result, our new place is slowly coming together to the point where we’re not stepping over one thing to get to another. Goodwill continues to be the beneficiary. 

Today, we’re having our TVs installed by Hook Me Up Solutions, including a new 55″ Samsung Q60 in the living room. I’m writing in the kitchen this morning while they finish work in my office/guest bedroom. I did manage to get my framed Timbers scarf and baseball bat cases hung on the wall before they arrived, but everything else will have to wait until they finish. When all is said and done, it will be but a mini museum of memorabilia, compared to my former room. I’ve got another suitcase full of autographed merchandise to take to my son’s house in Florida over the holidays, adding to what I just delivered to him last week. At least, he doesn’t have to wait until I die to inherit a good portion of my collection. Plus, I can visit it when I go to see my grand kids. 

Once I’ve finished setting up my office, I will soon return to the more sedentary retirement existence that I’ve enjoyed these past few years. I continue to be stiff and sore from the past few weeks of constant shuttles between condo and apartment. The Florida break was very welcome, although I did help me son organize and hang the Cubs “crap” that I gave him. He’s a fanatic, having even named his two daughters after former players Gregg Maddox (Maddux Alexander) and Mark Grace (Nora Grace). I did package up some items that hold no interest for him to unload at the baseball card show this weekend. I hope to trade them for smaller items that are more manageable in our limited space. It’s really very gracious of my wife to even allow me to display my stuff, considering that I don’t even have a garage any more. Likewise, my son’s wife showed equal “boys and their toys” patience, although she’s as big of a Cubs fan as he is. I retained most of my White Sox memorabilia, since they were my first baseball love. 

I’m only hours away from being officially “Hooked Up,” and once again have access to hours of television entertainment. There hasn’t been much time lately to sit and watch, and these tired bones can certainly use a another relaxing break of doing nothing. I’m glad I have professionals installing the equipment and miles of wires associated with our new system. It’s one less thing for me to do!

 

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Stinkin’, Sinkin’ Cubs #1075

Three 100-win Division clinchers, with the potential of five. Only St. Louis, the probable Central Division Champs with 89 victories will fail to exceed the century mark this season. This tells you a lot about their chances in the post-season. Does this reveal my bitterness as a Cub fan? It was almost a predictable collapse considering the consistent failure of the Cubs bullpen. It almost became a joke, having watched game after game of blown late inning leads. Joe Maddon is almost certainly a goner, despite the fact that he made the only possible moves to preserve victory. If it wasn’t Pedro Strop giving up the walk-off, it was Craig Kimbrel or Brandon Kintzler. It just goes to prove that if your last name starts with K, it doesn’t mean you can deliver one!

The real “K” leader, Yu Darvich finally got his sh*t together, but could typically only deliver six or seven innings. Today, Joe stretched him to nine, but he ran out of gas. Strop once again could not save the day and the Cards struck “Gold” in earning their first 4-game sweep at Wrigley in almost a century. Each game was a one-run loss by the Cubs in the last inning, with the first happening in the 10th. It was “Nightmare on Clark Street!” There will now be three meaningless games at Busch Stadium to conclude the 2019 regular season. The Cards will play on, after four frustrating years of playing second fiddle to their Chicago rivals. I’ve seen the taunting Facebook posts all day long – like they really have a chance in the Post-Season. All they’ve really done is edge the Stinkin’ Sinkin’ Cubs!

The shining star for the Cubs down the stretch was Nico Hoerner, who played his college ball at Stanford. He was the only member of the 2018 class to make the Majors this year. Injuries to Baez and Russell brought him off the couch to the diamond, and he made it pay-off. They might as well now give the entire All Star quality, yet injury-riddled, infield of Baez, Rizzo, and Bryant have an extra week of off-season rest and let Zobrist, Bote, Caritini, Happ, Kemp and Russell get the extra practice. They certainly didn’t contribute much to the success of this team, especially when it mattered. As we’re accustomed to saying as Cubs’ fans, “Maybe Next Year?” Let me also be one of the first to add, “Goodbye Joe!”

 

Old Sport Shorts: ND Number 89 #1073

After this morning’s “Schnauzerton,” a visit from 1-800-GOT-JUNK, and two trips to our new downtown apartment to deliver carloads full of non-junk, I actually sat down and watched some college football. This was just after the Cubs blew another critical game, and I.U. claimed their third football victory of the season. I wanted to see the Oregon-Stanford match-up, but ended up flipping over to Notre Dame – Georgia. Early in the game, the Fighting Irish  recovered a fumble and completed a pass in the end zone, however The Bulldogs had cleverly called timeout and the play was disallowed. As number 89 (currently Brock Wright) caught the ball for the temporary TD, it caused me to flash back to my childhood.

It was just after my 9th birthday (9/24/60, 59 years ago next week), and my dad took me to the University of California opener at Notre Dame Stadium. I remember only two things: the Golden Bear Mascot and my cousin’s #89 number. He was a sophomore Tight End on the 1960 team and my uncle John was an assistant coach. Their last name was Murphy, so they also had that Irish Catholic heritage that undoubtedly attracted them to Touchdown Jesus! They must have gotten tickets for my Dad and I, so this became my very first college football game. I had to look it up, because I definitely didn’t pay much attention to the game at that age. In fact, it reminds me of my own experience taking my son to his first high school basketball game. He was totally focused on the Tiger mascot of my team’s opponent, just as I spent the afternoon watching the Cal Dancing Bear. 

My research this afternoon showed me that Notre Dame won the game 21-7 and nearly 50,000 fans were in attendance. It would be hard to not remember an experience like that! My dad went to Indiana University, and in fact hated Notre Dame, so I’m sure I didn’t get much encouragement in following the team that day. Maybe he even privately enjoyed the fact that I was following the Golden Bears? We did, of course, want to support my uncle and cousin, especially since they provided the tickets. As family, I’m certain we had good seats, plus we got together with them after the game. I also recollect my cousin as a giant, (probably 6’5″) and have a few black & white pictures with him in my scrapbook.

I did discover that Notre Dame had an awful team that year, winning only their first and last games and going 2-8 for the year. USC and California were their two victims. In my cousin’s Junior and Senior years they did improve to 5-5, with Daryle Lamonica at quarterback. Lamonica turned down a baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. I’m not really sure what happened to my cousin, to be quite honest. It seems like he went into coaching himself, but he’ll always be number 89 to me!

 

Old Sport Shorts: Misfits #1062

NFL Football is back – but do I really care? The Bears looked terrible on Thursday night against the Packers. Looking to my collection of gridiron misfits, the Colts are rarely seen on TV in this area. We regularly get to watch the Seahawks that have failed to gain personal favoritism (right now they’re down by 3). Indiana University football blew out Eastern Illinois 52-0 in an apparent grade school match-up. Any hopes for Hoosier glory will quickly deflate when the bully Buckeyes come to town for the BIG opener – next on the schedule. At least, my alma mater has already won a couple of games, unlike the Bears or Colts (right now they’re down by seven). It would be a rare pleasure to be able to brag about any of my teams. Why didn’t I choose Clemson over Crimson?

The fading Cubs have been equally impotent in an critical match-up with the Brewers, allowing the Cardinal division lead to grow. The White Sox aren’t even worth bringing up, as I already start to look ahead to next year. I’m envious of those who have become obnoxious fans – blessed with teams that rarely lose. In all sports, I’ve somehow endeared myself to the misfits. The Cubs proved once again yesterday that they can’t score runs in critical situations, and generously give them up freely in the late stages of games. Closer Kimbrel continues to disappoint with injuries and Javy Baez sadly has a hairline fracture in his thumb. Joe Maddon continues to juggle the lineup, but they still can’t win on the road – except at Citi Field. I’m afraid to even watch in the last two innings, and wish they had more games against the Mets! 

I know that in Bloomington, Indiana next Saturday Buckeye fans will flood the stands. This will allow I.U. media relations to show-off a packed stadium of solid red. Unfortunately, it will be Buckeye red, as smart Hoosiers will re-coop their season ticket investment and head to the bars. After all, you can’t get a seat in Columbus. As always, there will be a few Hoosier faithful that perhaps will still hold hope for an upset, until reality sets in. This has not happened since 1988 – 31 years ago. The Buckeyes lead the series of 92 games that date back to 1901. Overall, it’s 75-12-5 in favor of Ohio State. Do you believe in miracles? You have to if you support the misfits that I follow! At least, I’m not a Browns fan!

Old Sport Shorts: Baseball Blues #1056

The Yankees are the first team to 90 victories this year, as they hold a 9.5 game lead over Tampa Bay. The Astros and Dodgers will soon join them in that achievement, with still a month left in the regular season. Dodger and Yankee “Blues” are confined to the uniform. The Cubs, on the other hand, had a major set-back this weekend against the Brewers, going scoreless for 24 consecutive innings. Two straight shut-out losses at Wrigley hadn’t happened since the Dodgers did it in August of 2013. That year the Cubs were 66-96 under Dale Sveum and finished fifth in the National League Central. This year, at least, they already gotten 74 wins, but continue to trail the Cardinals by 3 games. The Redbirds are on a roll, without nearly the talent that Chicago possesses. I’m just hoping that the Cubbies can somehow come from behind in facing the Cards seven of the last ten games. First, they have to get by the Brewers in an upcoming four-game series at Miller Park

The struggling Cubs are a victim of their own color. They’ve got the “Baseball Blues” when it comes to scoring runs or preventing them late in games. It’s caused me great sadness when I watch them as they continue to stumble through the year. Of late, they’ve even had trouble winning in the “Friendly Confines.” Chicago is known for “The Blues,” but it should not apply when it comes to baseball: 

We’ve got those baseball blues,

When we put on our hitting shoes.

I just might blow a fuse, 

Since I hate so much to lose. 

That song has played too many times this year. Then, just when I think there’s hope, there’s an encore. I keep seeing too much Cardinal and Cincy red, and when it mixes with Cubbie Blue, it often leaves an ugly bruise. I’ve given up hope when the bullpen goes into action, and find myself constantly frustrated when it comes to getting hits with runners on base. I keep expecting a big finishing run down the stretch, but instead find us at an unacceptable 5-5. They did manage to beat the Mariners today, and once again my expectations are up  for an 8-2 stretch. The Cardinals have been doing that consistently the past two months. They apparently learned a lesson from the Stanley Cup Champion Blues.

 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Fall Ball #1050

With the exception of a handful of earlier match-ups this past week, college football is kicking off the season tonight in full gear. It’s that time of year when football overlaps with baseball, that I call “Fall Ball.” It leaves me with five opportunities to be frustrated between the Cubs or White Sox, Bears or Colts, and I.U. football. Believe me, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to adopt other teams, so I must be a masochist. Here in Oregon, I’ve attempted to get enthusiastic about the Ducks, as I was once responsible for selling radio advertising for their games, while most of my friends follow the team. However, I didn’t graduate from there, grow-up in the vicinity, or have family that attends, so I tend to migrate back to my roots. The exact same scenario occurred when we lived in Austin, Texas and were expected to be Longhorn fans or Illini fans in Illinois. I’ve always been a firm believer in fitting in with the community by supporting the local team, but it’s hard to find an emotional attachment- so you’re forced to fake it!

The Cubs won their fifth straight road game tonight, completing a sweep over the Mets. This is remarkable considering they are a dismal 28-39 away from Wrigley. In addition, this is only the second time this season they have swept an opponent in a three-game series on the road; the last time was mid-April against the Marlins. To make matters worse, just before this positive push, they miserably faltered at home in being swept by the Nationals. It’s been up and down this season, compounded by injuries and an ineffective bullpen. The Cubbies have now fallen behind the division-leading Cardinals that have prospered during a remarkable 15 wins during an 18-game stretch. The Cubs were 8-10 in that same time frame, moving them to simply a contender in the Wild Card race. On the other side of Chicago, the White Sox, my other “Fall Ball” failures, are a pitiful 22 games out of first place. By the same token, Da Chicago Bears have yet to win a football game and are still struggling to find a place kicker before the season begins in a week from today against the Packers.

The “Fall Ball” frustration continues for me, as the Indianapolis Colts have permanently lost quarterback Andrew Luck, although they did manage to win their first exhibition game tonight against the Bengals. They will start the regular season with an offense guided by Jacoby Brissett. Indiana University (I.U.) football battles in-state rival Ball State (Ball U) on the Colts field this weekend, while the local Ducks play Auburn in a match-up of Nationally ranked teams. I.U. is far from that level and will be lucky to win the 6 games necessary to get a bowl bid. A victory over Ball State is paramount – or the season is over. Once again, there are low expectations for all my favorites. I’m also not anticipating that my Cubs or Bears will achieve Playoff status, as they prepare for hibernation during the changing of the seasons from “Fall Ball” to “Winter What-If’s?”

 

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