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Old Sport Shorts: Favorites #1463

Baseball and cold pizza, two of my current favorites, came together for lunch yesterday, before the yard work started. The White Sox were up against the higher-seeded A’s and playing on their home turf. I’ve never been a fan of the once Kansas City now Oakland A’s, but since childhood the White Sox have always been my favorite. Catcher Sherm Lollar has perpetuated this relationship since 1959. Granted, I’ve strayed to the Cubs at times when they were winning, following suit with my son and dad. I’ve been fortunate to see both Chicago favorites first-hand in World Series victories. 

Lucas Giolito pitched seven innings of perfect baseball and the Sox bats were hot in a 4-1 victory. The lucky socks proved their worth. Today, I’ll wear a Cubs sock on one foot and the Sox sock on the other, hoping for the Chicago sweep. There will be no fans to interfere with any Marlin foul balls, reminiscent of Steve Bartman in 2003, so there should be no excuses for anything less than a Cubbies “W” at Wrigley.   

I do have a busy today with a second moving estimate, Cubs & Sox baseball, dinner to cook. and the first game of the NBA Finals, in addition to the eight televised MLB playoff games. LeBron has oddly become a basketball favorite of mine, even though he’s never played for the teams I support, with the exception of the Olympics. Part of this is the lack of respect he gets, especially from Michael Jordan fans. In my opinion, they are equal greats from separate eras. Comparisons are unfair, especially considering that there wasn’t nearly as much free agency in the Jordan era and contact rules were vastly different. 

While championship match-ups were being determined in baseball and basketball, the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed their second Stanley Cup title. I’ve officially adopted them since we now own property in Florida, along with the Rays, Buccaneers, and Rowdies. Having now owned homes in six states, I’ve amassed quite a collection of teams, improving my chances to win something…anything. Chicago is still my favorites sports town, with the exception of the Bulls. Michigan teams don’t count. The Portland Trailblazes have now replaced the Pacers as my favorite NBA team. When it comes to college football, I lean to the Texas Longhorns and Oregon Ducks, even though my pigskin favorite will always be the hapless Indiana Hoosiers. Soccer favs are the MLS Portland Timbers and Indiana University, while my vote for college baseball goes to the Oregon State Beavers. College basketball is hands down Indiana, as well. I do enjoy sports of all kinds and genders, but do not have as strong of allegiances. I also know the teams and players I hate in any given league – but this is all about favorites. 

I still have fond memories of watching a White Sox playoff game back in 1983 from a motel room in Indianapolis. I was down there from Ft. Wayne on an overnight business trip and played hooky for the afternoon game. It was players like LaMarr Hoyt, Floyd Bannister, Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, and Ron Kittle, as I check the memory banks of Wikipedia. Tony LaRussa was the coach of this team that won their division and made it to the American League Championship, losing to the Orioles after winning the first game of a series of five. The Orioles went on to win the World Series. It was the first time the Sox were in the postseason since the 1959 World Series, featuring for me a home run by Sherm Lollar. They wore the patriotic uniforms with SOX in block letters on a blue stripe, trimmed in red, across the chest. They’ve brought them out on several occasions this year – one of my least favorite looks!

2008 was the last White Sox postseason win, falling 3 games to 1 against the Rays in the opening series. They did win the division that year. The team featured Ozzie Guillen, Jermaine Dye, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, John Danks, and Mark Buehrle, along with Manager Ozzie Guillen. The Sox were eliminated on the day I started work in Austin, Texas, one of my least favorite jobs. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: President’s Day #1226

President’s Day is not an official Holiday as most people think. Ask any Federal Employee and they will tell you that it’s still recognized as Washington’s birthday (February 22nd) that was moved to the third Monday of the month. They have the day off but you might not. It was only in the latter days of my career that I the companies I worked for recognized Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day. Anymore if you get the February holiday you also probably celebrate the January date as well – no one wants to be accused of discrimination. For many years in the workforce for me it was a long stretch between three-day weekends from New Year’s to Memorial Day. Now, in retirement, every day is a seven-day weekend.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were sometimes four-day weekends that no longer exist for me in retirement. Once again, every glorious retirement day is exactly the same, without the need to look forward to extra time off. When you step away from the workforce, I believe you have to give up the weekends, vacations, and holidays you looked forward to and simply look forward to tomorrow. However, some retirees may prefer to see President’s Day as a triple bonus – holiday, vacation, and 3-day weekend. Either way, it’s a great day for a great day. 

The Daytona 500 is a President’s-Day-Plus this year because of yesterday’s rain-out. I’m not a huge NASCAR fan, but after taking my grand kids to the race a few years ago, watching the broadcast brought back some great memories. I spent many years around the Indy 500 track, including the inaugural running of the Brickyard 500, so I’m at least knowledgeable about racing. I’ve attended every type of event from demolition derby, dragster, and stock-car to Formula One. I’ve also worked on a pit-crew, sold race sponsorship, and entertained in the suites. Motorsports have been been a big part of my life as many of my close friends, acquaintances, and co-workers have been involved. Naturally, I was recently saddened by the death of John Andretti and feel part of his racing family. He drove in his last Daytona 500 ten years ago and should be honored again today on the telecast. 

I’m still disturbed about IU’s basketball loss at Michigan yesterday, but President’s Day means that baseball season is starting. Indiana and Oregon State both won games on the diamond yesterday and Major League Baseball starts this weekend. Basketball will soon be thankfully over, although I will be attending the Women’s NCAA Basketball Regional to watch the 24-2 Oregon Ducks. It will likely be our last chance to see top Professional prospect Sabrina Ionescu on the college level. The 20-7 I.U. women should also make the NCAA field, while the men continue to falter. 

“I cannot tell a lie!” I will spend an unproductive President’s Day on my butt watching both the Daytona 500 and the timely History Channel presentation of Washington. I realize it’s a sharp contrast in interests, but will at least keep my mind off of a disappointing Hoosier basketball season. In addition, there’s not much of interest at the nearby movie theaters. There will be no mail today, as others get a pleasant taste of not going to work on a Monday. Outside the skies are blue with cool temperatures – at least there’s no rain. Happy President’s Day!


Retirement is not without Hassles: Marriott #1186

For those unlike me that work, it’s the first day of the week. It’s often difficult for me after three full years of retirement to distinguish one day from another, but it definitely felt like a Monday. Traffic was heavy and bunched together, so I had to dodge a lot of vehicles and bikes on day 4,033 of my consecutive running streak. A train made it impossible to cross a busy intersection and many stop lights were not in sync for me. As a result, a ran 3.25 miles rather than the 3.1 standard that I’ve set for myself. With snow in the forecast, it portends to be a difficult week on the streets.

The Academy Awards nominations were announced this morning, and my wife and I are relatively current on this year’s productions. This past week we streamed both The Two Popes and Marriage Story. Today, we plan to see 1917 and get back in the habit of justifying our Regal annual pass investment. We haven’t been to a movie since Richard Jewell just over a month ago. Kathy Bates was nominated for her role as his mother. We have yet to see Parasite, Little Women, Bombshell, Harriet, or Pain and Glory. With unlimited access, there’s really no excuse for not sitting through them all in the next few weeks. 

Tonight is the College Football Championship with L.S.U. battling Clemson. It seems like it’s taken forever to get here, much like the drawn-out drama of each year’s Superbowl. There’s now a chance for a redo of the very first one in 1966, then called the “AFL–NFL World Championship Game,” between the Chiefs and the Packers. Admittedly, basketball is still my favorite sport, despite the lack of success by my favorite teams. The season goes by as quickly as the action on the court, unlike baseball that seems to never end. It’s still a great sport for a nap and filled with great history. I will watch football tonight out of curiosity, since most of the Vegas money seems to be on L.S.U., while title experience favors Clemson. Once again, the BIG and PAC12 conferences failed to make the finals and “The South” continues to dominate. Good thing it didn’t happen in the Civil War! I still think it’s odd that Oregon, one of the states that was least affected by that battle, uses “The Civil War” to hype the in-state rivalry in sports and academics between the Ducks and Oregon State Beavers dating back to 1894. 

We’re trying to organize a Holiday family trip to Kauai to round out our travel year. It was more “affordable” to go mid-December rather than Thanksgiving or Christmas, so it now depends on the work schedules of my step-daughters and their new husbands. We can take advantage of the Marriott Vacation Club for a record fifth time this calendar year, having also already booked condos in Orlando, Vegas, San Francisco, and Bali. With my wife’s recent retirement, this is her year to celebrate and spend some of the IRA savings she has accumulated through the years. We’ll also use Marriott Bonvoy points as part of our summer trip through Glacier National Park via stops in Walla-Walla and Spokane Washington. It will then extend into Canada and three nights at the historic Prince of Wales hotel that is not yet a Marriott property. It probably will be someday! 

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!



Old Sport Shorts: Sportsbook #1184

In a few weeks, we’ll be in Las Vegas at the Westgate Resort. At first, I was disappointed that this was the best choice that I had when it came to timeshares near The Strip, but I was grateful to just be able to use my Marriott Vacation Club points at all. I had failed to properly bank them and after pleading with organization officials was given the option of transferring them to Interval International. It cost me $300 for a week’s stay at a resort that I was not at all familiar. However, yesterday, I was listening to the radio and they had on the director of their Superbook, the largest in the world. I was suddenly excited to be staying in a sports haven that also features Barry Manilow to entertain my wife. 

I’m not much of a gambler, but you would think that I’ve absorbed some knowledge with all the games I’ve watched or attended. However, the teams that I choose to follow have not been very successful of late. The question is would I pay big bucks to see them win? Also, are sports for pleasure or profit? For example, I could bet on Indiana University Basketball to lose and knowing my luck they would win. In this crazy scenario, I would be paying for a victory. Certainly, if I bet on them to win they would lose for sure – the double whammy. This strategy reflects my overall pessimistic mindset with regard to sports. If I become personally interested in a team, they typically lose.

Last night, I became excited about Oregon women’s basketball team and their chance to become #1 after the University of Connecticut home winning streak of 98 consecutive games finally came to an end. The Ducks were poised to take their lofty position atop the polls with a victory over Arizona. Instead, they opened the door for in-state rival Oregon State to capture the cat seat. Thanks to my support – they lost. As further proof, with me on their side, the Bears, Colts, I.U. football, I.U. soccer, Oregon State baseball, Cubs, and White Sox all saw disastrous endings to their seasons. Could betting have changed some of these outcomes?

Right now, I’m watching I.U. Basketball off to a great start against Ohio State. As has been typical this year, they will soon go into a long shooting slump. I probably should bet on it! They barely got by Northwestern the other night and failed miserably at Maryland. It’s getting embarrassing to watch this team miss free throws, turn the ball over, and slack-off on defense. They at least have a chance to win at home, but on the road these problems compound. Before this game is over this morning, I’ll be in the car on my way to a baseball card luncheon. The good news is that I won’t have to watch them fall apart in crunch time. Odds are that they won’t disappoint when I’m not watching. Go figure?

I was so impressed with the Duck women last night. They played like a team, hit their shots, and took advantage of free throws. I wished the Indiana men could consistently perform like that. The I.U. women’s team is also playing well, ranked in the top 12. As I pay more attention to them, they will probably struggle, as did the Ducks in the last half. Right now, as predicted, the men have gone cold and their lead has suddenly evaporated. They’re missing free throws and are 1-17 with an air-ball from the field in the last ten minutes. Is this a self-fulfilled prophecy or just a sure bet? 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Flashes of the Past #1158

It’s a gray, rainy day here in Portland, a good one for another movie. It will be the third movie this week, taking full advantage of our annual Regal Unlimited passes and Trimet Hop cards to get there. It’s affordable retirement entertainment that shows our practical side – in total contrast to the unavoidable, excessive spending when traveling. I’m watching an early morning basketball game between Oregon and Michigan, while still shaking my head about last night’s I.U. ugly victory over Nebraska. It was with all the horror of a Friday the 13th thriller. I guess we could also blame it on the recent “Cold Moon.” Hopefully, the Ducks will play better than the Hoosiers.

Yesterday was eventful, as I shared lunch with a friend that I hadn’t seen in over 50 years, and most likely the longest time apart between conversations. I recognized him right away and enjoyed our conversation, although I think he was leery of my intentions. He told me that he’d been contacted by two other people from his past and they wanted to sell him something. I assured him that my motive was strictly friendship, but in researching the tragic death of his wife I now understand his paranoia. I took a picture of the two of us and posted it on my Facebook page, along with two other group sites including “I Grew Up in Elkhart, IN” and “Elkhart, IN Class of 69.” The response was incredible from people that I hadn’t heard from in years. My personal page only generated 54 reactions but the other two combined were well over 300 and seemingly going viral. I heard from other home-towners that either live or have family in this area, and those curious about our whereabouts all these years. Most were enthralled with the coincidence of both of us living here and finally getting together 50 years later.  

My friend did not remember the Playboy story about his mom cutting out the pictures, but said it sounded like something she would do. (See Post #1154). He was not into social media, so I will have to relay some of the questions and comments that people posted about the two of us. I hope to get back together with him after we get back from Florida. I have never gotten this much interaction on Facebook, so I’ll be busy following-up with all these “flashes of the past.” 

Old Sport Shorts: Cheese Curse #1152

In the words of Yogi Berra, “it’s like deja vu all over again,” as I.U. basketball stumbles in Madison for the 18th straight time. It then looked like an unforgettable day for Badger’s fans when they took a two touchdown lead over the Big, Bad, Buckeyes. Instead, they were just as discouraged as most Hoosier fans by the end of the evening. At least, Indiana did not play football yesterday!.

After the I.U. 80-64 victory over Florida State earlier this week, I felt the possibility that the Wisconsin curse could finally end. After all, even the Cubs finally succeeded. Despite my pessimistic mindset, I actually thought that I.U. basketball had finally turned the corner and was headed in the right direction. Instead, I think that yesterday’s 84-64 thrashing set the program back twenty years. 1998 was the last time that the Indiana team plane flew away from Madison with a victory. I was 48 years old and could still remember winning championships in the era of Bobby Knight. Now, it seems like a distant memory with little hope.

If there was another game today, I’m not sure I could watch. My mind echos with Cheesehead laughter that turned to giddiness in the first quarter of the BIG championship game. A 21-7 halftime lead made me think of the enthusiastic alumni buzz at the A Bar here in Portland where they gathered for the game. This in total contrast to the shock at Ladd’s, Buckeye headquarters. I’m sure hundreds were in attendance at each location, when the I.U. alumni association can barely get a hand-full of supporters for a game-watch anymore. I’m sure that after a few days of mourning, I’ll saddle-up for another Indiana television broadcast. I doubt, however, that I go out in public to watch it. 

Granted, I was not confidently decked-out in I.U. gear yesterday, touting my team colors with pride at Buffalo Wild Wings. I watched the game with two friends and knew that after the opening five minutes we were not prepared to compete, let alone overcome the “Cheese Curse.” Other I.U. alum gathered separately around the city, and probably stayed away from our occasional hang-out Ladd’s, thoroughly infested with Ohio State faithful. Gleeful Buckeyes  watched their team crush Penn State in basketball 106-74 and then win a 3rd straight BIG football title. Even in envious spite, it was hard for me to “Say Cheese,” considering the beating that my pathetic Hoosiers took earlier in the day. I was trying unsuccessfully to choose between two evils. 

As the Wisconsin round-ball lead over Indiana grew insurmountable, we turned our attention to the the L.S.U. vs Georgia S.E.C. title game. Both of my friends have deep Oregon roots and began bemoaning the Ducks late season loss to Arizona State. After this week’s huge, dominant Oregon victory over #5 ranked Utah, it was becoming apparent that Georgia would slip out of Playoff contention and their spot could have been taken by Oregon instead of Oklahoma. As it turns out Oregon plays Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Too bad it’s not the Cheese-It Bowl. The Ducks’ could of-would-have-should-have factor was just one more thing to infringe on our Wild Wings beer buzz. At least, the fan interest of my buddies extends beyond my sole Indiana focus. I often wish that I had gone to Grad school so I’d have a second team. Through the years, I’ve tried to adopt home town favorites like Illinois, Texas, Oregon, Oregon State, and even Purdue, but I’ve never gotten wrapped-up as a bonafide fan. It’s only I.U! I’ll have to loyally wait for our 19th attempt to break the dreaded “Cheese Curse.”

Retirement is not without Hassles: Who Am I? #1130

My wife felt like a football widow these past few days and admittedly I spent a lot of time in front of the “boob tube.” Don’t worry, I did get a 3-mile run in every day to extend my continuous streak to 3,977. Only 23 days until the four-thousand milestone and another 28 to hit the 11-year mark! While not on the run, two I.U. soccer wins and the BIG Championship did not make up for the loss to Penn State. The Hoosier basketball victory over Troy in between was interrupted by our “Meet the neighbors” open house, but the Oregon Ducks game started after everyone left. The Indianapolis Colts game wasn’t televised, while the “Bad News” Bears weren’t worth watching. I will get reacquainted with my wife today on our way  to “Matinee Monday.” I want to see Ford v Ferrari that in her opinion is just more sports, but agrees that it’s getting great reviews. 

While I was sitting in front of the TV, I was also actively engaged on the internet. I won a 1956 Chicago White Sox autographed baseball through the Heritage auction house that included Sherm Lollar’s signature, along with Hall of Fame members Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio. It was my first experience with on-line bidding, so I was fortunate to claim the prize after the two-week process. At the same time, I was busy with “Ban(n)ister World,” adding more names to my Jerry Banister Family Tree. I created a list of about 100 names with “Common Ancestors” among my Ancestry DNA matches and performed the tedious task of connecting each them to the tree branches. It will hopefully give me more stories to add to my “Diary of an Adoptee.” It’s all about my curious quest to identify those who gave me life and find out more about their extended Ban(n)ister family members

If you didn’t know it already, I’m an adopted child and running fanatic that turned out to be an Indiana University (I.U.) grad, media alum, sports nut, collector, movie lover, and hobby genealogist. I have time to do all of these interests in retirement, and write about them in this daily blog. This particular post combines all my favorite activities. My wife and I now live in Portland, Oregon but we’re both originally from Indiana. We’re considering a move to sunny Florida to establish a permanent retirement home. My son and three grand kids would then be nearby. In fact, we’re headed to Orlando in a month for a visit and to do some exploration of property on the Gulf Coast. My wife’s daughters will be concerned that their mother is so far away, but both of them are newlyweds with busy lives. I don’t know if our elderly schnauzer, Tinker, will be able to tolerate another move, but the younger one, Tally, will like running on the beach. In the meantime, we’ll continue to be retired world travelers, dining-out enthusiasts, wine drinkers, and party hosts. Hopefully, this all will give you a clearer picture of Who I Am?


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).   


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