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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. 

 

Old Sport Shorts Playoff Time #1457

The baseball season is now down to a long weekend, with the Sox and Cubs both in miserable slumps. As a pessimist, I should have anticipated this, but this season is unprecedented. It all started back in March when we were supposed to attend a Spring Training game between the two Chicago foes. It was cancelled, along with many of our plans this year. When the season finally officially began on the 24th of July, I did not have great expectations for the league to make it to the postseason. The Cubs jumped to the top of their division but stumbled against the slower-starting Sox in their first series. The Pale Hose finally claimed the top spot in the AL Central over the Twins and Indians, only to falter down the stretch.  I’ve watched them go 3-7 against the Twins, Indians, and Reds in the past week or so.  

The last two nights have been particularly painful for the White Sox, losing in walk-off fashion to Cleveland on both occasions. On the other side of town, the Cubs lost another one this morning, their third straight, to the last-place Pirates. They could have helped the Sox in the series before that against the Twins, but Minnesota took two of the three. They did top the Indians in two of three, after a 12-0 drubbing of the Brewers and a no-hitter by Alec Mills. However, the poor-hitting Cubbies are now in danger of being caught by the Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers. The Covid-plagued regular season ironically all comes down to a three-game series against the Sox at Comiskey (excuse me – Guaranteed Rate). For a historical first, they each play in role in the other’s playoff fate this late in the season. Sadly, I just watched the Sox blow another early lead by the Indians – at least it’s not the last inning last the previous two, although there’s still three innings to go. It’s looking like a repeat of last night’s disappointment, with the White Sox up by one again after a Yoan Moncada triple in the 7th. If the Indians make it a four-game sweep, the Sox could fall to a full-game behind the division leading Twins, who are idle today, and could potentially face the perennial powerhouse Yankees in their first post-season appearance in twelve-years.

On the other hand, if the Cubs lose all three to the Sox, they could be passed by the Reds and/or Cards. It will be a tough weekend about who to cheer for in each critical game? Allegiance could easily change depending on the circumstances. In a normal season, both Chicago teams would be facing division rivals rather than cross-town foes. It’s just another Covid quirk, that also includes a expanded 16-team Playoff field, empty ballparks, limited homefield advantages, and designated hitters for both leagues. The World Series will take place in Arlington, Texas, another deviation from normalcy.  It’s been a tough year for baseball purists. 

The Covid-Cardinals are of particular concern to me, with respect to the Cubs. The Red Birds have seven games remaining, while standing  only one game behind the Cubs in the loss column. They would have to win all seven to pass the Cubbies, but also postseason seeds are at stake. Three losses to the Sox would give them 27 for the year, while San Francisco, Cincy, Milwaukee and Miami could also disrupt their current #4 NL placement, down from #2 just a few days ago.  This weekend, and possibly Monday, determines who plays where, who, and when. I’ll have to wear a Sox sock on one foot and a Cubs on the other. 

In other sports important to me, the Celtics are in trouble, while the Lakers dropped their first to the dangerous Nuggets, who have miraculously come from behind in their last two series. The Timbers won their second straight match, outdueling the regional rival Seattle Sounders 1-0 last night. Against all odds, each sport has somehow  persevered over threats of the virus. Thankfully, there are live sports to watch every day, including both NFL and NCAA football. The Pac-12 announced today that they will join the other power conferences in pursuit of a 2020-21 National Championship. However, teams won’t start play until November 6th, with a 7-game schedule. They reversed their initial decision and joined the BIG-10 in delayed reconsideration. It sets the stage for college basketball to start, missing only a few non-conference games this year.  But first, I’ll focus on a expanded baseball Playoff that involves a very rare joint appearance by both of my teams – Cubs and Sox. 

P.S. The White Sox brought in a reliever named Bummer following a 4-run collapse in the bottom of the 7th to the never-give-up Indians. It seemed like an appropriate name to describe the bullpen in this series. The red-hot Tribe took a 5-4 lead in response to falling behind once again in the series. Hand then shut-down the Sox, with two strike-outs and a easy grounder to finish up the 4-game sweep.  Cleveland is now just one-game behind the Sox and two short of the Twins, after 5 straight Pale Hose losses. I couldn’t be more frustrated after cross-town losses today at a time when teams need to be playing their best ball. Who wants it more this weekend – the Sox or the Cubs?

Old Sport Shorts: Sox Socks #1452

Sports have probably never been a more important part of my life. It’s my sole entertainment in these pandemic times of isolation. I’ve gone through most of the movies and documentaries I’ve wanted to watch, waiting for live sports to finally return. Now, there’s almost too much to keep track of every day. My love of sports dates back to childhood and following my local high school team – The Elkhart Blue Blazers. A once dominant team in most every sport was eventually split into two high schools. Throughout the years, there was never a greater nemesis than the Penn Kingsmen in nearby Mishawaka, Indiana. Once I moved away from town, it seemed like every time I checked the scores it was another loss to Penn, particularly in football.

“Once A Blazer – Always a Blazer” is the motto of my generation, disturbed by the recent consolidation of the two Elkhart high schools into one again. They should have never been separated in the first place, but it did start another rivalry between the Memorial Chargers and the Elkhart Blue Blazers. Unfortunately, neither team was very competitive on the state level like Penn. The main problem with unifying the two programs became selecting a name. As a result, the Blazers or Chargers no longer exist, but the new Lions have become a football force. For the first time in 35 years, the final score of Friday night’s football match-up was Elkhart 20 Penn 19, and the team that I will always know as the Blazers are undefeated.

As I write this morning, I’m watching the final day of the Tour de France, reminiscent of our trips to Paris. It too was delayed several months as organizers made adjustments to deal with  Coronavirus concerns. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar won it in his rookie debut. Cycling, golf, auto racing, football, and baseball are all now competing with each other for television viewership, with little in the way of live fan support. Plus, last night the Portland Timbers pounded the San Jose Earthquake 6-1 for a MLS victory, after a draw the other night in the same stadium. 

So far, 2020 has been a good year for my teams. The Chicago White Sox just claimed their first playoff berth in twelve years. The Cubs will also soon clinch, putting both Chicago teams in the same post-season battle for only the third time since 1906. The White Sox, known that year as the “hitless wonders” upset the powerhouse Cubs in the World Series. Could it happen again in this year of strange surprises? Last Sunday, for example, the Bears, Cubs, and White Sox were all victorious. I bought a new pair of Sox Socks to celebrate their success. My Bears and Cubs socks don’t have holes in them yet. 

The Cubs had a five-game winning streak going into last night’s game against the Twins. Sadly, the streak ended badly and the Cubbies allowed the Twins to clinch the fifth spot in this year’s post-season. The Cubs magic number is now four with three games remaining against the White Sox. They could each knock the other out of the top spot in their respective Division races. A week from now the seeds will all be finalized. Could the Sox and Cubs collide for all the marbles again after 114 years?

Chicago baseball has witnessed two no-hitters this year, the only ones in the majors. I bought Topps cards to commemorate these two remarkable achievements from Luis Giolito of the White Sox and Alec Mills of the Cubs. At no other time in history have both Windy City teams had this happen in the same season. It’s just the beginning of what could happen in Sweet Home Chicago this year. Unfortunately, a Cubs-Sox World Series would be held in Arlington, Texas,

The other important development this past week in sports was the BIG 10 conference rethinking the earlier decision to delay Fall football. After much controversy, schedules starting October 24th were finally announced. I.U. will open at Penn State and conclude with Purdue eight weeks later. The ninth game for the Cream & Crimson will either be the BIG Championship or a bonus conference match-up with potential Bowl implications. Let’s hope it’s not the Toilet Bowl – they could easily go 0-9. Basketball will begin November 25th when the Hoosiers were originally planning to play in Maui. It will be a week later in Asheville, as a further indication of the strange twists in sports this year. Will 2020 also be good to both Hoosier teams, despite the delays?

The Lakers are in the driver’s seat for this year’s NBA Championship, with an opening round final four victory over Denver. The Tampa Bay Lightening lost their Stanley Cup Finals opener against the Dallas Stars. I’ll need to follow them as a future Florida resident. The Rays are comfortably in the MLB play-off field, while the Bucs and Tom Brady did not get off to a great start last Sunday. I’ve now lived in enough states to always have a team in contention, but Chicago will forever remain my favorite. 

 

 

 

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Lucky Strike #1446

They say that the Portland air quality is the equivalent of smoking twenty packs of cigarettes a day.  Make mine Lucky Strike! Maybe I’ve been watching too much Mad Men in these solitary evenings? Breakfast for them usually consists of booze and cigarettes after a late-night affair. Breakfast for me is a 3-mile run, followed by a good cough. In these times, there are three different types of coughs: smoke, Covid, and allergy related. I tried my best to get the smoke out of my lungs this morning. It seemed worse than yesterday.

Despite it being a work day, there was no one on the streets this morning. There were some open businesses but no customers. I didn’t even see another crazy runner like myself, just a few folks walking their dogs and, of course, the homeless. The city is shut down and restaurants that expanded their outdoor service capabilities all have their arms up in the air, wondering what tragedy will befall them next. People were just starting to come out of hiding, and then the fires fill the air with harmful smoke. There’s no “Lucky” about it!

We still do plan on going whale watching in a few days. Hopefully, the sea air will clear out my lungs. Rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. We get enough gray skies here in Portland during the winter months, but this time of year is usually comfortably sunny. Now this “Strikes.” People have retreated once again to the safety of their homes and the economy continues to suffer. What if this was twenty-five years ago with no internet and cable to keep us entertained? Amazon has to be making a killing, while small business continues to suffer!

I had sports to keep me occupied yesterday.  A no-hitter by the Cubs, another victory by the White Sox, and Da’ Bears pulled off a football miracle. It was a rare Chicago sports sweep by my favorites. Also on the positive side personally, Tom Brady lost in his debut with the Buccs, as did the Cowboys in the fabulous new Chargers stadium. Only the Colts had a live audience in Jacksonsville to watch my biggest disappointment of the day. The Portland Timbers also lost to end the evening on a sour note. Then it was back to Mad Men and their pitch about “Luckies” being “toasted.” Ironically, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” was the title of the episode. 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Can’t Catch Anything #1414

After all the Coronavirus quarantines the St. Louis Cardinals went through this season, I suppose they earned a break or two. They had only played 5 games when most teams were approaching twenty in this shortened baseball season. The White Sox had no worries about anything contagious, they couldn’t catch anything. The Cardinal hitting was pathetic after all this time off with little dribblers in the infield that the Sox couldn’t handle. If the Sox actually got an out, it was quickly reversed by replay. Apparently, the Pale Hose gift wrapped the double header as a welcome back gift to the Red Birds. 

The Cubs, on the other hand, made several spectacular catches against the Brewers. They were however jinxed by the announcers who pointed out that the team hadn’t gotten off to such a winning start since 1907. Two losses to the Brewers later, they were back to their normal selves. I haven’t seen a team strike out more with runners on base than these last two days at Wrigley. Naturally, Christian Yelich single-handedly beat them in Friday’s game with a 3-run homer. Poor relief pitching proved disastrous in yesterday’s match-up. The Cubs can at least even the series today, while the White Sox can only salvage some dignity. The Cubs go on to play both the Cards and Sox next week, perhaps adding to my frustration. 

The Portland Trailblazers and Damian Lillard continued their winning ways yesterday by clinching the final playoff seed in the Western Conference. They are one of the hottest bubble teams, and the LeBron Lakers will be in for an unexpected  challenge in the first round. There is no home court advantage and no fans as unprecedented times persist in the NBA. The same circumstances allowed the Portland Timbers to prevail in their Orlando bubble. Can a Portland team do it again?

Indy 500 qualifying went off without a hitch yesterday, but Conor Daly couldn’t find the speed he showed in Friday’s practice session. Marco Andretti won the day, while Conor failed to make the “Fast Nine.” It’s fun to watch the second and third generation drivers like these two speedsters. Rossi, Herta, and Rahal also came from famous fathers of the Speedway that were part of my generation. Owners like Andretti, Penske, Rahal/Letterman, Ganassi, Coyne, and Foyt have been familiar names in Indianapolis since I can remember. However, seeing the empty stands for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was all new to me. 

Today’s “Fast Nine” action will determine the coveted Pole for next Sunday’s race. I’m glad there are plenty of live sports on TV to keep me entertained on weekend afternoons. Baseball, hockey, soccer, and racing have all managed to continue their virus-disrupted seasons. College football appears to be the biggest casualty as more and more schools push towards spring. Once winter comes, it may be back to the doldrums of nothing fresh to watch. I’m concerned about the fate of my favorite sport, college basketball. It was hard enough to deal with the loss of the tournament early this year.

The Cubs couldn’t catch a break and the Sox couldn’t catch anything. No one could catch Marco Andretti yesterday. Who will catch the biggest NBA prize? Hopefully, nobody will catch or spread the bug, causing further delays to these competitions that relieve the boredom of self-isolation. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Sleep Deprivation #1410

After a restless night, I’ve decided to drink nothing but water today. There were too many sleep interruptions last night by my bladder. I’ve got to make some consumption changes, including Diet Coke and wine. Citrus foods, chocolate, spicy foods, sugar, tomato products, processed meats, aged cheese, and nuts are also recommended foods to avoid. Yesterday, I had two Diet Cokes, two glasses of wine, a banana, a cheeseburger salad with tomatoes, two cookies, half a chocolate turtle, sausage/egg casserole, ice cream, and assorted snacks. With a morning run, I burn most of this off and maintain my weight. However, it’s not exactly a healthy diet – it’s whatever I can get my hands on. 

I’ll definitely stay away from alcohol and Diet Coke these next few days. I’ll do some experimentation and see if it results in fewer wake-up calls. Friday, I plan to have a couple of beers at the “Leadership Meeting.” I’m just not that disciplined, but I can start to make some changes. I must have gotten up ten times last night – a new record. Fortunately, I don’t have issues getting back to sleep, but obviously I’m not getting any deep, restful stretches. I’m looking for change. 

I was excited for the Portland Timbers’ championship last night and enjoyed the final episode of Perry Mason. The pandemic continues to favor my teams with the White Sox, Cubs, and Trailblazers claiming victory yesterday, in addition to the Timbers. That is a rare day in sports. All that winning should have led to sweet dreams, not an up-and-down nightmare. I’m reading the Luckiest Man, the Lou Gehrig story. This should not be disturbing my sleep, despite the Yankee connection. I haven’t been a Yankees’ fan since childhood and somehow grew to hate them as an adult. To help relieve myself of this silly anger, I’ve explored the life of Mickey Mantle and now Gehrig, who was slightly before my time. Is all this Yankee nonsense upsetting my bladder or is it the food and drink?

Retirement is not without Hassles: Company #1409

Company’s come and gone and we’re back to the boring old routine. My wife has gladly cooked and cleaned for days, showing the love for her two daughters. It’s my turn to cook dinner tonight – an easy cheeseburger salad recipe. Our schnauzer Tally can also rest after five grueling days of bone wars with her doggie niece Falco. A quiet day at home is a well-earned reward for all of us.

Our next daughter adventures will take place in San Francisco just over two weeks from now. A weekend at the Ritz Carlton will start our journey to Florida. All of us will then get together for a pre-Holiday getaway to Kauai. Hopefully, the virus will not interfere with our plans. It’s already gotten in the way too many times this year.

Tonight, the Portland Timbers battle Orlando for the MLS is Back championship, perhaps their first since 2015. Maybe the city will get some positive exposure after all the bad press about the never-ending riots? I enjoyed some of the family games we played these past few days, including jackboxtv.com. It was much more exciting than any of the professional games we tried to watch on TV or “Shark Week.” 

Looking back at this past week of activities entertaining company, the time has passed quickly. We’ve done some wine-tasting, sight-seeing, long drives, hikes, dinners, and a picnic. It was the antithesis of stay at home, but a much needed change from isolation. We’ll return to our quiet life together prior to the 2,600-mile cross-country drive next week. There’s plenty of company waiting for us on the road ahead. 

Old Sport Shorts: Fly the W #1404

The really strange thing about this whole pandemic is that my teams are winning. The last few days, I’ve seen the Cubs, Sox, Pacers, Trailblazers, and Timbers all claim multiple victories. This tells me that life is no longer normal. In the real world, I consistently pick the wrong teams to root for on game day. Could this mean that I.U. will start claiming BIG 10 wins and that the Bears and Colts will play once again in the Super Bowl? It all now seems possible. 

The Sox have won 6 straight road games, a feat last equaled in April 2017. Unfortunately in the process, Oregon State alum Nick Madrigal injured his shoulder during a slide. Tim Anderson is also on the disabled list. The Cubs have won five straight and the Trailblazers are making a playoff move with a promising start in the Disney bubble. IU alum Victor Oladipo is beginning to show his old form for the Pacers in their third straight win. These are all signs of the Apocalypse! 

Can you imagine an NBA championship between the Pacers and Trailblazers, or a Cubs vs. White Sox World Series? I’m beginning to like these shortened seasons with each game having more significance and no fan interference. T.J. Warren of the Pacers just tied Jermaine O’Neil’s franchise record for the most in a three-game span. These things just don’t happen under normal circumstances. It takes a pandemic to bring out the best in my teams. 

Will the magic last? I have my doubts. The Cubs don’t have a closer. Craig Kimbrel failed to preserve a three-run cushion last night and had to be benched by new manager David Ross once again. The Cubbies could easily return to last year’s mediocrity after a 9-2 start. At least they’re staying healthy, unlike the rival St. Louis Cardinals who can’t seem to stay out of the way of the virus. The White Sox are helping the Cubs with a chance to take a 3-game sweep from the Brewers. The Cubs are returning the favor by pounding the Royals. I like this Chicago tag-team approach.

The Portland Timbers are in the soccer final four with a match against Philadelphia tonight that could send them into the finals of the MLS is Back tournament. The bubble approach in sports seems to be working much better than the home fields used in baseball. We’re all hoping that sports can survive outside the bubble, especially football fans that are holding their breath for a chance to start the season. 

The Indy 500 will now be held later this month without fans. New track owner Roger Penske reversed his plan to drop the flag in front of a full house. Instead, it will be strictly a television event that will undoubtedly continue in all sports into 2021. Buying a ticket to any event will be a rarity, having a devastating affect on the business. I’m just glad to be a fan and not an owner. Many tough financial decisions have been made this year, with no end in sight. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the rare winning moments of my favorite teams. Fly the W.

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Live #1383

Auto Racing and golf were the first professional sports to come back after the pandemic. Fans can at least watch from home now. U.S. soccer is off and running in Orlando. The Portland Timbers won last night against the LA Galaxy. Soon, the Trailblazers will take the court in the Disney bubble, similar to the soccer model. There’s proven success to this “play-and stay-in-one-place” structure with the completion of The Basketball Tournament tonight in Columbus, Ohio. I was not aware that the non-overtime format was designed by Ball State, Indiana professor, Nick Elam. It assigns a target score in the final quarter that determines the winner rather than wear down players with extra time on the clock. Also, on the Hoosier stage, former IU players, Mo Creek and Remy Abell played starring roles. 

I like the controlled environments that have been established for the restart of soccer and basketball. It limits exposure to the bug via outside exposure and travel. I’m not sure that baseball will see similar success by utilizing home fields and regional travel schedules. However, life can’t continue to be contained in a bubble. We need to experiment with other formats, otherwise football will never get underway. There will actually be some fans in the stands around Wrigley Field, as across-the-street rooftop seats are apparently being sold for $350.

Football does have the advantage of protective gear like plastic face guards and gloves to limit exposure on the field. If this is effective, expect other sports to adapt at least long pants and sleeves in the future. There will be many new innovations. Travel to and from the parks will still be an issue, although professional teams have  private planes and limos. This is not the case for high school and college players.  To be determined!

Every sport is now a safety experiment. Fans will have to wait until the results are compiled. Getting near the players and field are not in the near future. They will retreat to the locker rooms before and after games. Athletes will be kept isolated and this will affect their popularity. Autographs will be hard to get and personal appearances will be prohibited. A 2020 player autograph will be extremely rare and valuable. For example, I just received a Topps Now baseball card signed by Kris Bryant of the Cubs. This will become a prized item in my collection. 

The original plan was to get to Spring Training and the Cubs vs. Sox game. It was a Friday the 13th in Phoenix when this game was cancelled, as the dreaded bug made its debut. I did get a credit for the tickets, but it has turned out to be a four-month holding pattern. The Chicago crosstown rivalry is scheduled to restart this Sunday in a Summer Camp exhibition game at Wrigley. The condensed 60-game season officially begins next Thursday with the Nats vs. Yankees on ESPN. The NBA restarts the week after. It means more sports on TV – LIVE!

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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