Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cubs Win!!! Clinch 2016 National League Division Series

Javier Baez pic from Chicago Tribune

If my movie and TV watching has slowed, the Cubs have been playing the San Francisco Giants for the National League Division Series, and that's taken up some time.  This evening they won the game 6-5, winning the series in four of five possible games.

I'm tired as I stayed up to watch the Cubs lose in the 13th inning last night, giving up in the middle of the 13th as it was past 1:30 AM.

But, tonight, when it looked like all was lost, in the 9th inning they came back with 4 runs and won the game!

I've selected a pic of Javier Baez, 2nd base for the Cubs, as he's been a superhuman this whole season, and his powers seem to just be growing in the post-season.  The guy is incredible on both offense and defense.

All right. Bed time for me.  Go Cubs!

Here's the link to the Tribune story on the game.  The game was one for the ages.  Seriously.

This was about an hour after the game ended in San Francisco...

Monday, September 5, 2016

UT Beats Notre Dame 50-47 in Double Overtime

Tyrone Swoopes makes the winning TD!

It's been a heck of a day. Weekend. Week. Whatever. But certainly this evening was interesting.

As we often do, we had a few folks over for "the game", which, in this part of Texas, means The University of Texas Football game. This was the first week of NCAA Football, and as UT has been in a transitional period the past few years, the two most recent under Head Coach Charlie Strong, getting geared up to see what this year's squad would do on the field was something I was approaching with cautious optimism.

Part of our get-together included an impromptu celebration for some good friends, Matt & Nicole, who got engaged on Saturday.  So, we kicked off before kick-off with some champagne.

Back during our post National Championship season (2005), UT Football was taking some criticism for packing the pre-conference schedule with lightweight teams we were likely to beat, usually to guarantee a few W's on the year's record, to get the team in fighting shape for conference play, and to work out the kinks before facing Oklahoma.  Well, greed for TV deals and our own arrogance got us to sign with Notre Dame for some pre-Conference games (and Ohio State as well, but I think that's over with), and in our hubris, I guess we thought we'd just wander out there and beat those well-respected teams.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Blogging Slow Down - The Olympics Are On

It's that time again.  Every two years I disappear for a bit as the Olympics come on and we slow our TV and movie watching to make time for sports we normally wouldn't watch if you paid us.  But not Beach Volleyball.  I always watch Beach Volleyball if its on.  We can make jokes about the uniforms being less than modest, but Kerri Walsh Jennings and new partner April Ross are amazing.  Tune in.

Jamie is also a fan of gymnastics, and if you don't like your athletes standing over 5'10", I have good news for you.

Simone Biles is a ninja

And these gymnasts did A-OK in the team competition, doing the U.S. proud

Also been enjoying Michael Phelps' return to swimming in top form, the amazing performance of Katie Ledecky, catching some sports I don't usually watch like handball, field hockey, etc...

And as Jamie long ago determined - after Beach Volleyball, I really, genuinely enjoy track and field coverage.  Which is weird, because UT has a great track and field program, but I never, ever go watch and we put people on the team every four years.  Go figure.

So, yeah.  Olympics!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Baseball Watch: Field of Dreams (1989)

I didn't grow up in a baseball family.  We never watched baseball on television, and my baseball career lasted one season of T-ball.  I did make it to an Astros game and saw Nolan Ryan pitch, both a  great memory and maybe the single most common experience in baseball as the man pitched for about 8 decades.

During high school I returned to the Astrodome to catch a game, and it was there where I internalized that I really didn't know a damn thing about baseball.

But when I'd go see movies as a kid, baseball was no different to me than law-enforcement or flying an airplane - it was just something I hadn't learned about yet.  So why wouldn't I go see movies about baseball?

I did see Field of Dreams (1989) during its initial theatrical run.   Aside from a general appreciation for the movie, I'm somewhat surprised at the movie on this review, that audiences filled cineplexes to see it and it was a big enough movie that it became cultural shorthand, leaving us now only with the misquoted bit of "If you build it, they will come" (it's "If you build it, he will come."  And it's weird that should be misquoted given the underlying tension of the film.).   But that's comparing today's audiences to audiences of 2016 who wouldn't stand for this sort of thing.  Or, rather, wouldn't show up in droves for a movie about mysterious voices instructing people to build baseball fields.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali Merges With The Infinite

Word has broken that heavy weight champion, social activist and all around personality Muhammad Ali has passed.

Like so many people who leave their mark, Ali was a deeply complicated individual, defiant in a time where he had an opportunity to speak his truth to power in ways that still bristle the sensibilities of the establishment.

Few athletes have come anywhere close to Ali's out-sized persona and had the skill to back it up.

His once unstoppable voice has been silenced for years by disease, but he managed to carry on in public, including lighting the torch at the 96' Olympics.

He'll be missed, but he'll be remembered, now merged with The Infinite at age 74.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Baseball Season Begins! For Some Reason I Now Care About This.

Monday (today) is the opening day of the 2016 season of Major League Baseball.  In many, many prior years, I have not noticed or cared.  But in the past few years, I have paid a lot more attention to baseball, and it hit a tipping point this year for some reason.  As I type this, it's the bottom of the 6th and the Cubs are up 5 to the Angels' 0.

I didn't grow up watching baseball.  It's still kind of new and novel to me, and I suspect it always will be.  My family was not a family that spent a lot of time watching sports on TV, and I don't think anyone in my house ever tuned into a baseball game.  We did go see the Houston Astros back in the 1980's, but I had no idea what I was looking at.  

I was, however, a college and pro basketball guy, and I have a huge amount of fondness for the pro basketball players of the 80's and 90's, including the Lakers, the Pistons, a couple of Hawks players, some random guys like Ewing, and the 90's Rockets, absolutely.  But at some point, I've lost interest in most of the NBA except for The Spurs (and as long as Pop is coach, I'll always like the Spurs).

I never cared about college football much until I was in my last two years at UT.  I liked watching bowl games, but giving up a Saturday for football wasn't my thing.  But I kind of liked yelling at the TV when the Oilers were playing during the Warren Moon era, so that kept me somewhat invested in the NFL when the 49'ers lost a bit of their sizzle.  Something about college football clicked for me in the mid-90's, and by the time I graduated, I really did care.  And still do, at least about the mighty Texas Longhorns, but I don't give up all day on Saturday to game-after-game the way I did a few years ago (and I don't stay up watching ESPN until 12:30 AM to catch all the highlights).  But, you know, never say never.  It could happen again.  But these days I'm having a harder time watching the NFL than ever.  It's the head injuries and ridiculous stories that keep circulating the whole league.

And, sorry my Northern friends:  I watch hockey when (1) I go to a live game which has been maybe twice, or (2) the Olympics.  It's Texas.  We don't have ice, so there's not much hockey down this way.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bevo XIV Merges With The Infinite

The beloved mascot of the University of Texas, Bevo XIV, has passed.

The University of Texas has had a Longhorn Steer as its mascot for about 100 years, back when it was hilarious to bring a steer to a football game.  And, hey, it still is.

The name of "Bevo" is somewhat shrouded in legend and mystery, referring to a brand of near-beer popular in the early 20th Century, and there's a very complex story about Texas A&M kidnapping the steer back when he was named "Bo" and branding the score "13-0" on his side, which was changed to "BEvO".  I dunno.  It's possibly apocryphal, but I'm not one to fight the legend.

This Bevo has been around for a while.  I believe he was in place way back when we won the National Championship, but I'd have to check.  He's been a good steer.  And, unlike the first Bevo, we won't eat this one (Texas is a hard place, man).

Usually, Bevo hangs out in a sort of open pen on the sideline, drugged just enough (I assume) so he doesn't flip out when the Cowboys spirit group fire off "Old Smokey", the cannon that goes off every time we score.  Secretly, I always want to see Bevo rush the field and clear the whole area, but he's always pretty mellow.

Animal mascots don't last forever.  Texas A&M has Reveille, their cute little dog, and Baylor used to bring a baby bear to games in the 90's (I'm not sure if that's still something they do, but a bear lives on campus).  And A&M has taken exceedingly good care of all their Collie dogs.  But you need to have the character that bridges those generational, animal mascots and be a cartoon.  So, we also have Hook 'Em, which is what you call the character mascot who runs around in a costume whooping it up.  I like both.

We'll miss you, Bevo XIV, but we also know you lived literally the best life a longhorn steer is going to in this world or any other.  We appreciated your service.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sports Watch: Chicago Cubs and UT Longhorns

Well, this weekend and today have turned out to be just an amazing few days in sports-watching.

This is the first time I have seen Coach Strong smile in a calendar year.

Cubs Win!

I didn't grow up watching baseball.  I started watching it with Jamie's mom.  I think we started watching ball when Jamie was in the hospital and then just because, hey, baseball.  It wasn't my Old Man who taught me the rules of baseball, it was Jamie's mom when I was 20.  They were kind of the team I liked, anyway, because as a kid I'd watch them on WGN mostly because I thought Harry Caray was hilarious.  I was an adult before I found out - literally everyone thinks Harry Caray is hilarious.

Later, when the Cubs played the Diamondbacks when we lived in Phoenix, we'd always go to at least one game, and I really regret only ever making one Spring Training game, because it wasn't all that far from our house.  And, we did make it to a Cubs game or two at Minute Maid Park before the Astros changed leagues.  I'm still trying to plan a vaycay in Chicago next year to make it to a couple of games.  I've only been to Wrigley once, but it was incredible.  I like the new mega-stadiums, too, but seeing the Cubbies at Wrigley was just a blast.

Anyway, the Cubs have been just entirely terrible for most of the last 100 years.  The fanbase, as near as I can tell, has some weird, masochistic thing going on where you learn the virtues of patience and eternal hope, because you never know when this year might be your year.  And, for Cubs fans, it just never is.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Univ. of Texas Longhorns Lose another heartbreaker (to Oklahoma State)

There's really no other way to say it.

This game was an exercise in frustration from all sides.  UT's offense was held to field goals and not much else.  The defense's secondary did much better than last week, eventually, and Vance Bedford's defensive squad also put two touchdowns on the board.

But the reffing was simply awful all around, impacting both teams, the mystery moving puzzle of last week's offense that seemed like the start of a bold new era was stopped at every turn by OSU's defense.  Jerrod Heard had some good plays, but the offensive line support he enjoyed last week seemed to evaporate and he showed he doesn't really see the defense all that well when he's in the pocket.

Nick Rose was actually really fine this week.  Did great.  Kudos to that kid for bouncing back when a lesser kicker would have been a mess.  Nope, that we left to our punter who, apparently, was thinking about a final, his date the night before, chicken nuggets, something, anything other than taking the snap on the 4th down and getting rid of the f'ing ball.

We'd been up for most of the game, a position no Texas fan really expected to find the team in, so the crappy way in which we lost the game was more than a smidge painful.  Especially as the refs called back two big TD plays on ticky-tacky penalties, called a nonsensical defensive holding call that impacted the 4th quarter play like no one's business (and was clearly offensive holding, you dumb zebra), called a penalty on Charlie Strong for protesting the shitty reffing.  Oh, and called a fumble for OSU when it was pretty clear that it was recovered by UT.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Heartbreak, thy Name is a Missed Extra Point - Cal beats Texas 45-44

This was a great game.  Go to hell, anyone who says otherwise, because for the first time in a long time I saw a Texas team that showed up all game long and didn't require crazy luck in order to win games.  No, we didn't win, and the defense gave up a lot of points, particularly going weak for some reason in the 3rd quarter.

But Texas put 44 points on the board against Cal, and if you'd asked me two weeks ago about the score for tonight's game, I don't know if I'd have put us past 24 points.  Amazing what a few coaching changes can do.  The offensive line seems (and this may be an optical illusion, but I'll take it) to be able to hold a bit longer, giving Heard more time in the pocket.  The offense also seems more confident, perhaps because the offense has been simplified, something I have no eye for, but I do notice when plays succeed far more often.  And, holy cow, does Jerrod Heard look fantastic.  Our redshirt Freshman quarterback was playing at a level we haven't seen in a long, long time, a level that, when I'd watch other teams and then watch UT, you were kind of forced to ask "now, why don't we have a quarterback that can do that?  How is that so?".

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rice at Texas Home Opener - UT wins 42-28

After last week's disastrous performance against Notre Dame in South Bend, Texas fans were wondering how Charlie Strong would answer the challenges facing the team with the tools he's got on hand.  The reality of it is that, once that first game starts, it's not like he can go get new players or coaches until the end of the season.  It's a sane situation made crazy by the magical thinking of the sports press who still act as if coaches are grown ups, we're all kids and they will somehow produce magical results to kiss away our fears.

Jerrod Heard freaks us all out by actually adjusting to the situation on the field

Look, UT won this game 42-28.  But, as much of an academic and scholarly powerhouse as Rice University might be, no one has ever accused Rice of being in contention of a national football title.  They're on the schedule out of habit on both sides, because UT needs a team to play to work out some kinks, and because Rice gets some TV dollars out of the deal.

For once, I really do think UT was able to use the Rice game to sort some things out and to get a better feel for where we need to do some work.  The Notre Dame game was only a chance to witness the obvious lesson of "you need to work on looking like a Division I team."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Slaughter in South Bend: The Longhorns Go Down in Flames 38-3 to Notre Dame

UT Football has been having a rough patch the past few years.  It was bad enough two seasons ago that we saw the dismissal of Coach Mack Brown, the same Coach who took UT to two National Championship games, one of which we won!  It was a good night, I promise you.

We played our second National Championship game under Brown as recently as 2010, but that didn't go super well.  Alabama.  What are you gonna do?

But after that, the steam went out of the UT program, and even before the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season, it was clear Brown was on his way out.  We recruited Coach Charlie Strong from Louisville, a place where Strong - in 3 seasons - had found tremendous success.  Thus far, none of that has rubbed off on Texas football.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

SW Watches: A League of Their Own

There are going to be some short posts here, because there's not much to say about all of this, but I am going to document every movie I watch.

And that includes A League of Their Own, a movie that seems to run every Saturday on basic cable - somehow, somewhere.

As saccharine and formulaic as the movie is, it's also an important one.  It did a lot to discuss the transformation of women's roles in the US during World War II, and the strange way we deal with gender when it comes to sports (and it's pretty honest about the marketing of a League that wasn't what people were used to).

I'm not sure it's either the best performance by Geena Davis or Tom Hanks, but they're both pretty damn good and they go a long way to define the buddy-system that it never hurts to have at work (ask me about KP sometime.  She's pulled my bacon out of the fire for six years.).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pat Summerall Merges with The Infinite


Pat Summerall, the calm voice of commentary on CBS and Fox football, has passed.

Summerall retired a few years ago (several years ago now, I guess), and he only popped up very occasionally.  But for folks my age, he and John Madden were a sort of omnipresent twosome on in the Fall, and a fixture of Thanksgiving games.  Really, John Madden is clearly legally insane, and it was always the calm voice of Summerall that made the games make any sense or have any cohesion.

He, Costas and Al Michaels have been some of my favorite sports broadcasters over the years and I'll miss him.

Summerall and Madden

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

end of football season 2012-13 (also, Brent Musberger)

I watched the BCS Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame, and - as you may have heard - Alabama destroyed Notre Dame, 42-14 (you can argue that last ND touchdown was someone from Alabama being nice).

I don't have feelings one way or another about either team.  It's cool to see Nick Saban earn his 3rd National title in 4 years, and I was glad Notre Dame was back as a serious contender in NCAA football.  But I think this absolute rout of The Fighting Irish will be putting some questions around Notre Dame's unique position as a team without a country/ conference, and that their schedule may be a wee bit lopsided as they milk their TV contract.

It was a fun year for football, and I wish I'd had a less hectic schedule and could have enjoyed more of it.  Even when UT is doing poorly (and we ended up with 9 wins, so as bad as it felt, it's still a decent season), it's something to do.  I still like watching Big 12 teams and a few, random other teams when I can.

Between you and me, I can't stand commentator Brent Musberger.  He certainly knows the sport, but he's still wishing it were 1975.  I like a little fake impartiality in my hosts, and Musberger chucked all that years ago.  Sometimes he's right, sometimes he's wrong.  But having had listened to his nonsense as he's called (and constantly dogged on) UT games over the years, I just sigh when I realize he and Herb are on commenting duties.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The 2012 Not-a-List Rundown

author's note:  2012 is a year I have been looking to put behind me for quite a while for any number of reasons.  Obviously the events in my personal life marked a very sad end to the year for us at our house.  Perhaps we should declare 2012 Annus Horribilis and move on.

With recent events weighing so heavily on me right now (and with this post started a long, long time ago), I'm going to stick to pop culture and the original, intended tone of the post - and this blog - and take a look back instead at...  yeah, I guess comics and whatnot.

here we go.

The 2012 Not-a-List Rundown

My Totem for Everything About my Pop Culture Hobbies in 2012

My relationship fundamentally changed with my hobbies and past-times, and superhero comics have begun to dip below the horizon to the same place Star Wars went circa 2002.  Because of travelling and the fact I was sick a lot this year, I also didn't really make it out to the movies very often.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saw Louis CK and other Bits into the Weekend

Somehow we wound up with 6th row tickets to see Louis CK at the Moody Theater this evening.  Right on the center aisle.  Kind of crazy.  I insisted to our friends who had seats a bit further away that you could feel the comedy spraying across us from that close.

Louis's brand of comedy isn't for everyone, and certainly his show on FX isn't something I'd likely watch with my folks.  I do find his work challenging (the last bit this evening on 'Of Course' vs. 'But Maybe' isn't necessarily going to be for every audience and runs the risk of being misunderstood by some audiences).

If you know Louie (the oddly misspelled showname of Louis CK's FX program), you might like this. NSFW.  Sorry.


I didn't get to watch, but UT's Women's Volleyball team is once again headed for the National Championship!  We've got as good a chance at winning as not, and no matter what happens, it's been a great year for the squad.

But it'd still be amazing to see a National Championship.

Unfortunately, I never get to watch the games.  They broadcast on the controversial Longhorn Network that I don't have, and I travel so much, I never buy tickets, even though they play across the street.  I mostly keep up via articles online or asking one of our Sys Admins who goes all the time.

The Weekend

We're in San Antonio as of tomorrow as this is the weekend of the wedding I'm officiating.  No Hobbit for me this weekend, I guess.

Looking forward to the wedding.  Of course seeing Julia and Bill get hitched from the best seat in the house is a treat, but Matt & Nicole will be there, as well as other pals like Jonathan and Billie.  This is going to be all right.

After the wedding, I plan to come home, finish Christmas shopping, then lay very, very still before Dug and K arrive for the holidays.  I have a feeling that when my feet hit the ground at the start of January, work is going to be nuts.  I need to plan summer vacation now or its not going to happen.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

For some reason, Formula 1 Racing Came to Austin

About two and a half-years ago, Austinites woke up to find that some deal had been reached to bring Formula 1 racing to our city.  Mostly, the news was met with puzzled stares.  This is not a motorsports kind of town, and F1 is something that takes place in Monte Carlo, not in our berg.

If you do not know (I didn't), F1 is monstrously popular everywhere but the US, and despite astronomically high tickets prices, tends to draw hundreds of thousands of people to each city.  Rich people.  Who supposedly spend money.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Coach Darrell K. Royal Merges with The Infinite

Darrell K. Royal, icon of University of Texas football, has passed at 88.

I am sad to learn that former UT football coach, Darrell Royal, has gone on to his reward, but as I said to CoWorker Kristi - "It's kind of hard to imagine living a better life than that guy".

Longhorn Football fans know that Royal brought three championships to Texas and had a 167-47-5 record at UT.  Memorial Stadium is actually now Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, and has been for quite a while.

He remained active in UT Athletics and the University of Texas, and was on the field for a coin toss just a few weeks back.  He'll be missed, but in Austin, it is impossible to believe he'll be forgotten.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Longhorns get trounced: 63-21

The Red River Rivalry (or Shoot Out, depending on your generation) is a tradition more than a century old.  The UT Longhorns drive up to Dallas, the Oklahoma Sooners descend from Norman, and they face off at the Cotton Bowl in an elliptical stadium that, when full of fans, is colored half burnt orange and half red in team colors.

As important as the rivalry is (and, I hate to tell Ags, was probably the more important of the two), its also a marker that tells us how our team is really playing this year.  Every year this game seems to be a tipping point for the fortunes of the Longhorns - displaying exactly how well we might do against the conference play in the Big 12 and more or less setting bowl expectations.  OU is always a worthy opponent, and in neutral territory, they don't want to take the slow, painful bus ride home, either.  

more or less the story of the game

Flat out, OU outplayed UT in every conceivable way for about 58 of the 60 minutes of the game.  We couldn't even get the extra point after a fluke touchdown.