Thursday, September 21, 2006

YouTube has to be the greatest online invention since digital musical downloads started. I was just on there and was able to watch some of the really old-school NFL on CBS clips back when they did NFC games and Pat Summerall and John Madden were doing games together. I grew up for the most part watching the Fox broadcasts, but I look back at the CBS games with a certain fondness, back when I was starting to get into football, and my Redskins were actually any good - plus they had a catchy little opening theme that got you all psyched up to watch the game.

There's nobody doing games now who can match the Sumerall-Madden team when they were together. Summerall was great because he didn't take himself too seriously. There was an understated passion to his calls, which I would happily take a million times before the contrived excitement that some of today's announcers seem to have (Mike Tirico of ESPN being the first person I think of in that category.) I'll never forget that first Super Bowl the Patriots won against the Rams because of his call. (Vinatieri's kick goes through) "Right down the pipe...(pauses a moment as the kick goes through)...Adam Vinatieri...No time on the clock and the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable!" Just the bare necessities, does not feel the need to upstage the unbelievable action on the field. That's a man who respects the game and the fans who are watching.

Of those two, I'm less of a fan of Madden (though he is better than most of the current crop of annoucners), but he really was good when he was paired with Summerall back on CBS, because it was before he was the larger-than-life figure that he is now.

The disappointing thing is that the announcers for top games are hyped up like rock stars in their own right, and that takes away from the experience on the field. I mean, Tony Kornheiser doing Monday Night games? He was hired based on name-recognition, but too bad he knows less about the intricacies of football than your average hard-core fan. least I know I'll always have the sweet sounds of Summerall and Madden waiting on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ok, so after a failed attempt to start a blog before, this is the restart right here. The blog is going to be about sports, because that's what I'm really passionate about. Alright, enough of that, time to get to the meat of it.

Man, everyone was talking about the Alex Rodriguez story in SI today on the radio. I had just typed in that I thought this whole story was blown so much out of proportion, because he plays for the Yankees. And maybe that's true to the degree that this subject gets overexposed because of all the media is out there. However, it clearly is an issue in that it's an issue in the Yankee clubhouse. But let's be serious - who is this more likely to affect: the rest of the Yankees players or A-Rod himself? Of course it's A-Rod. This is a team that is hungry to get that championship that's eluded them for 5 years, and I find it hard to believe that they would let this be a distraction for them, especially when this drama has more or less been playing out for most of the summer.

A-Rod however, is a different story. He's a lot more likely to let this affect him, and if he starts overthinking things again, it might be deja vu in the playoffs. And if he does, God help him, because everyone - press, fans, teammates (maybe not publicly) will be back on him for not producing. Now, we don't know how he'll react to this. No one does except for him - and who knows if he even knows how he'll react. He's played better as of late. But I do think that it would be foolish to think that he can fundamentally change the kind of guy he is in the span of a few weeks. He's not Derek Jeter, he's not Jason Giambi, and people should not expect him to be.

He's always going to be image-conscious - that's just the way he is. It's the way he's built for whatever reason. And because he is, he's always susceptible to wanting to try too hard to win the approval of everyone who's been down on him. We've seen this season that this is what has gotten him in trouble.

Who knows how the playoffs will work out for A-Rod and the Yankees. They have so much talent, they could very well still win a World Series without his contributions. And A-Rod has so much talent, that despite what's going on in his head, he can still be a contributor. But for him to exorcise his demons and prove his doubters wrong - and I really believe that's a major motivator for him given the kind of personality he has shown to have - he's going to need to act and more importantly, think in an uncharacteristic manner in the playoffs.
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