Sunday, January 28, 2007

A frustrating ending for the Cats

Notre Dame 66, Villanova 63.

This is the same team the Cats torched by 15 last week, shooting 57% from the floor. Not so much good shooting Saturday - apparently the weather in Indiana makes the rims less forgiving.

Because of softball practice (among other things) I mercifully didn't sit through this entire game. But I did turn it on with 1:03 remaining, and the Cats down 64-60. Here's the sequence:

- Falls gets a foul call when he jumps into Nardi. Nardi fouls out. Falls sinks 2 free throws, 66-60 Irish.

- Nova ball. Redding fouled on a 3-pointer. Makes first. Misses second. Misses third deliberately, Sumpter falls on it. Jump ball. Possession: Nova. 66-61.

- Sumpter misses 3-pointer. Cunningham fouled on rebound. Makes both. 66-63. (Pacing.)

- 20 seconds left. ND throws in bounds pass away. Nova timeout. (Pacing faster, rolling eyes.)

- Nova works for a shot. Redding open left of top of the key, misses. Ball goes THROUGH a ND defender out of bounds. Nova ball. 5.9 seconds left (I start ripping my hair out).

- In bound play is an abortion. Somehow Cunningham gets a floating lob hanger pass and pass to Sumpter for a wide open 3 (same spot Redding missed from). Clank. ND rebound. Foul. 1.3 seconds left (I turn off TV).

So they really could have won this game with a little clutch shooting. ND has won 17 in a row at home now. Tomorrow the Cats host Pittsburgh, the best team in the league so far this season.

Oh, and Weaver formally signed with Seattle. What a doofus.

No post tomorrow - it's an anniversary (or something) at the Rant household, so I'll have to give the missus my undivided attention [sigh]. She's very demanding that way. :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

RIP, Bing Devine

Vaughan P. "Bing" Devine, the General Manager who built the Cardinal World Series teams of the 1960s, died today in St. Louis. He was 90.

Best known for his fleecing of the Cubs with the Broglio for Brock trade, he also signed such notables as Bob Gibson (he was pretty good), Curt Flood (good), and Julian Javier (named his son 'Stan' after the patron of this blog).

I can't really be sad for anyone who dies at the ripe old age of 90. He had a full, rich life and did what he loved - worked in baseball. With any luck, we all should live that long.

Rest your oars, Bing. You earned it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Weaver Falling

The Post-Dispatch is reporting that Jeff Weaver is close to signing with the Seattle Mariners.

I guess that talk last October about coming back to the Cardinals was just that - talk.

I don't begrudge today's star athlete's desire to cash in. I object to the amount of money they make because (a) they aren't worth it, and (b) it ultimately drives the price of basic necessities up for me, however, if I had the talent and drive athletically I might sign with the highest bidder, too.

But I've always wondered why some guys, when they find or fall into a great situation (like Weaver found in StL last season), are so quick to leave it. Seattle was a bad club last season (78-84) that has gotten weaker over the winter. Why would anyone want to leave the Defending World Series Champs for that environment? Seattle hasn't made the playoffs since 2001. They haven't finished above .500 since 2003, while StL has made the playoffs every year this millenium (except 2003), and hasn't finished below .500 since before the turn of the century (1999 to be exact).

LaRussa and Duncan obviously liked the guy, worked with him, stroked his ego, and returned him to his Detroit Tiger form and nastiness - doesn't that count for something?

Apparently not.

Maybe he has a thing for Venti Lattes. Or depressed sweater-wearing pasty white women. Or he likes the fatties. Or he likes anonymity. Whatever. I don't think there's any chance he'll enjoy next season the way he enjoyed the end of the last one.

Well, thanks for the quality starts in the playoffs, Jeff. Enjoy the wilderness. I hope six months from now you're not kicking yourself for signing with Abbott and Costello.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wildcat Rising

V for Villanova, V for victory; B for something something something....

It's amazing what two victories over top-20 teams will do for your reputation.

The mighty Cats vaulted to #27 in the USA Today poll, and #30 in the AP, with last week's wins over Villanova West (er, that school Weis works at) and the Texas Durants. They kept rolling tonight with a 82-73 victory over the Friars of Provi-dum College.

Oh, that snapped a 12-game home winning streak for the Rhode Islanders.

'Nova is now 4 games into the toughest 6 game stretch on their schedule. They're 3-1. Next is a rematch in Indiana (which will go unnoticed thanks to Peyton Manning) against the #22 Irish, then a home game against #9 Pittsburgh (the class of the Conference this year).

I had my doubts about the lads making it to The Dance for a third straight year. However, with an RPI of 21, their defense tightening, and Scottie Reynolds playing like the McDonald's All-American he was last year, anything is possible. If they can shut down Texas without their best player (Curtis Sumpter sat out the game with a 'deep bone bruise'), who knows what they can do the rest of the way?

No Villanova team has made the Sweet 16 three years in a row. It's waaaaaaayy to early to be counting those chickens, but why not? That by itself would be a major achievement for this group.

Go Cats.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Scenes from the Rant Household

Yep, two days late. Lots of activity at the Rant household...which I won't bore you about here.

Currently Villanova is leading the Texas Durants 26-23. This is the only national broadcast for the boys (unless they make the Tourney), and they look, well, O.K. They've missed a number of wide-open shots or the lead would be much more than three. Oh, and Durant? He's for real. 11 points in the first half - and he looks like he's playing at a different speed than the rest of the boys on the court. Ol' Bill Simmons is right about that.

Of course, the hot topic this weekend will be the NFL Conference Championships. I read Simmons' latest article, and my comment is simply this:

Want some cheese with that whine?

Look, my anti-Patriot stance has nothing to do with how the Pats are doing it with mirrors. Or that Belichick has somehow morphed into Knute Rockne. Or that Brady is already the best clutch QB since Montana and may become the greatest QB since Unitas. Mrs. Rant actively roots for them (now that the Chargers have completed their yearly gag). For me, it boils down to three things.

ONE: Super Bowl XXXVI. I'm sure you're shocked to find out I root for the Rams (although my allegiance dates back to the 1979 group: Vince Ferragamo, Wendell Tyler, Jack Youngblood, Fred Dryer, and Nolan Cromwell).

TWO: The saturation of coverage. Since 2001 we have been inundated with stories on how great Belichick's system is, and how cool Brady is. Tedy Bruschi. Mike Vrabel. Blah blah blah. Enough already. I hated the Dodgers as a kid because I got tired of hearing how good they were. I can see they're good - I don't need to be bombarded with that fact. Same for the NY Mets of the 1980s (the fact that they were the Cardinals' biggest rival from 1985-1989 didn't help them), the Lakers of the 1980s, and the Yankees of the 1990s.

It's so bad I can't enjoy teams for how good they are. I hope they lose just so the talking heads will shut up.

THREE (and last straw): Patriots get knocked out last year by Denver. Can they lose gracefully? Yes. Their fans? 'We didn't get beat - we gave the game away.' How arrogant. How wrong.

Indy can't beat those fucktards by enough to make me happy. Maybe THAT'll shut their fans (and their most famous blog apologist) up. Unfortunately, I doubt it; but for 3 hours tomorrow, It would make for a most gratifying day.

NFC: I'm torn between the feel-good story and my natural pre-disposition to despise all things Chicago. So I think I'll just....enjoy the game.

Under 12 timeout...Nova 48, Texas 38. Enjoy the rest of the game.

[UPDATE: Nova 76, Texas 69. Two Top-25 upsets by the 'Cats this week. Niiiiccceeee.]

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Friday, January 12, 2007

Smarmy NE fans can STICK IT

I just finished reading Bill Simmons' article for 12 January - it's not bad, you might want to check it out. As no surprise, he picks the Patriots to win this weekend here in San Dog. My response to this:

San Diego will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

Reasons why:

1. Martyball officially died on Oct 1, 2006. The Chargers lost a game they had controlled to the Ravens because Marty, predictably, took the air out of the ball. Since that game they are 12-1 and have won 10 straight.

2. Belichick had a questionable record overall (41-55) and playoff record (1-1) before Tom Brady joined the team. Since then he's won 3 Super Bowls. I'm not going to suggest that Philip Rivers is the next Tom Brady, but he could be - you got to start somewhere.

3. LDT.

4. The bye week. Teams with the extra week off are 51-13 since 1990.

So sorry, Boston - get your grousing faces ready. Sports Talk Radio needs you to lose - what other big fan base of losers will call in for the next 8 months to whine about how their team was better but got screwed (a la the Denver loss last year)?

Now - how will they get to the Super Bowl? Here's how (as Deadspin BallGirl, AKA Mrs Rant pointed out):

They have to play the Ravens. The blew the 1 Oct game and they know it. AND they'll get the rematch in their building. Emotion is a HUGE part of football - the Chargers will be riding a lot of emotion in the AFC Championship game.

So start spreading the news - Chargers in the Super Bowl. The bandwagon has officially left the barn.

And I have credibility - after all, I predicted the Cardinals would win the World Series. What? This is a Cardinal site, you say?

So what?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mulder stays...FEED ME!

Mark Mulder has re-signed with the Cardinals. Two years, $13M, option for 2009. I'd like to quote Mark (as reported in the Post-Dispatch article) on this event:

"I had fun here and the one thing that ate at me was that no one in St. Louis — not the coaches, the fans, even some of my teammates — nobody in St. Louis has seen what I'm capable of doing," Mulder said from his Arizona home. "Even in 2005, it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't what I'm capable of doing. That wasn't the sole reason for coming back, but it was one of the reasons."

Oooh. I just got all tingly.

Why? Because this sounds like Chris Carpenter circa 2003. He had something to prove - he knew he had the talent to pitch in the big leagues, and he wanted to prove he was still capable after his surgery in 2002. I was misty-eyed during Carp's Game 3 of the World Series gem (oh, wait - Little Dirka poked me in the eye that night), because Carp had fought through 2 tough injuries to showcase his Cy Young stuff on the biggest baseball stage. A culmination of his journey back through all that pain.

I don't know if Mulder has the same bulldog streak Carpenter has. Returns from 2005/06 say no - he got lackadaisacal too many times when things went wrong (The balls Mark Bellhorn and Geoff Blum hit off him in San Diego still haven't landed yet). However he was willing to go out
there and fight even when he knew his arm wasn't right, which means he may have that desire deep down. If he can back up what he said above, Redbird Nation can sleep well.

Jeff Weaver? The ship with your chances of re-signing with StL just sailed, my friend. Enjoy the view from Scott Boras' basement until you sign with the Texas Rangers. I would have liked to see you back, but here we are.

On a humorous note - the Dodgers announced the opening of an all-you-can-eat-section in the right field bleachers next season. Yep, for $35 ($40 on game day) you can see how much ball park food (hotdogs, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, soft drinks) it takes before your stomach explodes and/or your heart stops. Seeing as the Dodgers have no left-handed power on the
roster, you're going to need to eat all that food - it could be a long season in Chavez Ravine.

Note that beer is not included on the menu. Communist Bastards. Walter O'Malley would have included beer. Of course, Walter O'Malley wouldn't be charging $40 a ticket to sit in the bleachers. My first game at the Stadium? Seventy-five cents for a bleacher seat.

Think Kobayashi will be blacklisted from buying season tickets?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nova beats Georgetown - AGAIN.

Banner day in the Rant household - the Wildcats of Villanova secured their first Big East Win of the season, smiting lowly Georgetown 56-52. I soooo love sticking it to this bunch of pretentious bastards (the whole school is full of them; I have nothing per se against the basketball team). So to recap, Georgetown teams coached by a Thompson and featuring a Ewing are no match for the Rulers of the Main Line.

And all this with our best player fouling out after scoring only 5 points.

Nova moves to 12-4 on the year, although only 1-2 in the Big East. Very, very early in the season; there's no need to panic.

Oh yeah, there was some college football game on yesterday, too. You might have heard about it.

One more item - Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr were voted into the Hall of Fame today. Well deserved for Gwynn. I had the pleasure of being a season ticket holder and watching him during the 1997 season - statistically his finest offensive year. The man hit .500 with runners in scoring position that season - superhuman. It seemed like every time the Padres needed a key hit, he would double up the alley in right center.

Ripken? He's pretty good, too. I think his consecutive games streak was over-hyped, but he's a member of the 3000 hit club and a 2-time MVP, as well as a 19-time All Star. Nice selection.

McGwire got only 23.5% of the vote. I've already shared my thoughts on that subject. I'm a little too pissed off to vent on this vote result yet - maybe in a couple of weeks after I give it some careful thought.

What's really bullshit, though, is Wally Joyner got no votes. You got to be kidding me! Bobby Bonilla got 2 and WallyWorld none? There is no God.

Anyway, I'm still digging out from moving this weekend, so there may be a dearth of posts for about a week or so. But don't despair, dear reader - I'll be back.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Apparently Jake Peavy has huge balls, too

Jake Peavy is a competitor. He's not afraid of anybody who steps into the batters box. Apparently that attitude carries over into real life, too.

Today Jake was to leave for a goodwill tour in the Caribbean. He was probably late - watch must have stopped - so he double parked his car at the Mobile Regional Airport to drop off his bags. Officer Friendly saunters up to him and tells him to move his car.

Jake does what all of us want to do when an authority figure is being unreasonable. He told the cop to stick it. Naturally Jake was arrested. I'm quite sure that action stopped all double-parking at the Airport. Yep - traffic probably flowed much smoother for at least 10 minutes. Or until Mr. Letter Of The Law moved on.

Must be a regional airport thing, we never have that kind of blatant disregard for public safety laws here in San Diego.

Unconfirmed reports stated the rent-a-donut is a Hispaniola native agitated because the goodwill tour was only of the Dominican Republic.