Friday, October 24, 2008

Cross-genre post: Ryan Howard v. Ryan Howard

Last night on television, we had two chances to watch Ryan Howard: Ryan Howard the temp on NBC's The Office, and Ryan Howard the first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, who were playing Game 2 in the World Series.

I don't know that it's ever been confirmed, but the rumor is that Ryan Howard the temp is actually named in honor of Ryan Howard the baseball player. He's currently tearing it up on the major league level (the baseball player, that is), but before he was called up in September 2004, he was tearing it up on the minor league level for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The Office premiered six months later in March 2005 with character that had supposedly been named after a local sports hero before way before he was on his way to being a sports hero on the national stage. Why, you ask? Oh, because The Office is set in none other than Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Ryan Howard (the baseball player) has gone on since then to be named Rookie of the Year (2005) and Most Valuable Player (2006) for the Phillies. Ryan Howard (the temp) has gone on to a job at corporate in New York where the power went to his head, he was arrested for fraud, and he now finds himself back in Scranton as, yet again, a temp and as, yet again, the subject of boss Michael Scott's somewhat disturbing mancrush.

We wish continued success to Ryan Howard (the baseball player) and better luck and decision making to Ryan Howard (the temp, who could take a page out of the other Ryan Howard's book) in the future.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The little team that could

Last night, the Tampa Bay Rays made it into the World Series. And all I have to say about that is, thank God! I'm starting to think they let the Red Sox push them to a Game 7 just to up the excitement and anticipation factor. And can I just say, as someone who was really rooting for the Rays to kick reigning champion Boston to the curb, that it's almost as stressful to be an antifan, wanting a particular team to lose, as it is to be a fan and wanting a particular team to win.

I know lots of people were hoping for a Dodgers-Red Sox series, mostly because L.A. vs. Boston would have brought great ratings. (And it's all about the ratings and making money, right?) But the Rays surprised everyone and not only climbed their way to first place in the AL East but held on. And now this team, which had never won more than 70 games in a season, is headed to the World Series. I'm not a Rays fan, but it's the kind of underdog story I can root for.

And in honor of their achievement, here are today's Sports Crushes of the Day:

Evan Longoria, 3rd base

Matt Garza, pitcher

Rocco Baldelli, right field

Who wouldn't want to watch these guys play?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quick note on Giants-Browns game

Will not mention how appalled I was at how terrible the Giants played, like they had completely forgotten who they are: man up, G-men!

Would like to say, however, that I was almost more appalled at how many penalties the Browns racked up. Even I know that a professional football team should not be getting a false start penalty on every single play. How hard is it to wait for the snap? Isn't it something you have ALL WEEK to practice and doesn't it involve little more than memorization and counting? It's not even counting to five! Three year olds can do it!

That being said, I would also like to ask if there is anyone out there that can explain to me what in the heck a "brown" is? I thought a team mascot like the University of Minnesota Gophers was pretty embarrassing (are gophers really striking fear into the hearts of anyone?), but at least I know what a gopher is. Abstract ideas and/or colors seem even less threatening and wondering what it could possibly be was kinda (though probably thankfully this week) distracting me from watching the actual game...

Titans v. Titans?

The last two games the New York Jets played, I have been thoroughly confused, waiting for the team to come out onto the field, only to be reminded that the team is already on the field. They're just in different jerseys.

The Jets wear green and white. Before they were the Jets, they were the New York Titans, and they wore blue and gold. After a couple of losses this season, the team played in these retro jerseys and won. Perhaps superstitious, they wore those jerseys again this weekend, and again they won.

My brother has a theory that the Jets finally decided that the Jets...well, suck. And since the Tennessee Titans are 5-0 so far this season, the Jets decided that since the Titans are winners, they, too, would become (again) the Titans. My brother thinks the Jets should take it a step further and just call themselves the Tennessee Titans. They wouldn't even have to move from the Meadowlands. They could be a Tennessee team playing in New Jersey.

After all, they're already a New York team playing in New Jersey.

It would definitely make the Week 12 game against the actual, honest-to-God though not original old school Titans an interesting one...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday night musings...

Does it seem somewhat fitting and fair that as the Boston Red Sox replace the New York Yankees as the baseball powerhouse of the East, that the New York Giants are on the road to replacing the New England Patriots as the football powerhouse of the East? Knock on wood, don't wanna jinx it...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baseball postseason continues...

...tonight, with the Dodgers v. the Phillies. It's interesting that this makes Joe Torre's 13th consecutive postseason appearance, although his previous 12 were with the Yankees. Since he's here, and the Yankees are not, I guess there's some logic to the assumption that he was not responsible for the Yanks' poor postseason performances of the past few years. Shall we try to find somebody else to hold responsible? Steinbrenners? Upper management? Maybe some of the players themselves? Anybody?

Another thought about another new Dodger face this season - is it true that if the Dodgers and Red Sox end up playing each other in the World Series, that Manny Ramirez, who played for both teams this season, will get a ring no matter what the outcome?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fans are born in all sorts of ways

Today when I was driving home from lunch I heard Evan Roberts on WFAN (that's the sports radio network I listen to) talking about how he used to go to Orioles games with his ex-girlfriend and how she was a huge Red Sox fan because she thought Jason Varitek was cute, and he called that a garbage reason for being a fan.

Welcome to our world, Evan Roberts!

(By the way, I mostly enjoy listening to him on the radio, but I found it funny to hear someone in the real world, in the real sports-related world, address something I've talk about, that being the thing that is a huge reason girls become sports fans...)

Unlike young boys, young girls can't watch Mariano Rivera pitch and think, "He's a great athlete...I want to be just like him when I grow up." Well, they can, but eventually they realize that our professional sports prospects are extremely limited compared to our male counterparts.

We might not have the chance to like the teams our fathers liked if our fathers were more likely to take our brothers to sporting events or talk to them about the teams their own fathers liked growing up.

A lot of women see professional sports as just another way that men refuse to grow up and continue to act like boys...and since most of us have to deal with the "boys" in our own lives, we don't necessarily have time to devote to those who get paid millions to act that way.

That being said...I had a mother who played sports. My parents let both my brothers and my sister and me play sports. We would always watch the World Series together. Our professional athletic options are constantly expanding (albeit at a snails pace). And sometimes we just enjoy the excitement of a game well-played.

Personally, I tend to pay more attention to a team once they start doing well. But good-looking guys with great bodies in form-fitting uniforms? What girl wouldn't at least be tempted to watch that? (Hello, Joe Mauer!) How many guys watched beach volleyball during the Olympics because of the skimpy uniforms? Quite a few, I bet. It's not about how you're drawn in. It's about the fact that you are. You come for the cute guy, you stay for the game, and you actually end up learning about the sport.

Fans are born in all sorts of ways.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles...

I am getting no baseball love this season. Twins are out. Red Sox are up. Cubs are down. It's hard to care at this point. I guess instead of rooting for a team, I could always root against a team...which, of course, would be the Red Sox. Sometimes it's just as fun if not moreso to see a team lose than to see a team win (like, I don't know which was better about the last Super Bowl, that the Giants won or that the Patriots lost). Anyway, like I said, I'm kinda over baseball for this season, but I guess if I had to pick a World Series match-up I might watch, it would have to be the Cubs v. the Rays. Underdog versus underdog? Win-win!