The other day, a not so old friend of mine criticized my "sportsandstuff" title of this blog when I gave her the address, sarcastically inquiring, "how did you come up with such a clever title?" Clever? Well, admittedly, not exactly. Perhaps even a bit hasty, but given that I really wanted to just move on with it instead of struggling for hours, trying to come up with "clever," I hope you can understand. Plus, as I told her at the time, I really like the word "stuff." If you think about it, it's one of few words that are all inclusive, yet not at all wordy. But now I'm all self-conscious about it and kind of wish I hadn't acted so hastily in naming this thing. Plus, she's adorable; that doesn't help. Anyway, I fear that it's too late to change now, so I'll have to move on with it and tonight I have a few subjects on my mind. So...some stuff:
-I was both right and wrong about the HR derby. You might have noticed that I accurately picked Justin Morneau to win the thing, but if you noticed that much, then you might have also noticed that the Canadian didn't exactly steal the show. Josh Hamilton and his sidekick 71 year old perfect strike thrower did. Man. I don't know where to start with that performance.
Well first off, props to Mr. Hamilton. Prior to this, knowing very little about the man and thus being foolishly judgemental, he was to me nothing more than that crackhead playing ball in Texas. Not that he did or ever will even know who I am, but I now feel terribly bad about myself for this. I believe very strongly in redemption stories and he very clearly is one of those. I am now and forever that he remains clean, a Josh Hamilton fan. I don't really care if he only has 95 RBI for the rest of his career (that's how many he has already this season!), the man's accomplishments far exceed what those statistics that I and all other hardcore baseball fans labor over can ever possibly illustrate.
And the old dude? He was the best part. I kept thinking, this guy could be dying out there throwing all those pitches, but there's no way that he'll even consider relinquishing this opportunity to keep throwing perfect HR balls to his old friend, Josh Hamilton on baseball's greatest stage, Yankee's stadium, at the derby the night before the all star game, in the last year of the cathedral's playing existence. And he never did. Amazing.
So I guess given the captivating nature of Monday night, I also have to admit to being wrong about the entertainment value of the event in general. Oh, not really though. It still sucks. It sucked before, it sucked again as soon as Hamilton's incredible first round display was finished, it will suck again next year, and it will suck forever after. But Kyle Burkett is a Josh Hamilton fan. Write that down.
-I don't care to hear anything else about Brett Favre.
-The all star game was also a good time, but one has to feel bad for Dan Uggla. 3 errors, 3 strikeouts, and grounding in to a key double play with the potential winning run on third, what a traumatizing performance for the poor guy! I hope that someday he can win a World Series MVP or something to get this one wiped off the back of his baseball card. He is on the right team for that, the Marlins are the only team that ever seems to be able to roll with the American League on the grandest of stages (excepting that fluky Cardinals team that was, by the way, the worst team to ever win a World's Series). I do, of course, have some theories about all this AL domination and the Florida Marlins occasional outbursts but I think I'll save that for a later date.
I was really, really, really hoping to see Soria and when we did, I wasn't disappointed. His performance was no perfect script, but it was thoroughly enjoyable all the same. It also won't be long before I dedicate an entire post to that guy. Of course his best pitch of the night came against, naturally, Uggla. Bitter-sweet.
-Did you hear that Billy Packer retired from the Tourney this week? So long, fella. Billy has been over the years, for whatever reason, a strongly disliked figure in many circles. But doesn't it seem, and perhaps I'm wrong about this, that Kansas fans seemed to hate the man more than other fans did? Ironic then, if that's the case, that the last tournament game of Billy's broadcasting career will go down in history as being Mario's Miracle. To tell you the truth, I can't remember why I ever really started disliking the guy in the first place. I'm sure it had something to do with his general smugness or his mistaking his own opinions for absolute fact, but really, I can't cite any specific instances. And maybe that coupled with his voice, to me, becoming synonymous with my favorite event, is why in the end, the guy had actually started to grow on me.
-Finally, and currently most pressing on my mind, some of us lost a great friend this week. I for one will always remember the poker night declaration, "I got the deuces!" with the biggest of smiles. Scotty P, on behalf of all of us that knew you, you were one of a kind brother, and you are already greatly missed.