Welcome to my Buffalo Bills, week 4 preview. I will briefly break down this so-called "trap game" against the Bengals, AND provide you with some great Buffalo Bills blog links (not just to everything on the Bills website that Chris Brown writes, or the TBN and WGR crapfest), but first, as the Big Lebowski quote that titles this post foreshadows, I have something to get off my chest. Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis Guaranteed a win over our beloved Buffalo Bills this week
. That's right, he thinks his criminally filled, 1 - 2 Bengals are going to be at .500 at the end of the day on Sunday. I'm not going to sit here and start preaching about how the Buffalo Bills are the best team in the NFL and that nobody can compete with them, but what I am going to do is tell Marvin Lewis to shut the fuck up. Guarantee a win in week 4 against a team clearly superior to you? Really? REALLY?
Andy Dalton and the new Bengals offense has looked fairly solid thus far, but to make a bold statement like that is just mind-numbingly stupid. I HATE when players and coaches guarantee victories. Why? Because everybody does it now. There is no longer any meaning or repercussions to making these absurd promises. Several years ago, the guarantee meant something. It rarely happened, and when it did, it was a player that, nine times out of ten, could back up the talk. Now, it seems like every week, some over-aged wide receiver, back-up linebacker, or Rex Ryan are guaranteeing victories and championships, because the media just ignores it the following week and there is no "real" accountability. So what if they are wrong? They just say "oh well" and move on to their next idiotic plea for attention. However, when they are correct in their guarantee, they look like a like a real team leader that motivated the team to victory. BULLSHIT. Shut the fuck up and do your job. If you win, congrats. If you lose, move on and work harder. Goodell needs to start suspending the douche-nozzles that make these "bold" predictions that don't come true. Otherwise, fat assholes like Rex Ryan will keep guaranteeing a Super Bowl win because his dumb ass bandwagoning fans will believe everything he says. These are your average fans that honestly know little to nothing about the actually franchise. So in closing to this part of the preview, could the Bengals beat the Bills this week? Absolutely. But, guaranteeing that it is definitely going to happen just shows how far Marvin Lewis has fallen. A once highly touted coach is hanging on for dear life, and pulling out every lame trick in the book to hold on to his shitty job.
Join me after the jump for the rest of the week 4 "preview".
In the Bizarro world of "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!". In one episode, for example, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling Bizarro bonds: "Guaranteed to lose money for you". Later, the mayor appoints Bizarro No. 1 to investigate a crime, "Because you are stupider than the entire Bizarro police force put together". This is intended and taken as a great compliment.
For those of you who are not gigantic nerds like all of the DGWU crew, the Bizarro world was created and continues to exist within DC comics. It was created in order to establish an odd unity of villains to battle Superman and countless other DC superheroes. Although the occasional story line would take a serious turn, it was usually used as comedic fodder in between battles with the likes of Lex Luthor and Brainiac. As the description reads, everything in Bizarro world is the opposite of Earth. Nothing makes sense.
Do you see where I am going with this??? Then click through and fall down this rabbit hole with me.
Fitz: "even keel," defined
I'll be the first to say that, in a sense, it is completely absurd to expect a Bills win this weekend. Not because the competition is great, but because demanding any more of this Buffalo Bills team seems greedy at this point. After the joy that they've given us these past three weeks, it is completely fair to give them a pass this week in the event that they play down to their opponent. After all, 3-1 is still good for tops in the AFC East, and still puts the Bills on track for a season that is more than most fans could have reasonably hoped.
That said, given the opponent, a loss this weekend is simply not a result I can accept. If we want this storyline of the Bills shaking off the reputation of league joke to continue, then the Bills need to get a win on Sunday against the Bengals - the team that is and has been the real, true joke of the NFL for the past decade, both on and off the field. Silver lining be damned - and after the last three weeks, there is enough silver lining to last a while - but a loss to the embarrassment that is the Cincinnati Bengals would be a significant regression for our boys in red, white and blue.
Best weekend ever? Best weekend EVER.
Putting aside the epic restructuring of time and space by our Buffalo Bills on Sunday -- sending us into an alternate universe of happiness and dreams fulfilled, never quite oblivious to just how wrong all of it is, but never, of course, wanting it to end -- I am back to bring you another installment of the DGWU Fantasy Football recap. Our league, Tri-State Plus, was back at it again, and the slate of games gave us a host of stories. Which is saying something, since this is a league of fake football being managed by drunken idiots. Do you care? Am I at all affected by your near-certain disinterest? Will the Apologist ever win? No, No, Probably Not But Hopefully.
This gravy train continues after the jump...
No they motherfucking did not. OH YES THEY DID. SHUT YOUR MOUTH.
Brian Moorman says "GET THE FUCK UP" Rian Lindell words were muffled by Moorman's crotch.
I'm trying to fight the urge to simply write "What now, bitches?" as my recap for this week. Goddammit I really want to.
"WHAT THE SHIT NOW!?!?! I AM A BESPECTACLED HILBILLY GENIUS!!!!"
No for serious though, what the shit happened this afternoon? Who are these crazy bastards wearing the coolest uniforms in the league and scoring points like it's a GD Madden game on easy!?!?!? IS CHAN RUNNING THE ONE BUTTON OFFENSE ON ROOKIE DIFFICULTY!?!?! WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS.
SEMI-COHERENT OBSERVATIONS FROM THE MATCH
- Same old same old reared her ugly head around 2 PM today, with the Bills down 14-0 and Brady marching again. Of course, Brady threw a perfect strike to his Yao Ming-sized Polish American Eagle (OLD FIRST WARD REFERENCE) Tight End. I can't figure out if Gronkowski's big day was because Belichick wants to stick it to us hard because he's a local boy/traitor (no) or he's an All-Pro Tight End who will terrorize us for years to come (yes).
- What is with the second half adjustments? I have a weird theory on this. I feel like the Bills come out with that old gray cloud of losing over their heads, what with a week of built up expectations, play tight, get weird, get blown out, then go back into the lockerroom and realize they are the "Why So Serious" Gang, make outlandishly awesome adjustments, and come out and play like Montana's 49ers. ANALYSIS. SPORTS. I AM GOOD AT THIS.
- God that crowd look fucking PUMPED today. So many awesome shots of overserved Buffalonians finally having their day (literally) in the sun. After the Food Truck disaster, Byron Brown branding himself into oblivion, and the realization that Winter is coming (WINTERFEEEEELLLLL), Buffalonians near and far needed the shit out of this. SIDENOTE: JAZZED IS NOT A WORD TO USE WHEN DESCRIBING AWESOMENITUDE, EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET I LIKE TO READ. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM USING THIS WORD, IT REMINDS ME OF THIS:
THINGS I ENJOYED DURING THE PROCEEDINGS:
- Hello, my name is Fred Jackson, and I am the best running back in the league. Fast Frederick ran circles around Belichick's porous defense, and it was fucking GREAT. That slant over the middle from Wizard Beard on the Mayo blitz at the end of the game was something we haven't seen out of a Bills QB/RB combo since Kelly/Thurmanator. BACK WHEN MEN WERE MEN AND ZUBAZ PANTS WERE CONSIDERED FORMAL WEAR THROUGHOUT WESTERN NEW YORK. Look it up, those of you born in the post Cold-War world.
Is that Tom Ford!?!? No, it's famed Bills LB Shane Conlan. ALSO A FASHION ICON SO I CAN SEE WHY YOU WERE MISTAKEN.
- Ryan FitzBeard has that intangible every fired coach and washed up ex player on TV gets aroused by when being paid to analyze games for more money than I'll ever make in a lifetime: short term memory. Guy throws two picks, gets down by 3 TDs to insert-team-x-with-supposed-awesome-D-here and just goes out and plays like it's a fucking toss around with the slow kids taking a tour of the practice facility. SERIOUSLY WHAT SHELL SHOCKED BILLS QB OF THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS WOULD THROW A SECOND HALF BOMB TO A WIDEOUT WHO DROPPED ELEVENTY BALLS IN THE FIRST HALF?!!? THE BEARD, THAT'S WHO. BECAUSE THE BEARD DOESN'T CARE. THE BEARD KNOWS THE LAW OF AVERAGES. BECAUSE THE BEARD WENT TO HAHV'D FAHCKIN YAHD.
"Hmmm. I feel like we need more beards, Chan."
- Bill Belichick is a fucking awesome coach. I hatelove him the most out of any football coach alive or dead. He has created a dynasty in New England by instilling a culture in a franchise that, excluding this decade, was as historically bad as the Bills. But what the hell was he doing at the end of the game? Originally I thought it was a brilliant mind game trying to delay the kick as much as possible, but then I realized he just lost organizational and schematic control towards the end. The burnt timeout? Ha! I can't believe it! We got the Hoodie to fuck up! Beauteous. (that word looks spelled wrong but it isn't. I lost a spelling bee final to a kid in 7th grade to that word and it still chaps my ass today. IT SHOULD BE BEAUTIOUS, WEBSTER. FUCK YOURSELF.)
- I love the George Wilson pick, because it was a total adjustment pick. Gronkowski was running the inside routes all day with tremendous success. Wilson realized Brady had only two guys he could trust with the game on the line, and he picked the right guy. By dragging on the route, he allowed his height to dictate the pick. Being a former wideout, it was like Brady teardropped the ball right into his hands. BEHIND THE BACK INTERCEPTIONS IN THE RED ZONE REQUIRE TECHNIQUE, POSITIONING, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF FOOTBALL. ALL THINGS DONTE WHITNER NEITHER HAS NOR CAN SPELL.
i sense a Gladwellian algorithm here: your wins/playmakers/big plays will rise in proportion to the amount of players who have outlandish facial hair on your team. MATH.
THINGS THAT DISPLEASED ME DURING THE MATCH:
- Not one thing. We have a scrappy but awesome team making big plays at a time when big plays are needed. They play an exciting brand of football which has breathed life back into the hearts of Buffalo sports fans. We are a fanbase of people whom, for better or worse, tie a large proportion of their emotional well being to the fate of their franchises, and when they win everyone feels good. When they beat the Patriots after the worst streak since "O for the 70s" it feels motherfucking Euphoric with a capital E. This makes us all feel awesome.
We're not there yet, but we're headed in the right direction.
AWESOME UPDATE REGARDING TOM THE CAT:
I'm pretty sure we found a home for Tom today. A girl who works with the Yachtswoman had a friend who was a big time animal lover (this is how these things usually go) and she graciously accepted Tom into her home on a trial basis. Before we got back to the house from walking Tom to the cab, she was texting us pictures of Tom exploring his newfound abode. FINGERS CROSSED THAT THIS WORKS OUT FOR THE LITTLE GUY, DEEGERS. Even though it is completely impossible to keep Tom, I will miss the little guy because he is an awesomely mellow cat who enjoys naps, food, and laying down...I TOO ENJOY FOOD, NAPS, AND LAYING DOWN..
Tom & The Yachtsman, friends in laziness.
I still don't know what the shit happened today with that football squad. I seriously feel like I'm walking on a dream. WHICH LEADS ME TO A GREAT SEGUE INTO A HIPSTER JAM THAT WILL MAKE YOU PUT ON YOUR SKINNY JEANS AND YOUR CHECKERED KEDS/VANS AND DANCE THE JIG I WAS DANCING IN MY BUFFAKLYN BACKYARD WITH APS AND BARRISTER TODAY. DANCE THE SHIT OUT AND BRING ON THE BENGALS.
CREEPY VIDEO/AWESOME SONG.
The Belichick children
I could sit here and tell you that my doubt of Fitzy’s consistency still lingers. I could tell you that our run defense still has MANY kinks to work out before we contend. And, I could shout at you that Leodis McKelvin is this team’s biggest liability and needs to stop being awful immediately. But you know what? That’s where it ends. This team has brought me more joy in the last two weeks than I can remember. I’m even counting that 5 – 1 start that Trent Edwards had a few years ago. This team showed HEART last week, and when it counted, they stepped up to get the big W….except Leodis, he still sucks balls.
The Buffalo Bills have already exceeded all of our expectations and it is only week 3. The Amish Rifle is THE MAN! Freddie Jackson leads the NFL in rushing. Stevie Johnson and David Nelson are stud wideouts. Hell, even Chris Kelsay is making plays and Scott Chandlaar is channeling everybody's fave ex-Bills Tight End. CAN'T NOBODY HOLD ME DOWN! BRING ON THE WEEK THREE OPPONENT!!! Who is it? Wait.....oh fuck.
DAMMIT! DAMMIT! DAMMIT! I despise Tawmmy Brady and Wes Welkaaaaaaaah so much I just punched myself in the face. Every time Brady drops back, I pray Bryan Scott takes one for the team and does a human missile right at his knee cap. Have you seen this 2011 Pats team play?
As the quote from Walter Sobchak says in the title, these Patriots believe in nothing. They do not believe in destiny. They do not believe in superstitions. They believe in nothing and will destroy all in their path, leaving scattered bodies in their wake and children in tears. This team is not God-like, and they are not the anti-christ. They are soul-less beings that are out to devour our expectations and piss on our graves. They look tremendously like the 2007 Pats Juggernaut of evil and destruction.
BUT....you know what? Nobody REALLY expects the Bills to win this game. Sure, d-bags on ESPN are comparing Fitz to Jim Kelly, and numerous Buffalo based blogs are saying this could be the end of the vomit-inducing 15 - 0 streak, but everybody else is snickering at the thought that Bills fans ACTUALLY think that this Buffalo Bills team can win. So I say fuck it. Let's see what Chan can do with all of his new weapons. Let's see Marcell "Biggie Smalls" Dareus and Shawn Merriman back up their talk and end the 15 - 0 streak. Let's see Action Jackson get 25 carries and run over a weaker than usual Pats D. Let us pray to all that is good, that these heartless monsters of fury are mesmerized by a glistening beard and an ILB that can actually cover Tight Ends. This team will not be afraid, so neither should we.
These are the 2011 Buffalo Bills. And in all honesty, nobody has any fucking clue what they may be capable of. Go Bills.
DISCLAIMER: I've lost this post once to the shitty inner workings of Weebly. Trust me the first one was so much better than this. Apologies.
Also, I am not a cat person. I have always been a card carrying dog person. I've always been a huge fan of animals, but the ones who give uninterrupted constant streams of outrageous affection are my hands down favorite. Hence, my relationship with my extremely excitable pit bull is one of the great man/dog friendships of all time (time in accordance with my understanding of it). So this story is extremely anomalous to me as a person...enjoy and then help me adopt this little guy to a good home when you're done reading:
Tom, the Cat.
A few days ago as I was walking home from work, a cat poked his head through the bushes and meowed at me. I stopped to give him a hi-five, then went along my way. After three steps I realized the poor guy was meowing for food, and seeing as how it was going to rain, my guilt wheels started to churn in overdrive. Five minutes later, I picked Tom up, meows of protest and all, and brought him back to our apartment. I built him a little hutch in our backyard to keep him from getting eaten by our Pit Bull and to protect him from the rain. I fell asleep and woke up the next morning to Tom in our bushes, bleary eyed and a little wet. Clearly the hutch was not his jam. The rain held off for the day, so I left Tom in our backyard with some food and water, and went to work. When I returned, he was patrolling the yard with diligence and looking a little less further from death's door than he had been the night before.
I took him to the vet after a night's rest, and the vet looked at him the same way I did when I first met him: this cat is toast. She gave me the option of running a littany of expensive tests or making him "comfortable". As I tend to do, I chose the more difficult route. Thankfully, the tests (worms/fleas/mites/Feline AIDS/Leukemia) all came back negative. The diagnosis was Tom was a former house cat (neutered but not catch & release tagged) who was abandoned and didn't know how to fend for himself on the street (hence the skin and bones appearance). Regular feeding and water would have him back to healthy weight (he's 8.9 lbs - 4-5 lbs. underweight). Fast forward to 10 cans of Organic Protein Health Newman's Own, a litter box, and a water dish....Tom the Cat was a temporary member of the Yacht Club.
Tom the Cat, perusing the merchandise.
For the past 2 days, Tom has been living in our bathroom. The door is secure and it properly sequesters Tom for when our dog Scout wants to frolic and try to hump anything that comes within a four foot radius of her. Unfortunately, since Tom is a cat, Scout desperately wants to eat Tom more than anything on the face of the earth. This does not make for an ideal situation in which to bring Tom back to optimum feline performance. Therefore, dear readers, we (the Yachtswoman, myself, and the rest of the crew here at DGWU) need your help. Tom needs a home!
Here's some vitall information about Tom: He's neutered. He loves to sleep and cuddle. He enjoys cat food, water, and digging holes in giant bags of dog food. He hasn't been grooming himself until just recently, so he's dirty (result of being malnourished). It will take him a few weeks before his weight will be up enough to take a bath. He enjoys the musical stylings of The Misfits, but is not too fond of anything else I played for him. Again, he loves to sleep. He does not have worms, fleas, mites, etc. He is FHIV/Leukemia free. He's middle aged, so he's much more cuddly than he is playful. He listens to commands, sort of. When he was digging into the food bag and I said "stop" he did. When he doesn't like something he meows loudly or hisses, but doesn't swipe. If he REALLY doesn't like something he'll thump his back paw....which is sort of hilarious (holy shit I'm starting to sound like a cat person). Conversely, he started purring for the first time today, which was great.
Bottom Line: Tom is a great guy. He's cuddlesome and is in some real need of TLC. We at the Yacht Club would take him in permanently, but since we adopted a tail wagging, pooping, peeing, humping, drooling, licking, 60 lb Pit a few years back, there's no way we can keep him. Sequestering two animals is no fun for us, and especially not for the animals. We are looking to get Tom a good home with lots of warmth, food, happiness, and enough soft cushiony space for him to curl up and go to sleep on.
What a guy!
If you're interested in Tom, or can help us get Tom a good home, please contact me via email
or via my Twitter account, @Y_voWe are willing to drive Tom to a reasonable location on the East Coast, and will provide a cage, the rest of our cat litter, several cans of super expensive cat food, debt, gratitude, and high praise to whomever takes him in and gives him a good home. I'll also provide you with his vet records and info as well. Please help this cuddlefucker get a good home to sleep in!
Here we go again.
It feels weird to even pay a shred of attention to the Buffalo Sabres - what with the apparent revival of football fever in Western New York - but I felt it necessary to weigh in on the topic of Buffalo professional ice hockey. The preseason has started and, even if it appears otherwise, the DGWU Crew has, in fact, noticed. And as happy as the Bills make me, we all know that it might be simply a matter of time before football stops being as much fun and our collective attention shifts to the bread and butter of the Buffalo sports scene.
What can I say, I still think these Bills are an 8-8 team, and these Sabres are much more. I hope.
If you've been paying attention to the summer goings-on of our Sabres, you know full well that there have been a LOT of changes. Blockbuster deals, at least by Buffalo standards; cosmetic refurbs of team facilities, including the de-slug-ifying of the newly named FN Center (a name which I HATE, btw...saved only by the easy joke it enables); an overhaul of team PR and use of media - both traditional, internet and social. There's been tons of new stuff for us to have discussed as the summer marched on. Though, as you may have noticed, while these things garnered attention throughout the Sabres blogosphere, we at DGWU have been largely silent on these subjects. Perhaps it's a cautious skepticism of the fancy bells and whistles that have come with a new billionaire owner; an uneasy feeling of hypocrisy that accompanies this new role as hockey club; or maybe just the discomfort with my hockey team being run with the profits of arguably horrific assaults on the environment. HYDROFRACKING IS AWFUL BUT MOST OF US ARE OK WITH PEGULA AND THIS IS WEIRD.
It's a confusing ass time, this is for sure.
Yet, as much as I may still battle with my own expectations for this season, preseason has shocked me back into focus to at least start hashing those expectations out here and weigh in with some potentially incoherent rambling. After the jump, check out the five questions kicking around in my muddled excuse for grey matter, and my baseless speculation on how things may end up playing out.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the New York Yankees. Deep down, in our heart of hearts, I think we all do. Whether you’re a true fan or an eternal enemy, part of you doesn’t totally commit one way or the other.
For people that hate the Yankees, part of you loves them (or at least loves hating them). You want to see them succeed, if only so that you can laugh at them when they fall from grace. Face it, if the Yankees weren’t any good, who would really care? It’s only when they’re making their 16th playoff trip in 17 years that we all have enough fuel to hate them properly. And the season is made better for everyone when the Yankees are there to be hated in all their successful glory.
And if they don’t succeed (a.k.a. anything less than a World Series trophy)? Well, then fans of the Yankees will turn their love to hate in a heartbeat. Their players & owners have built a level of expectation that’s only met by the most unrealistic of EPL clubs. Only in New York, it’s reasonable to expect it. When your team spends three-quarters of a billion dollars in a single off-season, you expect to see some return on that investment.
For me, my hatred of the Yankees only goes so deep. As an Oriole fan, obviously there are nights when I curse every last one of them (and you too, Jeffrey-fucking-Maier
). But as I’ve said before, I watch sports for entertainment and inspiration. And few teams have been more entertaining in my lifetime, for better or worse, than the New York Yankees.
Love them or hate them, there’s a certain level of respect you have to maintain for the Bronx Bombers. For the all-time greats who wore the uniform, their greatness didn’t appear out of thin air. They seized it. And one Yankee proved again this week why he's among them. I’m speaking, of course, about the man who passed Trevor Hoffman for the most games saved in a career with 602: Mariano Rivera.
There have been many up’s & down’s for baseball over the last decade. But one thing that has been as consistent as anything in the sport is this: If you’re the away team playing baseball in the Bronx and you hear “Enter Sandman” come over the loud speakers… you’re probably not winning today.
(Admit it. Even the most rabid Yankee-hater knows that Mo's entrance is one of the badass moments in baseball.)
For 16 years, the man known as the Hammer of God has been overpowering some of the best hitters in the game. Plenty of pitchers, from starters to relievers, have had careers build up and fall apart in the same time it’s taken him to amass one of the most consistent and historic careers in the sport’s long history.
While Mo got a few opportunities as a starter in ’95, his journey truly began in 1996, when the Yankees decided to make him their set-up man to then-closer, John Wetteland. With that combination in place, the Yankees were 70-3 when leading after 6 innings and Rivera finished 3rd in the Cy Young vote. (Oh, and Yankees won the World Series... and three of the next four... damnit.)
From that season on, he has been as dominant as any single player in sports. In over 1,200 innings, he’s only given up 65 home runs while striking out 1,108. In his 16-year career, he holds an ERA and WHIP (for my money, still the only pitching stats that matter … sorry sabermetricians) of 2.22 and 0.999. And when he enters the postseason, it doesn't get better. It gets absurd. In 139 innings of playoff baseball, Mo has a 0.71 ERA, a WHIP of 0.766, 109 strikeouts, and has given up only 2 (TWO!) home runs. This has all lead to a trophy case that holds 12 All-Star appearances, 5 World Series rings and a World Series MVP trophy.
And of course, he’s done all of this with just one pitch.
Think of the closers who have come and gone in the 16 years that Mo has been dominating with one cut-fastball. Just in the last few seasons, I can think of four off the top of my head that have risen quickly and flamed out just as fast. Jonathan Papelbon was supposed to be the next Mariano Rivera. Now he’s part of a bullpen that’s gagging away the Sawx’s postseason hopes. Joel Nathan has been dominant during the regular season for years, but injuries and lackluster postseason success leaves him well below Mo’s otherworldly level. Brian Wilson and Brad Lidge both had perfect postseasons in their respective World Series-winning years. And both men quickly wound up on the DL the following season.
Oh and did I mention during these last few seasons, Mo has been right there with all of them among the league-leaders in saves during the regular season? Did I also mention he’s 41-years-old? Imagine someone slightly younger than your father closing playoff games at Yankee Stadium. That’s Mariano Rivera.
Every year since 2004, the year ‘the curse’ was broken, sports writers have been leaping on any bad stretch in a season of Mo’s so they can be the first to declare his downfall. But since that year, in 30 postseason innings, he’s given up two earned runs. Two. Name another closer who can hang with that and I’ll buy you a house in the Bahamas.
Now I know what some of you are thinking. And yes, part of the reason Mariano has these unbelievable numbers is because he plays for the Yankees. No other closer in baseball has had as many opportunities as he has to reach these levels of greatness.
But the reason I find this argument to be a bit hollow is because it’s also an argument for calling him one of the greatest pitchers ever. Yankee Stadium, old and new, is a bandbox. Their fans are as callous and fickle as it gets. The pressure to win never leaves for one moment. The expectations are higher than for any other team in any other American sport. (I’ll give a slight nod to European soccer fans. Those dudes are crazy.) And Mariano has met and exceeded those expectations time after time after time. Yes, he has gotten many chances to be great because he plays for New York, but he has capitalized on those opportunities like no player before him.
Not to mention that a big part of the reason the Yankees have been so successful over the last 15 years is because they’ve had the Sandman. How much comfort has the team taken from knowing that Mariano is waiting in the bullpen? How many managers besides Torre & Girardi have had the luxury of knowing as long as they can hold a lead for 8 innings, the 9th one will probably be a matter of routine? And think for a moment about how much the Yankees have struggled to develop the rest of the bullpen. Of all the needs the team has had over the years (as much as a team that's missed the playoffs once in 17 years has needs), the one area GM Brian Cashman has struggled to maintain most is the relief corp in front of Rivera. To be fair, every team struggles in that department, but that’s exactly my point. Year after year, game after game, the only position the Yankees haven’t had to worry about in the last 15 seasons is the one many teams start from scratch on every year: their closer.
Look, I know plenty of people reading this are saying to themselves, “Dear Lord, Aps, stop jerking off Yankee fans and give me a reason to care.” And that’s fair. It’s hard for most Yankee-haters to allow themselves to root for or respect anyone in pinstripes. I don’t expect many of you to climb on board this Mariano love train. But I do believe greatness should be recognized and appreciated. A player of Mariano’s caliber doesn’t come along very often. And when they do, only those who are fooling themselves can believe that what they’re witnessing is anything less than incredible.
So if you must hate, go ahead and hate. But at the very least admit that seeing one man with one pitch playing for one team for sixteen seasons and amassing a career such as this is a special thing.
You don’t have to like it. But you’re only cheating yourself to ignore it.
Spolier: This week, the Scizz takes over the top spot
Boy does having a real job suck. I had actually drafted up this recap yesterday, as I fought my way back to health with the assistance of some Bloody Marys and herbal tea, but then lost said post in the ether of my shitty netbook which has been beleaguered by some sort of trojan horse or whatnot. Either that or I might just be an idiot.
I had actually twice tried to saddle this recap task on the Apologist, but the word on the street is that he is holed up writing an ode to Mariano Rivera. Leave it to Aps to write a slobjob piece about the team that has so thoroughly dominated his Orioles for MLB's entire modern era. Way to go, Apologist, you are an absolute inspiration.
Scizz and Yachter have both been MIA as well, what with real jobs and craft beer week in NYC, and while Scizz is going to hit you all with another "game preview that's not a game preview" on Friday, we all know how important our fantasy football standings are to our dear readers (read: not important at all). So click through beyond the jump if you actually give a shit. If you're lucky, we'll have some new, actual content up at some point soon - but not quite yet....