Afternoon Baseball

Common-sense ruminations on baseball and culture.


I've loved the unity this Giants team has shown -- the offense and defense haven't sniped at each other as has been so common in the post-Parcells era (in other words, it wasn't just Michael Strahan or Tiki Barber to blame).
Eli Manning hasn't played like the 25th-ranked starting quarterback. Not only has he "managed" the game, he's outperformed the league's third- and fourth-best quarterbacks in Romo and Favre, who were actually ranked fifth and sixth.

Can they beat the Pats? Theoretically. They do match up well, nearly beat them once, and have a healthier defensive backfield. But let's be honest -- no one picking against the Patriots (not the spread, but the win/loss) has any rational reasoning involved. It's a hunch that their time is up, nothing more.
It's been one hell of a season for the Giants, one perhaps not fully appreciated. So, I'm just going to enjoy the game, be glad Jason Sehorn isn't around to let wide receivers run by him, and see what happens.

As for Spygate, the continuance? It's too early to tell. The conspiracy theorists wonder why Roger Goodell destroyed the tapes; maybe, they say, the Patriots have a treasure-trove of other tapes.
Just as likely, but less mentioned, I'd imagine, is that many other teams have such tapes, but the NFL has always turned a blind eye or dealt with it internally. Eric Mangini, et al, upset this arrangement.
Gregg Easterbrook, as usual, is way ahead of the curve. In September, he practically said Bill Belichick would be out of football by this time. He's more restrained now, correctly pointing out that we know nothing for sure. But, he lapses in a description of the Rams in the red zone during the Super Bowl in question:
"In that game, St. Louis was held to a field goal in the first half. The Rams kept getting bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming."

Sure, it's easy to write that now. But was anyone saying at the time, man, it's like New England knows what plays are coming? And not just in the colloquial sense of a team guessing right or having a great game plan, but actually meaning, wow, it looks like the Pats cheated, they're so on top of these plays.
Of course not.

The larger issue in my mind is the credibility of the witnesses we're seeing in sports. Maybe athletes/teams should fight for all these issues to be handled in courtrooms, not the sporting kangaroo courts. Because I've a feeling nearly all such cases would be tossed for lack of evidence. And the few that survive would do so, like, for instance, mob convictions, because the low-life scum who turned rat for the feds were backed up by real evidence (documents, signatures, recordings, etc.), not rumors, hearsay and ex-senators with direct conflicts of interest.

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