Friday, October 03, 2008

South Florida falls to Pitt.

Just as I wrote last week that I feared, my South Florida Bulls were eviscerated by the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Bulls, as I've written before, have enough Gator DNA that there always comes a time, fairly early in the season, when they succumb to cockiness and get blindsided by a team they're supposed to beat.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kaddish for the New York Sun.

As someone born on the leading edge of the baby boom, I've found myself having to say farewell to many of the people I admired in my childhood, youth, and even younger adulthood, of late. This year, to give several examples, I've mourned the passing of Bo Diddley, Erik Darling, John Stewart, Paul Newman, and my friend Cicely Nichols. Today, though, I'm grieving for a newspaper. The New York Sun existed for just over six years, and I've been a subscriber only for the last year and a half. The Sun was intended to fill a niche in New York journalism that has remained empty since the demise of the World Journal Tribune, that of an upscale, broadsheet "conservative" paper. I put "conservative" in quotation marks because, as I've written here before, in the footnote (below the addenda) to this post, it is a term that no longer has a clear meaning (as is also true of "liberal"). Indeed, the conservatism of the Sun was of a different cloth than that of the old WJT. Moreover, unlike the WJT and the Times, it made no pretense that its news articles were "objective", as opposed to its editorial and opinion columns. "Fair and balanced" it was not, nor did it aspire to be.

I disagreed, sometimes vehemently, with much of what I read in the Sun. Nevertheless, I was always happy to see it at my doorstep. (Was it just my imagination that the delivery person usually put it down to the right of my copy of the Times?) I liked to read it because it challenged my thinking on some issues, and inspired me to hone my arguments. I'll always be grateful to Amity Shlaes for adding Pigovian tax to my vocabulary, and in John McWhorter I found someone I could agree with more often than not, and who brought to issues like the "war on drugs" perspectives that were new to me. I'll also miss the trenchant baseball analysis of Tim Marchman, and coverage of the arts that was, in my view, second to none. Among the last, I was especially fond of the essays on art and architectural history by fellow Brooklynite Francis Morrone. I hope all of these writers quickly find other venues for their work, and thank Seth Lipsky and his team for a fine run.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mets: it's over.

Goodbye, Mets. Goodbye, Shea.

Memo to Jeff W., cc Omar M.: keep Jerry.

10/4 update: Jerry gets a two year contract.

Things are looking very bad for the Mets.

The bullpen has just give up back-to-back homers, putting the Marlins ahead 4-2 in the eighth. Meanwhile, the Brewers have just gone ahead of the Cubs 3-1, also in the eighth. There were four possible outcomes today: Mets win, Brewers lose, so Mets win wild card; Mets and Brewers both win, in which case they have a one-game playoff; Mets and Brewers both lose, ditto; Mets lose, Brewers win, so brewers get wild card and Mets are done. Three possibilities out of four have the Mets staying alive. Right now, the one possibility that kills them looks almost certain.

Update: Brewers win their game; Delgado just flied out with two on, two out, to end the eighth.

Second update: It's still 4-2, going to the bottom of the ninth. Wright is up, then Chavez, then Easley.

Third update: It's down to Easley.

Fourth update: Easley walks! It's up to Church.

Final update: Church flies out.

College football: it's crazy upset weekend.

Maybe I'm just imagining it: I haven't looked back at what happened in previous seasons, but I have this feeling that around the fifth week, sometime on the cusp of September/October, there's this weekend when lots of highly ranked teams get their comeuppance. Here's who got theirs this weekend:

Number one, USC, falling to unranked Oregon State 27-21 on Thursday night, as previously reported here.

Number three, Georgia, losing to number eight, Alabama, 41-30.

Number four, Florida, embarassed by unranked Ole Miss, 31-30. I kind of expected this after the Gators' romp over Tennessee last week. This seems to be the time every season at which their heads swell so much they can barely fit in their helmets.

Number nine, Wisconsin, edged by unranked Michigan, 27-25.

Number sixteen, Wake Forest, upended by unranked Navy, 24-16. Deacons coach Jim Grobe had the following enlightening observation about his team's loss: "I think the ability to not throw the football without turning the ball over was what hurt us today."

Number twenty, Clemson, bested by unranked Maryland, 20-17. The Terps established themselves as giant killers a couple of weeks ago by upsetting California.

Number 24, East Carolina, trounced by unranked Houston, 41-24. Pirates sunk twice in a row, so goodbye to top 25 and a Cinderella season.

Non-upset of the day: my South Florida Bulls crushed North Carolina State, 41-10. Perpetual fusspot that I am, I worry about Pitt next week.

9/29 update: AP and USA Today polls both have South Florida ranked tenth. All the more reason to worry about Pitt next Saturday. Then, again, they got all the way to number two last year before losing to Rutgers. Speaking of the Big East, Connecticut has just cracked the top 25, on the strength of victories over Hofstra, Temple, Virginia, Baylor, and Louisville.

Have I managed to get this far into the season without mentioning the Nittany Lions? They're 5-0 and ranked sixth. Hope I didn't curse them by mentioning this.