Someone needs to tell Joe Girardi that the Yankees are in the ALCS, not the finals of the Bergen County Little League Championship where every pitcher on the team gets to have a shot on the mound.
After a decent 6.1 innings from Andy Pettitte (who should have pitched around Guerrero to get a matchup with Rivera), the game was tied at 3. So Girardi did what any sensible manager would do – he threw in Joba Chamberlain, who hasn’t been consistently fearsome since the midges sucked out his life force in 2007. Since then, the Joba Rules have left him a skittish mess. Far too much of a mess, in fact, to be relied upon in a tie ball game with time running out. So when Joba was inevitably rocked by Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar, Girardi started up his Carousel of Foolish Gambles & Mismanagement:
Now, I don’t think Marte is reliable enough to sit in the bullpen, let alone see the actual mound, but when the manager puts him on the roster and then doesn’t trust him to get more than one out, that manager is a fool.
We can thank Angels stupidity for keeping this move from burning us into the ground.
Apparently, Kendrick (a righty) is 1/2 against Robertson (a righty) and has no history with Aceves (another righty), which means he won’t be able to bat against Aceves? Is this logic for real? It’s like replacing Matt Hasselbeck with Seneca Wallace with three seconds left because Wallace had no history with the Ravens and Hasselbeck went 1/2 in his last series against them. This goes beyond being cute or overthinking. This is absolute madness.
Where is Girardi’s feel for the game? Robertson shut down two hitters on 11 pitches and he was yanked because the Book of Statistical Secrets told Girardi that his time was up? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
A manager’s primary job is to get the most out of his players. 75% of the time, the level of talent on our roster means the hitting and fielding will take care of themselves, and we don’t have to worry about Girardi’s erratic, nonsensical gambles. But our bats have been largely silent of late and our runners aren’t coming home. If those factors don’t change, Girardi will mismanage us right out of the post-season by doing other crazy things like:
Now, I keep hearing that I’m overreacting; that I need to keep the faith and let it play out. Perhaps they’re right but I’m unsettled by what I’ve seen. CC’s pitching and a few clutch hits aside, have we really risen above mediocrity this post-season? Have we shown ourselves to be a truly superior team? Most of our jaw-dropping defensive plays have come on bonehead base running errors. Even our final game winning run on Saturday can be directly attributed to Maicer Izturis temporarily losing his mind.
The Angels have been playing like the Texas Rangers and we are barely up 2-1. How long do you think that good fortune is going to last?
I swung by CNN today because someone told me about an article on Sarah Palin uploading her resume to LinkedIn. I assumed it was created by her enemies because really? Once you become the most polarizing Vice Presidential candidate in the history of your country, there’s no reason to post your CV on the internet. What, like she’s gonna apply for a job? Will she provide references upon request? Pfft.
In any case, the sidebar of the post features a Twitter section that shows the most recent tweets from CNN and its personalities. At 2:00 AM BST, here are the top 3:
@KuhnCNN: RT @CNN: A MUST READ: We watch the Sunday shows so you don’t have to. John King’s Crib Sheet for October 18. http://bit.ly/2KNOGC
Updated: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 12:53:40 -0700
@cnnsotu: We watch the Sunday shows so you don’t have to. Read @JohnKingCNN’s Crib Sheet here: http://bit.ly/2KNOGC
Updated: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 12:52:00 -0700
@CNNPolitics: A MUST READ: We watch the Sunday shows so you don’t have to. John King’s Crib Sheet for October 18. http://bit.ly/2KNOGC
Updated: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 12:23:37 -0700
A must read crib sheet that covers "the Sunday shows so you don’t have to." What CNN and most of America fail to appreciate is that they not only should have to but they also need to. You can’t grasp the depth and breadth of what’s happening in DC and the international arena by reading John King’s two paragraphs on "the clear message from the White House" and bulleted quotes in the "Highlights of the Sound of Sunday" and "A Few Parting Notes and Sounds" sections. You’ll have an idea but you’ll never understand.
"But I don’t have time!"
Sure you do. We spend all day wrapped up in sports and entertainment news – reading articles, watching press conferences and interviews, taking polls, checking injury reports. We waste hours on message boards complaining that Charlie Weis can’t coach his way out of a paper bag (a fact that is not up for debate) and even more checking in on those douchebags on TLC with 8 kids. But we can’t find time to catch programs like Meet the Press or Face the Nation, which provide information straight from the nation’s leaders, while doing their best to peel away the spin and prefabricated bull.
Now, these shows don’t always accomplish the latter. In fact, they sometimes become podiums for the guest’s agenda, but at least viewers can develop informed opinions based on what they’ve actually heard instead of ignorant ones based on prepackaged soundbites delivered out of context. But I guess doing that would require actual effort and participation – a tall order for people who often seek to get by doing as little as possible.
"I want to lose weight but I don’t want to eat right or exercise." "I want to be a better athlete but I don’t want to train." "I want to get rich but I don’t want to save." "I want to keep up with world affairs but I’d rather watch Berman, TJ and Keyshawn jaw on NFL Countdown."
The United States has become a CliffsNotes nation that thrives on the half-ass shortcut. People don’t form opinions until someone does the legwork for them. What’s astonishing is that they then have the nerve to react and get all up in arms as if they have half a clue.
I started out this post planning to rail on CNN for exacerbating this problem for profit, but we’re the ones at fault because no one cares enough to do anything about it. But who knows, maybe CNN can create a slick method for caring on our behalf.
A MUST READ. We care so you don’t have to.
This morning, Mark Teixeira woke up in a city that never sleeps, and found he’s king of the hill, top of the heap. But you know what’s crazy about that? He wouldn’t have been in the position to be the hero with a screaming walk-off homer without the double clutch efforts of Alex Rodriguez. Yeah, that Alex Rodriguez. He of the .159 batting average and 1 RBI in October since game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees were down 1-0 with Derek Jeter on second. Any other October would have seen A-Rod pop out after an impatient at-bat that went something like this: *swing* dammit. *swing* dammit. *swing* almost! *swing* almost! *swing* FUCK! Why am I so awful? I gotta tighten up. No loosen up. No ti– hmm. I wonder if the guys like me. They like Jetes. Why don’t they look me in the eye? Deep breath. Don’t let them know you’re sad, Alex.
Instead, he ripped a single up the 3rd baseline to score Jeter and even the game. And then when we went down 3-1 after Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera were inexplicably clowned by a handful of backups, A-Rod came to the plate for a face-off with Twins reliever Joe Nathan. With a man on base, the stage was set for another classic post-season failure. But then Joe Nathan morphed into Brad Lidge, while A-Rod was chilin out, maxin and relaxin all cool at the plate. At 3-1, A-Rod came unhinged and blasted Nathan’s 94 mph fastball into the Yankees bullpen.
If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.
It’s as if the Yankees are in Bizarro World. White is black, up is down and Alex Rodriguez is showing up to do more than chew bubblegum and look frantic in October. Since returning from the DL in May, Rodriguez has partnered with Mark Teixeira to power the most feared hitting machine in the game. We went 51-17 after his return, and about half of his RBIs either tied games or allowed us to take the lead. All the same, I wasn’t about to lead myself on with false hopes about our post-season prospects.
For the last eight years, the Yankees have jerked us around – first with has-been mercenaries and then with the most spectacular headcase the game has ever seen. So what if we have the most complete team since the 1990s dynasty? In the post-season, the lads go as A-Rod goes. How we could possibly survive the ALDS and then topple those pesky Angels and all of their damned fundamentals to reach the World Series was beyond me.
But after Friday night, consider me officially lead on. The Yankees are in it to win it, and for the first time, so is Alex Rodriguez. Crazy, isn’t it?
G-d bless the internets; I just found one helluva deal!
Whether you’re an Obama supporter who dabbles in white sheets and/or good old fashioned Southern pride, or an ironic, attention-seeking, hipster doofus who hopes to upset those around you, this 3′ x 5′ vinyl beauty can be yours (wrinkles included) for just $12.95 (USD). Talk about a bargain! I mean, you’re getting a handsome set of Stars & Bars, AND an undeserving Nobel Peace Prize winner who didn’t have the minerals to decline even though he’s fighting two wars, is about to bomb the moon and excels in little more than oratory seduction and good intentions.
50% off the retail price is so cheap it’s almost offensive.
Now, I don’t know where you display this or even how you talk about it to others without putting yourself in danger. But I have a feeling that the only time and place you could get away with it would be in SEC country during Rivalry Week. When your neighbors question you, and they will, just shrug your shoulders and say, "Hey, we’re just a house divided." They’ll understand. It’s the South – a land where seemingly illogical and nonsensical juxtapositions require little to no explanation because people have grown accustomed to having neighbors like this:
You know, a lot of people have been talking mess about Jon Gruden for adding absolutely nothing but energetic inanities to the weekly Monday Night Football broadcasts.
Now maybe some people don’t like him because he reminds them of that evil high school boy who they secretly hoped would get the emotional shit kicked out of him by life after graduation. Or maybe its because he spews rubbish like this:
All are completely valid reasons to hate on the man (guess which one is mine), but I think it’s time we stop criticizing and give this championship coach the credit he’s due. You see, Jon Gruden just successfully called a 3.5 hour football game with Brett Favre’s cock lodged balls deep in his throat.
What, like you could do the same? Please.
But you know what? I bet tonight was a pretty cool experience for the old chap. Even though it goes without saying that Gruden always had a mouth like a Hoover, I bet he never imagined he’d reach the highest heights as the Champ Kind to Brett Favre’s Ron Burgundy when he was the Packers receiving coach in 1992 (did you know he had that job?). So let’s give a hip, hooray and huzzah to Jon Gruden. It’s time we tip our hats to him for a job well done.
After giving Gruden the Maypole dance of a lifetime, Favre got the rest of ESPN drunk, made sweet love to them under the Minnesota stars and then cooked pancakes and sausages for them this morning.
What really scares me now is the possibility that the Vikings could somehow end up in the Super Bowl. Normally, I’d take solace in the fact that after week 12, Favre starts shitting the bed, but now he has Adrian Peterson and the Jared Allen defense. Who’s going to stop them? And more importantly, who is going to stop the media from shoving it down our throats? ESPN has monopolized sports broadcasting and the rest of the media takes its cues from the Worldwide Leader’s example.
We’re in serious trouble.
Today, the IOC did the unthinkable by telling Oprah, Team Obama and the USOC to go eff themselves right out of the gate. Even Tokyo got to pass "Go" and collect $200, while Chicago and its sad 18 votes had to pack up and go home.
Perhaps members believed they were voting for the country that they DIDN’T want to host the games. Or maybe it’s all a conspiracy to get the previously discussed O-lympics off the ground and the IOC members are in on it.
In any case, after putting their collective foot in America’s ass, the IOC did something even more insane. They granted the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to a city renowned for being a debauched, delicious cocktail of samba, sun and sex*.
What the hell were they thinking?
*Rio is famous for murders too but murders aren’t sexy. Besides, throwing that in there jacked with the alliteration, and I know those subtle touches are why you read this blog.
So the Obamas are in Copenhagen trying to convince the IOC to award the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago. It’s logical to think that Chicago is a lock because what member of the international community can resist Barak Obama’s charms? Over here, he’s like the Second Coming with a splash of Bono, so the mere thought of being massaged by his seductive baritone should make even the most mercurial characters of the IOC weak in the knees.
But like men who blurt out "I love you" during sex and don’t mean it, the IOC will declare their love for Chicago when Obama delivers a moving speech about the spark, energy and verve of that toddlin’ town only to reverse course once they come out of that post-Oh haze. By dinner time, Chicago will be back where it started – scrambling against the intoxicating flora and fauna of Rio, the sentimental favorite in Madrid and the awesomeness of their bribes.
See, IOC members base their votes not on the quality of the host location but on the quality of its corruption, and even though no town does corruption like Chicago, Rio and Madrid have been leaning on the IOC since the late 1990s. So even though Chicago will generate more revenue and guarantee more profitable television contracts, the Second City is far from having this in the bag. That’s why the delegation brought along its ace in the hole – not Barak Obama or even Michael Jordan, who would just sabotage the effort by talking about how the IOC wronged him, but Oprah Winfrey.
If my twenty-odd years on this earth have taught me anything, it is this: you don’t fuck with The O. Should the IOC rule against Chicago, Oprah will direct her self-actualized, co-dependent army to boycott the 2012 London games. They won’t attend and they won’t watch. Christ, some may not even participate. NBC, Coca-Cola and McDonalds won’t have the minerals to fight her stand, and by the time the 2016 Games roll around (assuming O hasn’t already bought it and shut it down), it will be banished to the Versus Network, where it will compete for airtime against Slam Ball, IndyCar and the World Combat League.
In its place will be the O-lympics, a new brand of games put on by Harpo Productions. It’ll be just like the old games but Oprah-fied to be bigger, better, faster, more. Mary Carillo will do features on athletes who live their best lives, while Gayle King takes over Bob Costas’ chair at the update desk. Baseball and softball will return, and women who don’t know what to watch when gymnastics, swimming and track aren’t on will be aided by The O List – a ranking of useless, bullshit pursuits like the biathlon, dressage and power walking that she deems worth the watch.
Oprah is a post-modern priestess who controls the hearts and minds of 89% of the world’s women between the ages of 18 – 75. Her show is seen in 140 countries, and through that medium, she legislates what they eat, drink, read and wear. In Saudi Arabia, she’s revered as some sort of mystical goddess, and if she could wrangle the affections of the non-sensitive male, I’d swear she was the Antichrist.
Her poor choices in literature ensure that even the most undeserving authors can land on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Her recommendation can turn a barely-getting-by niche operation into a multi-million dollar global behemoth. She got a man elected President* and had the power to shut down Michigan Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the world, so the horrifyingly awful Black Eyed Peas could perform in front of a flash mob.
Her mere mention of free gifts causes women to spontaneously combust, screaming and crying and praising Jesus. They find out they’re getting a Josh Groban cd and a pair of cashmere mittens and react like they just found out their vaginas are made out of diamonds.
I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Oprah was responsible for Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. When Pontius Pilate asked, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" Oprah whipped up the crowd for Barabbas and fled the scene, cleverly disguised as a Hebrew mother of twelve.
In short, when Oprah says jump, you don’t ask how high. You fucking jump and sweat the details when you come back down. What Americans know and members of the IOC had better understand is that this is Oprah’s world. The rest of us are just squirrels trying to get a nut, and if the IOC knows what’s best for them, Chicago will be awarded the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
* Oh so vital edit
Rabid Crazies picture courtesy: The Huffington Post
So the man most likely to take over Warren Buffet’s title as Smartest Investor in the Universe is John Paulson, a hedge fund titan who made about $6B shorting mortgage backed securities in 2007 and banks in 2008. Paulson is now betting on financial recovery and has reversed his stance on banks, most notably snapping up a 2% stake in the much-maligned Citigroup.
Now, Citi’s shares have more than quadrupled since March, so it stands to reason that Mr. Paulson might be on to something. But it’s possible that Warren G, last seen in 1994 regulating bustas with Nate Dogg and laying dames at the eastside motel, knows a little more.
His newest album, The G Files, drops on Tuesday and features a track called "Swagger Rich." Since I live in the world, I know that swagger is all about attitude; confidence. It’s having a certain air about oneself that causes people to turn their heads and marvel. But some grade A cockhat at Vanity Fair was so vexed by the meaning of the title that he rang up Warren for an interview. You see, we’re in a recession, and if Warren is talking about swaggering rich, then he "has yet to realize that his bank account is empty or he’s a financial wizard the likes of which hip-hop has never seen before."
From Madoff to AIG, it doesn’t seem like there’s anybody we can trust. In this financial climate, does it make more sense to invest in Citigroup or the Crips?
Oh, hell no! Invest in the Crips? That’s crazy, man!
So you think the Bloods are a better investment?
Neither one of them! You don’t wanna get involved in any of that!
(Ed. note: this interview must be over the phone. Surely, Warren would have slapped this clown by now.)
You’re not seriously suggesting buying Citigroup stock, are you?
None of that shit, man. I think this recession was all caused by these humongous corporations. Those motherfuckers got money. Even with the recession, those motherfuckers got money. But everybody use the recession as an excuse. Everybody in the music industry, they be like, “We can’t pay you. It’s the recession, it’s the recession.” Recession my ass, motherfuckers. People got to get paid for what they’re worth. You know what I’m saying? You making a hundred thousand on a show and you only be giving me some crumbs. That shit gonna run out.
Where is the Wall Street Journal to snap him up for a column? What was that, Peggy Noonan? Warren doesn’t have the expertise to speak for the Journal? Step aside, honey. Your shit is played and tired. We’re ready for a man who will punch us in the mouth with real knowledge and opinion. See Peggy, Warren is no geek from the street. He’s from the G-Funk era, which, as you may or may not recall, was funked out with a gangsta twist. Financial bustas came at him with gats drawn. They took his rings; they took his Rolex. They did what they could to take Warren’s wealth. But when Nate Dogg rolled up with 16 in the clip and one in the hole, he and Warren G made those bodies turn cold. And that type of funk is just what the Journal needs. In fact, it’s what the United States of America needs!
It’s time for President Obama to nominate Warren G as the Czar of Financial Regulators. We could even bring in Nate Dogg to sing Cliff’s Notes of his speeches.
So my fella and I were laying around yesterday when the subject of porn came up. It was my doing, really, as I was telling him about this lech I once worked with who spent more time cranking off in his office than actually working. When Phil resigned, IT discovered that his browsing history was full of nothing but XTube, PornHub, cam girls and email. A well-rounded chap.
After the mockery, the conversation took its course and the boy shared that he watches porn when I’m not around and his imagination isn’t enough. “That doesn’t bother you does it?” Why would it? He’s a dude and dudes watch porn. They’re visual creatures who like to get off, and as long as his liking to get off doesn’t turn into some crazy addiction where he’s more interested in porn than me, I don’t care. Maybe next time, we’ll even watch together.
Well according to Revolutionary Man, a site that helps male personal and spiritual development, I need to care because it’s likely that my man has a serious problem, and, sadly, so do the rest of you.
Even though every second sees 28,258 people surf porn (72% of whom are men), you all deny it and even go to extreme measures to cover your scandalous tracks. Why? Well, you’re repressed and confused by “oversexualized imagery and messages” from society. This sad state of affairs creates stress at home because it means you might have to admit to a partner that you don’t “know how to manage the sexual life forces raging through [your] body.”
Perhaps I’m acquainted with the wrong type of men, but I was pretty sure that about 98% of you were little more than raging sexual life forces. That you get through the day with only a few physical manifestations of that fact is a testament to your managerial skills.
Men get mixed messages about sex, and with all the conflicting information, and nowhere to go to sort it out, it can end up coming out sideways in the form of strip clubs, constantly objectifying women, porn use, hookers and much more.
Repression + confusion = porn, hookers, strippers, late nights, blow. Porn is the ultimate gateway drug. Remember that.
Surfing porn is a symptom of some underlying discomfort a man is experiencing… surfing porn becomes a way to ‘get rid of’ the discomfort. It is very much like a quick high, a jolt of energy that feels great for a microsecond during orgasm… But much like getting high or even taking a nap, reality has a way of creeping back in and, almost without fail, seconds after ejaculation shame and guilt set in as a guy attempts to hide his tracks and close his computer’s browser.
Of course the guy closes his browser. It’s not like cuddling after sex. There’s no reason to linger. There’s no semi-delirious, romantic afterglow where he reminisces about his 7 minutes with images and videos of big jugged broads with spunk dripping down their faces. When the brain finally clears out the inevitable clouds and fog that come along with masturbation, you close the browser and find something else to do – take a nap, watch sports, mow the lawn, hit the store.
But if, after this period, a man is mindful of deleting the evidence, then it’s probably for the best. Maybe he lives with an insecure pit viper who will give him hell him for it. Maybe he shares the computer and doesn’t want roommates knowing that he’s into pregnant trannies and black guys. Or maybe he’s doing this at work and doesn’t want evidence on his computer. People cover their tracks so they can cover their asses, not because they’re wracked with guilt and shame.
Even I watch porn every now and again, and while there’s no shame in my game, I will admit to one porn-related fear: that I’ll die in the middle of it and porn will be all over my screen. It’s the same reason it took me ages to get a vibrator. I’ll tap out and the first responders will clown my dead, half naked body because my heart couldn’t handle the combination of thug love videos and my OhMiBod. Who wants to go out like that?
But not wanting to die with porn on blast doesn’t mean I scramble to erase the traces when I’m done. In fact, I have favorites bookmarked because I don’t want to waste time looking for something new. For me, porn is like fast food. Could I really treat myself? Yeah. But I’m hungry and I want to eat NOW. So I hit the drive up, order a combo and in 6 minutes or less, I’m good to go. Thank you. Come again. Sure, it’s not good to be eating like that all the time, but it’s efficient and effective.
However, now that I’ve admitted to being a sucker for voyeurism, I’m in the same boat with the rest of you sex maniacs. Luckily, Revolutionary Man gives us self-help steps:
1) Tell someone.
This is a hotly debated subject with men who are willing to have this conversation. One option is to come out of the closet with your porn behavior. You kept it a secret for a reason, now break the ice by telling a close, trusting male friend that won’t judge you… Next, determine how your partner might react to your porn use if you told her/him. For some folks, it helps, others it hurts.
The first step is admitting you have a problem, but unlike other shameful afflictions, you’d be just as well off telling a random man on the street than any of your boys because 99 times out of 100, he’ll identify with you. In fact, he may even have a free password you can use.
2) Start paying attention to when you surf
If porn is a symptom of being “off” in your life, the “off” feeling is what you need to address. If you surf porn occasionally, start taking note of when these times occur. Did you just get in a fight with your wife recently? Do you have a lot of free time and this helps you pass the time? Why is it so hard to just be with yourself? What is going on in your life right now that feels so off? What time of day do you surf?
The “off feeling” is your body telling you that it’s done messing around and it wants the sweet release of an orgasm. It’s not that deep.
“Say Flash, if you wouldn’t mind swinging by Wahoo’s for fish tacos – like right now – I’d appreciate it. I’m starving.”
“No problem, Buddha, that sounds tasty. I’m happy to oblige!”
Surely you’re having a similar conversation with your cock and balls from time to time.
3) Porn fast.
No more porn. Commit to no porn for at least 3 months and then observe yourself and your behavior. Of course, if you’ve never done any self-inquiry, this is going to be challenging for you. What you may find is by removing porn from the equation, you start to notice that you used porn to deal with some discomfort in your life. What do you replace it with? How do you cope?
Everyone needs a little visual entertainment every now and again (some of us more than others). As long as you do porn and don’t let porn do you, there should be no guilt or shame attached. The only people who should feel ashamed are the saps over at Revolutionary Man, who get two enthusiastic thumbs down for trying to pawn this garbage talk onto unsuspecting, impressionable, repressed blokes. If they’re on your site trying to find their way, the last thing they need is your fearmongering rubbish about porn being crack in disguise.
Boo, Revolutionary Man. Boo and hiss.
Before Monday, more than 18 months had passed since I last wasted an emotion on the Oakland Raiders. I used to have this butterflies-in-the-stomach, sweaty-palmed, rapid heartbeat giddiness at the start of every season because the Silver & Black were gonna rule the world – or, at the very least – kick it in the ass.
But the perennial Commitment to Impotence and Mediocrity eventually sucked out my passion and turned me into the bitter half of one of those couples who had been together for 20 years, gotten comfortable and fallen out of love. Sure, I still told the Raiders I loved them, pecked them on the cheek when I left for work and even gave it up in the sack every Sunday night because that was our "routine." But that heat? That fire? That adrenaline rush I’d get every time I saw them? That was long gone. After a while I started ogling other teams; entertaining thoughts of illicit affairs; closing my eyes during our Sunday interludes and fantasizing I was with the Packers or the Giants.
But even though I was jilted and lonely, I never had the stones to leave them or even cheat, so I settled in on Monday night for a new season of doormat football. I was going to watch a quarter and go to bed because how long can it really last when you’ve got Tom Cable, a quarterback who looks like he ate Aaron Brooks, two rookie wide receivers and a defense led by a guy who got Shanghaied out of Foxboro?
But when we came out of the gate, we weren’t just aggressive, we were nasty. A punishing rushing attack was followed up with a bust-you-in-the-mouth defense. Bodies flew around the field. First round busts emerged from the ether. The Stay-Puft quarterback blew people up on blocks. We were switched on; energized. It felt like vintage Raider football but with young players who had no idea what that was all about. For once, the Silver & Black looked like a legit NFL team instead of the deformed hobgoblin that hides in the damp, dark recesses of Roger Goodell’s soul. And even though Jamarcus Russell couldn’t hit the ocean from the beach, we looked so decent and the Chargers so bad that I started to wonder if NFL Films had replaced the game with a flashback video from the 1990s the way ABC had with the Florida State/Miami tilt a couple weeks back.
That hesitant wonder turned to unabashed, obnoxious glee. And when we went up 20-17 with a little more than two minutes to play on a 4th and 14 miracle bomb from Russell to rookie Louis Murphy, I called my friend Maine, fellow Raider fan and malcontent:
"Do you believe what we’re seeing? Could it happen?"
"Don’t talk to me. You’ll jinx it. I’ll call you back."
I should have known better than to call him with that much time on the clock. Philip Rivers could still hit LT for the touchdown with 7 seconds left to play and deep down, I knew it was the most likely outcome. But I was so wrapped up in that moment that I didn’t care. Christ, I couldn’t care. All of those old emotions came flooding back and for the first time since 2002, I really believed. I was giddy with it, anxious with it. I was living with every Richard Seymour tackle and dying with every inaccurate Jamarcus pass, all the while knowing and believing that the Raiders weren’t going to merely pull off an upset, they were going to turn the league on its ear.
But then came Philip Rivers, Darren Sproles and a defensive regression to 2004. I didn’t have Sproles programmed into my doom and gloom scenario but I didn’t count on our defense bitching out and getting soft either. Rivers went 7/7 and moved the ball up the field with ease before Sproles took the draw and strolled into the endzone to give the Chargers the 24-20 win.
I was gutted. I still am. It’s been a long time since Oakland has made me feel so low but there’s no one to blame but myself. They were able to rip out my still-beating heart, shit on it and set it aflame because I was weak enough to believe again. It was like being a Bills fan for a day.
I remarked to a friend yesterday morning that the worst thing about football season these days isn’t knowing that we’re going to lose but knowing that there’s no hope. He said, "Welcome to my time in the Rich Kotite era." We had a good laugh over it but after last night, I realized that those hopeless days in Oakland might just be gone. I also realized that the spineless part of me wants them back.