Andrey Arshavin, the Little Russian Beast
Well, last night was not a good night for me. Although the atmosphere at Jay Doyle Field for East Brunswick High School's season-opening football game was immense, the kids in the "Bear Den" cheering section making like an "end" at an English football game more than they ever had before -- and with me yelling at the Monroe side, in the same vein, "Small school in Jamesburg, you're just a small school in Jamesburg" (Hey, it was funny, and, until Monroe Township got its own post office a few years back, it was sort of true) -- the game was awful.
Monroe didn't win it so much as EB lost it, 27-18. An awful performance by an inexperienced side, although not a completely hopeless performance, and I hope they learn from it.
Then the Yankees went out and got only 3 hits off the Whatever They're Calling Themselves This Season Angels of Anaheim in the first of a 3-game series out on the West Coast. One was Jesus Montero's 3rd home run of the season (and of his career). The others were singles by Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano.
Bartolo Colon pitched very well, 7 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 1 walk. But this game showed just how stupid people are when they say that pitching (or defense) wins games (or championships): You can't win if you don't score.
And Jered Weaver, brother of Jeff F. (and you know what the F stands for), pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball. The Yankees couldn't hit him.
And the Angels won it in the 9th, 2-1. WP: Jordan Walden (5-3). LP: Aaron Laffey (2-2), who really should not be on the Yankees' postseason roster.
The series continues tonight, at 9:00 our time. CC Sabathia against Dan Haren.
Fortunately, the Boston Red Sox lost again, so the Magic Number dropped anyway.
Jeter hits 3070 DONE
Rivera saves 598 4
A-Rod homers 628 135
A-Rod hits 2769 231
Magic Number 17 (to eliminate Scum for Division, 12 to eliminate Rays for Playoffs, 3 for Jays, O's done)
This morning (this afternoon, London time), the new-look Arsenal debuted against Swansea City, newly-promoted to the Premier League from last season, the first time a Welsh club has been in the English 1st division under any name since Swansea themselves did it in 1982-83. (Their arch-rivals Cardiff City, so close to gaining promotion the last few years, but haven't been in the top flight since the 1961-62 season, 40 years ago.)
Despite the comparative weakness of the Swansea side, and despite the infusion of Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen in his native Germany, Mikel Arteta from Everton, and Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea (there were other new signings, but they didn't get into today's game), Arsenal did not play especially well.
They won 1-0, and the one goal came on one hell of a fluke: Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm tried to roll the ball to defender Angel Rangel shortly before the half, but Rangel wasn't paying attention, and the ball bounced off him, right to the Little Russian Beast, Andrey Arshavin, who took what amounted to an engraved invitation to shoot at an open net, and put it in.
Begging the pun, "Vorm is temporary, class is permanent."
Not the most amazing "One-Nil to The Arsenal" ever, but after such a horrible start to the season, the Gunners and their fans, the Gooners, will gladly take it. Arsenal thus move from 17th to 11th in the Premier League.
Just 4 League games have been played. There are 34 to go. As Susan Sarandon would say, if she'd grown up outside London instead of outside New York (Edison, New Jersey), "It's a long season, and you've got to trust it."
And then there's Rutgers. Coming off a demolition of North Carolina Central in the opening game, they went down to Chapel Hill to face THE North Carolina. In basketball, it would have been ugly. In football, it wasn't much better, on either side.
Rutgers closed to 24-22 with 10 minutes remaining, and quarterback Chas Dodd wasn't pathetic, throwing for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions, but got sacked in his final drive, and RU went out on downs with 3:25 to play. Despite having had the edge in time of possession, RU was held to 244 yards total offense.
Coming close to beating an Atlantic Coast Conference team on the road is not a horrible loss. But it's still a loss, and there is still no indication that the Scarlet Knights are anywhere near being a quality team.
Not a good weekend for me, sports-wise, thus far.
On the other hand, at least we don't seem to have a hurricane in the New York Tri-State Area this weekend.
Hours until the Red Bulls play again: 3, tonight, at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Days until Arsenal play again in a competitive match: 3, this Tuesday, in the UEFA (Europe) Champions League, at Borussia Dortmund, the defending Champions of Germany's Bundesliga.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 6, this coming Friday night, at Edison (alma mater of the aforementioned Susan Sarandon, Class of 1964).
Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series (after this one) begins: 13, on Friday night, September 23, at Yankee Stadium II. Under 2 weeks.
Days until Rutgers plays football again: 14, 2 weeks from today, home to Ohio University. Thank God it's not Ohio State. Even in their probation-weakened, scandalized state, I wouldn't want the Scarlet Knights to have to play the Buckeyes of THE... Ohio State University!
Days until the next North London Derby: 21, on Saturday, October 1, at White Hart Lane. Just 3 weeks.
Days until the Devils play another local rival: 28, on Saturday, October 8, at 7:00 PM, in their season opener, at home, against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Prudential Center. Just 4 weeks. The first game against the New York Islanders is a day-after-Thanksgiving matinee, Friday, November 25, at the Nassau Coliseum. The first game against The Scum isn't until Tuesday night, December 20, at the Prudential.
Days until the Red Bulls play another "derby": 40, against the Philadelphia Union, in their regular season finale, on Thursday night, October 20, at Red Bull Arena.
Days until the Rutgers-Army football game at Yankee Stadium: 63. Just 9 weeks.
Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 75. Under 11 weeks.
Days until the last Nets game in New Jersey: 221, on Wednesday night, April 18, 2012, against the Chicago Bulls, at the Prudential Center. A little over 7 months before New Jersey no longer has an NBA team.
Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 321 (July 27). Under 11 months.
Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 668 (estimated -- adjusted for his current injury). Under 2 years.
Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 799 (estimated).
Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 876 (tentatively scheduled for February 2, 2014, although it could end up being moved back a week or 2).
Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,410 (estimated).
Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,524 (estimated).