Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cue John Sterling: "You Just Can't Predict Baseball"

Let me get this straight: The Yankees swept the pesky Toronto Blue Jays, everybody's preseason pick to win the AL East, 4 straight... and then got pounded by the pathetic Houston Astros?

"You know, Mike, you just can't predict baseball."

Oh, put a sock in it, Sterling, you huckleberry.

Facing the only other MLB team he's ever played for, his "hometown team" -- he was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is Astro territory, and grew up in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, Texas -- Andy Pettitte had nothing last night.  Joe Girardi said it was the first time he'd ever seen Andy not have a good slider.  He allowed 3 runs in the 1st, 2 in the 4th, and 2 in the 5th before Adam Warren came in to relieve him and allowed 2 more.  Andy only walked 1 batter, but allowed 10 hits, including a home run, a triple and 4 doubles.  His record fell to 3-2.

In contrast, Lucas Harrell (also now 3-2) went into the 7th for the Astros, allowing just 1 run.  It came in the bottom of the 6th.  With 1 out, Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano singled, a wild pitch advanced Gardner to 3rd (but not Cano to 2nd), and Vernon Wells singled Gardner home.  But that was it: After Travis Hafner struck out, Brennan Boesch worked a walk to load the bases, but Jayson Nix grounded out.

In addition, the Yankees grounded into double plays in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th.  They stranded a runner on 1st in the 4th and the 5th, and on 1st and 2nd in the 8th.

Astros 9, Yankees 1.

This was the kind of game people were fearing when we went into the regular season with no Jeter, no A-Rod, no Teix, no Grandy, and no established catcher.

And yet, even with this, the Yankees are 15-10.

"You know, Mike... "

Not now, Sterling.

*

Days until Arsenal play another competitive match: 4, this Saturday, away to another London club, the already-relegated Queens Park Rangers, managed by former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.  He's got a twitch.  This past Sunday, Arsenal got screwed by the refs again, at home to the officials' favorite team, Manchester United, but still managed a 1-1 draw.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 4, this Saturday afternoon, away to the Columbus Crew.  The Red Bulls followed up their 3-2 home win over the New England Revolution with a stunning 2-1 win away to Toronto FC, with former Everton star Tim Cahill scoring both goals, including the winner in the 90th and final minute of normal time.  In their last home game, the Crew beat D.C. United, in a game delayed because their scoreboard caught fire.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby," against either the New England Revolution, the Philadelphia Union or D.C. United: 11, a week from this Saturday night, 11, away to New England.

Days until the U.S. National Soccer Team plays again: 29, on Wednesday, May 29, in a friendly against Belgium, featuring Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen.  Just 4 weeks.  That game will be played at FirstEnergy Stadium, formerly Cleveland Browns Stadium.  It, and the subsequent Sunday afternoon game against Germany at RFK Stadium in Washington, will be warmups for our next game in the last, "Hexagonal" round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, for the region that encompasses North America, Central America, and the Caribbean nations.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 31, on Friday, May 31, at home.   Just 1 month.  The first Yanks-Sox series of the year at Fenway Park won't begin until Friday, July 19.  Then another series begins at Fenway on Friday, August 16.  Then another in The Bronx on Thursday, September 5, and another at Fenway on Friday, September 13.  Oh yeah, if you're a Red Sox fan, that's a day you want to play the Yankees: Friday the 13th!

Days until the next North London Derby: Unknown, since next season's schedule won't be released until mid-June.  The season will most likely open on the 3rd Saturday in August, in this case August 17, but it's been a long time since Arsenal vs. Tottenham was an early game (possibly 1988-89).  But even if it is that early, that's 111 days.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 121, on Thursday night, August 29, away to Fresno State University in California.  A little under 4 months.  The first home game of the 2013 season will be on Saturday, September 7, vs. Norfolk State.  The schedule is now complete, with all opponents and locations set in this, Rutgers' last season in the Big East, before starting Big Ten play in 2014.  The only thing that hasn't been set is the kickoff times, with TV in mind.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 135, on September 12 -- on a Thursday due to Rosh Hoshanah, the Jewish New Year, falling on a weekend.  It's away to South Brunswick.  A little over 4 months.  It 
will be the first game they play without Marcus Borden as head coach since Thanksgiving Day 1982 (a loss to Colonia High of Woodbridge), as he has left the program.  (Did he jump, or was he pushed? I don't know.) A new coach has been named: Bob Molarz, who turned nearby Carteret High School, which couldn't buy a win while I was at EBHS, into a team that made the Playoffs 9 seasons in a row and won 3 Central Jersey Group II Championships.  He comes to us from the head job at one of our rivals, St. Joseph's of Metuchen, where he coached their first 2 seasons of varsity ball.  A great hire.

Days until the Devils play again: Unknown, as the 2013-14 NHL schedule has yet to be released.  Most likely, the new season will begin on the 1st Friday of October.  If so, and the Devils debut on opening night (rather than the next night, Saturday), that's 157 days.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: See the previous answer.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 212.  Under 8 months.

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 277 (February 2, 2014).  A little over 9 months.  Of course, we have no idea who the opposing teams will be.  The possibility exists that either the Giants or the Jets could be in it -- or both.  To this day, no team has ever played a Super Bowl in its own stadium -- in spite of multiple hostings by Miami, New Orleans and various California teams.  Only 2 have done so in their home metro area: The 1979-80 Los Angeles Rams, whose home field was then the L.A. Coliseum, and they lost to Pittsburgh at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena; and the 1984-85 San Francisco 49ers, whose home field, then as now, was Candlestick Park, and they beat Miami at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, which had a much larger capacity than Candlestick.

Days until the next Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia: 283 (February 7, 2014).

Days until the next World Cup, in Brazil: 408 (June 12, 2014).  Under 14 months.

Days until the next Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 1,193 (August 5, 2016).  Under 3 1/2 years.

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