Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Problem With The Giants

The short answer: The Giants have been sucking at every aspect of the game recently.

The longer answer: The Giants have been sucking at every aspect of the game recently. Most inexplicable is their defensive pass rush. They have proven pass rushers and, for some reason, have been incapable all season of actually pressuring the opposing quarterback. I really have no explanation for why Justin Tuck, Osi Unmenyiora, Matthias Kiwanuka, Black Fred, et al have been unable to put on any sort of pass rush. The rest of their defense is terrible at the moment. They're down to like their 5th string cornerback and 4th string inside linebackers. I understand why the secondary is not playing well, but I don't understand why the defensive line can't do them any favors. It's possible you could make an argument about since the secondary sucks so bad that other offenses can afford to keep more gies back in pass protection, but you couldn't do that on every play, nor does that really even make a lot of sense in terms of offensive scheming.

More explicable is their offense. It seems pretty clear to me at this juncture that the reason their offense has been so bad is because of the offensive line. Yes, it's true that the offensive line has been their cornerstone for the last 4 seasons, but I think it's precisely that reason that the line is falling apart now. They have played essentially every game in the last 4 seasons together. In that time, Kareem McKenzie has missed one game (this season, not coincidentally) and Diehl, O'Hara, Seubert, and Snee have missed none. The gies' reputation is that they pound the crap out of defenses and open up holes for the running game. They know where they're all going to be on pass protection and are therefore better at it than other teams. This is all well and good while they're all healthy, but that doesn't seem to be the case. There's a reason why every other offensive line in the league has been less durable and I think the wear and tear is finally catching up with them.

Brandon Jacobs is not doing anything differently, there just aren't any holes opened up. The Giants young, unproven receiving corps is has not really let them down this year. Rather, Eli has been pressured to the extent that he hasn't had time to throw to them. As much as the O-line has meant to this team, perhaps it's time to think about rejuvenating it heading into next season. O'Hara is in his 10th season, McKenzie and Seubert are both in their 9th, and Diehl and Snee are in their 7th and 6th, respectively. McKenzie in particular seems to be breaking down this season.

The Giants definitely are capable of making the playoffs this year, but they're gonna need to turn it around quickly. They have to without a doubt beat the Eagles in 2 weeks. They would be well served to beat the Cowboys next week, though it's not a 100% must win, it would be much better if they did. Assuming they beat the Iggles, they'd have to win at least 2 of their last 3 against Washington, Carolina, and a nothing to play for Minnesota. They're basically in a 3 way race with the Iggles and Packers for the 2 wild card spots right now, but at the moment they're on the outside looking in.

This is basically unrelated to their struggles, but I also just want to point out that I hate watching the G-Men come to the line with 20 seconds on the play clock and then watching Eli point out the mike, say "Omaha" 4 times, turn around and talk with the backs, send someone in motion, snap the ball with 1 second left on the play clock, and then just run off tackle. I understand that this is a fairly complicated game, much more so than all other professional sports, and that coordinating the movements of 22 people on the field is a big job. But seriously, isn't the run off tackle the simplest possible play you could be running? Block the hole open with the O-line, send a lead blocker in there, and hand the ball off. What's the deal with the rest of this?

Also unrelated to their struggles, and actually this point is helping them forward. I like how Eli is recognized now as the leader of the team. That was definitely not the case in the Tiki, Shockey years, and even through their Super Bowl run there were lingering questions. All of this lends to my thesis, "Fuck you, Tiki Barber, you prima donna, non-interview skill having, mid-season retiring, spotlight stealing hoe."

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Audacity of Hope

Last year I wanted to make sure that I saw the new CitiField and also the Mets were a team that was going to contend for the NL East championship and play meaningful games throughout the season. So I figured that it wouldn't be a huge deal to buy a 15 game package to see the Mets. Having said that (do you...respect wood?) last year at CitiField was an unmitigated disaster. The first few games were interesting checking out the stadium and watching the full team on the field. Circa June it just became a chore to head out to the stadium and find someone to go with me.

There are a few exceptions. The Kath and I took our son to his first game and he had a good time and talked about it for months afterwards. There was also a rain delayed game I went to with Side Bar that was one of the more fun and interesting baseball game experiences. There was something about the atmosphere in the 25% full stadium that just struck me that night.

Anyhow, I decided long ago that there was no way I would be renewing my seat package. Back in Shea Stadium they used to have 6 packs of games, which was just about the perfect amount of games. Now, there was one year when I went with my buddy, the Commodore, to 25 games. We went to every Tuesday and Friday game and, I must say, it was a lot of fun. But the Commodore has moved out to an entirely new continent and the Mets were actually good that year (until September). I was expecting an overture from the Mets to renew my seats, but what I got was quite unexpected. They sent me a letter, the upcoming season's schedule, and an invoice for upwards of $750. I was assured in the letter that my invoice was for less than I paid last year, which frankly just served to remind me how much I blew on those tickets last year with not much to show for it. Add to that the fact that the ticket package they were trying to sell me was for 15 games where there was one Philly game, one Yankee game, 11 incredibly mediocre games, and where the first and last games were both against the Nationals.

So let me understand, Mets. You guys suck. There's no real conceivable way you are going to be any better this year barring the unlikely incapacitation of both Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel that miraculously ends in October of next year. You lowered your prices by roughly 1%, since I paid basically the same for those tickets last year. And then you have the audacity to send me an invoice rather than a letter begging me to renew my seats. And on top of all that the ticket package you're trying to sell me literally sucks balls (yes, literally).

Look, I like the Mets. I will root for them to improve and watch all their games on TV and probably go to a few this season. But I am not, as the gies who call up WFAN are so proud to exclaim, a die hard Mets fan. I am a die easy Mets fan. And I will not be buying a ticket package from you gies this year.

(Somewhat relatedly, I have discovered that I am, in fact, a die hard Knicks fan. It's basically inexplicable, but I still watch all of their games. I kindof expect them to compete even in games where they are clearly overmatched. It's not really something I set out to be, it's just something I am.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Joys of Marriage.

My wife and I were in Chicago for the first time a couple weekends ago for my cousin's wedding. We stayed at this hotel right on the Chicago River in the most recognizable part of the city. We were literally across the river from the Wrigley Building. Like I say, I'd never been to Chicago, but I recognized this part of the city.

Anyhow, we're walking down the street on the way to the rehearsal dinner / bowling party and she says, "I just feel like singing the Perfect Strangers song while we walk down the street." And I'm like, "Good call, but I can't remember it." And she's like, "You know, 'Standing tall, on the wings of my dreams...' and stuff." And then I was all, "Yeah, but I can't remember how it starts." And then there was a pause for like 2 or 3 seconds and she goes, "Sometimes the world is perfect, nothing to rearrange..."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I married her.

On a related note, yesterday I linked to a funny blog through Open Bar's gmail status update where the theme is a top 11 list of things. One of the lists I happened to read was, "11 Mediocre TV Shows With Awesome Theme Songs", which is what made me think of this post. This is a pretty funny blog. The entry about Perfect Strangers is spot on. I know I watched that show every week, but I can't remember a single specific episode. All I remember about that show is that Balki is from a country called Mipos (sp?) and that he and Larry were long lost cousins and that from time to time they would do the "dance of joy".

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fourth and Doh!

I am not as smart as Steven Levitt, but I definitely didn't think Belichick should be ridiculed as much as he was for going for it on fourth down last night. As it turns out, not only should he not be criticized that much for it, he might have made the statistically better decision.

So chill out, Boston. Your coach made a defensible call and the team couldn't execute (or, it seems, play defense in the second half). Want to blame someone? Blame Peyton Manning who torched your secondary all night long.

And props to Joe Montana. Why? Because, apparently, during the week leading up to the game, all 20 living hall of fame quarterbacks were asked who they would rather have - Manning or Brady. Manning won a decisive vote - 13.5- 2.5 (four abstentions). But Montana was the only one to split the vote, saying he would take Brady in the first half, Manning in the second half. As it turned out, that was precisely the right pick last night.

Also, the Giants suck.

An (Un)Interesting Revelation

A thought crystallized in my mind yesterday. I've actually been ruminating on this for a while, but now I'm confident in this conclusion. I'm pretty sure, almost certain in fact, that my single favorite song ever is "Linger" by the Cranberries. I guess this isn't that exciting for anyone, but it's interesting that I feel like I've always known that I loved this song, but I just kindof decided yesterday that I loved this one more than all the others. Except it wasn't a decision, it was just a realization. It was like in those romantic comedies where there's 90 minutes of contrivances and then in the end they realize that they've loved each other all along.

I guess it's not something that's super important to realistically define your favorite songs or movies or books or anything, but for some reason it's important to us as people to have firm decisions on at least a top 5 or something. Vis-a-vis songwise I always sortof hovered around a few favorites, including "#41" by the Dave Matthews Band, "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police, and the aforementioned "Linger". There are obviously other songs that I love, but these three hover above the rest for me. Well, these along with Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, but I can't really say that's my favorite because you can't sing along. Incidentally, that Police song is just amazing. It was written in 1978, but it never goes out of style. It doesn't fit into any kind of mold. If it was released today it would be a hit. Anyway, this ceases to be interesting to anyone but me.

Please to enjoy:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Can You Help A Brotha Out?

I need your help everybody. This has been driving me crazy for months now.

Listen to this song by Phoenix, who you may remember from Awesome Music Week, for the song "Lost and Found". Right at the 1:20 mark there is sortof a downward chord progression that I'm like 99% sure is from a Simon and Garfunkel song, but for the life of me I can't figure out which song. What song is this from?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Is There Anyone Who Doesn't Love This Movie?

Ok, just an extraordinarily unscientific poll. Is there anyone who was born between the years of 1976 and 1984 who does not love The Neverending Story? First of all, how many times have you watched this movie on channel 11 on a Sunday afternoon growing up? I've seen it, not hyperbole, at least 20 times. I have the DVD and every couple years I throw that bad boy in and I still love it just as much. I mean, like, I really just love this movie. And not only that, but I don't know of anyone who doesn't love it. So, if you're out there, and you don't love it, then make yourself known. I am of the opinion that you, much like Snuffleupagus, do not actually exist (yeah, I know that he actually does exist now for everyone and not just Big Bird. When did Sesame Street get so pussified, anyway?).

Now, Bastian was definitely a little bit (a lot) of a pansy, and there was a whole lot of unnecessary melodrama surrounding his sitting up in an attic reading a book, but that just adds to the childlike nature of the story, in my opinion. It's easy to watch it now and turn it into a drinking game or something where every time Bastian acts like a little bitch, you drink. Actually, shit, Open Bar, Side Bar, get the whiskey ready, we're doing that shit soon. Invite everybody. But you can also do the same thing with the original Star Wars (But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.)

Personally, my favorite part is when Atreyu gets knocked out but Falcor flies him to to Southern Oracle and that little dude and his wife are running around and he's talking about his "scientific spesh-ee-ality" and he gets up in that little basket contraption.

Bonus points if you can tell me the name of Bastian's mother (without Googling it). I'll even put the scene up here for you.

I've similarly never met anyone who doesn't like The Princess Bride, although it's conceivable that The Princess Bride is the best movie ever, so it's not really even worth discussing. (I didn't care for the Godfather. It insists upon itself. I liked The Money Pit.) I have, amazingly, met a few people who don't like The Goonies. This is somewhat astonishing to me, but I am willing to concede that The Goonies is probably not as good as the other two aforementioned movies.