Speed up the game or pick up the pieces
Highlights of a huge sports weekend:
nÊWorld Series: It doesn't get much better than Anaheim's come-from-behind 6-5 win over San Francisco on Saturday's Game 6. It was a terrific game, entertaining enough that you almost didn't notice those constantly irritating ads on the backstop. Someone called Bernie Mac got his name on the screen more often than Barry Bonds.
A few more little observations from a very compelling Series:
First, the longer you play in baseball, the more chance there is that the breaks of the game will even out. In 1997, a right-handed pitcher from the Florida Marlins named Livan Hernandez became the World Series' Most Valuable Player. Sure, he won two games, but he had an earned run average over 5.00 and won his second game only because his team scored eight runs for him. My theory has always been that he was handed the award because he was a Cuban defector playing in a town where that meant so much. He didn't pitch too much worse this season, but was tagged with two losses.
Second, kids don't belong in major league dugouts at the age of 3. I don't care whose kids they are. It's a dugout, not a day-care center.
Third, one big reason television ratings are down is that TV ratings, on the whole, are down these days for everything. There are too many good things on too many different channels. The real problem isn't the time the games are played, either. It's the length of those games. And if baseball doesn't address that little thing, it's going to do more damage to the sport than drug scandals.
nÊCollege football: There probably have been worse quarters played by the home team in Autzen Stadium over the last, oh, decade or so Ñ but I can't remember when it happened. The Ducks' third period against USC was a total collapse.
Oregon couldn't move the ball and couldn't stop the Trojans from moving it. The cars were streaming out of the parking lot before the fourth quarter hit the halfway mark.
My question isn't how the team and its coaching staff will deal with the latest adversity. They'll do just fine. My real concern is the school's very spoiled fans. Most writers I know who cover the Pac-10 on a regular basis consider Oregon fans to be the most arrogant in the league. Write anything they perceive to be 'negative' about their team, and they pepper you with e-mails, phone calls and letters. Predict anything but perfection from them and you're accused of being their enemy. And I suspect it's an angry group of fans this week.
In Corvallis, meanwhile, the Beavers rescued what's left of their season by running the ball down California's throat and using their stifling defense to choke off the Bears' passing attack. That said, Oregon State probably is going to have to find some semblance of its lost passing attack if it's going to have a big finish.