OBSERVATIONS: A third-place team is atop the world


UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after a fun-filled weekend of sports, except for us always downtrodden Cleveland Browns fanss.

—PHIL ‘ER UP: Let me get this right.

^A team that fired its manager, Joe Girardi, 51 games into the season, is going to the World Series.

^A team that won only 87 games and lost 75 is going to the World Series.

^A team that finished third in the National League East, 14 games out of first place, is going to the World Series.

Heck, when they fired Girardi, the team was only 12 1/2 games back. So under new manager Rob Thomson they actually lost 1 1/2 games in the standings.

But the Philadelphia (Going to the World Series) Phillies were 22-29 under Girardi and were 65-46 under Thomson.

It can be summed up in two words: ‘That’s baseball.’ And it is why we love it.

Philadelphia has the toughest fans in sports, but it was engrossing to watch them go berserk while the Phillies manhandled the San Diego Padres.

If an election were held today, Bryce Harper and/or Rhys Hoskins would be mayor of the City of Brotherly love and statues of them would replace William Penn’s atop City Hall.

On the day he fired Girardi, Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said, “It has been a frustrating season for us up until this point, as we feel that our club has not played up to its capabilities.”

The man spoke the truth and he should win baseball’s Executive of the Year Award. . .even if he can’t keep a job after running baseball operations for the Expos Marlins, Tigers, Red Sox and now the Phillies.

Dombrowski put together World Series champions with the Florida Marlins in 1997 and the Boston Red Sox in 2006. And he always left teams on his own accord.

Now he has a chance to win a third 
World Series trophy with a third different team.

—TEE-ING OFF: A friend sent me a photo of a tee-shirt that somebody came up with. It is red and in white letters on the front it says: Rebuilding Every Damn Season,

Notice the first letter of each word.

—LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: StatCast tracks every ball hit by every player over the course of the season. And it says that if Aaron Judge played his home games in Great American Ball Park he would have hit 70 home runs. On the other hand, if he played for the Detroit Tigers in cavernous Comerica Park he would have only hit 42.

—QUOTE: From an anonymous baseball sage: “When life throws you a curveball, hit it out of the ball park.” (And it is so much easier to do in Great American Small Park.)

—CODE RED: Of all the outstanding things the Ohio State offense has accomplished, there is one facet that is absolutely amazing.

The Buckeyes have ventured into the red zone 35 times and come away with points all 35 visits. Even more amazing is they’ve scored 31 touchdowns only kicked four field goals.

And how about the defense that forced six Iowa turnovers? The Iowa defense had not given up more than 10 points this year in any game except Michigan (27) until the Buckeyes dropped 54 on them.

—FOLLOWING UP: In our last episode I mentioned the unprecedented success of the Mount Union football team. Well, they lambasted Wilmington College Saturday, 63-3. The Purple Raiders have won 55 straight Ohio Athletic Conference games and are 167-1 since 2005.

I also mentioned the shock and awe I felt when I saw Tulane ranked in the Top 25. And the Green Wave (6-1) won again Saturday, 38-28 over Memphis.

And I was concerned when I saw that Syracuse led Clemson, 21-10, because I said the then-unbeaten Orange would get their come-uppance in Death Valley. Then Clemson scored 17 straight to win, 27-21.

—QUOTE: From cartoonist/amusement park mogul Walt Disney: “The difference between winning and losing often is not quitting.” (What was it we said as kids, ‘Quitters never win.’)

—UNBEATEN GET BEATEN: So what do the polls know? Las Vegas knows better. Unbeaten UCLA (9) was ranked higher than Oregon (10), but Las Vegas had the Duck quack attack favored by 4 1/2. Oregon 45, UCLA 30.

And unbeaten Ole Miss (7) was ranked higher than LSU (unranked), but Las Vegas installed LSU as 1 1/2-point favorite. LSU 45, Ole Miss 20.

—QUOTE: From former The Ohio State University president Gordon Gee: “What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football.” (Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer and Ryan Day did (and do) all the talking about Buckeye football. . .and in loud voices.)

—ROUGHING IT: The controversial roughing the passer incident don’t just raise their ugly whistles in the NFL. It happens, too, in the NCAA.

Syracuse was flagged for roughing the Clemson quarterback out of bounds on third-and-long. It gave Clemson a first down and the Tigers scored a touchdown.

Later in the game, same play. The Syracuse quarterback was wrestled to the ground out of bounds on third and long. No call. Syracuse had to punt and Clemson scored a touchdown.

That’s two touchdowns on a call and a no-all and Clemson won by a touchdown. No wonder the Tigers have won 37 straight home games.

—MANY EXTRA MINUTES: Rhode Island beat Monmouth Saturday, 48-46, in seven overtimes. That’s two overtimes short of the NCAA record — the nine overtimes it took Illinois to beat Penn State in 2021.

Talk about ridiculous. Isn’t it time for college football to adopt a rule similar to the NFL’s. . .a 10-minute overtime.

The college rule? For the first three overtimes, each team starts a series on the other team’s 25, trying to score a touchdown or field goal. After three overtimes, the ball is place on the 3-yard-line and the teams alternate trying to make two-point conversions.

That’s about as exciting as watching a McDonald’s employee put special sauce on a Big Mac.

ONE-WAY HANKIE DROP: While Texas was losing to Oklahoma State, 41-34, Texas was penalized 14 times. Oklahoma State was not penalized once. How does that happen?

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian wanted to ask the officials, “Can you guys only see burnt orange,” but he knew if he did they would drop a yellow hankie at his feet.

—SORE LOSER: I burned my orange Cleveland Browns hat Sunday afternoon. Like the team, it was defenseless. I would have burned it in a sack, but the Browns have suffered enough sacks this season.

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