Thursday’s Balls: Base-, Basket- & Foot-

L’shana tovah!

That is the traditional, transliterated greeting for today, Rosh Hashonah, the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, the beginning of a new year.

Ten Days hence will be Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

It can’t come soon enough for the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox. Lots of guys on those nines have some serious atonin’ to do.

In a time frame of less than ten minutes last night, the record for September futility for a purported playoff-bound team was broken, then broken again.

One way of looking at it is that the Braves are the lucky ones. Six days into September, they were 8 1/2 games ahead of rival St. Louis for a spot in the post season. By losing to the Phillies last night in extra innings, they became the first team ever to blow an 8 game advantage in September.

Boston’s tale is more sordid, something conjured up by superfan Stephen King. On September 3, the BoSox had a nine-game advantage in the Wild Card chase. They lost 20 of 27 during the month. Last night, they held a 3-2 lead with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 9th. Then ace reliever Jonathan Papelbon gave up 3 hits, two runs and the Red Sox chances for a 2011 post season. While the Rays, with whom the Beantowners were tied, came back from that nine-game disadvantage, came back from an 0-7 defecit in the 8th, came back from a one run defecit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two strikes, and beat the Yankees in overtime to secure a future this season.

It is apropos that underachieving Carl Crawford, a former resident of Tampa Bay for heavens’ sake, was the last of the Red Sox to wear goat’s horns. Had he caught Robert Andino’s liner, Fenway wouldn’t be on suicide watch.

If you aren’t a Boston or Atlanta fan, last night’s games, covered pretty well by ESPN, were compelling TV. If you live or die with the Sox or Braves, try to remember this mantra: “It’s only a game.”

I personally would have loved to see Texas lose to the Angels. In that case, my Tigers would be opening the playoffs at home against the Rays, instead of their current fate: journeying to the House that Ruth Built.

But, hey, it’s the post season. You only play who(m) you play. Bring on the pin stripes.

* * * * *

There are any number of reasons why NBA basketball doesn’t appeal to me . . . at least until the playoffs.

Not the least of which is how some players are coddled by the league and league refs. That such is the case was “confirmed” by defrocked zebra Tim Donaghy, who spoke at last week’s scintillating Idea Festival. Donaghy’s talk centered on his gambling addiction and how it got him in trouble with the mob, then the league and FBI.

But he had no kind words for David Stern. And he indicated that grudge-carrying refs do change the outcome of games.

Well, Stern has thrown down the gauntlet, admonishing the NBA player’s union that this weekend’s labor talks better be fruitful or the season is more in peril than ever. (Keeping with our theme, know that the talks took a day off for observance of Rosh Hashonah.)

It’s reported that on Wednesday, Stern made a new offer on behalf of management that was somewhat softer than previous positions.

But, hey, I’m not getting into all that folderol.

And, though I don’t watch much regular season pro ball, I know there are a lot of fans that love it, and a lot of families throughout the NBA world that depend on it. So I hope they get matters resolved.

I wouldn’t be counting on it.

* * * * *

Speaking of negotiations, I can say for sure that Louisville is still a member of the Big East.

And for sure that, as of 4:30 this afternoon, the Big East still exists.

I’m not quite as sure that U of L AD has been lobbying Big 12 schools and officials relentlessly. Public proclamations notwithstanding I have to surmise Tom Jurich has tapped into his inner lobbyist..

Louisville would jump to that league with neutrino-like speed, were the opportunity to present itself.

As for on the field stuff, I guess we’ll be watching the South Florida/ Pitt game tonight, now that there are no meaningful baseball play in playoff games.

Go Bulls.

* * * * *

While I’m so very very very sure Rick Pitino could care less what I think, I’ve got one thing to offer U of L’s hoops mentor.

Stop pontificating and just coach.

– Seedy K

One Comment

  1. J J
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Stop pontificating and just coach.

    Agreed, give it a freakin’ rest already.

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