Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ghosts of Craig Janney?

As I sit listening to the Dropkick Murphy’s Bruins-themed tune “Time To Go” blare over my speakers in my office, I am watching highlights from the 2008-09 Boston Bruins season on YouTube and fighting the urge to go grab a stick and skates and find a pickup game in Philly to dominate tonight. To put it mildly, I could not be more fired up or intense in regards to the impending game seven between the Bruins and the Whalers tonight. To steal a tagline from MLB, I live for this. Last night’s stinker between the Penguins and Capitals notwithstanding, game seven in hockey is still the best. My friend Sam has a friend who posted on his Facebook page that the baseball regular season is better than playoff hockey. Well, that guy is wrong (among other things). This is the ultimate do-or-die. For the Bruins, the best team in the Wales Conference in the regular season, what was a 3-1 deficit in the series is now a winner-take-all game. Better yet, that game is in your barn. We are looking at about 18,000 screaming Bostonians in the Garden tonight. Yes, the Whale’s fanbase in Hartford-South has been pretty good all series. Something tells me that they will get a lesson in how to back your boys tonight from the Gallery Gods. A few 32-ounce beers and a couple of hours of hockey fights at Halftime Pizza followed by Rene Rancourt’s belting out the anthem should do the trick. Throw in the fact that the Bruins have wasted no time in the two recent opening periods, and there is a chance the Whale may be slumping back south before the second TV timeout.

While thinking about tonight’s game, I harkened back to one of the most memorable nights of my youth. The night of May 14, 1988, the Bruins hosted New Jersey in game seven of the Wales Conference Finals. It was simple…win and you advance to the Stanley Cup Final. My mom was hosting a party for some work people at our house and I was not happy. Mind you, I was seven at the time, but this was the most important thing that had happened in my life. So, I did what any young future NHL player would do. I held a sit in at my television and made sure that no matter what chit-chat and whatnot was going on among the nurses, the husbands – and more importantly the biggest Bruins fan in Weymouth – could listen to the NESN telecast. I was rewarded for my faith and determination late in the third period when Craig Janney – my favorite player – intercepted a pass and went in on the goalie. He threw a quick deke, evaded a poke check and slid in the eventual game-winner. Immediately after the shot, his legs were taken out and he went flying through the air just like Bobby Orr did in the Cup final against Saint Louis. He came up, banged the glass and was swarmed by his teammates. Three goals later, the Black and Gold had a 6-2 win and a trip to the finals.

Here is hoping we get something similar tonight. Yes, the stakes aren’t as high as they were back in 1988, but a berth in the conference final hangs in the balance and that isn’t small potatoes. Again, I expect to not be able to hear the end of the anthem. I expect “Let’s Go Bruins!” to resonate all the way down on Cape Cod. The B’s have played 17 game sevens, with 13 of those deciding games skated on home ice. The Black and Gold have a 9-4 record in game sevens at home. The advantage of playing at home is so important in hockey – maybe moreso than any other sport. You know the faithful at the Garden are looking for win number 10, and with that the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in Bruins history.

Man, I wish I was there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Could Get Used To This...

Just a quick note on tonight's game seven between the Caps and Penguins at the Phone Booth in Washington, D.C. This is exactly what the NHL wanted when this series began. Yes, it would be about 20 times better if the game seven between the two best players in the NHL was in the conference finals, but you take what you can get. Ovechkin and Crosby have come as advertised this series. They have combined for 13 goals and 10 assists over the course of the series. Ovie has shown that he has a cannon of a shot and quicker hands than a three-card monte dealer in NYC with his wicked wristers coming into the slot. Corsby has shown he has some jam in his game, going into the danger areas and potting some garbage goals in the crease. It has been a joy to watch players like Fedotenko and Steckel step up and play important roles in the series. The only people I feel bad for are the goalies. No one is really rooting for them. But, Varlamov and Fleury have proved themselves worthy in the series, making game-saving stops to perserve leads and send games into overtime.

Speaking of sudden-death hockey, don't lie to me and say you don't want to see that tonight. Can you imagine this game trolling along into a second, third or heaven almighty, a fourth extra period. Anyone watching anything except that occurance can turn in their sportsfan card and go back to The Real Housewives of Orange, New Jersey or whatever else they watch.

The true best part of this game seven? It is only the first of three over the next two days. While this may be the main course, the Bruins-Whalers and Red Wings-Mighty Ducks series (teams are only referred to in The Sin Bin by their original name) both have game sevens on deck for Thursday. There is nothing in sports better than game seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Over the next 48 hours, we, the lucky sports geeks, get three of them. So do yourself and me a favor. Find Versus on your TV and lose the remote. If the economy rebounds or Brad and Angelina adopt a fifth chinese baby panda, you can find that out later. You will thank me later.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Scotty Suckerpunch Skates by Suspension

Is it a bad thing that the Bruins’ 4-0 trouncing of the ex-Whale left me wanting more? Not that four beautiful goals and 60-minutes of in-your-face checking wasn’t enough, it is just that as of right now, a serious injustice has been wrought on the Black and Gold.

Scott Walker, he of the gross sucker punch of Aaron Ward late in the game, will not be suspended for jumping the Bruins blue-liner with a right hand shot that probably broke a bone in Ward’s face. Reports late last night and throughout the day have indicated a broken orbital for the three-time cup winner. Whether or not that renders him out the all-important game six is not the question here. What is the heart of my rant is how NHL head of discipline Colin Campbell handled this situation.

The NHL rulebook states that any player who received an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of a game is AUTOMATICALLY suspended for the next game pending a review. Okay, I understand the need to check and see what events led to the skirmish that resulted in the extra two for instigating a fight late in the game. However, a quick look at the tape from the final minutes in the Garden will show that Walker crossed a line and pretty much stepped in where he didn’t belong, throwing a punch at a defenseless player and probably breaking a bone in his face.

However, it appears that the league missed most of that. Instead of sitting out game six (at least), Walker was fined $2,500. Countless hockey analysts with a great understanding of the sport than I predicted anywhere from 5-10 games as the length of suspension for the fourth-line winger who has a history of antics which cross the line of normal, grinding hockey. How can guys like Barry Melrose, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Eliot all be wrong?

It isn’t like the NHL is afraid to suspend players in the playoffs for egregious misconduct (I am looking at you NBA and Kobe…). In the first round, I can remember two players of the top of my head who were suspended for hits determined too violent by the league. Boston’s Milan Lucic sat out a game against Montreal for coming up too high with his stick. You think the fact that he was being charged at and he was reacting because he was target No. 1 of the Canadiens ire had anything to do with getting his stick up? So, apparently, if he just dropped his stick and gloves and tossed a right at Maxim Lapierre, he would have been fined a couple grand and welcomed back for the next game. How is what Lucic did worse than Walker’s roundhouse facebreaker? Yes Looch used his stick, but got Lapierre mostly with glove while Walker’s fist was dead on against a man who clearly wasn’t going to fight.

The other major suspension from the first round was levied to the Capitals’ Donald Brashear. The big enforcer was suspended six games for his actions in game six against the Rangers. First, he got a little feisty before the game and then, after he was knocked down by a Ranger with a clean but heavy hit, Brashear responded by searching out the closest player in a Ranger uni – in this case Blair Betts – and laid him out with an elbow while the forward wasn’t looking. Now, I appreciate what Brash brings to the table in a game, and actually enjoy a little gamesmanship while the teams are warming up. That being said, he is big enough to handle his business in the proper manner. No need to search out just any player and take him out. All Brash had to do was follow the time-honored hockey tradition of getting the player’s number and waiting for the right moment to pay him back with a big hit of his own. Even my Caps fan friends couldn’t argue with Brashear being suspended.

However, with Walker being slapped on the wrist guard by the League principal, I am opening the door for Caps fans to complain. Just as Betts wasn’t ready for the hit from Brashear, Ward was not interested in fighting Walker. Walker claims, “Based on what was said on the ice as I was dropping my gloves, it was my understanding that I was engaged in an altercation.”

Okay Scott, you were engaged in an altercation. Except it was between Ward and Matt Cullen. You came out of nowhere and inserted yourself into it. Why would Ward, in a 4-0 game, choose to take on two players at once?

Another beaut of a quote came from Whalers’ GM Jim Rutherford.

“After our team received several punches throughout the series leading up to Game 5, it was a matter of time before one was going to be thrown back.”

Okay Jim, I will play your game. Is this your first playoff series? Have you never even watched one on TV? Scrums in front of a net or in a corner are where a series gets its character. Sure, Zdeno Chara has thrown a few punches or facewashes after a whistle at your guys. But let’s not act like your players are holy rollers. And in game five alone, there were two fights – both involving Tim Conboy from your squad, who appears to e your only actual tough guy. Does that not count as throwing punches back? Or is it because it was against a willing, ready combatant that you weren’t satisfied?

Yet, this is not the first time a player has sought out a Bruin with a cheap shot. I submit a date almost 16 years earlier to the day – May 11, 1993 – when Ulf Samuelsson kneed Boston’s star player, Cam Neely in the Wales Conference Finals. Neely was never really the same and his career was cut short way too early because Ulfie couldn’t handle being taken to school by the burly right-winger and had to take the easy way out.

Not that Ward is suffering at the same level Cam did and, no offense to Wardo, but he isn’t as vital to Boston’s success as Cam was, but it isn’t right that a player can just take a situation into his own hands, do whatever he wants and act without proper penalty. Maybe Walker doesn’t deserve 10 games, but at least the suspension of one game that is MANDATED BY LEAGUE RULES should be upheld. If only for Walker’s own safety. You don’t think if the game gets out of hand one way or another on Tuesday that Ward, Chara, Lucic or Shawn Thornton won’t search Walker out for retribution? And, just a hunch here, but Walker will know it is coming and will have a chance to take it like a man or duck and turtle like countless cowards have before him – see Ulfie or Claude Lemieux. Hockey prides itself as a game of honor.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Misguided Manny Memories?

It has been six months since I last posted, and I apologize for that, but real life and work that I get paid for took priority. Alas, that experience may be coming to an end so I am going to make a go of this for a while and see where it takes me.

What really prompted me to write again was the whole Manny Ramirez situation. As I am sure you all know by now, Manny was suspended for 50 games yesterday by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a banned substance. It is being reported that the drug he tested positive for was chorionic goriadotropin, or hCG for short. This drug is used by two types of people it appears. The first is steroid users who are coming down from a cycle and want to restart the body’s normal testosterone production. The other is women who are having fertility problems. Yes, Manny has long hair and is sometimes moody, but that is where the similarities to the fairer sex end.

When I first was alerted to this news by my source (my buddy Sam who does nothing but watch ESPN and read the internet all day), I was shocked. Not so much that a big star was caught cheating, but more the fact that it was someone who I always thought was clean. And I don’t mean in the “Manny is too stupid to know how to properly use steroids” way that the Boston media always brought up when discussing Man-Ram’s chances of being a user. Instead, I was shocked because I watched him hit every day for almost 10 years. It is easy to look at guys like McGwire, Bonds and Sosa and see why they jump out as users – they were pretty much home run or nothing in the years they are suspected of being on the juice. Manny, however, seemed as content with slapping an opposite-field liner for a double as he was trotting around the bases after a towering homer. He had the average of a contact hitter with the power numbers of a big bopper. Throughout his time in Boston, he was often referred to as a “hitting savant” and that moniker really seemed to fit the bill.

The best example of this is from the trade deadline in 2005. Manny was rumored to want out of Boston (again) and this time it seemed like a deal may actually be imminent. He sat out the game on deadline day while a proposed three-way deal between the Sox, Rays and Mets unfolded. As the deadline passed, it became clear that Ramirez was staying put. He even appeared out of the clubhouse onto the bench late in the game. As fate would have it, he was needed to pinch hit late in the game. In the bottom of the eighth, with the score tied, Manny came to the plate with two on. Instead of swinging for the fences, he realized the situation and bounded a single back up the middle to score the eventual winning run. At the end of the play, there he was at first base smiling and pointing at everyone like nothing had been wrong over the past few weeks.

I always appreciated Manny’s ability to come up with the big hit in any way necessary rather than just swinging for the fences. He really is the best case of a guy who has tested positive or admitted he did steroids that didn’t have to do it.

In all my time watching Manny with the Red Sox, I never would get up and leave my seat or the couch when he was at bat. You never knew what was going to happen. He could hit a 500-foot home run, put a dent on the Monster, go inside out to right to advance a runner or even think a pitch nowhere near his head was a beanball and start a brawl that ends with Pedro Martinez dumping Don Zimmer on his ridiculously large head. Anything was in play. I have heard people talk about doing the same when Pedro was on the mound. Unfortunately, I never got to see Pedro live, but I can see the similarities. I watch sports to see the best in the world do their thing. I can go get a hot dog or visit the men’s room when some scrub pitcher for the Royals is facing Julio Lugo.

I guess the point of the rambling is that for the first time in the “Steroid Era”, I feel a bit cheated. Prior to Manny, no one who had much direct effect on my existence of a fan had been caught up. I never liked Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro and the other guys in the first wave. I was indifferent to A-Rod until he proved to be a no-show in the playoffs for the Yankees (well except for bitch-slapping Arroyo’s glove in game six) and now I just laugh at him. Clemens is a touchy subject because I adored him as a kid. I choose to remember his 20-strikeout games in a Sox uniform rather than what he did as a Blue Jay, Yankee or Astro. Actually, I understand why he may have done steroids. He was past his prime, wanted to prove he was still good and knew there was no way he would get caught. And then, once you start and have success…why stop? I don’t approve, I just understand.

But with Manny, he personally created so many of my favorite baseball memories that I hope aren’t tainted. The top of that list isn’t even the 2004 World Series. It happened three years later in 2007. I was at Game Two of the ALDS against the Angels with my brother. It was the bottom of the ninth and the Halos had K-Rod on the mound. With two on, Ramirez stepped to the plate. It was really late, like 1:30 in the morning and I had travelled all day from Philly to go to the game. Still, I was for lack of a better term, juiced. The whole park was. If ever there was a time for Manny to just drop a hitter’s single over the middle of the infield, this was it. We didn’t need the three-run bomb, we needed just one run.

Still, with 38,000 screaming his name in unison, Manny was Manny one more time. He turned on a Rodriguez pitch and sent the hardest hit ball I have ever seen into the Boston night. Thank god no one was in position to catch it. The ball would have went through them on its way to New Hampshire. I am fairly certain that the ball was still rising as it crossed over the monster. I was as speechless as a man who was jumping into his younger brother’s arms while singing “Dirty Water” could be.

Today, two years later, I am not sure how to feel about that night anymore. I wouldn’t trade the memories made with my brother for anything. And of course I am still psyched about a second World Series championship. The problem is, I was convinced that not only was the home run a “no-doubter” but so was the man who hit it.

Today, I can’t guarantee that anymore. Manny Ramirez is the highest profile MLB player to be suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. Whether he was knowingly cheating or hoping to get a little extra pop in his bedroom step with something his doctor shouldn’t have prescribed is irrelevant. He took the substance. And until he comes out and says how long he has been doing so, I am going to look back on October 5, 2007 with uncertainty. And that is too bad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I Like Sports - Rivalries

On the heels of last night’s fantastic game between the Patriots and the Jets and the equally entertaining hockey game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, today seems like a good time to take a look at rivalries in sports and how it impacts the game.

The best thing about a rivalry is the passion that it brings out of people. When your team is hosting its rival, the air just feels different before a game. The atmosphere in the building before the game is that much more amped up. You feel as if you are living and dying with every shot, hit, point or out. Bragging rights are at stake for the winner and the loser is left feeling as if they got kicked in the groin. There is nothing worse than losing to your rival. I sat in my basement in 2003 after Aaron F’n Boone hit a knuckleball into the Bronx night shocked and on the verge of tears. It wasn’t just that the Sox had come so close and yet were still so far away. It was seeing Marian Rivera bawling like a baby on the mound and Derek Jeter jumping up and down that made it all the much worse. I can honestly say that if it was Vlad Guerrero and the Los Angeles Anaheim Orange County Angels of California doing the celebrating I wouldn’t have hurt as much.

At the same time, a win over your hated rival is sweeter than a normal victory. I was excited on Wednesday when the Bruins beat Chicago. It was a nice win and two points are two points no matter who you beat. But, watching the Black and Gold destroy Les Habitants on Boston ice last night was much more rewarding. The B’s had lost 12 games in a row to the Canadiens. The Blue Blanc et Rouge had knocked out the Bruins in seven games in the first round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. Don’t get me started on the 2002 and 2004 playoff losses. So to watch my all-time favorite sports team come out and out-everything their rival and put and end to the misery was better than just about anything. The icing on the cake was Milan Lucic’s manhandling of Mike Komisarek in the third period. The emotion the young power forward in training showed on his way to the sin bin after a well-earned five minute fighting major is contagious. If you don’t think the team and the city will feed off that, then you don’t know your hockey or hockey fans.

Anyways, last night’s games got me thinking about my five favorite rivalries in sports. This is just one man’s list. I would be interested to see what other people think.

Boston Bruins/Montreal Canadiens, NHL – Like I said, this is my list. I am a hockey guy so this is number one. The fans hate each other. Ever since the Montreal fans booed the Star Spangled Banner before a playoff game in 2004, it has been amped to another level. Throw in the “Too Many Men on the Ice Game” in 1979 as well as Montreal’s 22 Stanley Cups and you have a ready-made rivalry. One of my favorite sports memories is when the Bruins beat Montreal, four games to one in the Adams Division final in 1988 to exorcise the demons.
Red Sox/Yankees, MLB – This one has been overcommercialized in the last five years, but it still packs a punch – sometimes literally. The number of brawls between these teams is incredible for baseball. From Varitek/A-Rod to Bill Lee and Lou Pinella in the seventies, these teams actually don’t like each other, nevermind the “Yankees Suck” and the now defunct “1918” chants. It would be nice to see then Bombers become relevant again and make this a rivalry once more.

Army/Navy, NCAA – I am not going to limit this one to just football, even though it is the one everyone knows. Anytime these two schools face-off, it is about much more than a game.This isn’t a rivalry based on hatred like a lot of sports rivalries, but it is just as intense. Watching the Cadets and Midshipmen march into the stadium, hearing the national anthem and watching two teams of actual soliders – sorry Kellen Winslow – battle is something I never miss. I am actually very upset that I have a chance to go this year and will miss it because I am in Las Vegas.
Phillies/Mets, MLB – I am new to this one, but man is it intense. I went to a Phillies/Mets game at Citizens Bank Park this year and actually was more fearful for my safety than I was at Yankees Stadium wearing a Nomar jersey. Philadelphia fans are some of the most insane people I know, and I mean that in a good way for the most part. And boy do they hate the Mets. Throw in two consecutive late-season collapses by the Mets that helped propel the Phills to two division titles and the 2008 World Series championship and you have a great rivalry. I can’t wait to see what it will be like the first time the Amazins come to the Bank in ’09. It’s a shame they won’t be there when the Phillies receive their rings in April.
Boston University/Boston College, NCAA Hockey – This isn’t a very sexy rivalry, but to any kid who grew up in Boston playing hockey, the Beanpot, Hockey East and the battle of Commonwealth Avenue between these two schools is as good as college hockey gets. I had season tickets to BU and those teams were my heroes. I hated BC – which is ironic since I went to B.C. High. Nevertheless, going to BU-BC games, especially at Walter Brown Arena at BU or at the Beanpot were events. From the BU students chanting “Beanpot U.” in regards to their run of titles at Boston’s annual battle of its four college teams to B.C.’s kids coming back with “Sucks to B.U.” the passion was undeniable. The number of future NHL players who played in those games is long – including Chris Drury, Joe Mullen, Bill Guerin, Mike Grier, Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, and many others. I got to see them before they were stars and when they absolutely wanted to destroy the team across the rink from them.

Bonus picks – Michigan/Ohio State, Jack Nicklaus/Arnold Palmer, Hulk Hogan/Iron Sheik, Amherst/Williams, Georgetown/Syracuse, Texas/Oklahoma, Detroit Red Wings/Colorado Avalanche, USA/Russia.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why I Don't Like Sports....Rainouts

Didn't think I would have to write a "Why I Don't Like Sports" blog so quickly, but after getting home from Game Five of the World Series without an actual winner, I figured it is worth it. Listen, I completely understand that it was pouring rain and that the game needed to be called. I am not upset with that. Just saying it sucked. The crowd was ready to celebrate and Mother Nature did not cooperate. Now the city has to wait one more day. Extremely tough call for Major League Baseball by the way. The weather is Philly is going to be terrible on Tuesday so we are looking at Wednesday maybe. Horrible timing on the rain here. Is it delaying the inevitable? It says here yes. I think if the Phills come out on Tuesday with a few runs and get to the bullpen, the series is over. Anyways, I am still pumped to see the end of Game Five, be it Tuesday or Wednesday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I Like Sports ... Tailgating

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the Eagles-Falcons game in Philly. The day was a perfect convergence of everything I like about tailgating. First, there was a little panic to start the day as my friend who brought the keg to the parking lot arrived to find out that the tap was broken. Unfortunately, my buddies around where I live were either still asleep at 9:45 a.m. or didn’t have a tap of their own that I could borrow, so things weren’t off to a great start. I had faith in my friend that he had reserves. And if that didn’t work, my roommate had two bottles of champagne and some O.J. for mimosas that I could steal.

When we arrived at the Linc, sure enough there were three cases of Lion’s Head in the truck to hold us over until the tap arrived. I know three cases as an appetizer sounds like a lot, but you have to understand my friends. First, one of the guys is a legit 6-10 and can more than handle his beer. Also, we had about 10 or so people coming by at different points throughout the day. And finally, the tailgate started at 9:30 a.m. and was going straight through the Phillies game that night. We were going to need that keg sooner or later.

Anyways, here are my top five favorite reasons why I like tailgating…

1 .Drinking in the morning. There isn’t much better in the world than cracking a beer before noon. My dad, brother, uncle and I go to NASCAR races from time to time, and the best part of the day, for me at least, is the three or so hours before the race that we have beers in the parking lot while watching the other fans with their flags and shirts and sometimes mullets. Whether it’s a football game, baseball game or car race, the event is just better if you are five or six or 13 bud lights deep before it starts. On a day like yesterday, where it was 65 degrees out and sunny, an ice cold beer tastes all that much better.

2. Greasy Food. Yesterday was a great combination of food. Since we started so early, breakfast was first on the agenda. We cooked up some bacon and a vat of eggs on the grill to start things off. Thrown in a little cheese and some hamburger buns, and bammo! you got a delicious bacon, egg and cheese to commence the feast. Other favorite foods at the tailgates my family throws are pulled pork and quite possibly the greatest combination of food stuffs I have ever seen – the Cheddarwurst. Whoever came up with the idea to stuff cheese inside a hot dog deserves a statue. Seriously, they kick ass. Ever since my dad introduced them to me, it is all I can do to not eat them every day. Then again, if I did that, I would look like John Kruk and no one wants that.

3. Games. These can range from drinking games to games of skill or somewhere in between. My favorite is cornhole. That is what we were playing yesterday. I was pretty horrible, but my teammate kicked ass for her first time playing. Ironically, I think she got better the more mimosas she drank. Other possible activities include washers and some new game where people throw golf balls on strings at some sort of contraption. I have no clue what it is called, but plenty of people were doing that yesterday. If games of skill aren’t your cup of tea, there are also drinking games that people enjoy. The number one is beirut or beer pong. Everyone loves beer pong. Yesterday, there were ping pong balls all over the place. Then there is flip cup. This is a game I am actually good at so I enjoy playing it. I would choose it over beer pong any time. Outside is tough though when you factor in the wind. If there was ever a game that should be played in a dome, it is flip cup.

4. People Watching. This may have been the best part of the Jimmy Buffet concert I went to this summer. The absolute mass of humanity that filled the parking lots around Citizen’s Bank Ballpark was something I had never seen before, and I have been to some pretty intense crowds at Notre Dame Stadium, Daytona International Raceway and other places. But the 60,000+ people who were there that day were having the time of their lives. Everyone was decked out in tropical clothing, wearing bathing suits, drinking Coronas and dancing along to whatever was on the iPod. The people in the space next to us filled the bed of their truck up with water, turning it into a makeshift pool for the afternoon. It was ridiculous. I loved every minute of it. NASCAR races are also great people watching. Watching people who have set up their RV for a week of hard living is always a good time. I am not making any judgments, but there are always some interesting fashion and style statements being made at those races. I have had my moments of glory too, so I am not complaining. I usually feature some stupid facial hair when I hit up the races, and my brother usually has the grosses goatee you have ever seen so we definitely fit in with the crowd. It’s just fun to watch 100,000 people get wasted and wear silly clothing. Doesn’t matter what game it is, as long as those two things are happening.

5. Post Game Debauchery. My final favorite thing about tailgating is the fact that you can do it after the game as well. In fact, sometimes you need to do it since there is so much traffic leaving the arena/stadium/track/whatever. Of course, there probably isn’t a need for your 18th beer or fifth hamburger of the day, but you have an hour or two to kill so what the heck, right? This is especially fun if your team wins. The crowd is happy and celebrating, high fives are being thrown around like dollars by Pacman Jones. On the flip side, there is nothing worse than a forced postgame tailgate when your team loses. Six years ago, my college buddies and I went to Notre Dame to see the Irish play BC. The game was great, BC upset then-No. 2 Notre Dame and I was happy because I got to cross off Notre Dame Stadium from my list of places to watch a game. The only problem was the whole student body fell into a depression since their national title hopes went down the drain. So there we were, four Georgetown students in South Bend looking to have some fun and get after it a little. The only problem was that no students wanted to party. The older fans, though, still had to wait out the traffic so they all stood around, helpless and lost. It was sad. But they had no choice. It was either that or sit in traffic for at least two hours. Anyways, the point is that postgame debauchery is better when your team wins. That was yesterday after the Eagles game. People were loving life, the Birds had just won a game they probably shouldn’t have and the Phillies were a few hours away from playing an important Game Four in the World Series. There was no reason why these fans shouldn’t have been as happy as they were. I was just glad to be a little part in Philly’s day of glory.

And I have my chance for another awesome tailgate today as I head over to Citizens Bank Park for Game Five of the World Series. This city is ready to explode and there is a good chance I may explode with it. I am not going to write much about the game since I don’t want to jinx it, but let’s just say I am pumped to be there tonight to hopefully watch history and I am very excited for my new friends from Philadelphia that have been waiting for a title for most of, if not all, of their lives. I have been lucky the past seven years and I am happy for these faithful and diehard fans that may have the chance to celebrate tonight or in the next few days.

Wish me luck and safety.