Upset

The Rays season came to an end yesterday. They finished 77-85, their worst year with the “Rays” nickname that they’ve had since 2008.

Their finale with Cleveland’s Indians ended so quickly that I caught the tail end of the Bucs-Steelers game. The Bucs were embarrassed 56-14 at the hands of Atlanta a week ago Thursday night, and no one expected them to win in the ‘Burgh.

But lest we forget that the NFL often stands for No Freaking Logic, so naturally the Bucs put up an inspired effort and hung tough against the heavily favored Steelers.

Sure enough, they get the ball in Steeler territory to initiate a drive in the final minute of the game, enough time for a quick drive and touchdown to win the game 27-24 with 7 seconds to go, good enough for the win.

Great job, guys. Lovie, don’t type up that resume just yet.

Hey, Guy In Charge Of The Commercials…

Tonight is the 158th game of the Tampa Bay Rays season, and they will (as many of you know by now) won’t see any more games this year past their 162nd on Sunday in Cleveland.

While I am already making plans to watch the Rays next year (lord willing and if the creek doesn’t rise), can I make one suggestion to the good people of Sun Sports?

Respectfully, could you play different commercials during a single commercial break?  Please?

I’ll give you an example of this, for those of you outside the area or who don’t watch the Rays games:

They’ll play one commercial out of the break, say it’s for Tropicana Orange Juice. Fair enough, since they play at Tropicana Field, right?

They then go to another commercial, then the next one will be another one for Tropicana.

I just find it irritating that they run the same commercial in the same stop set…I don’t know about you. Just hoping this changes come 2015, but if it doesn’t, I’ll still be here. What, you think I’m going to watch the Marlins or something?

Mount Hillary And The Sundress

I’m thinking back to earlier times today. The year was 1985, but the story begins about two and a half years earlier.

There was this girl I met when I went to Largo Middle School who I will call Hillary. She was from another country originally, but had no problem picking up the English language before she came to middle school. At first, we called her “Miss Piggy” because we thought facially she resembled the Muppet Show character, which was a cruel thing to do. But she resembled her in another way. When Miss Piggy was the butt of the joke, she’d karate chop the offender which usually ended whatever skit they were on.

Hillary didn’t karate chop people: she’d knee the boys square in the testicles, including me a couple of times. I can attest to the fact that she had sharp knees!

She went to another middle school when 7th grade started in the fall of 1983, but she was back at the tail end as 1984 began. Always seemed to have a class together from 6th to 10th grade, but that’s another story for another day.

As girls do of that age, Hillary blossomed in the chest area, except she went from being flat chested to having a chest the size of a woman at adulthood. She lived further up Indian Rocks Road in the 8th grade in the 1984-85 school year, so we had the same bus route home. One Friday afternoon, she had the seat all to herself, wearing a light colored sundress. She decided to lay down on her belly on the seat, showing off her ample cleavage.

I just happened to be in the same row, on the opposite side. Whether or not she meant to show me the goods (no nipple or areola mind you, just a good sized mountain range) will forever be a mystery.

The view had me thinking about every sport I could think of, if you know what I mean.

Football Blues

I like your product, Roger...I just don't like you.
I like your product, Roger…I just don’t like you.

It wasn’t a weekend entirely football free, but it may as well have been.

With the Buccaneers playing (if you could call it that) Thursday night in Atlanta, and with my favorite college football team (Notre Dame) not playing this weekend, I watched very little pigskin. I caught the tail end of the FSU-Clemson game (which FSU won in overtime without a QB embroiled in a scandal of his own doing) and that was about it. I watched the Rays games and the playoff contending teams in baseball, and Netflix. I didn’t know until I woke up this morning what happened in the big Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl rematch game yesterday afternoon, or the Steelers-Panthers game last night.

If you’ve been reading my last few blogs, I think I’m footballed out as a result of the Roger Goodell-Ray Rice scandal. It ripped the scab off of the NFL for me, and the pus is flying everywhere. If a guy gets paid $44,000,000 a year to do a job that poorly, his product shouldn’t be watched or bought.

I found other things to do this weekend. I imagine some of you did too. I don’t know if my quasi-boycott is going to last once baseball season ends in about a month, but as long as the “Jolly Roger” is commissioner, I will do my damnedest to find other things to conquer.

The “Howie Sucks” Banner

Someone didn't care for Howard Cosell during the Bucs-Rams game on September 11, 1980.
Someone didn’t care for Howard Cosell during the Bucs-Rams game on September 11, 1980.

On September 11th, 1980, the Bucs played their first ever regular season Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Rams. It was the third meeting between the two teams in Tampa within a year, with the Rams winning a 9-0 defensive struggle the previous January to propel them to the 14th Super Bowl, where they (the Rams) lost 31-19 to Pittsburgh.

The Bucs-Rams game was a big deal here. It was the first time ABC had aired a Bucs game, and the Monday Night crew was also called upon to work four Thursday night games during the course of the season. That also meant it was Howard Cosell’s first Bucs game, though he had visited Tampa Stadium for the 1978 Pro Bowl on a cool January Monday night two years and change earlier.

It was also a big deal because the nine year-old version of yours truly got to stay up and watch the whole game, with was something rare for me until I was a high school. Usually I was ordered to bed after the end of the first quarter.

One of my lasting memories of the game (that the Bucs won 10-9 on a late Doug Williams TD) was fans getting very creative with the banners ABC usually showed on their broadcasts. One group of fans had a painting of Humble Howard and the ABC logo next to print that said the Bucs were number one. They must have had a portable TV nearby, because when they knew the banner had made the air, this happened.

As it turned out, Cosell was well ahead of the curb, pointing out before it was popular that the league thought of itself as too big to fail. Some three decades later, a lot of what he had to say has come to pass in the most spectacular and shocking of ways.