The World According to Keitho

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Good riddance to Super Bowl LI

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2017

Stick a fork in the football season. This was the worst football post season I can ever remember. The Giants laid an egg, the Raiders lost their QB to injury, and every game was lopsided. The Super Bowl was a piece of garbage. Why do they even let any team from Atlanta in that game? You would think, with a 28-3 lead the Falcons would at least run some clock. Would that have been asking too much?!

How fitting, in this era of Trump, that cheaters such as Brady and Belichick are rewarded with accolades and Super Bowl victories. They lucked into it this year by playing the ultimate chump team, and they lucked into it two years ago when Seattle, for some fix-is-in reason, neglected to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch FROM THE HALF YARD LINE.

I hate all sports.

 

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Super Bowl post mortum

Posted by keithosaunders on February 9, 2016

I didn’t care for this game that much.  Sure Denver’s D is one for the ages and they were awe-inspiring, but the game had no flow.  Peyton Manning was underwhelming and well past his prime.  I could have quarterbacked the Broncos to a victory with that defense.

The game was played in Santa Clara and as I was driving over the Bay Bridge on my way to my gig in San Francisco I could see the blimp way in the distance to the south.  I was driving during halftime and San Fran was like a ghost town.  Least traffic ever.

Cam Newton is taking a beating for walking out of his post game press conference.  There had been a huge to-do the week before the game in the press and on social media about Newton’s flashy persona and how it was unprofessional.  (Full disclosure, I had to google dabbing)  This was an overreaction and had the whiff of racism.  There have been plenty of white quarterbacks who celebrate touchdowns, and in the end, who cares?

But with the press conference, I believe Cam had to step up and endure the 10-15 minutes of inane questions.  If you’re going to be a gloating-gloater when you succeed then you have to be graceful in defeat as well.

And with that we enter the dark days of sports.  For the next two months there is nothing but excruciatingly dull mid-season basketball and hockey.  I can’t get excited about pitchers and catchers and spring training.  It does nothing for me.  I’ll see you all on Sunday, April 3rd.

P.S.  OK, I know about the NCAAs but I DON’T CARE.

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Your obligatory Super Bowl post

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2016

I feel guilty about my lack of enthusiasm over Sunday’s big game but for whatever reason I just can’t seem to get excited over it.  Part of the reason is that I have an early starting solo piano gig that’s going to interfere with me seeing the fourth quarter.  Fortunately I have a good line of sight from the piano to the TV but I’m a little farther away than I’d like to be which will make identifying the holding calls tough.

The game is being played in Santa Clara which is 40 miles south of where I live. This is where the 49ers moved two season ago — a corporate designer stadium monstrosity. From all counts Levi’s Stadium has a nightmare parking situation which can take hours to enter and exit.   Route 101 is a tough artery to deal with in the best of circumstances but one can only imagine how much worse it will be tomorrow.  Throw in the post 9/11 security and you couldn’t pay me enough to attend this game.  I’ve heard that there are people who flew in from out of town that aren’t able to go to the game but are going to local Santa Clara bars so that they can be close to the action.  I pity these dullards.  Stay at home and watch from your couch, for crying out loud.  Santa Clara has no ambiance!

All of the Super Bowl festivities, whatever they are, have taken place in San Francisco which has made it tough for the working stiff musician to get into town for his gigs. (I live across the bay in a town just north of Berkeley called Albany)  Tonight I’m gigging in North Beach which is a part of San Francisco that is only a 20 minute walk from the a Bart station.  Tomorrow, however, I’m working in a part of San Francisco not serviced by Bart so I’ll have to drive.  I’m hoping that everyone will already be ensconced at the TV of their choice by the time I have to leave.

And there you have it:  My Super Bowl post.  My prediction:  Carolina 28 Denver 7.

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1958

Posted by keithosaunders on January 14, 2016

In the meantime I’ve read a great book – The Glory Game –  by former NY Giants running back, Frank Gifford about the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Giants and the Colts.  This was the game that is considered to have put the NFL on the map on its way to sports supremacy.

Now talk about salaries:  Most of these players were earning less than $10,000 a year – well less.  Many of the players couldn’t afford their own apartments, doubling up in dorm like rooms in a Bronx Hotel a few blocks up from Yankee Stadium where they played their home games.

They played 12 game seasons. The league was divided into two conferences consisting of six teams.  There were no playoffs!  In 1958 the Giants finished in a tie with the Cleveland Browns so they, in fact, did have to play a playoff game which they won on a last second field goal by Pat Summerall.  (yes, that Pat Summerall)

My father, who recently passed away, went to the Championship game with my Uncle Herb. It was played on December 28th at Yankee Stadium.  They didn’t have tickets — they decided on the spur of the moment to go.  Imagine a world in which you can take a subway to a stadium where a championship game is being played, walk up to the box office, and buy a ticket.  That’s what they did.  They probably paid $5.00.  (incidentally, my best friend, who lives in the Bronx, tells of doing the same thing for the 1976 World Series between the Yankees and Reds)

The Giants started off shaky with sloppy offense and porous defense.  Gifford, never known as a good ball handler, fumbled twice and as a result the Giants found themselves down 14-3 at the half.  In the second half the Giants turned it around and took the lead 17-14.  A late Giant drive stalled out at their own 40 and with 4th and inches and 2:30 to go in the game coach Jim Lee Howell elected to punt. A first down would have put effectively put the game away for the Giants.

After a punt the Colts took over on their own 14 and that’s all Unitas needed.  He proceeded to engineer one of the great drives in NFL history, picking apart the tired New York defense.  The drive ended in a 20 yard field goal as the clock expired in regulation forcing the very first overtime game in NFL history.  No NFL game to that point had ever gone overtime.    Don’t forget, up until the 1980s if a regular season game ended in a tie it was over.  There was no sudden death overtime — there were ties.  So when the clock ran out the players didn’t know what they were supposed to do!

The Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive.  Don Maynard, who would later go on to win a Superbowl with the Jets, muffed the kickoff return but recovered his own fumble.  Regardless, the Giants went 3 and out and punted.  The Colts took over on their own 20 and once again Unitas put together an epic drive culminating in a Alan Ameche touchdown.

Some people consider this the greatest game ever played.  All I know is that my Dad was there and that I have the program to prove it.

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A lull in the sports world

Posted by keithosaunders on December 18, 2015

This is a terrible sports time of year but it’s not the worst — that dishonor belongs to February with its glut of meaningless NBA, NHL, & NCAA basketball games. Still, this is pretty bad.  The NFL playoffs are a month away and the bowl season, if you care about that sort of thing, won’t kick in for another two weeks.

Here in the Bay Area we had the Warriors winning streak to follow which was exciting.  How strange it was to care about basketball in November. Now that they’ve finally lost, their next meaningful game will be in April.

The worst thing about November through January is being bombarded with baseball player signing news.  This is the time of year where I learn that Jason Heyward, a pretty good, but not great player, will earn more in one at bat then I will in a year.  It’s out of control.  I get it – it’s nothing new –  supply and demand, free market, yadda yadda.  It’s just that I would rather not hear and read about salaries at all.  It takes me until June or July, when the pennant races begin heating up, to get the taste out of my mouth.

Not only is the baseball news a capitalist sack of you know what, the local football teams stink this year.  While the Raiders are much improved and are still mathematically alive, the 49ers are a stinking mess.

What else do I have to complain about?  Oh yeah, I haven’t done my Christmas shopping.

 

Posted in baseball, basketball, football, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The right of the dial

Posted by keithosaunders on February 10, 2012

I spent the last weekend in Las Vegas visiting my father.  Having grown up in Brooklyn and Queens, my Dad is a lifelong Giants fan, and since my regular Sunday gig was cancelled due to the game, I decided to make the trek down to watch it with him.

This is the third time I’ve made the drive from the Bay Area to Vegas.  It is a deceptively long drive.  If you could drive on a direct angle from Berkeley to Vegas it would probably be a six or seven hour trip.  Thanks to the Sierra Nevada range, however, this is impossible.  You have to drive south to Bakersfield on I 5, cut over east on a 150 mile mountain pass road — rt 58 — and finally, at Barstow, turn North onto I 15.  It is a nine-hour drive, that is if you don’t stop.

Fortunately I love driving.  I’m an animal behind the wheel and can drive great distances without tiring.  All I need are some good sounds to spur me on and I’m happy.  I’ve driven cross-country on two consecutive years, with a third trip looming this summer as my oldest boy is going to be going to school back east.

After the game (and what a game!) I decided to drive home rather than have to wake up at 5AM the next morning.  I had to be back by Monday night for a gig and I knew I could make great time at night.

I know enough to pull over when I’m tired.  It’s amazing how effective a ten minute cat nap can be.  I ended up needing to take two of them — one at 2Am, and the other at 4AM.  I arrived home safe and sound at 5:30.

About halfway through the drive I decided to take a break from my ipod and tune in to some right-wing radio.  I expected to become upset while listening to their vitriol, but in the end I only felt a sense of bemusement and pity.

I mean, they’ve got nothing.  Literally nothing.   All they have to talk about is their hatred of Obama, and their love of the lord.  Obama is a socialist, and the lord is their savior.

I feel sorry for them.  They don’t want to talk about Romney — they hate him.  They’re embarrassed by Gingrich, because

a) he’s too smart for them

and

b) his checkered history disturbs them.

Ron Paul is too liberal for them, and even these nutcases realize that Santorum has no shot.

One host claimed to know exactly when Armageddon was coming, but you had to buy his book to find out when and how.  I’m sure it would be a great read but I’m going to save my thirty bucks.

I ended up staying with right-wing radio for a good hundred miles.  I couldn’t turn away.  It was extremely entertaining.

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Oh it’s on!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 22, 2012

Here is a last-minute NFC championship game post.  The New York Giant Bay Area outpost is open for business in Albany, California, consisting entirely of my family.  I don’t dare venture out into the streets until after the Giants have destroyed the 49ers, reaping revenge for the last time these two teams met in the post season in 2002; a wild-card game in which the Giants blew a 24 point lead only to lose 39-38.

Have I mentioned that these west coasters are out of their minds?!  They were already printing their Super Bowl tickets even before they beat the Saints.  Then last Saturday’s mass jubilation after their improbably victory — carrying on like it was the final scene from Hoosiers.  (my world war two metaphor was better, I know.  Sue me!)

The sports radio guys, as usual, were out of control, going on about east coast bias, and the ghosts of Candlestick Park.  

First of all…east coast bias?!  The last time I looked it’s the same no-neck guys who play on both coasts.  Also, as my friend and co-blogging blogger, Jeff Mazzei pointed out, the western teams, with the exception of this year’s 49ers squad, basically suck.

And…the ghosts of Candlestick?!  What ghosts?  John Brodie?!  All those guys from the ’80s are still alive!   Is it possible that Joe Montana has a ghost that we don’t know about?  That guy truly is amazing.

Go Giants!

 

Is it the real Joe Montana, or his ghost?

 

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Of the Saints, 49ers, and Joe Carter.

Posted by keithosaunders on January 16, 2012

It’s been a great playoff season.  Who could have predicted that when the smoke cleared there would be two coaches named Harbaugh in the Championship game, as well as a Giants team who on December 4th had lost four in a row, and at 6-6 looked like an afterthought.  The Patriots success could have been predicted, but on the other hand, they have one of the more porous defenses in NFL history to have advanced this deep into the playoffs.

On Saturday I settled into my living room to watch the 49ers/Saints game.  Living in the Bay Area and being a sports talk-radio devotee, I had spent the previous week being hyped into a frenzy, and by midday Saturday I was frothing at the mouth awaiting the game.

The radio hosts and the callers had confounded me with their near unanimous confidence in the 49ers ability to take down the scoring machine that is the Saints offense.  To me it seemed like homer-ism run amok.  Their team has a mediocre quarterback and had played a soft schedule.

In New York, even when the Giants have great teams, this kind of blanket cockiness never exists.  There is always a healthy dose of skepticism and people more or less expect the worst to happen.

I have a theory about this.  New York has largest Jewish population of any metropolitan area in the world.  Nobody knows suffering like the Jews do, and the feeling of facing insurmountable hardships seeps into the collective psyche of the city.  Every gentile in New York knows a little Yiddish.

The Hebraically challenged Bay Area does not know from such suffering, ergo they are blithely spared such bouts of negative thinking.  They can’t imagine anything bad happening.

Contrarian that I am, I was quietly savoring watching the ‘Friscans being served a generous helping of humble pie.  The game began and you could see immediately that the 49ers defense was all that it was advertised.  Still the Saints defense held their own, shutting down the Niners offense for most of the second and third quarter.

By the fourth quarter two things were painfully apparent:  First, it was going to be a great ending, and second, because of my Saturday night gig, I would have to leave sometime during the fourth quarter.

I left with the 49ers ahead with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  By the time I had reached the Bay Bridge the Saints had taken their first lead of the game.  Midway across the bridge the 49ers grabbed the lead back with a brilliant Harbaugh call of an Alex Smith bootleg.

By now I was beginning to do the slow burn, grinding my teeth and muttering the name, Joe Carter under my breath.  (In 1993 I missed the one of the greatest World Series ending of all time — a Joe Carter walk-off home run)

I was over the bridge and driving south on Folsom when the Saints retook the lead on a 66 yard Drew Brees pass to tight end, Jimmy Graham.

“Shit!”

By now I was desperately searching for a bar where I could pull over and watch the final minute and a half of the game.  The sports gods rewarded me with a bar and a parking spot, and I ran in to see the winning 49er drive.  At least I can say I saw the end of what will surely be remembered as one of the greatest playoff games of all time.

I was unprepared for what would happen next.  It was more of a delayed reaction, really, as if the city was on seven second delay.  It was as if the city took a collective deep breath and held it for five minutes.

Then bedlam.  People began streaming out of bars shouting with delight, cars were honking and drunk girls were screaming like banshees.  This went on for two hours.  It was like V-J day.  I realize it was a game for the ages, but come on,  San Francisco, act like you’ve been there before.  It’s not even the championship game!

The thing is, they have been there — THEY’VE WON FIVE SUPER BOWLS!

Now the 49ers will face my team, the Giants.  I have no doubt that every Bay Area resident is rubbing his or her palms together in glee, thinking, “Oh baby, it’s in the bag!”  But unless I miss my guess, I think they’re in for a rude awakening come Sunday.  Talmud, after all, is a dish best served cold.

 

 

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The genuflecting

Posted by keithosaunders on January 11, 2012

Someone posted this as a wall photo on my Facebook:

Don’t forget to pray today, because God didn’t forget to wake you up this morning.

I’ll say this about Jews and Muslims:  They do not proselytize.  Even if I was receptive to religion, the last thing I would want is for some righteous fanatic to shove it in my face.  I suspect that these are the people who are most repressed.  What are they trying to hide? 

Tim Tebow finally had a good game last Sunday against the Steelers.  I have to admit that he is clutch.  I’ll also say this:  You could have driven a Mac truck through those Pittsburgh safetys.  Even I would have scored with those holes.

Now we’ve got another week of hearing about how Tebow does nothing but win.  Until the Patriots send him a one-way ticket to heathen-town.

I love it when Christians get all huffy about being tamped down due to political correctness.  There’s only 224 million of them in the U.S. — I think they have a voice. 

Would Tebow be a household name if he didn’t interject God into every other sentence?  He’s a mediocre quarterback who had one good game and a bunch of lucky ones.  America loves sanctimony, and Tebow has it in spades.    

Can you imagine the outrage if Tebow was a Muslim and he used his post game interviews to thank Allah?  He would be tarred and feathered faster than you could say war on Christmas. 

I get nervous around devout people.  When I think about devout Christians the first word that comes to mind is intolerance.  Intolerance of gays and minorities and a myopic world view.  I think about their propensity for supporting capital punishment, as well as their love of guns and their narrow view of civil rights.   

That’s religion to me.

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Tebow time and Gingrich slime

Posted by keithosaunders on December 14, 2011

Few will be surprised that I am not a fan of the Denver Bronco’s second year quarterback, and pain-in-the-ass evangelist, Tim Tebow, but I must admit to a certain how does he do it fascination.  He’s a terrible quarterback.  Sure he’s a good runner, and that’s a handy tool to have, but everybody knows that the successful NFL QBs thrive in the pocket.  Don’t they?

Tebow ranks 27th in yards per pass and 14th in total yards, but somehow, due to a combination of his legs, a brilliant Bronco defense, and good old-fashioned luck, Tebow finds himself poised to take the Broncos to the playoffs.  Last Sunday, rather than the thanking the lord, Tebow should have thanked Marion Barber for not running out-of-bounds, thereby giving the Broncos time to march down the field for a game tying field goal against the Bears.

Tebow is all the rage.  I wonder if he would be so beloved were his name Tim Tebowitz and his post game pressers consisted of long lectures on Talmud.  I take that back — I’m not wondering.  

A Denver defensive lineman had the right idea:   After a pre-season game in which Tebow, then a rookie, suggested the team pray, the defensive lineman responded, “why don’t you shut the fuck up?!”

Yeah!  Who care’s what God thinks about football?  I’m sure he’s got more important things on his mind.  Anyway we all know he’s a Giants fan.

Then there’s the faltering campaign of Mitt Romney, who belong to the religion of which he dare not speak its name.  Much to my amusement the Republican electorate cannot bring themselves to get behind their only viable candidate, thus giving Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul their turn at relevancy.

Newt, who to his credit is trying to run a smear-free campaign, was forced to fire an aide who had suggested that evangelicals were “poised to expose the cult of Mormon.”  While I’m happy to see turmoil in the Gingrich campaign, this puts me in the uncomfortable position of being aligned with evangelicals.  

Of course Mormonism is a cult.  Let  me get this straight:  Christ appeard in upstate New York after the resurrection?!  What, was he appearing in the Catskills at Kutsher’s opening for Shecky Greene? 

Then there’s the proselytizing, the multiple wives, the prohibition of caffeine and alchoh…wait a minute, back up…multiple wives?

Sign me up!       

Posted in football, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »