Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One Point To Make...

#81 Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs is spent as the game and his teams dream of a Stanley Cup end.

First up today, we bid adieu to the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs who saw their run of consecutive playoff appearances end at 1 last night when they were eliminated from postseason consideration in a 3-0 loss at Tampa.  Their demise had actually come a little less than half an hour earlier, at least insofar as the Red Wings were concerned, when Detroit completed their 4-2 win at Buffalo--running their season point total to 90 and making it unpossible for the Leafs to catch them.  The Leafs could still have tied Detroit in points by coming back and beating the Lightening last night (they trailed 2-0 mid-way through the third period when the Wings game ended) and by winning their last 2 games while Detroit lost their last 3, but even then they would have finished behind Detroit in Regulation+Overtime Wins, so as soon as the Wings game ended it was "see 'ya next year" Mapleos.

Detroit's victory leaves only two teams with a chance of passing them and knocking them out of the playoffs: Washington and New Jersey.  Detroit would have eliminated Washington last night too, had the Capitols done what was expected of them: to go out and lose in St. Louis to the best team (111 points) in the Western Conference , but somehow (perhaps the goal--#50 by Alex Ovechkin and his two assists to go with?) they didn't, instead besting the Blues 4-1.   So, Washington can still finish with 91 points by winning their 3 remaining games.  Should the Wings lose their remaining 3, all in regulation, they'd finish with 90, and if Columbus, a point back of the Wings, were to pass the Wings too, Detroit would miss the playoffs.  If Detroit and Washington were to each finish with 91 points, then it's good news for the Wings as they own the tie-breaker over Washington: ROW (currently 33-26, Detroit).

As for Jersey, the only way they can knock the Wings out is to win their remaining 3 to finish with 90 points and for the Wings to lose their remaining 3 in regulation. That would leave each team with 90 points and New Jersey would oust Detroit due to more ROW. Again, assuming Columbus were to pass the Wings, it would mean Detroit would miss the playoffs.

The Bottom Line is this: the next point the Wings get--if they indeed do get another point--puts them in the playoffs no matter what anybody else does.  At the same time, the next point Washington and New Jersey fail to get will mean they cannot finish ahead of Detroit and just as soon as that happens, the Wings will be in the playoffs...again.

As an aside, here's the most unlikely playoff scenario of them all:  Detroit loses their remaining 3 games in regulation.  Columbus loses their remaining three in regulation.  Washington and New Jersey each win their remaining 3 games.   Washington finishes as the First Wild Card, New Jersey is the Second Wild Card and Detroit and Columbus miss the playoffs.

This is why it's always fun at this time of year as teams try to get in and others try to stave off elimination.  (Is there any other situation in the English language in which the word "stave" is the appropriate one to use?)

Failing at staving was Toronto, whose collapse this year was a macrocosm of their Game 7 collapse in Boston in the playoffs last spring.  In that game you'll recall, the Leafs led 4-1 with 10:18 left and yakked it up before regulation time was done.  It was the largest lead ever lost so late in a Stanley Cup playoff game. This, the 2014 stretch run to the playoffs, was just like that.  Only 26 days ago, on March 14, Toronto was in second place in the Atlantic Division and looked like a mortal postseason lock.  They had the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, trailing only Boston and Pittsburgh.  And then Toronto went 2-10 (4 points in 12 games!) and 8 ( really, 8!) teams passed them in the standings and all coach Randy Carlyle could say after what turned out to be his teams elimination game last night was, "Numb and shock I guess would be the words to describe this. Extremely disappointed. Shallow. Embarrassed. All those things.”  Which, if you think about it, is pretty much all could say, verbatim really, after the Disaster in Boston just eleven months ago.

So. Toronto is left to re-tool.  The Red Wings are left to pick up that one last point or ope their pursuers fail to get at least one last point in order to play on.  The winning percentage of the teams Detroit closes against (@Pittsburgh tonight, v. Carolina Friday, @St. Louis Sunday) is .622--the toughest remaining schedule in the Conference and the second-toughest in the National League.  Columbus has the easiest remaining schedule of the Wild Card contenders (.521) while Washington's remaining foes have played at a .589 clip and New Jerseys are at .568.

Tonight's game, "Rivalry Night" although I don't really think there's that much of a deep-seated "rivalry" between the Wings and Pens aside from the Cup Final a few years back--can be watched and streamed on the NBC Sports Network.  The puck drops at 8:10 Eastern time.

The last time these two teams met, on March 20, I thought about retiring after the game because I figured I'd finally seen it all.  That was the night the Wings took a 2-0 lead, fell behind 3-2, went ahead 4-3, got tied 4-4 and won in with 0.4 seconds left in overtime.   Well, I didn't quit and so, here we go again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

How Stephen Gionta (of all people) Could Cost The Detroit Red Wings the Playoffs

This goal, this one right here, could be the reason the Red Wings miss the playoffs...

#65 Danny DeKeyser and #8 Justin Abdelkader look like they have position but #11 Stephen Gionta tips a shot past Jimmy Howard at 19:23 of the 3rd to beat Detroit, 4-3

It’s March 4th and the Red Wings are at New Jersey and the game is tied 3-3 until this instant when Stephen Gionta tips a shot past Jimmy Howard to put the Devils ahead.  The goal comes with 36.6 seconds to play and it's the game-winner.  Had Detroit been able to hang on for that final half a minute or so, they would have at least picked up and point and perhaps, in so doing, might have changed the course of franchise history.  Time, as you will see, will tell.

As for Gionta, well, the assist he picked up Saturday night turns out to be the only point he's gotten since.  But his could turn out to be the biggest goal of them all this season.

As you know, the fate of the Wings—whether or not they will make the playoffs for the 23rd year in a row or not—will be decided this week as Detroit closes out the regular season with four games in six days, three on the road and two against Division winners.

It’s possible that the Wings will have to win three of their last four (or at least get two wins and a single point in one of the others) to get in.  Here’s why…

As of now, Monday afternoon, Detroit is hanging on to the first of the two Wild Card slots with 88 points. (Columbus has, for now, the other Wild Card with 87.) 

The Wings Magic Number is 5.  Any combination of points gained by Detroit and not gained by New Jersey totaling five will put the Red Wings in the playoffs.  

But here’s the problem: New Jersey, on the outside looking in with 84 points has, like Detroit (and Columbus for that matter) four games left.  Three of them are against non-playoff teams before they close the regular season at home against Boston—a team which has apparently decided their best course of action is to rest up for the playoffs.  Hence, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Devils could run the table and finish with 92 points. 

Were Detroit to split their remaining four, they too would finish with 92 points, but since the NHL decided that shootout wins, decided as they are in a sort-of “skills competition” should not count as much as wins decided by actual goals scored under actual game conditions, downgraded shootout wins so that while they are still worth two standings points they don’t count quite as much when it comes to breaking ties in the standings, Detroit would, in that scenario, almost certainly finish behind the Devils in the tie-breaker: ROW (Regulation+Overtime Wins).  As of right now, Jersey has two more ROW (34-32) than Detroit and if that holds, the Devils would finish ahead of Detroit. 

Now, it is possible (unlikely but possible) that Jersey could win all four of their remaining games in shootouts.  If that happened and if Detroit finishes with two additional regulation time or OT wins both teams would finish with 92 points and 34 ROW.  In that case, the season series would be the tie-breaker except that in this case it would not and here’s why: According to the NHL, “If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included.”

Detroit played Jersey three times this season so there were not an equal number of home games so the first game at New Jersey, Detroit’s 3-1 win there on December 6, would not count and both teams recorded two points in the remaining games:

March 4-- Det 3 @NJ 4 
March 7-- Det 7 v NJ 4

The key is that game on March 4.  That was the game the Wings were 36 seconds away from sending to OT before Gionta stepped in.  Had they been able to do get the game to overtime, they would have picked up a point and would have won the head-to-head tie-breaker against the Devils three points to two.

So, let’s say that however unlikely, NJ wins their last four in shootouts and Detroit gets two more ROW and that’s it and both teams finish tied in points and ROW.  What then?

It’s Goal Differential.  The team with the better Goal Differential (Goals For/Goals Against) gets in.  And right now, NJ has the edge.  They are (-9) and Detroit is (-11).  And get this.  If Gionta hadn’t scored that goal, both teams would be tied there as well at (-10). 

Stephen Gionta, for the record, has four goals this season.  He’s 454th of 868 NHL players this season in goals.  He is 156th of 251 among NHL Centers in goals.  And the last goal he scored this season?  Naturally, it came on March 4 against Detroit.  Yes, that goal.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Deceits of Tori Hunter

I saw my favorite play of the year and maybe of all time here at Comerica Park last night. Lies and the lying liars who tell them…

Here’s the setup: runner on first (Boston’s Mike Napoli) and less than two out; fly ball, medium depth to right. Detroit right fielder Tori Hunter settles in underneath it and is prepared to make the catch when all of a sudden he holds both of his hands out palms up and begins wildly shaking his head side-to-side, searching desperately. Hunter’s lost the ball in the lights or against the sky and he is trying to find it and he cannot. 

Napoli has done exactly that which he is coached to do. He has proceeded as far towards second as he can while still being able to return safe to first after the catch. But when he sees Hunter has lost the ball, he takes another half-step towards second. Just a half of a step--and now he’s dead.

Hunter hasn’t lost the ball at all. At the last instant he reaches out, catches it and in the one-motion move common to a Big League outfielder, fires a strike to first. Napoli is out by an eyelash.

I’m watching this and I say, “Oh, my God! He did that on purpose!”

I was telling my daughter about it over breakfast this morning, complete with the same “I lost it” pantomime, and she’s all, like, “You can do that?” “Oh, yes,” I said. “It’s part of the game; always has been. They do this sort of thing all the time. They lie to your face. They openly attempt to deceive. They’ll pretend they have the ball in their glove even if they don’t if they think it will make a runner think twice about going for an extra base. I remember a couple of years ago and A-Rod was on third in Seattle or someplace and there’s a pop fly to the left side of the infield and he starts yelling, ‘I got it, I got it!’ The Seattle shortstop backs off thinking he’s hearing his teammate call for the catch when it’s really his opponent A-Rod who’s doing the yelling and now there’s nobody in position to make the catch and the ball falls free for a hit. The Mariners are steamed. They accuse A-Rod of cheating. I said, ‘No, it’s not: Part of the game.”

“Well,” Laura said. “Tori Hunter is my new favorite Tiger!”

I asked Tori about the play this afternoon before the game and he said it’s the sixth or seventh time in his career he’s pulled it off. This one however was, he said, the sweetest because the guy he victimized, Napoli, was his teammate in Los Angeles for three years and should have known better as he’s seen Hunter pull this exact trick before and he’s seen it with his own eyes. Hunter got a hit later in the game and when he got to first, Napoli, the Boston first baseman said, “I’m not talking to you!

Hunter said this was the first time the play has worked in an outdoor stadium. He used to do it “all the time” when he played for the Twins at the Metrodome because outfielders would lose the ball all the time against the notoriously bad background of the Teflon roof there—so when he pulled the fake there it was plausible to his victims he’d lost the ball. He said he waited to try it here last night until twilight because it’s plausible that an outfielder will lose a fly ball in the gloaming—other than having the sun in your eyes, it’s the most likely time for a player to lose the ball against the sky.

You could tell Tori really enjoyed getting Napoli’s goat last night. His smile was wide (you could see it from up here) after the umpire called Napoli out. Tori always has a good time out there. Ask him if he don’t. I did. As he sees it, it’s like playing basketball against your brother. You are going to shove and you are going to elbow and you are going to do whatever you can to win, but you are still having fun. It made me think of something, and I said it to him: I have never in all the years seen a ballplayer smile on the field as often as Tori Hunter.

In the game here tonight—quite literally as I write these words—Hunter is called out trying to steal second base. (Steal? There he goes again…) He has beaten the play. The umpire calls him out anyway. Inning over. Hunter protests. He is arguing. And, naturally, as he is all up in the umpires face, he is smiling. Ruefully perhaps, but smiling nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fun At Aaron's Wedding

All right, boys.  Sorry about the delay, but here's the skinny on My Night at Aaron's Wedding.

First off, NO KOGEL DOGS!  (I had been told there would be Kogel Dogs.)  There was, upon arrival, a lovely spread of various salads and pickles and olives and crackers--the liver pate was my personal favorite--and there was an open bar, so my disappointment in, (not to mention my remembrance of) the Dog situation was short-lived.

Now, here's the thing: I told my wife I was going to wear a brown checked sportscoat and tan slacks and she said, and I quote, "You will look nice in that."  Well, perhaps, but this was a pretty REALLY Orthodox affair and of all the men there--and the crowd it seemed to me was maybe 300 people--I was the only one not wearing a black suit.  I could not have stood out more had I simply worn my goalie gear, complete with skates and mask.  Here's what I mean.

Can you spot the Gentile in this photograph?

As for the Groom, he was at the head table in a room set aside from the main reception hall as the wedding guests arrived and scarfed down all of that pre-wedding food.  It was interesting in that they had all of the men in one room and all of the women in another.  Personally, I would have rather hung out with all the girls, but hey, that's just me.  Anyway, here's our man now, during what, for want of a better term, I would call the Pregame, about an hour or so before the ceremony itself.

Note the ample supply of alcoholic beverages at the ready...

About an hour and a half after arrival, Aaron was ushered into the Wedding Hall itself amid much fanfare and loud singing and the ceremony began.  At least I think it did.  I was hanging back with our lawyer buddy Solomon and we didn't exactly have the best seats in the house.  We were Standing Room Only, in fact.

Say buddy, how about taking off that hat? I can't seem a damn thing back here!

Solomon, in addition to being a fine young attorney and hockey player, was a veritable font of information.  During the vows (which we pretty much couldn't hear anyway) he told me, well actually, first he told me, "Mazeltov!" to which I said, "Dude, that's not even a word," and he then told me things like, for example, every woman there was wearing a wig.  Some sort of a custom. Even the girls with beautiful hair of their own were wearing wigs. They all looked very nice, in case you were wondering.  Then he told me that when we got to the reception hall, I would find it divided by a curtain designed to keep the men on one side and the women on the other and that the men would dance with men and the women would dance with women and I said, "Well, that's just messed up."

The last time I got invited to a guys-only party, I'm not going to lie to you, things could have turned out better.

Although they did set a fine table, I must say.

WAY too nice for Kogel Dogs although Paulie's jerky would have fit right in.

Anyway, I decided I would leave at this point even if there were a couple of guys who I was kinda hoping would ask me to dance.  And on my way out, I got the money shot.  The Happy Couple!

I told you guys she was really pretty!

So, our best wishes to the Newlyweds from all of us at the Oak Park Hockey Guys Who Play on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why I'm Voting for President Obama

I'm voting for President Obama because...
Instead of losing 700,000+ jobs per month as we were at the end of the previous Administration, we have had 38 consecutive months of private sector job growth.
General Motors is alive.
Osama Bin Laden isn't.
Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Insurance companies have to spend 80% of every dollar they take in in premiums on actual health care.
Insurance companies cannot impose a lifetime limit on coverage.
My daughter can stay on our health care plan until she is 26.
Student loan rates are down because the government has (rightfully) taken the program over again, removing the profit motive, reducing rates, stopping the gouging of the young people.
Our house lost 40% of its value the last time we had a Republican in office.
The war in Iraq is over.
The war in Afghanistan is about to be over.
I've read the Ryan Budget.  It's horrifying.
Mr. Romney called the Ryan Budget "marvelous" and said he would sign it, "happily."
I am against the privatization of Social Security.
I am against turning Medicare into a voucher system.
Mr. Ryan's self-confessed political inspiration Ayn Rand is a total psychopath.
Mr. Romney won't release his tax returns.  I conclude the only reason for him to so refuse is because there is something in there that he knows would end his chances to become President were that something to become public.
Mr. Romney believes it is fair for him to pay a tax rate of less than 15% because he makes his money on capital gains, while my family pays over 30% because our income results from actual work.
Mr. Romney lies.  Repeatedly and even when his lies (such as Jeep moving production from Toledo to China but there are many, many others) are obvious and demonstrable.
Mr. Romney likes firing people:

Mr. Romney's top adviser on the judiciary is Robert Bork.  (Really? Robert Bork?)

This is just what I've got off the top of my head.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Urban Meyer is a Big, Fat Liar

I spent almost an hour a few weeks ago reading a LONG article in Sports Illustrated about how Urban Meyer's family assented to letting him return to coaching college football only after he signed a pledge to them promising he would change his ways: that he would be more mellow; that he would possess (and display) a more developed sense of perspective and priority.  I was happy for him.  The article quoted him as saying that his behavior at Florida was such that it both adversely affected his health and damaged his family.  So I thought, "good on him".  And I mentally wished him he best.  And I in so doing I was duped.  Anybody who saw Urbie on the Spartan Stadium sideline Saturday now knows that the entire SI article about The New Urban Meyer, every word of it, was utter bullshit.  There he was, completely out-of-control, (making fucking Woody Hayes seem mellow for Christ's sake), going 20 yards out onto the field to argue a penalty and only by some miracle NOT being flagged for a fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  I'll tell you what, I was sure he was going to assault himself a zebra right then and there.  Not that there is anything in particular wrong with that.  That's just how coaches, by and large, are.  Just don't go telling a national publication and by extension me, how you are a changed man, 'kay?  And now we learn that Meyer sent Michigan State an incomplete game film the week before the game, a tape edited so the Spartan coaching staff wouldn't be able to see the shifts and formation changes the Buckeyes were making prior to snapping the ball.  It wasn't a huge deal, it was just a crappy, unsportsmanlike, unprofessional bush league thing to do.  So, now we know the truth about Urban Meyer.  He's the same jagoff asshole he's always been.  So fuck him.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Let's Watch the Spartans and the Eagles!

Tim Staudt, one of the best sportscasters in America but a guy you probably have never heard of if you don't live in the Lansing area (he's been on the air here since I was an MSU student and I was an MSU student a long, long time ago) coined a phrase in advance of last week's Massachusetts at Michigan game.  With UM favored by fifty-something, he called it not a football game, but rather a "football demonstration."

That's what we have here this afternoon with MSU giving 33 against an Eastern Michigan team which has never, ever defeated a Big Ten opponent (0-30), and which is 0-8 all-time against the Spartans.

The nub of it is this: no matter what they do here at Spartan Stadium this afternoon, MSU can't win.  If they blow 'em out by 50 everybody will say, "Big deal, it's Eastern.  They've given up 37 at Ball State, 31 to Illinois State (not Illinois, Illinois State), and 54 to Purdue.  That's 122 points in 3 games!"  If State doesn't win by 50, it will feel like a loss.

What happened last week in that 20-3 loss to Notre Dame on a Saturday night which began with MSU ranked 10th in the nation; with both expectations and the Goodyear Blimp sky high; with a National TV audience tuned in?  The explanation is, as is so often the case, oh-so simple: MSU got beat at the point of attack on both sides of the ball.  Notre Dame--rushing four against the Spartans five for most of the night--kept the pressure on MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell while holding Le'Veon Bell to 77 yards on 19 carries.  (Although it seemed odd to most of us that in a game in which MSU was down only 11 for most of the second half, they gave the ball to Bell only four (4!) times after halftime.)  The defensive line allowed ND to rush for more than twice as many yards as MSU (122-50) and rarely got pressure on Irish quarterback Everett Golson.  Additionally, Spartan receivers dropped way too many balls and the harried Maxwell made a few poor decisions.

The result is a humbled Spartan team falling to #20 with plenty to work on here this afternoon.

The more interesting game, and the more interesting question is how will Notre Dame do against Michigan tonight in South Bend (7:30 Eastern on NBC).  Michigan has beaten ND three straight, scoring the winning touchdown in the final thirty seconds in each of those games, including last year's Game for the Ages when ND scored the go-ahead TD with :30 left on the clock, only to see UM win it with a TD with :02 left.  It was one of the best college games ever played.  Here's a nice stat.  We mentioned the Wolverines have won those 3 in a row against the Irish.  The last time Michigan beat Notre Dame four in a row was in 1908.

We'll probably get home from East Lansing in time for the second half.

The Spartan Band takes the field at we're about fifteen away from kickoff.  We'll keep you posted....

(Oh, Central just hit a walk-off field goal after recovering an on-side kick and they beat Iowa 32-31.  The Press Box erupted.  Fans here in East Lansing know exactly how this feels since that is exactly what the Chips did right here in this Stadium, what, three years ago?)

State gets the ball to start the game and converts a third and one before going and three and out on the next set of down and punting.  On 3rd and ten, Maxwell made a poor decision and tucked it under way to early.  Eastern was only rushing three, and Maxwell had time to look for an open man but he didn't take it.  The Eagles pick up a first and they move into MSU territory the first time they have the ball today.

The Eagles for for it on 4th and one at the MSU 36 but are denied, so, after a TV timeout (the game is on the Big Ten Network which sort of counts as TV) the Spartans will commence their second possession of the afternoon.  It was, by the way, 58 degrees at kickoff under mostly cloudy skies and the wind was blowing out of the northwest at either 8 or 13 miles per hour, depending on which source one chooses to believe.  Right now, wind does not appear to be a factor down on the field.

Maxwell is driving me nuts.  After Bell ran for 22 and 15 yards on consecutive carries, Maxwell threw underneath and incomplete to Aaron Burbridge. Even had the ball been caught, Burbidge--the freshman from Farmington Hills Harrison (I called Harrison's 27-20 loss to Southfield last night, a game Harrison led 17-0 at the half after holding the Bluejays to 2 yards of offense in the first half)--would never had made the line to make.  We saw the same thing numerous times last Saturday night, Maxwell failing to throw to a receiver who had made it to the first down marker on a third down passing attempt.  He has to improve in that regard.  Oh, and then Dan Conroy missed from 39 (his 3rd FG miss this season) and it remains scoreless here with now under 5 to play in the first.

Bell, 62y in 8 rushes, gains 16 on first down but Maxwell misses badly on a pair of third-and-12 throws and that is that.  The Spartans punt again.  Still no score.  Not a sellout here today, by the way. It appears a lot of the students have elected to spend the afternoon in their dorm rooms.

Did we mention Purdue scored 54 on these guys last week?  MSU fails to score in the first quarter here today, gaining 84 yards of total offense, 76 of those by Bell on ten carries.  After One: EMU 0, MSU 0.

Bell gets to 100 yards on his 13th carry with a little over 12 minutes left in the second but the drive stalls so Conroy comes on to hit a 35y field goal with 10:06 left in the first half.  Points are on the board at long last and MSU leads EMU 3-0.

Uh, Michigan State, giving 33, is trailing Eastern Michigan at halftime here 7-3.  Picking up where they left off against Notre Dame when they were 1/8 in second half third-down conversions, MSU goes 1/8 on third down in the first half today.  Maxwell is 9/19 for 31 yards.  The only bright spot--and I mean the only bright spot, is Le'Veon Bell: 117y on 17 rushes.  An MSU fumble gave the Eagles the ball at the Spartan 23 and Eastern got a TD toss on the first snap after the turn.  HALFTIME: EASTERN MICHIGAN 7, MICHIGAN STATE 3.

Bell carries on each of the first 5 plays run by MSU in the second half, so he has more touches in the second half today (5) than he did in the entire second half last Saturday night (4). Maxwell thrown underneath again on third down so MSU comes up short and Conroys hits a 45y FG with 9:25 left in 3rd.  MSU pulls to within one, trails 7-6.

Here's the good news.  I don't think EMU can move the ball on MSU.  The Eagles have 84y of offense and only 4 first downs.  So, if the Spartans donn't turn it over again, they should be able to come back and win this thing.

EMU turns it over at their 41 and MSU gains a grand total of 3y, punts.  Frustrating.

Maxwell finally hits a couple downfield--finding TE Dion Sims for 16 and then 17 on consecutive plays.  Holding (naturally) stalls the drive and Conroy's 3rd field goal of the day is a 35-yarder that gives MSU a 9-7 lead with 1:11 left in the third.

Touchdown, MSU.  Been a while.  Maxwell hits Sims (4 2nd-half catches) with a ten-yard scoring strike as MSU goes 89 in 12 to move ahead 16-7.  7:19 left, so it looks like they will get out of here with a win.  I have to leave for the post-game interviews in a couple of minutes which is a shame because I've been watching the A's-Yankees game out of the corner of my eye and what a show in the Bronx.  Oakland hit three homes and scored 4 in the top of the 13th for a 9-5 lead, NY has just scored 4 to tie in their half of the 13th.

Back from the interviews and I think Mark Dantonio was, well, upset.  We'd ask and he'd answer, "Yes, next question."  I'm pretty sure you'll see it in SportsCenter.  MSU scored late while we were down on the field and they win 23-7.  They will, most certainly, have to play better one week from today here to beat Ohio State.  The Tigers beat the Twins 8-0, Chicago is at LA at nine.  We'll be at Comerica tomorrow, we'll talk to you then.