Quick Takes


          No one should have been surprised at the passing performance of Antwaan Randle El in the Super Bowl. He was a multi-threat player at Indiana U. He could do it all, and did. He is the only player in NCAA Division I-A history to pass for 40 touchdowns and rush for 40 as well during his collegiate career. On a key trick play in the fourth quarter of the tight Super Bowl, Antwaan threw the tightest spiral of the game to Hines Ward. It was a picture-perfect 43-yard strike that put the game out of reach for Pittsburgh. To reiterate, based on his track record, no one should have been surprised, Seattle included, but they were.    


          My only problem with the Super Bowl was Mick Jagger doing the halftime entertainment instead of the sound that put host city Detroit on the musical map, namely Motown R & B. Aretha and the gang should have been the show at halftime. It would have been a natural.


          I certainly have no problem with the Super Bowl officiating. If it weren’t for the various "questionable" calls as well as one obvious non-call, I would have lost money as I had Pitt -4. So my thanks to the boys in stripes for a very fine financial day.


Story of the Week

The Dodgers. 1955 & 2005.


1955: Most historians would agree that the best defensive play in a World Series was Willie Mays’ great over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz’ drive in 1954. It has received more publicity down through the years than any play ever made in World Series competition. However, I don’t agree with the concensus. The greatest catch I’ve ever seen in World Series competition was Sandy Amoros’ catch of Yogi Berra’s fly ball in 1955 that enabled the Brooklyn Dodgers to beat the Yankees. Willie Mays’ catch of Vic Wertz’ fly ball in the 1954 Series was an outstanding one, but it wasn’t a do-or-die situation, and the Giants swept the Indians in four straight anyway in ’54. But in the last half of the sixth inning of game seven, with the Dodgers leading 2-0, if Berra’s ball hadn’t been caught by Amoros with two men on and nobody out, and had Amoros not converted that great catch into a double play, Brooklyn conceivably would have lost that game and the 1955 World Series.


2005: Fifty years later. Bill Plaschke of the L. A. Times wrote it best on 10/4/05, the day after Dodgers manager, Jim Tracy, was fired. “Frank McCourt protected his overmatched computer general manager, Paul DePodesta, at the expense of a veteran baseball guy, Jim Tracy, who was unable to cover the G.M.’s mistakes.” Tracy led the team to winning records in four of his five seasons, winning more than 90 games twice. A terrible 2005 was a combination of injuries and DePodesta’s personnel decisions. McCourt doesn’t want to spend the money he has access to if he so desired to build the team, and he and DePodesta apparently were tired of hearing Tracy complain that they should do just that. Wrote Plaschke, “Paul DePodesta was hired to slash payroll and help the team turn a profit, and Jim Tracy was mucking up the work with all his whining about winning.” Tracy, now manager in Pittsburgh, deserved a better fate. He cared about winning, spoke his mind, and was fired for it, and Dodger fans (the Dodgers led the National League in attendance in 2005 with 3,603,646 paid admissions) who fork up all that revenue should take offense to it. Now, ironically, the team has a new GM, Ned Colletti, who hired new field boss, Grady Little. So what! The Los Angeles Dodgers will still be run like a small-market team. After all, Frank McCourt is still the owner.


Last Week’s Trivia

          Who was the first player enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Denver Bronco? John Elway was not only the first one, but he’s the only one (2004). The only other former Bronco to be enshrined is Tony Dorsett, but he entered the Hall of Fame as a Dallas Cowboy (1994).


Trivia Question of the Week

          Thanks to Jordan Davis for this one. Who is the only person to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers?  See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.