Sunday, September 21, 2008

What A Sports Day!

Now, that was a day of sports! Pardon me for not delving into all of the details of one of the best sports days in recent time on Sunday. Two reasons: I've had a fair amount of beer today, and I'm typing in the dark because my two-year old daughter wants to watch our Spongebob Squarepants: Halloween DVD in the dark.

Let's just say that it was one of the most exhilarating days of watching sports I've had in quite some time.

Among the highlights...

Early in the afternoon, I was following the Brewers-Reds game online. Milwaukee entered the day on life support in the NL wildcard race, trailing my Phillies by 3 games with just 7 to play. Of course, they built a big lead and were never really close to losing. They ended up winning big. Ok, not a real highlight of the day, but it was one of about a dozen games I was paying attention to.

One of the others early in the day, the Mets taking on the Braves in Hot 'Lanta. All I felt the Braves needed to do was to hang close to the Mets, and then get the Mets' bullpen involved. Then, it was simply a matter of sitting back and watching the Amazin's do what they do best...choke away a big lead.

Atlanta turned a 4-2 deficit into a 7-4 lead with a run in the 7th, and four big ones in the 8th.

They held on for a 7-6 win, which gave the Phillies at the time a 1-game lead in the NL East.

This more than made up for the Brewers win.

Also going on early in the day, the White Sox trying to keep their 2 1/2 game lead in the AL Central over Minnesota. While the Phillies are my team, the White Sox are a close second, and it's been equally exciting and gut-wrenching following the Sox quest for a return trip to the playoffs.

The Sox got a tremendous performance from John Danks in a 3-0 lead. The Twins won as well, keeping the lead for the Sox at 2 1/2. The two teams play a 3-game series in Minnesota starting Tuesday.

As Hawk Harrelson would say, "Sit back, relax, and strap it down."

In addition to all of this, I was also paying close attention to several NFL games: I was keeping an eye on the Giants, hoping they would lose a very winnable game at home against the Bengals (New York won it in overtime).

I also followed the Bears second straight meltown - this time blowing a 10-point lead with under 4:00 to go in the 4th as they lost at home to Tampa Bay. I had heavy interest in the Bills/Raiders matchup in Buffalo as well.

I needed the Bills to win to keep me alive in the Last Man Standing pool that I'm in. We, um, are playing for "pretzels". Alot of them. My odds are slim, of course, but after the Bills -- my pick this week -- rallied from down 9 points in the 4th quarter, winning the game on a last second field goal, I was pumping my fist like I'd just sunk a putt to win the Masters.

Or, the Ryder Cup.

Yep, just another fantastic event going on as well this weekend. There's no way to prove it, but I did tell my brother last week that the U.S. would win, even though the mighty El Tigre would not be participating due to his injury. Turns out, Woods is a sub .500 player at The Ryder Cup, and I figured without Woods, the U.S. team would feel more relaxed, and losse, and play better.

In a dramatic three days of golf, the U.S. indeed won the event, sometime around mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Hard to tell the exact time, because after 3:00 p.m. central time, my focus was shifting to the most important sporting events of the day for me, the Eagles/Steelers game in Philly, and the Phillies/Marlins game in Florida - both getting started at about the same time.

It was quite a scene, with the golf, Eagles game, and tail end of the Bears game all being bounced around on the television, with the Phillies game on the computer (thanks to newsman Jay's MLB.TV account), plus the online updates of the end of the Sox game, and the Eagles game whenever that wan't on the TV.

The Eagles game did air in my market (Chicago), so I was able to watch both Brian Westbrook, and Donovan McNabb -- the two most indispensible Eagle players - go down with injuries in the first half. But the defense was playing very well, in Big Ben's face all day.

The Eagles would eventually hang on to a 15-6 win.

Meanwhile, the Phillies got out to a 2-0 lead on the Marlins. Philadelphia was looking for the series win, after an ultra-tense 3-2 win the night before (the game where Ryan Madson got out of a 2nd and 3rd, nobody out jam leading by one run).

The lead grew to 3-0, but the Marlins chipped away and made it 3-2 late. Then Pedro Feliz (Pete Happy, or Happy Peter as I like to call him) hit a 2-run bomb in the 8th, and the Phils hung on for the 5-2 win. Jamie Moyer continues to amaze me.

First place by 1 1/2 games over Los Mets, and maintaining a 3-game lead over the Brewers for the wildcard, with just 6 games to go.

It was 6 hours of pacing, drinking, nail-biting, drinking, talking to myself, drinking, fist-pumping, drinking, and in the end, several large exhales.

It's why I watch sports in the first place. Fortunately, most of today's events were good ones, for me at least.

Sure, the Phillies could go in a tailspin, and Westbrook could have a bad ankle injury that would severly hurt the Eagles' chances for a great season...but for one day at least, one outstanding day of watching sports, three different sports provided me with some fantastic moments.

Now I think I'll cool down with a ho-hum matchup between 2-0 Green Bay and 2-0 Dallas.

Yes, T.O., my popcorn is ready.

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