Friday, March 9, 2012


TigerBlog can’t bring himself to say it. He’s like the Fonz when he was trying to say he was “ruhhhhhhhhhng” that time on “Happy Days.”

TB is trying. Really, he’s trying.

Okay, here goes.

No, he can’t say it.

Okay, here he goes:

“TigerBlog hates the new Springsteen album.”

There. He said it.

Hey, everyone is entitled to come up with something that even the most ardent of fans don’t like. And the Boss can release a bad album every day for the next 100 years and TB would still give his complete portfolio an A++++++.

It’s just that TB was so disappointed in “Wrecking Ball.” He was expected something that rocked, at least.

It has some good songs, and one great one – Land Of Hope And Dreams, which is now the most-played song on TB’s iTunes, since it was released on the Live in New York City album from 2001. So that doesn’t exactly count.

The most recent Springsteen albums – Working On A Dream and Magic – aren’t on a level with Darkness on the Edge of Town or The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle or even The Rising.

And forget about Born To Run, which has four of the 10 best songs TigerBlog has ever heard – Born to Run, Thunder Road, Jungleland and Backstreets.

But hey, Magic and Working On A Dream are still great, and they both have multiple great songs on them.

The new album? Nope.

So, TB’s idea of listening to the new Springsteen all the way down to Baltimore for the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic goes out the window.

Princeton is playing in its fifth Face-Off Classic and its sixth game all-time at M&T Bank Stadium, including the 2004 NCAA semifinal loss to Navy and four FOC games against Johns Hopkins (Princeton split those four).

The Tigers take on North Carolina tomorrow at 11 in a game both teams would really love to get.

UNC was 4-0 before its back-to-back losses to Lehigh and Penn. Princeton is 2-1 and will have had eight days to sit on its loss to Hopkins last Friday.

And since someone brought up that game, TB is now a firm believer in the need for a shot clock in men’s lacrosse.

And honestly, women’s, after watching Princeton-Duke last Saturday.

Hopkins took the air out of the ball, with great success, and was able to use that to dominate possession and win the game.

Already in men’s lacrosse this year, there have been games with scores like 5-2 and 4-3, both of which were Penn State wins.

TB has no problem with low-scoring, tight games. The problem is how easy it is to take the ball behind the goal, get a stalling warning and dare the other team to chase you.

Or just play keepaway on the women’s side, which is what Duke did after Princeton cut it to two with six minutes left.

The offense – and the team in the lead – have way too much of an advantage now in both the men’s and women’s game. A shot clock would address those issues quickly.

TB is now fully on board. A one-minute shot clock. And no calling timeout when you have a stall warning, just before the defense forces the turnover.

Those figure to solve a lot of the ills of the game, especially when its growth level is exploding. It doesn’t need to chase its many new fans away.

Meanwhile, what was TB talking about? Oh year, the Princeton-Carolina game.

TB has been to 17 of the last 20 NCAA men’s lacrosse Final Fours, and the very first of those was the 1992 event at Franklin Field, where Princeton played North Carolina on a 100-degree day.

The Tigers won that game 16-14, and the team that day was a who’s who of Princeton lacrosse greatness. Thinking back to Princeton’s six NCAA titles, it’s easy to take for granted the great players who were part of the first one, without considering that all of those players took a huge leap of faith in coming here in the first place.

Any Carolina-Princeton game conjures up those memories for TB. In lacrosse, anyway.

In general, do a search in TB's brain by entering "North Carolina" and "Princeton," and the first thing that comes up is the 1996 men's basketball game in this building, and how after Shammond Williams threw an alley-oop pass to Vince Carter from the other side of midcourt, a finish that led Bill Raftery to exclaim: "I'm not sure that's what Mr. Jadwin had in mind when he built his gymnasium."

Anyway, for tomorrow's game, there are all the main plots - the intriguing subplot of Princeton's matchup against former captain Jack McBride, one of the great goal scorers in school history.

McBride missed almost all of last year with a groin injury, and as a graduate student could not play for Princeton - or in the Ivy League. So here he is, on Carolina's first midfield, playing against his former teammates.

Hey, TB is excited about this game. Even without a shot clock.

Or the new Springsteen album for the ride down.


Tad La Fountain '72 said...

John M. T. Finney 1884, one of Princeton's most illustrious alums, continued his football career when he went on to med school at Harvard. But he had the good sense to abstain from playing against Princeton when it came up on the schedule.

Anonymous said...

Musicians are like NCAA bubble teams which should not be evaluated on the basis of winning percentage or number of bad losses or overall strength of schedule. The only thing that matters for musicians is "good wins."

I don't care what proportion of your songs were good. I don't care how bad your worst songs were. I don't care what the average quality of your songs was.

I only care about, when you were at your very peak, how good were your best songs and how many of them did you have. When I put on your best songs while driving, how loud do I turn up the stereo and how fast do I unconsciously drive thereafter?

Let's be honest. Bruce peaked very early in his career. Although he still had left in him a few great songs and one very good album (Darkness on the Edge of Town), he reached his personal tipping point as the last violin strains of "Jungleland" faded from the end of Side Two of Born To Run.

But after Greetings From Asbury Park, The Wild The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, and Born To Run, the rest was all gravy. By then, we the fans were already playing with house money.