Friday, October 22, 2010

Rooting For The Tigers - And Texas

TigerBlog listened to enough sports talk radio last week to get the basic point of Yankees' fans, who were aghast at the idea of having to pitch A.J. Burnett in the American League Championship Series.

How could the Yankees be stuck with such a terrible option, they all wondered? And how best to hide him? Should he be sacrificed against Cliff Lee in Game 3, even if it meant messing up the rest of the rotation for the series, or should he pitch Game 4, even if that meant that Texas would have a huge edge in Game 3 with Lee and Game 4 against Burnett.

The idea that Burnett might actually win never came up. The only issue was that Burnett was unworthy of starting a game for the Yankees.

And what did TigerBlog end up screaming at the radio? Five years, $82.5 million.

This is Year 2 of that deal for Burnett, whose 2010 salary is $16,500,000. Tommy Hunter, who started for Texas in Game 4 against Burnett, has a 2010 salary of $409,500.

It's stuff like that that fuels the anti-Yankee sentiment of people like TB. It's not just that the Yankees can throw money at big-name players that other teams can't dream of doing; it's that it doesn't matter if they're wrong about those players. They just eat that contract and move on to the next.

By the way, where do you think Lee is going to be pitching next season?

As one caller said when calling WFAN, how hard is it to be the Yankees' GM, who has limitless resources and hasn't had to worry about second, short, third, catcher and closer for years now?

Bill Simmons, on Page 2, once said that rooting for the Yankees "is like rooting for the house in black jack."

TB does know several Yankees fans, including one who happens to be the head football coach at Princeton.

Bob Surace grew up in South Jersey, in the heart of Phillies/Eagles' country. His father, though, was a long, long time Yankees fan.

How much of a fan? Well, he named one of his children "Mickey Charles Surace," after "Mickey Charles Mantle."

Tragically, Mickey Charles Surace died at the age of seven months, something that TB never knew about Bob Surace.

Still, the Yankee gene was passed from his father, and Surace was rolling his eyes after Game 4, when the Rangers built their 3-1 lead in the series. Things got a little better for the Yankees Wednesday when they made it 3-2, with Game 6 tonight and Game 7 (hopefully not necessary) tomorrow.

Surace will be busy with his own game this weekend, as he goes through his first Princeton-Harvard game as a head coach. He did go 2-1 against the Crimson as a player, with wins his junior and senior years.

The football game is one of four between Princeton and Harvard this weekend on campus. It's a busy weekend for Princeton athletics, with a schedule like this (the only home event with an admission charge is football):

* the men's hockey team hosts Morrisville State, a Division III team, in its final exhibition game tomorrow at 4 at Baker Rink. The regular season begins next weekend with a four-team tournament in New Haven featuring Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown and Yale; all four will play two games that will count towards their records but won't count towards their league records.

* the women's hockey team plays its first real games this weekend, at Northeastern tonight and at Providence tomorrow

* the women's tennis team competes at the ITA regionals at Dartmouth

* the rowing teams compete at the Head of the Charles in Boston. If you're in the area and want to see a sporting spectacular, check out the pageantry of that event.

* the men's water polo team inches closer to the Southern Championships and the Eastern Championships when it takes on Iona at 11 and George Washington at 5 at DeNunzio Pool tomorrow

* sprint football is at Navy tonight. It's asking a lot to expect the Tigers to beat Navy, something that hasn't happened in 12 years. TigerBlog does know someone who feels that Princeton's best chance at a sprint football win is against one of the established teams, rather than the newcomers, because the established teams could be looking past Princeton.

* the women's volleyball team is 5-0 in the league as it heads to Columbia and Cornell. The Tigers are the only undefeated team at this point, but Penn has won four straight since its opening loss to Princeton. This race seems likely to go the end, when Princeton and Penn have their rematch.

* the field hockey team is playing the toughest non-league schedule in the country, something that should have the Tigers pretty well toughened up by the NCAA tournament. As for the Ivy League, Yale is 3-1 and tied for second - but the Bulldogs have been outscored 10-7 in the league. Why? Three wins by a combined four goals, plus a 7-0 loss to Princeton. Cornell is also 3-1, with its loss to Yale; the Tigers are at Cornell next weekend, after they host Harvard tomorrow (noon) and then play at Penn State Sunday. Princeton finishes the regular season with Penn.

* the football team will be playing its first full game without injured quarterback Tommy Wornham, who broke his collarbone last week against Brown. Princeton used three quarterbacks against the Bears after Wornham was hurt; a full week of practice at the position will be a huge plus. Princeton and Harvard meet for the 104th time in the 12th-most played rivalry in the FCS, though Harvard has played Yale, Dartmouth and Brown more than its played Princeton, and Princeton has played Yale more than its played Harvard.

* Princeton and Harvard meet at 5 in women's soccer tomorrow on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. Princeton is in second place entering the weekend, one point behind Columbia, who hosts Dartmouth. Harvard is 5-6-1 overall and 2-2 in the league, but no women's soccer game against the Crimson is ever easy.

* the men's soccer game will be played Sunday at 5 and can be seen on ESPNU. Princeton is one of three Ivy League schools ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 this week, along with Penn and Brown. The Ivy standings right now have Princeton and Penn at 3-0-0, followed by Harvard at 1-0-2.

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