Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Let's Go Ottawa

The last pitch of the 2016 World Series that TigerBlog would see was in Kennedy Airport before he got on his flight to Portugal.

That was Game 4, which the Cleveland Indians won to go up 3-1 in the Series. They wouldn't win another game. TigerBlog had to get on the plane in the eighth inning. He saw a little of the game on one of the TV's at the gate.

Game 5 would start after 11 in Portugal. the last two games would start after midnight. There was no coverage of any of those games where TB was, and even if there had been, the games wouldn't have ended until well past 3 in the morning. The best way to figure out who won was to simply check the score online in the morning.

And so that's how TB figured out that the Cubs had won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. Theo Epstein has now ended two of the most infamous droughts in sports history, the long championship-less runs of the Red Sox and Cubs.

When Princeton men's lacrosse team was in a restaurant last Monday in the Algarve region, a replay of the Eagles-Cowboys Sunday night game came on the TV that was on. TigerBlog saw the first few plays before the team left.

Other than that, it was soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer and a little tennis on Portugese sports TV. Anywhere there was a television on, there was almost always a soccer game showing, from Portugal or somewhere else in Europe.

There was nothing American, other than the replay of that one football game.

It's actually been three full weekends since TigerBlog has seen a down of NFL football on television live. He watched a little of the Sixers opener so far this NBA season, and he watched almost no baseball on TV again this year.

Why is that? Why has TigerBlog lost almost all interest in professional sports? He's not really sure.

He's certainly watched a lot of them in his life. Some of his earliest memories were of watching games on a little black and white TV that was in his room and on another TV that was downstairs in the house where he grew up.

He watched ABA games at one time. He watched almost every New York Mets game that was on, with Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner as the broadcasters. He watched the Knicks and Rangers on channel 9 in New York, before there was cable, back when Bill Bradley was a Knick. There were years when he didn't miss a Giants game on TV.

Now? He can take it or leave it. Mostly leave it.

Why is that? He'll have to think about it and get back to you.

In the meantime, he's definitely on the Ottawa Senators bandwagon. As of yesterday, that is.

It wasn't until then that he realized that Princeton's Mike Condon was now on Ottawa. The former Tiger goalie started his first game last Thursday and made 27 saves in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Condon had an interesting time before that game.

He started his career last year with the Canadiens, and he did a very good job as the fill-in starter after Carey Price missed most of the year with an injury. Montreal was TB's favorite team last year. Now he's down on the Canadiens for giving up on Condon and for giving him so little offensive support last year, even if the team has the best record in the NHL now.

Condon ended up on the Pittsburgh Penguins to start this season. He was on the ice when the team had its opening-night banner-raising ceremony to celebrate last year's Stanley Cup.

Condon would play one period for the Penguins and not allow a goal on the seven shots he saw. Eventually, he was traded to Ottawa for a fifth-round pick.

To join his new team, Condon had to fly to from Los Angeles, where the Penguins were going to play Anaheim, to Toronto and then Ottawa, arriving at 3 in the morning. With almost no sleep, he practiced with his new team and then shut out the Canucks.

So yeah, TB is all over the Senators' bandwagon.

Condon's college team has played three games so far this year, none of which has been all that close to Princeton (at Michigan State and then at Clarkson and St. Lawrence). That changes this weekend, when the Tigers play their home openers against Harvard Friday and Dartmouth Saturday.

The games this weekend will be the only two home games for the men's hockey team this month.

Next weekend, the Tigers will head up to Colgate and Cornell, which means the first chance to play in Colgate's brand-new Class of 1965 Arena. Beyond that is a trip over Thanksgiving to Bemidji State. That's in Minnesota.

Baker Rink could be the best place at Princeton to see a game. Basically anyone that TigerBlog knows who has been to a game there loves it. The seats are right on the ice. The games are fast. The atmosphere is great. Princeton will be home six times in December. 

And twice this weekend.

Ottawa, on the other hand, is in Buffalo tonight after playing in Nashville last night. TigerBlog is up on his Senators.

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