DATELINE BERKELY -  In an ever yearning state to bring you news from all the West Coast, your weary reporter with the geographically encompassing name is in this hilly berg full of Priuses, solar panels, and recycling.  Why?  Hanging with some old friends to watch the sports wives-and-kids free for a weekend.  Yes, all you dads with newborns and toddlers, it can happen to you too in a few years.  At any rate, I’m gonna keep this fairly brief today…and I’m sorry I haven’t been on here lately.  It’s been kind of a lost weekend, to tell you the truth, and that’s not talking about my wagering…though I’ll be doing some of that.  Suffice to say, my perfect record of betting Cardinals games remains intact…I haven’t picked them right all year.  This kind of perfection needs help, of course, it needs me undervaluing Kurt Warner—who now becomes the feel-good underdog comeback story—and it helps to  have Donovon McNabb throwing three terrible passes for every good one, and David Akers suddenly forgetting how to kick (in a dome, no less), and Jim Johnson continuing to blitz on every play even though Warner was dumping it off and beating it all day, and Andy Reid’s not following suit nor calling any kind of screen or dump off to his greatest weapon Westbrook, who only caught two passes.  I made some of it back on the Steelers and the over 34, many thanks to Troy Polomalu’s help for both.  The best graphic I saw all day was a sign behind the Raven bench that read “You’re Still the Browns To Us, And You Still Stink!”  Now Ken Whisenhunt will get to play his old team and people will say that the Steelers chose Tomlin over him to be their coach…but, while I’m not sure what went down behind the scenes, I do remember that Whisenhunt left to take the Arizona job (and Russ Grimm with him) Before Tomlin was hired, taking his own name out of the hat for the job. 

 I can’t work many MLK Day references in here, I’m not in Selma or in Washington D.C., but I was at the Shark Tank the other night, to see the two best hockey teams in the west face off.  I know the Rangers are doing well this season, and the Bruins are right around the best record in hockey, but on Saturday night the action was in what I heard one native call “San Ho” as the Sharks and Red Wings got together for an action packed, high scoring affair.  Let me paint the scene for you here…San Ho isn’t like other sports towns, the Sharks are pretty much the only game in town, and as such they’re surprisingly popular.  The Shark Tank is located in the neighborhoody downtown area,  and while it looks kind of shiny from a distance, up close it looks more like a giant cube made of fancy corrugated tin.  The people come from all directions, and a large percentage of them were wearing Sharks’ jerseys…there was a line outside the arena gift shop, these people love their Shark merchandise (and frankly, the symbol is a shark biting a hockey stick, the kind of thing that has a lot of kid appeal).  It’s kind of bare bones inside, but watching the game from the official MeettheMatts.com suite, you get a great view of the HD scoreboards, the pride and joy of HP Pavilion.  This being “San Ho,” it’s a pretty tech-savvy crowd, and the sponsors all have names like Powerwise Technologies, Applied Materials, Lam Research, and Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net (https://www.videosift.com/video/Bill-Gates-Buys-Homer-Out).  There are MetroPCS Power Plays, and National Semiconductor Hooking Penalties.  This is an arena full of seventeen thousand nerds, and they love their team, roared their desire for a lot of scoring and a lot of fights.  They got more of the former than the latter—there were plenty of skirmishes between these two teams who’ll surely see a lot more of each other in the playoffs, but no gloves came off—and there was a festive, if not exactly playoff atmosphere throughout the entire game.  For a rooting interest, I got down on the -1.5 money line for +195…and watched as the Sharks took a lead, lost it, took it again, lost it again, fell behind, pulled even and then ahead, 5-4, and we’re hoping for a garbage time empty netter but then they get a breakaway and score again…and for four glorious minutes there was a two goal lead for the home team.  But the Red Wings are tenacious, they swarmed over everything, and relentlessly kept after it until they scored with two minutes left.  Despite our imploring, when Detroit pulled Osgood,  nobody took any of those crazy full ice empty netters, and while the nerds cheered and mocked the rather heavy representation of Detroit jerseys leaving the side doors of the big corrugated cube, nobody apparently told them that it would’ve been better if they won by two.   Fortunately, Troy Polomalu’s fourth quarter pick-six became our empty netter yesterday.   Slow sports week ahead before the hype really cranks out.  Enjoy the day off today, head to the Mountaintop.

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About West Coast Craig 226 Articles
West Coast Craig reports from Hollywood with an endearingly laid back style. A happily married father of two little boys, WCC has an avocado tree in his yard, plays the hot corner in a "Valley" hardball league and always manages to take cool sports-related mini road-trips, often with his immediate clan. He hails from Oneonta, NY but has been "So very L.A." for twenty years, so his sports teams are the Yankees AND the Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the L.A. Lakers and the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques. WCC loves bacon-wrapped hotdogs and can touch his heel and his ear... with his hand.