PHIL SIMMS IS AN OLD LADY

I love High Def television, but sometimes it just isn’t flattering. Just ask any adult film star. Watching sports in HD is a never-go-back experience…you can follow the play so much easier, see the little bits of action, recognize the individual players twice as fast, actually see expressions on their faces. However, sometimes those faces are pockmarked, running with snot, or you get far too close a look at Joe Torre’s hairy ears in the dugout. Then there was Phil Simms yesterday. Now I like Simms as a broadcaster…he’s a little vanilla, prone to saying some inadvertently homoerotic comments, which is always funny, but he’s astute and concise for the most part, and seemed on top of his game during that of the Steeler-Chargers. However, yesterday he also had pink hair. I don’t know if anybody else noticed this, but in the pre-game he looked like an old lady from Miami, tinting their hair to look like a sixties-era faux Christmas Tree. It was an unnatural color, highlighted in HD and not helped by the green screen he was standing in front of, but nevertheless looking like frosted fuchsia. Of course, he could color it blue and I’ll still like him more than Dan Dierdork.

RICKY BEING RICKY

Today at 1:30 Eastern, Ricky Henderson will be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame, finally (and I say finally even though this is his first year of eligibility). I love Ricky Henderson, he was a staple of those 80s Yankee teams of my teens…a symbol of greatness and of Steinbrenner’s repeated failures by buying top free agents but eschewing homegrown chemistry. Over his soon-to-be HoF career, Ricky scored 2,295 runs and stole 1406 bases, both records. He stole 130 bases in 1982, and nobody’s come within 20 of that mark. He also has more leadoff homeruns, 81, than anybody. All of this, plus his 1990 MVP, his two World Series rings, his twenty-five year career spanning four decades, will all be on his Hall plaque…but will the great Ricky stories? Will it say that Ricky used to stand naken in front of a locker room mirror swinging a bat before every game, saying “Ricky’s the best.” The one where he got a place in New York where, he bragged to teammates, he could see “the entire State building.” The two where he hung onto million dollar checks, the first of which he framed and hung on his wall (throwing the Oakland accounting department into chaos when they couldn’t account for it), the second when he hung onto a check the Yanks gave him until, as he told a young peon in the Yankee office named Brian Cashman, “the money market rates go up.” His sometimes petulant attitude when he watched lesser players start making more than him: “If they want to pay me like Gallego, I’ll play like Gallego.” And of course the one where he went up to Jon Olerud and said he used to play with a guy who wore a helmet in the field, only to have Olerud tell him “that was me.” Apparently, both parties say this last never happened, it’s just become part of the lore. Like anyone else, though, if it’s between the truth and the legend, I’ll take the legend.

On more Hall of Fame notes, I would love to see Don Mattingly get in there today, but know it won’t happen…still, if Donnie Baseball ain’t in there, I don’t want to see Jim Rice go either. Yes, it’s a Yankee-Red Sox thing. Andre Dawson and Tim Raines are up for it again, but I don’t think either has a chance. More intriguing will be how big a percentage Mark Maguire gets. This guy should be a no brainer but he’s under a bigger stain than Max Packer’s (YouTube “Taint” and “Mr. Show”). He’s got the numbers, no doubt, but even though he’s not mentioned in the Mitchell Report, his flop sweat “I’m not here to talk about the past” disaster will haunt him for decades. Ironically, it’s the sportswriters who all pretty much agreed to turn their heads the other way in 1998 while they wet their pants every time he walked by, it’s them who are now shunning him.

OH YEAH, THERE WAS FOOTBALL YESTERDAY

Sorry New York football fans, the Meadowlands are going dark for the rest of the season. Eli didn’t look too good, but at least he wasn’t Jake Delhomme. Woof, that was awful…and now the NFC Championship game is being played in Arizona. Is AZ Crazy a Cardinal fan? If you go back and look at Rex’s predictions yesterday, you may be surprised that many of them came true…Westbrook was completely contained, while Brandon Jacobs looked rested and ran hard (though Derek Ward wasn’t much of a factor); McNabb had a key fumble in the second quarter (well, intentional grounding in the end zone, which is worse); Rex’s prediction was that Eli would be 17 for 27 with two TDs and a pick was he’s pretty close (15 for 29, but with two picks and no TDs). Unfortunately, it’s hard to account for two missed field goals, failing twice to convert on fourth down, and some questionable challenges. Now, it suddenly seems quite realistic that, after going so long without a title, Philadelphians could have a replay of 1980, when the Phillies won the World Series and the Eagles lost the Superbowl! Remember a few weeks ago when I was excited about the big Pittsburgh-Raven showdown for the AFC North Title? Imagine my salivation at next week’s AFC Championship. I know everybody says it’s tough to beat a team three times in a season, but—without any research to back this up—it seems to me I’ve heard that argument before and it never pans out consistently. These teams are like mirror images of each other—big armed young quarterbacks who throw a good deep ball, a reliance on establishing the run, and of course those defenses. This could shape up to be a tough Superbowl…Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh in a rough 15-6 week 3 game in which all the marquee names had to leave at some point with injury. Pittsburgh beat Baltimore twice, but Baltimore pounded the Eagles with 24 fourth quarter points in their contest…you may remember that was the game McNabb got benched and back-up Kolb got thrown to the proverbial wolves. As for Arizona, there would be some drama to Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm facing their old Pittsburgh team, which would give them that edge that former coaches always seem to have over their old teams, but I can’t imagine the Cardinals doing anything against Philadelphia, much less Baltimore…but Arizona has confounded me all season.

At any rate, that’s why they play the game, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it next week. In the meantime, keep a lookout for this site’s redesign, I hear it looks pretty good. Have a good Monday all.

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www.MeetTheMatts.com started out as a NY Mets website and organically grew into an entity covering all professional sports. Our daily contributors, as diverse as they may be, share one important asset... a sense of humor. This is, after all, sports entertainment.