Saturday’s college football game between North Alabama and Jacksonville State will be played in only one direction. Both schools, when on offense, will be trying to score on the same end zone.
The game will be held in Madison, Alabama, just west of Huntsville at a minor league baseball stadium. Toyota Field, which is home to Los Angeles Angels Double-A affiliate, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, will host the FCS matchup on Saturday.
Yes, I still have and wear on occasion my sweatshirt. Funny, though, it’s a sweatshirt, which means I wear it the opposite of baseball season, like now.
Albert Pujols did something Sunday that he hadn’t done in his previous 2,987 regular season career games – he took the mound.
With the Cardinals safely ahead of San Francisco 15-2 and looking to save the arms of the pitching staff, Pujols was called on to toe the rubber in the top of the ninth. It marked the first time in his 22-year MLB career that he’d pitched in a game.
His stats were memed as follows:
As I like to point out, and did on Facebook, he’s worse than José Oquendo, whose ERA was 12.00 with six innings pitched in three games.
Still, it doesn’t mean Fields can’t find a way to bring in at least one of his former teammates. He’ll do some extra legwork to lure Chris Booker to Chicago if he is smart. Don’t feel bad if you’re unfamiliar with the name. The senior spent two years for the Buckeyes as a backup. He made only two catches during that time—both of them in the year after Fields left.
So why in the world should the QB even bother?
Namely, because Booker has untapped potential. He’s 6’3 with understated speed and surprisingly polished as a route-runner. After dropping out of football at Dayton in 2018, he transferred to Ohio State with no intention of playing again. However, he was convinced to join the school’s club football team. In his first game, he scored touchdowns on a reception, an interception, and a kick return. His head coach knew he had way too much talent for that level right away. So he pestered the school’s varsity program to give Booker a shot.
They finally did after a year. He became a regular on their scout team and would catch passes from Fields in practice.
So the two know each other well. Teammates and coaches alike grew surprised by his progress. That included receivers coach Brian Hartline, a former NFL standout. While he never cracked the offensive starting lineup, Booker became arguably the best special teams player in the entire program and one of the best in college football. Every time somebody was making a play on kick coverage or blocking units, #86 was in the frame. Sadly the ascent came too late in his career to drum up draft interest.
My beautiful wife, who shared this story with me as she’s friends with the lad’s mother, said, “It would be the one way to get a Bears jersey in our house.”
“The hell it would,” I countered thoughtfully. “However, if he were to sign with the Green Bay Packers, everyone in the house would have a Chris Booker jersey. Even the cats.”
What followed was an attempt to edit a listing from the Packer Pro Shop for pet jerseys to include the name and number of the young man in question. An effort abandoned when I determined it would require a couple hours of work for a couple of chuckles at best.
This morning, whilst I was driving him to school, the sports guy mentioned that the Atlanta Braves in 1995 became the first team to win the World Series in three different cities, and he asked the morning D.J. if he knew what they were.
“Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta,” I said. And I hoped we’d be in the car long enough to hear the answer.
After a bit more chit-chat, Ned Reynolds said, “Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.”
My oldest in the back seat snorted. “God, Dad,” he said, not equating me with the almighty but instead impressed.
“They’re a Milwaukee team,” I explained. Which is true: Once a Milwaukee team, always a Milwaukee team. Strangely enough, the oldest baseball card is a 1952 or 1953 Del Crandall that I picked up on the ground when I lived in the housing projects. It had rounded corners then and a crease that eventually became a tear, so it’s held together with thirty-year-old Scotch tape, so it’s practically worthless. But I remember where the Braves have been.
“As long as my father breathes, I take the club as my responsibility,” he said. “He held it for 20 years. As a son, I would be embarrassed if I left.”
Which is better than having to work for a living because he spent his athlete millions on hookers and coke.
It kind of mirrors, in a way, his former teammate Mario Lemiuex, who took an ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins when they went bankrupt and then un-retired to play six more seasons for his own hockey club.
(Jaromir Jagr, as you might recall, is the source of that one thing Daddy always says.)
Apparently, the Bears have another new old quarterback to lead them to further mediocrity, and Greg Couch at OutKick is unsympathetic:
The Chicago Bears will announce today that they have signed some guy named Andy Dalton. From here on, I’m going to refer to him simply as Some Guy.
Some Guy ends the era of Mitch Trubisky, who Bears general manager Ryan Pace traded up for in the draft. He picked Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Watson. Trubisky failed for four years.
Yes, I know who Some Guy is. For years, he was Cincinnati’s Trubisky. They stuck with him even longer than the Bears stuck with Trubisky. Some Guy then went to Dallas last year where he continued to be faceless and nameless.
The Bears didn’t want Some Guy. They wanted The Guy. Chicago is the black hole of NFL quarterbacks. It’s where quarterback careers go to die. The Bears haven’t had a real quarterback for 70 years, other than a few years of Jim McMahon 35 years ago.
Unfortunately, it probably won’t be a long-term thing, unlike the Jay Cutler or Mitch Tnopointnowinlearningtospellitsky things.
The Denver Broncos not having any quarterbacks available Sunday may have been seen as an opportunity for Colin Kaepernick to play in the NFL again.
But that was never a possibility, as league rules mandate that acquired players must remain in COVID-19 isolation for six days before joining their new team.
You mean someone might have been actually interested? Nah, bro, we were just working his name into a headline again:
Then again, Denver, along with every other team, has never seemed interested in reaching out to Kaepernick.
The guy has been out of football for three years now. Let it go.
You know whom the Broncos wanted to bend the rules so they could play? A coach:
The Denver Broncos are starting undrafted rookie practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but the team wanted their starting QB to be Rob Calabrese, their offensive quality control coach for the past two years, sources told ESPN on Sunday.
Denver felt that Calabrese had the strongest command of its offense and he could run the system better than anybody, sources told ESPN. The league denied those requests that were made throughout the day Saturday, saying that the Broncos could not activate a coach to their active roster. The league doesn’t want coaching staffs being storage areas for potential players, sources said.
Considering that the Broncos are playing the New Orleans Saints, who are starting gadget quarterback Taysom Hill again this week, it would almost be worth turning it on to see who does better. However, the Red Packers are playing at the same time, so Nogglestead will be tuning in to see the team that the Packers defeated in Super Bowl I instead.
UPDATE: Sorry, the quips keep coming, so I’ll add them:
I told my youngest, who broke and dislocated my finger with a football pass that he needed to suit up. Strangely, and disappointingly, enough, my boys are nominal Broncos fans because the oldest had friends in kindergarten who were Broncos fans. My boys have grown since then, but they still sleep under Broncos blankets and the youngest, at least, has not yet outgrown Broncos apparel. He did not believe me about having to start for the Broncos. So if the Packers game goes badly, we might well end up watching former Packer Taysom HIll.
As usual, on the day after a Chicago Bears loss, I’m prowling the Chicago newspapers’ Web sites, enjoying the rending of the sackcloths. In one such document, we get the coach offering some resigned optimism:
“When you keep fighting, a punch will normally land,” Nagy said. “And if it’s a good one — a nice little uppercut that knocks him out — then you get another and the next one is a body shot and you just keep throwing them. That’s all you can do. You stay strong.”
Technically, in boxing and mixed martial arts, you pretty much stop punching once you’ve knocked your opponent out. And on the street, if you’re so inclined because you’re a punk, you start kicking, not dropping on top of the opponent to punch his unconscious body.
But, hey, it’s Chicago. Maybe they do things differently there.
His mother and my beautiful wife worked together, and our families had dinner together. Well, “families” might be a little misleading–my beautiful wife and I were freshly married and did not yet have children. As we had dinner together, the toddler had a Fisher Price golf club. I tried to teach him how to put both hands on the club, extend it horizontally, and say, “Cross check.”
Apparently, it didn’t stick. (Ahut, as my mother would say, a little verbal rimshot to say Did you catch the joke there?)
However, it is entirely possible now that I will be able to say in a year or two that an NFL player danced at my wedding. We have photos of little Christopher spinning on the dance floor of the reception hall. I will explain to everyone that he was already practicing his touchdown dance.
As long as he’s not a member of the Chicago Bears. If he is, I will disallow any knowledge of him and delete this post.
The top slide, not to spoil it for you, is the 2003 game against the Eagles where the Packers gave up a 28 yard pass on a 4th and 26th in the fourth quarter. You can still say 4th and 26th in Wisconsin and people will shake their heads and mutter.
Ankiel was a pitcher with the Cardinals from 1999 until 2001, when he found himself unable to throw strikes consistently. After trying to regain his pitching form in the minor leagues and briefly returning to the majors in 2004, he switched to the outfield in early 2005. For two and a half years, he honed his skills as a hitter and fielder in the Cardinals’ minor-league system. He returned to the Cardinals on August 9, 2007.
I know, I’m an old school gamer. Kids these days only know multiclassing.
The producer knocked on the trailer door, needing Vernon Davis on the set. It was time for his scene, one rich with dialogue. Davis, though, needed another minute. He wasn’t done preparing.
There’s a reason Davis is entering his 14th season and remains the Washington Redskins’ No. 2 tight end at age 35. There’s also a reason he is receiving praise for what he hopes will be his post-NFL career — acting. It’s preparation.
On the set of “Hell on the Border” this January day, it meant telling the film’s producer he needed to get into character.
“When I heard that, I was so excited, like, ‘Oh, my god, this guy really came to do this movie and is prepared,'” producer Henry Penzi said. “He had a big monologue. I read it and said, ‘Oh, god, I hope he can pull it off.’ I never told him that because I didn’t want to scare anyone.”
Time will tell if he’s another Marlin Olsen or Alex Karras or merely another Brian Bosworth.
“Is that Jordan Binnington?” my twelve-year-old asked.
“It’s a signed limited edition print by an artist I know in a series of 200. How much do you think it’s worth?”
“$1000,” the twelve-year-old said.
“$200,” the eleven-year-old said.
It’s only 20 bucks at his Web site, and you’ll want to get one before they’re gone, because if you wait until my estate sale, the price will have gone up dramatically.
It’s funny; “an artist I know” means “a guy who worked for a guy who sublet from a place where I worked thirteen years ago.” Matt is also second cousin once removed from Al Hirschfeld, the celebrated caricaturist from New York (according to this piece in the New York Times, but Matt’s Web site doesn’t mention the familial relationship).
So I “know” Matt less than I do the comic book artist in St. Louis; I met them both long ago and am friends with them on Facebook, but that’s what I’ve got as the equivalent of knowing everyone on the block like a noir detective since I live in the country and the other houses are far, far away.