Good Morning Generation

I broke one of my cardinal rules about modern day professional football and actually attended the Broncos/Cowboys game last night in person.  My rule was that I’d never attend a game in person again and let’s just say that vow didn’t last very long.  I accepted the invitation to go in about .03 seconds (all times approximate) and was happy to get the chance to witness the Broncos quarterback (non)controversy in person.  I’ve been there three times previously, but all of those games were for college football (two Big 12 Championships and the TCU/Oregon State game last season).  Little bit different crowds between the pro and college level.

First of all, let’s get one myth out of the way real quick.  Everyone who says that modern day stadium is pricing out the blue collar fan couldn’t be further from the truth.  Well over 50% of the fans at the game last night were of the blue collar mold and I don’t think that’s because it was a preseason game.  While the modern day stadium might carry ridiculously high costs and the unforgivable concept of a PSL, all that’s happening instead is Jerry Jones is playing Ebenezer Scrooge to the Bob Cratchit lower-middle class families of the Metroplex.  Way to go Jerry, you crook!  People will try to tell you the white collar fan is the only person attending NFL games anymore, but that’s not true at all. 

Of the stadium experience itself, you can’t do much better than the deathstar, but it always puts you in the awkward position of having to choose between the world’s greatest television or watching the live action from a distance (where you can actually see the entirety of the play unfold like in a video game).  It’s the biggest pickle ever for a sports fan because although the JerryTron is badass, you find the little guy in the back of your head starting to ask why you even went to the game in the first place if you’re just going to watch it on TV.  Let’s just say I forced myself into watching the live action (begrudgingly).  One last note, the biggest atrocity the Cowboys committed in the construction of this wonder of the world was that the parking situation is criminally bad.  It’s not that there’s not enough parking.  Far from that, there’s actually way too much.  The problem is that the infrastructure cannot handle the amount of congestion and makes it impossible for the season ticket holders with parking passes to leave the game in a timely manner.  The set up can only be compared to that of a shopping mall which, in a similarly ridiculous practice, always makes it impossible for you to leave the parking lot while making it amazingly easy to get in (it’s the reason you don’t see a single stop sign on the way into the mall but then have to wait at six consecutive of them in 1/8 of a mile in order to get out).  So basically what happens is you can drive in relatively easy but then it takes you an hour to reach the interstate on the way home despite the stadium being maybe a quarter mile from I-30.

But who wants to hear me wax about the little details on the stadium itself, let’s get to the game!

Last night can best be described as the battle for the belt of the best third-string quarterback in the NFL.  The Broncos’ Brady Quinn and the Cowboys’ Stephen McGee put on a dazzling show in the second half last night and made that game about as entertaining as a pre-season game can be.  McGee of course drove the length of the field in the final four minutes and converted on a two point conversion with about 15 second left to beat the Broncos by one.  It was a great, great game, or as great as any contest can be between guys who will be stocking groceries in three weeks time.

But onto the storyline that dominated this game: the QB situation in Denver.  I made it to the game a little late so I actually didn’t get to see Orton play.  By all accounts he was typical Kyle Orton, carving up the Cowboys defense on his lone drive but failing to punch the ball in despite having first and goal at the one-yard line.  Can’t wait for another season where Orton puts up absurd fantasy numbers but leads his team to a losing record.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Denver Broncos!

But the real fun began late in the first quarter when Tim Tebow got to control the offense.  I’ve already read like five columns this morning, all of which have this same theme: “Tebow may suck in practice, but that’s because he’s a gameday quarterback!  Duh!!”  Let me tell you how it actually went down.  Tebow was mediocre, at best.  He simply cannot sit still in the pocket.  It’s like he has football ADD.  He takes every snap back, looks at his first read, and if that isn’t available he just starts churning his legs.  While one out of every five of these scrambles ends up working out, there’s also the four other ones where he took two sacks, threw a couple incompletions and a pick.  The guy cannot handle the speed of the game yet, unfortunately.  If there’s one bit of optimism to be had, Tebow is severely underestimated when it comes to throwing the deep ball.  He converted a beautiful 43-yard play action last night where he carved up a blown double coverage on the Cowboys part.  But that of course neglects the fact that he can’t hit a 7-yard out pass or find his second read.  Lots of work young ahead for that young man.

I hate to type out this next part, but it’s true.  Brady Quinn is a way better quarterback than Tim Tebow right now.  Sure, Quinn was going against the Cowboys backups’ backups whereas Tebow only had the backups, but I have to vouch for the incredible amount of poise shown by the former golden domer.  There was this awesome presence Quinn had on the field last night where you could tell the game was really slowing down for him as he exposed the Cowboys weak secondary.  He threw for 120-yards in his limited time in the second half  along with a brilliant touchdown pass where he delivered a strike to the back of the end zone.  This guy may just end up being a good quarterback in this league one day which sucks because it only furthers the QB mess of the Broncos.

All in all I was extremely pleased with the performance last night by Denver.  I fully support the move back to the 4-3 defense and you can tell Fox actually has a clue what he’s doing on that side of the ball.  The Cowboys have a couple of future players in McGee and receiver Dwayne Harris, but the defense still needs a lot of work before this team makes the jump back into contention.  Where you at Rob Ryan?

The NFL is back! 

Generation Y, where the prospect of another player winning his first major does not get our juices flowing.


TCU Baseball Ranked Number One In Preseason Poll

From Baseball News:

Texas Christian University is ranked No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball newspaper’s NCAA Division I pre-season baseball poll.

The Horned Frogs finished third at the College World Series last season and return a deep and experienced ball club for 2011. Seven position player starters are back along with three Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American starting pitchers in LHP Matt Purke (16-0, 3.02 ERA, 142 K, 34 BB), RHP Kyle Winkler (12-3, 3.39 ERA, 92 K, 36 BB), and RHP Steven Maxwell (11-2, 2.70 ERA, 93 K, 34 BB).

TCU is the only team in the nation with three pre-season All-American pitchers. Offensively, the team hit .334 last season with 178 doubles and 101 homers. The defense turned 71 double plays while pitchers and catchers picked off 15 runners.

TCU suffered two big losses in All-American catcher Bryan Holaday, Easton’s NCAA Division I Defensive Player of The Year last season (7 pickoffs, threw out 23 runners in 50 stolen base attempts over 68 games, .355 BA, 17 HR, 24 2B, 53 RBI) and 1B Matt Curry (.339, 18 HR, 26 2B, 65 RBI).

“I’m excited about our 2011 club,” said TCU Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle.

“We return our entire weekend rotation of pitchers and seven of eight position player starters who helped us go deep into the College World Series. Our starting pitching is superb with Matt Purke, Kyle Winkler and Steven Maxwell. If we can keep them healthy, it gives us a chance most weekends. We have other pitchers who are outstanding as well.”

Schlossnagle said that he has two quality catchers to fill in for the loss of Holaday in Jimmie Pharr and Josh Elander.

“Jimmie hit .363 in 39 games for us last season with 7 homers and 9 doubles. If you average that out over an entire season, those numbers would have been outstanding. Josh played outfield for us last year, but he was drafted as a catcher. So he is outstanding as well. Replacing a guy like Holaday is almost impossible. But if we can get 70 or 80 percent of what he did, then we have a great chance of success. Losing Curry also hurts because he was an exceptional hitter. Both Holaday and Curry were elite defensive players as well.”

One other loss is RHP Kaleb Merck (2-1, 1.47 ERA, 22 APP) who had a great summer in the Cape Cod League and was being looked at to be the closer. Unfortunately, he underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the season.

As far as pro potential, three TCU players are expected to be picked in the first three rounds of next June’s Free Agent Draft in Purke (1stround), Winkler (2nd-3rd round) and OF Jason Coats (1st-3rd rounds).

Schlossnagle said that sometimes handling success is more difficult than failure.

“We have been having success for a long time at TCU. Being at the College World Series magnified that. Our motto last Fall was to keep the blinders on and try to stay focused every day.”

This isn’t exactly surprising news as the Frogs return their best pitcher Matt Purke, a former number one pick of the Rangers who mowed down the competition in Omaha last year before the Frogs fell in the semis.  TCU can only be content with a run to the finals at this point, given their huge success in recent years.

Go Frogs!

[Baseball News]