By Tim Marcin
Elm Staff Writer
The good this week is a bit different than usual. Instead of looking back, I am looking forward. This week marks the beginning of postseason baseball, and there is nothing like this national pastime in October. The matchups and storylines are fantastic. Will the Yankees repeat? Who will they send out to the mound? Can C.C. Sabathia carry the load? Can Andy Pettite be elite like last year and will A.J. Burnett ever turn it around? Will the Phillies win a third NL championship in a row? Will the resurgent Braves pull it out for manager Bobby Cox in his last year? Will the Rays finally prove themselves as an elite team in the postseason?
The start of the playoffs presents more questions than answers. Soon enough, however, answers will come flooding in. Baseball may not be America’s favorite sport any longer, but the playoffs are undoubtedly entertaining. There is something about the edge of your seat drama of the ninth inning that can pull even the most marginal fans right into the action. Moments are created that last in our minds for eternity. The postseason always leaves us with distinct landmark memories. Dodgers fans remember Kirk Gibson’s homerun on one leg. Red Sox fans remember Aaron Boone blasting against them, ending their title hopes in 2003, while the hated Yankees rolled on. Phillies fans remember Brad Lidge collapsing to the ground after 2008, and Yankees fans have the recent memory of the boys in pinstripes winning one for George in the new stadium. There is something about October baseball that can captivate sports fans, and hopefully this postseason is no exception. There is no telling what will happen, but that is the beauty of the postseason. Soon we will see who will leave us with that unforgettable memory.
The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterbacks have been awful. Coach Wisenhunt should be shaking his head wondering why he gave up Matt Leinart. He is probably leaving desperate voicemails to Kurt Warner, sounding like a heartbroken teenager: “I just really need you!” Against the Chargers, the QB who beat out Leinart, Derek Anderson, finished 7 for 14 for 64 yards with two interceptions and three sacks. His passer rating hovered around 23. (Maybe he is just a really big Michael Jordan fan.) Eventually his performance got him yanked out of the game, showing Wisenhunt lacks the confidence he once had in Anderson when he traded away the person giving him viable competition. Anderson’s replacement Max Hall was not much more than a tackling dummy, getting sacked six times, coughing up a fumble along the way. All in all, the Cardinals mustered up 10 points, while the Chargers beat them up, scoring 41 along the way. Wisenhunt says a starter has not been chosen for their next game, sparking up a quarterback controversy. Maybe they should have kept Leinart. He may not have been any better, but at least he would have stirred up some interest by dating a celebrity.
John Bonamego is out in Miami. In case you are not up to date on the assistant coaches in the NFL, he was the special teams coach in Miami. His unit’s performance definitely warranted the canning he got. They were utterly horrendous. In a 41-14 loss, they directly accounted for 21 points that the Patriots scored. Two blocked kicks led to touchdowns and the Patriots’ Brandon Tate returned a kickoff against them 103 yards untouched for a score. It is not a new trend however, with the Dolphins ranking last or near the bottom in punting, kickoff coverage, and kickoff returns. Miami has been pretty good otherwise, but their special teams have cost them, especially against the Patriots. Dolphins cornerback Jason Allen put it best when he said, “We shot ourselves in the foot.” It is hard to win games when you are constantly behind the eight ball, and that is the position Miami consistently put themselves in against New England. Any momentum they gained was quickly negated by a special teams mistake.Thus John Bonamego may be collecting unemployment pretty soon, because it seems far-fetched that he will soon get another job coaching special teams.