I’m amused to read the stories of “what are people who want to watch the Giants-Raiders game on New Year’s Eve going to do?” Watch it, of course. Or keep up as best you can via radio. If it’s important to you, you know what you have to do.
This blog, as our longtime readers know, endorses following baseball games to the exclusion of all civility and good manners no matter the event into which you’ve been sucked or the people who might take offense; it is you who should take offense that anyone should try to keep you from what matters to you as long as what matters to you isn’t blowing somebody’s head off or other hurtful activity. We make an exception from time to time as sensitivities and considerations warrant, but we try to follow our own advice. Football is not baseball (boy is it not ever), but it has its place and time and that place and time is approximately here and now. The Giants have a big game. Do what you have to do.
Speaking of big games, New Year’s Eve starts at 11 AM on ESPN2 as the North Carolina State Wolfpack take on the (be still my Golden Brahman heart) UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS in the (I better hold tight to something) MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL.
I may even wake up for this.
When I attended USF from 1981 to 1985, we didn’t have a football team, and that was fine with me. I actually preferred it that way. The whole notion of being on the inside of a college football school turned me off. I pictured such a campus as one big fraternity, one from which I would somehow be blackballed. (And Revenge of the Nerds didn’t even come out until the end of my junior year.) Besides, being in Florida, one had his choice of top-notch college football, a fact and a sport of which I was barely aware before I headed south. I became a U of Miami fan during their Bernie Kosar age of enlightenment — they were new at being a powerhouse and they threw the ball a lot, both of which seemed appealing — and that contented me just fine from a short distance.
Now that I’m long graduated, I can be one of those alumni who dresses up in a raccoon coat and cheers his alma mater’s pigskin accomplishments in a fashion completely hypocritical to his younger self’s values. USF started a football program in 1997 and I’ve followed it lightly but loyally. The Bulls’ promising 2005 Big East debut, primarily the taking out of Louisville (the Phillies of the conference), gave them every opportunity to become something called bowl-eligible, assuming they didn’t trip up late to Connecticut (the Expos) or West Virginia (the Braves). Of course they did both but fortunately managed just enough wins before that to eke their way into the Muffler Shop championship.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl, played in Charlotte, is one of those bowls that everybody with any sense makes fun of as soon as they hear of it. That’s all right. I’d scoff, too, if USF weren’t a participant. But you have to understand that this is a program (how come college sports teams are “programs”?) that is nine years old. Nine-year-old programs don’t go to bowls, not even silly, obscure ones played before noon when sensible people are out stocking up on mixers. So I’m as excited just for the invite as I was the night Miami beat Nebraska to win the ’83 National Championship…and I was pretty excited then.
School spirit. Better late than never.
Let’s not kid each other, though. I’d drop the Meineke Car Care Bowl, let alone the Super Bowl, in a Temple Terrace minute if there were a Mets game on, even an old Mets game. There isn’t. Not a good one anyway.
In case you’re desperate, YES is showing Game Five of the 2000 World Series between 1 and 4 PM. And XM 175 is airing between 3 and 6 AM (I assume after midnight tonight) Game Two of that fetid Fall Classic. No, you’re not that desperate.
Don’t forget — we offer the pleasing alternative of sublime play-by-play of “ordinary” baseball action to get you through these alleged holidays. Theater of the mind and all that.
MSG and FSNY used to favor us once in a great winter’s while with a vintage Mets game, but they’re out of the Us business. Snigh, whatever they wind up doing, isn’t doing it yet. And ESPN Classic is plugging away with old college football games, which makes no sense to me whatsoever. Show old college football games to college football nuts when there’s no live college football on every five minutes. Show baseball fans baseball games when we don’t have any. Logic would tell you that.
What’s wrong with people?
New Year’s Eve means a lot to me. I wouldn’t be here without it. It would mean more if I could go to a ballgame just once on December 31. Hey, maybe I can…