posted: Sep. 12, 2005  |  Feedback

Some people and companies to thank on a Monday:

• Thanks to Fox and MLB for not showing Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game in California, courtesy of the inexplicable "Every Saturday baseball telecast with a 1 p.m. East Coast start is blacked out on the West Coast" rule. I pay something like $159 a year to allegedly get "every Red Sox game," and yet I have missed at least six or seven Saturday games this season (and counting). Really? They couldn't bump a "90210" rerun on FX and simulcast these games there so the people on the West Coast can watch them? They couldn't make them available to anyone who subscribes to the Extra Innings package? My goal of the week is to find out (a) why this rule exists, (b) if they're even aware of how many Red Sox and Yankees fans live on the West Coast and get furious every time one of these games are bumped, and (c) if they even care.

• Thanks to Curt Schilling, who pitched maybe the biggest game of the season on Saturday when the Yankees were getting ideas of a possible sweep at the Stadium. I'd say more, but they didn't show the game on TV out here. Have I mentioned that yet?

• Thanks to Dale Sveum, who is officially "The Worst Person In America At His Job" now that FEMA chief Michael Brown has been reassigned. As Ontario reader Andrew Steed wrote over the weekend, "I'm nearly beyond help now. Why does Sveum have a job? Waving in Varitek [in Friday's game] was possibly the worst decision by a paid coach that I have ever seen. That includes Bowie-Jordan. That includes trading half of the GDP for Herschel. I live in Ottawa and there are few people who understand just how calamitous this is. You did a column talking about the waiting period after a championship, but then you went on to say that they've clearly abandoned the 'let's keep everyone together premise.' How is Sveum still there? Getting Dusty Baker's kid to replace Sveum would be an upgrade comparable to the Lakers going from Kurt Rambis to Phil Jackson."

(I have nothing to add -- this was a problem last season, it's been an ongoing problem this season, and nobody seems to care. I don't get it.)

• Thanks to Andre Agassi, who had me interested in tennis for the first time in years last week under the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Memorial "If you hang around long enough, people will eventually like you when you're competing at an advanced age and seem like a relative underdog" Corollary. Hard to believe this was the same contrived guy with ridiculous hair that everyone despised in the early '90s. Seems like just yesterday.

• Thanks to Steffi Graf for 20 years of "Wait, is she cute or not cute?" battles. I bet I have had that conversation 50 times in my life with somebody. And yes, I think she's cute. Great pegs on her.

• Thanks to USA, CBS and DirecTV for cutting away from the Agassi-Blake match in the fifth set -- moving it from USA to CBS -- so anyone who lives on the West Coast didn't see how the last 32 minutes of the match finished (because we're three hours behind here, so they were showing CBS's and USA's prime-time lineups). That was fantastic. I TiVo'ed the match because I was writing my NFL column at the time, then went to watch it on Friday morning and nearly ended up killing everyone in a three-mile radius. And I don't even like tennis anymore.

• Thanks in advance to everyone who's sending me an "It's your own damned fault, you never should have moved to the West Coast, you idiot!" e-mail.

• Thanks to three readers who pointed out that the Cooper Manning joke in Friday's column could be perceived to be in bad taste. I was going for the easy "brother who wasn't as good as the other brothers" joke and totally forgot that he battled spinal stenosis in the early 90s (prematurely ending his playing career). My apologies if anyone took it the wrong way.

• Thanks to my local cable providers, who decided to run a five-minute Emergency Test broadcasting message -- you know, when the screen turns black and they run an annoying noise that makes dogs crazy -- during the final telecast of A&E's "24" marathon last week. The Sports Gal and I plowed through the first 23 episodes, we're immersed in the season finale, and at the 15-minute mark, right when they're about to hunt down the last missile, BOOM! This is a test of the emergency broadcasting system. By the time they returned to the show, the missile was being blown up. Fantastic.

That reminds me, I thought Season Four was the best season yet. Ten belated comments …

1. Did you ever think, at any point in his career, that you would be saying the words, "All right, it's not even an argument any more -- Kiefer Sutherland is the best law enforcement character of all time." I know he's not an actual cop, but he's taking down bad guys every episode, so I think it's fair to compare him to Sonny Crockett, Starsky and Hutch, Andy Sipowicz, Vic from "The Shield," the guy from CSI and everyone else. And he's the best. If you needed to take down a group of bad guys, and you could pick one TV character from any show, who wouldn't take Jack Bauer?

2. William Devane hasn't been that good since he was chanting "Let Them Play" at the Astrodome.

3. Couldn't stand the actress who played Devane's daughter and Jack's girlfriend -- she wasn't a good actress, she wasn't that cute and her character stunk. Other than that, I thought she was great.

4. A new addition to the That Guy Hall of Fame: That Guy from the Sopranos who also played Edgar in "24." What a resume -- he's becoming this generation's Robert Costanzo. And speaking of That Guys, how 'bout Trey from "The OC" pulling double-duty as Devane's gay son in "24"?

5. How could CTU end up with so many moles? How is this possible? You'd figure like one mole every 10 years would be a big deal -- this place has them every six months.

6. Have no idea if this is true or not, but I'm guessing that they started Season 4 with a bunch of new characters, only everyone missed the old ones, so they figured out convoluted ways to bring back Tony Almeida, Michele Dessler and President Palmer just to appease the diehards. Which is fine with me -- I like all three of them. I'd even throw Tony Almeida in to the TV Sidekick Pantheon along with Ricardo Tubbs, Bosley, Huggy Bear, the Skipper, Boner Stabone, Screech Powers, Paulie Walnuts, Steve Sanders, Johnny Drama and everyone else.

And by the way, Dennis Haysbert should be the president in real life. I'm not even kidding. I would vote for either him or Jeff Bridges, and if they were on the same ticket, all the better. After watching the country survive (barely) despite the Martz-like performances of our last three presidents, it's clear that the position is overrated -- so why can't we just hire guys who seem like they would be good presidents? At least their speeches and public appearances would be good, right?

7. Speaking of presidents, bookies in Vegas have just removed the odds of my dropping a "President Logan Face" joke in an upcoming column.

8. I loved the ending of the last show, as Jack was walking aimlessly down the street with the knapsack over his shoulder … but why couldn't they have gone with the piano music from the endings of "The Incredible Hulk?" Remember when Dr. David Banner would be walking down the street in a torn pair of jeans, and they would play that sad, "Too bad, his new life didn't work out again because the Hulk came out" music as the closing credits rolled? That used to destroy me as a little kid; I couldn't handle it. Jack needed that music to push the final scene over the top.

9. Idea for the next "24" season: Jack has 24 hours to prevent a season-long strike for the 2006 NFL season. They need to mix things up.

10. Did you ever watch too many "24" episodes in too short of a span, to the point that it starts affecting your innate reactions to people in your everyday life? For instance, there's an Arab (really nice guy) who runs the newstand near my house, and I was walking there last week and thinking about something else when I saw him on his cell phone, so my brain was still in "24" mode, and I thought for like 0.2 seconds, "Oh my God, he's calling Marwan, HE KNOWS WHERE THE NUCLEAR FOOTBALL IS!" Then I realized it was real life and the moment passed. All right, I think I shared too much here.

• Just so you know, I'm saving all my NFL thoughts for Friday's column this season. But after watching what happened Sunday, it's clear that (a) the NFC South is the best division in football, and (b) Tampa Bay is better than anyone thought except for the guys at Football Outsiders (although even they admitted that they couldn't figure out why their stat engine liked Tampa so much and that the same thing happened last year when they stunk). Well, somebody has to stink in that division, right? Watch out for a potential Falcons stinkbomb tonight -- they could be the team.

• For everyone who keeps e-mailing me about my "complaints" that the Pats didn't have good enough Super Bowl odds -- for much of July and August, they were at 8-1 and Indy was at 6-1. Right now, on every gambling-related Web site I can find, the Pats are 6-1 and Indy is 4-1. My argument was and is that Indy shouldn't have better odds to win the Super Bowl than New England until (a) the Belichick-and-Brady combination loses a playoff game, or (b) Indy beats them in the regular season. Neither of these things has happened yet. Not sure why this is so tough to understand.

• If you haven't given to the Red Cross yet, here's the link. Make sure you click on the "Hurricane Katrina" choice so the money goes directly to the relief effort in New Orleans. And yes, it's tax deductible.

More tomorrow.

September 2005