Sunday, January 31, 2010
First, five parties you can't get into....
And now five parties you can get into...
All of these photos are courtesy of Darren Miller at hawkeyesports.com.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The pitch came high and inside and hit the Cub slugger in the face. From the 200 level of Wrigley Field I heard the contact as if I was in the third base dugout. Dawson when down instantly and lay motionless with Cub personnel rushing out to attend him. Dawson moved very little and the Chicago faithful expected the worse, but didn't expect what was to follow.
Dawson slowly came around. Like a boxer who took one of his final blows, but continued to come back for more, Dawson figured out where he was. He then figured out what just happened to him. As if shot out of a cannon, Dawson sprinted for the pitcher's mound and took one massive swing to the Padres hurler and the bench clearing brawl ensued. Also in the center was Chicago Cub pitcher, Rick Sutcliffe who was right there for the league MVP.
Now over twenty years since that Summer day Andre Dawson enters the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and the question is does he go in as a Montreal Expos or a Chicago Cub?
Dawson first came to the major leagues in the Montreal Expos system. While the Canadian team had little success and finally moved to Washington in the 2000s due to sagging attendance and little ownership support, the years that Dawson played there were some of best in the majors. However post-season success eluded them. After 11 years Dawson moved onto Chicago.
As a Cub Dawson gained national exposure with one of the more faithful fan bases around. Here he earned the MVP on a team that finished dead last in the National League. He earned the support of then St. Louis Cardinal manager, Whitey Herzog as he noted that without him the Cubs wouldn't finish near the top in triple A. But like in Montreal, post-season success avoided Dawson and after six years he moved on.
But the question was raised onto which hat Dawson would wear in the Hall of Fame. Arguments could be made for either side, but the committee got it right this time. He will be remembered as a Montreal Expos.
Dawson may have won the MVP as a Cub, but his best seasons came in Montreal with other great Expos as Tim Raines and Gary Carter. The Expos made Dawson the player he became in Chicago. However this came at a time when baseball games would be nationally shown twice a week and ESPN coverage isn't what baseball fans are accustomed to today. Had the national media been around there, today it wouldn't be a question. All would know "the Hawk" belongs in Cooperstown as a Montreal Expos.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Watching Sunday's game I grimaced at every painful hit given by the Saint defense onto the Viking quarterback. Every tackle that was borderline late, I winced at. But each time the veteran QB got up off the Superdome turf and returned to the huddle. Every time but one, then he was helped off the field at the end of a possession. While watching the trainers and doctors of the Vikings checked him out and re taped his ankle, many wondered if he would answer the bell. But like a great title fighter he came back in to take his licks and fight his team one more time.
But was I happy the Vikings lost? No, I was relieved.
I was relieved that the one time QB of my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers wasn't able to take the division rival to the Super Bowl. Throughout the year all Packer fans were expecting the "old" Favre to come back. We were waiting for Brett to begin forcing the ball, being intercepted and costing the Packers a possible victory. Green Bay fans would shrug it off as "Brett being Brett." We felt that is what made him the QB that Packer fans fell in love with.
But the divorce wasn't pretty and eventually Brett wanted to prove to the administration of the team that he parted ways with that he could still play. He did take Green Bay to the NFC Championship game in his last year in Wisconsin just two years ago and he knew there were still many touchdown throws left in that right arm.
But was I relieved that he didn't take the purple to Miami and the Super Bowl? He did prove that he could still play at a higher level than anyone thought he could play. He is destined to be the league MVP for another time. Is it five? six? Packer fans know he earned the award every year for their team. And with arguably the best surrounding cast of his storied career, he proved to the Packer brass that he could've done this for their team had they listened to him and acquired such free agents as Randy Moss, who instead ended up in New England, and not showing off his rear end again in Lambeau Field. But this isn't why I was relieved.
I was relieved because it became painful watching him take brutal hit after crushing blow. I didn't want him to win the game, but I also didn't want to see him possibly close his career by being carried off the field and not being able to return. Regardless of what jersey he was wearing all fans of professional football want to see their stars play at the top of their game and retire at that same time. No one, including Packer fans wanted to see Brett take one critical blow that would send the iron man permanently to the sidelines.
Now the season is over and the "R" word will repeatedly come up. Should he or shouldn't he? For Brett's sake I hope this is the end. He has proven he can still play and the Packers may have made a mistake...although Packer issues aren't with the play of the QB...and with the proper supporting cast he can still take a team to play at the highest level possible. But as he did in his last play with the Packers, he also threw an interception to possibly end his career. But this time it is different. I would be relieved to not hear the constant retirement talk and relieved to know he is able to walk off the field to end his career.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I gave him a humorous look while in a sense of disbelief. The 2002 football team was one for the ages. It went undefeated in the Big Ten while having numorous All-Americans. Heisman runner-up Brad Banks, John Mackey winner Dallas Clark, as well as Lou Groza award winner Nate Kaeding were among Iowa's elite. The Hawkeyes went on to finish the season ranked #5 while taking on USC who was third at the time, as what could amount to be the greatest team ever in Iowa football history.
My response to him that day wasn't as expansive as this one, but I just smiled, briefly explained how we did and politely began my walk away from his booth.
In 2010 the story was different. The Hawkeyes once again entered bowl play with double-digit victories, and won on a stage that proved to be difficult in 2003. The '09 team didn't have the all-americans and award winners the '02 team had, but gave their fans lasting memories that arguably top those of 2002.
Upon entering the convention after this season, adorned in my Hawkeye-issued clothing the responses were overwhelming. Coaches from different schools representing the different levels of play consistently approached me to congratulate me on a great season. On a 30 second elevator ride, three different coaches from as many schools each wished me the very best on the performance of the Iowa football team.
In display booths, any company that has any association with the Hawkeye program boasted of their connection to the #7 team in the land. Display boards congratulated the team on their Orange Bowl victory. Someone else who has conducted little business with Iowa had the Hawkeye football helmet prominently displayed with other BCS qualifying teams.
It was a display of appreciation and an attempt to make contact with a staff member of the Fed Ex Orange Bowl champions. It went beyond that. This Iowa Football team gave the nation a reason to watch college football. Every week fans tuned in to see a different story unfold. They wondered how could the defense continue to stop teams? How will the Iowa offense fare if they have to come from behind? Is this Iowa football team worthy of their top 10 status? Game after game the outcome would become the same, but the path was very much the different.
This Hawkeye football team didn't have the stars, and had fewer blowouts, but it was a storyline that all living across the country followed. And perhaps it gave that vendor from 2003 a reason to follow, too.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Video from the night of the Orange Bowl
Team arrives to Land Shark Stadium. Over 30,000 Hawkeye fans were in attendance, many of them awaiting the 2009 Hawkeye football team on the night of the game.
The team gathers from the locker room prior to taking the Land Shark Stadium Field.
Kool and the Gang perform at halftime of the 2010 Fed Ex Orange Bowl Halftime
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Friday, the Hawkeyes will return to Barry for a quick walk thru followed by the team photo at Land Shark Stadium
Below are the members of the police escort for the Hawkeyes who lead them around town.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Ted's is definitely the neighborhood bar. A good variety of bar games such as pool, darts, and video arcade are in one small area while the bar and tables fill up the rest. There are enough televisions give patrons a view of their favorite game from anywhere within the little hole in the wall.
What impressed me the most of our trip was the service of the bartenders. Upon ordering our first drink the young lady introduced herself to us and made sure we would be well taken care of. It was a Heck of a Deal.
Friday, January 1, 2010
At the Fontainebleau Lady GaGa ushered in the New Year to a packed crowd. The show started at the strike of midnight with three songs, "Bad Romance," "Just Dance," and "Pokerface." Rumors were circulating the performer was unhappy her "demands" weren't satisfied and only performed those three.
Before access to the roof of the Fontainebleau was closed to members of the Iowa Football Orange Bowl party, we were able to get a closer look at the set-up and performance area of the concert.