Paul E. Anna: High points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Mid-October is a time when I’m feeling pretty sporty. And this October has been a great time to be a sports fan.
The highlight of the week, obviously, was the Bronco’s stunning 24-point comeback to beat the Chargers on Monday night. They donkeys were terrible, I mean terrible, in the first half, but in the second half they played like thoroughbreds. What this means for the future will be determined in, well, the future. But for now, optimism reigns in Rockies.
The Notre Dame win over Stanford in the rain below the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus was also one that shook down the thunder from the sky. Coach Brian Kelly replaced his QB, who led the team to overtime, threw a TD pass and then watched from the sideline as the Irish defense stopped Stanford four times inside the 4-yard line. OK, there was dispute about the final carry, did he or did he not get in, but that only added to the drama of the moment. A great college football game, and a star, Manti Te’o from the Punahou School in Hawaii (Obama, class of ’79), is being born before our eyes. The middle linebacker for the Irish has a bright future ahead of him as an NFL player and is the kind of guy who sets a great example for others. The kid is an Eagle Scout for Pete’s sakes.
And then there is baseball. By the time you read, this the Detroit Tigers will hopefully be the American League Champions. That is provided, and God willing, they swept the hated Yankees last night after this column was put to bed. In the National League, the hope here is that the Whippet, Timmy Lincecum, fired up a Giants victory over the Cardinals. That’s right – I’m rooting for a Tiger, Giants series. I’d love to see Tiger’s pitcher Justin Verlander versus Timmy Linecum and American Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera versus Buster Posey, the Giants catcher who led Major League Baseball with a .336 batting average this year.
As we sit here in the autumn of the year, there are two sports stories that reflect how time keeps marching on in sports just as it does in life. Derek Jeter, yes, he plays for the hated Yankees, fractured his ankle last Saturday night against the Tigers and was carried off the field. While I detest everything about the Yankees, I deeply admire Jeter for his play and professionalism throughout his career. Not only has he been one of the best Yankees ever (I rate them, Ruth, DiMaggio, Jeter, Mantle, Gehrig, Rivera, Berra etc., etc. etc), he has exemplified what an athlete should be in this modern era. Comes to play every day, talks to the press, signs autographs, dates beautiful women, does decent ads. Hard to hate Derek Jeter. I hope he comes back and plays another seven or eight seasons and gets another 953 hits to pass Pete Rose.
Then there is Ray Lewis. The Baltimore Ravens linebacker tore his triceps muscle less than 24 hours after Jeter fell to the turf behind second base and is perhaps out for the rest of this season and maybe for good. I’m not a Ravens fan and I am conflicted about Ray-Ray. His role in the stabbing deaths of two men following the Super Bowl in Atlanta in 2000 remains murky at best. But he has since been an exemplary player and personality who has been a force for guiding the careers of younger players throughout over the league. I hope that he, too, can return to play the game he has come to personify.
And who might be the stars of tomorrow who can carry on the legacies of Jeter and Lewis? Well you can watch Manti Te’o play on Saturday for the Fighting Irish as they take on BYU on NBC. And the aforementioned Buster Posey takes his place behind home plate for the Giants in game five tonight on FOX.
October is a good month for being sporty.
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