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BB isn't a hot spot on any weekend, though that may change during the season, and tomorrow is the second U.S. national holiday this week -- the Super Bowl. So don't expect a lot of new Blue Jays content, unless there's breaking news.

I'm probably the exception among sports fans these days; my passion for baseball is presumably evident, and even though I gripe about the length of the regular NHL season and the number of playoff teams, I love hockey. Basketball has become my third choice in recent years, and I've gradually lost interest in football. I don't know why; it could have something to do with mellowing as I get older.

There was a time (see Curtain, Steel) when I was a rabid armchair quarterback, but now I tend to ignore the NFL season except for TV highlights -- I can still appreciate great plays -- and the only games I watch start to finish are the conference finals and the Big One. This seems to be a great matchup this year, like the '74 Pittsburgh offence (Raiders) against their own defence (Bucs). I'll hit the mute button for Celine Dion, take Tampa as my rooting interest, enjoy a cool Sleeman's or two, and hear the immortal words of George Carlin in my head:

Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.

Also: in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.

In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform,you'd know the reason for this custom.

Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball and football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game. Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet. In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs - what down is it? Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?

In football you receive a penalty. In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick. In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness. Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog... In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch. Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end -- might have extra innings. Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness. In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! -- I hope I'll be safe at home!

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Saturday, January 25 2003 @ 10:25 AM EST (#98262) #
FWIW - I enjoy studying the Super Bowl. Here's some of what I found:

This season:

Points scored rank - 1st
Points allowed rank - 6th

Points scored rank - 18th
Points allowed rank - 1st

In 36 Super Bowls:

Average score 30.5 - 14.6

Winning team:
Average rank (based on points scored) of offensive team - 4.6
Average rank (based on points allowed) of defensive team - 4.4

Losing team:
Average rank of offensive team - 5.4
Average rank of defensive team - 6.6

# times a team with the #1 scoring team has won SB - 9
# times a team with the #1 points allowed team has won SB - 10

# times a team with the #1 scoring team has lost SB - 9
# times a team with the #1 points allowed team has lost SB - 4

Teams not in the top ten in offense that won SB:
GB - SBII (13th)
Wash - SB XVII (12th)
NYG - SB XXV (15th)
Balt - SB XXXV (14th)

If Tampa wins they would have the worst ranked offense ever (18th).

Worst sum of points scored/allowed rankings of winning teams:
GB - SB II (17)
Oak - SB XV (17)

If Tampa wins they would have the worst sum ranking ever (19).

In the past 10 years the offensive rank of the winning team has been:

1, 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, 1, 2, 1, 14, 6

In the same period the defensive rank has been:
2, 5, 2, 6, 3, 1, 6, 9, 4, 1, 6

In the last 10 Super Bowls:

* The winner has averaged 33.5 points and allowed 17.7 points.

* The winner has been in the top 3 in offense 8 times

* The winner has been in the top 3 in defense 4 times

* 3 times the winner has been in the top 3 in both offense and defense

* 5 times in the last ten years a team with a top 3 offense has won without a top 3 defense.

* Only once in the past 10 years has a team with a top 3 defense won without a top 3 offense (Ravens)

* Fewest points scored by a winning team - 20

* The winning team has been in the top 10 in both offense and defense 9 out of 10 years

Defense wins Super Bowls = Myth

It's the team with the best combination of offense and defense that wins, go figure.

If your a Bucs fan you have to hope that having the #1 defense is enough to carry you, as 10 of the top 14 defenses in the SB have won, while you're just 9 out of 18 with the top offense.

Everything else points to the Raiders.

My prediction:

If you take away the Jurevicus play against the Eagles the Bucs scored 10 points against the Eagles last week on offense. It'll take a lot more than that to get it done Sunday. They haven't shown the ability to get score big in the regular season ranking 18th this year. They did well against a beat up 49er secondary, and had a deceiving total against Philly. History says the Bucs don't have enough offense to pull it off.

It'll stay close for a half, but the Bucs will fall behind in the 3rd quarter and start pressing to score leading to turnovers and more easy scores for the Raiders.

Raiders 31
Bucs 13

MVP: Rich Gannon: 26-34, 324 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints.

(I also liked the Rams last year........)
_Gron Juden - Saturday, January 25 2003 @ 11:05 AM EST (#98263) #
They did well against a beat up 49er secondary, and had a deceiving total against Philly.

Yeah, well, if you take away their misleading performances against Tennessee and the Jets, the Raiders haven't shown any offense in the postseason.

C'mon. You were doing fine until you started eliminating data that didn't support what you were arguing.

I'm rooting for Tampa but I'm hard-pressed to say I expect them to win.
_Ian Gray - Saturday, January 25 2003 @ 05:31 PM EST (#98264) #
If you take away the Jurevicus play...

Huh? I can understand not counting points set up directly off turnovers or great returns. I've never heard of discounting offensive scores because of great offensive plays. As Gron points out, you can't just take out data because you don't like what it says.

I'm actually rather heartened by your data. It confirmed my impression of just how dreadful the Ravens offense was when they won it all. I, for one, am one Bucs fan who'll take Brad Johnson over Trent Dilfer any day of the week and as many times as I can on Sundays. That goes double for the respective receiving corps.

Similarly, while I don't think Tampa's defense is better than Baltimore's historic crew, I'm heartened at how well it stacks up unit by unit with it: a better line, a better secondary, and a linebacking crew that, despite being great, gets completely dwarfed by the Ravens' trio.

I dunno. Maybe I'm being foolish, but the Raiders intimidate me as a Bucs fan far less than the Eagles did last week. The Eagles featured a comparable offense to the Raiders (though not quite as good, of course) and a far better defense. That plus they were playing in Philly. My highly partisan final line, therefore, is...

Bucs 24, Raiders 14
_jason - Saturday, January 25 2003 @ 06:45 PM EST (#98265) #
Actual baseball news!
_Repoz - Saturday, January 25 2003 @ 07:42 PM EST (#98266) #
"Super Sunday" is the one day I truly wish...I was Canadian.
_jason - Sunday, January 26 2003 @ 05:00 AM EST (#98267) #
Does anybody have any insight on who will be the odd catcher out come this season? Wilson or Huckaby?
Craig B - Sunday, January 26 2003 @ 11:15 AM EST (#98268) #
Jason, I think Wilson is likely to get the nod. His hand/wrist should be fully healed, and he's more of a natural platoon with Myers, because he hits lefties quite well.

Huckaby will likely play at Syracuse with Kevin Cash and hopefully teach him some of the art of calling a game and managing a pitching staff.

Just my $.02 of course... Cash is a decent bet to be in Toronto before September anyway.
_Matthew Elmslie - Monday, January 27 2003 @ 10:32 AM EST (#98269) #
I like the George Carlin routine. Are you also familiar with Tom Boswell's '99 Reasons Why Baseball is Better Than Football'?
Coach - Monday, January 27 2003 @ 08:33 PM EST (#98270) #
Matthew, my personal favourite is #82, "Football coaches walk across the field after the game and pretend to congratulate the opposing coach. Baseball managers head right for the beer."

From Baseball Almanac, here's the complete Boswell list, including #23, "Everything George Carlin said in his famous monologue is right on. In football you blitz, bomb, spear, shiver, march and score. In baseball, you wait for a walk, take your stretch, toe the rubber, tap your spikes, play ball and run home."
Baseball & Football | 9 comments | Create New Account
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