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Archive for November, 2010

Until UConn v Stanford on Dec. 30, watch the fans !

Posted by athomeatfenway on November 29, 2010

U Can't Beat that UConn Spirit !

 

It is a common occurrence when the UConn Lady Huskies humble a Division I opponent.  That was the case when I took the President of the Yankee Pug Dog Club to the Nov. 26 chewing of Howard University.  The Huskies took to fresh Bison like a coyote to a lap dog.

 The Bison starting point guard looked to be 5’ 2” and 140 stones of solid muscle.  Far too much compact mass to keep up with the young greyhounds of Storrs.

5 minutes into the game, I and the Pug Prez were certain that the smaller, heavier, less conditioned Bison would be down about 50 – 12 at halftime.

It was actually 52 – 16 at the break.  And the final was 86-25.  To say that the Bison ran out of gas is an understatement. The walloping did not end there for the Bison as they lost their next two games by 30 and 27 points.  Let’s hope they do better against the Long Island Blackbirds on Wednesday.    They may have entered the pit of abject despair after their Gampel pummeling.  Cross your fingers.

UConn’s Maya Moore and Freshman stud Bria Hartley were as good as expected against Howard.  To the surprise of many, however, a nice performance from Frosh Center Stephanie Dolson brought 13 points to the effort.  13 points is one more than Dolson scored in all THREE of the previous games combined.

“Oh, Dolson ?”, the Pug Prez demurred.  “Geno didn’t put her in the Baylor game until the very end, when he had no choice. “  She paused.  “We don’t trust her yet.”

Now mind you when the Pug Prez hands me a nugget I think about her mixed credentials.  On one hand, she is a UConn Women’s season ticket holder and has been to 4 Final Fours.  On the other, I have on several occasions heard her yell TOUCHDOWN ! as the baseball cleared the outfield fence in a televised MLB game.  She is my sister, and I can’t always tell if she’s acting dumb or is as genuinely sports-ignorant as she seems to be.

Of course, she’s right about Dolson.

The Bisons made Dolson look good.

It will still be a while before the Pug Prez knows as much about Sports in general as she does about Pugs, but she does know the Lady Huskies.

The Bison blasting was the 82nd consecutive win for UConn.  With it, they surpassed the longest winning streak by a womens collegiate basketball team.  (Sorry about that Div. III Washington U. of St. Loo.)

Over the following two days UConn defeated Lehigh and LSU by a combined 162 – 89, getting wins 83 and 84.

They are now 4 wins away from tying UCLA’s magical 88 straight, fashioned in the Jabbar-Walton eras under HOF’er John Wooden.

They will have no problem steamrolling USF, Sacred Heart & Marquette for wins 85, 86 and 87.

But they will have to best Ohio State, #7, on Dec., 19 in NYC to tie Wooden.

And then defeat Florida State, #15, on Dec. 21 in Hartford to pass the Wizard.

Heck.  I’m not really concerned about the Buckeyes or the Seminoles or those others.

UConn’s best chance to lose will occur on Dec. 30 when they face #3 Stanford in Palo Alto, seeking win 91.  The Wooden record will be far, far in the rear view mirror by then.

They’ll be 3,000 miles from home for that one, 96 hours after leaving Storrs, playing at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, their second West Coast game in 3 nights.

They might lose that one.

Not only are they on the road against a top ranked team, but UConn’s decidedly young squad faces a Cardinal team that relies upon two Seniors and a Junior. 

LSU Coach Van Chancellor sees the vulnerability.  He told The Hartford Courant’s John Altavilla, ”The three teams that will give them the greatest problems will be Baylor…Stanford and Tennessee, teams with athletic post players….”.

Should be a great game.

After that, UConn won’t play a Top 10 team until Jan. 31 (#5 Duke) and Feb. 8 (#10 W. Virgainia.)

If Maya Moore stays healthy the Lady Huskies should continue to beat all comers by 10 to 50 points until they meet the Cardinal by the Bay.

Until that time we may celebrate a new all time record but we won’t have much to inspire us.  Except the amazing fan fashions created by loyalists like the one pictured above.  That’s an all home-made quilted sweater constructed with scraps of old UConn T-Shirts and fabric from Joanne’s.

That fan is a Top Dawg.

XXX

Of note:  Many empty seats despite the fact that ticket prices have been reduced from $22 to $15.

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The best place for a drink in San Fran

Posted by athomeatfenway on November 26, 2010

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What is there not to like about San Francisco? Colorful old homes, vibrant clubs, absurdly good restaurants both affordable and overpriced, the best California wines, Ghirardelli chocolate, the sea lions on Pier 39, the ferry to Alcatraz, the Golden Gate bridge, and the World Champion San Francisco Giants who play in a wondrous bandbox perched on a fresh water bay that is 48 miles long and 12 miles wide.

I’d bore you to death trying to relate what Little Lee and I found to be so wonderful about San Francisco.  So I won’t.

I will, however, point out one place all Baseball Historians will enjoy.

Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant & Cocktail lounge calls all visiting baseball fans to its leather banquets and mahogany walls at 333 Geary Street.  You are greeted by two 1940-era signs above the door, one spelling out the business name in green baseball cursive, the other with black and white art of a young Lefty batter in the follow through of his swing.   Step into the past, my friends.

By my count, 263 framed photographs line the walls. (Others have reported as many as 400.) There is a piano, a 50 foot bar, a cooking line kicking out grade-A “guy food” and a dining room that seats 200+.  The framed objects include original items like O’Doul’s Sporting News 1945 Minor League manager of the Year Award, a game used San Francisco Seals jersey, autographed photos of just Lefty, and other photos with ODoul standing with members of the Oakland A’s of the 70’s.  (Let’s not forget that Bay area fans have TWO great MLB traditions.)  There is a personalized and signed photo of William Frawley, the “I Love Lucy” co-star.  (O’Doul socialized in the orbit of Joe DiMaggio & Marilyn Monroe.  Frawley and countless other Hollywood stars were his friends.)  There is the 1939 Seals Mudcat Band.  There is O’Doul with a young Mantle.  There he is with Joe DiMaggio, arriving in wartime Korea.  There is a giant panoramic of a game at a Japanese Stadium.  Then there is one magnificent photo of a touring team that went to Japan in the 30’s, framed with the autographs of those 20 stars including, O’Doul, Ruth, Mack, and Gehrig.

 It’s a dazzling environment you shouldn’t miss.  Click on the album and page through the photos I took at O’Douls.

You can learn more about the current menu and services at this site: 

http://www.leftyodouls.biz/

Even better, read David Hoekstra’s 2008 piece in the Chicago Sun Times celebrating the 50th anniversary at this site:  CLICK HERE.

Lefty is the essential San Francisco Baseball Legend.  Born there in 1897, he played in MLB for the Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Phillies and Dodgers.  He had a .349 Lifetime B.A., winning the 1929 and 1932 NL batting titles with respective averages of .398 and .368.  Unfortunately, he only had 3,264 official at bats, not getting the PT needed to make a run at the HOF.  It happens.  See Riggs Stephenson.

Before retiring he traveled to Japan, hanging with Ruth & Hirohito, helping to introduce baseball to the Far East.

After hanging up the spikes he managed the San Francisco Seals for 17 years.  In 1935, he managed a young Seal named Joe DiMaggio, who batted .398.  Two years later he managed brother Dom. 

THE PCL was star studded.  O’Doul’s players competed against against Rip Collins & Hugh Casey of the LA Angels, Bill Rigney, Smead Jolley, Joe Gordon and Spud Chandler of the Oakland Oaks,  Vince DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr of the Hollywood Stars, Eddie Joost , Max West and Mark Koenig of the Mission Reds, and Max Bishop of the Portland Beavers, to name but a few.

Recognized as one of the game’s great hitting instructors, O’Doul mentored hundreds of future major leaguers, while amassing over 2,000 minor league wins as a Manager, a total surpassed by just 8 others.

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