Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Weekend Read

The "Evil Empire:" Perhaps in a galaxy not so far, far away

My dad sent me this link. Interesting, if
not unsubstantiated comparison by Melissa Hoppert of the Times.

Have the Ohio State Buckeyes become the next Yankees, a successful team that has failed miserably recently in the postseason?

...But just like for the Yankees, after winning the big game merely making it there, for some, is no longer enough. The 41-14 drubbing by Florida in last season’s title game remains fresh in most people’s minds. (Not to mention the 84-75 loss to the Gators in the N.C.A.A. title game in basketball. Or even the Ohio State soccer team’s 2-1 loss to Wake Forest in the College Cup championship last Sunday.)
Out of context, Hoppert's more-of-the-same droning about underdogs, personal challenges and layoffs sounds like a rough outline for Michael Moore's next documentary. However, it is interesting to entertain her likening of our beloved Buckeyes to the always-polarizing Bronx Bombers...

Yankee Stadium =
Ohio Stadium
Like Yankee Stadium, The Horseshoe is a nationally recognized monument that represents all that is great and wrong about sports. Opened in 1923 and 1922 respectively, both venues welcomed crowds far greater than ever expected. The grounds that the Bucks and Yanks call home are draped in historical mystique and considered a mecca to any true fan. Unfortunately, both have or soon will trade unmatched traditional beauty for renovations/demolition catered to big spenders and sponsorship opportunities. Unlike Yankee Stadium, Ohio Stadium is “dry” so patrons must resort to consumption of smuggled liquor throughout the game as opposed to rationing the contraband until the final innings.

George Steinbrenner
= E. Gordon Gee
Like The Boss, Gordon Gee is quirky and always impeccably dressed. I would even go as far as to recommend Larry David to play the part of Gee in his biopic. Unlike Steinbrenner, Gee seems to have, at the very least, some kind of emotional hardwiring that allows him to discern right from wrong. Gee also appears to genuinely enjoy basic human interaction.

rian Cashman = Gene Smith
Like the Yankees GM, Smith is the man directly behind the coach/manager. Both have budgets far, far above the average program in their respective league of play. It’s not always a glamour job, as both Cashman and Smith are readily vilified when anything goes awry. Unlike Ca$hman, Smith, to my knowledge, has never put a price on a player’s soul.

oe Torre = Jim Tressel
Like the current Dodgers skipper, Tressel is a former-player turned coach, turned living legend. Both are reliable, generally reserved and respected by their peers. These men thrive(d) under the pressure created by the high expectations for these historic powerhouses. Unlike Torre, Tress has yet to be disrespected by his longtime boss in a pubic forum resulting in a blemish on his otherwise esteemed career.

Babe Ruth = Chick Harley

Like The Babe, Chick “built” his team’s “house.” These legends played the game at a different level and were cut from a special cloth. The grizzled old sage in the upper deck will tell you that Babe and Chick would still run circles (figuratively when speaking of Ruth) around today’s “athletes.” It’s easy to forgive these lads for their off-field eccentricities. Model Americans. Unlike Babe Ruth and despite his historical significance, Chick Harley’s name is rarely, if ever, mentioned in any conversation outside of Columbus.

Stump Merrill = Earle Bruce
Like Stump, Earle is old, portly and had a less-than-stellar coaching career in the limelight followed by a demotion to an equally tasteless stint heading a lackluster squad in Columbus (though it should be noted that Merrill won the Governor’s Cup with the Clippers while Bruce only managed a 6-10 record in his one season the Destroyers.) Both followed their backslides with much more fruitful vocations hanging around their old programs and providing sound bites to local media when asked. Unlike Merrill, who was cold-cocked on national TV by then Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, Bruce has yet to provoke a swift ass kicking at the hand of Michigan player some 50 years his junior.

Derek Jeter =

...no one associated with The Ohio State University. He publicly endorses Michigan, even after having the foresight to pass on their scholarship offer. As far as I'm concerned, this is far and away his greatest personal achievement.

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