Armchair Talking Head


Bigger and Newer: Is it Always Better?

I damn near cried the first time I went to St. Louis and saw the giant hole that used to be Busch Memorial Stadium. I went to my first Cards game with my Dad there. I learned that it was okay to love a baseball team like a woman there–you have your ups and downs, but you still lover her, dammit. My emotions were similar the first time my Dad and I set foot in New Busch Stadium where a whole slew of new memories have been made, none to top sitting on the first base line with Dad as the Budweiser Clydesdales galloped around the warning track with the 2006 World Series trohpy on opening day. As cool as new Busch Stadium is, something about me misses the old arches atop the old park. I liked the idea of watching Albert Pujols play at the same place my old man watched Bob Gibson hurl the ball. Progress is all good and well, and the topic of old baseball parks and the new-fangled “baseball parks” that focus on fan experience instead of baseball is an entirely different topic.

Credit: Crassic

I had a somewhat similar feeling as I drove down Bryant Drive today for the first time since it had opened post-South Endzone construction. It’s beautiful. It’s worth every penny spent on it. I oohed. I ahhed. I almost rear-ended a sorority girl back a week early for Rush in the BMW her daddy bought her because I was staring out the side window of my beaten down Chevy. A marvel of football, modern engineering, and a testament to the thousands of Alabama boys who have worn the Crimson and White on Saturdays in the fall sits between University Blvd. and Bryant Drive for sure, but I had a different reaction as I turned north on Wallace Wade Avenue.  Just as that street is named for a coach of old (Wade won 3 National Championships at Alabama from 1923-1930), the western side of Bryant-Denny tells a different story. Exposed beams, old but sturdy bricks dominate the view. You can see inside the stadium to an extent, and on game weeks you can often see the inner workings of getting the stadium ready for the 100K plus fans that will fill the seats that weekend. I kind of miss the ability to take a glimpse into the stadium, and the old feeling the stadium used to have. That oldness spoke to the tradition that so many Alabama fans love to talk about. I often wonder as I stand at the urinals tucked under the seats of the student section staring at the wood bolted to concrete and steel keeping us in our seats if the men who built the stadium in the 1920’s, or even people who have worked on it in the years in between, ever imagined the behemoth it has become.

In the changing, fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world of today’s college football, bigger and newer might mean more talented recruits, more fans, and more money. In fact, it might even play a part in the success of the team on the field, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I do like it, and I welcome progress, but  a little part of me hopes they never cover up the older parts of the stadium.



Where to Start?
December 21, 2009, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Golf, Hoops, Pigskin, Saban, The Tide, Tuscaloosa

Where to start? So much has gone down since the last time we spoke. That’s my bad, but with another semester in the books I’m free from the chains of the law to write about what I want so…

  • Alabama

The Tide capped off its second straight perfect regular season and is sitting at 13-0 after a dismantling of Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators and headed to Pasadena to play at the Rose Bowl in the BCS National Championship Game vs. Texas. Oh yeah, Mark Ingram brought home the first ever Heisman Trophy for a Tide player to Tuscaloosa.

This program, just three years removed from the shambles of the Shula era is again in the elite echelon of college sports. In just three years Nick Saban has taken Alabama from the ranks of former powers to the current players. The Process, as hokie as it may be, has worked magnificently. Greg McElroy has developed into a dependable QB, our defense may be better than the ’92 D, and our stable of running backs is no doubt as chocked full o’ talent as it has ever been in the history of the program. There’s an empty spot next to Coach Stallings just off University Blvd. and I wouldn’t at all be shocked if it’s filled up when the Tide takes on San Jose State to kickoff the 2010 season.

  • Tiger Woods

Shocker. Highly paid athletes attract fast women. We had no clue! Tiger Woods will be back to golf sooner rather than later (he’s got to pay that exorbitant pre-nup somehow), and we’ll all be the better for it. Tiger Woods has given me someone to hate since he burst onto the scene almost a decade ago, but now I’m his biggest fan. No I’m not pro adultery, I just imagine with Tag Heuer, Gilette, Accenture, Elin and the like dropping him he can use all the fans he can get. 

This story is sad. A family is being torn apart, but the real story here is another deification of an athlete by the media. For almost 10 years Tiger could do no wrong. He was a golf God held to an unmaintainable status not only as a golfer but as a person. Lay off Tiger Woods. Nobody is perfect, and he’s been as close to it on the course as we’ve ever seen in his relatively short PGA career. He’s an athlete, not a role model. (See: Barkley, Sir Charles) Hell, I don’t even understand why he’s taking a leave from golf. If a man’s got troubles at home, what’s left but golf?

  • The Anthony Grant Era Begins

TBD. We’ve looked promising in spots. Only time will tell, but the on the court product is much improved from a year ago. The UCLA high-post is gone and intensity on defense warms my 40 minutes of Hell loving soul. I’m not sure if this is an NCAA team this year, that will all shake out in SEC play but I wouldn’t be shocked to see this team ruffle some feathers in league play and in the SEC Tourney.

I’m going to try to neglect this blog a little less over the break and hopefully the spring semester. Be looking for BCS content, more on the Grant Era, the dawning of the Mitch Gaspard era in Baseball, and I’ll be back when Tiger wins the Masters in April.



Week 1 Thoughts

Well, well. We might actually have a decent football team on our hands here in Title Town.  The first half was eerily reminscent of that “Oh shit what’s happening!?!” feeling (see: Sugar Bowl, 2009), but the Tide pulled it through in the second half.  McElroy really seemed to come into is own, Mark Ingram was an absolute hoss, and the defense is as advertised.  It will be good to have a light next few weeks, but Nick Saban isn’t taking it lightly. Just ask him.

I posed the question of what will be the bigger story, Auburn with a potential loss to La. Tech or Alabama’s match with Va. Tech.  I don’t think there’s any question that the majority of the buzz surrounding college football is coming out of Tuscaloosa this week.  To be fair, I didn’t see a snap of the Auburn game, but it appears they somewhat handled La. Tech.  So I guess that means we have to start calling him 6-19 Gene. That’s such an improvement, right Barn?

I don’t know much about Alabama’s Week 2 opponent Florida International, except thanks to Coach Saban’s presser, #4 is pretty good.

Here’s to a 4 day week, the first weekend of tailgating on the Quad, and returning to Bryant Denny.



2 Days: Never Been So Happy Edition

Damn, I’ve never been so happy to see the NCAA issue a ruling than I was at about 7pm last night when the edict came down from on high (Indianapolis) that Julio Jones and Mark Ingram are clear to play Saturday against the Hokies upon paying restitution for their “improper benefits.”

Apparently, Julio and Mark have already made their payments.  If not however, might I suggest the “Human Fund”?



3 Days: Visual Edition
September 2, 2009, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Pigskin, Saban, The Tide, Tuscaloosa

While Bama fans sit with teeth clenched waiting on an NCAA ruling that may, or may not be coming, I’m comforted by the view I’ll have Saturday.

 

The view from Section 108

The view from Section 108

I’m not about to guess what’s going on between the two most unpredictable entities in the universe: the NCAA and Nick Saban.  However, playing against the #7 team in the nation without Julio Jones and Mark Ingram is not going to be a pretty thing to watch.  The Tide can still win Saturday, but McElroy will have to be superb in his debut, and Richardson, Upchurch, et al will have to step up and make major contributions in the backfield.  I’m confident that we can keep Tech’s run happy QB Tyrod Taylor in check.  The question will be can a diluted Bama Offense (assuming we’re without the services of Julio and Ingram) be able to move the ball against Bud Foster’s perennially tough defense?  

That’s why we play the game, I suppose.



Pre-Tulane Randomness

Tuscaloosa is absolutely jam packed with Bammers here to see the home-opener against the Green Wave of Tulane.  (By the way, don’t boo them.  Mal said so.)

Last week’s beatdown of Clemson was a shock, and like I said would happen, that victory totally shifted the direction of this season.  Tulane should go down pretty easily.  I don’t expect a huge aerial attack, and thus a 50+ point drubbing.  I’m seeing more of a 35-0, run it down their throats type of game.  The left side of the O-Line will be interesting to watch, as Andre Smith is sitting this one out after last weeks injury.  I’ll also have my eye on Mt. Cody to see how he dominates a much less equiped Tulane O-Line.

On a complete tangent, last night’s RNC speech from John McCain…  Wow, terrible is the only word I can come up with.  Unenthusiastic, old, and rambling are some thoughts I had throughout that snooze-fest. HOWEVER, Sarah Palin (HOTTIE!) had a tremendous showing Wednesday night.  She’s beautiful, folksy, and a great conservative.  She is John McCain’s Clemson blowout, so to speak.  She’s totally changed the course of the remainder of this election.  I look forward to seeing Palin in the Oval Office in 2012.

I’ll be on hand for the game Saturday.  Pictures may, or may not happen.  I’ll try to post some thoughts on the John Mark Stallings video tribute that will occur at halftime.  He was undoubtedly the most unwavering Bama fan ever, and the tribute should be a very special moment in BDS.

Until next time….RTR.



Hercules, Hercules!

Remember that precocious little fat kid at the Klump’s dinner table in the Nutty Professor?  Well apparently that is JUCO transfer, Bama nose guard Terrence Cody who now weighs in at 365lbs.  Here’s to “Hercules” having his way with Cullen Harper and C.J. Spiller tomorrow night.