V.21 No.44 | 11/1/2012
Giants Shut Out Tigers for World Series Win
By Michael Sanchez [ Mon Oct 29 2012 3:27 PM ]
The San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers last night to capture their second World Series championship in the last three years. The game went into extra innings, fitting for a desperate Detroit attempting to wring the last bits of magic out of their otherwise-remarkable season. The extra innings also appropriately gave Tigers fans that familiar false sense that the Giants had finally been put against the wall. Throughout the postseason, San Francisco would fight and cling their way back from the edge of defeat, only to then make victory look easy. So when the game went to a 10th inning, plenty of nervous fans back in San Francisco must have been holding their collective breath. Had these Giants put themselves into a corner once again?
After playing their way out of a hole in every series—coming back from a 1-3 hole in the League Championship Series against St. Louis and an 0-2 hole against the Cincinnati Reds—there was nothing easy about this march to the championship for the Giants. Therefore, the worry felt by Giants fans, even while 3-0 over a team that had just steamrolled the Yankees, seemed rational. The worry, it turned out, was unfounded.
The doubt of victory may have crept in to the minds of fans, but the players never let it creep in—and if they did, they certainly never showed it. The team that battled back over and over and over again this postseason never had to do so in the finals. The Giants forced the Tigers into batting a worse-than-pedestrian .159 average during this World Series, and San Francisco looked every bit as mighty as the Tigers had previously felt. The questions that loom over the future of the Tigers will ensure some serious debate during the offseason, but this moment isn't about them.
This moment is about celebrating a team that pulled it all together and, in a rarity in this day and age of baseball, now has their World Series championship actually in place before October's end. The San Francisco Giants left the baseball world in the dust to become champions in a whirlwind postseason that won't easily be forgotten.
V.21 No.42 | 10/18/2012
World Series Preview
Tigers versus Giants
By Michael Sanchez [ Tue Oct 23 2012 4:04 PM ]
October's chill is lingering everywhere in America, which means that it's time for baseball's biggest stage—the World Series starts on Wednesday night. It'll be the Detroit Tigers against the San Francisco Giants, after a stunning seven-game series sent the Giants to their second finals in three years. The Detroit Tigers, on the other hand, swept the heavily-favored New York Yankees in a dominating fashion. Their ample rest time and the momentum of previous upsets allow for a perceived advantage.
The Tigers made the normally superstar Yankees look terribly mortal in their League Championship series. During their first two games in New York, the Yankees' vaunted captain Derek Jeter fractured his ankle and once-invincible Alex Rodriguez was benched after subpar hitting. The post-season disappointment was enough for General Manager Brian Cashman to declare that A-Rod was no longer untouchable in an angry rant that surprised no one.
The Tigers didn't look as impressive during the five games it took them to dispatch the Oakland A's, but their consistency means that, despite New York's always-expected headlines, Detroit is the team that's still making waves for good reasons.
The Cardinals won it all last year, the Giants the year before. It should have been expected that this match-up would mean a spectacular series, but when opening games were split in San Francisco, some people doubted the resolve. Of course, we should have seen this coming considering not only both prgrams' last two seasons, but also this year's regular season. Neither team knows how to quit.
Sadly for St. Louis fans, game 7 in San Francisco brought a dramatic end end to this epic fight. The Cardinals were rolled 9-0. Not-so-sadly for Giants fans, their team can carry this victory with them as the latest sign that they can never be counted out.
The Tigers may have the larger momentum, but San Francisco has a deep-seated belief that they will never lose. They were down in the NLCS 1-3 and beat the odds to win games 5, 6 and 7, with the margin in this last closeout game being the largest of the series.
The World Series is the best time for the casual baseball fan to get excited and embrace a team. Despite the Yankees’ continued headline dominance and decorated history, baseball begins to feel like a sport that has achieved true equivalence. In the last ten years, eight different teams have risen as champions, with the repeaters being the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Giants now have a chance to join that repeaters club (if they can get over the Detroit Tigers of course). It is going to be a fantastic battle.
V.21 No.6 | 2/9/2012
Photo by Paul Sancya
Manning might be Brady's kryptonite
By Michael Sanchez [ Mon Feb 6 2012 1:15 PM ]
The Giants beat the Patriots again, and all of a sudden, we've got a new meme. The idea that Tom Brady is incapable of beating Eli Manning gained some serious traction on Sunday night, as the New York G-Men beat New England's favorite son for the second time in the biggest game of them all.
While a big story at the water cooler today might revolve around the half time show and the maybe-controversy of Madonna's guest M.I.A. flipping the bird, there was plenty of football to comment on, too. The game, while sloppy in many places, proceeded at a pace that was far from predicted. The 38 total points fell pretty easily under the Vegas-based line of 53, and probably surprised many people who were expecting an offensive slugfest.
With two points scored in the first six minutes of play, the Giants seized control of the game quickly, thanks to an unusual safety. Brady had attempted a pass from his own end zone, which was ruled intentional grounding, resulting in the two points and a return of possession to the Giants.
Just five and a half minutes later, the Giants cashed in on that drive, making the score 9-0. The Patriots were seemingly on the ropes. However, New England started the second quarter by chipping in a field goal after five minutes. They proceeded to make two strong defensive stands, sandwiched by an anemic offensive set of three-and-out, but followed up that weakness by going 99 yards in just under 4 minutes—a performance that netted them a touchdown and the lead to go into halftime.
After the halftime controversy that wasn't—although it's probably a good thing Heather Wilson isn't our Representative here in New Mexico anymore—the big surprises started coming. The slow start might have been expected, given Super Bowl-sized nerves, but surely no one counted on 19 points in the first half being repeated in the second.
The Patriots grabbed a lead, seemingly confident even as the Giants first kicked one field goal and then another, to pull within two points. But the fourth quarter opened with Brady throwing it deep, only to be intercepted. The following drive by the Giants, while resulting in no points, killed enough clock that things were getting to an end point, no matter what. With that same two-point lead, the Patriots were in a delicate position.
That perilous footing proved to be disastrous when, following a null Patriots set, Eli Manning orchestrated a big drive, sparked by a dazzling 38-yard Mario Manningham sideline catch. The Giants milked the clock and got deep enough field position that Patriots coach Bill Belichick gambled on allowing the touchdown to go through, leaving Brady and co. just under one minute to put together a game-winning drive.
But it wasn't to be. Patriot receivers had ket drops as the game dwindled, and Brady's final Hail Mary pass was batted up in the end zone, falling just out of reach of a diving Rob Gronkowski. It resulted in a 21-17 G-Men win.
Belichick and Brady are now 3-2 in Super Bowls together, and Manning is 2-0. No one can deny the Patriots their place as a dynasty, but it appears there is a new force to be reckoned with at the top of the heap.
V.21 No.3 | 1/19/2012
The Daily Word in football, flaming tampons and cell phone outages.
By Nick Brown and E. J. Maliskas [ Mon Jan 23 2012 10:21 AM ]
R.I.P. coach Joe Paterno.
A guy shot a nail into his brain and didn’t know it.
Flaming tampons blamed in attempted car burning.
Hipsters react to snow predictably.
Now hiring Homeland Security people.
Seal and Heidi Klum are splitting up.
Tracy Morgan collapsed at Sundance.
I’m a doctor, not a hand-held medical scanner!
Are there scorpions on Venus?
Here are 17 creepy ways to tie your shoes.
Break me off a piece of that giant Kit Kat Bar.
Police say a UNM football player pepper-sprayed his girlfriend.
Has your cell phone been acting weird?
Look at the Albuquerque Crime Map.
Happy birthday Ernie Kovacs!
NFL conference championships coming up
By Michael Sanchez [ Tue Jan 17 2012 3:00 PM ]
So, it'll be San Francisco versus the New York Giants and New England versus Baltimore. All for the right to go to the biggest game of the year. No more upstart Broncos, no more defending-champ Packers. No more surprise Texans, and no more record-breaking Saints.
Obviously, the majority of the public wants to see a rematch of Super Bowl XLII with the Patriots facing the Giants. It's not that simple, though.
In order to get past the 49ers, the Giants will have to overcome the underdog story of the year. With Alex Smith (he of the No. 1 pick who has disappointed in almost every one of his six previous seasons in the NFL) gunning, the 49ers have impressed upon nearly everyone by now the fact that they are a serious team. By beating the New Orleans Saints in dramatic—if not overwhelming—fashion, the 49ers have proved that its sometimes-anemic offense (especially in regards to the passing game) is not a problem and its defense is a facet upon which they may hang their collective hat.
The Giants, on the other hand, rolled over the Green Bay Packers in such demonstrative fashion that their offense, which was well-heralded previously, may become secondary to a defensive unit that sacked opposing quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times. The Giants also had their way on offense, with Eli Manning picking apart the Packers' defense in way that was rather embarrassing.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots put an end to the miracle story of Tim Tebow's Broncos. The team-that-could just ran into a buzz saw and was clearly outmatched. Tebow outlived expectations this year and should be proud of the wins he (and the Broncos defense) managed this season, as well as making it to the playoffs, but the Patriots offense hung 45 points on the vaunted Broncos defense.
New England looks to continue its performance next weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, whose defense is miles ahead of the Broncos. The only hitch in the Ravens' game plan could be found in their regular season record: Of the four games they lost, all were away from home. Next week they'll play at Gillette Stadium, where New England is a tidy 7-1. That sole loss, by the way? It came to the New York Giants.
Both games will be televised on Sunday, with Baltimore and New England at 1 PM on CBS, and New York playing in San Francisco at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.
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