Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Thoughts

Some observations:

I like the Panthers chances against Minnesota this weekend. The Panthers are feeling a little bit of confidence, but they are also that the difference between success and failure is just a play here or there. This is a team that is doing exactly what Ron Rivera has been preaching all season: learning.

They learned how to deal with adversity against Washington and overcame the mistakes (of which there were enough that could have swung the game in the Redskins favor). They made the plays they needed to get the job done. That will go a long way in their development as the season continues.

Interesting to note, that there are many national football folks who believe the Panthers are not out of the playoff picture at this time. Yes, they are 2-5, but a win Sunday heading into their bye week could be huge. A team that has suffered through some tough losses to good teams could easily fold up their tents and call it quits, but this bunch continues to progress. I personally am not convinced the Panthers will make the playoffs, but a win Sunday would get them back in the mix, even if it is on the periphery of the discussion.

The World Series will see its first Game 7 since 2002 on Friday night. I am a lifelong baseball fan, and what I watched into the wee hours on Thursday was epic. Two teams throwing haymakers at one another from the 8th inning on. Big at-bat after big at-bat, both teams finding a way to score runs when the heat was at its height. Just beautiful to watch.

I am bothered, though, by the haters out there ripping Joe Buck for his home run call of Brian Freese in the 11th. His "we will see you tomorrow night," was word for word, the same as his father Jack Buck from 1991, when Kirby Puckett's extra-inning homer to win Game 6 over the Atlanta Braves, forcing a World Series Game 7. It was akin to Buck's call of Kirk Gibson's homer for the Dodgers to beat Oakland in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. It's the stuff that is built into the lore and magic of baseball's post-season.

People are unhappy that the call wasn't original. Really? I have a message to the haters: Get a Life. Seriously. What a great tribute to not only his father, but a legendary broadcaster. Had Joe borrowed something from Vin Scully or Jon Miller, or even the late Ernie Harwell, I would understand people being a little unhappy. Joe Buck kept it in the family, and as the situation was virtually identical (the game was played outdoors, rather than in a dome is about the only difference), it was fitting. Simple, direct, and dramatic.

Given all that Joe has been through healthwise, cut him a break. And then after you've done that, get out of your basement and see the world. Or just your little corner of it.

We'll see you tonight on Sports Night at 10.

Mike Solarte

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