Archive for category Sports

Colorado Joins the Pac-10

In sports news, we learn that the University of Colorado at Boulder has joined the Pacific-10 Conference. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Master of Science degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado. This means that my two alma maters will now be playing each other on a regular basis. Yay! This is cool!

This is a good move for Colorado. The Pac-10 is a great conference! In college football, the Pac-10 has a lot of great west coast teams, with exciting offenses and tough defensive squads. UC-Berkeley was always a great game, UCLA is tough to get by, Washington usually has lots of talent, and the Arizona fans in Sun Devil Stadium made for a deafening contest whenever Stanford played there. USC was always tough (sometime too tough), but Stanford football has earned some wins and ties against Southern California. The other athletic programs provide worthy competition, too – baseball, basketball, water polo, tennis, and so on. It will also be good for CU to join the stellar academics of the Pac-10 schools (Stanford, Berkeley, University of Washington, UCLA, etc.).

For Colorado sports fans, the Pac-10 schools are wonderful places to visit. Oregon is the most beautiful state in the country when the sun’s out. Seattle is a kick! Southern California is a fun place to spend a few extra days visiting Disneyland or going surfing. When in the Bay Area during fall, head to San Francisco and on to the wine country! San Francisco is the first big city I ever enjoyed.

During my senior year at Stanford, before I had ever visited Boulder, I remember a guy from the Stanford radio station telling me what an amazing place Boulder is when he traveled here for a rare Stanford-CU football game. So I came. I’m still here.

I don’t even know who I should root for! Undergraduate ties to the school’s athletic program are usually stronger, but I have been steeped in local football enthusiasm for decades now. I’ll go to the first Boulder game and just let the competitive juices flow where they will.

To all those Pac-10 students, fans, and alumni I have this to say: Come out and see us! Boulder is a great place to visit in the fall. Spend a few extra days in the mountains, hang out on the Pearl Street Mall, drive over the Trail Ridge Road before the snow flies, go skiing after the snow flies, have a meal at the Dushanbe Tea House and ask some local to tell you the real history of the place, or bag a Fourteener!

We’ll give you a good football game and send you on home, tired but happy.

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Cards Win Series, Experts Upset

Cardinal Nation is giddy after our beloved Cards won the world series. I got to hear the final inning called by an eleven year old watching it on a battery powered TV in a muddy field. We were camping at S-F scout ranch and had all gone to our tents for the night.

Boy I don’t get it, the Cardinals win the World Series, and a lot of people are more upset than usual that their team didn’t win. Let’s get one thing straight: TV ratings for the World Series have been dropping for a while – last year’s contest was the worst rated up until this years, and with the scorn the national media heaped on the Cardinals, would the average fan tune in?

But were the Cardinals really that bad a team? I don’t think so, and the team in October looked far more like the guys who stormed out to a 32-17 record at the start of the season than the guys who stumbled around in September and almost blew winning the division. And why not, they weren’t the same guys.

The gradual accretion of outcomes – pitch after pitch, at-bat after at-bat, game after game – yields a deep body of evidence about which teams and players are the best. By the end of the season, we know not only who’s more valuable, but by how much.

The problem with that is that when it isn’t the same players, and or when it is the same players but they are playing with injuries, the gradual accretion of outcomes doesn’t tell you anything.

At least there are some people who aren’t St. Louis Fans who think the Cards were underappreciated:

The Cardinals team we saw over the last few weeks is the same one we’ve seen pretty much every year this decade, when they’ve been on one of the less-remarked upon runs of greatness I can think of. With the exception of this year and 2003, the Cardinals have won between 93 and 105 games every year this decade. In every year save 2003, they’ve either won the National League pennant or been beaten by the team that did. Short of the Yankees and Braves, no team has had a more successful run in the wild card era.

Personally, I take this year as compensation for 2004, when the 105 victory Cardinals lost to the wild card Red Sox in four straight and looked nothing like the team that played in the regular season. I just wish Larry Walker was two years younger so he could have been there for the win.

As for those who remain unconvinced, well, too bad. Get over it, the Cardinals won. I don’t care what you think because reality says otherwise.

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The Curse Still Operative

Is it just me, or is the World Series a huge snooze now that the Cubs and the Red Sox aren’t in it? This goes to show you how important how you got somewhere can be, since when the season started I wouldn’t have thought a Marlins/Yankees World Series would have been anti-climactic. Once the horribly named NLCS and ALCS started, I think everybody but Marlin and Yankee fans were rooting, however slightly, for the Cubs and Red Sox to win them – something that wasn’t true even when the playoffs started. Thankfully for Fox,