Packers/Bears Disaster, Baseball, Frank TV

OK, if you’re still with me after I last week declared a Yankees/Phillies World Series, then thank you, thank you, thank you. I obviously don’t deserve your support, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

In my defense of the Yankees, I did say that the Yankees and Indians were the two best teams standing and whichever one came out of that series was going to win the whole thing. I still believe that. I just happened to pick the wrong team. Really, though, the Yankees pitching was horrible. Well, Wang was horrible. A series ERA of 19.06. That’s bad. I don’t believe that Joe Torre deserves to be fired, but Wang should not have been allowed to start game four after he massively stank in game one. I would have started Mariano Rivera before Wang. I would have started Geraldo Rivera before Wang.

As for the Phillies, I guess I didn’t respect the Rockies enough. Simple as that. So now TBS gets a Colorado/Arizona series which is an incredibly hard sell for anyone but baseball geeks. I say it’s karma for shoving those incredibly lame Frank TV ads down their viewers’ throats.

Producers of those Frank TV ad promos, listen up: There are three ways an impression is funny. An impression is funny if it stinks. I can’t think of a better example right now than Kramer saying “not bloody likely” in an accent that was supposed to be Cockney but was just loud. An impression is funny if the person being impersonated is put into a bizarre circumstance, a comedic device that the great SCTV show excelled at (and yes, that was a shameless plug for my book: http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-3191-5. Buy it now.). An impression is funny if the person being impersonated is made to say things that the real person would never in a million years say. I’m thinking Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra in “The Sinatra Group” sketch: “Put a bag over it and do your business.”

An impression is NOT funny if the impressionist just repeats lines the real person would say: Frank Caliendo as John Madden talking about turduckens is not funny because that’s something the real John Madden has talked about. So it’s not a piece of humor, it’s a reference, one that requires no creativity to write. And it’s not funny, any more so than John Madden is funny. And the genius who decided to run those unfunny spots every six minutes deserves to be demoted to writing Saved By The Bell promos. Because I can virtually guarantee that Frank TV — more than a month before it premieres — is the most hated TV show on the planet.

OK, how did this blog go so wrong? Actually John Madden — who I really respect, along with Al Michaels, as a broadcaster — is a good segue to discussing this week’s Packers/Bears game. What the hell happened there? Here’s the crux of what I wrote in my preseason prediction of the Packers winning the game 24-21: Cedric Benson stinks. Check. Teams that lose the Super Bowl don’t make it back next year. Too early to tell, but looks about right. Rex Grossman won’t improve. Obvious check since his career as a Chicago Bear is over. So how could I be right about everything and be wrong about the final outcome?

Well, that’s because the Bears didn’t beat the Packers. The Packers beat the Packers. And I’m not just talking about the turnovers, although they obviously played an enormous part in the defeat. I’m talking about the Packers taking the ball out of Brett Favre’s hands and putting it into DeShawn Wynn’s hands. Mike McCarthy was obviously so thrilled with the first drive of the game, in which the Packers gained 64 yards on the ground (beating their season game average in less than four minutes), and so horrified by James Jones’s fumbles, that he decided to go away from the short passing game that had gotten the Packers off to a perfect start and stick to a conservative running attack. And it didn’t work. The Packers had all of 19 rushing yards, 32 total yards, and one first down in the second half until the last drive when the team finally put the ball in Favre’s hands and the team gained 41 yards. But by then it was too little, too late.

The Packers now stay home to face a surprising Redskins team, who are 3-1 on the basis of what appears to be a solid defense — they gave up only 144 yards and 3 points last week to the Lions, one week after the Lions had put up 34 points in the fourth quarter on the Bears. But I picked the Packers to win the game so I had better stick to that. But I had picked the Packers to start 4-2, and if they lose, they’ll be 4-2. So it’s win-win for my prognosticator abilities.

A bigger question here is do the Bears improve from here on out and make a run at the division title, or was the Bears game an aberration and do the Packers still have the upper hand in the NFC North? While I think the Bears have the more favorable schedule here on out (the Packers have a stretch of six of nine on the road, including what should be tough games at Denver, at Kansas City, and especially at Dallas, as well as a stretch of three games in 12 days), I still like the Packers to continue to play well and win the division. I’m not ready to jump off the train yet. But the football Badgers on the other hand . . .

Quick baseball predictions even though I obviously have no idea what I’m talking about. I like the Indians and the Diamondbacks. Say the Indians in six and the Diamondbacks in seven. Then I like the Indians in five.

What’s worse? That the NBA preseason has already started or that the NHL regular season is already a week old? I’ve had colds that lasted longer than the offseasons for either of these leagues. Both the NBA and NHL need to start in January at the earliest and end in May at the latest. Like 24. Hey, did you hear? Tony Almeida’s back!

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