Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
With a Little Bit o Luck
2008-02-04 05:36
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

For all of the hype about the kind of character it takes to win championships, it also takes a certain amount of luck. Takes both, not always in equal measure. When Eli and Plax could not hook up on that play with the Giants leading 10-7, I thought it'd be the moment they'd most regret should they have lost the game. But then, how about that improbable David Tyree catch? Are you kidding me? That was the Bucky Dent moment of the game. How did Manning not get sacked? How did Tyree manage to come down with that ball? Talk about the All-Schoolyard Play of the season! Then Eli made a few more key passes, including the game-winner. Good for him.

Of course, much of the credit for the win goes to New York's defense.

Have to say, their coach aside (who manages to be terse and dour in victory as well as defeat), the Pats were gracious in defeat. Reminded me a little bit of when the Yanks lost the D-Backs in '01. Tom Brady is a class act.

It is snowing in Manhattan this morning. Andy Pettitte visits Washington today. But right now, the city is alive with the Giants' stunning Super Bowl win. Congrats G-Men, you done made the city proud.

2008-02-04 06:09:28
1.   rbj
Number one costume come Halloween: helmet with a football attached.
2008-02-04 06:12:39
2.   Jeff P
The best part of my night was early in the second quarter, when David Tyree caught some meaningless five yard completion. I turned to my friend and said, "That's the last time we'll hear HIS name until September." I've never been more happy to be so wrong in my life.

Controversial statement of the day: Justin Tuck deserved the MVP.

2008-02-04 06:30:59
3.   Sliced Bread
2 Tuck was HUGE! The whole defensive line was HUGE, but Eli's fourth quarter was the MVP stuff. The D kept them in the game, Eli won it.
2008-02-04 06:46:47
4.   Josh Wilker
My vote would go to Tuck. Manning was great, but others have driven on the Patriots this year, and nobody's gotten to Brady, much less beaten the crap out of him.
2008-02-04 07:01:04
5.   rbj
Tuck, Strahan and the whole defensive line. Keeping this Patriots' offense to only two touchdowns is almost like pitching a shutout. One thing I noted with the Pats-Colts game was that the Colts D seemed to have tired at the end, the Giants were able to keep it up.
2008-02-04 07:05:45
6.   Sliced Bread
I would have been shocked if they gave it to anyone but Eli.
I wouldn't protest at all if they gave it to Tuck, but I think Eli's performance (and name) made it easier to honor him than to single out any of the defensemen -- even a standout like Tuck. Strahan, Mitchell and Alford also got to Brady. Collectively they were on him all day.

Eli stayed on his feet and carried his team on a stunning - historic championship drive. He deserves the trophy as much as anyone.

2008-02-04 07:24:53
7.   ChrisS
I wished they would have given the MVP to a lineman. There's was nothing more enjoyable about that game than watching Brady get beat up for 60 minutes.

But that was a much better game than I anticipated and congrats to the G-men.

2008-02-04 07:31:29
8.   Shaun P
I still don't believe the Giants won. The D-line play was unreal, but how about the O-line as well? I think the reason Eli almost got sacked, but not quite, on the Tyree pass, was because he was used to getting plenty of time of throw the ball.

That scramble and catch go right up there with the most amazing plays I've ever seen. What a game.

Give 'em all MVP trophies - they all earned them.

2008-02-04 07:35:33
9.   monkeypants
OK, how about this really controversial statement:

Welker should have won the MVP. I have never bought into the idea that the MVP must come from the winning team. I'm a huge Giants fan, and I still think Thurman Thomas deserved the MVP in 1991.

If I had to pick a Giant this year, I would have gone with someone on defense--maybe a shared MVP, like they did with the '78 Cowboys (Martin/White).

All this being said, Eli played a heckuva game, so no real injustice.

2008-02-04 07:46:16
10.   Josh Wilker
9 : As a casual Patriots/football fan who found it a little harder than usual to relate to this year's would-be "perfect" team (I've never been anywhere near perfect, so it was hard for me to connect to their steamrolling ways), the only thing that really ended up stinging me about the loss (to a team that deserved to win) was Welker not being able to get the MVP. He's awesome (and, more importantly, if you drawl his last name the right way you can almost make it sound like he and I are related).
2008-02-04 07:53:49
11.   Knuckles
I'd be all for a player on the losing team winning MVP if they were head and shoulders above everyone else on the field, but a losing team, by definition, didn't do enough to win, so there's bound to be a player on the victor who should get the award. In this case, I'd have given it to the D-line in aggregate.

Thurman Thomas had a great game but part of the reason he got all those yards in the SB was because the Giants game-planned to allow that to happen, in order to contain Kelly and that no huddle offense.

That Alford sack was amazing. Tyree's catch, even more so.

2008-02-04 08:01:21
12.   Nick from Washington Heights
9 I disagree. Welker, as great as he was, was the beneficiary of an intelligent Giants defensive plan. The Jints gambled that he wouldn't beat them, and they were right. His receptions didn't lead to many points.

The MVP has to be someone on the defense, but that last drive makes Eli an acceptable choice.

2008-02-04 08:08:20
13.   monkeypants
12 Well, one could argue that his receptions led to all of the Patriots points. Also, he broke some tackles and gained a lot of YAC, which (presumably) the Giants did not build into their game plan.

My main point is that I do not think that MVP should be restricted to the winning team, and that this game reminded me of SB XXV, where the most impressive individual performance (at least speaking in simple, simplistic terms) was turned in by a player for the losing squad, while the winners had a more "team" effort with no real standout.

Wow, that was a run-on sentence, no?

2008-02-04 08:10:25
14.   williamnyy23
10 As nice a player as Welker is, I think everyone needs to take a step back and realize that his performance last night and all season was the product of having such a diverse offense anchored by a dominant WR like Moss. Welker's season was no better than Brandon Stokely's breakout campaign in Mannings 49 TD season. The true test for Welker will be how'd he function in a more "normal" offense. I have a feeling he is more Wayne Chrebet than the All Pro Hall of Famer many are making him out to be.
2008-02-04 08:11:52
15.   williamnyy23
13 It's a fair point. I thought Terrel Owens was the MVP a few seasons back when the Eagles lost to the Patriots, but unless the case is clear, the winning team will always get the MVP.
2008-02-04 08:36:55
16.   Schteeve
13 When it comes to baseball, I usually find myself agreeing with most everything you say. But I think Welker was the guy the Giants were ok giving to Brady.

True, he played a great game, and if the Pats had won, Welker should have been the MVP, but Tuck took away the "step up in the pocket" the entire game. Tuck was the MVP.

In the end though I don't care. One of my favorite things in sports is when a team that nobody thought could win a championship does. At the beginning of the season, nobody would have picked the G-men. At the end of the season, nobody would have picked them either. But they're a damn good team, and that Spagnulo guy is amazing.

2008-02-04 08:38:08
17.   Sliced Bread
I think the MVP award, especially in a postseason game or series, should go to a member of the winning team.

If I was a professional athlete whose team was in a position to win a championship, but failed, no matter how good I played, or how hard I tried, I don't think I'd want a trophy or ceremony afterward.

Better that the MVP goes to a reluctant hero (like Eli or Tuck), than to even the most honorable or deserving loser (for lack of a better word) - in my opinion.

2008-02-04 08:40:33
18.   monkeypants
16 "When it comes to baseball, I usually find myself agreeing with most everything you say."

Well, that was your first mistake! : )

I agree with you--it was a fun, fun, frustrating, but fun season and an amazing game. It's games like this, in fact, that make sport so compelling.

2008-02-04 09:29:09
19.   NJYankee41
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Bobby Richardson winning WS MVP in 1960 when the Pirates beat the Yankees on that Mazeroski walk-off.
2008-02-04 09:55:39
20.   horace-clarke-era
1 GREAT line, have forwarded already!

14 Yup. What he said.

Along with the 'winning team unless obvious' there's also 'winning quarterback unless obvious' I suppose. It also isn't that important, in the scheme of things. The game was won in the TWO lines along with a slew of breaks going Giants way (fumbles not recovered, the missed late IC - how DID he miss that one? - and HelmetCostume). Absent the Helmeteer, this morning we're all dumping on Eli for overthrowing Burress, showing nerves and lack of poise ...

Margins are small in games this tight.

2008-02-04 10:37:10
21.   Schteeve
Also, when those cocky bastards went for it on 4th instead of trying the long field goal, and came up empty...well it's been a long time since a sports play was that gratifying.
2008-02-04 10:40:07
22.   williamnyy23
20 Or, Eli would have been killed for just throwing the ball up into triple coverage if it was intercepted. You know everyone would have been saying he should have thrown the ball away and lived to fight another down had that ball been picked. That's why I think we focus too much on the final outcome and not enough on what went into it.
2008-02-04 11:01:33
23.   Shaun P
21 I actually expected that play - big risk (not making it) but big reward (a new set of downs). Punting that close to the end zone would have been stupid. The field goal play had the same risk, especially how long it was, but the reward was much smaller (3 points). At the time, I thought it was the right play by the Pats.

Of course, in retrospect, it might have screwed them up, but we'll never know for sure.

16 "that Spagnulo guy is amazing"

The Giants damn well better not let the Redskins get their hands on him as the head coach. Spagnuolo looks like a keeper.

2008-02-04 11:08:54
24.   monkeypants
23 I didn't think going for it on 4th down was so bad, but I am surprised the Pats didn't go underneath--Welker had killed them all day on little WR screens and underneath stuff--and hope the receiver could run for it. Even if he only gets 10 yards, you still leave the Giants on the 20 yard line, which is the same as punting it out of the endzone. That seemed like a better play than heaving it into the end zone.

I'm not sure punting there is so stupid, if you trust your punter can get the ball inside the 20. Easier said than done, of course.

2008-02-04 11:32:11
25.   JoeInRI
Not to change the subject, but I just noticed this in Dodger Thoughts . . .

A hint of the domestic issues that drew Don Mattingly away from his hitting coach position with the Dodgers revealed themselves this weekend when his estranged wife, Kim, was arrested on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct, according to Kate Braser of the Evansville Courier-Press.


2008-02-04 11:44:58
26.   Schteeve
Yeah, I didn't think going for it was dumb, I just thought it was cocky.
2008-02-04 12:19:48
27.   Alex Belth
JOe InRI, Yeah, did you see the picture of Kim Mattingly? She looked like Glenn Close smoking angel dust. Not a pretty scene.
2008-02-04 12:37:55
28.   MC Safety
27 Very funny.. although Heavens Gate leader Marshall Applewhite sprung to mind instantly.
2008-02-04 12:52:29
29.   Yankee Fan In Boston
phil hughes will be wearing #34 this season.
(he's buying sean henn a dinner in exchange for the number.)
2008-02-04 12:54:37
30.   Yankee Fan In Boston
29 it just struck me that he was almost 134 ed for santana. coincidence? i'll await bronxer's response.
2008-02-04 12:56:39
31.   Bob B
Eli got my vote for the pinpoint TD pass to Tyree (maybe one and a half inches from the defenders fingers) the accuracy he had (hitting guys on the right or left shoulder whenever he wanted)a nd the two fourth quarter TD drives. All those 3rd down and long completions. He was as good yesterday as he'd been bad during the regular season. Of course, the Defense was unbelievable as they had been all post season. Someone on ESPN made the remark that is you just looked at these two teams in January, you would have picked the Giant's to win. If only the Yankees could have a post season like that this year..........
2008-02-04 12:58:14
32.   Nick from Washington Heights
27 I don't know how you did it, Alex, but that's a perfect description of that picture.

Speaking of angel dust, is it just me, or is that a near obsolete term--a remnant of the 80's. It seems that it's referred to only exclusively as PCP these days. Maybe angel dust was deemed as too appealing-sounding. Anyway, I still remember that after school special about that drug. Scared me sober all these years. Bless that heavy-handed program and my impressionable ten year-old mind.

2008-02-04 13:26:30
33.   rbj
32 From all the foolishness of my youth, that was one drug (well, heroin was another) that I never wanted to try. Good thing I outgrew all that before crystal meth.

Still, it sounds like she is just battling the bottle, which is enough of a problem itself. I hope Kim gets it together.

2008-02-04 13:35:10
34.   Murray
Generally, nobody looks good in a mug shot. The last person who looked good in a mug shot was Sinatra.
2008-02-04 13:43:59
35.   Bronxer
30 I had nothing to do with it ...
2008-02-04 13:50:04
36.   OldYanksFan
I will confess to having a number of very good times with Angel Dust (many years ago). Made quite a few friends too. The key is small dosage. 3 small tokes for any afternoon delight, 4 for the very adventurous. After that, it does become dangerous.

Hey, anyone else feel that we need another, backup type, innings eating SP? Between our 6 SPs, we only have 5 SPs worth of innings.
If we have any injuries, or Moose stinks, it will be like last year. I hate to see Cashman tempted to overuse the 3 Amigos.

2008-02-04 14:07:17
37.   tommyl
36 Oh you never should have admitted that. The next time you suggest something like making Wilson Betemit the starting 3B so that A-Rod can be used to pinch hit we'll all say, "There goes OYF, smoking angel dust again..."
2008-02-04 14:08:03
38.   Shaun P
36 Oh, I don't know. As far as 6th starter types go, I say the guys we'd be using (Karstens, Rasner, White, maybe even Horne or Marquez?*) are probably better than any of the reclamation projects out there (eg, Jeff Weaver again? HA!) - except for Freddy Garcia, but he's out 'til June or later with injuries of his own.

*Yes, I left Igawa out. I still think he becomes a lefty reliever. If he's in the rotation, things have gone "this is worse than 2007" bad.

2008-02-04 14:10:26
39.   tommyl
38 Man, I remember this time last year when we all couldn't wait to see Igawa pitch in spring training and how we were digging up weird interviews he gave. How times have changed.
2008-02-04 15:35:03
40.   Schteeve
36 Dude, I think the last thing we have to worry about is Cash overusing the 3 amigos. Girardi maybe, but not Cash. Cash has too much invested in them, he seems to be too enlightened, and too good at sticking to a plan. Let's just hope that Hughes or Joba struggle a little at the outset so we don't have to worry about the ol' "ride the hot hand" thing.
2008-02-04 15:41:14
41.   Schteeve
Also, I've been playing the 2008 season on Playstation, and I'm having a really tough time with the innings limits.

My rotation now is...


with IPK in the pen as a swing man/spot starter. But you almost have to rotate Hughes and Joba and IPK or have to put Hughes and Joba on 6 inning maximums. If not, they are both gonna be unavailable at the end of the season.

The problem that creates is with the bullpen.

First of all, since this is Video Game land, I had an unexpected wrinkle to deal with when Rivera retired at the end of the 2007 season. I decided not to go with a designated closer, instead choosing to go for matchups, or whoever has the best control. But getting from the 6th inning to the end of the game has been a struggle.

Farnsworth is sporting a 5+ ERA, Veras is streaky as hell, Ohlendorf is homer prone, Britton was so bad I had to send him down, and Latroy has been decent in limited use.

Even though I'm only playing a video game, I don't think the above scenario (minus Rivera retiring) is all that far from what is expectable.

And yes, I know I'm a nerd.

2008-02-04 17:43:08
42.   OldYanksFan
"There goes OYF, smoking angel dust again..."
Er... OK... I'm down eith that.
But what's William's excuse?
2008-02-04 23:05:02
43.   Adrian
42 That he is a being composed entirely of pessimism?
2008-02-05 00:18:13
44.   cocorn
"I'm not sure punting there is so stupid, if you trust your punter can get the ball inside the 20. Easier said than done, of course."

Yes, punting at the 49 is stupid, almost retarded, borderline brain dead.

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