Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 9

Written by :
Published on : November 14, 2015

 

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 9: Mariota Lobs to Fasano for the O.T. Win in New Orleans

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

I’m pleased that big-ticket rookie quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston have had exciting first year seasons dotted with as many downs and ups as one might want. I’m a defense minded guy, and there were a ton of great sacks and picks I wanted to select for this week, but sometimes you gotta go for the real-deal highlight. Regardless if it was executed as planned, this one is still a pretty gutsy play call. Granted, the Titans were first and 10 with a field goal given, but you don’t want to give it back to Drew in OT. Mariota bootlegs and even though he throws against his body, the Saints were sold on defending the right side of the field. A real sweet win for the new guy in Tennessee.

 

Week 9: Human Blood

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By day I watch football in the confines of my private sports lair. Thick black drapes block out all light from that hateful star helios, as I sip forbidden nectar from my ornately carved pewter goblet. Night falls splendidly, and I emerge to refill my glass. Know this: I am always hungry, never satiated. I glide over to my personal sidebar only to find my cut-crystal decanter empty. How horrid. How thrilling. I must hunt tonight! I don my black velvet waistcoat. It fits tightly at the waist and broadly at the shoulders just as I like it. It looks especially dashing with my favorite cravat, black navy pants, and shiny leather boots. Finally, I brush out my long platinum hair and apply a touch of rouge to my pallid cheeks. How I wish I could see myself in the mirror before leaving…

 

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At the discotheque, I slide silently amongst the reveling throngs of man-cattle. “How beautiful they are before the slaughter,” I think to myself with a wicked giggle. My heightened senses can feel the amplified pumping of dozens of aortas and the resulting flow of life-wine in time to the music. It kind of gives me a boner, and this DJ is really good tonight.

 

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I request a table and quickly entice some company. They are adequately attractive mortals. One is male, the other female. I order the most expensive bottle of champagne on the menu and do an amazing job of pretending to be interested in the inanities my newfound sheep. My glassy, translucent skin is starting to itch. It’s time to end the formalities.

 

Me: “Would you two like to come back to my place? I have a terribly expensive wine collection that I unfortunately never get around to drinking.” Of course, they agree.

 

We Uber it back to my place. I open a bottle of wine but am too antsy to keep the charade up for much longer. As they drink I start to talk about my heroes: Dick Butkus, Barry Sanders, Joe Montana, Dracula…

 

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I strike quickly before the charade can get any more awkward. As I drain the life-essence of my guests, I laugh at the terror in their bovine eyes. Shortly before the male finally succumbs, he sees my collection of Detroit Lions hats mounted on the wall of my sports lair. My eyes meet his in shame.

 

Dying Male: “You’re a Detroit Lions fan? Good luck, jerk.”

 

He dies and I drink his blood in cold sorrow. I howl at the moon, shamed.

 

 


SOCCER RECAP: USA vs Mexico

Written by :
Published on : October 23, 2015

 

 

 

Saturday October 10th, 2015. 6:30 PM PST. The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA.

 

 

 

USA vs Mexico. Mostly a friendly match with a dash of CONCACAF drama. I had not planned on going to the game but my excellent friends wanted to and threw down some cash on great seats right behind the US goal. I couldn’t say no. The four of us parked on one of the few streets in Pasadena not guarded by game day parking enforcement (or whatever that rent-a-cop garbage unit is) and made the free-parking hike toward the stadium.

 

On the way, we joked about who would have more fans? I mean this is America after all, but it’s Southern California AKA Mexico’s ex-girlfriend, so it should be a toss up. Soccer is really growing in the states. The ladies on team USA are the 2015 World Cup Champions, MLS keeps poaching (aging) international superstars, plus there is finally a real groundswell of support (See: American Outlaws below) across the country. Maybe the times are changing?

 

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We wind through the broken beer bottles of the tailgate lot and make our way in just as the national anthems blare. We grab $13 Coors Light drafts (yes, they sell beer for non-college games, Alex) and find our section. As we exit the tunnel, we are instantly faced with the full might of the packed Rose Bowl. I was here just the other week for the UCLA game but this isn’t the same. The arena was electric.

 

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Over 93,000 screaming fans. We get stopped by security as we try and move down the staircase to our primo seats. They tell us that the area is full even though we have tickets. The only way they let anyone down is if they say they have friends holding them a spot. We learn later, that the unofficial team USA fan club, the American Outlaws, took over the section and made it “general admission”, meaning that the staff won’t help us or anyone else get to their correct seats. Real talk translation: “we have no power over the crowd and are trying our hardest to prevent a riot.”

 

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We wedge ourselves behind a row off the aisle. Doesn’t matter about having a real seat because the entire stadium stands for the whole game. Mexico scores first and it’s instantly clear who has more fans. My old iPhone 4S does its best trying to record the madness.

 

(click anywhere on the window to start video)

 

But this game would stay close. Team USA answered the bell and the American half of the building broke out into song. I hope The White Stripes get money for this.

 

 

(once again click anywhere on the window to start video)

 

After an intense 90 minutes, we found ourselves tied and heading to extra time. That’s when we met Abraham Lincoln.

 

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But this wasn’t your grandfather’s Lincoln, this fella had the arms on his jacket missing so you could see his buff biceps. And as everybody knows, Lincoln freed the sleeves.

 

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I assumed this was a sign that we would win but Mexico was too good, too athletic, too fast. Since the half, the yanks looked like they were playing catch up. Overtime was a gift. One that wouldn’t last. Mexico put the dagger in with only minutes before the end of OT. Penalty Kicks were not to be.

 

I took the loss gracefully. The same could not be said for many of the US faithful. As we left the packed facility, I was overwhelmed by the clever vendors selling their wares to the exiting fans. Mainly, cans of beer, bootleg t-shirts and bacon-wrapped hotdogs. All at a reasonable markup. We grabbed an exit brew and hoofed it back to the car under the chants of “Mexico-Mexico-Mexico.”

 

I’d say it was a bummer, but I can’t. I saw five goals. Lead changes and equalizers, even overtime. It was incredible. Nothing like I had ever experienced. My closing thought (Jerry Springer!) is that everyone should see one real futbol game before they die. Something like this match. It will change you and make you a soccer fan for life. Trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Oi Oi Oi!!!

 

 

For a less funny recap of the game with GIFS of all the goals go here. Or google it. Lazy.

 

 


NHL Overtime Change

Written by :
Published on : July 30, 2015

Teams don’t carry the same roster year after year, and the world hockey is always evolving. The consistency is that the structure of the game stays the same, but even that is up for review from time to time. The NHL Board of Governor’s approved a change in OT game play which reduces the players from 4-4 to 3-3 beginning in October for regular season games that force overtime. The same shootout rules apply if neither team scores a goal.

 

The 3-3 overtime posits that there will be no less than 3 men on the ice for the duration of overtime. In the case of having a penalty carry over from regulation the teams will begin overtime at 4-3. Conversely, if a penalty is drawn in overtime, the team on the power play gains another man on the ice for a 4-3 advantage, and if an additional penalty is taken the teams will see an odd-man rush of 5-3. Offensively speaking, teams are allowed to pull their goaltender for an extra attacker; however, they risk forfeiting the point they’ve earned by taking the game to overtime.

 

GM’s and players agree that the 3-3 change would increase goals scored in overtime, ending games in this period rather than the shootouts. Coaches are free to strategize how their teams will face overtime and can get creative by having one defenseman and two forwards or two defensemen and one forward with their respective goal tenders. As a Kings fan the shootouts have gone from thrilling to dreadful, so it’s exciting to see that this rule is set to showcase the game, the creativity of coaches, intellect of the players, and what they can produce with more space on the ice.

 

I love that the push to change the NHL overtime format was influenced by OT play in the AHL. The AHL saw 75 percent of overtime games be settled within the sudden death period when the teams went from 4-4 to 3-3 three minutes into their 7 minute overtime period. The NHL Board of Governors was wise to approve changing the format to 3-3, because out of 306 overtime games last season only 136 were of them were decided in overtime. The obvious benefit to having fewer men on the ice is the game more efficient and it preserves the game’s fast paced essence. It keeps hockey authentic and truer to itself a lot more than the shootout rounds ever do.

 

 

Shootouts are labeled “exciting,” but it’s hard to see them as such. The three round format is a bit anti-climactic especially if teams have injury-laden rosters that force coaches to shuffle through players that will hopefully score goals. Additionally, the shootout rounds strip away the feel of watching a live game. It’s almost like attending a practice where you’re watching your team warm-up rather than playing to earn two points. The ugly truth is that if shootouts are occurring it’s because your team failed to deliver in regulation and overtime, so by the time the shootouts begin you’re already feeling disappointment, inadequacy, and if you’ve got a short fuse like me you’re angrily shouting obscenities at your TV or at the game. I’m hopeful that the 3-3 overtime change will not only rejuvenate hockey after regulation, but that it will neutralize the dark feelings that arise in people when teams force overtime.

 

As we speak there are only 69 days left until hockey starts and the LA Kings will begin the season against the SJ Sharks on October 7, 2015. With the bad blood and rivalry these teams have built over the years I could not think of a better match to debut the 3-3-overtime format change. In the months leading up to this season opener game an old quote from Drew Doughty comes to mind, “We want to beat this team. Especially this team, the San Jose Sharks.” I remember an old colleague once proudly boasted that his SJ Sharks had made the playoffs 19 out of 24 seasons to which I said that is an admirable accomplishment, but it’s still no Stanley Cup.

 


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