YOU ARE HERE: HeraldMail HomeCollectionsSnow

Thoughts drift to sports as the snow piles up

January 27, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

This is the season that seems to try men's ... er, sportswriters' ... souls.

This past week was a prelude to things to come.

Notice how there wasn't much to talk about.

There wasn't any NFL action to keep things spicy. How many stories can there be about the Carolina Panthers coming back from being 1-15 two years ago and how Tom Brady has led a charmed life in the cold-weather months and during the playoffs?

Folks, this is what cabin fever is all about. It's snowing and the weather is lousy, so there isn't much action on the local front. The NFL season is ending and baseball hasn't started. And with pardons to the NBA and/or NHL enthusiasts out there - and they are as thin as my hairline - there won't be much to get excited about until the NCAA Tournament starts in March.

So, here's my dilemma. I'm watching it snow. There is nothing going on. And I'm supposed to write this column.


Now, I know what Adkins means about low carbs. There isn't much to feast on here.

So, here are some random thoughts that are drifting like the snow in my front yard.

It's amazing how everyone is so pumped about the Baltimore Orioles and their off-season moves.

"They are improved."

"They will be exciting."

Maybe ... but they will still be in fourth place.

Come in from walking in that winter wonderland and think about it. The Orioles could end up with the fourth-best record in the American League and it won't mean a trip to the playoffs.

That's because the three records ahead of the O's will be possessed by New York, Boston and Toronto - all in the same AL East logjam.

New York is New York, where eBay lineups are always in vogue (need a player, bid on the Net). Boston is trying to out-Yankee the Yankees with its off-season moves. And Toronto has picked up pitching to go with one of baseball's most potent offenses in 2003.

The O's have made moves too, but forgot something, namely that they need someone to throw the ball.

Baltimore lost five pitchers off their 2003 staff. ... They were terrible, but they were on the major league staff. The Orioles have replaced them with two pitchers - Sydney Ponson II and Mike DeJean (hold the mustard).

Right now, it looks like the O's plan to bank on Omar Daal and Rodrigo Lopez from last year's bang-up squad, along with Ponson, while rushing whatever talent they have from the farm system (like John Maine) to make that move.

The Orioles, improved? Yes. For the better? Questionable.

It's kind of cool that Joe Gibbs came back to coach the Redskins, but this isn't the Super Bowl coach's team anymore.

First, Gibbs and the Redskins will have to find two major replacements to kick start the Hey Day Express.

That would be a John Riggins look-alike and a barnyard group to rival the Hogs.

Gibbs' style would be considered boring by anyone who isn't a 'Skins' fan but could still be successful in the pass-happy NFL.

When it comes down to it, power football still wins championships. The question is, do the players who enjoy the grunt work of Counter Trey still exist?

My Super Bowl interlude. Two of the last three columns which have appeared in this space have spoken at length about the matchup and the game itself ... one even predicted a New England rout.

In the Cliff Notes version of analysis ... Panthers 21, Patriots 17.

Reasoning ... or lack thereof?

1. Stephen Davis (remember him 'Skins fans?), if he is healthy, is the best runner out there.

2. The Panthers gave a hint of a different offensive set which will provide more blocking for Davis and probably more short and screen passing possibilities. With two weeks to prepare, watch for more wrinkles.

3. As cynical as it may sound ... the Super Bowl is the home for underdogs.

Oakland was favored over Tampa Bay last year and St. Louis over New England the year before. Who won?

I'm not yelling fix, but the constant hype of supremacy of the favorites does have an effect. So does the longer timeouts for expensive commercials ... it gives teams more time to make on-field adjustments.

Add to it the need for the Super Bowl to be exciting to the end to keep fan interest.

Bottom line ... Panthers.

Thank you, Washington Capitals, for proving once again that high-priced talent doesn't always mean championship teams.

Jaromir Jagr was sent to New York last weekend, ending the saga of the big-named, high-priced talent coming to jolt a team into playoff immortality.

It didn't work. Much like the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers have found out with the acquisitions of Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. Add to it the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA and the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL. They all got the best, but have been settling for a lot less than the big trophy.

By the way, do you think Mario Lemieux had anything to do with Jagr's ability to score and become a superstar?

Enough rambling for now.

Since I work in sports, I think I'll go out and make some snow (Anaheim) Angels.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

The Herald-Mail Articles