Sunday, April 16, 2006

God Save the Queen

by SonDog

My in-laws are in town from England, which is always a blast (honestly, that's not a facetious statement, I truly do have a blast when they are here). LeseDog and I picked them up on Monday evening from Denver International Airport and it's been good times ever since.

Over the course of the week, I've given my father-in-law a thorough indoctrination into the finer points of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. (Needless to say, our game-watching experiences involve numerous samplings of Irish whiskey and fine Scotch. That being said, there will be no excuse for him not to take his new knowledge of American sports across the pond to start a baseball and basketball revolution in the Motherland.)

I-Dog and SonDog (undoubtedly discussing the sport of baseball), enjoying a beverage at the Jameson distillery in Ireland in 2005.

What I love about watching sports with I-Dog (Ian, for those who don't know. And no, I've ever come close to calling him I-Dog in person) is the unique perspective and observations he offers about my beloved teams, sports and culture. It's truly fascinating to see someone from an entirely different culture pick up on little things that players and coaches in the game itslef are seemingly oblivious to at times.

Here's a few samplings:

-- During the early stages of the second-half of the Kings' despicable collapse against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, I-Dog noted of Sacramento, "It looks as if they aren't playing as hard. You haven't won the match yet, mates." Indeed, the Kings blew a 17-point second half lead in route to a 15-point loss. Phoenix scored 72 second half points against the porous Sacramento defense.

Of note, had I done a SaoTSARE analysis during the second half of that game, scores would have been off the chart to the point that John Hollinger would have suffered an epileptic seizure. That being said, I'm blaming the loss solely on the fact that Jason Hart played for a few minutes in the first half. I don't know why Rick Adelman doesn't understand that just the simple act of inserting Hart into the game ensures the team will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I started to explain my reasoning to I-Dog when Hart was inserted with Sac up by 17 in the second quarter, but I didn't think he would follow my utter lack of logic in this particular case. Some things are just impossible to explain. All I know is that if I see Hart inserted into any game in the playoffs, I may hire a sniper take out Rick Adelman. I mean, if my English father-in-law can recognize that Hart "is a bit crap," why can't Adelman?

-- During the Dodgers - Giants game on Saturday evening, I-Dog watched first baseman Lance Niekro swing wildly on a pitch that was a good three feet off the plate and in the dirt. "What'd you swing at that for? Blooooooody Hell," I-Dog said. Predictably, the next pitch was in the same exact spot. This time Niekro laid off the pitch. However, I-Dog's, "Why don't you just go ahead and swing at that one too, you silly clown?" was a very appropriate statement. For the rest of the season, I will refer to Niekro as a "silly clown" whenever he swings wildly in his undisciplined approach to hitting.

Also during the Dodgers - Giants game, the entire family (I-Dog, LeseDog, GlenDog (mother-in-law, Glenys) and myself) got into a spirited discussion about Barry Bonds and his current status as Beelzebub of American sports. I explained to the European Union the background of how this all came about and where Bonds' legacy stands and, more importantly, what this means for his numbered playing days. Basically, I gave them a cliff-note timeline from 1993 (first year with Giants) to present day.

I-Dog and GlenDog

After GlenDog and LeseDog woke up from absolute boredom, LeseDog summed it up best for her parents by saying, "Basically, he was doing the same thing hundreds of other players were doing, but because of how good he is and the records, they are going right after him in particular."

I-Dog's response? "So, they're basically scapegoating him."

My response? "Is there anyway you can get a cameo on BBC-America to say that?"

-- Other sports-related tidbits that I-Dog has noted: 1) The inconsistency in the strike zone from not only game to game, but pitch to pitch. 2) The inconsistency of foul calls from not only game to game, but play to play in the NBA. 3) Every referee in American sports is a douchebag. (Okay, so I made that last one up, but the first two are true.) 4) The superstitions and OCD-type rituals that baseball players go through before throwing a pitch or stepping into the batter's box (thank God he didn't have to sit through Nomar Garciaparra's ridiculous shenanigans). 5) Ron Artest's tenacity and all-out effort on defense.

-- I-Dog has enjoyed baseball to such a degree that we actually pitched to one another for about an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon. Despite the fact that one of my two-seam fastballs gave him a grade-A shinburger, and one of his 12-6 curveballs ricocheted straight off my right temple, we had a fantastic time.

I-Dog and GlenDog's final baseball exam will come on Wednesday when I take the family to a Rockies - Padres game at Coors Field. Wednesday's day at the park amounts to an in-person lesson in understanding the rules and idiosyncrasies of Major League Baseball and the glory that is going to the yard to watch a game (even if it's the Rockies). In the interim, we have three more Giants' games to watch.


OZ said...

I still can't believe the phrase "bloody hell" is actual slang in Britain. I always thought that was one of those fictitious movie things that happened on a small scale in real life but was brought to encompass a culture through movies.

Anyway, if they don't read this tell them to say hi to SimDog and MicDog when they get back.

sondog said...

It's not even slang. It's actually considered swearing, very similar to us saying "holy shit!" It's used all the time. Also commonly used is the word "bollocks" which is literally translated to mean a dog's testicles.

bh said...

Dude. You and Lese look old in that picture.