No matter the situation, we make sure to touch second base.

1. Break out the brown paper bags

In chronological order, the Tennessee Titans have assailed all
previous notions that they might be: 1) Super Bowl contenders, 2) playoff
contenders, 3) a .500 team, 4) a team that could feasibly lose to Notre
Dame.

On Sunday, in a titanic 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots, Vince
Young and Kerry Collins combined for two total passes completed for a
whopping negative 7 yards, with two interceptions and three fumbles. In
short: the two quarterbacks graciously passed to as many Patriots players
as Titans players.

The Pats slaughtered the Titans. Destroyed them. Beat them like a
dead horse. Made them look like those NFL Europe teams you like
to dominate by a score of 100-0 in Madden 2010.

The Tennessee Titans, who sported white-and-powder-blue throwback
jerseys to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the AFL, looked nothing
like the team that won that league’s first championship. The team looked
awful, amateurish, Lions-esque. Patriots players cheered on Tom
Brady, who threw an NFL-record five touchdown passes in one quarter,
boasting that he was back to true form. As we all know, running up
the score and embarrassing teams suits Brady well. At least it did in
2007 when the Pats when undefeated and won the — oh, wait, never mind
(David Tyree!).

Indeed, the score-until-the-opposing-team-cries mentality is back
for the Patriots. Says Coach Bill Belichick: “I know the score got out
of hand, but we were just trying to run our offense.”

“Got out of hand” might describe a college frat party, Bill. I think
the phrase you’re looking for here is “made Steve McNair turn in his
grave.”

But there is good news for the Titans! The season will be over in
10 games! The Titans this year are sad. Pathetic. Downright pitiful. You
have to wonder how a team could go from so good to so bad in one year.
Is Albert Haynesworth really that valuable?

Seriously. Detroit Lions wins this season: 1. Titans wins: well, you get
it.

2. He’s no Mr. Rogers

It wasn’t a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Erick Aybar and the
Los Angeles Angels. During the 10th inning of the ALCS Game 2, Aybar failed to touch second base during a routine double play, giving the Melky Cabrera and the New York Yankees an extra out in a game they would eventually steal (on the grounds of another second
base error).

Umpire Jerry Layne, whose eyesight is clearly impeccable, wouldn’t
cut Aybar the league-wide standard of a “neighborhood” play — i.e.,
where the player’s feet are in the “neighborhood” of second base for a
double play.

While there is no official rule on “neighborhood” plays in the league,
it’s a 99 out of 100 given for players. Like other unspoken rules, such as
not shouting “I enjoy making love to BLT sandwiches” on Emory’s quad,
you just don’t argue with this accepted norm.

In true New York media fashion, the Daily News and Post are
emphatically backing the New York ump Layne. Says Chad Piscaner:
“Aybar and the Angels learned that the ‘neighborhood’ play doesn’t mean
just being in sight of 161st street in the Bronx.”

On the other end of the play were SoCal outlets, blasting Layne for a
bonehead call. Says Halos Heaven: the Angels “once again [fight] the
rain, the cold, the Yankees … and their umpires.”

In all fairness, Layne absolutely made the correct call, but come on.
It’s like a fellow student pointing out to a professor that we’re drunk in economics class. It’s just not cool, man.

After the Halos’ inability to hit with ducks on the pond, they blew it
yet again with an error in the 13th, letting the Yankees take one more
step towards every other team rolling their eyes, bemoaning their own lame
payroll (oh, and letting the Yankees take another ring, too).

This is “beyond” baseball? OK, you know baseball is going to have
a great (read: uneventful) playoffs when the center of the media hurricane
is an ump that made the right call. How’s that for a change in sports
for once?

Now if umps start calling inside strikes on Jeter, we may have a natural
disaster on our hands. Oh well, at least we can dream.

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