The Afternoon After: Paint it black

As evidenced by my relative lack of activity here, November didn’t turn out to be as placid as I would have liked. I make my living in baseball, and it seems to never really shut down at this point between awards, transactions and the new CBA being announced. In addition, my fiancée has moved into my apartment, so a lot of my time has been spent making sure this place is inhabitable for someone other than me. I’d characterize all of this as the good kind of busy.

Scene of the crimes

After Thanksgiving dinner, my fiancée dozed off at around 10 p.m. while I watched episodes of The Walking Dead – pretty standard.

Amazingly, she still insists she intends to marry me after I woke her up at 11:30 to drag her to Wal-Mart.

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The Afternoon After: All-day football bonanza proves good for the soul

After a one-week respite, let’s get this party started. Hope all had an excellent holiday weekend.

It has a certain charm

Back in the day, before I had a job that caused me to work most Sundays and get up not before 1 in the afternoon, Football Sunday had a tremendous meaning in my week. Namely, it was a day I could completely devote to the supreme American pastime of drinking beer, eating fried foods at a sports bar and immersing myself in an entire day of watching overgrown men crash into each other. I started this tradition in high school – minus, of course, the beer.

Of course, times change. As I said, I generally work on Sundays, and I sometimes get up after the games actually begin. I rarely drink, and it’s even more rare that I eat fried foods. I generally don’t like watching sports with loud fans around me. And it had been several years since I had given over nearly an entire day to watch football.

Until yesterday.

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The Afternoon After: If Peterson is ‘All-Day,’ CJ is ‘All Year’

As usual, my thoughts about the weekend’s NFL games based on whatever I saw – I’m cheating by posting this “The Night Of,” but it’ll still be valid tomorrow afternoon.

Objects in the rear-view are actually farther than they appear

I’m in a fantasy football keeper league. Last year, I had the good fortune of drafting Chris Johnson, Matt Forte and Andre Johnson. As such, my partner and I came to a crossroads this year, and long story short, we ended up with Forte, Andre Johnson and Tom Brady.

With every week that goes by, I realize that we let the wrong guy go, which will haunt me for years. Lost in the uncreative media’s need to embrace one guy – namely Adrian Peterson – as the best running back in the NFL is that Chris Johnson is quite possibly better.

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The afternoon after: Heel the world – Giants deep everywhere but QB

Here are my usual post-Sunday thoughts. More a “late-night after” than afternoon today. I’ll reiterate that football isn’t my thing, but I’ll give it a shot as usual.

Eli gets it off (for a touchdown); Carr in his usual position

  • The Giants have a deep and talented team, particularly on defense. Steve Smith is open every time you look up. They gave the Chiefs fits on Sunday. I do believe they’re the best team in football, but their huge weakness was exposed when Eli Manning somehow hurt his foot. The “bruised heel” diagnosis was shady at best, as I simply view such an injury as impossible under those circumstances. I get injured all the time, so I’m sort of a self-proclaimed expert; the first thing I thought was that he messed up his Achilles’. Now I’m hearing that it may be plantar fasciitis, which would be far from a best-case scenario, but at least it wouldn’t be his Achilles’. Regardless, I believe Eli – who’s far tougher than he looks – won’t miss a whole lot of time with this. I’ve had plantar fasciitis, and though it’s no picnic, it’s at least manageable. With the horrible Raiders coming to town, they may choose to sit him until the following week in a huge showdown in New Orleans. But David Carr isn’t suitable to play quarterback in this, or any, league. And as deep as the Giants are at most positions – including running back, where Ahmad Bradshaw has been at least the equal of Brandon Jacobs thus far – David Carr simply is not an NFL quarterback, having been permanently ruined by years of playing behind a sieve-like offensive line in Houston. I believe the Giants are very good, and potentially dominant, but until Eli plays a whole game and shows no ill effects, you have to temper your enthusiasm.

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Essence of sports can be found where you least expect it

As fans, we spend a lot of time griping about what’s wrong with sports. Just tune in to WFAN one night and you may think the world is ending every time Joba takes the mound.

That’s why once in a while, it’s great to see something that makes you remember why the world of sports can be such a captivating and magical thing. For me, it was on a New Jersey Transit bus en route to New York that took a detour through the Giants Stadium parking lot , while fans tailgated before the annual Giants-Jets preseason game.

Living in the shadow of Giants Stadium, I’ve always been fascinated by the football culture in this area, and how it seems to take on a life of its own every fall. This will be further examined by this site at a later date.I didn't have a camera on the bus, so this'll have to do

The other day, the bus stopped in the parking lot to pick up passengers, and for a minute or two, I watched a father with a backwards hat and what I believe was a Mathias Kiwanuka jersey tossing a football to his two daughters, who couldn’t have been more than three years old, both wearing Eli Manning jerseys and cute as a button. Try as they might, the two little girls couldn’t catch the ball, while the father expressed light-hearted exasperation while pantomiming how to cradle the ball against his body.

I don’t think those little girls fully understood what they were there for. They’re not going to recall the score of the game, where they sat, or who the Giants were playing. They couldn’t care less about Plaxico’s guns, who starts at receiver or how much money Eli makes.

But I guarantee they’ll always remember playing catch before the Giants game with dad.

That’s what sports does for us. When you cut away all the Plaxicos, Vicks and Favres, all the A-Rods, Mannys and Big Papis – you have the experiences that you share with those you love.

We get so caught up with wins and losses, payrolls and free agents, draft picks and salary caps. Meanwhile, none of that is what sports is about, or at least what it should be about.

Just try to remember that the next time you hear Lenny from Manhattan on WFAN screaming about firing everyone on the Mets.

Sports can be so much more than we make it out to be.