Let’s all soar with Bobby Orr!

Anyway, I’m tired of thinking about Islamophobia.  Also Deflategate.  So let’s celebrate the greatest moment in human history, which happened 45 years ago tomorrow:

And here’s the statue commemorating the event:

Here’s more about Bobby Orr, who is the nicest guy who ever lived.

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The Nicest Guy Who Ever Lived

. . . is apparently Bobby Orr, whose autobiography, Orr: My Story, I just finished.

(Notice the Saint Louis Blues’ defenseman Noel Picard joining Orr on the cover.  Picard has attained a weird sort of immortaility by tripping Orr as he scored the Stanley Cub-winning goal and subsequently appearing in the corner of this iconic photo.)

Anyway, Orr loves his family, loves every one of his coaches and fellow players, and loves everyone he’s met since retiring at the age of 30.  (He was so good that the Hockey Hall of Fame decided, the heck with our eligibility rules, and elected him to the Hall at the age of 31.)  The only guy he has some difficulty with is Alan Eagleson, his ex-agent, who basically stole all his money and left him near bankruptcy when he retired.  Orr has, of course, forgiven the man, but finds it hard to understand how someone could be that not-nice.

Bobby Orr is so nice that, when his book was published last fall, the Boston Globe felt compelled to publish an exposé of Orr, conclusively demonstrating that he is way nicer than he let’s on — constantly doing secret acts of charity that no one is supposed to talk about.  Geez, talk about role models.

Anyway, here’s The Goal:

If that whets your appetite, here is a highlight reel, with local legends Fred Cusick and Johnny Peirson announcing:

The Stanley Cup playoffs have started, and the Bruins are favored, but it ain’t like the old days.  Helmets sure don’t help, but the game is also more cautious and defensive — you don’t see anything like a Bobby Orr rush anymore.  Probably because there could only be one Bobby Orr.

Shootout!

Olympic hockey!  USA beats Russia after a, heartstopping shootout.  The players are exhausted, the announcers are exhausted, the viewing audience is exhausted….  A shootout seems like an utterly arbitrary way to determine the outcome of a hockey game, but boy, this one was great.  A few other comments:

  • T. J. Oshie’s Wikipedia page has already been updated.  Way to go, Wikipedia!
  • Can the Nobel Prize for Hockey Announcing be awarded in perpetuity to Doc Emrick?  There’s no one better at anything.  I love the way he described someone as “feathering the puck” to a teammate.  Or his description of a scrum in front of the net after the goalie froze the puck: “And a disagreement ensues.”
  • This wasn’t Emrick, but kudos to NBC for figuring out why the apparent Russian goal was disallowed.  But I wish they had pointed out that it was the American goalie who apparently dislodged the net.  (A Russian teammate of his pointed it out after the game.)  Er, is that legal?  Do we have an international incident on our hands?

Is baseball exciting?

Well no, not particularly.

The Boston Globe recently ran an article about the increasing length of baseball games and what could be done about it.  I made some suggestions about ways to improve baseball a while ago.  Surprisingly, none of these suggestions have been adopted.  The article mentions a good rule they had in the minors for a while that I hadn’t heard of–a strike was called if a batter stepped out of the batter’s box if he hadn’t swung at the previous pitch.  Great idea!  Nothing came of it.  And nothing has come of the existing major league rule that a pitcher has to deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds if there’s no one on base.  Why don’t umpires enforce this rule?

Even at its best, baseball is a deliberate game, with far more pauses than action.  At two-and-half-hours the game is delightful; at three-and-a-half hours you can only have the game on in the background while you’re doing something else–blogging, for example (Aceves has just walked the bases loaded vs. Tampa).

And then there’s hockey.  Bob Ryan of the Globe said the last minute of Game 4 of the Bruins-Penguins series probably took two years off his life, and I have to agree.  Hockey has its own problems, but lack of action is generally not one of them.

Let’s see if I can survive the Stanley Cup finals.