Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sports Commentary - Astros lose, Vikings will be vikings

Here's the sports commentary for this week. As you can tell, I couldn't really think of anything specific to talk about. That's why we have bullets, ladies and gentlemen.

Astros lose,
Vikings will
be vikings

By SPC. IAN BOUDREAU / Turret Sports Editor

It's hard to focus. Too much is going on, and when that happens, honing in on one subject in particular is tough.

First and foremost, of course, is St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols making Major League Baseball history with his ninth-inning home run hit with two outs, beating the Houston Astros 5-4 in the fifth game of the National League Championship Series Monday. And he hit it off Astros' ace closing pitcher Brad Lidge, often referred to as "the best closer in the game."

Headline writers at are having a field day with this one -- "The Power of Pujols," "Phat Albert," "Fear and loathing in Houston."

For Cardinals fans, this was a moment that is sure to live forever in their collective memory -- it's almost the archetype of "classic moments in baseball."

For the Houston fans gathered in Minute Maid Park, the game was also archetypical, but for them and for Astros fans across the globe (including former Turret staffer Sgt. Christopher Fincham, currently stationed in Yongsan Garrison, Korea), the game was the textbook definition of "heartbreaker."

The Cardinals' victory brought the series back to St. Louis for last night's (Ed: Wednesday) game, which, at the time of this writing, hasn't happened.

- I'm tempted to mention the fact that veteran Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox would do well not to show his face in public in Pittsburgh again until such a time as the Steelers have beaten Cincinnati and his game-busting interception in overtime against Carolina last Sunday is forgotten -- but I won't.

- Instead, we'll look west to the land of 10,000 lakes -- the great state of Minnesota, whose Vikings are doing everything they can to scuttle their own ship.

Nautical metaphors are especially apt, since that's exactly what's gotten the Vikings into the hot water they're currently treading. During the team's bye week, it seems, players and guests chartered a pair of cruise ships to head out onto one of Minnesota's many lakes.

So far, so good, right?

However, they returned to port hours ahead of schedule, and the crew of the boat complained of drunkenness and indecent acts on the part of the 90 guests, Vikings players included.

No word yet as to whether the rowdy Vikings aboard the cruise participated in any pillaging, looting, or arson in the local countryside. Who knows, though -- the team might just be trying to live up to the legacy of its namesake.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said the team is adopting a new code of conduct that demands "high standards, high morals, and success," according to ESPN.

These are three things that, despite preseason predictions forecasting the greatness of quarterback Daunte Culpepper (who was allegedly aboard the sinful ship) and the Vikings' all-but-guaranteed trip to the playoffs, have eluded Minnesota so far this season, which now finds the team at 1-4 and at the bottom of the NFC North. That easily puts it into the running for the worst team in the entire League.

- In another heartbreaker this week past, the Fort Knox Eagles lost 51-50 in quintuple overtime to Kentucky Country Day Friday night. Unfortunately, the loss boots the teams from a chance at the playoffs. The Eagles have two more regular season games -- tomorrow night at Campbellsville (kickoff at 7:30 p.m.) and Oct. 28 at Green County (kickoff at 6:30 p.m.).

- Finally, I'd like to thank Staff Sgt. Mike Johnson for stopping by the Turret office for a photograph to complete our Picks-4-Kicks feature. We'll all miss the question mark, of course, but it's nice to put a face with the name -- literally, in this case.