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Friday, May 27, 2005

INsite: The Pregame Tailgate (June 2005) 

(The June INsite hist stands next weekend)

The Pregame Tailgate
By Andrew Fox

Is it June already? It seems like just last week that Vince Young so fittingly paraded through the Michigan defense en route to the end zone in Pasadena, yet here we are actually closer to the 2004 season opener than we were to the 2004 climax (which, granted, did take place in 2005).

The thought of August two-a-days has me as giddy as a third-grader on the eve of Summer vacation, after downing a six pack of Mountain Dew and a dozen Pixie Sticks. Bear with me as I breeze through a few random observations, because I simply don’t have the attention span right now to stick to a single topic.

Speaking of giddy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the biggest movie event of my life. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith opened last month. I saw it opening night and again three days later. To call it a triumph sells it short. It was reminiscent of Roy Hobbs breaking out of his slump by blasting one into the lights, only with better explosions.

How remarkable was Episode III? If the Houston Astros can make half the comeback this season that George Lucas made with this installment, then Texas pharmacies won’t have to worry about disgruntled Astros fans causing a state-wide shortage of Zoloft. But until Lance Berkman stops doing his best Timmy Lupes impression each at-bat, I’d recommend adding Eli Lilly to your 401K.

Can you believe Hollywood is re-making The Bad News Bears? I realize that the unoriginal Summer movie schedule also includes War of the Worlds, a new Batman flick, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Longest Yard, but isn’t there a line somewhere? The universe has an order to it, and when you start messing with classic movies like The Bad News Bears, you risk untangling the fibers that hold it all together. Still, as long as Ashton Kutcher isn’t playing Kelly Leak, I might check it out.

Summer lines for the gambler in all of us:
• Odds that any newspaper headline about Cat Osterman during the 2005 Women’s College World Series uses the word “Purrfect” – 5-4
• Number of Astros road wins in June vs. Number of Tiger Woods major championships in June – Pick’em
• Over/Under on the number of anti-Greg Davis posts on Hornfans.Com between now and September 1st – 100
• Over/Under on the number of “Roger Clemens to New York” trade rumors mentioned on Baseball Tonight before the trade deadline – 750
• Odds that the Astros actually trade Clemens to New York – 750-1
• Odds that a Texas Longhorn football player will miss the 2005 season because of academic reasons -- No Line

As of press time the Longhorn baseball team seems poised to once again make a run toward Omaha. I wouldn’t call it the near lock of the past few seasons, but does anyone want to bet against Augie Garrido?

I caught part of the new MLS season on ESPN the other day. I’d comment on how goofy it is that the league has decided to “soccerize” its team names (e.g., Dallas went from the Burn to F.C. Dallas). but seeing as this is a sports column I’d prefer to stick to, well, sports.

Prior to Star Wars’ release ESPN’s Kenny Mayne reported (I use that term loosely) on whether or not Episode III is the best sports movie of all time. Though tongue-in-cheek, I found myself thinking that the Jedi Order probably had a kick-ass softball team. Just look at how well they deflected those laser blasts with their lightsabers. It’s a skill that no doubt lends itself to hitting a ball.

Burning question of the month: Who are the bigger geeks – Star Wars nerds or fantasy sports nerds? I’m inclined to choose the latter. Barring a movie release, an occasional convention or the rare event when a tape makes its way to the web, which shows one of them making sound effects while shadow-dueling with a broom-handle lightsaber, Star Wars nerds usually remain in the closet. Fantasy sports dorks bore you to death with stats and ill-timed comments when you want to watch your favorite team – gasp! – play the game.

For all the excitement Texas fans experienced in January, it’s hard to believe that the home schedule this year tops out with Texas Tech and Colorado. Thank the Lord for roadies to Columbus and Stillwater, where Orangebloods can out-party the opposing fans before the Horns out-play the opposing teams. That means expensive flights and hotel costs, but if Texas can finally put together that elusive national title run, then it will be well worth the tab.

And now I’m feeling like that giddy third-grader again, only Summer break is still three long months away. e-mail TPT at drewfox@gmail.com


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