Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Michael Bidwell and Edgerrin James find their balls: now washed!

The culprit? Paul Attner, henceforth known as "a tool".

Read the Ernest Hemingway start to the article:

From downtown Phoenix, you drive west about 18 miles before you start seeing a speck on the horizon. As you draw closer to Glendale, the speck becomes a stunning vision sitting amid the desert flatlands, dominating the landscape in a warm, welcoming fashion. This is the new stadium home of the Arizona Cardinals, a magnificent edifice shaped like a barrel cactus and representing everything the franchise hopes will be different and positive about a team that, for most of the last 18 years, has been wallowing in the armpit of the NFL.

You start seeing a speck on the horizon? A stunning vision? Dominating the landscape in a warm, welcoming fashion? A magnificent edifice shaped like a barrel cactus? Has someone not been laid in the past fifteen years?

I've driven by the stadium several times. It looks, well, like a stadium in the MIDDLE OF THE DESERT!! It's surrounded by warm, inviting parking lot, dirt, highway, and illegal immigrants. Actually, it's kinda ugly from the outside.

The fricking masterpiece continues....

But Michael Bidwill's gradually increasing influence has slowly instilled much-needed direction and structure. And now, wow, look what's going on. The NFL awarded the now air-conditioned Cardinals their first season-opening game at home, against the 49ers, since they moved to Arizona from St. Louis in 1988. Fans showed some love by buying a record 58,000 season tickets before the team cut off sales, virtually assuring the Cards of all sellouts in the 63,400-seat stadium, another first in their Arizona tenure. That means no blackouts; the Cardinals haven't had a home game on local TV since 2000, save for a leaguewide blackout lifting after 9/11. Plus, they dipped into the draft and came away with a stunner, quarterback Matt Leinart. If all this weren't enough, they can toss the big enchilada at you: signing Edgerrin James, the premier free agent available this offseason. No wonder the players talk as if anything short of making the postseason would be a big disappointment.

So.... you got air-conditioning, a home-opener against the 49ers (good night!), more fans are coming and will be able to watch the games at home, they got a quarterback that won't help them this year, and they got an enchilada (bonus points for the Mexican food dish making it into an article about the Arizona Cardinals.... I would have gone with tostada, or chimichanga, but that's just a perference thing) named Edge, who has some words of wisdom to impart, and now the postseason is THERE. MMMMMMMM, YES!!!!

By the way, the big enchilada sounds more like a big helping of crazy.....

"Edge is not crazy, man," he says. "I have vision. Everyone was talking about what might happen to me in Indy and I already had seen what was going to take place--and it did. Now I have seen what will happen in Arizona, and it will happen. When it does, maybe I will finally get credit for my vision."

What James sees is this: an immediate winner. "When we start winning this year," he says, "you can expect it for years to come because everything is laid out just right. This is not what everyone else thought it to be. It is all perfect timing; it is just right for me to be here."

Where does James "see" this? Is this anything like the time that I, as a teenager, "saw" myself sharing a room with Catherine Zeta-Jones?

And he's really serious. He wants to wind up in the Hall of Fame and has already told his offensive line, in the kind of lighthearted manner that so ingratiates him with teammates, they have no option but to play well around him. "They don't need to f-- up my Hall of Fame," he says.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Ahhh, that's so sad. Because the truth is that they might. They really might.

James' presence does bring immeasurable credibility to the Cardinals' image-building. You want to resist saying it puts them over the Edge, but virtually everyone in Cardinal land says it, so what the heck. That's why there's actually a buzz about the team. The rest of the league has taken note, too.

Immeasurable credibility? Actually, I thought that credibility, by and large, was an unmeasurable. There is no actual measurement, that I know of at the very least, to measure credibility. But, sure, the Cardinals' image-building is now credible. That makes no sense.

Oh, and the pun? Not called for, you sack of crap. The buzz is because the team is now entering the NFL, not because they will make the postseason. By the way, if you want to image-build the Cards, you probably don't want to substantiate their hopes with a quote from a San Fran exec. Yeah, there's an NFL man who knows what it takes to build a winner!

For Michael Bidwill, the opener represents something else: the end of what he calls "a failed 18-year experiment to play pro football in the Sonoran Desert in an open-air facility." Bidwill is not about to criticize management for the role it played in other failures of the franchise. After all, that would mean putting his family in a bad light, and that's not his nature.

Wow. I can't believe it took 18 years for someone to figure out that it sucks to both play and watch football when it is 125 degrees outside and your buttocks are molded to the bleacher. Secondly, if Michael can't put his family in a bad light, I will. That family is the worst bunch of owners that have ever owned an NFL franchise. Ever. They are sorta like the Courtney Love of NFL owners.

Since his signing in March, James has worked to become part of the Cardinals' fiber. He studied tape of all 16 Arizona games from last year--every one of them. He figured out which plays worked and which ones didn't; he figured out who could play and who couldn't. He has suggested to his coaches which plays best suit him, and others have been added to take advantage of his abilities. He has preached to his mates on offense the value of the ball--"you never know when you will touch it again, so make the most of it every possession"--and started a fun-loving exchange with quarterback Kurt Warner about their vastly different taste (rap vs. Christian) in music.

The Cardinals' fiber? I have about five jokes in mind, none of which I should write on this blog. I'm also glad to note that it appears that Edge James has figured out all the past ills of the Cards offense. Someone should tell Denny Green that. I'm sure he'd appreciate the help.

No contest rap vs. Christian. Unless you're talking about Christian rap, like that gangsta homeboy KJ-42, who just happens to be white. Or John Reubens, who..... also happens to be white.

Still, his presence already is creating a different feel within the team. He remembered watching the Cardinals in the final game of 2005, against the Colts. He thought their uniforms were tight but hated their white shoes. So he has talked Green into switching to black shoes for 2006. Now he is lobbying for "Victory Mondays." He wants the coach to give the team Monday off after a win. Edge used to irritate the Colts by spending most of the offseason at his Florida home; this offseason, he has made most of the training sessions in Arizona so he could immediately plant his mantra inside his teammates' minds: "If we don't make mental mistakes in games, I see no problem with us. We have the talent. But it is all about the smallest details." James knows detail. He talks frequently with Ray Lewis about how linebackers read running backs, then he figures out what to change and improve in his approach.

Can James really teach the Cardinals--the Cardinals!--enough detail to win? "You wait," he says. "They will be sending you back real soon to do another story on our success." Then he laughs the laugh of a confident man.

How does that laugh go, exactly?


I am glad, though, that I now know that it is the teacher in Edge that will really propel the Cards to success in 2006, even though he NEVER flashed those talents in Indy. Professor Edge. Has a nice ring to it.

By the way, this article sucks.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:42 PM  1 comments


At 8:30 PM, Blogger nach said...

John Rueben is Jewish, but from Ohio, so... about as ethnic as I am. God I'm a dork.


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