Growing up a Dodger fan, it's easy to remember Vin Scully during those Farmer John commercials, saying “the eastern most in quality, and the western most in flavor.” He was talking about bacon, ham, sausage, and luncheon meat, but for years, maybe he's been previewing Super Bowl XLVIII (48). The quality is yet to be determined, but the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos certainly have the flavor.
When talking about flavor, you can also talk about taste. The words are practically synonyms, but which team you prefer in the big game in a couple of weeks, could depend upon individual taste. If you like players and teams to be businesslike, but without a lot of pizazz, then I recommend the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Peyton Manning just defeated arch rival Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 26-16 Sunday, and I wouldn't be surprised if he celebrated by getting a Papa John's Pizza with his dad, mom, and brother. On the way, it's also likely that he stopped to help an old lady cross the street, and got up this morning, found a bird with a broken wing, and nursed it back to health. That's how Manning is. That's how the Broncos are. Maybe there's just nothing else to do in Denver.
If that's too white bread and boring for you, then perhaps you should sample the Seattle Seahawks. Head Coach Pete Carroll left USC right before some NCAA punishment came down. Running back Marshawn Lynch gets showered with Skittles every time he scores a touchdown (which is pretty cool, really), and cornerback Richard Sherman talks trash on national television after making game-winning plays. The loudest crowd noise in the league can add some spice to your salami as well. The Seahawks out-battled the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC Championship, and will be seeing a lot of roman numerals for the next couple of weeks, while the Niners hit the golf course, or maybe an early tour of their new stadium in Santa Clara.
Perhaps the Seahawks are the spicy sausage, and the Broncos are the boiled ham. Hey, spicy food can come back on you sometimes. You won't be able to get it out of your system for days, but it tastes so good. But a nice ham sandwich with some cheese and mayonnaise can really hit the spot, too. It depends on your taste, but the big game coming up will not be without flavor.
What did he say?: It was classless, but different. In case you missed the postgame antics, Seattle's Richard Sherman, just moments after tipping a Colin Kaepernick pass away from Michael Crabtree, and into the hands of teammate Malcolm Smith for an interception to seal a victory was asked by Fox's Erin Andrews to take her through the play. Instead, Sherman called out Crabtree, saying “I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're gonna get. Don't you ever talk about me.” A bewildered Andrews followed up with, “Who's talking ahout you?”, to which Sherman replied, “Crabtree. Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm gonna shut it for you real quick. L.O.B. (which means Legion of Boom, a nickname for the Seattle defense)” The interview ended there, and we assume Sherman walked away, because cameras cut to part of the celebration while Sherman was talking. Sherman and Crabtree did have words in the final moments of the game. This morning, Sherman partly apologized, but also says that's who he is. He also said he went over to congratulate Crabtree for a good game, and got shoved in the face.
More Sherman, etc.: Someone at work said this. Today's NFL is kind of like the way wrestling used to be. I don't think that's a good thing.
Super Bowl forecast: The early weather forecast for Super Bowl Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey: Snow and rain mix, high of 35, but kickoff is at 6:30pm (EST). Also, the opening betting line was Seahawks by 2, but the Broncos have become a slight favorite.
Winter Classic?: It was fun watching the National Hockey League's annual New Year's Day outdoor game this year, where 100,000 people packed into Michigan Stadium to see the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Mapleleafs. It was sub-freezing, and snowing, and play had to be stopped once or twice a period to clear the snow off the playing surface. Saturday, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will play an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium—the first American outdoor game west of the Mississippi. The forecast is for a high of 75 degrees, and about 64 for the opening faceoff at 6:30pm. Don't forget your mittens.
Tanaka Blast: Before the week is over, we will know where Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka will be playing in 2014. Major league teams have until Friday to sign him, or he'll return to Japan. The 25 year-old was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles last season. The Dodgers and Angels have both showed interest, but so have several other teams, including the Yankees. He's rumored to be seeking a contract in excess of 100-million dollars.
More baseball: The Los Angeles Dodgers open the 2014 season in Australia against Arizona, but also open the United States season as well. Dodgers at San Diego will be the ESPN Sunday Night opener March 31 at Petco Park. Dan Shulman, John Kruk, and Curt Schilling will be the broadcast team this year. Schilling replaces Orel Hershiser, who will be a Dodgers announcer...Dallas Braden, who pitched a perfect game on Mother's Day in 2010, announced his retirement last week. The lefty was trying to come back from shoulder surgery. Braden pitched one game for the Gold Sox in 2003, and was the first Gold Sox collegiate player to make it to the major leagues.
Old Rivalry: Would you ever have thought, even as recently as a year ago, that national television would pass on a Lakers-Celtics game? The two teams met Friday night in Beantown, but ESPN chose to televise Clippers-Knicks instead. It turned out to be a close contest, with the Lakers winning 107-104.
TV Guide: No football this weekend, but there's a lot on television over the next little while. The Dodger Stadium hockey game is on NBC Sports Network Saturday, and the Grammy Awards from LA's Staples Center is Sunday night. Also, this weekend is the finals of the Australian Open Tennis Championships, which should be good on both the men's and women's side. For further planning, the Winter Olympics open just four days after the Super Bowl, and Jay Leno's farewell, Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show debut, and Seth Meyers' Late Night premiere are all coming up in February.
Note: My mom has decided to spend some time a few blocks from her house. She's at Palmdale Regional Medical Center after falling out of bed Thursday night. Nothing's broken, but she can't move well enough to be sent home. Hopefully in the next day or two.