A Weekend of Nailbiters The baseball playoffs are heating up, and this weekend's games left fans on the edge of their seats. Bryant Park husband and sports fanatic Bill Wolff talks pro baseball and college football upsets with wife and host Alison Stewart.
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A Weekend of Nailbiters

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A Weekend of Nailbiters

A Weekend of Nailbiters

A Weekend of Nailbiters

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The baseball playoffs are heating up, and this weekend's games left fans on the edge of their seats. Bryant Park husband and sports fanatic Bill Wolff talks pro baseball and college football upsets with wife and host Alison Stewart.

ALISON STEWART, host:

In pro football, the Green Bay Packers saw an end to their winning streak when the Chicago Bears clipped them 27-20. The face off of New York teams ended with the Giants beating the Jets 35-24. And, well, Luke, Seattle was creamed by Pittsburg, 21-0.

But the big excitement was in college football - or so I'm told by the BPP Monday Morning Quarterback, Bill Wolff. Real sports fans will remember him from ESPN's "Around The Horn." I remember him because he lives in my house. He's my husband. Hi.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

I remember him from Saturday night.

STEWART: Friday night.

BURBANK: Friday night. When was it?

BILL WOLFF: Well, thanks again for Saturday night, too, Luke.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Yeah. Awkward. Awkward.

WOLFF: Alison, did you just ask a man from Atlantic City who really runs Atlantic City?

BURBANK: Right.

STEWART: Well, you know…

WOLFF: Aren't you from New Jersey?

STEWART: I am from New Jersey, but I'm trying to maintain my journalistic credibility.

WOLFF: Okay. Well, I have no comment for the sake of the safety of my family.

STEWART: Saturday night…

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: …you - I kid you not. You and your friend John Halley(ph) was sitting on a couch, killing a bottle of red wine, flipping through five different sporting events.

WOLFF: Because there are limits. I could have had more, but five was the number, yes.

STEWART: But you said there was one of the events which was the best game ever - Stanford beating UC. Explain why.

WOLFF: Well, Stanford - it's football. It's at the L.A. Coliseum, and Stanford was playing USC, which is the juggernaut of juggernauts. I mean, it is the best team in the country. And Stanford was a 41-point underdog by Las Vegas odds -41 points, which is like saying thousand to one shot. And the starting quarterback for Stanford was - had never played - had never started a game before. And so it really should have been a giant blowout, and it wasn't.

BURBANK: Stanford was actually starting their mascot, the tree, at the tailback.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Exactly. A very athletic tree, a handsome tree…

BURBANK: Yeah.

WOLFF: …a tree full of leaves.

BURBANK: Yeah.

WOLFF: But genuinely, it was simply - USC hasn't lost in Los Angeles at home since 2001.

STEWART: Here's my favorite part of the story.

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: This was such a big surprise that the sports announcers even screwed up the announcement of the last touchdown. Let's take a listen.

(Soundbite of sports broadcast)

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Unidentified Man: Fourth-and-goal from the 10. Pritchard. Straight drive. Goes to the fade on the other side. Bradford. Touchdown. USC. Stanford touchdown.

STEWART: I mean, Stanford. The other team.

WOLFF: Well, you know, you get one shot at it, and sometimes it just comes out wrong. Anyway, what you heard there was fourth down and goal from the 10 yard line. So here is Stanford, shouldn't even be in the game, and they're coming down at the end. And not only do they have to score, but they have one play on which to do it. And not only did the quarterback start for the first time ever, but the guy who caught the touchdown pass, his father had passed away earlier in the weekend. He hadn't practiced with the team all week. So you're talking about sort of Hollywood drama happening in Hollywood, and David against Goliath. And this was a shot - this may be the biggest upset in college football history. A 41-point underdog at USC, darling. It was - we almost woke you up with our hooting and our hollering.

STEWART: So close.

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: I just remember - best game ever, was all I hear.

BURBANK: For the gamblers of the world - to the non-gamblers of the world, I cannot overstate how big of a deal a 41-point spread is. It'd be like - it's unheard of. (unintelligible)

STEWART: Let's move on to baseball, though.

WOLFF: Oh, sure.

STEWART: So a new team on the block - relatively new team on the block - swept a legacy clubhouse. So the Cubs - out.

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: Sadness? Yes? Expected?

WOLFF: Depends on who you are, you know what I mean? Expected? I think that -but then I - it's a very difficult thing to tell who's going to win any baseball series. The teams are fairly evenly matched. In the case of the Cubs, they were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks - a team that came into existence in 1998. The Cubs came into existence in 1876. So…

BURBANK: Arizona has a hot tub. They have a hot tub in center field.

WOLFF: They have a hot tub at the stadium, Ali.

BURBANK: That tells you how new it is.

WOLFF: Yeah. I mean, it couldn't be more nouveau. They've already run through like four different uniforms because they just can't decide. I mean, it's totally nouveau and horrible. I mean, it's great if you're from Arizona. But else wise, it's quite horrible.

And on the other series in the national league, the Colorado Rockies who came into existence in 1993, swept out the Phillies, who came into existence in 1882. So you're talking about the newbies have defeated the old line. I mean, in the last hundred years of baseball, the Phillies and Cubs have won exactly one World Series between them. It was the Phillies in 1980. So everybody was sort of rooting for the Cubs or the Phillies to see the lovable losers overcome their legacy. You know what I mean, Ali?

STEWART: So, I was wondering, one thing that you said on Friday night - you and Luke. I'm sitting in between you and Luke at a barbecue, and you guys are talking…

WOLFF: Mm. Poor girl.

STEWART: …and looking at your BlackBerries.

BURBANK: Yeah.

STEWART: Sports scores.

BURBANK: Yeah.

STEWART: Good times.

WOLFF: Mm-hmm.

STEWART: Good times for me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Sexy, isn't it?

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: It's like doing the show.

STEWART: And you started talking about this invasion of the gnats…

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: …at the stadium when Yankees were playing, and how the gnats were swarming the pitchers. And I thought you were kind of exaggerating…

WOLFF: No.

STEWART: …or embellishing…

WOLFF: Never do that.

STEWART: …until I saw the video of this. What the heck happened?

WOLFF: Well, they were playing in Cleveland with the Yankees and the Indians. And Cleveland, as you know, Alison - which Great Lake is Cleveland on? Can you name it? Lake Erie.

STEWART: Thanks.

WOLFF: My pleasure. Anyway, when it gets warm late in the season - and it's October, so it's late in the season to be warm.

STEWART: I know it's a mistake on the lake. That's…

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Well, that's what they say. It's a lovely town. Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BURBANK: The Cleve?

WOLFF: The Cleve.

BURBANK: Everybody is talking about the Cleve.

WOLFF: Everybody loves the Cleve. So anyways, when it gets warm in the fall, these things called Lake Erie midges - M-I-D-G-E - which are little, like, mosquitoes or gnats, they swarm off the lake. And there they were in the eighth inning of the big game, with the Yankees winning one game to none. And - I'm sorry - losing one game to none but winning the game one run to none. And here came a swarm of midges, and they simply attacked every player on the field, including the pitcher for the Yanks, a guy called Joba Chamberlain whom we've discussed in this very program before. And Joba was so distracted by these coating of fleas that he threw two wild pitches and Cleveland scored the tying run and went on to win that game to take a 2-0 series lead. And it was as if God himself had sent a swarm of locusts to prevent the Yankees from winning.

STEWART: I knew we'd get to that point in the program.

WOLFF: Well, that was my theory, but then my theory was disproved last night when, you know, God saw the Yankees win. So I think - I actually think the Almighty doesn't care.

BURBANK: He can't work all week. He needs one night to himself.

WOLFF: I think he doesn't care, frankly.

STEWART: Well, maybe the Yankees cared about Joe Torre, because George Steinbrenner, the owner of the Yankees, threatened to fire Joe Torre if the Yankees didn't make it.

WOLFF: Yeah. And you know around in the house, Alison, I never complain about work, do I?

STEWART: Not so much.

Mr. WOLFF: Not so much, okay. Well, if I ever do, I encourage you to remind me of Joe Torre's plight.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WOLFF: Here's Joe Torre, guy's been with the Yankees for 13 or so seasons, and they never miss making it to the playoffs. That is, they succeed every year. And then yesterday, on Sunday, down two games to none, but really having a fairly successful season, the owner of the Yankees, George Steinbrenner, says, well, if the Yankees don't beat the Indians in this series, come back and pull off the miracle and win three straight, then I guess he's fired.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WOLFF: In the newspaper he said it. So now every single baseball fan in the world knows that Joe Torre's job is on the line, and if you think you have a tough job or a mean boss…

STEWART: (unintelligible)

Mr. WOLFF: …I refer you to George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre - George Steinbrenner who's ready to fire Joe Torre, who is successful every year. So God bless Joe Torre.

STEWART: And the Yankees won last night…

Mr. WOLFF: They did.

STEWART: …so maybe his job is safe. By the way, we really do like Cleveland. We won't want to bag on Cleveland.

Mr. WOLFF: Oh, I love Cleveland.

STEWART: Cleveland's a kind of cool town.

BURBANK: Love the Cleveland.

Mr. WOLFF: Are you kidding me? Akron's good, too, Canton, or the anything that has to do with Cuyahoga County is okay by me.

STEWART: Bill Wolff, our Monday Morning Quarterback for THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT. I'll see you later.

Mr. WOLFF: I can't wait.

BURBANK: I'll see you, too, Bill, Saturday, same place.

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