Forgive me if I go off on a few different tangents this week, but that happens sometimes with rants, right?
For starters, for the second straight week in this space I can't help but reflect a bit on what's going on in Major League Baseball. While the 2011 NFL season is amazingly already five weeks old with all kinds of great storylines emerging, playoff baseball has always shared the spotlight for yours truly in the month of October.
And I find myself captivated by the special bond the residents of St. Louis and Milwaukee are currently sharing with their pro baseball teams going toe-to-toe at the moment in the National League Championship Series, and their pro football teams also preparing for battle against one another this Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Suffice it to say, most of you have to be feeling a lot more optimistic about the Packers' prospects against the woeful Rams than those of the Brewers, who were bludgeoned into submission by Albert Pujols & Co. Monday night one day after a spirited come-from-behind Brewers victory to open the series. Can the Brewers get their act together on the road at Busch Stadium? Something tells me they will be facing a major challenge in arguably the country's best baseball town.
Baseball has always been the featured attraction in St. Louis, and that's never been more the case with the Rams, who appeared to have legitimate heavyweight sleeper potential entering the season, getting off to an absolutely awful start. Things have gotten so bad that you have to wonder if the natives in St. Louis would even really take notice if, by some miracle, the Rams borrowed a page from their NFC West brethren from Seattle (which stunned the Giants on Sunday) and pulled off an upset for the ages this Sunday at Lambeau in arguably the country's best football town.
Of course, I seriously doubt that will happen, with key injuries having turned the Rams into a really defeated-looking team in grave danger of falling out of playoff contention before the first half of the season runs its course. With the Cowboys and Saints up next for the Rams after the Packers, an 0-7 record is looking very likely.
I predict a major rout by the Packers over the Rams.
I also predict — and here comes a different tangent — a lot of potential cheap shots from the Rams similar to the ones the Falcons so blatantly delivered in defeat this past Sunday. Extreme frustration can cause spontaneous combustion in a heartbeat, and the Packers are frustrating every opponent they face with an unstoppable offense that continues to operate on all cylinders.
Don't be surprised if the Rams resort to the same kind of late-whistle thuggery as the Falcons, who left a very bad taste in the mouths of every Packer player. Fighting for the same kind of respect that their scrappy baseball team seems to earn every year in postseason crunch time, the Rams are very wounded dogs at the moment.
And that could make them go to any means to turn things around, no matter how unsavory.