Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Talk about impeccable timing.

Not two hours after saying things were about to get interesting in the Konerko Derby, Paulie ends the suspense by inking a new deal worth $60 million over five years. It's so, Paulie. It's so.

More to come on this later in the week; for now, some paper writing.


Konerko Derby

Things are heating up now as they head for the home stretch in the Paulie race. The Baltimore Orioles' offer of five-years, $65 million has been shot down, and LA and Arizona appear to have backed out all together. This makes things interesting in several respects:

1) The initial White Sox offer was four years, $52 million; sources have said the Sox will attempt to match any higher offers.

2) The one higher offer still in play at this point appears to be coming from the Disneyland Angels, who are only a 1-hour flight from Konerko's home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Angels manager Mike Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher both know Paulie back from their days in the Dodgers farm system.

3) Kenny Williams has marked December 8, one week from tomorrow and the final day of the winter GM meetings, as D-Day.

Stay tuned. The Hot Stove is about to reach boiling point...


Monday, November 28, 2005

2005 in Review

On September 2, 2005, anybody who said Charlie Weis would have Notre Dame at 8-3 would've been considered a wishful thinker. Anybody who dared to think 9-2 was delusional. But the Irish have not only wrapped up the season with that mark, they were two plays away from being 11-0 and in the national championship game.

So what will we remember most about the first season under "Chuck"? The 28-point second quarter outburst that buried Pittsburgh? The no-huddle surprise at Michigan? The dismantling of Purdue in primetime on ESPN? The epic loss to USC? 6 touchdown passes against BYU? Standing with Navy after the game for their alma mater? Or the latest, a critical fourth quarter drive that saved the season in a 38-31 victory over Stanford this past weekend?

We'll remember it all, needless to say. This has been a fantastic season and Notre Dame has a program it can be proud of once again, which in and of itself is a major step forward for Weis. But one major obstabcle remains: the bowl. The Irish haven't won a postseason contest since Jan. 1, 1994, the Cotton Bowl defeat of Texas A&M which many felt would secure at least a share of the national title - the Irish woke up the next morning to see the voters had given the whole enchilada to Florida State, the same Florida State that had lost to the Irish 31-24.

But enough of that. This team doesn't focus on the past. That's my job. And to those who will whine about the Irish coasting into a big-time bowl on the strength of a terrible schedule and dollar appeal, I only say this: the last time Notre Dame got so dogged as unworthy of a bowl appearence was the '92 Sugar Bowl. And Notre Dame didn't just beat Florida in that game, Notre Dame
killed Florida.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Vin Diesel Says...

To those who would poor-mouth Notre Dame's 9-2 season as the product of a piss-poor schedule and some lucky breaks:


Well said Vin. More to come later.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

White Sox & Phillies - LET'S MAKE A DEAL

Tonight, there is no joy in Soxville. Mighty Aaron has gone out.

The Sox have a tentative deal to send Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia for left-handed slugger Jim Thome, who became expendable after an injury shut down his 2005 campaign and in stepped NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Howard.

This is the first time I have ever been angry at a Kenny Williams move. It isn't so much that I see any big harm heading towards the White Sox as a result of this trade; I simply see no astronomical benefit to shipping off a young defensive stalwart who can hit a little and run a lot. Rowand is the prototype player for the type of baseball Ozzie Guillen manages; Jim Thome is the antithesis. And which player is wearing a World Championship ring right now?

Granted, turnover is inevitable for any championship contender. Look at Boston - by Opening Day 2005 the champs had lost Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Orlando Cabrera and would seen see Keith Foulke and Curt Schilling chopped down by knee and ankle problems. You're never on top for too long in sports these days.

But why Rowand? A Gold Glove-caliber centerfielder with the hustle and competitiveness that pretty much made him the team's unofficial mascot during the championship run, for an aging slugger on the downside of his career with injury issues? We already had one of those, his name was Frank Thomas, and at least he had the edge of spending 16 seasons with the Sox organization. Jim Thome?? HE'S FROM PEORIA. That's his Chicago connection.

The Sox do get the power bat they'll need with the departure of Carl Everett and have a safety net now should they be outbid for Konerko (a situation that looks less and less likely with each passing day). Aaron Rowand, you have served the Southside well. And for that, we salute you...

Thome heads to Bridgeport; Rowand's service ends after four good seasons and a world championship.


Monday, November 21, 2005

The Rant


ESPN'S Tony Kornheiser & Mike Wilbon say -- Notre Dame should not be ranked ahead of Oregon because they have played a weaker schedule overall and are the beneficiary of preferential treatment. If enough of the country saw the Ducks, who are victims of living in the Pacific Time Zone, they would (at 10-1) easily be ahead of 8-2 Notre Dame.

The Counter-Point:

Of course I'm biased. But let's look at some simple facts concerning Notre Dame and Oregon:

Notre Dame won in a first-year head coaches second game AT Michigan. Say whatever you want about the Wolverines being overrated, that isn't Notre Dame's fault; they went into the Big House and won. Ohio State goes into the Big House this past weekend and comes back to win, its a season-defining, BCS-saving victory. Notre Dame does the same thing and its weak in comparision to beating Fresno State by three on your home field.

Notre Dame is 4-0 on the road, three of those coming against teams that were ranked at the time. Yet the fall of those opponents from the rankings makes ND's schedule a sham, and the fall of Arizona State and California from the rankings doesn't seem to hinder the strength of Oregon's schedule.

And in Oregon's biggest game of the season, on their home field, they allowed 45 unanswered points and lost by 32 to USC - the 32 points, I might add, being one more than Notre Dame scored on the Trojans in a game they were seven seconds away from winning.

Notre Dame didn't need a field goal with one second left to beat a 4-7 Washington State team. Or a fumble return in the 4th quarter to beat a 2-9 Arizona team. I think you're right, most of the country hasn't seen Oregon play, otherwise they wouldn't be ranked as high as they are right now.

Your argument against putting Notre Dame ahead of Oregon seems to hinge on the idea that is a crime against sport to rank a two-loss team ahead of a one-loss team, even if the one-loss team has two narrow wins against inferior competition. Fact of the matter is that you have to judge based on what you see on the field - and if USC is the clear number 1 team in the country, then Notre Dame is a heck of a lot closer to them than Oregon is.


Grand Valley?

Congratulations to the Grand Valley State Lakers for winning the CWPA National Championship this past weekend in Boston, taking home two thrillers, 4-2 over UCLA in the Semis and 9-8 over Michigan State in the championship.

For us, on the flipside...we at Notre Dame Water Polo must know what the football team felt after losing to USC.

Since most of you probably didn't even know that ND had a water polo team, allow me to explain here. We're one of the most competitive non-varsity teams in the country, as evidenced by out 15-5 record, top 10 CWPA Ranking, and victories this season over Michigan, Michigan State, and Miami (Ohio), three teams considered powerhouses in the club polo ranks.

And three of our losses? To Grand Valley. By a combined 8 goals. The one that hurts the most is easily the one which ended our season in last month's Great Lakes Conference title game. We played outstanding but gave back just a little bit more than we could handle and lost to the eventual national champions 10-9. And it wasn't like Grand Valley had always been far ahead of us and so we were happy to just close the gap. This year was the THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR we have lost by one goal in the final minute to that team. We were so close, so agonizingly close...

In any event, I suppose we do owe the Lakers a bit of a thank you because next season's Great Lakes champion goes to the national tournament as the #1 seed.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

College Football Saturday Recap

Saturday's home finale against Syracuse marked not only the penultimate game of Charlie Weis' first year, but also the return of A Tradition Unlike Any Other...the Turkey-Gate. This is a Heidkamp Family staple (dating all the way back to 2002) in which six turkeys are sent into the deep-fryer and consumed by hungry tail-gaters. This year's edition was a rousing success, and all are looking forward to the sequel, Turkey-Gate '06 in L.A.

The game...not the most cosmetically pleasing, but still a 34-10 Irish victory. Brady Quinn now the career passing leader at Notre Dame. Irish now 8-2 and needing a win over Stanford to essentially lock up the BCS bid.


Penn State displaces Michigan State 31-22 and curses the refs up the road in Ann Arbor who gave the Wolverines those two seconds back.

Georgia Tech trips up Miami, 14-10, screwing up the Orange Bowl's dream matchup of Penn State-Miami.

Alabama again can't find any offense, allowing Brodie Croyle to be sacked eleven (ELEVEN!!!) times in a 28-18 loss to archrival Auburn.

USC once again pulls off "The Great Escape", this time getting an interception in the endzone to stave off the Bulldogs of Fresno State 50-42. Reggie Bush was phenomenol, but did enough people see it to give him the edge in the Heisman race?


Thursday, November 17, 2005


It's snowing! First home snow bowl this Saturday since Penn State '92?


Monday, November 14, 2005

3 AM Drop-In

Thanks to a less-than-perfect performance by their opponents, the Irish sit with the nation's 50th toughest schedule. My response to that? It's not Notre Dame's fault Pittsburgh and Purdue were vastly overrated, Michigan lost two games they shouldn't have, Michigan State forgot how to play defense, and Tennessee has absolutely no offense. It really isn't our fault. They schedule 'em, you play 'em. Sometimes I feel like strength of schedule is one of the sorriest ways to actually rate a team's performance.

Anyway, despite their less-than-super schedule, the Irish have a great shot at a BCS bowl berth, likely the Fiesta unless Texas slips and doesn't make the championship game. That makes the Orange Bowl the most likely destination. Either way, who would you rather have in charge of your program, Charlie Weis or Urban Meyer? Think about it.


Saturday, November 12, 2005


I called that putt too early. USC 35, Cal 10.

However, there is good news: Notre Dame 42, Navy 21.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Can Cal Pull a Notre Dame?

Great streaks exist so that we can all go nuts when they finally end. Did you ever hear of somebody watching a record-breaking streak with the hope that it'll continue, other than die-hard fans of the ones doing the streaking? No. And so it is these days with the USC Trojans - everybody beyond the corner of Adams & Figueroa is rooting for their 31 game winning streak to crash and burn. The Irish were only.......NO, I cannot continue, just writing about it brings back terrible memories.

But this weekend, USC returns to the site of their last defeat, in September of 2003, against the Mighty Golden Bears of California-Berkely. And with God as my witness, I declare it now for all to hear: CAL WILL WIN THIS GAME.

Not because I don't like USC or have any particular fondness for the Golden Bears. But the symmetry is at work - a titan of college sports from Los Angeles being felled twice by the same underdog. Cal is about to pull a Notre Dame.

For those who don't follow, a little history lesson: on January 23, 1971, the UCLA Bruins entered Notre Dame's Joyce Center and left 89-82 losers. Three years later, they returned not only as back-to-back-to-back national champions, but undefeated since that cold South Bend day. 88 games, 88 wins. February 2, 1974 was the day it all ended, the Bruins denied their 89th in a row...on the same court to the same team, Digger Phelps' Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Not many teams can claim to be at both ends of an eye-popping streak like UCLA's 88 straight in basketball. But in today's college football world, USC's 31 is almost as impressive. But just to offer a little perspective, assuming USC does win out and take home the Rose Bowl, they would STILL have to go undefeated in 2006 in order to match Oklahoma's record of 47 straight gridiron victories.

And it ain't happening. I have faith in the Cal Bears. Blind and misinformed though it may be, I think you're really gonna see something tomorrow, particularly when you consider how under-the-radar this game is behind the SEC's three-headed monster Saturday of LSU-Alabama, Auburn-Georgia, and South Carolina-Florida (Steve S. gonna show Urby how it's done). So strap in for 3:30 PM ET. Cal's about to pull a Notre Dame out of its Golden Bear hat.


Remember Remember the 10th of November

Happy (Belated) Birthday to the Marines! And to George Lester Heidkamp (that's you, Grandpa!) and Terrence Gerard Heidkamp (that's you, Dad!), Semper Fi.

Irish versus Navy tomorrow at 1 p.m. - NBC's effort to get the game over as fast as possible. The quick pick? Notre Dame 37, Navy 10.

Sox' exclusive window to sign Paul Konerko has come and gone...Paulie remains a free agent. The drama is intense (but it won't save us any money on car insurance).


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Low Scoring?

You just never know. The Irish offense hangs 27 on Tennessee, and Tom Zbikowski tacks on 14 by himself for a 41-21 victory over the Vols.

Fiesta Bowl fiesta, anyone?


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Dropping A Note...

OK, usually nothing rattles me, and that's still true, but there's something about FACEBOOK that I just don't comprehend. I won't waste your time explaining the whole thing, but it appears in one facebook photo album I've been denoted simply as "weird guy from Notre Dame".

I suppose I could be angry about this, but three things stand out: 1) I am a bit weird 2) I am a guy 3) I am from Notre Dame. So this person tossed three perfect strikes. Sometimes that's just the way things go...


- Sox buy out Frank Thomas, as expected, but will likely try to re-sign if his health issues can be cleared up. With Carl Everett already out and the possible free-agency loss of Paul Konerko, a heavy bat is still a priority even for a Defending Championship Team (Almost two weeks have gone by, and writing that sentence STILL feels good).

- Notre Dame vs. Tennessee in about an hour with Coach Weis terming the Vols "the scariest 3-4 team you'll ever face". It may sound like a deadpan, but these guys can play defense hardcore. Still, they won't scratch out enough offense to keep up. Irish win in a low-scoring affair, 20-13.