LOVE TO HATE

Del Olaleye: Sports hate is healthy, so (bleep) Tom Brady and the Patriots

It's easy to hate Tom Brady. Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

F--- Tom Brady might be the most used phrase across Philadelphia the next two weeks. With the Eagles in the Super Bowl, Philly fan will be at full tilt as their city becomes one of the epicenters of the football world.Their what I like to call “sports hate” for Tom Brady stems from a past on-field result and a possible future result. He was the QB of the 2004 Patriots. The same Patriots who beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. He just so happens to be standing in their way again as the Eagles attempt to become Super Bowl champions for the first time. That is entry-level sports hate. Player A has a chance to ruin your season. They hate him because they should.

My sports hate for Tom Brady is at an elite level. I don’t think I’ve rooted against one player longer than I have Brady. As a Dolphins fan, Brady’s career includes countless victories against my favorite team. Not really countless. There is a record of it somewhere. I just refuse to look it up. The victories number so many that he has helped turned the Dolphins into merely a road bump he has to run over twice a season as opposed to a legitimate threat. The Dolphins have done enough to crater their own chances that I don’t really hate the Patriots anymore. They play a brand of football that is so far superior that I don’t even get mad when Miami loses. I’ve been in this stage of acceptance for about a decade. With that being said, I still root for Tom Brady to lose every time he touches the field. I told you I was at an elite level.

I know I’m not alone. There is at least one player, coach, referee or owner for everyone that no matter the situation, you hope they die a slow and painful sports death. I proposed this topic on the Raheel and Del show in mid-December and phone calls flooded the show. From Bud Adams to Matt Schaub to Nick Saban to Drayton McClane, everybody had someone they wanted to fail miserably. You continue to root for their failure long after the adverse effects on your team that they’re responsible for have worn off.

College football is the perfect place to cultivate your sports hate. Your school has the same opponents every year. Sometimes those opponents are in your home state. Opposing coaches, players and fans say things to hype up their squad by denigrating you and yours. I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida. So were several of my cousins. Our family football allegiances are divided amongst the big 3 schools in the state. Florida, Florida State and Miami. I have family who love Florida State and Florida. I will never root for the Seminoles or the Gators. I hope they lose every time they touch the field, court or pool. When people tell me they root for FSU or Florida I immediately begin to have thoughts about them as human beings. I can tell you those thoughts aren’t complimentary. Watching FSU catch an L on a Friday night in October at Boston College was better than watching Miami beat UNC the next day.

Like I said, I’m elite.

Spending a perfectly good 2.5 to 4 hours watching a sporting event you have no emotional connection to just to root for the downfall of a person you don’t know means your sports hate has reached Super Saiyian. Embrace that. When your teams are mediocre or flat out terrible you need something to give your sports life meaning. No better way to find meaning for an otherwise empty sports existence than to revel in another’s misery.

The Patriots have a chance to win their sixth Super Bowl. Nobody needs that. I’ve got no connection to the Eagles besides Eagles Fan Holly but I know who I’ll be rooting against in Super Bowl LII.

F--- Tom Brady? You're damn right, F--- Tom Brady.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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