Friday, September 30, 2005

Everything but Week 4 NFL picks

Ever since my post regarding Karl Hungus and my nihilism provoked a Big L. conversation, my boss must have figured out that I am blogging and gave me additional work.

Consequently, I will pick my Week 4 NFL on Saturday as I watch...

The Michigan vs. MSU game: Mighty Mike, I hate you, the buckeyes and Cooper's sweater vest. All he needs is a bow tie and he will look like Pee-Wee Herman doll (minus the famous stroking incident). The Wolverines have done nothing but waste my time this season with the embarrassing "taking the choad" incident in Madison.

Michigan Wins.

Hail to the Victors. It is against state law for the Wolverines to lose against Wisconsin and MSU in the same season.

If Michigan loses, I will not watch them until the OSU game and I hope they are disbanded and forced to work at Inter-Choad. This is your last chance Maze and Blue, don’t waste my time!!!

GO TRIBE. Cleveland wins the Wildcard. As for the Red Sox and the Yankees, I pass. I prefer the turkey on rye.

Line of the day from Jon Stewart regarding Mr. DeLay... "No one forgets when they popped their ethics cherry. It makes a congress boy a Congressman."

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Coke

Well happy happies folks its Friday. Those of us watching baseball scores like the Chinese watch Panda copulation a rum and coke is a needed commodity. As the great philosopher Eddie Murphy said "have a smile and a coke and shut the fuck up". I have no idea what that has to do with baseball but a little cheering and jeering is in order.

"Today a Texas grand jury indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. This is the most embarrassing thing to happen to the Republicans since yesterday." - Jay Leno

In August, Judge Jeffrey Sprecher dismissed a case against a man charged with buying beer for an underage neighbor. The judge ruled that the prosecutor hadn't proved all of the elements of the crime; specifically no evidence was offered that Miller Genuine Draft is "beer".
-- Chuck Shepherd UPS

Cheers - To important baseball the last weekend of the season. Baseball more than any other professional sport, does (or at least should) value the importance of the regular season. The fabled pennant chase is in full effect. Baseball's lore of Bucky Dent's homer,The Shot heard round the world and Hart's diving triple could be added to by Papi, A-Rod or Pronk.

Jeers - To those who think the Big 10 isn't fun. Michigan v. Michigan State is one of the more under-rated contests. Plus this is one of those years where the Spartans get to stomp Michigan (memories of Plaxico Burress anyone?)

Cheers - Vinny Testeverde. Much like a cold he just won't go away. For someone ruled a bust in Tampa he somehow has outlasted a lot of big names and continued to play. Decade after agonizing decade. Some things just don't make sense.

Jeers- To Dennis Green. Brilliant move bringing in Jesus Warner. How'd that work out? Sure Dennis Green changes quarterbacks more often than Bob Taft changes ethics reports (ok Ohio Politics joke) but you to have a decent team for that to work. I just wonder if anyone in the media will poney up and rip Green if he loses to San Francisco.

Cheers - Cleveand Browns bye week. It gives me a chance to focus on baseball without worrying that I'm missing seeing the Browns screwing up.

Hopeful Cheers - BrewCrew finishing at .500 or higher. In honor of the success yesterday Brewers owner gave away free tickets to the last home game. The game still wasn't sold out. My only guess for why that was 1) Wisconsin is in permanent mourning over the Packers 2) Not enough Cheddarwurst were being sold (Bratwurst stuffed with cheddar cheese) 3) They had their rum and cokes early.


As a public service announcement:

If Indians go 2-1 and Boston goes 2-1
Then Indians, Red Sox play one-game playoff at Fenway

If Indians go 2-1 and Boston goes 1-2
Then Indians win wild card, Yankees win Division

If Indians goes 2-1 and Boston goes 3-0
The Indians win wild card, Boston wins division

If Indians go 1-2 and Boston goes 2-1
Then Red Sox win wild card, and MJ destroys Tokyo.

If Indians and Boston go 1-2
Then Indians, Red Sox play one-game playoff at Fenway. MJ only destroys Osaka

If Indians go 0-3 and Boston wins at least one
Then Red Sox win wild card

If both Indians and Red Sox go 0-3
Then Indians, Red Sox play one-game playoff at Fenway

Thursday, September 29, 2005

There Is No Joy In Mudville

It's a dark, dark day on the north side...

Dan Shanoff Is A Moron

Nothing new here, we all know Dan Shanoff is a moron. But since Hitman brought it up, I'm going to give everyone Shanoff's take on the Iowa lockerroom issue:

"What does it say about the quality of the program that they need to resort to lame psychological ploys to try to gain an "edge" over opponents?"

I think the quality of the program is quite good, actually. Iowa may not be having its best year right now but anyone that's been following Kirk Ferentz's tenure has to say that the program is absolutely one of the better ones in Division I. And as for psychological ploys, I don't see what's wrong with them. Notre Dame relies on the Touchdown Jesus mosaic and the "Play Like a Champion" sign that everyone knows about. I don't think anyone would look at Notre Dame's program and question it over the decades.

Dan Shanoff is his usual self here, miles off the mark. What on earth do people see in this guy? He honestly seems mentally challenged. I'm being serious now. I don't think this guy's capable of even eating soup without dribbling at this point. Someone, anyone, get this guy some help.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Enough Already!

Joe Horn: I saw something about Joe Horn ripping the NFL for making the Saints play in the Meadowlands a couple of weeks ago for their "home" opener. At what point do the Saints let this story die? I mean, really, it wasn't an ideal situation but you just have to move on. You can't beat this drum all season. Or maybe you can. I'm sick and tired of drying the Saints' tears. Every other victim of the hurricane is trying to put their lives back together. The Saints need to do the same.

Steroids Hearings: Senator John McCain yelled at MLBPA head Donald Fehr today. I have no problem with Fehr being taken to task because he's a royal jerk and needs to get a little of what he gives. But, as I've said about a billion times already, Congress needs to get off their high horse. Quit moralizing, damnit! As Mighty Mike and I were discussing today, a handful of boldface name politicians (DeLay, Frist, Rove) are in hot water for improprieties ranging from obstruction of justice to securities fraud. Why should ANYONE be summonsed to Washington to listen to a bunch of hot air when those same loudmouths are leaving the hearings and running to their offices to continue the breaking of laws they claim to be interested in upholding. What a bunch of bullcrap these hearings are. All our government is good for is holding hearings after the fact, trying to blame people for things. I've never been less proud to be an American.

Week 4 – Motivation Styles are Important

The NFL is so unpredictable, that I somehow finished above .500 for the first time last week! It’s still going to take some time for the contenders and pretenders to be fully present. It’s been a busy week for me, so let’s cut right to it.

Manwich Machup of the Week:
Philly @ KC- Here’s why I’m picking KC: After they got slaughtered by the Broncos, I picture Dick Vermeil crying to the team, how he thought this was the season to return to the Super Bowl. He then pouts to his players, “why do you guys have to make me so emotional?!?” Vermeil’s style of motivation [crying] works for him and his players. Interestingly, KC plays a team with the complete opposite theory of motivation. Coach Andy Reid eats his players’ food if they don’t practice the way he likes.
Pick: KC

Upset of the Week:
Seattle @ Washington – I refuse to jump on the Redskin bandwagon just because Dallas failed to cover Santana Moss on consecutive possessions. I realize that when a team is a 2.5 point underdog, it isn’t much of an upset, but I’m really not sure what else to pick.
Pick: Seattle

Buffalo @ New Orleans – I finally figured out who Saints coach Jim Haslett reminds me of. It’s long-time Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes! Both coaches continually find ways to win 7 to 9 games, they avoid being fired, and they also are good at avoiding any playoff wins.
Pick: Buffalo

Denver @ Jacksonville – A Monday night hangover for the Broncos and the Jacksonville D combine to bring the 2-1 Broncos back to reality. Reality meaning they will not make the playoffs.
Pick: Jacksonville

Detroit @ Tampa Bay- Now that Cadillac Williams is playing Detroit, do you think the executives at GM will realize the marketing potential of this rookie phenom? Or will they just bask in the glory of the free publicity? Or are they scared that Cadillac won’t survive the season if Coach Jon “Chucky” Gruden continually runs him 37 (yes, thirty-seven) times per game, as he did last week?
Pick: Tampa Bay

Houston @ Cincy- I feel bad for Houston. Their schedule is just brutal, and really does not allow them to get into a groove. They started out week 1 against Buffalo’s defense, then they had to play Pittsburgh, and now they have to go the Jungle, home of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals can smell fear.
Pick: Cincy

Indy @ Tennesee- What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! NO! It’s Peyton Manning! He’s here to save all the fantasy owners who are 0-3!
Pick: Indy

San Diego @ New England- Ok, Ok, I’ll go with the Patriots. I sure am tempted to believe that Tomlinson and company should have a fighting chance.
Pick: New England

St. Louis @ NY Giants – I finally figured out why offensive genius Mike Martz is so unpredictable. After he lost in the Super Bowl to the Patriots, he became Two-Face, the criminal from Batman lore. He goes around flipping coins to determine what plays to call, which RB to give more carries to, which fast-food chain he should go to. The only hole in my theory is that his face didn’t become deranged from Vinateiri making the winning field goal, but he could be wearing makeup for all we know.
Pick: NY Giants

NY Jets @ Baltimore- Brooks Bollinger is starting, and that’s all I need to know.
Pick: Baltimore

Dallas @ Oakland- If Janikowski wasn’t kicking for this team, they would have certainly beat the Eagles last week. However, this week, the Raiders won’t need their kicker. I just don’t respect any member of the NFC East. I’m prejudiced, I know. Don’t worry, I’ve been speaking to a professional.
Pick: Oakland

Minnesota @ Atlanta- This is a rather interesting game. Let’s call it the Manwich Junior Matchup of the Week. Now that the Vikings did their annual benching/injuring of RB Michael Bennett, they may start to make some noise in the pathetic NFC Norris Division. The noise won’t start until next week though.
Pick: Atlanta

SF @ Arizona- So starting Kurt Warner in my fantasy league wasn’t my best decision of the past week.
Pick: Arizona

GB @ CAR- I think the Brett Favre Farewell Tour has officially begun.
Pick: CAR

Last week: 11-3 (even I have my occasional moments of greatness)
Season: 26-20
Manwich Matchup: 2-1 (so going against New England for 2 straight weeks wasn’t a good idea).
Upset Special: 1-2 (thank you Jacksonville for pulling one out for me).

Pretty in Pink

There's a furor at the University of Iowa over the visitors' locker room at the football stadium. It's pink. The showers, the carpeting, the lockers - all pink. It's been that way since the Hayden Fry days; Coach Fry believed that the color has a calming effect on people. Perhaps he reasoned that a calmer opponent would be a less effective one.

Now some professors and students want the pink gone. According to the AP, they argue that use of the color promotes old stereotypes against women and homosexuality.

The story I've linked to doesn't contain many details - so here's hoping there's more to this than what the AP is reporting. Because on its own, what I know from this is no reason to start a protest. If the walls were painted with slogans like "The Wisconsin Badgers are Girlie-men" or references connecting the visitor's quarterback to a sensitive female body part, ok, that's reason to protest. But does the mere presence of the color pink mean that whoever uses the color is a sexist? Of course not.

So I hope there's more to this. If not, the good folks in Iowa City need to get back to the farmland.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Shut Your Piehole! #8

Our latest edition features University of Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer. Last night, as all you big sports fans know, Tennessee rallied from a 21-0 deficit in Baton Rouge to beat LSU in overtime. It was, without a doubt, a great comeback. The Vols won with now-backup QB Rick Clausen at the helm. Clausen's got an interesting story: he was a highly-touted recruit for those same LSU Tigers, then benched, then a highly-touted transfer to Tennessee, then benched again. So after Clausen came off the bench to lead the team to a phenomenal victory, Coach Fulmer had this to say:

"I don't know if there is a better story in the world than what this guy has done."

Look, Coach - I get that you were pretty excited when you said this, in the first moments after the game ended. And it's a pretty cool story. We all love an underdog, especially one that's fallen from grace, and gets a second chance, an opportunity to redeem himself. Unless you're an LSU fan, it's probably pretty hard to root against Clausen right now.

But may I suggest that maybe there are better stories out there? Maybe, I dunno, the tremendous outpouring of support and money for the hurricane victims in that same state of Louisiana? Perhaps some scientist somewhere has recently developed a new drug that might help alleviate the pain of some awful disease? Some sick kid just got a puppy - somewhere, anywhere?

Clausen's got a good tale, Coach. But why don't you focus on the SEC, and leave the story-telling and the history writing to someone else - and in the meantime, shut your piehole!

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Two-Sided Disgrace

This story on the Marlins is a disgrace on all fronts. It's horrible for a player to run his mouth about his own coaching staff, especially when that player hasn't accomplished nearly enough in the game to be afforded such leeway. It's just as horrible for a team to openly sever ties with a player a week before the season ends and a month before free agency begins. What kind of message does that send to season-ticket holders? What kind of message does that send to Dade and Broward County voters who are being asked to foot the bill for yet another new stadium in a market that barely cares about the baseball team in the first place. It's a two-sided disgrace.

Injury Bug

Rodney Harrison? Done. Takeo Spikes? Done. Chad Pennington? Probably done. The AFC East lost three of its main teams' most indispensable players in the span of a few hours today. Not only should the Dolphins be licking their chops at a possible playoff run but the rest of the field in the AFC should be happy that the AFC East just got a lot softer. I'm just glad the Jets prepared for this day by keeping Brooks Bollinger around. The Jets must one of the worst run teams in pro football. Oh well, at least they're the other New York team.

MMBSD: Unknowable Unknowables

Due to time constraints I have hired Donald Rumsfeld to pen part of my usual Monday Morning Back Seat Drivers. Thanks for taking the time out to help Don.

New England over Pittsburgh
There has been a great deal of discussion over predictions and outcomes surrounding this game. However it sports prognastication you don't make predictions with the information you want, you make predictions with the information you have. Did New England look beatable in the run up to the Pittsburgh? Absolutely. Did they commit turnovers, have uncharacteristic penalties and soft goal line defense? Sure. Do I stand by my prediction that New England wins the AFC East? Always have. After Sunday's win over Pittsburgh do I still think New England won't win the Superbowl this year? You betcha. Next question.

Colts D
There's also been a lot of finger pointing at the Colts defense, specifically the defensiveline, centering around them trying to hurt quarterbacks. Now I just don't get how people are coming up with these crazy accousations. So what if Colts have made low tackles and hurt the opposing QB's ankle three straight game. So what the defensiveline coach makes a throat slash directed towards Byron Leftwhich. So what that Trent Dilfer, a man so quiet that he uses sign language during press conferences, refused to refute than the Colts purposefully hurt him. The key is that there are just some unknowable unknowables and just because every shred of evidence points towards malice just doesn't amount to anything.

Thanks Don, I can take the quick hits from here...
Quick Hits
Those that jumped on the Arizona Cardinals bandwagon at the start of the season are probably bludgeoning themselves. And should. Since Baltimore was off this weekend, Kyle Orton dedicated his performance to Kyle Boller. Way to throw 5 picks there buddy. Baltimore West (better known as the Bank One Bears) need a better offense or their good defense is going to be wasted. Cadillac Williams is the real deal. I heard Dikta praising him and thats good enough for me. Chad Johnson should now be in the same category as Terrell Owens and Randy Moss as best wide receivers who happen to be jerk-offs. Mike Sherman is not going to make it out of Green Bay alive if this keeps up. He will be impaled on pike to show future coaches the price of failure if this team can't right itself. Can't we fast foward to the weekend for baseball?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Today's Specials: Crow and Humble Pie

(This post may be titled in the alternative as: Calling All Spinners!)

New England 23, Pittsburgh 20

Tom Brady completed 31 of 41 passes for 372 yards, one INT and no touchdowns. In the 4th quarter, he went 12-for-12 for 130 yards. On the final drive, he completed all three passes for 37 yards, putting the Pats in position to win.

New England 23, Pittsburgh 20

Adam Vinatieri once again hit a game-winning field goal - this time, with one second left, from 43 yards out, in one of the toughest places to kick in the NFL.

New England 23, Pittsburgh 20

The supposedly weak Patriots defense held Pittsburgh to only 269 yards in a game in which the team lost Pro Bowler Rodney Harrison in the 1st quarter. Willie Parker, fresh off consecutive 100-yard rushing games, was held to only 55 this afternoon.

New England 23, Pittsburgh 20

"Patriots have a test next week against Pittsburgh before I completely dismiss the Pats."

"I don’t have much confidence in the Patriots defense, and neither does the Bill 'The Brain' Belichick."

"The 2005 Patriots suck."

New England 23, Pittsburgh 20

Major Rage

I feel a major rage coming on and my ire is directed at the NFL...

1. Big Tuna is Big Fraud: I made the comparison that Bill Parcells is actually a fat, white version of Lenny Wilkens. Both are considered Hall of Fame coaches and both are respected by media types and fans alike. Both are also totally overrated, at least in their older age. Parcells hasn't actually earned a paycheck since the 1st half of that Jets-Broncos AFC title game back in 1998. Now he just wears too-tight clothes, yells a lot for the sake of the camera and goes home to count Jerry's millions. I mean, how else to explain how the Cowboys could lose to Washington last Monday in such humiliating fashion? The Dallas/Washington game is the NFL's version of Yanks/BoSox or Dodgers/Giants. How on earth can you allow not one but two TD bombs on the same play with less than four minutes left on national TV to your biggest rival? How can you go into Week 3 against the 49ers, the league's least-talented team, with a bulletin board full of smack talk from Julius Peterson and still go into halftime down 24-12? How can you give up an 89-yard TD bomb to the 49ers after the Monday Night Flub? Didn't you spend a week in practice telling your safeties that their only job is featured prominently in the name of their position (SAFETY!)? Parcells has convinced people that he's still a good coach. I'm not fooled. He's a fat bully bastard who hasn't put in the effort he so famously demands of his players.

2. NFL mediocrity is ruining my Sundays: Goddamn the NFL is mediocre this year. It's really not fun to stay at home looking forward to football games only to have to see crap teams across the league. The Jets, Jaguars, Cowboys, Panthers, Saints, Vikings, Bills, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Redskins, Seahawks, Packers and Lions are somewhere between overrated and absolutely horrendous. If the 49ers somehow hang on and win this game, they'll be 2-1 which doesn't encourage me but only proves my point even more. Who the hell wants to watch a crap-talent team like the 49ers have a better record than the "good" teams? Hell, even the Colts, at 3-0, make Sundays boring now.

3. Speaking of the Colts: What's up with them? How did they get to be so boring? Is it written somewhere that the Colts cannot have a good offense at the same time as a good defense? Where the Colts were once the most entertaining NFL team they are now perhaps the most dull because of how high the bar was set by their high-flying act. Is Peyton hurt? Is he on drugs? What the hell is going on with this team?

4. The state of coaching has never been worse: Besides the aforementioned Parcells, Mike Tice, Mike Martz, Marty Schottenheimer, Dom Capers, Herm Edwards, Mike Sherman, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Norv Turner, Jim Haslett, Brian Billick, Dennis Green and Steve Mariucci are all showing serious signs of mental impairment. NFL GM's need to get out of the hiring cycle of re-tread coaches. NFL GM's need to actually watch the games their teams play. Why did Jim Haslett and Bill Parcells both go for two-point conversions early in their games? Why did Dennis Green do it in Week 1 vs. the Giants? Why do coaches go for it on 4th down on the road in the 3rd quarter when they're only down five points? Why don't coaches stop using the copy-cat method of coaching and go back to innovating the way Shula and Lombardi and Walsh used to in their heydays? Why is game management so hard for these people? There's a clock and it counts down in regular and predictable one-second intervals. It should very easy for a coach to implement a game plan with only two minutes left on the clock. How many timeouts remaining should also be easy to manage -- it's right there on the scoreboard for all to see! It's just an abomination to see Herm Edwards and Mike Martz burn timeouts in the 3rd quarter every week.

5. More Tuna-Hating: This is not rage but glee. I LOVE how horrible Drew Bledsoe is. I love that he's reunited with Fatty McTuna. Those two overrated idiots deserve eachother. Who but Tuna could be arrogant enough to think that Drew Bledsoe would be revived? Oh sure, the yards might be there at the end of the year but anyone, ANYONE, who's watched football since 1992 knows that Drew Bledsoe is the Sandy Alomar Jr. of the NFL -- TOTALLY OVERRATED. Sure Drew played on some bad teams. Sure he was hurt for a lot of his career but has anyone done less with more talent? Has anyone gotten more respect for basically showing up and not doing anything week in and week out? Nope.

I'm sure my Cleveland friends will argue this last point but I'm not budging. Other than 1997, Sandy Alomar never had a true All-Star season. He was the most overrated player of the 90's.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Just Wondering

Since we've seen what "Pronk" can do, I'm just wondering what the Rangers would be like if they'd traded Hank Blalock and kept Travis Hafner instead. Not that Blalock's bad or anything but I don't think he's quite as good as people originally predicted (there'll always be room for a 30-homer hitting third baseman at my table, just so we're clear that I'm not bashing Hank).

What if Mark Teixeira were the Rangers third baseman (his original position) and Pronk were manning first base? Would the Rangers "O" be even sicker than it already is? I shudder to think what Hafner could do in a lineup with Soriano, Teixeira and Michael Young down in Coors Field South. Pronk and Big Tex could be a younger version of Manny and Big Papi.

Anyway, just asking for the sake of it. I wonder if the Rangers have any regrets. I wonder if they wish they'd gotten more for him.

Strike Two

Today, news outlets are reporting that Rafael Palmeiro suggested, in investigations into his positive steroid test, that the illegal substance might have come from some pill given to him by Miguel Tejada.

The steroids panel investigated, and found that this alleged illegal substance was - get ready for this - Vitamin B-12. Tejada's been cleared of all wrongdoing, and Palmeiro's lawyers are insisting that he never implicated another player in this matter.

Balls up, Raffy. It's time to take responsibility for the fact that you're the cheater and you're the S.O.B. who gambled with his legacy and lost. If you're going to insist on dragging others down with you, a la Canseco, at least have the cojones to acknowledge your own sins - a la Canseco.

How sad - Raffy Palmeiro has sank lower than the similarly-talented but long-disgraced Jose Canseco. You're pathetic, Raffy. Do as your manager says, and stay home.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cheers and Jeers: Beer Version

While there is much debate over what is America's sport, what meal and with which condiments should sports be enjoyed with, can goats purchase tickets to Ohio State sporting events there is near unanimity that beer is the preferred drink of sporting events. You don't dabble in wine tasting in the third inning. You sure as heck don't have champagne when tail gaiting before a football game (unless it’s the champagne of beers: High Life). Everyone knows you couldn't even play softball without beer (it’s in the rule book). So for those getting ready for happy hour, the Hunt for October and weekend football...grab a 6 pack and enjoy.

Cheers: To the Hunt for October. I don't remember 3 simultaneous division's being on the line this late in the season. For anyone with even a passing interest in baseball you better be watching/listening. There's nothing quite like a pennant chase so I say enjoy.

Jeers: The Florida Marlins. I stood by this team and picked them to the playoffs. Heck a lot of people did. Atlanta and Houston were down early in the year and the Marlins couldn't capitalize. Late in the year they couldn't pick it up a notch. There's one reason for that : they lack intestinal fortitude. For disappointments this year (yeah they're only 4 games back but they're not doing it) don't ignore Florida.

Jeers: Madden 2006 updated rosters online had to be pulled because some programmer made Michael King of the New York Jets 7 inches tall. No Joke. Check it out

Cheers: 16 years ago Jake Taylor pulled off a suicide squeeze bunt to score Willie Mays Hayes to lead the Indians over the New York Yankees and capture the AL East pennant. Most people forget that Jake got the bunt off of 'Duke' Temple who led the league in strikeouts and hits batsmen. Actually I think Duke threw at his own son in a father son game.

Cheers To my favorite part of watching the Indians: Pronkspective. Basically Travis Hafner gives his insight into the doings of the Indians. Little known fact Hafner only speaks in iambic pentameter.

Jeers : On this day (Sept 22) in 1760 King George III was crowned. As www. puts it:

"It was a sad day for the British Empire when King George became its political master. He was a man of narrow intellect, and lacked every element of the greatness of statesmanship. `He had a smaller mind,' says the British historian, [Peter] Green, `than any English king before him save James II.' He showered favors on his obsequious followers, while men of independent character whom he could not bend to his will became the objects of his hatred."

Any parallels between King George and a certain current leader are purely coincidental.

Quick Question

Has a last place team ever had such an impact on a penant race? Tampa just put the Yanks in first place last night. But if that of which we shall not speak (the probable implication of both Boston and Cleveland making it to the playoffs) comes to pass, then Tampa would effectively be responsible for that too given the Yanks' shameful losing record this season against the D-Rays. Does it often happen that everything hinges on a last place team?

Fits Like A Glove?

I saw a little blurb on that said that Gary Payton was looking into signing with the Miami Heat. What are the Heat doing, collecting every single me-first prima donna from a draft class in the previous decade? Aren't Antoine Walker and Jason Williams enough? What on earth will Payton bring to the table? He's no longer able to defend his position and he certainly doesn't like sharing the ball on offense (see his time with the Lakers in 2003). As a real Shaq-hater, I'm fine with all of this. But I just have to wonder if Pat Riley hasn't lost his mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Week 3 – Even Steven Gutsy

If I had tried to start out the season by going exactly 8-8 and then 7-9, I would have failed. I feel like Jerry Seinfeld in that one episode, when everything ended up Even Steven. Jerry loses $20, he finds $20. Gutsy hits the Manwich Matchup (CAR over NE), but the Vikings get trounced.

I have also been getting a number of suggestions from across the world on how I can improve.

Bobby from Milwaukee wrote me: “Did you know you could just pick home teams each week and do much better?”
That may be true. But that would be absolutely no fun. My column would be 6 words long. “I am picking the home teams.” 6 words.

Jason from Miami says: “Monkeys flipping coins would do better than you.”
This is also true. I already made fun of myself last year for this. Check out the link.

Salim from Atlanta says: “My buddy chooses games based on which mascot would win if they were involved in a steel-cage death match.”
That would have been a good idea, had it been original! Sorry Salim, you totally stole that from a Perfect Strangers episode I saw (luckily, it’s the only one I can remember). Interestingly enough, Balki makes his cousin a lot of money by realizing ridiculous things like “an Eagle would always beat up a 49er searching for gold.” The climax of the episode is when Balki can’t decide the winner between the Packers and the Browns. The moral of the story Salim: Even Balki would have had trouble this past week.

Timmy C. from Hawaii says: “Why don’t you just give up your pre-conceived notions on the Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, and Ravens and move on with your life.”
Timmy is talking more sense than anyone else. I just need to “tweak” my predictions slightly. Don’t worry, I’m sure they will still be laughable BUT remember, they incite riots and provide smiles to football fans across the country.

Manwich Matchup of the Week-
New England @ Pittsburgh – Who set up this schedule for the Patriots? First the Panthers, then the Steelers on the road? It should be another great game but the problem is that I don’t have much confidence in the Patriots defense, and neither does the Bill “The Brain” Belichick.
Pick: Pittsburgh

Upset of the Week –
Jacksonville @ NY Jets – I don’t know if anyone is catching on at Las Vegas, because the Jets are the favorites in this game despite the Jags playing some great defense in a loss to the Colts last week.
Pick: Jacksonville

Atlanta @ Buffalo- The Bills have a great defense, as we all know. I just hope that Tagliabue sends out a notice so that they don’t injure Vick, because that’s my biggest fear whenever Vick plays a great defense.
Pick: Buffalo

Carolina @ Miami- It’s amazing how quickly everyone jumped off and then back on the Panther bandwagon.
Pick: Carolina

Cincinnati @ Chicago- I guess I should have given Lovie Smith more credit. I guess I should have given Joey Harrington less credit last week. Unfortunately, the Bengals seem to have one of the best offenses in the NFL. And no, Boomer Esiason didn’t come out of retirement to throw for 500 yards.
Pick: Cincinnati

Cleveland @ Indy- What if? What if the Browns just ran Rueben “Attack of the” Droughans and ate up all the clock. I think Peyton would still go 7/10 with 5 TDs.
Pick: Indy

New Orleans @ Minnesota- I’m really skeptical on whether the Vikings O-line can figure out which defenders to block. 2 weeks in, and Culpepper is running for his life, and has somehow almost matched his INTs from last year (11 last year, 8 in 2 games this year). I want to go w/ America’s New Sweetheart, the New Orleans Saints, but I’m going to try the Vikings one more time.
Pick: Minnesota

Oakland @ Philly – Welcome to the Moss vs. TO Touchdown Celebration competition! TO will start the game by scoring a TD, and then doing the Robot. Moss and the Raiders answer with an 11-person rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” TO and the Eagles then respond by doing the Electric Slide, led by Coach Andy Reid.
Pick: Philly

Tampa Bay @ Green Bay – Battle of the Bays ain’t so exciting when Green Bay can’t even stop the Brownies.
Pick: Tampa Bay

Tennessee @ St. Louis – I’m more intrigued by the Titans right now than any other team. As we know, they have a defense full of 1st & 2nd year players. They gave up like 300 rushing yards to the Steelers, and 13 rushing yards to the Ravens. Offensively, they still have Steve McNair! I have absolutely no idea what to expect, so I'll just go w/ the home team.
Pick: St. Louis

Arizona @ Seattle- Seattle pulled off an unnoticed upset of Vick and the Falcons last week. Their reward? Me picking them to win this week (which is actually more like a curse).
Pick: Seattle

Dallas @ San Fran – I have this suspicion that Dallas coach Bill Parcells has had nightmares all week about somehow letting Santana Moss burn him twice in one game.
Pick: Dallas

NY Giants @ San Diego- This is a tough game. Eli Manning versus the team that he spurned. The other thing is, the Giants have been playing great the first two weeks! I have to suspect that the Chargers will be motivated to just pummel Eli for being such a pretentious biatch.
Pick: San Diego

Kansas City @ Denver – I don’t even like the Broncos, but I’m going to pick them just because they are playing at home.
Pick: Denver
Last week: 7-9
Season: 15-17
Manwich Matchup: 2-0 (CAR beat up the Patriots and helped boost my confidence).
Upset Special: 0-2 (the Dolphins at least were in the game against the Jets, which was better than my week 1 “Ravens over Colts”).


Who do you got?


From Dan Shanoff (who else could come up with verbal diarrhea this stringy?):

"Go ahead and say it, Jim [Haslett]. You know you want to: If the game was played anywhere but the Meadowlands, the Saints could-should-would have won."

Obviously we'll never know but it's hard to win when your QB throws 3 INT's, you lose 2 fumbles and you commit penalties (12 total) every time you have a drive going. Let's not be ridiculous here. The Saints played horribly on Monday night, irrespective of conditions or location.

Dan Shanoff sure knows how to let out some frothy whoppers though, I'll give him that. If fiction-writing and journalism were one in the same, you could call him Hemingway.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Quick Tidbit

Tidbit #1: Bill Belichick said that he wants the NFL to get instant replay cameras set up at the goal line. That makes a lot of sense and I'm very surprised that the NFL hasn't done so already. I think back to 1998 when Vinny Testaverde of the Jets was credited with a TD when replays clearly showed him a full yard and a half (4 1/2 feet!) away from the endzone. The resulting Jets win over the Seahawks was the nail in the coffin on Seattle's season. That should've been reason enough for the NFL to have gotten goal line cams.

However, since I see weakness on the part of the Patsies and I'm someone that loves to pick on the weak and infirmed, I resent the fact that Belichick is making his pitch for goal line cams as part of his bitch-session in the aftermath of his team's crappy performance. If he thought Stephen Davis didn't get into the endzone, he should've thrown the challenge flag. He screwed it up and now he wants do-overs. F*ck all that. Bill got outcoached and he is trying to deflect attention away from it. God I hope this continues. The NFL needs to get some good old-fashioned Pat-Hating out there. Lets all hate on the Pats. It'll be fun!

Tidbit #2: With all due respect and sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, can we please stop using "America's Team" to describe the New Orleans Saints? I just read Dan Shanoff's latest installment of verbal diarrhea and it reminded me of a point my friend Stanny Jake made over the weekend. If your favorite NFL team was playing the Saints, would you actually be rooting against your own team? So when Shanoff tries to incite rage by saying that Giants fans and Giants Stadium was inhospitable to "America's Team" all I can say is, what the hell did you expect? Don't blame Giants fans for rooting for the Giants. Don't blame anyone for not getting all mushy about the Saints. I'm sorry their year is going to suck but I'm more sorry for the corpses floating around downtown New Orleans or the fact that thousands of people and pets lost their homes. Enough with the Saints already! They're freakin' millionaires. They can pool their money and rent the Ritz Carlton in every city they visit for a month if they want. They're the New Orleans Saints, not the United States of America Saints.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dan Shanoff Is A Moron

I do so enjoy a chance to be a smug New Yorker, showing up a Harvard-trained schmuck like Dan Shanoff. For the second time now, I’m forced to point out his inability to command the English language. How can someone employed as a writer at ESPN not have the appropriate 3rd grade grammar skills required by such a position? I can’t answer that. All I can say is that Dan Shanoff, his stupid opinions and his terrible grammar reflect very poorly on him, Harvard University and ESPN. I can say that because a good number of us on this site graduated from the Harvard of the Midwest. Maybe Harvard should be considered the Washington University of New England?

Here’s the link to the grammatical faux-pas. The error occurs in the cartoon -- it should be “than,” not “then.” Moron.

One last thing...

Next weekend's game in Chicago will be a prelude to the Super XL. Is there anything better than having two midwestern teams the Bears and Bungals fighting it out in Detroit in the X-Large Super Bowl, much like most of the women of the midwest.

October Fever in the air

Ok, since I will not be able to type for the next couple of weeks, I figured I would do my own predictions for the MLB standings and playoffs. It might be early but I am not going to be able to give my opinion for a while so here goes.

NL Central: Cardinals-Easy to predict since they have already clinch the division.

NL West: Padres-Although they should be disallowed to go in and there should be two teams from the NL East that go in.

NL East: When the Braves, Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone don't win a division title, I will say that they are vulnerable, but until that happens this will be the 1000 straight NL East win. The last time they didn't win the title, there was a war in Iraq, Bush was president and I had my learners permit and was tormenting the people of Ohio...oh wait that is this year too, might want to rethink my pick.

NL Wildcard: I gotta like Clemens, Petitte, Oswalt down the they play 4 against the Pirates and 6 against the Cubs, is there any better opponents to go up against. Leading into the AL...

AL Central: There is a better opponent to go up against and that is KC and TB. Even though I don't think they will go far in the playoffs, you gotta like their chances getting there. Even if they split the series with the Black Sox (which I think they will take 4 of 6) they have KC and TB as the other games...I see the White Sox losing two of the games with Minny and one of the games against the I give the up to the Tribe.

AL West: I like the Angels of the OC better than Oakland because Oakland plays Minny as their out of division game and the Angels play TB...that should be enough.

AL East: Although I would like everyone to shut up at ESPN and other New England ball lickers, I have to go with the Red Sox...the division will go down to the final game in Fenway and I say that Boston wins 2 of the 3 games.

AL Wild Card: NY Yankees...I say that they edge out the Black Sox after Frank Thomas explodes and Ozzie Guillen just starts going off on Chief Wahoo after the Tribe win the division.

Playoffs: Padres-Braves Gotta go with the Braves however they always seem to choke during the offseason...I think Bobby Cox starts thinking about the golf course...but I can't think of any other pitcher that I would want to have than John Smoltz. He is 12-4 with a 2.72 ERA in the post season.

Cards-Astros: Cards...although I love Rocket, Pettite et al...just don't think they can match up with the lineup of the Cards

NLCS: Cards over the Braves...because the Braves can't seem to get to the next level

ALDS: Injuns-Yanks...the Indians run will end in the Bronx; Red Sox-Angels...Bill Simmons will be a happy man, although...

Just as the Pats will not win the Super Bowl this year...all of the ESPN reporters will shut up because the Cards are going to win their 9th WS Championship. What better way to close up the Busch, with a win over the Red Sox.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

MMBSD: Truth In Advertising

One of the keys to being a successful pundit, besides large jowls (i.e. Tim Russert), is the usage of hyperbole. Yep whoever is at this very moment doing well will be crowned champion and whoever is doing poorly in the last 5 minutes is doomed to a life worse than selling hot dogs outside of US Cellular field. Witness the quickness in which people will be jumping on and off Carolina's bandwagon after Week 2. Well I'm going to at least try to not fall prey to that. When I announce something I'm at least going to announce the certainty with which I know something. Plus I figure if everyone did this Dan Lebatard would never speak.

I'm Certain...
1) That there is about as much truth in Brian Billick being an offensive guru as the fact that Billick has syphilis (everyone knows he just has the Clap). The Raven Droppings have no offense. They were obliterated by the Titans whose team's average age is 16.4. Jeff Fischer enjoyed drop kicking his former AFC Central foe.

2) Minnesota did not deserve to be on the same field as Cinci, henceforth known as the ex-Bungals. Minnesota is missing two o-linemen from last year and it shows. Culpepper will not make out the year healthy if this keeps. I'm pretty certain that part of the reason for the Vikings' embarrassment is that the ex-Bungals have a legit offense. I am very excited to see their mettle tested against the fearsome Bears defense (shout out to MJ and Hart for pointing it out) next week.

3) Charlie Weiss could be a good coach but I think this week showed that it’s too soon to tell. The national media and folks at South Bend were going to anoint Charlie as the second coming of Knute Rockne. Some day maybe but Charlie needs to do a bit more successful recruiting for the D before the jury is settled. I'm looking forward to the Ty bowl where Notre Dame faces off against University of Washington.

4) Deadwood should have won the Emmy for Best Drama. You can't convince me otherwise.

Things I'm Pretty Certain...
5) MJ is right New England just doesn't look right. Their vaunted defense doesn't seem to have the same toughness around the goal line and Corey Dillon spent the off-season perfecting his twinkee eating technique. Tom Brady might be on the verge of being exposed for being somebody not good enough to win on his own himself (only the great QBs win on their own - see Marino). Patriots have a test next week against Pittsburgh before I completely dismiss the Pats.

6) Colts offense doesn't look quite right either. 10 pts? Last week wasn't much better until the second half of the game. The catch is that Manning and Company have faced two of the tougher defenses in the league. Their defense is much better than last year (Know and Fear Bob Sanders) so I'm not kicking the Colts under the bus. If they struggle against the Browns though...

7) Maybe I shouldn't have tried to make my food tonight and maybe the gas fumes made me woozy but I'm going to congratulate the MLB office. I've bashed them for lots of stuff but I have to tip my cap to their late season scheduling. Oakland v. LAAA , Yanks v. BoSox and ChiSox v. Tribe. All of the division playoffs, at least for the AL, will probably ultimately come down to previous key series all of which are scheduled for the last week of the season. Probably.

Things I'm Talking Out of My Ass
8). I've watched a little bit of the small town team known as the BrewCrew of the Milwaukee variety. They have some great young hitters (Cecil Fielders son is going to be something). The owner has announced he is upping the payroll by 10 million next year. Lyle Overbay is going to be traded (probably for some pitching). If this team can get a starter or two and some middle relief watch out.

9). OU should stop playing games this season. They were exposed for being weak against USC last year. This year they're showing they don't deserve to be on the same football field as UCLA's basketball team. You guys are just going to embarrass yourselves against Texas so why try?

10) The NFC South is the deepest division in the NFL. At least if New Orleans beats the G-Men it’s settled. And Michael Vick isn't seriously hurt.

Wrap-Up/1st Quarter

Early games just ended and late games just kicked off. Here are some more thoughts...

1. Chad Pennington is hurt. He fumbled on the very first snap of the game. That's 7 fumbles (3 lost) in 4 quarters and a play. After that, he threw a long pass that floated in the air like a duck. It was such a weak throw that the receiver and the cornerback stopped running and watched it come down into WR McCareins' hands. The Jets are crazy to be playing a QB with a weak shoulder and no confidence. If Pennington is unable to make plays, the Jets should throw loyalty out the window and get Jay Fiedler under center. With the Pats at 1-1, the Jets have a chance to contend for the division title.

2. Brian Billick is no offensive mastermind. Can we stop saying that Brian Billick is a good offensive coach? In fact, can we just accept that he's not a good coach at all? How can you lose to the Titans? They have no defense and their offense is predicated around the health of one of the most fragile men on earth (Steve McNair). I'd never say it to his face but Ray Lewis isn't in the top 5 at his position anymore. The Ravens will struggle to win 8 games this year.

3. David Carr/Andre Johnson are overrated. I know the Texans have a poor offensive line and a clueless coach but really, I'm tired of people saying that these two guys are good players. They're decent but they haven't done anything yet to warrant any praise. They certainly haven't played up to their draft status.

4. Colts? I'm not impressed with their offense at all. The Jags have a good D but only scoring 10 points on them is ridiculous.

I have a feeling the NFC is winning the Super Bowl this year. I also have a feeling the Super Bowl champ will be a team barely over .500. Parity sucks when we have to all watch cruddy football.


At halftime of the early games, I have a few points to make:

1. Patriots are overrated and understaffed. They didn't look very good against the Raiders last Thurday but, after all, Norv Turner is a lousy coach and has no idea how to win games. The Panthers are showing the world why the Patriots aren't as good as everyone thought. Their linebackers aren't as good this year as they've been in the past and it shows. They're slow to cover the underneath passes and they don't pursue the run as well as they used to. The Teds (Bruschi and Johnson) are the biggest reason why the Pats have looked so sloppy through 6 quarters. Factor in the absence of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel and, voila, you have a team ripe for a fall this year. I don't care what sort of spin and rationalizations Bill Simmons throws out there, Weis and Crennel were important to the team and Bill Belichick can't do it all by himself (even if he is a genius). I look forward to the spin-job we'll all have to read from all the sphincter-lickers in New England. Finally, their special teams coverage is horrendous and Corey Dillon either aged 10 years in the off-season or he picked up a donuts-and-chocolate milk habing because he looks sloooooow. Bad for my fantasy team but great for the NFL. The Pats may yet win the Super Bowl this year but I'm sure it'll be a dogfight for them this year.

2. Vikings stink! What was that about a revamped D and an O that won't miss Moss? Moss made Daunte look good. Tice is a moron. 'Nuff said.

3. The Bears D is underrated. Hitman and I are the only ones on this site that are buying in. They're crushing Detroit and might win the NFC North with a 6-10 record. I'm not even kidding.

4. I hate T.O. The 49ers have no pride. Zero. None. How on earth could you let this prima donna bitch, the one that walked out on you in the most disgraceful way, come in and singlehandedly beat you in the 1st quarter? Even if it's a cheap shot, why not make sure his day ends early? What on earth are they preaching in that lockerroom? Even in high school, my football team believed in getting hits on the other team's best player. Mike Nolan is as much of a patsy as I thought he was.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Things I'd Like to See on Back Seat Drivers

1. More baseball. It's great that it's now football season, but September is the month of pennant races - and this is a particularly exciting year. Let's not forget our national pastime!

2. Balanced media bashing. Maybe it's because ESPN is so much a leader in sports programming - but the focus on what ESPN does wrong is both obfuscating what the network does right as well as ignoring the commentary (good and bad) elsewhere in sports media. We love to hammer ESPN for all sorts of stuff - but it's obvious that we're all still watching, so there must be some good left. Do you really hate the network that much? Well, turn it off, and then call Frank Deford and see if he'll dust off those old National Sports Daily printing presses.

3. The elimination of 24, Mr. Nonymous, Laz, and Josh Pho Minh as official Contributors. They don't contribute anything! If there are less of us, that'll make the title of Contributor that much more prestigious.

4. Mikey going an entire post without misspelling a common word.

Enjoy the weekend!

The Resurrection of Youppi!

The Montreal Canadiens have hired Youppi!

Finally, a reason to welcome back the NHL!

Quick Tidbit

Is Torii Hunter on the move? This article seems to suggest that. God I hope he ends up on the Yanks as Bernie’s replacement. Torii on the Yanks would give them a player with gold glove defensive credentials, adequate offense for the #7 hole, a generally good demeanor, relatively inexpensive (as far as the Yanks are concerned) and, most importantly, a centerfielder that wouldn't have to be named Johnny Damon. Works for me.

Week 2

As we enter Week 2 of the NFL season, my faith in both the Jesus powered Cardinals and the Mike Martz's powered Rams dropped my initial 3-1 record to a 3-3 Week 1 record. In response to this dilemma, I have responded with two strategies: (a) unabashed, unapologetic hedonism and (b) nihilism.

The first strategy allows appealing but self-destructive evening activities and the second strategy allows me to wear tight black jeans, talk in a funny accent like Karl Hungus, and keep a ferret (nice marmot) as a pet.

Week 1 Lessons:
New England still has a potent offense but the defense is mortal. Keys loses in the secondary (Ty Law) and the line backing core (Tedy Bruschi) give the Colts life.

Wow- the Falcons can move on defense and they can hit.
I was impressed with both the speed and the power of the Falcons defense (yes, defense). Who is that #97 on the line? Mighty Mike, why didn’t you send me the memo?

Dick "I win Superbowls in three years" Vermeil is at it again in Kansas City. Let us remember the Rams progression. Year 1 = make a splash. Year 2 = Suspect defense exposed. Year 3 = superbowl victory with improved defense. Year 4 = lose to New England in superbowl (bummer). When is Martz going to be fired?

Ohhh, and when is Martz going to be fired?

Week 2 picks:
Saints over the G-Men (I like the punishment)
Chargers defeat the Broncos
The Bengals defeat the Vikings
KC (watch out AFC...)
Jets (are the fins for real?)
Cowboys beat the Skins.
Ouch... yes, I'll pick the Rams. It hurts but I'm taking the leap again this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Week 2 – I HATE ESPN

I know Mighty just ripped on ESPN, but I was planning all week as well to rip on them, and nothing is going to stop me short of censorship.

You see, I’m in this fantasy football league on ESPN. As an avid fantasy football player, and never having used ESPN’s site, I was quite curious. But that curiousity has been replaced by RAGE. The stupid site does not work on my computer. Or my roommate’s. Or half of the people in my league. This doesn’t just go to the topic of “bandwidth” (which is part of the problem). The other problem, is that whenever you try to access your team, it’s like it loads up in a flash application that fails 78% of the time. Needless to say, I failed in successfully pre-ranking any players, because their application crashed all the time. If ESPN would only follow the lead of Yahoo! – simple web pages, easily downloadable, no inherent errors, the site actually might be good for something. But my original excitement for the fact that you can divy up people into divisions has been destroyed by the utter INACCESSIBILITY of the website.

Up until this past week, I was only mad at the “fantasy” portion of Now, I hate the WHOLE FRICKIN’ WEBSITE. I went to check the score of my alma mater, the Miami Redhawks, on Saturday, and I was excited as Miami had won 44-38. I told my roommate the happy news, and he told me Miami actually lost 38-37. After debating this, and checking the website later, the great sports reporters at ESPN then added a NEGATIVE SEVEN into the 4th qtr section of the boxscore, to get the score back to 38-37. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who had this problem, as their bottomline reported the wrong score for a half hour, as one of my friends got into a disagreement with a bartender over who won the game.

The moral of the story, is that I will only go to ESPN for Bill Simmons. That’s it. Half their articles require “Insider” subscriptions anyway. Screw ‘em. CNNSI is better anyways. And they actually report the correct scores!

In term of the fantasy problems, ESPN sent me (and everyone else in America) an apology letter for how crappy their fantasy service has been and they told me “they are working on it.” Yahoo would never do such a thing, because if there was a problem, they would have stayed up all night and fixed it.

Sorry, but I needed to rant on that one. On to the games.

Manwich Matchup of the Week:
New England @ CAR- What a matchup. I think this begins the point in the season when I try (and fail) to pick one of the few losses that New England will suffer from. I just am hoping that the Carolina players are extra-motivated by their loss last weekend, and by their need to avenge the recent super bowl loss to the Patriots. Of course the loss of D-lineman Kris Jenkins may just unwravel the whole defense and result in a thrashing, but I’m going for the interesting storyline.
Pick: CAR

Upset of the Week:
Miami @ NY Jets- This is pretty crazy, for me to pick the Dolphins in a game AT New York, but Pennington seems to be fatally flawed, and the Miami defense seems just as good as it was previous to last year, when they went 9-7 for like 4 straight seasons.
Pick: Miami

Baltimore @ Tennessee- I was pretty off-base w/ my Ravens over Colts prediction. Regardless, the Ravens should be able to control the Titans. Mason and Rolle should be extra motivated against their old, salary-cap hell team.
Pick: Baltimore

Buff @ TB- This game suddenly seems quite interesting, after both teams had (relatively) impressive victories last week. I’m sure ESPN will jump on the bandwagon of whoever wins.
Pick: Tampa Bay

Detroit @ Chicago- I really do think that Bears coach Lovie Smith is talented. I just hope those Chicago fans don’t give him the axe before he even has a chance to put together an offense.
Pick: Detroit

Jacksonville @ Indy- I still don’t believe the Colts have a good defense, just that the Ravens are terrible at offense.
Pick: Indy

Minnesota @ Cincy- This is quite the interesting game. The up-and-coming Bengals get a shot at the Vikings. Before we hit the panic button on the Vikings, I think they had 5 turnovers last weekend against Tampa, and they STILL almost won!
Pick: Minnesota

Pittsburgh @ Houston- A Classic AFC Central Matchup. Bubby Brister vs. Warren Moon. Only thing is, Carr is starting to look more like Bubby Brister, and the Steelers are just looking great, much to my chagrin.
Pick: Pittsburgh

SF @ Philly- I wonder if any of TO’s former teammates are going to be head-hunting and trying to give him a concussion? I would laugh for 5 minutes straight, do 4 somersaults, eat 3 chicken wings, sing 2 legit 2 quit, and then do a cartwheel if the Eagles lost.
Pick: Philly

Atlanta @ Seattle- How long will it be until Tim Hasselbeck (of the Giants) starts to backup his brother on Seattle?
Pick: Atlanta

St. Louis @ Arizona- I don’t understand what happened to the Arizona defense in the 2nd half of last week’s game against the NY Giants. And because I don’t understand it, and since I’m picking the Cardinals to win their division, I’m going to blindly ignore it as an anomaly… for now.
Pick: Arizona

Cleveland @ Green Bay – Welcome to this week’s toilet bowl! I really think the Browns have a good chance with Rueben “Attack of the” Droughans leading the way. He gained 6 yards per carry last week! That was the only positive of the Browns, so I felt like it was worth reporting.
Pick: GB

SD @ Denver- I don’t even like Mike Shanahan. I just saw some stat about how Denver has beaten SD 972 straight times at home, so I’m sticking to it.
Pick: Denver

KC @ Oakland- This should be a real good test of how good the KC defense is. Or a good test of whether KC can score 40!
Pick: KC

NYG @ New Orleans- America’s team will strike again. Tagliabue will make sure of it!
Pick: New Orleans

Washington @ Dallas- Was anyone else just hoping that they would relegate this game back to Sunday???
Pick: Dallas

Last week: 8-8
Manwich Matchup: 1-0 (Vick and Jenkins got the job done).
Upset Special last season: 0-1 (relying on Baltimore’s offense was a bad idea).

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A plea to ESPN

Dear ESPN,
I've had a lot of complains with you lately some nit picky , some fair. Ok so you have to pay to access such brillaint minds as John Claton to tell me that the Bears aren't very good. That just annoys me. Listening to preen over all things Boston day after day that gets annoying. Why in the world are all your reporters constantly suck up to the Bloody Sox day after day is beyond me? Heck even SI has diversity on of its East Coast only coverage via Jay Mohr (albeit a man that needs to get to a trainer to teach him how to use velcro). But this time you go to far by a front page jerk-off promotion for Lynn Swann's aspiring political career. Yes he's had nice catches and yes he has the ability to carry on a two minute conversation with Al Michaels but when I go to I want to read about sports not politics. If your going to do politics at least a hire a real reporter that maybe knows something about...I don't know...politics.

Typically good reporting involving more than verbatim copying down Swannie talking points or noting that Swann has 4 Super Bowl Rings (I'm uncertain what Super Bowl rings have to do with governing. Lawrence Taylor has more SuperBowl rings than Abraham Lincoln. Should I prefer LT to AL to be President?) . However within the article there were numerous ridiculous statements and falsehoods mostly around Republican succesful outreaches to the African-American community. Succesful outreaches probably wouldn't result in ONLY 11% of African-Americans voting for Bush. Succesful outreaches probably should also mean that there is some nationally elected African-American (and there hasn't been since JC Watts retirement in 2002 after the leadership told him he would not be allowed to rise any higher in the Republican hierarchy). I don't really want to get into an argument over Republican policies towards minorities and thats precisely the point. ESPN, I'm asking heck I'm pleading - don't cover political stories and certainly don't bail ANY potential candidate's water, let alone one that works for your parent company.

Mighty Mike

Ah the wonderful city of Las Vegas

Well I am back from Las Vegas and I still have the title to my car along with my ATM card and my little nephew. I stayed at TI (Treasure Island) and I have to say that Las Vegas has definately gotten a little bit more expensive in the food department but if you are sitting in the sports book all you need is long island ice tea after long island ice tea. I did quite well in the sports book getting 7 out of 8 games correct and even managed to win a three team parlay of Dallas, Jacksonville and Buffalo...which pays a nice 7-1. After the whole weekend was over, I made enough to pay for the room and all the food and drinks from the weekend and what more can you like.

Last night we got our first snow of the year in the mountains in Denver which is pretty unreal because it didn't normally snow in Ohio until December if at all. With the brisk air and snow, that could only mean one thing, football season is upon us. Fall is my favorite season for sports, with the opening of college and pro football (with Michigan normally losing one game by the end of September and breaking all UM fan's hearts who hoped for a national championship) and playoff fever in baseball. I am heading the way of Scott Rolen, Kerry Wood, Rob Nen, Shawn Green and a few other people and having arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum next week. I will be placed on the injury reserve, but should be in Phoenix come March for spring training for the Rockies. I probably will not be able to blog during my recovery because of the percocet and the fact that I will have one arm, but I will be an avid reader throughout it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Complete and Utter Nonsense

This posting is not quite timely since it makes reference to an article (Damon in Pinstripes) that was meant as a preview to this past weekend’s Yankee-Red Sox series. Nevertheless, since I just read it, I feel compelled to comment on it. And, as the title of this posting suggests, I think the article falls under the “complete and utter nonsense” category.

First of all, as I’ve blogged before, any suggestion that the Yankees should’ve pursued Carlos Beltran this past winter is complete and utter nonsense. Beltran is a talented player with skills that make scouts drool but he has yet to flash those skills as a member of the Mets. Instead, he’s underachieved and hasn’t earned the faith the Mets placed in him with their big-money contract. Can you imagine how Yankee Haters would be hollering if Beltran were on the Yanks? Can you imagine how they’d be snickering that yet another Yankee free agent signing was underperforming his contract? Whatever the reason might be that the Yanks didn’t pursue Beltran, I’m happy. He’s not the missing piece to this flawed Yankee team.

Enough about Beltran; moving on. This article suggests Randy Johnson as being “no better than a No. 3 starter.” That sounds like complete and utter nonsense to me. This isn’t the Big Unit’s best season but I really wonder if anyone honestly thinks that Randy’s only the third best starter on the team. I wonder if anyone looks at his stats this year and thinks that he’s only worthy of one post-season start per series. No one will make the case that this Yankee staff looks like the 1998 staff but, please, be serious for a moment. Randy Johnson is a No. 1 starter. He’s pitched that way in all but a handful of games this year. Maybe if he had better defense behind him or pitched on nights when the team scored a few more runs for him his starts would seem better. Regardless, the White Sox, Red Sox, A’s, Angels and Indians wish that Big Unit was their No. 3 starter. Shawn Chacon is our No. 3 starter and that makes me very worried. I’m not worried about Randy Johnson.

Another part of the article that smacked of complete and utter nonsense to me was the notion that the Yankees would be wise to pursue Johnny Damon in free agency this winter. Oh god. Look, Bernie’s done for, we all know that and we’ve known it for three years now. As I’ve argued in the past, the Yankees should’ve pursued Mike Cameron in 2003. They would’ve batted him 8th, paid him for his range, his arm and his glove and moved on with Bernie as a part-time DH/1B. They bungled it by signing (and then trading) Kenny Lofton and then moving forward with Tony Womack when it was clear that they weren’t happy with Lofton filling the same role. In the end, the fault here is partly in Cashman’s lap for blowing it in the centerfield market and partly in Torre’s lap for staying so loyal to a guy that’s costing us runs galore. Bernie should have his #51 retired and he should get a plaque in New Yankee Stadium in 2010 but he should be pushed out the door. That said, Damon is not the answer. He’ll be 32 and, frankly, he’s not a great centerfielder either. Sure, he can get to more balls than Bernie can (that’s not saying much) but his arm is crap and, frankly, I don't think he’s a special player. I don’t think he’d fit in on the Yanks and anyway there’s no reason for the Yanks to re-create the entire 2004 Red Sox team in the Bronx (we’ve already got Embree and Bellhorn). I don’t know who will be available to play center besides Damon but I assume we can find a glove-man out there in free agency. We don’t need a leadoff hitter (Jeter’s OBP is .386) and we don’t need a player with pop (ARod, Sheffield, Matsui and Giambi provide all the power we need). Since we’re obviously going to replace Bernie with someone from the free agent market, let’s do it wisely. Let’s not throw the kind of money it would take to bring Damon to NYC. That would be complete and utter nonsense.

One last thing – I expect this kind of reporting from ESPN but not from Bob Klapisch. He’s too good a baseball writer for this kind of crap. I guess Bristol finally got to him.

Barry Bonds

I'm not happy he's back but I'm happy that I threw a bullseye on the call (not that it was such hard thing to predict). As if my baseball season wasn't going badly enough with the Yanks sucking wind and the prospect of another Red Sox, or worse, a White Sox World Series, now I have to sit here hoping against reason that the mythic status of Babe Ruth will be cut down by an arrogant cheater with absolutely no respect for the game, his teammates, his opponents or really anyone not named Barry Lamar Bonds. Could 2005 end on a shittier note for Yankee fans?

The only consolation is that football season is here and I can think about more important things like my fantasy teams and how the Giants might have actually drafted well for a change (Brandon Jacobs, where have you been all my life?!).

Anyway, sorry Hitman, you swung and missed on your Barry prediction like Nomar Garciaparra with men on base in a tight game.

Monday, September 12, 2005

MMBSD: Why do Ref's hate my team?

Well its time for this year's Mighty Mike blatant rip off of Peter King...Monday Morning Back Seat Driver. Its kind of like being a Monday Morning Quarterback however MMQB's merely second guess decision...Monday Morning Back Seat driver's are ornery and not necessarily sane cause they have a meeting to go to or they don't have enough coffee so the rant that comes out is completely and totally incoherent. Thats me. So here goes:

Why do Ref's hate my team?
I'm pretty sure there's some sort of directive in professional and possibly college football that determines that teams I root for get screwed over. What did I do to the refs? So I accidently had sex with one or three of their wives but is that fair to take it out on me? The Michigan game had the pass interference that should have been called wasn't (well truth be told the Wolverines looked more lifeless than a dead rock. They had no heart , couldn't tackle and Lloyd Carr wheel o'play calling should have had more than 3 plays on it), the OSU game had the pass interference that shouldn't have been called (due to their loss I've given up wearing sweatervests on gameday). Don't even get me started on the Browns v. Bungals game. 2 touchdowns were called back with phantom holding calls. To top it off on one drive the ref actually knocked the ball down to stall a key Cleveland drive. As such dear ref's I'm sorry for whatever I did to you...please stop screwing over my teams.

Things I'm Happy About
America's team (the New Orleans Saints) won. As Haslett said by winning they give a brighter moment to the over one million displaced survivors of the gulf region and keep them in the news. Contrary to Tom Delay, their current experience isn't "fun" nor is staying at the Astrodome like "camp". Keep up the good work Saints.

Andre Agassi getting to the finals. In one of the best old timer runs (best since Jimmy Connors made it to the Semi-Finals at age 39) Andre showed that he really is one of the all time greats. He just met a buzz saw known as Federer. I don't think I've ever come across a more anonymous dominating champion in my lifetime than Federer.

Ravens getting their brains beaten in by the Colts. All of you out there in pundit land that said the Ravens were winning the North forgot one thing...they have no offense. No offense (with our without Boller) means the defense is on the field the whole game and by the end you don't have a dominating defense (see last night against the Colts). My only hope is that the syphillis racked body of Brian Billick is finally fired and turned over to the authorities for being a jerk.

Things to Note and Other Random Info
Green Bay is going down hard this year. Walker is hurt. The defense looks awful. Favre looked like a lost puppy after the DETROIT LIONS held him out of the end zone. I feel bad that Favre is going to go out on this kind of year. Coaches on the hot seat already...Mike Martz, Mike Holmgren, Mike Tice (apparently Mike is a bad first name this year). Is JP Losman's this year Ben Roethlisberger? Could be. Last year only one team that lost their opener went on to the playoffs. Switching to baseball...Marlins need to win the series against Houston this week. Oakland and Tribe is my big baseball series this week. Why is Barry back again? There's only one thing that I'm rooting for when it comes to starts with tearing and it ends with ACL.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Big Thud

This Midwestern boy loves Big Ten football - but when your top three teams go down in inter-conference games on the same day, it's time to recognize that maybe it's a bit early to be singing the praises of our favorite conference.

To be fair to all involved: (1) Texas, Iowa St. and Notre Dame are all very good teams who deserved to win, and (2) it's too early to write off an entire conference based solely upon three losses in early September.

But it would have been nice to at least win one. This does some serious damage to national title hopes of any Big Ten squad - especially Ohio St, which now must hope not only that all major contenders lose once, but that Texas goes out and loses twice. More important than that, of course, is the pride factor. When your best non-conference win to date is Illinois over Rutgers, it's time to take stock.

Anyway, it's a beautiful day in the NFL neighborhood...enjoy the day, boys. I haven't made my own picks for the season, so I'll stick with a local one: Bears finish 6-10, starting the year with a 20-10 loss at Washington. At least we get to play both the Brownies and the Niners later...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

Not to outdo any other picks for football. I figured I give a Vegas special, since I will be going there tomorrow morning and losing all of my money through Tuesday. I will be bringing the title to my car just in case I sit down at the poker table at the Bellagio and decide to go all in with a 2-9 off suit at Texas Hold Em. Here are my picks against the spread. Winners are in Caps.

DENVER (-5) at Miami: I just moved to Denver so why not go with the home town team. (under of total points of 38.5)

CINCY (-3) at Cleveland: Who Dey, who dey tink gonna beat dem Bengals. (over of total points of 44.5)

Houston (+4.5) at BUFFALO: Even with a rookie QB, I say that Bufffalo's D scores all of the TDs. (under of total points of 39)

Tennessee (+7) at PITTSBURGH: If Roethaddaalkdsfsdlk;berger doesn't ride his motorcycle ala Kellen Winslow before the game they will be fine (over of total points of 40)

CHICAGO (+6) at Washington: I am not sure if there will be six points total in this game, so I to give it to the Bears and Bear Down, Chicago Bears!! (under total points of 30, final score 6-3 or 3-0).

New Orleans (+7) at CAROLINA: Unfortunately, an inprint of Aaron Brooks with Julius Peppers on top of him will be in the Carolina grass. (over of total points of 45)

Tampa Bay (+6) at MINNESOTA (over 43)

Seattle (+3) at JACKSONVILLE: Jacksonville's D will prevail even though there will be 80 MPH winds (under 40)

NY JETS (+3) at Kansas City: Gotta go with this upset, even though the Jets RB is older than my dad and Chad Pennington has more implants than the bionic man (over 48.5)

Arizona (+2.5) at NYG: The aforementioned Mrs. Warner will be a part of Giants Stadium along with her husband, with one being a part of the grass and the other in the concrete (over 37.5)

ST LOUIS (-5.5) at San Fran: Until Steve Young and Jerry Rice come back in their prime, with Ronnie Lott, a young Bryant Young and Deion on D, this team will win only two games (against the Bears and Texans). (under 46)

GREEN BAY (+1.5) at Detroit: Just for the fact that Brett Favre plays amazing when tragedy strikes his family...after his dad died, after his brother in law died, after his wife got cancer, after his dog, Tabasco ate the red pill and went to meet Morpheus and Alice in Wonderland. (over 46)

DALLAS (+4.5) at San Diego: No Gates for Brees, we will see the Brees of the Boiler Maker years. Dallas puts 8 guys in the box and Tomlinson can't do anything, game over. (over 40)

INDIANAPOLIS (-3) at Baltimore: Peyton. (under 46)

Philadelphia (+1.5) at ATLANTA (over 42): I want the producers to have a shock treatment for Al and John and anytime they say Terrell Owens or Donovan McNabb, they get shocked...that would make MNF much better.

This will be my last time giving my picks, because after this weekend, I will not have a car, a home or any possessions. I wonder if it will take the Republicans four days to find me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


This weekend is glorious. I have reached a state of nirvana meaning that football occurs on both weekend days. I may forget to shower and eat this weekend. The stars remain in an odd position since this week I will be cheering for OSU and Michigan.

"This is indeed a disturbing universe"

Go Blue and Go Buckeyes. I applaud Hart for sending Mikey the Wolverine fight song on any given Saturday.

Onto Sunday...

Oakland v New England - Even with the departure of Ty Law (Michigan), the Michigan QB Tom Brady will use his jedi mind tricks to defeat Oakland. The only way Oakland can slow down the Pats offense is with the use of D batteries. Pick = Pats

Cincy v Cleveland Steamers - Who cares?

Indy v Ravens - What a week!! Indy wins.

Philly v Atlanta - What a week!! Eagles flap to victory.

Jets v KC - Winner? KC

Jesus powered Cardinals defeat the G-Men. Rams defeat the hopeless 49ers.


Cheers and Jeers: Happy Hour Version

Well its been a long few weeks for those of us following the news (for the record any news) so a little return to Cheers and Jeers is in order. Since its been such a long week a Happy Hour is needed. I don't know who coined the phrase Happy Hour, I can only assume it was someone living in NYC or DC and was tired about the sardine like conditions if one tried hitting the bars in the evening. Sure drinking is nice but not if the place is so packed that you have to rotate your head to avoid it being stuck in someone's arm pit. So without further ado a little Cheering and Jeering

Quote of the Day:
Jon Stewart: So no one's going to be held accountable for this at all?
Ed Helms: No. In fact, if history is any indication, they'll be hard-pressed finding enough medals to pin on these guys. My sources tell me the head of FEMA will be dipped in bronze and turned into an award to be given to other officials.

Cheers : To Andre Agassi, the ageless wonder. Playing tennis at his age would like playing basketball at age 50. For those old school fans this is like the last of hurrah of Jimmy Connors. Or that time Tara Reid exposed her breast on the walkway. Wait its nothing like the Tara Reid incident.

Jeers : To the any of the PUNDITS who claim that Notre Dame is some elite program. It WAS an elite program. Over the past 10 years over a 1/4 of all Division I football programs have been ranked in the top 10 at the end of the year. Notre Dame is not one of those teams. You wouldn't say if Detroit Lions made the playoffs that it was a return to glory (for the record the Lions were one of the most dominating NFL just happened in the 1950s) so don't say Notre Dame is returning to glory and certainly don't show Touchdown Jesus until THEY ACTUALLY WIN SOMETHING.

Cheers: Baseball this weekend. Yanks v. Red Sox. Tribe v. Twins. A's v. a long line at the Taco Bell Drive-Thru. I'm going on record here that if the Yanks can beat up on the Red Sox they are in the playoffs. The Yanks have this easiest schedule after this weekend of any of the Wild Card chasers.

Cheers: To Texas v. OSU. The most hyped non-conference game in a long long time. Hopefully it will be a good one. Getting into this game is going to be harder than Courtney Love staying sober. OSU D v. Vincent Young's legs. Teddie Ginn Jr. v. The Flash (I think Texas recruited Wally West). Jim Tressel's sweatervest v. Mac Brown's color by numbers pad. Bring it!

Jeers: To Trev Albert for quitting ESPN's Gameday. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to miss Trev's fawning over Big 12 football or his feeble attempts at holding his own against people armed with literacy or facts. I'm jeering because how stupid/egotistical do you have to be to quit a sports analysts job. You comment on football. How hard could it be?

Question of the Day:
Who would win in a fight assuming neither side started with any type of weapon. A caveman or an astronaut?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Week 1 - Circus Circus

As usual, it’s been a crazy offseason. In the end, the Denver Broncos did the respectable thing and waived Clarett and forced Jerry Rice into an overdue retirement in a very respectable manner by telling him “hey, you can dress every other weekend, it’s cool.”
I actually think Minnesota’s acquisition of WR Koren Robinson (formerly of the Seahawks) is actually the best late-addition. Granted, it all depends on whether he’s actually sober or not, because that apparently was the difference when he was on Seattle. He’s still only 25 years old, and I hope he is able to stay sober and prove to the league (and Seattle) that he has something left in the tank.
My favorite roller coaster story of the offseason was QB Chad Hutchinson. He went from backup QB, to starting QB once Rex Grossman got hurt. Then, he performed so poorly, he was demoted. Then, he got flat out cut! Now that’s a traumatic 3 weeks.
Anyway, on to the 1st week of picks.

Manwich Matchup of the Week:
Philly @ Atlanta- McNabb @ Vick. This is a fantastic way to kick off the Monday Night Season! I’m curious to see how much Vick has grown into a pocket passer. I’m sure he will still scramble around and evade tacklers like a magician.
Pick: Atlanta

Upset of the Week:
Indy @ Baltimore-
It’s unreal how many people just aren’t respecting Baltimore this year. I think that one loss early on will be really motivating for the Colts (they are my Super Bowl pick). I also think that Baltimore has a stellar defense and that if you lock up Jamal Lewis in a federal penitentiary, he just gets enraged and needs to take it out on someone.
Pick: Baltimore

Oakland @ New England- should be an interesting game, as I’m pretty sure that the Raiders are capable of scoring 35 points even on the Patriots. Then again, the Patriots should have no trouble scoring 38 points on the Raiders. I would also like to reiterate something – Randy Moss is going to be amazing this year. You see, he has to play really well as “payback” to Minnesota for getting rid of him. Then next year, he will ask for a new contract and act like a cry-baby. It’s the TO way!
Pick: New England

Chicago @ Washington – A lot of matchups this weekend have very evenly talented teams. This matchup features two future cellar-dwellars.
Pick: Chicago

Cincinnati @ Cleveland – You see, I just have to take the emotion out of the picking here. I know my Clowns are only winning 4 games this year.
Pick: Cincinnati

Denver @ Miami –I’m curious to see how Denver and Jake Plummer play this year. I’m also curious to see whether Miami starting Quarterback GUS FREROTTE will celebrate by headbutting a wall, like he did on Cincinnati a few years ago.
Pick: Denver

Houston @ Buffalo- I still don’t trust rookie QBs, but Buffalo certainly has a great defense.
Pick: Buffalo

New Orleans @ Carolina – I hope the Saints somehow win the Super Bowl for the plight their citizens have been through. Unfortunately, the odds of this happening are equal to me landing a date with Anna Kournikova.
Pick: Carolina

NY Jets @ Kansas City – The Chiefs have a tremendous homefield advantage. I’m most curious as to how the defensive personnel will mesh, but I still don’t think it can be any worse than last year.
Pick: Kansas City

Seattle @ Jacksonville – This is just like Chicago-Washington, in that I have similar expectations for both teams. Both of these teams are very average teams, but when all else fails, I like choo – choo – choosing the home team.
Pick: Jacksonville

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota – I heard Tampa Bay coach let medical experts observe him during training camp to see how healthy it is to sleep only 2 hours per night. I also heard that Mike Tice scalped the results of the study to some other grad students.
Pick: Minnesota

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh – Even though Tennessee is in salary cap hell, they could give a team like Pittsburgh some trouble. I think one of the biggest question marks will be how effective Steve McNair will be this year.
Pick: Pittsburgh

Arizona @ NY Giants – I drafted Kurt Warner in one of my fantasy leagues after hearing that he went to a hypnotist who made him believe it was 1999.
Pick: Arizona

Dallas @ San Diego – Coach Marty “The Party” Schottenheimer always celebrates during the regular season (just not during the playoffs).
Pick: San Diego

Green Bay @ Detroit – As evidenced by my NFL Preview, I think Mariucci will find ways to win with Harrington. If Garcia ever has to play… well, that could be a different situation.
Pick: Detroit

St. Louis @ San Fran – Did you know? U-Miami RB Frank Gore, who has torn an ACL three different times, and has 2 medical redshirts from college, is on the 49ers!
Pick: St. Louis

Last Season: 151-107 (58.5%)
Manwich Matchup last season: 7-11
Upset Special last season: 7-9

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An Amazing Comeback

I realize tennis doesn't get much press, but Wednesday night, Agassi will be playing fellow American James Blake. I knew James Blake had somewhat of a comeback this past year, but I only knew that he broke his neck while chasing down a ball. Take a look at what he's been through in the last year (courtesy of ESPN)

In a span of five weeks in 2004, he:
(1) broke his neck when he ran into a net post in Rome. Blake said, "I was on the court, and I was running for a ball, tripped, and hit a net post headfirst. I could have been paralyzed if I hadn't turned my head at the last moment."
(2) his dad died from cancer 2 weeks later
(3) he contracted the shingles and it paralyzed part of his face, left his vision blurred, and caused debilitating dizziness.

Needless to say, his ranking fell to No. 210 back in April (tennis rankings are based on 1-year of play, its stupid). He somehow got healthy faster than he was supposed to, but he's been forced to be a qualifier (meaning you have to win 4 matches just to make the main draw) in the other Grand Slams this year, and is playing in the US Open as a wildcard entry (meaning they excused him from going through the qualifying tournament). In the third round of the US Open, he stunned No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal -- the first time he has ever beaten a top 10 player in a Grand Slam! Now, Blake is suddenly in his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal, against Andre Agassi.

The other amazing thing? Agassi is playing in his 20TH US Open! For a tennis player, that's just unheard of. Maybe I've sparked someone's attention. At the least, the matchup should be interesting. The match is on USA Wednesday night.

Stupid Firing

Lloyd McClendon was fired today as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The official reason is that the team is one loss away from their 13th consecutive losing season. What I don’t understand is why the Pirates would fire their manager with only 26 games left in the season. Why put the team through the upheaval and change? Why not just go into the off-season and take care of all business decisions then? Furthermore, why should the team, which has the league’s third-lowed payroll ($38.13M) fire a manager due to performance issues? How would a manager like McClendon have any reasonable expectation of competing with the Cardinals, Cubs and Astros who all have payrolls twice as large as the Pirates? I’ve never understood the purpose of firing a manager when the season’s expectation was not to be a winner but simply to play respectably (meaning with honor, not meaning play .500). Will the next manager be any better off? Will the Pirates benefit from the change of field management? Of course not.

This is just baseball being baseball – inherently racist to the few blacks they give the opportunity to manage a major league club. Why isn’t Lou Piniella being fired today? Last I checked, the D-Rays have had exactly ZERO winning seasons under Sweet Lou.

The Hunt for Accountability

Update from the Editor: Our new star reporter Publius will be doing commentary on college football, college basketball and why Hart would make a terrible power foward. However his first comments will be directed on Katrina and the government. Welcome Publius.

Much has been written about the hurricane and the horrific aftermath of the storm. As I examine the news coverage and see the endless quagmire of human misery and suffering right here inside our own borders, I ask the following question: “What is our own government accountable for today?”

Since 9/11, we have demanded foreign governments be accountable for weapons proliferation, WMD, and harboring terrorists inside their borders. The new policy of pre-emption provides sanctions for nations who do not adhere to these rules. What is our own government accountable for today?

In 2004, President George W. Bush ran a successful campaign based on national security. Presumably he meant security from both foreign and domestic threats including natural disasters. The President made his case to the American people that he has made this nation more secure since 9/11. President Bush also made the case that he will make America safer if he was re-elected. What is our own government accountable for today?

Since 9/11, Congress re-authorized the Patriot Act, reformed the intelligence services, and oversaw the appropriations process for the new Department of Homeland Security (and authorized President Bush’s systematic under funding of FEMA). Individual members of Congress claimed that they helped make America more secure. What is our own government accountable for today?

Reasonable people can and should disagree about the role of government in our society. I applaud this debate. Yet, in times of national crisis and emergency, the President of the United States is charged with leadership. This role is enshrined in all that we hold dear. He is Commander in Chief and Consoler in Chief. He cannot abdicate this piece of his job description.

“The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of state governments, in times of peace and security.” –Publius (Federalist #45)

What is our own government accountable for today? One party controls both the legislative and executive branches of government. The failure to provide security, law + order, protection against anarchy, and relief from this disaster is a failure of the highest order. Government has no more important role. Employees are fired for much less.

Limited Government does not imply incompetent government. Americans should have high expectations for our public servants and for our public institutions. Inept leadership, such as blaming bureaucracy, or federalism, should not be tolerated. It is time for a performance review.

“A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.” -- Publius (Federalist #70)

What is our government accountable for today?

Jerry and Barry

I would like to say a couple of words about two of the greatest players in the NFL and ML. First off, Jerry Rice. Thank you for finally hanging up the uniform so we don't have to view your aging body trying to shake off defenders while the Broncos are in a shotgun formation. You should have retired a long time ago and just headed out to Canton. You are perhaps the greatest position player the NFL has ever known (the Jim Brown argument will come out). Join the NFL Network or Fox Sports and be proud of what you have accomplished. Second, Barry Bonds. Please just retire and leave the playing field. I don't want to even hear a word out of you. If I were ESPN, I wouldn't even give you the time of day. Just hit the needed HRs to beat Ruth and leave. We won't miss you. Don't let the door slam you on the ass on your way out.

Sports Guys and Rants

We here at Back Seat Drivers do our share of ranting but sometimes you hear a rant and realize it says it all. Former Sportscenter and current Dan Patrick Show contributor Keith Olbermann's rant on Katrina deserves nomination for our "Rant of the Year Award" better known as the Piledriver.

Check out his rant here

Monday, September 05, 2005

Cy Young Getting Clear and Other Thoughts

I think this weekend its begining to become quite clear who the top candidates are for the various awards and I would go so far to argue (hey thats what this medium is for right?) that Chris Carpenter may have wrapped up the NL Cy Young award when he beat Roger Clemens head to head. Carpenter has been on a tear the second half of the season. He's now up to 20 games in the win column including 11 straight. He has a 2.28 ERA. He doesn't get hurt. He doesn't ice/highlight the tips of his hair. He just wins. Yes Clemens has an outstanding ERA but there are other criteria out there and Carpenter is ahead by a mile on those details.

2. I applaud of Colon's pitching efforts (you win 7 straight you get nominated for a Cy Young. Honestly its him or Rivera for the AL Cy Young. Personally I would place it as a toss up at the moment. However Mr. Colon, I do ask that you remove that extra tire your carrying around your midsection. Its not good for the back (just ask top heavy Pamela Lee...her curve ball has definitely waned in recent years). The Angels need a healthy Colon for them to stay in the playoff hunt.

3. Am I the only one jumping for joy with Oklahoma's defeat? Oklahoma has been over-rated for several years now (Explain again what they were doing in the championship games the past few years?). I realize that the Big 12 has to send out some crappy team so that the rest of the country can feel good about themselves when they destroy them but I for one would like a COMPETITIVE championship game. Thank goodness Oklahoma had the decency to pull themselves out of contention early.

4. While I can't comment any more on the criminally negilent behavior of the Federal Government re: Katrina, let alone on their amazing incompetence or even their out and out lying over blaming local officials without breaking down into a rant that would cow even MJ (links provided should justify just a hint of my anger) however I would like to shine a little light on a few highlights and lowlights of the sports world interaction with the tragedy/travesty. For all the bashing of Joe Horn and his cellphone celebration, his actions of rushing out to the Astrodome is incrediably applaudable. For the thousands and thousands of survivors to have Joe Horn and numerous other Saints help out is very remarkable. For all the recriminations against atheletes I think most of them feel a kinship to their respective community and I think this tends to show this. The lowlights would include hundreds of hurricane survivors being evicted from their hotels to make room for fans for the FSU-Miami game. Frankly thats somewhere disgusting and deplorable. I for one don't mind if they play athletic events during these times but if the cost is making people homeless just so some fat, drunk fan can in person curse out the opposing team then they should cancel the bloody game and have the hotel managers and athletic departments chain ganged and sent to help in the cleanup.