Monday, October 31, 2005

Quote of the Week

Courtesy of Mike Tice....
"Sometimes, you wake up and you say, 'Man, I didn't have anything to drink last night. I didn't have anything fattening. So why do I want to puke?' Then you realize, 'Oh, that's right.' You start remembering what's going on in your life."

Imagine how he felt after he found out Culpepper is out with an ACL tear.

MMBSD Afternoon Edition: Hail to the Little People

Well the Monday Morning Back Seat Drive is a little late today due to circumstances beyond my control. Lets just say they involved a late night football game, a supreme court nominee and Fareed Zakaria and leave it at that.

Today's theme is the little people of sports who had a big weekend. Now I don't come from a family who's genes lead one to being the size of a volkswagon. Nobody is dunking a basketball over here. In fights I have often to jump up to hit the person in the face (little known fact the character of Mac from Mike Tyson's punchout is loosely based on my fight against King Hippo). So when the little guy does well I take notice. Luckily this weekend there were some big little people that I could root for.

Tiki Barber
Big players, play big in big games. Or something like that. Well the little running back that could, ran the team by the Potomac out of town. The Giants demolished the Redskins 36-0 in probably one of the more suprising games (at least in score differential) of the weekend. Tiki ran wild. 206 yards? Yep. Tiki was a workhorse.

Steve Smith
I don't think Smith gets mentioned as often as he should as one of the premier wide recievers in the league. Despite the fact that he doesn't have TO's size, Smith fights through cornerbacks and zips by them like they are standing still. Over 200 yards receiving for Smith keyed Carolina past the Vikings. Smith is averaging over 117 yards a game. Sure he's little but nobody can stop him. Much like Speedy Gonzalez.

Ted Ginn Jr.
Ted Ginn is fast. Like Olympic speed fast. Trying to defend against him on punt and kick returns is an excercise in futility (kind of like Scooter Libby's defense). I saw him slice through the Golden Gophers on a 100 yard kick return in a blink of an eye. I think a parachute came out of pants to slow him down at the end. The Michigan game is in sight. Oh yes the Michigan game is in sight.

Me
I should recieve some sort of gold medal for watching Browns games. Or I should be thrown into the insane asylum. This team is awful. They're worse now then they were at the start of the year and they were bad then. Trent Dilfer has come down with a case of the stupids ("I know if I hold on to the ball longer than nothing bad will happen"). The offensive coordinator, Maurice Carthan, is obviously in over his head and as such couldn't lead an offense through the McDonald's drive-thru let alone into the end zone. My campaign to fire Butch Davis was succesful. My campaign to get rid of Mike Martz is all but finalized. Carthan your up next. You need to go!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hot Stove Part I

Since the World Series is officially over (thankfully) and since it's gotten a bit nippy here in NYC (43 degrees), it's officially Hot Stove season. I encourage all baseball fans on this blog to participate and speak for their favorite teams (Indians, Reds, Cubs) as I will be speaking for the Yanks.

First order of business for the Yanks, now that their manager and GM are staying put, is to re-sign Hideki Matsui. After that, the Yanks need a new centerfielder and I think I have the perfect candidate...(read below). Most baseball ignoramuses (ESPN, in particular) will trumpet Johnny Damon via free agency or Torii Hunter via trade but I reject both of these players on specific grounds:

-In the case of Johnny Damon, his arm is horrendous and his range in the field is quite poor. Playing a ball off the wall in Fenway, where center is the smallest in the American League, doesn't mean you can patrol Death Valley at Yankee Stadium, where it's 396 to the power alley and 408 to dead center. There's a lot of ground to cover and Damon won't be able to do it any better than the 2002-2005 version of Bernie that the Yanks have been trotting out there. Johnny Damon's best destination is in Wrigleyville where the outfield is small enough that he's not exposed as a bad fielder and where the wind blows out enough such that he can probably hit 15-20 homers from the leadoff spot.

-In the case of Torii Hunter, there's no denying his ability to roam the field. However, at $10M, he's quite expensive and, in my opinion, not worth the price. For $2M more you can get yourself a Vlad and for $4M more, a Beltran. Sure, money's no object, but here's the kicker -- Torii would have to come in a trade and the Yanks should not part with Robinson Cano or Chien-Ming Wang. Those two guys are the only youth movement the Yanks have working for them and they both played a HUGE role in getting that eighth consecutive division title. I say keep Cano and Wang and get...Milton Bradley. Here's why:

-Milton Bradley turns 28 years old on April 15, 2006. That makes him younger than Damon and Hunter. Milton Bradley's a switch-hitter, which, obviously gives the Yanks more flexibility with their lineup than the lefty-swinging Damon or the righty-swinging Hunter and Bradley can replace Bernie's switch-hitting presence on the roster. Bradley's a solid fielder and a marginally worse hitter than Torii Hunter (career OBP is .350 to .321 in Bradley's favor) and costs a fraction of what Hunter or Damon will. Because the Dodgers fired Paul DePodesta as their GM today, I think Dodgers management will want to rid itself of all of DePo's players. As such, I think Bradley can be acquired cheaper than he'd normally go for.

For those that think Bradley is too much of a cancer to bother with, I only half-agree. He's certainly a borderline psycho but I think everyone would have to admit that there is probably no manager better-equipped to handle personalities like Joe Torre is. A baseball-strategy savant he isn't, but a personality-handling genius he most certainly is. Throw in the fact that the Yanks win more often than Bradley's been used to in LA or Cleveland and perhaps a little of that edge comes off. The Yanks have had other "problem children" on Torre's watch in the past (Sheffield, Strawberry, Gooden, Sierra, etc.) and there have been few, if any, distractions. I think Milton Bradley is worth the risk for the Yanks. At best, they get a 28 year old with a bit of speed, a bit of power, a solid glove who is happy to be in a more successful environment (see Chacon, Shawn). At worst, they get a guy that is a pain in the ass to deal with, at which point they cut him and eat his $2.9M contract which ain't no thang when you're George Steinbrenner.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Time After Time

I was reading Time Magazine this week and they had a spot on the White Sox and were explaining what a loony Ozzie Guillen is and the whole drought thing etc. Now I think that Time should only focus on leaks in the White House and not venture into the realm of sports, but the article was somewhat well written, so they get a pass. What they don't get a pass at was the pictures on the article. There was a picture of Scott Podsednik next to Joe Jackson with a caption saying that Joe Jackson something along the lines of Joe Jackson had the power whereas Podsednik has the speed. Did I miss something or is Podsednik not even in the same league as Shoeless Joe. It is like comparing the Dayton Dragons with the 1961 Yankees...there is absolutely no comparison. How can you possibly compare a lifetime .356 hitter with someone who has a OBP of .345. Joe Jackson wasn't even a power hitter, he hit 50 HRs over 13 seasons. Will Ray Kinsella see Podsednik out in his corn field and build a ballpark for him? Perhaps they should have picked a player like Chick Gandil or the bat boy for the team to compare to Podsednik. Man Time needs to understand the insignificance of this White Sox team.

Cheers and Jeers: Bloody Mary Edition

Well we're getting close to All Hallow's Ever which means I'm scaring myself silly watching crappy horror flicks while Hart is currently living his worst nightmare (Chicago White Sox World Series t-shirts being sold a block from Wrigley). That said time for a little cheering and jeering....


Jeers - Once again to Mother Nature. The East Coast is being hammered by cold, wet remnants of several hurricanes while Florida has yet to recover from said aforementioned hurricane. My guess is that Mother Nature dislikes football players doing nutshots. A few weeks ago a Patriots lineman had a straight punch to the jewels. Last week an alumni of University of Miami also had a haymaker to the breadbasket. Outcome horrible horrible weather. My theory only holds for NFL players not professional wrestlers. Rick Flair's lowblows were poetry in motion, matched only by Fred Blitenekoff catches or Jackie Robinson running the bases.

Cheers - To killing two birds with one stone I could never figure out why FOX had that stupid Scooter animation explaining pitches. I could never figure out why Tim McCarver still had a job. Luckily Fox put two and two together and had Scooter explain why McCarver hadn't been fired. Check the link for the full story but the short answer "I don't have a fucking clue"

Cheers- To Sheryl Swoops for coming out of the closet. Not really since the early 1970s have athletes, especially male athletes, taken politically or sociall controversial positions (at least not conciously). Without getting into an argument over social responsibility I think its applaudable that Swoops has the courage to be true to who she is. Same goes for George "Sulu" Takei.

Jeers - To Duke being ranked #1 in the first NCAA basketball poll of the year. Sure they have 4 returning starters. But its Duke! Unfortunately UConn has all of its point guards in jail and Texas players are busy studying in attempt to determine where practice is held. Get it together guys, please don't let Duke win the Championship.

Cheers- To me making crazy predictions. I'm going with the Spurs to repeat. I have McGrady as the MVP and Raymond Felton as Rookie of the year (although I think crazy enough Charlie "Caveman lawyer" Villueneva will make a push). Andrew Bogut will be voted worst draft pick of the year. And he'll cry. And then I'll laugh.

Jeers - To MLB not having the authority to end the World Series early. If anything has ever needed euthanasia it was that series. I begged for that plug to be pulled.

Jeers - To the recent Forbes magazine who gave out advice on how to take out blogs and why blogs were so evil. Some choice quotes include:

Web logs are the prize platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective.

Bloggers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality."

">Good thing Back Seat Drivers is an online magazine otherwise I couldn't say that the person who wrote that is nothing more than an autistic fascist monkey.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Baseball's Past

Since we are talking about baseball's past, I just wanted to pose a question to many of the baseball enthusiasts out there. Which team/teams of the NL and/or AL do you think have been the most dominant from the decades past. Like for instance, I think that the Reds were the most dominant in the 70s with perhaps the As being the team from the AL. I would have to say that the 20s, 50s and 60s belong to the Yanks, with the Dodgers being pretty damn good the later half of the 60s. The 10s probably to the Philadelphia Athletics, the 40s to the Cards. The 80s perhaps the Cards again...the 16 straight title the Braves have gotten, I would have to say that the 90s were their year, with the late 90s being given to the Yanks. So to recap:

10s: Athletics
20s: Yanks
30s: Yanks/Cards
40s: Cards
50s: Dodgers/Yanks
60s: Yanks
70s: Reds/As
80s: Cards/Royals/As
90s: Braves/Yanks/Blue Jays
00s: a variety of teams

The Masses Are Asses (Or Another Reason Why I Hate ESPN)

Hear that? The gunshot that went off in the background? That was Hitman and the rest of Cubbydom blowing their collective brains out. We’re right there with you – I don’t think ANYONE was rooting for the White Sox, save for the 43 people that actually call themselves White Sox fans and the predictable horde of morons that jumped on the bandwagon. Nielsen announced that the 2005 World Series was the lowest-rated in history. The amazing thing about that is that Chicago and Houston represent the nation’s third and tenth largest television markets, respectively. Wow. If you can’t pull viewers from two top-10 markets, you clearly have a charisma problem.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about any of that, I’m here to talk about a silly poll that ESPN is running today. They’re asking ESPN SportsNation to rank the last 20 World Series Champs. Predictably, the demographic of the respondents skews young since the 1985 Royals finished 20th in the poll. Obviously most of these people don’t remember the Royals of that year. I do. George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson, Lonnie “Skates” Smith, young phenom Bret Saberhagen and closer extraordinaire, Dan Quisenberry. In my opinion, they’re better than 20th. They’re probably better than the 1987 or 1991 Twins.

The real disaster in this stupid poll is that the 2004 Red Sox ranked ahead of the 1998 Yankees. Now that’s just plain dumb. No one needs to be reminded of the Yankee dominance of 1998. As good as the ’04 Sox were, there’s no convincing me that they were better than the ’98 Yanks, a team that finished the year with a 125-50 record (.714%) including the playoffs. Equally ridiculous is that the 2005 White Sox, a team that barely won its own division, ranked 5th, ahead of the 1986 Mets, the 1995 Braves, the 1990 Reds and the 1988 Dodgers. As far as I’m concerned, any of those four teams would’ve had the ’05 White Sox for lunch.

I know it’s just a fan poll. I know it doesn’t mean anything. But I also know that ESPN has fed so much garbage into the minds of the automatons that our entire sports dialogue has been reduced to rubble. I’m not the most political animal but I guess the same is true in politics. We have too many idiots running around in this country speaking about things they know nothing about. My only solution is that we create a system of sports eugenics. A good starting point would be to rid ourselves of anyone that actually believes the 2005 White Sox are a good team. They beat a patsy, 'nuff said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Goodbye, Cruel World

Man, this has been a shitty week.

Hats off to the White Sox. I fucking hate you. You're still a bunch of lowlife toothless illiterates, and I'm not even talking about your pathetic "fans". But all year long, you've been at the top, and when you go 11-1 in October, you deserve the ring. You've made me miserable. Thank you very little.

To the Houston Astros: that was maybe the worst World Series performance I've ever seen. You go, what, 0-11 with men in scoring position in tonight's game? Strand 15 baserunners in Game 3? That's absurdly pathetic. Even the D-Rays could push one man across in each of those games. Ok, so the Sox tossed some great pitchers out there. But even Bob Gibson in 1968 had an ERA over 1. There is zero excuse for displaying such disgustingly bad hitting at any point during the season, and how much more so in the Series. It's a real shame that class acts like Bagwell and Biggio sucked such a fat one during what will surely be their only shot at winning the Fall Classic.

I'm going to vomit again.

Week 8 - The NFL doesn't have a dress code

I really don't want to get involved in a silly dress code argument, like David Stern does. If I instituted a dress code for the NFL, I would make everyone wear UnderArmour clothing and everyone would have to shout at each other: "We must protect this HOUUUSE!"

Here are the games:

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Philly @ Denver- This one has Denver written all over it. They are going to be mad as hell after their dissappointing loss last week.
Pick: Denver

Upset of the Week
Cleveland @ Houston- I can’t believe Houston is favored. It just makes me sad, and scared. If I only had the power to know if an 0-5 team ever was favored before. I hope that doesn’t count as one of my 3 wishes.
Pick: Cleveland

Ariz @ Dallas- Did you know? Julius Jones is the brother of Thomas Jones. Has there ever been a more successful RB duo that shared DNA? I realize, that the NBA may be blessed in 15 years once Shawn Kemp’s 8 kids start playing.
Pick: Dallas

Chicago @ Detroit- I’m sticking with the home teams in the NFC Norris division.
Pick: Detroit

GB @ Cincy- Carson Palmer will bounce back, faster than you can say .
Pick: Cincy

Jacksonville @ St. Louis- Even when Martz isn’t coaching, he ends up with a story on NFL.com about how he was arguing for a cell-phone to be placed in the offensive coordinator’s booth at the stadium. Basically, he was asking for everyone’s dream, to be able to sit at home in your pajamas while eating pizza and getting a massage while still CALLING PLAYS IN AN NFL GAME. Granted, I just play tecmo bowl for such an experience.
Pick: Jacksonville

Minnesota @ Carolina- Go CAR go. Minnesota never wins on the road. It’s hard to book a sex boat on the road. You don’t even know where the girls have been.
Pick: CAR

Oakland @ Tennessee- I can’t figure out Tennesee. Sometimes they play great defense. Sometimes they shoot the lights out. Who knows.
Pick: Oakland

Wash @ NY Giants- This is a clash of two of my superstitions. 1) The Giants pulled out a huge upset win last week, so I want to pick against them. 2) The Redskins won by more than 30 points, so I want to pick against them. Therefore, I just choose the home team. It’s crazy, I don’t even like the Giants.
Pick: NY Giants

KC @ San Diego- San Diego is the most incredible 3-4 team in the universe. Maybe Marty “the Party” Schottenheimer is saving up something for the post-season. Granted, it’s going to be hard to make at this rate.
Pick: San Diego

Miami @ New Orleans- Ricky Williams plays his old team! Now we just need Ditka to coach Miami.
Pick: New Orleans

TB @ San Fran- Rookie Chris Simms has a great shot at starting out 1-0. But then again, so did that guy picked after Peyton Manning.
Pick: TB

Buffalo @ New England- I can’t avoid the Pats all season.
Pick: new england

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh- How Baltimore has fallen, losing to da Bears. I don’t see how they’re stopping Pitt’s ground game.
Pick: Pittsburgh

Last week: 9-5
Season: 60-42
Manwich Matchup: 3-4 (Damn Eagles blocked FG and TD)
Upset Special: 2-5 (Go Sex boat! Thank you Vikings. Thank you 56-yard FG!)

Where's Hitman?

Hitman, how come you haven't asked Joe Morgan to shut his piehole about this (from Morgan, courtesy of Daily Quicke):

"The most astute thing Joe Morgan has said all season lamented the lack of any African-Americans on the Astros and what that indicates about MLB."

I didn't realize that not having African-Americans on a roster indicated, whether implied or explicitly, something insidious about Major League Baseball. I always thought being on a major league roster was based on talent. I could be wrong about that, though. Certainly it could be argued that the Astros' getting their asses kicked this badly indicates a lack of talent, but there is no way to unilaterally state that a) this lack of talent could be filled by an African-American and b) that MLB has failed in its efforts to open the doors of opportunity to people of color on the playing field. Front office or managerial positions...well, that's another story.

It has become a well-studied fact that youth baseball is no longer attracting African-Americans at the same rate as it did as recently as the early 1980's. Now, basketball and football are the #1 and #2 sports of choice for black youths. While it might behoove the game of baseball to create new initiatives or refine existing ones in order improve recruitment among young blacks, these efforts will never trump the fact that talent and ability are the only ticket to the big leagues. As it stands today, Latin America is producing most of the game's talent and Major League Baseball should not go out of its way to mess with the success of its promotion and scouting of the game in these Spanish-speaking countries.

Joe Morgan was a hell of a player and a proud member of the second generation of African-Americans in the game. But he would be best served to leave the efforts of "leveling the playing field" to those more intellectually qualified to do so.

White Flag

I can't hold it against the White Sox that they will win the World Series. The Astros just suck that bad. It's not Chicago's fault that Houston decided not to play this week. For the real winners on the Astros ballclub (Pettitte, Clemens, Biggio), I'm sorry it ends this way. For the real losers on the Astros ballclub (Ensberg, Lidge et al.) don't bother coming to work in February 2006. You guys have no sack. I'm glad I'm not a Houstonian - I'd be ashamed of this team.

American League rules. Anyone in the AL could beat the shit out of this Astros team.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Wouldn't Have Expected Anything Less of Chicago White Sox Fans

After seeing William Ligue Jr. kick the crap out of Tom Gamboa a few years ago, along with other incidents, I am not surprised to read about another example of typical Chicago White Sox fan behavior. The franchise is one giant blister on the foot of Major League Baseball. I wish we could just pop it and move on, pretending they'd never existed.

Sundays are my Ticket to Happiness

Since I was out with dysentery, avian flu and cowlick (like Tracy's horse on 90210), I wasn't able to comment on the complaining about DC's (east coast) football feed on Sundays. I took a flight to Houston and hopefully infected all of the White Sox. While I grew up in Ohio, the only two football games I was accustomed to were the Browns and Bungals, which could cause even the best fans to go to sleep. Then I moved to DC where I could only get Ravens and Skins, which was about as bad as watching the Browns and Bungals during the mid 90s. Now, I have moved where I can tap the Rockies and decided to get the wonderful creation called DirectTV. While Rupert Murdoch's crazy politics cause me worry to give him money, his satellite contract with the NFL causes me elation. NFL Sunday Ticket is around 200 bucks for the whole season (50 dollars for 4 months) If you are a new subscriber and get the Sunday Ticket package, you get four free months of the top tier of DirectTV (which includes Skinemax, Skinemax Top Self, Best of B Actresses and Old Softcore Porn from the mid 80s), which basically means that you pay 50 bucks a month for the first 4 months. DirectTV is also alot cheaper than cable TV as well, the dish is free, and it costs about 45 bucks a month, including Tivo after you get the Sunday Ticket package. The way that the Ticket works is that at 11 AM (MST), there are about 10 different channels that appear in the 700s that you can get the feed from that area of the country. So, those of us are able to down a 12 pack of beer in our boxers, throw in a pizza and switch between the games we want. The local feeds are blacked out on the Sunday Ticket channels, so this weekend I had to go to the local Fox and CBS channel to watch the Chargers/Eagles and the Packers/Vikings and then the Broncos/Giants in the later hours. But I watched the Steelers/Bungals, Chargers/Eagles and whatever other game I had money on over the weekend. I just hope that Duke will not catch up with me, like he did with Brando or else I will have to call up Nat to help me out. Get the Ticket...it will cure all of your Redskins, Bears, Browns, Brian Billick, Texas A&T boredom...

Peter King

Normally I have no issue with Peter King. I think his columns are a fairly enjoyable read and he doesn't blab on and on about how great a person is or make predictions based in his own rooting interest (like Peter Gammons).

Anyway, I saw this and it sort of annoyed me. I'm not stark-raving mad because I didn't find it that big a deal but just irked enough that I decided to share. From yesterday's MMQB:

"I think it's a disgrace Lawrence Taylor is pimping that ultra-violent football video game. A disgrace, but not surprising."

then...

"I think I owe the kind people at my alma, Ohio University, thanks for a fine night during an alumni function Friday night in hopping Athens…there still is, apparently, a penchant for drinking, which I discovered Friday night and during the Saturday morning Homecoming Parade, which featured 7 a.m. bar openings…Kiley O'Laughlin, the niece of old friend Peg O'Laughlin from OU, told a few of us that after the big ESPN2 win over Pitt a few weeks ago, the fans stormed the field…and then headed en masse to the uptown bar scene…Everyone was chanting, 'Let's get wasted!'…I think you guys stole our class motto, Kiley. She also informed me that the big story of that night was the couch burning in the middle of a downtown street and the police officer getting thrown from his mounted horse, breaking a wrist, chasing the offending arsonist…I don't mean to sound like a wise old owl or anything, but I've seen and heard so much hand-wringing over problem drinking on campus. I know it's a problem. A major one, I'm sure. And I'm sure much of what I'm about to say is rooted in ignorance about the scope of the problem. But college kids being drunk at 10 on a Saturday morning doesn't worry me much. We all did it. Most of us, anyway. The students I talked to Friday and Saturday are good kids, really good kids, who want to be good at what they do. They'll be fine. Overall, a fun, nostalgic, cool 24 hours."

I have no problem with undergrads partying. I did it, all my friends did it, even the poindexters in TKE and Sigma Nu at my university did it. What I have a problem with is the juxtaposition of morality by Peter King. It's ok for undergrads to party and burn stuff and cause cops to break wrists but it's not ok for a former pro football player to be the spokesman for a violent video game. Hmmm...white kids causing mayhem in Ohio is ok. Black guy trying to make a living associating himself with the only thing on earth that he was ever good at, not ok. Peter King needs to leave Upper Montclair, New Jersey once in a while and wake the fuck up.

Monday, October 24, 2005

2005 NBA Preview – It’s Fannnntastic!!!

This season marks an epic change for the NBA. After 7 years of harping, David Stern finally listened to me. He decided to allow each team to designate 2 players to the NBDL!!! For years, this is all I’ve asked for. Why should some of our favorite blue-chip prospects, like Darko Milicic, have to sit around on a bench and play 2 minutes per game? For years, all I’ve wanted is a system similar to baseball. Let the players develop down there! For example, Desagna Diop, a 7 footer on the Cavaliers, may have learned how to dribble the basketball if he had gotten some playing time. I’ll never forget the time he tried to pass the ball to one of the other guards, and THREW THE BALL INTO THE 3RD ROW OF THE STANDS. Don’t embarrass the guy. Let him go the minors to figure out the nuances of passing and gravity! Things really hit rock-bottom last year anyway. Teams were housing players with “injuries” on the injured list that magically would heal right when other players would get injured. Teams essentially were carrying 14-men rosters. I wish I wrote down the source, but one NBA spokesman even ADMITTED last year that the injury lists “did not require an injury.” So adding NBDL designations just made sense all around, and could even provide some interest for the NBDL, if your team’s draft pick is sitting down in Asheville.

Anyway, let’s get to the preview! The number next to the team represents their playoff seeding. NOTE: For those who don’t remember, the NBA realigned, each division winner gets a top 3 seed automatically. This means that Detroit could easily be a #4 seed.

Eastern Conference -

Atlantic Division- On any given Sunday…
3 - New Jersey – So all of a sudden, everyone has renewed faith in Vince Carter. Me- I think he has 1 more year in him, until he starts sulking on the bench over the fact that he wants more pre-game massages as well as a raise of $4 million. I think Vince is like Latrell Spreewell. Each time Spreewell changes teams, Spreewell and the team were amazing in the 1st year. (Finals w/ the Knicks, Conf. Finals w/ the Timberwolves). Then, Spreewell finds things to complain about, just like Vince will.
8- Boston- Depending on how fast these young players get their act together, Boston could be a dangerous team with Al Jefferson, Paul Pierce, and Ricky Davis.
New York- I still don’t quite understand how they are comfortable with Eddy Curry, who has a heart condition, on their team. This takes major balls. Another “risky” decision by everyone’s favorite GM, ISIAH THOMAS. But, as said throughout the year, Isiah did some smart things – he got Quentin Richardson from the Suns and drafted a super-quick Nate Robinson. They also made some questionable decisions in getting Jerome James from Seattle. And Channing Frye from Arizona (he’s real skinny, you can’t miss him). The playoffs are always possible when nomadic Larry Brown is your coach.
Philadelphia – I know Maurice Cheeks is a Philly-Phave, but I still don’t get what they saw in him from his coaching job in Portland. This team is bound for disaster – an immobile Chris Webber still thinks he can conquer the world. It’s sad and makes me long for the old point-shaving, timeout-taking, quick to the hole Webber.
Toronto- Did you know? They lost to an Israeli club team. Only the 2nd NBA team to lose to a Euro-squad. At least the Israeli team were Euro-champions. Still, not a good indicator going into the season. At least they have 2 PFs – Chris Bosh, Charlie Villaneuva (Uconn), and a SF in Joey Graham (Ok. State). Granted, I don’t know what the rest of the roster is.

Central Division- Division of Death!
1- Indiana – Lost Reggie Miller, picked up Jasikevicius (Euro guard, played at Maryland 9 years ago) and Danny Granger (New Mex) in the draft. Ron Artest is an amazing player, offensively and defensively. With a full year of Jermaine O’Neal, Artest, and Stephen Jackson, the only thing that can stop this team is… a paper cup. Yes, if a paper cup hits Artest in the right spot (his head) the whole season goes down the shitter faster than Stephen Jackson can throw haymakers at 3 NBA fans.
4- Detroit- Assuming Indiana has a full team, I just don’t see the Pistons winning the division. This is basically a coin flip, in that Detroit will still finish within 3 games of Indiana, and will probably have one of the 4 best records in the league. I still think Carlos Arroyo is the best backup PG in the league.
5- Cleveland- What an amazing off-season which I assume translates to a playoff appearance (picked up Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, and PG Damon Jones). The 7-man rotation is light years from last year. No one knows what Coach Brown will do, but at least he was apprenticing under Carlisle and Popovich. The best news is that Eric Snow went from 6th man to 10th man. My expectations are grounded only because I went to a game last week, and was mortified at how awful Larry Hughes was playing. After missing 3 consecutive putbacks inside 3 feet, he just laughed hysterically as the coach pulled him from the game. Larry Hughes’ job is to play great defense, and run fast breaks. He’s not a shooter, and I hope he is reading this.
6-Chicago-National publications all think that the Bulls are in trouble without Curry. Rebounding may be of some concern, but I still think they can make the playoffs, considering the backcourt of Hinrich & Ben Gordon is amazing, and even the Argentinian Nocioni can definitely score points.
Milwaukee- Bobby Simmons (from the Clippers) and Andrew Bogut should get the fans excited. They still are waiting to see if TJ Ford will be healthy (and effective). Any other division, and they’d have a chance to make some noise.

Southeast Division- Shaq Fu-Schnickens
2-Miami- Gary Payton, Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, James Posey all were added in the offseason. Personally, I don’t see how this strange mix will work with Shaq and Wade. I just don’t trust Jason Williams or old-man Gary Payton to run the offense. Shaq and Wade are great, but as I expressed over the summer, I’m not a fan of the additions.
7-Washington- They lost Larry Hughes, but they still have Gilbert Arenas and Jamison. Also lost most of their backcourt. Arenas and Jamison can get the job done to get to the playoffs.
Orlando- besides Dwight Howard, this team just doesn’t have much going for it. When I went online I realized they have Stacey “Plastic-man” Augmon, who is the last remaining member of that Super UNLV team (Larry “Grand-ma-ma” Johnson, Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt).
Atlanta- Marvin Williams (UNC), Salim Stoudamire (Atlanta) in the draft, plus dunk champion Josh Smith, and off-season acquisition Joe Johnson makes this team full of speed and offensive firepower. Not sure if anyone will bother to play defense, which could be a problem, since 50% of the time, a team is on defense.
Charlotte- Sean May & Raymond Felton (UNC) join Okafor. They also will be throwing a late-night party after each home game. As they say on the radio, “18 to party, 21 to drink.”

Western Conference
Northwest Divison- Denver continues their success from late last season.
2-Denver- The Nuggets were amazing last season once George Karl was hired, 32-8. The strange thing is they got PG Earl Watson, but they already have Andre Miller and Earl ba-ba-ba-Boykins. I’m guessing Miller is on his way out? Either way, this is a team to watch, as they inch closer to the Denver-Cleveland NBA Finals in 2007.
7-Minnesota- I love Rashad McCants, a rookie super-scorer from UNC and they also added Marko Jaric from the Clippers. I think KG will be hungry, and I’m banking on an “addition by substraction” now that Spreewell and Cassell are gone.
Seattle- They definitely won’t do as well this year, but the question is how far they fall after losing their coach and a number of players. I expect Ray Allen to not even lift a finger, now that he has his contract.
Utah- Deron Williams, PG (Illinois) is proclaimed as the savior for the Jazz. This team has talent, and a great coach in Sloan, but I’m not a big fan of Deron, so I will leave them down here.
Portland- When PF Zach Randolph was asked about whether off-season knee surgery would effect his play, Randolph said “I never was much of a leaper anyway.” Yes, that’s the spirit! Why not just say, “I always sucked, I never had any explosion whatsoever!”

Pacific Division- The worst division???
3-Phoenix- This division looks real bad, especially when you think about how Amare is out 4 months, and they lost Q and Joe Johnson. I just have to believe they find a way to get a division title. The other choices are pretty flawed.
6-Sacramento- Now they added Bonzi Wells and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. But they lost Bobby Jackson. I’m not really sure what this means.
8-Golden State- Baron Davis led them on an 18-8 run to this season, and that is why they are my sleeper playoff team for this year! Nothing says sleeper team like a good late-season push. Baron Davis is looking to prove that he can stay healthy for the year and be a superstar. In addition, they still have Jason Richardson, Mike Dunleavy and… Derek Fisher. Even Calbert Cheaney’s looking to make the playoff party! They also got rookie Ike Diogu, a man-child if I do say so. Everbody likes Ike!
Lakers- Kwame Brown is not going to be able to get the Lakers to the playoffs, no matter how many Phil Jackson books he reads.
Clippers- They lost Bobby Simmons and got the extremely mediocre Cuttino Mobley for mucho diniero. They also have Sam Cassell. Man, Bill Simmons is going to have a long year following these guys.

Southwest Division- Texas is king
1- San Antonio- No one stops Tim Duncan & Manu & Tony Parker & Robert Horry. As if they needed help, they got Michael Finley. And Nick Van Exel. Can you say dynasty?
4-Houston- PF Stromile Swift and PG Rafer Alston additions should help. It’s a question of whether Alston can be kept under control, who is talented but argued w/ his coach in Toronto over everything from playing time to window seats on the airplane. If Alston is under control, this team could go very far.
5-Dallas- For the 1st time in a while, Dallas didn’t make a big off-season move. I still like their lineup – Josh Howard should fill in nicely for Finley.
Memphis- They lost Stromile Swift, and drafted Hakim Warrick, to have another high-energy skinny PF. Apparently, Mike Fratello is coaching this team.
New Orleans/Oklahoma City HORNETS- I thought I was being funny by calling them New Orleans/Oklahoma City, but apparently, that’s their official team name! http://www.nba.com/hornets/PG

Playoffs
So here's how the 1st round playoffs shake out:
1-Ind over 8-Boston
4-Detroit over 5-Cleveland
6-Chicago over 3-New Jersey (go Ben Gordon! Whoever gets the 6-seed is in a good spot).
2-Miami over 7-Washington

1-SA over 8-Golden State
4-Houston over 5-Dallas (this will be an amazing series)
3-Phoenix over 6-Sacramento
2-Denver over 7-Minnesota (these guys hate each other almost as much as Pacers-Pistons)

2nd round:
1-Ind over 4-Detroit (Steel cage! Steel cage!)
2-Miami over 6-Chicago (Miami got a great draw. I hope Cleveland gets Miami in the 1st round)
1-SA over 4-Houston
2-Denver over 3-Phoenix

The rest:
1-Ind over 2- Miami (Indiana’s depth allows them to dominate.)
1-SA over 2-Denver (No one can stop the Spurs. Not even Earl Boykins).
1-SA over 1-Ind (As said before, Tim Duncan and the Spurs look even stronger this year).

All-Gutsy Team
PF- T. Duncan, San Antonio
SF-James, Cleveland
C- J. O’Neal, Indiana
SG- Artest, Indiana
PG- B. Davis, Golden State

My Sunday Football Experience

I wish to complain. I hate the regional coverage choad. I really hate it. I took the choad this weekend. I didn’t even get to sort myself out with Sunday night football

I booked my flights home to receive the Sunday football experience. The verdict on this weekend’s football experience; terrible. I left totally unsatisfied. This Sunday might have been the worst football experience of my life.

Game 1: Redskins vs. the 49ers. Washington DC announcers loved the fact that the Skins put up 52 points. Who cares? The MASH football team from the original movie could defeat the 49ers.

Game 2: Ravens vs. da Bears. This game brought football back 30 years.

Games I missed to watch the damn Ravens, and Skins… G-Men vs. the Broncos, Philly v. SD, Steelers v. Bengals, Rams v NO, the Cow-bitches v. Seahawks (thanks MJ- I like the new name for the boys).

Sorry Mighty Mike… the Cleveland Steamers are terrible.

From the IT Department

Haloscan is having some problems. If it does not improve by this evening I will have the IT department fired, hire a new IT department in India and have them fix this things. Sorry for any inconviences


Update :
Threat of job loss has been effective. Haloscan (commenting) seems to be working again.

MMBSD: Trains are Getting Closer

A few weeks ago a cautioned against the possible train wreck of more than two undefeated teams in college football. Well week eight has come and gone and there are still six left. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe is already hyperventilating, Mike Lupica of wherever its ok to have nine espressos before 10 am is preparing to burn something in effigy and hundreds of other sports reporters are ready to follow Mike Wilbon in storming the secret fortress of the BCS (there has to be secret lair where those people meet).

Personally I can handle the disappointment of not having an overwhelmingly definitive champion. I'm from Cleveland, not having an uber-college football champion doesn't even rank in the top 5 of the sports agonies of the week (It ranks just below Shaker Heights High School's loss in women's field hockey but above not getting a good fortune cookie). Nonetheless here's handicapping the final undefeateds

#1) USC
- Reigning defending champs. Haven't lost since Milliard Fillmore was President. 3 games that could be classified as potentials (at Cal, Fresno, UCLA). UCLA is the only one that will make it a game but in the end USC is going undefeated.

#2) Texas
- Only semi-notable win is at OSU of the Buckeye Variety. They just got off giving Texas Tech the biggest pounding the Lonestar state had seen since Debbie Does Dallas. All of the teams left on the schedules have players no more than 6 inches tall. Since none of the players are Diktas, Texas is rolling.

#3) V-Tech
- The other Vick seems to be a pretty good player in his own right. However V-Tech probably has the toughest road to go and frankly should leap frog Texas if they pull off an undefeated season. #13 BC, #6 Miami, a schizophrenic Virginia (how do you beat FSU but lose to UNC), that same UNC team and then an ACC championship game (probably FSU). Now thats tough. My gut tells me they'll slip up somewhere. But I vow to punish someone if V-Tech goes undefeated and Texas gets slaughtered in the championship game.

#4) Georgia -
Despite losing a bunch of players from last year, the Bulldogs have had a solid year led by a defense that beats up opposing players (kind of like FSU defense except in FSU case you would substitute opposing players with girlfriends and that random white dude). Georgia lost their starting QB (DJ Shockley) at the wrong time with Florida and Auborn coming up. Doesn't look pretty.

#5)
Alabama - I always like Don Shula (it was the hat) so I saw myself rooting for his son and the Crimson Tide when they hit a double to clear the bases and beat Tennessee 6-3. It was the most painful football game I had seen until Baltimore v. Chicago took the title of worst game ever. Alabama still has LSU, Auburn (best rivalry in the state of Alabama) and a SEC championship game. Probably not in their stars but its been a heck of a turn around for Shula the Younger.

#8) UCLA
- I don't know much about this team except that it seems like USC light. They have a great running back (Maurice Drew), a crappy defense and seem to get behind in the first half a lot. Is anyone suprised though? Its LA. The teams, the fans, nobody shows up until the 2nd half. They have a zesty Arizona State (is it wrong to call a Southwestern team zesty?) and the University of Spoiled Children left. Miracle run will end in LA.

And Now My Random Thoughts-
While Cinci has improved, Pittsburgh proved who the champ still is in the division. They made Cinci their bitch to use a phrase popular with the kids. Cinci proved they weren't ready for the big time and as such remain the ex-Bungals. Will they be ready for the rematch later in the season? Its officially a race for the worst in the league between Houston, San Fran, Green Bay and soon to be ex-Saints. Each has some qualifications - no wins, being run over, choking against Minnesota and losing to a team without a coach, qb, wide reciever or defense. Vote now. Due their performance the Browns offense has officially been deemed a crime against humanity. I don't think I had felt that sick at watching something since I saw that Ronald Reagan movie. The one bright spot about the World Series is that if Chicago wins I demand that someone forces Guillen to keep his promise and retire. I heard the verbal contract. The wonderful B's of Astros (Biggio and Bagwell) while once great should be let out to pasture to stud. Bagwell looks overmatched.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Brad Benitez

Last week, Brad Lidge sucked it on Albert Pujols' greatness. Tonight he sucked it on Scott Podsednik's mediocrity. As far as I'm concerned, Brad Lidge is now Armando Benitez's white brother. I'll never trust Brad Lidge again. To give up a homer to a guy that, even in the best of seasons, barely has warning track power....that's unforgivable. There is nothing more depressing than seeing a crappy team get hot and win the World Series. It makes the rest of the American League (Boston, Anaheim, New York, Cleveland, Oakland) wonder what might've been if they were in that spot. God, I can't believe this crap-ass team is going to win the World Series.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cheers and Jeers: Hurricane Edition

Dear Mother Nature,
Alright we get it. Your bad. You can move around our sports games and cancel our Mexican resort trips. You win. As the power vested in me by the board of trustees of the Back Seat Drivers I'm willing to negotiate a cease fire. We give you the state of Florida, some halloween candy (the good stuff not the candy corn), and two tickets to the Rolling Stones concert and in exchange you not wipe us out.

Quote of the Week: "Over the weekend at one of the games---Houston and St. Louis---one of the camera men caught former President Bush and his wife Barbara Bush kissing. Y'know, by god, you know you're at a dull game when you'd rather make out with Barbara Bush."--David Letterman

Cheers - To Publius. Our star reporter is down in Florida working away at a conference. Also Back Seat Drivers has entrusted him to be our weatherman to cover the hurricane. I still can't figure out why a weatherman's duties includes standing out in 100+ mph winds.

Cheers - The rumor that Larry Bowa could join the Yankees. I have no idea nor particularly care if Bowa could help the Yanks win but just think of the potential fights Bowa and Steinbrenner could have. Mt. Steinbrenner has been off game lately and possibly an addition of "Terets" Bowa could help return some of the edge. Heck I'd pay to see that pay per view fight.

Jeers - To the Big 12. Come on. The toughest Big 12 opponent you can give Texas is Texas Tech? You got to be kidding. Texas Tech has earned its undefeated record by winning the Battle of the Reality Stars and thats about it. They're going to be buried by Vince Young paving the way for another Big 12 team heading to the championship game. Yawn.

Jeers- To the Cardinals offense. That was embaressing. They didn't particurarly hit well against San Diego and against Houston they flailed around like an old lady doing laps at a pool. This team is going to have large makeover this off-season, lots of new faces, and lots of money going to spent. Time for Walter Jockey to earn his money

Belated Cheers - To Midnight Madness. With North Carolina's top 8 scorers gone, we will see a new champ. I'm not usually a praying man, but if your out there, please don't let it be Duke, Superman.

Cheers - To Fitzmas . It could be the most wonderful time of year . The mysterious and remote Patrick Fitzgerald, flies in his magic sled from Chicago to Washington handing out presents and indictments. Have you been a good boy, Karl?

A final Cheer - To the soon to be imploded Busch stadium. Those of us that lived in Saint Louis have fond memories of the stadium. Personally I loved Busch. Nearly all of the seats were good seats, the beer was tasty, the crowd friendly and loud, and I have many good memories of laughing with friends in that place. Goodbye Busch, you'll be missed.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stat Boy

For those of you that enjoy PTI, I'm going to be playing the role of Stat Boy for a moment here. Reason being - there was so much posting overnight that the people I was conversing with might not want to scroll more than halfway down the page to check in on the comments field. So, I'm bringing the river to the horse, if you will...

To Jon: Love the anti-salary cap argument you use with the Bentley and the Pinto. I'd buy a Bentley too. But you bash the Yanks and then use their argument for why salary caps are bad. Sort of a self-defeating argument there. You can't hate a team and then quote them verbatim on why you'd do it the same way. Makes no sense. Hockey needs a salary cap. Needs it because as the least popular "major" sport (it's really a niche sport at this point), it can't scrap with the big boys. If hockey wants to stay in business, it needs to totally overhaul its economic system. Check back to your posting for more detailed comments.

To Hitman: Minor point of information about San Antonio's market size - it's the 37th largest, not in the top 10. Market size is determined by television market reach, not by total population of a metropolitan area. As such, San Antonio's reach is considerably smaller than its population. Why else would San Antonio not already have a pro football team if not for the fact that it carries less weight with the NFL's network parters during TV contract renegotiation time.

The glut with the Cowboys, Texans and UT is a fair point, but I don't believe there is a risk of glutting the Texas market with football. Each of Texas' three cities are very distinct and non-overlapping markets. Also, pro and college football fans tend not to overlap as much as you might think. There are far fewer female fans of NCAA football (despite the fact that over 50% of the college population is female - weird, huh?) and the NFL does an excellent job of marketing to women in order to expand their footprint. I think three teams can easily thrive and survive in Texas. Plus, and this is the lynchpin argument, name one football team that is losing money. None of them are. All 31 teams have black ink in the revenue and operating income line items. It's the very nature of the way the league was structured that any team can survive in just about any market.

A Note About Parity

Somewhere in Volume 2 of his Encyclopedia of Hockey, Jon talked about parity. So let's talk about it. Many people blast baseball for being too skewed in favor of a few teams, and football in particular for having too much parity. Are they right?

Measuring from 1986-2005 - a twenty-year period - here's how many different teams have won their respective league championships:

NHL: 10
NBA: 6
NFL: 13
MLB: 13 (including this year's winner, to be determined)

What's interesting to me is that baseball, which gets slammed for having a structure that favors big spending teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, has as many different champions in this period (with one less championship, incidentally, due to the 1994 strike) as the parity-laden. Basketball, in contrast, has seen the same six teams win over the last 20 years - and only 7 teams in the last 26. Only if you're a fan of the Sixers, Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, Pistons, Spurs or Rockets have you seen NBA success since the Reagan Administration.

But, you say, maybe baseball looks that way only because the first half of your analysis comes from a time before the great salary disparity in MLB. Ok, let's look at the last ten years:

NHL: 5
NBA: 4
NFL: 7
MLB: 6 (including this year's winner)

Most notably: Those six MLB winners have come from the last 6 seasons.

These numbers don't prove anything. But it illustrates something that fans know quite well, as we've discussed here often and as was proven this month: money might get you into the dance, but it doesn't get you a date with the Prom Queen.

If The Playoffs Started Today...

AFC:

#6 Kansas City at #3 Cincinnati
#5 Jacksonville at #4 Buffalo

#3/#4/#5 at #2 Denver
#4/#5/#6 at #1 Indianapolis

NFC:

#6 Carolina at #3 Seattle
#5 Atlanta at #4 Chicago

#3/#4/#5 at #2 Dallas
#4/#5/#6 at #1 Tampa Bay

Will even half of these twelve teams be around come January?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Week 7 – Who Does Fred Smoot Work For?

I really did think the Vikings were going to rally, and let the “Sex Cruise” PR nightmare be a way for them to focus their efforts to capture the NFC Norris Division Crown. I foresaw great quotes like: “See, we can have our fun on a boat and still win on Sunday.” It could still happen. Anyway, I like how they hired some guy who worked in the FBI to be the “Security Director” for the team. I picture a guy like Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) running around, chasing down leads of players going to strip clubs, yelling at players, “Who does Fred Smoot Work For?!?.” This would be a great TV show for the Comedy Channel, called “69” instead of “24”, and would take place from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, as police blotters give out new leads to the Minnesota Security Director within hours of the conclusion of each week’s game.

Manwich Matchup of the Week-
San Diego @ Philly- Where KC may have failed, I expect Marty the Party Schottenheimer to shove the ball down Philly’s throat and not allow a 2nd-half rally.
Pick: San Diego

Upset of the Week-
Green Bay @ Minnesota- Did you know? The NFC Norris Division is winless on the road.
Pick: Minnesota

Detroit @ Cleveland – At the beginning of the season, I thought it was destiny for Jeff Garcia to be playing QB, but alas, he is not healthy enough to play.
Pick: Cleveland

Indy @ Houston- I decided to watch a portion of the Houston-Seattle game last week, due to a vested fantasy interest I had in rooting against Hasselbeck. Anyway, I was in shock at a) how poor the Houston offensive line was, b) how Carr only had about 2.5 seconds before the pocket collapsed, and especially c) how the ESPN announcers were PRAISING Houston’s offensive coordinator for allowing Carr to throw the ball the moment it was hiked in order to gain 2 yards on successive plays. I only watched 2 Houston series, but they didn’t use the shotgun at all. As opposed to scrapping 60% of a playbook, why didn’t they just use more shotgun plays???
Pick: Indy

KC @ Miami – Miami is still an unknown at this point, but I think KC realized (again) how effective screen passes are with Priest Holmes.
Pick: KC

New Orleans @ St. Louis- All I know is, I rushed to pick up Jaime Martin back in 2002 when Kurt Warner got injured, and Jaime Martin immediately became injured, and then Marc Bulger became the newest successful Rams QB. So that means the real QB to pickup this week is some guy named Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 7th round pick from Harvard.
Pick: St. Louis

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati – Cincy has reached the gates of excellence, while the Steelers are still battling injuries.
Pick: Cincy

San Fran @ Washington- It’s almost as if Santana Moss knew that this was the 1st year in the last 4 that he wasn’t on my fantasy team.
Pick: Washington

Dallas @ Seattle- My new picking strategy is going to continue to pick against teams that have dramatic victories the previous week. This means I’m anti-Cowboys this week.
Pick: Seattle

Baltimore @ Chicago – This could be the ugliest 9-6 game of the year.
Pick: Baltimore

Buffalo @ Oakland – The 1st place Bills. I just wanted to say it while I still could.
Pick: Buffalo

Denver @ NY Giants – Very interesting matchup. I’m going to use the rule that Denver will be overconfident from beating up the Patriots last weekend.
Pick: NY Giants

Tennessee @ Arizona – The weather report is forecasting 88 degree steamy heat. That means pick up as many Arizona offensive players as possible!
Pick: Arizona

NY Jets @ Atlanta – Was there really a point in making an injured Vick go out there last week. Isn’t the whole point of having a capable backup to allow you to rest Vick? Honestly, I’m not sure when/if Vick will be 100% again this season. You’d think it would help his development in the pocket, but I he won’t learn until he’s FORCED to stay in the pocket, meaning he’s either older or suffered a severe injury. At least that’s how Randall Cunningham learned – because he had no other choice but to stay in the pocket!
Pick: Atlanta

Last week: 10-4
Season: 51-37
Manwich Matchup: 3-3 (My love for picking against the Patriots is working out quite well)
Upset Special: 1-5 (Picking the Browns is never a safe proposition).

More From the New Guy, This Time: The Salary (Handi-) Cap

There's this magic thing called "work", where you do a job and make money, and since I've been putting in 14-hour days this week I haven't been able to respond to my adoring public on the issue of the salary cap. While I was going to save this for a later edition, here is my take on the salary cap and why, despite saving hockey from extinction, the salary cap is actually BAD for the NHL.

In order to understand my perspective on the salary cap, you have to look at why the NHL "needs" a salary cap to begin with. You see, in the old days, teams didn't have salary caps. This was okay because owners treated players like indentured servants, paying them a pittance for their work and forcing them to find other (often grueling) jobs in the off-season. Because there were only six teams, no free agency and only a sham of a draft (basically teams would just buy minor youth league hockey clubs and would essentially "own" the 14-year old players' rights), players rarely moved teams unless they were traded. If a player griped about salary he was sent to the barren wasteland known as Saskatchewan. The main consequence of all of this was that player salaries were kept very low and owners could easily turn a profit.

This system began to crumble in the 1960's when superstars like Ted Lindsay formed a player's union. Salaries started to turn around so that players, who have a short working lifespan and often procreate like rabbits (see the NBA), were paid enough money to make them financially stable upon retirement. Furthering the player's cause was the advent of the WHA in the 1970's which led to skyrocketing salaries and massive free agency. Everything was still going along swimmingly until the late 1980's or early 1990's when salaries started to spiral out of control and revenues remained stagnant, despite a rise in ticket prices to offset the salaries.

Then, the NHL did the stupidest thing it could ever do: it expanded. Not only did it expand, but it moved teams from traditional hockey markets like Minnesota, Quebec City and Winnipeg to such frigid places as Phoenix, Miami, and Greensboro, North Carolina. The owners loved this because every new franchise had to pay an entry fee which counted towards league-wide revenue. Expansion teams further increased player salaries with their drive for big-name free agents to help sell tickets. However, when the expansion money dried up, you were left with three bad things:
1) More teams than there were talented players to fill roster spots.
2) Teams with very high payroll and very little income.
3) Teams in very weak hockey markets.

So, this past year the owners cried foul and we got stuck with a salary cap. Now, here is WHY the salary cap is a bad idea.

Take a team like the Detroit Red Wings (mostly because I'm partial). The Red Wings had the highest payroll in the NHL at the end of the pre-salary cap era. Yet, the Red Wings were able to turn a profit. Why? Smart money management and smart marketing. Yes, the Wings play in a HUGE hockey market and sell out every home game. But, the Red Wings have their own brand, their own store, their own theme song, their own restaurant and they sell more merchandise than any other team. Additionally, the Wings weren't stupid and didn't give a $2 million dollar player like Martin Lapointe a $5 million dollar contract. They paid the players what they were worth. So, what does this all come down to? That's right, fan support. The fans in Detroit can support a $70 million dollar payroll.

Now, take a team like the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina loses money every year. Why, because they still want to compete, so they paid players like the aging Ron Francis $7 million a year. Yet, in Carolina, fans are more interested in Hillbilles who can drive cars around an oval 500 times. Carolina can support hockey, but only at a $40 million dollar level.

Ok, so why is the salary cap bad? Won't it just create parity? Look at the NFL, parity is great?

Really, is parity all that great? The NFL is just 4 good teams, 4 horrible teams and 24 teams who should finish 8-8 and might get a lucky bounce or two to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. Every year it's the same. Why should hockey have parity. If you give hockey parity, all it's going to do is force teams to clamp down on defense even more to get to overtime, because 1 extra point is now really important. This is even gonna bog down the game even more.

Secondly, sports is a battle of good vs. evil. In baseball, the small-market Royals are good, the big-market Yankees are the devil. People watch baseball just to see the Yankees lose. And we all feel good when it happens. Now, I happen to be a Wings fan, but everywhere else in America teams watch hockey just to see the Wings lose. It's true, because I lived in Missourah, where they bleed Blue, and those drunken hicks hate the Wings.

Next, if a team is profitable, why penalize it? If I can draw more fans with a $50 million dollar payroll than a $39 million dollar payroll, I can make more money with more payroll. Let me spend, spend, spend! My fans support my team.

Finally, if a team can't support itself without a structured salary cap then it's fans suck and it's been mismanaged. Look at Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has money troubles because it's fans suck and won't pass a vote to build a new arena. If that's the case, you don't deserve a team. Move the team to a city like Winnipeg that will build it an arena and will come out to support the team. And if you only can have a $40 million payroll in Winnipeg because the Canadian dollar is cheaper than toilet paper, at least the fans will continue to support you because they're all drunken Canucks. Better yet, if you can't support a team (hint, hint, Carolina), fold it! That's right, I'm all for a Minnesota Twins-style contraction of hockey. If we go back down to the original six (or even 12) teams, that would be fantastic! Imagine the hockey where Jaromir Jagr is a fourth line player (oh wait, he already is. . .)

So that's my opinion. If I can afford a Bentley, I sure as hell ain't gonna buy a Pinto. If my team can afford Peter Forsberg, I sure as hell ain't gonna sign Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre. And if you want to cry into you're glass about how your beloved BJ's can't support a $70 million dollar payroll, too bad. You don't deserve a pro hockey team in Columbus anyway.

Developing Story

There's a developing story in the NFL that bears watching. Not that we all didn't see this coming but it looks like the city of San Antonio is moving on keeping the Saints in town. The interesting thing is what the NFL's position will be in this. Usually, the NFL is great at masking cutthroat business savvy with tremendous public relations aplomb. If they don't stop this flirtation right now, it'll be a very ugly situation for the league and for Tom Benson, the Saints owner. Worse yet, the city of New Orleans might not get an expansion franchise the way Cleveland did. If they do, they'll have to wait until the league is ready to bring in Los Angeles as another expansion city.

This could get ugly.

Where Did The New Guy Go?

A few days ago, our newest member (Jon) blogged on hockey. In the comments to his posting, I asked:

"I'm curious to know why you think the NHL salary cap is bad for the sport of hockey. In my estimation, it's the only thing that will save the NHL from complete and total extinction (much to my chagrin)."

I haven't heard back from him but I really want to talk about this. Jon, if you're out there, get back to me, I'm honestly very interested to know your perspective on this.

Go Fish

Joe Girardi has been hired as new manager of the Florida Marlins.

Hooray!

Good luck to one of baseball's true good guys, a real ambassador of the game for many years, a hard worker and one of the more intelligent players around. People have been talking about Girardi as a born manager for a long time. It's great to see he's getting his chance.

If we don't see the Cubbies representing the NL in the 2006 World Series, I'll go on the record now saying I'm rooting for Joe and the Fish.

Wow

Eddy Curry (6'11, 285) was outrebounded by Nate Robinson (5'9, 180) by a margin of 6-3 last night. Maybe it's because Eddy Curry didn't have much of a pre-season while Nate Robinson has been playing ball every day since the draft. Maybe it's because some of Nate Robinson's rebounds came in garbage time of a blowout loss to the Sixers last night. Whatever the reason, it has to be said that Eddy Curry is the least passionate and least motivated player I've ever seen. Shawn Bradley tried harder.

How can a man that tall not even luck into a few cheap rebounds? How can a man who has no game from more than 6 feet away from the rim not be in better position for rebounds? How could the Knicks have given him Charles Oakley's #34? The meanest rebounding machine I've ever seen must be mortified that his jersey's legacy is being handed to a player with no heart.

Now I know why the Chicago Bulls sucked so bad after MJ retired. They drafted stiffs like Curry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rockin' in NY??

Does anybody else agree with me or do you think that Leo Mazzone will even think about the pitching coach spot in NY. I think the man with Tourrettes is attached to Bobby Cox's hip and wouldn't leave Atlanta for any amount of money. One of the things that he enjoys in Atlanta is their fresh talent of pitchers coming up from Richmond...I have a feeling that the prospects coming out of Columbus aren't as good as those from Richmond, just for the fact that it is Columbus and their stadium is named after one of the worst coaches in OSU's history...Cooper Stadium. I know different Cooper but there are still shades his legacy in Columbus.

So Crazy

Last week I argued that Ron Artest is a psychopath who poses a great danger to himself, his teammates, and really anyone that is within 100 feet of him. While I still believe this, I also have to laugh at his crazy sense of humor (from today's Daily Quickie):

"How can you NOT love Ron Artest. He'll be on the December cover of Penthouse and, in the issue, challenges Ben Wallace to a $10 million PPV fight"

I certainly don't love him. In fact, I hate him. But I would pay $49.95 to watch him and Ben Wallace square off in a steel-cage match. Wallace has the obvious size advantage but I don't think he could ever work himself up into a homicidal frenzy like Artest could. I think I'm taking Artest in this fight. God help us.

Shoulders of Giants

"If I can see farther than most it is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants"
- Sir Isaac Newton

Somedays I feel we are a little harsh on the media of today. Frankly its easy. But perhaps there is another reason as well . Rightly or wrongly some of today's reporters and entertainers seem to pale in comparison to the greats of yesteryear. These greats covered their city, decade after decade, embedding themselves into the community. One of the greats of days gone by in Cleveland passed away today. Hal Lebovitz covered Cleveland sports for over 60 years. While I was too young (or not born) to appreciate his work, reading through some of the stories he covered reads as an almanac to Cleveland Sports. He covered the Browns championships of the 1950s, helped stop the Indians from moving to Seattle in 1964, and even made fun of the Baltimore (ugh) Ravens. Anyway as my crazy attempt at being serious and educating, here's a little article on some of the stories Hal Lebovitz covered. Maybe by writing a little about the great writers that have gone before us, we can better understand when and where some of the sports reporters of today fall short.

Update from The Editor

Dear All,
Just wanted to keep everyone up to speed on the burgeoning super sport site known as the Back Seat Drivers. Thanks to the sales of our Back Seat Drivers Columnists Swimsuit calendar we have raised enough money to hire a hockey specialist, Jon. Jon has been a writer and producer of several tv shows such as "Stupid Frat Guy Antics" and "How fast can I have WashU authorities pull my show due to the amount of porn I show on tv". Jon will be writing from time to time to update and educate us on the great sport from up north.

In the pipe, MJ will be doing a 5 part series known simply as "Airing of Grievances" which I believe will just be a series swear words. Meanwhile the Hitman will help bring my case against the Indianapolis Colts for their pre-meditated injuries of other team's quarterbacks. Finally the Colonel, currently rehabbing his injury will bring us an expose on bass fishing with crossbows.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Albert

Brad Lidge just flat-out sucked it on Albert's greatness.

The Astros are going back to St. Louis and will lose both games. Guaranteed. Wanna know why? Because the Astros over-celebrated their Game 4 victory and forgot that they still had to win one more game. Never, ever, ever celebrate a non-clinching game. That's a rule that Andy and Roger should've told those Texas-sized chumps they call teammates (I call them never-won-nothin' losers).

I'm still rooting for the Astros but I'm quite prepared for the reality that the Cardinals and White Sox will match up in the most boring World Series matchup of my lifetime. I feebly endorse the White Sox in that pairing in the hopes that I jinx them and the whole of New Comiskey implodes.

Bring on the New Guy

In case you failed to notice (good for you, proud American!) the NHL is back. And, with the return of hockey comes the need for some good hockey-related dialouge. Therefore, the biggest, reddest hockey fan located in the biggest, reddest hockey city located north of the great nation of Canada is proud to present to you a look at the "new" game of hockey and what to look for in the rest of this already 3 week-old hockey season. As for right now, I'll concentrate on the changes brought in by that Bud Light Real Man of Genius known as Gary Bettman, what I think about them, and what that means for you, the casual observer who still thinks the game is played with a glowing blue puck.

The Rule Changes

Tag-Up Offsides -- this is actually a great change, going back to the NHL of the late 80's and early 90's, where if you dump the puck into the offensive zone offsides, you can leave the zone, "tag-up" and come back in onsides. This keeps the defensemen from holding it, holding it, holding it, and killing clock. Good Job, Gary!

The Trapezoid -- brought to you by the 9th grade department of geometry, the trapezoid is a trapezoid-shaped area behind the net which is the only place behind the net the goalie can play the puck without getting a delay of game penalty. This rule is really stupid because it basically says that if a goalie is good enough to play the puck away from the defense, now he can't. It doesn't do anything, either, because the really good goalies (see Martin Brodeur) can still get the puck before the end line anyway. You suck with this rule, Gary!

Delay of Game -- anytime any player shoots the puck directly into the crowd in his own zone, it's delay of game. This prevents stoppages and shitty teams from playing keep-away. Another winner, Gary!

Interference -- hook a guy, get a penalty. Hold a guy, get a penatly. Touch a guy, get a penalty. Sneeze on a guy, get a penalty. Call a guy a French frog, well, that's just a warning. Seriously, I understand obstruction is a problem and calling penalties speeds up the game, but seriously, the whole game doesn't need to be one big power play. Plus, this takes away the battles that make the sport hockey. You really took it up the ass with this one, Gary!

Icing Line Changes -- ice the puck, no line change. Stops homosexual defensemen like Chris Pronger from constantly icing the puck because they suck too much to carry it out of the zone. This rule I like, so sorry about that last comment, Gary!

Other Changes

Smaller Goalie Pads -- Goalies didn't used to look like the Michelin Man. This rule stops the Patty Roys and Garth Snows of the world from relying on size and instead (gulp, in Garth's case) forces them to rely on ability. Now we can really see if J-S Giguere is good or just a crappy goalie in big pads. Nice work, Gary!

2-line pass -- let's turn the NHL into high-speed roller hockey. Actually, it just means more breakaways and teams with good D-men who can pass are even better. Keep 'em coming Gary!

The Shootout -- I haven't decided yet. The shootout is exciting, but should a team really get an extra point because they have 3 good skaters or 1 amazing goalie? Some team is going to miss the playoffs because of this, and I'd hate to be that team in Edmonton or Long Island that this happens too. No decision yet, Gary.

OLN -- bull riding, Ted Nugent hunting wild game and black people, and now, hockey! That's right, ESPN is no more. Outdoor Life is a network I never watched before and it'll be interesting to see their hockey coverage, but I've heard through the grapevine that it sucks. I'll give them a little time, but nobody covers a game like Bob Cole and Harry Neale on the CBC. This loss of ESPN is a big kick in the sack, Gary.

Well, that's it for the changes this year, other than the salary cap which is a whole other issue for a much more bitter rant. (If you can't support a team, move the team out of Carolina, damnit!) Stayed tuned next time for my team evaluations, starting with the Western Conference.

North Side Blues

Why does Ozzie Guillen take every chance he gets to tell the world that all of Chicago should be behind the White Sox? Let's set aside, for a moment, the fact that he's wrong. Why is this so important to him? Why does he care what us Cub fans think and how nautious we are these days? Shouldn't he be focusing on his work on the field?

And why can't those damn Sox give me better fodder with which to criticize them?!?! This is horrible!

Weekend's Best & Worst

I'm giving you readers a recap of my weekend...

-Weekend's best movie quote goes to Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) in Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "...I have my father's gun and a scorching case of herpes..." What a great line. It gets looked over in a very quotable movie from the 80's but I just caught it yesterday, on my 151st viewing.

-Weekend's best college football game goes to Notre Dame/USC: Two teams with so much on the line playing in one of the shrines of football. With a win, Notre Dame would be squeezing out conference players for a shot at a big-time BCS bowl bid as well as ending the nation's longest winning streak. Alas, USC pulled it out on the last play of the game, saved their #1 ranking and probably won't be tested again this year. Even in a loss, Notre Dame announced that they're working their way back to the ranks of the best programs in the country.

-Weekend's best pro football game goes to Denver/New England: Not because it was particularly well-played but because it's so much fun seeing the Patriots lose. If the Steelers had any chachos whatsoever and knew how to play defense when it counted, the Pats would actually be 2-4 and possibly screwed for the season. The Pats are very much alive (they can legitimately go 10-0 to end the year with that crap schedule) but it's nice to see Denver winning at home and making the winter in New England just a bit colder. It's also nice that I get to be right about the intelligence of signing the former Cleveland Browns defensive line unit. In Cleveland they sucked because they were on the field 40 minutes a game. In Denver they're good because they are used as part of a rotation and thus not overexposed. Two of my three NFL predictions are coming true (Vikes bad, Denver good, Washington to playoffs) and the third still might happen.

-Weekend's best baseball series goes to the Cards/Astros: I'm rooting for the Astros to advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history and for insufferable bully Tony LaRussa to get his. To the Astros I say - keep up the good work. To the king of overmanaging I pass along this message - You idiot! You're not doing your team or your reputation any good by watching the game from the clubhouse. The only difference between you and Bobby Valentine is the World Series ring you have because you were smart enough to bat McGwire and Canseco back to back in the order. 1983, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2000 and 2004 come to mind when I think of Tony LaRussa.

-Weekend's worst baseball series goes to the Angels/White Sox: Oh lord was this a stinker. The Angels got jobbed on a call in Game 2 and didn't look like they ever got back into it. The White Sox continue to win with what must be considered one of the worst offenses in recent baseball history. How is it that Joe Crede, he of the career .742 OPS, continues to crush opposing pitching while Vlad Guerrero, reigning MVP, had ZERO RBI in 10 playoff games? Hate the Yanks (and Red Sox) all you want but anyone that tells me they were entertained by this ALCS is an f-ing liar. Is there a more miserable sight than seeing Jerry Reinsdorf or Ozzie Guillen happy? Those two dirtbags deserve to be crushed under the weight of stampeding rioters on Chicago's South Side.

-Weekend's worst football game goes to the Giants/Cowboys: This was a stinker too. The teams combined for eight turnovers and two touchdowns. The Giants had the game in the bag in the first half, the Cowboys had the game in the bag in the second half and then the NFL's idiotic overtime rules made a winner out of a team when neither deserved to win. It should've ended with both teams being swallowed whole by a plague of locusts. Someone explain to me why college football has an overtime system that works while the NFL lets something as important as victory get determined by a coin-flip? The NFL needs to put their ear to the ground on this one -- I don't know anyone that thinks the current system works.

-Weekend's worst event goes to Monday: Who the hell likes waking up on Monday morning knowing that five days of school/work/both loom ahead. To Monday - go fuck yourself.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

MMBSD: My Waking Nightmare

Last night I had the most horrible of nightmares. My sports dream world had become a living hell. The Baltimore Dirty Birds (even in my sleep I dare not pronounce their dastardly name), scourge of Cleveland, seducer of football teams had run over my beloved Browns. They pounded them with steady diet of Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor as a dancing Ray Lewis laughed in the background.

I saw a Cardinals offense slumbering. Its batters rendered more impotent than Bob Dole. Somehow the Cleveland Indian's anemic offense was passed on to the Cardinals. The result a bunch of fat Houstonians and Yankee castoffs stand at the brink of ruining the last stand of a stadium named for a beer maker. Somewhere umpires, whose strike zones changed with every pitch, laughed alongside Ray.

I saw Michigan clutching victory out of the hands of defeat on the last play of a game despite its valiant efforts otherwise (throwing over the middle multiple times with no time outs and time running isn't dumb. Throwing down field over the middle for 5 yards multiple times is. See Michigan's QB on how to run the 2 minute drill in 5 minutes). I saw myself sympathizing with a plucky Irish team (is any other team besides Notre Dame every described as plucky?) Hadn't arrogant Hollywood stars better known as the University of Spoiled Children been cut down to size when the clock turned to 00? Hadn't Charlie Weiss and the boys in green done old Rockne proud? But its my nightmare so the ball is placed on the one foot line and the soon to be Heisman winner Reggie Bush pushed a semi-conscious Matt Leinart across the goal line.

Worst of all the images shift and the nightmare of anyone who watches baseball comes into focus. Somehow the team that should never win has kept winning. Not since the year before the devil made a deal with eight men had the Southern Side Sox really threatened to steal the sacred trophy. But the barbarians are now at the gate. I see myself muttering what the last Roman emperor must have said as the Visigoths were climbing the seventh hill, "it can't end like this?" The White Sox can't actually win the World Series? But it’s my waking nightmare and as much I as I try, the images remain despite my waking.

Shut Your Piehole! #9

Shut Your Piehole! is pleased (relatively speaking) to present its first-ever Rookie of the Year award. Our winner has uniquely managed to say more stupid things in only a few weeks of broadcasting than even the worst veterans can utter in an entire season. My two favorites, both from the Sox-Angels series (I'm paraphrasing):

1. Game 4, top of the 1st inning, two runners on, nobody out, and Ervin Santana's on the hill:

"The secret here for Santana is to get out of this inning with as little damage as possible. That way, he can get back to the dugout, relax, and go out there and settle down."

Really? WOW! What incredible insight! We're so glad you shared this amazing secret with us! I can't understand why anyone questions your managing ability or your complete lack of success in the playoffs.

2. Game 1, with the White Sox up:

"The White Sox get to play in all those warm-weather parks in their division. Kansas City, Texas, even Cleveland."

Ah, yes. That popular December vacation spot, Kansas City. Where the only thing that's hot from November to March is the never-ending BBQ. Yes, that's a great warm-weather park. As for Cleveland - yes, another beachfront paradise. Cancel the Bahamas, honey, we're going kayaking on the Cuyahoga!

And let's not forget the classic, time-eternal Rangers-White Sox rivalry. These two have been battling it out for the division title since...NEVER! They're in different divisions!

So with that, Shut Your Piehole! presents the 2005 Rookie of the Year award to former Yankees and D-Rays skipper Lou Piniella. We wish you a new job managing, so you don't ever return to the booth, and wish for all of our readers a short remainder of the postseason so that Fox has less opportunities to give this nincompoop a microphone.

Oh, and one more wish for you, Lou - we wish that you'd SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE!

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Quick Clap/Slap

Quick Clap to Billy Beane for hiring Ken Macha as his team's new manager.

Quick Slap to Billy Beane for having to fire him first just to rehire him.

Quick Clap to Billy Beane for having the courage to admit that letting Macha walk away last week was a mistake.

Quick Slap to Billy Beane for even being in that situation.

Have a good weekend everyone...

PS - For those that need instructions on who to root for this weekend, repeat after me:

Michigan, Notre Dame, Angels, Astros, Browns, Bears, (and any team of your choice that doesn't conflict with those).

Tice Be Gone Redux

Bill Simmons couldn't have said it better:

Please tell me someone's writing a book about this Vikings season: They trade Randy Moss to improve their team chemistry, then their head coach gets into a ticket-scalping scandal, their backup RB tries to smuggle the Whizzinator through a metal detector, and then half the team is accused of improper conduct during a boat orgy that sounds like it was either the greatest or most horrifying bachelor party of all time (maybe both). My favorite excerpt from the news coverage in Thursday’s Minnesota Star-Tribune:

“After the boats returned to dock and guests departed, the crew had to clean the boat, [charter company lawyer Stephen Doyle] said, finding ‘used condoms, K-Y Jelly, Handi Wipes, wrappers for sex toys – it was just incredible how it was left. Never in the history of this group of people have they ever had anything like this.’”

Wait, so you're telling me this was the most over-the-top bachelor party in the history of chartered Minnesota cruises? I find this hard to believe – you're telling me that 20 ice fisherman with Swedish names didn't cross the line at some point? More importantly, what does Mike Tice have to do to get fired? Come out for the second half of Sunday's game with no pants on? Drink Wild Turkey on the sidelines? In fact, I'm no longer accepting odds on the “Which Mike will get fired first?” ongoing wager...Tice isn't making it through Tuesday. I'm pulling him off the board.

The Vikings stink. I called that one in June.

Cheers and Jeers: Sex Party Talk Edition

Well in honor of the Vikings off-hour fun the official drink of Cheers and Jeers this week is:
Sex Party Talk.

For the record Sex Party Talk is
Ingredient Amount
Rum, overproof/151 proof1 1/2 oz.
Southern Comfort4 oz.
Orange JuiceFill with, 1/2
SpriteFill with, 1/2
Strawberries2 whole

Jeers To the Minnesota Vikings sex party. A 90 minute boat ride commissioned by Fred Smoot (allegedly) was turned around by the crew because it got so out hand. Apparently Cleveland Steamers are just not legal in public. Also lets not forget Dude that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for, ya know domestic... within the city... that ain't legal either. For the record they get the big jeer because I wasn't invited.

Cheers To the crucial game threes in tied series. The advantage of winning game 3 is immense. It forces the other team to win at least back to back (if not back to back to back games). Both games should exciting, tense and filled with Publius screaming at his tv. Here's hoping everyone is healthy (Clemens, Sanders, Publius' tv) for the crucial games

Jeers - To the reason Publius is screaming at his tv. Lack of hitting of Larry Walker and Jim Edmonds. I usually defend players if they don't hit well for a series. I consider it statisical backround noise. This is series number 2 though and both are hitting .143 . That won't cut it.

Jeers - To the Cleveland curse. First Brayleon Edwards is out with an arm infection and now Lebron is out with some sort of weird chest thing. Both are hospitalized as the entire city holds its collective breath (mainly because we're unemployed and what else are we going to do with the day?). I don't think a city's sports teams have been this cursed since Atlantis failed to capture a single gold medal in the olympics. Turns out there wasn't a next time for that squad.

Cheers - To my using sarcasm. As ESPN correctly put it thanks to the new breed of politicians like Lynn Swann the GOP has made progress in connecting to the African-American community. Its just a minor coincidence that Wubya's approval rating among blacks stands at 2%.

Cheers: To Calvin and Hobbes. One of my favorite comics growing up as a kid the complete Calvin and Hobbes anthology is being released.
Weight of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, anthology: 23 pounds
Cost per pound, based on the its $150 price tag: $6.52
Joy of playing Calvin Ball:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tice Be Gone

It's been time to fire Mike Tice for years now. But now it's really time to fire Tice. Given the latest stuff surrounding the team, I don't see how this new owner can put up with it much longer. His investment, his $600M, is making a mockery of itself. It reflects poorly on the whole organization from top to bottom. Fire Mike Tice. He's a horrible coach and a lousy manager of people.

That being said, I don't give two craps about the whole sex scandal thing. Who cares what the players do on their own time? Who cares that hookers were there giving oral pleasure to 17 players? Who cares if they did drugs or drank to excess? I certainly don't and neither should anyone else. It's bad PR for the owners and the coaches and the players themselves but at the end of the day, these guys were on vacation. They can do whatever the hell they want to.

In the end, fire Mike Tice because it's absolutely the time to end his miserable reign.

Happy 50th Birthday Kermit



Sorry I missed the exact date, but I wanted to give tribute!! Let's face it... it's not easy being green.

The Games

Chris Carpenter pitched like the NL Cy Young Award Winner. Let us check the stats from his two post season starts.
Last night: 8 innings, 2.25 ERA, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO and 1 perfect suicide squeeze (1 RBI)
Vs SD: 6 innings, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO.

Either Pettitte didn’t have his good stuff (8 hits, 5 ER, 7.75 ERA), or the Cardinals are hitting the ball better than they have all season. The Cardinals made a high quality pitcher (17-9, 2.23 ERA) look mediocre.

Game 2: Mulder v. Oswalt. The Cardinals are still the dominant team in the NL. Even with the Astros miracle 18 inning win versus the Braves (who doesnt have a miracle win against the Braves??), the Cardinals keep chugging along.

What happened in Chicago? The Angels were robbed… where do I file my formal complaint? To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the “stealing first base” after the third strike rule. Even with my distaste (you struck out, sit down) of the rule, the catcher made the play and preserved the strike out. Time for extra innings. The rally monkey will have revenge.

Heads up play by A.J. Pierzynski for running... scrapping, doing anything to keep the inning alive.
Bone Head Play: Josh Paul for not tagging A.J. Pierzynski. If in doubt, tag him and take the BLOWN call out of play. Never leave your fate in the hands of the umpires.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Week 6 – Injury Bug

So Deuce is out for the season, as is Derrick Blaylock. I already lost my bet in Vegas that Curtis Martin would be out for the season, I should have just picked any NY Jet RB. After I finally gave some props to the Eagles last week, it’s as if I cursed them. They just got too confident after last week’s game.

Manwich Matchup of the Week-
New England @ Denver- This will be quite the interesting game. But ultimately, I don’t see how New England will be able to play enough defense to stick around in this game. In addition, if their Nhl counterparts played, the Avalanche would totally smack down the Bruins. Therefore, the Broncos will definately win.
Pick: Denver

Upset of the Week-
Cleveland @ Baltimore – After committing the 2nd most amount of penalties in the history of the NFL, the Ravens have dug themselves into a huge whole. I can’t believe this is happening, but I’m going to make a self-serving pick, as the Browns will have a winning record by the end of the week!
Pick: Cleveland

Atlanta @ New Orleans- The Saints season started so sweetly, as they edged out CAR. I feel terrible that Deuce went down for the season. Part of me wants to pick them, because haslett typically wins every other week w/o fail. But the Falcons should be able to run all over the Saints.
Pick: Atlanta

CAR @ Detroit- CAR’s defense scares me. They’ve had New Orleans, Arizona, Green Bay, and even Miami scoring bunches of points against them. Luckily, they play an NFC North team this week.
Pick: CAR

Cincinnati @ Tennessee- The Bengals should be fine. Meanwhile, McNair is quietly putting together a nice season.
Pick: Cincinnati

Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh- I watched all of 10 minutes of Monday's San Diego-Pittsburgh game, and I got quite sentimental when I saw WR Quincy Morgan. Morgan, a former Brown, was incredible... he was like Randy Moss - fast, tall, jumping ability, ran the routes well, didn't really care to block much for the running game. There's only one difference between Moss & Morgan, in that Morgan drops the ball just about every time. I really missed his being on the Browns when I saw him drop a (potential) 25-yard wide-open reception.
Pick: Pittsburgh

Miami @ Tampa Bay- Not that long ago, Brian Griese was on the Dolphins as a backup QB, wasting away on the bench behind Jay Fiedler. I think he was only on the team because his dad played for the Dolphins and that’s probably what the Great Moustache (Dave Wannstedt) told him. For this week’s game, I picture Griese saying something similar to that quote from A Princess Bride: “You wouldn’t let me succeed like my father did. Prepare to die.”
Pick: Tampa Bay

Minnesota @ Chicago-NFC Norris division games are extremely difficult this year. The Vikings keep burning me, but I figure if I stick w/ them enough I may at least break even.
Pick: Minnesota

NY Giants @ Dallas- Mighty’s new favorite division finally has some divisional games. The Giants are coming off of a bye, while Dallas will be way too cocky from their win over Philly.
Pick: Giants

Washington @ Kansas City- Chiefs win the “Politically Incorrect Game of the Week”
Pick: KC

NY Jets @ Buffalo- I’m so sick of hearing about how Vinny Testatverde is this amazing QB. He’s just average! That’s all! Personally, I was hoping they’d give Neil O’Donnell a second chance.
Pick: Buffalo

San Diego @ Oakland- The Chargers are the best 2-3 team in the land. Dangerous as hell I tell you!
Pick: San Diego

Houston @ Seattle- I tried to tell the Texans that winning last week was imperative. I don’t know when they are going to win, but I’m going to try to avoid picking them as much as possible.
Pick: Seattle

St. Louis @ Indy- I’m guessing Indy gives up more than 6 points in this game. It still won’t matter though!
Pick: Indy

Last week: 6-8 (I’m having a real hard time staying above .500)
Season: 41-33
Manwich Matchup: 2-2 (I guess San Diego was not focused enough. One week, you are crowned as Super Bowl contenders [Eagles, Chargers], the next, you’re just a bunch of trash).
Upset Special: 1-3 (I thought Cincy would keep the undefeated season going. They came close).