Friday, September 29, 2006
1. I'm sorry that every time I see Cobra Commander the first thing that pops into my head is that Billick is carefully deciding if he looks better siloutted from the right or left side. I'm sure at the end of the day Billick is much less egotistical and slightly more stable than lets say the manager from the South Side of Chicago. And no jury in any world would force be to apologize to Captain Choke himself.
2. I'm sorry that my own brand of malaise causes my teams to lose. I put the Cards recent slide directly as a result of my rooting for them. The Cards currently sit 1/2 game away from a collapse of epic proportions. The Houston "We only play in the second half of the season anyway" is pushing Saint Louis to the brink and would arguably possess the best pitching rotation in the playoffs.
3. I'm sorry that my own brand of malaise allowed for a law that will allow for the suspension of habeas corpus for Gutsy. I realize that the pressure of getting his picks right or face waterboarding is getting to him and I swear I'm very sorry for it.
4. I apologize that I have but this humble Online Magazine to call for Maurice Carthon's firing. Sir, fat, drunk and stupid is no way to approach being an offensive coordinator.
Alright enough saying I'm sorry, time for a little cheering and jeering
Cheers To Auburn beating the old ball coach in Steve Spurrior. The SEC has I think really has been overlooked by the voters and given the high quality of teams down there this year I'm hoping one of them will be sent the game with the crystal football for all the marbles. Auburn (of course) plays old school football. Terrifying defense and pounding the ball. However it should be a little wary of a Florida team that seems to improve every week. Florida enters the schedule from hell (Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia) and if somehow survives unscathed should immediately vault to the top of the polls).
Jeers: To TV. This week it was revealed that part of the problem in the SNAFU between Oregon and Oklahoma was that TV personnel were screaming at the replay official the entire time to hurry up. I'm not sure a) why TV reps have direct access to the replay official and b) what type of glaze to use with my salmon tonight but I'm pretty sure that both issues need to resolved and quickly.
Jeers To Wacky facts. Iowa has never defeated a number one team in its history (0-7-1). Tressel has never won a night road game during Big 10 conference play (0-3). No road team has ever won in the newly remodeled home of the Hawkeyes (0-0). This leads me to direct conclusion that this game would be better with beer (325-2).
Cheers: To Grady Sizemore. Grady did something this year that has not happened in 70 years: 10 triples, 50 doubles and 25 Home runs. Not too shabby.
Cheers: To this date in history. September 29 1352 B.C.: Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten conceives principle of "one man, one vote." However, both the "one man" and "one vote" refer only to him. (Souce America: The Book)
Cheers and Jeers in the News:
At no point in time did cheers and jeers enter my vocabulary..... that I can recall.
-Senator George Allan
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Arizona (+7) at Atlanta: ATL, if Jesus can't run your team who can really?
Dallas (-9.5) at Tennessee: TENN, something tells me this will be a touchdown game, plus Drew Bledsoe is not good and he has nobody to throw to.
Indy (-9) at NYJ: Indy - Peyton Manning is good
Miami (-4) at Houston: Houston - I don't know what the guy from Parker Lewis Can't Lose did but David Carr is actually looking good this year
Minnesota (+1) at Buffalo: MINN, it isn't cold yet in Buffalo
NO (+7.5) at CAR: NO, never will I doubt Bono and Co, speaking of which, I wish that Bono would have opened his jacket to have the "hurricane alert" flag underneath it on Monday night. And yes I am going to hell.
SD (-2.5) at BAL: SD, last year I don't think I ever lost against the spread with SD, so I will continue this
SF (+7) at KC: KC, however I am feeling an upset.
DET (+5.5) at STL: DET Something tells me that Martz will dress up for the game and play in the place of Kitna
CLE (-3) at Oakland: CLE, given the early rule to always go against CLE and OAK this is a very difficult choice. I just flipped a coin and CLE it is.
JAC (-3) at WAS: JAC, the Redskins are about as overrated as the Cardinals and Lions
NE (+6) at CIN: CIN , Who Dey Think Gonna Beat Dem Bungals...only the Law will be able to and since Ty Law doesn't play for the Pats anymore, the Bengals will win
SEA (+3.5) at Chicago: CHI, I agree with the Madden Curse
GB (+11) at PHI: PHI, Yawn...
Last Week: 7-4-3
Season: 28-15-3 (I still would not own Vegas)
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
But… if they choose to not end the curse, I’d love for them to make a new reality show called “Avoiding the Madden Curse”. Each week, they could show highlights of the person going through their normal life, and at any moment, the Madden Curse may strike! It would be captivating television. They could show Shaun Alexander going to the club, getting his drink on, stumbling down the stairs… but he says “no, I’m cool, didn’t hurt anything there!”
Anyways, onto the games…
Manwich Matchup of the Week
Seattle at Chicago – NFC Supremacy is on the line! Without Shaun Alexander, things may be very different. Madden curse, commence! Pick: Chicago
Upset of the week
San Francisco at Kansas City- I still don’t know what to make of KC’s home advantage with their crappy Huard QB brother. Pick: San Francisco
Arizona at Atlanta – I guess the Falcons were in awe of the rebirth of New Orleans. It’s like taking a mulligan for one week. Pick: Atlanta
Dallas at Tennessee – The Titans couldn’t even squeak one out against the Jets or the Dolphins. It may be a long season for Jeff Fisher. I think part of the problem is that he got rid of his beard, and that was the source of all of his strength. And, they are still coming out of salary cap hell. As for Dallas, I don’t for one minute believed that TO tried to kill himself. That’s about as likely as Optimus Prime actually being Jewish. Pick: Dallas
Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets – The Jets are 2-1, albeit wins over Buffalo and Tennessee. However, they almost beat New England, but I’m now starting to wonder how much that should even be worth at this point. Pick: Indy
Miami at Houston- This used to be my favorite matchup in the early-90s – the run ‘n shoot of Warren Moon, Lo White, and the 7 Dwarfs. Miami still had a productive Mark Clayton and Mark Duper to receive passes from Dan Marino. Sunday’s game won’t be quite as fun. I absolutely have no idea who will win this game, so I’ll go with the home team. Pick: Houston
Minnesota at Buffalo- Minnesota still looks pretty good, despite barely losing to Chicago. The easy schedule may allow the Vikings to hang around this season. Pick: Minnesota
New Orleans at Carolina- I still can’t tell if New Orleans is for real or not. I’m starting to believe, but it’s downright frightening. I still don’t understand how the defense is mostly the same personnel, but yet, the old coach Jim Haslett (who is a “defensive genius”), could not get anything going for the Saints. Maybe the difference in the Saints is that Drew Brees shoulder is fine, and he’s a huge upgrade over Aaron Brooks. I think my prediction of Aaron Brooks putting up lots of touchdowns this year has to be the single worst prediction I’ve ever made. Pick: New Orleans
San Diego at Baltimore- And suddenly, all the sportswriters are no longer talking about the return of the Ravens D. The storylines change so much in any given week. Pick: San Diego
Detroit at St. Louis – This might be one of the more interesting games of the week, with Martz returning to St. Louis as the offensive coordinator of the Lions. You think Martz has had this game circled on his calendar??? I’m expecting the Lions to pull out every trick play possible, including the HB option, two onside kicks, three punt fakes, and O-linemen lining up as Wide Receivers. Pick: St. Louis
Cleveland at Oakland – Courtesy to Laz who came up with this Futurama analogy: If anyone in the NFL could possibly be their own grandfather, it would be Coach Art Shell of the Raiders. The scary thought is that if this is true, it would confirm that he’s not only the dumbest coach in the league, but that Coach Shell doesn’t produce the same brainwaves as the rest of the human race, and that Coach Shell is the only one who can save us from a group of evil, flying, telekinetic brains. Pick: Cleveland
Jacksonville at Washington – This is yet another toss-up game! I’m destined to be below .500 this week. Pick: Washington
New England at Cincinnati – I think the Bungals are getting used to winning. Pick: Cincinnati
GB @ Philly – Ugghhh… what a bad Monday night game. Seriously. I tell you one thing, I will not turn this game on just to hear Favre get praised. Pick: Philly
Last Week: 9-5
Season: 25-21 (above .500! and for my next trick, I will make a coin appear behind this girl’s ear)
Manwich: (3-1 (Thank you Cincy, thank you Indy)
Upset of the Week: 0-3 (Picking the Lions was yet another mistake)
So I cheered a little when the Eagles suspended him last season. I loved when George Teague knocked him on his ass when he tried for the second time to spike a ball in the middle of the Texas Stadium star. I didn't shed a tear when he broke his finger a few weeks ago.
But today's story - that he may have attempted suicide last night - is something I wouldn't wish on Owens. He's an asshole, but he hasn't actually hurt anybody other than himself. I can't say I'm itching to see him play football again, but I do hope that he straightens out whatever demons are in his head and gets through this latest drama.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Now, onto baseball...
1. Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers. I know they clinched a playoff spot a few days ago now but it’s worth mentioning. They’re back in the playoffs for the first time since 1987 and even if they get bounced out in the first round, at least they’ll have something to show for all those 100-loss seasons. Pittsburgh and Kansas City need to quit putzing around and get serious about trying to compete. If the Tigers, playing in one of the worst cities in the whole world can do it, so can the Pirates and Royals.
2. Be careful what you wish for. That’s my advice to Torii Hunter on the heels of this comment:
“‘I want to play the Yankees,’ said Hunter, who wants to even the score of playoff losses to New York in 2003 and 2004. ‘I want to take those guys out. For two years in a row they’ve been eating our butts up, and now I want to do the biting.’”
With all due respect to the Twins, who have the best pitcher in baseball, the likely winner of the 2006 AL batting title, and a likely top-3 finisher in the 2006 AL MVP voting, but they shouldn’t get too big for their britches just yet. ESPN picked the Twins to beat the Yankees in 2003 and 2004 and it didn’t happen either time. I’m not saying the Twins can’t beat the Yanks, but I am saying that the Yanks are due their proper respect by the Twins. Until the Twins actually take care of New York, they’d best sit down and shut up.
3. Three cheers for the Cleveland Indians. They had a disappointing season but the Tribe did one thing last night that should make all baseball fans proud – they eliminated the White Sox from the playoffs, ending their reign as World Champions by crushing them 14-1. Hopefully 2005 was the one and only time we have to hear from the slumlords of South Chicago.
Monday, September 25, 2006
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2). The Angels spent most of last offseason unsuccessfully trying to find another big hitter to pair up with Vladimir Guererro. They couldn’t swing a trade for Manny Ramirez or Miguel Tejada and they were rebuffed in their attempts to sign Paul Konerko as a free agent. So they went into 2006 knowing that their offense probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make it through a 162-game season and that their rotation and bullpen would have to be their strength. The Angels predictions were pretty much on the money as John Lackey and Ervin Santana anchored one of the better rotations in the league and F-Rod, Shields, and the crew in the bullpen did their jobs as well as could be expected. One wonders if things might’ve been different had 2005 AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon been healthy this season...
2. Houston Astros (5) and Cincinnati Reds (4). Amazingly these two teams lasted a week longer than expected, in large part due to the Cardinals’ recent struggles. I still predict their demise some time this week, for the reasons mentioned previously.
3. Chicago White Sox (E) and San Francisco Giants (E). These two teams keeled over so suddenly from last week’s column that I wasn’t even able to give them a proper post-mortem. I won’t digest their seasons now that they’ve already expired but neither team pitched well. The White Sox played in a surprisingly competitive division but nevertheless squandered a career year from Jermaine Dye, the likes of which no White Sox fan will see again (1.008 OPS in 2006; .825 career OPS). The Giants just sucked and were dragged down by all the negativity surrounding Barry Bonds. The real question is if Barry Bonds will be back in San Fran for the 2007 season. All baseball fans should hope that Bonds retires and is then eaten by a pack of hungry hippos.
Note #1 – The remaining teams, the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers are locked in extremely tight division races with the current division leaders (Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres, respectively). It’s impossible to predict who will end up on top; hence I cannot list them on the deathwatch at this time.
Note #2 – In a particularly strange series of events, the NFL and MLB merged yesterday afternoon and the New York Football Giants were added to the deathwatch. The Giants’ season ended yesterday about eight minutes into the first quarter when they trailed the Seattle Seahawks 21-0. There are 13 games left on the schedule for the Giants, all of which will be meaningless. They are the Chicago Cubs of pro football – horrendous on every level, from management, to coaching, to attitude of the players, to on-field performance. At least the Cubs have a nice stadium, however; the Giants share a building with the 2-1 Jets.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
1) East Lansing is Choke City USA- Nobody chokes like the Michigan State Spartans. Honestly if you’re a Spartan fan, watch the first half of the game then go home. It's easier on the soul. Unless you have a receiver named Plaxico Burress, please just don't get those hopes up.
2) Who is really number one? Good teams find a way to win. Great teams don't let other teams into the game. The Great MahaVest in
3) Teams Not Circling the Wagons like the Buffalo Bills- Right now I think it’s a race for most disappointing team between
4) Why does Jesus Hate Warner? - If winning is measurement of Jesus' love than Warner know longer is getting any. Four turnovers by your QB will not win you many games.
5) Quick Hits -
Friday, September 22, 2006
Ingredients for Jack Daniel's Original Recipe:
Well over here in Cheers and Jeers land we celebrate the New Year the right way. None of this mansy-pansy apples and honey stuff. No, when you celebrate the New Year you have to saddle up and take drinks that burns off leg hair. Anyway here's a few New Year's resolutions:
1) Since rooting for my favorite teams isn't seeming to help them win I resolve to root for their opponents. I refuse to give malaise to my teams any longer.
2) I resolve not to get annoyed at some of the ESPN analysts. Just because Mark May is illiterate or Sean Salisbury ego has put 30 pounds on (mainly on his face) or Lou Holtz is senile does not mean that they are bad people....just bad analysts.
3) I resolve that after drinking AppleJacks I will no longer make threatening calls to NASA.
4) I resolve to not follow the news as closely. Man is it depressing.
5) Finally I resolve to go to the OSU v.
and now a little Cheering and Jeering.....
Cheers: To the LA Dodger remarkable comeback. I hope everyone caught the highlights of the Dodgers hitting 5 HRs in 2 innings. Whether you like team LA or not it's not something your likely to see again for a long long time and hence should be appreciated.
Jeers: To Pac 10 officiating. It's bad enough that the Pac 10 still hasn't learned the fine art of something scholars are calling "defense" but add in horrific refing and well you have cause for boycotting the league. The bungling of the OU versus OU game was as bad officiating as I've seen.
Jeers: The BALCO reporters for getting 18 months in jail. Legalities aside, without actual reporting which requires anonymous sources remaining journalist will join the mainstream rush for yellow dog journalism. Why spend time, money and effort with the risk of imprisonment if a few opinions off the cuff are worth just as much. Damn, I already broke my vow about reading the depressing news.
Cheers: To Ryder Cup. Ryder is the one major event that has really stymied Tiger Woods.
and final cheers: To Bill Murray who turned 56 this week.
Cheers and Jeers in the news.....
"The new Thai junta curbed the usage of Cheers and Jeers until full order could be imposed."
Thursday, September 21, 2006
WASHINGTON, (DC)--Washington Redskins football practice was delayed nearly two hours today after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Head coach Joe Gibbs immediately suspended practice and called the police and federal investigators. After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance unknown to players was the GOAL LINE. Practice resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again this season.
CAR (-3) at TB - CAR Something tells me that this is a sucker bet, but the crapiness of Chris Simms makes me think that CAR has the motor to run over Cadillac.
CHI (-3) at MINN - CHI I like Gutsy will never question the Hitman wrath again...at least not this week
CIN (+3) at PITT - Gotta go with the people of Cincy, they got through arrests, strip searches, then can get through a couple of injuries
GB (-7) at Detroit - GB, even though I think this might be a push game
JAC (+7) at Indy - JAC Something tells me this is a 3 point game
NYJ (+5.5) at BUF - BUF, gotta keep on trucking with the Bills
TENN (+11) at MIA - TENN, gotta go out on a limb and say that Culpepper is not good
WAS (-4) at HOU - WAS, neither are the Texans
BAL (-6.5) at CLE - BAL, neither is Cleveland
NYG (+3.5) at SEA - SEA, if MJ says the G-men stink, then they stink
PHI (-6) at SF - PHI, I think that SF is somewhat decent but this will be a test
STL (+4.5) at ARI - STL, still on the bandwagon even after the loss in SF
DEN (+7) at NE - DEN, Come on Broncos, don't let me down again, I will run naked through Invesco if this is not correct
ATL (-3) at NO - ATL Even though Bono and the boys are playing to open up the new stadium and there will be a ton of energy there, NO cannot stop Vick
Last Week - 10-6
Season - 21-11
Most of all, clinching the division should allow Yankee fans to reflect on what certain players must be feeling – guys who haven’t been to the playoffs before and who feel as though they’ve been delivered from the wilderness and into paradise. Courtesy of Pete Abraham of the Westchester Journal News:
“You had to feel good for guys like Aaron Guiel. Baseball lifer, never been around a team like this. He was sitting there at one point looking overwhelmed. I went over and shook his hand. ‘This must be great,’ I said. ‘You have no idea,’ he replied.”
And just so no one thinks this post represents a “kinder, gentler MJ”, Pete Abraham also reports:
“As the celebration slowed, reliever Kyle Farnsworth took note of the fact that the Red Sox would occupy the same sodden room tomorrow. ‘The best thing is Boston has to come in here next,’ he said. ‘It’s the smell of victory they’ve got to smell. You can print that.’”
Hey Boston, can you smell what the Yanks are cooking?
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – This game may feel like a playoff game for both teams. First rematch since the playoffs, and the Bengals will be looking for serious revenge. The Steelers will be looking to win because if they lose, they suddenly would be 2 games back of the Bengals (and the Ravens). I think the Jags showed on Monday night a good game plan for holding the Steelers down, and I don’t think that the Steelers are going to be able to correct everything in just 6 days. Pick: Cincy
Manwich Main Course-
Jacksonville at Indianapolis – The Jags defense has done a great job with Dallas and Pittsburgh, but as we all know, stopping Indy is a completely different story. Pick: Indy
Upset of the Week -
N.Y. Giants at Seattle- Madden curse, commence! Pick: NY Giants
Carolina at Tampa Bay – Suddenly, the 2 big NFC South favorites, who are completely underachieving, get to play each other. I’m not sure who to be more concerned with at this point. Let’s see – Tampa’s QB likes to throw to the other team, Cadillac Williams is due for an oil change, and the O-line is a mess. CAR also has O-line problems, but they discovered that their rookie RB, DeAngelo Williams last week, can immediately contribute. I’m going with CAR, but I wish I could have a mechanic check this team out, because it seems like there’s a bigger problem than “steve Smith is missing” as to the problems with the team. Pick: CAR.
Chicago at Minnesota – Wow. Another divisional battle for first place. If I’ve learned anything from last week, it’s don’t get on Hitman’s bad side. Pick: Chicago
Green Bay at Detroit – While at the Miami (OH) vs. Kent st. game last week, there was an advertisement for the MAC Championship game and it said that Detroit’s Ford Field is “the premier stadium” in the country. For some reason, I don’t believe them, just like I don’t believe in Brett Favre. 3 picks for favre. Pick: Detroit
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo – The Jets have been very competitive of late due to a mini-resurgence of Pennington. Buffalo still has very little offense, but their defense has been superb. Its kind of like being excited about your team, then realizing you still have problems, like JP Losman at QB. Pick: Buffalo
Tennessee at Miami – Even Culpepper should be able to score on Tennessee? Right? Pick: Miami
Washington at Houston – I don’t think Washington will need Portis for this one. Pick: Washington
Baltimore at Cleveland – You know, I really did think the Browns were going to be more competitive this season, but perhaps still get 6 wins. I don’t know how else to explain my sadness, but I did find a very fitting quote by Dr. Zoidberg, from Futurama, “…and that's the story of how I got my new shell. It looks just like the one I threw out yesterday, and I found it in the same dumpster. But this one had a live raccoon inside!” Obviously, these Browns seemed like a new team, but really, it was just the same thing laying in the dumpster. Pick: Baltimore
Philadelphia at San Francisco- Now that San Fran beat St. Louis, I’m actually quite intrigued by this game. Pick: Philly
St. Louis at Arizona- Norman Chad claims that “nobody beats Arizona at home”. I don’t believe it though. I am wondering whether you can sit on the field in Arizona when it gets retracted in or out of the stadium. Pick: St. Louis
Denver at New England- Payback is a bitch. Pick: New England
Atlanta @ NO – Did you know? QB Michael Vick is on pace for 168 rushing attempts, 1400 rushing yards, 8 rushings TDs, AND 24 passing TDs. I love math. Pick: Atlanta
Last Week: 9-7
Season: 16-16 (I said last week, “I have no idea what I’m doing”)
Manwich: 1-1 (Philly collapsed)
Upset of the Week: 0-2 (Picking the Lions was yet another mistake)
Had this story come out in late July or early August, when it was still fresh, would have represented solid, topical journalism about the most psychoanalyzed player playing for the highest-profile team in baseball. But to release this story six weeks after the fact just reeks of lazy journalism.
Worse than the Sports Illustrated article, however, is how ESPN and other media outlets will cover the story. They will dissect it and make inferences about the players’ true intentions and feelings. They will re-hash the “Trade-Rod” and “E-Rod” stories that died in late July. They will blow up a cloud of dust around the team when, truthfully, there’s not much to report here.
My hope is that the fallout will not serve as a distraction to the team and re-open an issue that had been neatly closed when ARod climbed out of his slump. You know, for a guy who “can’t handle the pressure” and “should be traded” (to quote ESPN), ARod ended up with yet another 30 HR/100 RBI season. That makes it nine such seasons in a row and 10 out of 13. Yeah, he really sucks.
My final thought on the subject is this: I want the Yankees to win the World Series and I want Sports Illustrated to suck it. My subscription, going back to September 1984, will be cancelled, effective immediately.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
1. Boston Red Sox (3). What more can be said about the 2006 Boston Red Sox that I haven’t already said? They just weren’t good enough in 2006. Boston management overestimated Josh Beckett’s ability to take his game from the weaker competition in the National League to the more competitive American League, and the team is still paying for the mistakes they made with signing Matt Clement, letting Johnny Damon walk away to New York and trading Josh Bard to San Diego for Doug Mirabelli. It’s been a wretched season for the Red Sox and it can’t end soon enough.
2. Toronto Blue Jays (1). On this date in 2005, the Blue Jays were two games under .500 yet had the same “Tragic Number.” Fast forward 365 days later and the Blue Jays have improved themselves by 10 games as they now stand eight games over .500 and now stand three wins away from locking up only their fifth winning season since winning the World Series in 1993. Goes to show what an extra $26.2M in payroll can do. Troy Glaus, BJ Ryan, Lyle Overbay, and to a certain extent AJ Burnett, have all paid dividends for the Jays. They still have a long way to go to catch the Yankees atop the AL East but it looks pretty likely that the Blue Jays can pass Boston for second place in the division later this month.
3. Texas Rangers (3). Another season, another cruddy pitching staff. The 2006 Rangers outscored every team in their division and, predictably, gave up the most runs too. They have a shot at finishing over .500 with five more wins but the Rangers are a team in turmoil. Management seems disenchanted with Buck Showalter and players like Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock had down years. I don’t know what the solution is, besides the Rangers figuring out how to develop more good young pitchers from within their farm system. Until that happens, the Rangers have third place in the AL West locked up for the next several years.
4. Cincinnati Reds (7). That the Reds spent most of the season in contention was a total surprise. It’s too bad they couldn’t hang on to the lead in the Wild Card because Major League Baseball needs to find a way to reconnect with the fans in the Ohio/Michigan/Western Pennsylvania markets. That used to be baseball’s core constituency. The problem with the 2006 Reds is that they just don’t go deep enough in the starting rotation. They gave up the fifth-most runs in the National League in 2006.
5. Houston Astros (7). The Astros are the bizarro opposites of the Cincinnati Reds. As defending National League champions, Houston was supposed to contend for the division crown, let alone the Wild Card. Instead, they spent much of the season under .500 and frittered away an opportunity to run away with the division on the strength of their rotation. The Astros scored the fourth-fewest runs in the National League and the fifth-fewest runs in the majors. To say the Astros were done in by their offensive ineptitude would be a major understatement.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (2). Not much to say about this team. They had youth all along the lineup and in their bullpen. Their starting pitching was injured and ineffective all season long. A young team and an injured and inconsistent pitching staff is a recipe for a losing season and in that regard, the Brewers didn’t disappoint.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (6). The Diamondbacks are an interesting team. No one expected them to contend for the postseason but at one point in 2006, the D-Backs were right near the top of the NL West standings. I see a lot of good things happening to this team in the near future. They are loaded with good young players (Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew) and they have a legitimate ace in Brandon Webb. I’m looking at them to take a big step forward in 2007.
8. Colorado Rockies (4). They remind me of a slightly less promising version of the Arizona Diamondbacks. For a while in 2006, the Rockies played with passion and were in the mix. Eventually they came back down to earth but there is a lot to like on this team too. Matt Holliday will be a star in the big leagues for several years. The Rockies have nothing to be ashamed of.
Note #1 – The next group of teams to be listed on deathwatch:
Chicago White Sox (7);
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (7); and
San Francisco Giants (9)
Note #2 – The remaining teams, the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres are locked in extremely tight division races with the current division leaders (Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively). It’s impossible to predict who will end up on top; hence I cannot list them on the deathwatch at this time.
Note #3 – I’m rooting for the Twins to pass the Tigers for the AL Central title with the Tigers to lock up the AL Wild Card. In the NL, I’m rooting for the Dodgers to hold off the Padres and for the Philadelphia Phillies to edge out the Padres for the NL Wild Card.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Week 2 of the NFL is in the books and if you're anything like me (which means your not wearing pants at the moment) you're looking over the scores with a look of utter confusion. When did Michael Vick learn how to throw? Are the Vikings good or lucky or both? Where did
If your looking for answers from a guy not wearing pants that probably means your in state of desperation (for example the Colonel due to some untimely bets). Here's a few thoughts on the subject of the NFL in no particular order.
2) Michael Vick does look better but hey any QB looks good when your rushing game is getting 250 yards per week. Starting in week 6
3) In the NFL in order to win late you need to be able to punish the other team through the ground. The three yards and a cloud of dust is time consuming, demoralizing and typically low risk. The Eagles don't have that option given Andy Reid's playbook and that their running backs are slightly more fragile Brady Quinn (more on him in a moment).
4) I'm not sure whether to read that
Some College Thoughts:
1. A lot of
2. That said I'm not entirely convinced
1. I was skimming the channels and I came to CNN and I saw Steven A. Smith talking with a panel and not your TNT panel but a panel of people that are smart enough to operate microwaves. The topic was on future trends and in particular the
2. If Peyton Manning was seen hatching out of a football, drinking Gatorade, would you really be scared?
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Even though I spent the day in Breckenridge at Oktoberfest (one of the greatest holidays around), I still manage to catch the second half of the game on Sirius and at one of the best Mexican restaurants at 9500 feet. Congrats Michigan. Hopefully you will be able to keep it up for the whole entire season.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Buffalo (-6.5) at Miami: Buffalo, they covered last week against the Pats, who says they can't cover again this week
Carolina (even) at Minnesota: Carolina
Detroit (+9) at Chicago: Detroit, I say it will be within about 3 points either way, the Lions could actually pull this out...probably the same score as against the 'Hawks.
Houston (+13.5) at Indy: Indy...just way too powerful of an offense
NO (-2.5) at GB: NO, Brett Favre sucks and Reggie Bush is good
NYG (+3) at Philly: Philly, one of the hardest lines however you have to go with the home team when it seems like a tie
Oakland (+12) at Baltimore: Baltimore, however they might be able to score more than 20 points, but their defense will hold Oakland to under 7
TB (+5.5) at Atlanta: Atlanta, see rule on NYG/Philly
AZ (-7) at Seattle: Seattle, Kurt Christ and Edge are still crappy
STL (-3) at SF: STL, I am jumping on the Martzless' Rams bandwagon
KC (+10.5) at Denver: Denver, my hometown love again
NE (-6) at NYJ: NE, the Jets just blow
TENN (+11.5) at SD: SD, LDT will help my fantasy team again
WAS (+6) at DAL: WAS, strange line, Bledsoe is not good
PITT (-2) at JAC: JAC, see NYG/PHI and TB/ATL
And the bet the new wife, the kid, and the Yugo of the week is the CLE/CIN game...Cleveland is getting 10 points in the Jungle...if Cleveland was getting 24 points in the Jungle it wouldn't be enough...WHO DEY!
Last week: 11-5
Bet the car: 0-1
Now all of us have made a dumb mistake now and again (Thinking the Mavs would win the NBA Championship, ordering Mac and Cheese instead of Mash Potatoes, having that last shot of tequila, etc). Most of us have made incredibly dumb, jaw dropping mistakes. I certainly have: touching a live British electrical socket with a metal rod, trying to keep sanity in grad school, running into a river taller than myself with a 40 lb backpack, having that last cup of everclear, setting a cinnamon bun on fire, screwing up Easy-Mac, etc.) Believe you me, I've even seen some ridiculously dumb moves (putting coleslaw into a wall, jumping off balconies, driving a truck into a building, letting someone who just turned 21 ride in a car, Kerry's campaign, etc). However, never in my 39 odd years of existence (note I'm bad at calculating my age) have I seen, heard, read something as preposterously, head in the brown eye, laugh out loud, idiotically stupid as Charlie Wang's signing of Rick DiPetro's to a 15 year contract. As one owner put it ""It means the owner is a moron," DiPetro just isn't that good and contracts that go for more than lets say more than a decade in a sport where you get hit by wooden sticks probably isn't a good idea. It's a move that screams for other free agents to stay away and for fans to start following other sports. Short of the NHL going belly up and all contracts being voided in the next 6 days, this may go down as the dumbest signing since
And now for a little cheering and cheering:
Cheers: To College Football this weekend. Great matchups. I'm told there are more games with two ranked teams than any other weekend in like 13 years which coincidentally is the last time
Cheers: Jamie Laurinitis. AJ Hawk's replacement is quickly making a name for himself as he won the Big 10 defensive player of the week award. OSU is moving to suplant PSU as Linebacker U (that's a lot of U's) with its recent string of great linebackers. For those that are unaware Laurinitis is the son of Animal of Legion of Doom/Road Warriors fame (the greatest tag-team in the history of wrestling...possibly sports).
Jeers: To Tiger Woods losing at the World Match Championship. For some odd reason that I can't fathom Tiger just doesn't excel/dominate/engender awe in match play. One would think one on one other golfers would spend their time asking autographs but nope thats just not the case.
Cheers: To Jay-Z coming out of retirement. Thank goodness. I was up at night crying, thinking to myself "why oh why did such talent deprive the public of his gift" Then my prayers were answered. As Jay-Z himself said "It was the worst retirement in history,"
Jeers: To not eating your veggies. The FDA reported today "Don't Eat Bagged Spinach. It Might Kill you". Henceforth I'll stick with something safe...like deep fried twinkees.
Cheers and Jeers in the News:
After extensive MRIs it has been discovered that rushing Liriano back to Cheer and Jeer has not caused any structural damage.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Last Sunday, Peyton Manning beat little brother Eli Manning. In an unrelated note, KC was forced to name Damon Huard as its starting QB. Which immediately confused me, because I thought his name was Brock Huard. Of course, I soon realized they were just another set of NFL QB brothers. I then started to think about the collection of QB Brothers off the top of my head (some active players, some inactive) and thought it only appropriate if we rank them:
1) Peyton & Eli Manning – obviously the best QB Brother Duo in the NFL. Ever. And that’s with Eli only playing 1 year.
2) Matt & Tim Hasselbeck – Everybody knows Matt. As for Tim, he is married to this hot chick who was on the show Survivor. After Matt lost in the Super Bowl to the Steelers, I heard that Tim told Matt, that “winners go home and screw the prom queen.” So, Tim’s a winner in my book despite being a backup QB and bouncing around the league.
3) Luke & Josh McCown – I guess the McCown brothers are the 3rd-best duo. Josh looked pretty good on the Cardinals last year. Josh was drafted by former Browns coach Butch Davis, and as 90% of Butch Davis draft picks turned out to be disastrous, Luke may be cursed. For life.
4) Doug & Darren Flutie – Darren played receiver in the CFL, but I’m guessing that at some point, he attempted a pass. I think this duo beats out the other competition based on Doug’s 1 magical year in Buffalo (even though Bills head coach Wade Phillips had the brilliant idea to start Rob Johnson in the playoff game… and allow the Music City Miracle)
5) Brock & Damon Huard- Damon is now the starting QB for the Chiefs, but Brock is a much cooler name.
6)Ty & Koy Detmer – No QB Brother duo list is complete without the Detmer brothers. Ty once threw 7 INTs in a game.
7) Bernie & Hector Kosar – If only there were more tall, immobile QBs who threw the ball sidearm-style.
On to the games!
Manwich Matchup of the Week -
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia – I realize most of America may still claim that Philly only beat up on a hapless Houston Texan team. However, I still can’t get around the fact that the Eagles probably still have solid O and D-lines, and had a myriad of injuries last season, all aside from the fact that TO and McNabb were off the team for the second half. This game is also pretty fascinating because the Giants can suddenly start off the season at 0-2. This game is a tossup, so I’ll give the edge to the crazy Philly fans. Pick: Philly
Upset of the Week - Detroit at Chicago – Could this be where Martz, Kitna, and Roy Williams break free? Pick: Detroit
Buffalo at Miami – Buffalo played the Patriots pretty tough last week. Not sure whether the Pats stink, or Buffalo is good. I’ll hesitantly go with Miami, though Culpepper is not looking sharp at all. Pick: Miami
Carolina at Minnesota - Eeesh. This is why week 2 is causing me problems. How quickly do I give up on my biases and go with the hot team? Pick: CAR
Cleveland at Cincinnati - Best graphic from last week’s Browns game – at the end of the first quarter, the Browns had 1 yard passing and 1 yard rushing. Best comment from last week’s Browns game - according to the announcers, 2 things got Kellen Winslow through his injuries – 1) video games and 2) his wife. That’s a real quote. Pick: Cincinnati
Houston at Indianapolis – I’m intrigued by the Texans addition of RB Samkon Gado, but then I rememberd that the Houston O-line still stinks. Pick: Indy
New Orleans at Green Bay – I’m more intrigued by why the Packers got the Texans RB and gave up on Gado. Pick: New Orleans
Oakland at Baltimore - I know Week 1 is not necessarily indicative of the whole season, but I feel completely wrong about Aaron Brooks putting up Jeff George-Raider numbers (4000 yards, 30 TDs). Its hard to put up those kind of numbers if you get benched. Pick: Baltimore
Tampa Bay at Atlanta – Teams in opposite directions? Pick: Atlanta
Arizona at Seattle – I don’t think this is the week the Madden curse starts to take hold of the Seahawks. Not yet. Pick: Seattle
St. Louis at San Francisco – Jim Haslett is putting together quite the week 1 resume (last year, as head coach of the Saints, they took down Carolina ; this year, as defensive coordinator of the Rams, he took down Denver and made Jake Plummer feel beaten like a rented mule). Pick: St. Louis
Kansas City at Denver – Damon’s first start is in Denver, which I hear is lovely this time of year. Pick: Denver
New England at N.Y. Jets - I’m so utterly sick of everyone saying the Patriots have no receivers, they are so doomed, how can a team win without experienced receivers, this is the end of an era, etc. etc. etc. 1) Branch and Givens were good, but they were not pro bowl caliber receivers ; 2) the Pats already reloaded to some extent (drafted C. Jackson, acquired D. Gabriel as a #4, got R. Caldwell from San Diego), 3) this is not much of a dropoff, 4) unless your team lost a Randy Moss or TO in its prime (certainly not the case here), the success of the team is still based on the O-line and D-lines! If the Pats stink it up this season, I highly doubt it will be because of the receiver set. Sorry, had to get that out of my system. I just blacked out during that. Pick: New England
Tennessee at San Diego – San Diego, Super chargers! Pick: San Diego
Washington at Dallas- another NFC East matchup that is quite intriguing, as one team will probably be 0-2 afterwards (yes, there is the mathematical possiblity of an 0-1-1). I believe Drew Bledsoe will keep bringing his team down. Tony Romocop would never let Cowboy fans down, because his directives are to “serve the public, protect the innocent, and uphold the law.” Pick: Washington
Pitt @ Jacksonville- Charlie Bisnatch may have saved the Steelers last week. I’m trying to be more objective, and though I hate the Steelers, I feel like picking against them would be foolish. Pick: Pitt
Last Week: 7-9 (yeah, already below .500 ! )
Manwich: 1-0 (thanks Indy!)
Upset of the Week: 0-1 (Aaron Brooks hurt me, I learned my lesson. Don’t pick the Raiders.)
Bob Ryan, perhaps the finest sports columnist left on the planet, has weighed in with his MVP vote and it should make Big Papi rush out to seek the solace of a good dozen cheeseburgers.
Since the fate of the AL East has already been decided and the Yankees have their ninth straight division crown just about in the bag, I won’t spend too much time discussing this upcoming weekend’s four game series between the Yanks and Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The only thing I will mention is that if the Yankees win tonight (weather permitting) then, ignominy of ignominies, the Yankees can put the final deathblow on the 2006 Red Sox by beating them three times this weekend. It won’t erase 2004, but it would go a long way to re-establishing the right and proper order of things in the Yankee Universe.
And now, I leave you all with a picture...
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
All of the above was true until a few minutes ago, when I read this. A player should never openly campaign for personal accolades. Teammates, coaches, managers, team owners, and local reporters/TV commentators should do all of the electioneering for individual awards like MVP’s, Gold Gloves, or Cy Youngs. I find it both unseemly and pathetic for a guy like Ortiz to be openly carping for an MVP when his team has gone into the toilet and has no chance at making the playoffs. It reeks of the same selfishness that goes with “Manny being Manny” territory.
Ortiz should know better than to ever degrade a player like Derek Jeter, calling him out as a product of the Yankees’ deep lineup. Someone should point out to David Ortiz that he is a product of hitting in front of Manny Ramirez, without whom teams would simply never give Ortiz an opportunity to swing the bat. And that, folks, is why Manny is the real MVP of the Boston Red Sox.
There’s also that little inconvenient factor of statistical evidence that shows Manny to be worth more to Boston’s wins than Ortiz since he’s leading: (1) the AL in Win Shares, (2) second in Runs Created per Game, (3) ahead of Ortiz in Batting Average/Runners in Scoring Position (note – file this in the “don’t believe everything you see on ESPN when it comes to clutch” department) and (4) not even the highest-ranked designated hitter in the 2006 VORP leaderboard (that distinction belongs to Travis Hafner).
In short, Ortiz needs to remember that no one likes a self-promoter. He needs to shut up and play out the last handful of meaningless baseball games for the Red Sox. If he really wants the MVP in 2007, maybe he should drop 40 pounds and learn how to play the field.
Monday, September 11, 2006
1. Cleveland Indians (3). The 2006 Indians were among the biggest disappointments of the year. Predicted by most to contend for a division title or the AL Wild Card, the Indians dipped under .500 during the season’s 10th week and have not been able to tread water since. After a frustrating off-season in which they were not able to secure their own free agents (Kevin Millwood, Bob Howry) or convince others to join them (Trevor Hoffman), the Indians traded Coco Crisp to Boston for minor league prospect Andy Marte. The Indians struggled with their pitching and defense and consequently, MVP-type seasons by DH Travis Hafner and CF Grady Sizemore were wasted on a fourth-place team.
2. Atlanta Braves (2). The incredible run seems to be over. After 14 consecutive division titles (3 NL West – ’91-‘93; 11 NL East – ’95-‘05), the Braves will be watching the playoffs from home this October. This day has been coming for quite some time, as the Braves’ dominance in their division had been as much about great pitching as it had been about poor competition. As the Mets transformed themselves into a juggernaut, the Braves’ trademark pitching began to fall apart two seasons ago. The Braves have nothing to be ashamed of. I hope that the generally-apathetic fans of Atlanta go out to Turner Field for the team’s last homestand and give them a long and well-deserved standing ovation. Bobby Cox and company have earned the vacation from October.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (2). What to say about this team? They were poorly constructed, their minor league pitching prospects (Zach Duke, Oliver Perez, Tim Gorzelanny) did not pan out as expected in ’06, and the offense, with the exception of Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez, was poor. The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992 and they don’t look any closer to turning it around in 2007. Baseball’s pretty close to dead in the Steel City.
4. Chicago Cubs (1). I was bullish on the 2006 Cubs but, as all things go on the North Side of Chicago, Derrek Lee’s injury ended Chicago’s season before it really ever began. Coupled with Juan Pierre and Aramis Ramirez’s atrocious first half, and the ever-predictable injuries to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, Chicago dipped under .500 in the season’s 6th week and now resides in the basement of the game’s worst division. They’ll be put out of their misery within the next 48 hours. If team ownership and management has any baseball acumen whatsoever, Dusty Baker will be fired the day after the season ends. There is really nothing else positive to say about this team. If ever there was a team desperate for wholesale changes in its approach to baseball operations, it’s this one.
Note #1 – I did not prepare obituaries for the three teams already eliminated from postseason play (Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Baltimore Orioles) because those three teams suck harder than words can describe. Suffice it to say, these teams died the type of early and painful death befitting franchises that do not care enough to compete among the ranks of the “varsity” MLB teams.
Note #2 – The next group of teams to be listed on deathwatch:
Boston Red Sox (11);
Toronto Blue Jays (9);
Texas Rangers (10);
Seattle Mariners (7);
Milwaukee Brewers (10);
Arizona Diamondbacks (12); and
Colorado Rockies (11)
OSU v. Texas
I wouldn't say that the OSU - Texas exactly lived up to the billing butthe game was closer than the score appeared it to be. It was not until much later that the turning points of the game (A Laurinitis induced fumble in the red zone and then the 2 minute drill strike to Ted Ginn Jr.) were realized to be turning points. I think there were three factors that led to the OSU win. First, Troy Smith has become as a cool and collected passer as they come in the college ranks. Texas has one of the best defensive lines in the country but Smith never seemed rattled. Second, Anthony Gonzalez actually lives these days inside of an oxygen tent. Gonzalez seemed to be in the right place at the right time all night and I have to believe his artificial high altitutude training was a major factor. (Little known fact when prepping for a big exam, Gutsy studies in a combination oxygen tent, hyperbolic chamber) Finally OSU star powered sideline typed the scales. While Texas had Matthew McConaughey and Emmit Smith tainted by Dancing with the Stars, OSU had Eddie George and Lebron James. Lebron cashed in his fame for some sideline tickets with his almost-alumni school. Hey, it's good to be the king!
Around the NFL in 5 Thoughts or Less...
1. The race for the number one draft pick is off and I'm calling it a close race between the Titans, Packers and Browns. My guess is that the Titans will evantually get better which leaves the Packers and Browns. Neither team seems to have any sort of offensive line. The Packers are yoked to an over the hill quarterback (now wouldn't that be an ignominious end to Favre's career if he's yanked for Aaron Rogers) while the Browns have the coaching version of typhoid fever with offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon. On third and inches not once but 4 times Carthon avoided using (heck even decoying) 1,200 yard rusher Rubeon Droughns. (let alone that the two minute drill looks like something out of a Felini film.)
2. A lot of new coaches and here's some thoughts on them: Eric Mangini is a lot fatter than he looks in his picture. Either Seattle is in for a long long year or Rod Marinelli is twice the miracle worker that got Helen Keller to talk. The best move by a rookie coach might go to Scott Linehan for bringing in Jim Haslett to coach up the Rams previously soft defense.
3. I don't care what the refs, League, etc say...it was a dirty, unnecessary and sickening hit on Trent Green. I hope he gets well soon.
4. I'm a little bummed out over no Sunday Night Primetime in ESPNville. NBC Sunday Night Football keeps ESPN from showing their highlights while the game is in progress. I guess I'll just have to wait till 10 "Sportscenter" to get my fill of NFL nicknames. That said NBC's "Football Night in America" did a decent job of highlight reels. I'm a fan of Sterling Sharp and Jerome Bettis commentary while Bob Costas has the best snarky comments.
5. Teams that caught my eye in a good way: Baltimore (crushing win), Atlanta (passing yardage), San Fran (Vernon Davis) and teams that caught my eye in a bad way: New England (offensive line), Denver (your killing your father Jake) and Tampa Bay (goose egg).
Sunday, September 10, 2006
That got me thinking: a quick look at Arizona's schedule indicates that, by far, San Francisco is their easiest home opponent. Is it possible that the NFL schedulers set this one up intentionally, to groove a Week 1 win for the Cards?
I say, yes, it's quite possible, maybe even probable - and I have no issue with that whatsoever. There is no science or magic in the specifics of any team's week-to-week schedule, and this was as good a week for Arizona to host San Francisco as it would have been to host Seattle. But if bringing in the 49ers meant that the NFL could help spark football in the large Phoenix market, then I'm all for it.
Friday, September 08, 2006
1. Now this, this is an idea I can get behind. Why is it that a pop-culture observer can come up with a better sports idea than the trained monkeys at ESPN who are actually paid to write and think critically about sports? Anyway, I love the idea and I hope someone at USA Basketball is listening. I’m 100% positive that the US will not deviate from its formula but I wish they would read this and see the value in this concept.
2. I was talking about the Red Sox with a friend of mine this weekend. The general perception surrounding the 2006 Red Sox falls into two main camps. The first group thinks that the ’06 Sox simply got unlucky at the wrong time, and that injuries to Varitek, Nixon, Ramirez, Ortiz, Clement, Wakefield, Papelbon, and Lester torpedoed their season. The second group thinks that the ’06 Sox were right on the cusp of greatness but were led down the wrong path by the (mis-)management team of GM Theo Epstein and President Larry Lucchino.
My feeling is that it’s a bit of both and a whole lot of neither. It’s true; the Red Sox played a lot of their games in August without some of their starting players. Most teams cannot withstand such a sudden rash of injuries, especially during a key stretch of the season. So there is definitely a bit of value to the “unlucky” theory. But it’s also true that, of the everyday players, only Varitek and Nixon missed a significant amount of playing time. Ortiz missed a week due to his irregular heartbeat. Manny didn’t suffer injuries as much as he picked mid-August as his annual “Manny being Manny (is a selfish prick)” vacation. The injuries to Clement and Wakefield, while unfortunate, are something I’ll touch on in just a bit...
Those (including Bill Simmons) that have trashed Boston’s front office for not being more proactive during the trade deadline also have a bit of a point. The Red Sox, with all the games they sell out at Fenway Park, with the highest ticket prices in baseball, with their $120M payroll, could’ve easily afforded to add payroll to their roster at the end of July. That they didn’t was a bit curious. That they played the impoverished card and compared themselves to the big bad Yankees was fairly ridiculous. But what isn’t ridiculous is the basic truth in Theo Epstein’s rationale for not forcing a deal – the market just wasn’t that rich for buyers. Outside of the Yankees’ trade for Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle, the Dodgers were the only other team that was able to acquire premium talent (if you consider a 40-year old pitcher whose 9-11 record with a 5.02 ERA at the time being “premium”).
The point is, for those fans that patted Red Sox management on the back for trading youth in order to acquire Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, how could retaining youth at the trade deadline be construed as a bad move? Would trading more youth for C- and D-level talent be a worthwhile move? Theo’s worst move of the year was trading Josh Bard for Doug Mirabelli back in May. That was a pure panic move. But otherwise, can Red Sox fans really complain about the caliber of players this management team has brought in since taking over in 2002?
In effect, Theo’s only mistake was not selling the inactivity in the right way. Instead of whining about what the Yankees were able to do with Philadelphia, Theo simply should’ve reminded fans that the Red Sox still have some talent at the minor league level and that they continue to draft and scout top-notch players. Fans don’t want to hear about how the Red Sox view themselves as “have nots”, not when they’re paying top dollar to keep Fenway Park packed every night.
The 2006 Red Sox are, as of this writing, 15 games from mathematical elimination. They have a nearly zero percent chance of making the post-season over the White Sox, Twins, or Yankees. But the reason for this isn’t entirely due to bad luck and it’s not entirely due to a poor front office. Plain and simple, their pitching wasn’t good enough all year. They’ve given up the fourth-most runs in the American League and they have the highest team ERA of any team still over .500. Josh Beckett has been a major bust in 2006 and the Red Sox are still paying for the mistake they made in signing Matt Clement. If the Sox don’t address their pitching, next year won’t be any better.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Miami at Pittsburgh (-1): Pittsburgh
Atlanta at Carolina (-5): Carolina
Baltimore at TB (-3): Baltimore
Buffalo at NE (-9.5): Buffalo
Cincy at KC (-2.5): Cincy
Denver (-4) at St Louis: Denver (hometown love)
NO at Cleveland (-3): NO (sorry Steamers, I think that Brees will breeze through the mistake by the lake)
NYJ at Tenn (-3): Who cares...TENN
Philly(-5.5) at Houston: Philly
Seattle (-6) at Detroit: Detroit (if their new coach will actually have them playing, this is a very strange line)
Chicago(-3.5) at GB: Chicago, I will not be watching this game on Sunday Ticket
Dallas at Jacksonsville (-3): Dallas, why can't national sports have decent games in the afternoon, do I have to choose from DAL/JAC, SF/AR and CHI/GB, ugh
SF at Arizona (-9): ARI, only because it is the first game in the new field
IND (-3.5) at NYG: Indy
MINN at WAS (-4.5): MINN (Brad Johnson will avenge his old team and Chester the Molester will run wild through the streets of DC)
SD (-3) at OAK: SD, another strange line that I am not sure why it is so small
Bet the baby, the car and the wife pick (ie lock pick): The over in the Cincy/KC game at 46.5 points. Last year there was a total of 40 points scored in the game and Jon Kitna was playing and he threw for 76 total yards. My first week of Madden the score was 66-42...Madden never lies, just look at the Madden curse.
Fortunately or unfortunately I wasn't raised in a polygamous household. Instead of 3 wise men to look up to, I just have one, my dad. I talk sports with Mighty Dad on a fairly regular basis and while he doesn't follow sports as intently as us nutsos that go through several series of espn news, worry about the Madden curse, play fantasy football,etc; he always has a good scouting eye. Also he's actually seen a Cleveland championship in his lifetime, which is a step up from me. I think that makes him a tad more sane than most Clevelanders you run into. So here's Mighty Dad NFL predictions:
AFC East: Miami - New England had too many losses and Dolphins D will be solid.
AFC North: Cincinnati - Will have as good as an offense as the Colts. Roethlisberger will struggle a little.
AFC South - Indianopolis - Colts still the beast of this weak division
AFC West - Denver. Solid running game always gets you far
Wild Cards - Pittsburgh - still a great defense. San Diego - There is always a big surprise so why not this.
AFC Championship - Colts v. Bengals, Bengals win as Dungy continues to come up short.
NFC East - Philly. New school coaching with Andy Reid will win out.
NFC Norris - Chicago. Defense, Defense, Defense. (although Detroit will come in second)
NFC South - Carolina - D-Line
NFC West - Seattle - Weakest Division
NFC Wild Card - Dallas (Parcells), Washington (Gibbs and D)
NFC Championship - Rematch City Seattle v. Carolina
Super Bowl: Seattle over Bengals
And now for some cheering and jeering
Cheers: To the Browns who possibly are done with their train of new centers. Since the begining of training camp the Browns have gone through 9 (yes thats nine) centers. At the end of one of the weirdest training camps on record Jimmy Donovan, the Cleveland radio play by play man, when discussing the upcoming game against New Orleans and Reggie Bush said "I can't wait to see bush". Jimmy, I too am tickled pink at the prospect of seeing bush. Man the FCC is totally busting us.
Jeers: To Texas cornerback, Tarrell Brown, who was arrested for gun and drug charges. Now he claims that he just fell asleep and these items appeared on him in his sleep. I would be skeptical however Publius has totally planted illegal items on me when I fell asleep.
Cheers: To Anibel Sanchez throwing a no-hitter. As I said a great year for rookie pitchers.
Jeers: To the rise of intersex fish in the Potomac. I always said DC's taint was serious but I had no idea it caused physical side affects.
Cheers: To yahoonews. Click the clink quickly because this is too funny.
Mega-Cheers: To the start of the NFL Season. I predict Joe Theisman tackles Kornheiser on air, Terry Bradshaw doesn't notice that James Brown has been replaced by Joe Buck and I will be confused at least twice a month as to why MNF is not on ABC. In honor of the first game tonight (Miami v. Pittsburgh) here's a little Cleveland love for the Steel City (Turkey Jones spiking Bradshaw).
Cheers and Jeers in the News:
"Cheering and jeering is a ticketable offense unless done so in the designated area at a designated time"
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
"Pepper needs new shorts!!"
Not only does the NFL begin on Thursday, but OSU and TX clash in the annual epic pre-bowl bowl on Sat. This time the Young-less Longhorns will face Troy Smith and Ginn Jr. (i'm fairly certain he was the #47 car in Taladega Nights... yes, he is that fast). I cheer for OSU 3 times during the year (vs. TX, ND, and during bowl games)... go buckeyes! (what is a buckeye?)
Don't forget Penn State vs. ND and the US Open.
Peter La Fleur: "Come on, Kate. It's time to put your mouth where our balls are."
Onto my NFL Picks...
New England-- duh.
Miami-- i'm not ready to jump on the Fish bandwagon as they have a habit of disappearing when the weather dips below 50 in Buffalo (October). I picked them for #2 because this division is just that bad.
Indy-- I won't pick them for the Superbowl
JAX-- JAX and Carolina end up better than I think they should be so I'll run with it.
TN-- Better then you'd think... but 9-7 or 8-8.
TX-- Ov vey.
Pitt-- Ben's face vs. Carson's ACL. I pick Ben's face.
Cincy-- See above.
Cobra Commander-- Baltimore... watching the Ravens play football is cruel and should be unconstitutional.
Ohhh, the Cleveland Steamers finishing last. At least they wont tease Mighty into thinking they MIGHT be good. they won't.
West: tough one... people seem to like Denver mostly out of history... and the amazing man-stable they have playing offensive line.
SD-- I thought they were playoff material last year and still think so.
KC-- Dick V teams have a 3 year window and KC is fading...
Oakland-- Where veterans goto pasture... hollywood squares of the NFL.
New England represents the AFC in the superbowl after beating Indy... Adam V. misses the game winning kick!! Paging Dr. irony, your help is needed in OR.
NFC: (isn't this the national league of the NFL?)
Giants-- Toss up but the rivarly between the Eagles and the GMen is back!
Dallas-- Bledsoe is still lousy. He looks like a deer in headlights.
Washington-- I am not certain which is worse, (a)the GOP Congressional majority or (b) Mark Brunnell as QB. During session I vote (a) but on sundays, I vote (b). Next year, I'm doing the Sunday ticket to avoid Redskins regional coverage.
Carolina-- See JAX... ohh and since the Whalers won the Stanley Cup the whale power transfers to the NFL. It's science.
TB-- Gruden looks like Sting but really pissed off. I think he owns Vick.
ATL-- Owned by Sting.
NO-- Cheers to the end of Aaron Brooks era.
Yes, Da Bears.
Dettown-- Mad Martz works with less talent but he still can put up more points than INT Favre and MN.
Seattle-- Madden curse be damned. they are still talented.
STL-- They are back. Watch out Seattle.
AZ-- Jesus powered Warner cant fool me twice... Matt Leinart?
SF-- Bonds will hit a home run.
Carolina defeats tge G-Men for the chance to lose to NE again in the Superbowl.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Manwich Matchup of the Week – Indy @ NY Giants – Quite the intriguing game, but it locked up “Manwich” status considering I have this game as my Super Bowl pick. It will be really interesting to see how well Indy runs the ball, and fantasy owners will be curious WHO is running the ball. Anyway, I guess I have to go with my super bowl pick, though I am tempted to pick the Giants, just so Indy will be extra motivated all season to get back to the Super Bowl to play the Giants and beat them. Pick: Indy
Upset of the week - San Diego @ Oakland – First start of the season for Philip "Running" Rivers is a late Monday night game in Oakland. I can’t go with Philip Rivers, as much as I like the guy because he’s essentially a rookie. Pick: Oakland
Miami @ Pitt – I wonder if old Miami coach, Dave “The Moustache” Wannstedt, currently the coach at Pitt, will show up to cheer against the Dolphins. Hines Ward is hobbled, Roethlisberger is out, which makes picking the road team a lote easier. Pick: Miami
Seattle @ Detroit – I was seriously close to picking Detroit. If offensive coordinator Mike Martz finds a way to put up lots of points by simply transferring the St. Louis offensive package, I will be really amazed. Pick: Seattle
Philly @ Houston – Houston just has no luck. The #1 pick, Super Mario Williams hasn’t looked great, RB D. Davis is out for the season, and then they were forced to sign RB Ron Dayne. Every time you think Dayne’s pathetic career is over, and it seems like Dayne can go back to getting fat and eating Twinkies, some other team ends up picking him up! I say, “let him have the twinkies!” Pick: Philly
NY Jets @ Tennessee – Who the hell is playing in this game? Is it Vince Young? Is it Chad Pennington? Is David Givens really on Tennessee? Is Al Toon on the Jets? Pick: Tennesee
NO @ Cleveland – As a Cleveland fan, this is one of the 6 designated weeks that I am picking the Browns. I’m sticking to the formula this year. I’m also hoping that the Browns do not create a superstar out of Reggie Bush. Pick: Cleveland
Denver @ St. Louis – Broncos GM Ted Sundquist finally acknowledged the pain and suffering he has inflicted on fantasy football owners the last 7 years: "With all due respect to the fantasy football people out there, I don't care who we have back there." That’s a real quote, found it on Yahoo. I guess he gets a lot of hate-mail. Pick: Denver
Cincy @ KC - This is another game that could have easily been the Manwich Matchup. I’m just going to go with the home team, and eliminate all other analysis. Pick: KC
Buffalo @ New England – Remember that game back in like 2003 when Buffalo beat the Patriots 31-0 to kick off the season? I don’t think that’s happening this year. Pick: New England
Baltimore @ Tampa – Two of the craziest coaches, Cobra Commander (Brian Billick), and Jon “Chucky” Gruden will be locked in an epic chess battle. I could see Gruden finding Billick’s hotel, and paying a high school band to play music at 3AM to ensure that Cobra Commander doesn’t get any restful sleep. A grumpy Cobra Commander does not usually make good decisions. Pick: Tampa
Atlanta @ CAR – Wow, this is a very important game in the NFC South, right off the bat. Steve Smith has been battling some sort of hamstring injury, but hopefully for CAR, its not a big deal. Pick: CAR
San Fran @ Arizona – It will be very interesting to see if Edgerrin James can actually gain some rushing yards behind the pathetic Arizona O-line. Pick: Arizona
Dallas @ Jacksonville – Another intriguing game where many reasons can be given for either team to win. As I said in my earlier preview article though, I just don’t respect Drew Bledsoe anymore. If he proves me wrong this week, I may reconsider, but for now, I’m holding on to my blind bias against him. Pick: Jacksonville
Chicago @ Green Bay – To ridicule Favre even more for coming back for an extra season on a crappy team, I’m going to also pick his interception total for each week. Pick: Chicago, and 3 Picks for Favre
Minnesota @ Washington – I think this could also be an intriguing game. If Washington had a more solid QB, I probably wouldn’t be intrigued. I just gave up on Brunell a while ago. I’m also assuming Portis is not healthy to play in this game, but I’m guessing Wasington will find a way. Minnesota rookie head coach, Brad Childress, takes the field. I was hoping to glean some info from my earlier article previewing the coaches, but all I said was that he had a good moustache. Pick: Washington
Past Years Stats - "I'm only mortal"
2005 – 160-96
Manwich Matchup: 10-7
Upset Special: 3-14 (That’s not a misprint)
2004 – 150-106
Manwich Matchup: 7-11 (I doubled the serving of Manwich one week)
Upset Special: 7-9