Saturday, March 31, 2007

Clash of the Titans

The most anticipated big man matchup in college basketball since Georgetown and Pat Ewing, Sr. took on Phi Slamma Jamma and Olajuwon (or at least since Godzilla took on Barkley) happens today. Two legitimate top 15 NBA draft picks that are both over 7 feet. If you can't get excited for that just stop watching basketball. Set those tivos folks this could be a good one. Oden v. Hibbert. Ah yeah!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Beer Draft

I'd like to thank all those who participated in the Beer Draft. The thought of stealing a great idea from KSK couldn't be passed up. The category was broad but encouraged reaching down into great micros and personally I'm going to try a few of the picks upon my next jaunt to the booze store.

Ways to narrow down the draft: fictional beers (Schmidt's Gay, Duff, etc) but that might tiresome, macro/domestic only but then we'd be fighting over Panther Piss aka Rolling Rock.

1) Enjoys Micros: If I had another round, I'd select Alagash (maine).
2) Enjoys Belgians... not so much Germans. Imagine that, a blog mainly populated by non-Gentiles does not care for German beers??!?! Watch out, if you do not play nice those Germans will take you on vacation. We were invited... punch was served, ASK POLAND.
3) Major preference for dark beers minus MJ's insistence on drinking urine colored beer. Red Stripe was a steal in Round 5. Good call.
4) Major preference for beer with heavy alcohol content. OLE... oddly related, Gutsy has an odd fetish for 90210 girls (This may be related to drinking beer with heavy alcohol content).
5) I almost selected Dueff- from Sweden. Wait, no... Red Tick Beer. It's bold, refreshing and needs more dog.
Next Mock Draft will include 2 hour time clock so the draft does not take all week. Topics for the next draft? Thoughts? Other contributors who wish to be a part of the next draft haloscan comments and Mighty will send me your email.

Broken Simmons

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King's horses and all the King’s men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

This piece brilliantly captures how Bill Simmons, once a great writer with true passion and a funny perspective, became the tired hack he is today. Always biased, he’s become even moreso now. He’s now a lazy writer who has “made it” and has such disdain for his readers that he doesn’t even pretend to care any more.

I only wish I could take credit for the blow-by-blow assault they lay on Simmons. Nothing feels better than tearing down someone that was once an idol but is now a decrepit farce.

Schmitts Gay -

Per Publius' request. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Beer Draft... Round 4 and 5

4th round

With the 19th overall selection, Gutsy Goldberg selects:
Yuengling - this beer was started in 1829 in Pennsylvania, and claims to be the oldest brewery in American, and the beer is mysteriously delicious. Granted, finding Yuengling is difficult if you're not in their "10-state service area" and Ohio is not one of the areas. Yuengling brings back fond memories of a great road trip I once took to Penn St. We went to the bar that day to watch the Ohio State game, and we ordered countless $3 PITCHERS of the sweet beer. Only on a college campus could a great beer cost so little. The beer went down easy, and even while drinking too many, it doesn't appear to cause hangover problems. This is great news for Team Gutsy Goldberg, as this selection will help penetrate the college-market, where having a lack of a hangover is a distinct advantage so that customers can rejuvenate and continue drinking more beer the moment they wake up.
MJ: yuengling is an inspired choice. i love that stuff. your 3rd and 4th rounders far upstage your first 2!

With the 20th Overall Pick:

Budweiser/Bud Light: The King of Beers.

What do you drink at the titty bar when the top shelf beer is Heineken and it costs $10? You drink Bud Light of course. Not only is Bud Light the substitute on a budget night (or when your $ bills are making it rain) it's the natural late inning set-up man. You're at home… you're with a lady, and you need to seal the deal but do not forget to tend your buzz!! A lost buzz can be the difference between getting into her pants and failing. You reach for a Bud Light because a) you can't taste anything after a night of drinking; b) its late; c) only chicks keep Amstel Light around the house. Bud Light takes to you the closer (TROJAN) with the efficiency and smile of a veteran reliever.

Billions of dollars have been spent selling the Anheuser-Busch taste. Please enjoy these blasts from the past.

Gutsy: I feel honored that MJ is not using his super-rage powers on me, and I appreciate his support of my last two selections.
on the 20th pick - I can't believe Budweiser just got taken. Makes me even more proud that I snatched up Sam Adams when I could.
suggestion for next time we have a "Mock Draft" - we could have someone pretend to be Mel Kiper Jr and have a "Big Board" . they can also pretend to interview people/beers/things that are still waiting to be selected.

Publius: Sam Adams lubes Bill Simmons butt sex.

With the 22nd pick of this draft Colonel Sanders' Jungle Rots selects Paulaner Oktoberfest.
When you think of drunken debauchery you think of Oktoberfest. And Paulaner Oktoberfest is the best selling beer at the Munchen festival. For his wedding in 1810, Ludwig I, the Crown Prince of Bavaria, commissioned all of the Munich breweries to develop a new style of beer to commemorate the occasion. The beer was so good that the party lasted for days and Oktoberfest beer was born. Only the real beer drinkers drink their beer out of a liter jug (aka a stein) instead of a pint glass. Who can't go wrong with 6 million people consuming 6 million liters of beer and driving 6 millions cars backwards on the Autobahn? So grab your leiderhosen, accordian and stein and clash them together in honor of one of the greatest beers in the land.
Also, monks are the ones who discovered it and I guess monks really know how to party it up. I guess celibacy, living in some place miles away from civilization and praying all the time causes people to drink. Who knew?
With the 23rd pick in the draft, MJ's Rage-a-Holics select Brooklyn Brown Ale.

All this back-and-forth sniping about Chicago made me realize that my hometown has something to offer in the beer department. Brooklyn's Brown Ale is a rich beer, perfect for burgers and nachos at your local sports bar. Brooklyn is a hipper, cooler, bigger, and nicer city than most in America so it stands to reason that it should have a beer that's blue-collar enough to enjoy anywhere at any time, but from a microbrew company that's eco-friendly as well. That's why I'm proud to support the beers of a company which became the first in NYC to
switch to 100% wind-generated electricity. Step 1. Drink their beer. Step 2. Fart a ton. Step 3. Farts cause more power. Step 4. More beer is produced. Step 5. Follow Step 1.

With the 24th Pick Mighty's Semi-Sobers will show some Cleveland pride and Go with the best Microbrew the Fighting Northeast Section of Ohio has to offer...The Great Lakes Brewing Company Eliot Ness Amber Lager. According to the caption this beer has crisp noble hops. I'm not sure what makes hops noble let alone crisp but I bet having Mr. Eliot Ness on the label helps a great deal. For the record there is indeed a reason why Ness is on the label as he was a safety inspector in my fair city and according to legend shot the bar where this particular micro-brew is made. How many beers can say that their name is a result of a shot up bar. Not too many I say not too many....

5th Round:

And with the 25th Pick and Mighty's last I'm going with......

Bell's Oberon Ale. Bell's located in the heart of the fightingest part of the fightingest town in the central part of michigan (Kalamazoo). Bell's has a wonderful sampler of beers. I'd recommend getting the sampler platter if you ever go to that town up North. Nonetheless the best of the best is Oberon. Only made during the summer Oberon is an American Wheat Beer (fuck the belgiums what have they done for us lately. besides they all have these huge ego issues. you really think im going to give them something else to crow about) with Saaz hops. I'm not sure what Saaz hopes are but I assume its German or Flemish or Swahali for "pure joy". So lay around on a hot summer day with Oberon. Its hard to find but if you do its definitely worth it.....

Publius: I cant believe he picked a beer from up north!!

Mighty: Its a good beer. i suppose constant losing makes one bitter and extreme....

Since it seems like this is the last round, MJ's Rage-A-Holics are picking Red Stripe.

Best beer commercials of 2005 and the great slogan "Hooray Beer" sums it all up. A tasty lager in a cool bottle that subs as a fantastic foreign object to throw at people. It's an island drink so it evokes both beach-lounging and scantily clad women. Total package and a great value for this late in the draft. Hooray beer!

Gusty: Don't forget about "Holy Moses White Ale", another great name, and great beer, at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. I will just pretend I didn't hear you rip on the whole state of Ohio. Hooray MJ for picking Red Stripe. Also cracked up when I thought someone was actually picking Schmitt's Gay. Chris Farley is hilarious.

With the 27th pick of the draft, Colonel Sanders' Jungle Rots are picking Boddington Pub Ale.

A stalwart in the British community. Not a soccer riot has begun without someone chugging down a Boddington's. Another of the widget beers, this one only pales in comparision to Guinness. For those that can't stand the taste or texture of the motor oil beers (pussies), Boddington's might be your way to go. I tend to keep a large stash of it in my refrigerator in case I feel like walking Manchester football or singing "God Save the Queen".

With the 28th Pick: Publius and his all-stars picks
Schmitts gay "If you've got a tall thirst and you're gay, reach for a cold bottle of
Schmitts gay."


Double Bag Ale-- Long Trail Brewing Company Vermont. Vermont has many fine micros (magic hat, rock art, otter creek) but Double Bag and the Winter Ale Hibernator win my vote. Dark Amber, 7.2 %, and cows on the label.
Pick #30
Gutsy Goldberg selects...
Lindemans Framboise
Lindemans is a Belgian brewery, that makes one beer in particular called Lindemans Framboise that is a Raspberry Lambic that goes great with appetizers and desserts. The Lindemans Framboise also is a Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Championships. Most women enjoy Lambic beers because they are especially fruity, which is why this is my final selection. As Al Pacino (Tony Montana) once said in Scarface, "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women." It is this advice that I used as the strategy for guiding my beer selections. By starting out with Sam Adams and Corona, these selections are sure to make a lot of money as they are quality beers that are widely distributed. I then was able to gain influence and power through my selections of Sam Smith and Yuengling which are beers renowned for their taste and have championship pedigree. Finally, by choosing Lindemans Framboise, I have the power to attract a multitude of women to my selection of beers. I'm also proud that I successfully utilized Tony Montana's strategy without even peddling drugs or killing anyone.

Publius: perhaps you should have selected Schmidt's Gay.

Duff Gardens Hoorah!

In honor of the beer draft here is a classic Simpsons moment on trying to get to Duff Gardens

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Beer Draft... Round 3

Mighty: Pick 13 (3rd Round)

First of all I object to picking twice in a row. I dont remember that in the brochure. Nonetheless I will pick the actual best beer from Belgium...Delirium Tremens. First of all its beer that has the courage to mock recovering alcoholics. Secondly I think its the beer with the highest level of alchohol. ( 8.5 to 10%) Im pretty sure its banned in like 10 states and Nova Scotia.Thirdly it comes in a huge bottle. Which is important if you want to drink a lot and not be a dripping umm vagina like lets say people that criticize the High Life. According to the Pink Elephant that inhabits its label it was named the best beer in the world in 1998. Which is in fact the hottest year in record (although 2007 is looking to break that). Finally it comes in 4 seasonal flavors. Im not sure why thats a good thing but once again Pinky the Elephant tells me to shut up and drink. Thanks Pinky.....

Editors Note: Great pick and love the pink elephant

MJ: What's with people picking stuff like Chimay and Delirium Tremens...foul-tasting scum which is meant to be served warm? Beer is supposed to be frosty and refreshing, not room-temperature with the taste of liquid fat.

Old Style is not for public consumption except for in the greater Chicagoland area. If there was an ecosystem of beers, Old Style is like the cockroach that survives nuclear winter -- NO ONE likes Old Style (except, obviously, Chicagoans).

Hitman: Spoken like a true cretin. If you can't appreciate the finest of Belgian beers - perhaps you shouldn't even be eligible for this draft!

As for the flagship label of the G. Heilemann Brewing Company: a few years ago, they ran a commercial featuring Dennis Farina, native and wonderful Chicagoan that he is, referencing Old Style as "our great beer". Indeed, it is. If you don't like it, we don't care.

Publius: If you like Old Style so much, draft it!!

With the 14th overall selection, MJ's Rage-a-Holics select Sapporo Premium Lager.

It's the best damn lager from that side of the world and the best thing about it is that every Japanese restaurant worth its fish serves it in 23 oz bottles. That's a lot of refreshment right there. For all you uncouth people who don't know of great beer, here's a picture of Japan's finest export besides sushi, the Playstation 2 and geisha girls.
Publius: More asian lager but I have to admit this is the best sushi beer. I have eaten raw fish and consumed this beer. It's a winning combination.

With the 15th overall selection, Colonel Sander's Jungle Rots select Breckenridge Brewery's Christmas Ale.

Since it is snowing outside today, I figured I would remember the winter. After skiing the slopes in a beautiful environment, Christmas Ale gives you the lack of feeling to those rubbery legs. Its 7.4% alcohol content makes any snow bunny look like Scarlett Johannsen. The happiness of the Christmas season embodies this ale. If you haven't had the opportunity to have Breckenridge Christmas Ale, I would suggest coming out, doing a few runs on the slopes and then heading to the brewery or your local establishment to get this great ale.
With the 16th overall pick in the 2007 Beer Mock Draft, Hitman's Hangovers select:

Summit Hefeweizen.

With summer and the baseball season upon us, you need a great summer beer. There is no summer beer quite like a Weiss, and nobody makes a Weiss like Summit. Served in a tall Weiss glass, with a lemon wedge (you CAN put fruit in certain beers!), a Summit Hefeweizen is the epitome of refreshment. It's your classic lead-off hitter, the beer you want to start your night right. One sip and you say "Yeah, now that's why I drink beer!" It sets the table for your clean-up hitters - oh, the delicious contrasts between your Summit, and your Bass and Chimay! A lineup for the ages, indeed...

MJ: we waited 3 hours and endured another round of soul-crushing chicago tourism blather for ANOTHER fruity beer? what's with fruiting the beer? we've been through this.

Publius: Point of clarification-- does fruiting beer include asian strippers near my Sapporo?

MJ: my man, strippers and beer were meant to go together. that is the fundamental tenet of man law. we're talking about lemon, lime, or anything else that grows on trees, shrubs, groves, or has agricultural or nutritional value.

Publius: Very well. Asian flowers are allowed in so much as they are naked. fruit garnishes are not allowed. Where is Judge Eddie Griffith?

With the 17th Overall selection, Publius and his all-stars selects:

Alaska Amber

Alaskan Amber is based on a recipe from a turn-of-the-century brewery in the Juneau area. It was voted "Best Beer in the Nation" in the 1988 Great American Beer Festival. Water, malt, hops and yeast with no adjuncts, no preservatives and no pasteurization. Our glacier-fed water originates in the 1,500 square-mile Juneau Ice Field. The malt is a rich blend of premium two-row Pale and Crystal malts. Cascade hops from the Yakima Valley and imported Czechoslovakian Saaz hops impart bittering flavors and aromas.

The good news is that global warming will increase glacier water flows and increase Alaskan Amber production. Take that Al Gore. I trust any culture that puts up with minimal/zero sunlight during the doldrums of winter. If anyone knows booze, these cultures do. For
example, Russians know Vodka, Scandinavians know Akevitt, and Alaskans know beer.

Put that in your pipeline and smoke it.

With the 18th overall selection, Gutsy Goldberg selects:
Sam Smith, particularly Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout - It sounds like a breakfast in itself, but Oatmeal stout is where its at. Sam Smith brewery also happens to be Yorkshire's oldest brewery, founded in 1758, and uses a fermentation system involving stone squares. Plus, Sam Smith's beers are vegan products meaning that this acquisition of this beer will soon see increased sales, due to flocks of people becoming vegan to avoid the risk of cancer. Granted, I didn't realize that the other beers of the world were non-vegan products, but when there is even a possibility for a competitive advantage, you have to take it when you are in a Mock Beer Draft. Perhaps even more importantly, Sam Smith's beers have won multiple world championships. Sam Smith is providing a healthy choice, great taste, and a championship legacy that even John Wooden would be jealous of.

Beer Draft... Rounds 1 and 2

Order: Mighty, MJ, Colonel, Hitman, Publius, and Ivan... remember, once a brand name is selected you cannot select any other brews made by that label. I could not take Schlafy's Wheat since Mighty picked that label.

Schlafly's Pale Ale. A microbrew of Saint Louis it has the come hither taste that says I haven't sold out to South Africa like Miller as well as the label that says I piss off batshit crazy right wing basically same as Lynne Cheney but with less eye makeup Phyllis Schlafly. The beer maker Schlafly is the gay relative (son? brother? gardener?) to Phyllis and I always like giving money to something that would piss her off. Factor in the versatility of Schafly (you can relax to while grilling. You can have it with a nice classy meal. You can impress non-native Louisians with tales of how Schlafly's Pale Ale once saved a small Aborigine tribe in Papa New Guineau). Its basically the swiss army knifes of Beers.

Solid pick. I would not have used the first overall selection on it but it wouldn't have lasted as I had plans to nick during the wraparound 2nd round.

MJ: Stella Artois. American light beer sensibility with a refined Euro taste. Served in a pretentious glass that doesn't fit on a table that is already crowded with regular pint glasses. Basically it says "I'm the asshole who stands out, but in a good way." Bonus is that you get to call out a woman's name ("Gimme a Stella!") instead of sounding like a midwestern homo ("Bud please."). Only St. Pauli Girl can match Stella on this level, but that bimbo from St. Pauli tastes like crap.

Publius: Schlafy: Clearly an attempt to steal my love.

Stella!?!?! Euro Miller Lite combined with bad techno signals euro
trash to the bartender.

MJ: I don't hear no techno playing when I order my Stella, mate. Maybe that sweater is rolled too tightly around your neck?

A Young Stella drinker.

With the 3rd pick of the 2007 Beer Draft, the team of Colonel Sander's Jungle Rots picks Guinness Stout.

Since 1759, the world has been graced with this fine beer. When one thinks of Ireland, you think Guinness, potatoes, U2 and maybe fighting. No other beer represents an entire country. If there was a country of Guinness, I would definately move there. Guinness can also be used as an ingredient in one of the finest tasting stews on earth. If you walk into McGurks and order a Guinness Stew with a side of Guinness you will be delighted. Also, Guinness is the only beer that I know of that if you walk into a pub in Ireland and ask for "a pint", they will just hand you over a Guinness. The shear black motor oil look of the beer screams out, "I am a man, I will beat the shit out of anyone who fucks with me". Downing four pints of some girly beer (ie Stella and Schafly) at last call is easy. Only real alcoholics or beer minded people can down four pints of Guinness in 10 minutes. The settling of the beer, the frothy top, the nitrogen canister in the cans, these are all unique to Guinness.

Plus, I hear that Sir Alec Guinness endorses Guinness, so anyone want to say that Obi Wan is wrong?

Hitman: Auuuuggghhhh you took my pick!

Can we penalize Colonel for using the comments thread to make his official selection? I suggest he defaults the rights to Guinness and has to drink a six-pack of Natty Light before his next pick.

Colonel: I blame the craziness of Gmail. It isn't my fault you are picked a team from Texas to be in the Final Four. I think that any person picking Texas for anything should be relegated to drinking a six pack of Lone Star.

Hitman: Having selected a Texo-Canadian as my bride-to-be, I gladly accept a six-pack of Lone Star. It sure beats that Coors horse urine that you drink out in Colorado.

With the fourth pick in the 2007 Beer Mock Draft, Hitman's Hangovers select...

Bass Ale.

In a beverage world increasingly dominated by good-glove, no-hit shortstops (Heineken has a light beer?!?!) or pinch-hitting specialists (shit-eating microbrews), Bass is the clean-up hitter around which a beer lineup is formed. It's your first beer, it's the beer you drink with your meal, it's the beer you drink when you get home after a long day of work and the only sound you can hear is your pint glass crying through your cupboards: "I need a real beer, please!" Bass comes from England, a country where pubs with real pub names like "The Wolf and the Shoe" or "The Dirty Jester" fill up at 10 a.m. with people who know their brews and don't worry about minor
annoyances like slurring their words from drinking too many pints of Bass because they're already unintelligible. When you sidle up to your neighborhood bar, just say that one special word "Bass", and your barkeep will smile and nod in appreciation and recognition that you have just selected one of the most durable, respected, and feared ales in all the land.

Publius: selects...

New Belgium Abbey

Abbey, the biggest medal collector in the New Belgium portfolio, is categorized as a Belgian style "dubbel" or "Double Ale." This complex ale, along with Trippel, is very true to style of the beers brewed in Belgium where the monks produce beers to support their abbey. Dubbels tend to be darker, with a heavier malt profile. Bottle conditioning produces esters that manifest as earthy or floral tones.

It also means double the alcohol content (7.5%... you gotta love those monks),

"It's Colorado holy water. This righteous Belgian-style ale is enough to make you don a monk's habit and consider celibacy."

I'm not sold on the celibacy but I'll take beer for $200 Alex...
with the 6th pick, Gutsy Goldberg selects...

Sam Adams - makers of multiple delicious beers that also happen to be available in high volume. We're talking quality taste, as well as big money marketing power so that I can create commercials on whatever topic I desire. Plus, an added bonus is that a big defensive lineman is named after the beer, and he will be joining my front office. What other beer comes with a throw-in 380 pound defensive lineman?

with the 7th pick, Gutsy Goldberg selects...
Corona - Nothing says "summertime relaxing" like Corona. Plus, it always seems like people who drink Corona have ladies hanging all over them. Corona also creates lots of fun as there's always "that guy" who tries to get his lime in his beer, only to have the beer shoot all over himself due to "that guy" failing to fully cover the opening of the beer. With a Sam Adams and Corona combination, I've got high quality beer, the power to make silly commercials, and female groupies.

Publius: We waited this LONG FOR SAM ADAMS AND CORONA?!?!!?

It's mexican piss.

MJ: sam adams: for the wannabe pretentious boston red sox fan in all of us...except for those with balls and an ability to pronounce our "r's" and "h's" corona: no beer that requires lime is acceptable. fruit in beer violates man law. we all know this already.

Colonel: Might as well have picked Zima Light and Bill Simmons Ale.

8th Pick: Murphy's Irish Stout

Brewed in Cork since 1856, Murphy's offers the discerning stout consumer a smooth, creamy, easy-to drink alternative to other stouts. Murphy's is made with all natural ingredients, and is subject to rigorous quality controls to ensure that each pint is perfect. Murphy's claimed the Gold Medal for stout at the 2002 International Brewing awards, a true testimony of the superior taste and commitment to quality. Murphy's Irish Stout is a product obtained from wort, made from malted barley, roasted material (barley and malt), drinking water and hops, alcoholically fermented with pure culture yeast of the type Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Guinness is a safe pick but stout drinkers know this one... and they know it well.MJ: To all you drinkers of beer that is darker than a muddy pot of sewage-- what's the appeal? Why pay for pints of black piss when you can drink the meltings of black snow on street corners?

Publius: The appeal is a little like the first time one goes to investigate the vertical smile... it's unusual, but it's part of being a man. Drinking beer with the same color as urine doesn't work for me.

With the 9th pick in the 2007 Beer Mock Draft, Hitman's Hangovers select:

Chimay Blue Ale.

If Belgian were a language, Chimay would mean "Great Fuckin' Beer" - and we all know how good Belgian beer is, so that should tell you something. Chimay simply rocks. It's delicious and it's smooth. It's the piece de resistance. A man who can appreciate a Chimay is a man indeed. Chimay isn't for your casual beer swiller: it's not for frat parties, it's not for the corner pub, and the monks who brew it are far too classy and sensible to ship their nectar to somewhere uncouth like Missouri. No, Chimay comes from beer heaven. When you're ready to respect the glory that is beer, don your Sunday best, stroll to the nearest Church of Beer, and show the world that
you belong to that elite crowd that simply knows a top-quality beer when you see it.

MJ: Hitman knocking the state of Missouri. No, we never saw that one coming. I've been to both Missouri and Illinois...honestly? Besides Chicago, Illinois looks an awful lot like Missouri, right?

Hitman: Chicago is to Missouri as Hilary Swank is to MJ. Sure, they're in the same general part of the country, but even blind men can tell them apart - and most certainly appreciate the difference.

MJ: Hillary Swank and I are both mannish. But only one of us is supposed to be. So, no, I don't think it's that easy to tell us apart. Ugliest "hot" celeb out there, that Swank.

Colonel: It is a toss up between man faces between Swank and fellow 90210 alum, Tori Spelling. I would have to give it to Swank since she played a boxer. I bet both of them drink Guinness like it is water.

MJ: Swank may drink beer but Tori looks like a wine-cooler and fruity martini sort of twat.

With the 10th pick, Colonel Sander's Jungle Rot picks Singha Lager.

While based in Thailand during the great "conflict", one of my fellow brethren had me try Singha Lager. I was delighted by its smoothness and never realized that they could make this type of beer in this area of the world. After this encounter, I raised a glass of Singhato Charlie every time I cut his ear off for my collection. Now after coming back from the "conflict" I always order a Singha with my favorite Thai dishes. Drunken Noodles was not called drunken noodles without the person cooking it drinking Singha. In order to wipe away the spiciness of the food, I just keep drinking Singha. Another positive thing about it is that it is a Malt Liquor so it has an added umpf in the way of the alcohol content. Colt 45, Nighttrain, Hurricane all taste like crap, but Singha is the way to go.

Publius: Asian Beer?!?!? Really!?!?!

With the 11th pick, the MJ Rage-a-Holics select Smithwicks Ale.

I had never had Smithwicks until last night when I had two. This is tastier than Bass, less pretentious than Sam Adams, and Ireland's best selling ale since the 1920's. The Irish know what they're doing and I trust them with my life when I'm ordering pints at a bar.

Alright with 12th pick (6th pick in round 2)

I will go with Miller High Life.

I know its not that fancy beer with foreign sounding names but it still a quality beer. First let me set the record straight when your drinking the high life your living the high life. No beer matches its brat soaking abilities. No beer is as good around the grill. No beer says smelly fraternity like the high life. What other beer is the champagne (pronounced cham pag na) of beers? Thats right, none. So put on your stained wife beater, fire up the grill, and pop open a nice ice cold brewski, The High Life Way.

Hitman: Miller High Life in the second round is the worst pick in the history of beer drafting. Sure, it was the best beer that any WU fraternity gave out in the late 90s, the same way that a gunshot to the toe beats a bullet in the head: I still wouldn't recommend it.

Mighty: such snobbery from the second city. let me guess, you're making the territorial claim that old style is better?

Colonel: I disagree. In picking the best beers you have to look at the history of drinking the beer. All of the members on this panel have a good experience living the high life. Sure it might look like cat urine, but even now, when I go to the liquor store, sometimes i feel nostalgic and give the 5 bucks for a 12 pack of the champagne of beers.

Analysis of Rounds 1 and 2
Mighty: Schalfy's-- solid pick. Not sure it deserves the first pick but solid pick. I would have nabbed it during the wrap around pick early round 2. Pale Ale-- high quality like Stifler's mom.

The High Life? The champagne of beers?!?!?! Clearly this pick will be questioned. Are you hanging out with Mike Vick??? We have 5 rounds. Spoils from NCAA challenge can be delivered in High Life.

MJ-- Stella Artois, and Smithwicks. Not a bad haul. Stella looks like piss but I'd drink Smithwicks anytime.

The Colonel: Guinness and some Thai beer. Singha I think. Thailand is for sex tourism and I love Guinness. If you have questions, please ask Gary Glitter.

Hart: Bass and Chimay. A good haul.

Publius: Abbey and Murphy's Irish Stout. OLE

Gutsy: Sam Adams and Corona. I cannot believe we waited for these picks. This isn't a Mike Vick selection, but why bother?

ESPN/Chris Berman selection ranks the top few as Hitman, Publius, and a lager split between colonel and MJ. Belgian beer vs thai beer?? I'd take Belgian but prefer the Abbey/Chimay. Needs improvement: Mighty and Gutsy.

Here you go Gutsy.

2007 AL Preview

Here is Part II of my 2007 Baseball Preview. As I said last week, if it seems skinny in terms of details, that’s because this is merely meant as a rough sketch of how I see the season going down. Since I’ll be covering each team extensively throughout the season, I figure all we need to do is get my picks down on paper.

AL East:

1. Yankees. This isn’t a homer pick. I’m going with the Yanks because they have the best combination of lineup, bench, rotation, and bullpen in the division. ESPN has spent the past few days telling us about all of the trouble in the Yankees rotation because Carl Pavano is their opening day starter. Who cares who starts the first of 162 games? The point is to win the most games over six months, not to be 1-0 when you go to bed on Monday night. Although the Yanks lost a big righty bat in their lineup when they traded Gary Sheffield to Detroit, everyone forgets that the team led the majors in scoring last year without Sheffield and Matsui for most of the season. Factor in the best bullpen in the division – yes, you heard that right – and the deletion of Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright (addition by subtraction) and I think the Yanks look their leanest and meanest since 2003. A few lucky breaks along the way and they’re being fitted for rings in late October.

2. Red Sox. Boston improved the depth in their lineup by adding Julio Lugo and JD Drew. On paper, this is the best lineup Boston’s had in the Manny/Papi era. The bullpen was stabilized last week with the return of Jonathan Papelbon to the closer’s role, as well as with the additions of JC Romero and Brendan Donnelly via trade, but I think people are overestimating the strength of Boston’s rotation. Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, and Daisuke Matsuzaka provide a lot of cachet but two of them (Schilling/Beckett) pitched at or below league-average caliber last season. The third – much hyped so far this spring – has actually not pitched that much better than his Japanese counterpart in New York, Kei Igawa. Observe their spring stats (IP/H/R/ER/BB/K):

Matsuzaka: 17.2/9/5/4/7/19
Igawa: 17/13/5/5/12/19

Matsuzaka’s numbers are better. But are they tens of millions of dollars better? The answer would appear to be no.

3. Blue Jays. Toronto has the same things going for it in 2007 as it did in 2006 – a powerful offense, a loaded pitching rotation at the top, and a dominant closer. What they don’t have is a lot of help in middle relief and that was a major problem for them last season. Despite their second place finish in 2006, I just can’t give them the nod here because Boston retooled enough to push them back into the second spot. As an extra mark against them, I think their manager’s a complete loose cannon and it won’t take long before he’s back to fighting with his players. Eventually players get tired of the fire and brimstone tough-guy routine and tune that kind of stuff out. Especially in baseball when you’re traveling together for six long, hot months.

4. Orioles. This is a curious team. They have several good pitching prospects at the major league level in Erik Bedard, Adam Loewen, Daniel Cabrera, and Hayden Penn. They also have the benefit of Leo Mazzone working with this stable of young talent. What they don’t have is the offense necessary to mash with the three teams above them in the standings. And they enjoy no homefield advantage as their hitter-friendly park routinely sells out when the Yankees and Red Sox drive down I-95 and fill up seats to root for the “road” team. Toss in a terrible owner and a confused GM and this is a team stuck in fourth-place purgatory.

5. Devil Rays. The D-Rays are Baltimore’s bizarro sibling. Whereas they have absolutely nothing in the way of exciting young pitching, they are loaded with baseball’s best crop of young hitters. Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Delmon Young, and future stars BJ Upton and Evan Longoria are all current or future stars in the game. The problem with the team is that they’ve got no clue how to manage their farm system, letting great talent rot in the minors while blocking their progress with stiffs such as Ty Wigginton, Travis Lee and Damon Hollins at the big league level. No starting pitching + no bullpen + too much offense in the division = another 90+ losses in 2007.

AL Central:

1. Indians. I’m going out on a limb here with the second-best offense of the 2006 season. Yes it’s Cleveland so anything that could go wrong probably will. Yes their manager doesn’t push his players or make them accountable for sloppy and listless play. But it’s hard to argue with a team that boasts the division’s two best hitters in Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner. By all statistical measures, Hafner had a better claim to the 2006 MVP than any player in the AL but was done in by the fact that he was a DH on a fourth-place team. The Tribe always opts for the low-budget approach but has added depth to the back end of their bullpen with new closer Joe Borowski and setup man Roberto Hernandez and their rotation is full of underrated-but-dependable arms like CC Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, and Cliff Lee. If young arms Jeremy Sowers and, down the line, Adam Miller, can turn in good performances, this team has what it takes to win 90+ games and their first division title since 1997.

2. Tigers. The magical ride of 2006 is over. Too many breaks went their way last year and I think Detroit will figure out that Curtis Granderson, Craig Monroe, and Marcus Thames are all fourth outfielder types. Gary Sheffield, motivated and full of rage as he may be, is still a 38 year old defensive liability coming off of wrist surgery. In a pitcher-friendly ballpark whose dimensions don’t favor righty pull hitters, I don’t see much power coming from Sheff’s spot in the lineup. It’s hard to argue with Jeremy Bonderman as team ace – he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball that no one really knows yet – but I think the Tigers will come back down and miss out on back-to-back playoff berths by the narrowest of margins.

3. White Sox. On paper, this team has a stacked lineup of power hitters. Their offseason pitching moves, however, seem to be designed with an eye towards the future. I don’t see how Gavin Floyd was an upgrade over Freddy Garcia and, if Bobby Jenks is hurt, the bullpen could be asking a lot of Mike McDougal who has flamed out as closer before (in the far less pressure-filled environment of Kansas City). They won 90 games last year with some truly bad pitching in the second half. I think they’re an 85 win team right now.

4. Twins. Because someone has to finish in fourth place...Although the best pitcher in all of baseball resides on the Twins, although they have the reigning (however bogus the voting was) 2006 AL MVP, although they have the reigning AL batting champion, and although they have the best closer in the AL not named Rivera, they still have no depth in the lineup or rotation beyond these four All-Star caliber guys. I think no one knows where to rank this team. If Morneau and Mauer play as well as they did last year, they could pass Chicago and possibly Detroit into a close race with Cleveland. But if they slip even a little bit, this team looks like a .500 team to me.

5. Royals. It’s not even worth wasting time here. The worst owner in baseball will hold back a good young GM and tank yet another season. Even if 3B prospect Alex Gordon is the second coming of ARod, we already know how the story will end – Gordon will be traded for peanuts and the Royals will blame the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets for their troubles. It’s been the same song and dance for nearly 15 years now and it’s totally played out.

AL West:

1. Angels. Picking between the A’s and Angels for the top spot was a very tough choice. The Angels are among the most conservative teams when it comes to acquiring talent via trade and free agency and it has cost them, at various points over the past two seasons, the chance to add players such as Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez, Roy Oswalt, and Aramis Ramirez. They’re expected to be players in the ARod market next winter but you never know if they’ll get cold feet again. Their offense doesn’t look very impressive on paper and, outside of Vlad Guerrero, there isn’t a single hitter on that team that can’t be pitched to. But their rotation remains strong with John Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver should be back in the mix before too long. Where the Angels continue to excel is in their bullpen. And, as everyone knows, I’m a big fan of teams that have shut-down relief pitchers. I think they’ll win this division but it’ll come down to the last weekend of the season.

2. Athletics. I would’ve gone with Oakland but their offense is just as sleepy as the Angels, but without the benefit of a Vlad Guerrero type in the middle of the order. Their bullpen is good but not quite as good as their division rivals. I trust Billy Beane more than his counterpart Bill Stoneman but sometimes there’s no making up for the fact that while the Angels are counting on young players, the A’s are hoping Mike Piazza gives them what Frank Thomas gave them in 2006. Personally, I just don’t see a .270-39-114 season coming from a guy that hasn’t topped 22 homers since 2002.

3. Rangers. The same old Rangers have the same old bad pitching. The Rangers are as poorly-run a franchise as there is in baseball, continually failing to develop a homegrown pitcher that sticks in the big leagues. What’s all that offense good for when you can’t stop the other team from scoring? Of course there’s a darkhorse element to the Rangers because they’re in the first year of the post-Buck Showalter era. Texas will be trying to replicate the World Series success of the 1996 Yankees and 2001 Diamondbacks by trying to win a ring in the year immediately after firing Buck. Can it be done? I don’t know, but I’m throwing $10 on them in Vegas in the hopes that luck hits for a third time.

4. Mariners. Who doesn’t love watching Ichiro? He’s just a marvel of hitting, contorting his body to reach every pitch thrown his way. But there’s really nothing else to like about this team. Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre are trying to pitch in and do their parts but it’s just never enough. This team has no talent in the rotation beyond young King Felix Hernandez. Their outfield has no pop. Baseball in Seattle is dying on the vine right now.

Playoffs & Awards:

Yankees, Indians, Angels, Red Sox (WC)
AL Pennant: Yankees

World Series: Yankees over Dodgers in 5

AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
AL Cy Young: Johan Santana

Final Four: Open Thread

Almost midnight for three of the four teams. Consider this an open thread on who you think will win it all. Miss Scarlett Johansson as always provides the inspiration....

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Final 4 Where REMATCH is on Everyone’s Mind

Could it be? Odin, the powerful Norse god, will be battling Dr. Hibbert on Saturday night. Two 7-foot giants with very different skills. One is a God of War. The other? Has a contagious belly-laugh and likes to stick people with needles. Seriously though, two hyped centers with NBA-bodies matching up in college doesn’t happen often. I can’t even think of the last great matchup in college between NBA-caliber centers. Someone will have to make a suggestion in the comments.

The thing I find most interesting about the Final 4 are all of the REMATCH storylines.

1. Florida-UCLA – Florida kills UCLA in the 2006 championship game. And that was when UCLA supposedly had a better center. Its been said already in the press, and I have to repeat it here - the similarities between UNLV-Duke from the early ‘90s are stunning (UNLV crushed Duke in the finals, the next year, Duke shocked UNLV in the Final 4).

2. OSU-Georgetown – The 7th-seeded Hoyas absolutely demolished the Buckeyes in the 2nd round in 2006, when the Buckeyes were unable to grasp the concept of the backdoor cut. The roster may have been different for the Buckeyes last season, but the coach is the same, which is certainly alarming for Buckeye fans.

3. Florida-Georgetown – In the 2006 Sweet 16, the Gators squeaked out a victory in a very tight game that could have easily gone either way.

4. OSU-Florida – (back in December) – The game was even for about 28 minutes, and then OSU was down 5 and started jacking up 3s. The game became a blowout very quickly. It was different than the OSU-Tennessee game because the Buckeyes didn’t have a halftime to get themselves back together.

I’m not even bothering trying to predict the Final 4, because I have no idea, and I just want to enjoy the games for the colossal matchups that they represent. I’m also curious as to how many teams can succeed in achieving REVENGE for past defeats this weekend. In honor of all the REMATCHES, I typed “Rematch” into Youtube and I selected the first clip to include on the blog… the Final 4 will probably be a competition similar to these 4 breakdancers – and I still have no idea who wins the Final 4 or this “Rematch” involving breakdancing.

The Battle of Atlanta... part deux

The Battle of Atlanta is now complete. A few thoughts from General Hood.

Georgetown over UNC: Wow, Hibbert is the real thing. We should enjoy watching him face off against Oden and OSU. That said, G'town did a fantastic job of protecting Hibbert inside the 2-3 zone late in the game. G'Town exploited UNC's soft defense all night. My one issue with the game was the zebras: a) too many FTs for UNC, b) make up calls for G'town, c) I noticed them. Best games are the games were the officials are invisible.

Florida over Oregon: This was a gold ole fashioned grudge f#cking as FL gradually outlasted Oregon. Oregon out up a good fight but the better team won out.

Anyone want a football national championship rematch Florida versus OSU??

Mighty needs to change my POST!!

Looking Back…Looking Forward

1. Not a bad weekend all around. Sure, my bracket got busted when Kansas took a crap against UCLA but – with apologies to Mighty here – I love that Hoya Paranoia is back in action. I just live for seeing Patrick Ewing every couple of minutes via the sideline cam. Although it’ll prove to be a tall task, if Georgetown can win it all, I would be very happy. And if they can’t, well, I’m rooting for the Thad Mattavests. My bandwagon allegiance remains strong.

2. Spring training is just about over and teams will close camp in the next few days. The big stories so far have been about Dice-K mania, the opt-out clause in ARod’s contract, the rumors surrounding Garry Matthews Jr., and the fact that the Cubs are playing with increased expectations for the first time in a few years. Opening night is this coming Sunday and I can’t wait.

3. The NBA playoff races are heating up. In the Western Conference, the Spurs and Suns are going to fight it out for the #2 seed while Dallas seems to have the #1 spot locked up. Kobe’s averaging 41 ppg since March 1st and is trying to will his team back from a 10-14 record since February. Over in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland is heating up and giving Detroit a run for the top spot. Besides that, only four games separate the #7 seed from the #11 seed at the bottom of the standings. The Knicks are desperately trying to squeak into the playoffs but are playing with three of their six best players on the bench due to injuries. It should be an exciting final month for both conferences.

4. My 2007 AL preview will be posted by Wednesday, March 28th.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

UNC vs. Georgetown... GAME TIME

Shameless Ripping Off: The Mock Draft

Since KSK shamelessly ripped off what we shamelessly ripped off from Dailykos who shamelessly ripped it off TVguide wait where was I going with this? Oh yes. Revenge. So in conclusion it has been decided we will try the BSD first ever interactive Mock Draft and shamelessly rip of KSK. See this for an example of what I'm talking about

Which beer would you draft?

We all like beer. We know it pretty well. Oh and revenge

How will this work?
Basically this a mock draft like any other mock draft (or for that have done fantasy sports). All you have to do is leave in the comments section (or e-mail me since I know at least everyone has my e-mail address) that you want to take part in the BSD Mock draft. Afterwards Publius will shamelessly and arbitriary create a draft order. The person whose turn it is to select will type up his witty comments on which beer he would select before e-mailing it out to the next person in line (actually come to think of it you can e-mail it out to everyone just remember only the next person in line should be sending out the next e-mail. otherwise its not a mock draft its chaos and we have enough that in the Department of Justice at the moment). In the end we will have a running commentary for beer selections. Depending on the number of people that want in I'm guessing in the end we will around 15-24 selections. Publius will judge when we have reached saturation point for comedic and beer related points before posting the entire thing.

So let me know if you would like to participate and if you have better ideas of how to pull this off without being in a chat room at the same time. (since I'm in a slightly different time zone that lets say Colonel. Or I think I am. Not sure what type of mission he's on at the moment)

Onto Atlanta: Part I

Well the first two prongs of the Atlanta invasion are set. Ohio State and UCLA (pronounced Uck-La for those that don't follow College Basketball) are heading to the Final 4. Somehow there's a huge difference in terms of judging if a team was successful on whether they reached the Elite 8 or the Final 4. Its the equivalent of talking to a hot girl and lets say pulling a Tom Brady. So how did we get here? A question UCLA fan Numero Uno, Bill Walton, probably asks half a dozen times a day (other notable questions Bill Walton asks are 1) Who are You? 2) Did Shaq call today? 3) Are you sure? 4) Is that weed container Michael Vick has for sale 5) Are you really sure Shaq didn't call?)

Ohio State over Memphis
Before the game Joey Dorsey, the man assigned to go to toe to toe with the NBA's number one pick, made a fairly interesting pre-game analysis possibly without the influence of Walton's secret stash. He claimed that Greg Oden was over-rated and he (Dorsey) was the true Goliath. While I'm not a psychologist and typically I get scared of clowns - I can tell you not to do the following things:
1) Don't Piss off Greg Oden
2) Don't stick metal into electrical sockets, especially in England
3) Don't assume Germans get sarcasm, they typically don't. Check with Poland.
4) Don't Piss off Greg Oden
5) Don't assume Bill Simmons can extract head from his ass.

So how did the final line of the game go. Joey Dorsey: 19 minutes 4 fouls, 0 points and 3 rebounds. Greg Oden 24 Minutes 17 points 9 rebounds. What wasn't reflected in the scoring table how big of influence Oden had on the defense. With Oden in there the dribble penetration slowed to a trickle while the OSU execution of its offense soared. Outside of a 8-0 run that Memphis had with Oden on the bench OSU controlled the game. Onto Atlanta for the Buckeyes.

The Big Man threw it down and Walton was happy (John 12: 4)

UCLA over Kansas

Last year's runner up versus last year's choker. Kansas has been on a redemption mission all year. Their crop of super freshman had turned into super sophomores. They had breezed through the bracket so far without a hint of difficulty. However UCLA had their own legacy overcome. In particular history was a bitch for Arron Affalo (who obviously is unaware how to correctly spell his own first name.). Affalo was second fiddle in last year's tournament run to Jordan Farmer (now of the LA known as the Kobe Bryants. apparently they actually put 4 other guys on the court at the same time as Kobe. Who knew?). As such Affalo wanted to prove he to could enter the pantheon of UCLA players that played big in big games. Last night he was up to the challenge, pouring 15 of his 24 points in the second half like salsa on a tasty burrito
(random angery O moment. There is no good Mexican food here. Also apparently the concept of spicy doesn't exist in Europe. I firmly believe that most cultural differences between the US and Europe is there lack of ability to handle jalepenos).
Anyway Kansas never correctly figured out that turning the ball over usually HURTS a teams chances for winning. Without good ball handling skills, and not in the Jenna Jamison way, Kansas couldn't make up the difference. UCLA now can wait in Atlanta, hoping for a rematch with Florida. Remember redemption can be spelled A-R-R-O-N.
If Ron Burgundy can redeem himself maybe so can Arron Affalo

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cheers and Jeers: Snow Blinder Edition

Cheers and Jeers: Snow Blinder Edition


Mixing instructions:

Pour vodka in blender and add ice cream. Blend. Top with lemonade.

Cheers and Jeers is a day late due to vacation. I have returned from the slopes of Colorado (of course it snows the day I leave) and want to report the following: a) it’s beautiful in Colorado... like California with the added business of having fewer Californians b) spring skiing rocks, c) I have my original ligaments

In other news, Kissing Suzy Kolber jacked cheers and jeers last week. One can think of several proportional responses considering they make funny dick jokes. The most appropriate is to jack one of their ideas like the Mock Draft. I propose the first BSD mock draft. We will select top beers… once a beer label has been selected you cannot select another type of beer made by the same label. Order for this draft will be selected in a capricious and arbitrary manner by me.

Get Ready for the BEER DRAFT!!!

Now onto the business of cheering and jeering. Remember, Cheers and Jeers should not be combined with alcohol. If experiencing an erection lasting more than four hours, please consult your doctor (even if your girl thinks this is an improvement).

Cheers: To the first final four teams UCLA and OSU. Cheers to a disorderly remainder of the tournament to avoid the need for a violent blood bath.

Jeers: to my bracket. The death of A+M (damn, hit your layups) and Kansas spells doom. I owe Mighty a 6 pack so get ready to enjoy your Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Jeers: Tony La Russa joins the DWI/DUI fraternity.

Cheers: To the NFL Draft. Get ready Jamarcus, Oakland is calling!! If the Oakland Raiders call, please send them to VM.

Jeers: to players and coaches who cry after losing/winning games. Also please stop thanking Jesus. If Jesus wants you to win, does he want to smite your opponent? Why would Jesus care? Speaking of Jesus, Family Guy does him well.

Here is a quick survey of fun links from around the net.

1) Borat’s deleted scene Sexy Drawn Watch—for those haven’t seen Borat, please do so right away. It’s offensive.

2) Ten terrible music videos with great names such as the Hoff, Milli Vanilli and Shaq. I still hate Shaq.

3) Great Family Guy Intros… enjoy. Check out the last one (Osama and Stewie does naked gun)

Please accept a sexy cheerleader.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Notes from the Periphery: Quick Hit Friday

Well another version of quick thoughts from someone who has no working tv and is currently speaking English at third grade level.

NCAA Tournament:
Last night was just a shining example of why the tournament is the greatest sports event around. Four games, all close, all exciting. I of course watched bits and pieces in state of complete exhaustion given the fact that the Earth apparently is round. Nonetheless a few things picked up:
1) Memphis has one of the most explosive offenses around. Remember the Aggies were one of the best defensive teams going into the tournament if not THE best. When they needed it Memphis ran their offense to perfection.
2) OSU is a deep team. While the emphasis has been on Oden there are number of other great players (Mike Conley Jr. and Lewis stepping up last night). I think Cook will need to step up if OSU is to advance any farther but hey not too shabby
3) UCLA v. Kansas is going to be great. Get those Tivos fired up people

NFL Draft
The big news of the day is Atlanta's trade of Matt Schaub from Atlanta to Houston. This means a) That its Michael Vick or bust for the Falcons and b) Its the end of the David Carr era in Houston. I'm not convinced that Schaub is the real deal and certainly not given the Texans o-line and running game. That said the big question mark hanging out there is where does David Carr go and if that influences the make up of the top 10 draft order. Rumors of the day continue to swirl over the top 3 as suddenly Oakland is considering taking Calvin Johnson and then trading away Randy Moss. Ah the silliest of seasons.....

Just for fun links

Cartoons that are unintentionally hilarious

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

2007 NL Preview

With apologies to all, here is Part I of my 2007 Baseball Preview. It’s coming a tad later than I expected to deliver it but, as usual, life got in the way of my duties as chief baseball correspondent. If it seems skinny in terms of details, that’s because this is merely meant as a rough sketch of how I see the season going down. Since I’ll be covering each team extensively throughout the season, I figure all we need to do is get my picks down on paper.

NL East:

1. Mets. The entire NL is in a state of flux and there is no one dominant team. But the Mets do seem to have the league’s best offense and, in the regular season, it’s all about outscoring your opponents over the long haul. The shortcomings in their starting rotation are well known at this point: the team will be without Pedro Martinez until after the All-Star break, and they’re relying on an unheralded crew of John Maine, Oliver Perez, Chan Ho Park, and rookie prospect Mike Pelfrey to support the elderly-but-effective Tom Glavine and El Duque Hernandez. The Mets other strength lies in their deep bullpen. Although bullpens do tend to be unpredictable, the Mets seem to have assembled a strong corps in front of closer Billy Wagner. Unless the Mets find a way to address their thin rotation, I don’t see them making much noise in the playoffs. But I do think that a lineup-and-bullpen approach can work over 162 games.

2. Phillies. The Phils led the National League in runs scored last year but also gave up the third-most runs in the league. Their offense is in tact, powered by 2006 MVP Ryan Howard and future MVP candidate Chase Utley. Their rotation goes six deep with Brett Myers, Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, Adam Eaton, and John Lieber, but their bullpen will be a problem for them in 2007. I think the Phils will contend and I don’t think the Mets will run away with the division again, but ultimately I think their lack of quality arms in the ‘pen will cut their season short.

3. Braves. The Braves intrigue me this year. They are finally entering the season with an established closer (Bob Wickman) and two capable setup men (Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano). They have their star slugger playing for a big contract extension (Andruw Jones). Despite age and injuries, a starting duo of John Smoltz and Tim Hudson still represent the division’s best top-line arms. Had Atlanta not had that dreadful month of June, when they went 6-21, people forget that the Braves scored the second-most runs in the NL last year. Just like the Phils – who I like better because their lineup has more depth – I think the Braves will be in this race all season long.

4. Marlins. The poor Marlins are dealing with all sorts of problems right now. Josh Johnson (12-7, 3.10) is injured. Taylor Tankersley is injured. Dontrelle Willis is coming off a cruddy season and an even worse off-season. The team miraculously contended last year but I’m not sure they’ll get as lucky this year. Outside of Miguel Cabrera, the lineup doesn’t boast a single player that can’t be pitched to. They do have some exciting young talent, including 2006 Rookie of the Year Hanley Ramirez, but I don’t think they have enough juice to finish much better than a few games under .500.

5. Nationals. Buster Olney reported that the Nationals have a chance to be the worst team in baseball history, eclipsing the 1962 Mets record of 40-120. Suffice it to say that you’ve never heard of half these guys and probably will never hear from them again in a couple of years. Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Cordero, and the always-injured Nick Johnson are about it for this team. It’ll be a long season for the Nats, but at least they’ll have a nice new ballpark to play in next year.

NL Central:

1. Cardinals. It’s a dull and uninspired choice but they do happen to have the game’s best hitter and the league’s second-best pitcher in Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter. They lost nearly their entire rotation, their closer is coming back from surgery, and two-thirds of their starting outfield (Jim Edmonds, Juan Encarnacion) are injured right now so there’s a lot not to like. I think their GM is a dullard with no vision and even less in the way of balls. But in a division as poor as the NL Central, having an MVP candidate and a Cy Young candidate gives them an advantage that most teams don’t have. And Scott Rolen’s no slouch either.

2. Astros. Yes, another dull and uninspired choice. But in a division filled with charity cases, the short-term outlook still favors Houston because of a Berkman-Lee-Ensberg lineup and because an Oswalt-Jennings rotation is still better than most in the division. Their bullpen, despite Lidge’s failures last year, remains stocked with power arms. I don’t see the Astros contending much beyond 2008 if they don’t make some immediate changes in their lineup (really, how much longer can Craig Biggio hold back talents like Chris Burke and Hunter Pence?) but they can still stick around for one last run at October.

T3. Brewers. They were a sleeper pick last year and sucked. They’re a sleeper pick this year and I still think they’re going to suck. But it’s hard to argue with some of their talent on paper. Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks are legitimate All-Star caliber players. Jeff Suppan is a suitable #3 starter behind Ben Sheets and Chris Capuano. Their bench is certainly deep, with guys like Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix adding depth. I think their bullpen is suspect and a young lineup can be too streaky to win consistently enough, but I think that in a division as bad as this, there’s no reason why they can’t be in the conversation until mid-August or early September.

T3. Cubs. The Cubs were downright awful last year, scoring the second-fewest, and giving up the second-most runs in the NL. While they made the biggest splash of the off-season, throwing money at Alfonso Soriano, Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly, and Aramis Ramirez, they still haven’t addressed the needs of their bullpen or, quite frankly, shored up their rotation enough to feel like this is a winning team. I do think that Lou Piniella is the type of manager that can squeeze results out of underqualified teams so I could see the Cubs sneaking up a little higher here but, in the end, they’re still relying on Mark Prior to pitch up to at least league-average standards.

5. Reds. By default, someone has to finish in this spot. The Reds do have some things to like: Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are a decent discount 1-2 punch in the rotation. Adam Dunn is still the best pure power hitter in the division. Brandon Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion can take more positive steps this year towards becoming consistent players. The back end of their rotation is weak, their bullpen is filled with lots of older guys who are injured (Mike Stanton, Eddie Guardado, David Weathers) and, like many others, they don’t have much margin for error. They finished two games under .500 last year and I think they’ll be within that range again this year.

6. Pirates. The Pirates may, one day, get out of the cellar. They’ve certainly drafted enough top pitchers over the past few years (Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny) that they shouldn’t stink this badly. But, as is the problem with a lot of small market teams whose players don’t all pan out, there’s little margin for error here and the Pirates just don’t score enough runs to win on a consistent basis.

NL West:

1. Dodgers. The Dodgers are sort of an old-school NL team. They’re built entirely around pitching and speed and their offense seems to be an afterthought. They signed Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez, neither of which seemed to make much sense at the time. They’re still relying on Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent, although it’s probably safe to say that at 33 and 39 respectively, given their recent injury issues, expectations should be tempered. The Dodgers do have some exciting young players coming up in the form of Russell Martin, James Loney, and Andre Ethier and their bullpen has definite star potential with Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo. I worry about their offense, but I think Jason Schmidt, Derek Lowe, and Brad Penny are enough at the top of the rotation to get them a division title. The big wildcard here is Grady Little. He’s among the worst in-game managers in baseball so you can always count on him to throw a grenade or two and foul everything up.

2. Diamondbacks. I was tempted to put them in the top spot but their offense has the potential to be as suspect as LA’s and they don’t have the benefit of as deep a bullpen. Their rotation has a couple of older guys – Livan Hernandez and Randy Johnson come to mind – but between them, Brandon Webb and Doug Davis, the D-Backs can expect their starters to work deep into games next year. There are lots of young hitters on this team: Chad Tracy, Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, and Stephen Drew. If a few of them can put it together this year, they might sneak up on people a year earlier than folks are predicting.

3. Padres. The Padres are kind of interesting. On the one hand, they have a deep rotation, with Peavy, Professor Maddux, Chris Young, and Boomer Wells pitching to a good defense in a hitter-unfriendly park. They will struggle to score runs (as they did last year) but any team that pitches as well as this team will be in the mix all year long. If nothing else, a rotation like that should prevent any extended losing streaks.

4. Giants. I really don’t like the construction of this team. They have very little in the way of talent on offense, their team is on the older side, and their bullpen might be among the worst in baseball. Swapping out Jason Schmidt for Barry Zito really doesn’t accomplish anything except make them more expensive. Barry Bonds will have a good season but there’s not much else going on here that would give me reason to be optimistic. They’ll make noise in the Wild Card race, but only because the league is lacking in runaway talent. This is the definition of a .500 team.

5. Rockies. I think the Rockies are finally on the right track. They’ve got some real talent that will be coming of age in the next two years and the future is brighter for them than it’s been since Don Baylor took them to the playoffs a decade ago. It’s not their time yet, but they won’t be much worse than a handful of games under .500.

Playoffs & Awards:

Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks (WC)
NL Pennant: Mets

NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Roy Oswalt

Next week – 2007 AL Preview

Monday, March 19, 2007

Because you asked for it

Best worst movie training sequence ever....

Leading Off

1. I have decided to split up my 2007 MLB preview, handicapping the NL this week and continuing up with the AL next week. With 30 teams to go through, splitting it up this way will make it easier on the eyes, that’s for sure.

2. The Texas Longhorns probably soiled several brackets yesterday. And while I’m more than happy to blame them for taking a giant dump on the court, I’m just as happy to take my anger out on USC’s head coach Tim Floyd. Why, you ask? Because I don’t like him; never have. He was such an uninspired choice for the Bulls back in 1998 that I’ve hated him ever since. Although the demands of the job are quite different, guys like Tim Floyd ultimately prove the point of why it’s so much harder to coach in the NBA. Here’s a guy who got nothing – literally nothing – out of his Bulls teams and he gets to land on his feet, run a shady program in the nation’s second-largest market, and takes down a giant to make the Sweet 16. How can this two-bit idiot get away with this? Tim Floyd and his whiny face deserve a good beating. Here’s hoping that the UNC Tarheels beat the crap out of USC.

3. While we’re on the subject of college basketball, I’d just like to say that March Madness is indeed the single-greatest sporting event we have here in the United States. Frankly, I’d argue that it might be the best sporting event on the planet. As much fun as it was to watch the World Cup this past summer, I don’t think it compares to the excitement that a buzzer-beater generates. The frenetic pace of basketball just makes it a better experience overall.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sweet 16 of Single-Digit Seeds

Time to review and preview the March Madness:

Best 1st round Buzzer Beater – The Miami Redhawks’ game-ending half-court heave against Oregon. Of course, the Miami Redhawks needed a 5-pointer, not a 3-pointer, so the heave didn’t win the game. Unfortunately for everyone, this was the only buzzer beater in the 1st round!

Worst Coaching in the 1st Round – Notre Dame – They must have given up approximately 15 backdoor layups. The stranger thing was during Notre Dame’s 20-3 run to take the lead against Winthrop, Winthrop forgot that they could get layups whenever they wanted. Then, Winthrop just started punishing Notre Dame again! I only wish there was a transcript of what was going on during the Notre Dame timeouts, as the coach would try to explain to his players why Winthrop kept getting layups.

Ugliest Game of the 1st Round – Virginia Tech-Illinois. Let’s hope we never see anything like it again, where BOTH teams would go scoreless for 5 minutes at a time.

Craziest Game of the 2nd Round – OSU-Xavier – OSU will keep shooting 3s for better or for worse, even if they are off-balanced, falling out of bounds, and have powder thrown in their eyes by Chong Li from Bloodsport. It must be entertaining to watch if you are a basketball fan and it is certainly is nerve-wracking if you are rooting for OSU. Luckily for OSU, the 3s started falling at the end of the game… and Xavier missed a game-clinching free throw.

#1 Seed Most Likely to Lose in the Sweet 16: Obviously, picking the one most likely to lose is a crapshoot. However, I tend to believe that OSU is in the most precarious position, especially with matchups against Tennessee and possibly Texas A&M. Tennessee may just force lots of turnovers, which almost worked the first time these two teams played, back in January.

Mid-Major Most Likely to Do More Damage: I’ve taken a liking to UNLV, and I really like their matchup with Oregon. Of course, if they have to play Florida in the Elite 8, that’s not a favorable matchup, but there are very few teams who could matchup with Florida.

Most Intriguing Matchup: Pitt-UCLA – UCLA Coach Ben Howland takes on his former team… UCLA seems to be struggling of late to put up some points, and this should be a really good game.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cheers and Jeers: Irish Coffee Edition

Cheers and Jeers: Irish Coffee Edition


Mixing instructions:

Combine whiskey, sugar and coffee in mug and stir to dissolve. Float cold cream gently on top. Do not mix.

Let the Madness begin. This cheers and jeers edition will be short because soon I’ll be skipping out of work and going to watch the noon games. This is what happens when the only employees at work today are under the age of 35.

Cheers: To Walter Cronkite pronouncing Duke Dead. Learn to shot a freaking free-throw and go home. This is why Duke sucks.

When asked about comparing VCU to George Mason, VCU coach Anthony Grant responded: "We're trying to be VCU," said Grant, an assistant on Florida's national championship team last season. "What Mason did last year was great and special. But right now, we're very happy being VCU." Well said Coach. Good luck versus Pitt.

My final four: Kansas, Florida, A+M, and Georgetown

Jeers: No jeering this week. The editor will ask for BSD to submit jeers on haloscan because: a) I’m going on vacation, b) its March madness, c) it’s almost St. Patty’s Day.

Cheers: To the madness and the slopes.

Top 3 links of the week (plus the Duke Sucks rap video)

A) Bikini Contest goes terribly wrong

B) Mock Drafts on KSK: Actions Scenes. Damn I love the Helicopter scene from Apocalypse Now

C) The Top Ten Fat Guys

The single most disturbing link is right here. This may be the most frightening thing since the Hot Karl (rumored to have been first performed by Karl Hungus) guide.

My next door neighbor does not look like this. I’m pissed.