Friday, July 31, 2009

Unbiased reporting

Well, its one hour until the baseball trading deadline passes. Currently, the Indians are rumored to be dealing Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox for a 20 year old can of Shasta and 3 sleeves of Pez. Sounds like Shapiro is really working hard.
Although, I have been seeing many reports coming from Peter Gammons. I can't wait to hear his unbiased and objective opinion on this deal. I'm sure he will be able to look at it from at all angles, when he's not snickering and being giddy. I really feel like he's one step away from being Jimmy Fallon's Bostonian character from SNL. You know, the one who would go on and on how "wicked" every Red Sox player was. I think Jimmy Fallon's character would eventually grow up to be Peter Gammons.
If this deal actually goes down, I am pretty confident that Gammons' reporting will lead to his nomination for this month's FU award.

Charles Bronson's Take on the Steroids Issue

I just got done finishing an article that discusses Bronson Arroyo's view on the steroids issue. He admits to saying that his name is probably on the list (I would assume if he knows his name is on the list). He continues by saying that this was just the culture of sports and that andro made him feel like "he could jump and hit his head on the basketball rim". Now I don't know how tall he is but that is pretty cool that he could hit his head that high up. I could have hit my head on the basketball rim but that was when my friends and I were having a dunk contest on a 6 foot rim. I think this is a good reaction from a player. Just admit that you did it and move on...don't try to hide anything.

PS Bronson Arroyo is 6'4 so if he couldn't hit his head on the rim that would be pretty pathetic. He is also 194 so he needed to take something to bulk him up.

Cheers and Jeers: Soul Taker Edition


There are just some weeks were the bad news just piles on. The Indians being turned into the AL version of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lamar Odom returning to the Lakers thus making them the overwhelming favorites to repeat. Brett Favre hedging his retirement. Steriods on the Red Sox (oh shocker). Simply put, every time I turned on the tv something depressing or something I had no desire to see turned up. While Laz might find the silver lining in this week's news report I personallydon't see anything good about anything here. Nonetheless it's incumbent on C&J to return to action and recap the week that was....

Cheers: To Matt Stafford's harem. Now there's a man that knew how to take college football popularity and turn it into something useful. Why does nobody applaud this versus Tebow's weird and suspicious "purity" pledge. I have no doubt Tebow will be found hanging with Larry Craig wearing 2 scuba suits and a ball gag while Stafford will be married with 1-2 misstresses as is perfectly normal.

Cheers: Wikipedia's entry on Larry Dolan. "“Neither he, nor his nephew, know how to run a professional sports team properly, and should both sell them before its too late." It's on the internet so it has to be true.

"The post-game show is brought to you by … Christ. I can't find it. To hell with it."

Jeers: To Hawaii coach Greg McMackin gay slur . There's really no excuse. He should be fired. Out of a Cannon

Jeers: To Jay Mariotti - who makes children cry and grown men angry. Why is he allowed on tv again?
Jay Marriotti, representing the douchebag interest group?

And the C&J gal of the week Lady Leanne - who got tired after going for a hike with me. Meh. It happens....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Silver lining

As another Cleveland Indians season falls by the wayside into a giant tub of my tears, my hopes, and half eaten hotdogs (i.e. Cliff Lee trade and general craptacular level of play all season), I am somewhat hopeful as I receive news that the NBA season starts 90 days from right now. That's right, only 3 months until the first tip-off. I think it is fair to say that the Browns will have already bowed out of any chances for greatness by then (that's right after week 7, so they will probably be 2-5 at that point). So, get the Varajeo wigs and fireworks ready, only 90 days of sadness left.

Better Know a Conference: Pac 10

As crazy as it sounds football is right around the corner. Yeah. It's true. So over the next few weeks I'll be profiling various College, Pro, and Amateur Football conferences to get everyone caught up to speed. Or waste time. One or the other. Anyway without further ado Part 1 of Better Know a Conference.

The Pac 10 gets the first treatment as its predictable. USC will win the conference for the 8th straight time. Alongside the sun rising, people complaining about taxes, and Sean Hannity being a dick USC ranks up with the modicoms of consistency in the aughts (00s? this decade?). So here's my predicted ranking, whys, and other fun facts

1. USC - Yes USC lost a ton (18 players) but as Pete Carroll keeps spare clones of QBs around Aaron Corp or even uber heralded freshman Matt Barkley coupled with a veteran o-line and Taylor Mays should keep USC humming along. Little known fact USC outscored opponents 94-7 in the 3rd quarter last year.

2. California - The perenial 2nd place team in the Pac 10. This year they have Pac 10's heisman standard beared in Jahvid Best alongside a good D. They're missing a good QB . Little known fact: Quarterbacks are helpful in winning games.

3. Oregon - Last year Oregon surprised everyone when the whooped up on the Big 12 and Ok State. Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly takes over with rising star Jeremiah Masoli trying to compensate for losing the entire o-line. Little Known Fact: Chip is still considered an acceptable first name in Oregon

4. UCLA - Last year UCLA had an up and down year. And by up and down mainly down. Without a QB with knee ligments Norm Chow's offense couldn't get going and Rick Neuheisil hadn't had time to commit recruiting violations. But its year 2 and better things are coming to LA. Little known fact: as part of the Govenators budget cuts UCLA will play without helmets this year.

5. Oregon State - Oregon State won the annual which Pac 10 will USC choke against contest last year behind Jacquizz Rodgers. However turnover on defense might hinder them. I mean it was a defense that gave up 65 to Oregon last year but that's what the previews are telling me. Little known fact Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state. In fact nobody even knows where Oregon State University is.

6. Arizona
7. Arizona State
8. Stanford
9. Washington
10. Washington State

The bottom half of the Pac 10 is too inscruptible to write about. Arizona has the potential to compete for the top half of the Pac 10 but have been so inconsistent that I refuse to respect them. ASU face planted after last year's surprise and still are missing a QB. Stanford can go eat a dick (it knows what it did) and Washington and Washington State were a combined 1-3590 last year which wasn't even statistically possible but yet they achieved it. So that's the Pac 10.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy 5th Anniversary to the "Back Seat Drivers!"

I forgot to write an Anniversary article for BSD last year, but wrote one in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

First, I just wanted to thank Mighty Mike again for coming up with the idea and approaching me about starting this back in the fall of 2004, when I wasn't even entirely sure what a blog was.

Second, I wanted to thank everyone who has ever contributed an article. This includes (in approximate order of earliest appearance):
Hitman, MJ, Beth, B. Hutchens (formerly known as Colonel Sanders), Publius, Jon, The Sandwich, Laz, Hoosierfan, and Nat McCarron.

Some of my other favorite moments/articles of the past 5 years include:
1) First, there was the Beer Draft (Rounds 1 and 2 and Round 3 and Rounds 4 and 5) and then there was the sensational Wrestling Draft (Rounds 1 and 2 and Rounds 3 and 4 and then there was one possible Survivor Series involving all the teams selected in the Wrestling Draft)
2) A Mighty Mike Post: Rams come from behind victory over Seattle
3) A Fictional Gutsy Goldberg Post: Q & A with Isiah Thomas
4) A Publius Series: Charlie Weis is fat… really fat! And Charlie Weis is Pizza the Hut!
5) MJ & Gutsy Goldberg debate: Tiger Woods vs. Roger Federer
6) Hitman's Series: Shut Your Piehole!
7) A Laz Post: Is Sam Cassell Kif from Futurama?
8) A Gutsy Goldberg Series: Meeting the NFL Rookie Coaching Classes
9) A Mighty Mike Series: Cheers and Jeers... and in later years, Cheers, Jeers, and Scantily Clad Women. Here's one I picked out randomly, that I like.
10) The relatively complete history of Cobra Commander (aka Brian Billick)

I'm sure there are many great articles that I've skipped, but these were the ones I found by clicking through the archives. Feel free to comment on some of your other favorite articles of course.

In terms of BSD, it's been a fantastic 5 years, and I can only hope the fun continues as we head off into the future. "The blog", as I refer to this one, is one of my favorite outlets each day to read and is one of my favorite activities each week when I sit down and attempt to write an article. Thank you to everyone for helping contribute to BSD and making it into the success that it has become!

What is that?

As you may have seen, there are rumors that the Tribe is working on a deal with the Phillies to trade Cliff Lee.

While the substance of this story is intriguing and alarming as a Cleveland fan, i was most taken aback by the first sentence in the 5th paragraph, which states: "However, a source familiar with the Indians' thinking denied ......"
What the hell is that? What does that mean? A source familiar with the teams' thinking?
If anyone can explain to me how someone gets that role, or what that is, I will pay for your first round of llama-caddie-golf. Speaking of which:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy Birthday MJ!

Happy birthday to MJ. Thank facebook for telling me this juicy piece of information. And what a better way to celebrate a BackSeatDriver birthday: with a cartoon character mocking the birthday boy's favorite team! Or how about this:

Classic Simmons

For those that haven't perused ESPN today, Bill Simmons has posted his 2 part NBA off-season recap . The articles combined to frankly combine into an archtype Simmons piece - all his foibles and annoying traits combined with better qualities. There's the obsequious name-dropping, the stream of consciousness such that ideas touted in paragraph 2 are refuted in paragraph 4, the aging cultural references and of course the never ending homerism (Celtics as clear Eastern favorites? Lebron to the Clippers? The Clippers?)

However it does have Simmons better qualities...calling obviously stupid moves stupid. Joe Dumars, gets taken to task for his overpaying and Memphis is called out for being umm Memphis. Simmons also has nuggets hidden away that makes you think. Within in it Simmons alludes that frankly the idea that the best teams in the league got better is at best overstated and at worse completely false. The Lakers signed a mercurial and aging player (Artest) and will be worse for it. Boston signed a mercurial and aging player (Wallace) and will be worse. Shaq as positive force will hit the reality of Shaq as WWE superstar and the Cavs will be worse for it. Orlando took their unique style of play and transformed themselves into a regular line up. Basically everyone but San Antonio among the elite are no better if not worse for their free agency follies. True or not I'm uncertain but at least an interesting/debatable point. Which I suppose is why readers continue to follow Simmons despite his faults (Lebron to Clippers?)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Big 10 Preseason Predictions

Well its media day in Big 10 football country. However before the event got started the Big 10 released the predictions by media members . Drum Roll.....and the preseason predictions are Ohio State finishes first followed by Penn State and Michigan State. Offensive player of the year is predicted to be Terrelle Pryor and defensive player of the year Greg Jones (LB for MSU). I'll be a little surprised if Penn State or OSU don't win the Big 10 although before my official projections I think MSU, Iowa, and Illinois have some potential to win the conference. That said I'm a little surprised that Pryor got the nod over established players like Clark (PSU) or Benn (Illinois). Well Pryor oozes athletic talent given the new o-line, WRs and RBs, coupled with expected growing pains I'm not sure how much is hype versus substance in this projection...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Musings: Missing Tales, The ACC and Random

Upon reflecting on the week I noticed that the buzz over the accusations against Ben Roethlisberger where less than one would expect over a Super Bowl winning QB. Fortunately I was not alone as a number of outlets (for example here) noted that in particular ESPN was fairly low key on the matter. Whether its who Roethlisberger is, or his connections to soon to be released tv shows, his status as QB (rather than receiver) or his race the overall seriousness of the charges versus the coverage seemed way under (certainly relative to the Spurrior v. SEC fandom pissing contest over Tebow's universal acclaim) to what we've come to expect on celebrities and the law. While I'm loathe to decipher exactly why Roethlisberger gets the velvet glove its hard not to see that for whatever reason Roethlisberger has gotten a free pass

College Football and The ACC
I think (and its a bit early for predictions) that the media is looking for the ACC story. The Big 10 sucks has been played out and while the Tebow/SEC hype machine I'm sure will beyond bearable there's still at least 2% of the time to fill with non-SEC stories. In this gaping chasm the story line could go something like the ACC is now an elite football conference. G-Tech, Miami, North Carolina are all expected to be up and comers and V-Tech has the potential to be a mythical national championship contender. More importantly the ACC is involved in 3 of the biggest non-conference games (V-Tech v. Alabama, Nebraska at V-Tech, and Miami v. Oklahoma). While I actually don't think the ACC will fully break through (i.e., my prediction) if there are upsets look for the ACC is Back or ACC has arrived meme to be ubiquitous.

Other Randomness
As crazy as it sounds it's almost NFL training camp season. Training Camp is the time of year where fans get excited about a teams potential, NFL junkies get excited about the last few roster cuts and backup rookies, and NFL teams get excited that they can steal money via things called exhibitions games. Here's a few things I'll have an eye on this exhibition season: Brady's knee, the Browns' QB competition (again), Eagles Defense (sans Jim Johnson), The Rookie QBs (Sanchez, Stafford, and Freeman), Ocho Cinco hanging with Carson Palmer, injuries. What do you got?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Entire Universe Wishes To Apologize To Tim Tebow For Hurting His Feelings

Really briefly, because it's 8:45 on a Saturday and I just woke up and turned on SportsCenter...

Why is it a big deal that Tim Tebow wasn't a unanimous all-SEC selection? While I agree that he's the best QB in the conference, I don't see why this story is such a big deal or why Ole Ball Coach Spurrier feels the need to apologize on behalf of his program for being the lone SEC team to not vote for Tebow. Is it the biggest crime in the world that Tebow didn't get all the ballots? Is he going to cry?

Fuck that. Was I sleeping when Congress passed a law that said that Tebow must get his ass kissed and his dick sucked at the same time?

Tebow - go fuck yourself.

Friday, July 24, 2009

According to the Latest Poll

Ozzie Guillen can continue to go fuck himself.

Anyway as a quick editorial decision I've limited the voting to 4 wonderful contestants. I'm sure there will be more opportunities for other applicants for this prestigious award. And remember to go tell your friends, neighbors, family pets to vote.

Peter Gammons: Moron

Its been ages since I ripped on Peter Gammons so I may as well break the dry spell by sharing a direct quote from Mr. Gammons on this morning’s “Mike & Mike In The Morning” show:

“The White Sox have become a national team. They’re as national as any team other than the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs.”

What? What does that even mean? First of all, the White Sox are absolutely not a national team. How do I know? Here in New York, no one thinks about the White Sox, nobody cares about the White Sox and nobody talks about the White Sox. If they’re not talked about in New York then, by definition, they’re not a national team.

Secondly, Gammons’s sentence doesn’t even make sense. He’s creating degrees of “national-ness”, with the Yanks/Red Sox/Cubs as the most national and then placing the White Sox right below them. But what other teams are “as national” as the White Sox, other than the aforementioned three? What the hell is this idiot talking about?

The only reason the White Sox get any national attention is because their manager is one of the most bigoted and self-involved figures in all of professional sports. Beyond the negative attention that Ozzie Guillen attracts to the team, nobody pays attention to the other baseball team from Chicago.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ed O'Bannon is Back!

I found this story very captivating. Simply put, Ed O'Bannon (star of the 1995 UCLA Bruins) has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for "use of former student athletes' images in DVDs, video games, photographs, apparel and other material."

Sports Illustrated has a great commentary on this story by a Vermont law professor, Michael McCann. There are a few interesting points here:

1) O'Bannon's lawsuit is on behalf of FORMER players... AND also seeks an injunction on licensing for current players. Also, O'Bannon's lawsuit is focused on only giving out the compensation after the player has completed school (to avoid the 500 lb. gorilla of paying student-athletes).
My biased opinion: That injunction will never be granted in my biased opinion. I do think it's smart to avoid having student-athletes get paid until after they complete/leave school.

2) O'Bannon's case is based on antitrust violations, based in part on the fact that all student-athletes sign "their likenesses away in perpetuity to the NCAA."
My biased opinion: There's a big difference between airing games on ESPN classic and having likenesses in video games. In regards to ESPN Classic, I actually don't think the players should get any money for those replays, as its a fixed replay of a performance protected under copyright laws. In contrast, having likenesses in video games could be a really strong claim for O'Bannon, as you are talking about creating NEW products. Granted, I haven't played an ncaa football/basketball game in a long time though but if i'm not mistaken, EA sports only lets you play with certain jersey numbers, not names. So is that a likeness? That will be fun for them to debate in court! Then again, it appears that a District Court case in San Francisco has dealt with a similar issue: should retired NFL Players get compensation for their likenesses, even if their likenesses are "scrambled?" The NFL lost that case - needing to pay approximately $13,000 to each retired player for a total of $28 million. Ouch. In that case, the faces, jersey numbers, and names did not match, but other specs (i.e. height, weight, experience) were able to be used to identify the players.

3) The commentary by the law professor foresees a focus on the fact that students aren't in any kind of equal bargaining position... and that they should be able to seek "access to legal counsel."
My biased opinion: This is a tricky issue... and it really opens up a can of worms that the NCAA certainly will not want to open. I'm already imagining things: like if Football "signing day" involved each student-athlete having a lawyer that wanted to play two schools against each other for the best deal. Yowsers.

July FU Awards

Well the month is nearly coming to an end so as FU coordinator I'm soliciting nominees for the FU award for the month of July. Remember it has to be something someone did in the month of July rather than general douchebaggery. Consider this an open rant thread....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Musings On the Slow Week

Well the week of the Baseball All-Star games is always one of the slowest if not THE slowest weeks of the year. I'm sure I've said it before and I'll probably say it again. Nonetheless here's a few random musings to consider

Lamar Odom
Without a doubt the biggest free agent remaining. With Lamar Odom the Lakers are the prohibitive favorites to win it all (again). Without Lamar and the Lakers seem much more vulnerable (frankly short of Artest unleashing bubonic plague on Kobe I'm not sure if they can stopped next year with Odom). Odom is debating a return to Miami are full speed ahead in an attempt to put themselves back in the East contention and placate D-Wade (hey why should Lebron get all the 2010 talk). This week should all but finish the off-season.

The most interesting event of the week happened to be in the British Open. Tom Watson oh so tantalizing close at age 79 almost win and Tiger Woods not making the cut. I suppose we've gotten so used to Woods wining everything that not making the cut fairly unfathomable. I'm of mind of waiting till the next major before pontificating on subjects that I personally suck at. I never saw Watson win or even really remember him play so the emotional connection wasn't quite there. Perhaps one of the really old members of the blog would like to comment on that.

Matt Cassel
One of the intriguing questions I think over the next few years is how the front office of New England does without Scott Pioli relative to how Scott Pioli does in KC. How much of New England's success was pure Belichek versus a super GM that got all the right players. Well Pioli with a 28 million signing bonus has cast his lot in with one time backup Matt Cassel. Cassel certainly has a solid if not great year in Patriots land but there's a long list of second string QBs that had semi-decent outings, got big money and then flopped horrifically (oh Scott Mitchell). Thoughts on Cassel's chances? The wisdom to flop down the money before a down is played in KC?

Wienermobile Destroys Dreams
Apparently an (the?) Oscar Mayer Weinermobile accidently destroyed a house. I really don't think I need to say anything more than that...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cricket in the USA!!!

Very important news to share with everyone:


It has actually been my dream for some time to watch a cricket match (or at least a portion of one). Have no fear though - the cricket coming to America is the kind that only takes about "3.5 hours per game," not several days. I'm not saying I'm going to continue watching cricket, I just want to watch one match and then decide.

Comparing NCAA Teams to Nominated Oscar Films

I just recalled that my friend "Nat McCarron" had sent me article ideas in the past year... and I found one from February that needs (i.e. "needed") to be published. No joke. It's 5 months late, but it still works. Plus, I can add some commentary since the tournament and the Oscars have taken place since the article was written. For those who don't remember, "Nat MacCarron" is a Super-Indiana Hoosier-fan. She wrote an article last year on All-Star NBA Players she would take on in a fight.

ACC - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Overhyped studio pic with overhyped actors and schmaltzy storyline that has no legitimate chance of winning the Oscar in light of other nominated features but stands out because it wins the box office returns portion of the competition.
UCLA - Frost/Nixon
Nixon plays the zone defense in this political thriller. Frost tries to penetrate over and over again and is constantly rejected at every turn. In the end, Frost finally breaks through that killer 1-3-1 defense and makes Nixon look like a fool.
Minnesota and Tubby Smith - Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Grizzled old hack gets another chance at real life and profession - fucks up real life and rocks it out in professional life. Discovers the only life that's ever been real has been the professional one - goes out with a bang. [Gutsy's Note: The Minnesota Golden Gophers ended up making the tournament and losing by 14 to Texas in the 1st round]
Butler - Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Such an underdog in this category, you really want to see him win. It's not everyday you see a former Brat-packer playing an Aussie method actor who undergoes experimental pigmentation surgery to play the part of a Black man in a Vietnam film - and he pulls it off! But it's too much to expect him to win this award - especially in a field where Heath Ledger is the likely winner for "The Dark Knight." [Gutsy's Note: Nat wrote this in February BEFORE the Oscars announced that Heath Ledger would win. Yeah.]
UConn - Meryl Streep, Doubt
Always a classic, Streep gives another incredible performance knocking her total nomination count to 15. She won't win this year though - it'll likely go to favorite Kate Winslet or sleeper Melissa Leo. [Gutsy's Note: UConn did go to the Final 4 - and lost to hometown team Michigan State. Kate Winslet (UNC) did indeed win best actress as predicted.]
Indiana - Slumdog Millionaire
Kid gets the short end of the stick and his own family screws him over again and again but comes out on top in the end. (I can dare to dream, right?) [Gutsy's Note: I think I'll spare all the Hoosier fans out there and not speak of their horrific season]


For those that remember the early years of the blog (we ran on steam power back then) Dan Shanoff was one of the prime whipping boys. Well Shanoff has moved on from the pages of ESPN, to becoming a popular blogger to now with the Sporting News. However deciding that he once again wants to become a target of hate mail Shanoff has unveilled possibly the monstrous thing yet invented in the 21st century....The Tim Tebow Blog an entire blog dedicated to Tim Tebow. One can only hope its a sign of the apocalypse as I'm uncertain if I want to live in this horrifying new world....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Reason to Root for Ichiro

How many major leaguers of any era would even think to do this?

Baseball is a game built on its statistical records and the legacy of its heroes - arguably more than any other American sport. This is one reason why we get so excited when legends like Bob Gibson and Stan Musial show up at an All-Star Game.

That Ichiro would go out of his way like this - to visit the grave of one of baseball's greatest and forgotten stars - shows that he understands the power of this game and its history. I love it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Great All-Star Game Memories

I was wondering if anyone else had any great all-star game memories. While I will never forget Bo Jackson's monstorous home run in the 1989 all-star game to lead off the game, it wasn't my favorite. My favorite was the 1997 all-star game in cleveland. I was there, sitting in the bleachers with my family. As most of you know, 1997 was the magical season for the Indians, where everything came together, except for one inning October, but I won't dwell on that.
Anyway, it was an amazing game, highlighted by Sandy Alomar Jr's 2-run homer in the seventh inning off Shawn Estes. The AL wow 3-1, and Alomar won the MVP. He was the first player to win the MVP in his home park.
The starting pitchers were Maddux and Randy Johnson, and also featured Roger Clemens, Pedro, Schilling, and Mariano Rivera.
This was also the game where Larry Walker stepped up against Randy Johnson. The first pitch sailed high over Walker's head, and he then, stepped out, turned his helmet around, then stepped back up to the plate right handed even though he normally bats lefty.
Anyone else got a good one.

Questions about Turkuglu

How good was Turkuglu for the Magic last year and how much should he have been worth. The Orlando Magic by signing Gortat, Bass and bringing in Vince Carter have publicly noted that they didn't think Turkuglu was worth the 10 million a year. The question as to how good he is/was, is one for the rest of the league. The Magic now return basically their team with an upgrade at point guard (Nelson returning over Alston) and backup PF (Bass over Battie). The question for the Magic is one of Turkuglu versus Carter. Does the drop off which I think conventional wisdom exist? What do the numbers say?

Player A averaged 16.8 points on 41% FG (including 34% from 3) 4.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists
Player B averaged 20.8 points on 44% FG (including 37% from 3) 5.1 rebounds and and 4.7 assists

Ok Player B seems better but maybe A is more efficient. Nope. Hollinger's PER and True shooting (combination of FG and free throw) both favor Player B. Suffice to say Player B is obviously Vince Carter. Now the question on Carter is always of ball hogging which is true... usage rate for Carter was 26.8% while Turkuglu's was 22% (and that was one of lower levels in Carter's career). However what the stats do show is that Turkuglu even in the playoffs, was not key to Orlando's success (in the playoff's Turkuglu's win share was 4th behind Petraeus). In essence if Carter only slightly cuts back on his usage Orlando is better off. Now it is possible that Orlando will have a problem as Nelson takes more shots than Alston (so your asking Carter to definitely cut back his shooting and pass more come playoff time) but at the same time given how much better Nelson is at passing than what Alston provided there's the come back that Carter does not need to produce the assists that Turkuglu provided.

What this long winded discussion is that the stats support Orlando in that Turkuglu was over-hyped by his playoff performance and probably not worth the money. Secondly, after thinking about it, Orlando has the capacity to be much improved given Carter's effeciency advantages over Turkuglu assuming Carter can only slightly cut back on shots. In essence Orlando should be the favorite to win the East

Midsummer Classic

I wish I could have some deep thought about the baseball all-star game and the extent to which the AL dominance is random versus systematic but instead I decided to post a picture of Nick Swisher getting ready for College Football season with a near perfect O-H-I-O (h/t MOSG)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Musings: Win Now and Other Ramblings.....

Deep Thoughts with Mr. Iguodala and Mark Price: Hopefully Coming to HBO

Win Now
: While NBA can be divided many ways - The Haves and The Have Nots, The Spenders and The Savers, The Win Nows and the Win Laters but this year its become fairly clear that these cleavages have aligned themselves perfectly. If you are already on top go for broke next year, if your not close no need to improve...just wait awhile. Yes Detroit seems to be the odd exception but its becoming clearer by the day that Detroit isn't fully conscious. The Mavs double downed on age and experience by roping in Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion. The Spurs sign the AARP card holder Antonio McDyess. The Lakers opted for Ron Artest. Celtics for Rasheed Wallace. Not to bad mouth any of these players but the upside (let alone long term value) is certainly questionable. Jason Kidd had a good year last year but expecting 3 more good years of 36 year old is hardly a sane idea. It only makes sense in the win now mind set. I'm uncertain if that will continue on after the uncertanity of the looming free agencyapalooza, CBA renegotiation, economy stabilization is made clear but next year the race for who is a contender could be over by November.

More Big 10 Blues: Piling onto the why the Big 10 has struggled since 2002 is this piece out Missouri on the recruiting woes of the Big its ranked dead last among the Big 5 over the past 7 years.

Looming Labor Battles: The NBA isn't the only major sports league that seems to be facing looming labor battles. The NFL appears to be headed towards brutal negotiations 2010-2011 if not a lockout. Labor negotiations almost always go down to the last minute but shrinking monetary pies probably mean this round will be more intense.

UFC: As a living underground fighter legend I was surprised when the UFC got the Bristol Red Treatment (i.e., when ESPN tells the little people what they should do ad watch)of hyping the ultimate fighting pay per view. At well over 1.25 million buys mixed martial arts is hardly fringe anymore and quickly positioning itself among the second tier of sports. I'm never certain exactly how to gauge a sports' popularity relative to others (revenue? attendance? nielson ratings?) but its apparent that ultimate fighting is at least moving to the NASCAR will it become mainstream level of several years back.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's Been a Bad Week for LeBron, but a Good Week for Point Guards Over the Age of 30

To say it's been a bad week for LeBron is an understatement. Check out happenings from the last 7 days:

1) Personal recruiting trip to convince Ron Artest did not succeed
2) Personal recruitiing trip to convince Trevor Ariza did not succeed
3) Ariza started a public relations disaster for LeBron, where Ariza alleged that LeBron said he would stay in Cleveland past 2010. Rather than LeBron just sit tight, he had it leaked that that is NOT what he said. I interpret that as meaning that he is not necessarily staying in Cleveland nor not necessarily leaving Cleveland. Whatever interpretation the public is supposed to have, I'm sure that public relations games with regards to his future were not on his list of things-to-do for the week.
4) Cavs assistant coach Jon Kuester, who called offensive plays during the season, left the team. The team now needs a new offensive coordinator, because the head coach (Mike Brown) is incapable of calling offensive plays for some reason.
5) To top it all off... he got dunked on at a camp by a sophomore from Xavier named Jordan Crawford... which prompted Nike to obtain all of the videos to ensure that no one ever sees LeBron getting dunked on. This just proves that LeBron is sensitive. Who knew?

You know who's having a good week?

1) Oguchi Onyewu - The huge 6'4" US Soccer defender signed a 3-year deal with AC Milan, becoming only the 2nd US player EVER, after Alexi Lalas, to play in Serie A, (the top league in Italy). Congrats!

2) Chad Ocho Cinco - Is planning to Tweet DURING each NFL game. I really could care less about Twitter, but I love how Ocho Cinco is always causing trouble for the uber-conservative NFL. Predictably, the NFL is not signing off on the plan, and I'm sure they will have a Twitter policy during the season, or at least fine Ocho Cinco repeatedly. I think Ocho Cinco should just skip the Twitter and move right into just using a mini-web-cam and microphone to broadcast his own color commentary on each game... as he plays.

3) Two Point Guards over the age of 30 - 31-year old Mike Bibby & 36-year old Jason Kidd - with very little NBA free agency dollars available this summer for free agents, Bibby somehow convinced the Hawks to re-sign him for 3 years, $18 million, and Kidd somehow convinced the Mavs to re-sign him for 3 years, $25 million. Congrats to them I suppose. I still can't believe a) how much money they received, and b) how they were able to get 3 years each. Did either of their GMs even watch them last season??? This does make it a bad week for some of the other free agents... like PG Andre Miller. The strange thing is, 33-year old Andre Miller posted an 18.71 PER (efficiency rating) on Hollinger's stats, compared to only a 16.95 and a 16.05 PER for Kidd and Bibby respectively. Miller also was more successful on Roland Rating with a 4.3, compared to Kidd's 4.1, and Bibby's atrocious 0.0 (due to his terrible defensive skills). The point is, while Miller may not be as famous as the other two over-30 point guards, I'm completely surprised at how much the other two point guards are getting... and how Miller will be getting very little.

4) MJ & Gutsy Goldberg - For debating Tiger Woods vs. Roger Federer one year before Sports Illustrated did. Granted, Sports Illustrated calls it "the impossible debate." Either way, MJ & Gutsy Goldberg deserve credit for beating SI by one year on the story.

Missing Pitcher

Every season there is a story about a major league pitcher who is having a rough year, who somehow goes missing. This year's winner: Bartolo Colon.

Guess no one in the White Sox organization can find him and he's supposed to make a rehab start tomorrow.
Also, espn has Colon's weight listed at 245 pounds. Yeah right.
The best part about this story is the amount of jokes that can be made, like:
1. Did anyone check the nearest white castle
2. Maybe he's fallen and can't get up
3. It was just fourth of july, did anyone check to see if he's still at Coney Island for the hot dog eating contest
4. Did anyone check the nearest Arby's?
5. Maybe he's hiding behind CC Sabathia, and barely covered.
6. The rehab start was supposed to be in Charlotte, maybe he got an early start by trying out some southern fried cooking
7. Did anyone check the nearest Wendy's?

Wednesday Musings

A few years ago Joe Dumars' reputation was pretty high. He had engineered trades that resulted assembling a championship team without superstars...nearly an impossible feat in the NBA. However this offseason I can't think of any GM that seems more overwhelmed and frankly struggling. Signing two players two huge contracts that don't seem to augment any of the current parts on the team. In addition he had a last minute firing of an inexperienced coach. Or at least that was the stated reason. Detroit needed a more veteran hand at the wheel. So to rectify this yesterday hired an inexperienced coach (Jim Kuester). Really? Not only was this bald face turn around from last week's demand for experiece but it's pretty obvious they didn't hire Avery Johnson over money. While the move hurts the Cavs as Kuester was a key cog in improving the offense, its becoming abudently clear that between the ownership and the management the Pistons seem intent on running aground.

Celtics Gain Rasheed: I'm not entirely sure what to make out of the Rasheed signing. Its probably an upgrade over Glen Davis at least for the short term. Jump shooting big men can quickly go down and its unclear how much Rasheed has left in the tank but Davis was an over-rated player to begin with. Are the Celtics better than last year? I'd venture a yes but their championship hopes rest on KG's gimpy knee (and surprise surprise news about KG recovery is quiet)

USC Factory Once again USC gets the all-american blessing as 8 of its players were on the preseason watch list including Aaron Corp, who still isn't entirely secure in his starting job. The hype and dominance of USC unfortunately seems to continue as their ability to win the Pac 10/Rose Bowl goes on and on as does their petutance for crapping the bed once a year. Will this be year they finally get to face the SEC in the mythical BCS championship or would that result in Herbstreit's heart exploding with joy?

It's Unclear what will be the best strategy to handle the Bristol Red coverage of Favre's inevitable return. Not turning on the news? Wearing specially designed goggles that keep favre out of your optical reciptors? Drinking binge?

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Word on Steve McNair

A lot has been written and said over the past few days about the tragic death of Steve McNair. I'll add simply that he was, potentially, a trendsetter: there was such controversy when he was drafted so highly out of a D1A school, and a historically black college as well. Yet McNair ultimately proved that he was worth such a high pick, as his career overall was stellar. He won't go down as one of the best quarterbacks in history, but he certainly had many on-field accomplishments to be proud of, and by all accounts was a leader and a winner who made his teams better.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Rockets and Lakers Swap Small Forwards

Day 2 of NBA Free Agency came with a basic exchange with Trevor Arizia going to Houston (5 year 33 million) while Artest returned the favor and is going to the Lakers for (3 years and 18 million). Here's my quick breakdown

LA Lakers
The question for the Lakers is Artest actually better for their system and given their players? Similiar to Orlando's acquisition of Vince Carter unless Artest changes his play its probably a negative. As noted here Artest has a history of hogging the ball (he used 24% of Houston's positions relative to Arizia's 16.7%) and being less effecient than Ariza. What that means is that offensively Artest, at best will be less effective than Ariza at scoring and at worst take shots away from the far more effective Kobe/Gasol combo. Now this leaves out the question of Artest's defense relative to Ariza's but it seems that Artest doesn't add that much and when you factor in potential off-court antics could be downgrade.

There's two ways to think of Houston's signing. One is signing a player that flourished in the playoffs and at 24 coming into his own. On the other you are signing a player that averaged less than 9 points a game and had inconsistencies in his 3 point shooting for most of the season for over 30 million dollars and 6 years. Houston's managment runs the stats better than anyone so perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt but the MJ question of over paying now especially given 2010 seems to apply

The Cavs are included only as they are clearly in the market for a SF and had targetted both of their players. Its unclear if the Cavs simply lost out on the free agents despite their best efforts or are trying to improve the team with the limitations of 2010 in mind. Whatever the case this is the third player (CV) the Cavs have targetted and the pressure on the Cavs and Danny Ferry will mount to do something. I'm curious also how this effects negotiations with Anderson Varajao. On the one hand the Cavs appear to be in a bind to resign AV however the market for players at let alone above the mid-level exception is quickly shrinking.....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

NBA Free Agency 2009: Day One

As said by Laz last night, it was the NBA's Christmas Eve, and it looks like Christmas day has brought Ben Gordon and Charlie Villaneuva to Detroit. My initial thoughts on this:

1) Pistons GM Joe Dumars has lost his way. 5 years, $55 million for Ben Gordon? Which rock has Joe Dumars been hiding under? Did he not know that no one else was bidding? Did he not know that most of the teams are hurting financially?
2) Pistons GM Joe Dumars has lost his way. Bringing in one defensive liability is one thing, but I don't ever recall a team succeeding in rebuilding by bringing in TWO players that are known as defensive liabilities (PF Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon). Good luck with that.

Story #2 is comical. However, it will make you puke in your mouth if you are a Memphis Grizzlies fan. The Grizzlies have traded the expiring $9 million contract of Quentin Richardson for the 2-year, $33 million contract of Zach Randolph. My initial thoughts:

1) The Grizzlies just took themselves out of the free agency market in 2009. Actually, they still have another $15 million in space, but I doubt they use it. Unless of course, the GM can find another international 7-footer. Last year, he had Darko, Marc Gasol, and Hamed Haddadi (Iran). This year, he swaps out Darko for Hasheem Thabeet. I really don't understand what the point of his fascination with collecting the most amount of foreign 7-footers is. Maybe they'll sign Gortat, he's also an international.
2) The Grizzlies just doubled their payroll in 2010 from $17 million to $34 million. That still leaves about $26 million in cap space. However, OJ Mayo, and Mike Conley have team options that need to be picked up (totaling $10 mill) and Rudy Gay is a free agent. Let's say another $10 mill. Oops. There goes free agency 2010. And why?!? To add Zach Randolph. I can't believe this happened.
3) I can't come up with even one reason why the Grizzlies did this. Yes, this is the same GM who engineered what I called the "greatest offseason" in 2007. A few short months later, he traded Pau Gasol for less than market value. In addition, after giving up a 1st round pick to acquire Juan Carlos Navarro... he let him go back to Europe after just one season. I'd say that it has been a pretty horrendous 18 months! I'm going to assume most 14-year olds would have made better decisions.

The BSD American League All-Star Roster

As this blog’s resident American League columnist, I hereby present to you the unofficial Official Back Seat Drivers American League All-Star Roster! Hitman did a bang-up job on the NL All-Star Roster, which can be found here.

Following Hitman’s lead, I have selected 32 players to fill the 32 roster slots. Per All-Star Game rules, there is at least one player representative from each AL team. The selections have been made without regard to current injuries or fan balloting; i.e. this is my set of picks for the entire roster, as if I got to choose the entire 32-man team.

Starter: Joe Mauer, Twins. Although he doesn’t yet have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, Joe Mauer is leading the majors with a ridiculous .383 average at the plate this year. He’s also leading all major league catchers with a 1.117 OPS. There isn’t a catcher in the game within a mile of his skill-set.
Reserve: Victor Martinez, Indians. V-Mart is no longer exclusively a catcher, having played an equal number of games behind the plate (38) and at first base (39). He’s hitting the ball again, with a sterling batting line of .313/.392/.522, along with 14 homers and 57 RBI.
Just Missed: None.

First Baseman:
Starter: Justin Morneau, Twins. The other half of Minnesota’s M&M boys, check out Morneau’s ranking among AL first basemen batting leaders: 19 HR (tied for 3rd), 64 RBI (1st), and .313 AVG (4th). He’s the most complete player at the position thus far.
Reserve: Mark Teixeira, Yankees; Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox; Russell Branyan, Mariners. Teixeira has the second-most HR and RBI at the position, Youkilis is leading all AL first basemen with a 1.031 OPS, and Branyan is having a career year with 19 homers, a .303 average, and higher OPS (1.006) than Miguel Cabrera (.954). He has been Seattle’s best player and can’t be excluded in good conscience.
Just Missed: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers.

Second Baseman:
Starter: Ian Kinsler, Rangers. Although the second base position has gotten deeper over the years, Kinsler is the class of the position in the American League. He’s tied for the league lead for homers at the position (19) with Aaron Hill and also leads in the steals department (16).
Reserve: Aaron Hill, Blue Jays. Kinsler may get the starting nod but Hill is having a breakout season with his superb .305/.344/.510 batting line and 19 HR.
Just Missed: Robinson Cano, Yankees.

Third Baseman:
Starter: Evan Longoria, Rays. Simply put, Longoria is the best all-around player at his position right now. He’s killing the ball to the tune of .301/.381/.566 with 16 HR and 63 RBI while playing top notch defense (+13.4 UZR/150).
Reserve: Brandon Inge, Tigers. Inge leads all AL third basemen with 18 homers and is hitting a respectable .275. He has the second-highest OPS at the position and has been just as good in the field as Longoria (+13.3 UZR/150).
Just Missed: Michael Young, Rangers.

Starter: Derek Jeter, Yankees. The old man takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He’s posting another good season in a Hall-of-Fame career, leading all qualified players at the position with a .307 batting average and tied for the positional lead with 17 stolen bases.
Reserve: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox; Jason Bartlett, Rays. After a horrifically slow start and several benchings, Ramirez has quietly begun to hit consistently for the White Sox. He leads all AL shortstops in homers (10) and is second to Jeter in steals (11). Bartlett missed time due to injury but has a .366 AVG, 7 HR, 36 RBI and 17 SB in just 58 games.
Just Missed: Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays.

Starters: Jason Bay, Red Sox; Carl Crawford, Rays; Torii Hunter, Angels. A somewhat unglamorous starting outfield, to be sure, but statistically the most complete offensive group in the AL. Bay leads all outfielders with 69 RBI and is tied with Nelson Cruz for the league lead with 19 HR. Hunter is having a renaissance season with 17 HR, 12 SB and a .303 AVG and makes the team as the only member of the Angels everyday lineup. Crawford leads the majors with 40 steals and has the second-highest batting average at the position, hitting .321.
Reserve: Ben Zobrist, Rays; Nelson Cruz, Rangers; Adam Jones, Orioles. Again, an unglamorous corps of outfielders in reserve, but all have played their way into the Midsummer Classic. Zobrist went from backup shortstop/super-sub to sixth in the AL among OF with 16 HR and a .290 AVG, Cruz has a share of the HR lead among OF with 19 HR and has contributed 12 steals, and Adam Jones is the only Oriole on the AL ASG roster, hitting a robust .305 with 12 HR and 50 RBI.
Just Missed: Juan Rivera, Angels; Johnny Damon, Yankees; Adam Lind, Blue Jays; Jermaine Dye, White Sox.

Starting Pitchers:
Starter: Zack Greinke, Royals. Unlike years past, where a member of the Royals only made it as a token participant, Greinke has pitched his way onto the roster as the major league leader in innings pitched (115.1), wins (10), ERA (1.95) and second in the AL in strikeouts (114). He’s been the best pitcher in the league thus far, hands down.
Reserves: Cliff Lee, Indians; Justin Verlander, Tigers; CC Sabathia, Yankees; Felix Hernandez, Mariners; Roy Halladay, Blue Jays; Josh Beckett, Red Sox; Kevin Millwood, Rangers; and Jered Weaver, Angels. All of these guys make it on merit, appearing on the AL leaderboard for wins, strikeouts, ERA and innings.
Just Missed: Mark Buehrle, White Sox, Jon Lester, Red Sox

Relief Pitchers: Joe Nathan, Twins; Mariano Rivera, Yankees; Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox; and Andrew Bailey, A’s. The first three names are self-explanatory. Andrew Bailey might be the lone no-name but he has had an outstanding season as a converted middle reliever and makes the team as the sole member of the Oakland A’s.
Just Missed: Brian Fuentes, Angels; Frank Francisco, Rangers; Bobby Jenks, White Sox.

A Message to Brett Favre from the Back Seat Drivers

Go Fuck yourself

Congrats Brett as the first winner of the monthly GO FUCK YOURSELF award. You deserve and given your prima donna status I'm sure will win it again over the next year.