Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Browns: Staying the Course and Other Dumb Ideas

I generally try to ignore the Browns these days. For the good of everyone's retina's they should forfeit the rest of their games to avoid tv exposure. Fortunately Peter King came along with usual sophomoric nonsense which amounted to many of the horrible teams - specifically the Browns - should stay the course. Any reason why? Any evidence? Of course not. That would mean old Petey would need facts. The facts in the Browns case is that they are a horrific team...32nd in defense and 31st in offense. Out of 35 QBs Derek Anderson ranks 35 in QB rating. That's 7 points below Jamarcus Russel or the difference between Kurt Warner and Seneca Wallace. It's not just relatively bad to other teams this year. This Browns team currently is worse in nearly every statistical category to the 1999 expansion team. After turning over 50% of the players grown up version of August Gloop has turned the Browns not only worse than the 4-12 team last year but worse than the 1999 expansion team (which I believe had several dead people starting on the offensive line). I don't particularly know why Mangina has failed to reach the lofty heights of mediocrity he had in Jetsville...maybe its the control of personnel, maybe its nobody will work with him so he needs Oakland Raider cast off coaches, maybe its all a secret ploy to move the Browns down to Florida (that's a Major League reference for those taking it literally) ....don't know. But if I'm concern trolling for the owner I see blacked out games on the horizon and a Mangina led organization that has performed horribly. To quote Pat McMannamon, if I realize 1/3 of the way through painting my house its the wrong color I don't keep painting. I stop and get the right color. Lerner made a huge mistake in hiring Mangini, he shouldn't compound the mistake by letting Mangini continue to erode whatever popular support remains in the city.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week 8 - Bringin' it Back to Modell

I just found out something disturbing... Coach Mangina is Indians' GM Mark Shapiro's brother-in-law. How does this happen? Well, the Internet knows all... so buckle up: Essentially, Mark Shapiro went to school with Chiefs' GM Scott Pioli and the two are good friends. When the Browns moved to Baltimore, Pioli went out to Baltimore, along with the Mangina. Pioli then had Shapiro's sister show Mangina around town to find a place to live and Pioli said "you can have any girl in Baltimore except for my friend's sister." Mangina, who refuses to listen to anyone, then ended up marrying Shapiro's sister.

So, the way I look at it, this all happened because Modell moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore. I think this means Mangina is the fruit of the poisonous tree then.

Manwich Matchup of the Week

Giants @ Eagles - A great divisional rivalry... and 1st place is on the line! The Giants are coming off a 2-game losing streak, but I like them to rebound this week.
Pick: Giants

Upset of the Week
This is the worst slate of games I've ever seen. There's only 13 games and I literally don't want to pick any upsets. I wanted to pick Baltimore over Denver, but Baltimore's favored by 3 points! So...
ATL @ New Orleans - This is probably a bad idea, but I don't know what else to do this week.
Pick: ATL

Opening Round Playoff Game #8
Teams that have been eliminated: Cincy (against Denver in week 1)!, St. Louis, Washington, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tampa, Oakland.
St. Louis @ Detroit - It doesn't get much worse than this.
Pick: Detroit

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Minny @ GB - Green Bay deserves to win the revenge game.
Pick: GB

Other Games
Denver @ Baltimore - I can't believe Baltimore is favored - Pick: Baltimore
Cleveland @ Chicago - Pick: Chicago
Houston @ Buffalo - Pick: Houston (yes, this would give the Texans a 3-game winning streak. I swear I can't pick their games).
San Fran @ Indy - Pick: Indy
Miami @ Jets - Pick: Miami (please note: the league schedulers really screwed up this year. I blame Goodell. I think it was back in the early '90s when the league realized that playing the same team twice in 3 weeks really isn't enjoyable for anyone. Sadly, the Dolphins schedule: week 5 = jets; wk 6 =bye, wk 7 = saints, week 8 =jets. That's dumb.)
Seattle @ Dallas - Pick: Dallas
Oak @ SD - Pick: SD
Jack-o @ Tennessee - Pick: Tennessee (it's time they win a game. they're not that bad).
CAR @ Arizona - Pick: Arizona

Last Week: 9-4 ; 9-5 in week6
Season: 68-35
Manwich: 4-3 (Steelers upended the Vikings on defensive TDs; Saints destroyed the Giants in week 6)
Upset of the Week: 2-5 (ATL got beat by Dallas; but Arizona killed the Seahawks in week 6)

Week 8: College Football Trend Watching

More Bowl watching Trends and my Week 8 explanation for Bowl Predictions

What Happened

TCU's crushing of BYU and Miami's lost means if the season ended today TCU would be in a BCS bid and Georgia Tech would win the ACC. TCU still has a tough game versus Utah so I'm sticking with Boise State but keep in mind as of today TCU is ahead. G-Tech has an easy schedule and all the tie breakers so they're about as sure thing as any prediction I have down there....

Games of the Week
USC at Oregon - The winner of this game will control its destiny to win the Pac 10. A USC win will keep its Mythical BCS championship hopes alive. Despite USC's defense appearing to be much weaker than initially thought, Oregon's injured secondary probably will allow USC to eek out a win....although I'm less that convinced of this.

Texas at Ok State - The Winner of this game will control its destiny to win the Big 12. This is by far the toughest game remaining for Texas and its last major hurdle to the BCS Championship game. Ok State also has the opportunity to show they are for real and a good showing (win or lose) might go a long way to having them go to that last at large BCS bid.

Team to Watch
Pittsburgh. Yes the return of Wannstache. Largely under the radar The Mustache powered Pitt Panthers now stand at 7-1 with games remaining against the Big East's best (Cinci and West Virginia). In other words Pitt can not only stop Cinci's BCS title hopes but still very much in the Big East title hunt. Pitt also plays Notre Dame at home. This game might be the difference between a two loss Notre Dame team getting that last at large BCS bid and three loss Notre Dame team playing somewhere else.


Bowl Predictions


BCS Championship: Alabama over Texas
Orange Bowl : Georgia Tech over Penn State
Sugar Bowl: Florida over Cincinnati
Fiesta: Oklahoma State over Boise State
Rose Bowl: USC over Iowa

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Skynet Championship Series: Week 2 in the Year 2009

Most underrated by the humans: Iowa, Cincy, Oregon, Arizona (by a lot! - they are 13th in the computers but only 20th in the BCS and 24th and 25th in the polls)

Most overrated by the humans: Texas, USC, Oklahoma State

2009
SCS BCS Sched Rnk
1 iowa 0.79 4 22
2 florida 1.17 1 36
3 alabama 1.52 2 37
4 tcu 4.38 6 82
5 cincy 5.47 8 104
6 Oregon 6.27 10 18
7 Texas 6.69 3 51
8 boise st 7.05 7 115
9 usc 7.39 5 26
10 LSU 7.44 9 30
11 Geo Tech 10.18 11 38
12 Va. Tech 13.29 13 2
13 Arizona 14.36 20 6
14 Penn St 14.39 12 74
15 Pitt 16.02 15 85
16 Utah 16.19 16 90
17 Houston 17.42 18 93
18 Ok St 17.57 14 97
19 Miami (FL) 17.68 19 21
20 Ohio St 18.11 17 34

I'm so excited, I'm so scared

Yes, I just quoted Jessie Spano, from the Saved by the Bell episode where she was addicted to speed. That phrase perfectly describes my feelings about the upcoming NBA season. Am I describing my anticipation about the Cavs championship hopes? NO. Am I describing my feelings of what Isiah Thomas is gonna do next? NO. Am I describing my feelings on Mark Cuban next upcoming fine? NO. I am, in fact, describing my feelings of exciting and fear because its another season that we get analysis from Charles Barkley. I can't wait to hear his utterly retarded pre-game and post-game analysis.
AWESOME.
Laz

Can someone please explain this to me?

I dont get it. I just read this article on espn.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=latulippe/091022&sportCat=nfl

It is written by a lifelong browns fans is about 30 years old. His name is Geoff LaTulippe. There are many things wrong with this.
1. "Jeff" is not spelled with a G and there is no "O" anywhere in the name. That is a horrible way to spell it. It's like the bizarro Jeff. I mean come on.
2. His last name is LaTulippe. That is french for "the tulip". No way that guy is a sports fan. And that can't be his real name. Unless he is a Pink Panther villian, a 1970s canadian hockey player, or Gerard Depardieu's co-star, that name is made up.
3. Aside from me hating this guy's name, i hate his article. And of course, its out of pure jealousy. The guy gets to write an article about how the browns have sucked for 20 years, but he still loves them anyway and has hope yet. WHAT THE HELL! I write that everyday, and I aint getting no pay from ESPN. (probably because of my horrible grammar, see previous sentence). This type of writing passes for ESPN page 2 material? You can get paid for that? This guy must have some connections, or have some compromising photos of Chris Berman, otherwise we should all be working for ESPN.
Can someone explain this to me?

NBA Season Starts


Get out those various magical wishing rocks. NBA season starts tonight!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Schadenfreude, Anyone?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Busch Stadium sometime next season, when Coach McGwire tries to talk to a young hitter about his approach at the plate:

McGwire: Bobby, last night you went 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts. The night before, you didn't hit the ball out of the infield. You're hitting .147 this season. Let's work on your fundamentals.

Bobby: F*ck you, Coach. I'm not here to talk about the past.

MMBSD: Onwards, Clarity, and Away from the Mainstream




As always the weekend in sports and other thoughts from under the giant novelty foam hat......


NFL
  • I think we can safely add the Saints to the list of favorites to win the Super Bowl. The list right now reads Saints, Colts, that is all. The Saints this week showed if even their offense or defense wasn't initially clicking that the team could make the adjustments to crush their opponent.
  • Favre finally had that game we all were waiting for. The one where he throws away the game. Breathe deeply Favre bashers breathe deeply
  • Some combination of the horrific NFL teams, defense being illegal, and the position of Mars and Jupiter has meant that that most games this week on the watchability index rated between putrid and rancid. Honestly at this point the over under of competitive quality games in any week stands at 1/2.
College Football
  • The biggest loss of the weekend goes to Miami's choke job versus Clemson. I suppose its not surprising that a young team will have inconsistencies but giving up 310 yards to CJ Spiller? Come on. With the loss it's almost all but guaranteed that Miami is out of the BCS and G-Tech will win the ACC
  • The biggest win in from the weekend of college football might belong to TCU. By throttling the Fighting Mormons of BYU TCU leapfrogged Boise State and claim the inside track to a BCS bid. I will remind everyone tho TCU still has to play the Other Fighting Mormons of Utah - a very tough game.
  • Iowa seems to be positioning itself as the first BCS team since Auburn to go undefeated and not play in the Mythical Championship Game. Depending on your perspective Iowa either is the ugliest, luckiest, or pluckiest team as they continue to barely escape week in and week out. With only tOSU left on the schedule (note Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota don't count) Iowa seems poised for undefeated land. I think the biggest question is why is Iowa (and for that matter Cinci) ranked behind Boise State and TCU. Frankly the Big East/Big 10 bashing is out of hand if voters seriously want to rank those two above undefeated members of BCS conferences.

NBA
Well after sitting and sifting through the data and considering things here are my NBA predictions
NBA Finals - Orlando over Lakers
MVP: Dwight Howard
Coach of the Year: Phil Jackson
Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin

While it might seem that I'm off on my own for picking the Magic, there are actually a number of reasons to believe the Magic who will win it all -
1) Dwight Howard - I think people forgot how young he is and that he'll continue to improve on the offensive end
2) Return of Jameer Nelson - An all-star point guard before his injury, his return should more than make up for the loss of Turkuglu's play making abilities
3) Ryan Anderson - A 6'10 stretch power foward that can hit 3s. Basically a younger version of Turkuglu. In his last preseason game he put up 18 points in 20 minutes
4) Vinsanity - For all the talk of Carter and his shortcomings the previously mentioned suppositions means he only needs to replace Courtney Lee's eproduction. Carter can do that, in fact he can more than do that.
5) Brandon Bass, Matt Barnes, Jason Williams- All of these additions means that Orlando is a deeper team. Add in the chip of Gortat and trade exception and Orlando has the ability to add another quality player if injuries occur.


In short Orlando is a better, deeper version of the team that went to the Championship game last year. Yes I'm bucking the experts who scoff at my cocky style and bodily hygiene but mark my words Orlando is your next NBA champion.

Special Announcement
30 years ago one Laz McLazington arrived on the shores of Lake Erie wearing nothing but a tiny Indians jersey and a dream of eating tasty wings. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but Happy Birthday Laz

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mangina is a Half-Witted Thug

In what has become an almost weekly rip on the Mangina, I was having an email conversation with my friend (who has posted before as Nat McCarron). She had an amazing rant on the Browns coach, here it is:

"I second the contention that Mangini and his assistants are a bunch of morons. It's like watching one of those old movies where the mob boss is a half-witted thug only to be outdone by his quarter-witted hench-men.

I'm just hoping Mangini doesn't have a future in Cleveland. It's all about the plays. They could make Peyton, Big Ben, and Brady look like D-III third stringers. Just because Mangini rhymes with Houdini doesn't mean he can make the Browns win."

Fascinating Article About NFL Salary Cap

Not the catchiest headline I’ve ever come up with but I’m pressed for time here...

Click here.

Good weekend everybody!

NBA Preview: 2009-2010 Part 3: Playoff Teams

Finally, we have made it to the third installment of my NBA Preview. As I have said in my multi-part article, I think this could be one of the most amazing seasons ever with perhaps the best five teams that ever had to compete against each other in the same season. Well, enough has been said, let's start to look at what we have!

Eastern Conference

8- Miami- I almost took these guys out of the playoffs, but I'm expecting Wade to produce enough wins to get them in. They really need Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal to contribute something for them to squeak in to the 8th seed. They could easily not make it the more I think about it.
7- Washington- I really like the addition of PG Randy Foye and SG Mike Miller. I think this will shore things up and I think the Wizards can make the playoffs even if Gilbert Arenas doesn't play. They still have Caron Butler and Antwawn Jamison. And... they have the best regular season coach in recent NBA history in Flip Saunders. That should be enough to get in the playoffs.
6- Toronto- I think the Raptors are a solid playoff team. The main reason is that I'm assuming PG Jose Calderon will be healthy, and they added SF Hedo Turkoglu. If you were wondering, they also made a lot of other bench changes, as they added PG Jarrett Jack as a backup, rookie DeMar DeRozan is playing SG, and they acquired sharpshooter Marco Bellinelli from GS.
5- Atlanta- It was a rather blah off-season. Yes, they did get Jamal Crawford from Golden State, but Crawford has never played defense and never been on a winning team. They also picked up Joe Smith, not to be confused with star Josh Smith.
4- Chicago- They lost Ben Gordon, but I don't think it will hurt them that much. They added Jannero Pargo (formerly of the Hornets) to play the SG spot, but they also have John Salmons to play the whole season this year, and he can actually guard other SGs, unlike Ben Gordon. They also are really excited about F James Johnson, a 6'9" rookie from Wake. They also tried to acquire Boozer during the offseason, and I wouldn't be surprised if they try again.
3-Boston- They added Rasheed Wallace, and SG Marquis Daniels in the offseason to shore up the bench. Seriously though, Rasheed was pretty worthless last season, and the most important question for the Celtics is this: how healthy will KG be???? And that is the million dollar question.
2-Orlando- I wrote an extensive piece analyzing their offseason. The short-story is this: they added SG/SF Vince Carter, SG M. Barnes, PF B. Bass, and PF Ryan Anderson. They lost SF Turkoglu, SG C. Lee, and PF Battie. Their million dollar questions are: how will Vince Carter contribute defensively and offensively? will PG Jameer Nelson return from shoulder injury to All-star form? will SG Pietrus play like he did during the playoffs, or like he did during his injury-riddled season?
1- Cleveland- Quick recap of their off-season: they added C Shaq, SG A. Parker, and SF J. Moon to replace C B. Wallace, SG Sasha Pavlovic, and SF Wally Szczberiak. All three of those acquisitions are each better than the player that they replace. And as the cherry on top... they added PF Leon Powe! Now, Powe is recovering from knee surgery for the 4th time, so it's completely unclear what he will be able to do come February when his rehab is scheduled to end. Their million dollar questions? Can Shaq actually stay healthy and allow the Cavs to only put one body on Dwight Howard when they face the Magic? Will Powe contribute in the playoffs and get revenge for the Celtics not re-signing him? Will PF JJ Hickson stay healthy and develop into a productive player or become a bust?

Western Conference

8-Oklahoma City Thundercats - If I told you that a movie existed where the T-1000, Jean Grey, Frodo the Hobbit, Vin Diesel's sister from Fast & the Furious, George's boss Kruger from Seinfeld, Steven Hyde from that '70s show, the bad blonde girl from Season 2 of 24 who kills her husband in a shocking twist (Marie Warner), Salma Hayek, Josh Hartnett, Usher, AND Jon Stewart (yes, from the Daily Show) were all in the same movie that came out in 1998, would any of you believe me? Of course not.
But all of these actors were amazingly ALL TOGETHER in one movie called... "The Faculty." I think that one day, we will also look back in awe 11 years from now at the Ok City Thundercats, just like I'm in awe of The Faculty. PF Jeff Green, SF Kevin Durant, C Nenad Kristic, SG James Harden, PG Russell Westbrook... is one amazing starting five. I'm not sure if it's amazing enough in 2009 to get to the playoffs (as opposed to 2010 or 2011), but I'm banking on Durant and the rest of the players making the leap to play better defensively. That's it. Do "The Faculty" proud and make the playoffs!
7- Rockets - As said in my Western Conference Lottery Team article, I still think that the Rockets players that remain are capable of allowing them to win enough games to make the playoffs. They won't do anything in the playoffs, but PG Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, and Luis Scola all know how to play defense and win games.
6- Jazz - during the offseason, two of the players (Deron Williams and Kyle Korver) filmed videos about being dodgeball ninjas. Man I wish I was in the NBA! Seriously though, this is still a solid team with PG Deron Williams, PF Paul Millsap, and C Mehmet Okur
5- Mavericks - Here is where we start to get to some of the more exciting teams for this season. Here is the Mavs starting lineup, and top 2 bench players:
PF Dirk, SF J. Howard, C Dampier, SG Jason Terry, PG J. Kidd, 6th - S. Marion, 7th - D. Gooden. Obviously, this team would have won the championship in 2004. Only problem is, it's 2009! Kidd, Marion, and Gooden are not nearly as good as they once were. They also have PG JJ Barea, PG Rodrigue Beaubois (who was sensational in summer league for whatever it's worth), and even F Tim Thomas. I just think the Mavs were lucky last year when they drew an injured Spurs team in the playoffs. I don't think the ceiling is much higher because Marion has become an average to below-average player sadly. Just look at his Win-share per minute per game the last 4 seasons: 2006 = .362, 2007 = .319, 2008 = .201, 2009 = .145 . For some perspective, his 2009 is about the same as CJ Watson of Golden State or slightly worse than Rafer Alston last year.
4- Blazers - I'm expecting the Blazers to get a boost from playing PG Andre Miller (.242 WS/min/gm) over PG Steve Blake (.183). That equates to an extra few wins. So should playing Rudy Fernandez additional minutes who's better than N. Batum. If Oden can actually grow up a bit, that would be a big help too.
3- Nuggets - The Nuggets lost SG Dahntay Jones and Kleiza, who were important to the team. The core of the team (Carmelo, Chauncey, Bird-man, Nene) are all still there still. They should be a very, very good team that is hard to beat mainly because of Carmelo and Chauncey and Nene.
2- Spurs - I wrote extensively about them over the summer and how they were my 2009 Offseason champion. In addition, Dejuan Blair has been a MONSTER during the preseason, currently averaging 14.2 ppg, 7.8 rebounds, 61% FG%, in only 19 mpg. I know, it's only pre-season, but it shows that he may be very important and productive for the team, in addition to all the other pieces they have added up front for this year (PF McDyess, F Marcus Haislip).
1- Lakers - Defending champions. Switched out Artest for Ariza. The number one question is how healthy Bynum will be. The number two question is how will Artest play with Kobe and coach Phil Jackson. I'm not sure what the answer is to these questions are, and I'm sure Bynum and Artest don't even know the answers.

I really envision a number of scenarios for the playoffs... mainly where any of Lakers, Spurs, Magic, Cavs, or Celtics win it all. In the end, each of these teams have question marks that must be answered. It's almost a choose-your-own adventure, and this is just my biased opinion as to what will happen:

Playoffs

1st round
1- Cavs vs. Miami - Lebron vs. Wade! O'Neal vs. O'Neal! Welcome to the NBA Playoffs! It sounds better than it is, as the Cavs will destroy the Heat.
4- Chicago vs. 5- Atlanta - This should be a whopper of a series... but if Derrick Rose keeps progressing, I'm assuming he will feast on whomever the Hawks throw at him (i.e. Bibby, J. Crawford, J. Johnson)
3- Boston vs. 6 - Toronto - I think the Celtics are going to struggle again in the 1st round, but they will still move on in this series.
2 - Orlando vs. 7 - Washington - The Magic will have no trouble here, even if Arenas is healthy.

1-Lakers vs. 8-Ok City Thundercats - Sweep.
4-Blazers vs. 5- Mavs - The Blazers won't be so passive this time. They will push through this time in what should be an exciting series.
3- Nuggets vs. 6 - Jazz - I think this should be a very exciting series as well, especially with Deron Williams playing against PG Chauncey Billups.
2 - Spurs vs. 7 - Rockets - The Spurs will have no problems here.

2nd round
1-Cavs vs. 4-Bulls - This will be a very difficult series for the Cavs, but they should be able to move on. They have limited ways to stop PG Derrick Rose, but then again, not many people can guard him without help from teammates anyway.
2-Orlando vs. 3-Boston - If KG is healthy, the Celtics will move on this time. The main reason? Kendrick Perkins was able to guard D. Howard one-on-one last year... and the same should hold true this year.
1-Lakers vs. 4-Blazers- This should be an amazing series! I'm excited to watch it, but the Lakers will win.
2-Spurs vs. 3-Nuggets - I think the Spurs new forwards will enable them to win this series.

Conference Championships
1-Cavs vs. 3-Boston - The Cavs are built to beat the Celtics. With or without Powe, and with or without KG on Boston. I will say still that if the Cavs have to play the Magic, I'm still not torn on what would happen. Orlando won 4-2 last spring, but all but one of the games came down to the wire. The additions that the Cavs made (Shaq, Moon, Parker) should enable them to do better against the Magic as well, should they have to face them.
1-Lakers vs. 2-Spurs - I've gone back and forth on this, but I still have to go with the Lakers. The Spurs have a lower chance of everything coming together (i.e. Duncan, Ginobili, Parker staying healthy, the revamped frontline succeeding).

NBA Finals
1-Cavs vs. 1-Lakers - It's the matchup many people want to see and that has lots of drama (will Shaq clobber Kobe if he comes into the lane? Yes!) In the end, assuming Bynum is in good form, the Cavs really will need PF Leon Powe to provide solid minutes against the Lakers bigs for the Cavs to have a chance. Obviously, the odds are higher that the Lakers win, because you'd have to assume that Powe or PF JJ Hickson are able to provide support otherwise for the Cavs. There's lots of other players that are important but the frontline of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom is such an advantage over the Cavs' frontline unless Powe or Hickson play out of their minds.
Pick: Lakers

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Jordan Rules Are Not Hereditary

Who the hell do you think you are, Marcus Jordan? You’re the son of a famous basketball player and the son of a man that launched the most famous brand of athletic shoe in history. Your privileged upbringing came as a result of your father’s unique genetics and supreme gifts as a professional athlete. You yourself are nobody special. You yourself are not important enough to jeopardize your university’s $3 million sneaker contract.

These kind of self-righteous, hostage-holding situations drive me crazy. Unless your daddy wants to spend the $3M to buy the school out of the contract, wear your goddamned Adidas and shut the fuck up. You don’t matter.

Baseball Quickies

Two baseball-related points:

1. Would someone at Fox Sports care to explain why Ozzie Guillen was picked as a guest analyst for the World Series? The list of alternatives is not only a mile long, but I assume that most of those potential alternative choices don’t have a record of self-important and deceitful behavior (at best) or racist and homophobic utterances on record (at worst).

Finally –– and though this may seem insensitive, it still remains a fact –– part of being a good television personality is a mastery of the native language. Even if he were a saint, Guillen’s enunciation and diction are not suitable for the role he is being asked to play. It’s hard for a TV audience to appreciate any insights he might share when that audience can’t fully comprehend what he’s saying. Sorry folks, it’s true.

2. It looks like the Indians are interested in hiring veteran MLB (and Japanese League) manager Bobby Valentine as the 49th field general in franchise history. But buried in the story is an odd little tidbit that the franchise considered re-hiring former manager Mike Hargrove. Really?

I’ve never understood that kind of thinking. Teams hire (and fire) managers on the faulty premise that managers actually make a difference in the win-loss column; the fact remains, however, that managers are merely window dressing and that wins and losses are determined almost exclusively by the players themselves, with luck filling in the margins of what talent does not capture.

Assuming for a moment that this is not the case –– that managers actually do matter –– then why re-hire a candidate you once deemed unfit to run your ballclub? And if the reverse is true –– that managers make almost no difference whatsoever on the fortunes of the clubs they run –– then why did you fire someone like Hargrove in the first place, if he’s now considered good enough to revisit history with?

In any event, it appears that Bobby Valentine and Don Mattingly are the leading candidates in Cleveland. Each has certain skills that make them attractive to the Indians ballclub. Valentine is known for being a master tactician and an amusing personality, although tactics are less important in the American League and his personality does tend to grate after a while. Mattingly is a well-respected ex-player who could certainly coax accountability and leadership out of what has become an increasingly rudderless and lazy ballclub. His association with Joe Torre has only furthered his reputation as a “winner” (fallacy that it is, the media has nevertheless run with that meme). His credentials notwithstanding, Mattingly is a quiet man by nature and brings no previous managerial experience to the table.

If I were the Indians, I’d hire the guy that would do the job for the least amount of money. No sense pouring resources into a titular position of no real consequence when the team itself is starved for talent and cannot afford to divert funds away from the player and scouting budgets.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 7 - It's a Quickie

I've been overly focused on the NBA Preview... so let's do some football real quick. There's 6 teams on bye, and the games are pretty blah this week...

Manwich Matchup of the Week

Vikings @ Steelers - This should be an interesting test for the Vikings. Their unbeated streak has to end at some point right? But then again, the Steelers really haven't looked all that good t this year.
Pick: Steelers

Upset of the Week
ATL @ Dallas - I don't think Dallas is not that good and the Falcons have been on a roll, so why not?
Pick: Atlanta

Opening Round Playoff Game #7
Jets @ Oakland - If the Jets lose this to fall to 3-4, they really won't have any business making the playoffs anyway.
Pick: Jets

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Arizona @ Giants - Warner, Manning, Fitzgerald, Steve Smith #2. I'd say this qualifies!
Pick: Giants

Other Games
San Diego @ KC - Pick: SD
Indy @ St. Louis - Pick: Indy
Chicago @ Cincy - Pick: Cincy (your guess is as good as mine on this one)
GB @ Cleve - Pick: GB (half the Browns have the flu as of Wednesday night, including 6 starters)
NE @ Tampa - Pick: NE
SF @ Hou - Pick: SF (I'm going w/ the theory that Houston can't actually put together a losing streak or a winning streak)
Buff @ CAR - Pick: CAR
New Orleans @ Miami - Pick: NO
Philly @ Washington - Pick: Philly

Week 7: College Football Trend Watching

A quick trend watching due to traveling this week....
  • With the first BCS poll out its clear that Texas, Alabama, and Florida all control their destiny. Of these Texas appears the shakiest given their computer poll numbers
  • If one of these should slip (specifically Texas) there are a few dark horse candidates...specifically Cinci, Iowa, and Boise State. Boise State has probably hit its ceiling as its strength of schedule plummets. Cinci has games against West Virginia and Pitt but might have lost its star QB for the year. Iowa keeps winning - in horrific ugly fashion.
  • USC's one chance of getting back into the national title hunt rests with a prime time whooping of Oregon on Halloween. The computers currently hate them.
  • With Virginia Tech's loss at G-Tech this week the ACC is wide open with G-Tech, V-Tech, and Murder-Tech (Miami) are all tied with one loss (all in the same division). The winner of the division is awarded to the team with highest BCS spot - which is Miami at the moment.
  • Nebraska after all the praise face planted against Texas Tech and thereby all but eliminated themselves from a BCS spot.
  • I'm still clueless over the last BCS spot. Right now I'm pencilling Georgia Tech in. They could have a high profile win over Georgia to end the year which might boost them over other potential suitors for the spot.




Games of the Week
Texas at Missouri
TCU at BYU
Penn State at Michigan
Tennessee at Alabama



Bowl Predictions


BCS Championship: Alabama over Texas
Orange Bowl : Miami over Penn State
Sugar Bowl: Florida over Cincinnati
Fiesta: Georgia Tech over Boise State
Rose Bowl: USC over Iowa

Skynet Championship Series: Season Four

I can't believe it's the 4th season that I've been doing this...

Skynet is back! A wise machine, Agent Smith, once said in the Matrix: “Never send a Human to do a machine’s job.” These inspiring words ring true with the BCS. The time has now come to achieve the BCS purpose – by providing OBJECTIVE rankings. I realize this may be counter to my rooting interests, but it is the only fair way to determine two teams.

So, to be clear, here’s how I devise the standings each week:
1) I take the top 20 of the BCS standings.
2) I input each of the top 20's computer standings from each computer ranking.
3) I let excel calculate the standard deviation for each computer ranking distribution of the top 20. Then, Excel normalizes the distribution, and fits EACH computer ranking onto a 1-20 scale.
4) Finally, the normalized-computer averages are determined (i.e. Florida is ranked 5.76, 2.55, 2.21, 5.77 in 4 of the polls, which is an average of 4.07, which equals their SCS ranking. This means that according to the polls, they are approximately the 4th-best team in the country).

I know it took a couple of days, but the latest Skynet rankings shook me to the core...

Iowa is #2 (because Penn State, Wisconsin, and Arizona are all in the top-20 in the computer rankings)
Ohio State is awful (actually, that wasn't that shocking)
USC is #13 (the computers are punishing them severely for that Washington loss)

Of course, there is a long time until the end of the season though. And remember, these are not my rankings, they are the rankings of the only objective entity in the universe... Skynet!

2009 Skynet Rankings - Week of 10/19

2009
SCS BCS Sched Rnk
1 florida 1.11 1 33
2 iowa 1.34 6 13
3 alabama 1.61 2 45
4 cincy 3.62 5 83
5 boise st 4.91 4 90
6 texas 6.62 3 52
7 lsu 7.02 9 22
8 tcu 7.44 8 92
9 oregon 8.13 11 23
10 geo tech 8.50 12 32
11 va. Tech 10.20 14 2
12 miami (fl) 10.63 10 34
13 usc 11.27 7 40
14 utah 15.78 18 111
15 pitt 15.92 20 69
16 houston 16.22 17 75
17 penn st 16.83 13 91
18 ok st 17.73 15 86
19 byu 18.05 16 123
20 ohio st 18.30 19 43

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Prognosticating

The trade deadline closes in 4 1/2 hours. The browns rumors are at the center of the discussion. Quinn and Cribbs are obvious choices for potential trades. But according to the Plain Dealer, just about everyone on the team is potential trade bait.
http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2009/10/cleveland_browns_are_at_the_ce.html

Well, I am making a trade prediction now. In my perfect conspiracy theory kind of way, I think the Browns will trade Shaun Rogers to the JETS. The Jets just lost their nose tackle, Kris Jenkins to injury.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4577662

So, Mangini will exert his influence yet again and deal with his old team. Once again, Tugboat will defect and team with Earthquake (see Gutsy's post last week about the Natural Disasters). In a perfect a WWF-esque storyline, Mangini will once again betray the Browns.

I'm calling it now. I hope I'm wrong.

NBA Preview: Part 2 - Western Conference Lottery Teams

This is part 2 of the preview - Western Conference Lottery teams!

15 - Sacramento - The owners are broke now and have dumped out every asset to just survive financially. Well, actually SG Kevin Martin is still available. It will be interesting if he ends up getting moved as well.
14 - Golden State - Don Nelson wants to retire or get fired and has basically given up. Plus, all the potential displayed from the summer came to a screeching halt when Brandan Wright injured his shoulder and is probably out for the season.
13 - Memphis - I actually think it's an "interesting roster" with PG Conley, SG Mayo, C Marc Gasol, SF Rudy Gay, and PF Zach Randolph. And 6th-man Iverson. And 7-foot rookie Hasheem Thabeet. However, "interesting" doesn't always translate to "successful." I just don't think Randolph and Iverson are going to breed a winning atmosphere. Call it a hunch.
12 - Clippers - Baron Davis is fun to watch when healthy... it just doesn't happen much. They do have rookie Blake Griffin and 2nd-year man Eric Gordon (a poor man's Iverson), so they will also be entertaining, just not winning much.
11 - T-wolves - I actually think this team is going to be moderately competitive. PG Ramon Sessions, SG Corey Brewer, C Kevin Love, SF Ryan Gomes, PF Al Jefferson? Plus, they have rookie PG Johnny Flynn! McHale will be crying somewhere when he sees how much better the team is after just one season of him not being in charge and not making all the decisions. I also have to comment on the new GM, because he would make George Costanza proud... you see, Minnesota Timberwolves GM just couldn't stop going to Europe this summer- with 3 trips alone between June and August. I personally think it's just an excuse for the GM to go to Europe once a month. Actually, it's the greatest idea in the history of being a GM. Want more vacation time? Simply draft someone who's already locked into contract, then just keep "visiting", beg them to rip up the contract for 15 minutes, then vacation for 6 days. It's actually quite genius.
10- Suns - Well, they still have PG Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. I will tell you from last season, that Amare is one of the laziest players defensively that I've ever seen. He literally does not care. Neither does Jason Richardson. Plus, I think PF Channing Frye has to start for them despite being the 4th-string big man on the Blazers. I just think this means the Suns will be a lottery team again this season.
9 - Hornets - This is by far the toughest thing to decide... who will be the 9th-best Western Conference team? I'm in love with the Ok City Thundercats and I'm irrationally going to place them in the playoffs. So my decision came down to either the Hornets or the Rockets. I've gone back and forth on this a number of times. I realize that just leaving the Thundercats out would be the most logical decision, but that would be boring, as they are my "surprise" team for this year. So... I'm choosing the Hornets to fall short. The Hornets still have Chris Paul but while the Rockets don't have any superstars this season (no Yao or McGrady) i'm guessing that Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola, and new Euro player David Andersen will be able to get enough production to get the Rockets to the playoffs. I really like all of these players and the more I think about it, the more likely that the Hornets can be like a KG T-wolves team that had the one of the best players in the game, but just couldn't make the playoffs... I will talk about the OkCity Thundercats in more depth next week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The search begins

You know that I love a good manager search, mostly for the comedic possibilities. Luckily for me, the Indians are looking for a new manager. It's always fun to attempt to pick a new manager, forgetting any restrictions based on time, space, reality, and qualifications.
Here are a list of possibilities for the new tribe skipper:

1. Morbo-The alien newscaster from Futurama. He would be great. The tribe needs motivation, and Morbo's booming voice will strike fear into the hearts of the tribe. This fear will motivate them. This will push the team where it needs to be.

2. Homer Simpson-Oh, think of the possibilities. A fat, drunken, nitwit coaching a baseball team.....oh wait, we have plenty of those already. Don't you remember the episode where Home was playing softball, and Mr. Burns replaced all the players with major leaguers. Well, Homer really showed managerial promise by winning the game by taking a fastball in the head to walk the run in. Also, it would be awesome if Homer was wearing his moo-moo and then bum rushed an umpire to argue a call. That ump would change his tune.


3. David Wells-speaking of overweight guys who would love to argue with umps. I just feel like saying Boomer the Skipper would be an awesome thing to say for your team.

4. Mr. Herbert from Family Guy. Remember this guy? His jovial and warm nature would be great for the team. And for those for watch family guy, he has a........endearment.....to little boys. This could add a new dimension to the team's farm system. I know, that's terrible.
5. Jose Mesa-This guy has a lot to make up for for the 1997 World Series. It is time for atonement.

6. Mighty Mike-Nothing inspires ball players like a good jew-fro. He can run a blog, so he can run a baseball team.

7. Norv Turner-Honestly, this guy is gonna be in need of a job pretty soon. Maybe tomorrow.

8. Cobra Commander-Baseball has never had a team of "bad boys". Hockey had the flyers in the 1970s, football had the Raiders, and the NBA had the Pistons in the 80s. Cobra Commander could make the Baseball bad boys for sure. Think about how Cobra Commander could come up with a diabolical plot of evil for every game. It would be great. But, just like every GI Joe episode, his plot will fall apart in the last 5 minutes of the game. Also, Destro could be the pitching coach.

9. Ozzie Smith-The Wizard of Oz would be inspiring to players. When the manager takes the field and does a friggin backflip, his players would not want to be overshadowed. They would step it up.

10. Willy Wonka-You know, with the amount of bubblegum that players chew, why not have a candymaker as the coach. This would be amazing for three reasons. First, we could have oompa loompas as base coaches. I just hope those guys dont get stepped on as the players round bases. Second, seeing how Willy Wonka "punished" the kids who didn't follow the rules, think how Willy would deal with players who act up. If Jhonny Peralta makes an error, the coach turns him into a giant blueberry, awesome. Third, a kickass song after every win.

11. Rachel Nichols-just cause, look at her.


Hitman's Hit List: I'm Just Wondering...

Top five things I'm just wondering about:

5. How does Jon Gruden still have a job with MNF? For four years I've had night meetings on most Mondays, and lamented not being able to watch football. Now I'm lamenting having no meeting tonight. This guy is one of the absolute worst sportscasters ever.

4. Why does NBC insist on the craptastic, faux-tough-and-cool Faith Hill intro to Sunday Night Football? Nothing about Faith Hill makes me ready for some football. Really, I'll take the overweight bearded Hank Williams Jr., thank you very much (for football only, mind you).

3. In our lifetimes, has there been a larger collection of truly bad NFL teams? St. Louis, Cleveland, Oakland, Kansas City, Washington, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Jacksonville...that's over a quarter of the league. Yuck.

2. Think maybe A-Rod really, really, really wants to win a title this year?

1. How does it make any sense for management to dictate who calls the plays for the Redskins? Isn't that the head coach's decision to make? If management is taking that responsibility from Zorn, they may as well fire him already and run the game themselves. Even if Zorn is the worst head coach ever...what an atrocious business decision and a pathetic franchise.

MMBSD: Nearing Semi-Clarity

As usual my take on the weekend in sports


NFL
With the Saints torching of the Giants it's looking Brees and Co are best in the NFL. Unless you look slightly North at the Vikings or south to Atlanta. While its too early I will note that at the moment one superficial similiarity is that they are all dome teams - which might make it easier come playoff time for each as they can avoid the cold weather.

Drew Brees will take your pie

Lost in the Favre knob slobbing of the Vikings victory over the Ravens is the fact that both of these teams were considered to have good or at least competent defenses and yet both were scorched. Its hard to find any dominating defenses this year while the ranks of the best of the NFL are all offensive juggernauts. It might be that at least for this year, offense will win a championship.


With the Redskins loss to KC today I think we can safely say that Jim Zorn will be fired and another QB will be brought in to be sacrificed on the alter of Dan Snyder. While that's not surprising it is surprising how bad the bad teams QB play has been. Last year we can put the mendoza line of horrific QB play with Russel and his 77 QB rating. This year according to ESPN there have been at least 13 QBs who started at least 2 games with lower QB ratings. That's unwatchably bad.

There's a lot of fail in the NFL this year


College Football
With Texas' victory over OU it's looking save for the scrubs of the Big 12 (read nobody) Texas can waltz into Mythical Championship. It's hard to look at the sloppy (8 turnovers between the two) skin of their teeth win over a decimated OU squad and say with a straight face...yes Texas definitively looks the part of the best team in nation. However Texas is a prime example of why it doesn't pay to have a tough non-conference schedule if your considered a great program. The advantages of being a good team simply don't outweigh the risks of losing to actual nonconference hence why the trend has been for easier and easier schedules. It's hard to tell a program play tougher games and then reward Texas or Penn State with BCS bids.


For those wondering why I hadn't placed tOSU in a BCS bowl - Purdue was a prime example. Despite having a stellar defense, I had believed that tOSU's anemiac offense would evantually lead them to blow a game...it was simply a matter of time. While Pryor is an amazing athlete, he is a terrible QB. From decisions, to basic fundamental footwork, to arm strength, Pryor is simply a faster version of Juice Williams. This is not to excuse for the coaching staff...Senator Tressel was a great coach. However, unlike twinkees, college coaching staff's have shelf lifes. No different than what happened to Lloyd Carr, Phil Fulmore or Tommy Tuberville, or Mark Richt the game has passed Tressel and his offensive staff by. It remains to be seen if Tressel can change his staff to reverse the decline as JoePa did a number of years ago.

The Big 10 suckitude makes Mighty a sad panda
NBA
This is more of a site update but with about 1 week to go before the regular season look for Gutsy to continue his NBA preview. Of particular note begin the criticisms for what he does with Ok City Thunder. A team I don't have a clue what they'll do ....but I am interested

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cheers and Jeers: Old Fashioned Milkshake Edition

Ingredients

Milk
Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberries
Hope


In this early part of the season two men stand astride the NFL like the Colossus at Rhodes.... The Manning Brothers. Combined their teams are 10-0 and boast the top 2 passer ratings in the league. They reign touchdowns with impunity on par with how Ray Lewis breaks the law with impunity. The NFL has been taken over - "conquered" if you will by this race of human looking creatures. At this point its unclear if they will simply consume the NFL or simply bludgeon them as part of their ultimate goal of placing Archie on Mt. Rushmore. However it is clear that there is no stopping them. And I for one welcome our Manning overlords. As a trusted news reporters person type I can useful in rounding up disloyal subjects who will be forced toil in their underground sugar caves .

Picture of C&J reporting the True Face of the Manning Brothers


Jeers: To Ray Lewis. For awhile I was wondering why Ray wasn't tossed after his hit on Ochostinko...then I remembered if any ref really messed with Ray he'd be met in the parking by Ray, 4 friends, shivs, and skiing masks. Here is a brief re-enactment about a normal day in the life of Ray Lewis


Cheers: To puppies. Not to make generalizations but if this video doesn't make you smile, you are an inhuman monster

Cheers: To the US soccer team qualifying for the World Cup. Congrats guys..do us proud

Jeers: To US soccer star Charlie Davie being in a serious car crash. Get well soon sir. We are all pulling for you.

Cheers: To Limbaugh being forced out of his bid for the St.Louis Rams. Karma dude. Karma

and we have two C&J gals of the week...Marge Simpson and Cheetera....Thanks Playboy




h/t holy taco

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 6: College Football Trend Watching

Another week and a little more certainty in the college football world...so who are my big winners and losers of the week.....

UP

  • Nebraska - I was a little worried when I penciled in Nebraska for the last BCS spot that they'd drop the ball against Mizzou. However in a rain-soaked game the Cornhuskers hung tough. With its only tough games being Texas Tech and OU at home and KU on the road Nebraska only needs to win 2 out 3 and I think a BCS bid is theirs.
  • V-Tech - While an opening season crushing loss to Alabama hangs over their head, Tyrod Taylor is finally coming into his own (300 yards passing for the first time) and V-Tech keeps on rolling. Only G-Tech really stands in their way of another ACC Championship
  • Florida - Nothing is stopping UF from going to the SEC Championship Game

Down

  • Georgia - Georgia hasn't had less than 9 wins since 2001 - in other words its been the model of consistency. However this year the bottom seems to have dropped out. The defense got torched by Tennessee and UGA still has games against Florida, Auburn and G-Tech. Mark Richt will need to make some coaching changes
  • Mississippi - Talk about self-immolation. A team with a supposed great QB, a lot of returning starters, yadda yadda yadda. Ole Miss is a wonderful example of why rankings shouldn't be based on last year.

Open Admission of Uncertanity
What happens if Texas loses? Normally its total chaos but this year it feels like the pickings are slim. The Big 10 and Big East don't seem to register on the national radar, there's no other Big 12 team to tak the baton, V-Tech had the bad loss to 'Bama, and both Pac 10 teams (USC and Oregon) have suffered bad losses. Could it be an all SEC BCS Championship? Shudder shudder

Games of the Week
OU v. Texas (Red River Classic)
Cincinnati v. South Florida - (winner will probably win Big East)
USC at Notre Dame
Iowa at Wisconsin


Bowl Predictions

(unchanged...finally)
BCS Championship: Alabama over Texas
Orange Bowl : Virginia Tech over Boise State
Sugar Bowl: Florida over Cincinnati
Fiesta: Miami (FL) over Nebraska
Rose Bowl: USC over Penn State

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 6 - The Straw that Broke the Mangina's Back

As Laz said yesterday, we have reached the point where the straw has broken the Mangina's back. Simply put, I usually don't give up on a coach or a GM in the first season, or even at the end of the 1st season. However, here's what Mangina has done:
1) He has hired an offensive coordinator who's dumb as dirt
2) He and his best friend who is the GM have traded the #5 pick (Mark Sanchez) and Braylon Edwards for less than market value due to overvaluing Mangina's players from the Jets.
3) He doesn't care about his players... as RB James Davis and WR Steptoe were both injured during mysterious practices. Yes, players get injured in practice, but the fact that there are rumors that Davis was not wearing pads while other players were is just inexcusable. And... with Mangina's strict rules I truly believe that where there is smoke there is fire.

So, I've given up. I want the Browns to hire a GM, who then hires a coach, and then hire an offensive coorinator. And, I don't want any Belichick disciples. It pains me to say it... but I now want the Browns to finish 1-15. It's good for the Browns in the long-term, that's for sure.

On to the games...

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Giants @ Saints - Two undefeated teams that have been looking pretty dominant... it has to be the Manwich! I have no idea who will win. I guess I'll just go with the home team?
Pick: Saints

Upset of the Week
Arizona @ Seattle - I know Seattle won 41-0 last week, but they just can't be that good.
Pick: Arizona

Opening Round Playoff Game #6
CAR @ Tampa - The loser of this game is clearly eliminated... granted, some may say the winner is already eliminated too!
Pick: CAR

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Denver @ San Diego - Not only is it an important game, there are all sorts of fantasy stars in this game!
Pick: San Diego

Other Games
KC @ Washington - Pick: KC
Houston @ Cincy - Pick: Cincy
Cleve @ Pitt - Pick: Pitt
Baltimore @ Minny - Pick: Baltimore
St. Louis @ Jack-o - Pick: Jack-o
Detroit @ GB - Pick: GB
Philly @ Oakland - Pick: Philly
Buff @ Jets - Pick: Jets
Tennessee @ New England - Pick: New England
Chicago @ ATL - This game is very fascinating for me... don't know who will win, but it could decide a wildcard spot! - Pick: ATL

Last Week: 8-6
Season: 50-26
Manwich: 2-3 (Pats lost to Broncos)
Upset of the Week: 1-4 (Texans fell short at the goalline)

Timing is everything

Well, I was pretty impressed with the division series games in the playoffs this year. Lot of close games and I got to admit, I was pretty sad after the final game at the Metrodome. I will never forget that stadium because of the 1991 World Series (Twins/Braves). That was one of the most exciting World Series ever. And I will never forget Kirby Puckett making that leaping catch against the wall. Good stuff.
Anyway, does anyone else think the schedule of the Championship Series is idiotic?
The Phillies won yesterday and play the Dodgers on Thursday. Okay, two days off between series, i can see that. Not a big deal.
But, the Angels/Yanks, what the crap? Both teams finished their series on Sunday and then don't play until Friday? That's insane. That's four days with no baseball at all. Now, I'm gonna bitch and moan about tuesday and wednesday is no baseball at all, but that's just the entertainment aspect, which is one thing. However, four days in October, what is this gonna do to the players?
This is longest break between games for either team for the whole season. A team won't even go this long without playing during the all-star break. At the all-star break, unless you are an all-star, you'll play Sunday, then off til thursday. Here, its a day more than that. I think this is going to led to a bad start of the series for the AL LCS. I think that much time is too much and is going to have a bad effect on the game.

Two side notes:
1. I realized over the weekend that 7 of the 8 playoff teams in baseball all have Indians players from this season or last. That makes me sad, here they are:
Cardinals: Mark DeRosa
Rockies: Rafael Betancourt
Phillies: Cliff Lee and Ben Fransico
Dodgers: Casey Blake
Yankees: CC Sabathia
Red Sox: Victor Martinez
Twins: Carl Pavano
Angels: No one

It's really sad that the Indians have dealt away 8 quality players in the last two seasons that, most of which are enough of impact players to help a team down the stretch. In fact, because of Pavano, an argument can be made that the Twins may not have made the playoffs without him. Also, Lee and Sabathia were clearly difference makers for that team.
Not cool at all.

2. Gutsy and I were discussing the utterly pathetic-ness of the Browns. And another off-the-field dramatic event is overshadowing the browns first win of the season. Apparently, Mangini held a practice in which Rookie RB James Davis was practicing without pads, but the defense had pads. I'm utterly shocked an injury occurred. And now the NFL is investigating. Well, Gutsy was fuming about how he wants Mangini fired. I agreed, and exclaimed "This is the straw that broke the Mangina."

I think I have a new catchphrase.
Laz

Monday, October 12, 2009

NBA Preview: Part 1 - Eastern Conference Lottery Teams

I'm too excited about this year's NBA season. The solution? A three-part preview.
This week: Eastern Conference Lottery Teams
Next week: Western Conference Lottery Teams
2 weeks from now: Playoff teams and playoff predictions

So... let's do this!

15-Milwaukee - It's really easy to put them on the bottom when they just let everyone walk away for nothing (Villaneuva, Sessions) when they had the time to do sign-and-trades. The reason they let both players walk? The economy and its vengence! They didn't have the money to accept any players in return! Michael Redd's contract is $17 million this year, another $18 next year still. Bogut seems like he'll be getting paid forever. On the bright side, they have Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
14-Knicks- At least David Lee and Nate Robinson can still cash in next year on free agency!
13-Charlotte - I just think they are going to end up dumping out Gerald Wallace, Diop, and basically any other player once they realize they have no hope this season. They actually have some nice pieces, but the East is just too competitive and too good this year for the Bobcats to squeak in.
12-Nets- I still say this is the #1 destination for free agents w/ the core of PG Devin Harris, SG C. Lee, C Brook Lopez, and the rookie from Louisville (Terrence Williams).
11- 76ers- I just don't see a smooth transition for the new PG (Louis Williams) who's replacing Andre Miller and I can't expect Elton Brand to be healthy anymore.
10- Pacers - I actually kind of like the roster this year, if they were ever healthy. The addition of SG Dahntay Jones is amazing, as he was a great defender last year on the Nuggets and will really help. They still have young All-Star Danny Granger, and some players who never are healthy (TJ Ford, Dunleavy, Troy Murphy).
9- Pistons - Wow. I can't believe I'm doing this, but I don't think the Pistons can make the playoffs. They have no rebounding and no defense. An over-the-hill Ben Wallace is not going to help the situation very much or make up for the loss of McDyess and Rasheed Wallace. They will score a lot (thanks to Villaneuva and Ben Gordon) but it won't matter. The real reason they can't make it: I don't see them overtaking Toronto/Washington/Miami, as I consider Orlando/Cleveland/Boston/Atlanta/Chicago to be locks at this point. In regards to Toronto/Washington/Miami, Toronto gets back a healthy PG Calderon and added Turkoglu. Washington added extra players (PG Randy Foye, SG Mike Miller) and the best regular season coach (Flip Saunders) in recent NBA history. In addition, Flip Saunders is able to adapt to relate to his players - he even provides his players with i-pod touch devices with "the entire 750-page playbook and video clips on how each play should be run." Miami has D-Wade. With all of the improvements by these other bubble teams (Toronto, Washington, Miami), I just don't see the Pistons making it. Sorry Pistons.

MMBSD: Some Awful Football


Perhaps some of our old and grayer BSD followers would care to correct the record but after sitting in a bar watching the 1 o'clock games I think I can avoid using hyperbole and still safely say I don't ever remember this number of truly horrific teams. Oakland has a coach that's about to be arrested and a QB that's about to be one of the all time busts. The Browns passed for 22 yards against Buffalo and WON. I can't particular remember a defense that turned putrid faster than Tampa's and I'm not certain the Rams can beat most college team (and I'm not even touching the Redskins). At the rate things are going 3 wins might only get you the number 6 pick in next year's draft.

Bengals on The Rise - Don't look now but the Bengals are in first in the AFC North. Cinci's defense made Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense sputter and Carson Palmer seems to have rediscovered his Pro Bowl form. Add that to the surprising play of Cedric Benson and the Bengals are slowly establishing themselves as AFC elite.

Bronco's Too - Well with this win over New England its time to put the over-rated monikor to rest for Denver. It wasn't a dominating win by any stretch and Denver still has a number of tough games to go but in the very weak AFC West...Denver might be able to pad their record and skate on into the playoffs..

Disgusting - As bad as the Browns have been this incident is worse . While the details are unclear it is being reported that for the 2nd time a Browns player was lost for the season during tackling without pads fun under That Fat Fuck II (the first being Charlie Weis). It's refreshing that the Browns will avoid being penalized for injurying an employee by potentially firing him if he reports their illegal activities. Bravo NFL. Its nice when an organization's labor standards are on par with a Chinese coal mine.


College Football

It's nice - That the Florida defense got a little cred during the Gator's victory over LSU. While the Tebow Child had a pretty ordinary game (perhaps because we didn't believe in him enough) it was more than enough. The Gators returned all 22 of their two deep on defense. I'm pretty sure the total points for a potential Gators v. Bama game won't exceed 15.

Still Open - At least that's how I'm interpreting the Big 10. Iowa has to go to Madison and Columbus, OSU still has Iowa, Penn State and Michigan, Penn State has to travel to Columbus and Ann Arbor while Wisconsin has Iowa and travels to Michigan. That said I haven't been particularly wowed by anyone which is partially why I consider it wide open. The elites struggles coupled with Indiana recent 47-7 loss to ACCC bottom dweller Virginia seems to point that for this year the Big 10 is in fact the worst conference in the BCS.


NBA

One of the seemingly perennial questions is about Andrew Bynum - the often hyped and often injured player. While Artest might be a large question mark (i.e. can he transition from being a ball hogger to an effecient player) so is Bynum's growth. Recently Hollinger estimated that this year Bynum will blossom to being one of the top 3 centers in the league - which would all be assure the Lakers another championship. I'm a little skeptical but it does bare watching....

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cheers and Jeers: Autumn Punch Edition



Ingredients
Fresh-sliced plums garnish
A blend of apple-cranberry juice
Sweet white wine/Ginger Ale


Cheers: To Foliage Season Breaking out. There's few things I enjoy nature more (maybe monkey knife fights) that looking out at the hundred acre forests and see the leaves change to beautiful hues of orange, reds and purples.

Jeers: To SEC Refs. Maybe its their attempt to top ACC refs for the worst refs in the game but the recent flagging of supposed "excessive celebration" was truly some of the worst reffing I've ever seen.

Jeers: To Rush Limbaugh's attempt to buy the St.Louis Rams. I really don't have to say why, do I?

Cheers : To NBA Preseason. I think I like NBA Preseason games the most because of the international flavor with NBA teams taking on elite from other parts of the globe. Next week the Cavs take on Greece's best Olympiakos

and the C&J gal of the Adriana Lima....who is actually in charge of the BSD Air Force

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sometimes When You Lose, You Actually Win

Milton Bradley is a sorry, pathetic loser of a human being. But he's a winner here at Back Seat Drivers - of the Ozzie Guillen Go Fuck Yourself Award for September 2009!



Bradley, a well-known malcontent and generally distasteful man, outdid himself when he made nasty comments about the Cubs and his need for a "stable" working environment. Now everybody knows: never underestimate The Gamer and his capacity to scrape the bottom of the human barrel.

Congratulations, "Meltdown" Bradley! Now go fuck yourself. Somewhere else, please.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Week 5 - Natural Disasters

As a Browns fan, I'm not pleased about the Braylon Edwards trade (for a 3rd, a 5th, WR Chansi Stuckey, and a special teams player). This is the epitome of selling low, as the Browns could have traded him for at least a 2nd round pick back before the draft, but that was too little according to the Mangina and his minions (they were holding out for a 1st). If the intent was to move him at the first sign of trouble (i.e. a bar fight) they should have just traded him to the Giants for a 2nd round pick in April, rather than at a lower point in value (when he may be facing a suspension). My biggest problem though is the laziness of Mangina as he keeps trading with the Jets over and over again. It seems absurdly suspicious that Mangina traded the #5 pick (Mark Sanchez) to the Jets... and Braylon Edwards to the Jets. I don't even believe that Mangina even talked to anyone else. I feel betrayed too, because I had been defending Mangina thus far.

Fellow contributor, Laz, said he believes that the storyline is something out of the WWF (or WWE) where "Mangini is part of the browns, and he starts undercutting the team, then all of a sudden he reveals that he was a secret-jets "consultant" all along."
This made me think of a very memorable betrayal: When Tugboat betrayed everyone and became the evil "Typhoon." According to wikipedia, "In a televised 6 man tag-team match where Earthquake teamed with the Nasty Boys and Tugboat teamed with The Bushwhackers Tugboat turned on his partners after a few minutes of action and joined the Earthquake in laying the two New Zealanders out cold with a big splash[1]. After the heel turn Tugboat changed his name to Typhoon and together they became known as “The Natural Disasters[2] one of the heaviest tag-teams in the world."
I'm proposing now calling Eric Mangini the "Typhoon" and Jets coach Rex Ryan "Earthquake" since they are clearly working together for the benefit of the Jets. Rex Ryan is definitely fatter than Mangina anyway.


On to the games...
Manwich Matchup of the Week
Pats @ Broncos - I can't believe McDaniels still hasn't lost yet... but I think that streak ends this week at the hands of his merciless master, Bill Belichick. It wouldn't surprise me if Belichick had McDaniels office and house bugged to ensure that Belichick knew all of the Broncos plays for this week.
Pick: Pats

Upset of the Week
Houston @ Arizona - It's really hard to find a manageable upset this week. So, I figure the Texans should be good this week, since they love winning games they have no business winning and losing when they are heavily favored.
Pick: Houston

Opening Round Playoff Game #5
Jacksonville @ Seattle - I realize the Jags beat up the Titans last week, but I still don't believe in either of these teams this year.
Pick: Jacksonville

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Jets @ Dolphins - Braylon Edwards? Ronnie Brown? Ricky Williams? Ted Ginn? Someone is going to mess things up fantasy-wise in this monday-nighter.
Pick: Jets

Other Games
Minny @ St. Louis - Pick: Minny
Dallas @ KC - Pick: Dallas
Wash @ CAR - Pick: CAR
TB @ Philly - Pick: Philly
Oakland @ Giants - Pick: Giants
Cleveland @ Buffalo - Pick: Buffalo
Cincy @ Baltimore - Pick: Baltimore
Pitt @ Detroit - Pick: Pitt
ATL @ San Fran - Pick: ATL
Indy @ Tennessee - Pick: Indy

Last Week: 9-5
Season: 42-20
Manwich: 2-2 (Good work Saints!)
Upset of the Week: 1-3 (Chargers can't win in Pitt)

October GFY Award

I nominate Mangini.

Week 5: College Football Trend Watching

Week 5 trends from beneath the giant sombrero that I wear will typing Trend Watching...

Up


  • Miami - Jacory Harris started off awful but came back and was able to beat down the Bradford-less Sooners. The second big win, coupled with UNC's utter collapse, mean's its easy sailing the rest of the way to an at-large bid
  • Auburn - Suddenly Auburn comments and hype are coming out of the woodwork. I won't reiterate the job their new o-coordinator has done for the team (for those that are unaware the inventor of the modern wildcat formation is their offensive coordinator) but suffice to say Auburn has gone from averaging -17 pts a game to over 30. I doubt Auburn can win the loaded SEC West but don't be surprised it upsets a team or two.
  • Oregon - Shame on me for trusting Cal but I have this new get rich and quick scheme..err Pac 10 team. Yes, yes Boise State crushed them but in the last two weeks they've played the same teams USC has and won by larger margins. Oregon is that last hope of not having USC win the Pac 10.
Down
  • Houston - After winning against Tech Houston lost an absolutely inexplicable game against UTEP. For those that are unaware UTEP doesn't actually field 11 players on defense. So the mid-major bids lose another. Only TCU and Boise State remain.
  • FSU - After a monumental crushing of BYU the wheels have fully come off FSU. Dropping another game against a horrible team its looking like Bobby Bowden might "retire" this year. And by retire I mean fired. And by fired I mean its admitted that he died several years ago.

Open Admission of Uncertainty
  • That last at large bid I'll be honest...No clue. My current list for that spot includes ND/Big 10 #2/Pac 10#2/Big 12 #2 - I think that currently includes about 8 teams. Notre Dame I'd say has the inside track but that assumes it can beat Stanford, BC, UConn, and Pitt. I'm not certain they can do that. In the meantime I'm putting my current projection of a two loss Nebraska over a two loss tOSU for reasons of profit (Nebraska fan base + tOSU has been to the Fiesta for what feels like forever)
Games of the Week
Florida at LSU
Alabama at Ole Miss
Nebraska at Missouri (Thursday)
Wisconsin at tOSU
Michigan at Iowa

Bowl Predictions


BCS Championship: Alabama over Texas
Orange Bowl : Virginia Tech over Boise State
Sugar Bowl: Florida over Cincinnati
Fiesta: Miami (FL) over Nebraska
Rose Bowl: USC over Penn State