Sunday, September 30, 2007
- I had the pleasure of witnessing the punctuation of this historic collapse first hand. My voice is pretty much shot from 3 1/2 hours of booing. Plus after the final out, I leaned over the loge railing and yelled "You Suck" in a near shriek for a few minutes. That obviously didn't help matters. In retrospect I should have tried to sneak closer to the dugout so my cries wouldn't have completely fallen on deaf ears.
-Good riddance to Tommy Glavine. You laid an egg big enough for the Goobleygooker to hatch out of. Your first and last outings as a Mets starter were embarrassingly awful and I had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting in Shea for both of them. You stink. Have fun pitching in Atlanta next year. When you come back to Shea I will boo you mercilessly and I hope the rest of the fans will as well, you strikezone nibbling, emotionally vacant fuckwad.
-After Fat Castro just missed hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the first, I turned to my brother and said "Game over." I know I was really going out on a limb proclaiming a 7-0 ballgame out of reach, but they had to counterstrike swiftly and alas they could not.
- To the jerkoff behind me who stayed positive and optimistic throughout the entire game, I hope you die soon.
-Is Jose Reyes on drugs? Tremont and I spoke on this topic today and it seems entirely possible. Jose has been a different person of late. He lacked focus for much of the second half of the season, making mental mistakes in the field and on the basepaths. Also, his approach at the plate has deteriorated to that of a little league bench warmer. Alarmingly, he stopped hustling and made weak out after weak out without making any discernible adjustments. Another possible explanation for his September swoon involves a hot blond chick, a hotel room, and a glass table. More to follow on that at a later date.
-While we're on the topic of Reyes, it appears that the fans love affair with Reyes has come to an end. Jose was booed lustily in all of his at-bats today. The jeers easily drowned any attempted "Jose...Jose, Jose, Jose" chants. Until the past two weeks Reyes had been Teflon, but I guess when your average drops 40 points and you go 0 for September, the fans will voice their displeasure. It certainly didn't help that while he was doing his best Juan Pierre impression and the season was falling apart, he was smiling and yucking it up with the opposition. Not the best way to endear yourself to the fans or your teammates. It will be interesting to see if any anti-Reyes rumblings leak out of the clubhouse.
- I can't believe I invested so much time and effort in these choking dogs. I feel like a fool. This is going to hurt for a real long while. As a result, I will not be viewing much of this season's post season, so you will have to rely on Tremont for playoff analysis. Now that the Mets are done I have nothing to look forward to in my life. I need sports in order to escape from the trappings and misery that is working for a living, but now my dancecard is completely empty. The Jets stink, the Gators are no longer undefeated, and the Knicks and Redmen are going to stink. I've got nothing. Ugh.
- Your sister is getting married. All of your family will be there.
- The people in your community are holding a suprise 50th anniversary party for your next door neighbors.
- Most of your friends are having their annual horseshoe tournament.
Knowing all of this, you decide that September 29th is the day to invite friends, family members, and neighbors to a barbeque in your backyard. Nobody shows up. You are the NHL.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
After their huge win over West Virginia, I did a wikipedia search on the University of South Florida to see where they are located. I expected that they would be in Miami-Dade or Broward County, but it turns out they are based in Tampa. Tampa is most certainly not in "South Florida".
We must not allow words and phrases to lose their meanings. If we let USF get away with their deceptive name, we are inviting an Orwellian dystopia, in which newspeak dominates the land. I'll be damned if I am party to a 1984 scenario, just because I want to cheer an underdog.
Friday, September 28, 2007
I'm going to take this a whole lot harder than you are. You have everything going for you. You're just going to brush this all off and go out on the town like nothing happened. Me? This is going to haunt me for a very long time and I'm going to have a tough time trusting you or anybody else ever again. And when you come calling in a couple months, when you're lonely and need people to pay attention to you, I'll be back. Not necessarily because I want to, but because I don't know any better.
If you need me I'll listening to Bright Eyes' "It's Cool We Can Still Be Friends"
As resident degenerate gambler of SYHD, I have been promoted from sardonic commentator to the ranks of talentless poster. It is my civic duty to bring a little class to this federation. My gambling skills can be best described as Mr. Perfect meets Ted Debiase. As part of my weekly shtick, I will handicap college football games that interest only me. Unlike other valued contributors, I will not self-deprecate and I will provide posts that are more ornamenting than banausic. Wrap your arms around the last part of that sentence MF’er. Told you I was smart. I will empower any genius who comes here to shed their morose existence. I will force you to denounce Brandon Lang. I will attribute my incredible accuracy to being better than you at life, and I will fail to give any credit to other pundits whose picks I may steal directly from. I will hate you for not being me. I will never pick a game wrong. If I do, it is your fault.
The Helen Roper- named after the sexually frustrated wife of Stanley Roper on the 70’s slapstick sitcom Three’s Company. Helen Roper was a sure thing. I take these fuckers seriously.
Louisville (2-2) at NC State (1-3).
The Line: Louisville -9. The line opened at 8 and with 76% of the betting public taking Louisville, the line has jumped to 9. Expect it to increase.
The Overview: Louisville is 0-3 ATS this year, mostly because a) they can’t play defense and b) Vegas did not catch up to the fact that they can’t play defense. They are the rare combination of a Top 5 offense and bottom 5 defense, which makes their games fun to watch, but difficult to handicap. Their offense averages 50pts a game, but they are giving up 33 to the likes of Middle Tennessee St. and Syracuse. NC State might be as bad as Duke this year. Seriously.
The Stats: 619-324; 50-24. Louisville doubles NC State up in yards and points scored.
Notable Matchups: NCSU is giving up nearly 250 yds a game on the ground, and has yet to hold an opponent to under 200 yds rushing. Louisville’s Anthony Allen has ran for nearly 500 yards on the year and 5tds, at over 6 yards per, and has provided balance to Louisville’s potent offense. Considering that Louisville has learned that it does not do any favors for its porous defense when they force Brohm to throw 50 yards a game, Louisville will seek to establish the run against a team who has a hard time defending it. The ability to stay off of the field may be just what the maligned Louisville defense will need this week. If the defense is able to put pressure on NCSU’s quarterback, they may be able to knock him out of the game. He has been playing banged up as of late.
The Trends: I could write a lot of damning stuff about UL’s defense, but I would rather focus on the positives. Louisville has the talent to compete out of conference with mediocre BCS conference schools, as best exemplified by their going 10-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. ACC and 20-7 ATS in their last 27 non-conference games. But this isn’t about Louisville as much as it is NC State. After going to undergrad just outside of Raleigh, I can attest that Carter-Finley is not an intimidating place to play. UCF beat NCSU on opening day and Clemson dominated them last week. In fact, the Wolfpack are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a home underdog, and 0-5 ATS in the last 5 home games. The only team they have beaten straight up in their last 10 games is Wofford. As a dog, they don’t pack much of a bite either, going 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games. This is traditionally the time of year when they shit the bed, going 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games in September.
Synthesis: Kragthorpe has something to prove. The Wolfpack simply can’t score enough to keep up with Louisville. This line jumped out at me as being particularly low considering how good Louisville is on offense and how bad NC State is on D. Vegas is trying to adjust for their previously inflated lines, but picked the wrong team to do it against.
The Play: Louisville 42, NC State 27.
The Lady Bowerbird- named after the female Bowerbird who goes from elaborate bower to bower, ultimately selecting the male who builds the most ornate bower to mate with. With a little hard work, the Lady Bowerbird is a sure thing.
UL Monroe (0-3) at Troy (2-2). Line Troy -13.5.
Troy has scored more points against better competition through the course of the year. Coming off of the fund the women’s soccer program tour, each team should be ready for conference play. Since halftime of the Florida game, Troy has been a very confident team. Omar Haugabrook is a good quarterback and should be able to pass efficiently against a defense that is allowing nearly 300 in the air per. 83 percent of the smart money has taken Troy in his game.
The Play: Troy 34, ULM 20
Penn State (3-1) at Illinois (3-1). Line PSU-3.
I won’t even acknowledge this with analysis. Joe Paterno is more than three points better than Ron Zook. Bet on it.
The Play: Penn State 24, Illinois 10
The Hymen- need I explain? Far from a sure thing, but certainly penetrable.
Alabama +2.5 vs. FSU @ Jacksonville.- Don’t be fooled by the location. The crowd will be a factor in Bama’s favor. FSU has shown no proof they can match up schematically or athletically with a Top 25 team like Alabama. Take the points.
Clemson -3 at Georgia Tech.- After the way Georgia Tech played last week, they have proven they are not the ACC contender they were last year. Clemson seems like a team poised for a late season showdown with BC for conference superiority. With that said, both teams are historically unpredictable week to week, and I would not be surprised if GT came out with exotic blitz packages to confuse Clemson’s first year QB in his first true road test. Both teams run the ball exceptionally well, but quarterback play will be the difference. I think Harper is a gamer, and Clemson is an overall better team.
Notre Dame at Purdue -22. – I have made a lot of money betting against Notre Dame in their last 6 games. This Purdue team has a very powerful offense and is hungry for a chance to put up big numbers on the Irish. Purdue will be playing with mixed emotions, still laughing from reading Charlie Weiss’ myspace page and angry from being snubbed by the pollsters last week. After this win, America will finally take notice and Purdue should crack the Top 25.
Since we here at SYHD can’t get drunk off of a six-pack, we offer a shot of 4 horsemen of the apocalypse guaranteed to leave you with a hangover. Much like shooting a 4 horsemen, there is no rhyme or reason as to why we make these picks, and there certainly is no explanation.
7. LSU at Tulane (+40)
8. USC at Washington (+21)
9. Ohio State at Minnesota (+23.5)
10. Mississippi State at South Carolina (-14)
YTD record straight up: Undefeated.
YTD record ATS: Undefeated.
4) For months, Mets fans have been parading around, as proud as peacocks, talking about how their team was about to win the city back (Cough Nocedog Cough). If any group was ever ripe for a collective kick in the sack, it's them.
3) This collapse would be historic. According to baseballprospectus.com's Playoff Odds Report, the Mets had a 99.8% chance of making the postseason, as of September 12th. BP's Nate Silver's calculations show that the Mets missing the playoffs would be the second biggest meltdown in baseball history. Nobody tells their grandchildren about a near collapse.
2) This team has effectively cultivated a carefree, loosey-goosey image. They're all giggles and choreographed multi-step hand slaps, all the time. At first, it was cute. However, much like the '04 Red Sox, their happy-go-lucky ways were rapidly degenerating into a caricature of themselves. It would be the definition of irony if Team Good Times completely shat the bed at the first whiff of a pennant race.
1) Mookie might kill himself, bringing this awful blog to a merciful end.
Here is a pretty good critique of Simmons.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Rinse and Repeat.
(I'm sure I bungled tense and syntax in this post, but I really don't care)
- I am thoroughly convinced that every major American sport is being played at its highest level ever.
- Watching Alex Rodriguez play everyday is
Mission aborted. I sincerely went into this post with the best intentions, until I realized it was destined to be a crushing bore. Negativity will continue to reign supreme here.
- New York teams are hated by their opponents. The anti-New York sentiment is so strong that teams will do all they can to keep NY franchises out of the playoffs. Apparently the Yankees opponents have not gotten the memo.
- (Save yourself a messy spit take by swallowing your beverage before reading this one.)They are running into teams with a lot of young Latin ballplayers. These young Latinos are busting their asses to impress their heroes, such as Pedro and Beltran.
Mad Dog Russo actually lent credence to these cockamamie hypotheses, with a "Interesting. I hadn't thought of that." I hadn't thought of them either. Mainly because they're stupid.
Tom, a simple "I don't know" would have done the trick.
This has nothing to do with anything, except that I think it is pretty supercool. Check out this story about a dude who escaped from prison by shimmying up the basketball pole and cutting through the guarding fence. Much unlike Rex Grossman, this fugitive apparently has incredible escapability. (and probably is better at reading defenses). This quote from the U.S. deputy killed me,
"I don't think he's a ninja. He definitely has some good skills and has no problem, as we've found out, sitting in the woods for several days. He knows how to survive out there."
Thank God he isn't a ninja. We would all be in big big trouble.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Two weeks ago Jets fans were skewered by every media outlet, major and minor, for "cheering" Chad Pennington's injury. Please read my take on the media misinformation campaign here.
Well this past Sunday, Chad received a standing ovation from Jet fans when he ran onto the field to start the game. Did Keith Olberman, who named the fans of Gang Green as the "Worst Person of the Week" last Sunday night make mention of the very warm reception Chad received this week? Of course not. Did Peter King, who almost threw up his triple pump mocha skim no fat latte back into his cup (only to later drink it again) after the display, reference this week's reaction in his column's "10 Things I Think I Think" segment? Of course not. How about the local beat and features writers? The Daily News' Gary Myers mentioned it in his column, but it was buried deep in the sixth paragraph. Otherwise I didn't see any other mention of the ovation.
It's disconcerting, but not at all surprising, that the media would completely ignore this story since it tends to harp on and sensationalize the negative. The ironic part is that the crowds applause for Chad was a direct reaction to that media coverage, but since the media does not like to police itself (hence websites like awful announcing, fire joe morgan exist) nary a mention was made of the reception.
(Disclaimer: if I missed any positive coverage of Jets fans please ignore the preceding post)
-Wow, close but no cigar for the Mets tonight. An almost historic comeback effort falls just short as the Mets score 6 in the 9th, but lose to the Nats for the fourth time in five games which is just inexcusable.
-Hey Mets fans, what would be worse than losing the division to the Phillies? Losing it to the Braves. The Braves are only four back of the lead and if they sweep the Phils and the Mets continue to play as if they have never seen a ball, bat, or glove before it's not completely outlandish to think that the Bravos have a shot.
-Outside of a select few, the Mets pitchers have acoustic stuff (opposite of electric- a Tremont original I think)- especially in the bullpen where you can't count on anyone to get a big out. I know, I sound like a scratched cd (hats off to Ron Darling for his contemporizing the proverbial broken record) but this is the worst effn bullpen I've ever laid eyes on. At this point it's a moral victory if a pitcher lets up only one run in an inning.
-After last night's outing, I'm completely down on Mike Pelfrey. His secondary stuff continues to stink and he can't locate his fastball. Thus he is constantly pitching from behind and batters just sit on the heater and the only time that ball has sink is when it's fading behind the picnic area.
-I really wish the Mets could hire Manny Acta. Willie doesn't deserve to be fired, but I really like what I see in Acta. He has shown an aptitude for sabermetrics and logic- I'll call him the anti-Ozzie Guillen. He doesn't get suckered into playing his gut like Willie does all too often. I like Willie, but he has made some questionable decisions down the stretch. Tonight he brought Carlos Muniz back into the game after successfully navigating his first major league inning. Not a horrible move on its face, but Muniz needs to be on a super short leash, like the one Jimer's fiance has him on. Instead Willie stands idly by as Muniz walks two before bringing in ever flammable Jorge Sosa. To his credit Sosa should have made it out of the inning, but a Delgado physical error coupled with a Reyes mental error left the bases loaded with two outs. Brian Schneider, the feeble hitting lefty is stepping to the plate and "The Big Show" Scott Schoeneweis, a lefty, is ready in the bullpen, but Willie playing his gut rather than percentages left Sosa in. Sosa throws primarily sliders and is not overly effective against lefties, so I'm sure you can guess what happens next. Sosa gives up a big hit and the Mets go from a reasonable three run deficit to a much tougher to overcome five run hole. Those runs turned out to be very important tonight.
-Remember the Maine. Send John Maine to the bullpen. He is extremely effective the first time through the lineup and his already lively fastball will be even more so when he knows he can just let loose for an inning or two. At this point, what does the team have to lose? They need someone to throw high leverage innings and it isn't coming from anyone currently in the 'pen. Maybe Maine can be the Mets version of Joba Chamberlain or Adam Wainwright.
While watching Rex Grossman toss away my hopes and dreams of actually winning a bet Sunday, I became excrutiatingly aware that the NFL is now marketing itself to Latinos. I know this because they mentioned it a thousand times Sunday night. (Excuse me, I mean un mil times). I decided to head over to NFLlatino.com to learn more about the deep seeded Latino heritage in the NFL and made a startling discovery. Here, the website lists all of the Latino players in the NFL. Among the players are J.P. Losman and Adam Archuleta? They are Hispanic? Really? This whole time I thought they were just crappy white football players. I guess I probably subconciously knew they were Hispanic and were judging them more harshly. Sorry Donovan, I guess I really am a racist.
Monday, September 24, 2007
The great French mime, Marcel Marceau, died on Saturday in Paris. He was 84 years old. Though an autopsy is yet to be conducted it appears that Marceau died of asphyxiation when he could not escape from a giant transparent glass box. Thanks to the innovativeness of Marcel Marceau, white guys have unsuccessfully attempted these moves in clubs since the late-1900's.
As a tribute to Marcel Marceau (and the rest of you mimes around the world), I dedicate to you these famous words from Jack Black:
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I'm a jerk for writing this, but I'm going to get sick of Joba Chamberlain's father in a hurry. The last time an unsightly dude in a sports crowd got this much air time, it was Kurt Warner's wife.
I should leave the poor guy alone. He is a Native American (I'm told they got kind of a bum deal) who was stricken with polio as a child. As a result, one side of his body is paralyzed. A single father, he used to have catches with his son, Jim Abbott style, and has helped develop one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. Joba never misses an opportunity to talk about his father in the most adoring terms imaginable. It's about the most heart-warming story in sports today, and here I am shitting on it.
Well, not really. I am not trashing Joba and his father. Rather, I am prematurely whining about the over-coverage that this angle is going to get, when the playoffs come around.
I'm an ass.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I just returned from today's 5 hour, 10 inning Yankees/Blue Jays game. Since rain delayed the start of the game for over an hour and a half, the game scheduled for 1 o'clock didn't end until after 7:30. Witnessing the 12-11 victory was well worth the wait in the rain.
A few thoughts
- A-Rod went 4 for 6 with 2 doubles. He had go-ahead RBIs in the 6th and 7th innings and doubled in the ninth in a tie ball game. I'd like to think that guys like this feel retarded right now. But if Rodriguez goes 0 for 4 tomorrow, he'll probably feel justified in writing such articles. (Click here for a classic FJM rant on the above linked article).
- SAT analogy- Kyle Farnsworth: The pitcher's mound during a close game :: A registered sex offender: school. "A" should never be within 300 feet of "B".
- Disappointing performance by the Yankees fans today. Half of the crowd was gone by the end of the game. Many of those that remained participated in the wave. There really was a goofy Shea Stadium vibe today. I'll chalk it up to a Saturday, family crowd and the rain, but it was a bit embarrassing.
- MLB should really do away with the expanded rosters in September. The Yanks and Jays used a combined 18(!) pitchers tonight. Both managers were making mid-inning pitching changes to play the matchups, as early as the 6th inning. It was incredibly frustrating to watch.
- The Yanks have essentially clinched a playoff spot. Pardon the strong language, but I don't really give a hoot if they win the division or not.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
How about you tell us a little more about what you think is happening on the field (which are theoretically qualified to do), and do whole lot less wild guessing what you believe is going on in people's heads (which you are patently unqualified to do).
P.S. Don't try to find hidden meaning in the title of this article.
Wow! I'd sooner wear a Klan robe to a Jena Six rally than say it to his face, but De La Hoya's sexual orientation is serious doubt. I don't buy his rep's claim that these pics are photoshopped. They look very real. This was not spontaneous silliness either. The fishnets and pumps fit too well. To be fair, maybe it's a cultural thing. I vaguely remember having heard that dressing in drag is all the rage among Mexican men. (Previous sentence probably Archie Bunker-ignorant)
If drag is Oscar's thing, God bless. As a hobby, it beats shooting up strip clubs or fighting dogs. What I don't understand is how he could pose for such pictures, knowing that you are one upload away from making your life a living hell.
Perhaps Donovan McNabb is a victim of racial stereotypes. I simply do not know. I am neither black, nor a quarterback. I am, however, a rather accomplished white wide receiver (I once caught 7 touchdowns in a 2 on 2 touch game in my friend Mitch's back yard).
The plight of the white WR in the NFL is almost completely overlooked by the sports media. In fact,it is the sport media that perpetuates damaging stereotypes about the NFL's pale pass catchers.
How many times during the 2007 draft buildup did you hear Ohio State WR Anthony Gonzalez compared to former Broncos WR Easy Ed McCaffrey. Actually, it is hard to find any white WR over the last 7 years who hasn't been compared to Ed McCaffrey. These comparisons are usually supported with comments like "White WR X may not be the fastest or most skilled athlete on the field, but he runs great routes and isn't afraid to risk his body over the middle."
The irony of this is that Ed McCaffrey, at 6-5 and 215lbs, and with good speed, was one of the most physically imposing WR's of his era. If there was any WR in the 2007 draft comparable to Easy Ed, it was Calvin Johnson, not Anthony Gonzalez.
So, as Eagles WR Kevin Curtis emerges as Philadelphia's best WR this year, I wonder if Donovan McNabb will express any disgust with the media's stereotypical treatment of the oppressed white WR.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I would say that I learned my lesson, but I would be lying to myself. If he goes through a similar stretch next August, I will probably count him out again.
John Maine has all of 2 quality starts in his last 9. Over the same stretch, he has given up 6 or more runs four times. He is now sporting a 4.04 ERA in a pitcher's park, in a bad league without the DH. There is nothing wrong with; the world needs 5th starters.
Oliver Perez's 3.43 ERA looks a lot better, but that is only because he leads the league in unearned runs. The last time I checked unearned runs are worth just as much as earned runs. Players make great plays and players make errors. When a guy makes an error a good pitcher picks him up. Oliver Perez melts like fried ice cream. His RA is nearly 4.50 and trending way downward. He has walked 30 men in his last 40 innings. Oh, and this is the first time he has had an ERA under 5.85 since 2004. It looks an awful lot like the first half of this season was an anomaly
Watch a Maine or Perez start and you are sure to hear a Mets announcer comment that they suddenly lose their focus. This is completely excusable...if you're eight years old, severely retarded, or have been dosed with peyote. Seriously, how is this possible? They pitch every five days. When it's their turn, they spend less than an hour of real time on the mound and they get a break every 5 or 10 minutes to decompress.
I can sympathy with a lack of focus. My life is a train wreck, because my lack of focus. I am in therapy and on medication for ADD. I'm 28 and have accomplished next to nothing with my life. However, I have been playing baseball (in mediocre fashion) since I was in second grade. I can not recall a time when I lost focus on the field. How could you possibly make it to the Majors with such an extreme handicap.
Anyway, I digress. Did I mention that Alou left tonight's game with a tight left quad and El Duque has to wear a special boot for about a week? Ugh, watching your favorite team take a free fall out of contention is just one of the most helpless and frustrating feelings in the world. It's akin watching a loved one fall seriously ill, only that you know they'll come back alive a few months later.
At least the Phillies seemingly can't get out of their own way. They almost blew an 11 run lead last night and are currently losing to the Cards in Cole Hamels return to the mound, but I'm certainly not looking forward to the battle of attrition that looks poised to take place over the next two weeks.
Monday, September 17, 2007
1. He got the crap kicked out of him for much of the game and kept on coming back for more. As much as I hate to talk in intangibles, it was a real gut check. The Jets line was porous during the first two and a half quarters of the game and were befuddled trying to protect against the Ravens varying blitz packages. It seemed like Clemens was hit nearly every time he dropped back to pass, but even though he was blindsided a few times, he never coughed up the ball. Had Chad played he would have been carted off the field by the end of the first series. That's not a knock on Chad, but rather the reality of his durability at this point. Yes Clemens held onto the ball too long at times, but by the fourth quarter he really seemed to have his internal clock set.
2. He picked the Baltimore defense apart in clear passing situations. Again I don't mean this to be a Chad bash. I'm a Chad fan and statistically speaking he is the best starting qb in franchise history (winning %, passing rating, td/int ratio, completion %, etc.). At this point in his career, after two shoulder injuries, however he simply cannot make certain throws. He can't throw the deep out and has a lot of trouble shooting the ball through small windows downfield. As a result his effectiveness is severely limited in long yardage downs and late game must-pass situations. Clemens excelled in these situations against a very good secondary. Clemens picked apart Ravens D in long, short, and intermediate routes. Because he can make all of the throws, the D had to play him straight up. In similar situations, Chad's limitations force the Jets to call underneath route after underneath route. Of course, arm strength isn't everything, but Clemens showed good touch and accuracy in addition to his more than adequate arm strength.
Is Clemens the next Tom Brady, probably not? Is he the future of the franchise? It's too early to tell. But his growth and progression from the beginning to the end of yesterday's game against one of the toughest, most aggressive defenses was extremely encouraging. If Justin McCareins doesn't drop two sure touchdown passes, we might have a real quarterback controversy in NY this week.
2. Justin McCareins. McCareins, you just dropped not one, but two game tying touchdown catches. The love child of Jim Abbott and Dave Dravecky could have caught the first ball Clemens threw to him, yet McCareins did his best Featherstone impression and batted the ball down as if he were Darrell Green.
3. The Mets bullpen. Where's Marshall Applewhite or Jim Jones when you need him? Has there ever been a bigger need for a group suicide?
Redskins QB Jason Campbell looks a lot like the clay bust of Lionel Richie that was created by the blind girl in the "Hello" video. Unfortunately, I could only find a profile of said bust. You'll just have to trust me. Or not. Feel free to think I'm an idiot.
On a side note, I honestly don't think that the Cleveland Browns could have hung 51 points and over 550 yards of offense on the LSU defense.
- Last night, I became convinced that Mariano Rivera is not the super-human he once was. He is still an elite closer, but he has definitely lost something.
- On Boomer Esiason's must miss morning radio show (he now has Imus's spot in New York), he and his on-air partner discussed last night's Yankees/Sox game. They pretty much canonized Derek Jeter for his go-ahead home run, while attempting to juxtapose it with A-Rod's 1 for the series. They said something like "That's what makes Jeter Jeter and A-Rod A-Rod". I honestly thought, obviously naively, we were past the point where we were judging Rodriguez on a series-by-series basis. I will never again underestimate people's capacity to find fault with the greatest player on Earth.
Clinton (Indianapolis): Dane, what was it like working on something as tense as Mr. Brooks? Would you like to play another role like that soon?
Dane Cook: Everyone has an opinion on what is funny and what sucks. Just ask Bill Simmons, because he knows exactly who is funny, and who is not. After all, he is Bill Simmons.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
2) It is an exercise in futility. Show me an expert that can pick these games at better than a 55 percent clip over several years. Seriously, every analyst finishes the season within a couple games of .500. The odds makers do an excellent job establishing the spreads. If they somehow blow it on a particular game, gamblers quickly pounce, thus correcting the mistake. This is why I don't waste your time and, more importantly, mine with these picks.
A cursory glance at the schedules shows that every other major program in the nation has played at least one cupcake in their first three games. So, who at Notre Dame thought it was a good idea to schedule their first three gamess against Georgia Tech (no pushover), at Penn State, and at Michigan? Even a Lou Holtz era Fightin' Irish squad would have struggled to do better than 1-2. Had they scheduled a 1-AA (or whatever they are calling it now) team, or a bottom feeding Division 1 team, they would most likely have a win right now. With a win, they wouldn't be the number one story in college football (in a bad way).
Saturday, September 15, 2007
If I turn up missing in the next few weeks please direct detectives to question Dr. James Andrews and Dr. David Altchek.
The Yankees and Red Sox play the game the right way. Sure, hitting the cut-off man or poking a grounder to the right side with a runner on second and nobody out will help a team win the odd game here and there. But in terms of fundamentals, they are both secondary to pitch selection. I don't care how many of "the little things" a player does to give his team's announcers boners. If he gets on base at a .310 clip and he consistently swings at the first pitch, he is a fundamentally unsound player.
Waiting for a good pitch to hit gives the team three advantages. First, the pitcher may well throw 4 balls, before he throws 3 strikes, resulting in a free pass. Second, the more pitches the batter sees, the more likely he is to get a fat pitch to hit. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if most of the lineup employs a patient philosophy at the plate, the starter will tire prematurely. This will result in appearances by the opposition's long men (sexy!) and middle relievers, the worst pitchers on the team. The Yankees and the Red Sox both understand this. Along with their Scrooge McDuck pools of money, this is why they win.
Taking lots of pitches adds to the length of the game, but it is surely the right way to play. Your average Giants/ Pirates borefest will end in half the time of tonight's Yankees/ Sox game. But being that I like baseball in general, and, you know, players that play it well in particular, I am not bothered when the games last longer than normal. In fact, I welcome these all night affairs.
Friday, September 14, 2007
"Just don't get swept!" Alright, it makes for a piss poor rallying cry, but that's all I really expect from the Yankees this weekend. With both the Yankees and Red Sox likely headed to the playoffs, a lot of the juice has been taken out of this weekend's series.
Assuming the Yankees can eek out at least one victory, here are the subplots that interest me most.
- Will Roger Clemens be able to return to his July '07 form? We are never going to see a vintage Clemens again. However, the Yankees desperately need him to be a solid 3rd starter from here on out. This is not exactly the kind of discussion we thought we would be having about a man making nearly $20 million for 4 months of work, but here we are. Without Roger Clemens pitching at least at his pre-elbow inflammation level, the Yankees' will have a spotty postseason rotation.
- This series will have serious AL Cy Young Award implications. With less than three weeks left, the field is still wide open. Sabathia, Santana, Carmona, Lackey, Escobar, Verlander, Beckett, and Wang all have legitimate shots at the award. Putting my pinstriped pom poms down for a moment, Wang probably has the least compelling case of the 8 men listed above. However, voters love wins like SYHD contributor loves Italian jokes. If Wang clearly outduels Beckett on Saturday's nationally televised game, he'll probably be the guy to beat. Let's say for argument's sake, that Wang finishes the season 21-6 with a 3.50 ERA and nobody else gets 20 wins (a distinctly plausible scenario), who is going to win the Cy Young Award? Escobar and Lackey will siphon off votes from one another. The same will likely be true of Sabathia and Carmona. Johan Santana already has two Cy Young Awards and will not win more than 18 games. If the Yankees make the playoffs, Detroit will not. Rightly or wrongly this will hurt Verlander's candidacy. I am not saying Wang will deserve the award, but if he pitches well down the stretch, I think he is the odds on favorite.
- Besides batting lefty and throwing righty and possibly having ancestors that fought for the Axis Powers, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui have something else in common. Both are struggling mightily. Matsui is 4 for his last 33. Giambi is 5 for his last 43. I'd like to see these gentlemen show some life this series.
P.S. Why have I never heard of these Havoc and Furagano drugs? Their names alone sound like good times. I need a new circle of friends.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
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Though I would have rather seen Belichick suspended from the team for a week than be fined, kudos to the Commish (not Michael Chiklis) for giving the Pats more than a slap on the wrist. As my man Falco would say, "Don't turn around oh-oh, Der Kommissar's in town oh-oh!"
What a shame. Greg Oden is going to missing the entire season due to microfracture surgery on his knee. The history of this surgery indicates that the odds aren't good for Oden to ever return as good as new. Let's hope that Oden is the exception to the rule. On the upside, this extra year on the sidelines makes him even more likely to be the oldest looking rookie in NBA history.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Conversely, the Patriots seem to have schemed their way to three championships. Prior to this season, I had never thought the Pats had a stacked roster. Who has been their second best offensive player during this run? I have no clue.
The Patriots defense has been consistently excellent, but not particularly exciting. They haven't had a complete gamebreaker like LT (the original) or Ray Lewis. Richard Seymour, their best defensive player of the era, is primarily there to take on two blockers, so the linebackers don't get pushed around. The linebackers have typically been slow, but solid tackling white dudes that "play the game the right way". Thrilling stuff, I know. In fairness, they have had a plethora of exciting players in the secondary. However, for a great defense, they haven't been a whole lot of fun to watch.
Strangely, I always felt a bit conflicted about being turned off by the Patriots' humdrum excellence. I have become an Oakland A's sympathizer, for many of the same reasons that I dislike the Pats. I love that Billy Beane has built a tremendously successful organization by acquiring players that are undervalued, because of a percieved lack of athleticism. Belichick has plugged up holes on the Pats' roster in similar fashion. So I have always had to begrudgingly admire them.
There will be no more ambivalence. The camera incident gives me all the reason I need to unmitigatedly despise the Patriots.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Ankiel- If you were only to read the headline or the first few paragraphs of the Daily News article that first broke this story, you would think that Rick Ankiel was an unabashed steroid user. Buried deep in the article are facts that should have pretty much made this story nothing more than a blip on the radar- namely that he received a shipment of HGH several years ago before it was a banned substance, he was still a pitcher, and lastly he was recovering from major arm surgery. Furthermore, there is very little evidence that HGH does much more than shorten recovery time for injured athletes. Doesn't this sound like a great drug? I mean what fan wouldn't want their players to get back on the field as soon as possible? Let's also remember that Ankiel was scuffling along in the minors and his career was teetering on the brink of Spearsian disaster. Can you really blame him for wanting to get back on the field as quickly as possible? A complicated convalescence and he is sitting in the Long Island Ducks dugout with Jose Offerman. Now three years later he has become a outfielder, has not had any injuries, and there is zero evidence that he has used any type of performance enhancing drug, yet media members are making him out to be public enemy number 1.
Chad Pennington- I was at Sunday's game and witnessed the controversial events live and in surround sound. Despite what Keith Olberman and Phil Simms amongst others contend, the Jets faithful did not cheer Chad Pennington's injury. Chad got his ovation when he did "the sprain" off the field, but Jet fans have been eagerly anticipating the Kellen Clemens era. It's often said that the backup qb is the most popular player on the team. Pennington himself realizes this, since he was in this very position years ago when he first took over for Vinny Testeverde. Anyway at the time Chad was injured the Jets were getting pushed around like Donna Martin on spring break in Palm Springs. Many, myself included, were hoping that Kellen could provide a spark. The crowd erupted in cheer, not because Pennington was hurt, but rather out of the anticipation of seeing Clemens, the quarterback of the future, get some real game reps. Clemens was a 2nd draft pick, had a great preseason, and can actually throw a 25 yard out. Jet fans are legitimately excited about his prospects and simply wanted to support the quarterback who will hopefully lead the team to success the next 10 years. Chad did get a round of applause when he returned on the following drive. Of course that didn't get reported, since it would have been harder to fit this story in a nice little package. Yes, the timing of the massive applause was not good, but the eruption was for a glimpse at the future, not a celebration of injury.
Are Jets fans down on Pennington? I get the sense that they are to an extent. But that is a whole 'nother post that I'm working on.
And just because I love this clip:
Monday, September 10, 2007
1) A-Rod can't handle New York
2) A-Rod isn't clutch
3) A decent reason to continue living
4) The "A" is for April
I have largely stopped banging the Alex Rodriguez drum in this space. He doesn't need me anymore (as if we have an army of impressionable readers at SYHD). I have already said my piece here, here, and here. I have been proven correct on every count. Yes I'm gloating. I suppose it would be more dignified to be modest about it. However, it's been my experience that the best thing about being right is rubbing it in other people's faces.
I have to say that I'm disgusted with the new-found love affair that Yankees fans are having with A-Rod. The same fans that tried to run Rodriguez out of town, because of his .290/35/120 season, are giving him curtain calls for all of his homeruns. It has taken, arguably, the best season by a non-Bonds position player since Ted Williams for Yankees fans to embrace him. We really don't deserve the man.
The Jets were destroyed on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Yesterday, Tom Brady threw 28 passes. He could have impregnated a B-list starlet on every play, before the Jets' defensive line got near him. Seriously, I have never seen such an impotent pass rush in my life. On offense, the Jets' line opened precious few holes for Thomas Jones. D'Brickashaw Ferguson looks for all the world like an average NFL tackle, not the star one would expect from a 4th overall pick.
Having said that, the Patriots look like a juggernaut. This looks like the best Pats team of the Belichick era. Scary thought. Randy Moss may not be the athletic freak that he was 5 years ago, but he is going to have a phenomenol season with his first real QB since Daunte Culpepper.
Perhaps I am overreacting to one game, but I think the Jets will go 7-9 and the Pats will finish 14-2.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
His column was a response to my recent series of, perhaps occasionally over the top, that I wrote in late August. Mookie makes 3 fair points (#s 1, 2, and 4) in his post and one so stupid that I nearly had to reevaluate the merits of free speech (the regrettable #3).
First the fair:
1) Jose Reyes has not taken a step backward:
I probably would have been wiser to say that Jose Reyes has failed to take a step forward. I was not considering Reyes's 2006 in it's totality. I was using his post-May stats, in which he OPSed over .900 for 4 months, as a baseline for this season. On that basis, Reyes's 2007 is a mild disappointment. In your heart of hearts, you expected more from Reyes this year. Admit it.
2) Carlos Beltran is not having an average season:
I believe that I most recently described Beltran's season as "up-and-down". I have not described it as "average" for almost a month, when it was genuinely average. I think the difference is more than semantic. I will spell it out though. Beltran's ups this season have outweighed his downs.
For the first time, I would say that the balance sheet on the Beltran contract is in the black ink. (God, I know nothing about finance. I hope that sentence makes sense. I'm starting to think it doesn't. Readers, feel free to trash me in the comments section if it doesn't. But if you do, know that you are being a nitpicky Ned, because you know exactly what I meant.)
4) Pedro (is still good)
Agreed...probably. My counter would be that it was only one start and Pedro was far from lights out. Two of his four Ks were against a particularly bad hitting pitcher. His ability to go deep into games is still in question.
However, I was impressed with his ability to hit spots. His pitches still have enough life to make him effective without throwing gas.
I still am not sold that he is more than a 3rd starter on a good staff, which leads me to this gem...
3) The rotation is the best in the NL...and perhaps the best in the MLB.
Perhaps the best in the MLB? Support this claim. I dare you. I double dare you mother fucker. (Two unrelated Jules Winfield references, from the same scene in one post. If one were so inclined, he could probably throw at least one appropriate "Pulp Fiction" quote into every conversation). Imagine your favorite Mets starter. Got him? Well he would be the Red Sox 5th man. Tell me which one is getting the start over Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, or Wakefield. I know it's early, but I would strongly consider starting Buchholz over any of them. So there you have it. Your ace might be pitching long relief in Boston right now.
Other teams with better rotations:
Take this statement back. Every ill-conceived word of it. Honestly, you're better than that. A little.