Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nightly Depressed Met Fan Rant

For better or worse this will be the last "Nightly Depressed Met Fan Rant" of the year. I'm mentally and physically drained from this shit show, so rather that try to organize my thoughts in any coherent matter, I'm just going to resort to lazy-ass bullet points for this post.

- 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.

I'll Wait for Mookie

Anxiously awaiting a semi-coherent Mookie rant or suicide. Either way, it's a win/win.

Courting Irrelevance

All of the following events are happening Saturday, September 29th.
  • 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

Those Goat Horns Really Compliment Your Frosted Mini-fro

Mets fans may finally be over their love affair with Jose Reyes. Aside from doing absolutely nothing for months, Reyes has stopped hustling. This afternoon ,with the Mets season on the brink, Jose Reyes chopped a ball into the ground that barely went past home plate. Reyes took three steps out of the box, turned around and stopped to watch if it was going to go foul. The catcher caught the ball in fair territory and threw him out. Reyes may have been able to beat it out, had he run. Instead, he never made it more than 10 feet out of the box. He was deservedly booed by the Mets fans. In his next at bat, he was greeted with a smattering of boos as well.

As I was writing this, both benches cleared as it appears Marlins' pitcher Jairo Garcia threw at, and missed, Luis Castillo on consecutive pitches. Although nothing happened, both benches emptied. Unbeknownst to Mets fans, Jose Reyes and Marlins pitcher Matt Lindstrom took this opportunity to crack jokes with one another and giggle like a couple of school girls. Mets broadcasters expressed their disgust; One of them saying "Why don't you take him out to dinner?"

A few minutes later, with the dust all settled, the Marlins manager pulls Garcia from the game. As he is walking off the mound, Jose Reyes takes the opportunity to pop off at either Garcia or Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo. Olivo sprints from the mound to attack Jose Reyes. Reyes allows himself to be held back by 103 year old Sandy Alomar Sr., so the old man takes a glancing blow from Olivo. Benches empty. Reyes immediately makes sure he is 50 feet from the epicenter of the scrum. He wanted no part of the violence he had started. Later, when he is safely surrounded by a few teammates, he shoots his mouth off again, knowing full well he will be held back. The crowd foolishly begins to do their "Jose Jose Jose Jose" chant. After they clear the field a second time, Reyes is once again all smiles, standing on third base, shooting the shit with Miguel Cabrera. I'll give the fans a pass. Had they seen the events on television, they wouldn't be cheering the man. They'd be embarrassed by their punk bitch shortstop.

P.S. Mets announcers speculated that perhaps the Mets were getting thrown at, because of the over-the-top celebration Milledge and Reyes performed following a Milledge home run. The homer gave the Mets a 8-0 lead, in a must-win game, because they have choked away their lead in the division. A good time to display a little humility? Not the Metsies. Given the circumstances, Chad Johnson would have been more restrained than Reyes and Milledge.

The University of South Florida isn't Accurately Named

Ordinarily, I would love their story. The University of South Florida began their football program only 10 years ago, in 1-AA. In their sixth 1-A season, they are already outperforming in-state behemoths, Florida State and Miami. However, I refuse to be happy for this bunch. There is something greater at stake here.

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

Nightly Depressed Met Fan Rant

I gave you everything I had, but you ripped my heart out like you were Kano performing a fatality. A lot of people told me I was an idiot for believing in you. The naysayers kept trying to point out your weaknesses, but I defended you to no end. I kept focusing on the good times, while dismissing the bad as merely a fleeting aberration. Sure we sure had some tumultuous times, but if it were that easy it wouldn't be worth it. The highs were high and the lows were low. When things were going well I felt like I had everything in the world that I could ever want. When things were not so hot, I was completely miserable. Through it all though, I thought we were going it pull out. But now it appears it wasn't meant to be, which is a shame because we could have gone all the way.

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"

The Friday Six Pack

The Intro

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 Picks

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)

The Outro

YTD record straight up: Undefeated.
YTD record ATS: Undefeated.

Top 5 Reasons the Unbiased Fan Should Root Against the Mets

5) The Phillies just deserve it more- The Phillies have beaten the Mets seven consecutive times and have gone 14-5 down the stretch. Among other offense, the Mets were just swept at home by a horrific Nationals team with nothing to play for. If they can't scratch out a single win against the Nats, they have no business in the playoffs.

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'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.

Dishonestly bargaining with a deity, whom I don't even believe in, for purely selfish reasons

Jesus, please let the Mets miss the playoffs. I'll go to church every Sunday. I'll never have another sip of alcohol. I'll stop watching deviant sex on the internet. Just let the Mets lose!

I'm Late To This Party, But I Brought Chips

The Sports Guy jumped the shark as soon as he moved out to LA and took the job writing for Kimmel. While I think he will ultimately be viewed as the father of the sports blog, his schtick has become rather stale. He will occasionally get off a good line or make an observation worth reading, but there has been no evolution to his writing. A Sports Guy column from this past week, reads like an exact copy of a 2003 article. Like most other readers of the sports blogosphere, I waited with fervor for his rant and mailbag columns, knowing that they would make me lol, rofl, and all that good stuff. I often blantantly ripped jokes from Simmons to use in my fantasy draft or in my Sports Dude column on like my name was Dane Cook. Those days are gone though. He is the sports writing equivalent of Steve Martin, who I heard was funny in the 1970's. Martin was excellent in The Jerk and put forth very commedable performances in The Three Amigos, My Blue Heaven, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. But somewhere between then and Cheaper by the Dozen he lost his fastball- Frank Tanana style. Maybe it can just be chalked up to human nature. Except for Law and Order fans, people grow tired of the same old, same old. To stick with pitching analogies, eventually batters will time your fastball. If you don't have any secondary pitches to rely on, you aren't long for the big leagues.

Here is a pretty good critique of Simmons.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nightly Depressed Met Fan Rant

Tonight's emotion is anger. I just spent the last ten minutes trying to put some thoughts together and I can't do it. This team has drained me. I had to exercise all of my self-control tonight not to string together a slew of cusswords that would have left my mom in tears, my Dad in disbelief, and my brother in stitches (unfortunately not the medical kind). Well, the offense couldn't keep up its level of production forever and tonight they made Joel Pineiro look like a first ballot hall of famer. I have zero confidence in this team right now. I'll be at Shea on Saturday and Sunday and it could be a complete shit show. I'm prepared to boo early and often. I'm not going to speak all day tomorrow so that I can save my voice for the verbal tongue lashing I will unleash on these chokers. A sports team has never made me more miserable in my entire life. I can handle a singular excruciating loss. I can't handle them every night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nuclear Winters

I don't have a fresh take on the Milton Bradley-Mike Winters fiasco. I just really wanted to write a headline playing on the volatility of the now suspended umpire. Hopefully there are some New York Post headline writing talent scouts scanning the blogosphere.

Nightly Depressed Mets Fan Rant

Every day is exactly the same. I wake up at 6:50am and hop in the shower (female readers feel free to fantasize). I get dressed, eat breakfast, and don't get to read the newspaper because my youngest brother has it in the bathroom with him for 45 min every morning. Then I jump on the Long Island Expressway and hit traffic at the same exact exits. At work, I research and write all morning. My day takes a turn for the better as I take a 30 min post-lunch nap in my car. But unfortunately I wake up and realize that I have four and a half more hours of researching and writing to go before the day is over. After leaving the office and hitting intermitten traffic on the ride home, I get to my house just in time to throw some luke warm dinner on my plate and settle in front of the tube for Mets baseball. I watch the Mets offense stake the starter to an early four or five run lead. Then I witness the starting pitcher blow that lead. Then a little piece of me dies inside. By the time the bullpen lets all its inherited runners to score I am almost completely numb. After the opposition scores a few insurance runs putting the game safely out of reach, I shut off my TV, surf the net to see if any celeb boobs have made their way onto The Superficial, and then fall asleep.

Rinse and Repeat.

(I'm sure I bungled tense and syntax in this post, but I really don't care)

Random Thought

The old general consensus in football is that a good defense stops a good offense. I don't know if I buy that. The offensive player always has the advantage over the defensive player because the offensive player knows exactly where he is going on every play. So if an offense and defense were completely equal in talent level, the offense would always get the better of the defense. Since this is the case, an NFL team should just try to build the most talented offense possible and in fact should expend most of its resources on obtaining top level offensive talent.

I Love the Guy, but

In the last 15 seconds, Keith Hernandez thrice pronounced Wily Mo Pena's last name, Pay-nah, instead of Pain-yah. Keith, either get that right or lose the Spanish last name.

What's Good?

Partly because I'm a pessimist and partly because it makes more entertaining articles, I have focused far too much on the negative in this blog. Well, I love sports and if I was not so lazy and untalented, my writing would better reflect that fact. In the interest of a more balanced blog, here are some positive thoughts:
  • 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.

Straining Credulity

Today, on his weekly guest spot on Mike and the Mad Dog, Tom Glavine offered these two explanations as to why the Mets are losing to the dregs of baseball.

  1. 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.
  2. (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.

At Least He Isn't a Ninja

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.

Oscar Gay La Hoya Gets Gayer

More pics are out. Check them out at the Big Lead.

Reflections on Last Night's Met Loss

If the Mets had come back from a seven run deficit last night, I would not have been that happy. Sure I would have been relieved that they created a little more breathing room between themselves and the Phils, but the win would have merely put a band-aid on their troubles. The victory would not have been a panacea and all of the problems that were around yesterday would still be around today. I’d be much more excited about a simple 5-2 victory, where the offense struck some timely blows, the starting pitcher made it out of the sixth, and the bullpen did not let up a single run. I was going to demand just one, single, solitary 1-2-3 inning out of the ‘pen, but I know that is way to much to ask for and as the old saying goes beggars can’t be choosers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Standing O' For Chad O'

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

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)

A National League of Their Own

I think the Rockford Peaches could beat any of the National League teams vying for a playoff spot. The Mets, Padres, Cubs, and Phillies are all doing their best impression of Vince Coleman's hamstring down the homestretch.

Quick thoughts:

-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.

Futbol Americano es muy bueno!!!

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 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

Milt Behaving Bradley

As a 6th grade substitute teacher in a Brooklyn ghetto, I fear that I have several future talentless versions of Milton Bradleys in my classes. There are striking similarities between Milton's conduct and the behavior of many of my students. He acts out of uncontrolled rage and then accepts no responsibility for his actions. He always finds somebody else to point the finger at. Regardless of whether he was incited, he lacks the self-control to avoid possible suspension and injury. Bradley is essentially a poorly-parented, 29 year old inner-city middle school student.
Note: I am not absolving ump Mike Winters of culpability. If Winters said what Bradley accused him of saying, he should be suspended.

Marcel Marceau Goes "Quietly" in His Sleep

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

Joba's Poppa

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

Thoughts from the Bleachers

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

My Suicide Note

Dear New York Mets,

It's all your fault.



An Uninspired Choice

The Astros have hired former Phillies GM Ed Wade to be their new General Manager. Every 35 year old reliever, who had one good season back in 2003, should start doing research on the school districts in the Houston metropolitan area.

When Will the Housing Market Recover?

This time of year, we are always treated to two completely contradictory bits of conventional arm-chair psychology. When a team that is not contending plays relatively well down the stretch, analysts say "These teams are always tough this time of year. They can play loosey-goosey, because they aren't under pressure." When a non-contender plays poorly, the very same people will say "These guys have nothing to play for. They're already thinking about the golfing and fishing."

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.

Nightly Wrestling Haiku

Do you think Lex broke
A lot of watches with his
Bionic Forearm?

Oscar May Like Boyas

Before I go any further CLICK ON THIS LINK!

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.

Discrimination in Philadelphia

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.

Donovan, meet Chad

So McNabb thinks that he has it rough, well Jets fans cheered when Chad Pennington, who is as white as they come, was cheered for getting injured just a few weeks ago. (note: I really don't think his injury was cheered, but the media says otherwise and you know they are always right. Pennington, let's remember, has lead the Jets to the playoffs four times yet fans are clamoring for his replacement. Starting quarterback is one of the most scrutinized positions in all of sports. Regardless of race, a struggling qb will get booed and like clockwork, fans will be calling in to sports talk radio ranting about how the backup should be in there. The backup will usually fall flat on his face and the fans will appreciate what they have in their starter. It's the circle of life. Unfortunately for McNabb 1) he plays in Philly and 2) Eagles backups have generally done a good job when given a chance (albeit in short spurts). I think McNabb has gotten a raw deal. Despite having had only one legitimate play making receiver in T.O. in all of his seasons in Philly, McNabb has had some fantastic years and has been at the helm of some very successful Eagles teams. However, when you play at a high level, fans expectations will rise with that level of play, and the fans will ultimately be disappointed when the team/player does not meet those exceptions. Who is the scapegoat for that? Usually the QB and that is regardless of race. Joey Harrington sure was treated well in Detroit, as was Ryan Leaf in San Diego. I can totally understand why McNabb is sensitive to the race issue. He came into a league at a time when there were not a lot of black starting quarterbacks (which was a result of college coaches more so than NFL personnel men) and then there was the whole Rush Limbaugh nonsense. It is irresponsible of him however, to paint the league and its fans with the brush of racism. It does a disservice to him and the game.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nightly Wrestling Haiku

Mean Gene Okerlund
Interviewed Andy Warhol
Boy was it awkward

I can't post the clip, but click here and wait for the 5:00 mark. Unfortunately, it's not the whole interview, but it's all I could find.

Moose Knuckle - Curve Working Again

...And like that Mussina is back. He has rediscovered about 3 MPH on the fastball and his knuckle curve is biting again. It's amazing how quick we are (myself included) to write off an aging pitcher, when he begins to struggle. I recently wrote his career obit, but now I'm feeling a bit silly. Clearly Mussina was suffering a bit of a dead arm and just needed to skip a couple of starts.

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.

Ollie Follies and the Maine Drain

Until about a month ago, Mookie and Noce Dog had John Maine and Oliver Perez pegged as the new millenium Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. Listening to them gush about these guys was sickening. I shan't be bothered with such malarkey anymore.

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.

Free Fallin'

I'm usually fairly level headed and not one to rush to judgment, but I am officially starting to panic about the 2007 NY Mets. As I write this the Mets have just blown a 4-run lead for the second night in a row and now trail the Nats by two runs, 9-7. Scott Schoeneweis was predictably ineffective and was just lifted for a even less capable pitcher in Guillermo Mota. Even if he Mets somehow manage emerge victorious, it would not be what you would consider an encouraging win. The last two nights the offense did their job, but once again the pitching staff is doing their best batting tee impression. The back end of the rotation, Maine and Perez (who I have tried to defend all year), have been wildy inconsistent (pun intended- look at their BB rates) since the all-star break. After pitching a gem against the Braves last Wednesday, Maine was shallacked for 8 ER tonight in less than 5 innings of work. (Good thing I started him in my fantasy league...double frick). The bullpen is less stable, I'm going to refrain from the way too easy and obvious Britney Spears punchline, especially since she just lost custody of her children. By the way, I have 2 months in the overdose pool.

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.

Your 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner

West Virginia freshman Noel Devine carried the ball 5 times for 136 yards last week against Maryland. All flammable couches in Morgantown should be worried. Check out his high school highlight video here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

When Life Hands You Clemens

I'd be remiss not to mention the performance of Jets QB Kellen Clemens. Clemens' fourth quarter performance against Baltimore was very encouraging for several reasons:

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.

The Fire Joe Morgan Flash Mob

The Fire Joe Morgan fanbase mobilizes like no other. As soon as baseball related idiocy is uncovered and mentioned on FJM, the flash mob descends on that poor unsuspecting perpetrator. Like a swarm of locusts moving through farmland, nothing is left after the FJM faithful are done. Want proof? Check out this FJM post. Now check out the the remnants of the website they ripped in to. If I were Mike Pagliarulo or any other contributor on that site, I would currently be going on my fourth hour in the shower trying to scrub off the stench of failure and utter humiliation. (Keep an eye out for Tremont and myself, under the pseudonym David Hustlehoff, taking shots at Pags' and company)

These People Should Just Kill Themselves

1. OJ Simpson. Seriously what does this dude have to live for anymore? He has taken one of the most precipitous falls of anyone in modern society outside of Britney Spears and any Baldwin brother not named Alec. Depending on who you talk to, OJ is either reviled or seen as a complete joke of a human being, or both. He has to live with the guilt of killing his wife and some random whitey, his kids probably hate him, he is broke (that Hertz money is long gone), and if they were to make another Naked Gun, there is no way he would be cast as Norbert (paging Jerome Bettis). He is a leper in the figurative sense and is perhaps the most universally disliked person in America. He should just end it. I'm sure he can put together a sweet intramural football team down in hell and just run student body right behind Tony Mandarich all day long (oh, Mandarich is still alive??).

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?

Meet the Mess

I'm not ready to jump off the upper deck, by I'm grow closer to offing myself with each vomit inducing error (I realize this will cause a few of you to start rooting for the Mets to botch every routine play). I can't even write anything more about this team right now, they make me so sick to my stomach. it me you're looking for?

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.

The Greatest Show on Earth

With the Bengals' phenomenal offense and odious defense, their games are the greatest show in the NFL. It's like watching the Arena Football League with talent. The NFL should immediately reschedule the rest of their season for Sunday Night or Monday Night Football. The nation needs to see their games.

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.

Closing Thoughts on the Yanks/Sox Series

- Roger Clemens answered a lot of questions with his performance last night. As long as he rebounds nicely for his next start, the Yankees have an excellent top 3 for the playoffs
- 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.

Dane Cook-ing Up Trouble with the Sports Guy

This morning, ESPN decided to let Dane Cook moderate their early-morning chat, which is usually filled with uninformed sports talk and pop-tart jokes. Cook used this unique platform (being involved with people who were less funny than himself) to throw a few jabs at Bill Simmons. Previously, Simmons has commented on Dane Cook being an unfunny dweeb and wearing a Yankee hat despite hailing from Boston.

Cook hit back at the Sports Guy with both a defense of his Red Sox loyalty (he is a die-hard fan but sucks at stats) and his popularity. Here is the transcript of the incident:

Matt (Philly): How do you feel about Bill Simmons thinking you suck?

Dane Cook: (10:00 AM ET ) Who's Bill Simmons?

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: (10:04 AM ET ) It was nice to do something outside of my wheelhouse. Mr. Brooks was a blast to play, such a deviant, despicable guy. It was almost like being Bill Simmons for a day...Once again, who the hell is Bill Simmons?
Robert (Raleigh NC) : Some people say you aren't funny at all. Others say you are genius. Why the varried opinion?

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.
(Another warm welcome to Big Lead and Deadspin readers. If you have some time to kill check out the rest of the blog here. It'll almost be worth your time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Two Reasons I Don't Pick NFL Games Against the Spread

1) I'm lazy
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.

Stupidity Trumps Luck of Irish

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

Saturday Night Wrestling Haiku

A turkey of an idea
Courtesy of Vince

A MRI a Day Keeps the Surgeon Away

Why don't teams give players MRI's on a regular basis instead of waiting for a player to experience pain before administering the exam? For example, if pitchers are MRI'd on even a bimonthly basis, teams may be able to catch a minor rotator cuff tear and shut a pitcher down for a couple weeks. As it stands now, the MRI isn't conducted until after the injury has occurred and that point we are looking at major surgery. Considering the investment franchises make in their players, shouldn't they take every possible preventative measure to nip a potential major injury in the bud? As much as I despise the word proactive (I think it's nothing more than a corporate created buzz word used to make people work harder and longer for the same pay), that's the approach teams should take to prevent major injuries.

If I turn up missing in the next few weeks please direct detectives to question Dr. James Andrews and Dr. David Altchek.

There is no such thing as too much baseball

It is high time to bury the notion that baseball games, played "the right way", should finish in under 2 hour and a half hours. Tonight's Yankees/ Red Sox classic clocked in at 4 hours and 43 minutes, the second longest 9 inning game in Major League history. Not at all coincidentally, the longest 9 inning game ever was played between these two clubs last year.

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!

"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.

Belichick Yo'self

Bill Belichick has apparently been attending Mark McGwire's crisis management seminars. Listening to him reach for 20 different variations of "I'm not here to talk about the past" was perfection.. Granted, he was in an impossible spot (of his own creation), but Belichick's performance in this press conference was less graceful than that fun boy's "Leave Britney Alone" video.

Follow up on HGH Testing

Yesterday I wrote that I doubted that HGH testing would stop the talk that players were cheating. Baseball Prospectus's medical reporter, Will Carroll validates my concerns with this post. In short, he states that HGH is already passe. Players have already moved on to newer designer drugs. We can rest assured that we will never stop hearing about performance enhancing drugs for the remainder of our lives.

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.

Another Thought on the Oden Injury

Anybody who still begrudges young men the right to enter the NBA draft, prior to graduating college, is a complete ass. It would be completely irresponsible for anyone to not leverage an extraordinary talent into guaranteed money. In fact, if I was a 16 year old top prospect, I would strongly consider dropping out of high school and signing a 4 year contract with a team in Europe.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

At Least One Italian-American Mets Catcher Isn't Gay

Last summer Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca found himself knee deep in store bought gravy when he was caught cheating on his Playboy Bunny wife with a freshman in college (who graduated from my high school- though a few years after me). Lo Duca's wife soon dumped him like a platter of day old antipasto and Paulie moved on from his teenage lolita. But Lo Duca's mistress, Krista Gutterman a/k/a Krista Slutterman, has decided to capitalize on letting the catcher round third base by posing for Playboy. Click here for a pic (NSFW).

(Welcome to The Big Lead readers. If you want to check out the rest of our frivolous site, click here.)

The Spying Game

So Roger Goodell continues to rule the NFL as if he were the dictator of a third world nation or a middle manager at Walmart. Exhibiting that he has as little tolerance for making it rain and dogfighting as he does for video taping hand signals, Goodell laid the hammer down on Billy B. and the NE Pats. Belichick was fined $500K and the Pats $250K (Robert Kraft makes that in less time than it takes to finish this sentence), but Goodell really showed that he meant business by snatching picks away from a team that has consistently replenished its resources through the draft. If the Pats make the playoffs they will lose a 2008 1st round and if they miss the postseason their 2nd and 3rd round picks spontaneously combust.

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!"

the Philadelphia Jets?

I'm going to take an unpopular stance on this blog, and state that no way in hell do i buy the fact that Jets fans weren't cheering Pennington's coming out of the game on Sunday. No one in the media took the side of the Jets fans, incluiding the announcers of the freakin' game!!

Jets fans are probably the most miserable collection of fans i've had the pleasure of coming in regular contact with in my life. Its very rare that you see someone walking around in Jets gear that doesn't look like they have a 900 lb. chip on their shoulder. Jets fans just have a look about them that screams of this type of behavior.

On top of this, Jets fans have had an obsession with the backup player that is like no other. Just a couple of years ago, the incessant crying to play Lamont Jordan more was enough to make anyone's ears bleed. Now with Kellen Clemens being the next Joe Montana, Jets fans were thrilled to get that bum Pennington with the weak arm out of there, because they always have to "see what they have with this guy."
Enjoy Kellen Clemens this weekend against the Ravens defense, guys. Its what you wanted.

HGH Testing

Major League Baseball is going to attempt to implement an HGH testing program for next season. This is welcome news. Not because I am bothered by steroid use, rather because I am tired of hearing about it. Unfortunately, much like the current steroid testing program, I suspect this will do little to silence the whispers that players are still cheating.

Oden Out for the Season

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

Hating the Pats

Finally, I can feel good about hating the Patriots. I have had a vague dislike for them throughout the Belichick Era. It's not because they have been a dynasty. It's because they have been a bland dynasty. When I watched the Cowboys or the 49ers of the early 90s, it was obvious that I was watching greatness. They won because they had better players than everyone else. Needless to say, great players are fun to watch.

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.

Isiah Not Gayah?

Shouldn't this picture be Exhibit A in Isiah Thomas's defense? This combined with his effeminate voice and seemingly rouged visage should present more than a reasonable doubt that Isiah would be interested in someone with internal sex organs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

Over the last week the media have made two proverbial mountains out of mole hills, because, well, the media has a vested interest in creating and sensationalizing stories. It's not like journalists are on an evil mission to perpetuate falsities or embellish points, but it's hard to write a new story every day. In order to craft a more interesting story, sometimes corners must be cut. But just because it's easier to write a story by ignoring some facts does not mean it should be done, especially when the masses are so easily swayed by the words of scribes and TV talking heads. Case in point, the Rick Ankiel and Chad Pennington stories.

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.

Hey Where My Cheeseballs?

Turns out my all-time favorite realty show character, Tommy from True Life Jersey Shore, has a myspace account. As you would imagine there are a lot of haters out there, trying to knock Tommy down a couple pegs. Tommy, handles it with all the true class of an Italian-American, responding to one commenter with, "When was the last time you got some ass..........when your finger broke through the toilet paper." Check out the full transcript here.

And just because I love this clip:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thoughts on the LSU - Virginia Tech Game

After week two of the college football season LSU certainly looks like the team to beat, but their win against Va. Tech isn't nearly as impressive as it seemed at first glance. First, the Hokies are just getting used to the run-and-shoot offense they installed in the offseason and second, the playbook is very limited since eliminating the shotgun formation.

Too soon?

Separated At Birth?

I know I'm a day late and a dollar short on this by whatever.

Separated at birth:

Albert Pujols


Disgraced Senator Larry Craig

They both require a wide stance.

Kevin Everett vis-a-vis Jacked Up

I didn't catch NFL Primetime, but I was wondering if they still did the JACKED UP bit in light of the Kevin Everett injury. I would think that they would retire it, at least for a season, but you never know. Did anybody notice?

The A-Rod Apologete (In which I will gloat and self-righteously chastise)

Things I haven't heard in months
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.

Thoughts from the Mezzanine at the Jets/Pats Game

Unfortunately for me, Mookie's little brother fell ill and he ended up with an extra ticket to the Jets/Pats game. Mookie woke me up with a phone call on Sunday morning and offered me said ticket. Foolishly, I accepted.

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

Roger Federer

It is the first weekend of the NFL season. There are no less than 6 college football games on television as I write this. The Yankees are in the middle of a playoff race. And this weekend, I am most wrapped up in Roger Federer's pursuit of his 12th grand slam championship. He is the best athlete of his generation. If you are a sports fan at all, you should be watching him.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pun of the Day

Swollen Ankiel

Cards new slugger linked to HGH.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Well, Allow Me to Retort

Before reading this, scroll down 3 posts and read Mookie's "Mets Mediocrity??"...(Are you back?)

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: Angels, Yankees, Indians, Blue Jays, Twins, Dodgers (w/ addition of Loaiza), Padres, and Cubs for starters. Those are the gimmes. I also prefer the A's, Tigers, and possibly the Giants and Orioles.

Take this statement back. Every ill-conceived word of it. Honestly, you're better than that. A little.

The Wright Stuff for MVP?

Is David Wright going to be you 2007NL MVP? Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez are having better seasons than the Mets 3b, but they are toiling away on a bad team. Prince Fielder has more impressive counting stats than Wright, but Cecil's progeny, rightly or wrongly, won't be considered for the award if the Brew crew keeps dui'ing down the stretch (get it Beer --> drinking---> pennant drive --> dui...ugh I'm a hack). Wright is on pace to be only the 5th player in the last however many years to hit over .300 with 30+ HR's, 100+ runs scored, 100+ 100 RBI, and 30+ SB's. I know ARod and Soriano have done fairly recently and I don't have find the other players who have done it, but Wright will be in very impressive company if he accomplishes that feat. There are two things going against David right now though. His teammate Carlos Beltran has almost the same home run (one more) and RBI (two less) totals as Wright in 17 fewer games played, and we all know how much the voters love counting stats. Furthermore it looks like ARod is a lock to win the MVP in the American League and voters may be reluctant, consciously or subconsciously, to name two NY thrid basemen the MVP in their respective leagues.