Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
1) The top 6 teams in the West are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. The depth isn't as good as it once was.
2) The Northwest Division may have the 3 worst teams in the NBA this year.
3) A damn shame about that Greg Oden
Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (Seeded 1-8)
1) Chicago (w/ or w/o Kobe)- They win the Eastern Conference as currently constituted. If they land Kobe and keep Deng, they become my favorite to win it all.
2) Boston- Celtics have the best big 3 of any team since Bird/McHale/Parrish and Magic/Kareem/Worthy. The only problem is that their supporting cast might be too young to bring home a Championship this year. They'll win it all in '08-'09.
3) Cleveland- Still not enough help for Lebron.
4) Washington- They aren't as good as Detroit or NJ, but division winners have to have a top 4 seed.
5) Detroit- Too boring to write about.
6) New Jersey- They should be a fixture in the 4-8 seeds for the next 3 years. Too good to miss the playoffs, but very little upside.
7) Toronto- Bosh, an improving Bargnani, and a bunch of useful scrappers with little upside. A good team that will never be great.
8) Orlando- Dwight Howard asserts himself as the best center in the NBA this season. The rest of the team remains uninspiring.
9) New York
10) Miami- Shaq isn't Shaq anymore. D-Wade is hurt. The supporting cast stinks.
A couple more points on the Eastern Conference
1) The depth in the East is pretty impressive. If any of the top 13 teams made the playoffs, it wouldn't knock my socks off.
2) I shocked myself when I ranked the Pacers the worst team in the East. They have been so good for so long. After Jermaine O'Neal, though, they have NOTHING!
Monday, October 29, 2007
1) Phoenix- If the Suns are ever going to win a Championship this is going to be the year. Stoudemire is another year removed from surgery. Diaw and Barbosa are just about entering their primes. If he can stay healthy, Grant Hill will be able to give them 25 quality minutes a night. Mike D'Antoni's 'stache has never looked better. Marion being unhappy is a non-story. He's been miserable for years. He's also been an All-Star caliber player. If Nash can stay healthy all season, this is the best team in the league.
2) Utah- The Jazz appear poised to make another 5 year "close but no cigar run" at an NBA Championship. Deron Williams is a terrific point guard on the upswing. Ronnie Brewer has been lighting it up in the pre-season. Their front court rotation, with Okur, Boozer, Kirilenko, and Millsap, have skills that compliment one another perfectly. They have great depth, but they lack a Top 10 player. The 03-04 Pistons were the only team that has won a champion without a Hall of Fame player in my lifetime (perhaps ever?). Utah is up against some seriously long odds to win a title.
3) Dallas- It's tough to take this group seriously as a title contender, but they are still a regular season juggernaut.
4) Houston- After the Suns I think this Rockets team has the biggest upside of any team in the West. If Luis Scola is as good as everyone thinks he is, nobody will be better at the 2 through 5
positions. Obviously Yao and McGrady haven't won a playoff series yet. They will win somewhere between one and four this year.
5) Denver- Once again they'll be a whole lot of fun. Their shitty perimeter defense will prevent them from being a serious Championship threat.
6) San Antonio- Perhaps this is a bit of wishful thinking. Here is my case: Tony Parker is the only player in the Spurs rotation that is in his 20s. This is the year that age finally catches up with the Spurs. R.C. Buford and Coach Popovich have done a great job for this team, but they are starting to push their luck with some really old veterans. If they can milk another championship out of this club, it will have been worth it, but they are about 2 seasons away from a really ugly situation in San Antonio.
7) New Orleans- Chris Paul gets into the playoffs this year. He'll easily have the most pinchable cheeks in the postseason.
8) Golden State- Unfortunately I can't see this team building on last year's success. I think Nelly maxed out this roster out last year. I would be more surprised to see them crack the Top 6 of the Western Conference than to see them fall to 11 or 12.
Western Conference Champions- Phoenix Suns
(This is based on the assumption that the Lakers trade Kobe Bryant. If he stays in LA the Lakers take the 7th seed and Golden State misses the playoffs.)
11) LA Clippers
12) LA Lakers
SEC road record vs. BCS conference teams:
1-3 (Lone win against North Carolina. You just don't go into the Hell's Den that is Chapel Hill and expect to come out with a victory.)
*I make no claim to the validity of these statistics. Please double check the records if you care to.*
Sunday, October 28, 2007
White readers, don't feel guilty for chuckling at this post. I am well-known for (in so far as I am well-known for anything) my fascination with black chicks. It was once said that I have "an insatiable lust for ebony women". So when I say that Jackee was very average looking, I am speaking from a position of strength.
She certainly wasn't a bad looking woman. However I can't understand why, on 227, every man that came within shouting distance of Jackee would instantly become smitten. Many would turn into stuttering fools in her presence. The most eligible black bachelors in Washington tripped over one another in pursuit of her. Give me a break. Sure she had a nice rack. She also gave off the vibe that she was an easy lay. Ultimately, though when it came to business time, I seem to remember Jackee being a total prude.
She was a totally doable broad, but there was no reason for anyone to go gaga over her.
"Somehow it makes me feel better if the team that was ahead of the Yankees wins the World Series," Giuliani said, justifying his support of the Red Sox, "because then I feel like, well, we're not that bad."
The media is portraying this as an act of high treason, but I don't see it. I have always had the same attitude toward the clubs that beat my team. When the Red Sox stampede the Rockies, it helps make the case that the Yankees would have drubbed them as well.
Besides, I am having a really hard time getting it up to hate the Red Sox nowadays. Manny has completely won me over. I have grown to love everything about the goofy fuck. Big Papi is an undisputedly cool guy. Francona is even more likeable than Joe Torre ever was. The only things that I really still hate about the Red Sox are Curt Schilling, Larry Lucchino, and the Red Sox fans themselves.
So Rudy and I will be tepidly hoping that the Sox sweep the Rockies tonight and I don't think it makes us any less of Yankees' fans.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Every time I regret becoming an attorney a story like this comes along and reminds me of why I got into this most noble of professions. It seems that an attorney in Wisconsin was accused of violating the state rule prohibiting a lawyer from having sex with his client. This is a pretty standard situation. The facts, however, make this inappropriate tryst interestingly unique. The lawyer, a man, and his client, a man, were actually engaging in partnered coital activity with the client's girlfriend at the same time. So, while they were not having sex with each other, they were having sex "with" each other. If that makes sense. To read more about this click here.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Nichols gave the Knicks the one dimension that they sorely lack- a pure perimeter shooter. Quentin Richard shoots a lot of three's, but he's not a great shooter. Jamal Crawford is a chucker, who will have great shooting nights and horrible shooting nights. Marbury doesn't shoot as much from long distance as he used to. With Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry giving the team two legit low post scoring threats, you would think the Knicks would fall all over themselves in an effort to acquire an outside marksmen? Right? Wrong! Instead of keeping Nichols on the team, the Knicks had to use roster spots on complete wastes of sperm like Jared Jeffries and Jerome James. Your respective mothers should have swallowed you. Well done Isiah.
The Helen Roper
Minnesota at Michigan (-23.5)
Classic strengths versus weakness game. Minnesota gives the ball away, Michigan takes it. Michigan’s defense forces nearly four turnovers per game and has caused more fumbles than any D in the country. Big house meet turnover prone Freshman QB. On the other side of the ball, the Gophers have the worst pass defense in the country and have decided that starting 3 new freshmen in the secondary this week will make things better. Congratulations Chad Henne, you will now be a first day draft pick again.
The Pick: Michigan 48, Minnesota 10
The Lady Bowerbird
West Virginia (-6.5) at Rutgers
WVU’s offense is quietly hitting on all cylinders, while Rutgers’ offense gets progressively more exposed as one dimensional each week. WVU’s depth at running back has left Slaton and White with fresh legs, while Ray Rice may start to feel the effects of all of those 30+ carry games. The Rutgers defense is not the same unit it was last year. I would love to be in the stands to see the interaction between bumpkin Mountaineer fan and slimeball Rutgers fan this week.
The Pick: West Virginia covers.
Florida International (+40) at Arkansas
I don’t care how bad FIU is, when you are getting this many points this late in the season, you have to take ‘em. Arky probably won’t keep McFadden and Jones in the game for long with USCe, Tenn, Miss. St and LSU coming up over the next month. Take FIU and all of those points.
Duke (+17.5) at FSU- At this point, would it surprise you if Duke beat FSU? Me neither, I’ll take the Dukies to stay within spread.
UCLA (-6) at Washington State- San Diego State (without Marshall Faulk or Dan McGwire) and Idaho (without Mark Schlereth or John Friez). Those are the only two teams Wazzou has beaten this season. UCLA covers.
Clemson (-3.5) at Maryland- Spiller is too good of a player to go this long without a breakout game. He gets it this week against a Maryland team that has been involved in 4 dogfights over the last month. Clemson covers.
The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
Arizona at Washington (-3.5)- Got a good feeling about this game, but didn’t feel like researching why. Locker’s continued development encourages me. Washington wins big.
South Florida (-4.5) at Connecticut- Speed, Depth and Athleticism too much for team that gets by purely on discipline and player positioning. USF covers.
Virginia (-3) at NC State- Virginia wins by more than one this week. More than 3 actually.
New Mexico at Hawaii (-28)- Paging Colt Brennan. Tim Tebow called you a pussy. Hawaii covers.
Outro: Jets and the Skins this week in the NFL. Ever since I bet Jack Burton straight up in a game of cutthroat canasta, I'm driving the Pork Chop Express. 5-2 that's a half ass 10-4, over.
Today's Newsday devoted an entire page of its sports section to a High School Field Hockey Insider article.
For those who don't know, Newsday is not some podunk rag whose sports section is entirely made up of one downtrodden, overweight, middle aged man who wears a fanny pack and a hat that says "Press" and who may or may not be named A. Anthony Miller. No, Newsday has the largest circulation on Long Island, which is pretty impressive because Long Island is densely populated (unfortunately). So in the midst of the World Series, Jets and Giants Football, the upcoming NBA season, and impending Yankee managerial decision, they decide to devote several hundred words to girls' field hockey- a more boring, less athletic and exciting version of real hockey (which is really saying something). And the article is not just any article, it's the INSIDER! I can't believe they got those Belichick-esque tight-lipped field hockey coaches to reveal such classified information. Oh wait it's just a puff piece? Why the hell call it INSIDER then? Seriously, stop patronizing your readership. No one cares about field hockey except for maybe the couple of hundred girls that play field hockey and their parents. And I'm sure the parents don't even care that much, nor do the fat girls that are only on the roster because there are no cuts and their parents made them do something active. So only a small percentage of people actually closely involved in field hockey probably care enough about the sport to read the article. Normally I'm all for conspicuous consumption, but did a tree really have to die for this? What "sport" is next week's Insider going to cover? Men's gymnastics? Colorguard? Whitman 5th period gym European Handball?
But because Wallace Matthews penned an article today, the Field Hockey Insider was only the second most unreadable article in the sports section.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Looking forward to hearing our very own Jacksonvillian Charlie Hustle's take on this. I'm assuming this is one of the attorneys in his firm.
(Hat tip to Awful Announcing)
Monday, October 22, 2007
He did an underrated job managing the Mets from '96 to '02. During that stretch he received reliable production from 2 positions on the diamond; catcher and wherever Edgardo Alfonzo played. His outfields were a revolving door of aging veteran mediocrities and youngsters destined for three years. He slopped together half-way decent pitching staffs out of some seriously mediocre arms. Take a look at that 2000 roster. In retrospect, did that squad have any business being in the World Series?
Valentine was basically done in by Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar immediately turning from perennial All-Stars to has-beens the moment they modelled those hideous orange and blue jerseys at their press conferences. They won only 75 games in 2002, Valentine's last season with the Mets. They wouldn't win that many games again for another 3 years. Obviously Bobby V. was not the problem.
For what it's worth, he has already proven he can handle the pressures of New York. I think this aspect of the job is a bit overblown. It sounds like the New York fans media jerking themselves off. However, I'll admit that managing a team in NYC is probably marginally harder than managing the same team in St. Louis.
Bobby Valentine may be a bit of an arrogant ass, but the guy can clearly manage. He should at least be part of the discussion for the Yankees' managing job, if for no other reason than to see that fake 'stache again.
"Tarvaris Jackson isn't as bad as everyone thinks he is. Plus, the Vikings are just going to feed the ball to Adrian Peterson all day today." -Me convincing a friend that betting on Minnesota against Dallas was a good idea.
(Tarvaris Jackson went 6-19 for 72 yards)
(Adrian Peterson only rushed the ball 12 times. He averaged 5.3 yards a carry)
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
I have always enjoyed watching Tim Wakefield pitch. The knuckle ball fascinates me because even though I once struck out four times in a whiffle ball game I feel fairly certain that I could go 3-4 against Wakefield while professional baseball players often look silly batting against him. Wakefield has no doubt been a successful MLB pitcher. He has a career record of 168-146 with a lifetime era of 4.33. It always seems to me though, that it is pretty much a crap shoot any time he takes the mound. He basically just calmly chucks a 65 mph knuckler towards the plate and hopes that God makes it do funny things.
Looking closely at Wakefield's numbers, it appears that he is the most average pitcher in the history of MLB. Here is why. Wakefield has started over 29 games 6 times in his career. 5 of those 6 years his winning percentage closely mirrors his team's overall winning percentage. Here are the respective winning percentages
1996 .519 .525
1997 .444 .481
1998 .680 .568
2003 .611 .586
2004 .545 .605
2007 .586 .593
What these numbers mean to me is that mastering the knuckle ball makes you like a glass of water in the pH scale of major league pitchers. Basically, you are at the mercy of the skill of the rest of your team. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if your team is as successful as the Red Sox have been over the past decade.
The Helen Roper
USC (-18) at Notre Dame
I’m not ready to bring Notre Dame within 18 points of USC despite the efforts from either team over the past two weeks. Although USC has the chemistry and accountability of a band of gypsies, they should have no problem getting up for Notre Dame. Look for Mark “Dirty” Sanchez to replace Booty, who has a broken finger on his throwing hand. Sanchez has yet to indicate that he has a talent beyond painting fecal pencil thins, but on its worst day, the USC offense is light years ahead of Notre Dame’s in talent and efficiency. Count on a pressure enduced pick-6 from Sharpley and a cameo from the chic Jimmy Clausen. For the casual viewers out there, watch the disparity in line play on these two teams.
The Pick: USC 38-7
The Lady Bowerbird
Michigan at Illinois (+2.5)
Kudos to you Zooker, you have made it to a prime time game that means something. Illinois' offense and style of play revives memories of early September demons for the Wolverines. Don't be sold on Michigan as a rock of stability. If Illinois' athletes go off early, Michigan's fragile psyche will take a hit. Especially if they do not have a healthy Mike Hart to bail them out as he has in recent games. A hobled Hart will keep that defense on the field a little more, which may have Juice Williams and Rashard Mendenhall looking "Hot, Hot, HOT!" If this isnt a "see what you are made of game," I don't know what is. Oh god I can't believe I am doing this. I cant be...can I?
The Pick: Illinois 27-17
NC State at East Carolina (-5.5)
I didn't think it was possible to be worse than Duke, but NC State has proven me wrong. This team is pitiful. It doesn't help that they are playing with their 3rd string RB and 2nd string QB. Remember how bad you performed when you had to call in the second and third string honkey tonk specials at 2:30am? NCSU will be Tommy Cheeseballs this week.
O'Brien has to be kicking himself in the ass right about now.
The Pick: ECU 24-10
Oregon (-11) at Washington- Time to get on the Duck bandwagon. Oregon showed me alot last week by bouncing back from the Cal loss to thrash Wazzou. Key injuries on offense means this team will lean on Dixon and Stewart more this week, which is a good thing. Kige Ramsey would say "Oregon will win because they have a good QB and RB. I also like their uniforms." Oregon covers.
Texas Tech (+3.5) at Mizzou- First to 50 wins. If you drink milk while looking at the Texas Tech QB's passing yards thru 7 games, it will likely come out of your nose. Even considering future games with Texas and Oklahoma expect Harrell to throw for nearly 60 TDs and/or 6000 yards. Currently thru 7 games... 3150 yards... 31 TDs... 3 INTs... and only 1 game below 420 yards so far. Yep, you are correct if you said to yourself "that's 11 more TDs than Colt Brennan, with less than a third the INTs!" I just get the feeling in this one that Mizzou is relying too much on one player, while TT is doing it with system. Take TT on the road. This team is poised to make a run. Graham Harrell on the base drum, Graham Harrell on the base drum...tah tah.
Miami at FSU- This game went from GAME OF THE CENTURY, to GAME OF THE YEAR, to GAME OF THE WEEK, to what it is now....POTENTIALLY THE GAME OF THE TIME SLOT IN YOUR REGION. These two programs are a joke. I refuse to pick a winner in this game, as I root for debilitating injury or better yet death for each player, student, school official, or alumnus for both schools every week. Take the under, which is generously listed at 41pts. Look for a 7-6 game going into the 4th quarter with a late mistake making the difference either way.
The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Florida (-7) at Kentucky- UF wins and covers.
Iowa at Purdue (-7)- Iowa=offense redacted. Purdue covers at home.
Michigan State (+17) at Ohio State- All the trends and logic points to OSU to cover. That is why I am taking MSU, and that is why I call it the Sparty Rule.
Tennessee at Alabama (PK)- Alabama has been within a handful of plays away from a five-game losing streak, and it shows in its recent 0-5 ATS mark. I’ll take the Vols even if they’re laying a point or two come kickoff.
The Outro: You know its a weird year when I have more NFL betting success than College Football. A strong tease this week would be Skins, Saints, 49ers and Lions. Lions would be my NFL Roper.
I haven't watched a combined inning of baseball all year long and I am damn proud of it.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Yankees don't owe Joe Torre anything. Torre had failed as a manager at three stops before taking over the Yankees. The media scoffed and labelled him "Clueless Joe". Still the Yankees turned over the reins to a ballclub on the cusp of greatness to Torre. Thus Torre went from a career of pinching interns' butts at Baseball Tonight to a $7 million per year gig, 4 World Series Championships, and became the toast of New York.
Joe Torre does not owe the Yankees either. He took a franchise that had not won a championship in eighteen years to 4 titles in 5 seasons. Torre guided the Yankees to the playoffs twelve consecutive seasons.
The relationship between Torre and the Yankees was mutually beneficial for its duration. The fact that the two parties couldn't reach an agreement to extend the relationship is not an indictment of either side.
Somehow I get the sense that most of the media will not see it this way. My best guess is that we will see a lot of articles painting the Yankees as villains. They will probably be panned for low-balling Torre, in a cynical attempt to make him turn down their offer, and attempting to save face in the process. Joe Torre will be portrayed as a hero, for nobly refusing to be exploited by the Evil Empire. They will likely ignore the fact that he was still offered more money than any other manager in baseball.
(This post has no real ending. It just sort of stops, like a Strokes song)
Nearly everybody believes that some players are "not clutch". Most would argue that these players' performances are adversely affected by an inability to handle the pressure of a big situation. Perhaps Manny's blase attitude helps him tune out the postseason pressure.
The results certainly speak for themselves. Manny has OPSed 1.373 in his past 14 postseason games. For frame of reference, Barry Bonds posted a 1.378 OPS in 2001 (arguably the greatest single season of all-time). If I were a Sox fan, as long as Manny kept hitting like that, I wouldn't care if he ran a batch in Ted Williams' disembodied head.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
(Hat tip to With Leather)
After watching this video however, I've determined that Bobby was spot on:
-All of the games were 10pm first pitches. That's pretty late for us east coasters, who make up a large part of the viewing audience.
-NY bias. The Yankees first round loss and the Mets historic collapse, baseball left a bad taste in the mouth of New York baseball fans and thus a large number of baseball fans have tuned out of the playoffs. Still salted up from the Mets Game 7 loss to Cardinals, I did not watch an inning of last season's World Series. Similarly, following this year's Mets choke, I have not sought out postseason baseball. I've only watched a few innings here and there and apparently I'm not the only one.
Perhaps I am a moron, well definitely I am a moron, but wouldn't it make sense for the Indians to hold off on throwing C.C. Sabathia until game 6? I know they want to close out the series in Cleveland, but why throw your best pitcher against Josh Beckett when you only need one win? I would throw some scrub out there in game 5, hope for the best, and if you lose head back to Boston with two aces going in games 6 and 7. Even if you lose game 5 and Schilling somehow beats Sabathia in game 6, you have Carmona going against Dice-K in game 7. I would feel pretty good about that if I were the Indians. It just makes sense to me. Then again, watching the Pirates for the last 15 years has left me extremely unprepared to comment on these sorts of things.
- The Mets (a huge draw) miss the playoffs in an impossible collapse
- The playoff games are broadcast on TBS, where the casual fan is not looking for postseason baseball. TBS decides to employ basketball announcers and the dullest, most inexperienced ex-ballplayers they could find to cover the games. They also seem to have chinced out on cameras, because they lacked definitive angles on nearly every important play.
- The smaller market is about to go 6-0 in these series. It appears this will culminate in an Cleveland/Colorado World Series that is sure to have millions of Americans giving Cavemen one last try.
- There hasn't been any drama. If the Indians win Game 5, there will have been 2 more than the bare minimum playoff games played in the first two rounds; Four sweeps and one Indian loss in each round.
- Word leaked that the Mitchell report will name several prominent, and previously unaccused ballplayers.
Barring a Red Sox comeback, baseball probably needs a Rockies championship to salvage this shit show. Yes, I essentially argued the opposite point a couple of days ago. (Warning: Don't click link unless willing to navigate maze of extraneous commas) The problem is that the red-hot underdog angle is really the only one left to play. Nobody cares about the Cleveland's World Series drought. America hasn't connected with this Indians team in any substantive way. They are a great team, perhaps the greatest in baseball, but they lack marquee names (not talent). The Rockies have the same problem. At least they have the September comeback and the winning streak to generate a mild buzz.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Nothing makes me happier than coming home from pretending to have a hard day at work, sitting on the couch and watching 2 hours of Seinfeld reruns that I have seen 100 times. Unfortunately, my cable company has decided to rip this joy away from me and replace Seinfeld reruns with syndicated episodes of "The King of Queens." Now, I have never actually watched an episode of The King of Queens, but I am guessing I don't need to. There seem to be several shows over the past couple of decades born of the same ilk as KOQ (see e.g., "Home Improvement", "According to Jim", "Still Standing", "Yes Dear" etc...). The point is that I can probably guess most of the plotlines of KOQ without watching the show. Here are several shows that I am pretty confident occurred on KOQ.
-Wife forces King to invite squirrely new neighbor to weekly poker game. Neighbor unwittingly cleans house.
-King got tickets to the big game...OH NO! The game is on Wife's birthday.
-Wife's hot shot ex-boyfriend is back in town. King tries to "one-up" him at everything before realizing that Wife loves him just the way he is.
-King's slutty high school sweetheart is back in town. Wife tries to be sexier but is way too clumsy and awkward.
-King's father, whom he hasn't talked to in 15 years comes to visit. King and father make amends only to find out that father was just trying to borrow money for his latest get-rich-quick scheme.
The Jets are going nowhere this season with Chad Pennington, a quarterback who is clearly not part of their future. Now is the perfect opportunity to see if Kellen Clemens is the heir apparent. Give Clemens 10 virtually pressure-free games with which to work. Let him make his rookie mistakes in a lost season. If he absolutely stinks on ice, then you know one year sooner that you still lack a franchise QB.
Chicago, Arizona, Minnesota, and Carolina are all playoff contenders that would significantly upgrade their QB position by adding Pennington. A trade should be a slam dunk in this scenario. Instead Coach Mangini is shooting down rumors that any changes are afoot. His loyalty to Pennington more closely resembles Joe Torre's affection for aging veterans than the cold management style modeled by his mentor, Bill Belichick. As both a Yankees and Jets fan, I find this to be a distressing development.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Caucasian junior Joe Alexander threw one down from the foul line at WVU's Midnight Madness this weekend. Alexander has been donned as "Vanilla Sky" by the assuredly proud Mountaineer faithful. Alexander was happy he made the dunk, because if he missed he would have had to buy his girlfriend a hoochie dress to wear on Jeopardy.
*Author's Note* And some dude pulls his pants down in celebration!
The Rockies are certainly a cute story, but they are not a particularly good baseball team. Whether or not they win the World Series, MLB will really have to re-examine the divisional round of the playoffs. When the Rockies make the World Series, it will mark the sixth consecutive season that a Wild Card team has become its league's champions. Before one even considers the inherent disadvantages of being
- a lesser team
- ceding home field advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs
the wild card should have a 1 in 4 chance of reaching the World Series. When the Rockies finish off the D'Backs, it will mark the sixth consecutive season that a Wild Card team has advanced to the fall classic. If they win it all, they will become the 4th wild card in 6 years to do so. In fact, last year's Cardinals, although they won their division, would not have made the playoffs without the extra division of playoffs. They would have finished 14 games behind the Mets in the old NL East. Thus, only 1 of the last 5 champions would have even made the playoffs, just 13 years ago. I can't imagine that this is what Bud Selig had in mind, when the new system began.
When a wild card succeeds every few years, it legitimizes the extra round of playoffs. When it becomes routine, it cheapens the regular season. I hate the idea of letting more teams into the playoffs. However, I have become a reluctant proponent of adding a Wild Card to each league. On the Monday after the season ends, have the two best non-division winners in each league play a one-game playoff, burning their best pitcher in the process. Then make them start their Divisional Series the next day, against the best team in the league. Unless they are comfortable with hot, but mediocre, teams routinely picking off the best teams in baseball, this must be done.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Intro: I sort of wish that Mookie had continued to forget to post last weeks picks, considering that I was a piss-poor 4-6 on the week. For the year, I am wallowing in the halls of mediocrity at 10-10. The good news is that if you have played my Roper, you would be up a sack of fazoles. I clearly haven’t been working hard enough to penetrate a Lady Bowerbird or Hymen. This week you get the down and dirty picks with little to no commentary or analysis. Fuck you billable hour. I am not enamored with a lot of these lines, but feel there is value in playing the tease this week.
The Helen Roper
Louisville at Cincinnati
Line- Nati Cats -10.5
Louisville’s defense is pathetic, I get it. Their offense, however, is dynamic. As scarred as they are as a team, I will still take my chances with the number one pick in next year’s NFL draft against an overrated team that has beaten a bunch of nobodies. Yes, Rutgers, you are a nobody again. Who is Cincinnati’s qb? Who is their best player? Exactly. Take the 10+ and hope to not get Kragthorped.
The Pick: Louisville
The Lady Bowerbirds
UCF at USF
Line- USF -12
While I have been all over USF for the last 2 years, I am more than willing to take 12 points in an instate rivalry. It will be interesting to see USF’s tough run D matched up against one of the best backs in the country that you have never heard of. Watch for UCF to pull the upset straight up, making USF the whore of I-4.
The Pick: UCF
Texas A&M at Texas Tech
Line- Texas Tech -8.5
Harrell and Crabtree will be too much at home for A&M. Franchione is a dead man walking. Texas Tech wins big and hopefully this kid gets to ring the bell. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=rFxwOLbImcU)
The Pick: Texas Tech.
Purdue at Michigan (-6)- My Michigan insider had this to say via email this week: “Make no mistake, the inmates are running the asylum. Word is after the App State loss, the whole team said F it and went on a partying rampage. The university knew, the coaches knew, everyone knew. After the loss to Oregon, the coaches piss tested everyone and a bunch of the “players” came up hot. Lloyd couldn’t suspend them all in the same week, so he has been staggering the suspensions. The wheels will come off this week when we lose to Purdue by 2 touchdowns and the Kirk Ferentz hiring countdown officially begins.” Good enough for me. Purdue is the pick.
South Carolina (-7) at North Carolina. Cock’n’fire is not da U. Smellycock will continue to improve. A tease down to .5 is a near perfect play here.
Va. Tech (-13.5) at Duke. Since Beamer's first season in 1987, a player at every position on the defensive unit has scored at least one touchdown. And at least 25 different players have scored touchdowns while on Tech's special teams. No secret that Beamerball defeats turnover prone teams. Duke is improved, but they are still Duke. Teasing down to a touchdown is a great play here with Tech.
The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
Auburn at Arkansas (-3). McFadden is badly in need of a signature conference effort to solidify Heisman candidacy.
LSU (-9.5) at Kentucky. Let down game, but a tease down to 3 is a great play on the #1 team in the country at KENTUCKY.
Missouri at Oklahoma (-10.5)- I was very impressed with Oklahoma when I saw them live last week. Athletic receivers make the difference here.
Georgia (-7) at Vanderbilt- 74% of the smart money has been on Georgia. The Dawgs are tough on the road in SEC play, despite last weeks disappointment. Leg humpers by 10.
NFL Freebie- Take the under in Ravens/Rams at 37.5. Rams wont score and Ravens cant score 37.
Outro: This entire column took me 14 minutes to research and write. I am guessing it will be far more successful than my last two because of that very reason.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The following details were told to me by SYHD reader Drazen's Driving Instructor. He heard this story from his father who is good friends with a security guard at the Garden City Hotel on Long Island, which is where the supposed incident occurred. I have not in anyway tried to verify this story, but I trust my source. Whether I trust his source is a another matter altogether. So basically this story is only fit for blogs or espn.com (ouch, cheap shot). Ok, enough with the long-winded build up, it's time to get down to the brass tacks.
So sometime in early August (coincidentally right around the time Reyes went into his mega-slump) Reyes and his entourage decided to make a night of it at the bar in the Garden City Hotel. Reyes quickly eyes some hot little blond number, and it's on. After throwing a little game at the future Knicks intern, Reyes and his gal pal head up to a suite (do I even need to make a joke about how quickly Reyes rounds the bases?), leaving the posse to man the bar scene. Once up in the room, apparently one thing leads to another and naturally Reyes starts power banging the chick up on a glass table. What could go wrong? Well apparently glass tables are not designed to support the weight of two adults hitting skins, and both participants went crashing through, leaving Jose with some cuts on his leg and doo doo maker.
Understandably, Jose did not want word of the tryst to spread. He quickly got in touch with his crew informing them of the situation and telling them to make the problem go away. So down in the bar, the entourage starts shelling out one hundred dollar bills (not 100 $1 bills smart asses) to keep patrons and hotel staff quiet and to pay for damages. Obviously the hush money was not completely effective.
So is this a possible explanation for his lackluster play in September and August? Not if this was an isolated incident, but if this was just another night for Jose, this behavior may have taken a toll on his on the field performance. What a shitty time to outlaw greenies.
(Note: My barber said that he read an article in Newsday mentioning Reyes' trips to the Garden City Hotel, but my minimal research yielded nothing. Also a big welcome to Big Lead readers. Check out the rest of this inane blog here.)
The rest of this article will attempt to counter the "bring him back" arguments that are being floated on sports talk radio.
1) Common Claim: "Nobody else can handle this job." My response: Everybody laughed when Joe Torre was hired. Now, he is considered irreplaceable. This leads the logical person to conclude that some combination of the following two statements must be true
a) The job ain't really that hard
b) Without inside information, it's tough to identify who will thrive in the position.
The idiot simply assumes that since nobody else has done the job in 12 years, nobody can do it.
2) Common Claim: "He can't play for these guys" My response: First, if a manager's role is that inconsequential, then they certainly shouldn't be paid $7 million per year. Second, nobody trivialized Torre's role on the championship teams. You can't have it both ways. If he gets the credit for the World Series victories, he must be held responsible for the first round defeats as well.
3) Common Claim: "He has made the playoffs for 12 straight years. You can't fire him." My response: Think of the worst manager your team has ever had. Now, put him at the helm of the 96-07 Yankees roster. How many times does he miss the playoffs? Once? Maybe twice? Torre inherited a team that made the playoffs in the season before he arrived and had the best record in baseball (before the strike) the season before that. I hardly think that the Yanks will have a string of 4th place finishes when he's gone.
The late Owen Hart would have said "Enough is enough and it's time for a change!"
The Friday Six-Pack
Intro: Last week I went 6-4, nailing the Roper and the Horsemen, but blowing pretty much everything else. What can I say, I got fingercuffed by the Zooker and the Penn State quarterback whose name shall not be spoken. This week the six-pack must be consumed as roadies as I am going mobile to the Red River Shootout.
The Helen Roper
Kentucky (5-0) at South Carolina (4-1)
Line- USCe -3.5
Breakdown: As confirmed this week [mookie, hyperlink story about UK team being exposed as gay in the 60s] the ‘Cats should have no problem getting up for the Cocks. Kentucky comes into this one undefeated, but bloated from the barley hops of self-assuredness. The ‘Cats have been scoring at will, but it has come against Chi-Omega flag football level defenses. Overrated- clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. Kentucky is the ultimate sell at this point, with this Thursday nighter in Columbia coming before a two game homestand against UF and LSU. Woodson may be a legitimate Heisman and pro prospect, but he is not going to light up the best past defense in the land on their turf. Matt Stafford learned that lesson in week one.
Spurrier will play ball control and unzip the Smelley Cock. Spurrier saw something in this kid at the beginning of fall practice, and believes he has a bright future in Columbia . His performance this week will solidify his position as the starter for USCe.
No way a team gets outed and gains an SEC road victory in the same week. Buy a half a point and lock in at 3. USCe can win by 3 just on heterosexual might alone.
The Pick: USCe 33, UK 24
The Lady Bowerbird
Oklahoma (4-1) vs. Texas (4-1)
Line: Oklahoma -11
Considering this game is a few thousand feet lower in elevation than last weeks game, I expect OU to bounce back to the explosive team they showed us they were capable of being. In the loss valuation category, I view OU’s loss last week to DIVISION I FOOTBALL playing Colorado as an anomaly, while Texas ’ home loss to Kansas State was the culmination of a continual season long slide. Before this line came out, I had promised myself that I would take OU up to 17 pts. Thus I am elated to get them at only 11.
The Pick: OU 38, UT 19
Cincinnati (5-0) at Rutgers (3-1)
Line: Rutgers -3
With an out of conference loss last week and WVU’s loss to USF, Rutgers still has a lot to play for. Rutgers will be motivated by revenge from the Nati Cat’s BCS busting win last year.
The Pick: Rutgers 20, Cincy 13
The Hymen (picks in bold)
Kansas at K.State (-3)- Though I am not sure, I think Mangino weighs more than Josh Freeman. Therefore, I will take Kansas State .
USF (-15) at Florida Atlantic- MMMM, kool aid, good.
NC State (+18.5) at FSU- FSU doesn’t beat anyone by 19 points anymore.
The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
Houston at Alabama (-11).
Wisconsin (+2.5) at Illinois .
Wake Forest (-7) at Duke.
Virginia Tech (+5) at Clemson
Random Vegas note:
I was in Vegas this past weekend with Johnny Dakota, Fat Dizzle, Side Salad, and Downright Nashty (sorry Greg Ostertag). True to form I got murdered by various casinos, but there was one fantastic highlight. A VIP room in the club LAX consisted of perhaps the most random grouping pseudo celebrities that could be amassed. In that VIP room- Nicky Hilton, Criss Angel, Wee Man, and...wait for it....wait for it...Jim Lampley. Yes that Jim Lampley. He must be a huge poon hound.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
(As I wrote this, Joba's velocity dropped about 3 or 4 MPH in his second inning of work and he surrendered a run. This does not bode well for his ability to pitch effectively tomorrow. This type of bullpen mismanagement is why I still say "Joe must go"!)
"I know what decisions to make, what decisions not to make. As far as change, I wouldn't change myself for nothing in the world. I just need to change some of the decisions I make."
How does this man not realize that his decisions are a reflection of himself? Not to get too philosophical, but what is a person besides an accumulation of his decisions? If Jones doesn't address whatever personality disorder he suffers, he will be back to shooting up strip clubs in no time.
Travis Henry is still 28 years of age. He has (at least) nine kids, with nine different women, in four states. Henry is about to be suspended for a season, because of his 3rd failed drug test. I guess I should think he's a great, big irresponsible jerk. Had he stopped at 4 illegitimate kids, and two failed drug tests, I would hate the guy. But siring nine bastards and thrice testing positive for drugs is so completely over the top, that I almost have to assume that Henry is deliberately living his life as a satirical commentary on the state of African American males. If I'm right, his brilliant work beats the pants off of the Colbert Report.
"His job is on the line" He continued "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."
I hope this is true. Yes, it's unfair to judge a manager on the result of a playoff series. However, when one builds his reputation on being a postseason winner, you can't complain when people think you've lost your "magic" after losing for seven consecutive years.
More on this, if the Yankees lose this series.
Consider how similarly these postseason opponents have performed in the regular season.
Indians won 96. Yanks won 94.
Red Sox won 96. Angels won 94.
Rockies won 90. Phillies won 89. (Rockies won there 90th in the one game playoff)
D'Backs won 90. Cubs won 85.
So in 3 out of 4 of these series, 162 games wasn't enough to seperate the postseason opponents by more than 2 games. How are we to expect a 5 game series to accurately determine which team is better?
2) Can we finally put to bed the notion that experience matters in the playoffs? The young Rockies just swept the Phillies. The Baby 'Backs swept the Cubs. The Indians, with only one player who has ever played a playoff game, are one game away from sweeping the Yankees, who are participating in their thirteenth consecutive postseason. Baseball is baseball. It's fundamental nature doesn't change, because more people are watching.
3) Today, MLB is staring down the barrel of a 4 sweeps. Making matters worse, the teams from the 4 biggest media markets in the country, New York, L.A., Chicago, and Philadelphia, are all about to get bounced. Yikes!
4) The Yankees/Indians series is the perfect illustration of the unpredictability of a short series. Chien-Ming Wang, a devastating sinkerballer, left his pitches belt-high throughout Game 1. It happens about 3 or 4 times a year. When his ball has no life in June, it's just one of those days. When Wang doesn't have it in the Division Series, the Yankees are put in a situation where they have to win 3 out of 4 to advance.
I know it sounds like sour grapes, but I truly believe the Yankees would have won Game 2, if not for a Biblical plague of gnats. Joba Chamberlain never struggled with his control, until he was covered with more bugs than a fresh carcass ine the Amazon. They were clearly bothering him.
5) Goodbye A-Rod. I will genuinely miss you. Listening to WFAN this weekend, I got the vibe the Yankees fans had already turned on him. A .314/54/156 season, doesn't buy you 6 hitless at bats, with these spoiled fucks. Unless he gets a hit in his first at bat tonight, he is going to get booed mercilessly by shithead Yankees fans.
He will then decide that Yankees fans are insatiable assholes and leave New York. Rodriguez will join the Angels or the Tigers, with the ultimate vendetta against the Yankees. Meanwhile, the Yankees will replace A-Rod with Wilson Betemit and Yankees fans will wonder where all the runs went. Somehow, they won't make the connection that they chased their best player since Babe Ruth, out of town.
Then I will completely disassociate myself with other Yankees fans. I will still cheer my team on, but on my own terms. I will not participate in any chants or slap hands with anybody in the crowd. I will be an island, unto myself, in a crowd of 55,000.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Just like every other baseball series that has ever been, or ever will be, played.
Side note: If Joe Torre starts Doug Alphabet against C.C. Sabathia tonight, I will (insert your own hyperbolic, idle threat of brutality)!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
P.S. I am not a Sports Guy hater. I have generally enjoyed his work of the years. Is he as good as he used to be? No. Is he still better than me? Infinitely.
In one of the least shocking stories of the last few years, boy band guru Lou Pearlman has been accused of sexually molesting many of his former clients including members of the bands Backstreet Boys, O-Town, and Take Five. These accusation raise the obvious question of whether it is really molestation if the victim enjoys it. Anyway, I won't ruin the read for you by quoting from the article, but trust me, you MUST read some of the accusations. They are priceless. Read the article here.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball.
Now watch this video. The relevant clip starts almost half way through, with about 1:07 to go.
Michael Barrett was obstructing on two different counts.
- He clearly kicks his leg out to impede Holliday at the last moment, not to establish fielding position. This was not a situation in which Barrett "must occupy his position to receive the ball." (Bold letters are mine)
- "After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball." Barrett dropped the ball before Holliday slid into his shin guard. If he is no longer fielding the ball, he has no right to "impede the progress of the runner".
Of course, nobody ever enforces these rules. They are so completely ignored that nobody even mentioned obstruction, amidst all of the hysteria about the need for instant replay in baseball. In an ironic twist, this may actually be a case in which replay would have led to a greater injustice. The Rockies rightfully won the game; Holliday didn't need to touch home.(I don't ask for much. But I'd appreciate a few "Nicely done, Tremont"s in the comment section for the work I've done in this post. I am completely right and apparently the only person on the planet whose considered it.)
Sweet, we've been Big Lead-ed and Dead Spun. If you're not a queer, you'll read rest of our blog here.
The sports world can rest assured that he wasn't on performance enhancers this past season as he stunk up Shea for much of the season. Schoeneweis is the second Mets "pitcher" to be linked to steroids in the last year as Guillermo Mota served a suspension for the first few months of this season for a failing a test following last year's campaign.
Either Schoeneweis or Mota would make a great patient zero for my placebo steroid experiment. More to follow on that one.
Monday, October 1, 2007
1. The Mets engineered the second biggest collapse in baseball history.
2. The Jets lost to the worst team in the NFL. Thankfully I wasn't around to watch that one. Unfortunately, I was at Shea Stadium instead.
3. The Gators were defeated by Auburn, ostensibly ending their bid for back to back BCS Championships. How improbable is it that a college kicker nails two consecutive 42 yard field goals when extra points are far from a sure thing in the collegiate game.
4. I led two fantasy baseball leagues going into the last game of the season. I won neither, which netted me a loss of approx. $600 in prize money.
Surprisingly, I'm still ticking which is either good news or bad news depending on who you talk to.
Dear Mets Fan:
All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year's success.We did not meet our organization's expectations -- or yours.Everyone at Shea feels the same range of emotions as you -- our loyal fans -- and we know we have let you down. We wanted to thank you for your record-breaking support of our team this year. Equally important, Ownership will continue its commitment in providing the resources necessary to field a championship team.Omar will be meeting with Ownership shortly to present his plan on addressing our shortcomings so that we can achieve our goal of winning championships in 2008 and beyond.
You deserve better results. Many thanks again for your record-breaking support.
The New York Mets
Thanks a lot guys. I feel a whole lot better now. I sincerely doubt though that "everyone at Shea" is feeling the same range of emotions as me. Tommy Glavine is probably already trying on his Braves jersey. Jeff Conine played in about 10 games so I'm sure he is just as attached to this team as I am. I sincerely believe that David Wright is taking the collapse hard, but I'm sure he will be comforted by his millions of dollars and ten girls he has banged since yesterday's loss. I'm over $100K in debt from student loans and the only bush I'm getting tonight is the Busch light I'm currently drinking.
Dear Mets Marketing Department,
Please stop patronizing me.
This game reminds me of the weak Big Show/Bossman program the WWF ran back in 1999. Neither party had any real heat, or ability for that matter. The feud had less juice than Ron Artest's record label. However, due to injuries to a couple of the more legitimate main eventers and being in the midst of the annual post-Survivor Series/pre-Royal Rumble lull, this feud actually culminated in a main event at a pay-per-view.
There is a 90% chance that I am going to fall asleep on this game, and I don't really care. The boxscores and highlights will suffice.
P.S. TBS is covering this game and Ernie Johnson is doing the in-studio analysis with Cal Ripken. (Clunky syntax alert!) Cal is every bit as dull as you would expect a man who never missed a day of work to be. I don't care that it is a baseball game. Let Kenny and Charles join Ernie in the studio.