Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

As if anybody still cares I am back in business at SYHD as baseball, my greatest muse, has returned. A few quick bullets before I offer my divisional previews:
  • I know I have written about this a few times before, but it really bears repeating. I can't even fathom the process that would lead a mid-market team to field a line-up as bad as the San Francisco Giants lineup. There is only one mildly productive position player on the team and not a single youngster with a milligram of promise. I just watched the last few innings of their shutout loss to the Dodgers and I really can't see them scoring a run the rest of the season. The embodiment of the Giants' problem: Brian Bocock, opening day shortstop, who batted .242 with 5 HRs in nearly 600 plate appearances IN SINGLE A last year! Brian Sabean has to be trying to lose. As putrid a GM as Isiah Thomas is, at least I understand his thought process. Thomas accumulates as much raw talent as possible in the hopes that he can turn them into good ballplayers. Sabean has been surrounding Barry Bonds with diarrhea for years and now will be exposed as perhaps the worst GM in the business.
  • I don't know why it took me so long to realize this, but Joe Torre managing the Dodgers means he gets another opportunity to pulverize poor Scott Proctor's elbow before he ever starts making the big bucks. The Dodgers bullpen would be wise to put in some calls to Lloyds of London.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Big Red Faced

Never in my life have I ever wished I was a Brown alum, until yesterday. What a pitiful effort from that dumb second tier Ivy. I should have never enrolled in you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Week Late and a (Joe) Buck Short

We actually had this now infamous story involving Joe Buck, his creepiness, his jealousy of Gus Johnson, and his sore Johnson.

A friend of mine is in the picture at the bottom of the post and witnessed the whole incident. The accounting set forth is 100% true. He emailed me the story and picture at the same time he notified some of the bigger splogs (sports blogs, duh).

If I only I checked the blog email frequently (or at all), we could have broke the story before Kissing Suzy Kolber, Deadspin, and various other outlets. Time to start working on my time machine.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"C" Words and Wankers

Ok, first let me apologize for the lack of posts lately. I may get into the reasoning for the lull on a later post, but rest assured it pretty much has everything to do with me being lazy and tired and having a broken laptop. Now that I have taken care of the housekeeping matters, let us move onto the post.

For a while now an a friend/avid reader of this blog believe it or not) has been beeeeeeegggging me to watch a Tottenham Hotspur game with her at a pub by her apartment in Brooklyn. We'll call her Mrs. Met ("MM"). MM, like myself, is an anglophile. Unlike myself, she has actually spent substantial time in merry old England, so she isn't a poser (like me). While across the Atlantic, MM picked up an appreciation for most things British including soccer and became a fan of the Tottenham Hotspur. The Hotspur are tough luck losers and second class citizens in the EPL (that's the English Premier League, for the uninformed), making them the EPL version of the Mets/Jets, which instantly made them somewhat endearing you me. As a brief aside, I'm fully aware that the Sports Guy became a Tottenham Hotspur fan in his brief foray into EPL soccer, and I know I have a reputation of ripping off the Simmons' jokes and writing style, so believe me that the irony is not lost on me. Anyway, so MM had been beeeeggggiiiing me to go catch a game with her at the local Hotspur hotspot and after she found a game that didn't start at 7am EST, I agreed.

I am have never considered myself a soccer fan. I never played the game growing up. When soccer was all the rage and hailed as the next big thing, I embraced it much like a white, blue collar Farmingville resident embraces an El Salvadorian. I wrongfully perceived soccer as a threat to my beloved baseball, and in my mind, the American sports landscape wasn't big enough for the both of them.

I have since grown up and matured since my teenaged years (shaadup!) and was now willing to give soccer another chance. I figured what better opportunity than watching the Carling Cup finals, in a English Pub chock full of Tott'nam Hotspur fans.

The morning starts off splendedly as upon entering the pub (Floyd's), I encounter a black guy with an English accent. Next to a white guy with a Carribbean accent, this is one of my favorite sight/sound combinations. From here on out, I'm playing with house money.

The game hasn't started yet, but everyone is already chanting, chanting, and chanting some more. It's barely 10am, but Floyd's patrons are already sauced up and I wouldn't expect it any other way. The vibe of the group? I'd categorize it as fervent college fans, but without those fans who don't know anything about the sport and just cheer like idiots simply because they are enrolled in a particular school (Klotsche Krazies, I'm looking at you).

The group is slow to warm to me in part because of the gravity of the game, in part because I'm a new face, but mainly because I'm an additional dude in a place where the guy-girl ratio isn't a favorable one. It probably didn't help matters that I was pretty quiet as I wanted to take in the whole scene. Plus MM had warned me repeatedly not to be a douchebag and I figured the best way to do that was to refrain from speaking.

Not long after the start of the match, it becomes apparent that every Chelsea player is either a cunt or wanker, depending on the how badly the player flopped. If you get touched slightly, roll on the ground for a couple minutes, but don't draw a card, you're most likely to be classified as a wanker. If you do all of the above and draw a card or penalty kick, then my friend, you are cunt. This scene certainly isn't for the Julia C's of the world (a little inside I know), as the C word gets thrown around with enough reckless abandon to make even a Vagina Monloguer blush.

The game is a hotly contested one and goes into overtime. Like a typical American I thought OT was sudden death and was ready to start looting and rioting after Tottenham scores, but alas my enthusiam is tempered once I realize that there is another fifteen minutes to play.

What I enjoyed most about Hotspur fans is that like Mets and/or Jets fans, they expect failure up until the final whistle is blown. No lead is ever big enough, and the refs, the world, and the gods are against them. It is no coincidence that I was informed that many Tottenham fans are also Mets fans.

Thankfully, Tottenham did win and I was able to witness some good, old fashioned celebrating. Glasses were broken, men hugged and were hugged, pictures were taken (mostly by MM), and fight songs were sung and sung some more. I enjoyed watching all of this transpire, but at the same time felt a disconnect because I was there as an outsider observing other people's euphoria, wishing just once I could celebrate the championship of a team I've rooted for, cared about, and loved for my entire life. The 2003 St. John's NIT championship doesn't cut it, sorry Grady Reynolds.

[Insert cliched conclusory paragraph about how wrong I was to have dismissed soccer as a youth and how I've gained a deeper appreciation for the sport.]

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Jets Have Positioned Themselves to Be the Biggest Disappointment of 2008

I love the moves the Jets have made so far. In the span of 72 hours they've gone from a team with enormous holes to one that at least on paper looks like one more talented squads in the AFC. The front office has aggressively addressed its weakest units, Oline and Dline, and has upgraded each with the likes of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, and Calvin Pace. The offensive line, which was one of the most porous in memory, now is arguably the team's strongest unit(again on paper). With the addition of Pace and Jenkins, the front seven should be able to generate consistent pressure on the opposing QB, something they couldn't do outside of freak one game against Big Ben Homothug. Jenkins, who has ideal 3-4 NT size should theoretically be able to tie two blockers every play, allowing Harris, Jenkins, and an underrated Eric Barton to make plays all over the field. Unlike the offense, there is a lot of young talent on the defensive side of the ball as Derrelle Revis, David Harris, and Kerry Rhodes all look like Pro Bowl caliber players.

Offensively, the talent infusion on the line should pay dividends on multiple levels. D'Brickashaw Ferguson should be much more effective playing next to Faneca rather than the turnstyle known as Adrian Clarke. A line that can actually, run block, pass block, and pick up the blitz should create holes for Thomas Jones and provide Kellen Clemens with a pocket, throwning lanes, and time to actually make it through more than one of his progression reads.

These four signings also provide the Jets with great flexibility in the upcoming NFL Draft. Prior to the onset of free agency, it seemed the Jets were destined for Ohio State's Vernon Ghoulston, as an edge rushing linebacker was a pressing need. Now Ghoulston may still be the pick (and a good one at that), but with the acquisition of Pace the Jets are free to go after the one offensive playmaker in the draft, Darren McFadden. Drafting RunDMC would be the piece de resistance of the offseason and generate a genuine buzz around the Jets, the likes of which have not been seen or heard since 1999.

If you read this post carefully, or at all, you'd have noticed that I through a lot of qualifiers in my analysis such as "should" or "on paper". That's because it is very difficult to build an NFL team via free agency. (See Redskins, Washington) Perhaps it stems from a lack of motivation after getting handed a large chunk of money or the short shelf life of NFL players, but there are many instances where teams simply do not get great value from their free agent signings, especially at the back end of the deal. Nevertheless, free agency breathes hope into distraught fan bases every year, inflating expectations to lofty levels, leading to inevitable disappointment. From that last line, I'm sure you can safely guess that I'm a Jet fan who lived through initial optimism and eventual depression of the Neil O'Donnell era.