Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Appalachian State v Wofford

Put me in the group who finds 1-AA football just as exciting as I-A football (I'll always call it 1-AA football and 1-A football). Tonight Appalachian State faces off against Wofford in a matchup of not just two of the best teams in 1-AA but also conference rivals. Here are some nuggets to keep in mind when watching the game:

- Wofford has an enrollment of just 1,350. That's less than some of the local high schools around here.

- The running backs for the two teams have average heights and weights under 6'0" and 200 pounds. That right there is a big difference between 1-AA and 1-A.

- The combined ages of the two schools (Appalachian State 109 years and Wofford 154 years) are greater than the age of the United States (232).

- The over / under on this game is 67. My initial inclination would be for the under since both teams have run first offenses. However, both teams will score and overtime is a real possibility between these two evenly matched teams which would almost guarantee an over score. Having said that - I'll stick to my gut reaction and take the under (besides - only one of the last 10 games between these teams has been over 67 points).

- Appalachian State is favored by 2 at home. I think that's also worth a shot.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mike Rozier

Don't ask me why but this morning I was checking up on Mike Rozier.

No - not the former Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier.

I was thinking of the Red Sox prospect Mike Rozier. Donald from Georgia first brought Mike Rozier to my attention when he said he was better than Kyle Davies in high school.

It is sad to say but Mike Rozier seems to be a bust. After 4 seasons in the Red Sox farm system - Mike Rozier was still in Rookie and A ball this year. He managed just over 30 innings pitched and an ERA north of 7.00. I understand that Rozier was hit in the head with a baseball a couple times and maybe he just needs to recover. I've never even laid eyes on Mike Rozier but I hope he saved the bulk of his (then Red Sox record) $1.5 million signing bonus because I don't think he's going to make it in baseball. I can't imagine what it must be like being considered washed up at age 23.

One question would be interesting to get answered is whether agent Scott Boras and his staff tinkered with Rozier's mechanics. That was an allegation some leveled at Boras in relation to Craig Hansen (the former St. John's light's out closer who was so-so in the Red Sox system). If Boras did mess with Rozier's mechanics - then that's potentially two highly thought of pitching prospects that he may have ruined for the Red Sox alone. You would think some enterprising sports reporter would look into this.
The Phillies Win!

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies on their World Series win. Most people will remember this World Series for the rain interrupted Game 5 mess and Bud Selig's changing of the rules fiat. I'm in 100% agreement with Bob Ryan on that subject. I just hope that it doesn't taint the Phillies victory.

For me - the thing I will remember most about this series is the fact that a run was scored in the first inning of every game. Let me explain.

Before the first game - just for shits and giggles - I took the prop bet that a run would be scored in the first inning. A run was scored so I doubled up the bet for the next game. A run was scored in that game too. I doubled up each game. That's what I'll long remember about the 2008 World Series.
The Worst Coach in the NBA

With Isiah Thomas gone - I'm no longer sure who is the worst coach in the NBA. I mean Thomas had the field lapped in suckitude.

In football - Herm Edwards still holds the worst coach mantle. In baseball it's Dusty Baker. But in the NBA - I'm not sure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beer Sales

I admit that this was a question I was wondering about:
With 5-1/2 innings of World Series Game 5 already in the books, a question arises of great concern to many Phillies fans going to Citizens Bank Park tonight:

Will beer sales be cut off after the seventh inning?

No, says David Freireich, spokesman for Aramark, which operates all the park's concessions.

"Today is considered a new event," he said.

So the brew won't stop flowing at the 7th.

Sources at the ballpark – including some beer vendors – said beer sales would be stopped at the start of the ninth inning.
HT Baseball Musings
John Daly Walks Into a Bar....

It's an opening to a joke that writes itself.
When you hear the words "Hooters," "John Daly" and "extremely intoxicated" in the same sentence, you know where this story is going.
The mug shot picture is priceless.

John Daly's Liver may be the new name for one of my fantasy football teams.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Breeder's Cup

Very nice interactive overview / preview / guide to the Breeder's Cup here.

Nice race by race analysis here.

Another nice race-by-race preview here.

My picks:

Race 1 - The Marathon - Sixties Icon (2-1)

Race 2 - Turf Sprint - Diabolical (6-1) - I like to get funky as well as the next guy but I don't think Get Funky wins today. Longshot worth a look is California Flag at 15-1.

Race 3 - Dirt Mile - Well Armed (3-1) plus Lewis Michael (5-1) to show just because I love the name (and the writer)

Race 4 - The Mile - Kip DeVille (5-1) a tough choice over Goldikova (3-1)

Race 5 - Juvenile - Munnings (7/2) - also going to take Midshipman (5-1) to show because I like the name

Race 6 - Juvenile Turf - Bittel Road (7/2)

Race 7 - The Sprint - Cost of Freedom (4-1)

Race 8 - The Turf - Grand Couturier (6-1) - I do feel some guilt taking the English horse over the Irish Conduit (6-1) but I like Garcia better as a jockey.

Race 9 - The Classic - Curlin (7/5) most likely wins but I'll take Colonel John (20-1) to show as my value bet

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Brady Bunch Conundrum

I blame the show The Brady Bunch for today's societal problems.

Why were Carol and Mike single in the first place? This is an unresolved problem

What happened to their original spouses? It's like the mother of the boys and the father of the girls never existed. Did they die and were so easily forgotten? Was there a divorce? If so - how come the kids never went to visit the other parent? Did the mother of the boys and the father of the girls just run away? Was there abuse? Was that why the other parents were never mentioned? The family's little secrets?

Maybe Mike and Carol killed their original spouses so that they could be together. The Brady parents fit the bill for serial killers. Quiet - kept to themselves. Was Sam the butcher involved in the disposal of the bodies?

When you look back on it - the complete lack of other parents in the show is very creepy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

They Promised Us Flying Cars!

I want one of these.

This is a traveling sales guy's dream. Heck - with mileage reimbursement - it's even practical.
Bad News

The Hereford House - downtown Kansas City location - has been bombed (or maybe just set afire and the explosion was a reaction to the fire).

The Hereford House holds a spot in my heart because their signature steak soup is just that good and their T-bone steak with the Dijon mustard and brown sugar glaze is perhaps one of the finest steaks I've ever had (the glaze adds extra flavor and as the glaze hardens it keeps the juices inside the steak - yum yum).
It's All Over

The Rays beat the Red Sox 3-1 last night to advance to the World Series while the Red Sox get to take the rest of the fall and winter off.

Some Red Sox fans will blame the loss of the ALCS on Mike Timlin who lost game 2 in the 11th inning. The thinking goes that if Mike Timlin was not in that game - then the Red Sox would have eventually won and would have been up 2 games to zero. Those fans who think this way can at least find solace in the fact that Mike Timlin probably won't be around to give up late inning leads next season. Timlin is a free agent and unless the Red Sox feel very strong pangs of loyalty - then Mike Timlin and his 5.66 ERA and his $3 million contract will be coming off the books.

I'm of the mindset that the Red Sox lost because Tampa Bay was simply the better team. The Rays had better hitting and better starting pitching. Sure things may have been different if the Red Sox had a healthy Mike Lowell and a Josh Beckett at 100% but they did not. This year the Rays were best when it counted most. Red Sox fans have next year to look forward to but a word of warning - these Rays will be another year more mature next season and they will have David Price coming into a rotation that is already formidable. This Tampa Bay team is not a fluke or a one-year wonder.

Besides Mike Timlin - the Red Sox will also Manny Ramirez's $20 million coming off the books (minus Jason Bay's $7.5 million) plus Curt Schilling's $8 million. That's $23.5 million right there. That should be enough to go after a CC Sabathia or a AJ Burnett. Here's the rub though - if you bring in a top flight free agent then you get a double whammy - you lose your first round draft pick and then what do you do with Tim Wakefield? There's only so many slots in the rotation. Beckett, Dice-K, and Lester have their slots. Do you make Wakefield the 5th starter? At just $4 million he's a low cost insurance plan and if anyone deserves the team's loyalty - its Tim Wakefield.

The big question of course is Jason Varitek. My guess is that the team offers Varitek arbitration and he accepts or they work out a one year deal (maybe with an option). I just don't see Varitek playing anywhere else other than Boston.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Joe" the Plumber

I love this photoshop via boybleu at Sports Frog.
Peavy to Braves?

This would make a certain amount of sense.

This would allow the Braves to counter the Mets and Johan Santana. The Braves have Mike Hampton's money coming off the books and John Smoltz and Tom Glavine both have at least one foot in retirement. Peavy could become the new face of the Braves.
Stayin' Alive

If I had any photoshop skilz at all - I change Animal's red fur to green fur and put Wally the Green Monster's Red Sox hat on him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Michael Gee makes a good point regarding the Sarah Palin getting booed by Flyers' fans incident. "Pols always get booed, and always pretend not to notice." I am reminded of John Kerry throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox game in 2004 right before the DNC in Boston. Kerry was booed. He threw from the front of the mound, it was a lousy throw and he was booed. The difference here is that the media completely ignored the fact that Kerry was booed (by his "hometown" fans no less) but Sara Palin being booed gets to be a story.... Steve Silver points out something that has been bugging me subconsciously. Those Brooke Shields commercials for Volkswagon are creepy and it wasn't until Silver pointed out the strangeness of combining the words "German engineering" and "babies" did the "Master Race" angle fully hit me... John L. Sullivan would have been 150 year's old today. He is often forgotten when the names of great Boston athletes are mentioned but once he was the most famous athlete in the world and probably the toughest man in America. Sullivan used to walk into a bar and claim to be able to "lick any man" in the place. If someone made such a claim today it would come off sounding a bit gay...
Slip Slidin' Away
Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away
The Red Sox chances of advancing to the World Series are slip slidin' away. The Red Sox were trounced last night 13-4 and now trail the Tampa Bay Rays 3 games to one. This is a hole I don't think the Red Sox will be able to dig out of.

There I said it.

Does that make me a bad fan? No it just makes me a realist. I'll still follow each of the team's offseason moves with baited breath but I'm now convinced the offseason is much closer than Red Sox fans wish it was.

I only watched the first inning of last night's game. Does that make me a bad fan? No it just makes me squeamish. After seeing the Rays race out to a 3-0 lead off two HR in the first inning I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach. The same feeling you got watching an old Lucy Show or Laverne and Shirley show where you knew the girl(s) were going to get into trouble of their own making. That feeling makes me uncomfortable.

Instead of watching - I tuned into the movie Hitman on HBO.

I enjoyed the mindless violence and especially the fact that it starred Deadwood star Timothy Olyphant. The movie was a blatant rip off of the Bourne Identity movies even with the same ominous techno background music. But it was enjoyable nonetheless.

During the movie - I kept track of the game on Yahoo! That was much less enjoyable.

I couldn't even bear to watch the lowlights on SportsCenter - so I watched a re-run of Rome instead.

It will probably end up being a Tampa Bay vs. Philly match-up in the World Series. I'll be rooting for Philly. It's not that I'm vindictive against the Rays - it's just that I have friends in Philly and I'll be pulling for them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heavy Fuel

Just a reminder of how great a guitarist Mark Knopfler is.

I've been running on heavy fuel for the past few weeks (if you know what I mean).
Rachael Ray Gives Good Corn

Is the woman on the right Doctor Sue Johnson?

Heh heh.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous football thoughts and observations.

East Carolina has had a funny season so far. They have not lost a game where they were the underdog and they have not won a game when they were the favorite. Yesterday they were once again the favorite (by 6.5 over Virginia) and they lost outright. Maybe Skip took in those Dr. Holtz underdog pep-talks but missed the Dr. Spurrier how to win when favored talks... Harvard's Ryan Fitzpatric is supposed to start today for the Bengals against the Jets. He can't be any worse than what Carson Palmer has done this season. I'm pulling for him. Am I the only one who finds it amusing that the most effective former USC quarterback in the NFL never started for USC? Palmer has been a wreck, Leinart isn't even starting but Cassel has been very good so far... The linesmakers in Vegas continue to amaze. USC was favored over Arizona State by either 28 or 28.5 points. The Trojans won 28-0... Kellen Winslow is upper upper class high society. God's gift to ballroom notoriety. Winslow always fills his ballroom. The event is never small. The social pages say Kellen Winslow's got the biggest balls of all...
Daisuke Matsuzaka

Daisuke Matsuzaka
pitched a gem last night. Oh I know it's not what may normally be considered a gem but a gem it was. I am amazed how many national writers can't see the forest through the trees when it comes to Dice-K. All they see is the walks - take Lee Jenkins article on this morning as an example. Jenkins talks about the walks but he never mentions once the reason for the nibbling. Not once!

Well let me explain. Dice-K nibbles because he will not give up a home run. He'd rather nibble on a 3-2 count with men on first and second than groove a fastball just to get a strike and give up a 3-run home run instead. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HOME RUNS!

Last season Dice-K gave up 25 dingers at a rate of one per every 8.2 innings pitched. This year he only gave up 12 HR at a rate of one per every 14 innings pitched. That a reduction in HR of 41%! That why his ERA when from 4.40 last year to just 2.90 this season (a reduction of 34% year over year).

So yes the walks are up this year - 5 walks per 9 innings pitched vs. 3.5 walks per 9 innings pitched last season - but the home runs are down. And that has made all the difference.

Too bad the experts can't figure that out.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Presidential Odds

Holy crap! Really bad news for John McCain - he's become a huge underdog against Barack Obama instead of pulling closer. The betting odds now stand at:

John McCain +$350
Barack Obama -$500

Meaning - you would win $350 on a $100 bet on McCain or you could risk $500 to win just $100 on Obama. This is a giant difference in odds from just over a week ago when McCain was +$155 and Obama was -$190.

To put this in perspective - Barack being at -$500 is akin to being an 12 point favorite in college football. An 12 point favorite playing AT HOME! Think Georgia vs. Tennessee this weekend with McCain being Tennessee and Obama being Georgia. Yikes!

If you are a McCain supporter you can take heart in thinking of the New York Giants who beat the similarly favored New England Patriots in last year's Super Bowl.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been busy traveling. I started the week in Ohio, now I'm in Pennsylvania and I'll finish up in New York before heading home to Massachusetts on Friday.

It's been a long week and it's only Wednesday.

What's made it long is the fact that I've been driving. Yup - I drove out to Ohio. Call me crazy but I had my reasons. It was a long drive out but it will be a short ride home when all is said and done.

What's been nice is the opportunity to take some of the backroads. I drove for a long stretch on both Route 20 in New York and on Route 22 in Ohio. That's what I'd like to touch on this morning.

Most people by-pass Route 20 for long trips for the more traveled Route 90 (aka The Mass Pike in MA). Why go 30-50 MPH with stoplights when you can buzz along at high speeds on Route 90? Sunday was a nice day and I wasn't really in a rush - so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to drive Route 20 for a while.

Route 20 is actually the longest road in the US (over 5,400 meandering miles). It goes from Massachusetts to Oregon. It starts at Kenmore Square in Boston (walking distance to Fenway Park) but I picked it up in Auburn, MA (which as it turns out is strangely symmetrical since I got off the route in Auburn, NY).

The change of seasons if definitely underway. The sun was shining, the leaves on the trees are turning colors, I had all the NFL games available to me via satellite radio and I had a nice Macanudo Hampton Court cigar along with a large Dunkin Donuts coffee.

In New York, once you get past Albany, Route 20 winds through farm country. You have long stretches of farms, then a church, then an antique store, more farms, more churches, and more antique stores. Add in some gas stations and some small town main streets and you get the picture.

I picked up Route 22 in Ohio where it intersects Route 40 and took it all the way into Pittsburgh. That route also took me through the tip of West Virginia. It was the farm country of Ohio that interested me though. The contrast with the farm country in New York in particular.

On Route 22 you had the familiar winding roads, changing colors of the trees and the farms with old barns and old farm equipment. However, you had more churches along the route than on Route 20 in New York and the antique store were replaced with gun shops.

I missed the debate last night but I know that Ohio is a key state. Judging by the anecdotal evidence I saw on Route 22 - guns and religion are things that are clung to by rural Ohioans. That spells bad news for Barack Obama.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

If you are ever in a "discussion" with your significant other and she ends the argument with a declarative "Whatever" tacked on at the end - what she is really saying is "fuck you."

Likewise, when a guy (in the Northeast at least) ends his comments with a stand-alone "How's that!" What he's really saying is "fuck you." And if he says "Fuck you! How's that!" He's really saying fuck you twice and is obviously pissed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Greetings from Penn State

I've been at State College for the past few days - a very beautiful place. Now I'm off to buy some shirts or sweatshirts for the wife and kids.

Is it bad that I refuse to buy "Happy Valley" shirts for my teenage girls?

Those of you whose mind works like mine - know exactly what I'm talking about.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Brave New Foghat

I think I'm going to write a book.

It will be a science fiction work based in the not-too-distant future. It will describe a carefree, healthy, and technologically advanced society based upon the songs of the 70's rock group Foghat.

The book will be a social satire whose main storyline will center around a self-help book similar to Who Moved My Cheese except unlike being a passing fad like WMMC this self-help book - which advocates taking the lyrics of Foghat to heart - literally transforms society. Special attention is paid to people becoming Fools for the City and to the emotions (or lack thereof) to I Just Want to Make Love to You.

People will all live in cities and constantly be engaged in coitus. Oh - and they will also take copious amounts of soma. The book won't be fast paced. It will be more of a Slow Ride of a read.