Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Vince Young and the Wonderlic

When I heard that Vince Young's uncle was acting as his agent - the story of his reported 6 on the Wonderlic test all came clear to me. I think most people in the position to know have claimed that Young did not score a 6 but I think it can easily be inferred that his original score was low and probably below his second try score of 16. Ask yourself who would benefit from information like this coming out? Information that could cause Vince Young to slip in the draft and in the process cost himself hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who would be so calculating and so slimy to try and smear Vince Young as some sort of dummy?

Well a player agent of course.

I think if you looked at who the agents are for the players who may move up a slot or two in the draft if Young slips - then you will find the anonymous source for Vince Young scoring a 6 on the Wonderlic.
Graffanino Wants to be Traded

David Wells and Manny Ramirez have grabbed all the attention about wanting out of Boston even though they are under contract but another player also wants out of Boston. That player is Tony Graffanino and he wants to be a starter somewhere. The Red Sox agree that Graffanino should be a starter but they have Mark Loretta and Alex Cora ahead of Graffanino (even though Cora's bat isn't close to that of Graffanino). They would like to accomodate him and move his $2 million contract.

Graffanino has handled his situation with class and I see him being nothing but positive in Spring Training.

Assuming the Sox won't deal Graffanino to an AL East team - that leaves 25 teams. Graffanino is best at 2nd but can also play 3rd or even first. What team could use a player like that? The White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Royals, Angels, A's, Rangers, Braves, Nationals, Cubs, Astros, Brewers, Pirates, Cardinals (assuming they are happy with Aaron Miles or Junior Spivey at 2nd), Diamondbacks, Rockies, Giants and Dodgers are all set and are probably not trade partners for Graffanino.

That leaves the Twins who are weak at 3rd (Tony Batista is an abomination), Mariners at 2nd (Jose Lopez is no prize), Marlins at 2nd (Pokey Reese is always a question mark), Mets at 2nd (they would love to replace Kaz Matsui), Phillies at 3rd (David Bell is also an abomination), Reds at 2nd and 3rd (Freel has off field issues and Edwin Encarnacion is no prize) and Padres at 2nd and 3rd (Vinnie Castillo is the mother of all abominations and Mark Bellhorn may be the best option at both 2nd and 3rd). Of these teams - I doubt a deal will be made with either the Mets or the Phillies (Minaya does not like dealing with Boston and the Phillies kinda have to go with Bell at third because of his contract). That leaves the Twins, Mariners, Marlins, Reds and Padres. If I were one of these teams - I would pony up a B-level prospect for Graffanino in a heatbeat because if they wait too long Graffanino will be gone. And that will be their loss.
The Last Episode of MASH

On this date in 1983 - the last episode on MASH was aired. I missed it. And I have never seen it since.

I had to work that night in 1983 at my first "real" job. Sure I had paper routes and a job as a busboy before but my job at Arby's was my first job with a real paycheck that took out taxes and everything. I was kinda bummed at missing the show because I knew everyone would be talking about it but there were so many articles the next day that I knew every plot turn anyway. Father Mulchahy deaf - check. Klinger married - check. Hawkeye crazy - check. See no need to ever watch it.

Last night I was flipping through the channels and I saw that the last episode was on the Hallmark Channel. I had no desire to stop and watch for even a minute. The truth is that MASH was a great show that turned into an OK show. When Wayne Rogers left - he took the funny with him. All that was left was "preachy" and even at my tender age in 1983 - I was all full up on preachy. Still am.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Ralphie

Today is Ralph Nader's 72nd birthday and I for one would like to wish him a happy birthday and thank him once again for taking those votes away from Al Gore in the 2000 election. Nader got 3% of the vote nation-wide and who knows how many votes in the closely contested (to put it mildly) Florida vote.

Thanks Ralphie. Don't hold your breath for a birthday card from Al Gore though.
Heh Heh

This is pretty amusing. (Warning NSFW language)

If you're easily offended - you should lighten up.
Rumored Red Sox / Nationals Trade

David Pinto links to a rumored Red Sox / Nationals trade. Pinto is normally very astute but here he's talkin' crazy talk. Yes - the Nationals need a starter now that Brian Lawrence may be out for the season with a torn rotator cuff but the Nationals needed starting pitching before Lawrence went down too. A couple of points I'd like to make here:

- Take every story that involves the Nationals with a grain of salt because milkweed GM Jim Bowden "leaks" more than a breastfeeding mom who has been away from the baby for more than 6 hours.
- Soriano makes absolutely no sense for the Red Sox. They have Loretta for this year and Dustin Pedroia is ready to make the leap. I could see a trade where the Nationals lose Soriano and his contract, get Clement and his contract and the Sox flip Soriano to the Mets (he's precisely the type of player Omar Minaya loves) for some top prospects.
- I don't think the Sox are going to trade Arroyo. He's cheap and he wants to play in the spotlight of Boston. That's a tough combo to come up with and why would the Sox give up on that just because the Nationals have "needs"?
- Why would Nick Johnson be attractive to the Sox when they already have Kevin Youkilis?
The Pancakes are a Gift From God

The story is a gift from Paulie:
I just started getting used to that whole weird LA thing when people stare at you as soon as you walk in a room, or a bar, or a restaurant. Everyone stopped what they are doing whether it's drinking, talking, eating, snorting blow... just to see who walked in.

JC and I were led to our seats by a former reality TV star, who spent four afternoons a week humiliating herself as a hostess in a desperate last minute attempt to catch the eye of a casting director before she subjected herself to doing hard-core gonzo porn movies in the Valley with bi-sexual hairless meatheads who had uncircumsized junks that were the size of paint cans. We all walked towards the back of La Scala while everyone casually peeked up from their Tiramisu to see who we were. Several crescent moon shaped booths along the wall were filled with shit talkin' studio execs wearing last year's fall line of Versace shirts. We were surrounded by a gaggle of trendoids and pharmaceutically bloated ex-actress-model girlfriends of semi-famous directors who carried around an eight ball in their $2,500 Marc Jacobs purses.
Pauly writes like the Somerset Maughm of the Internet age (with the difference being that Pauly is straight).

I love the Internet for things like this and I will have to put John O'Groats on my list of places to eat.
Vince Young Got a 6 on the Wonderlic?

If this is true then Reggie Bush is guaranteed to be the number 1 pick of the draft. No way you risk the first pick of the draft on someone who got a 6 on the Wonderlic.

The Wonderlic is 50 multiple choice questions in a test that has 12 minutes to complete. Supposedly the average score is 19 (one point per right answer) and the only person to get a perfect 50 was Harvard grad Pat McInally (current Rams back up QB and Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick is said to have scored a 38). Drew Bledsoe supposedly got a 37 and Troy Aikman a 33. Jeff George and Michael Bishop are the lowest I know with scores of 10 each. Michael Vick scored a 20.

Scoring a 6 would be a GIGANTIC red flag if I were an NFL GM. Would it be possible for Vince Young to slip out of the top 10? The only way I would excuse Vince Young's score of 6 is if he blew off the test by just marking every question B (or C) right down the line.

EDIT: It is being reported on WEEI in Boston that Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a perfect 50 in just 9 minutes. This conflicts with what I have been told.

EDIT II: This report says the score of 6 was a mistake. Supposedly Young scored a 16 on a second test but if he didn't score a 6 the first time - why the need for the second test? I'm glad I put a question mark in the title of this post.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

If the Angels bat Garret Anderson 3rd and Vlade Guerrero 4th - then I think there is a good chance that Vlade will break the AL record for intentional walks this season. If I were a manager and I got Anderson out - why would I pitch to Guerrero? Who do the Angels have to protect Vlade in the batting order? There is going to a lot of pressure on whoever bats behind Vlade this year, whether it be Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson or Anderson because besides Vlade that line-up is pretty weak... Speaking of the Angels - how strange is it that Bengie Molina is ripping the club for the way he was treated on the way out the door while at the same time his brother Jose Molina is trying to win the catcher job Bengie vacated?... The Astros really need Roger Clemens to come back because their 3rd, 4th and 5th starters are barely Triple A quality. Brandon Backe, Ezequiel Astascio and Wandy Rodriguez? Please. If Roger decides to play elsewhere or retire - the Astros might be a good trading partner for the Red Sox to unload David Wells (is Houston West Coast enough?)... The A's may have the deepest roster in MLB but is there such a thing as being too deep? Joe Kennedy and Kirk Saaroos are wasted in the bullpen and you know Jay Payton will not be a happy camper doing part-time work. Plus Bobby Kielty has trade value as a 4th outfielder who can really hit lefties. I have a feeling that Billy Beane is watching the injury reports from other teams very carefully this spring... Who needs a back-up catcher? The Blue Jays have 24-year old catcher Guillermo Quiroz who is out of options. Bengie Molina and Gregg Zaun are above him in the depth chart. However, Zaun is 35 and Molina is on a one-year contract. Would it make more sense to trade the veteran Zaun and protect the future with Quiroz?... The average age for the Braves starting outfield is just 25.7 years. This is a franchise that is set up to win long term... This is just a guess on my part but I think if the Brewers are to sign Carlos Lee to a long term contract then they will have to trade Geoff Jenkins to afford the deal. The Brewers would have no trouble finding takers for Jenkins (I bet Toronto would make a decent offer for him)...
Don Knotts - Phi Sigma Kappa - RIP

When I joined my fraternity in college - one of my secret shames was how few famous people belonged to my fraternity. The only two famous people I could recall who were Phi Sig brothers were Martin Milner from the TV show Adam-12 and Don Knotts. Let's just say that in college you never heard me utter, "I'm in Phi Sig - you know the same fraternity Don Knotts belonged to." (I should note that I went to UMass and Knotts went to West Viginia - don't recall where Milner went to college.)

As I got older I came to appreciate Don Knotts more. His characters always got into trouble but they were always good intentions behind the comedy. Even the would-be swinger Mr. Furley had a heart of gold. Barney Fife may be the best supporting character in the history of situation comedy. Knotts also starred in one of my favorite childhood movies - The Incredible Mr. Limpet (which grave robber Steve Martin is probably already working on a re-make for).

After looking up famous brothers from Phi Sig - its cool to know that GE's Jack Welsh and football great Frank Gifford were also Phi Sigma Kappas but today I'm proudest of being a Phi Sig because that was the fraternity Don Knotts belonged to.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

AL East - A Three Team Race

Neate Sager adds the Blue Jays into the comparison mix. I think this season may come down to a two team race in the AL East with neither of those teams being the Yankees.

My only real point of contention with Neate would be at first base. I think the Jays and Sox are equally matched and that the Yankees are a distant third despite Giambi's HR totals. I think Overbay will hit about .275 with around 15 HR and a bulked up Shea Hillenbrand will add to the first base total. The Red Sox will get fewer HR from their combo of Kevin Youkilis and JT Snow but not by much but of the three first base combos - the Red Sox are by far the best defensively. Giambi would have to hit over 40 HR just to overcome his defensive liabilities.
Top 5 - Questions Facing the Red Sox

1. Can closer Keith Foulke return to his 2004 form?

2. Is Curt Schilling finally healthy?

3. Will David Wells be traded and if so for what?

4. Can Mike Lowell bounce back from his awful 2005 at the plate?

5. Will Jonathan Papelbon be put into the starting rotation?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Red Sox Front Office Puzzle

Something strange about Bill Lajoie's recent moves. When Theo Epstein walked away this past fall, Lajoie was supposedly also bowing out of the organization out of respect to Theo. Then he agreed to stay on as the "senior guy" until the Red Sox filled the GM position. As the defacto acting GM - Lajoie brought a sense of comfort to Red Sox Nation. There was a sense of warmth knowing that someone who had "been there - done that" was captaining the ship. Then Lajoie pulled off the Josh Beckett trade and the talk radio shows abounded with "who needs a GM - we got Lajoie and the young guns" talk. Then Theo came back to the fold and just recently Bill Lajoie said goodbye to the organization. Now today comes news that Bill Lajoie is going to work for the Dodgers as "senior advisor".

Something about this unfolding of events just strikes me as strange.

Did Lajoie feel that with the maturing of Epstein in Boston that he was no longer needed? Or was Lajoie one of the things that made Epstein uncomfortable about the organization to the point where he walked away from his dream job? Epstein has said that the things he was concerned about and that made him walk away as GM have been changed but the only real organization personnel change has been the exit of Lajoie. What are we to make of this?

I've never met Epstein or Lajoie and I like them both in the abstract but is it possible that behind closed doors that these guys did not mix well? Pure speculation on my part but could the Josh Beckett trade be exhibit A of the rift that existed? This trade was Lajoie's baby and in Beckett the Red Sox got a Cy Young caliber young pitcher but one with a serious injury history. A history so bad that Guillermo Mota had to be thrown in the deal. Lajoie took a gamble.

Is this a gamble that Theo would have taken if he was in charge? The Red Sox gave up two blue-chip prospects to land Beckett (Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez). Theo's stated goal has been to build the Red Sox up through the farm system.

Maybe this deal was the exception that proved the rule? And maybe Theo would have made the same deal. But the combination of the deal and both Beckett and Mota turning out to be potential damaged goods combined with the departure of the healthy enough to work for the Dodgers Lajoie may point to something else entirely.

Maybe it wasn't a rift with Larry Lucchino that made Theo walk away. Maybe it was having Bill Lajoie hovering over (around) Theo checking his work like Salieri. Maybe Amadeus Epstein only agreed to come back when it was agreed that Lajoie would no longer be in the orginization chart.

It all just strikes me as a strange set of coincidences.
Abe Vigoda - Still Alive at 85

Today is Abe Vigoda's 85th birthday. I understand that Abe's friends got him an 18-year old hooker last night. When Abe answered the door she said, "Let's go upstairs and have sex." Abe replied, "Darling I can do only one thing at a time....."
The Worst NBA GM's

Bill Simmons has a very good piece where he has the worst GM's defending their awful moves. After reading the piece - two things really hit home and made me shake my head:

1. The NBA does seem to have more really bad GM's than any other sport. Baseball is a close second but after Jim Bowden gets fired their is really nobody left at the MLB level that is even close to being as bad as Isiah Thomas.

2. Maybe it has been the really poor front office work for 75% of the NBA teams that has depressed interest in the league. I had fallen into the trap of thinking it was the lack of passing skills and the marketing of individual stars instead of teams that was the root problem for the current NBA malaise but maybe it is just bad GM's driving down interest with really bad personnel moves.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Iwo Jima

61 years ago today

Here's a good summary of who those brave men raising the flag really were.

This week marked an anniversary that went by without almost any mention but it was the anniversary of one of those things that changed the world forever. On February 21st in 1916 - the Battle of Verdun was begun. The battle was to change the course of Western Civilization.

The idea for the battle was from German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn. He believed that if he could take-out France with a major set battle and discourage England to a point that Germany could be in a position to negotiate very favorable terms. To accomplish his goals - Falkenhayn proposed unrestricted submarine warfare to starve Britain and a knockout blow against France at Verdun. With this major battle at Verdun, Falkenhayn hoped to "bleed France white".

It was an ambitious plan - an aggressive plan. Falkenhayn knew that to attack at Verdun he'd have to take resources away from the Eastern Front and that unrestricted submarine warfare ran the risk of bringing the U.S. into the war. Falkenhayn reasoned that Russia was on the brink of revolution and internal civil war in Russia would allow them to take those resourses from the Eastern Front and that the decisive blow to France would come before the US was dragged into the war. He was right on the former but wrong on the latter.

Verdun seemed the perfect place to attack. It actually jutted out into the German lines - so it could be attacked from three sides. It was also of historical and psychological significance to Frenchmen (somewhat akin to what the Alamo is to Americans).

The job of attacking Verdun fell to German Crown Prince Wilhelm. He planned to assault the town from both side of the surrounding Meuse River but that plan vetoed by Falkenhayn. After coming up with a daring, aggressive plan - Falkenhayn was suddenly cautious. Falkenhayn ordered the attack to be confined to one side of the river. Similar to a poker game, Falkenhayn was beaten on the river. Falkenhayn had pocket Aces of a plan but he failed to put enough chips at risk to drive the other player out. By not being aggressive when he should have he gave France free cards and allowed himself and Germany to literally be beaten on the river.

With so many people who eventually died in the battle, a poker analogy may seem flip but the fact is the Germans had one million troops against 200,000 defenders. They did hold Aces before the battle.

When the attack finally began, the Germans bomarded Verdun with 1,400 guns that rained Verdun with 100,000 shells every hour. The Germans failed to immediately follow up the bombardment with an full-scale infantry attack and what resulted was a stalemate which was to last for months and months.

The dead and wounded from both sides piled up so that both countries were being "bled white". The French begged Britain to open up a diversionary attack elsewhere on the Western Front to drain resources and men away from Verdun on the German side. Thus the Battle of the Somme was born.

By the time the battle of Verdun ended almost one million casualties had been inflicted in roughly equal numbers for both sides. The Battle of the Somme resulted in about 1.1 million casualties (about 400,000 British, 200,000 French and 500,000 German). The unrestricted submarine warfare resulted in the Americans being dragged into the War (remember that President Woodrow Wilson was elected on a peace platform). The American joined the fight just as both sides were literally exhausted from being "bled white" from Verdun and the Somme and the rest is history (including the harsh terms imposed on Germany that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party).

I just wanted to make sure an anniversary this important to the course of Western Civilization did not pass without proper mention.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Manny Ramirez

I'm not bothered at all by Manny not being in camp right now. I only care that he puts up his usual numbers. Conside what Manny has averaged these past four years:

Manny Ramirez - 168.5 hits / 39.5 HR / 121.25 RBI

These numbers also reflect the numbers from 2002 when Manny missed about 30 games because of a broken finger.

If Manny just has an "average" season he will:

- move into 25th place on the all-time HR list (with 43 he'll move into 23rd place)
- move into 40th place all-time on the RBI list (passing names like Mickey Mantle, Jim Rice and Tris Speaker)
- move into 41st place on the all-time extra base hit list (passing names like Joe DiMaggio and Wllie McCovey)
- move into 5th place on the all-time HR list for the Red Sox (behind Ted, Yaz, Rice and Evans)

It should be remembered by Red Sox fans that we are speaking about one of the all-time great hitters in the history of baseball and I for one am willing to cut him some slack.
Miracle on Ice

Twenty-six years ago today the US hockey team beat the mighty Russians in Lake Placid at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Twenty-six years! Has it really been that long?

I watched the game at the Webster Square Ice Arena (which is now some sort of dollar store type market). That was where 7th and 8th graders went in those days and where the cool couples spent the entire night kissing in the stands except for when the "DJ" played a very special couples song and dimmed the lights for couples to skate around holding hands.

Don't get me wrong - I hung out with the cool kids (I got along with just about everybody) but it always bugged me that I was never out there for the couples skate or kissing in the stands. (It always bugged me that I never quite learned to skate properly either.)

So many people recall the Miracle on Ice with feelings of patriotism and joy but for me it brings back memories of hot chocolate and teenage angst.

Just thought I'd share that.
Navy QB Accused of Rape

This isn't good news for the Naval Academy.

It looks like the academy is handling it properly and I'll wait and see what develops.
Who Knew?

The story Cinderella was written in 1699 by a Frenchman named Charles Perrault. In the original story, Cinderella wore slippers made of squirrel fur but when the book was translated into English the word "vair" (squirrel fur) was mistranslated as "verre" (glass) and the rest is history.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

UAE Port Deal = Japanese Internment

I imagine that my first reaction about hearing about the company from the United Arab Emirates taking control of some US ports was similar to most. I thought, "that's crazy! Why not just hand the keys to the country to the terrorists."

Then I read some more about the deal and I thought some more about it. Then I saw this at Instapundit:
SO NOW BUSH IS THREATENING TO VETO any legislation that would block the Dubai ports deal? Either this deal is somehow a lot more important than it seems (a quid pro quo for, well, something . . . ) or Bush is an idiot. Your call.
I have to admit that one of my first thoughts was of Japanese internment during World War II. At the time I'm sure most people thought it was simply common sense. "Letting those Japanese roam free on American soil? That's crazy! Why not just hand the keys to the country to the Japanese."

In hindsight we made a terrible mistake by interring Japanese-Americans and I think our knee-jerk reaction to this UAE deal will be viewed in similar terms (on a much lesser scale) in the future if we let the politically expedient rule the day.

The company that will run our ports is in the business of running ports. Its not like we are handing over the control of Homeland Security to them. The UAE company will have to deal with the same employment laws and Homeland Security oversight that any other company will have to deal with. The NSA probably looked over the deal and gave it the OK. It seems conceited to think that we would have a better handle on the situation.

I'm frankly disgusted that some of the same people who vocally opposed the Patriot Act have come out and behaved like they are somehow saving the country by stopping contracts like this on a purely racially profiled basis (and I should say I mean people like Chuck Shumer - not Glenn Reynolds).

It seems to be political opportunism at its worst. If the contract does get pulled - I hope it goes to Halliburton. That would be real cosmic justice.
Words We Don't Use Any More
I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
The lines are from Bob Seger's We Got Tonight.

I heard the song on the radio today and it occurred to me that we don't use the word "weary" anymore. Think about it. When's the last time you said. "I'm feeling weary" or asked "are you OK, you look pretty weary?"

We simply don't say weary anymore - we say tired. It is similar to how the colonials would say "beseech" instead of "beg". One day people realized that it was just easier to say "beg" instead of "beseech" and that was that. I'm afraid that the word weary has seen its day and like the word "dungarees" - it will be spoken by fewer and fewer people.

We have grown "weary" of the word "weary".
Happy Birthday Bob!

Today is Bob Ryan's 60th birthday. Bob is still the best writer at the Boston Globe and among the handful of best sportswriters in the entire country.
Barry Bonds

On Sunday Barry let slip that this will be his last year in baseball and on Monday he recanted. That's Barry Bonds in a nutshell - the human contradiction.

He's a great baseball player but a jackass as a person. He can carry a team but can be a lousy teammate. He's a Hall of Fame talent but also the biggest steroids cheat in the history of baseball. He's a family man but cheats on his wife and has had multiple divorces.

Barry has made the news this winter because he pulled out of the World Baseball Classic and because of his announcement Monday. My read on things is that he pulled out of the World Baseball Classic not because he was upset about where or where he wouldn't be batting in the batting lineup but because the WBC employs Olympic type drug testing.

As far as retiring this year - of course Barry is retiring this year. In fact I think he went ROAD (retired on active duty) last year. Barry is milking his balky knees. Last year Barry was only able to manage 14 games to justify his $18 million salary. I don't think we'll see much more effort to get on the field this year which also happens to be the final year of his contract. As long as it looks like he's trying to come back to play - he gets paid. If he voluntarily retired he gets bupkis of the $18 million he has coming this year.

And for the people who think he'll come back next year as a DH in the AL - why would he? Barry gets $5 million deferred until 2011. No Barry's not coming back.

The biggest question surrounding Barry will be whether he gets voted into the Hall of Fame. If I had a vote - I'd say no but I don't have a vote. If the vote was taken today, Barry would be in Cooperstown. Luckily the vote isn't taken today and to me the thing that will determine whether he gets in or not is whether Barry gets charged with perjury for denying he took steroids to the BALCO grand jury. If Barry has to go to court over that - then I think that's enough to sink his chances of enshrinement - no matter if he's found guilty or not (OJ was declared innocent too).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cindy Crawford

39-years old today but still smoking hot.
Curt Gowdy: July 31, 1919 - February 20, 2006

Sportscaster Curt Gowdy has died after a long battle with leukemia

Gowdy was before my time but I've always been impressed by how well liked and respected the former voice of the Red Sox was by both fans and other broadcasters alike. Gowdy saw it and did it all - including 16 World Series, 12 Rose Bowls, 7 Olympic Games, and 8 Super Bowls.

One of my favorite sports stories was told by Gowdy:
Hall of Fame broadcaster Curt Gowdy, 84, told Esquire he'll never forget the night during the 1949 season when he went out for a cold one with manager Casey Stengel, when both were in their first year with the New York Yankees. "He ordered a draft beer and knocked it down in one gulp," Gowdy told the magazine, then described the ensuing conversation: "Jeezus, Casey, why do you drink your beer so fast?" "I drink it like that ever since the accident." "You were in an accident?" "Yeah, somebody knocked over my beer."
Edward "Butch" O'Hare

On this date in in 1942, Edward "Butch" O'Hare became a flying legend when he almost single handedly saved the USS Lexington from being destroyed by Japanese bombers. Here's how Acepilots.com described the action:
O'Hare and his wingman spotted the V formation of bombers first and dived to try to head them off. The other F4F pilots were too far away to reach most of the enemy planes before they released their bombs. As if this weren't bad enough, O'Hare's wingman discovered his guns were jammed. He was forced to turn away. Butch O'Hare stood alone between the Lexington and the bombers.

O'Hare didn't hesitate. Full throttle, he roared into the enemy formation. While tracers from the concentrated fire of the nine bombers streaked around him, he took careful aim at the starboard engine of the last plane in the V and squeezed his trigger. Slugs from the Wildcats six .50-caliber guns ripped into the Japanese bomber's wing and the engine literally jumped out of its mountings. The bomber spun crazily toward the sea as O'Hare's guns tore up another enemy plane. Then he ducked to the other side of the formation and smashed the port engine of the last Japanese plane there.

One by one he attacked the oncoming bombers until five had been downed. Commander Thach later reported that at one point he saw three of the bombers falling in flames at the same time. By now Thach and the other pilots had joined the fight. This was lucky because O'Hare was out of ammunition.
For his heroic actions, O'Hare was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1943 O'Hare died in combat as the result of what may or may not have been friendly fire.

Some other points of interest about Edward "Butch" O'Hare:

- Graduated from Naval Academy at Annapolis.
- His father was a successful businessman who was gunned down by Al Capone
- In 1949 Orchard Field airport in Chicago was renamed after O'Hare (O'Hare International Airport)
- From the airport website:
In his Congressional Medal of Honor winning flight to save the U.S.S. Lexington, Butch O'Hare flew an F4F-3 Wildcat. The Wildcat was an extremely basic flying machine - it had hand-cranked landing gear made primarily of bicycle chains and sprockets, manually-charged guns, vacuum-powered wing flaps, a simple electrical system, and no hydraulics. Despite its simple design, it was a tough plane with a high degree of pilot survivability in crashes. The Wildcat earned for the Grumman Aircraft Factory, where it was built, the nickname "The Iron Works."

An original F4F-3 Wildcat was recovered from Lake Michigan by the United States Navy and donated to the Air Classics Museum. The plane was restored to replicate the one flown by Butch O'Hare. Sponsored by the City of Chicago and McDonald's Corporation, the recovered F4F-3 Wildcat is exhibited in Terminal Two at the West end of the ticketing lobby to honor the extraordinarily heroic feats of O'Hare International Airport's namesake.
NBA All-Star Game

I watched the NBA All-Star game last night and I think that puts me in the minority.

The NBA All-Star game is my wife and mine's unofficial anniversary. Our first "date" was to watch the game years ago when Bird and Magic still instilled some passing in the game. So each year we still go out on a date on the night of the game. Last night it was out for martinis and desert and to watch the first quarter of a game that frankly my wife doesn't really care about any more.

I don't blame her for not caring about the game because I don't really care about the game either if truth be told. The game has degenerated to a game with no defense, no passing (other than alley-oops) and poor shooting (last night 102 for 213 with most of the made field goals being dunks). It's honestly a boring game. We watched the first quarter at the bar of a very nice restaurant and we had to beg to get the game put on one of the two TVs at the bar.

It was telling that the other TV had the Olympics and when I stole glances at the other patrons at the bar - every single one was watching the Olympics instead of the NBA All-Star game. Every single one. The two man bobsled was killing basketball.

We continued to watch the game when we got home but it quickly put my wife to sleep. I tried to continue to watch but soon found myself switching to The Sixth Sense and poker shows and then over to local sports shows to get my Red Sox updates. The only thing that kept me flipping back to the game was the fact that I took the under in the game (it was 254 and came in at 242).

The NBA used to be "Fan-tastic" but now it is "Thug-tastic" but everyone seems to be afraid to say it. I guess if you said that on TV you'd get fired (unless you were Bryant Gumble). It still doesn't mean that its not true. The ratings on the game won't lie.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Red Sox vs Yankees - Pitching Staffs

Today lets take a look at how the pitching staffs of the two biggest rivals in sports compare against each other. I'm using the depth charts from MLB.com to do the comparisons.

#1 Starter - Randy Johnson vs Curt Schilling. This has to go to the Yankees first for reasons of health but also because Johnson is simply the better pitcher. Both have plenty of question marks and honestly I'd be surprised if both pitchers went through the entire season healthy. Advantage Yankees.

#2 Starter - Mike Mussina vs Josh Beckett. The realistic expectations for the 37-year old Mussina are probably for 175 IP, 4.50 ERA and a 13-8 record. I can easily see Josh Beckett topping those numbers. Both players summon mental asterisk when you think of them. For Mussina its the fact that he never won 20 games in a season (and it ain't happening in 2006). For Beckett its that he never pitched 200 innings in a season (and I can see this happening this year in Boston). Advantage Red Sox.

#3 Starter - Shawn Chacon vs David Wells. Let's assume that Wells plays the 2006 season for the Sox (and this may be a big assumption). Let me also say up front that I've been a long time fan of Chacon. However, we have to let the numbers speak for themselves. Chacon has never pitched more than 160 innings in a season (his rookie year in 2001). Wells has thrown at least 184 innings in 9 out of the last 10 seasons. Chacon has double-digit victories only once (11 wins in 2003). Since 2001 when Chacon came into the league, Wells has gone 66-36. Wells has the clear statistical advantage over Chacon but even so I'm going to call this one even for two reasons; the uncertainty of Wells (both health wise and trade wise) and the potential of Chacon (he's not an all-star but he's Jeremy Bonderman good or Tim Wakefield good). Tie.

#4 Starter - Chien-Ming Wang vs Matt Clement. Let's not forget that Wang only pitched 18 games in his career (that's half a season) and let's not forget that Clement's first half last year was so good that he made the all-star team. Clement got beaned in the head (can you get beaned anywhere else?) late last year and that effected him as it would anyone. He should be healthy and is more of a proven commodity than Wang (those who are really high on Wang should consider that Baseball-reference.com lists Andy Replogle as the most similar pitcher by age to Wang - Andy Replogle!). Advantage Red Sox.

#5 Starter - Carl Pavano vs Tim Wakefield. The health of Pavano is a major question mark for the Yankees while the Red Sox can almost guarantee 200 innings from Wakefield. Innings may be the most important thing to expect from your number 5 starter and I think anyone who follows baseball would agree that Wakefield is the better bet. Those who would argue Pavano's case would argue that he's the better pitcher but the fact is Pavano's career ERA is 4.27 despite playing most of his career in the National League while Wakefield's is 4.28 despite playing the past 11 seasons in Boston. Advantage Red Sox.

Emergency Starters - If a starter goes down the Yankees can plug in either Jaret Wright or Aaron Small. Meanwhile the Red Sox can counter with either Bronson Arroyo or Jonathan Papelbon. I'm not real high on Arroyo but he's better than either of the Yankee's options and Papelbon is much better than Arroyo. Advantage Red Sox.

Closer - Mariano Rivera vs Keith Foulke. Two questions here. First - what is the health status of Foulke? If he can return to his form of 2004, that will be a huge plus for the Red Sox but I'm not sold on that (in fact I expect the Red Sox to have someone else step up to be the closer by the all-star break). The question on the Yankees side is not whether Rivera is better than Foulke but whether Rivera is the GOAT (greatest of all-time). Advantage Yankees.

Bullpen - the Yankees have Crazy Kyle Farnsworth, Worcester's Tanyon Sturtze, Injured Octavio Dotel, Red Sox Cast-off Mike Myers, Minuteman Ron Villone, and According to the State of New York You are the Assman Scott Proctor. The Red Sox counter with the Ageless Mike Timlin, Kamchatka David Riske (trade mark Parker Brothers), Boston's Own Lenny DiNardo, Rudy "O Say Can You" Seanez, and Crazy Julian Tavarez. In a fight - I think the Yankees' crazy guy could whip the Red Sox' crazy guy but in baseball talent the Red Sox are pretty stacked this year. Advantage Red Sox.

So I think the Red Sox have the clear advantage in pitching over the Yankees with the exception of closer where Mariano Rivera reigns supreme. The depth will be the deciding factor this year and I think the Red Sox have a big advantage here as well.

You can find my comparisons of the position players for the two teams here.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Jimmy Johnson - Coaching Fraud?

The Cold Hard Football Facts looks at one of the side results of the Raiders hiring Art Shell, namely that next year there will be no former Jimmy Johnson assistants as head coaches in the NFL. How did the proteges of Johnson do as head coaches in the NFL? The phrase "Rich Kotitesque" comes to mind:
How ’bout dem Cowboys coaches? All of Johnson’s former assistants have losing career records. Counting the playoffs, they collectively went 182-242-1, for a combined winning percentage of just .429.

Any way you cut it, Johnson’s coaching tree has been a disaster. Every branch has rotted and needed to be removed. In the end, not a single member of his staff proved to be solid head coaching timber.
They then go on to examine the circumstances surrounding Jimmy Johnson's success at Miami in college and in Dallas in the pros. I must say that I was left wondering if Johnson is the Casey Jones of the NFL.
Add the $50 Million to the Fence

I think the Bush Administration could really send a message by taking the $50 million it had given to the Palestinian Authority and had recently asked to be returned and giving that money to the Israelis to help defray the costs of the security fence (or peace wall).

I also think that it would be wise of the administration to withhold some of that money and give it to the United Nations to help defray the cost of the security fence the UN wants to build around the New York headquarters while construction is going on. I just love the symbolism of the two gifts.

Some people are adamantly against the security fence in Israel but I'd be willing to bet these same folks see no problem with having a fence around their own yards or locking their doors at night. Personally - I see this fence as the modern equivalent of Hadrian's Wall which even today in England is looked at with some reverence.
When the Roman Emperor Hadrian visited Britain in 122 A.D he recognised the difficulties in establishing control in Caledonia and saw that it would be impossible to introduce the Picts to the Roman way of life. The Emperor therefore ordered the construction of a great defensive wall which would mark the northern limits of his empire and consolidate the hold on those parts of Britain already subdued. Hadrian's empire would not include Caledonia.
The Palestinian's will not take to civilized life with the Israeli's as neighbors any more than the English were ever able to subdue the wild folk of the Highlands Some people will argue that even today the Scottish aren't completely civilized (I of course would suggest no such thing).
The Olympics

I've watched no more than 30 minutes total of the Winter Olympics and I don't think I'm alone in my apathy. Everywhere you turn there are commentaries or articles on the low ratings and lack of interest in these Olympics. Peter McEntegart just posted 10 ways to improve the Olympics of which this was my favorite:
4. Make up more events that Americans can win. It seems that we're awfully good in anything involving a snowboard. Let's just apply the same techniques the Nordic countries have used for years: Create a new sport by combining old ones. OK, so cross-country skiing can be paired with both ski jumping (Nordic combined) and shooting (biathlon)? Fine. How about Snowball, in which competitors must snowboard and then throw a baseball? Try to beat us in that, Sven.
I still think my suggestions from more than two weeks ago would greatly improve the ratings:
The Winter Olympics starts in a week. Does anyone really care? I'd have more interest if they included sports like drunken skiing and ice rugby. They could easily change the Biathlon so that instead of taking a rifle shot at a target - the skiers take a shot of booze that symbolizes the host country (what is a good booze for Italy?). I bet the new event would get better ratings than the real Biathlon
I didn't comment on the Bryant Gumble flap because I didn't think he was too far off base. As a reminder, Gumble ran into trouble when he said the following:
"So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sports writers pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don't understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it, these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February."
I've never been to a GOP Convention but I do know that this administration has had two black Secretaries of State and I also remember who opposed Clarence Thomas when he was nominated by the Republicans to sit on the Supreme Court. So like most times when sports commentators try to bring politics into the picture - this was a mistake. However, Gumble wasn't far off base in his other observations. The Winter Olympics has become a marketing vehicle with sports nobody cares about.

Many people (OK hockey enthusiasts) argue that hockey players are the best conditioned athletes in the world. That's all fine and dandy but that's just one sport and as far as the women's hockey teams - I can't get the fact that the US women's team trained against some of the top boys high school programs in the US and lost every game they played. So if the fact is that I can see better hockey at the boys state championship level than by watching the women's Olympic games - don't try and sell me on the best athletes in the world crap. (This argument may not make sense to you but it does to me and to Darren Daulton.)

Here's my suggestion to make Bryant Gumble happy and to raise the ratings on future Winter Olympics. Take boxing and wrestling out of the summer Olympics and put them into the winter Olympics. Who says boxing and wrestling are summer sports? These are indoor events that could easily be moved to the winter and the athletes from these sports would be mega stars during the winter Olympics.

Of course one other thing most people fail to mention is that the 2010 Winter Olympics will be in Vancouver and the fact that most events will be "live" will certainly boost the ratings.
Darren Daulton and Isaac Newton

Many people (me among them) were quick to label Darren Daulton as crazy because of his 5th dimension beliefs that included among other things the idea that the world will end Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.

Just throwing this out there but did you know that another famous prophet of doom was Isaac Newton? He was convinced that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would happen in 1948. Newton came to that date by studying the measurements of Solomon's temple.

Sure Newton discovered the theory of gravity but he never led the league in RBI.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Jeff Weaver took a one-year deal with the Angels for "just" $8.3 million. Weaver would have gotten more than that if he accepted arbitration from the Dodgers. Either Weaver or his agent Scott Boras really misread the market for the pitcher. The important thing about the Weaver signing (as far as I'm concerned) is now the only real quality starters left on the market are Barry Zito (if he is on the market) and David Wells (I don't count Roger Clemens because he's only going to sign with one of 4 teams). If the Rangers get shut out on Clemens then they could be desperate for a starter (and its doubtful the A's would deal with them). If the Red Sox wait - they really could get something nice for Wells (although I wouldn't mind him pitching in Fenway again this season)... I wish there was some casino where I could place a bet on Ryan Howard having more home runs this year than Jim Thome... I'm surprised that Erubiel Durazo is still unsigned. I'm especially shocked that Kevin Millar got a $2 million contract and Durazo is still out of work... Heh heh Scott Erickson with the Yankees. This has to be some sort of twisted joke on Steinbrenner's part. Maybe the boss signed him just to make Erickson wash his car in the Tampa Bay parking lot while White Snake music blares over the public address system... Supposedly Phillies manager Charlie Manuel's favorite band is George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. And supposedly George Thorogood was a minor league baseball player before turning to rock and roll (but I can't find any info on Thorogood as a baseball player anywhere)...
I Can't Even Imagine the Anguish

My thoughts and prayers and hopes go out to Hank Osborne and his family.

I can't even imagine the anxiety these parents must be facing today and I hope nobody reading this blog ever has to find out first hand.
Religious Affiliations of the Super Heros

I found this very interesting.

Who knew that Batman was a lapsed Catholic who is now an Episcopalian? It was easy to guess that Catholic Girl was Catholic (how come there's no Catholic Avenger? That would be a cool name for the Pope's alter ego and while I'm rambling - who ever heard of Catholic Girl?). But did you know that Ben Grimm (the Thing from the Fantastic Four) is Jewish? Magneto (the X-Men super villian) is also Jewish.

The funniest one I thought was J. Jonah Jameson who is the employer of Peter Parker. His religious affiliation is listed as "hates Spider-man". I just found that amusing.

Here are some of the major super heros / villians and their religious affiliations:

Superman - Methodist
Spider-Man - Protestant
Batman - Episcopalian/Catholic (lapsed)
Lex Luthor - Nietzschian atheist (I would have guessed Lutheran)
The Joker - atheist

HT Big Stupid Tommy for the link.
Photoshop Phriday

Something Awful has another Photoshop Phriday up.

This one was predictable.

This one was not.
Darren Daulton - Crazy Man

I had no idea that Darren Daulton was this far gone around the bend.

Thinking he was run off the road on orders of the FBI, that the Atlanteans built the Mayan pryamids and thinking he knows exactly when the world will end (Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:11 a.m) are all just part of the secret world that Dareen Daulton lives in these days.

Call me crazy (you're crazy!) but I'm actually looking forward to reading his book, If They Only Knew!

I can't help but draw comparisons between Daulton and Mo Berg who was also a catcher and who also went crazy at the end. Berg's story was told in the book, The Catcher Was a Spy, which was a very entertaining read.

Dick Cheney

I’m bothered by the Dick Cheney story but it may not be for the reasons you may think. I’m bothered by the press' sense of entitlement. Quite honestly – it’s pissing me off.

Let’s review the facts.

1. Dick Cheney was on a hunting trip where on Saturday he accidentally wounded Harry Whittington, a man he’s known for three decades. Whittington was given immediate medical assistance and taken immediately to a hospital where he was admitted under his own name.
2. Whittington’s wife and children were notified before the press and this took some time.
3. The Vice president thought it best that the host and eye-witness to the shooting be the person to tell the story of what happened but by the time the family of the wounded man was notified and a local reporter was rounded up – it was Sunday. And by the time the national press picked up the story it was Sunday afternoon.

Those are the facts and the facts are undisputed. What is in dispute (or what the main stream media would have you believe) is who the real victim was here. Anyone with half a brain can see that the victim here is Harry Whittington who was accidentally shot. The press would have you believe that the real victim here is the truth and the freedom of the press in this country and this is what is frankly pissing me off.

It took about 18 hours for the story of the hunting accident to get out. Many in the press are quick to point out that this was also the amount of time it took Ted Kennedy to admit to an accident that took a young girl’s life. It sickens me that this hunting accident and Chappaquiddick are even mentioned in the same breath.

Dick Cheney made sure Harry Whittington got immediate medical attention. Ted Kennedy let Mary Jo Kopechne drown. Dick Cheney made sure that the family of Harry Whittington was notified before the press feeding frenzy took place. How do you think the family of Mary Jo Kopechne was notified?

I’m both a husband and a father. I can't help but put myself in Harry Whittington’s shoes (not that I plan to be shot by a high ranking government official any time soon). Would you want your wife or children to learn that you were shot from a sensationalized news report that would have sketchy details at best? That’s exactly what would have happened if this was reported on Saturday.

Can you imagine hearing on the news that your father was shot and not being able to get any details because the telephone line to your parent’s house in inundated with calls from reporters asking for a comment or an interview? If you were Harry’s son and you couldn’t get through to mom on the phone – who would you call then? The Vice president’s office?

Dick Cheney handled this the right way from the standpoint of Harry Whittington and his family and to me that’s all that counts. I could care less that the media is upset because they weren’t able to immediately talk about this on the Sunday morning talk shows.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Washington Post

For the past few days I've been reading the sports section of the Washington Post. They have some good writers but it is strange for me to read a sports section that is so geared to college and even high school sports.

The biggest thing that stands out for me about the Washington Post sports section though is the fact that they don't include the "latest lines" anywhere in the section. So I went all yesterday not knowing how many points George Washington was favored over UMass last night (this bothered me more than you might expect).

I find it pretty funny that the Post does not allow betting lines in the section but it does allow advertisements for "massage parlors". This morning I counted 17 advertisements alone. Most of the parlors have Asian names and you would have to be naive to not know what these establishments are charging for.

Is it just me that finds this amusing or is the fact that the moral compass of the Washington Post says betting is bad but getting a happy ending not so much funny to others as well?
Sammy Sosa

It came as no surprise that Sammy Sosa's numbers fell off a cliff last year. In fact, last January I predicted exactly what would happened. It also came as no surprise that the only GM who would offer Sosa a contract this time around was Jim Bowden (aka the worst GM in baseball).

So it looks like Sosa is all done. Where does Sosa's career stand in baseball history? People know that Sosa has 588 HR but what did all those HR mean? He was the MVP in 1998 but he only had one other top 5 MVP finish in his career. To me Sosa was never a really valuable player. He was always more of a sideshow attraction.

The next guy on the HR list after Sammy Sosa is Frank Robinson (with 586 HR). When I think of Frank Robinson I think of the words "MVP" and "World Series champion" before I think of all his home runs. When I think of Sammy Sosa the only word that comes to mind before home runs is "steroids". This will be why a guy whose number 5 on the all-time HR list fails to get voted into Cooperstown.

I won't feel bad for Sammy if he doesn't get into the Hall of Fame. How can you feel bad for a guy who made over $123 million as a sideshow freak?
Two Questions

Two questions have really been on my mind the past couple of days.

First, you see many baseball players who bat lefty but throw righty but you never see the opposite (bats righty and throws lefty). Why is that? I mean you have plenty of guys who throw lefty and are switch hitters but it seems none who purely hit right handed. I understand why you'd want to be a switch hitter instead but doesn't that logic extend to players who throw righty but hits lefty? How come there aren't any players who hit righty but throw lefty?

Secondly, a blonde is a blonde, a brunette is a brunette, a red head is a red head but what do you call a woman with black hair? You don't call her a "black" and you don't call her a "black head". Seriously - what do you call her?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Flotsam and Jetsam - DC Edition

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

It says a lot about how over-priced restaurants are in the DC area when the Hard Rock Cafe's prices are considered more than reasonable... Is there anything funnier than sitting in a real high price restauraunt and overhearing some French poodle of a man with Frech cuff links complaining that he's starting to get an ulcer? (OK maybe I'm just a tad evil)... Nice line from Tony Kornheiser, JJ Redick "may not have the close in range of Dick Cheney, who can really get in your face"... Monica Thompson, the wife of Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III, is battling breast cancer and I wish her and her husband the best... Ford has replaced the Taurus with the Fusion for NASCAR racing teams this year. I'm renting a Taurus on this trip and I must say it has become a pretty boring car. I wonder if Ford is going to discontinue the line all together... The Hard Rock Cafe is a tourist trap but I admit to being a sucker for their burgers... Tuesday's Washington Post asked the question, "Is Leo Mazzone worth the money?" Mazzone is only making $450,000 a year. What a stupid question to ask... I recommend J. Paul's in Georgetown for anyone visiting DC... You haven't seen someone with anal retentive tendencies till you've seen someone eat an orange at breakfast with a knife and fork... Beer is an excellent source of selenium (SE) and chromium (CR). The things you learn when you sit next to a chemist at a bar... Also in Tuesday's Washington Post was the observation that projected Orioles closer Chris Ray "held" opposing hitters to a .306 batting average. I'm not sure if that writer understands the meaning of "held". The fact is Ray held opposing batters to a .222 batting average last year. Someone needs a copy editor over at the Post... Talk about acting out the stereotype. At the bar at the Hard Rock a Scottish guy was complaining to me that the bill has a reminder that good service should be rewarded with a 15% gratuity (I guess I just have the type of face that people feel like sharing to). A Scottish guy complaining about leaving a tip? Who would have guessed?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lima Time

My Valentines gift to you.

Now I'm off to catch a plane to DC for the next couple of days.
Happy Valentines Day II

Some of these are REALLY funny (or maybe I'm just twisted).

Happy Valentines Day

Don't forget to give your sugar some sugar.

And don't forget - the Hoff still loves you.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Top 5 - Peter Gabriel Songs

Today is Peter Gabriel's 56th birthday. Here are what I consider his top 5 songs.

1. Solsbury Hill
2. Red Rain
3. Here Comes the Flood
4. In Your Eyes
5. (tie) Big Time (tie) I Have the Touch

Just missing the list San Jacinto, D.I.Y. and Don't Give Up.

I wasn't aware that Phil Collins is his cousin. I also wasn't aware he had a song called Flotsam and Jetsam. I'm gonna have to give that one a listen.
I Go Out of My Way Not to Buy French Wine

And I guess I'm not alone.

I try to buy Australian wine if I can now and am a better person for it.

HT Betsy's Page
Mary Mapes Still in Denial

This is actually becoming pretty comic. Seriously - check this out:
Mapes says that she was a victim of a new standard in journalism where "the truth doesn't matter" but instead it's "the perception of truth that matters."
She tries to foist fake documents upon the public shortly before the election and she's the victim? Mary Mapes has become a punchline (but then again her jounalistic intregrity was always a joke):
Mapes said that she still believes the documents cited in the "60 Minutes II" broadcast by her boss, Dan Rather, were authentic, saying; "I feel that if they had been forged there would have been a flaw. And I have not been able to find the flaw."
You mean a flaw like this?

What is sad is that instead of acknowledging the truth - people in power are still enabling "jounalists" like Mapes:
She also noted that CBS's own internal investigation "could not prove that the documents were false."
Top 5 - Authors Whose Books are Made into Movies

This list was prompted by the passing of Jaws author Peter Benchley over the weekend. He was 65.

1. Stephen King
2. John Grisham
3. Michael Crichton
4. William Goldman
5. (tie) Peter Benchley (tie) Mario Puzo

Nicholas Pileggi almost made the list.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cheney Shoots Lawyer

I could have added accidently or said "man" instead of "lawyer" but journalistic standards here at A Large Regular are slipping. Story here.

No truth to the rumor that the last words Whittington said to Cheney were, "Hey Dick, I want to talk to you about the administration's stance on eminent domain."

I'm thinking that "Dick Cheny Shot a Man in Austin Just to Watch Him Die" may have been a better title for the post.

HT Sports Frog
What a Story!

I love stories like this. I got chills reading it. I was smiling and welling up tears at the same time.

HT Tidbits and Treasures (who got it from Betsy's Page)
Heh Heh

I can forgive Rudy G for being a Yankee fan because he does have a good sense of humor:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, addressing the National Grocers Association convention Tuesday at Paris Las Vegas. At the end of his speech, the first question he got during a Q&A was whether he would run for president in 2008. Giuliani said he would let everyone know next year. When someone asked whom Giuliani saw as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, he looked around and said, "Besides me?"
HT Ben Maller
Top 5 - Lorne Greene

Today would have been Lorne Greene's 9oth birthday. Unfortunately when it comes to Greene, the answer to the question "Dead or Canadian?" is both.

1. I didn't realize that the plot to Bonanza said that Ben Cartwright's three kids were by three different women. I guess that kinda made Ben Cartwright the role model for Shawn Kemp.

2. Greene had a #1 hit with the "song" Ringo about a gunslinger. I have that song downloaded on my laptop and am listening to it right now. It always makes me think of the Val Kilmer Doc Holiday character from Tombstone even though there was a Johnny Ringo character in the movie who really wasn't no daisy.

3. Lorne Greene's real name was Lyon Himan Green. I can see ditching the Lyon Himan part but why add the extra "e" to the end of Green?

4. The theme to Bonanza actually had lyrics. Here they are. I also have an MP3 of Greene "singing" the theme to Bonanza.

5. Some people have speculated that Ben Cartwright and Hop Sing were the first gay couple on TV (OK I just made that up).
Baseball Writers Who Make You Say "Thanks for Nothing"

Sometimes the writers for MLB.com have no clue. For an example I give you Mychael Urban. I read his most recent "mailbag" and was annoyed to the point of having to comment about it. Take his thoughts about Jay Payton to start with:
Payton is on a one-year deal, and as a seasoned veteran, is no doubt better equipped to handle coming off the bench. Ironically, his experience is actually a decent argument in favor of him being the fourth outfielder.
Seasoned veteran my ass - disgruntled baby is more like it. Ask any Red Sox fan how Payton handles coming off the bench as a fourth outfielder. Urban continues on the crack pipe with:
Let me address another Payton-related question while we're on the topic. More than a few readers have suggested that Payton showed his "true colors" in the wake of the Frank Thomas signing by suggesting that he'd be happier elsewhere if he isn't starting for Oakland. Some pointed to his trade manipulation in Boston last year as evidence that he's not a team guy and a potential divisive force in the clubhouse. I disagree.
Did Payton smile at you when he gave you a quote or something? The guy managed to piss off Terry Francona who never gets upset at anyone. Yeah with Payton and Milton Bradley - you have the makings for a real happy clubhouse. Urban finishes up with the old "Trust me: Payton is good people." Of course you know how a journalist says "fuck you"? "Trust me".

Not to harp on Urban (OK thats exactly what I'm doing) but read this mailbag exchange:
I'm assuming that Barry Zito will start on Opening Night against the Yankees. Any idea how the new rotation shakes out behind him? -- Erica D., Walnut Creek, Calif.

Not to be flippant, Erica, but who cares?
Well obvious Erica cared you jackass or she wouldn't have taken the time to write you. Yeesh.

The take a gander at the final question and answer in the mailbag:
With the wild manes of Zito, Haren and Kielty waving around last year, I thought Kirk Saarloos' hair didn't get its due. I saw him in the dugout without a hat a few times, and it was impressive. Is that why he shaved his head? -- Jon S. Oakland, Calif.

I'm so glad someone noticed the majesty of Kirk's 2005 mop. It really was a sight, particularly when he'd spike it with product after games. So why did he lose it? I asked him that at a team function last week, and he said he wanted to look meaner now that he's going to be working out of the bullpen.
I am simply amazed both at the fact that Urban gets paid for this drivel and that fans still bother to send him questions. I've seen at least a half dozen blogs that cover the A's that put Urban to shame. Maybe I just caught Urban on a bad day but this "mailbag" was crap and I'd be ashamed of putting my name to it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Top 5 - Burt Reynolds Movies

Today is Burt's 69th birthday and here are what I consider his 5 best movies.

1. Deliverence
2. The Longest Yard
3. Boogie Nights
4. Sharky's Machine
5. (tie) Semi-Tough (tie) Gator

I find it funny that Reynold's supposedly turned down the role of Han Solo in Star Wars. I just can't picture him in that role.
Top 5 - Thoughts on the 2006 San Diego Padres

Just 5 observations on this year's Padres team.

1. Vinnie Castillo is toast. Geoff Blum ain't no daisy either. Third base is so bad for the Padres that Mark Bellhorn may be their best option. I'd look for something to happen here (maybe Eric Hinske from Toronto?).

2. Chris Young may blossom into a very good number 2 starter this year. It's hard for me to believe that the same GM who signed Vinnie Castillo also made such an astute trade as Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez for Adam Eaton. Pulling numbers out of my ass - I project Young to go 15-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 190 K's this year for the Padres.

3. Catcher is a logjam. Mike Piazza is the starter which makes Doug Mirabelli the back-up (look for Mirabelli to get a ton of AB during inter-league play as Piazza will rest his knees and DH). I though David Ross would be the real deal if given a starting opportunity but he disappointed in Dodgerland so much they had to ship him out. Ross may start the season in AAA.

4. Can you believe that Chan Ho Park is still on a major league roster? Park is in the final year of his contract and will make $15 million this year. It may be a toss-up on who the Padres want to be rid of the most - Park or Ryan Klesko and the final year of his contract which will cost the Padres a pretty $10 million.

5. I think Khalil Greene will hit 20 HR this year.

Bonus observation: I love how my spell check always wants to replace "Padres" with "faders" because that is so true on so many different levels.
Ozzie Guillen and the White House Visit

The Chicago White Sox are scheduled to visit the White House on Monday and manager Ozzie Guillen won't be there. To Guillen's absence I say, "Big deal."

This is a photo opportunity and nothing more and as Vince points out - its been rescheduled three times now (read all of Vince's post - he makes some very good points). These visits to the White House were created to give the President good PR and are nothing but photo ops. Sure its an honor to visit but Guillen is also a husband and a father and his duty is first to his family and this may be the only time he gets to spend quality time with them for seven or eight months.

Scott Podsednik won't be attending either because he's with his new wife (who I've seen naked) on their honeymoon. No big deal either.
2006 World Series Odds

Here are the latest odds for the top teams on who will win this year's World Series. I just picked the teams that were 15 to 1 or less.

New York Yankees 15/4
Chicago White Sox 4/1
New York Mets 11/2
St Louis Cardinals 6/1
Boston Red Sox 10/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/1
Anaheim Angels 11/1
Chicago Cubs 13/1
San Fran Giants 13/1
Cleveland indians 14/1
Oakland A's 14/1

The Mets and Dodgers have relatively low odds because so many fans will bet on them no matter what. The Giants shouldn't even be in consideration. I think the best long shot here is the A's who have a very deep team this year.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Gretzky's and Betting

Unless you've been in a cave the past week - then you are aware of the betting scandal that is rocking the NHL. As scandals go - I must say I'm not impressed but that's a rant for another day. This morning I want to talk about how this effects Wayne Gretzky and his wife Janet Jones Gretzky.

As I understand it the facts are:

- Janet bet about $500,000 over the past month or so
- Janet bet $75,000 on the Super Bowl
- Janet bet $5,000 on the coin toss at the Super Bowl (and won)
- Wayne Gretzky is on tape asking if Tocchet could keep Janet's name out of it

I have no problem with any of the above and if you think about it for a minute I bet you won't have a problem with the actions of the Gretzky's either.

The Super Bowl is the biggest betting day of the year and almost everyone bets more on that day than any other day. If Janet Jones Gretzky liked to bet football - big deal. In fact good for her. In my younger days I used to go to a certain bar to watch the first half of the Monday night game. When I came home it was normally the start of the third quarter and it was not unusual for my wife to be watching the game when I got in. She would give me score updates but she never had an interest in betting football. My friends were all jealous and thought it was really cool that my wife followed football at all. So good for Janet for liking football and if she bets football - so what? And if she bets football - wouldn't you expect her to "load up" on the Super Bowl? Why would she be any different than any other American who bet on the Super Bowl?

So she bet $75,000 on the game and bet $5,000 on the coin toss. It's probably safe to assume that she had a couple of other prop bets - so let's say for the sake of argument that she bet $100,000 total on the game. That leaves another $400,000 or so spread out over say the NFL playoffs. With 10 games leading up to the Super Bowl that could be an average of $40,000 per game. For a person of their circumstances - that's not a lot of money.

Remember that the reports are that she bet around $500,000. It doesn't say that she lost $500,000 gambling. For all we know Janet Jones Gretzky made a bundle of fun money. Also consider the $5,000 prop bet on the coin flip. I bet $50 on that same prop bet (but I took heads and lost). That $50 for me probably equals the $5,000 Jane bet when you consider the scale of our individual circumstances. That said - if $5,000 for her equals $50 for a normal guy then the $40,000 she averaged betting on NFL playoff games (based on my assumptions) would equal about $400 per game for the average guy. I can name about a dozen guys who bet that much and all of them are productive and respected members of society.

Finally - Gretzky is on tape asking his friend if he could keep Janet's name out of it. Big deal. That's what a husband in those circumstances should do.

This will go down as a tempest in a teacup. More of a black-eye on the New Jersey State Police than on the NHL.

Wayne should go to the Olympics and continue to coach the Coyotes. Janet should come clean and not be ashamed of having an interest in betting football. And the media should quit being hypocritical. If betting on football is so bad - why does ESPN have Hank Greenberg and Chris Berman give their picks against a point spread?

The people shocked by Janet Jones Gretzky betting football should grow up and get the beam out of their own eyes before attempting to pluck the splinter out of hers.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Separated at Birth?

Robert J. Cleary, the attorney hired by the NHL to investigate the gambling scandal and movie director John Landis (trust me - Cleary has aged to look like a Landis twin).
The Gall of Code Pink

The people at Code Pink have no shame. In their latest email they state (emphasis added):
On March 8, International Women's Day, Anwar will come to Washington DC with a delegation of Iraqi mothers, where they will be joined by grieving U.S. mothers like Cindy Sheehan. Together they will deliver our "Women Say No to War" signatures to the White House, meet with members of Congress, release a report on the impact of this war on Iraqi women, and call for the U.S. troops to leave Iraq.
Code Pink was against the war from day one and now they would presume to speak for Iraqi women who are free only because of the efforts of the US military? If Code Pink had its way Saddam's rape rooms and children's prisons would still be in operation. The gall of these people is disgusting.
Red Sox vs Yankees

Time to take a look at how the biggest rivals in sports stack up against each other. Join me as I take a position by position look at both teams:

C - Advantage Red Sox. Varitek is better than Posada and the Red Sox also have much better back-up depth with Josh Bard plus Flaherty and Huckaby. If Posada goes down then the Yankees will have to rely on 36-year old Kelly Stinnett - career OPS of .711 (if you are going to have a weak hitting older-guy as back-up why not keep John Flaherty who Randy Johnson is already comfortable with?).

1st - Advantage Red Sox. I think the more than passable offense from Kevin Youkilis and JT Snow coupled with their well above average defense more than beats Jason Giambi's good offense and awful defense. Andy Phillips as a late inning defensive replacement? Good luck with all that.

2nd - Advantage Red Sox. Some Yankee fans are really high on Robinson Cano and he may blossom into an All-Star but Mark Loretta is already an All-Star. I have to give the edge to the proven commodity here - pus the Sox have Tony Graffanino and Alex Cora to back up while the Yankees counter with Miguel Cairo. Advantage Red Sox (although I would not be surprised if Graffanino was traded to a team where he can be a starter).

SS - Advantage Yankees. Derek Jeter vs Alex Gonzalez? Is there any need to spend any time on this match-up? (Of course Gonzalez's defense is much better - just sayin'.)

3rd - Advantage Yankees. I think Mike Lowell will have a bounce back year but the Yanks have A-Rod (or as I like to call him - Super Femme). The Yankees have the advantage at third. Too bad no team with A-Rod on it will ever win a championship.

LF - Advantage Red Sox. Over the past three years Manny has averaged 41 HR and 126 RBI while Matsui has averaged 23 HR and 110 RBI.

CF - Advantage Yankees. I gave the Red Sox 2nd because it was a proven commodity vs potential so I have to give CF to the Yankees for the same reason (even though I think Coco Crisp will have a better year than Johnny Damon).

RF - Advantage Yankees. Sheffield is better than Trot Nixon. No agrument (question is can either player stay healthy?).

DH - Advantage Red Sox. Big Poppy vs Bernie Williams? Please.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the pitching staffs.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Late Night Call to Rick Tocchet

Sometimes my imagination gets the better of me. This is one of those times. I can't shake a late night call from Scotty Bowman to Rick Tocchet:
Scotty B: Hey Rick - its coach Bowman. I heard about your problem and I felt the need to call you.

Rick T: Thanks for thinking of me...

Scotty B: I just want to say one thing to you...

Rick T: What's that?

Scotty B: Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.

Rick T: You know... you were never my coach and I never really liked you. (CLICK)
The Hockey Hall of Fame

Eric at Off Wing Opinion jogged my memory with this post.

About 6 years ago I was up in Toronto on business and me and my friend Bill had a couple hours to kill between appointments so we decided to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The HoF is housed in an old bank that is connected to a mall. Entrance to the HoF is via the mall and you enter into what is basically the basement of the bank building. You are greeted with interactive exhibits like seeing how fast your slap shot is or how accurate can you shoot a puck. There are also a bunch of videos from important moments in the history of hockey. At the time there was also a Wayne Gretzky exhibit. After about an hour and a half - Bill and I had seen it all (or so we thought) so we left.

At dinner Bill was looking through the Hall of Fame guide and said, "Hey did you know there was an upstairs?"

Me, "What?"

"Yeah, there's an upstairs and that's where they keep the Stanley Cup and all the plaques."

"No kidding - oh well."
Whither Clemens?

With reports out of Boston that the Red Sox are making a pitch for the Rocket, suddenly everyone is asking where will Roger Clemens pitch in 2006? Here are the odds on where he'd pitch in 2006 from back in early January (note this prop bet is no longer available):

Retired - odds 9/5 - I don't see that happening. Roger will give it at least one more shot. He'll get his $15-25 million and if he breaks down during the season - he'll still be cashing some pretty big checks.

Houston Astros - odds 7/2 - this seems the most likely scenario. Right now the Astros are about $12 million below their 2005 payroll and that doesn't count the money they would save if Jeff Bagwell is not able to play (I think they get back about $15 million from the insurance company if Bagwell's shoulder is shot). Factor in the fact that this could be the last year for the Astros to have a big 3 pitching combo of Clemens, Andy Pettitte (Clemens best friend in baseball) and Roy Oswalt and it looks likely that the Astros will pony up or match any offer to keep Clemens for one more run at a World Series. You also have to factor in the effect Clemens has on attendance for the Astros. I haven't even mentioned that Clemens' son will be in the Astros farm system and the possibility exist for him to catch Clemens in spring training.

New York Yankees - odds 3/1 - Roger Clemens theme song should be the J. Geils Band's First I Look at the Purse. Its only money and Roger always liked playing for the Yankees and it has be recognized that the Yankees could use a starter. I personally think this is Clemens Plan B.

Boston Red Sox - odds 2/1 - the Red Sox are wooing Clemens and it makes sense historically. If Clemens comes back - he's almost guaranteed to break the tie with Cy Young for 192 career wins for the Red Sox. This would also pave the way for Clemens to get his number 21 retired by Boston. It is entirely possible that Clemens is a first ballot Hall of Famer who doesn't get his number retired by any team and I bet this thought bothers Roger to a degree. Of course the Red Sox would still have to pay Clemens between $18-21 million for him to consider a return. To me that would be money well spent (especially if they jettison Matt Clement's contract in the process).

Texas Rangers 5/1 - Signing Clemens would greatly increase revenues for the Rangers but the same is true for the Astros and Clemens home is in Houston. I'd guess that the Astros would match any offer from the Rangers.

Other MLB team - odds 5/1 - I doubt this happens but hey who saw Roger signing with Toronto?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Heh Heh

Stealing this joke from the Grouchy Old Cripple:
A man escapes from prison where he has been for 15 years. He breaks into a house to look for money and guns and finds a young couple in bed. He orders the guy out of bed and ties him to a chair, while tying the girl to the bed he gets on top of her, kisses her neck, then gets up and goes into the bathroom.

While he's in there, the husband tells his wife: "Listen, this guy's an escaped convict, look at his clothes! He probably spent lots of time in jail and hasn't seen a woman in years. I saw how he kissed your neck." If he wants sex, don't resist, don't complain, do whatever he tells you. Satisfy him no matter how much he nauseates you. This guy is probably very dangerous. If he gets angry, he'll kill us. Be strong, honey. I love you."

To which his wife responds: "He wasn't kissing my neck. He was whispering in my ear. He told me he was gay, thought you were cute, and asked me if we had any vaseline. I told him it was in the bathroom. Be strong honey. I love you too!!"
NHL Gambling Ring?

Rick Tocchet, Wayne Gretzky's wife and Mark Recchi are some of the names being mentioned. Rick Tocchet has already been served with a criminal complaint:
Phoenix Coyotes associate coach Rick Tocchet was served with a criminal complaint Monday evening and was expected to travel from his Arizona home to answer charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy, said state police Col. Rick Fuentes.

Fuentes said over a 40-day period an investigation into the New Jersey-based ring discovered the processing of more than 1,000 wagers, exceeding $1.7 million, on professional and collegiate sports, mostly football and baseball. About a dozen current NHL players placed wagers, said Fuentes, who declined to identify them.

Authorities said state police Trooper James J. Harney and Tocchet were partners in the operation, with the former NHL forward providing the financing.

Action News has learned that the ring could also be linked to former Philadelphia Flyer Mark Recchi - who now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Janet Jones - who is the wife of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, and the ring could be tied to the crime family of Bruno Scarfo.
This could turn into a big story if the ring was accepting bets on hockey.

HT Sports Frog
Search Engine Hits

I saw Samantha Burns post where some of the hits to her blog came from and I thought it was a good idea. So without further ado - of the last 100 visits to A Large Regular the following hits came from searchs for:

- Burger king Mascot (2 hits - for this post)
- Mike Piazza's wife (3 hits for this yummy post)
- Steagles hoax (not a hoax - true story)
- Dr. Hawkeye Pierce (for one of my favorite posts)
- Roethlisberger shaved by Letterman video (2 hits - I don't know why I got these)
- cartoon Mohammad (for this)
- Yeardly agents (no idea what they were looking for but they got a post by me asking if Yeardly Smith - the voice of Lisa Simpson - ever made love using the voice)
- Fantasy baseball team names (2 hits - for this post)
- anti-Christopher Hitchens (no idea why it came here)
- Tom Smykowski (from me mentioning Office Space)
- Sean Penn Nicholas Cage (for this)
- Kerry Campaign (3 hits - I've had more hits on this post than anything I've ever did - it helped that Instapundit linked to it 3-times)
- Jorge Posada wife Laura (no idea why it came to me but now I'm curious what she looks like)

For those like-wise curious - here's a picture of the Posada family
The Front

I watched the Woodie Allen movie The Front last night. It was the first time I've seen this movie and I must say it bothered me enough to mention.

The movie takes place in the mid-1950's and the premise of the movie is Woodie Allen's character Howard Prince has a childhood friend who is a writer who has also been blacklisted because he has Communist sympathies. The friend asks Allen if he can use him to get his scripts approved and sold. In return Allen gets 10% of what the scripts sell for (its what the writer would have paid an agent anyway). The scheme works so well that Allen asks his friend if he knows any other blacklisted writers he can front for. His friend asks two other blacklisted writers to join the scheme.

In the process - the blacklisted writers make the same living they had before getting blacklisted and Allen's character becomes famous and financially solvent. A true win-win.

In the end Allen has to talk to a government committee and name a name or two to keep his own name clean (a name which has been made famous by fraud). All he has to do is name his childhood friend or one of the other writers as communist sympathizers and he's all set and he can go back to being a front and the win-win can continue. There would be no real harm since the other writers are already blacklisted.

Instead Allen takes a stand against "naming names" and tells the committee to fuck themselves. The movie ends with Allen going to jail.

Let me make a few points:

- Don't get me wrong, I think the HUAC activities were on the whole despicable. However, here the writers admit to either being communists or aiding and abetting communists. They weren't heroic figures - they were dupes.

- In the movie Zero Mostel plays Hecky Brown a character who had tangential connection with a May Day parade and other things that get him blacklisted. He can't get work and has to spy on the Woodie Allen character to help clear his name. In the end he kills himself. Mostel in real-life was black-listed which meant he couldn't work in movies or TV but could still work on Broadway.

- I know that at the time Mostel was considered a genius but I've never seen the attraction. I just don't get it.

- Today the pendulum seems to have swung completely in the other direction. Writers with rightist sympathies seem to be blacklisted in Hollywood while leftist drivel gets the greenlight no matter how bad the material. If a movie came out about a writer who was a big fan of Reagan and who couldn't get work because of his political beliefs - do you think it would get an Oscar nomination for the script? Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Excellent Point

At the end of this post - Betsy makes an excellent point:
Richard just emailed me to note that Denmark is scheduled to take its place in rotation as head of the Security Council just as the Security Council is set to discuss Iran's nukes. Coincidence? You decide.
Today's Thoroughly Enjoyable Piece of Reading

Pauly at Tao of Poker has a very enjoyable piece up. It has lines like the following:
"He should be dead," Vinny explained. "No one drinks that much and lives."
He reminded me of a used car dealer who's a part time pedophile.
And my favorite:
It was as though he learned all of his dance moves from watching porno movies.
Read the whole thing.
Two Weeks Til Pitchers and Catchers

I bet these two weeks go slower than the two weeks between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. Oh and by the way - Jose Lima is still a free agent.
Top 5 - Thoughts About the Super Bowl

1. Let's stop all the talk about Ben Roethlisberger is in the same class as Brady or Manning (Eli maybe). He was worse than Trent Dilfer last night. Don't get me wrong - I give all the credit in the world to the Steelers as a team (especially Dick Lebeau who's defense came up big when they needed it most). Roethlisberger was just bad last night. Admit it.

2. The two biggest plays for the Seahawks were ticky-tack penalties. You had the offensive pass interference call that cost them a touchdown (they had to settle for a field goal). Then you had that holding call that negated Jeremy Stevens' catch at the three yard line (first there was NO holding on that play and then Hassselbeck then subsequently threw an INT). Those two plays completely changed the make-up of the game. The Seahawks are going to carry this game around for the rest of their lives.

3. One area that Maddon and Michaels didn't discuss that cost the Seahawks greatly was the kicking game. Brown missed two field goals and Rouen never pinned the Steelers back in their own end. Time after time Rouen's punts sailed into the endzone (seriously did Rouen have a punt that didn't go into the endzone?).

4. The commercials were as much of a let down as the game itself. Not a single one that was got-to-talk-about-it really memorable. The Bud Light and the bear commercial was the best of the bunch.

5. The music choices were bad. First let's talk about the National Anthem. They had Dr. John on piano - think for a moment - have you ever heard the National Anthem on piano? Organ at the ballpark maybe - piano no. Then you had Aaron Neville who they didn't even introduce and whose voice is not condusive to the anthem. Finally you had Aretha Franklin who appearance spawned thousands of spontaneous Martin Lawrence Big Mamma's House jokes across the globe. Now let me say a word or two about the Rolling Stones - they're so done. Paul McCartney actually did a much better job and what happened to the Stones being the bad boys of Rock? On Start Me Up - Mick Jagger completely censored himself on the lyric "you make a dead man come". Jim Morrison is up and heaven laughing his ass off at how cowardly Jagger has become.

EDIT: My apologies to grandpa Jagger - it seems ABC censored him - he did sing the lyrics.