Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is a Story Worth Keeping an Eye On

Hillary Clinton is being held accountable by a couple of bloggers who have filed an FEC complaint about her shady fund raising.

Follow the money used to a mantra of Woodward and Bernstein wannabes. It will be interesting to see what play this story gets in the MSM. On one hand many outlets don't want to get on the wrong side of the Clinton's but on the other they cannot risk lagging behind a story that could turn out to be really big.

My guess is that the blogosphere will do all the heavy lifting and not just the right. There are many blogs on the left who don't like Hillary and they will be just as active.

People want a chief executive to be trustworthy with financial matters whether that person is CEO, governor or President. It will be "the economy stupid" in 2008 election and Hillary's fund raising scandals along with Bill's ties to the Chinese coupled with coddling illegal immigrants will be the three strikes which, in my opinion, will ultimately cost Hillary the White House.
Belichick Derangement Syndrome

Lyford has an excellent post on the Patriots and the critics who have come out of the woodwork lately. I think he hits the nail on the head that Belichick and the Patriots know exactly what they are doing and which records they will be breaking and I'm all for it.

I do think he has the term wrong though. He mentions "Patriots Derangement Syndrome" but more correctly it should be "Belichick Derangement Syndrome" since almost all of the animosity is aimed at coach hoodie.
With $1.25 Beers - The Yankees would be the Toast of MLB

This was a great post.

I think almost every baseball fan would agree that they would rather have $1.25 beer than have Derek Jeter on the roster. Waive Jeter and even I will become a Yankees fan.
Running Up the Score

The Cold, Hard Football Facts looks at whether the Patriots have been running up the score and more importantly - how has been saying that they have.

I also want to point out that anyone who has ever played football knows that when you go half-speed - that's when you get hurt. I'm not saying that the Patriots aren't playing with a "screw you" attitude right now but I am asking "what else would you have them do?"

Two wrong thinking articles on where Alex Rodriguez will end up and what I think is a very understated slam at A-Rod.

First Rich Lederer (who I greatly respect) suggests that Boston may be in the hunt for A-Rod. That ship sailed long ago. The Boston owners are very savvy marketing wise and they know that the distaste for A-Rod among "Red Sox Nation" can only harm their brand. They've won 2 World Series without A-Rod - why would they want to take on such a potential albatross of a contract? My guess is that either they sign Mike Lowell or they move Kevin Youkilis to 3rd and have a lefty/righty platoon or someone lower cost like Brad Wilkerson at 1st. Rich Lederer is wrong in thinking Boston will be in on the bidding for A-Rod.

Next, Johan Keri (who I've never heard of) of's Page 2 suggests that just maybe Atlanta might be in on the bidding. Here's Keri's smoking gun logic:
Come to think of it, Renteria made $10 million in 2007. Andruw Jones, who's becoming a free agent, made $14 million. Bob Wickman won't be back, shaving another $6.5 million. The Braves would be on the hook for a chunk of Mike Hampton's $14.5 million salary in '08, then he'd be gone too. Hey, wait a minute ... (the light clicks on) ... they could make a run at A-Rod!
See - that's why I don't bother with ESPN's Page 2 anymore. The Braves need to lock up Mark Teixeira and the words "biggest contract in baseball" and "Atlanta Braves" just don't mix.

Finally, SI's Jon Heyman takes a look at possible landing spots for A-Rod and he manages to toss in this gem (emphasis added):
[San Francisco] Ownership is sick of losing, well-heeled and willing to go for the gusto, as they proved last winter when they spent $126 million for Barry Zito, a No. 2 pitcher who pitched like a No. 4. They also seem to love the idea of employing a megastar to market around and might want the chance to celebrate an all-time home-run record without any taint. The lovely city would also allow A-Rod to pursue his cultural interests.
I may be wrong but I think Heyman just took a jab at A-Rod's sexual proclivities and maybe even his sexual orientation. Heh heh - nicely done.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Democratic Debate

I watched the Democratic Presidential candidates debate from Drexel University and I haven't seen such comedy on TV in a long time. In case you missed it - let me sum it up for you.

Dennis Kucinich sees aliens and Hillary wants to give them drivers licenses.

EDIT: Damn! Kathryn Jean Lopez beat me to the punchline by 40 minutes!
Just Saying

The odds for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to win the World Series in 2008 are 100-1.

The odds for Dennis Kucinich to win the Presidency in 2008 are also 100-1.

The odds are via Bodog.

No real point in bringing this up. I just find it amusing to think of Dennis Kucinich as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of Presidential candidates.
Matt Ryan

Some people continue to be blinded when it comes to Matt Ryan and his chances for the Heisman Award. I'm talking to you Dennis Dodd of
Neither team would be in the championship hunt without them. Same for Ryan. But this week I can't vote him No. 1, or even No. 2 [in Heisman rankings]. It shouldn't matter, but it does. Thursday is going to stick with me as a Heisman voter. Ryan could end up being the ACC Player of the Year, even an All-American. But I'll remember those first 56 minutes more than the final four.
Dennis - I posit that if you knew what you were talking about that those final 4 minutes would count way more than the first 56. The only person I've seen or heard make this point is Sean McDonough during Friday's Boise State telecast. McDonough correctly noted that Ryan calls his own plays when the team goes into the 2-minute offense which they did during the final 4-minutes of the Virginia Tech game. Ryan was not only making the big plays - he was calling them as well.
Hot Stove Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous hot stove baseball thoughts and observations.

The biggest item on the Red Sox offseason "to-do" list is to sign Mike Lowell. I think in spring training they could have gotten a 2-year $20 million deal done but now it will probably be at least 3-years and $40 million. Here's what I wrote about signing Lowell back in April:
One final note - if the Red Sox let Mike Lowell's contract lapse into free agency then they run the risk of being used as a pawn by Scott Boras in his attempt to get A-Rod an even bigger payday. Signing Mike Lowell before the end of the season lets them avoid that circus.
Edgar Renteria traded to Tigers. I like this trade for both teams. The Braves acquire a couple of top prospects and the Tigers fill their top need at short. By shedding Renteria's contract the Braves now have close to $20 million (Renteria's contract and Andruw Jone's money) to sign Mark Teixeira and fill the hole in centerfield. I admit that my first thought when I saw this trade was that the Braves would bring back Marcus Giles at a reduced price and move Kelly Johnson over to short (similar to the Rangers moving Michael Young to short when A-Rod was traded) but that was silly. Giles may have been a fan favorite but his time has past. More likely the Braves will hand short to Yunel Escobar... I just don't see Joe Torre going to the Dodgers. He could easily make as much doing advertisements in New York and occasional talks to business groups as he would make as manager of the Dodgers. Why would he want the headache?
SCHIP - Care Enough to Smoke?

A-Rod Classless

Scott Miller is not happy with Alex Rodriguez and he goes all scatological on his ass:
There is no such restraint on individual players. So Sunday night, we learn this is the only way A-Rod has figured out a way to get himself into a World Series.

By squatting and dumping on it.
Now there's an image to ponder over breakfast. Miller wasn't done with the bathroom imagery:
But A-Rod urinating on the World Series, the arrogance of his bankrupt soul growing faster than the national debt?
This was a huge mistake by A-Rod and Scott Boras and I think it will cost A-Rod millions of dollars because the outcry against this blatant "look at me" attention whore timing gives the lie to Boras' attempt to market A-Rod as a guy people will want to watch.
Ronald Reagan vs. Ted Baxter

Time for another installment of the Ronald Reagan vs. Ted Baxter betting NFL football contest.

The conservative theory of NFL betting is to take a home team getting 3 or fewer points. Who is more conservative than Ronald Reagan? Note - this theory does not include games which are a "pick". The Ted Baxter theory of football betting says to take the NFL teams getting 10 or more points under the idea that both teams are professionals and how much difference could there be between two groups of professionals? Ted Baxter used this method to soundly whip Lou Grant betting football games.

Week 8 NFL Picks

Ronald Reagan - going into Sunday the Ronald Reagan theory has been 8-5 for the season. Sunday, however, was not a good day for the Ronald Reagan Theory as it went 0-3 with St. Louis getting 3 losing to the Browns, Minnesota getting 1 losing to the Eagles, and San Francisco getting 2.5 losing to New Orleans. That puts the Ronald Reagan Theory at .500 for the season at 8-8.

Ted Baxter - going into Sunday Ted's record was at 5-8-1 for the season. On Sunday Ted's theory went 1-2 with the Dolphins getting 10 covering, San Diego easily covering giving 10 and the Patriots giving 15 smoking the Redskins. That puts the Ted Theory at 6-10-1 for the season. It should be noted that if you did not include the Patriots games (I don't think even Ted Baxter would bet against the Patriots) then the Ted Baxter theory becomes 6-7 for the season.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Sports Hangover

The above picture is real and the article Bush is holding up was a real article. It seems unreal - like a photoshop job but its real (though I'd bet that the photo in the article is a photoshop job). Today being a sports fan in Boston seems unreal but it too is real. Last night the Red Sox won the World Series and the New England Patriots just completely blew away the Washington Redskins.

Did I mention that the Boston Red Sox won the World Series? For the second time in 4 years. Unreal. I went out to watch the game and everyone I was with seemed to feel the same way. It just wasn't the same as in 2004. Now its kind of expected. No more people saying things like "Now I can die in peace." Now we expect the Red Sox to make the playoffs and beat the teams they are supposed to beat - like the Colorado Rockies. We have become the 1996 Yankees.

The winning of the World Series against the Rockies was so expected that most of the buzz around New England today is actually about the New England Patriots who completely dismantled the Redskins. When the Pats decided to go for it on 4th down - not once but twice - everyone in that bar I was at gave the same laugh of "Huh oh". Many have been complaining that the Patriots are running up the score but they are not taking ANY prisoners this year. They are truly a special team. I truly believe that the defense is pissed off today that they didn't get the shut out. They are so special that even the morning after the Red Sox won the World Series (for the second time in 4 years) - they are sharing billing on sports talk show radio. For a regular season victory!

Last week I mused that it would be interesting to have a prop bet between the number of runs the Red Sox scored in the World Series against the number of points the Patriots would score on Sunday. The final score of that prop bet would have been 52-29 Patriots. Unreal.

How good are the Patriots? Consider that next week they play the undefeated reigning Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis and they are favored by 4.5 points!

The Patriots are scary good. They are potentially 1986 Celtics greatest team in history good.

I feel bad for the Boston College Eagles who are also putting together a potential once in a lifetime season. BC is #2 in the country and they have a QB who is now the front runner for the Heisman Trophy. Anywhere else in the country and everyone is going crazy for the team. Except here in New England where the Red Sox just won the World Series (for the second time in 4 years) and the Patriots are putting together a once in a lifetime season.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

World Series Notes

Miscellaneous World Series thoughts and observations.

The Red Sox now lead the series 3-0 and in the past when a team goes up 3-0 they win the series (22 out of 22 times)... With the series all but over in most people's minds - it is understandable that some folks like myself can't help but think of next year already. I have to say that I feel for Coco Crisp. Sure his offense was so-so this year but his defense was stellar. Every night it seemed you'd see Coco on ESPN's web gems. It is clear though that Jacoby Ellsbury is going to be the starting centerfielder from here on out. Coco has two more years on his contract (with and option for 2010) at reasonable prices - $4.75 million in 2008 and $5.75 million in 2009. Everyone will point to Atlanta, Minnesota and the Phillies as natural trading partners because those teams will likely be losing their centerfielders to free agency. The Red Sox will most likely trade Coco for prospects but why not shoot for the moon and offer Crisp, Jon Lester and a prospect to the Twins for Johan Santana?... I think Eric Gangne may even be booed during the celebration parade... I'm hoping that the Red Sox sweep and that Jon Lester gets the win. Can you imagine how inspirational that will be (not that Lester isn't already inspirational) to cancer patients all over the country (and world)? Even if you hate "Red Sox Nation" - you have to root for this guy... Its at the point now that when I see Mike Lowell on TV - I hear the Teddy KGB character from Rounders say, "Pay that man his money"... Professional sports journalists at work:
Reporter (to Francona): Since you came back from down 3 games to the Yankees, what advice... ummm... even though you don't want to help them... could you give Colorado?

Francona: I don't know how to answer this... I really don't want them to win. (laughter) I mean really, what kind of a question is that?
Everybody on the Red Sox has played so well that it will be difficult to pick an MVP. Let me just throw this out there but Jacoby Ellsbury just may be the front runner for the award right now. Of course if it gets to a game 5 and Josh Beckett shuts the Rockies down again - then there will be no question at all about who gets the award... Assuming the Red Sox re-sign Lowell and Curt Schilling ($13 million one-year) then the two biggest needs are another reliever and a back-up catcher. There is a good chance that Boston could turn to Japan to fill those two positions. Boston is getting to be very big in Japan.... Howard Bryant has a nice column up on the current state of the Red Sox.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Teddy Roosevelt

Today would have been Teddy Roosevelt's 149th birthday. Here's perhaps my favorite Roosevelt quote:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Missouri Executive Order 44

Some things in our history are not pretty and one of the most ugly examples was the Missouri Executive Order 44 also known as the Extermination Order.

The order, passed in 1838, basically called for the expulsion or murder of all Mormons in Missouri. The order was not rescinded until 1976. The history behind the order doesn't seem as clear cut as something known as the "extermination order" would seem to indicate though.

This seems to me to be an excellent subject for a book or for a Deadwood type HBO series.
Ohio State at Penn State

Just thought I'd note that Moses was 80 years old when he went up Mount Sinai to get the 10 Commandments. Joe Paterno is also 80 years old. Can Penn State climb the mountain today against the number 1 team in the country?

Ohio State under Jim Tressel has had problems playing at Happy Valley. I can see the Buckeyes winning a squeaker and I wouldn't be surprised to see them win exactly by 4 which also happens to be the Vegas line on the game. By the same token - I also wouldn't be shocked to see the Nittany Lions win by a hair.

If Paterno is Moses - who is Jim Tressel's Old Testament counterpart? One of the Pharaoh's of Egypt maybe? This is just a personal observation but when I think of Jim Tressel perfectly coiffed and in his sweater vest I think of the word "pride". And who is most associated with pride in the Old Testament? I'd argue that Lucifer is most connected to pride (cast from Heaven for thinking he was equal to God). Would anyone really be surprised if archangel headcoach Tressel has a fall from grace? Maybe that fall from grace comes today in Happy Valley against the Moses of college football coaches?
Scott Boras

Very interesting essay on Scott Boras in The New Yorker. The story makes Boras out to be some sort of mad scientist.
“We’re purists about the game,” Boras told me. “We’re about commitment. We’re about making you better.” He brought up, as an example, Barry Zito, the San Francisco Giants’ lefty who is known almost as much for his surfer persona as for his sweeping curveball. “What we did with Barry Zito a year and a half ago is one of my better pieces of work,” he said. “It was really about getting him to be him. I call him Zicasso. The thing is, he wants to pitch powerfully, and I’m saying, ‘No, you’re Zicasso! You got to be the artist-poet-intellectual. That’s what you’re out there to do.’ He feeds off it. ‘You’re Zicasso. You come out and you paint!’ ” He added a wavelike flourish with his arm to punctuate each new mention of Zicasso—whose performance in the past couple of years, incidentally, has not been discernibly better than it was before.
After reading that it isn't hard to believe that Peter Gammons assertion is true that Boras and his crew screwed up Red Sox prospect Craig Hansen by changing the delivery motion that made him successful as a college player into a so-so AAA pitcher.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dumb Rumor of the Week

Buster Olney supposedly mentioned a potential trade between the Red Sox and Braves that would send Coco Crisp to the Braves and 2nd baseman Kelly Johnson to the Sox. This is dumb on several levels - let me count the ways.

1. Does anyone think that the Red Sox aren't kinda occupied at the moment? Sure maybe Coco Crisp will be trade bait in the offseason but the Red Sox are currently busy trying to win the World Series. Would Olney have us believe that Theo Epstein is making trade offers between innings?

2. The Red Sox already have Dustin Pedroia at 2nd and Julio Lugo at short. Where would Kelly Johnson play? Does Olney suggest that Johnson be an utility infielder? Or does he suggest that he would start at short and Lugo would ride the pine at $9 million a year? If that's the case - why not just keep Coco and have him ride the pine at $4.75 million?

3. If a blogger had float this as a legitimate trade rumor they would be rightly ridiculed. I know that Olney has to fill time on his radio show but wouldn't he be better served by not floating rumors that make him look like a moron?

I have to admit that I'm biased against Olney. I think he's biased towards the Yankees (but to be fair - he likes the Yankees of old - say late 1990's - and can be a cranky pants toward the Yankees as well).
Matt Ryan for Heisman

OK - last night put me fully on the Matt Ryan for Heisman bandwagon.

The Boston College Eagles are undefeated and currently #2 in the country. They might not even be ranked if it wasn't for Matt Ryan. Right now he is more valuable to his team than any other player in the country.

I also want to point out that last year Troy Smith won the Heisman Award mostly on the strength of leading Ohio State to an undefeated regular season. Smith finished the season with 2,507 yards passing. Matt Ryan needs just 74 more yards to pass Smith's output from last year and he has 4 games to do it in. If Ryan leads BC to an undefeated then he too deserves to win the award. However, unlike Troy Smith I'd be willing to bet that Matt Ryan would get more than 35 yards passing if the Eagles get to the BCS title game.
Interesting Stat

From the Cold, Hard Football Facts:
[Peyton] Manning has beat 30 of the 31 other NFL teams – everyone but Carolina, his opponent on Sunday.

[Tom] Brady has also beat 30 of the 31 other NFL teams – everyone but Washington, his opponent on Sunday.
BC - 8-0? Are You Kidding Me?

Wow! Just wow!

BC beat Virginia Tech 14-10 last night will all of BC's scoring coming in the last 2 minutes of the game including the winning TD with 11 second left to play. BC gave complete new meaning to "the 2-minute drill." They had 2 minutes and they drilled Virginia Tech.

You know people will be saying that BC is over-rated and over-ranked but they are undefeated. LSU has a loss and easily could have had 2 more but people still want to pop them over BC in the polls.

The schedule favors BC too. Because last night was a Thursday night game - they now have an extra 2 days to prepare for Florida State. The next game is at Maryland who has already been beaten twice at home and who may be a 4-loss team by the time BC meets up with them (Maryland plays Clemson this week and North Carolina after that). Clemson will be a tough game at Death Valley. The last game comes against a Miami team that is very beatable this year.

I think there is a very good chance that BC will play Virginia Tech once again in the ACC Championship game. The Hokies won't have home field or a driving rain to help them in that rematch.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

There Has to be a Morning After

Last night I missed the first 3 and a half innings of game 1 of the World Series because I'm traveling in Atlanta and I was at a business dinner. I ended up missing the last two innings because I fell asleep in my hotel room. I'm completely fine with what I saw of the game.

I missed the first 3 and a half inning because of the business dinner but I'm not complaining. The dinner was at the Atlanta Grill which is at the Ritz Carlton. The food was unbelievable. I had the duck. More importantly the dinner went very well business wise.

It was 4-1 at the Red Sox were at bat in the 4th when I got back to my hotel room. I saw the Sawx score 2 in the 4th and tack on 7 more in the 5th. It was 13-1 and I was not surprised at all that the Red Sox got to Jeff Francis the same way they got to Cleveland's CC Sabathia. However, is it the mark of a New England fan that this blowout actually made me nervous?

My thoughts drifted back to the 1985 Boston Celtics who blew out the Los Angeles Lakers 148-114 in game 1 of the World Championship but ended up losing the series 4 games to 2. I know I shouldn't be nervous and that the 2007 Red Sox are not the 1985 Celtics and certainly the 2007 Rockies are not the 1985 Lakers which was one the best NBA teams ever assembled (with a starting five of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, James Worthy, Magic Johnson, Byron Scott and Michael Cooper). Still the thought has been planted in the back of my brain.

Today's Red Sox have Josh Beckett who has quickly become one of the best playoff pitchers in history. Last night's win improved Beckett's playoff record to 6-2 (in 9 starts) and lowered his post-season ERA to 1.73. Amazingly Beckett gives up an earned run in the playoffs as often as he walks a hitter (14 post season earned runs and 14 post season walks). A team with Josh Beckett pitching in the playoffs just seems to be invulnerable to losing. Beckett's teams are 5-0 in playoff series. Then again those 1985 Celtics had Larry Bird (sorry can't help it.)

I should make it back home in time to catch the Boston College kickoff. You know I'm looking forward to working the remote tonight. As far as the title of this post is concerned - no I am not a closet Maureen McGovern fan. The phrase just popped into my head and seemed to fit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series Notes

Some thoughts on the upcoming World Series.

- Many people are putting the Rockies hopes on team ace Jeff Francis who had 5 scoreless innings in the Rockies trip to Fenway during Interleague play. It has to be noted that historically left-handed pitchers don't do well at Fenway and this is especially true during the playoffs (let's call this strike one). Francis will be matched up against perhaps the biggest playoff money pitcher in modern history in Josh Beckett (strike two). Do people have such short memories that they forget that the same hopes that are being put on Francis are exactly the same as the hopes Cleveland fans put on CC Sabathia who also had a sparkling regular season outing at Fenway to his credit (strike three). I just don't see the hopes of Francis as the horse to ride to victory being justified by reality.

- SI's John Donovan compares the two teams, position by position and decides that the Red Sox will win in 5 games.

- If I ran a casino - I would have a prop bet that allowed you to either take the number of runs the Red Sox will score in the World Series or the number of points the Patriots will score against the Redskins on Sunday. I think the two numbers will be fairly close.

- Part of me wonders what baseball would be doing if the Padres beat the Rockies and they went on the run to the World Series instead of Colorado. Would the World Series be put off for a week because of the wildfires in California?

- I also have to say that I think the Rockies decision to pitch Josh Fogg in game 3 in Colorado instead of game 2 in Boston is a mistake. Fogg grew up in Lynn, MA and has pitched in Fenway before. Fogg also does much better on the road than at home (4.15 road ERA vs a 5.97 home ERA this season). Ubaldo Jimenez has never pitched at Fenway and will be asked to face players he probably grew up idolizing like fellow Dominicans Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. I think this is a mistake.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is Harry Reid the Worst Democratic Majority Leader in History?

I started thinking about this tonight. We've been hearing a lot about Harry Reid and its usually not good whether its months ago saying we've already lost in Iraq or today blaming the fires in California on global warming. The more I thought about it the more I wondered if Harry Reid is the worst Senate Majority Leader in History.

In the interest in time - I decided to just look at the Democratic Party. Maybe in the future I'll look to see who was the worst on the other side of the aisle. The information is via Wikipedia.

- Joseph Taylor (1933-37) - the first Democratic Senate Majority Leader - one of only 4 people to have their face on a US coin while still alive. Better than Harry Reid.
- Alben Barkley (1937-47) - was effective enough to be named Vice President under Harry Truman when Truman took over for FDR. Made the news for marrying a widow half his age. Better than Harry Reid.
- Scott Lucas - (1948-50) - WW1 veteran who ended up losing his Senate seat in large part due to an active smear campaign by Joseph McCarthy. Better than Harry Reid.
- Ernest McFarland (1951-53) - known as the Father of the GI Bill and who left the Senate to become Governor of Arizona and then Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. Better than Harry Reid.
- Lyndon Johnson (1954-60) - was legendary in his control of the Senate. He was sought by JFK as his VP in the 1960 Presidential election because of his popularity. I doubt Harry Reid will be sought by any of the Democratic candidates as a running mate. Better than Harry Reid.
- Mike Mansfield (1961-77) - the longest serving Senate Majority Leader in history. Not enough time to go into all of Mansfield's accomplishments. I will note that he served in both the Navy and Marine Corps. Better than Harry Reid.
- Robert Byrd (1977-81 and 1987-89) - if Reid is to get competition as the worst Democratic Majority Leader in history the challenge will come from former member of the KKK Robert Byrd. Even though Byrd will be remembered for his racism and for being the "King of Pork" it has to be noted that he was very skilled at using parliamentary tactics and the fact that he held the position twice puts him above Harry Reid (who I doubt would be asked back). Better than Harry Reid.
- George Mitchell (1989-95) - still held in high regard on both sides of the aisle. Trusted as an honest broker for things like the Belfast Peace Agreements and the baseball steroids investigation. I doubt any would use Harry Reid as an "honest broker". Better than Harry Reid.
- Tom Daschle (2001-03) - say what you want about Daschle but his history is not riddled with personal financial scandals. Better than Harry Reid.

Well that's all of them and all of them were better at the job of Senate Majority Leader that Harry Reid. That makes Harry Reid the worst Democratic Senate Majority Leader in history. I think its telling that Harry Reid was the only person I looked at who needed special sections on their Wiki page - one for "Controversy" and another for "Criticism".
Evening Links

- The above is one of my favorite pictures of Manny and here is an excellent column on Manny by Charlie Pierce over at Slate.

- Lt. Michael Murphy receives the Medal of Honor
More Predictions

Here are some more predictions from yours truly.

- Manny Ramirez will hit .400 in the World Series with 2 HR and two circus catches in the outfield but every time FOX shows highlights of him it will be of Manny not running out a flyball, dropping a catch in the outfield or going into the Green Monster to take a pee.

- Next year fair catches will be reviewable in the Big East.

- Broadcast of game three of the World Series in Colorado will be interrupted to bring news of the capture of Man Bear Pig in Colorado. I'm totally cereal. It will later be announced that it wasn't actually Man Bear Pig but Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (who does kinda look like a cross between a man, a bear and a pig).
Heh Heh

I saw this live last night and hoped someone caught it on tape.

The Big Lead does not disappoint.
Dominic Randolph

Time for my weekly post decrying the injustice being done to Holy Cross QB Dominic Randolph who is now 2nd in passing yards in 1-AA football (and just 3 yards behind the leader Scott Riddle of Elon).

Randolph has 2,244 yards in 7 games (an average of 320 yards per game) yet he is still not included in the Payton Award Watch list. Why is Dominic Randolph being disrespected like this? It can't be because he's only a junior because the list includes at least 5 juniors. There are 7 QB's on the list and I'm saying that Dominic Randolph is better than half the names on the list. And I'll even name names. Randolph is better than Liam Coen of UMass, Duran Lawson of the Citadel, Eric Sanders of Northern Iowa and Jayson Foster of Georgia Southern.

Yet Dominic Randolph is not included on the list! Why?

Monday, October 22, 2007

World Series Predictions

Here are my predictions about the upcoming World Series between the Rockies and Red Sox;

- I see the Red Sox winning in 5-6 games. This is no fanboy prediction. When you look at it dispassionately you see that the Red Sox have the advantage in just about every phase of the game. The Vegas betting line has the Red Sox as a -$225 favorite (meaning you would have to risk $225 to win $100). That's a prohibitive favorite.

- Some topics will get beat to death in the media such as the chance of snow and the trade that almost sent Todd Helton to the Red Sox. Don't waste your time on any articles you see regarding either subject and make a mental note about the author of such articles. Its an indication they don't have the imagination or insight enough to come up with anything better.

- Much will be made about the Rockies historic winning streak but it is their lack of playoff experience that will be a bigger factor. People will point to Arizona beating the playoff tested Yankees as proof to refute this point but the Rockies don't have two Hall of Fame starters in their primes to ride to victory like the Diamondbacks did. The World Series will be overwhelming for a team that is made up of players who have never been to a Fall Classic and especially for a team that has lived a pretty much media blackout existence for most of the year. It will be overwhelming whether they admit it or not.

- Strikeouts will maybe be the most important stat to monitor. Some good analysis at Sports Frog on the series but one thing jumped out at me. In his reasoning Nick uses sOPS to compare pitching staffs in the macro but then uses percentages in the micro. Red Sox pitchers struck out 18.93% of hitters while Colorado hurlers struck out 15.37%. That's a pretty big advantage for the Red Sox but in actuality its even bigger because the Red Sox pitchers did that against lineups with a DH while the Rockies were able to pad their strikeout numbers against pitchers trying to hit. The bare percentages don't take league factors into account. As much as any factor - the Red Sox won the ALCS because they put the ball into play more often than the Indians (who struck out an amazing 63 times).

- Josh Fogg will either have a stellar outing in game two or he'll get shelled. There will be no middle ground. Fogg grew up in Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin (you never come out the way you went in) and I'm sure dreamed of playing in a World Series at Fenway Park. My head says he gets shelled but my gut says he goes 7 innings and gives up just 2 or 3 cheap runs.
Red Sox Going to the World Series!

Here are some observations from last night's game 7 clinching victory over the Indians.

- Going into the game I expected big things from Daisuke Matsuzaka and I'll admit that in the 3rd inning I started to think that Dice-K may just pitch a no-hitter. Dice-K is a competitor and he has "Wa" to spare (the Japanese term for team spirit).

- I still can't stand Kevin Millar.

- By the sixth inning I stopped thinking about "Wa" and started thinking about Chinese water torture because that's what the drip, drip, drip of single runs seemed like. Fans from both sides were getting anxious because it seemed like it could go either way.

- I can't stand Kevin Millar but I really can't stand Kenny Lofton. Am I alone in thinking the ump got that call at second right? Yes, Lofton's hand beat Manny's throw but his hands and his whole body skipped over the base while Pedroia's glove was touching Lofton's face. Being tagged while off the base made Lofton out. I feel bad for the Indians 3rd base coach Joel Skinner. He'll have to live with not sending Kenny Lofton home in the 7th inning but I think it was the fear of Manny's quick release and accurate throws from left that made him put up the stop sign.

- When I was in college I had a friend Pete who had a strange sense of humor. He would start saying something and just leaving you hanging. When he knew you were waiting for him to say something else - he'd chuckle. Pete would say something like, "in my hometown there's a cemetery." You'd wait for him to continue and then Pete would laugh knowing you were waiting on him. Tim McCarver is like Pete except he doesn't do it on purpose. How often does McCarver make a statement that just hangs there? "The Red Sox have scored on a double play and a sacrifice fly." And? There has to be more behind that thought right? When Pete did it - I laughed because I knew Pete was just having fun. With McCarver I cringe because he's either having the onset of dementia or he just sucks.

- Watching the game on TV - I was distracted by a guy behind the plate towards the first base side. Did you see this guy? He had a humongous forehead. I mean it was just huge. This guy could have sold billboard space above his eyebrows.

- Dustin Pedroia has all the confidence in the world. You can tell that just by seeing him flip his bat after hitting that HR in the 7th.

- If you saw the Red Sox celebrating after the game you would have seen a bunch of players smoking cigars. Those cigars came from Louie Tiant who has a cigar business.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The AP Hates Kansas

Look at this AP article over at Do you notice anything missing? There are 5 teams that are undefeated so far this season and the article mentions 4 of them.

No mention of #9 Kansas who happens to be undefeated and 7-0. Why does the AP hate Kansas?
Ronald Reagan vs. Ted Baxter

Time for another installment of the Ronald Reagan vs. Ted Baxter betting NFL football contest.

The conservative theory of NFL betting is to take a home team getting 3 or fewer points. Who is more conservative than Ronald Reagan? Note - this theory does not include games which are a "pick". The Ted Baxter theory of football betting says to take the NFL teams getting 10 or more points under the idea that both teams are professionals and how much difference could there be between two groups of professionals? Ted Baxter used this method to soundly whip Lou Grant betting football games.

Week 7 NFL Picks

Ronald Reagan - going into today the Ronald Reagan theory has been 7-4 for the season. Last week the theory went 1-0 with the Chiefs getting 3 beating the Bengals. Today, once again, there were one game each for Ronnie and Ted. The Bills were getting 3 from the Ravens and Buffalo won outright 19-14. That raises Ronnie's season mark to 8-4. The Monday Night game between Jacksonville and Indy also will qualify as the Jags are at home currently getting 3 points.

Ted Baxter - last week the Ted Baxter theory went 0-1 as the Chargers easily covered. This week the Patriots were giving 16 to the Dolphins and they also covered easily by winning 49-28. That put Ted's record at 5-8-1 for the season. Not sure about you but it's beginning to become clear that there's something to the Ron Reagan theory.
Paul Byrd - Cheater?

Wow - interesting. Paul Byrd likes his HGH.

I have to wonder if this news will effect the Indians clubhouse. Right before a game 7 probably isn't the best time for news like this to break (although I wish it could have broke last week before Byrd beat the Red Sox). If the Indians do win tonight - then theses revelations about Byrd will taint the series victory. No doubt about it.

Before reading the article I would have said that Paul Byrd was the free agent pitcher who has helped himself the most this post-season. Now you have to wonder what team will take a risk on a guy who could be either facing a 50-game suspension at any time or losing his HGH performance crutch. Today's column revealing HGH use probably costs Byrd at the very least a multi-year contract.

I think you will start to see names coming out pretty much on a weekly basis as the damn starts to burst. It is shaping up as a very interesting hot stove season.

Thanks to Greg for the pointer to the article on Byrd.
Stewart Mandel May as Well Pick the Team with the Nicest Uniforms

I don't want to hear about SI's Stewart Mandel crying about the need for a playoff system in Division 1 football. With this quote Mandel proves that he really doesn't believe in one:
With my No. 1 team from last week, USF, going down to Rutgers on Thursday, I’ll have no reservations whatsoever moving the [LSU] Tigers up to replace the Bulls this week. Whether it’s been the doings of a genius or a mad man, they’ve certainly earned it.
So Mandel wants a 1-loss team as number 1? Based on what? His gut feeling that LSU really is the best team in the country? So what people do on the field I guess doesn't matter to Mandel. LSU squeaking out a win over Auburn AT HOME makes them #1? Auburn is the same team who has lost to South Florida and Mississippi State (who was blasted by another Big East team West Virginia 38-13). Auburn is a team that may be out of the top 25 by Monday. How is that earning it? There are 4 major college football teams that are still undefeated and who have yet to have the a let-down on the field like LSU's against Kentucky (the same team that was easily handled by South Carolina). Ohio State, Boston College, Arizona State and Kansas all deserve to be ranked over 1-loss teams if the person truly is going on what a team has accomplished on the field and not on reputation.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

West Virginia beat Mississippi State 38-13. This is one of those game where fans of West Virgina have to be happy with the outcome but fans who put some money on the game have to be of mixed emotions. The line on the game was 25.5 points... Speaking of betting - I'd be willing to bet that David Carradine has made more money from those Yellow Book ads than he made from the original Kung Fu TV series... In the 17th century, the value of pi was known to 35 decimal places. Today, to 1.2411 trillion (except in Alabama where by law the value of pi is rounded to 3.14)... OK - now I can relax. Game 7 with the Red Sox tomorrow night...
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I give all the credit in the world to Vanderbilt for its 17-6 victory over South Carolina but I also have to think that with Kentucky beating LSU - then the Gamecocks may have gone into this game a bit too cocky and maybe looking ahead of the Commodores because they had handled Kentucky pretty easily. Pride goeth before a fall... Dumbledore was gay? Richard Harris went his whole career without playing a gay character, always the man's man. Now I find nothing wrong with Rowling saying she wrote Dumbledore as a gay character but my first thought was to wonder if Harris knew this before hand if he would have accepted the role. And if Harris turned down the role - then we could have all been spared the awful Michael Gambon taking over as Dumbledore after Harris' death... Lyford has the stats to back up a point I made before Game 1 vs the Indians - if the Cy Young voters waited till after the playoffs there's no way CC Sabathia would be close to Josh Beckett in Cy Young voting. It should be noted that over the last 12 years only two players have won the Cy Young award and have also had their team win the World Series. That was Randy Johnson in 2001 and Greg Maddux in 1995.... Just saying but 5-2 Clemson has outscored their opponents by 107 points so far this season but in the 4 games vs ACC teams they have scored 92 points and given up 92 points. I think you could say Clemson likes to pad the stats versus out of conference teams...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Krauthammer, Pelosi and Apologies

Charles Krauthammer has a very good column today on Nancy Pelosi's resolution regarding the Armenian genocide.

As I was reading it - I couldn't help but think that if Nancy Pelosi is sincere about addressing past wrongs then maybe she will soon submit a resolution condemning the Democratic Party for its past support of both slavery and segregation. I mean the segregation part is much more recent history than the Armenian genocide and isn't it better to get the beam out your own eye (so to speak) first before making resolutions condemning others? I won't hold my breathe for that to happen though unless Pelosi can come up with a way to somehow make such a resolution an attack on George Bush.
Manny Ramirez

I watched the first couple of innings of last night's game at a pub while I waited for my girls to be done with dance class. The consensus of everyone at the bar regarding Manny Ramirez is that the press should just get off his back. Manny may have the sunniest disposition of anyone on the Red Sox but there's a reason why he stopped talking to the media. That reason has been on display these past couple of days.

Consider that Manny is hitting .471 with an .609 OBP and a .882 SLG% against the Indians. Manny was signed to be a hitter and he's more than living up to his end of the bargain. If you took Manny's 2007 playoff numbers and extended them for an entire season then you'd be looking at an 80 HR, 240 RBI season. That doesn't look like the effort of a player who doesn't care.

Ask yourself if you'd rather have a guy who always has the "right" quote but whose performance in the playoffs always makes you wonder if he's a Mr. May like Alex Rodriguez or a guy like Manny? Right now Manny comes to the plate and everyone watching thinks that he's going to hit a home run.

Leave my Manny alone.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Joe Torre

Joe Torre is out as manager of the New York Yankees. I respect the way Torre handled the situation.

I think Joe really wanted to come back as the manager but he did not want to come back if the offer was insulting to a man with his accomplishments and if the offer was such that he'd be dangling from a string every game of the season. Joe has accomplished plenty and has nothing to prove. In the end - he just didn't need the aggravation.

You have to hand it to Joe. Easily he could have had his agent call the Yankees and give them the news. Instead Joe got on a plane and told the Yankee front office the news in person. Classy right to the end.

I see Joe taking next year off and honestly at his age - he's probably done as a manager. Joe can spend next year in Hawaii enjoying himself. He's got plenty of money and if he feels the need to do something then he can write a book or doing speaking engagements (Torre would get top dollar on the lecture tour circuit). I don't think he'll come back to do any TV work for the YES Network because that wouldn't be fair to Don Mattingly or Joe Girardi. Torre wouldn't put those guys in the position where people would be calling for Joe's return all the time simply because he was so nearby.

You would have to think that ESPN is already thinking about offering Torre a Bill Parcells type deal to work on Baseball Tonight. Maybe ESPN could offer Torre Joe Morgan's spot doing the color on the ESPN Sunday night game. That would be great.

As fa as the Susan Ward picture at the top of the post - Joe Torre is many things but good to look at is not one of them (besides I've been looking for an excuse to post that picture all day).
Fact That May Only Interest Me

Prostitution was so rampant in Boston in the 1770's that a British military cartographer marked the red light district in Boston as Mount Whoredom. The American troops surrounding Boston back then may have been short of military dress and ammunition but they were drinking about a bottle of rum a day - apiece.
Absolute Poker

There is a storm of controversy surrounding the poker site Absolute Poker over charges of on-line cheating.

This to me seems the best explanation / hypothesis of what occurred. I disagree with one aspect though. "Dan Druff" thinks it was one person who just got greedy. I think the easier explanation is two people - one person who set up the scheme and a second person who did not fully understand the ins and outs but who got greedy and blew the whole deal.

For example, I can imagine a husband / wife team or a boyfriend / girlfriend where the geek husband / boyfriend set up this whole scheme as a way to get some extra money and keep the wife / girlfriend happy. The wife / girlfriend learns what the husband / boyfriend is doing and starts to think that he's acting too small. When the husband / boyfriend is not around the wife / girlfriend gets greedy and careless and blows the whole operation. The wife / girlfriend thought they were about to win lots of money but all they did was get the account frozen and the cheat exposed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Al Gore and Albert Camus

When Al Gore recently won the Nobel Prize for his work on Global Warming (he's either warning people of the dangers or causing it with his jet-setting depending on your point of view) - many people took the opportunity to point out that Gore joined a long list of people who won the award as much for their political views as anything else. Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, and Le Duc Tho are the names most often mentioned as examples of the leftward-leaning of the selection committee.

A name that I have not seen mentioned by anyone but who also shows how the award is political as much as anything is Albert Camus who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957 for his writing against capital punishment. Does anyone read those essays today as literature? I don't think so.

I am currently re-reading The Plague and I guess that is what got me thinking about the connection to Al Gore.
Jack Welsh to Buy Boston Globe?

OK - if it is true that Morgan Stanley has just dumped its 7.3% stake in the New York Times Company then this could just start a chain of events that results in Jack Welsh owning not just the Boston Globe but also a piece of the Boston Red Sox. If Morgan Stanley dumped the stock then other institutional stockholders will be forced to follow suit. The New York Times Company may be forced into doing something drastic to raise the stock price. Something drastic like selling the Boston Globe to Jack Welsh.

This is not the first time I banged this drum. This is what I wrote last July:
Here's something to keep in the back of your head - the conditions are becoming ripe for Jack Welsh (former CEO of GE) to purchase the Boston Globe.

Follow me here.

Last year Jack Welsh admitted that he was interested in purchasing the Boston Globe but at that time the New York Times Co. was not interested in selling. Circumstances may have changed.

Consider that we have just hit record highs in the stock market but the New York Times Co. stock continues to flounder. In fact just this week the bond rating for the New York Times Co. drop to just a BBB rating which is barely above the ratings for junk bonds. The folks at the NYT Co. may be forced into doing anything they can to raise their bond rating to prevent a massive sell-off and a free-fall in stock price. Selling the Boston Globe and some associated assets may be the only route to take.

Why would Jack Welsh want to buy the Globe though? I guess the reasons could be varied. He's retired and needs something to do. He used to be a golf nut but his health forced him to quit the game. His wife, Suzy Wetlaufer, is a former journalist who used to be a reporter for the Associated Press and also the former editor of the Harvard Business Review. The Boston Globe could be a project they could do together.

Welsh is a smart businessman and I wouldn't be surprised to see him also acquire the site and the New York Times Co.'s partial ownership in the Boston Red Sox as part of any deal. Welsh is a big Red Sox fan - so this must add to the appeal of the deal to the retired former CEO.Also don't forget that turn-arounds are a Neutron Jack specialty. That challenge has to be very enticing.

Don't forget that part of the group Welsh would head includes Jack Connors the co-founder of the powerhouse Boston advertising firm Hill Holliday. Who better to fix the advertising and circulation problems that are plaguing the Globe than Welsh and Connors?

I for one hope this happens.
Judicial Idiocy Regarding Illegal Immigrants

It bugs me when officials who swear to uphold the law start picking and choosing what laws they want to uphold. The law says that employers are supposed to make sure that employees have proper documentation. When the Social Security numbers don't match the employees - then I'd say that proper documentation had not been provided.

While that may be true - Judge Charles Breyer (younger brother of Steven Breyer) says that DHS can't bother employers with warning about said mis-matched Social Security numbers.

If I were running DHS - I'd say "Fine - we won't give any warnings - we'll go straight to raids and arrests."

I know that this is "old news" but I just got around to tossing in my $.02.

HT Samantha Burns
Randi Rhodes

I wasn't going to comment on the Randi Rhodes situation but there are two observations that I want to make.

First, originally it was reported that Rhodes was mugged. Air America's Jon Elliott said so on air. That original report had to come from somewhere. There have been reports from Gawker that Rhodes was injured because she was drunk. Taking these two things together makes me think that if Rhodes injured herself while literally being "falling down drunk" then it's probably not too far of a jump to make that she was too embarrassed by the truth to tell it to her employers. "Dear Boss I can't make it into work today because I was mugged and lost some teeth" sounds a lot better than "Dear Boss I can't come into work today because I got drunk, fell down and smashed some of my teeth."

Second, the fake Brownshirt attack made me think of Morton Downey Jr. and the fake skinhead attack. According to Wikipedia:
In 1989, as fascination with Downey's show began to wane, he was involved in an incident in a San Francisco International Airport restroom in which he claimed to have been attacked by neo-Nazis who painted a swastika on his face and attempted to shave his head. Some inconsistencies in Downey's account (e.g., the swastika was painted in reverse, suggesting that Downey had drawn it himself in a mirror), and the failure of the police to find supportive evidence, led many to suspect that the incident was a hoax and a plea for attention.[7] A few months later, the show was canceled.[7]
If Rhodes did originally lie to her employers about being mugged then I wouldn't be surprised if she was fired. The move would make good business sense for Air America. Rhodes is probably among the highest paid if not the highest paid employee at Air America (I forget if Al Franken is still there). They could replace her with lower price talent and use all the hub-bub surrounding this fake mugging as free PR for the change. Its not like the move will hurt ratings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Norman Chad

I'm a fan. Here's his latest with this great piece of imagery:
A single woman of 38 is more likely to find a husband at a Daughters of the American Revolution rally than a Maryland basketball player is to graduate within six years.
John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

Many people look at the firing upon Fort Sumter as the spark that lit the Civil War but I think the real spark came on this day 148 years ago when John Brown and his "army" of 21 attacked and occupied the armory at Harpers Ferry, VA.

The next day, US Marines under the command of US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee attacked Brown and his men. When the gun smoke cleared, 10 of Brown's men were dead (including 2 of his sons) and Brown was taken prisoner and shortly thereafter he was hanged.

I find it slightly amusing that most history books and mentions of Brown on the web either gloss over or omit completely the fact that Brown was almost certainly insane.

I'm not making any moral judgments on Brown's actions. I'm just saying that he was crazy. Seriously. When I first saw a picture of John Brown - I thought I was looking at Charlie Manson circa 1850.

The John Brown / Charles Manson analogy isn't that bad. Brown raided the armory because he wanted to arm slaves to start a full-fledged slave revolt. Charles Manson has said that he killed those folks in the Hollywood Hills because he hoped that blacks would be blamed and that would spark a race war in the US. This may be one of those things that I only find interesting. Or at least interesting enough to mention it every year.
Payton Award Watch

I readily admit that originally I was going to post about the injustice of Holy Cross JR QB Dominic Randolph still not being included in the Payton Award Watch list even after another stellar performance this week - 24 of 35 for 298 yards and 2 TD while rushing for another TD. As I've mentioned before - Randolph is 6th in the nation in 1-AA in passing yards and all but 2 of the players ahead of him have had an extra game.

However, when looking into the numbers to make the case for Randolph I became blown away by the numbers for Josh Johnson of the University of San Diego.

I know that the University of San Diego occupies a strange place where technically they are Division 1-AA but because of their schedule and non-scholarship status they really occupy a netherworld between 1-AA and Division 2. Say what you want about the program but the performance of starting QB Josh Johnson has been Bradyesque. In 5 games Johnson has completed 75% of his passes for 1,603 yards with 23 TD and ZERO interceptions. Yikes!

Payton Award Notes: Herb Donaldson, the RB from Western Illinois had a statement game against Missouri State rushing for 314 yards to go over 1,000 yards for the season with 4 games remaining... Not for nothing but Dominic Randolph is more deserving to be on the Payton Award watch list than Luke Drone the QB from Illinois State or Jerome Felton the RB from Furman to name just 2. I could name half the list... Mike McLeod the RB from Yale may be the front-runner for the award and I couldn't argue much about that. He can take over a game like perhaps no other runner in 1-AA...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Philadelphia Phillies

The Sports Prof has a nice postmortem and look ahead for the Phillies. The nucleus of Rollins, Utley and Howard has to be exciting for Phillies fans to look forward to.

The Phillies will have some money to spend this off-season and it will be interesting to see how they send it. I would look into approaching the Yankees for Mike Mussina if were the GM because Mussina is toast in New York but could be rejuvenated if he went to the NL (think of Bronson Arroyo's first year in Cincinnati). Mussina would only cost $11 million in 2008 and he's from Pennsylvania - so he could waive his no-trade clause.
Harry Reid

Instapundit writes:
HARRY REID'S HOME-STATE APPROVAL RATINGS have plunged. Another Daschle in the making?
The Professor links to a poll showing Reid's ratings plunging like a Madonna neckline.

I just want to note that I predicted this very thing FIVE MONTHS ago. I also want to note this final paragraph:
So Harry Reid is probably secure in his job (unless he's arrested for ethics violations) until 2010 and Nancy Pelosi would be hard pressed to take positions that are too-far left for her Congressional District. However, the hard left turn of the Democratic Party and their Congressional leaders will probably cost them the Presidential election in 2008 and control of both houses of Congress in 2008 as well. For that - I guess we should be thankful to Harry Reid and his inability to control the things he spouts off about.
1920s Reporter Guy

I actually find this pretty funny. The sports media could use a little more Damon Runyan-type reporting in my opinion.

It's not funny when press conferences turn into circuses but one amusing shtick question once and a while never hurt anyone. I think Belichick and Brady both handled the questions just fine.
Belichick You Magnificent Bastard!

Jim Nance (actual pre-game question to Tony Romo): Did you prepare for this [game] by reading some of his [Bill Belichick's] books?

Tony Romo (the answer I wished he gave): Who am I? Patton? Belichick you magnificent bastard! I read your book!

Tony Romo
(actual answer): I didn't go out and get them this week or anything. But just in the past, I wanted to read about great coaches. I think he tries to think like the quarterback thinks. I think he wants to say, what does this quarterback do to allow himself to have success? If this quarterback has tendencies to do this or this, he'll try to take those away.

HT Boston Sports Media
Knights Templar and Forfeiture Laws

A very interesting look at the Knights Templar and other militaristic monastic orders.

The post also touches on the forfeiture laws which were used to undo the Templars. Make sure you read the comments which show how the forfeiture laws are still alive and well and in many cases as unfair as the law used against the Templars. Also read for a number of interesting historical footnotes.

I am reminded of the forfeiture law which allow game officials (law officers - not referees) to seize your boat (if you dove from a boat) or your car (if you drove to the beach you dove from) if you take an undersized lobster while diving.

HT Instapundit

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ronald Reagan vs. Ted Baxter

Time for another installment of the Ronald Reagan vs. Ted Baxter betting NFL football contest.

The conservative theory of NFL betting is to take a home team getting 3 or fewer points. Who is more conservative than Ronald Reagan? Note - this theory does not include games which are a "pick". The Ted Baxter theory of football betting says to take the NFL teams getting 10 or more points under the idea that both teams are professionals and how much difference could there be between two groups of professionals? Ted Baxter used this method to soundly whip Lou Grant betting football games.

Week 4 NFL Picks

Ronald Reagan - going into today the Ronald Reagan theory has been 6-4 for the season. Last week the theory went 0-2 with both the Chiefs and Broncos getting smuckled at home. Today there were one game each for Ronnie and Ted. Chiefs getting 3 beat the Bengals 27-20. That raises Ronnie's season mark to 7-4.

Ted Baxter - last week the Ted Baxter theory went 1-1-1 as the Colts easily covered, the Patriots pushed giving 17 and the Cowboys were lucky to leave Buffalo with a W never mind cover the 11 points. This week the Chargers were giving 10 to the Raiders and they covered by winning 28-14. That put Ted's record at 5-7-1 for the season.
Boston College Football

Matt Ryan and the Boston College Eagles beat Notre Dame 27-14 yesterday to run their record to 7-0 on the season (and once again let me point out that I was probably the only person to predict a 7-0 start in writing). Ryan was good but not great completing 65% of his passes (32-49) for 291 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT.

With #1 LSU and #2 California both losing - the #4 Eagles can expect to move up in the polls. My guess is that they move to #3 with Ohio State taking the #1 spot and Southern Florida jumping over BC on the strength of their drubbing of Central Florida yesterday.

Many people still aren't comfortable with the idea of BC ranked so high (like ESPN's Mark May). I understand that mindset because to many people BC is one of those teams that will look good on paper but then fold in the big game. Yesterday's performance against the Fighting Irish helps illustrate the problem. BC missed an extra point and an easily makable field goal. The score should have been at least 31-14. Then you add in the fact that half Notre Dame's points came off a BC turnover and some people will think "BC would never get away with that stuff against a top team." To an extent these people are right. I'm no fan of running up the score for the sake of scoring but when you completely dominate a game like yesterday (459 total yards for BC to just 222 for ND) then that should be reflected on the scoreboard. All too often - that's not the case with Boston College.

BC's next game against Virginia Tech on the road will be its biggest test. If BC can win that game - then they can run the table and go undefeated. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season? The BC players have to realize that their next game just may be for the right to play in the championship game. If they can elevate their game to that next level then they should be able to quiet those who aren't sold on them yet. In short - they have to prove it to themselves first.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Red Sox / Indians ALCS Game 2 Live Blog

I have the time to do some live blogging tonight - so what the heck.

First off let me say that I was a huge Springsteen fan. I use the past tense because to be honest - he's lost his fastball. The Radio Nowhere opening just didn't have that old-time "oumph". Do you know what I mean? The Boss is teetering on become a South Park parody. I'm sorry but its true. How long before he becomes a Vegas act?

One thing I've been dwelling on today is how Josh Barfield just completely missed on his projected production this year. What is wrong? Was he lightning in a bottle last year? Was the NL West so weak last year that Barfield just projected as a better player than he was? Just strange. I thought the Indians had a steal in Barfield. It turns out that the Padres probably had the steal with Kevin Kouzmanoff and his 18 HR (the same as Casey Blake but in 100 fewer AB and Blake didn't have to play half his games at Petco Park).

8:17 - Tim McCarver just admitted he has no clue. Tim we've known that for years! Where the heck is Al Leiter? This guys spells out how I feel exactly.

- Indians go up 1-0 on Victor Martinez's double which scored Grady Sizemore. It could have been worse. The Red Sox were lucky Eric Wedge was so willing to give up an out with that bunt. Was that really James Taylor doing the Red Sox player introductions or was that Norm McDonald doing a bad James Taylor impression? Kevin Youkilis is the first base player?

8:51 - Is this really the time to be talking about Schilling being a free agent? Thank goodness that double play kept us from further subjection to that line of discussion. Schilling has a gaming company in Boston - he isn't going anywhere. He'll re-sign for $13 million with a team option for 2009. Mark it down.

9:05 - Carmona is on track to be over 100 pitches by the 5th inning. That's good for the Red Sox. Schilling is on pace to get to 100 pitches in the 7th inning. That's good for the Red Sox too (looking for silver linings here since there isn't much action and Buck and McCarver are tough to listen to).

- The over / under for this game was 8.5 runs and I had the feeling it would be a tight game but once again I did not have the conviction to put my money where my mouth is. At this pace Carmona will be toast by the end of the 5th inning.

9:32 - Manny walks and the Red Sox tie the game at 1-1. In Little League the kids would be shouting, "pitcher's blowing up, pitcher's blowing up." Carmona did not want to pitch to Manny Ramirez. The duo of Manny and Big Papi have the Indian pitchers psyched out right now. Mike Lowell comes up huge once again. Two out hit and the score is now 3-1. Tim McCarver "Lowell drove in more RBI - I mean runs this year than any other Red Sox third baseman." Umm grandpa - I think you mean Lowell had more RBI this year than any other Red Sox third baseman in the teams history. What you said is the same as saying Dustin Pedroia had more RBI this year than any Red Sox second baseman.

9:47 - Jhonny Peralta hits a 3-run dinger and the Indians re-take the lead at 4-3. Yuk!

10:05 - Pedroia strikes out again. I don't know what happened to his plate discipline. Pedroia was so hard to strikeout during the regular season. Dustin comes off as a kid with all the confidence in the world but you have to wonder if he's got a bad case of butterflies at the plate. After 4 innings - Fausto Carmona is up to 95 pitches. This game is going wicked slow. I hope it is over by the time the Patriots kick off.

10:11 - Grady Sizemore hits a HR to make it 5-3 and the bastard costs me $20 because my friend Tim has Sizemore in our HR pool. I have Manny, Hafner and Martinez. Tim has Ortiz, Sizemore and Lowell. Now I'm glad I didn't take the under on this game.

- I see those commercials where Tiger Woods is pitching razor blades and I wonder how often Tiger really needs to shave. Seriously - he looks like the type of guy who could skip a few days and nobody would really notice. Just saying.

- MANNY! MANNY! MANNY! Not only does he tie it up at 5 apiece with a 2-run bomb - he also wins my $20 back! Way to go Manny!

10:38 - Mike Lowell puts the Red Sox up 6-5 and my $20 goes back to Tim (well worth the money). Mike Lowell has to be back next year. He just has to. I hope management realizes that Sox fans would prefer 2-years of Lowell to 5-years of Alex Rodrigez.

11:07 - That was a long drawn out, sucky half-inning. Indians tie it up at 6. Meanwhile elsewhere in the world of sports LSU and Cal both lost. That means that Boston College probably moves up to 3 in the polls (I see Ohio St. #1 and I see South Florida hopping over BC to #2). Interesting time to be a sports fan in Boston - the hub of the sports universe.

- Nice job by Okijima. Now the Sox have the Giant part of the order coming up and Jonathan Papelbon waiting in the wings. I admit I'm getting a bit tired and might just veg out on the couch. Oh and once again - Tim McCarver sucks.

11:52 - Wow - Dusty Baker to manage the Reds? My sympathies to any Reds fans out there. On the bright side - at least baseball fans won't have to listen to his moronic ramblings on ESPN any more. Maybe Dusty could do us all a favor and take John Kruk with him.

- You know people complain that playoff baseball games now start too late for kids to stay up to watch them. Some of these games (this one included) go too late for most adults to stay up and watch them.

- Eric Gagne comes out of the game and every Red Sox fan watching at home breathes a sigh of relief and says "Thank God!"

1:18 - I stayed up for this? The Indians score two runs on two singles. Yuk! Sorry - three runs on three singles.

EDIT - So OK. When the flood gates opened in the 11th inning I bailed. Can you blame me?
Face Rape?

Face rape? Did he really say that? I know that the Supreme Court ruled against Texas sodomy laws but I'm pretty sure that "face raping" is still illegal.

HT The Big Lead
Red Sox / Indians ALCS Game 1

The Red Sox spanked the Indians 10-3 last night in the first game of the ALCS. Here are my thoughts and observations from the game.

The game was built up as a potential pitcher's duel between the top two AL Cy Young Award candidates. I had a feeling that CC Sabathia was going to be nervous and that the Red Sox were going to get him into a high pitch count early in the game. The over / under on runs for the game was set at 8 and I had told a friend earlier in the day that the game probably wouldn't be a low scoring affair at all. Looking back I wish I put my money where my mouth was and took the over for last night's game.

Speaking of looking back - I'm guessing there are a number of voters for the Cy Young Award who may be second guessing their vote for Sabathia over Beckett after last night's game. I think Josh Beckett deserves the award but when you look at the numbers - Sabathia is equally deserving. My guess is that Beckett would be OK with things if Sabathia got the award but Beckett got the World Series ring.

As good as Josh Beckett was last night - I think any Red Sox starter would have earned a W with 10 runs to back them up. Those runs don't just happen either. When you have an all-time great combination of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in the middle of the order reaching base with every turn at bat - the runs aren't accidental.

Seeing how devastating the Ortiz-Manny combo has been so far in the playoffs actually makes me a bit mad. I'm mad at all the writers who make it a pastime every spring and early summer writing about how Manny should be traded and how his antics aren't worth the production he brings to the plate. You'll hear nothing but the sounds of silence regarding Manny from those knights of the keyboards now that the playoffs have rolled around and once again Manny is the best right-handed bat in baseball.

I'm talking about morons like Peter King who makes Manny his personal off-handed comment pinyata. Yeah - keep picking the Vikings to win the Super Bowl, bitching about how your fat ass can't fit in a regular size airline seat and how "the Papelbon bubble has burst" (August 14, 2006). Manny Ramirez is one of the all-time great hitters and next year we will see him passing some significant milestone on the all-time lists as frequently as Peter King writes talking from his ass pronouncements in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

I know I should be looking at the positives of last night's win but by the same token - I think that those writers who teed off on Manny should be held accountable and now is as good a time as any. This - of course - won't happen because other writers just let those things slide, pretend those words were never written and then they scratch their head and wonder why Manny doesn't speak with the media.

As far as the series going forward is concerned - I'd look for more of a low scoring pitcher's duel tonight with Curt Schilling the veteran who has been there before and Fausto Carmona the young gun who seems hard to phase pitching tonight. It looks bad overall for the Indians though because CC Sabathia does not seem to hold any mystery for the Red Sox batters and that was the horse the Indians really needed to ride to victory.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Red Sox Player's Cars at Fenway

I love getting little details like this. If you've ever tried to park around Fenway Park - you know parking is at a premium. It was interesting getting the insight of where the players park their cars.

I would have pegged Theo Epstein as a hybrid guy. Maybe he takes the T like Michael Dukakis?

(As an aside - my spellcheck offers the following corrections for "Dukakis" - Weakish, Rakish and Pakistani. I'm amused by that because I'll now think of Dukakis as a weakish, rakish Pakistani guy.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mitt Romney and Bruce Campbell

Baseball Crank has an interesting post (actual part 1 of a 5 part series) on why he does not support Mitt Romney. In the comments someone mentioned how much Mitt looks like actor Bruce Campbell. I've noticed this resemblance in the past but thought this was as good a chance as any to toss out some thoughts on the matter.

In many ways the persona of Bruce Campbell is the exact opposite of Mitt Romney. Campbell is the sort of regular guy you'd like to have a beer with. Romney doesn't drink and given his business background - if he came up to talk with you in the back of your mind you might be worrying that he's about to eliminate your job. Campbell would make you want to say "take this job and shove it!"

Romney should capitalize on this dichotomy and hire Bruce Campbell to do some appearances and commercials as the "bizarro Romney". They could do commercials together in a "what Romney says" and "what bizarro Campbell Romney actually wants to say." It would be a hit and it would take down some of the complaints about Romney being too slick, phony or stiff.

I should be making big money as a political adviser. Take my idea of John McCain hiring Red Sox legend Carlton Fisk to do commercials for him in New Hampshire. If McCain did that - he'd win the New hampshire primary going away.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

John Donovan of SI does a position by position comparison for the NLCS and gives pretty much the edge to everything except starting pitching to the Rockies. I'll quibble on a couple of things such as saying Todd Helton is "just OK defensively" and that the Diamondbacks have the "intangibles" going for them (I'd disagree on both of these points). Donovan picks the Rockies in 6 games but with home field advantage and better starting pitching - I still find it tough to pick against the Diamondbacks... There is a pretty good chance that game 1 of the ALCS in Boston could be rained out. This would make it much more difficult to have the game 1 starters also start games 4 and 7 (if necessary) because it would eliminate an off-day between starts. This means the teams probably would be forced to go with 4 starters each which I think gives an edge to Boston since they have a deeper pitching staff. The Red Sox can use Tim Wakefield as their 4th starter with Jon Lester as long relief.... ESPN's Tim Kurkjian picks the Red Sox in 7... I think an aspect that is not discussed enough is how the Indians chose to support manager Eric Wedge in 2004 when they basically picked him over supposedly budding star Milton Bradley (who has never lived up to his supposed talent levels). That decision to trade away the disgruntled Bradley has allowed Cleveland to get to the point they are today - as a cohesive, gruntled unit. It is a lesson that GM's should not forget... David Pinto has an ALCS preview at The Sporting news which focuses in on strikeouts. Largely because Boston pitchers strikeout more batters and Cleveland hitters tend to strikeout more often - Pinto picks the Red Sox in 7 games.... Speaking of strikeouts - I've been meaning to mention the incredible fact that this year Dustin Pedroia has walked 47 times yet struck out just 42 times in 520 at bats. His number of strikeouts is mind numbingly low for a rookie who has a seemingly swing for it all approach at the plate. Which is why I'm bothered by the fact that Pedroia struck out twice against the Angels in the ALDS. If Pedroia can work the counts and not strikeout against the Indians - that's a big advantage in helping to get at Cleveland's bullpen...
Do You Have a Camaro for Sale?

One of the great Internet pranks of all-time. Funny, funny stuff.

Scottie is a genius.
Odds to Win 2008 Presidential Election

Here are the current odds on who will win the 2008 Presidential race (via

Hillary Clinton 3/2
Rudy Giuliani 15/4
Barack Obama 9/2
Fred Thompson 6/1
Mitt Romney 9/1
Al Gore 10/1
John Edwards 14/1
Mike Bloomberg 15/1
John McCain 16/1
Bill Richardson 40/1
Ron Paul 45/1
Mike Huckabee 55/1
Chris Dodd 60/1

I think once you get past the top 5 choices - then you start wandering into sucker bet territory.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

League Championship Series

It's down to 4 teams and of course I'm rooting for the Red Sox to win it all.

Lyford takes a look at the match-ups using Bill James' playoff prediction formula and also Baseball Prospectus' "Secret Sauce" formula. Both systems point to a Red Sox / Arizona World Series.

Meanwhile Vegas seems to be pointing toward a Red Sox / Rockies matchup.

According to the lines at - the Red Sox are a -$170 favorite (risk $170 to win $100) over Cleveland at +$135 (risk $100 to win $135). The Rockies are a -$135 favorite (risk $135 to win $100) over Arizona at +$115 (risk $100 to win $115).

Keep in mind that the formulas Lyford highlights point to who will win the series. The betting lines are geared toward evening out the betting. Many people are jumping on the Rockies bandwagon because they have been so hot. Its tough to argue against that but Arizona clearly has the better pitching and they have seen Colorado a ton of times this year. I think the NL is a toss-up.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Traditional powers Miami (FL) and Notre Dame may be down this year but it looks like help is on its way. Of the top 100 high school recruits - according to - the Irish and Hurricanes have already snagged 6 players each. That bodes well for a return to the top for each program... Hats off to the ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber who rightfully points out that making controversies out of nothing is getting out of hand in the sports media. I especially like her take-down of Greg Easterbrook:
Easterbrook is entitled to his opinion, to his logic, to his analogies, however strained I think they are, but what is not OK is cloaking opinion in the camouflage of reporting.
Ouch! Personally I gave up reading Easterbrook long ago. His verbal diarrhea style of writing is just not my cup of tea... Some people may be surprised at Ivan Rodriguez having his $13 million option picked up by the Tigers but when you consider that the free agent alternatives are Michael Barrett, Paul Lo Duca and Jason Kendall the decision look much less surprising. Some people thought that the Tigers would buy out I-Rod for $3 million and then move Brandon Inge back behind the plate from 3rd base. That would have just left a hole at 3rd base... Betsy has a nice look at how Anita Hill's testimony at the Clarence Thomas confirmation meetings does not hold up to scrutiny. In some people's minds a black man can be anything he wants to be in this country - as long as he's not a Republican.
Saint Cornelius of Ireland

Though not widely remembered today - at one point Saint Cornelius of Ireland (not to be confused with Saint Cornelius of Antioch) was second in popularity in the Emerald Isle only to Saint Patrick.

Saint Patrick is remembered for driving the snakes out of Ireland. Saint Cornelius was said to have driven the squirrels out of Ireland. This "miracle" of Saint Cornelius later proved to be his undoing. During the Great Potato Famine starving Irishmen and women wished they had tasty squirrel meat to eat and they cursed Saint Cornelius for driving out the furry rodents. In response to this outrage - Pope Pius IX removed Cornelius from the roll of official Catholic Saints.