Monday, December 31, 2007

NFL Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous NFL thoughts and observations.

I think there must be a zombie in the Baltimore Ravens organization. This zombie feasts only on the part of people's brains that allow them to come up with offensive play calling. Brian Billick was supposed to be an offensive genius when he arrived in Baltimore - then the zombie ate that part of his brain. Jim Fassel had so much of his brain eaten that he got fired as offensive coordinator. Rick Neuheisel was an innovative offensively minded college coach but have you seen any evidence of that in his time in Baltimore? I blame the zombie.... I've been reading Peter King a lot this season and with the historic season the Patriots just had you would think King would speak with coach Belichick about the historic season and yet I've not seen any first hand comments to King from Belichick. I guess that's the price you pay for getting on your fat high horse.... Grumpy old men. Can members of the 1972 Dolphins be any more annoying? Do you know the fortune cookie game where you read your fortune cookie and then add the words "under the sheets"? I now see a comment from a member of the 72 Dolphins and add in the words "and get off my lawn."...
Thoughts on the Patriots

I watched the Patriots come back to beat the Giants Saturday night from Mahoney's Pub with a bunch of my friends. It was a very good atmosphere to watch a game. Mahoney's has the coldest beer in Worcester and the TV's are all HD.

My friend Sean was the only person rooting for the Giants in the bar. Since Sean is a football coach and part-time bartender at Mahoney's nobody gave him too much grief (except me - I gave him all I could muster - but I didn't go over the top since he was my ride home). It is well known that the Giants have been Sean's team pretty much his whole life - so we all just considered it natural for him to be rooting for the Jints. Sean even had his new Giants hat on which he got for Christmas.

Now the Patriots not only go into the playoffs with a perfect record - they go into the playoffs as the most ready team in football. They are the most ready because 5 of their last 6 opponents have approached the game with the Patriots as if it was a playoff game (I'm not counting the Miami game). The Giants certainly treated this game with playoff level intensity. They rested no-one and everyone gave their all. I have to think that will help the Giants against Tampa Bay. Yes - the Giants lost a couple of players to injury but the confidence gained by the team of taking the best team in football to the final bell will more than offset that. The Giants need Eli Manning to be confident going into the playoffs and this game gave him that confidence.

You would think that with Boston College winning a bowl game on Friday and the Patriots winning an exciting game on Saturday that all would be roses for Boston sports fans. The realist in me has to point out that even though BC and the Pats both won - neither covered the betting lines. So I'm sure that there are a number of fans out there who will start 2008 in a hole because they took BC and then tried to win the money back by taking the Pats. Hopefully those folks used the Celtics as their bailout team.

In an interesting twist of fate - at Mahoney's a bunch of us have a pool on the Patriots. Ten guys at $10 per guy with the winner getting the $100. Each guy gets a number (0-9) drawn each week. The person who has the last number of the combined final score wins the money. This week I had 0 and who should have the 3 (38-35 was the final score)? None other than the only guy rooting for the Giants in the entire bar - my buddy Sean.

The TV audience for the game was huge and a big win for the NFL Network - just as I predicted.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Kinks to Reunite

Good news - the original members of the Kinks may reunite for a concert tour in 2008. I've long held that the Kinks were perhaps the most under-rated band in rock history. They have so many hits - its tough to pick your favorites. However, here's my picks on the top 5 Kinks songs from last February.

I last saw the Kinks back in 1983. Seeing them was part of one of the greatest weekends of my life.

It was my junior year in high school and my friend Sean's parents were away. I was staying at Sean's house for the weekend. Friday night we had a small party at Sean's house. Saturday afternoon we had a cookout in his backyard with more friends over. That night I went to see the Kinks with my friends Paul, Tim and Tim's girlfriend Erin. It was a great concert. On Sunday night I went to see Bob Seger with Sean and his sister Lynn. Like I said - it was a great weekend all the way around.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ray Bourque

Today is Ray Bourque's 47th birthday. In his honor I am posting one of my favorite sports moments of all-time - the night Ray Bourque literally gave Phil Esposito the shirt off his back.
Songs About Heroin

I remember back when JFK Jr. died in the plane crash a local radio station kept playing Sarah McLachlan's In the Arms of the Angel as a tribute until a guy called in to complain. The conversation went something like this:

Caller Guy: I'm not sure if that's an appropriate tribute song for JFK Jr. You guys know that song is about heroin addiction - right?
Female DJ: Way to ruin the sentiment.
Male DJ: Yeah way to go jerk.
Caller Guy: Hey I'm not the one who's oblivious to the lyrics here.

I thought the exchange was funny but I also remember being surprised to learn that U2's Bad was about heroin. The references in those songs are a little esoteric. Not like Neil Young's The Needle and the Damage Done. Some songs dance around the subject of heroin so much that it almost becomes a stretch to make a connection. For instance some people believe that the Eagle's Hotel California is about heroin addiction. I guess my point is that the references to heroin in many songs have become so veiled that you can almost convince people that almost any song is about heroin.

To illustrate my point let me tell you about a conversation I had about a week with a friend at a bar.

Friend: You know you never see The Little Drummer Boy on TV anymore. I wonder why?
Me [making it up as I go along]: Well supposedly they pulled the show because it portrays Arabs in a bad light but the real reason is because the song is about heroin addiction.
Friend: What? What are you talking about?
Me: Yeah - the song was written by a guy trying to kick heroin and turn his life over to Jesus but he felt worthless because he had nothing to give back in exchange for being saved from his addiction.
Friend: You're kidding - right?
Me: That's why in the show its always the little drummer boy and his donkey. The donkey was a metaphor for his addiction. They stopped showing it during the Reagan administration when they launched the War on Drugs. In the TV business it's pretty common knowledge.
Friend: Wow! I never knew that.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The NFL Network Scores Big

One of the big debates today seems to be about the decision of the NFL Network to simulcast Saturday's Patriots / Giants game not just on the NFL Network but also on CBS and NBC. Some people think that the NFL caved on this issue or that this is some sort of admission that the NFL is losing the battle with the cable companies.

I say - make no mistake - this is a huge win for the NFL Network.

They say that drug dealers have a saying that "the first taste is for free" and I can't help but remember when I was a kid how Showtime and HBO would offer "free" weekends where non-subscribers of the pay channels could see the content for free with the hope that enough would like what they saw to become subscribers themselves. The idea behind both is basically - try it you'll like it. You also know that commercials either asking you to sign up for the NFL Network or asking you to write your cable company will bombard viewers Saturday.

At the very least - the NFL Network is getting a ton of free publicity out of this move. But that's not all the NFL Network is getting though - they will be getting a big revenue boost to go along with the Good Samaritan image. Thanks to the writers strike - everything on CBS and NBC Saturday was either crap or a rerun. Now the two networks get free programming and the NFL Network will be able to charge much more for their ad spots because of the added reach of the broadcast. The ratings will be huge. The revenue windfall for the NFL will be in the millions of dollars.

In addition to getting all this free advertising and PR plus the added revenue - the NFL gets to take the moral high ground as a bonus. Out of the goodness of their hearts the NFL is making this potentially historic game available to everyone with a TV. Now the ball is in the big cable companies court. If they stonewall next year then the NFL can say, "Hey we can't keep giving the product away Mr. Senator man. I'm sure you understand. Now let's talk about why the voters in your state get 5 home shopping channels forced on them but they can't choose a channel they want like the NFL Network. Maybe now is the time to push that ala carte cable bill through Congress. It is an election year you know and that bill would be very popular with your electorate."

This is a tremendous move by the NFL.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Sounds like Ryan Mallet needs to go to a college that helps drop back QB's prepare for the pro game. A college like BC maybe?.... Some people who worship Peyton Manning will point out that Manning basically sat out the last game in 2004 when he set the TD record of 49 TD passes that Tom Brady will probably be breaking in his 16th game this Saturday night. To those people I would like to point out that Manning played the majority of his games in climate controlled domes (10 out of 16 games) while Brady has played in some of the worst conditions imaginable this season. I would also point out that Manning's backup - Jim Sorgi - played in just 4 games in 2004 (including that last game of the season). Meanwhile Brady's backup - Matt Cassel - has already relieved Brady in 6 games and there is a good chance he will do so again on Saturday... I was always under the impression that Mark Knopfler kicked his brother David out of the band Dire Straits. Turns out that David Knopfler left on his own. File that under "you learn something new every day"... George Roy Hill died 5 years ago today. Manny people will consider either Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or The Sting as his masterpiece but to me Hill's great contribution to the world at large will always be the movie Slapshot.
Don't be a Dursley

I seem to be seeing more and more bumper stickers that say "Republicans for Voldemort". I find the bumper sticker amusing. I know it is a knock at "evil" Republicans but I find it clever.

I wish I knew how to make bumper stickers because if I did - I would come out with a counter bumper sticker that said:
The Dursley's Vote Democrat
Don't be a Dursley
Of course if I did - I'm sure that A: it would be a pretty good selling item and B: Democrats who are fans of Harry Potter would not take it with the same humor that Republicans take the Voldemort bumper stickers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blunt Back Trauma for Christmas

It was Monday morning - Christmas Eve day - and my wife had gone out early to the grocery store to do some last minute shopping. She returned around 8:00 and when she came in with bags of groceries - I put on my shoes to help her bring in the rest.

When I stepped outside my first thought was, "What a beautiful day. The sun is shining, its warm (about 45-50 degrees) and it looks like all the ice on the walk has melted." Then I hit the first step going down the porch and my thoughts were:

"Oh shit - black ice."
"Hey look - the sky."
"Oh boy this is not good and this is going to hurt."
"AARRHHHH my back!!!"
"Can't.......... breathe..... fuuuuuuuck!!"
"Thank God I can move my legs."

When I hit that first step my leg slipped right out from under me. I must have been going down the stairs at a good clip because my momentum cause me to fly up in the air a few feet. I landed so hard on the stars that I bounced to the pavement where I lay in excruciating pain, unable to talk because I was unable to breathe. All the air had been knocked out of me.

It was a good five minutes before I was able to sit up. Then get up. My wife (who was right behind me all the time and saw what happened) examined my back, helped me into the house, helped me take off the sweatshirt I was wearing (it was now soaking wet from me laying on the wet walkway) and then helped me to the couch where I was to remain basically for the next 24-hours.

I got up twice during the day to go to the bathroom. I could barely move and each step was accompanied by significant pain. I must have ate 16 Advil during my time on the couch. I drank very little because it hurt to raise my head to drink from a cup. Being couch bound meant that my Christmas Eve was ruined. No going to church to watch the kids in the Christmas play. No going to my brother's house for our traditional family Christmas eve get together.

My wife explained my absence to my siblings and their families at the party and my brother John (a paramedic) called me to check on my condition. His first concern was that my trouble breathing could have been caused by broken ribs. When I assured him that I didn't have broken ribs (unfortunately - I know how those feel) he said sounding relieved, "Simple blunt trauma to the back then."

Blunt trauma to the back? That didn't sound so simple to me. In fact the word "trauma" coupled with "back" sounded painful. And it was painful. I'm a realist though and I know some injuries may be painful but really the only thing you can do is give them time to heal.

On Christmas day I made an effort to shuffle around figuring that even minor exercise would be good. The kids and the wife loved their presents and I ended up spending a good portion of the day in my office reading and avoiding getting roped into playing Guitar Hero III which had monopolized the front room TV from the time it was unwrapped.

By the afternoon I was feeling well enough and determined enough to make sure I fulfilled one of my traditional Christmas responsibilities - going for Chinese food so that my wife (who works so hard to make Christmas a success) doesn't have to add "cooking dinner" to the rest of her responsibilities. I was able to make it to the restaurant but my oldest daughter had to come along to carry the food.

Anyway - that was my Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 5 - Festivus Grievances

Happy day after Festivus! I got a lot of problems with some of you people! Here are my top 5 grievances at the moment. Want to read other people's Festivus grievances? The Airing of Grievances is the only place to look.

1. Cuba Gooding Jr. in those Haines underwear commercials. Those commercials just make me uncomfortable. So Cuba Gooding Jr. goes into other people's dressing rooms and steals their underwear. Is Cuba supposed to be some sort of kleptomaniac? Some sort of men's underwear fetishist? Is he gay for Michael Jordan? Is that the market segment Haines is trying to target – the homosexual NBA groupie market? Has Cuba Gooding Jr.'s star fallen so low that he's reduced to doing commercials like this or does Michael Jordan hold some sort of grudge against Gooding forcing to debase himself so? No matter how you slice it – the commercials make me uncomfortable.

2. "He went to Jared's". I swear to God. If in real life someone said that to me and was serious – that person would get kicked in the nuts.

3. Accidentally giving yourself a Dutch oven. That's all I want to say about that.

4. Tim McCarver. Why God? Why? What demographic actually enjoys listening to this blowhard? Al Leiter and Dennis Eckersley could give better analysis in their sleep. Forget the steroids era – the festering Tim McCarver announcing era has done much more harm to the youth of this country than BALCO and all the cheaters put together.

5. The fact that the traditional day of observing Festivus fell on a Sunday this year so that Orthodox Festivus practitioners don't get to take the day as a paid holiday. If Christmas fell on a Sunday – you would still get Monday as a paid day off. It's religious discrimination and I pray to the almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster to set this to rights – blessed be his noodly appendage. Ramen.

OK – now that's out of the way let's get on with the feats of strength,

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Heh Heh - Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer - Where are They Now?

This may be old but its new to me and funny to me. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer And Friends: Where Are They Now?
Happy Festivus!

Festivus (a festivus for the rest of us) is traditionally observed on December 23rd but the great thing about Festivus is that it can be observed any day during the holiday season. Different people celebrate Festivus in different ways. What was the genesis of Festivus? Well here' what has to say:
This man's name is Frank Costanza. During a routine outing to secure a Christmas gift for his son George, events transpired which would forever change the landscape of the holiday season.

In his own words: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had -- but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way! [The doll] was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born. 'A Festivus for the rest of us!'"
The three major elelments of Festivus include:

The Festivus Pole

As a symbol of the anti-holiday commercialization, devotees of Festivus display a large pole in a prominent location in their home or dwelling. The pole is aluminum, chosen due to its very high strength-to-weight ratio, and is never decorated (this stems from founder Frank Costanza's belief that "tinsel is distracting"). After the celebration is over, it is not uncommon for a pole to be placed in an out-of-the-way place, such as a crawl space.
Not sure if rebar qualifies but in the spirit of Festivus - anything is possible!

The Airing of Grievances

"Welcome, new comers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it!" -Frank Costanza

During the Festivus celebration, friends and family come together to recognize the holiday with an annual dinner. While no specific foods are relevant to the holiday, the dinner contains the most vocal of the Festivus traditions: the Airing of Grievances.

During the Airing of Grievances, a Festivus devotee informs all those in attendance how they disappointed him the year before. It is also a time to report any ongoing problem or irritation that one is having with anyone else celebrating at the dinner. Everyone in attendance is given the chance to speak before the last tradition of Festivus begins...
The Feats of Strength

"Until you pin me, George, Festivus is not over!" -Frank Costanza

In accordance with Festivus tradition, the celebration may not end until two people participate in a contest known as the Feats of Strength. During this event, the head of the household (or the host of the Festivus dinner) challenges one of the guests to a test of physical strength. The challenger may choose anyone as an opponent and a challenge may not be refused unless, of course, the challenged has a previous engagement.

You can find more info on Festivus here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Aptera Electric Type 1

Very cool technology. My big question was how much would the car cost. Also sitting in the current winter wonderland that is New England - I couldn't help but think this car would not be practical in the snow (or maybe even in the ice since it looks like it weights less than an average school lunch lady).

HT Instapundit
Elvis and Nixon

It was 37-years ago today that Elvis visited President Nixon in the White House to discuss the war on drugs. I have no words to describe how funny I find the whole circumstances behind the meeting and the meeting itself.
Poinsettia Bowl

If you weren't able to stay up last night to watch Utah play Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl - then you missed a heck of a game. Utah won the game 35-32 but the game was still in question until the final 30 seconds. Navy covered the spread (8 points) and put the total over (64 points) by scoring a quick strike 58-yard touchdown pass with just 57-seconds left to play. Navy then successfully executed the onside kick but had their hopes dashed when QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada threw an interception.

I admit to being very immature because I kept chuckling at the official name of the game - the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. All I could think of was the San Diego C-Cup Bowl and visions of breasts danced in my head.

At half I was sure that this game would go under the total as just 17 combined points were scored. Unfortunately for me - the two teams combined for 50 points in the second half.

During the second half I couldn't help think that Utah coach Kyle Whittingham would be a good fit for the open West Virginia coaching job. I wouldn't be surprised to see his name connected to that position in the weeks to come.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Joel Roberts Poinsett

Tonight is the Poinsettia Bowl pitting Utah against Navy. If you have a minute - read about the guy who the Poinsettia was named after - Joel Roberts Poinsett. Quite an interesting guy. Amateur botanist, Secretary of War and one of the first to recognize that oil could someday be used for fuel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fernando Vina, Tom Hicks and the Mitchell Report

With each passing day the Mitchell Report is looking more and more suspect in my eyes. It is getting praised for what was included but it should also get severe criticism for what it left out. Let's connect some easy dots here:

- Fernando Vina was named as both a steroids guy and HGH guy in the Mitchell Report. Vina currently works at ESPN and denies the steroids part of the allegation.

- Not six months ago on ESPN Vina blasted Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks for saying Juan Gonzalez was probably a steroids guy.

- Hicks had very good reason to speculate that Gonzalez was a steroids guy since Gonzalez's trainer Angel Presinal has basically been banned from baseball clubhouses since 2001 after getting caught smuggling steroids (Presinal may have been a fall guy for Gonzalez).

Do the names Tom Hicks, Juan Gonzalez or Angel Presinal appear in the Mitchell Report? Did Mitchell attempt to interview either Tom Hicks or Angel Presinal? The more scrutiny the report gets the more it looks like white wash job with just enough sacrificial lambs to keep the public happy.

If you think that Presinal wasn't interviewed or included because he's "old news" - consider that he still works with numerous current players such as Ervin Santana, Robinson Cano, Luis Castillo, Francisco Cordero, and occasionally Pedro Martinez. Oh and he also works with Jose Guillen who was also named in the Mitchell Report. Makes you wonder what that $20 million spent on the report actually went for. An intern with a PC and Google probably could have done just as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The A-Rod Interview

ALR: A Large Regular is very pleased that we have been granted an exclusive interview with baseball star Alex Rodriguez. This interview comes as quite a surprise since I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan and A-Rod isn’t exactly my favorite player. First off – thank you Alex for making the time for this interview but I must ask – why me?

A-Rod: Well Chris the answer is actually fairly simple. I’m a fan of your work and I know you won’t hesitate to ask me the hard questions. I thought I could get a good grilling during my 60 Minutes interview but Katie Couric just wanted to smile at me.

ALR: I must admit that I missed that interview. Couric is so sugary sweet I fear just by watching her that I’ll get diabetes. I did see some highlights where she asked you if you used steroids and you said “No”. Let me start by asking you the same question – have you ever purchased or used steroids or HGH?

A-Rod: See Chris – that’s what I mean about tough questions. Couric asked me if I ever used steroids but she never asked me if I’ve ever bought them. Well to be clear – let me say that I have never used steroids but I’ve bought them for years. The steroids were never for me though. They were for my stripper “friends”.

ALR: What?

A-Rod: Come on Chris. It’s no secret that I like muscular strippers. The steroids I buy them make them even more muscular. They say that sex is the best exercise there is and let’s just say that in that regard I’m a workout freak. The more muscular they are the better the workout. My wife is cool with it as long as it’s only on the road and only with strippers. A man’s got to stay in shape? Right?

ALR: To be clear – you say that you have never used steroids or HGH yourself though. If that’s true how to you counter Jose Canseco’s assertion that you should have been named in the Mitchell Report?

A-Rod: Jose is a moron and he’s broke. He wants to write another book and he’s trying to use me and my good name as a hook for an advance. That’s my best guess to why he’s doing what he’s doing. As far as the people who think he’s a reliable source because the players he named in his first book all proved out are forgetting that in his book he made a big deal out of saying that no way could Roger Clemens be a steroids user. That Roger was too much of a work out freak. How wrong was Jose on Clemens? As wrong on Clemens being clean as his slander that I’m dirty. That’s how wrong.

ALR: Speaking of the Mitchell Report – what was your reaction?

A-Rod: I think George Mitchell is a great person but is it any surprise that the brunt of the blame from the report is placed squarely on the shoulders of players and players alone? Owners and baseball have made hundreds of millions of dollars during the steroids era. They knew exactly what was going on. Yet there is no blame placed on or even the slightest examination of any culpability of any of the owners or of Bud Selig for that matter. But then again - baseball paid for the study so that shouldn’t be a surprise. Would you be surprised if big tobacco sponsored a study and the results pointed the finger at everyone but big tobacco?

ALR: Do you have any suggestions on how to clear up the steroid problems in baseball?

A-Rod: I would do four things and these four things would clear up the problems almost overnight. First I would more than double the number of times a player would be tested and there would be no restriction when the tests could take place. Second – I would void any contract for a player found using steroids and suspend the player for the remaining portion of his contract. Third – I would take away the roster spot from the team for the duration that a player is on a steroids related suspension. So if a player had a 3-year contract but was found using after the first year – he’d be suspended 2-years and the team would lose his roster spot for 2-years. That would put a stop to teams signing questionable guys. Finally – I would go back to the equipment men for each team and find out over the past 30-years which players had their hat size increase more than 2 sizes over the years. I would put an asterisk next to each of those players stating how many hat sizes the player’s head grew by. This last thing would be not only be factual but also a wink-wink way for saying something unnatural was going one. People’s melons just don’t get bigger once you are an adult.

ALR: Finally – I have to ask about your relationship with Scott Boras.

A-Rod: I’m very image conscious. That’s no secret. I feel like I’m the best player in the game and I want to be paid as the best. There’s nothing wrong with that. What I’m not happy with is the fact that now people think of me as greedy. I’m not greedy. Scott Boras is. Tiger Woods is the best player in his sport and he’s very image conscious too. Yet nobody thinks of him as greedy. Let me ask you – do you know who Tiger’s agent is? [ALR shakes head in the negative] See! I’m associated with Scott Boras and Scott Boras is one crazy, greedy, mother. I’ve got to get away from him. And that’s what I plan to do.

ALR: Thanks for the interview.

A-Rod: You’re welcome.
Excellent Belichick Interview

Tom Curran has a very fun to read interview with coach Belichick. Curran has to be one of the best NFL guys going.

HT Chad Finn
Donald Rumsfeld

It was a year ago today that Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as Secretary of defense and Robert Gates took his place. I still maintain that history will be very kind to Rumsfeld. He was a man who never took the credit to which he was entitled. In his honor - here are two blasts from the ALR past.

- Rumsfeld Says Goodbye and

- The Rumsfeld Interview (satire)
Blame America First

Ed Koch rightfully takes Al Gore to task for Gore's "blame America first" attitude in Bali.
Last week Al Gore appeared at the Bali conference and said, "I am not an official of the United States and I am not bound by the diplomatic niceties. So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that."

Oh, really? And just how do we all know that? Is it true that the U.S. is "principally responsible for obstructing progress" in Bali? The New York Times, which applauds the former Vice President, reported on December 14 that "[t]he emerging economic powers, most notably China and India, also refuse to accept limits on their emissions, despite projections that they will soon become the dominant sources of the gases." The same Times article stated while the U.S. opposes an agreement that would include numerical targets, so do "a few other countries, including Russia."
I'm really getting sick of Al Gore. There are some Americans who always blame America first for any problem in the world. Radical Muslims hijack planes into the Twin Towers and they ask, "well we must have done something to make them hate us." In the US buying a hybrid car has become a status symbol and major corporations are "going green" while in China people can't even breathe the air because of the pollution and yet Gore still places the blame on the US.

Hey Al - how about supporting nuclear energy? When are you going to make that a crusade of yours? The more I hear from Al Gore - the more I understand why he couldn't carry his home state of Tennessee in the 2000 elections.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Joe Lieberman

So Joe Lieberman endorsed John McCain for President. What to make of this?

Occam's razor probably would suggest that Lieberman is endorsing John McCain simply because he believes that McCain is the best man for the job. However, in American politics things never seem to be that simple.

Here's how I see the situation.

Back in 2000 Lieberman was tabbed to be the running mate for Al Gore but in order to be added to the ticket - Lieberman had to denounce his support of school vouchers. Prior to that - Lieberman was a champion of school choice. For his shot at glory - Gore and the Democrat Party made him kowtow to the teachers unions and forswear one of his core beliefs. Then Bill and Hillary Clinton sat on their hands (or Al Gore kept them from helping out) and Lieberman sees his chances at victory slip away by the slimmest of margins.

Lucky for Lieberman that he hedged his bet by not only running for VP in 2000 but also running to keep his Senate seat.

Then came 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. Lieberman had and has a clear vision of who the enemy is and his support of the military actions cost him any chance of getting the Democratic nomination in 2004. By then the anti-war far left had usurped the party of JFK and Harry Truman. Then far left came after Lieberman in his re-election bid in 2006. They came after him in a big way.

Lieberman was a three-term Senator but yet many of the party higher ups joined the netroots crowd to try and oust Lieberman. That had to hurt. Lucky for Lieberman that he hedged his bet and was able to get re-elected as an Independent. Also lucky for Lieberman that as an Independent he held the balance of power in the Senate in his grasp.

It has to be understood that Lieberman's support of the war in Iraq coupled with his refusal to just lie down and accept defeat in 2004 (even though it would have meant the state of Connecticut "settling" for and inferior choice of representative) has led to what could be termed Lieberman Derangement Syndrome (related to the more virulent Bush Derangement Syndrome). And now he endorses a Republican for President? You can almost hear the Queen of Hearts calls of "Off with his head" from the LDS left (and no I don't mean Democratic Mormons).

Lieberman is 65-years old and as an Orthodox Jew - his support of Israel is unshakable. It could be that Lieberman has reached a point in his life where he's just said "screw it - I'm not playing games any more". He supports Israel, he supports the troops in Iraq but he's liberal on most domestic issues. John McCain is not only the candidate that most closely matches up with Lieberman's beliefs but McCain is also a friend who was loyal to Lieberman in his struggles in the 2006 election. It makes perfect sense.

Now of course I'm not saying that at 65 Lieberman is ready to hang it up but I will say that he's savvy enough to know that the 2008 election will be closer than people think. If a Republican wins - Lieberman could be up for a Cabinet level post in order for the incoming President to look bipartisan. If a Democrat wins - Lieberman could be up for a Cabinet level post in order to get his seat in the Senate to a "real" Democrat.

Either way - look for Joe Lieberman to become an even bigger target of venom from the left. He has basically replaced Donald Rumsfeld in the left's axis of evil (behind Bush and Cheney).
Heh Heh

I agree - this is ironic:
How ironic. The U.S. Navy buys a British helicopter to serve as the Marine One presidential helo. Now the [British] Queen buys a U.S. made Sikorsky chopper, again.
Tall or Not?

Compare your height against those of various celebrities and historical personages.

A fun way to waste a few minutes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Dark Knight

This movie looks AWESOME!

I can't wait to see it.
Very Nice Story

I knew it was coming and it still got dusty for me. Make sure you watch the video.

I'm glad those girls got their Christmas wish.

HT "Cousin" Lynch
OK - I'll Say It

You know all those jewelry store commercials that bombard you this time of year? Well the diamond folks are getting even more obvious with their subliminal advertising.

The hot jewelry item that seems to be on all the commercials is the Journey diamond pendant. The message they want to get across is buy the jewelry and you get to put some of this on her chest.

You can't tell me that the design similarity is a coincidence.
Better Late Than Never

A couple of links that should have been posted a couple of days ago.

- Dr. Pauly's engrossing story of the Las Vegas blogger poker get together.

- Chad Finn's fine take on the Mitchell Report
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

I'm hoping that thinking about baseball will help warm me up during this blizzard.

The Padres acquired Jim Edmonds from the Cardinals in exchange for 3rd base prospect David Freese. On its surface this looks like a win-win deal for both teams. The Padres get a veteran bat and an excellent glove in center. The Cardinals rid themselves of a mistake of a contract and get a prospect in return. However, there are questions to this deal. Edmonds is 37-years old and is injury prone these past few years. He's also coming off a season where he played just 117 games and managed a paltry .728 OPS. Edmonds could be cooked. Freese is a 24-year old prospect who was still playing Single A ball. That could be a warning sign (like a high school senior still playing with the JV football team). The big question of course is what the Cardinals do now for a centerfielder... The Dodgers have signed Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a three-year, $35.2 million contract. Who knows how good Kuroda will be for the Dodgers but it is clear that the Dodgers have a pretty deep starting rotation with Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Kuroda and maybe Jason Schmidt returning from injury. Everyone in the NL West seems to be making moves except the Giants. I probably wouldn't be happy if I was a San Francisco fan and my expectations for them would be to own last place next season... The Diamondbacks have acquired Dan Haren from the A's. To me this looks like the classic "five nickels for a quarter" deal and those deals hardly ever work out for the team getting the nickels.... Brad Wilkerson is perhaps the best remaining free agent.
OK - I'll Say It

Chelsy Davy (maybe the future Queen of England) looks like Brad Pitt with tits.

There I said it.

When I was a kid - the first thing we did when the Christmas tree went up was to decorate it with tinsel. Then the ornaments and lights went on and finally the angel went on top.

I can't remember the last time I put tinsel on one of our trees. When did tinsel go out of fashion? Is there anyone out there that still uses tinsel?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Dr. Melik: Incredible.
This dialog is from the Woody Allen movie Sleeper whose plot revolves around a man who awakes 200 years in the future. I thought of the movie because perhaps the elephant in the room that nobody is talking about when it comes to steroids is the question, "Can steroids and HGH be good for you?"

200 years from now will people look back at today's attitudes towards steroids and HGH as ignorant and our persecution of athletes who use performance enhancing drugs as nothing more than witch hunts?

If taken in moderation and under doctor supervision it seems like HGH and steroids could allow people to live healthier more active lives. My guess is that "sports medicine" in the future will have a vastly different meaning than it does today and that performance enhancing drugs will be fairly common. The Mitchell Report does not address any medical aspect to PED's at all. I would have liked, for example, if someone from Mitchell's staff had asked Nick Esasky if steroids played any role in his debilitating vertigo.
Ron Silver on Fear

Very well done essay on the use of fear in politics. If you read just one thing today - make it this essay.

I will admit that every once and a while in my head I could hear Ron Silver shouting, "Her father is the District Attorney" while reading the piece.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Roger Clemens Cheated (the Red Sox)

Everyone today is calling Roger Clemens a cheat. That begs the question - who did he cheat? I put forward that the group most harmed by Clemens' "cheating" were the Boston Red Sox and the fans of the team

Follow me on this.

If you take away Clemens' resurgence to greatness due to steroids - the Dan Duquette's observation that Clemens was in the twilight of his career was correct. Clemens going on to win a couple of Cy Young Awards after leaving the Red Sox coupled with the equally contentious exit of Mo Vaughn (who was also named in the Mitchell Report) caused a GM controversy and unease in Boston.

Speaking of Cy Young Awards - that second one Clemens won in Toronto came at the expense of Boston's Pedro Martinez who went 19-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 1998 only to lose out to a juicing Roger Clemens.

Finally and most importantly - Boston fans who bemoan the steroids era point to game seven of the 2003 ALCS and that fact that steroids cheater Jason Giambi hit 2 HR in that game and without those HR - the Yankees lose and the Red Sos advance to the World Series. I would like to point out that Roger Clemens won game 3 (and co-steroids cheater Andy Pettitte won game 2). Without the steroids enhanced pitchers - never mind the steroids enhanced Giambi - the Yankees get blown out by the Red Sox.

Red Sox fans who feel cheated by Roger Clemens have a very good case to make about the damage done by the needle injecting Roger Clemens.
Bobby Cox

Am I a bad person because I found the comments to this post pretty funny?

OK - I'm a bad person.

HT The Big Lead
The Mitchell Report

Hundreds upon hundreds of baseball players not named in the Mitchell report must be saying, "there but by the grace of God go I" this morning. It is foolish to think that this is a comprehensive report on all the players who used steroids or HGH. It is just the tip of the iceberg. That's what makes this attempt at clearing up the problem a bit of a sham in my eyes.

Some random thoughts on the report.

- Dan Duquette must be feeling a certain level of vindication today. In normal circumstances - Roger Clemens would have been in the twilight of his career. Instead Clemens went to Toronto and juiced.

- I'm amused by Roger Clemens' threatening to sue for libel over being named in the report. This reminds me of when Palmeiro threatened to sue Jose Canseco after Canseco named Palmeiro in his book. Or when Barry Bonds threatened to sue Curt Schilling when Schilling called him a cheat.

- I'm guessing that ESPN is going to pull those Roger Clemens commercials where Roger is nervous about riding the roller coaster at Disney. That commercial is ripe for parody. So is that Suzy Waldman sound bite from this year when Roger joined the Yankees.

- I feel bad for Mo Vaughn. He's in the report for getting HGH after he hurt his ankle late in his career. Assuming he was clean - why would he have needed a referral if he was a user? - all Mo did early in his career is now tainted by the decision he made late in his career.

- What no Brett Boone?

EDIT: I meant to mention that perhaps the most positive result to come ut of the Mitchell Report will be ESPN dropping Fernando Vina and David Justice on their baseball telecasts and from Baseball Tonight.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Miguel Tejada

Miguel Tejada has been traded to the Astros. If you've read this space for any time - you know that I'm not a big fan of Miguel Tejada. In fairness - I must say that I expect the drop off in pitching quality he'll face in the weak NL Central coupled with the short porch in left field at Minutemaid park will lead to a mini resurgence for Tejada and a possible 30+ HR season in 2008. This will of course lead to Tejada demanding a new contract after next season and complaints that the team front office isn't doing enough to win.

I know that Luke Scott has a .516 career slugging percentage but at 29-years old is he still a "prospect"? Matt Albers is a number 5 starter. Troy Patton? He could prove to be the real key to this trade for the Orioles but how often does a prospect like Patton fizzle out? Pitcher Dennis Sarfate and third baseman Michael Costanzo seem almost like toss-ins.

My immediate impression is that this was a fire-sale or a salary dump on the part of the Orioles. Couldn't the Orioles had a similar Bedard / Tejada package deal that netted the Marlins a pretty good haul of prospects with their trading of Willis and Cabrera? Say hello to the last place 2008 Orioles.
NFL Records

Lyford has a nice breakdown of the NFL records that could fall at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this season.

I have also been meaning to mention that Lyford has been doing rather nicely in his NFL picks this season. I've made it a point to see who he likes each week because his picks and the reasoning behind his picks have been for the most part spot on. You may have noticed that I have shied away from making picks myself this season. I think that's because I'm becoming superstitious in my old age.
Hideki Matsui to Giants?

The hot rumor has the Yankees sending Hideki Matsui to the Giants for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. My take on the rumor? I hope its true. Matsui is one of the few Yankee batters who Red Sox fans fear. I'd be glad if the Yankees traded him away for a young pitcher who basically would be middle relief help for the 2008 Yankees. If this was any other team but the Yankees - a move like this would be classified as a "salary dump". My guess is that if there is any validity to this rumor at all - then acquiring Sanchez would just be to include him or another Yankee pitching prospect into a sweetened deal for Johan Santana. It is more probable that nothing becomes of this rumor.
Maybe Darren Daulton is Right?
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.
Darren Daulton was the first person I thought of when I read about these alarmist environmental predictions:
"At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."
My guess is that Darren Daulton is still crazy and that predictions that all the ice will have melted in the Arctic Ocean are wrong. I respect NASA scientists but my guess is that there will be a footnote months from now talking about how a decimal was misplaced in the original calculations.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin reunited last night for a concert and reports are that they were great. Of course it was impossible for all the original band members to reunite - with John Bonham dead and all - but they did the next best thing with Bonham's son Jason manning the drums. This was predicted almost 2-years to the very day in this very space:
Chas [West] probably best known as the lead singer of the band Bonham. This is the band that was formed by Jason Bonham, the son of Led Zeppelin drummer and rock legend John Bonham. Like many rock legends - John Bonham died way too young.

When you sit next to a rock star you talk about rock music. We spoke about every subject that I could think of. I asked him how he got the gig with Bonham - he said it was simple, "I was the only one who could keep up with Jason when he was drinking." I asked if Led Zeppelin was ever getting back together with Jason Bonham taking his dad's spot in the band. Chas told me that they came close but this was back when Bonham was just starting out and Jason was seriously partying. Robert Plant was afraid that Jason was going down the same path to an early death as his dad and Plant wanted nothing to do with contributing to another tragedy. Now that Jason Bonham is clean and sober - the two concerns are tarnishing the bands legacy as the greatest rock band in history and Robert Plant's concern about hitting some of those high notes in some of the songs. Chas wouldn't rule out the band getting back together but if it happened he said it would be done the "English way" - with very little forewarning or publicity.
Bill Belichick

Heh heh - as Homer would say, "it's funny because its true."

HT Kissing Suzy Kolber
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Every offseason in Boston you get the "Manny wants to be traded" or the "Red Sox want to offload Manny's contract" rumors. Not so much this year. With Andruw Jones getting $18 million per year - Manny's contract looks downright affordable. The Red Sox will pay Manny $20 million is 2008 and have options for 2009 and 2010... I tried to be positive about the Eric Gagne experience but I think any unbiased examination of his performance in Boston would conclude that he has not only lost a few miles per hour off his fastball - he has also lost his ability to control pitch location as well. I'm glad the Brewers signed Gagne to a one-year $10 million contract because it nets the Red Sox a compensation draft pick but as Ken Rosenthal explains - "Truth is, Doug Melvin didn't like signing Eric Gagne for $10 million, either." The justification that resonates with me is the fact that Gagne is just a one-year deal and he only costs them money. If they went after Huston Street or Joe Nathan - they would have been forced to give up major prospects... Paul Lo Duca to sign one-year deal with Nationals. It's getting tough to follow the catcher shuffle in the NL. Jason Kendall was the starter for the Cubs but now he's taken Johnny Estrada's job in Milwaukee. Estrada took Lo Duca's job with the Mets until the Mets traded for Brian Schnieder of the Nationals and now Lo Duca (formerly of the Mets) has taken Schnieder's old job with the Nationals. Got that?... Red Sox fans are rejoicing over the announcement that the Yankees have signed LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year deal. If I ran a casino - I'd have a prop bet asking which Red Sox player would be the first to hit a late inning HR off Hawkins that brings the Red Sox from behind to help win the game. Hs momma named him LaTroy which (as others have pointed out) means "the Troy" in French but it would have been more accurate if she named him whatever is French for "the late Inning Home Run" instead...

Monday, December 10, 2007

New England Patriots

How dominant are the Patriots? The Patriots' point deferential between the number of points they have scored and allowed is 281. Half of all NFL teams haven't even scored that many points and the Broncos just barely surpass that number by scoring 282 points.
Presidential Election Odds - Republicans

Here are the latest odds on who will win the Republican nomination for President (odds via Bodog).
Rudy Giuliani 3/2
Mike Huckabee 2/1
Ron Paul 5/2
Mitt Romney 9/2
John McCain 5/1
Fred Thompson 6/1
Newt Gingrich 9/1
Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are complete sucker bets and I'm guessing the odds are that short because people are betting on them as a joke. Mitt Romney and John McCain are the best bets if you ask me (in terms of chances and return on investment).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Liberal Values

This morning I found an interesting blog - Liberal Values - which I am adding to my blogroll. This may surprise some because it is often assumed I'm a Republican. Actually I'm an Independent with libertarian leanings. This blog seems to be very well done and very well written. I link to blogs that interest me and I'm interested in what has been posted at Liberal Values.

It could be I was swayed by the picture of Natalie Portman in this post. When I look at the picture - I can't help but hear Hillary doing her best Tony Montana, "Say hello to my little friends."
Presidential Election Odds - Democrats

It should be no surprise that (according to Hillary Clinton is currently the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Hillary Clinton 1/6
Barack Obama 12/5
Al Gore 5/1
John Edwards 8/1
Dennis Kucinich 20/1
Joe Biden 30/1
Hillary is the big favorite but Barack is within striking distance and interestingly (or more accurately - alarmingly) John Edwards' promises of seizing powers Hugo Chavez style are improving his chances.

Personally I'm amused that the "serious" Joe Biden is given less chance than "tinfoil hat" Dennis Kucinich. I attribute that more to the relative hotness of Kucinich's wife but also to the relative blandness of Biden in general.
Tim Tebow Wins the Heisman

OK - the award isn't given out till tonight but any bit of drama in this award is purely being created by ESPN in the hopes people will tune into watch the presentation.

Consider that the odds of Tim Tebow winning are now 1/12 - meaning if you bet $100 your return would only be $8. When the oddsmakers make the return on a bet that minuscule - you know its already a foregone conclusion. Tim Tebow's name is already on the Heisman Trophy.

There - now you don't have to bother watching the show tonight.
The Season of Giving

This is very sad. As a parent - I don't even want to imagine what baby Sophie's parents are going through. I don't know the Abbott's or baby Sophie but their story and their plight touched me.

If you are not in the Norristown, PA area and are unable to attend the event - you can still go to to make a donation.

To learn more abut baby Sophie and the Abbott family - visit her webpage - www.babysites/sites/babyabbott.

Thank you in advance for your generosity. If you have a blog - maybe you can link to the donation information on your blog.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Miscellaneous Links

Cleaning out my bookmarks and thought I'd repost these links

- Dilbert's easy to follow guide to financial security

- PriceProtectr (yup that's how its spelled). A site that helps you get those "price protection" refunds

- National Geographic's 100 best adventure books of all-time.
John McCain

I found this report to be very touching.
I can't imagine a more awkward situation for McCain--having to counsel a complete stranger who, as one other journalist here put it, had essentially just read him a suicide note, and having to do so in front of about 200 people. And McCain's initial attempt was actually a bit awkward, as he mentioned that we are "a Judeo-Christian principled nation" that "believe[s] every life is precious." But McCain soon found his footing, and as he continued to counsel Greg, I noticed that a couple of men in the audience were crying. "All I can tell you," McCain went on, "is that [you have] loving family members, loving neighbors and friends who want to do everything we can to help you live as long and as beautiful a life as possible. And we pray for you. And we cherish you. God bless you." McCain then turned back to the topic at hand--the environment--and took a few more questions, but as the event was ending, he did one final pivot. "Greg," McCain said, "we want you and we love you and we need you and you will be our inspiration with your courage."
John McCain most likely saved this man's life. Wow!

HT Betsy's Page
Remembering Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941 - the United States was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. This site has a very interesting timeline of the attack - click on the multimedia map and timeline.

The United States has a hard time remembering days like this because in essence we are a forward looking people who doesn't dwell on the good or bad in our history. I find it sad that if you gave a pop quiz to most high school seniors - over 50% probably couldn't tell you the significance of today's date.

Like I said - it's sad but I understand. Take a few minutes to watch the timeline to insure you understand the hell US sailors and soldiers went through during those eternal hours on this infamous day 66 years ago.
Morning Links

Some stuff I found interesting.

- Interesting take on the Andruw Jones signing.

- Heh heh - I knew it! May be NSFW.

- Jason Stark has a good wrap-up of the winter meetings

- Pop-up books
I Am Legend

At first I was intrigued by the upcoming movie I Am Legend but quite honestly now I'm starting to get pretty damn frustrated with being bombarded with commercials for the movie and am starting to lean toward not seeing the damned thing.

The movie is a re-make of one of my childhood favorites - Omega Man starring Charlton Heston. People involved with the movie would probably argue that it is not a re-make but a true adaptation of the book of the same name. Well let's see - air-borne bacteria kills world population, military doctor inoculates himself with antidote and survives, bacteria kills most people but a few are mutated and only can come out at night, the mutated "people" want to kill the military doctor. Sounds like a re-make to me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Andruw Jones

Reportedly Andruw Jones will be signing a 2-year $36.2 million contract with the Dodgers.

What gives me pause about this deal is the fact that over his career Jones has hit just .233 at Dodger Stadium with a pretty lousy .735 OPS (36 games and 133 at bats). He has hit 6 HR there which projected over a full season of 250 home at-bats would be an anemic 11 HR in Dodger Stadium for 2008. And Jones is being trumpeted as a power hitter? Yes - I know - small sample size. But for $18 million a year wouldn't you want the indicators pointing to something better?

This is a classic "on one hand and on the other" deal:

- One one hand - the deal is only for 2-years
- On the other hand - the deal pays Jones an average of $18 million a year! For a guy who only hit 26 HR last year and will be 31-years old next year
- On one hand - this deal now frees the Dodgers up to include either Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp in a trade for a top pitcher like Johan Santana or Eric Bedard
- On the other hand - pitching is not the problem for the Dodgers and this deal really doesn't give them the big bat to put them over the top.
- On one hand - this is a clear loss for uber-agent Scott Boras who was seeking a 7-year deal at $20 million a year
- On the other hand - Boras got a guy who many consider fat and lazy $18 million a year for the next two years. That's a lot of donuts.

Maybe the people most happy with this move are the Dodgers pitchers who will now have a number of mistake pitches erased by Jones' Gold Glove in center.
The Schilling Rule

The BWAA has created a rule which says that players who have monetary bonuses in their contracts based upon MVP, ROY or Cy Young Award voting will not longer be eligible for those awards starting in 2013. This is commonly being referred to as the Schilling Rule after Curt Schilling's latest contract which has a $1 million bonus if he receives a single Cy Young Award vote in 2008.

Curt Schilling addresses the new rule in his latest posting on

Schilling makes a number of good points but he misses the main point of this new BWAA rule. This new rule is an admission that journalistic integrity is a myth and the sports writers themselves recognize that as a whole - they are not to be trusted to act in a fair and unbiased manner.

When Schilling's Cy Young clause was announced many sports writers wrote that it would in no way effect their voting. This new rule loudly states that all those people who said that sports writers would go into the bag to vote for Schilling were right. The BWAA is not to be trusted - they have said so themselves with this new rule.

One of the reasons why the votes for these awards has become bastardized to the point that a Schilling rule is necessary is because the BWAA votes are not public. Many writers write one thing but then vote another way. Have the votes made public so that writers have to stand behind how they vote and have them explain why. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

With this new rule - the BWAA has skipped over disinfection and gone directly to amputation. Probably for the best though - they aren't to be trusted. They've said so themselves.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Paying for Santana

Just thinking about Johan Santana possibly playing for the Red Sox and it occurred to me that if they acquired and signed him it is very possible that he could have almost ZERO impact on the Red Sox payroll. Consider that between Matt Clement and Eric Gagne the Red Sox have approximately $14.5 million coming off the books for this season. If Coco Crisp is part of the package that lands Santana then that's another $5 million. That's a total of $19.5 million.

Next year the Red Sox will most likely have Curt Schilling's $10 million coming off the books ($8 million base plus $2 million in incentives). So if the Red Sox sign Santana for $20 million for 2008 with a $25 million annual salary for years 2009-2012 with another $25 million option for 2013 then that's a 6-year deal (including the option year) at $145 million. That should get the deal done. That would also basically put the Red Sox for those years at or possibly below what their overall payroll was for 2007.

That's mind blowing.
Chip Reese 1951-2007

Poker superstar Chip Reese has passed away. He was widely acknowledged as the best cash game poker player in the world and poker legend Doyle Brunson called Reese "the best poker player that ever lived."

I am shocked and saddened by the news. Chip Reese was perhaps my favorite poker player.
The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Johan Santana to the Red Sox is all but done. Jon Lester, a center fielder, Justin Masterson and Ryan Kalish are the package. More details now.

--Will Carroll, 5:15 p.m.
Last night that was the announcement that makes me think that the Red Sox will be getting Johan Santana. As I mentioned before - a trade like this won't be announced for hours or days after an agreement has been made because the team trading for Santana will have a 72-hour window to get him signed to a new contract. The deal could have been done last night and now the Red Sox and Santana are just getting the physical done and contract details hammered out.

It will be awesome if the Red Sox get Santana for the rumored package of players. It will make them prohibitive favorites to win multiple World Series over the next few years. However, there is one aspect of the proposed package that bears closer examination.

Almost every Red Sox fan hopes that center fielder mentioned will be Coco Crisp and not Jacoby Ellsbury. However, if it is Coco Crisp then that means there is a very good chance that the Boston Red Sox's Opening Day 25-man roster will have ZERO African Americans. I know, I know - who cares? I care only that the Red Sox field the most competitive team possible but I bring this up because some people will make an issue out of it. Make no mistake. And yes I'm talking about the Boston Globe here.

It's a stupid issue but something the Boston Globe made a big deal out of 4-years ago. If Coco Crisp is traded - I'm betting they make it an issue once again.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Human Flying Squirrels

This is wicked cool

I doubt I'd have the guts to jump off the mountain like that but it must be awesome to fly though the air like a human flying squirrel.
New England Patriots

The Patriots beat the Ravens 27-24 to go 12-0 but overlooked in the victory is the fact that by beating Baltimore - New England all but guaranteed home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Pats have 4 games left and even if they lost to Pittsburgh and the Giants - chances are they will roll over the Jets and Dolphins. So even if they finish 14-2 they still hold the tie-breaker over the Colts and would thus have the all-important home field advantage.
Johan Santana and Jacoby Ellsbury

Last week it was the Eagles having the blueprint to beat the Patriots. This week the parroted sports media meme being tossed about by all the talking heads is to compare Jacoby Ellsbury to Al Jefferson.

The meme goes something like this - "a few months ago Boston fans were against trading the young Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett but now they are all happy with the result. Including Jacoby Ellsbury in a trade for Johan Santana would be the same thing."

I have problems with this line of thinking. First in basketball one player can make a much bigger impact because there are only five players per team and a guy like Koby Bryant can take 40% of the shots. In baseball a player can't take 40% of the at bats and a pitcher like Santana can only pitch once every 5 games. Maybe if Al Jefferson played every game but Kevin Garnett was only allowed to play once every 5 days then the comparison would hold more validity.

It's apples to oranges and just wrong. The meme being picked up and repeated over and over shows a lack of original thinking on the part of the Boston sports media.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Johan Santana

All the baseball hotstove talk is about Johan Santana being traded and updates of whether he's been traded yet. One thing all the talking heads keep forgetting to mention is that any potential deal for Santana will include a 72-hour window for the team trading for Santana to try and get him signed. That means a deal could have already been reached but the new contract for Santana hasn't been hammered out.

Just thought that point should be mentioned by someone.
The Francona Rule

This is perhaps the most petty thing I've read in some time. I'm biased - I freely admit it - but for an official of MLB to name Terry Francona by name in this manner is beyond unprofessional and given Watson's history as a member of the Yankees - it should also call into question Watson's ability to render neutral judgments when it comes to matters regarding the Red Sox and Yankees.

If I was running the Red Sox - I would match pettiness with pettiness with a release along the following lines:
To: MLB Offices

From: Boston Red Sox

RE: New rule

Please be aware that a new rule is being instituted at our property known as Fenway Park. The person known as Bob Watson has shown himself to be belligerent toward this organization and the Red Sox reserve the right to refuse entry to our property to any known trouble makers. If Bob Watson shows up at Fenway Park - he will be asked to leave. If he refuses - we will have him arrested for trespassing and we will prosecute him to the full extent of the law.

We are not unfair. We will make the exception that Bob Watson will be allowed on the property only if he is dressed in a full official Yankees uniform (it will have to be a home uniform since Watson has shown himself to be a "homer"). We acknowledge that this new rule by the Red Sox is both petty and silly but since Mr. Watson has shown himself a fan of petty and silly rules - we feel no remorse in fully implementing the new rule.

This rule should not hinder Mr. Watson's ability to do his job since he can still telephone or send us written correspondence. We just would prefer not to have his presence imposed upon us.


Red Sox Management
Poker Should Not Be Illegal!!

There is very few things as American as poker. What happened to the people at that VFW is despicable.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I think the Yankees will be forced to include Philip Hughes in any package for Johan Santana and I think that's a mistake by the Yankees. The Red Sox would be forced to include Jacoby Ellsbury and that too would be a mistake. Why would it be a mistake? Consider that CC Sabathia led all AL pitchers in win shares this season with 24. Ichiro Sazuki had 33 and I would project Ellsbury to be Ichiro-lite but at a fraction of the salary cost. It would be a mistake for the Yankees to include Hughes because I think he's that good. I think the Red Sox brass know including Ellsbury is not worth it (I don't buy those recent reports that they have included him) but I do think the Yankees hand can be forced to include Hughes... Here's an excellent projection on how the Yankees could fare in 2008 if they acquire Santana for a package including Melky Cabrera and Philip Hughes. It projects the Yankees to 96 wins next season... Most people are calling the Marlins greedy for turning down the Angels trade offer for Miguel Cabrera but David Pinto doesn't blame the Marlins one bit. I have to agree with David. This deal smacks of 5 nickels for a quarter type of deal and those never pan out for the guy getting the nickels... Would anyone be surprised if the Orioles traded Miguel Tejada quickly before the Mitchell Report comes out?... I would love for the Red Sox to wind up with Dan Haren but Billy Beane drives a hard bargain and they may be asked to give up too much. I would love for the Red Sox to wind up with Erik Bedard but the Orioles would be hard pressed to trade him within the division. I would love for the Red Sox to come away with just one of Santana, Haren or Bedard but the reality is they probably won't overspend in prospects and you can't blame them for that...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Washington Nationals

I've enjoyed the hotstove snapshots Yahoo! sports has been doing on each team and what their needs are but I have to say that Tim Brown's snapshot of the Nationals was poorly done, confusing and told me nothing. After talking about the trade for Lastings Milledge, Brown writes:
Bowden probably could be convinced to part with Austin Kearns, Chad Cordero, Brian Schneider, Jon Rauch or Church in a trade. In fact, only third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is believed to be untouchable.
Ummm... just 2 second earlier you told us of how Schneider and Church were already traded. Is Jim Bowden a magical GM who can trade players multiple times? Or was this report sloppily done and edited?

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood this morning but I was looking forward to the Nationals synopsis because they could be an exciting team (they won't win anything but I think they'll be fun to watch). The team obviously needs a catcher now and I'd like to see them upgrade at 2nd. Like most teams - they also need another starting pitcher. They have Nick Johnson coming off an injury year as a trade chip for teams in need of a 1st/DH. They also have closer Chad Codero to dangle to help fill the holes.

In contrast to the Tim Brown snapshot - Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Time gives an excellent snapshot of where the Nationals currently stand.
BCS Mess Solved!

In a highly controversial move the NCAA has decided to use a Ouija board and the ghost of Marty Feldman to decide who will play in the BCS Championship game. Marty Feldman died 25-years ago today. Feldman died from a sudden heart attack many believe was not caused by his 4 packs a day cigarette habit but by the surprise ending of the book Ethel the Aardvark goes Quantity Surveying. Feldman was not the first choice of ghost and knows almost nothing about college football but ghosts such as Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and other deceased college football greats want nothing to do with the current mess college football finds itself in. When reached for comment of why a Ouija board and Marty Feldman's ghost would be used to pick the matchup an NCAA official said, "Why not? We've tried every other random method short of a playoff. Why not use a Ouija board and a ghost?" Why not indeed.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Law and Order

When men where men:
[Elfego] Baca officially became the sheriff of Socorro County and secured indictments for the arrest of the area's lawbreakers. Instead of ordering his deputies to pursue the wanted men, he sent each of the accused a letter. It said, “I have a warrant here for your arrest. Please come in by March 15 and give yourself up. If you don’t, I’ll know you intend to resist arrest, and I will feel justified in shooting you on sight when I come after you.” Most of the offenders turned themselves in voluntarily.
Ditching CNN

The other day I mentioned how everyone was upset about having to miss the Packers/Cowboys game because most cable companies don't carry the NFL Network. The other night's Republican debate on CNN illustrated the other side of the argument for ala carte cable.

Saying that CNN exhibited the journalistic standards of a junior college school paper would be a slight to junior college school papers. The various plants they allowed from Democratic interests at the debate should be embarrassing to the network but they'll just shrug it off.

It's no secret that CNN's ratings have been in a tailspin. I, for one, never tune into them. If I want to know what's happening in the news - I go on line. If I want to watch something unfold live - I turn to Fox News. I don't think I am alone in getting my news this way. Yet I am forced to subsidize CNN (and CNN Headline News) every month on my cable bill.

If given a choice over what cable channels you have to pay for - how many people do you think would voluntarily pay for CNN? I'm guessing that the number would be much less than the number who opt to pay for Fox News and even much less than the number of people who opt to pay for the Weather Channel.

Maybe next time - the Weather Channel should host the debates instead of CNN. At least people can expect the Weather Channel to be less biased and more professional. Then again - with CNN setting the bar so low - it would be hard not to.
BCS Rankings

Bob Molinaro does a nice job pointing out how subjective the BCS rankings are.

I remember earlier this week asking the same questions of how Virginia Tech could be ranked ahead of both Boston College and LSU - two teams with identical records to the Hokies who both beat Virginia Tech this year. I was also scratching my head wondering how Missouri could be number 1 in the rankings yet be an underdog against number 9 Oklahoma for a game on a neutral field. Bizarre.

Some would say that Virginia Tech is ranked over BC because of reputation as a better team than BC. But what have they done to earn that reputation? Boston College has beaten Virgina Tech 3 out of the last 4 times they played and is 7-1 against the spread in the last 8 times they have played. The line for this game today is up to 5 points but does anyone feel comfortable with Virginia Tech in close games? According to ESPN - Virginia Tech since 2001 is 6-8 in close games (less than 7 points).

Just saying.