Tuesday, December 30, 2008

He Should Have Went Over to Say "Goodbye"

How quickly to can go from Mangenius to Man-looking-for-a-job.
Top 5 - New England Patriots Personnel Decisions

Here are the top 5 players who are free agents for the Patriots and whose situations are the most pressing.

1. Matt Cassel QB - he hit the jackpot. Do the Pats try to sign him long term (as insurance against Tom Brady not making a successful comeback)? Do they franchise him and then trade him?

2. LaMont Jordan RB - he was a very important part of the Pat's depth at RB. He's sure to see offers but I hope the Pats bring him back.

3. Pierre Woods LB - with all of the injuries at LB this season the depth of having a guy like Woods became self-evident.

4. Chris Hanson P - there wasn't much talk about the Pats punting game this season and that's good news. The Pats should bring back Hanson to keep the kicking game a strength of the team.

5. Rodney Harrison S - I don't care if he can play. Harrison is worth it to the team just for his leadership and example he provides. James Sanders is also a free agent at S and I think he comes back.

Mike Reiss has a complete breakdown on the Pats roster. Worth the read.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Adventures of Jerry Jones and Roosevelt Riley

I saw this article about Tony Romo collapsing after yesterday's choke job against Philadelphia. What struck me was the fact that Jerry Jones has a personal bodyguard called Roosevelt Riley. That just hit me as funny.

I Googled Roosevelt Riley and found out that he used to play hoop for among other teams the Harlem Globetrotters and that he stands just 5'8". This really struck me as funny.

I couldn't help but think of Jerry Jones and Roosevelt Riley jetting around the world getting into adventures as they scout for players and cheerleaders. Make it into a show - like Johnny Quest. Jerry Jones would be the Dr. Benton Quest role and Roosevelt Riley would play the Race Bannon role. Instead of the two kids - they would travel with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. They could solve crimes, fight killer robot monkeys and raise awareness of important global issues. The show could be huge

Who do I talk to in order to make it happen?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I'm hoping Jamie Moyer pitches until he's 50-years old. I think that would be awesome and I also think the advertising opportunities for Moyer would make it worth his while. He could represent AARP, Advil, Grecian Formula and a whole host of older guys products and services.... The Yankees signed CC Sabathia and that got lots of media noise but don't forget that Tampa Bay will be adding David Price to their rotation next year for the full season. That move by the Rays may have just as much impact... Sometimes the mind plays tricks on you. Last week the Phillies signed Christopher Walker to a minor league deal but my mind kept on seeing it as Christopher Walken. I guess I just wanted that to be true... Nice article on Mayor Lou Merloni. I've been on the Lou Merloni bandwagon for years... The Celtics lost to the Lakers yesterday and in hindsight it's something you easily could have seen coming (I wish hindsight was available when I put my bet in).... Yesterday would have been Humphrey Bogart's 109th birthday. It still blows my mind that Ronald Reagan was the original choice to play Rick Blaine in the classic Casablanca... Tonight Central Michigan plays Florida Atlantic in the Motor City Bowl. This is basically a home game for Central Michigan and I expect them to win despite the number of times the announcers will note that Howard Schnellenberger has never lost a bowl game as a coach (5-0). I think the Chippewas cover the 7 points. I'm not so sure about the over/under. The game will be a shootout but over 68 points? I'll have to think about that one...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The George Washington Interview

Today A Large Regular is lucky enough to have been granted an interview with one of the if not the most important person in US history. President George Washington.

ARL: Thank you so much for joining us today.

GW: No problem Chris. I've long said, "Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company." I've decided to bend that rule to associate with you today.

: Ummm... thanks I guess. Today is an important anniversary in your personal history and also of course in the history of the United States. It was on this day back in 1783 that you resigned as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

GW: Chris, Chris, if I wanted to speak about history I would have given this interview to someone who knows history. Like Betsy or the guy over at Boston 1775. I came here to talk sports.

: Of course, of course. Well jumping right into it. Who do you like in tonight's Poinsettia Bowl?

: I will tell you right now that Ben Franklin likes Boise State because he's a big fan of gimmicks and gimmick plays. I, on the other hand, know the importance of a good defense and TCU has one of the best defenses in the country. It should be noted that both of TCU's losses came on the road. They just barely lost to Utah at Utah and also lost 35-10 to Oklahoma at Oklahoma. This game is at a neutral site and there's good reason why Boise State is the higher ranked team but TCU is still favored in the game by 3 points. Many people have pointed out that Chris Peterson has had extra time to prepare for TCU's defense but the same is also true of TCU. They have had extra time to prepare for Boise's offense. I recommend taking TCU and giving the 3 points.

ALR: Changing gears. Where do you think Mark Teixeira will sign?

GW: Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. I don't think Mark Teixeira will have such virtue. Is Teixeira a German name because at this point he seems to be no better than a Hessian mercenary to me. I weary of the entire situation. Let me just add that Mark Teixeira's next big hit in an important game may well be his first. A compiler of statistics is what he seems to me.

ALR: OK - going back to football. Tomorrow's Hawaii Bowl pits Hawaii against Notre Dame. Who do you like?

GW: Chris I believe that you should let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse. Has anyone been more afflicted this year than Notre Dame fans? I have never been a fan of Popes or Popery but I do have compassion for the Golden Domers. That said - you should never bet with your heart and the amount of my purse that I can risk because it would make me feel good is very low. These two teams have met only twice before with Notre Dame winning both games but by only a combined 7 points. It is interesting to note that Vegas started out with Hawaii as a 1.5 point favorite but the line has moved to Notre Dame giving 2 points. In my eyes this game comes down to whether the Fighting Irish can pressure Hawaii QB Greg Alexander and turnovers. My heart tells me to take Notre Dame in this game but my head tells me not to risk too much.

ALR: Thank you so much for joining me today.

: My pleasure Chris and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Thanks for Nothing

I pick on SI's Jon Heyman because sometimes he deserves it. For what he wrote in today's Hot Stove New Tracker he deserves it. Let me address two specific quotes:
Things appear to be heating up in the Mark Teixeira talks, and baseball people believe now that Teixeira will have a new team before Christmas.
Two things - first anyone who follows baseball knows that most top free agents are signed before Christmas because both the player and the team signing them don't won't these things hanging over their heads during the holidays. That's common knowledge and common sense. Second - who are these "baseball people"? The hotdog vendors at Yankee Stadium? A couple of other sportswriters you spoke with over beers? Are these the same baseball people who told you that the Yankees would offer Bobby Abreu arbitration or the ones who told you A-Rod was close to signing with the Giants?

Second quote:
The Red Sox, disappointed when they failed to make a deal with Teixeira late last week, are still viewed as the favorite by most executives on other teams, though it's not known whether that's inside information or guesswork.
See - right there is the problem. Heyman can't tell the difference between inside information and guesswork. His readers don't have that problem though. It's clear that just about everything Heyman tosses out there is guesswork and not inside information.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda is still alive.

That is all.
Yankees 2009 Starting Rotation

So far this off-season the Yankees have added CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett but they have also lost Mike Mussina to retirement and Andy Pettitte is a free agent who may not be returning. So in essence you have added two starting pitchers and have probably lost 2 starting pitchers. How do the pairs compare? Using 2008 numbers:

Sabathia 17-10 / 35 GS / 253 IP / 76 ER / 2.70 ERA
Burnett 18-10 / 35 GS / 221 IP / 100 ER / 4.07 ERA
Combined 35-20 / 70 GS / 474 IP / 3.34 ERA / 6.77 IP/GS

Mussina 20-9 / 34 GS / 200 IP / 75 ER / 3.37 ERA
Pettitte 14-14 / 33 GS / 204 IP / 103 ER / 4.54 ERA
Combined 34-23 / 67 GS / 404 IP / 3.97 ERA / 6 IP/GS

The incoming tandem had 1 more win and 3 fewer losses (and yes I know how subjective wins and losses are). Even if you added 4 additional wins to the Yankees in 2008 - they still would have finished in 3rd place.

Probably most significant among the above stats is the fact that the new combo pitched about 1 more inning per start than the old combo. The Yankees bullpen was a weak spot for the team last year (and probably next as well) so going deeper into a start is a big plus. The caveat that has to be noted is that both CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett had their career bests in innings pitched last year. Asking them to match those numbers may be asking too much. It is very likely that the extra inning per start will evaporate and the production levels will be along the lines of what Mussina and Pettitte contributed.

An independent measurement of a player's contributions is Bill James' Win Share Method (where 4 win shares = one team win). Here's how the 4 players did in 2008:

Sabathia 25 WS
Mussina 18 WS
Burnett 14 WS
Pettitte 11 WS

Based upon those numbers the incoming duo had 10 more win shares which translates to 2.5 more wins. Which again wouldn't have been enough to have gotten the Yankees out of 3rd place last season.

I guess this is a long way to explain that Yankee fans shouldn't be placing orders for World Series travel plans quite yet.
Florida Gator Girls

In case you needed an extra reason to root for Florida over Oklahoma.

Here you go
Jamarcus Janikowski

Heh heh - this is pretty amusing.

And I agree - Jamarcus Janikowski would be a badass name.
Christmas Humor

I got a big kick out of this cartoon.

Remember - three more shopping days till Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heh Heh

Found this via Deadspin:
"We're going to go out to the parking lot. I am going to remove my britches and get and maintain an erection in front of at least 55 drunken sweatpants wearing oafs in the waning light of this 31 degree Sunday afternoon, and then I am going to somehow dominate you physically, and put my penis inside of you. And, sure, my knees might get scuffed up on this gravel. And you might not stop punching me in the face and throat, but you are going to become pregnant....And that will teach you to root for the New York Jets so enthusiastically."

That is a scenario that can only come from someone from Buffalo's mind.
Funny stuff but it only addresses the hypothetical conception. It's the ripping and tearing involved in the hypothetical delivery that makes me cringe. Would the Joe Pesci Jr. offspring come out of the guy's ass?

I also couldn't help remember that James Carville was once described as the offspring from the love scene in the movie Deliverance.
Sunday Funnies

I saw these over at The Sports Frog and thought I'd share them here.

Dear Abby,

I have never written to you before, but I really need your advice.

I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs; phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with 'the girls' a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, just some friends from work, you don't know them.

I try to stay awake and look out for her when she comes home, but I usually fall asleep. Anyway, I have never broached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just did not want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to finally check on her. Around midnight, I hid in the garage behind my hockey equipment so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with 'the girls.'

When she got out of the car she was buttoning up her blouse, and she took her panties out of her purse and slipped them on. It was at that moment, crouching behind my hockey gear, that I noticed a hairline crack where the blade meets the graphite shaft on my new one piece hockey stick.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the pro-shop where I bought it?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mark Teixeira

Here are some things to ponder while waiting for Mark Teixeira to announce where he will be playing for the next 8 to 10 years.

- Teixeira was huge for the Angels after being traded for. In 54 games he hit a blistering .358 with an OPS of 1.081. He also hit .379 with a 1.130 OPS in 30 home games for the Angels. He clearly was comfortable hitting for the Angels.

- If the Angels fail to sign Teixeira then that means that they traded Casey Kotchman and prospect Stephen Marek for just 54 games of Teixeira. The Angels have added incentive to make sure they didn't lose Kotchman for just a rental.

- In his career Teixeira has played 19 games at Fenway Park and he has hit an anemic .194 with a lousy .637 OPS in those games. I know that screams out "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE" but you have to think that psychologically Teixeira does not have fond memories of hitting at Fenway like he does at Angels Stadium.

- The Red Sox have made it clear that they will not go to a 10-year commitment for Teixeira. What they have in effect done is tell other teams, "Hey if you want to knock us out of the running - just go the extra two years on the deal." The Red Sox don't normally comment during a negotiation unless they have a reason. Here the reason seems to be that the Red Sox are not as serious about signing Teixeira as is being made out. If the Red Sox were truly serious there would be no comment from anyone until the deal was done.

What this points to in my mind is the Angels getting Mark Teixeira signed to a mega deal that will probably be 8-years in length with 2 option years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top 5 Songs About Boxing

This post over at the Straight White Guy got me thinking. The Zevon song Boom Boom Mancini has always been mesmerizing to me but where does it stand in relation to the other songs about boxing? Here's my attempt at listing the top 5.

1. Hurricane by Bob Dylan
2. Boom Boom Mancini by Warren Zevon
3. Song for Sonny Liston by Mark Knopfler
4. The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel (ummm... maybe a bit of a stretch despite the title of the song)
5. Black Superman - Muhammad Ali by Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band

Geez - there's not a whole lot of quality songs about boxing. Maybe I'm missing some songs but I struggled to fill out the list. I almost had to go with Eye of the Tiger by Survivor to fill out the list.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations for a Tuesday morning.

Doug in Hillsboro, NH is right. When I was speaking about Rajon Rondo and Dustin Pedroia being small in stature but large of heart and courage - I should have put Wes Welker of the Patriots in the same group. Nobody is more fearless going over the middle than Welker and now he's in elite company becoming just the 8th receiver in NFL history to have back-to-back 100 plus reception seasons... I have to agree with Charles Barkley - Turner Gill's resume is more impressive than Gene Chizik's. I don't know if race played a part in the choice but I really can't understand how Turner Gill hasn't been snapped up by a big program yet... Jamie Moyer was given a 2-year contract by the Phillies. Most of the reaction has focused on Moyer's age. What seems to be lost is the fact is that Moyer went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA last year. Without Moyer the Phillies may have not made the playoffs last year and never have gotten the chance to win the World Series.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Ghost of Todd Karns Inteview

A Large Regular is lucky to have gotten the chance to interview the Ghost of Todd Karns best known to most as the man who played Harry Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life.

GOTK: See that right there was my biggest problem. I was just 25 when that movie was made and despite my good looks and acting background - both of my parent were actors - after that movie I was forever known as the guy who played Harry Bailey. Talk about being typecast. After It's a Wonderful Life I was relegated to either bit TV guest roles or uncredited movie roles because every time went into a casting office the people would say, "Hey - it's Harry Bailey." I had to open my own theater in Mexico to get away from it.

ALR: I'm sorry. I didn't realize.

GOTK: Oh don't get me wrong. I loved that movie. It was great working with all of those folks. Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra and Donna Reed were as nice in real life as you could possibly imagine. It's just that I guess I get a little bitter that for some reason I was the only one type-cast. It's like Mark Hamill in Star Wars to a lesser degree I guess.

ALR: One of my favorite actors was Ward Bond. He was always great as the buddy or the foil or just an added character in a movie. Besides It's a Wonderful Life he was in Sergeant York, Fort Apache, Gentleman Jim, Mister Roberts and perhaps my favorite Ward Bond role as Father Lonergan in The Quiet Man. I bring him up because there's always been something that bothered me about his role are Bert the Cop in It's a Wonderful Life. At the end when Bert was supposed to have been rushing you from the airport he shows up at George Bailey's house not just with you but also with an accordion which never gets played. What was up with that?

GOTK: You know I don't know but now that you mention it that is strange. It's like a random prop. Why an accordion? If you think about it - it's just as strange as if he showed up with a fishing pole or some other random item. Maybe Ward was supposed to play Ode to Joy on it or something but that got cut. I had never thought about that, "Hey Harry I know we are in an awful rush but can you hold on a minute while I grab my accordion?" That's just strange now that you mention it.

ALR: Thank you so much for your time.

GOTK: You're welcome. And a Merry Christmas to all of your readers.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If I Were Theo for a Day

There's a glimmer of hope that Jake Peavy could be open to a trade to the Red Sox:
“Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. If Jake's ever going to accept anything to the American League – and I don't want this to be taken wrong – I can safely say that it's going to be the Yankees or Red Sox or maybe the Angels. Those teams are going to be in contention and are going to spend money. If there were circumstances where he would be asked to go to the AL, kicking and screaming, those are the three places.”
That being the case - if I were Theo Epstein I'd make a blockbuster offer to the Padres. The offer I'd make would be something like Clay Buchholz, Lars Andersen, Oscar Tejada and maybe two minor prospects for Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez. That's three of the top 10 prospects in the Red Sox organization.

From the Red Sox perspective - Peavy gives the Red Sox perhaps the best starting rotation in baseball (Peavy, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matuzaka - all potential 20-game winners) and Gonzalez would give them a young power bat for the middle of the order. Gonzalez is exactly the type of hitter the Red Sox are trying to get via their offers to Mark Teixeira but he would come without the 7-year plus mega deal. They would be giving up top prospects but all of them are blocked - Buchholz by Peavy, Andersen by Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis. Tejada is blocked by Jed Lowrie.

From the Padres perspective - they would be able to shave $12.5 million off the 2009 payroll. They would also get two MLB ready players who could be stars and one player who is about a year away. The offer I propose above is perhaps the best offer the Padres would see from anyone.

I like the idea of including Buchholz because he originally came to the Red Sox as the compensation pick for losing Pedro Martinez. I like the symmetry of losing one Cy Young Aw ard winner eventually leading to the Red Sox getting another.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Saying

Yes the Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a big contract but how will that convert into wins and losses for the Yankees? I have long believed that the first year in the Bronx is taxing on any pitcher and even the biggest names have struggled in their first season. Here's how the last 6 big name pitchers have fared during their first year at the House that Ruth built.

Carl Pavano - 4-6 with a 4.73 ERA
Randy Johnson - 17-8 with a 3.79 ERA
Kevin Brown - 10-6 with a 4.09 ERA
Javier Vazquez - 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA
Roger Clemens - 14-10 with a 4.60 ERA
Mike Mussina - 17-11 with a 3.15

Everyone is optimistic that CC won't be overwhelmed by the experience of playing in the Big Apple. The argument goes that his temperament and his experience of playing in the American League will cancel out any extra pressure of playing for the Yankees in New York. That clearly hasn't been the case historically.

The Yankees will be lucky to get 17 wins out of Sabathia. Lucky! More likely they are looking at 14 (if history is any guide). Keep in mind that Sabathia is taking Mussina's slot and Mussina finally won 20 for the Yankees in the 8th and final year of his contract. Everyone was optimistic that given the run support of the Yankees that the super free agent Mussina could be penciled in for 20 wins a year. How did that work out? How many rings does Mussina have again?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Player Comparison

Here's another interesting player comparison. Take a look at these minor league numbers of two slugging first basemen:

Player A: 48 G / 171 AB / 10 HR / 28 RBI / .316 BA / .994 OPS
Player B: 41 G / 133 AB / 5 HR / 30 RBI / .316 BA / .962 OPS

Player A is Mark Teixeira and the numbers are from when he was a 22-year old at AA Tulsa.

Player B is Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson and the numbers are from last year at AA Portland. Anderson will be 22-years old next year. Here's something to note from the linked page:
Upside potential: All-Star-caliber first baseman that will contend for batting titles and RBI crowns, with plenty of homers to boot.
That's a description of Mark Teixeira. And that description of Lars Anderson is perhaps the main reason why the Red Sox won't be signing Mark Teixeira.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Player Comparison

Here’s an interesting player comparison between two All-Star first basemen with Gold Glove caliber fielding. Both went to college and both had played all or parts of six seasons in the big leagues before the age of 29.

Player A: 904 G / 3414 AB / 566 R / 989 H / 203 HR / 676 RBI
Player B: 821 G / 2921 AB / 582 R / 973 H / 186 HR / 623 RBI

Player B had been to 3 All-Star games, won 2 Gold Gloves and won a batting and RBI title all before the age of 29. Player A has been to one All-Star game and won 2 Gold Gloves. We are talking about two very, very comparable players here.

Player A is Mark Teixeira who is currently seeking a 10-year contract through his agent Scott Boras. That contract would tie a team to Teixeira for better or worse until age 38.

Player B is Todd Helton who signed a 9-year contract with a one-year 2012 team option (or $4.6 million buyout) in 2003. Essentially Helton’s contract was 10-years in length. Essentially Helton signed his long-term deal at the same age Teixeira is seeking his.

Seeing how comparable the players were up until their age 28 seasons – it would stand to reason that Helton could serve as a preview of what to expect from Teixeira. Oh and if you want to discount Helton due to the Coors Field effects also keep in mind that is probably more than off-set by the fact that Helton remained very healthy in the first 5-years of the contract (averaging better than 151 games per season). Many people view Helton’s contract as an albatross that the Rockies have had to carry these past few years. Will Teixeira’s contract be viewed in the same light a few years hence?

Buyer beware.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Top 5 - Christmas Songs by Rock Stars

1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
3. Father Christmas - The Kinks
4. God Rest Ye Merry Genlemen - Bare Naked Ladies
5. Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby and David Bowie
Omar Vizquel

I feel bad for Omar Vizquel. With the Giants signing Edgar Renteria it could be all over for Omar Vizquel. Here's something I wrote about the possible Hall of Fame Class of 2014:
Finally you have the case of Omar Vizquel who deserves induction as one of the greatest defensive shortstops in history (11 Gold Gloves). It can be argued that Vizquel was the better all-around player than Ozzie Smith but my guess is if he tries to go in with all these other greats then unfortunately he gets greatly overshadowed.
I think that still holds. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and maybe Jeff Kent and Pedro Martinez will overshadow Vizquel and he won't get his due. It's sad but true.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are also the reason Mike Mussina won't get voted in. The true reason Mussina should get passed over is because he doesn't belong but it will be the overshadowing of Maddux and Glavine (and maybe Pedro Martinez if Pedro doesn't play another season) that will cause Mussina to be overlooked in reality.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Plaxico Burress on Gun Safety (NSFW Language)

HT Little Green Footballs
Dustin Pedroia and Rajon Rondo

Almost any time Rajon Rondo is on the floor - he's the smallest guy on the court. Any time Dustin Pedroia takes the field it's a given that he's the smallest guy out there. Yet neither player's heart and talent can be measured by their size.

Early this summer the argument was about whether Dustin Pedroia deserved to be an All-Star. It was argued that Ian Kinsler was more deserving. By the end of the year Pedrioa was the MVP even though he was on a team with All-Stars like David Ortiz.

The latest talk-radio produced argument in Boston is whether Rajon Rondo is an All-Star. Some are saying that Devan Harris is more worthy. Now I'm not predicting that Rajon Rondo is going to win the MVP but if you've had a chance to watch the Celtics this season you'd see that like Pedroia with the Red Sox - Rondo is the heart of the Celtics.

Boston fans are lucky to have two such passionate "small" men. I hope fans take the time to appreciate them because both players play with such abandon and disregard for their bodies that injuries are almost to be expected.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Vazquez to the Braves

The White Sox have supposedly traded starter Javier Vazquez to the Braves.
In exchange for Vazquez and relief pitcher Boone Logan, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves will send four young players to the White Sox: catcher Tyler Flowers, third baseman Jon Gilmore, pitcher Santos Rodriguez and infielder Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge is a player White Sox GM Ken Williams has been after for awhile.
Lillibridge may be the best known but catcher Tyler Flowers may be the real diamond in the group. The Braves have Brian McCann standing in Flowers way - so he was expendable but two years from now he very well could be the American League Geovany Soto.

Many, many people are down on Vazquez as a soft pitcher without enough heart to match his God given skills. It could be that in the more polite than passionate atmosphere of Atlanta - that Vazquez finds his game. With the trade of Vazquez to the Braves - I can't help but think of Russ Ortiz who went 36-16 in two full seasons in Atlanta. In any case - if Vazquez is anything but a #4 starter for the Braves then Atlanta will once again miss the playoffs.
Peter Gammons Interview

Excellent interview with Peter Gammons by the Fire Brand of the American League. Two things I want to comment on:
They look at Teixeira at age 28 and see a star who can produce for an easy eight years, then figure out what to do with everyone else. I don't think they're in the mode of refusing to be outbid; they never work that way. But with the age of Ortiz and Lowell, to put Teixeira in with Youkilis and Pedroia in their primes would give them offensive predictability.
Spot on. See if you can get Teixeira first and then figure out everything else from there. The days of "Vince Coleman? Where would we play him?" are over.
This ownership looked around and saw there's no land for a new park, and they've done a brilliant job marketing Fenway and the Red Sox brand. There is a limited ceiling to revenues, but I can't believe they will not remain in the top 3-5 in revenues even with the $2500-a-seat tickets at the new Yankee Stadium. How about those tradeoffs to give Mayor Bloomberg his luxury box.
The scarcity of seats at Fenway is a huge plus for the Red Sox ownership in terms of NESN revenue. The local TV revenue they don't have to share with other teams. This makes them very profitable. The Red Sox have the best of all worlds here. They get to play the keepers of the public's trust by not just keeping Fenway but making it even nicer - a Disneyland-like destination for baseball fans and they also get fans to make NESN part of the basic cable package at every cable operator so every cable viewer in New England basically has to pay for it.
A Christmas Classic

It's A Wonderful Life.

In 30 seconds.

Acted by cartoon bunnies.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

One Nation Under God

The Rev. George M. Docherty, who is credited with getting the words "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance, has passed away.

"Under God" was added to the Pledge in 1954 during the height of the Cold War. Literally added at a time when many felt the end of the world could be at hand because of nuclear bombs - the words helped differentiate our country from that of the "Godless" Communist Russians who could not pledge allegiance to both God and their country at the same time.

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes and it is also true that at times of combat our country turns to God. The words "Under God" being added when they were is a prime example. Another example is the words "In God We Trust" being added to our currency during the Civil War. Church attendance soaring after 9/11 is another exhibit of the country turning to God in times of stress.

Many believe that much of this stems from the fact that God is not mentioned at all in our Constitution. That has always bothered some. They are afraid it makes the United States itself a Godless country. Or that it shows a lack of gratitude for the freedom and bounty the country enjoys.

Perhaps the best resource for the relationship of Christianity and the United States is the book Head and Heart: A History of Christianity in America by Garry Wills. I highly recommend the book.

Jon Heyman - Flipflopper

Back on November 18th Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees had decided to offer Bobby Abreu arbitration.
The Yankees have decided to offer star outfielder Bobby Abreu arbitration, people familiar with their thinking tell SI.com. However, it remains more likely that he will sign elsewhere as a free agent.
Here's what he wrote today:
The Yankees will not offer arbitration to free agents Andy Pettitte and Bobby Abreu, SI.com has learned. The Yankees did not want to chance taking either player to arbitration since both players made $16 million in 2008 and stood to make even more than that in arbitration. Both players can still re-sign with the Yankees though only Pettitte appears to have a good chance to do so.
Was Jon Heyman just throwing stuff against the wall back in mid-November? Is he doing so now? If I had a dollar for every time Heyman was wrong about something in print - then I'd be able to buy that ivory backscratcher I've been longing for.
Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous football thoughts and observations.

OK - I'll say it. The Patriots are not a Super Bowl team with Matt Cassel at quarterback and for the long run they are better off missing the playoffs this year. To some that seems like an obvious statement but others have had their reason clouded by a couple of 400-yard passing days by Cassel. I'm not down on Cassel because of yesterday's performance - it's just the way it is. Tom Brady does make this team a Super Bowl contender (if not favorite) and a higher draft pick this year in the long run is more beneficial than making the playoffs this season... The Patriots are a completely different team with Tom Brady at QB. Same too the Cowboys with and without Tony Romo. I just wanted to mention that I first heard of Romo when he was at Eastern Illinois where he won the Walter Payton Award his senior year (2002). I say this because Dominic Randolph of Holy Cross could very well be the next Tony Romo. Randolph is one of the 16 finalists for the Walter Payton Award this season. I've been on the Randolph bandwagon for a long time. Remember where you first heard his name when he gets drafted by an NFL team this spring... I can easily see the Eagles dumping both Coach Andy Reid and QB Donovan McNabb and replacing them with Patriots' Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels and free agent QB Matt Cassel. Reid and McNabb have brought that team as far as they can and everything else is going to be downhill. McDaniels and Cassel would bring a fresh energy to the team and the fanbase. I think Philadelphia would be a Super Bowl contender with the new duo. They have a better overall team than New England. They have a better defense and they have Brian Westbrook (Walter Payton Award winner in 2001). Romeo Crennel may also be available to be McDaniels' Defensive Coordinator at the end of the year. Tell me Philly fans wouldn't get excited about those changes?... Remind me not to bet on a game where either the Denver Broncos or New York Jets are involved. You never know what team will show up... Plaxico Burress has played his last game for the New York Jets. Maybe the strict Catholic Tom Coughlin had his prayers answered? "Dear God - can you please do something about Plaxico Burress? I don't want him hurt bad but I would really appreciate it if you could get him out of my life."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

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.
Fixing the BCS Mess

The new BCS rankings are out. Oklahoma passes over Texas in the rankings even though the Longhorns beat the Sooners straight up. It's a mess.

I still say that using the ghost of Marty Feldman would be a better method than what we currently have.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

George Steinbrenner

Joe Posnanski writes what perhaps is the definitive article on George Steinbrenner.

That Posnanski has done this on his blog in basically what is his free time tells you not just of the tremendous talent of a writer Posnanski is but also of his sports passion and knowledge.

Well worth your time to read this article.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Adam's Touching Himself

Everyone has trouble talking about sex with their kids. I don't care how cool or hip or how with it you think you are - you are still going to have trouble talking to your kids about sex.

Even God had trouble talking about sex. Seriously. If you read between the lines in the story of the Garden of Eden - you see how uncomfortable God was in talking about sex.

Start from the beginning. God made Adam in his image but with one major difference - God was smart whereas Adam didn't know any better because he did not eat from the tree of knowledge - yet. Think about that for a minute. You have a dumb male - a naked male at that - in perfect health just bopping around the Garden of Eden with really nothing to do. Every guy knows what that means.

Adam must have spent all of his time playing with himself.

There must of been a first time when Adam discovered the hard-on. It was probably morning - a BEMHO (basic early morning hard-on) - not to be confused with a HOFNAR (hard-on for no apparent reason). Can't you picture it? Adam, "Hey what's this?" And of course the first thing he does is to touch it. "Hey it feels pretty good to rub this thing. Hey - this - is - great! Now I know how I'm going to spend my day."

As an aside - God gave Adam the job of naming all the plants and animals. So you know Adam must have also named his newly found best friend. That's why men give their penis a name to this very day. It's a throwback to the Garden of Eden. (I call mine Mr. Happy.)

Now God used to roam the Garden of Eden in those days and you know he must have walked into Adam when Adam was jerking it. God, "Whoa - Adam? What are you doing?" Adam, "Just rubbing myself God. Hey watch what happens when I go really fast." God, "Adam that's fine. That's something you do in private." Adam, "Private? What's that? I'm the only one here. I'm in private everywhere I go." God, "I really have to do something about this guy."

So that night God took one of Adam's ribs and created woe-man and the Bible tells us that is was so that Adam would not be "lonely" but really it was because God was probably tired of seeing Adam playing with himself all the time.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Something to Be Thankful For

The view out my window may not be as breathtaking as the view out of theirs.

But I'm pretty sure my Thanksgiving dinner will look much more appetizing than this.
Brenda Fraser?

The Big Lead had this post.

With this picture.

I was mesmerized. It was the girl's face. It looked like someone photoshopped the face on the body and the face looked familiar. I couldn't look away. Then it hit me. She looks like Brendan Fraser.

Has anyone ever seen those two people in the same room? Just asking.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holy Crap!

Boy does Randy "Macho Man" Savage look old.

Oh yeah!

HT Mondesi's House
Heh Heh

Iowa football clearly makes people do questionable things.

Like this (the last lines make the story special).
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two Iowa football fans were caught having sex in a bathroom stall at the Metrodome during Saturday’s Minnesota-Iowa game.

According to a police report, a Metrodome security officer saw two people having sex in a handicapped stall after noticing two sets of feet with underwear dropped to the ground.

A group of 15 onlookers were gawking at the scene by the time officers broke the couple up and wrote them misdemeanor citations.

The woman, 38, was turned over to her husband. The man, 26, was turned over to his girlfriend.
HT Sports Frog
Jason Varitek

The other day it was reported that the Red Sox made Jason Varitek a one-year offer that was significantly less than the $13 million that Jorge Posada is getting paid per year. Scott Boras then came out and said that no offer had been made. Who to believe?

Let's start from the premise that Scott Boras is never to be believed and work from there. Here's what I wrote after Manny Ramirez work-stopped his way out of town:
Now the only Boras clients on the team are Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury and JD Drew. It will be interesting to see how the team handles the Varitek negotiations with Boras. I almost expect them to make a take it or leave it one-year offer (with Varitek taking it).
I think the Red Sox did make a one-year offer to Jason Varitek. I think that's the only offer they are going to make. I think they leaked this to Rob Bradford of WEEI so that other teams would know that they are not in a bidding war with the Red Sox for Jason Varitek's services. The Red Sox normally don't leak anything. They leaked it to stick it to Scott Boras.

I also think that Jason Varitek ends up taking the one-year deal (maybe the Red Sox add a team option year) because Jason Varitek likes it in Boston and really doesn't want to play anywhere else.

I was wrong about what I wrote earlier though. Alex Cora is also a Scott Boras client. It makes you wonder if the Red Sox are willing to make Julio Lugo a $9 million utility man and let Alex Cora walk just because he's a Scott Boras client.

The Yankees are pissed at Boras and if the Red Sox decide to screw Boras - then it makes you wonder how many clients Boras will be able to sign once it's known he's on the outs with the two biggest spenders in baseball.

Could this be the beginning of the end for Scott Boras?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mike Mussina - Hall of Famer?

My immediate reaction is "No - Mike Mussina is not a Hall of Famer". King Kaufman has a very good article on Mike Mussina and the Hall of Fame which I'd like to use as my jumping off point to show why Mike Mussina is not a Hall of Famer. Two things to point out about the Kaufman piece - first he correctly writes that the Hall of Fame is "meant to honor the great, not the very good." Secondly he mentions by name ten pitchers (other than Mike Mussina) in his column. I'd like to take the comparison against these ten people Kaufman deemed worthy to mention by name to make my point:

Don Sutton - Hall of Famer with 324 wins, a .559 winning percentage and an ERA+ of 108. Like Mussina - Sutton never won a Cy Young Award and was never the dominant pitcher of his league. Like Mussina - Sutton also never won a World Series but acquitted himself so-so in the post season (Sutton was 6-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 14 post season starts while Mussina was 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA in 21 post season starts). Unlike Mussina - Sutton did hang around long enough to win 300 games. Sutton wins the Hall of Fame attendance award. He wasn't great but he was there. Mussina's not there. He's walking away from the game. He's healthy and he's made his money. Now's he's done. He won't be like a Koufax or Pedro Martinez (two players Kaufman did not mention by name) who didn't/won't make it to 300 wins because their arms gave way. Mussina wasn't close to being in Pedro's or Sandy's class. And by not sticking around - he's not even in Sutton's class either. Winning 300 is not a magic ticket but the reason you leave the game should be a determining factor in Hall of Fame voting.

Gaylord Perry - Hall of Famer with 314 wins and ERA+ of 117 and 2 Cy Young Awards. Perry won 20 games or more on 5 occasions and led his league in wins 3 separate seasons. Mussina had one 20-win season and as will be repeatedly pointed out - never won a Cy Young Award.

Early Wynn - Hall of Famer and the poster boy for hanging around to get 300 wins. Wynn also won a Cy Young Award. It should be noted that Wynn left baseball in 1963 but was not voted into the Hall of Fame until 1972. Wynn had 300 wins and a Cy Young and yet he was made to wait to gain entry into the Hall. Some people are acting like Mike Mussina should not just be a Hall of Famer but a first ballot Hall of Famer. Has the disease of entitlement extended so far that now the very good players like Mussina feel entitled to join the greats of the game? I say no to Mike Mussina in the Hall of Fame. And I say no again.

Tom Glavine - Kaufman says that Glavine is "a pitcher very much in Mussina's class" but that's pure BS. Glavine won 2 Cy Young Awards and was top 3 in voting for the award 6 times. In 5 spearate seasons Glavine led his league in wins and in 1995 he won the World Series MVP award. Mussina isn't close to being in Glavine's class.

Bert Blyleven - This guy has been made to wait to get into the Hall of Fame since he became eligible in 1997. On top of everything else - Blyleven is 5th on the all-time strikeout list and he acquitted himself very well in the playoffs. Blyleven has two World Series rings to Mussina's ZERO. Blyleven was 5-1 in 5 post season series with a 2.47 ERA. That's a run lower than Mussina's post season ERA. And have I mentioned that Blyleven hasn't been voted into the Hall of Fame? Yet Mike Mussina is supposed to waltz in? By all that's holy - don't let it be so.

Tom Seaver - He's one of the all-time greats. Mussina shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. Shame on you King Kaufman for bringing up Tom Seaver.

Eddie Plank - Hall of Famer with 326 wins. Mentioning Plank is a complete misdirection by Kaufman. Plank was the first lefty in history with 300 wins but according to Kaufman's logic - if Mussina's aunt was his uncle then Mussina could have had as many wins as Plank.

Cy Young and Walter Johnson - you're kidding right?

Jamie Moyer - finally Kaufman names a player you could feel comfortable saying was not as good as Mike Mussina. So the whole argument for Mike Mussina getting into the Hall of fame comes down to the fact that he was better than Jamie Moyer? Yeesh.

As far as I'm concerned - Mike Mussina made over $144 million playing baseball. Now he gets to walk away from baseball, spend that money and spend time with his family. What he does not get is to walk into the Hall of Fame. He is not entitled to that. It is not the Hall of Very Good. As time passes - I guessing more and more people will come to their senses regarding Mike Mussina and the Hall of Fame.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And That's Why We Need a Gun in the House

I had a dream last night where through the cracked open door on my youngest' room - I spotted a tiger pacing around. I immediately burst into the room to see my two youngest standing on their beds, with their backs against the wall, both clutching pillows as if the pillows offered some defense to the pacing, agitated tiger.

As Soon as I assessed the situation - I jumped on the back of the tiger and put it in into some sort of full-nelson (I'm very brave in my dreams). I then started yelling for my kids to get out of the room and for my wife to either call someone to shoot the tiger or to shoot the tiger herself.

Of course my wife then explained to me in a rushed nervous way that she couldn't shoot the tiger because we had no gun in the house. In my dream I clearly recall still straining on the back of the tiger responding, "See - that's why we need a gun in the house!"

In real life - if my best argument for having a gun in the house is to protect the kids in case of tigers - then I'm guessing we're not getting a gun any time soon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Great Rant

Louis CK is great and he is so right in this rant.

HT American Digest

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Want My Five-Assed Monkey

Glenn Reynolds says he wants his "monkey man" but after reading this post about merging Neanderthal DNA with monkey DNA - I realized they missed the obvious. South Park had the genetically altered monkey DNA via mad scientist Dr. Alphonse Mephisto who was questing for the Holy Grail of a five-assed monkey. Maybe modern science can give us a Neanderthal five-assed monkey man?

The MVP Award and Steroids

This is an observation and not a scientific study in any way but I think one of the elephants in the room that isn't being talked about is how steroids testing has effected baseball and the MVP Award in particular. Consider that the top 5 vote getters in the American League averaged just 22.8 home runs. Only one player in the top 5 had over 30 HR. The 22.8 HR is a 41% decrease in HR from the top 5 vote getters from 5 just years ago.

That's an amazing change in numbers. Yet nobody seems to be mentioning it.

This is not a fluke - it's clearly a trend in both leagues. Here's how the top 5 vote getters have averaged in HR for the past 5 years (doubly significant in that Barry Bonds last won an MVP 5-years ago):

2008 - AL 22.8 / NL 33.6
2007 - AL 33 / NL 38.6
2006 - AL 37 / NL 43.8
2005 - AL 41 / NL 41.4
2004 - AL 38.6 / NL 43

I fully expect the AL average to go up next year but even if it goes up to an average of 30 HR from the top 5 vote getters - that will still be a decrease of 20% from the 2004 numbers.

Eventually the numbers will flatten out and you'll pretty much know what to expect from year to year. I just find it interesting that nobody seems to be commenting on this very obvious drop in the numbers and maybe what it says about the top players of the steroids era.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Penis Enlargement!

I have to get something off my chest. I always have a good chuckle at all those penis enlargement TV commercials, advertisements and spam emails because they always claim that the pills are made of all-natural ingredients. Ha!

If there were natural ingredients that could increase the size of your johnson - then men from the dawn of time would have been eating those ingredients by the handful at every moment of the day. I don't care what those ingredients would happen to be. They could be poison ivy and men would still eat them by the handful.

In fact - if it was poison ivy then Budweiser would have a Penis Mightier beer with poison ivy extract and Zinc oxide (the main active ingredient in Calamine lotion).
Creepy Media

The Big Lead is right - this is creepy.

Report that Tom and Gisele went to a certain restaurant - fine. This is just creepy in the "every breath you take - every move you make - I'll be watching you" stalker sense.

And people wonder why Tom Brady prefers to hang out in Manhattan where he can be just another guy? Yeesh.
Dustin Pedroia Wins AL MVP!!

Dustin Pedroia wins the AL MVP! Yeah! As a Red Sox fan I am ecstatic for Pedey (or Petey). I'm so giddy that my thoughts are all over the place.

I think it is wonderful that yesterday Pedroia wins the award and that today is Equal Opportunity Day. There is a certain symmetry to that. You don't have to be a well above average height wise and muscle wise 1st baseman to win the award. You don't have to be a $25 million third baseman to get the voters attention. Not any more. Dustin Pedroia is a role model to all the small, balding, white guys everywhere. Today they all have equal opportunity to do whatever they strive to do and Dustin Pedroia is the proof!

I know my hope will never be realized but I can't help but dream of Dustin Pedroia making the theme to Mighty Mouse his introductory music. Here he comes to save the day! That would be awesome.

One thing that bothers me is the fact that Dustin Pedroia is good and too unique not to have a good nickname. How about "the Dust Buster"? Naw - I agree. How about "Tootsie"? That plays on the Dustin Hoffman angle (as some at Sons of Sam Horn have suggested). Probably too whimpy. "Get Shorty"? "Vertically challenged"? If Frank Thomas was "the Big Hurt" - maybe Pedroia could be "the Little Nagging Injury"? It's tough to come up with a nickname befitting this great player.

The last Red Sox player to win the AL MVP was Mo Vaughn. I can't help but think that the celebration for the two players was probably as different as their body types. I'm thinking Mo was making it rain at the Foxy Lady after hearing about winning the award. I picture Pedroia doing extra reps at the training institute in Arizona after winning the award.

One last thing - I don't think that Terry Francona gets enough credit when it comes to Pedroia. Last year Pedroia really struggled out of the gate but Francona stuck with him. I don't think the results of that gamble and that belief get enough credit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Measuring Catcher's Defensive Value

Trying to gauge the defensive value of catchers is a crapshoot. Take David Pinto's Probabilistic Model of Range for instance. He has the Dodger's Russell Martin listed above Jason Varitek by his method. Just saying but the rumors are the Dodgers are interested in Varitek because of the defense he'd bring to the team over Martin.

This is not a slam at Pinto's method in any way. It's more to point out that the defensive value of a catcher is almost impossible to gauge. How do you factor in a good pitching coach or a bad one for that matter? Defensive Win Shares for catchers are an even worse measuring stick.
The Red Sox Do Have a Big Bandwagon

I got a kick out of this tidbit over at Ducksnorts (Padres baseball) in response to the Padres fire sale:
Q: Should I abandon the Padres?
A: If you are serious in asking the question, then yes, you probably should leave.

Q: Okay, where should I go?
A: Try the Red Sox. I hear they’ve got a pretty big bandwagon.
Yes - the Red Sox do have a big bandwagon. So big its embarrassing - so big it's now the punchline for teams like the Padres I guess.

Red Sox fans used to be known by many as the most savvy in baseball. Now the bar has really been lowered by the bandwagon "pink hats". I remember talking to this guy at a game at Fenway about Dustin Pedroia. I mentioned that I saw him play at Portland. He asked if that's where Dustin went to college.

Monday, November 17, 2008

NFL Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous NFL thoughts and observations.

You had to know that with all the love being thrown to Atlanta and Matt Ryan on all the pre-game shows that the Falcons would end up losing yesterday. It's like talking about a pitcher having a no-hitter. As soon as you mention the no-hitter - someone gets a hit. As soon as you mention the Falcons' success - they lose a game... There were only 3 punts total by both teams in the Indy / Texans game. The three punts averaged 50 yards each... Miami was lucky to win a single game last year and yet yesterday they were a 10-point favorite over the Raiders. Ted Baxter would argue that was too many points:
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?
The Ted Baxter theory would have been 2-0 yesterday (the Raiders covered getting 10 and the Lions covered getting 14)... Deja vu - when the Patriots played the Rams in the Super Bowl - the Rams were the overwhelming favorite and people were talking about St. Louis being a possible dynasty. Then the Patriots upset the Rams and suddenly New England was the dynasty team. Last year the Patriots were the overwhelming favorite and were upset by the Giants. Now the Giants are the team looking like a possible dynasty... The Chiefs are just 1-9 and yet you really don't hear anyone talking about firing Herm Edwards. I don't get that. What has Herm Edwards ever won to get him such a Teflon reputation? I contend that Herm Edwards is the worst coach in the NFL... Pride goeth before a fall. Remember to the hot start Donovan McNabb got off to this season and how he was chirping about finally being healthy? Do you think there will be any chirping after his 3 INT performance yesterday. Wrap your head around this one Eagles fans - yesterday your QB was out-performed by a guy from Harvard... The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have very quietly put up a 7-3 record. Their 3 losses were by a combined 11 points... The past two weeks I bet against the Titans under the theory that they aren't going to go undefeated this season. Yesterday I didn't touch them but next week I'm going back to betting against them...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heh Heh

HT Grouchy Old Cripple
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Red Sox make a run at Brad Penny. The Sox (like every other team in both leagues) could use another starter and it is said that owner John Henry really likes Penny. The skinny on Penny seems to be that he was "distracted" in LA. It's tough to be distracted away from baseball when playing in Boston... I hope Orlando Hudson stays in the National League because he could be the only thing standing between Dustin Pedroia and a series of Gold Gloves. That's not to discount Mark Ellis but Ellis doesn't seem to be able to stay healthy enough to be a factor... I'm conflicted at the thought of Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. potentially winding back in Seattle as free agents. On the one hand - there certainly is something to be said for both players coming full circle and ending up their careers where they started. On the other hand - does either player make Seattle a better team? If it were to happen it would have the whiff of a carnival freak show to it where fans were expected to come out to see two future hall of famers and not the game itself... The top 3 things on the Red Sox wish list seem to be - 1. resolve the issues at catcher 2. figure out what to do about Julio Lugo and 3. add another starter. My guesses on these three situations? I think the Red Sox sign Jason Varitek to a one year deal but also shop around for a young stud catcher (like Jarrod Saltalamacchia) to be his eventual replacement. As far as the other two issues - if the Red Sox do trade Lugo it will be for someone else's problem contract ala Nate Robinson or Dontrelle Willis in Detroit. Lugo has shown willingness to be a back-up and maybe that's the answer. But then again - what does it say about the fire in a player that he almost seems resigned to being a backup?...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WSOP - And We Have a Winner!

I won't spoil it for you if you are waiting to watch the final table action on ESPN but Pauly has the results and the play-by-play over at Tao of Poker.

As always - good stuff from Pauly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WSOP - Then There Were Two

The final table is down to heads-up action.
It took 169 hands, but the heads up match is set. Play is over for the night and will resume tomorrow. The final two are Peter Eastgate and Ivan the Russian.

The Final Two:
Peter Eastgate (Denmark) - 79.5M
Ivan Demidov (Russia) - 57.725M

1st Place - $9,152,416
2nd Place - $5,809,595
As always - the Tao of Poker with Dr. Pauly is the only place to follow the action.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

World Series of Poker - November 9

Pauly has an excellent rundown of the players at the final table of the WSOP Main Event. The link to the player profiles post isn't working but Pauly is doing a first day live blog - so it's all good.

For the record - I'm rooting for Dennis Phillips. I'm not close to being as old as he is but he's the player I can most identify with.
Hot Library Smut

Libraries are perhaps my favorite places in the world. The title of the thread is not my creation but I thought I should keep it. If you like libraries - you'll love this.

I felt a longing, a wanting, a lust to visit those places that it may have well been pornography.

HT Sports Frog
Penn State

Watching Joe Paterno's reaction after yesterday's game was tough to take. He's an old man and he knows it. This may have been his last shot at a national championship and he knows that too. Joe was almost in tears talking about the 24-23 loss to Iowa. It was tough to watch.

It has to be said though - Penn State has nobody to blame but themselves for the loss. The truth is - yesterday they played not to lose more than they played to win. How many times were they in the Red Zone only to seemingly play for a field goal? I can't recall a single instance where they took a shot at the endzone. Even on their 2 TD's - the Nittany Lions played it safe with rushes up the middle.

It also has to be said - Penn State even though they were ranked 3rd in the country are not close to being the 3rd best team in the country.

I still feel bad for Joe Paterno though.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Heh Heh - Bama's #1 Fan

The Dream

This morning I awoke to a strange dream.

I was outside the US Senate when I realized that I had to go in because I had been elected to Congress. Once inside the doors, the first person I saw was Nancy Pelosi. I was lost but didn't want to ask Nancy where to go because I really don't like her. Right away I spotted my friend Mike who is very political and who I gathered had also just been elected to Congress. He knew where we were supposed to sit - so I followed him.

I was seated just in time for a vote. It was announced that some babies can lift up to 75 pounds at just one year's of age and that these babies could be a danger if they started throwing things off bridges. I was handed a leaflet and a "Yea" vote for the proposed law banning babies from throwing things off of bridges.

"What a silly law - I can't vote for this," I thought. So I got up from my seat on the Republican side of the House to move to the other side to get a "Nay" vote. When going over to the other side I was approached by a woman who assumed I was coming over for the free chotsky's and swag they were handing out. I told her I just wanted a "Nay" vote but I kept the free stuff just the same (there were chocolate squares, nice pens and other good giveaways).

I then cast my "Nay" vote because in my mind it is already illegal to cause dangerous situations by throwing things off bridges. Why should babies of unusual strength be singled out?

Dreams are supposed to have symbolic meanings and I'm assuming that the following symbolism applied to my dream:

The stupid law on babies throwing stuff off of bridges represented how the Republicans in particular and Congress in general has wasted their time with trivial and stupid matters while not doing anything concrete or good these past 8 years.

The chotsky's represent political pork and me keeping the free giveaways represent how difficult it is even for the best intentioned to avoid the temptation of free stuff at the taxpayer's expense.

And me being in Congress in the first place represented for certain that we must be going to hell in a handbasket.

Monday, November 03, 2008

De-Linking Big Stupid Tommy

I am considering de-linking Big Stupid Tommy for throwing his vote away in tomorrow's election.

I can see not being really enamored with either party but why throw your vote away like this? Tommy - I know you love TV Land but why vote for a guy to be President of the United States just because be appeared in one episode of Bewitched?

For the record - I'm voting for John McCain who has a much more extensive IMDB resume.
The Stroke

While visiting his niece, an elderly man had what was apparently a stroke. His niece drove wildly to get him to the emergency room.

After what seemed like a very long wait, the E.R. doctor appeared, wearing his scrubs and a long face.

Sadly, he said, "I'm afraid that your uncle's brain is dead, but his heart is still beating."

"Oh, dear," cried the woman, her hands clasped against her cheeks with shock. "We've never had a Democrat in the family before!"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Appalachian State v Wofford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mike Rozier

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

No - not the former Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beer Sales

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

Will beer sales be cut off after the seventh inning?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Breeder's Cup

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

Nice race by race analysis here.

Another nice race-by-race preview here.

My picks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Brady Bunch Conundrum

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 20, 2008

They Promised Us Flying Cars!

I want one of these.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Joe" the Plumber

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

This would make a certain amount of sense.

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

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

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

There I said it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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