Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bowl Preview No. 2: Ohio State vs. LSU

This bowl has a lot of potential, because both teams have good head coaches and a lot of talent on the field. However, I can't help but look at this game as a possible repeat of last year: a relatively untested Ohio State coming out of a weak Big Ten to play a semi-beaten up SEC team with a dynamic defense and strong offense.

Ohio State offense against LSU defense
The more I see Chris Wells, the more I like him. Beanie's a strong runner who can move the ball well north-south, giving the Buckeyes the potential to chew up a good amount of clock time with the running game. Plus, he comes up big when they need him too, as seen in his 222 yards on 39 carries against Michigan and 221 yards on 31 carries against Michigan State. Ohio State also has a relatively under-rated offensive line, which does a decent job opening up holes for both Beanie and Maurice Wells, their other back. While Todd Boeckman doesn't give Buckeyes the same gamebreaker-potential Troy Smith did last year, he has a good presence in the pocket and is a pretty accurate passer: 64.5 completion percentage on the year. While the Buckeyes don't have the same eye-popping talent at receiver they did last year (Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez), both Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline are decent options.

The one thing that strikes me every time I see LSU's defense is the speed of the secondary and the size they put on the defensive line. Obviously, it all starts with Glenn Dorsey. He has the size and talent to almost single-handedly stuff the run, and forces opposing offenses to plan blocking schemes around him. Meanwhile, the Tigers' speed at the defensive back positions allows them to use a lot of different coverage schemes and rush players from a variety of positions. Boeckman has not seen a defense this fast yet this season, nor has he seen one with the ability to bring pressure from as many angles as the Tigers do. Remember, although Ohio State is ranked No. 1 in total defense, the Tigers aren't far behind: No. 3 overall.

LSU offense against Ohio State defense
The James Laurinaitis vs. the Tigers' entire offense matchup is why I'll watch this game. Every time I see Laurinaitis play, I want to scream "SPARTANS!!" and kick some Persians into an impossibly deep well. The Buckeyes' linebacker is an absolute monster in the middle, and the leader of an incredibly good defense: Ohio State allowed just 3.58 yards per play and only 15 total touchdowns on the season, just two of which were rushing. Jim Tressel has shown he knows how to run a defense, and this year's edition is even better than last year. While Laurinaitis is the only big name, there aren't any weak spots, and the Buckeyes defend well against both the rush (No. 3 overall) and the pass (No. 1 overall). Not a lot of options left for the Tigers.

That's not to say the Tigers have some second-rate offense. LSU's running back duo of Jacob Hester and Keiland Williams helped LSU average 219 yards a game on the ground. Plus, the Tigers have a pocket/scrambler combination at QB that gave the Buckeyes problems against Florida last year. Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux give the Tigers interesting options at quarterback, though they are not in the same league as Chris Leak/Tim Tebow of last year's Gators team. In addition, LSU WR Demetrius Byrd has a real gamebreaker ability, with great speed and good hands.

Final Prediction: LSU 21, Ohio State 17

Monday, December 3, 2007

BCS Bowls previews: Fiesta Bowl

I'll be previewing each bowl game over the next few days, in order of which match ups I find most entertaining. First up, the Fiesta Bowl.

Oklahoma vs. West Virginia: I love this matchup. Oklahoma, just happy to be in a bowl after a crazy season in the Big 12, draws a West Virginia that laid down arguably the biggest choke job of the season on Saturday, losing to a four-touchdown underdog at home when they controlled their destiny for the national championship game.

The game itself should be good as well. Oklahoma has a good run defense — No. 8 in the country at 92 rushing yards allowed per game — but they haven't faced an offense with this many options. Obviously, when people hear "Mountaineers," they think Steve Slaton/Pat White, though maybe not in that order. However, the two biggest factors in the game for WVU will be fullback Owen Schmitt and running back Noel Devine. Against a Mountaineers offense that only has one real receiving threat (WR Darius Reynaud), the Sooners will probably stack 8 in the box and try to shut down the option early, since White's legs really open up the rest of the Mountaineers attack. Here's where Schmitt comes in: WVU will need his freakish physicality to open up holes for Slaton up the middle when the option isn't working. The other thing the Mountaineers might (and should) do is give Devine 10-12 touches out of the backfield. He's a threat to hit the endzone no matter where they have the ball, and the possibility of Devine turning the corner for 25-yard or more runs should keep the Sooners honest.

On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma matches up very, very well with the Mountaineers' 3-3-5 defense. Oklahoma has a pair of good running backs in Allen Patrick and Chris Brown, a solid receiving corps and one of the most poised QBs in the country in freshman Sam Bradford. Bradford threw one interception every 44 passes during the regular season, a phenomenal ratio especially because it shows he doesn't beat himself. Based on the talent at the skill positions and a line that's slightly heftier than WVU, I don't think Oklahoma will have too much trouble getting to the endzone.

Bowl prediction: Oklahoma 31, West Virginia 17

Friday, November 30, 2007

Did Lastings sleep with Omar's wife?

The Mets traded OF Lastings Milledge today to the Nationals for C Brian Schneider and LF Ryan Church in one of those trades that just doesn't make sense, from a lot of angles. Let's break this one down, step-by-stupid-minaya-step:

1.) The Mets' biggest need is starting pitching, specifically a front-of-the-rotation No. 1 or No. 2-guy, with the loss of Tom Glavine to the Braves and the question marks surrounding Pedro Martinez entering the 2008 season. The Mets' biggest bargaining chip this offseason? Milledge. If Omar Minaya wants to trade for starting, which seems to be his primary goal, why give use your best chip for anything other than an ace?

2.) For the sake of argument though, let's assume Minaya learned the Mets wouldn't be close on Johan Santana, and the combined prospects of dealing with Billy Beane for Dan Haren didn't entice Minaya enough to go after the A's starter. If that's true, rather than seeking to deal Milledge, Minaya should have held on to the outfielder and waited and hoped for one of two things to happen: A) Milledge lights up pitchers in the spring and plays his way into a starting spot, taking Shawn Green's to the bench and giving the Mets an outfielder under 30; or B) Milledge plays well, but continues clashing with manager Willie Randolph and the Mets veterans.

In scenario A, everyone is happy and Minaya looks like a genius by not giving away talent. In situation B, while acknowledging Milledge's talent, the Mets could deal him at the break for a pitching upgrade or help in an injury area if he is really destroying the clubhouse. While there is always the possibility Milledge doesn't play well and still cause problems, his age and his physical tools would still warrant decent prospects in return at the deadline.

3.) Now here is where the real problem is. Minaya has decided that Milledge must be moved, and that he cannot get a frontline starter in return. This is why you should never force a deal. In exchange for Milledge, a five-tool top outfield prospect who can do it all, the Mets got an already over-the-hill catcher with a terrible contract and a mediocre left fielder.

Schneider, who does work well with young pitching staffs, is signed for $4.9 million a year through 2009. The 31-year-old has never league-average OPS+ in a full season, has virtually no power and is a terrible contact hitter. He walks a surprisingly high number of times, probably due to a fairly good batting eye. That being said, the Mets already have two catchers (Johnny Estrada and Ramon Castro) on the roster. Both of those guys will give production not too much different from what Schneider will probably do this year. And to make matter worse, they just signed both of them! Right now, the Mets have three catchers on their roster who will make a combined $12.9 million, none of whom is named Mauer or Martin.

Church, meanwhile, is not a bad player. He had an OPS+ of 114 and 15 homers in 470 at-bats in a stadium that just kills hitters. That being said, Church is 29 heading into this season, and probably works out (best case scenario) to the tune of .290/.370./.480 over the next two or three years. He is not an elite defensive outfielder. He does not have the same physical tools Milledge has, and, aside from his contract, has very little value to the A's or the Twins.

All in all, prodigiously dumb move for the Mets, especially as it needlessly strengthens a divisional rival, and the Nationals are not nearly as bad as everyone thinks they are. Now, with Milledge in center, Manny Acta won't need to chose among Nook Logan, Alex Escobar and Ryan Langerhans in center, and giving the Nats an outfield of Milledge, Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns — not too shabby. While the Nats now need a catcher, it's not a terribly big hole in the lineup. So long as Milledge hits at least what Church did last year, the Nats won't see a huge drop off in production overall. Great job Omar. Great job.

Against Ilinois Terps Find Success

After struggling to get by Hampton and Northeastern and losing to UCLA and Missouri the Terps showed no signs of a consistent offense. Gist was drifting behind the three-point line, Hayes wasn't shooting, Greivis was shooting too much, Milbourne looked lost and Boom was a turnover machine.

Against Illinois, however, the Terps found success. Hayes was more aggressive in his shot selection and it showed with four threes. Dupree emerged as a legitimate low post scoring threat. Which allows Osby to be the spark off the bench that he was last year. Cliff Tucker also impressed by going 4-6 from the field and grabbing five rebounds.

The Terps were able to win against the Fighting Illini rather comfertably despite being out rebounded, out three'd and Greivis Vasquez struggling with his shot to put it mildly.

Maryland has the talent to be a tournament team once again this year. They just need to cut down on turnovers and work on rebounding. Against VCU Gary should try a new starting lineup of Greivis, Hayes, Tucker, Dupree, and Gist.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Take that family

I am the first person in my family not to go to the University of Illinois. That includes both my parents, two uncles, two aunts, and five cousins. How sweet it is that for one more year I get to hold bragging rights in the Rosenbaum house.

BTW, Eric Hayes should keep his hair short for the rest of his life.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Trojan Romeo

Lil' Romeo has signed a letter of intent to play with USC. On the one hand, my first thought was, publicity stunt. However, after hearing how good he actually is, it got me thinking about what other celebrities might fit in with other college and pro sports teams...

Soulja Boy Tell'em: The Dallas Cowboys. Just imagine the touchdown dances he and T.O. could coordinate:

Terrell Owens Celebration

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Dr. Phil: The New York Knicks. No team needs to "get real" more than the Knicks. Added perk: Dr. Phil would provide a better defensive presence than anyone in the current Knicks frontcourt.

Tom Cruise: The Baltimore Orioles. Overpaid? Check for Orioles, check for Cruise. Consistently under-performs expectations? Check for the Orioles, check for Cruise. Weird semi-abusive spousal relationship? Check for Orioles, check for Cruise. Plus, both follow a mythical pseudo-religion espoused by a demigod figure — Cal Ripken and the Oriole Way; L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. A perfect match.

Lord Voldemort: The Patriots. Any explanation needed? I'd like to point out that while a Google search of "Bill Belichick evil" is only at 153,000 ("Lord Voldemort evil" checks in at almost 500,000), the Patriots have a few weeks left in the regular season to jack up that number.

Charlie Sheen: Pittsburgh Pirates. It's been said they need some pitching. Sheen might be able to lend an arm:

Air Bud: The Atlanta Falcons. Great publicity coup that has the added benefit of finally giving the Falcons a top-tier receiver.

Britney Spears: The Denver Broncos. Travis Henry could teacher her a thing or two about avoiding child support payments. Plus, Mike Shanahan can make literally anyone into a 1,000-yard rusher.

Vanilla Ice: Duke men's basketball. The similarities here are endless, especially the eerie resemblance Ice bears to a certain reviled Duke star from the past. Best part — Ice could probably run the point better than Paulus. Plus, I'm sure a certain fan base would make use of this video from Ice's past if he ever played for the Dukies:

Monday, November 12, 2007

I could root for Georgia

Rome is actually burning

The Vandals sacked Rome again this week.

This particular riot looks like it could be one of the worst. Fans of Lazio and Juventus feuded alongside a highway in Tuscany. Police attempting to break up the fighting fired shots into the air to get people to stop. One of the shots hit Gabriele Sandri in the neck, killing him while he sat in a car.

Then the trouble started. 500 fans rioted and attacked three police stations in Rome, injuring about 40 police officers and destroying several police vehicles.

While this incident is shocking and disturbing in a vacuum, it needs to be looked at in the larger context of Italian culture. Italy has had 61 different goverments since the end of World War II. The country has gone through economic depressions while it's global and European power have ebbed. Their most recent ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has a control over politics, economics, media and sports in Italy that George Bush, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and George Steinbrenner only wish they could have in America, and frequently faced corruption allegations both personally and within his administration.

Despite all of this, nothing seems to get Italians riled up quite like a game of soccer. Last year it was a referee match-fixing scandal that rocked Serie A and threatened to bring down 2006 World Cup goalkeeping hero Gianluigi Buffon.

Two years ago, another 2006 World Cup star, Italian captain and defender Fabio Cannavaro, was implicated in a drug controversy when a video surfaced Cannavaro taking neoton, a creatine phosphate.

And as for riots before, during and after soccer matches, well, they aren't exactly new in Old Europe, where feuds between rival groups of fans are old hat.

This kind of riot on this kind of scale is only really possible in the soccer world. Watching sports in America, specifically stadium sports like football and baseball, is an entirely different is simply not the same. Americans don't have nearly as many songs or chants. 90 percent of fans at any sporting event watch the game passively, snacking on a $10 chicken finger and french fry basket while watching much of the action on a JumboTron, occasionally cheering along to "We Will Rock You" or some other over-played anthem rock.

Granted, Americans engage in their fair share of drunken debauchery and fisticuffs at tailgates and in the stands at football games. But it simply pales in comparison to the lengths that even fans of lower-league European and South American soccer fans go to while supporting their teams.

Consider this Liverpool vs. Juventus video:

How often do you see AN ENTIRE STADIUM full of people singing and waving signs at a professional sporting event? I'll grant you some college basketball arenas and a few college football stadiums. But even the alcohol-induced fandom of the biggest sports-crazed SEC student pales in comparison to that exemplified by the average hooligan.

I'm not condoning what went on in Italy, or any of the violent riots at soccer matches around the world. But I wish there was some kind of happy medium between fans abroad who engage in insane soccer riots and fighting, and fans here, who passively watch their favorite team while sipping a Miller Lite and doing the wave six or seven times a game.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

And now, the Yahoo! drafted team Onyx

As explained in one of the posts below, I have two fantasy basketball teams this season, one drafted by myself, one auto-drafted according to Yahoo! rankings. Here is the Yahoo! list:

1) Dirk Nowitzki
2) Marcus Camby
3) Caron Butler
4) Jason Richardson
5) Rasheed Wallace
6) Zach Randolph
7) Randy Foye
8) Stephen Jackson
9) Morris Peterson
10) Nick Collison
11) Quentin Richardson
12) Derek Fisher
13) Mike Conley

First off, let's recap what my reaction to this draft was like:

No waiver moves made yet. This team is competing in week 1 of the head-to-head league right now, categories are FG%, FT%, 3PTM, PTS, REB, AST, ST, BLK, TO. I'm down 6-3 this week.

Picks I liked:
Marcus Camby in the 2nd round: As stated below, I like going big early, since there isn't a tremendous amount of C-eligible talent, despite two Cs starting each day. Plus, Camby is one of the best in fantasy on REBs and BLKs while putting up respectable numbers in PTS, FG% and AST from the C.

Zach Randolph in the 6th round: Picks immediately before Randolph: LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Granger, Ben Wallace. I think that says it all. Granger I'll spot you, he's going to be a monster this season. Aldridge, OK, I guess since Oden is out, he's the focal point of the Blazers offense down on the block. But Ben Wallace? He's never been a terrific fantasy guy, even in his prime, because he kills you on FT%, doesn't pile up PTS and really only gives you two plus categories — BLKS and REBS. However, with Tyrus Thomas steadily improving and Joakim Noah off the bench in that rotation, the Bulls have three guys who make hustle and energy plays while playing good defense and rebounding well. One of them is 33. Guess who's gonna get tired the quickest? Randolph gives me a solid lock for 18-9, with a shot at 20-10 evern with Curry in the lineup (Eddy isn't exactly a beast on the boards). He also shot 81.9% from the line last season, not too shabby for a big.

Nick Collison in the 10th round: OK, I'm not really sold on this pick. But I had to have a third pick I liked. So, Collison plays behind Robert Swift. Who's semi-injury prone. He'll get his minutes and probably post a respectable 6-8 points and 8-10 boards even as a sub. There.

Picks I didn't like (oh, where to begin!):
Caron Butler in the 3rd round: Don't get me wrong, I like Caron. He's have a nice season in the neighborhood of 20 and 7 a game, with a few assists and steals thrown in for good measure. The problem is, he doesn't do one thing very very well, and he doesn't give me eligibility at a premium position. Plus, he's second-fiddle, and occasionally third-fiddle (can you have 3) in that Wizards offense. Guys picked after Caron: Deron Williams (that hurt especially), Baron Davis, Kevin Martin, Al Jefferson. Deron and Baron both pile up assists in good offenses, get decent steals numbers and play the point. Kevin Martin, fine, he's pretty much in the same situation as Caron, just with less talent. Al Jefferson would have been another fine pick though. Forward-Center eligibility and a near-lock for 20-10 a game. Low block numbers, but he'll probably get better this year, since last season was the first time he had major rotation minutes. And he's the focal point of his offense.

Randy Foye in the 7th round: Hands down one of the worst picks in the entire draft, even without the knee injury. He's a point guard without an offense. His best chance at getting those crucial assists. He's extremely talented, but this isn't going to be his year. Right after him: peja, David Lee, T.J. Ford and Rajon Rondo. Peja gives you plus categories for PTS, 3PTM, FG% anf FT%. Lee, even playing behind Randolph and Curry, will get you 12-10 a game because he plays hard and neither one of the guys in front of him plays any D. Ford, while he's an injury risk, plays in an offense where its tough not to pile up assists — Toronto has a better offense than people think right now. Finally, Rondo. I know most people have a love-hate thing with him, but the way I see it, though Foye is a better player long-term, Rondo has a higher ceiling this year because he has little pressure off the bench for his starting spot, and because he has a decent supporting cast.

Derek Fisher in the 12th round: I love Derek Fisher. He plays hard, works hard and was an above-average point guard who played with two of the league's most difficult personalities through his prime. That being said, he's no longer in his prime. And he's going to be challenged for minutes. And the best offensive weapon in his offense wants to get the hell out of Dodge. If Kobe gets traded, Fisher is beyond worthless; so I'm trying to unload him via trade right now while his value is still decent. If a PG was going to be the focus of this pick, why not take the still-available Mike James or Jose Calderon, who will put up the same numbers as Fisher but have higher ceilings.

Mike Conley: Another atrocious pick. If a rookie PG is the target here, go with Acie Law, who's going to produce and won't be pushed too much. Conley, on the other hand, is competing for minutes with Kyle Lowry, who already has a year in the Grizzlies' system under his belt, and Juan Carlos Navarro, who has been one of the best guards in Europe and who just happens to be best friends with Pau Gasol. On the plus side, at least Yahoo! didn't take Smush Parker with this pick.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The date-rape drug: at toystores everywhere

So it turns out that 4 million Aqua Dots toys have been recalled in the United States. The reason? The China-produced toys are coated in a chemical that, when swallowed, metabolizes into gamma-hydroxy butyrate (GHB), more commonly known as the date-rape drug.

The date-rape drug is dangerous enough for adults, but when a four-year-old ingests it, smaller amounts can produce deadly effects. Two American children are in unresponsive comas because of ingesting pieces of the toy, and three Australian children have been hospitalized as well.

What I don't understand is how it's possible to allow such a toy onto the shelves in the first place. How can a toy be coated in a chemical and then sold to children without someone checking to see what happens when the chemical is swallowed? Don't toy creators check the toxicity of their materials before giving their products to children? Kids stick things in their mouths - they don't know any better. It should be common sense for producers to make sure their products are not pernicious.

It's another example in a long line of imports, a good deal of which are from China, that have been tainted or in some way do not meet American safety standards. This discrepancy clearly needs to be reconciled, before it endangers more people.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt recently headed an advisory panel that made more than fifty recommendations to President Bush for improving the safety of imports, including tougher inspection regulations (the full text of the panel's findings can be found here). Although Bush has reportedly endorsed the report, Democrats in the House and Senate have questioned how the administration will fund or implement the suggestions. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) went so far as to say, "Based on this administration's track record and philosophy, I have low expectations for their willingness to exercise these new authorities and ultimately, their willingness to implement this report."

To be sure, implementing stricter codes would be costly and time-consuming. According to the report presented by Leavitt, the United States is currently importing $2 trillion worth of products from more than 800,000 sources to more than 300 ports-of-entry. It could very well be an infrasturctural and bureaucratic nightmare.

But then again, as globalization permeates every sphere of life and more and more products are flooding the market, regulation will inevitably lead to intricate bureaucratic procedures and increased costs. If we can spend $457 billion on an unpopular war (as of Sept. 30, 2007), I think some money can be siphoned into protecting Americans from potentially deadly imports.

If children are being exposed to the date-rape drug, and the simple childhood activity of sticking your toys in your mouth (which all of us have done at one point or another) is resulting in seizures and comas, Congress and the administration urgently need to find a way to toughen import regulations. These incidents are disturbing, infuriating, and above all, preventable.

Fantasy basketball draft review

I have a problem. I'm addicted to fantasy sports.

I've been playing fantasy baseball since third grade, but since the fall of 2005 — not coincidentally my first semester in college — I've gone off the deep end. I had four fantasy baseball teams this season in 12-team Yahoo! leagues, two each in head-to-head (1st, 6th) and rotisserie (2nd, 8th). I have two fantasy football teams right now, and, as of Tuesday, two fantasy basketball teams. I'll admit, though I don't know as much about the "sport," I'm seriously tempted to do Fantasy Auto Racing, just to see what it's like. I'm questioning my belief in NASCAR not being a sport just so I can participate in a fantasy version.

This season, I'm doing two different fantasy leagues, one drafted by Yahoo! and one drafted by me. Last season I drafted two teams — one finished 2nd out of 12, the other one 3rd out of 12. The third place team would have won the league (I was destroying teams head to head before the playoffs) before Gilbert Arenas and Paul Pierce both went down and I was forced to start Devin Harris and Luol Deng in their respective places. This season, I signed up for a public league only to miss the draft due to work. So, partly annoyed that I hadn't been able to draft my own team, and partly wanting the challenge of out-drafting Yahoo!, I signed up for another team. Both teams are in the same public league, head-to-head format. I'll post my team today, the Yahoo! team tomorrow, and do weekly updates for both.

Anywho, here is the jamoros-drafted squad — Team Onyxxx. Onyxxx plays in a Yahoo! public head-to-head league, categories are FG%, FT%, 3PTM, Pts, Reb, Ast, St, Blk, TO. I picked 8th in a 12-team snake draft. Here is Onyxxx, in draft order:

1) Gilbert Arenas — I had him fourth on my "Big Board."
2) Chris Bosh — Could not believe the fool drafting No. 9 who went Vince Carter/Rashard Lewis in the snake.
3) Jermaine O'Neal — A sensible pick I didn't really enjoy making.
4) Jason Richardson — Here's to hoping MJ doesn't ruin his career.
5) Danny Granger — Favorite pick
6) Monta Ellis — Get ready for a breakout year starting in the Nellie Ball system!
7) Al Harrington —I got a little too caught up in Nellie Ball.
8) Nenad Krstic — As a Knick fan, a piece of me died picking Krstic with Curry available. But really, he has no other paint options challenging him, and his point guard didn't have sex with an MSG intern in an SUV outside of a strip club. Yet.
9) Raja Bell — He plays for the Suns! Steve Nash is his point guard! Plus, I hear Yahoo! is making "Hustle plays" and "Number of times player pissed off Kobe" into stat categories.
10) Devin Harris — it'll either be a breakout year or he'll be back on the bench by Jan. 1.
11) Marvin Williams — Jury is still out on this one, but he has a lot of upside if he gets a good amount of burn.
12) Jose Calderon — Just a savvy pick. Good work, jamoros. Good, solid work.
13) Al Thornton — Last round flier on the guy who might be No. 2 in ROTY balloting this year. As a side note, Durant got taken with the 10th pick of the 4th round. I was astounded. Granted, he's the best offensive weapon on his team. But still, I thought it was a little high.

Post draft update: I dropped Bell and picked up Boobie Gibson, who has been lights out and will continue to be wide open from beyond the arc as long as Lebron is wearing a Cavs uniform. He's got more upside and, at worst, will give me around the same numbers as Bell, who has a low ceiling as long as he is the fourth or fifth option on the court.

Picks I liked:
Chris Bosh in the 2nd round: Yeah, I know, you really can't make a bad pick in the first two rounds (unless you pick Vince Carter at the No. 9 overall pick). But Bosh gives me great numbers across the board, and he emphasizes my strategy — corner the market on guys with PF/C eligibility. There aren't too many good players who are dual eligible, which is why I went big with four of my first eight picks.

Granger in the 5th round: A little bit of a reach, but he's an insane athlete in a system where, even though he isn't the focal point, he'll probably score 15-17 per game. Bump that up to 20 a game if O'Neal goes anywhere.

Calderon in the 12th round: Here's an interesting one. T.J. Ford has been tearing it up the first few games, but he's a major injury waiting to happen. If he does, Calderon — a smooth, pass-first player — starts at the point in an above-average offense, where he could reasonably expected to pick up 14 points and 10 assists per game. Even if he stays as backup for the entire season, he'll still be good for about 5 assists and ten points a game.

Picks I didn't like
Al Harrington in the 7th round: He posted solid numbers for G.S. last season, when I had him on two fantasy teams. That being said, 7th round may have been a little high, plus it leaves me with two Pacers and two Warriors in my top-seven picks, not a good spread in terms of alleviating pressure from under-performing teams.

Raja Bell in the 9th round: See above.

Marvin Williams in the 11th round: I got caught up in the idea that this could be his breakout year before remembering the ridiculous glut of forward, especially wing, talent on the Atlanta roster. This will have to be a wait-and-see pick.

Check back tomorrow for the roster of Team Onyx, the Yahoo! drafted team.

And now, since you've been patient:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And so should the Canton Bulldogs!!!

Don Shula came out and said the New England Patriots should have an asterisk next to the season if they go undefeated this season due to Spygate.

From the story:
"The Spygate thing has diminished what they've accomplished," Shula said in an interview with the New York Daily News. "You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments. They've got it."

Now, he's backing down. I guess the bubbly just got to his head. Glad he did though, as it would have been a ridiculous comment.

Look at that team for a moment. The combined record of the Dolphins' opponents was 70-108-4, excluding games against Miami. Look at this regular season schedule:

at Kansas City (8-6)
vs. Houston (1-13)
at Minnesota (7-7)
at Jets (7-7)
vs. San Diego (4-9-1)
vs. Buffalo (4-9-1)
at Baltimore (5-9)
at Buffalo (4-9-1)
vs. New England (3-11)
vs Jets (7-7)
vs. St. Louis (4-9-1)
at New England (3-11)
vs. Giants (8-6)
vs. Baltimore (5-9)

They played only two teams with records better than .500 and only one of those two on the road. They didn't play any other division winners, and only played two teams — K.C. and the Jets — that finished as high as second in their respective divisions.

What's more, they got five of their final six games at home, with just one, 3-11 New England, away from South Beach. They won their three playoff games, against Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington, by a combined 17 points. That's the SPREAD on most of New England's games this season.

New England is not necessarily a better team (although if both teams played today, who would be favored?), but they deserve the same honor and recognition accorded the '72 Dolphins if the Pats go undefeated this season.

Monday, November 5, 2007

"Remember, remember the fifth of November ...

... The Gunpowder Treason and Plot
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

Today, King James I discovered a plot by a small band of English Catholics to assassinate himself as well as the members of Parliament. Early this morning, His Royal Highness discovered a room underneath Parliament filled to bursting with kegs of gunpowder and a man by the name of Guido Fawkes posed with fuses and matches.

One of the conspirators mistakenly warned one of his close friends of the impending attack, who then set the wheels in motion to alert the authorities. Had this plot not been uncovered, the results would have been disastrous.

The Catholics planned to blow up the highest echelon of this great nation in order to bring about the end of Protestant rule and to reinstall popery at the head of this government. By God's divine providence, these conspirators have been capture and will face trial.

Hopefully they will be given the punishment they deserve - one so gruesome that it will be remembered for years to come as a reminder that popery is foolish and the King is God's anointed.

However much this plot has stricken fear into the hearts of those loyal to the church and the King, it's intricacy and undetected execution are almost admirable. I wouldn't be surprised if Shakespeare or a future playwright took this concept and spun it into an astoundingly successful storyline.

Not to mention giving British children an excuse to burn things.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Truman Upsets Dewey in Presidential Election - November 2, 1948

In an interesting turn of events, incumbent Harry S Truman defeated Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York for the office of President.

This election was an extremely close contest – Truman eked by Dewey with a little more than 2 million votes, out of a total of almost 49 million cast. However, this election shows more about current practices of the press than it does about the electoral system.

Two issues have presented themselves in this contest: the method of public opinion polling is flawed, and editorial decisions need to be made more carefully.

As a member of the press myself, I am naturally hesitant to criticize my fellow tradesmen. However, given the culmination of poor polling practices in an incredibly embarrassing headline printed by the Chicago Tribune, I am prompted to do so.

The press has a responsibility to report the news to the population as soon as information is available. The operative phrase here is “as soon as information is available,” which, it seems, my colleagues at the Tribune have failed to remember. The headline was determined long before millions of votes had been reported; at the time of publication, it was much too early to determine a clear winner.

I can understand that, given the results the Tribune’s editors had at their fingertips when they made the decision to call the election, as well as the trends reported in the polls over the course of the campaign, it seemed as if they had made a fool-proof decision to scoop all other newspapers across the nation.

However, the American people are a fickle group, and often behave in unpredictable ways. Therefore I believe the editors were behaving irresponsibly when they made the decision to view the early election results as definitive, especially through the lenses of faulty public polls.

It is clear that these polls were biased toward the more affluent, who historically tend to vote Republican, and would therefore support Dewey. In addition, many reports indicate that polls were no longer being conducted a few weeks prior to the election, which means should there have been increasing public support for Truman, it would have been missed.

The press has a responsibility to report accurate, unbiased coverage. By using polls blindly and making editorial decisions quickly instead of carefully, the press has indeed failed the people today.

English Parliament Enacts the Stamp Act - November 1, 1765

Word has come from the Crown that a new tax is to be applied to our American Colonies. The Stamp Act, which was reportedly passed without debate in Parliament, requires a direct tax payable on any paper goods – including newspapers, legal documents, playing cards, and so on.

Apparently Prime Minister George Grenville thinks that he can extort the colonists in order to pay for the war with the French that spilled over onto our land. However, it is inexcusable and illegal for Grenville and his Parliament to authorize a tax on the colonists when there is no colonial representation in either house.

Last year’s imposition of the Sugar Act, which does not even require a direct tax, has already caused a considerable amount of opposition and protest. I shudder to think the reaction the Crown will receive due to this new law, especially from those who have created such a stir already – Mr. Samuel Adams and Mr. James Otis of Massachusetts.

Should Parliament take it upon themselves to pass legislation dealing directly with the affairs of the colonies, it is only fair that the colonists themselves campaign for seats in Parliament. We are, by no means, inferior citizens solely because we reside farther away from His Majesty King George than our English brothers.

Several sources have confirmed Mr. Adams is in the process of establishing an organization with the sole purpose of protesting this atrocious act of Parliament. In addition, some local legislatures, including that of the commonwealth of Virginia, have convened to draft articles of objection, and boycotts are currently being organized.

I encourage each and every loyal subject to participate in these displays of disapproval. This remonstration needs to be more effective than that of the Sugar Act – to indirectly tax is one thing, but directly taxing is an entirely different level of tyranny. The colonists should, and will, fight for their right to reprensentaiton.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

YYYYAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and stay out!)

Barry Bonds is threatening to boycott the Hall of Fame if his 756 ball is put on display with the asterisk. I cannot emphasize enough how awesome this would be. Here's how I would feel.

Without getting into too much detail, it's my belief that everyone who admits to using steroids should be banned from the Hall. His records shouldn't be wiped — records are a measuring stick for greatness, but are not the only tool. He just shouldn't be included in the Hall of Fame. I'm not going to pretend everyone in the Hall should be there, nor do I believe everyone in the Hall played the game without cheating in some way shape or form. However, few players in the history of the game have so negatively and drastically affected the entire sport.

The most patriotic man in America enters the race


Stephen Colbert officially filed today to run for President of the United States. He's only running in South Carolina, and, as of the moment, he only filed to be on the Democratic primary ballot. Granted, it only costs $2,500 to be on the Democratic ballot, while it costs $35,000 to be on the Republican ballot. What does that tell you?

Colbert still has to go through a review to see if he is a "viable" candidate to get on the ballot itself. Remember kids, you can only run for President if you're a viable candidate. Look at these Rasmussen numbers and tell me he's not. I'm kinda hoping that Comedy Central backs his candidacy and gets him on the ballot as an independent in all 50 states, just to see how the American public would react.

My hope is that no one votes for him. That sounds harsh, especially because I love Colbert. However, my hope is that his candidacy helps show how ridiculous the process is in the first place: The tightly entrenched two-party system, the electoral college, the difficulty in getting on the ballot to begin with and finally the amount of money required to mount a serious campaign. While I know he's not running a serious campaign, if he does stay in the race, his candidacy would help demonstrate to the general public how flawed the electoral system in this country is. Hopefully, the broader audience that would be involved in watching him make light of the system would get the real punch line: A late night comedian centering his jokes on "truthiness" is a more viable candidate than more than half of the people running for president as serious contenders right now.

Colbert on Meet the Press

By the way, I love how Tim Russert talks about headlines and first goes to a New York Post headline as evidence of the general feeling about Colbert running. First off, notice that paragon of truth played it as the front page story. Yes, this from the paper that gave us:
I love how Russert then mocks Colbert's name, something already done by Eleanor Holmes Norton, then Bill O'Reilly. And then he decides to be a real journalist by asking tough questions about prose from Colbert's campaign literature that was written tongue in cheek. At no point does Russert actually ask him, "OK Stephen, all kidding aside. What's the point? Why are you doing this? Ratings bump, or commentary on American politics?" If he wanted to grill him, ask him what his campaign means. By grilling him on stuff Colbert wrote specifically to be funny and mock politicians, Russert walks into the punchline even better than Colbert could have written it himself.

Colbert on O'Reilly

Colbert at the White House Correspondent's Dinner

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Martin Luther Posts 95 Theses - October 31, 1517

Wittenberg, Germany – A document posted on the doors of Wittenberg Palace church today has the town - and the Church - talking.

The Disputation of Dr. Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, already being referred to as the "95 Theses" by townspeople, are a direct attack on His Holiness Pope Leo X and the Roman Catholic Church.

In the document, Dr. Luther debates the Church's newfound practice of offering indulgences for profit and its new policies on purgatory, among other topics. This practice places salvation in the hands of the rich, instead of solely in reach of the pious and faithful.

News of the 95 Theses is already circulating, and Christians are discussing what this means for the future of the church. This reporter sees a storm coming, and it's going to take a miracle to stop it.

Dr. Luther is but one man, but one man can change the world. Many hard-working, pious Catholics have been disturbed by the proclamations of the Church that salvation can be purchased, that penance does not need to be completed, that a certain amount of money can excuse you from thousands of years of purgatory. These Church-sanctioned means of extortion in order to renovate St. Peter's Basilica are putting the rich above the poor, the well-off against the needy, in the eyes of the Lord.

Dr. Luther's proclamation that these practices are reprehensible and show corruption of the Church is strong and fanatical, even bordering on seditious, but needed to be stated. His Holiness Pope Leo X is seen as God's presence on this Earth – it is difficult to question His power. Whether the Church will revise their new indulgence policies remains to be seen, but one can trust that reform of the process is inevitable. Dr. Luther has shown he is willing to take a large step toward rectifying this abhorrent situation; there is little doubt he will stop now.

Joe Hollywood

It looks like Joe Torre is in as the new manager of the L.A. Dodgers. My initial reaction: poor fit. Much as I love Torre, his weakest two points as a manager are figuring out the bullpen and working with young talent.

First, the bullpen. Since the dual threat of Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson left, the Yankees have had only had one middle reliever/set-up man who could be relied on for the 8th inning with any regularity: Tom Gordon, circa 2004-midway through 2005. What did Torre do with Gordon? Effectively destroyed Flash's arm, pitching him in 80 games in 2004, then 79 in 2005, for a total of 170.2 IP in those two seasons. Aside from that 1.5-year period, Torre hasn't had or developed a shutdown, eighth inning reliever - unless you count 2006 Scott Proctor, another guy with a dead arm due to overuse by Torre. Torre has a reputation for riding a guy on a hot streak in the bullpen, which is an issue especially when you don't have a particularly deep relief corps.

This poor usage becomes key when considering the case of the Dodgers. Currently, the Dodgers have a superstar level closer, one who, believe it or not, has been better than a certain other closer over the past two seasons. The difference was especially evident last season, when Takashi Saito put up a 327 ERA+ and Rivera posted a 142. The problem is, Saito will be 38 this season. 24-year-old phenom Jonathan Broxton (who saved one of my fantasy teams with great WHIP, ERA and K/BB stats) is the closer of the future out in L.A. Torre coming in could be bad news for Broxton, who can ask Proctor about it. As poorly used as Gordon was, check out Proctor's IP stats: He went from 44.2 in 2005 to 102.1 in 2006. There's a reason Proctor looked washed up at the beginning of the season: He had a 131% IP workload increase from 2005 to 2006! What makes matters worse for Broxton is that the Dodgers have few other effective 8th inning options. They've got Joe Beimel, who's decent. Problem is, Beimel is the only effective lefty in the Dodgers' pen, so Torre will need to pick his spots on when to use him. After Beimel, the next options are 38-year-old Rudy Seanez and ... wait for it ... Scott Proctor! The universe must hate Proctor. Anywho, the long and short of it is that Torre will be tempted to overuse Broxton the way he did Gordon and Proctor, since he will have few other good options.

The next problem might be an even bigger one: youth vs. experience. Torre will have to decide if he wants to give some of the Dodgers promising young talents like Tony Abreu, Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche more at bats this season in the hope of developing them into a strong corps alongside James Loney, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin. His other option is to stick with proven but declining regulars Nomar Garciaparra, Juan Pierre and Jeff Kent. From a long-term perspective, the answer is clear: Give the kids some burn with the hope that they develop quickly to help you in the short-term, but with an eye on having at least six of your starting eight position players in 2009 in their early to mid 20s. If everything goes well, the Dodgers, who already shed the large Luis Gonzalez contract, could try to move those three during the season while they hopefully still have some value. In other words, in the space of a little more than 9 months, the Dodgers could have a spectacularly strong, youthful core and shed a large amount of payroll in the process, especially in the case of Pierre, who is owed $28.5 million from 2009 to 2011.

A lot of this will fall on Torre: If he doesn't develop the young guns, the Dodgers might have to resign Garciaparra and possibly Kent as well for 2009 if LaRoche and Abreu aren't ready. Problem is, Torre might not want to wait on the younger players. The Dodgers contended all year before falling out of the race in the last couple of weeks. If Torre thinks he could have pushed that team to the playoffs, Abreu, LaRoche and Kemp could sit on the bench while Torre wastes a season of their development. In all of his years as the manager of the Yankees, Torre never had to deal with a youth movement of any kind, and so only really developed four position players in his time as the skipper: Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Alfonso Soriano and Melky Cabrera.

All in all, this relationship could be pretty ugly. The combination of young talent and a manager with a penchant for playing veterans could be a recipe for a disappointing couple of years in L.A.

Thanks for being patient. Enjoy Joe.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Day the Martians Invaded - October 30, 1938

Americans were sent into a panic today when news reports of a Martian invasion hit the airwaves of a CBS radio station.

Although the reports were later proved to be a retelling of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds, roughly 1.7 million people, especially in the New York/New Jersey area, believed the invasion was actually occurring.

Written by Howard Koch and performed mostly by Orson Welles, the show featured dance music periodically interrupted by news bulletins documenting the landing of a Martian spacecraft in Grovers Mill, N.J. The population dissolved into hysterics as events escalated from sightings of Martians to humans being obliterated by ray guns.

“Reporter” Carl Philips described entities “wriggling out of the shadow like a great snake,” prompting people to pack roads trying to escape from the area, hide in their basements, acquire and locate guns and even wrap wet towels around their heads in an effort to protect themselves from poisonous Martian gasses.

In his defense, Welles argued that it was explicitly stated that the broadcast was a hoax; however, if one missed the beginning of the program, the next indication that the news reported was not real did not come until 40 minutes into the show.

The baseless panic infuriated many. Some even used the show as an example how mass media may one day be used to brainwash the American people. “They have demonstrated more potently than any argument, demonstrated beyond a question of a doubt, the appalling dangers and enormous effectiveness of popular and theatrical demagoguery,” wrote columnist Dorothy Thompson of the New York Tribune.

Eastern Conference Preview

Predicting the teams who will make the playoffs in the East.

  • 1. Chicago Bulls
    • Assuming they get Kobe for a combination of Gordon and Deng they will have the deepest team in the league. Kobe will be even more successful when he does not have to do everything by himself. If they don't trade for Kobe switch this team's ranking with the Cavs.
  • 2. Cleveland Cavs
    • LeBron James is a year older with a much improved jump shot. Hughes is healthy. Pavlovic is resigned and Varejao will be soon. Can't understand why some people think this team will go from making the finals to missing the playoffs.
  • 3. Washington Wizards
    • Gilbert Arenas' contract year. Not much more needs to be said.
  • 4. Boston Celtics
    • A lot of talent and a lot of questions. Will Peirce remain healthy? Will Garnett stay happy? Is Allen too old? Can a team win with no point guard and no bench?
  • 5. Detroit Pistons
    • Easily the most overated team in the Eastern Conference. Nobody seems to remember that this team got outplayed and was lucky to win even two games against the Cavs in the playoffs last year. The same Cavs team that was missing Larry Hughes and started Eric Snow at the point. Sheed, Chauncey, and the gang are all getting older and it will show during the regular season.
  • 6. Miami Heat
    • They still have Dwayne Wade and Shaq has one more good year left in him.
  • 7. Orlando Magic
    • This is the year that Dwight Howard makes the transition from All-Star to MVP. He is going to win the slam dunk contest too.
  • 8. New York Knicks
    • Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry might be the best offensive frontcourt in the East. With David Lee coming off the bench they might not be a lottery team this year. Hopefully Dolan will give Isiah a 10 year extension.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sir Walter Raleigh executed - Oct. 29, 1618

Sir Walter Raleigh, former favorite of Queen Elizabeth I and explorer of the New World, was executed today for conspiring against King James I of England.

His beheading was surrounded with controversy and debate; many saw his death as unnecessary and a failing of the judicial system.

Raleigh had been sentenced to death 15 years ago after being implicated in the Main Plot, a conspiracy by English Catholics to remove King James I from the throne and replace him with Arabella Stuart of Spain.

"The justice of England has never been so degraded and injured as by the condemnation of Sir Walter Raleigh," a judge in Raleigh's trial said.

Born in 1552, Raleigh briefly attended Oriel College at Oxford and took part in the suppression of the Desmond Rebellions between 1579 and 1583. As a result, he became a landowner in Ireland, a position he enjoyed for 17 years.

Raleigh soon set his sights on the New World, and although his first attempt at a colony, Roanoke, was met with disaster, his efforts paved the way for subsequent colonies.

In December 1581, Raleigh returned to England after his colonization company was disbanded and quickly became a favorite of the Queen, only to fall out of her favor after developing a secret relationship with one of her ladies-in-waiting, Elizabeth "Bess" Throckmorton. Raleigh was sentenced to jail and Bess was dismissed from the court. His favor with the Queen was eventually restored, despite the endurance of the marriage.

On July 19, 1603, months after the passing of Queen Elizabeth, Raleigh was tried and convicted of treason against the King. His sentence was commuted and he was released in 1616 to embark on an expedition to the New World to establish a gold-mining colony; however, he was thrown back into the Tower after the mission failed, and his death sentence was reinstated.

He is survived by his wife, Lady Raleigh, and two sons, Walter and Carew. He will be buried in the local church in Beddington, Surrey, his wife's hometown. Lady Raleigh is believed to have requested his head embalmed so she may carry around a part of her husband.

Airing more biases

Seeing as I'm finally contributing to the site, it's time for me to introduce myself. My name's Nicole, and I'll be your historical reporter. Monday through Friday, I will be providing you, dear reader, with one of the day's historical events in the form of a news story for your educational advancement. Hopefully, I'll also add my two cents on other topics, probably staying within the political and entertainment spheres - the world of sports, sadly, is not my strong suit.

Because my co-bloggers aired their biases, it's only fair that I do the same, in my own way. I am a history major, with an emphasis on pre-Civil War America, although I am also interested in post-Civil War America, European history, law, and the rise and fall of different political systems. Classical and Ancient history are not my best areas, but I'll do my best to offer a well-rounded take on the history of the day. As per JAmoros's request, my top three favorite wars would be the American Revolution, the American Civil War (although I'm more interested in the political events leading to secession than the war itself) and the English Civil War.

Now that that's out of the way, look for the first story later today.


So on the same day this happened, A-Rod opted out. What a day for Yankees fans. What a day. On the plus side, they're gonna hire another Joe. But this has to rank up there with the worst days in the history of the Yankees. In this millenium, Red Sox 2, Yankees 0.

First off, A-Rod. What timing. I guess it fits; he's always had a tin ear for public relations, so why not announce his departure from the Yankees in the early innings of the Red Sox second World Series win in the last four seasons. Furthermore, with Crabbe and Goyle in charge, the Yankees might not get better anytime soon — My belief is that Cashman is gone after this season.

What kills me is how spoiled the city of Boston is right now. The Sox. The Celtics. Boston College. Even the Revolution are in the playoffs and the Bruins don't look half bad. Oh, and then there's these guys. Never have I been as jealous of one city in my life. Also, nothing against him personally or even as a writer (I like his columns), but every time I see his face, I want to beat it in with a socket wrench.

On the plus side, the Yankees won't have to worry about any of their players checking out sketchy he-shes anymore.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Enough is Enough

At this stage, the woman in the picture on this post is possibly the most recognizable women's hoops coach who isn't this woman. After the idiotic remarks made by shock-jock Don Imus, Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer was dragged into the spotlight and became a national figure.

Don't get me wrong - Imus screwed up incredibly badly when he made the comments that he did, and I don't for a second condone what he said. However, throughout the whole situation, I couldn't help but think that someone was trying to play this up for a little bit of personal gain. After all, the four-letter network does hold the exclusive women's NCAA tournament rights, and broadcasts more women's hoops games than most anybody else.

After today, I'm pretty sure I was on to something.

Check out this nugget that got front-page billing on today - at the time of this posting, it's given more prominence than the first coaches' poll of the men's basketball season, the Duquesne shooter receiving 40 years in prison, and Genarlow Wilson being freed from prison.

The most telling thing? Nobody else has this story posted anywhere, not to mention on their front page. After a cursory search, I did find that CBS Sports did have coverage of Stringer during Big East media day, but not a word to be found about Isaiah Thomas. Then again, guess who has a hefty NBA contract, as well?

Unfortunately for all involved, this seems like a blatantly obvious and idiotic case of ESPN trying to push as many storylines for different sports that they cover. The saddest part is that you just know that when the Knicks or Scarlet Knights play on the Worldwide Leader, the respective storylines will be beaten into the ground, either as the definite reason why they're struggling or a major obstacle overcome if the teams are doing well. Classy stuff, really.

The real story in all of this mess now, as you can tell in the second-to-last paragraph of the ESPN article, is that Stringer just wants this go away. She'd like nothing more than for people to start talking about national runner-up Rutgers, not shock-jock fodder Rutgers.

Amen, Viv. Amen.

It's about time.

Genarlow Wilson was finally freed today. This was a miscarriage of justice where the letter of the law was taken above and beyond its intent by prosecutors. The shame of the case is that Wilson, a legitimate Division-I and possibly NFL prospect, is too old to capitalize. He was a star athlete and homecoming king — which I know doesn't actually speak to his character, but it shows how well-liked he was at his school — and was part of that tiny percentage of high school athletes who would have had a chance to go to college on a scholarship. That opportunity was taken away by laws that left no room for interpretation and by sentencing guidelines that left judges without any wiggle room to consider the facts of the case. In other words, once the sentence was handed down, the prison term/punishment was just a judge going through the motions. Yet one more example of why sentencing guidelines should be eliminated — they hamstring the people in government best able to decide how to punish a convicted criminal. Hopefully, Wilson will get over his term and get back to what was a very promising football career.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

If this is true, it's incredible...

Apparently, back during the mid-1980s, when Rudy Giuliani was a federal prosecutor indicting all the mobsters he could, the five families in NYC thought about putting a hit out on him. I can only imagine why. Honestly, selling out the Yankees for votes? Is he gonna steal Massachusetts from Mitt? Disgusting. Back to the hit. Granted, the source of the information for the hit information, Lindley DeVecchio, was trying to make it seem like he had more damning evidence than he actually did at the time, but still, great story. Apparently John "The Teflon Don" Gotti and Carmine "The Snake" Persico were in favor of it, but the final vote was 3-2 against. Just imagine if they had voted to off Hizzoner. This magical, magical moment never would have happened.

Rudy, you dirty boy.

Sox Tap the Rockies
So last night officially ended the Rockies shot at Fo' Fo' Fo'. I'm actually not as disappointed as I thought I would be, since it means more baseball (I like the Rockies in six, with no wins against Beckett.) The NFL season has been mediocre so far, especially since the Patriots are going to be at least a 1-touchdown favorite against anyone in either league, including the Colts. The only way it becomes interesting is if A.) Brady gets injured and is out for the year or B.) The Patriots enter the playoffs undefeated. In the NBA, the Spurs, Suns and Mavs will all be fighting for the top spot out West, while in the East, the Bulls, Celtics and Heat will be playing for the honor of losing in the Finals. Hockey is always interesting, but since 90 percent of the games aren't on a channel I can watch, plus Sportscenter has a strict no-hockey policy, I don't get to see to much ice action.

Barry on Giants on Barry
Anywho, enough complaining from me. Let's hear someone else's sour grapes. I can't tell if this is a joke. Is Barry really upset over how he's been treated? He's been coddled and paid incredibly well by a franchise that basically mortgaged five years of being competitive because Barry has to be the center of the universe. I really hope he doesn't end up with the Yankees, especially with a new manager there. That would be atrocious for the team, yet I could see Randy Levine pulling the trigger on that if A-Rod leaves. I honestly cannot fathom Bonds being myopic enough to not realize that if he really wants to help San Francisco, he needs to get out of Dodge and let them build around strong young pitching. They can only really afford one massively overpaid superstar at any given time, and I hear they might have another one of those hanging around. They had to get rid of Barry, and now, after his massively inflated home run total finally passed the real all-time home run leader, was the perfect time to do so. However, as a word of advice — don't get Barry angry. You won't like him when he's angry.

Enjoy Soulja Barney.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Suicide Hot-Line

A Yankees fan called me after the game to comfort me after my loss. He tried to empathize with me pointing out how the Red Sox came from behind to beat the Yankees in '04 too. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I could not believe how wrong he was about the similarity between the two situations. True, the loss in '04 for Yankees fans must have been horrible, gut-wrenching whatever you want to call it. But there is a major difference. Yankees fans can still hearken back to the fact they won championships in '96, '98, '99, or '00. Or that the Rangers won in '94 or the Giants in '91. Cleveland fans, however, have no championships to remember. None. Zero. Zilch. Sure, the Buckeyes won in '02, that was a lot of fun but it still is not a Cleveland team. Which is why this loss is so much worse than the Yankees in '04. Up 3-1 I was nervous but I believed. Now I am numb. I am convinced I will never see a championship. Not even Kittens can cheer me up.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Does Anybody Want to a Top-Three Ranking?

Among my fatal flaws apparently is that I'm a compulsive liar. Here I am, two days' worth of college football stuff, and my titles lie about the date it was posted. I'm clearly a terrible person. I'll post the Thursday Tailgate a little later today - even though it's clearly Friday.

Anyways, a quick bit about last night's game, and then we can get on with life: What a win for Utah! Who'd have thought TCU could fall so far?
OK, seriously, the game that people actually realized was happening: I'm most upset about last night's result because I know that it will cause everyone and their brother to trot out the "overrated" tag and claim that we all got caught up in the hype. Is it true? Certainly possible, but I'm not sold yet. Drop the "South" from this team's name, and they don't get nearly the disrespect they've endured. I'm no legendary speaker, but I do have a dream that one day college football watchers will judge teams based not on the name on the front of the jersey, but the way they play while representing that name.

So where does South Florida go from here? Realistically, the BCS, likely anywhere other than Pasadena. The rest of their schedule plays out very nicely for USF all things considered. Their two toughest games left (Louisville and Cincinnati) are both at home, and UConn, Syracuse and Pitt shouldn't really scare anyone on the road. Don't think for a second that just because the Bulls lost on the road to Rutgers in a game where Greg Schiano had to pull out every trick in the book means that we were all taken for fools. They might not be a top-three team, but they're better than most anyone would've thought they'd be this year.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

College Football Writers Everywhere to Bill Plaschke: "SHUT THE HELL UP!"

Compliments of Signal to Noise is today's case of sports stupidity. Exhibit A: Bill Plaschke from the L.A. Times. Aw, hell, who am I kidding - you know him solely from his work with this douchebag on That Show Before PTI.

Anyways, Plaschke decided to issue his take on the current state of college football today (yesterday, whenever the hell it is now). There is nothing that can be said besides the fact that the man is living in the relative sports stone age.

Plaschke bemoans the fact that college football is not what it used to be because of the lack of dominant programs this year:
It may be fair, it may even be occasionally fun, but it's just not right.

This is a USC-Notre Dame show, for Knute's sake!

The bear of a game should have been Alabama-Tennessee!

Shouldn't we be circling that brawl that is Miami-Florida State?

Those three traditionally great games will be played Saturday, yet none of them will probably figure into the national championship race, so all eyes will be on Piscata-whatever tonight to watch the Who'sthats battle the Somethingoranothers.
OK, fine. If you're an open-minded person (not I), maybe you'll bite. However, where Plaschke really gets me is with this gem of a line:
Boise State's win over Oklahoma last winter was wonderful, but it couldn't compare to the shock of Florida's stomping over Ohio State, and the awe of LSU's crushing of Notre Dame.
Excuse me? It couldn't compare? Are you kidding me?!?!?! Boise State's win was easily one of the most exciting anythings I had seen in a long time. Meanwhile, not even Brady Quinn was excited about the game he freaking played in, and given the choice, he probably would have turned off his TV about as early as I did. I did actually watch Florida's game all the way to the end, but only because I legitimately didn't believe what I saw, and by no means did it compare to the amazing display put on the week prior.

Way to look at just the box scores, Bill Plaschke. I await the tears that come from you when another powerhouse close to home struggles in the college hoops season.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Rockies maybe kinda shouldn't be in the World Series

First, video proof of Matt Holliday never touching home plate against the Padres:

Secondly, people actually bought a domain name and created a website dedicated to rehashing this repeatedly. Think about that for a moment, the time, money and effort placed on that project. Let it sink in. Then spend the money they spent on something fun, like Guitar Hero. Which would be a better use of your time/money?

Tribe Take 3-1 Series Lead

A quick recap of the series so far through word association:

Grady Sizemore = Wiffleball
Byrd = Crafty
Asdrubal = Clutch
Jhonny = 3-Run HRs
Jensen Lewis = College kid (seriously before this postseason Lewis was most famous for being the guy who used Facebook to notify the world he was being called up to the big leagues)
Kenny = Playoff time
C. C. = Due for a good performance
Betancourt = MVP
Manny = Idiot (please keep admiring your HRs while your team is down 4 in the 6th)
David Ortiz = Best hitter in the game
Coco, JD, Lugo, Varetek = Theo Epstein might be overrated (so he has the second highest payroll in the entire league and this is the best that he can find to finish off the line-up)
Dice-BB = Hahaha
Beckett = Scared
Indians Chances = Still nervous as always

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Lieu of Actual Analysis, a Much-Deserved Shot at Notre Dame

Life is hectic as all get-out right now for yours truly, so no big long post from me today. Instead, a great jab at the holier-than-thou football program at Notre Dame, in the form of a Bud Light commercial spoof. Fantastic!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tribe Takes Game 3!!!

In what seemed to be an impossible feat Joe Borowski managed to get three outs while allowing less than two runs. He even had the audacity to not allow any runners on base. So far thats 2 saves this postseason for JOBO. One rocky. One easy

The Indians stellar bullpen did not allow a baserunner after Jake Westbrook pitched a good but not great game. Westbrook was helped by 3 double plays as well as David Ortiz running into a groundball when he was in scoring position.

What more can be said about Kenny Lofton in the postseason. I'd personally like to thank the Texas Rangers for giving him to the Indians (and of course for giving the Red Sox Gagne as well).

Game 4: Tuesday 8 PM Fox
Byrd vs. (Hopefully) Wakefield