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

I've been suitably shamed

So despite posting before each of my cowriters, they have both posted their respective biases before me. I guess it's about time to get that out there. I lived in New York until I was 11, so most of my allegiances lie with N.Y.-area teams: I'm a fan of the Yankees, Knicks, Rangers and Giants (born Super Bowl Sunday 1987). Since I moved down to Maryland before I became a soccer fan, I root for the United, though my favorite player has always been Tony Meola, whom I've loved since his Long Island Rough Rider days.

OK, so it's out there now. Keep those in mind while reading my posts.

Step One: Conquer the NFL. Step Two: Conquer the WORLD!

If you're like me and weren't living in one of the few areas unlucky enough to not get the Patriots and the Cowboys on Sunday (or, as the four-letter network called it to no end, the "Duel in Dallas"), you probably spent three hours of your life watching New England's football franchise show why the NFC is (sadly) a far inferior conference to the AFC. Big story, no doubt.

If you were truly paying attention, however, you'd have also realized that the true story came once the game was over and the players addressed the media.

Everyone remembers the Randy Moss of old, right? Came into the NFL with off-the-field baggage, prompting his fall to 21st overall in the 1998 NFL Draft? Admitted to taking plays off while playing for the Vikings? Left the field early against the Washington Redskins? Said that he used marijuana on an episode of Real Sports? Mooned the Lambeau Field crowd during a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers in 2005? (Prompting one of the best overreactions in the history of the universe, not to mention a similarly hilarious/classless response to his later fine, depending on how you view the situation.)

Hold on to those memories, folks, because it would appear as if that's all you'll have of that chapter in Randy Moss' career. Bill Belichick seems to have .

It was shocking enough in week one to hear Tom Brady-Moynahan-Bundchen talk about Moss, saying that "all the guys look up to him" and that he's "a great role model." Needless to say, that's not something you'd expect out of the Moss of old. It has to all be a front, right? Clearly they're just trying to paint this wonderful picture.

Nope. It's actually legit.

Even after the walking three-ring circus himself called out "the other 81" earlier this past week, Moss still had nothing to say that even remotely resembled the brash wideout we've come to know.

"I didn't want feed off what he saying or the hype over the game between the two 81s. I don't really buy into that. I've got a job to do and that's to try to catch touchdowns and get first downs"

But wait, there's more!

"I come to work everyday. I love seeing the guys. I love the camaraderie of the locker room and practice everyday. We have fun, but at the same time you've all heard about the humble pie. Coach Belichick has a tight grasp on us."


Is anyone else scared about this? The Patriots are currently destroying everything in their wake (minus Richard Seymour and Laurence Maroney, no less!), and apparently character issues aren't a big concern? You don't behave? No problem. Darth Belichick will show you the true power of the"Patriot Way".

Tremble in fear, America. If not even Randy Moss could hold out, surely world domination is somewhere on the horizon.

I'd like to take the time to introduce myself

My names Ben and I am a student at the University of Maryland. I consider my self a rabid sports fan. I love watching soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, football, golf, swimming, track & field, and skiing. A normal Saturday consists of me waking up early to watch an English Premier League game, then watching college football for 8-hours straight, and a baseball game at night. Recently, I have even begun to follow the rugby world cup. There are not a lot of sports that I will not watch.

It should be noted that I am from Cleveland and I am a die-hard Browns, Cavs, Indians, and Ohio State football fan. Stuck in my mind I have a bunch of useless information such as the Indians starting line-up in 1995, Craig Krenzel's major and every Browns first round pick since 1999. So when it comes to Cleveland sports teams I have been known to be a little biased. I worship at the Church of LeBron and the Synagogue of Sizemore. I pray to Jim Tressel and believe that once again the Browns will be great.

For this blog I will provide insights about sports from the point of view of someone who does not have a pro-New York/east coast bias. Basically I am going to try and provide a perspective opposite than that of JAmoros.

The Sunday Hangover: Ohio State?!?!?!?! Edition

Note: This is where I'll review the weekend that was in college football - and NOT just a review of the top 25, either. I actually do pay attention to the rest of the nation too, y'know. Usually this'll go on here at a slightly earlier hour to be more immediate for college football fans, but I slacked off more than a little bit this week. Sorry.

Normally I don't like to give a lot of attention to the teams at the top of the heap that already dominate the headlines, but the fact is that it's impossible to truly talk about it without mentioning the two biggest upsets of the weekend.

First to fall was LSU, the previously undisputed top team in the nation. Les Miles' fourth-down luck/stubbornness finally backfired on him, as his Tigers fell to the wildly under-appreciated Kentucky Wildcats.

This left the Cal Golden Bears sitting pretty to take over the top spot in the polls, so long as they could just take care of Oregon State. Enter Kevin Riley.

Listen, I realize he's just a kid, but come on. The kid single-handedly blew it for his team by somehow thinking that he could've run for a first down, or a touchdown, or something when his team just needed to kick a field goal to head to overtime. The fact is this - as of right now, Kevin Riley officially has no friends, and whether he has any family is debatable at best.

So now as a result, the Ohio State Buckeyes are the top team in the land. Really? Ohio State? The best team in the land? I'll believe that when I see it.

With no further ado, the weekend in review!

STOCK RISING: Everybody who had the Kansas Jayhawks as the last unbeaten team in the Big 12, raise your hand. Thought so. The Jayhawks continued their tear, destroying Baylor 58-10 in Lawrence. I realize it's Baylor and not any other team in the Big 12 South, but come on. 48 points is the kind of domination that we expect from the top teams in the nation playing lesser foes. More importantly, things are shaping up nicely for a potential final-week neutral-site showdown between Kansas and Mizzou for a berth in the Big 12 title game.

STOCK FALLING: What a weekend to forget for the Hawaii Warriors and Heisman prettyboy Colt Brennan. The Warriors needed overtime to knock off San Jose State on Friday night, and that was only after Hawaii scored two touchdowns in four minutes to send the game to OT in the first place. The fallout? Brennan's four picks makes him an unlikely Heisman winner at this point, Hawaii falls one spot in the AP polls, and a combination of a #18 ranking in the initial BCS standings and a lack of a meaty schedule possibly dooms June Jones' boys to miss the BCS even if they run the table. The way they've been playing though, does anybody scream too loudly if they d0?

HUH?: Do not adjust your monitor: Temple has won two games in a row. The Owls came from behind to knock off Akron 24-20, notching their first pair of consecutive wins in five years. With an upset of MAC East Division-leading Miami (Ohio) next week, Temple would pick up its first three-game winning streak in five years. Don't automatically bet against it, either - Temple was also one botched call away from beating one-loss UConn and having three wins at this point.

GAME OF THE WEEK: And just barely making it into this week's edition, too! Apparently Nevada and Boise State weren't impressed by LSU and Kentucky going to triple overtime. The Wolf Pack and Broncos combined for 136 points, 1266 yards and four extra sessions in another shining example of great non-BCS football.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: After being essentially left for dead, Virginia Tech QB Sean Glennon relieved freshman sensation Tyrod Taylor in the Hokies' game against Duke and looked damn impressive, going 16-for-21 for 258 yards and 2 TDs. Yes, it was Duke, but the Blue Devils are better than they have been for quite a while, and the Sean Glennon of old couldn't have looked this good.

PUBLIC ENEMY #1: Because it would be way too easy to take anyone on the LSU or Cal sidelines: Dave Wannstedt, whatever were you thinking? With the Pittsburgh Panthers down three in the second overtime against Navy and facing a 3rd-and-Goal from the 2, Wannstedt draws up a pass play, avoiding handing the ball off to workhorse back LeSean McCoy, who had been averaging more than five yards per carry. After calling a timeout, Wannstedt decided to go for it on 4th down - AND THREW THE BALL AGAIN. Predictably, Pitt lost 48-45. Two problems with this. First, why send the message that you have absolutely no faith in your team to finish the game if it goes any further? Second, why not use your stud running back as you had 32 times before? Rarely do you see a coach botch an endgame situation this badly.

Like I said, we'll try and get this on slightly more timely next time. College football will return here on Thursday, barring a story of epic proportions before now and then.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm all for sports, but this seems inappropriate...

As a quick preface: The Democrats are trying to pass a bill in Congress providing health care coverage to 10 million children. President Bush vetoed the bill a couple of weeks ago. The House Republicans just declared they have enough votes to uphold the veto. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the issue:

"Neither side is going to leave these kids uninsured. It's become kind of a political football, which is really unfortunate. But the coverage is going to be provided in some way."

I mean, whether or not you're for or against this bill, doesn't it seem that "political football" /= "health care for 10 million children?"

Cue Jafar music from Aladdin
Looks like new Rupert Murdoch programming is in the not-too-distant future. Let this thought sink in: if Murdoch is successful, he could control the most important business media outlet and the most viewed business channel in the world. This would be scary enough if Murdoch didn't push news with a built-in bias. By the way, money paragraph from the AP story:

"Fox defines success — aside from ratings — as expanding the business news audience by "demystifying" the subject, according to Kevin Magee, the Fox News executive vice president in charge of the new business channel. There are plenty of people not watching business news because it's presented in an "off-putting" way, he said."

Possible Fox Business pitch:

Murdoch: Business news is too business-y. Ideas?
Underling: What if, instead of doing all that stock stuff, we just take out the numbers?
Murdoch: Brilliant. We could just tell people what to buy. Anyone else?
Underling No. 2: Wouldn't that be, you know, not business news?
Murdoch: Have you ever watched Fox News?
U2: I prefer CNN and the BBYYAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! (Murdoch pushes button dropping Underling No. 2 into a pit with the Rancor. He is instantly swallowed whole.)
Murdoch: Any other smart guys?
Underling No. 3: How about we make the tagline, "Murdoch: Australian for News"
Murdoch: Run with it!

The Airing of the Biases - Willmott Edition

Ah, cyberspace.

So when JAmoros alluded to a sports blogger joining the herd earlier, guess what? He was talking about me. The name's John; you can call me Willmott (no bonus points for guessing what my last name is). I'll be checking in to offer my takes on various different things in the realm of sports, collegiate, professional and otherwise. I'm also a provocative person; if something says something stupid, expect me to point it out (especially true in the case of JAmoros - I won't hesitate for a second to call him an idiot).

One thing I don't want to have happen here is for someone to read and come complaining about a hidden bias that I have somewhere. I'd like to think that I'm pretty upfront person in terms of what I'm all about. Case and point: I'd like to start out here by airing my biases for all the (digital) universe to see.

I'm from the D.C. area, so I naturally like the teams from here ('Skins and Nats for sure, I can take or leave the Wiz and Caps). I also go to the University of Maryland; "Die-hard" doesn't completely describe my love for the Terps. Similarly, I hate the teams that go against these squads frequently. This means you, NFC East, non-Maryland ACC teams, and the Atlanta Braves. Everybody (save for JAmoros) hates the Yankees - I'm no different.

I'm also a big stickler for the minutiae; uniforms, announcers, and so on. Feel free to make your own observations to that end.

Get it. Got it? Good. I can tell this is going to be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Right Stuff

Just read an interesting article from Mike Lupica about The Boss. I agree with much of what he writes and have this to add: From a fans perspective, Steinbrenner is the best owner in professional sports, period, bar none. The reason? At the end of the day, he wants to win and will do literally whatever it takes to do so. He'll plunk down $200 mil without blinking an eye, because he believes it gives him a better baseball team. Yeah, occasionally big contract guys don't pan out, but it's no longer because The Boss thinks he knows baseball better than anyone else. He lets his baseball people run things and signs the paychecks it takes to win.

As a side note, how did this article happen? As a Yankees fan, I take pride in the fact that winning is the only goal. IT'S PROFESSIONAL SPORTS!!! There aren't any participation trophies here. Fans shell out hundreds of dollars a game to watch millionaire athletes play games they did as children, living vicariously at times through their favorite players. And Pearlman thinks the fans no longer enjoy watching the Yankees because the process is no longer fun? Please. If that's your viewpoint, you're a Mets fan.

Yes, there's pressure. I don't feel the Yankees are successful unless they had a legitimate shot at a World Series title each year. Shouldn't that be what it's all about? Am I missing something here? Should I hop on I-95 and go watch Miguel Tejada botch a couple of grounders and glide through plays because he knows the Orioles are going nowhere? Is this somehow more fun because for a fan, because you get to experience more joy when the Orioles finally win a title? I don't know. I was pretty pleased in 1996. And 1998. And 1999. And 2000. Silly me, but I haven't been quite as happy since then.

I guess what it boils down to is, would you rather start thinking in June about what prospects your team will pick up in a midseason salary dump, or would you rather start creating your normal October schedule, because your team is going to play seven months every season?


Title Talk
Is it just me, or does anyone else smell a potential Boston College vs. South Florida BCS title tilt? South Florida's toughest remaining game might be this coming Saturday at Rutgers, depending on how much love you want to give Cincinnatti. Boston College, meanwhile, has some tough games remaining in the ACC, but at the moment looks head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. I think Ohio State has too many tough matches left to say they'll escape without a loss, despite probably being the best of these three squads. It could come down to how much love BC and USF get from BCS voters, as neither team plays in a true power conference.

A match made in heaven
Does anything more need to be said? This could be like The Mighty Ducks, just in reverse. Get ready for a possibly magical season out of this club.

Rockies are going fo', fo' fo'

Include the single-game playoff with the Padres as part of the divisional series, and the Rockies have the chance to Moses Malone these playoffs. Also, Jose Valverde for 42 pitches over 1.2 innings? How'd that happen?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Adding an author! Also, Elizabeth sucked.

Within the next 24 hours, Terp Soup will add another author, a fellow UMD student. He'll be concentrating mostly on sports, freeing me up to do more politics. Look for him to start posting soon.

Went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age. If you're interested in history, do not see this movie. Blanchett and Clive Owen were decent, Geoffrey Rush was criminally underused and the director decided to do wide, sweeping panoramic shots every 30 seconds just to show how pretty the costuming/set was. The writing was mediocre, and the conflict between England and Spain was glossed over: The line in the commercial about not letting the Inquisition (what a show!) come to England was the only reference to the massive Protestant-Catholic tensions. That line, and a very poorly developed subplot involving Mary, Queen of Scots and the "Enterprise of England." This could have/should have been a bigger focus, especially since Geoffrey Rush could have been involved in the movie then. But hey, I guess if you spend that kind of money, 15 minutes of panning around a dance is OK.

The climax of the movie, the scene where they English fleet led by Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake (call him Francis and he really would kill you), was atrocious. Overdone with only a little, overwritten dialogue for about 20 minutes. And most of the battle was poorly-done CGI. Save your ten bucks, rent the DVD if you must, but if you're as into renaissance/16th century British history as I am, go get the first season of "The Tudors". Great stuff there.

Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore has a big day
Former Vice President Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize today. First question I could think of was, where does he go from here? I'm not alone. Jamie Reno of Newsweek writes that many Gore-inspired activists hope the award pushes him into the race. Michael Moore has an article from ABC News' Nitya Venkataraman posing much the same question. However, it seems to me that Gore might be an inconvenient candidate for the Democrats. While he clearly has strong grass roots support and incredible street cred with the liberal wing of the party, it appears from the polls the Democrats already have a candidate who matches up well with the Republican front-runner du jour. Would a Gore candidacy siphon off some of Clinton's lead over her primary rivals, as well as her lead over Giuliani?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In the beginning

So let's kick things off. I've been reading blogs and such since around the time I started high school, so I decided it's about time to start writing one. My goal is to cover sports and politics, my two main interests, along with a smattering of history, literature, movies, T.V. and other topics, through daily postings. We'll see how that goes. To get things started, let's just do a quick baseball post then a bog.

Bring back Torre, Mo and Jorge. And that other guy who hits a lot.
It seems as if there is almost no way this will happen, but all four of these people need to remain in New York if the Yankees hope to be a real contender next season. Torre is sadly the most dispensable, as it appears Don Mattingly, Joe Girardi and others are waiting in the wings. Still, the man has done the best managing of his career over the last couple of years, dealing with major injury problems, Sheffield, the Clemens circus, ineffective relief pitching and a mercurial superstar. Despite all of the issues this season, the Yankees came back from 14.5 back to nearly beat Boston out for the division, before being knocked out of the playoffs by a more complete team.

The sad thing is, if Mo, Jorge and A-Rod all return, N.Y. would again have one of the best teams in the league, especially with a rotation of Wang, Pettite, Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy. Muss would be expendable if they can move him. Ohlendorf and Clippard are still available in the minors as decent fifth wheel options, and Edwar Ramirez (who does have good stuff) would have a full offseason and spring training to work with the pitching coaches. Lose any one of the three players above, and the Yankees need to trade to fill major holes. If Chamberlain moves to the pen permanently to replace Rivera, the Yankees lose a guy who could be one of their top-three starters for several years. Lose Posada or A-Rod, and they need to move some combination of Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy or Ohlendorf to get major league production back. The farm system is pitching-rich (they also have Brackman, Betances and Cox, who should succeed Rivera), but they shouldn't need to trade one of those four right now.

John Schuerholz is leaving his post as GM of the Atlanta Braves but will stay on as team president. Frank Wren takes over. I remember Wren from his short-lived tenure as the Baltimore Oriole's G.M. To be fair, his owner was Peter Angelos, who seems intent on making 1980s version of George Steinbrenner look like the greatest owner in pro sports.

Michael Vick's high school took his jersey out of the trophy case. This is really more sad for the school than for Vick. The guy is probably the most famous alum ever from the school, and now they've got to disown him or face mobs of angry parents or dog owners. Another victory for Ron Mexico.

Father Time is back on the sidelines with the Carolina Panthers. It's just been one crotch shot after another for Steve Smith. On the plus side for Vinny, he could extend his touchdown streak Sunday if David Carr can't play.

Check back later for a politics post.