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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A.I Takes Off...Dais-Man Next?

NO DAIS?
The Boston Red Sox have until midnight on Thursday to sign Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, but his agent Scot Boras and the Sox front office still seem miles apart. With many media outlets reporting that the negotiations were "all but dead", Sox GM Theo Epstein and President Larry Lucchino flew out to Los Angeles on owner John Henry's private jet to help speed up the bargaining process. The problem has been lack of communication between the two parties. According to Epstein and Lucchino, the Sox made an original offer of a 3-5 year deal worth somewhere between $7-9 million per. Boras never repsonded to the offer, which is unusual, and recently has been quoted as saying that "a 26 year-old with D-Mat's stuff should command a contract worth $100 million or more. In a smug statement, Theo agreed with Boras, but added that the Sox believe that the record $51.1 mil they paid for the rights to negotiate is part of that $100 million. Cute Theo, but you're gonna have to better than that. I say, if you were dumb enough to pay Nancy Drew $70 million bones, then why stop the spending? The Sox basically became the Yankees with the record posting, so why not complete the transformation and sign this man to a deal worth close to $20 mil a season. Yea that's right. It's not my money, it's not your money. What? They're gonna raise ticket prices? They were gonna do that anyway. Sign him up boys. Whatever it takes! If he's a bust, it makes for good talk for guys like me. And if he's the man, then we win a ton of games. Sounds pretty nice to me. Here's to hopin' Theo does his best Howie Mandel impression over the next few days and gets the DEAL DONE.

Patriots Update
Last Week: Miami Dolphins 21 New England Patriots 0
Record: 9-4, 1st in AFC East, 4th in AFC

Next Week vs Houston Texans (4-9)

*This may sound weird, but I'm actually less worried about the 21-0 loss since it came at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. That's not to say I was encouraged by the shutout in South Beach, but I'm not going into full blown panic mode either. The fact is, Nick Saban and the Dolphins are very familiar with what Belichick and the Patriots like to do. They know our schemes, they know some of our signals, and thanks to some interesting audio tapes they got their hands on (the league is looking into where the Dolphins obtained these tapes seeing as the NFL only gives teams game tapes without audio), apparently they knew some of Tom Brady's audible calls at the line. That being said, it still isn't acceptable that the Pats were shutout 21-0. Tom Brady looked more like Rex Grossman, Matt Light was beaten by Jason Taylor like he was caught banging his sister (sorry Zach Thomas) and the Pats secondary looked like, well, they looked like they were a group of no name street walkers (not too far from the truth). Granted Maroney was out, but you can't tell me he's the difference between a win and a 21-0 loss. Nah, they just had a bad game. It happens you know, it's just that here in Patriot country we aren't all that used to it. So, like I said, I'm not going to panic just yet, but if the Pats are anything less than impressive next week against the lowly Texans, then I will no doubt start tossing peeps under the bus. And not that mini bus that the "special" kids ride on either.

NFL News and Notes
*Think the Houston Texans still believe they made the right decision in the draft? Not only have they had to watch Reggie Bush run wild all season, but this Sunday they learned that they didn't just make the wrong pick, they may have alienated all their fans by doing so. And it's not because they passed on Bush, but on QB Vince Young. A lot of Texan fans thought this was a no-brainer. Young grew up 7 miles from Reliant Stadium in Houston, and of course won a National title at the University of Texas. Add to that, most Texan fans have already had it with current QB David Carr and would have loved nothing better than to add their prodigal son to the hometown team. Instead, Texan GM Bob McNair and head coach Gary Kubiak decided that they would stick with Carr (and their current RB Dominick Davis) and add who they believed to be the best defensive player in the draft, DE Mario Williams. Granted it's only 13 games into this season, but right now the returns aren't looking good. While Williams is struggling to make plays, Young is 6-4 in his first 10 starts along with 4 straight wins. The kid has that "it" factor that you just can't explain. His numbers will never be great, but I'll be damned if he won't carry you to some wins all by himself. The dagger? Playing for the Titans, VY will be in Houston once every season, throwing the Texans mistake in their face for a decade+ to come.

*Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson set the single season touchdown record this week when he ran for 3 more against the Denver Broncos, bringing his season total to 29. I've said many times throughout the season that LT is establishing himself as one of the greatest running backs of all-time, and this only helps to validate that. I will personally be rooting for him to get to 40, although I don't see it happening. But the best part is, the guy is only 6 years in, and barring injury (trust me I just knocked on wood), we could possibly see him break this record....a few times. Freaking awesome.

*Speaking of LT, If it weren't for him, the New Orleans Saints would probably be in line to win every award the 2006 season has to offer. Drew Brees leads the NFL in passing yardage (4,033), QB rating (101.2), touchdown passes (25) and is second in completion % (66.4). Not to mention he's leading a team that owns their division at 9-4 and has an inside track to a first round bye in the playoffs despite going 3-13 only a year ago. It's safe to say that if not for LT this year, Brees would be the run away winner for the MVP. Next in the Mardi Gras parade is head coach Sean Payton. Only a year ago he was helping Bill Parcells win games in Dallas. Now, he's fresh off a stomping of his mentor, and has the whole league talking about the turn around he's helped pull off on the Bayou. He's got this thing won hands down, unless some idiots decide to chose that fat, pear-shaped loser that roams the sidelines for the Jets. Finally, there's Reggie Bush. Despite being the most hyped draft pick in Saints history and starting out slowly, Bush has more than answered all his critics. His rushing might not be what people thought, but he is on pace for 100 receptions and has been scoring TDs in bunches lately. And if it's not Bush, why not the rookie from Deleware, WR Marques Colston. Before getting hurt a few weeks back, Colston might be running away with the damn thing. Even with the two missed games, the guy has gone nutty to the tune of 59 grabs, 917 yards and 7 TDs. Gotta give it to the Saints. Not only do they bounce back from a 3-13 season, but they bounce back in a city destroyed by a flood while stomping out the best teams in the league. Props to you Big Easy, for taking one of the toughest situations ever to face an NFL team and turning it into a season for the ages.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 4-2-0

2006 Season: 43-36-6 (.541)

*Would have been nice to cap the week with a ballsy Monday Night win, but it wasn't meant to be. Good news is, 3 other games I considered picking this week all would have been winners. Now I know what you're thinking. I bet you think there were probably 4 games on top of that that I thought about picking that I would have lost right? Wrong. I'm feelin' hot bitches!

*When someone asks you to same the best coach in NCAA basketball right now, names like coach K at Duke, Bobby Knight at Texas Tech, Jim Boeheim at 'Cuse or Roy Williams at UNC might come to mind. And while all of those guys are truly great coaches that continue to impress, I'd have to give my vote to the only one of those guys to take 3 teams to the NCAA tourney in the past decade. No, not Bill Self (Kansas, Illiinois, Tulsa). I'm talking about current UCLA head coach Ben Howland. After taking Northern Arizona to the Big Dance in the 90's, Howland moved onto Pittsburgh. What did he do there? Oh, just took a totally depleted program and built them into a top tier team in the Big East as well as the country. After his astounding success there, UCLA came calling and Big Ben couldn't resist. In just his 3rd year as coach, Howland immediately brought the Bruins back to prominence by leading them to the National title game. Still no impressed? Well then try this on for size. With UCLA heavy with underclassmen, and Pitt's main rotation consisting of older players, Howland has basically recruited and coached the #1 and #2 teams in the country right now. Gotta respect that. And how amazing would a match-up between Howland and his protege, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, meeting for a big time game come March? Def would like to see that. As for the top 10 this week, Wichita St. and UCONN stayed unbeaten, so they make their debut. The A&M Aggies weren't as lucky, as they dropped games to LSU and UCLA, dropping them out of the polls. But they are too solid to stay out for long, so look for them to make a return sooner rather than later.*

College Basketball Top 10
1. Ohio St. (8-1) 1
2. Pittsburgh (10-0) 2
3. Florida (8-2) 3
4. UCLA (8-0) 6
5. UNC (7-1) 7
6. Wisconsin (9-1) 8
7. Alabama (8-1) 5
8. Kansas (8-2) 9
9. Wichita St. (10-0) NR
10. UCONN (8-0) NR

just missed: Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Duke, LSU, Oklahoma St.
dropped: (4) Texas A&M, (10) Marquette

A.I the Answer for the Celts?
All summer long the talk around the Hub was that Allen Iverson was destined to come to the Celtics in a trade. Well, now that A.I has asked out of Philly and cleaned out his locker, that dream might be closer to reality than ever before. Problem is, I don't think any Celtics fans are going to be happy with what the C's will have to give up in return for the Answer. Because of the way the salary cap works in the NBA, the trade will not only have to be an close to equal trade in talent, but an equal trade of money as well. What does that mean for Boston? Well, A.I makes $17 million per year, so the Celts will have to send about that much per year back to the Sixers. The rumor mill has Boston giving up Theo Ratliff, Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair to get Iverson. I say Danny boy should pull the trigger. Not because I like Iverson, but because I don't think his young core of players are ever going to be good enough to get things done. Not this year, not next year, not ever. Getting Iverson will at least make things entertaining for a bit, on and off the court. The guy is a former MVP, a 7-time All Star and he has multiple scoring titles. I'm no basketball expert, but that sounds a lot better than the mess we got goin on right now. But if you asked me if I think this deal will get done between Boston and Philly, I'd have to say hell no. Fact is, Danny Ainge seems to be the only one in the league that values his young talent, so the Sixers more than likely will go for a deal with another trading partner. And that's probably a good thing. While I'm not in love with the young talent on the C's, I'd rather try and sink or swim with the guys we got for a year or two than bring in A.I only to win a few series in the LEastern Conference playoffs. Delonte West may look like he has rampant herpes, and Gerald Green may turn the ball over more than your average JV player, but this is our team Boston fans. Or should I say your team. Make the world a better place, punch Glenn Rivers MD in the face.

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