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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There's About to be a (WHAT?!?!?)....Dog Fight!!!!

In a week in which negative sports stories have dominated the headlines, I've decided to lead off with a positive story. Maybe it's me being so self righteous it makes you want to vomit all over you're keyboard, but I think it's just my way of not contributing to the promotion of negativism. Sure, I'll get to a all the juicy NBA scandal and Mike Vick dog fighting shit. Hell, that's where I'll prolly have all my best material, but I'm startin' off on the bright side for once. And make sure to check out my new NFL Notes section dubbed "Tackle Box". Yea, I know it's clever, and that's why I did it. Besides, no matter how corny the name, you know you're as geeked as I am for the NFL season to start, so you're gonna read it anyway just to get you're fix. Predictable junkies....enjoy!

Last night was the 2007 Major League Season debut for young Red Sox lefty, and cancer survivor, Jon Lester. A year to the day after the 23 year old was diagnosed with cancer, he returned to the mound and shut down one of the AL's best teams, the Cleveland Indians. And to be honest, for better or worse, he was the exact same Lester that came up late last year and went 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA. Lester was constantly getting himself into jams, only to always get himself out of them on his way to 6 innings, 2 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, and one very inspiring win. He wasn't dazzling, though at times he did reach 94 mph, but he was solid, and his performance was very encouraging. Sure, it's great to add another young arm to the mix, and better yet that it was one we were counting on about a year ago, but the real story here is the will and determination of this young man (I can say "young", because I'm older than he is....so sad). Cancer kills people. Cancer changes people's lives. Not this guy. He fought through it because he didn't want to give up his life, didn't want to give up his dream. And you gotta salute that. Here's to you Jon, for showing that getting cancer isn't always the end of the world, for bringing some much needed compassion to the game, and for at least temporarily putting a positive story on the front page....for once.

Red Sox Update
Overall: 60-39, 1st place in AL East by 7.5 games
Status: Shame on most of you. Shame! Shame! Shame! All of you pansies that started biting your nails as the Yanks trimmed the lead in the East can all go suck it. Have some faith for crying out loud, and act like you've freaking been there before! Winning is an attitude kids, and it may sound dumb to say the fans have anything to do with the success of the team, but I truly believe that good fans can encourage players and hold them to a higher standard. So hold strong. Papi may be a little dinged up, courtesy of that belly flop into 2nd, but Manny is tearing the cover off the ball (.391, 3HR, 6 RBI in the last week) and so is Lugo (.407, HR, 4 2B, 7 RBI last week). Combine that with Coco's steady rise (he's up to .277 with 7 triples, 17 steals, 5 HR, and 50 runs), and the continued steady production from Mike Lowell, and so what if Papi is hurt and Youk is slumpin', we can survive. And when those guys do get back, look the hell out, right? I mean, as long as Youk and Lowell don't revert back to their second half form fro ma year ago. We forget that they both lit up the world in the first half last year as well, so you gotta be weary of that. But don't count this guy as the least bit concerned about this team. You gotta think Theo is hard at work finding a guy that will allow us to dump Wily Mo, and platoon with JD Drewchbag, who honestly wouldn't be playing at all if he wasn't getting more loot than 3/4 of the Marlin's roster. Yea, that's right. I wasn't gonna go all this time without some Drew bashing. For all of you that were telling me he was turning the corner, you can spare me. I don't care if he was robbed of a dinger by the umps, hell, I actually think it was a good thing. Our team was dead offensively, and Tito Francona getting booted for arguing that call sparked the anemic offense to 29 runs over the next 3 games. Karma, baby! Drew's hitting .253 with 6 homers and 37 RBI, and he's missed 14 games due to injury (on pace for: .253, 9 HR, 60 RBI. Really worth the $14 mil huh?). The latest of which, his "tweaked hammy", left some teammates rolling their eyes according to Providence Journal beat writer Sean McAdam. The dude is just a loser, plain and simple. He's totally in it for himself, he's made no bones about that since he strong armed his way out of Philly to start his career, and if he's not producing, then he's not worth it. If you asked me before the season what my perfect team would be, I would have told you a first place team with JD Drew either sucking it up or on the DL. Maybe that's why I'm not worried about the Yanks, because I'm so content in seeing my hopes realized. Now make the deal Theo. Suck it up, admit you made a mistake with Davey Drew, and bring in a bat (Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Texeira?), and you won't find a happier Sox fan than this guy right here.

Diamonds Are Forever
*I heard somewhere that Barry Bonds is close to breaking Hank Aaron's all time home run record. Oh, right. It was every 10 seconds on ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN2. Give it a rest fellas. He'll break it, then you'll have inter racial panels discussing the significance. Stephen A. will yell, Mike Greenberg will yell, Woody Paige will try to yell and get muted by the "stat boy" and Scot Van Pelt will make some snide remark. Thanks for comin' out, make sure to tip your "escorts". Oh right, while I'm on ESPN, just let me say this. It's segments like their current "Who's Now?", or the over produced "50 states in 50 days" that made me stop watching Sportscenter altogether. I want highlights, I want witty remarks, and I want them in a nice 30 minute package. We don't need an hour simply so Josh Elliot can stand in front of a huge video board with his pink tie on, or so Chris McKendry can mispronounce another 50 names, furthering the mystery as to who the dumb schmuck is in Bristol that must be sleeping with her. Clean it up for God's sake...

*Dick Cheney should go hunting with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, because those mother fuckers need to be shot. Dear God, this team is dreadful. I seriously think, in all honesty, that I played on traveling All Sar teams that could put this team to shame, and that's when I was 12. Sure, we would have had to adjust to the bigger diamond and wooden bats, but I still say we would have spanked 'em. I mean really, how do you give up 49 runs in 3 games over a two day period and not give solid consideration to going Chris Benoit (too soon?) on yourself? I mean I don't wanna waste too much breath on a franchise who's creator should have swallowed, but come on guys. I just I'm just pissed the Sox missed out on these routs, because you know, by the time the Rays and Sox match back up, the Rays will have a fresh crop of pitchers up from (AAA), and will be in nothing but one run nail biters with the BoSox. Happens every year, I'm tellin' ya.

*I feel I owe Marlins whacked out starter, Scott Olsen, an apology. I knew the guy was a little out there, but after his latest stunt, I have no choice but to hold the man in the highest regard with such legends as John Daly, Lawrence Taylor and Daryl Strawberry. You may remember Olsen from such stories as when he fought with manager Joe Girardi in the dugout in '05, or when he and pitcher Sergio Mitre through down in the clubhouse in '07, but neither of those holds a candle to this. Police report that Olsen was pulled over at about 4 am while going 48 in a 35, but refused to pull over. He instead, drove a mile to his crib, while blowing through a stop sign. Upon arriving, he jumps out of the whip, and sits in front of his house in his plastic lawn chair. When the po-nines try to cuff his ass, he starts swinging at 'em, leaving them no choice, but to taser the 6'5" lefty, not before getting a few shots in on his dome. Well done, Scott, well done. I really like the move at the end where you sat in the lawn chair. I can totally seeing some peeps I know, all liquored up and loaded for bare, trying to pull off a stunt like that. So kudos. But, dude. Get your act together. Go have a chat with Josh Hamilton. Hell, that dude fought off the white horse for years before making it back to the majors. And have we already forgotten the tragic drunk driving death of Cardinal reliever Josh Hancock? Get your act together bro. As funny as your antics may be (oh and believe me, they're freaking hilarious, and I think I'm gonna go to hell for secretly hoping they continue), if you keep it up, you're gonna find yourself out of baseball, and probably in prison. De Niro said it best in Bronx Tale, "There's no worse thing, than wasted talent". Rent it Scott, it's a quality film. It's got Joe Pesci in it, so you know it's authentic gangster.

*And speaking of gangsters, there's still the matter of what is going to happen when Barry Bonds actually hits record breaking home run #756. Well, Giants reliever Steve Kline has a theory as to what might go down, and it ain't pretty. Kline is hoping and praying that Barry ties and breaks the record before, or after, the team's road trip to LA (7/31-8/2), basically out of fear for his own life. Kline's theory, is that if the record tying, or breaking, ball should make it into the Giants bullpen at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, then he, or any of the Giant relievers, might be "stabbed" by someone trying to retrieve the ball. I can't say his claim is totally out there. After all it is LA, and he will be seated right next to the "All You Can Eat Pavillion", creating for some seedy characters. But to say he's afraid to get stabbed? That's racial profiling isn't it? You know, in the back of his mind (creeping towards the front), he's picturing come crazed out Esse, all tatted up, leaping from the stands with a bandanna over his mouth and quoting Che Guevara as he stabs Kline and snipes the million dollar ball. I think the more politically correct way to express his fear, would have just been to say he was afraid of being "attacked". Who's to say he couldn't be punched by a white man, or even shot by a black man? Come on Steve-O, think big picture here. Just consider yourself lucky you don't have to share a bullpen with Kyle Farnsworth or Scott Olsen.

News and Notes
*Looks like the FEDs got their hooks in now former NBA official, Tim Donaghy. Bad news for him, bad news for the mob, and really bad news for the NBA. This league needed a betting scandal about as much as Rachael Ray needs another carton of Marb reds to suck down with all that Dunkin Donuts coffee. If you were seriously shocked when you heard about this supposed betting scandal, then you've been blind for most of your adult life when it comes to betting on sports in this country. It's simple, hockey and baseball aren't fun to bet on and there are only about 20 weeks of pro and college football on a yearly basis. That leaves 32 weeks, or more realistically, 300+ days that are free of action for the average gambling degenerate. Logically, the NBA fits into that niche beautifully. So, where there's heavy gambling action, there's bound to be at least a little impropriety here or there, as we've witnessed with numerous college point shaving scandals, the latest and most prolific being in the early 90's at Arizona St. The trick, as is supposedly the case with Donaghy, is to trim points in favor of the gamblers, not to totally alter the outcome of the game. Example: Donaghy would make a few extra calls late in a game to make sure the team that was supposed to win by 6, actually won by 6. It's not like he took teams that were 8 point underdogs and made it so they won. Don't get me wrong, he was altering the outcomes of games, but not nearly as much as you would be led to believe. As for what this scandal could do to the NBA, I really haven't decided. I know in the open I said the NBA really doesn't need this, but it also really hasn't needed any of the other off and on the court distractions it's been handed the last decade or so. Players fight, do drugs, get arrested, curse on rap albums, cover themselves in tats, even run in the stands and clock people, and the fans still keep filling the seats. You can argue that higher income fans have stayed away, but the numbers aren't really baring that out (highest # of ticket sales in league's history in '06-'07). This league has faced every scandal it's ever had in stride, and something tells me this one won't be any different. The NBA turned the corner about 15 years ago with the rise of the Showtime Lakers, from sport, to entertainment and I think most of the fans treat it as such. While baseball fans are in constant uproar over steroids, it's because they claim their sport is full of integrity, and there's no such integrity in the NBA. Most of basketball's fans are probably more upset that they missed out on the fixed games than the fact that Donaghy was cheating for his own financial benefit. So does the NBA need this? Of course not. But will it deter fans and change the way we view the games? Not by a long shot.

*I never really had an opinion on Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia before this year's British Open. I've followed the guys career to be sure, and I've watched him play many times on TV, but I really never had any strong like or dislike for the guy. That is until now. And now, I think he's a whiny bitch, and I wouldn't mind at all if he never won another tournament, or contended in another major. Wait, I take that back. I hope he's constantly contending, and constantly choking like he this weekend. After losing in a 4 hole playoff to Irishman Padraig Harrington (I'll get to him in a second), all Sergio had to say was how he "never got any breaks", that he was miffed about having to wait 15 minutes on one of his final holes, and how his ball hit the flag stick on the 3rd playoff hole. Gimmie a break you whiny primadonna. For starters, the only reason you were even near the lead was because of your new "belly" putter, which in my eyes is basically cheating. For those that don't know, this putter literally anchors to your belly, steadying the putter and taking those "shaky" hands out of play. If you can't handle the pressure, then find another job, don't cop out by using a putter originally intended for old men that had arthritis. And to say you never get any breaks? Were you even watching the freaking tournament? I mean I know you didn't actually see hat happened, but I know you saw the results on the scoreboard. Paddy Harrington had you dead to rights, only moments after Andres Romero also had you dead to rights, because you were slowly but surely choking away what was originally a 3 shot lead. Then, Romero hoods a 3 iron on 18, double bogeys, and is out of the picture. Moments later, Harrington almost hits it across a small bridge (almost the shot of the century by the way), but it goes in the Byrn, the same river that cost Jean Van de Velde the title in '99. He gets a double bogey 6, meaning all Sergio had to do was par to 18 to win. How is that not getting any breaks?! Two guys had the Claret Jug virtually in their hands, and they gave it right back to you. All you had to do was make an 8 footer (that I thought was going in mind you) and the trophy was yours! Breaks? Are you kidding? The real issue is you can't get over yourself, La Nina. Look in the mirror, it's nobodies fault but your own. Give credit where credit is due, to the great play of Paddy Harrington, and just go out and work harder. Don't give me this bull on how you never get the breaks, you're just embarrassing yourself, and making people like me, who could have easily become fans, totally turned off.

Tackle Box
*Since Mike Vick plays football, I guess this is a football story / I really just needed something to put here so I could write "Tackle Box". Seriously though, it seems like this story has been going on for years now, but the truth is it actually broke last Wednesday when Vick was indicted. That's what I get for posting on Tuesdays I guess, because it seems like it's already been tossed around 6 ways from Sunday in the last 5 days, but you know I still got to jaw about it. Besides, this story ain't goin' away any time soon. Matter of fact, while I'm writing this, word is coming down from Commissioner Roger Goodell that Mike Vick should stay away from Falcons camp, and not report until he has resolved his legal issues. It's the right move if you ask me. Sure, Goodell may have been quicker and sterner with guys like Chris Henry, P-Money Jones and Tank Johnson, but those guys had history. I understand that Vick was caught with that "water bottle" at the airport, may have given a chick herps as Ron Mexico, and flipped the Falcon fans the dirty bird, but he doesn't have nearly the legal track record as the others. Still, the charges against him are grave enough, and the evidence compelling enough that Vick should have to stay away. The most compelling factor in all of this, is that the department in the Federal DA's office that's prosecuting Vick and his co-defendants is undefeated when it comes to their indictments receiving convictions. Not good news for Vick. It's only a matter of time now before these fools start ratting each other out faster than Henry Hill and Sammy the Bull, and then things shoul really get interesting. That's when we'll find out if Vick really is the man behind this operation, or if he's just the figure head the FED's need to give the vicious world of dog fighting a face. One thing's for sure, and that's that this story isn't going away, and isn't going to get any prettier. No matter what his involvement, people are already disgusted at the charges against Vick, and even should he be acquitted, the way he's viewed by the public has been permenantly changed. This isn't Kobe Bryant or the Duke lacrosse kids who were up against one plantiff with questionable character, this is a bunch of thugs drowing, burying and electrocuting dogs. Big difference. Now I just want to know how long it takes the University of South Carolina to cave, and change their long time nickname, the "Gamecocks". Littttttllllle Jerrrrrryyyyyyyy!

*What's that I smell? Why, it's credibility sneaking into the picture, boys and girls. Your man has officially been assigned to work several days at Patriot's training camp in Foxboro, MA by my employer, 99.7 and 790 The Score (http://scoreamfm.com/). We're rapidly approaching a time where nobody will be able to tell me I'm wrong again in the realm of sports. I bet you're wetting yourselves with anticipation of that day. Muuuuuaaahahahahahaa.

Fantasy Update
Last Week: WIN, 15-8-1 vs BottomFeeders Yum!
Overall: 187-164-33 (.530), 4th place 35 games back

*I was in a bad way against a bad team for most of the week, but thanks to a CG shutout by Doc Halladay on Sunday, I was able to turn it around and keep pace in the race for the tiny trophy. This week just went to prove my point when it comes to my team. When my starters can put together a solid week, I run teams over. When they blow goats, I have to fight just to hang around .500 in any given week. So here's to good pitching....yea, I'll drink to that. Hell, I figure I'm drinking anyway right?

Oh and yes, in case you noticed I changed my Yahoo! avatar / my personal logo again. I think it's just because I'm so pumped for fantasy football and I felt I needed a little change. Don't worry, he's still pimpin', he just has short hair and some new high end duds (which you can't see in this shot). Give him time, he'll grow on ya...peace in the middle

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Philly Still Sucks, But Cuban Still the Man!

WORLDS BIGGEST LOSERS!
Congratulations, Philadelphia. You're finally getting the recognition you deserve. With a loss this weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies became the first American professional sports team to reach 10,000 losses, therefore making them the biggest losers of all time. That's really all I got here. Philly sucks, there fans suck, and now they are associated with being the biggest losers of all time. Poetic justice if you ask me. Now, if only all those tarded out, Rocky lovin', Jersey leftovers can just choke on their EZ Cheez and cat meat sandwiches that their city is so famous for, so the rest of the world can be done with them. Reap what you sow, Philly fans. You boo your teams more than anyone else, so they lose more than anyone else. Here's to the next 10,000 losses coming even faster than the first, and here's to the 76ers, Eagles and Flyers setting similar records in due time. Yo Adrian! I Suck!!!

Red Sox Update
Overall: 56-36, 1st in AL East by 9 games
Status: The good news is that Papi's knee seems to be holding on, and both he and Manny have begun to flat out rake! The Sox are still only averaging a little over 5 runs per game since the All-Star break, but at least it looks like the offense is coming around. The only fear, is that once Manny and Papi actually start coming around, Youkilis and Lowell will tail off much like they did last year. The one place where there hasn't been any fear all season long, and there isn't any sing of it to come, and that's the pitching rotation. Not only have the guys we've come to depend on (Beckett, Wakefield, Dice K) been pulling through, but young guns Kason Gabbard and Manny del Carmen have been pleasant surprises that have helped bolster the already potent pitching lineup. Gabbard was on full display with his 3 hit shutout on Monday night, while all del Carmen has done, is pitch 7 scoreless innings in the pen since being called up from Pawtucket. With players like Timlin and Schilling that are injury prone, it's good to know that we can depend on some of the younger talent to contribute down the stretch. And for those of you that want answers to what's going to happen to Gabbard once Schilling comes back? Well, it's feasible that Julian Tavarez would be moved to the bullpen in the Kyle Snyder/ Bronson Arroyo role of stop starter/long reliever, but then what to do with Snyder? If Theo can't find a way to make room for Gabbard by trading Snyder or Tavarez, then he'll have to flat out release Snyder, and shift Tavarez to the pen. Gabbard hasn't totally proven himself yet (a shutout against the Royals does not an All-Star make, my friends), but if he continues to prove his worth, it's going to be hard, and it's going to look stupid, to send him back down to Pawtucket. It's a good problem to have, this "too much pitching", and should it continue, I really like the Sox chances. Eh who am I kidding, I always like their chances, especially when the best player on the main rival team wears purple lip stick.

Diamonds Are Forever
*In case you haven't been informed, the world of Major League Baseball is about to come crumbling down. No, not because of the rampant drug use, or internal racial issues. Nope, according to Florida Marlin's president Dave Sampson, it's the 5 year $95 million deal that Ichiro just signed with the Seattle Mariners that's due to destroy the national past time. Here's what he said when asked about the deal "I would say it's the end of the world as we know it. If Ichiro is worth $20 million a year, I am speechless by that contract. I'm hoping that report is false. There's no chance anybody is worth that. Ichiro has led his team to zero, nothing. Signing Ichiro to $20 million a year for five years is a joke. It's inexcusable. It's complete mismanagement. It can't be true." Damn Dave, why don't you let us know how you really feel? And I'm no fast Asian baseball player expert here, but I think he's getting that money because he's averaged .332, 230 hits, 40 stolen bases and 114 runs per season since arriving stateside in 2001, and shows no signs of slowing down. I would say the "end of the world" as you know it, Dave, is coming when your fan(s) watch Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera walk out the door because you refuse to pony up the dough. Look out, Dave. Here come the free agents to be.....and they wanna talk to Samson!! What a dope.

*Barry Bonds is struggling to hit, struggling to hit home runs, and now, he's struggling to hold back his emotions. I hear that's what happens when you shoot yourself with roids for the better part of a quarter century, you tend to get a little emotional. No worries though, Bar, because I'm sure this is just the tip of the emotional iceberg that you're about to experience until you hit the 5 home runs needed to break the record. Aaron had to deal with racist threats, Maris had to deal with people saying he wasn't a true Yankee or worthy of the record, and Barry has to deal with himself. He's going to make it look like the press has driven him to break down with all the steroid talk, but it's really his own inner demons coming out to play.

*So....Gary Sheffiled thinks Joe Torre is a racist manager, huh? In an interview with HBO Real Sports, Sheff told Andrea Kramer that Torre would call out black players in the locker room, while he'd always make a point to talk to white players in his office. He then back peddled, saying those guys were probably Torre's "favorites" (referring to players like Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Scot Brosius and the half black-half white captain, Derek Jeter), but those are remarks you just can't go back on. Sure, maybe he was misunderstood, but the bell of racism is a hard one to un-ring. You know it's just Sheff being himself, and spouting off at the mouth, but calling someone a racist just isn't a matter of fact type thing. Imagine Sheff's reaction if he were called a racist by Joe Torre? That's what he doesn't get. With Sheff, it's just the world according to Gary, and nothing else matters. Well, Gar, news flash. Most people view you as a bigot and a racist, not Joe Torre. I mean, wasn't it you who just a few weeks ago said Spanish players were easier to handle than blacks, and that's why there were fewer African Americans in the MLB? Seriously Sheff, just keep your tongue in your mouth, and let your game do the talking. Sure, it gives me something to write, but truth be told, I'd much rather be writing about sketchy reality TV moments, or the latest gem from the mouth of Tim McCarver. "Sometimes you catch the ball, and sometimes....the ball catches you!" Thanks Tim, you retard.

*It's official. Dallas Maverick's charismatic and controversial owner, Mark Cuban, has begun the application process in hopes of becoming the owner of America's favorite losers, the Chicago Cubs. I love it, you should love it, and above all else, Cubs fans should love it. He's a proven winner as an owner, he brings great passion to what he does, and he's flat out fun to watch. Not only will it be fascinating to watch him butt heads with volatile head coach, Lou Piniella, but the credibility and promotional expertise Cuban will bring to the Windy City will make the Cubbies relevant again. Let's face it. When Boston, New York, Chicago and LA teams are good, it's good for sport, and the fact that the Cubs have been so bad for so long just isn't helping baseball's popularity. I know, Cubs fans can tell me all they want that they sell out their games, and that the atmosphere at Wrigley is one of the best in the game, but I'm telling you, it no longer resonates nationwide. Considering the size of the city, if the team became relevant again, Cub fans would start popping up all over. Trust me. I saw Red Sox Nation build 10-fold with the "idiots" and the eventual championship in 2004 and I don't see why the Cubs couldn't pull a similar trick. They've been down for so long, and Mark Cuban has a great chance to bring them back to the top of the game. He'll hire the right guys and he'll make sure the team gets more exposure than Peyton Manning, Coach K and Dwayne Wade combined. Get ready, MLB, there's a Cuban on the loose, and this one's one mother of a capitalist!

News and Notes
*Whoever said being a 6'6" vampire look-a-like was a bad way to go about life was dead wrong. At least, it doesn't seem to be stopping former tennis pro, Aussie Mark Philippoussis. Apparently, Philippoussis was too busy promoting his new reality TV show "Age of Love", in which women in their 20's (kittens) and 40's (cougars) pine for him, to defend his title at the Grass Court Championships in Newport, R.I. Talk about having your priorities in order. I've followed Mark's tennis game for a while, and I'm pretty sure he should be showing up to defend titles, seeing as he doesn't have many to his credit. Matter of fact, I'm gonna go ahead and say that Newport title was the only one he captured in 2006, and might be the only one he's had in several seasons. But you and I know, it all comes down to 2 major things when you're in any branch of the entertainment business: Exposure, and $$$. You gotta think this TV show is getting him more of both (despite being hosted by Kelly Ripa's husband), so that makes the choice somewhat of a no brainer. Sorry tennis, you just don't have what it takes any more. Just hope and pray and that we don't see Roger Federer skipping next year's Wimbledon to appear in Top Chef, Season 4. On second thought...

*Spoiler Alert. The 2007 World Series of Poker's $10,000 buy in Main Event has reached it's final table. The live action will be aired tonite on Pay-Per-View for (no I will not be watching), as the final nine contestants battle for the $8.25 million first place prize. With 1998 champion Scotty Nguyen eliminated in 11th place ($476,926), the only recognizable pro to make the final table, is 2006 Pot Limit Omaha World Champion, Lee Watkinson, who will start the night 6th in chips, with a shade under $10 million. Alex Kravchenko is another pro with a bracelet (2007 Omaha Hi-Low Split), but seeing as he's yet to appear on TV, nobody is really familiar with him. That could change though. Despite entering as a short stack with $6.5 million, you gotta like the chances of a guy who's cashing in his 7th event this year (2nd only to Michael Binger) and is appearing at his 3rd final table of this year's World Series. The rest of the field is basically a bunch of unknowns, with Hevad "Rain" Kahn playing the roll of the bad boy/Mike Matusow/Josh Arieh type, and guys like England's John Kalmar and America's Lee Childs tugging at the heart strings with their stories of unbelievable luck and good fortune. Denmark's own, Philip Hilm, will begin the night as chip leader, with $22 million, and is closely stalked by Tuan Lam, with $21.3 mil. Should be a great finish, and one that's sure to produce another name that will forever be etched in our poker memories....or maybe that's just me. Can a known pro like Watkinson be the first major professional to win since Carlos Mortensen took the title in 2001? Or will it be yet another unknown like Jamie Gold, Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer or the man who started it all, Chris Moneymaker? There's sure to be fireworks, so make sure you check back here for the results and the recap.

*Reports earlier this week from profootballtalk.com, among others, are claiming that it seems likely the Patriots Asante Samuel is going to show up on time at training camp, and play this year under the $7.9 million franchise tag. None of that is official, of course, but reports like that are always encouraging. What isn't encouraging, however, but is official, is that the window of opportunity to sign Samuel to an extended deal before training camp has closed. The Pats had until 2 pm EST yesterday to work out a new deal with Samuel, and all reports are that one wasn't reached. Oh well, now we all just play the waiting game. Only ten days man till training camp man! (July 27th) Let's get it on!!

*Let the social experiment begin. This week, Major League Soccer is set to prove that bringing the world's biggest metrosexual into your sport, is enough to make it relevant in a country that treats soccer players like 7-Up. You got it Snoop fans, "7-Up...never have and never will". I don't really get what that means, but you get my drift. ESPN and MLS are trying to pump David Beckham ads down your throat in the hopes that you'll tune in, buy tickets, buy jerseys, and basically fall in love with the sport. Well, I got news for ya, soccer losers....nobody cares! The people that like Beckham in this country, like him because of how he looks and who he's married to, not because of how he plays the game. They'll sell a few jerseys, and make a minor splash to begin with, but it won't last, and ultimately, it will fail. Not so much the league itself, but the idea of bringing soccer to the forefront. If Pele couldn't do it, then Beckham can't do it. Even if the top talent from around the world were in the US, I still don't think MLS would even be able to surpass the NHL (yea, seriously, the NHL) as a major sport in this country. It's a losing battle, soccer fans, and fighting that battle with the world's #1 gay icon (I know he's not gay, but it's true) and his pop star midge-wife, is totally not gonna do it.

*I always say, the only thing better than Tiger Woods winning a tourney, is watching Phil Mickelson choke one away. I didn't watch the Scottish Open, hell, I didn't even know there was a Scottish Open, but watching the highlights of Phil bogeying the final hole and lose the title in a playoff was good enough for me. Suck it Phil, you fat bastard!

Fantasy Update
Last Week : CRUSHED 4-17-3 vs Baby Punting MVP
Overall: 172-156-32 (.522), 4th place 36.5 games back

*Well, that couldn't have gone any worse. First week back from the break, and I get drilled harder than an 18 year old stripper on the set of an R. Kelly video. I'm guessing that was just one of those bad weeks, but if I lay another egg this week, I might have to start upping my game. I slipped to 4th place this week, and there is NO tiny trophy for 4th place! 4th place is a no tiny trophy having, insult to the name of fantasy sports. And I will not tolerate such mediocrity! Ahhhhhh!

*And seeing as I know you all love funny videos, feel free to check this one out. Everyone loves Will Ferrell, right? Enjoy...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

He Got Game? OR He Got Cubans?

Well, if you thought you were rid of my rants because I hadn't posted in the last 13 days, you were about as right as Spice World was an Oscar contender. Translation, I'm back pimps, and just in time to fill the void left by the MLB All-Star break. I have a lot to get to, and not a lot of time to do it, so there will be mostly quick hitters in this edition. I say that now, knowing that I will probably ramble on and on and on and on....and possibly on some more. You know how I do....so check it out.

Red Sox Update

Overall: 53-34, 1st in AL East by 10 games
Status: Talk about mixed emotions. While the Red Dudes go into the All-Star break atop the AL East (for the third straight year mind you), and the rest of the division can't seem to get out of their own way, their 13-14 June record, and 5-8 mark over their last 13 haven't exactly instilled confidence in the Nation. Sure, the Jays and Yanks aren't getting any closer, but the Indians, Angels and Tigers have more than proven that they are now the cream of the AL crop. And if you can strain to remember a year ago, the Sox had the identical 53-34 mark that they have now, but only led the division by 3 games over NY and 5 over Toronto. The main difference between this year and last, is the flip flop of the team's strengths and weaknesses. Last season, Beckett was a mess, Schilling was dinged up, and the offense was the AL's #1 juggernaut. This year, while Schill is still currently on the DL, it's the pitching staff, led by Beckett and Matsuzaka, and the bullpen, anchored by Jonathan Papelbon that is keeping the Sox on top. Their seventh in the AL in runs (435 or 5.0 per game) while being 2nd in the AL in ERA (3.76). The production from guys like Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia has been outstanding, while the big bats of JD Drew (tool), David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are falling far short of expectations. Simply put, if the Sox are going to make any kind of serious run deep into the playoffs, their bats are going to have to come alive. But the playoffs are still 75 games away, so there's plenty of time to work it all out. If those boys don't start to swing, though, it's going to be tough for GM Theo Epstein to fill the lineup with a bat. You can't sit Manny, Drew or Ortiz, and sitting the .197 hitting Julio Lugo would basically be giving up on him only months into a 3 year $25 million deal. So let's hope they can get over their struggles together, and catch up to the strength of the pitching. If that happens, it's not unreasonable to think that Red Sox Nation could be looking at it's second World Series appearance in 4 years, and a good look at it's second title in that time span as well. It's bout to get hot, baby....let's see if this team can stand the heat! (note: Wily Mo Pena's performance this year is one of the worst I've ever seen in my life. This guy blows. I was in favor of trading Bronson Arroyo for Pena, but Pena just doesn't get it. The guy still can't hit the freaking curve ball! How do you even make it this far without being able to hit the curve!?!...or play the field?!?! What a dunce, man. The guy can't get out of his own way, let alone contribute to the lineup. So much for David "Large Pepsi" Ortiz having a running mate in Wily Mo "Medium Diet Pepsi" Pena. Waaaaaa waaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.)

Diamonds Are Forever
*Word out of San Fransisco is that some techno geeks rigged the Internet voting for the All-Star game, in order to secure a spot for their favorite notorious hormone ingestor, Barroid Bonds. Personally, I'm shocked that the words "Bonds" and "scandal", or "cheating", are even appearing in the same sentence, but that's beside the point. While I'd love to somehow blame Barry for this, it's totally on Bud Selig and Major League Baseball. Flat out, their system is fatally flawed. Rules are, each registered email address has up to 25 votes to use at their discretion. So, people who live in their parent's basement, that aren't named Brett of course, set up a few thousand email addy's, bump the votes, and giggle a little when their plan pays off. Now you might be asking yourself, why doesn't MLB change it so that each IP address (the number that identifies your computer and your Internet connection personally) has the 25 votes instead of the email? Well, according to the powers that be, that would limit 25 votes per household, not per fan, and that's just not fair. Right, because everyone really needs to vote 25 times. Do they seriously think they are going to break up families because brothers, sons and fathers will be fighting over voting privileges? Please. I mean the game is a joke already, so this doesn't really bother me, but come on. It's shit like this that has made the game irrelevant. Fix the system, get rid of the "winner gets home field in the World Series" shit, and make it as much a real game as possible. This was once the best All-Star game in all of sport, but lately, it's been making the Pro Bowl look a double OT Final Four game.

*Usually, at the All-Star break, peeps like to look back on their pre-season predictions to see how they're shaping up. I'm no different. But I figure, I already published it, so I'm not gonna write about it again. Wanna see how I'm doin' so far (don't answer that out loud please, out of respect for me)? Check out my MLB predictions, right here... http://rooch24.blogspot.com/2007/04/boys-of-summer-are-back.html


*For everyone out there that aways thought "Kramer" from Seinfeld had some really good schemes goin' on, I have some sweet vindication for ya. Gus Dominguez, 48, was recently arrested and accused of smuggling Cubans into the US. Just like in the Seinfeld episode, they weren't Cuban cigars, but Cuban people. Unlike the episode, they weren't brought to this country to make cigars or roll crepes, but to play baseball. Cubans, Jerry!....Cubans! That's right. With so many Cubans looking to escape the reign of Fidel Castro so they can play baseball in the US, I think this Gus fella was just feeding the demand. Personally, I'd like to know how he actually smuggled them out. Did they simply wear masks and use fake ID's? OR was it like drugs, where they shove the Cubans inside the bumper of a car, a false bottom of a suitcase, or taped to someones crotch? Trust me, when this information surfaces, you guys will be sure to hear it from me first. My money is on the crotch taping. The last thing you want is for your Cuban to get smushed in a car bumper or a packed suit case. Oh, wait, we're talking about people. Viva Cuba Libre!

News and Notes
*Now that the baseball news is out of the way, it's time to get to the topic that everyone has wanted to talk to me about the last 2 weeks, the Boston Celtics acquisition of Ray "Jesus Shuttlesworth" Allen (that was the name of the character Allen played in "He Got Game" for those not in the know). My initial reaction has pretty much held pat in the weeks since the trade. The Celts got the best player in the trade, they got the best of the deal, but I just don't get it. I've long said Allen has the smoothest shooting stroke I've ever seen, but adding him really only helps the offense. His ability should open up a lot of room in the lane for the slashing Pierce and the posting up of Jefferson, but his liability on defense and his age and recent double ankle surgery have me a bit worried. The only way I see this trade being beneficial is if the C's can add either a veteran point guard, or more importantly, a defensive stopper down low. The name de jour has been Marcus Camby, and while a trade with the Nuggets is still a possibility, it's far, far from being reality. Without a move like that, however, the deal just doesn't do it for me. I would have much rather the Celts stood pat at #5, selected Corey Brewer and then attempt to move Paul Pierce. At least then it would be evident that Ainge was actually fully dedicated to the youth movement. Fact is, the window to win with Paul Pierce as your star is about 3 years away from closing, and Ray Allen alone isn't enough help. Maybe in a year or two, if Allen stays healthy and Jefferson continues to mature, the Celts can win an Eastern Conference title, or at least compete for one. But then what? Then it will be time to blow the team up again and rebuild. Sounds like what happened right when Ainge got here, if you ask me, and I just refuse to believe that I'm the only one that sees this coming. Come on Danny, pull the trigger on that next deal, make the Celtics relevant again....oh, and you might even save your own ass while you're at it.

*My main man, Roger Federer, collected his 5th straight Wimbledon title this weekend, and then cried like a baby being shaken by a psychotic British nanny. Sucks for him that nobody cares about men's tennis. By nobody, I mean Europeans care....but since nobody cares about them, then I stand by my statement. Moving on!...

*Slight spoiler alert here, as I'm about to talk about the 2007 World Series of Poker. The 51 event Series doesn't air on ESPN for several months, but the $10,000 buy in Main Event, the final event of the Series, started Friday afternoon. Due to Internet gaming regulations that have limited online play over the last year, the number of entrants per event has been down roughly 15%. That translation is directly reflected in the Main Event. Last year, Hollywood producer and all around douche bag, Jamie Gold, out lasted a field of 8,772 to claim the record $12 million first prize. This year, the field has been trimmed to 6,358, with a top prize of $8.25 mil. Still a tasty payout, and should make for a great event, but the laws put in place to eliminate Internet gambling have definitely at the very least, slowed the annual gold rush that has quickly become a classic event. As for the rest of the series, there continued to be a mix of top pros, as well as unknown amateurs taking home the coveted WSOP bracelets. "Poker Brat" Phil Hellmuth Jr. took home bracelet #11, breaking the record he holds with Johnny Chan and Doyle Burnson, while top pros such as Allen Cunningham (6th), Eric Seidel (8th), Freddy Deeb (2nd), Rafi Amit (2nd), Burt Boutin (2nd), Jeffrey Lisandro (1st), Hoyt Corkins (1st) and Eli Elezra (1st) also took home some prestigious poker hardware. In fact, Deeb won arguably the most coveted bracelet at the WSOP with his victory in the $50,000 buy in H.O.R.S.E event. (H.O.R.S.E is an acronym for a game that rotates between Hold 'em, Omaha High/Low, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Eight or Better) That win was the biggest payday of the series thus far, netting Deeb $2.3 mil, and in beating arguably the 142 best players in the world, earned him much deserved respect. Other top performers at the Series this year have been '06 3rd place finisher, Michael Binger (8 cashes, $412,000), pro and former actor, Chad Brown (7 cashes, $402,000), former hockey player, Greg Mueller (5 cashes, $417,000), professional Robert Mizrachi (5 cashes, 1 bracelet, $861,000) and the years only two time bracelet winner, Tom Schnieder ($417,000). It's been a great series so far, and with the main event still a week from completion, it's bound to get better. Make sure you stay tuned for updates, as I will track a lot of the pros in the Main Event, along with celebrities such as Montell Williams, Toby McGuire, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Alexander and Norm McDonald as they try to navigate this large field. Shuffle up and deal you crazy bastards!

*Only the Boston Celtics and their current and former players could create three news stories like this, in one week during the off season. 1) Antoine Walker had his house broken into, and was robbed at gunpoint while in Chicago. My best guess is that the thief(s) thought they were robbing the T-Rex exhibit at the local museum, but either way, sucks for 'Toine. 2) KIA, the car company that basically makes MatchBox cars for grown ups, just came out with it's new hybrid SUV. It's called, the RONDO. And their slogan is "discover your Rondoism". I understand that "Rondo" was probably a word before it was a last name, but come on. Next thing you know, we're gonna be driving around in the Cadillac Woods or better yet, the Toyota Amaechi....you know....a car for really tall gay dudes 3) A local Celtics fan website had a poll in which they wanted to hear what nickname fans should use for the low post tandem of Leon Powe (pronounced "po") and Glen "Big Baby" Davis. Personally, I voted for "Powe Baby", but that wasn't even a finalist. Turns out, my idea was tame compared to the winning moniker, "Bang Brothers". Instead of wasting my time to explain why that wasn't the wisest choice, I give you this http://bangbros.com/. Now it's making sense to me why so many fans back Danny Ainge...they're all freakin' idiots. Only in Boston folks, can you get robbed by gunpoint in your Rondo, while two Spanish dudes rail out a hooker in the back seat. Priceless.

*And finally, there is the news this week that former Sportscenter anchor and current ESPN Radio star, Dan Patrick, will retire after 18 years at the world wide leader. I admit that my opinion of Patrick has soured in recent years due to his new found smugness, but the impact he had while an anchor on Sportscenter is undeniable. Whether teaming up with good friend Keith Olberman, or legendary sports funny man, Craig Kilborn, Patrick was informative and quick witted with his hysterical one liners, while at the same time coming across as a very credible news source. I'm sure Danny and his people have a Sirius or XM deal on the horizon, so I'm sure we will be hearing from him soon, whether we like it or not. Patrick's last day on ESPN and ESPN Radio, will be sometime in mid September. Adios Dan. You represent the Golden Age of Sportscenter, and you will be missed.

Fantasy Update
Last Week: LOST 10-11-3 vs Huge Giroballs
Overall: 168-139-29 (.543), 3rd place 29.5 games back

*Well, Frosco beat me this week, because Frosco always beats me in Fantasy. Aside from the first "name changing" bet we made in football two years ago, I think he's beaten me every time we've met. Needless to say, he can suck it. On the plus side, my Avatar, or icon, has new sunglasses! Check it out, he's straight pimpin'....just like me. And as far as my own team's mid point breakdown? You don't care, and I really don't either, so I won't even bother. I WILL win a tiny trophy though, and you can take that to the bank! And when you get to the bank, take out a few hundy and send it my way....'preciate it gang bangers....and stay up.