Red Sox Update
Overall: 71-47, 1st in AL East by 4 games
Status: The Yanks are charging hard, the bats are surprisingly silent, and it seems the only thing we learned since the trade deadline is that "Gagne" is French for "Gas Can". Still, I'm only worried about the way the Sox are playing, not how close the Yankees are. I look at it like this. When people said the Sox couldn't play .800 ball all year, I agreed. When people said the Yanks would play sub .500 ball all year, I agreed. So if you think I'm going to sit back and think the Sox will continue only scoring 3 runs a game, and the Yanks will continue scoring 15 per and winning at a .850 clip, then you are again mistaken. I still have confidence that the Sox will begin to hit again, and once Francona gets comfortable with his new bullpen alignment (AKA - he doesn't use Gagne again barring an 8 run lead or deficit) then the wins should continue to roll. It also helps that the schedule is pastry soft until they hit the Bronx on the 28th for a 3 gamer with the Pin Stripers. Looks like that series is gonna mean somethin', huh? Oooooo Eeee, is it hot in here, or is it this pennant race that anyone with a brain knew was on the horizon all season long?
Diamonds Are Forever
*Remember that guy that did a ton of roids? Yea, well he's the new home run king now. Good for him. Now his head actually has a reason to be big, if only hypothetically.
*I totally meant to mention this guy about a dozen times previously, but no there's no getting away from him. That man, of course, is prodigious young pitcher - turned erratic youngster - turned Chuck Knoblauch/Mackey Sasser - turned power slugging minor league out fielder, Rick Ankiel. After going 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA and 194 K's and finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2000 as a 20-21 year old , Ankiel became straight unhinged in the '00 playoffs. In 3 post season appearances, Ankiel piled up a 15.75 ERA and became so wild he was a unable to even throw it to the catcher's glove. He tried to work the kinks out in the minors, but he had just lost whatever confidence he had previously had, and there seemed to be no way he would ever make it back to the majors. In 2005, Ankiel began his unlikely comeback story, as an outfielder with the single-A Quad City Swing. .270 and 11 HR over 51 games, and it was on to the (AA) Springfield Cardinals where he only hit .234, but managed 10 HRs in just 34 games. In 2007, he was invited to Spring training but didn't make the team and was sent to (AAA) affiliate in Memphis. All he did there was hit .267 with 32 HR and 89 RBI in a shade over 100 games. It was too much power for the scuffling Cards to overlook and they finally made the call. Since being called up, Slick Rick is hitting .375 and more importantly has 3 home runs. What a story. Only time will tell if he can keep it up, and become as good a hitter as he could have been a pitcher, but for now, it's a great story in a year full of bad ones. So let's enjoy. Here's to you Rick, and feel free to come to Boston next year. Brainstorm....if Ankiel can hit, then maybe JD Drew should pitch? Think about it. He sucks at hitting just like Ankiel sucked at pitching, right? Hot damn I'm not to somethin' here.....Theo!!!!
*Yea, I wish there was more baseball news this week too, but there isn't. The "eminent" collapse of the Sox is really the only thing the baseball world has goin' right now. Sure there are great pennant races going on all over the league, but since when does anyone care about the Diamondbacks, the Brewers, or the Phillies. Blah, blah, blah. Like any NL team has a real shot at bringin' this thing home to begin with...
*Oh, I'm sorry. When I said there was no other news, I meant news that didn't involve a Subs fan, a goat, and possibly some scented candles. Arthur Lawton, 63, has been charged with having sex with a goat, a goat that he says he was merely trying to "milk". A fellow employee at the Eatonville Pioneer Farm Museum claims to have caught Lawton in the act, a charge that he vehemently denies. Sure man, you were trying to milk the goat. And Mikey Vick was trying to milk those dogs when he accidentally shot, drowned, buried and electrocuted them. I can see it though, honestly. I've never tried to milk a goat, personally, but all that hair, those nipples and those sexy hooves....well let's just say shit could get intense, right? Annnnnd I just puked in my mouth a little. Oh, and I made that shit up about the dude being a Cubs fan. I just figured, any guy screwing a goat, would have to be a Cub fan, right? Maybe a Raider fan too, or anyone that bets on harness racing for a living. You freaks make me (laugh) sick!
News and Notes
*You know I'm not a NASCAR fan, but I do happen to be a Tony Stewart fan. NO, I've never seen the guy race, and I really couldn't tell you how good a driver he actually is, but I like the way he handles his bizz on and off the race track. I'm just sayin'. The guy has won 3 out of the last 4 races, he pisses off most of the other drivers, and his true fans seem really dedicated to him. Race on Tony. The more you win, the more sound bytes there will be of you ripping NASCAR officials, other drivers, and punk owners. Keep on keepin' on, and feel free to mix in a few punches. Even hitting Dale Jr. or maybe Jeff Gordon with your car wouldn't be a bad thing.
*Don't look now, but Danny Ainge is just a Jacque Vaughn away from making the 2007 Celtics, a reincarnation of the 1996-97 Kansas Jayhawks. With Raef LaFrentz fresh out the door, and Scot Pollard on his way in, Ainge and crew need only add former Jayhawk PG Jacque and wrestle Eric Chenowith and Jeff Boschee away from their Euroleague teams / 9-5 suit jobs / construction jobs for their father in law, and they'll be all set! Not to mention, the C's announced they signed Pollard at the same time they announced the signing of Arizona St.'s best player that never fixed games, Eddie House. Not too shabby, Danny. I mean, people wanted Marcus Camby and Troy Hudson, and you gave them Scot Pollard and Eddie House. That's like asking for P-Funks, and getting Marb Menthol Light 100's, right? Still, these guys add quality depth in two positions that C's needed it badly, so the moves are good ones. They might not be the guys we wanted, or expected, but you really can't win 'em all. And last time I checked, Ainge already landed Ray Allen and the Big Ticket, so we'll cut him some slack. As long as House doesn't start jacking up 3's, and Pollard does grow back his ill mutton chops circa 1997, everything should turn out jussssst dandy.
*Meanwhile, Celtic fans also want to know the odds of Reggie Miller coming out of retirement to play for the Green and go for the ring in '07-'08. So far, I guess I would have to say so good. Word from those close to Miller say he's been working out a lot recently to see if his body will respond like he hopes. And as far as the Human Rat possibly coming back and playing for another squad? So NOT true. Miller's people and those close to the situation are all saying that Reggie is strictly thinking about a return to play with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in Boston. He may look like an Rat from another planet, but he shoots like a man from another universe, so we'll take him. Worse comes to worse, and he can always flop his way to the foul line 5-8 times a game, right?
*Oh and one final note on the C's. Boston captain, Paul Pierce, hung out with none other than Stevie Wonder this weekend at The Truth's charity basketball event in LA, and had this to say about the legendary blind entertainer: "I swear he can see." Trust me Paul, if he can see, then the joke is on us, but there's no way you would have been the one to crack that case.
*All I'm askin' for, is that you don't lie to me. The Miami Heat are set to announce that their head coach, the legendary Pat Riley, will return as their coach next season after signing a new 3 year contract. Right. So I'm supposed to believe that a guy who has wrestled for months on whether or not to return next season, has all of a sudden had an epiphany and decided he's good through 2010? Just call it what it is here people, a golden freaking parachute! Why even try to hide it? Everyone and their brother knows Riles won't be around until 2010, and that the deal is just a security blanket from the team, a grandiose show of gratitude. Just don't lie to me people. cuz I'll see right thru the shit! You think Pat Riley signed back up to coach the newly acquired Penny Hardaway? He's in it for the pennies all right, but the one's that come in truck loads, not the ones that have look-a-like puppets more noteworthy than their own career. That was Tyra Banks fool!!
*It's been a while since I ripped the good folks at ESPN, but this latest beef I feel is well deserved. There must be a memo going around the campus at Bristol, encouraging analysts and on air personalities to use the word "retard" (as in fire retardant, not "re-re"). I mean it's almost like they are getting paid on a "per use" basis. All of a sudden, starting a rookie QB starting too too soon will "retard" his growth, or being late to camp will "retard" his mental growth. Bringing a starting pitcher up to the pros to pitch in the bullpen will "retard" his development", changing coordinators might "retard" the progress of the young offense. If you guys are trying to desensitize the word, or prove you're smart enough to use it correctly, point taken. Just stop using the word as if you're holier than thou. We know what it means. And if I wanted grammar and vocabulary lessons, I'd turn to TLC or pick up a book, not tune into the world wide leader in sports! If you say the word "re-tard", guess what, that means you probably are one (that is, you are a re-re). Gotta admit though, watching Mike Greenberg say retard over and over again kind of seems like poetic justice. That stupid metro midget...
*I heard any interesting argument on the radio this weekend, about the top 3 athletes of all time. People were calling in with their lists, and it got me to thinking who would be in my top 3. The more I thought about it, the more I figured if I were to truly make a list, it would have to only include players that I myself had seen play (on TV counts), and I would need 5 slots on my list, not just 3. I always say you can only intelligently comment on a sporting event if you yourself were alive and "sports conscious" during it, hence only people I've seen, and 5 slots because I'm too stubborn to narrow my list. And when I say "athlete", I'm talking about guys that were physically, and mentally dominant in their sport, and were so good, that other's in their own game often marveled at their achievements. So here it is, the best athletes in all of sports, as seen through these two eyes...
Honorable Mention: Barbaro - That dead, glue smellin' bastard. Ha! Just foolin'....but seriously, watching that horse die wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds when you say it out loud. (chuckle, chuckle...yea so make that reservation for one, to burn for all of eternity...) Nah, I really put him on here because I hate when people put Secretariat on lists like this. The only horses here, have huge hooves, and pull a sleigh full of delicious Budweiser beer. God bless those large 4 legged hoofed dogs...
5. Roger Federer
*He's won 11 major titles, and he just turned 26 on August 8th. People who know the game will tell you that he may already be, skill wise, the best tennis player ever. You gotta figure by the time he's done, he'll have a career grand slam, and all the records the pro tennis tour has to offer. He's smooth, he's powerful, and though he's quiet, he has the presence to command the respect of his opponents and the admiration of his fans and fellow players.
4. Michael Jordan
*A lot of people might be surprised to find Jordan this low on the list, but it's not meant as a sign of disrespect in any way. Jordan is arguably the greatest guard the NBA has ever seen, and his 6 Finals MVP's in his 6 NBA title runs may never be matched. He revolutionized the game, not only taking it above the rim, but taking it deep into commercial marketing as well with his Hanes, Gatorade and Nike campaigns, and his fingerprint will always be visible on the game. Arguably the greatest player of all time, just not the best baller on my list. That guy happens to be...
3. Shaquille O'Neal
*At 7'2", and 325 pounds, Shaquille O'Neal has been the most dominant center the NBA has seen since the days of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. He captured 4 NBA titles in his 6 Finals appearances with the Magic, Lakers, and more recently, the Miami Heat. I have Shaq ahead of Jordan, because while there are no other players comparable to the skill of MJ, there are not players even remotely like Shaquille O'Neal, period. Since he entered the league, he's commanded double and triple teams, and even inspired the "Hack-A-Shaq" defense in which teams tried to win by making the Big Aristotle shoot free throws. Either way, Wilt Chamberneezy has always found a way to win, with a few monster jams, and a few quick puns. He's the most dominant basketball player of my generation, and it's possible we might not see a big man with his athleticism and agility in another 10-20 years...
2. Ken Griffey Jr.
*During his prime years with the Seattle Mariners('89-'99), Junior Griffey was the absolute definition of a "5 Tool Player". Whether he was hitting tape measure home runs (like off the Baltimore warehouse in the HR Derby), or bringing them back into the park, he was simultaneously the most talented, and most entertaining player in the game. He was the Willie Mays of our era, and he was destined to become the all-time home run leader. Sure injuries may have sidelined the prodigal son once he arrived in Cincinnati in 2000, but his decade in Seattle is what gets him to the #2 spot on my list. Here is what he averaged during his 10 years with the M's: (.299 BA / 37 HR / 105 RBI / 30 2B / 15 SB) Oh yea, and he won the Gold Glove for his position every year from 1990-1999. He was the Kid, he was Junior, he was the total package. He may eventually be eclipsed in greatness by A-Rod, his Seattle protege so to speak, but for now, he's the best I've ever seen, and on my opinion, the 2nd greatest athlete of my time. And I just noticed something. Everyone on this list, but Shaq, is a key member of the Nike advertising stable, with my top athlete being their current #1 sugar daddy...
*He's the very picture of poise under pressure. He single-handedly brought fans to a sport. He revolutionized the game of golf. He is, Tiger Woods. In a game where no one person was meant to dominate, we're surprised when he doesn't win. He's opened the game up to everyone, young and old, no matter the skin color, and he's done it all with a huge grin on his face, and a passionate fire in his eyes. There's never been a greater competitor in any sense of the word, at least in my lifetime. And I think when all is said and done, Tiger Woods will not only go down as the greatest golfer of all time, but the greatest athlete as well. When you have more green jackets than you do socks, and Chris Rock is singing about you on his comedy CD, you've truly transcended the game, and the culture. Long live T-Woods. The man, the myth, the living legend and in my opinion, the greatest athlete of my lifetime.
Real Honorable Mention: Alex Rodriguez, LaDanian Tomlinson, Jerry Rice, Andre Aggasi, Deion Sanders, Michael Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant
*As if it weren't funny enough that Pacman Jones appeared in an event for TNA Wrestling (props to them though, because I had no idea what TNA or "Total Nonstop Action" was before this. I mean I won't be watching, but like they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.), when I found out the specifics of the actual event, I actually began swelling up with tears of laughter. This thing took place on a Universal Studios sound stage, and there were about 1,000 people actually in attendance. Wait, were they filming an episode of Tyler Perry's House of Pain, or were they putting on a pseudo athletic mix of roids, entertainment, roids, B-listers, and oh yea, roids? Pacman Jones is a pathetic loser, and the more we get to know him, the more it's blatantly obvious. Clean up your act and come back to the league, or lose yourself in the underworld of C-lo, hookers and fake entertainment, and never appear on my TV again! He who makes it rain, must suffer the pain!
*Ya know, you really gotta love the stories that teach you multiple lessons, don't cha? Example. Britt Reid, the 22 year old son of Eagle's head coach, Andy Reid, pleaded guilty to charges that stemmed from a road rage incident and will receive anywhere from no time to 22 months in prison (oddly enough, it was only days after his older brother had pled guilty to a drug related incident that happened on the same day, those crazy kids!). So to recap. The kid was charged with brandishing a gun at a fellow motorist, initiating an incident of road rage, speeding, endangering others, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of drugs, and he "might" get up to 22 months in prison. Now, I'm no law expert here, but I see dudes on Dog the Bounty Hunter on the regular that get canned for a year because they had a little ice on them when they were caught missing court! So, lesson learned here. Rich people can do whatever they want, and can usually find a way to pay their way out of it. The second lesson I learned, was that when it comes to hire an attorney to get you out of some serious shit, it's all in the name. You know how you like the way certain law firm names roll of your tongue, right? Just sounds like a winner. You gotta think that's the mentality the Reid's had when they hired defense attorney, William Winning. I shit you not. I can see this guy's ads on TV right now, and let me tell you, they involve ambulance lights, a man getting hurt on a construction site, and a phone number that has a catchy phrase like 1-888-GO-N-WINN, or 1-800-WIN-LOOT. What a bunch of charlatans. And you just know the dude's real name is Benjamin Santoro or Harvey Schweitzman. Bunch of frauds, lawyers. But hey, when you get caught waving a gun at people on the highway, they tend to come in handy, wouldn't you say? Rich bastards...
*Yea, yea, I know the Pats played this weekend, but the first game of the pre-season does NOT warrant the 2007 return of my Patriots Update. Look for it coming soon, when the games actually mean a little something, and when we can recognize at least 3/4 of the names on the back of the jerseys. 19-0 bitches, 19-0...I'm sure you can all wait a few more weeks before I start pouring it on with Patriot smack. You know, how your team has NO chance of winning the Super Bowl? OR Pay rent bitches, this is our house! You know, stuff like that. Oooooo Eeee the anticipation is killin' me!
Last Week: WON, 15-8-1 vs Butt Ticklers
Overall: 231-188-37 (.547), 3rd place 17 games back
*Another smashing performance by my boys this week, but yet another week where I'm not quite sure how or why I won. In a real game, my team was toast because I lost both ERA and batting average. But somehow, through this wacky system, my team was better, and they romped on to victory. So that's 34-13-1 over the past two weeks, with a chance to battle with the team right behind me in 4th. Still looking very solid for a push deep into the playoffs for my tiny trophy, but what I really want is that first round bye, man. That'd be sweet. I'm still 15.5 games behind 2nd place, but at the pace I've been going, I should be able to gobble that up in 2 weeks tops. Just in time, hopefully, for the playoffs, which start September 3rd.
*For all you football and fantasy honks out there, and I know there are tons of you, I got a little proposition for ya. I created a winner take all Survival Pool on Yahoo!, and I'm inviting anyone that's interested to join. You pick a game every week, and never the same team twice, until you lose. The last man standing gets all the cash. Inquire within to join, but don't wait, because once the season starts, you're flat out of luck. $10 to enter, and you can enter up to (2) times. Hope to take your hard earned loots! Peace in the middle...