In real life, it's totally unrealistic to "expect" your team to make the World Series or win it, but we don't live in the real world, we live...in Red Sox Nation. I know, Yankee fans will say that making the World Series twice in 4 years is hardly reason to "expect to get there", but we always expect it, hence all the heart breaking disappointments. This year, the boys were able to pull through, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to spike the Tribe, and land a Series date with the red hot and well rested Colorado Rockies. What a comeback it was, too. Beckett was dealing, and earned himself MVP honors, while everyone from ManRam and Big Pepsi to Pedroia, Drew and Youk was flat out strokin'. I mean, Kevin Youkilis hit .500 for the series, and didn't even get a sniff of MVP honors because of how dominant Josh Beckett was! Truly a performance for the ages.
However, as with any good team (and fan for that matter), it's time to put those accomplishments in the past, and focus on the task at hand, the Colorado Rockies. Now I'll admit, even I barely know anything about this streaking team from the land of Coors, so this refresher course is good for everyone. Here's a breakdown of who this team actually is, and what they've done to make it here...
(Rockies took 2 of 3 games at Fenway Park this season during inter league play, as if that's even close to relevant right now....and is that mascot some sort of dinosaur? I'd love to see Wally and that guy throw down....and you might as well throw Otto the Orange in the mix if all the plush suits involved have nothing to do with the actual team they represent.)
Starting Lineup (2007 post season statistics)
1. CF Willie Taveras (.167 / 5 RBI)
2. 2B Kaz Matsui (.310 / 1 HR / 8 RBI)
3. LF Matt Holliday (.286 / 4 HR / 7 RBI)
4. 1B Todd Helton (.154 / 1 RBI)
5. 3B Garrett Atkins (.185 / 1 RBI)
6. RF Brad Hawpe (.304 / 2 RBI)
7. SS Troy Tulowitzki (.179 / 1 HR / 2 RBI)
8. C Yorvit Torrealba (.320 / 1 HR / 7 RBI)
Team Totals : .242 / 7 HR / 8 2B / 3 3B / 32 RBI
1. L Jeff Francis (2-0 / 2.13 ERA / 12.2 IP)
2. R Ublado Jimenez (0-0 / 1.59 ERA / 11.1 IP)
3. R Josh Fogg (2-0 / 1.13 ERA / 8.0 IP)
4. L Aaron Cook (not active in NLCS)
Closer: R Manny Corpas (1-0 / 5 SV / 1.04 ERA / 8.2 IP)
Main set up guys: L Brian Fuentes, L Franklin Morales, R Matt Herges
Team Totals: 7-0 / 6 SV / 2.08 ERA / 54 K / 20 BB / 65.0 IP
From looking at the numbers, all you can really tell is that this team is unknown, and have apparently been winning games without scoring any runs. Naturally, they having been giving up any runs either, but that was to much weaker National League lineups. Will their team stand up to the pressure of the World Series, and can they overcome their 8 day layoff, something the Tigers had trouble doing last year? I certainly hope not, but we'll have to wait and see.
As for my prediction, it's an easy one. As a fan, I like the Sox. As an analyst, I like the Sox because they've had the tougher road, and are arguably just as hot. So, shockingly enough, I'm taking the Sox in 6. I do think the long wait will have an effect on the young Rockies, and their young pitching staff will have to contend with the most patient group of hitter's they've seen all season long. Sox in 6. Two titles in 4 years baby!
And let's just finish up with a recap of the total futility that Ohio sports fans have had to endure in the last calender year:
*Ohio St. loses BCS Championship game to Florida
*Ohio St. loses NCAA Championship game to Florida
*Cavaliers swept in NBA Finals by San Antonio Spurs
*Indians blow 3-1 lead in ALCS, fall to Sox in 7
Dear god, talk about a kick in the junk. At this point, you gotta think the Columbus Blue Jackets are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals (it's the hockey title game for all you non Europeans/Canadians out there) only to blow a 3-0 lead when they get there! Oh, and don't look now, but Ohio St. and Boston College are #'s 1 and 2 in the BCS standings right now. Talent aside, is there any chance at this point that a team from Ohio, where dreams go to die, can beat a team from New England, where dynasties are born? Not in this lifetime...
Next up on the dynasty rundown, is the men responsible for bringing the word itself to the Northeast vocabulary, the New England Patriots.
Like many people predicted, the Pats made quick work of the Dolphins this weekend. What many couldn't have seen coming, was Tom Brady's 6 touchdown passes en route to a perfect 158.3 QB rating, the first time he's ever done that in his career. Whether it's Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Watson, or any other warm body the Pats toss out there, Brady is finding them open with regularity. Check this. Only 7 games into the season, Brady has 27 TD passes, 5 more than any other QB through 7 games, and only 1 short of his career high set in '02 and '04. Add to that, Randy's 10 TD grabs already tie him for the Patriot single season record with Stanley Morgan. Unreal! This team is a juggernaut in every sense of the word. Sure, some people will point to the defense as a slight weakness at this point, but to them I say, every time we let up points, it just puts our offense back on the field. Come on, it's the 21st century. Offense is the new defense! Ha!
So, Brady and Moss are on pace to smash all sorts of historic records, and it appears as though their meteoric climb might also help lead the team somewhere no team has ever gone, and that's 19-0. I know it's really rather ignorant to even discuss such things, but the way this team has been dominating, it's quickly becoming a matter worth addressing. The problem is, the best team always seems to lose at least one, it's just the nature of the league and speaks to it's competitive balance. However, I've never seen a team this good before, with this much experience, and this much motivation. Skill, passion, dedication and desire can be a deadly combination, and where other teams have fallen short of perfection in the past, I think this one has as good a shot as any as running the table.
Last Week: Super Bowl Champs 49 Miami Dolphins 28
Overall: 7-0 (magic # 3 to clinch AFC East)
Next Week vs Washington Redskins (4-2)
*If you didn't see the ending of the Tennessee/Houston game on Sunday, then you missed quite the delicious treat. Rob Bironas kicked his 8th FG as time expired, to give the Titans the 2 point win over the Texans, who had just scored their own go ahead TD about a minute before. Matt Schaub, the Houston QB, had gone out injured, so Sage "Steele" Rosenfels came in. All he did, was lead the Texans to 29 4th quarter points, and a final touchdown toss that appeared to seal the epic comeback. Ah, but it was not to be. Always the good drunk, Kerry Collins came back on the field, and got his boys just far enough down the pitch to allow Birnoas to do what he does best, kick the bean through those yellow tubes. I'm glad CBS finally realized that since they had the broadcast rites, they could show us the ending, instead of simply watching Shannon Sharpe trying to to see how many of his Super Bowl rings he could hit in his mouth. Good work CBS, and good work Tennessee. I've been saying for a while now that Vince Young just finds a way to win games, but the more I think about it, the more I think the key is Titan's coach, Jeff Fisher. The guy has been at the same job longer than any coach in the league, and that alone has to say something about his success, especially in this day and age.
*Seeing as I don't think they are going to pull it off, and therefore might never really get any mention by me, I have to take time right now to give props to the Boston College Eagles football team. Despite their proximity, and being the best D-I sports school in the state, I've never really been a big BC fan. It's not that I've rooted against them, matter of fact I've cheered them on in big football wins (Notre Dame way back in the day) and enjoyed watching them make runs in the NCAA tournament, but I just haven't been a real "fan". I do have to give them props, though, for being good enough this year to make college football relevant in a market already saturated with baseball, football, basketball and even hockey more so than other parts of the country. Having climbed all the way to #2 in the rankings, and having the ability to control their own destiny, has the town buzzing about the team in a way they haven't since Flutie to Phalen won the Eagles the Orange Bowl. However, like I said, I think this is all going to be for not due to the tough games coming up on the schedule. Their final 5 games, before a possible ACC title game that is, are as following: @ #8 Virginia Tech, Florida St., @ Maryland, @ Clemson, Miami. All the credit in the world to BC if they can run that table, but even one loss, and they're probably all but out of the running for any chance at the title game. Still, good work Eagles...you're just doing it in the wrong town...
News and Notes
*Apparently, everyone knew that Paul Byrd was taking HGH...or at least that's his side of the story. This weekend, a report surfaced in the San Fransisco Chronicle (where else) that Byrd bought and received shipments of human growth hormone from an online pharmacy. Byrd claims that he has a pituitary gland condition, and that he was taking the hormone under the supervision of a doctor. To take it one step further, Byrd claims that the teams he was playing for during the time in question (Dodgers, Royals and Braves) actually knew about his HGH use, and helped him store the drugs in their facilities. Interesting, Paul. Only one problem. If everyone already knew, then why was their an investigation into it, and why the hell were you buying this shit on the Internet? I know the information super highway is a great tool, but Al Gore didn't invent it so we could buy drugs, he invented it so we could learn how to make pipe bombs, chat with other guys pretending to be bisexual women and bid on 80's memorabilia on eBay. My point is, if you're taking legitimate drugs, for an actual condition, then where is the doctor that diagnosed it, and why hasn't he already come forward to support you? You say you didn't abuse the drug even though you were tempted to do so, and I say prove to me that you actually have this condition.
*While the Sox prepare for their second World Series appearance in the last 4 years, the Yankees continue their already tumultuous off season by attempting to retain their star slugger while at the same team trying to find their new skipper. Here, I'll save you the trouble. A-Rod's comin' back, and Don Mattingly is going to be the new manager. Done and Done...
*It's time to change the saying "he who laughs last", to "she who laughs last". Remember the coach that replaced US women's soccer goalie, Hope Solo, in the World Cup semifinals? OK, well neither do I, but I certainly remember the situation. Well, that guy, whose name is actually Greg Ryan, was just fired. Again, I don't know jack about soccer, but I still think benching Solo in favor of a 39 year old when you were only one game from the finals was one of the oddest, and unexplainable actions since Grady Little left Petey Martinez on the mound to twist in the wind during the '03 ALCS. Get a clue man, and while you're at it, get a job. I'm sure there are plenty of other high paying woman's soccer coaching gigs out there...
*And since we're talking about idiots, I have to bring up the findings of this remarkable, dare I say ground breaking new study. I'd like to thank Frosco for bringing it to me attention, and I'd just like to also add, that I've known all of this for years...Suck on it Philly!
*Finally, there has been yet another changing of the guard in the world of sports journalism. Rick Reilly, who has spent the last 20+ years entertaining millions with his back page column in Sports Illustrated, has announced he is leaving SI in June 2008 to begin writing for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. For SI readers, this is going to come as a major shift, as Reilly's excellence over the years has made it so most people just grab the mag, and flip right to the back. For ESPN, this can only be described as a great move. They are bringing one of the best sports columnists and novelists of our time onto their staff, and continuing to add to their already powerful journalistic stable. I did find it strange, though, that ESPN said in their press release that they would be adding Reilly to a website already featuring, Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. Compared to Reilly (and compared to me too actually), Simmons is a no talent hack, and if anything, Simmons now works with Reilly, not the other way around. Either way, it's going to be great to have access to Reilly on my computer, and I honestly feel that the only thing keeping my SI subscription as a must have, is the fantastic cover shots. It's the end of an era for sure, but thankfully not the end of a good thing. Good luck Ricky, and please try to avoid bumping into Simmons, as I'm sure he'll turn the encounter into a 3 hour long "fictitious chat" in his column.
Last Week: 5-1-0
Overall: 23-17-3 (.570)
*Boo-freakin'-ya baby! I took some chances this week on some sad lookin dogs like Buffalo and Denver this week, and it paid off big time. I'm now 9-2-1 in the last 2 weeks, and I must admit, I'm just in some sort of NFL picking zone. In addition to these picks, I'm in a pool in which I just pick the winner of each game every week. This week, I went 12-2, besting my previous best of 10 in one week, but that 10 came in a "non-bye" week in which there were 16 games. I don't wanna say I have an air tight way to pick winners all of a sudden, but it would be and understatement to say I'm feeling confident. Hey, if the Pats are gonna run up the score, I figure I will too. Look for this trend to continue.
Last Week: 8-8-0
Overall: 83-68-3 (.549)
*A .500 record is like masturbation, without the payoff. Yet I keep doing it...hmmmmm
Last Week: Make it Reign! 104 King Jesus 90
Overall: 5-2-0, 4th place
Next Week vs Cavanagh Plantation (2-5)
*This, was a week for the ages. After my team sprinted out to a monstrous lead, thanks to big performances by LenDale White, Eli Manning, Terrel Owens and the Giants defense, I watched as Sean's team clawed back. The 4 o'clock games were deep into their third corner, I was up about 60 points and already thinking about next week, when the barrage started. Anquan Boldin. Touchdown. Dallas defense. Touchdown and blocked filed goal. Marion Barber III. Touchdown. And the kicker. Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery scored 9 fantasy points as time expired for the Jets, a TD that only helped cut their deficit to 9 as the game ended. Then, comes Sunday night, and the attack of Steeler TE Heath Miller. After he was through, Boldin/Cotchery/Miller had only accounted for 139 receiving yards between them, but somehow managed a mind boggling 5 touchdowns! Just like that, my lead was all but gone, and I was faced with the dubious task of having my TE, Dallas Clark, hold off Jacksonville QB, David Garrard. Going into the game, one thing was clear. The loser was going to have to suffer through every fantasy player's nightmare, losing in a week where the only team that outscored you, was the one you played. The winner, was not only going to win, but take the money that goes with the weekly points title as well. Quite a swing if you ask me. This time, I was the one who managed to avoid my own classic fantasy bad luck, when Garrard was injured in the 2nd quarter, and unable to muster more than 1 total point on the night. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! What a huge win. For once, I was able to avoid the most unlucky of breaks, and come out on top in a pivotal game in my run towards the title. My condolences to Sean P, who would have walked away with the game had he left in Big Ben, instead of yanking him shortly before his game in favor of Garrard the next night. Personally, I don't like tinkering with my lineup on game day for any reason short of injury, but Sean was fearful of the Denver snow (that never came), and may have second guessed himself right out of the playoff race. Believe me, I've been there, so I can relate, and nothing leaves a more sour taste in your mouth. Oh well, for once it's me on the other side of that coin, and believe me I'll take it. Sabby is still undefeated at the top of the league, but I've moved up to 2nd in points, and still feel poised to take the regular season title, the points title, and possibly even both. Lofty goals, I know, but that's why you do this shit, right? I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!!!!! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!
*Lastly, here's a little treat for ya. I haven't been able to post as many funny video clips as I would like over the past few weeks, but here's one that all football fans are sure to enjoy...that is unless you like the Bills or hate the Pats & Colts, in which case you're really not gonna like it...