Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Start Spreadin' the News...

There's a new Evil Empire on the block, baby, and their name is the Boston Red Sox. After disposing of the Colorado Rockies in 4 games, much the same way they dominated the Cardinals in '04, the Boston Red Sox can now lay claim to being the most dominant team in baseball over the last 5 years. Check it. Since falling behind 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, the Sox are an astounding 19-6 in the post season, capturing two World Series titles. That's just flat out amazing. Eighty six years between championship crowns, and then two in four years? You could have told me that 5 years ago, and I would have thought it to be improbable, if not impossible! Sure, the fan in me would have been optimistic, but the realist in me would have seen roadblocks like the Yankees and let's face it, the Sox themselves. Now, however, it's more than a dream, it's become a reality. The 2007 Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball, and justifiably so, they walked away with the World Series crown.

How they did it, surprises absolutely nobody that's followed the team this year from Spring to Fall. Theo Epstein did a great job of blending veteran and rookie talent, and for the first time in what seems like forever, was able to put a product on the field made up mostly of home grown players. Varitek, Ellsbury, Lester, Youkilis, Pedroia, Delcarmen and Papelbon are all products of the Sox minor league system, and guys like Schilling, Ramirez, Ortiz and Wakefield seem like they've been with the team forever. This team was different. The '04 team was a bunch of self proclaimed idiots, mostly grabbed off the free agent scrap heap. This team was one that was built for success in the long haul, and is now reaping some of those benefits earlier than most expected. Which means, that with this Series under their belt, you really have to like the chances of this team moving forward, as long as they can keep their core group in tact. But, that's a different story for a different day. For now, I just want to celebrate, baby. The Sox are World Series champs, and there's no better feelin' in all the land! Too bad not everyone feels the same way....

Right after the Series ended, Colorado Rockies owner Charlie Monfort had the audacity to make this claim. Speaking about the Sox after his team was outscored 29-10 in their 4 game sweep, Monfort said: "Well, I think the Red Sox got the breaks. Are they better than us? I don't think so. If we play 10 games against them, we win 6. We only played 4." Wow, man, are you serious? I understand you're disappointed, but that is one of the dumber statements I've ever heard. First of all, not to discredit the Rockies, but how many breaks you think they got on their way to winning 21 of 22 games? And we're supposed to believe that after being beaten rather convincingly in 4 straight, that your squad was going to win the next 6? Did you watch the game? Do you understand the sport? Saying that means you believe that not only would your team win those 6 games, but they would have to beat Josh Beckett at least twice (games 5 & 9), with at least one of those games coming at Fenway. Yea, that sounds likely, you old coot. It's a good sign that none of the players or coaches are agreeing with their owner, but to even say something that idiotic tells me that this guy knows about as much about running a baseball team as I know about running the marathon. Keep your mouth shut, Chuck, unless it's to give the Sox the praise and congratulations they deserve.

One final Series note. This year's contest between the Rockies and Red Sox garnered the second lowest rating in the history of the event. Can't say I'm surprised. Game 1 was a blowout that most people turned off around the 5th inning, and the games just started too late for the average East Coast baseball fan to want to stay up and watch the whole thing. Add to that, the Rockies have about as much national appeal as Communism, and that's where you get the poor rating. Oh well, so FOX didn't get as much money as they thought they might. Boo hoo. Too bad for them, they don't have this next game to help make up for it...

As has been tradition here on Now You Know for a few weeks now, I like to follow news about one dynasty, with news about another dynasty. This time, by a narrow margin, it's the Pats taking the back seat to the Sox, despite being involved in perhaps the most hyped regular season game in the history of the NFL.

The Pats made quick work of the Redksins this week, 52-7, and while the way they run up the score has me a bit concerned, there are much bigger fish to fry right now. This week, at 4:15 eastern standard time, the (8-0) Patriots travel to Indianapolis to battle the (7-0) Colts. Not only is this the latest in any NFL season that two undefeated teams have met, but even if that weren't the case, it's the match up everyone in the league has been waiting to see. The Colts are the defending champs, and the Pats are still the league's lone dynasty. The Pats are the league's highest scoring team (41.4 ppg), and the Colts are the third highest (32 ppg). The Colts have beaten the Patriots 3 straight, including last year's AFC title game, but Tom Brady owns Peyton Manning in their career match ups. Simply put, these are far and away the two best teams in the NFL, and this weekend should go a long way in deciding who the true favorite is to win this year's Super Bowl. Make sure you check back here on Friday for the complete breakdown of the game, and see if I pick this game as one of my locks of the week. I guarantee that you aren't going to believe what I have to say, and my pick just might shock you...

News and Notes

*Well, apparently I was wrong (yea, you heard me). Contrary to what I basically predicted as fact last week, Don Mattingly will not be the next manager of the New York Yankees. According to reports, former Marlin manager and NL manager of the year, Joe Girardi, will take the job, signing what appears to be a three year deal worth about $7.5 million. Girardi spent 4 years as a backup to Jorge Posada, and a few more seasons as an assistant to Joe Torre, before taking the job in Florida. While Girardi might be a great manager, I see trouble brewing on the horizon already. For starters, he's likely losing his pitching coach, Ron Guidry, and he's definitely losing the Yankee bench coach, Don Mattingly, who feels betrayed that he wasn't chosen for the gig. Even more concerning, is the way Girardi was run out of Florida by owner Jeffrey Loria, the same year he was named the league's best manager. What Joe Torre was so good at as manager of the Yankees, was deflecting criticism and attention in general from his players onto himself. Girardi is a guy that craves the spotlight, as he's shown as a TV analyst, and that kind of attitude might not be exactly what Yankee ownership is looking forward too. He's young, he's bold and he's been waiting for this job for a few years now. Think he just wants to let things happen, or you think he's gonna want to try and start doing things his way? Well, I'm guessing it's going to be the latter, much to the delight of the rest of the AL. Joe Girardi might be a great manager, but I just don't see him as the right fit for this or any New York Yankee team. George Steinbrenner had all those public battles with Billy Martin, so it's only appropriate that his son's start their tenure as owners by battling in the media with Girardi on a weekly basis as the Yanks struggle to find an identity next season...

Which leads me to A-Rod. Let's forget the fact that he and his douche of an agent decided to make the "opt out" announcement during the World Series to try and steal the spotlight, and focus on the fact that he and his douch of an agent are trying to extort as much money as possible for a man that's rapidly challenging David Beckham as the World's richest metrosexual. Again, I said A-Rob would be back, and to some degree, I'm stickin' by that. I know the Yankees say they won't negotiate with him anymore, but I'm not buying that for a second. They need his bat in their lineup, and the last thing they want is for Rodriguez to end up in Boston or Anaheim where he can continue to beat them for the next decade. Here's my prediction. Obviously, Scot Boras is going to make sure Alex gets a big payday, but from who? Well, if he signs in the next week or so, my sources tell me if will be with either the Yankees or Mets. However, if this drags out, like so many Boras free agents tend to do, then I see him ending up in either Anaheim or with the Chicago Cubs within the next two months. If you're wondering why I didn't mention the Sox, it's because I just don't see it happening. If Theo and crew didn't want to give a 4 year deal to Johnny Damon or Pedro Martinez, I don't see them willing to dish out a 10 year deal at close to $300 million for A-Rod. I expect Boston to sign Mike Lowell to a 3 year, $35-40 million deal sometime during the off season, and keep the '07 MVP in the Bean for the remainder of his prime. It's an interesting set of dominoes that have been set up here to say the least, and it's going to be fun to watch them all topple one by one, at the hands of the real MLB commish, Scot Boras.

*Now, I've had several people ask me in recent weeks about the Boston Celtics, and how I plan to address them as an entity this upcoming season starting . Well, simply put, I'm just going to try and enjoy them. I've always been a much bigger fan of NCAA basketball than I have the pro game, and seeing as the Celtics have been downright awful for most of my adult life, I haven't exactly had much reason to turn my attention to the NBA. However, with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen now in town to help Paul Pierce, I can't help but at least give them a nice hard look. If you want my honest opinion, and trust me, most of you don't, I still don't think this team has much of a shot at winning anything, but I think they might still be fun to watch. They're starters are about as talented as they come, and to be honest, their bench isn't even that bad, but I'm just not buying into them quite yet. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have both missed large chunks of at least one of the last two seasons with injury, and to say Rajon Rondo is still a question mark would be a major understatement in my eyes. Don't even get me started on Glen Rivers MD, who finally has the talent on his roster, but still doesn't have the coaching IQ that God gave Corky from Life Goes On. Every team has holes, though, and it's how you cover up those holes that speak to the strength of your squad. Do the Celtics have the talent to make it to the NBA Finals? Of course they do. But will they dodge all the necessary bullets in order to get there? Well, that I'm not so sure of. I know I will have fun watching the team, but whether or not they reach all their lofty expectations? Let's just say I'm not drinkin' the Kool Aid quite yet....OH YEAHHHHHHHH!!!

My Picks
Last Week: 5-2-0

Overall: 28-19-3 (.590)

*When you're hot, you're hot, baby. Not only am I flat out on fire the last 3 weeks, but I basically predicted exactly how the Green Bay/Denver game was going to go down. Sure, maybe I said Denver would win or lose by 1-2 points, but I don't see how a 6 point OT loss is all that much different. I'm just a cash machine....

College Picks
Last Week: 8-7-0

Overall: 91-75-3 (.547)

*Damn man, this pickin' college games is tough. Guess I'm not surprised, though. I was never all that good at college to begin with...

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Make It Reign! 71 Cavanagh Plantation 60

Overall: 6-2-0, 4th place

Next week vs irishbrawlers (1-7-0)

*This week was about as straightforward as you can hope for when it comes to fantasy football. I went in thinking I was gonna win, but not by a ton. And I won, but not by a ton. Solid performances all around, except for Eli in London, but I won't hold that against him. Coming up this week, I go up against Mr. Barry, who has checked his team once all season long, and that was about a month ago. Figures that all his players have passed their bye week by the time he plays me, but I've had enough good luck this year to really complain about it. Just have to go out and take care of bidness, even though I may be starting my backup QB and defense. A loss here would be one hell of a way for karma to bite me in the ass, but I think I've been nice enough to the fantasy Gods this season to walk away with a stress free win.


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