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Thursday, May 01, 2008

What's Up, Glen?

Welcome back, Mr. Kot-terrrr. Despite being simultaneously bent over by Best Buy and Gateway over the repair of my laptop's "hinge", and being run around at work like the multifaceted gopher that I am, I still felt it necessary to slap down some fine rhetoric for you folks to dine on this week. Yeah. It speaks to my dedication, to my ego and most importantly, it speaks to the fact that I know exactly how difficult it would be for most of you to make it an entire week without the pearls of wisdom that I tend to dish out like so many plates of delicious sazeech. I got a little Sox for ya, a little Pats draft, and a sexually charged ending to this week's post that will make you think you've just been shat out the back end of Elliot Spitzer's little black book. Oh, and did I mention it's Derby time once again? (cue the Derby song with the trumpet) That's right it's time to pick the ponies that will help you rake in all the cake, and what better place to get your betting advice than right here. Just because I pick the horses strictly based on their names, doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doin', does it? Well, as always. You be the judge...Enjoy...



Red Sox Update
Overall: 17-12, 1st in AL East by 1 game


-What a difference a week makes, huh? Last week I was sitting here saying all was well in Red Sox Nation (a proud affiliate of Rooch Nation, mind you). They had won 6 in a row, 10 out of 11, and they were getting contributions from nearly every member of the 25 man roster. Fast forward a week, and Boston's just finished up a 5 game slide, they're dinged up, and the rest of the AL East is right there nipping at their heels.



JD Drew is on the shelf with yet another case of vaginitis, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia have come back to earth in terms of hitting, Manny del Carmen has been about as bad as you can get in the pen, and while Josh Beckett has bounced back nice from his injury, there still seem to be some kinks in the rotation that the Sox don't seem to have a real handle on. Sure Lester looked great in his 8 inning performance against Doc Halladay and the Jays, but hasn't that really been his M.O? A great start one time out, and then a shelling the next? Mind you I'm far from panicking about a team on the 1st of May, I just think the hot streak they were on recently was just a tad bit misleading. So was the incredible winning streak they were on when the grabbed 10 of 11, but with major inconsistencies lately in both the pitching and the offense, I would have to think that this up and down type of ride is going to go on until Tito and friends really right the ship.

One aspect of the game that's been really impressive, however, has been the play late in games. Case in point was the game saving grab Dustin Pedroia made in the 9th inning of the Lester/Halladay duel the other night. It's those plays, and the game winning Youkilis RBI to follow, that give me confidence that this team is in it for the long haul, no matter what bad streak they might be on. Still doesn't mean they shouldn't already be looking for bullpen help. But no team is perfect....at least not on May 1st...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-There are few men in baseball I respect more than Nolan Ryan, and there are few things I detest more in baseball than the stigma attached to "100 pitches". That's why I couldn't have been more pleased when I read an article this week in which Ryan, now the president of the Texas Rangers, said that his new approach to the team includes a blatant disregard for pitch counts.

"The Ryan Express", winner of 324 games and owner of more than 5,000 strikeouts, basically said that if players in the past had no trouble pitching over 100 pitches, then there's no reason that in this day and age of trainers and medicine, that his boys couldn't do the same. Now, having the talent to be able to pull that off is a totally different story, and the Rangers ain't got it, but I like where Ryan's heads at. I mean shouldn't logic say that with all the improvements in training and medicine that these guys should be pitching longer outings anyway? What's with all the micro-managing? Sure. But I think even more so the problem is that most GMs and coaches are afraid of damaging the arms on these guys because they pay them so much money, and that's just bogus.

Toronto's Roy Halladay just tossed his 4th complete game of the season the other night, and is averaging over 8 innings a start so far this year. Now never mind the fact that Halladay is an elite pitcher in the game. How come he can do it, but it seems nobody else can? Easy. He WANTS to do it, and he throws strikes. Novel idea, huh? That's the real problem with today's pitchers, and a great example of what I mean is Daisuke Matsuzaka. There are plenty of guys out there, like the Dice man, that are capable of pounding the strike zone like Roy, but choose instead to nibble at the corners. As a result their pitch counts go up, they pitch fewer innings, and teams are forced to eat up their bull pens night after night. And what are bull pen pitchers anyway? Well for the most part, they're guys tht couldn't hack it as starters, right? In Michael Lewis', Moneyball, A's manager Billy Beane said the whole reason he taught his players to take pitches and work counts was to ultimately get the starter out of the game. And seeing as that "Moneyball" style has worked it's way into nearly every clubhouse in the league, the simple idea of just throwing strikes could be a great solution for traditionally pitching starved teams like the Rangers, Orioles, Rays and the like...

I guess I just like that fact that a guy like Ryan, a legend of the game, is using the "if it worked for me, then it will work for you" type of strategy. After reading, Moneyball, this strategy makes perfect sense to me. And in a day and age where over-managing pitchers has become the gold standard, maybe Nolan's tactic will be the start of a new revolution. One that hearkens back to the days where it was rare if a pitcher went fewer than 9 innings. Those were the days man...those were the days...


-Bad news for my Yankee brethren this week as A-Rod, Phil Hughes and Jorge Posada were all placed on the DL. Granted none of these injuries seem season-ending, and it IS only May, but for a team that hasn't been hitting OR pitching that well this can't be good news. Hughes has been a disaster, so maybe this explains it, but with Posada and A-Rod both out for at least the next 2 weeks, this all-lefty lineup is now void of it's two best right handed hitters. Couldn't have felt good seeing two former Yanks, Gary Sheffield and Marcus Thames (both righties) come into the Bronx and hit homers that helped down the Pin Stripers. Fact is, without a dominant offense (they're hitting .255 as a team and have been outscored this year by 8), this Yankee pitching staff goes from being just "good enough", to being a major issue that this team needs to address, oh I don't know....like two weeks ago? Outside of Wang, who's 5-0, the rest of the rotation is just 6-12 with an ERA somewhere around 6.00. Quite frankly, it's a miracle considering all these numbers that they're even at 14-15 and still right in the early mix for the AL East. I guess that's because they ARE the Yankees, right? Just like I expect them to make a few moves in order to stay in the race at the end, I shouldn't' be shocked that even with lackluster performances all the way around the diamond that they're still right in the thick of things. Those bastards...


-Good news for me, is that I've found a suitable replacement for Rick Ankiel as my new favorite MLB player. His name, is Micah Owings. For those of you that aren't baseball junkies or fantasy nerds like myself, Owings is a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks who also happens to carry a mean stick. We've known for a year now that Owings can hit, but this year he's putting the whole package together in rather impressive fashion. Not only is Micah 4-0 with 28 strikeouts in 31 innings this year for the surging AL West leaders, but his pinch hit 2-run homer the other night actually helped give Arizona their league leading 20th win. He's 8 for 19 at the plate on the season, better than a .421 average, and the home run was already his 5th in just 79 Major League at bats. Can you say Roy Hobbs? I know I can, cuz I just did, but this kid is the real deal. He's a Natural. If you haven't read the millions of stories about him on ESPN.com or seen features about him on TV I suggest you do. He's a once in a lifetime talent that may be having the best season he'll ever have, and it's definitely something you don't wanna miss. Not like that female golfer I told you about last week. That was a lie when I said you needed to check her out. Owings is the real deal, and if you like baseball, you're gonna like the way this guy get's down...



News and Notes


-On another "what a difference a week makes" note, the Boston Celtics have somehow managed to turn their 2-0 laugher of a series against the Atlanta Dupris' into a battle both on and off the court. Not only did the C's waltz into Atlanta and drop both games to even the series, but thanks to the on-court antics of both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, many in the media are now beginning to question if this team has the character to take down franchise title number 17. And to be honest, I can't say the criticism isn't well deserved. Not only did Gang Green back down to the more physical low post play of the younger Hawks, but between Garnett's altercation with referee Ed Rush, and Pierce's flashing of alleged gang signs in game 3, this team just doesn't look like the composed, experienced veteran squad we were led to believe they were. I know they're up 3-2, and I'll still be shocked if they don't win this series, but some of the tendencies they're showing against the lowly Hawks don't bode well for the rest of this championship run. Even after publicly acknowledging that they needed to get more physical in the paint against Atlanta, they came out in game 5 and let the Hawks take more than double the free throw attempts that they themselves took. And that's a game they won by 20 points! So I'm not worried about the Celtics losing to the Hawks in what would be an upset for the ages, I'm just concerned for their fans that a lot of the weaknesses they've shown in the first round may be exposed in rounds to come by better, more experienced teams...It's up to you now, Glen Rivers. You need to put together the game plan that puts your team back on the right track. Ahhhhahahaha...I hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't look to me like this team has a snowball's chance in Hades of making the Finals now. Not when their collective fate rests in the hands of a guy whose medical degree is about as authentic as a Jesus of Nazareth rookie card. It's gonna be sad to watch this team fall short, but I'd lie if I said it wasn't going to be entertaining for me as well...



-Those of you that follow me, or just can't escape ear shot when I go on one of my rants, know that the one person I despise above all others when it comes to the NBA is coaching mercenary, Larry Brown. And much to the surprise of absolutely no one, Brown lasted little more than 2 years after his ouster from New York to again land in the coaching ranks. This time, with his Airness Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats. Wow. The more I say that, the more appropriate it sounds. After all, what Brown does, is take crappy teams, make them respectable, and then get out of Dodge for more money, or to escape some sort of persecution. We've seen it a million times before (almost literally) with his stints in Indy, San Antonio and most recently Detroit. Brown claims he just has a passion for coaching, but I say it's really his passion for his own ego that keeps this old fart coming back for more. He lives in a world where he thinks people need him, when in reality it's Brown that needs the game, maybe even more than he knows. He's a pathetic man that tries to mascarade around like he's trying to help people out, when in the end he's just gonna stick it to 'em on his way out the door. In a world fulkl of creeps and thieves, Larry Brown is the worst type of person. he gains your trust, makes you believe, and then treats you as if you were all just pawns in his little game the whole time. And even worse, is that at the end of each stop on his coaching tour, he makes it seem as if he had done everything in his power to do the right thing and leave the team in the best situation possible. Hmmm. Well if by you leaving the team was in the best possible situation, then why the Hell do you keep coming back to coaching!? I can only pray that this is the end of Brown's coaching career. Without Isiah to battle with, it's just not gonna be as funny having him around, and seeing him on the sidelines is just gonna constantly remind me about all the things I despise about the business of sports. Props to him for financially taking advantage of the system, but screw him for taking advantage of good people, and a good game. Hope the Bobcats enjoy their breif success that Brown will no doubt bring them, because it's sure to be followed by a sour fallout that puts the team right back in the basement, and with a team that nobody is going to want to come and play for. Larry Brown's gonna die on a basketball court, and while it probably won't be in Charlotte, that doesn't mean I can't hope...



2008 Kentucky Derby
Get out your mint julep mix, you're funny lookin' hats, and most importantly, your betting slips! It's time for the Kentucky Derby, people! A full field of 20 horses have signed up for the "Run to Avoid the Glue Factory", and I have a break down of all the colts and phillies you'll want on your betting card in order to taste that sweet casheesh. And we all know. There's no casheesh like sweet horse racing caseesh...


First, we'll start with the favorites. As much as it pains me, I have to concede to the "experts" on this one. When it comes to horse racing, I know about as much as...well...about as much as the rest of you like to think you know about the REAL sports...

Favorites
Big Brown - 3 to 1

Colonel John - 4 to 1

Pyro - 6 to 1

When all is said and done, at least one of these bad larry's will probably be at the top, but even the experts are calling this year's field a real mystery when it comes to picking a winner...


Next up, we have the entries whose names are just too fun to pass up. Sure throwing loots on them might be equivalent to playing Powerball, but buying the rite to say their name for the hours leading up to the race, and being able to curse that same hysterical name afterward, make the whole thing more than worth it...

It's All About the Name
Recapturetheglory: 20 to 1 - names with a bunch of words squished together are always IN...

Z Humor: 30 to 1 - Z is a funny letter. You know. I know it. And Jon Voight knows it...

Visionaire: 20 to 1 - Sounds French. And you'd think the French would be good at a gay sport like horse racing, wouldn't ya?..

Smooth Air: 20 to 1 - If Dr. J rode a horse, this would be it...

Court Vision: 20 to 1 - And if Magic Johnson rode a horse, I'd imagine it would have a name similar to this. And if the horse rode him, I'd imagine it would have a similar fate to that of Barbaro. You know, the horse would get AIDS and die...you see where I'm goin'...

Big Truck: 50 to 1 - Truck's are cool, and you can't beat that price...

Denis of Cork: 20 to 1 - Eh, I've decided I don't really like this one. At first it looked clever, but upon further review, I don't get it...

Cowboy Cal: 20 to 1 - I used to get buds from a guy named Cal...and he was a kind of "urban" cowboy...

Big Brown: 3 to 1 - Big Black is a cool guy...

Bob Black Jack: 20 to 1 - I figure if gambling is inherent in the name, then you're already halfway there...

OK, so that's like half the field, and there aren't even any real funny ones in there. Sorry 'bout that. Wanna help solve that problem? Become a millionaire, buy a horse, let me name it, and let the fun begin! Just for some motivation, I came up with the name "Medium Rare" when i was 14, and needless to say I've become much more clever since...


Finally, I have the Kentucky Derby Rooch Nation Trifecta Spectacular! It's sure to empty your pockets, but hey. At least now you have a name you can curse when you lose, right?


The Rooch Nation Trifecta Spectacular
Win: Visionaire - 20 to 1
Place: Big Brown - 3 to 1
Show: Tale of Ekati - 15 to 1

-Again, there's no real logic here. Matter of fact, I don't even have the payout numbers for this trifecta, and will probably end up choosing one that results in the largest payday. That's just how I get down. Seeing as I don't even care if the horse lives or dies once the race is through, I'm certainly not gonna sit back and pick a bunch of favorites to win. I did that last year, and when I won it felt as if I'd been tricked into a "1 for 50 cents, or 2 for a dollar!" type deal. I thought I was the man, but as is usually the case, that assumption was for from correct...



-Now that the sports are out of the way, it's time to get down what most of you came here for to begin with. Hardcore 15 year old nudity!!! Of course I'm referring to the racy, Britney-esque, phot spread of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana/get help now, your dad is using you to make loots!, and personally, I don't get the big deal. I'm sure this chick is popular and everything, and I'm all for ogling at some sweet statutory jail bait, but is it me, or is this chick just not hot at all? Now, whatever. You wanna call me a perv go right ahead, I've been called worse. But at least a 15 year old Lindsay Lohan was somethin' to look at! Right? I think the real outrage here should be that Vanity Fair put some beat 15-year old pop-skank and her washed up hick of a father in their magazine! I didn't even want to put those pics up here, and instead opted for one of Miley and some guy that I can only guess is Refrigerator Perry's bodyguard. Either that, or the personal Sumo consultant for Intraweb fighting superstar, Kimbo Slice. Miley Cyrus is beat. And until she makes a sextape worth watching, or starts using coke on a regular basis, then keep her in the kiddie mags, and out of my peripheral view!...


-Sticking with the sex theme, there's word out of Brazil that Marv Albert is missing! That's right. Apparently Albert was on a rendezvous with some Brazilian transvestite hookers (he calls it "Wednesday") when things got really nasty....oh...you're saying it was world soccer star Ronaldo, and NOT Marv Albert that was involved with these street walking tran-jobs? Oh, then screw this story. If it were Marv, then I'd have to "read that again!...Yesss!!!"...but no. Soccer sucks, and no matter how embarassing it's "players'" behavior might be on and/or off the field, it's really not worth any of my time...


-And just to keep in theme while I'm wrapping things up (get it?), I have an interesting tidbit to pass along from Men's Health Magazine. In a survey conducted by the #1 mag for 6-pack abs and no-polish manicures, they found that the most sexually satisfied men in the US of A reside in the city of...drum roll please!...Indianapolis, Indiana. Hmmm. Not what I was expecting, but OK. What was really disenchanting was the city they found to have the least sexually satisfied men was none other than Providence, Rhode Island. Granted I don't live there, but seeing as Attleboro is basically a a suburb of the Rhody capital city, I can't say it made me feel all that great. I mean let's face it, I'm not exactly runnin' out of room for notches on my bedpost over here. Oh, and two other cities that were prominent on the list? Jersey City, New Jersey, and Jacksonville, Florida. Any coincidence that two of my best friends like in or around these two metropolitan regions? I sure hope there is...

OK kids, that's all for me. Time to get away from this computer and get back to the grind. I know I didn't get to the NFL Draft this week, but seeing as all those breakdowns and "grades" are about as relevant as the last 3 stories I wrote, I'll leave that to another time. For now, everyone have a great weekened, enjoy the Derby, and I'll catch you on the flip...


Peace in the Middle...

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