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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Do You Pheel Like I Do?


Rick Reilly, in one of his many fine novels, enthusiastically asked the question, "Who's Your Caddy?" Yeah, I know Big Boi did a Caddyshack remake which begged the same quandary, but let's all try to ignore that for today's purposes. The reason I bring all this up, is because as I type these very words, I'm preparing for my stint this week as a caddy in this year's Attleboro Open. You hear right. I told my man, Keith Greim, that if he qualified I'd lug his bag around. And seeing as I'm nothing if not a man of my word, that's where I'll be spending the next 2-4 days. But have no fear. Just because I'm all caught up with my gig on the links, doesn't mean I've turned a blind eye to all the current goings on in the world of sports. Granted, I haven't been nutting over the Olympics like the rest of you, but that's a story we'll get into a little later...

First, it's on to the Sox. Because after all, football hasn't really started yet, and we have to pretend we're hardcore baseball fans for another 3 solid weeks...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 70-51, 2nd in AL East by 2 1/2 games

-Well logic would stand to reason that things are falling the Sox way of late. They went 4-3 on their latest road trip. They got ace-like starts from Beckett and Dice K. The middle relief seems to be holding it together (minus that epic game against the Rangers). And upon arriving home, Big Papi and the offense even decided to poke their heads out again. Add to that, the Rays are reeling with Longoria and Crawford on the DL, and the Yankees are fading fast from the AL East picture, having been swept by the LA Angels, and starting the month of August at a less than stellar 5-8. But despite all these dominoes falling the Sox way, it just doesn't feel like they've put any sort of serious dent in the Rays lead in the East. My gut tells me if there was a time for Tampa to fall though, that time is now. And the next few weeks should really show if the Sox have what it takes to put a solid pennant stretch run together...


-Manny Ramirez is quickly finding out that indeed you can't go home again...or at least not your home inside the left field wall. While Manny continues to rake like the proverbial Mexican landscaper, he couldn't seem to make it back from the john in time for the start of the 9th inning on Monday night. But as he attempted to zip up and head back to left field, I couldn't help but think that if he were doing that for my team, while hitting clutch bombs and batting near .500, then it wouldn't bother me one bit. So that begs the question. What the Hell is wrong with the rest of you? And for that matter, Red Sox management?...


-And the suddenly pitching starved Sox added junk tossing righty, Paul Byrd, this week in a waiver trade deal with the Cleveland Indians. With Clay Buchholz cruising down 95 to Pawtucket, the 7-10 Byrd, winner of his last 4, will take his place in the rotation, and add depth to a core that's been whittled to 3 dependable starters in just a matter of weeks. What's curious about this move is not only that the Sox picked him up, but that the Yankees passed on him. The way the waiver wire works, Hank Steinbrenner and crew had first crack at Byrd, and despite having about 1 decent, healthy pitcher in their rotation, decided to let him slide by. Now I'm not saying Byrd would have saved their season, but by passing on him it definitely sends me the message that New York is doing what would normally pass as blasphemous. They're focusing on next year. The new Stein prefaced his comments by saying it was because his club had been ravaged by injuries, but it's just so unlike his dad that it almost makes me sad. I mean what's this team coming to? It's mid August, and the Yankees are planning for the '09 season? Wow. Say it ain't so, Hank. Say it ain't so...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-Outside of the Angels, all the teams that seem to be solidifying themselves for the stretch run are over in the National League. The Cubbies landed Rich Harden, the Dodgers snagged Manny Ramirez, and now the Arizona Diamondbacks have acquired former Cincinnati Red, Adam Dunn. Do I make anything of this? Nah, not really. Just thought it was interesting. I'm used to the Sox and Yanks making all the moves, and the rest of the AL contenders doing likewise to catch up. Is this a sing that the rest of the league is now more committed? Or is just that the Sox and Yanks, the ones who usually set the free agency tone, have now begun to focus more on their prospects, and decided to the farm more often when it comes to filling gaps? Just a thought...


-There's issues in Detroit these days, and for once it's not the crime or unemployment rates. While I'm sure they're both still dreadfully high, along with most of the street dwelling residents, the beef I'm referring to is the one between Gary Sheffield and head coach Jim Leyland. Sheff is upset that he's being used in what he calls a "platoon" role. While Leyland says he's "flabbergasted" by the comments, and insists that Gary is merely a DH, not a platoon player( he's played in 75 out of 93 games, and that's including a stint on the 15 day DL). Leyland, who makes Jerry Remy look like the President of TRUTH the way he downs Marb reds, claims a platoon is when players switch based on pitching match ups, and that what's going on with Sheff is simply a reflection of the slugger's health and production. Or in this case, lack there of (he's hitting .219 in '08). He even went on to say that when Gary was acquired via trade from the Yanks, it was made very clear to him that he'd simply be a DH, and rarely see action in the OF. Well now Gary is upset, saying he "can't be a leader from the bench", and the Tigers are fed up, having placed the one time Triple Crown threat on waivers as recently as Tuesday. Granted nobody is gonna wanna take on his broken down body and his $14 million price tag. But with two legendary hard asses like Leyland and Sheff going at it, in the dirtiest city in the country no less, this thing is bound to get more entertaining before it ever goes away...


News and Notes
-So apparently I missed the "relay race of the century" earlier this week. Did you catch it? Nobody I've talked to has, but the way ESPN tells it, we all missed the second coming of the Miracle On Ice in the form of the 4 X 100 relay or whatever the Hell it was. Please, "World Wide Leader". Give it a rest, already. Sure what Phelps and crew are doing in the pool is impressive, but don't try to force it down my throat for Christ's sake. Having the men's events on NBC, the women's events on USA and the beat events on MSNBC isn't helping the cause either. Matter of fact, as the Olympics roll on and continue to be overexposed, I've started to realize that might actually be the reason I've soured on the games. It was one thing when only slam-dunk ratings events were on TV, but with every single prelim event from badminton to air rifle being to synchronized diving blasted into my living room, the whole thing just becomes a little intrusive for my tastes. Again, I can't stress this enough. These sports are watched by a meaningful audience a mere 2 times a decade for several very good reasons. The sports suck. The competition sucks. And with World Records being set in nearly every event, the credibility is about as solid as Tim Donaghy's tax return. I mean what's with that, anyway? I get that training methods are better and what not, but have they really gotten that much better since the Olympics in 2000 or 2004? Am I really supposed to believe that new unitard the swimmers wear is making all the difference? Hey, maybe all this roid talk through the years has me a bit jaded, but forgive me if an Olympic Games that's already seen the Chinese forge documents to have 12 year olds compete, doesn't have me being a little skeptical...

And if you're gonna go round the clock with this shit on 3 channels, at least give me the stuff I want to see. You know, like an in depth look at the racist photograph taken by the Spanish bball team. Or the story surfacing this week about the roided out, East German shot-putter who says her coaches fed her so much roids, that she's been forced to become a dude. Now that would be some good watchin'!...

Spanish "slant-eye" tribute: http://deadspin.com/5035434/spanish-basketball-team-celebrates-trip-to-china-with-slant+eye-team-photo

East German Shot Putting Tranny: http://deadspin.com/5035434/spanish-basketball-team-celebrates-trip-to-china-with-slant+eye-team-photo

I'm not so sure if that tranny story is legit, or just a mistake made at birth by the he/she's parents. But I'll let you be the judge...

And before you even try to bust out the "how do you know it sucks if you're not watching" line, allow me to drop this one on ya. I know what swimming looks like. I saw Phelps in '04, and I've even been in a room this year with a TV on when he won his first gold. Just because he's going a little faster this year, doesn't make it any more fun to watch...So there...


-Allow me to sum up this week's PGA Championship like this. When Tiger was marching the back 9 at Torrey Pines during this year's US Open, the TV ratings were better than game 5 of the NBA Finals later that night. On Sunday, with Tiger on the mend and Paddy Harrington marching towards his 2nd straight Major title? The ratings looked more like the Compton premier of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II. So for all of you that claim to be golf fans, it's time to come clean. You, much like every other self respecting sports fan in the land, are in actuality, a Tiger Woods fan. Too bad for us, Tiger said this week he doesn't even plan on swinging a club for another 5 months. And yes, that means no Tiger in the Ryder Cup either. Which means if you really wanna watch, you'll have to stomach a roster including the likes of Stewart Cink, Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard, and Boo Weekley. Hey, I love Boo Weekley as much as the next guy, but I love badminton too, and I believe we covered that already in my Olympic section...


-And while this is in no way sports related, I'd like to toss in here just for you to digest. I was behind a pick up truck (that will become obvious in about 3 seconds) earlier this week, that had a bumper sticker on the back that read as follows....


THIS IS AMERICA...LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH OR GET THE FUCK OUT!


Again. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Now on to the Pats!...

Patriots Update
Overall: 0-1


-Well if there's one thing I learned from watching the Pats pre season opener against the Ravens, it's that Matt Cassel can't be out of town soon enough. Now I know that if Brady goes down, the gig is up anyway, but for the sake of preparation, and not to mention mere appearance sake, the Patriots are in need of a more capable, and flat out more talented back up QB. It was one thing back in the day when this kid used to wow us with his athletic ability, but it's safe those days are now over. Just look at the body of work. Kid hasn't started a meaningful game since high school. And when he has had the chance to play, even against complete scrubs, the only thing he's been able to do well has been to scramble. Right. So the Pats run a system where the QB barely moves, and all this kid is shown is that he's good at running away from peeps. Listen, Matty. If I'm fielding a flag team I'll give you a call....to be my running back. But barring that, either start getting those passes in there, or start looking for a new place to call home. Gutierrez and O'Connell are puttin' on the heat, and should a veteran be thrown into the mix, I'd have to think you're gonna be the odd man out. As far as the Pats are concerned, I'd have to think they're thinkin' the same shit as me, and Matt "Don't Call Me Sam" Cassel, will be on the next thing steamin barring a sudden turnaround over the next 1 or 2 pre season games ...


-While we're talking Brady's back up, why not a little bit on the man himself...

In the last week or so, I've been taking an informal poll on who people would take #1 overall in a fantasy draft, and the results have been rather intriguing. Where last year LT was a slam dunk first pick (I took him #1 and grabbed me a title, by the way), this year's debate seems much more up in the air. Through my questioning, I've come to find people generally split over taking LT, Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady and Brian Westbrook. OK, stop. Adrian Peterson? Really? LT I get, obviously. And I understand if you have concerns about Westbrook's health, but the guy does it all and plays through whatever pain you might think he has. But Peterson over Brady? From a bunch of Patriot fans? Let's break it down. One guy is known for fluke injuries and plays on a team with next to no passing attack. And the other is Tom freaking Brady, fresh off an MVP season and hungry for more records, and his 4th Super Bowl title. This isn't the same Brady of past that was a winner on the field but a fantasy dud. He's got weapons, man, and he's got essentially the same offense that helped him set the single season TD record less than 12 months ago. But hey, if you wanna roll the dice on a guy that's played 2 full season in the last 5 years, then by all means go right ahead. I just hope that if you read that line, that you're in my fantasy league...bunch of frauds...


-And just a few quick observations from last week's game to round things out...

*Jerod Mayo is good, but let's chill out when talking about that hit he laid on Baltimore rookie runner, Ray Rice. OK, his helmet came off, I get it. But it wasn't by any means what you would call a "helmet-jarring" hit. Was it a good hit? Sure. Was the hit the reason the helmet came off? No freakin' way. Sometimes people get tackled. And sometimes their helmets fall off. Again. Let me reiterate. The guy is good, and he'll be one of the league's best rookies. Let's just not go crowning him the next Ray Lewis because some guy happened to lose his hat...

*To me, the more impressive rookie LB of the night was my newest main mans 'n them, Mr. Shawn Crable. I told you to keep a watchful eye on him in the opener, and for once, a guy I pumped up didn't disappoint. The kid is a play maker, plain and simple. And while he could stand to add 15-20 lbs of bulk, that long, wiry frame is gonna cause a lot of issues for opposing QB's and TE's for hopefully many years to come. He may look a bit tall to be playing where he is, but cases like that always prompt me to remember what Charles Barkley said. "What do you call a 6'3" power forward?...A mis-match" You just have to make that mis match work to you're advantage like Chuck did, and I think Crable will excel at just that...


*On the free agent front, the Pats brought safety John Lynch in for a visit on Wednesday. I've always felt Lynch was one of the most overrated players in the league, and much like the Sox signing of JD Drew, it's gonna take a lot more than him simply playing for my favorite team to change my mind. Just because he's white, doesn't mean he's good, folks. Although with Tank Williams now out for the year wit ha knee injury, we might be in a "beggars can't be choosers" situation when it comes to depth in the secondary...


Tackle Box
-You gotta love pre season football, man. If only for the reason that it gives people hard on's for guys based on totally irrelevant situations not at all indicative of regular season play. Case in point...Aaron Rodgers. Now I'm not saying this guy won't have a successful year (Lord knows he has a talented offense around him), but the reviews from a lot of fans after his performance on Monday night make him sound like the 2nd coming of Kurt Warner. Did he not suck? Nah, he was actually alright. But does the Bengals defense suck? You bet your ass. And even without Ryan Grant, the Green Bay starting offense is way too talented for that unit to stop them, and thus the results we saw. Rogers passes were on point, which is probably the most important thing at this stage. But it's a lot easier to get those throws there on the money when you aren't being pressured, and you're WR's are wide open. He should be solid this year for the Pack, but a performance like that against a defense that poor....in game one of the pre season no less!...shouldn't be getting too excited. If anything, it should just delay you're possible disappointment, depending on how high you set the bar...

-There's good news out there for all you Mikey Vick fans, too. The USFL, a new league set to launch in 2009, has made it clear that they want the convicted dog killer to be their poster boy immediately upon his release from prison. Seeing as he'll be facing a PacMan-like suspension from Sheriff Goodell, the USFL's commish seems to think his league would be the perfect transition, as well as providing the USFL with a no doubt much needed publicity boost. Funny, right? Now is it just me, or is anyone else wishing the XFL was around right now? I mean that would be a better match than Diego Maradonna and a box of Krispy Kremes....and a bag of coke...


-With college football season also right around the corner, it's gettin' about that time to start making some bold, and senseless predictions. Make sure to check in next week, or there abouts, and I'll give you the debut of my College Football Top 10, along with my picks for this year's National Champ, and the Heisman Trophy. I'm usually right on the money with those things / usually wrong. But I'm sure to make some bold, senseless predicitions...and at least one of them should come true....and then I'll never let you forget how right I was....So make sure you check that shit out...


-And along the same lines, it's almost time for me to start making you some money each week as well. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for my NFL picks in the coming weeks as the season gets underway. This year I'll be using my impressive skills to pick every game every week. You got it. After years of just picking the 5 games I was the most confident in, I've made the jump. Every game, every week, and I'm gonna tear shit up. And like I always say. I don't bet on sports. But my picks are so good, that at least you'll have a shitload of piece of mind when you pick them, and lose your money anyway. Yeah, I'm good like that...


Well that's it for me this week kids. But just for a little karma, I'm gonna leave you with a little Caddyshack clip. It's funny, it's appropriate, and it's as good as golf is gonna get until Tiger comes back....


Enjoy, and I'm out...


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