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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who Ya Got??

What it is, hustlas? Got a lot to get to this week, so I'm just gonna get right down to it. While I'd love to spend time discussing my new organization "PAAIAD" (Pimps Against Asians In Adult Diapers), and how it plans on ridding the world of the Olympics, I just don't have the time. After all, it's my life that takes precedent on this page...


That being the case, the biggest thing goin' on in my world this week was the annual nerd fest/smack talking convention known as my fantasy football draft. Naturally I went in with a killer strategy, and when the randomized draft order dealt me the 13th pick (14 teams), I felt I was in prime position to put the strategy into action...


The first order of business was to take the flat out best available player, and when Reggie Wayne fell to me at 13, I felt I had no choice but to pull the trigger. He's a top flight WR, and it frees me up to take running backs with my next two picks, and not be left scrapping for a quality wide out...




With my next few picks, I made sure to go for some big hitters. High upside guys with plenty of big play potential. My championship team from a year ago was driven by Brian Westbrook's versatility and play making skills, and with these next picks I was trying to get guys that I felt fit that mold. Lucky for me, I had Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Bush and Kellen Winslow come my way with picks 16, 41 and 44 respectively. I made a choice. I'd rather live and die with the TDs and have a chance to win big loots, than grind it out week after week with guys that get good yardage, and find myself struggling to score big. MJD and Bush bring that versatility and big play ability, while Winslow gives me a game breaking tight end. Couldn't ask for any more than that. Talented guys with the potential to go really big. Yeah, potential is a tricky thing, but when you're tryin' to go for it all, I think it's a risk well worth taking...


So with that, phase one and two of my pre draft plan were complete. Got the top end WR and TE I coveted, and two running backs with the opportunity to have huge seasons. Oh, and just to be clear. I think Jacksonville and New Orleans are gonna have great years offensively. Especially the Saints. So I love those guys based on that. Not because I see them on TV or because they have flashy names. I mean I'm happy for Reggie that he gets to tap/rest his drinks on that plump Kim Kardashian ass, but it would be a stretch to say that's why I wanted him on my fantasy team...

OK, so moving on. Everything was going according to plan, when I pulled this...






I knew my position in the snake draft would allow me to get a QB/WR combination if the right one fell to me, and at pick 69 I made my move. I snagged up one of the 3-4 consensus WRs left in Jerricho Cotchery, and then with pick 72, teamed him up with the bane of my existence this off season, when I selected the one and only Mr. Brett Favre. Yeah, you hear right. After all the bitching I did about the guy these past few months, I went super bold, and made him the centerpiece of my my fantasy universe. I figure he's got the ability to throw a lot of touchdown passes, and hopefully a lot of them end up in the hands of Cotchery. Jerricho is the type of receiver Favre has liked to hook up with in the past, and I'm guessing this time around should be no different. Plus, should my team fall flat on it's face, it will make it all that much easier to hate they guy and watch the New York media drive him right back into pseudo retirement...

So now with a QB/WR combination that I was satisfied with, a bunch of play makers, and top players at both WR and TE, it was time to fill in the rest of the holes. I snagged a top end kicker in Phil Dawson, two top tier defenses in Indy and Jacksonville, and added potential big time WR prospects in Devin Hester, Ronald Curry and Robert Meachem. I also added part time RBs Justin Fargas and Maurice Morris, who both figure to be starters when the season starts, and were a great value at the time they were selected. They can help back me up with MJD and Bush, as well as provide a little insurance in my flex position (WR/RB) should some of my WRs not pan out...

Last but not least, with my final pick in the '08 draft, I stuck with my guns and took yet another huge risk/reward type player. With Mike Martz now the offensive coordinator in San Fransisco, I took a flyer on starting QB JT O'Sullivan. I figure Martz has made fantasy studs out of Warner, Bulger and Kitna before him, so O'Sullivan has just as good a shot as any to emerge as a break out fantasy QB. Granted he may have a tenuous hold on the starting job right now, but it was the 17th round, and I figured well worth the risk...

And with that, it was over. I went balls to the wall by my big play strategy, and now I'm prepared to deal with the disastrous outcome, or reap the delicious and bountiful benefits. Hows it all gonna turn out? Well you'll just have to check back every week to chart my progress. I know my draft has got to have you a little curious, and Lord knows I'll have plenty of hysterical tales to tell as the season unfolds and I make a run at defending my '07 title...




Now, it's on to the actual NFL. I got some thoughts on how the upcoming season might unfold, and in keeping with the today's theme, I've got some bold picks that just might make you think I've lost it...


Tackle Box


I was about to sit down and make my predictions for the season this week when I decided to call Frosco. During the conversation, he reminded me that I hadn't watched the latest epsiode of Mad Men, which I had on DVR, and had aired the night before. Now if you haven't heard of the show, it's a drama on AMC, based in the early 60s, about an advertising firm in New York City. The main character of the show, is Donald Draper. Don's as cool and confident as they come. He's smarter than you, he's better looking than you, he's more successful than you, and your wife is gonna wanna do him. He's unflappable, determined. He knows what he wants, and does what it takes to get it. No questions asked...

So what does that have to do with my picks, you ask? Well Don inspired me. You see, it was last year around this time that I actually went on the radio and said I thought the Pats would go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. My colleagues laughed at my pink hat type prophecy, but the funny thing was, I believed what I said. I had gone through the schedule, and despite my attempts to be un bias, still came up with a clean slate in the loss column. However, after the lashing I took, I stepped back and looked at it again. Hmmm, I thought. I guess I could find a few losses in here. So when I went to work, and made my predictions, I had the Pats winning the Super Bowl, and finishing the season at 14-2...

Now either way, I would have been wrong, but the point still remains. Donald Draper wouldn't let a bunch of punks change his thinking on somethin' like this, and so now, neither will I! I don't wanna hear what the experts say, I just wanna go with what I think. I mean come on. I know maybe a handful of people that could probably handicap this thing as well as I could, so I'm bucklin' down and straight goin' with my gut...

Just like years past, I've gone through every game of every week to get my results. No guessing and slapping together 16 game records for this guy, I'm the real deal. So without further ado, let's take a glance into my crystal ball. And don't mind that white residue there on the surface, it was on the crystal ball when I bought it...

2008 NLF Predictions
AFC
EAST
1. New England Patriots (13-3)
2. New York Jets (11-5)
3. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
4. Miami Dolphins (4-12)


With all the improvements the Jets made in the off season, the East is no longer the cake walk it was looking like for Tom Brady and the Pats. New England still has the most talented team in the division, but with questions along the offensive line and defensive backfield, they shouldn't have nearly the year they had in '07. Thanks to the league's easiest schedule they should still manage to run up a pretty gaudy record, but expecting this team to go 16-0 again, when it's only happened twice in the past 35 years, is asking a little much...

The Jets schedule, on the other hand, won't leave as much room for error. But with one of the league's best offensive lines, a now more than viable passing attack, and an emerging defense, they should give the Pats all they can handle and emerge as a contender in the AFC. That is, unless Brett Favre decides to gun sling them into oblivion, and the whole move blows up right in their faces. My fantasy pick should tell you I don't find that scenario all that likely, but when dealing with Favre, truly anything is possible. I think we've all learned that by now...

As for the Bills and Dolphins. Buffalo has a lot of pieces to work with, but is likely at least a year away from any serious playoff talk. I like Trent Edwards as the long term QB, and think he can work some magic with Roscoe Parrish and rookie James Hardy if they all stay healthy. And if Marshawn Lynch can stay sober in the land of high content Canadian beer...well than that just might be the miracle that saves Buffalo...

And Miami? The Parcells and Pennington combo might look good on paper. But that paper has a date of 2001 on it. The Dolphins are beat, and in the first year of a massive rebuilding project, their expectations can be little more than another high draft pick in 2009...



NORTH
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
2. Cleveland Browns (8-8)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-13)


It's more of the same in the top heavy AFC North, but this year may see a slight changing of the guard. While the Steelers, led by Big Ben and their stout defense, figure to still be boss, the Cleveland Browns should use this season to announce their "legitimacy" with authority.

Coming off an impressive 10-6 campaign, Derek Anderson and friends figure to keep the dynamic offense rolling along, and will be counting on Romeo Crennel's defense to finally step up and help the team make that big leap to actual contender. I think it still might be a bit early for this squad to start seriously talking playoffs in the top heavy AFC, but they're still gonna be a tough out every week, no matter who they play...

Now the real story in this division, if you're asking me that is, will be the pitiful performance of both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. Sure Cincy still has their great offense, but that's all they got. Add injuries to the mix, and they're little more than an awful defense with a few passing weapons. Think the Rams of the past few seasons, and I think you'll get the picture. They're only hope to stay relevant, is

Then there's Baltimore. No matter which way I look at this team, I just don't see how they could be possibly be good. I get it, they have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, but do they really have anything else? On either side of the ball?? I know they've won with no offense before, but the defense is far removed from that early decade dominance. It figures to be a long season in crab country for John Harbaugh and Troy Smith...or Joe Flacco...or Kyle Boller...



SOUTH
1. Indianapolis Colts (13-3)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
3. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
4. Houston Texans (9-7)


The AFC's best division figures be tougher than ever in 2008. All 4 teams have reason to think they're even better than a year ago, and it's tough for me to argue with any of their expectations...

At the top, the Colts will be the "clear" favorite, but the Jags should be right there with 'em. Indy's offense is still among the league's elite, while in Jacksonville, fans are waiting to see if David Garrard takes the next step towards becoming one of the league's best QBs. Joseph Addai and Maurice Jones-Drew lead their respective running attacks, and both squads appear to be anchored by sturdy defenses that also specialize in making big plays. Both finished near the top in giveaway/takeaway in 2007, and that combination threatens to make both teams very good again this year. I give the edge to Indy simply because they have higher offensive gear, but both teams are top tier...

In Tennessee and Houston, they're just wishin' they were in a different division. Both teams have solid defenses, but each can really only do one thing on offense. Tennessee runs, and Houston passes. That should make for happy fantasy owners of Matt Shaub, Andre Johnson, and the stable of Tennessee backs, but disappointed fans when it comes to the playoffs. Call it tough luck if you want, but for either of these teams to have any chance of making the playoffs, they're gonna need either Jacksonville or Indy to stumble along the way. And i just don't see that happening. It will be interesting to see whether or not Vince Young has actually learned to pass the ball, but in failing that it should just be more of the same for these two much improved franchises...

WEST
1. San Diego Chargers (11-5)
2. Denver Broncos (9-7)
3. Oakland Raiders (8-8)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)


The Chargers walked away with the West in 2007, and I figure we'll see much of the same in 2008...

Even without Shawn Merriman at full strength on defense, the Chargers still figure to have both the best offense, and defense in the division. LaDainian Tomlinson looks to have another big year, and this time not falter in the playoffs, while Philip Rivers should be all that much better with another year of experience under his belt. He still lacks any real weapons outside of Antonio Gates, but that shouldn't stop them from scoring plenty of points, and racking up another division title...

Jay Cutler and the Broncos intrigue me, but that's not always a good thing. Mike Shanahan always seems to have his boys prepared on both sides of the ball, but I have to question whether or not they have the overall talent to win enough games. Slevin Young should continue to prove that anyone can run the ball in that zone blocking scheme, but the fate of the offense definitely rests on the right arm of Cutler. Will it be tough for Culter to mesh with a new group of receivers? And with Brandon Marshall sitting out the 1st 3 games, can the 2 of them regain the chemistry they started to show at the end of last season? And what about the defense? Giving up 26 points a game last year was very un-Denver like, and with the exodus of John Lynch the only roster move of note, will they be improved enough to give their offense a shot? I think they'll put it all together, just not in time to make a post season appearance...

In Oakland, JaMarcus Russel is going to go through some growing pains, but I'm thinking it could be fun to watch. There's certainly no shortage of athleticism on the offensive side with Darren McFadden, Ronald Curry, Michael Bush and Javon Walker, but whether that translates into points we'll have to wait and see. One thing's for sure. They're pass defense that caught so much hype a year ago should truly get tested early and often. If they turn out ot be legit, and not just a group that benefited from the team being smoked early and often last year, then this team could actually come around a win a few more games than most expect. As you can see, that's the direction I'm leaning in...

Kansas City: see Miami. It would be a little short sighted to rip on them, but facts is facts. They're really bad, but every body's gotta rebuild sometime. If Dwayne Bowe and Brodie Croyle could mesh into a nice tandem this year, then I would consider it a success.

Now, it's on to the NFC...

NFC
EAST

1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
3. New York Giants (9-7)
4. Washington Redskins (8-8)


What better place to start in the NFC than with by far and away the conference's best division. Much like the South in the AFC, the NFC East is loaded. Only the Eagles missed out on the playoffs a year ago at 8-8, while the Cowboys were one of the regular season's best and the Giants took home the Super Bowl...

Perhaps in light of those results my prediction comes as a bit of a surprise, but I have my reasons. While the Eagles may have struggled a bit in '07, they were the ultimate underachievers. With a healthy McNabb back at the helm, and a healthy Brian Westbrook coming of a career year, you figure this offense has got to be dangerous. The WR corps still remains a bit suspect, but I think a strong McNabb and a lot of double teams on Westbrook will loosen things up and allow guys to make some big plays. Their defense got better, with Asante Samuel, and I just think this team is ready to have a big year and make another run at the Super Bowl...

Now with the Cowboys, they're every bit as good as Philly, they just happened to lose one more game. You still have to like Romo spreadin' the ball around to TO, Crayton and Witten. And you still gotta love Marion Barber crushin' people in the face and grinding out those tough yards. I still think their secondary is suspect, but getting good pressure on the QB could really take a lot of the pressure off. And the a lot of the onus will be on that defensive front this year. You know Romo is gonna shoot them in and out of games, and it'll be up to the Dallas D to make sure they're not always paying for his mistakes with 7 points...

Having the Giants at 9-7 is by no means meant as any sort of hatred or disrespect. The Giants won the Super Bowl because they got extremely hot, not because they had the most talent. I don't think they're any better than they were a year ago, but just like last year, I figure they're good enough to be right in the mix. Could they get hot again and take the Super Bowl? Sure, why not? But to put them at the front of the pack based on last year? Nah. With Umenyiora and Strahan out of the lineup, the strength of their Super Bowl team is severely diminished. Simply put, without that dominant line, this is just an average team. Eli and the offense are OK, but we all know what won them the title...

And in a true case of last but NOT least, there's the Washington Redskins. I still like a lot of what they do on offense and defense, but I just can't bring myself to say they'll be any better than "OK". Everything about this team screams OK! Jason Campbell? He's OK. Clinton Portis? He's OK...never scores TDs though. The defense? The receivers? They're not bad, but there's nothing there to get excited about. That's why I got them i nthe middle of the road. Just like the Texans and Titans before them, they'd love to be in another division, but dems da breaks...


NORTH
1. Green Bay Packers (11-5)
2. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
3. Chicago Bears (4-12)
4. Detroit Lions (4-12)


Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the worst division in football. Neither the Vikings or Bears know the first thing about passin' the bean, the Packers no longer have Brett Favre, and the Lions are, well...let's just say they know what it's like to be LA Clipper fans. OK, so I admit it's not all bad. The Vikings and Packers both have solid defenses, and both should figure to do some damage on offense...

In Minny, they're dominant o-line will plow the way for Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor to do work, but with the passing still a major question mark, they may be trying to run through a lot of 8+9 man fronts. They'll have the D to grind out a lot of wins that way, but unless they develop some sort of aerial chemistry, they really won't be able to take it to that next level...

The Packers figure to compliment their young, agressive defense this year with the same potent offense. Just with a different guy at the helm. Or hadn't you heard? I like Aaron Rodgers chances for success in Green Bay, based mostly on that defense giving him plenty of chances, and the plethora of weapons he has at his disposal. Don't sleep on James Jones and Donald Lee...or they'll jump up and bite cha in the ass. I seen it!...

In Detroit and Chicago it figures to be another long and cold winter. These two fan bases should have plenty of time to ponder their unemployment beside a warm trash can fire, because I can't imagine either squad being much to watch. Kitna and Roy Williams might make some noise early, and we might get the occasional flash from Devin Hester, but other than that, you can count on these teams not passing GO, and heading directly to the top of next years NFL draft...



SOUTH
1. New Orleans Saints (10-6)
2. Carolina Panthers (8-8)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
4. Atlanta Falcons (3-13)


If the North is the worst, than the South is definitely the most enigmatic. I've learned through my experience picking games that the South can be tough to predict. And while I thought I had a handle on it this year, the more I think about it, the more I'm probably just way off base...yet again...

One thing I think I'm sure of, is that the Saints are gonna have one of the best offenses in the NFL. Not only does Drew Brees now have Jeremy Shockey to throw to, but '07 1st round pick, WR Robert Meachem is also joining the party after sitting out last year with an injury. Add them to the mix with Marques Colston and Reggie Bush, and it's tough to imagine this team not scorind a bundle of points. On defense, all they need is to be a little better than the team that allowed over 24 a game last year. I don't think it's too much to ask, and with this offense, that should be enough to get it done...

Carolina and Tampa are truly mysteries, I must say. Not that I don't know enough to comment on them, it's just I can't seem to get a handle on them. Both Jeff Garcia and Jake Delhomme are capable of putting up some decent numbers, but does either really have the weapons to succeed? Somethin' about Delhomme and Muhsin Muhammad getting back together has me a little intrigued, but that's about it. And in Tampa, while I have faith in the ability of Garcia and Gruden to manage a game, it again comes down to lack of talent. I figure their defense will keep them in and get them some games they won't deserve to win, but not against anybody that's really any good.

In Atlanta, Matt Ryan's left to clean up Ron Mexico's mess, and it doesn't figure to be pretty. No real expectations though, so maybe they'll actually be fun to watch. Stranger things have happened...


WEST
1. San Fransisco 49ers (8-8)
2. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)
3. St. Louis Rams (6-10)
4. Arizona Cardinals (3-13)


If it wern't for the NBA's Western Conference, Western divisions everywhere would be a laughing stock. AFC WEST? Beat. MLB's NL + AL West? Beat and Beat. The NHL? BEAT! And the NFC West could very well make a run at president of this Beat-Off, as none of these teams seems to impress me at all...

The Seahawks have the best defense of the bunch, but their inability to score on a regular basis is never a trend I like to see. A lot like the Giants, they'll need to manage games well and hope their defense makes plays or they're screwed. I'm not loving their passing attack with Branch on the shelf, and I just fail to see where the offensive punch is gonna come from. That's what's gonna keep them around .500...

Now I have the Niners at the top of this crap heap for two very good reasons. Their offense should finally be semi-legit, and their young defense is gonna turn some heads. Rookie of the Year Patrick Willis is a beast in the middle of their D, and with Mike Martz now running the ship offensively you have to like their chances to put up some points. I'm not talking all-pro level shit, here, but they should do some decent work. JT O'Sullivan has been impressive by all accounts, and a healthy Frank Gore should really help give the attack some balance...

In St. Louis, they get a healthy Marc Bulger back after a dismal 3-13 year in '07, but I still can't see them contending for a playof spot. The core of Bulger, Torry Holt and Stephen Jackson give them the weapons they seemed to lack last year on a regular basis, but their weak offense line still figures to be an issue. Even in the old Mike Martz system, with all the weapons in the world, you can't do much when your QB is on his back. That's where Bulger figures to be about as often as a Vegas showgirl, and so will go the Rams season...

And in Arizona, shit just looks flat out bad. I liked their defense a year ago, and I still do. But there style of play on offense is ultimately going to lead to their demise. Whether it's Warner or Leinhart chuckin' that pill around it's bound to be a fast and loose passing attack that leads to more mistakes than touchdowns. Just as in unsuccessful years past, their going to live and die by the big play. That means plenty of big games from Boldin and Fitzergald, and plenty of 37-34 losses. They're the type of team you're thankful exists for your entertainment pleasure, but you're just glad they're not yours...


So there you have it. I've set the table for the '08 post season, and next week I'll be back to give you my playoff breakdown and your 2008-2009 Super Bowl Champion.


Patriots Update
Overall:
0-3

Well another pre season dud against the Eagles. I know they're still only employing a very vanilla 3-4 defense and a lot of their starters aren't playing, but I don't think a slightly better performance would have been too much to ask...

Here are a few notes from the game and just the team in general as we close in on the regualr season...


-The O-line looked bad again and with news this week only figures to get worse. While Matt Light has returned to practice, guard Stephen Neal was place on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP), and now can't be on the active roster until at least week 7. I'm still holding out hope that the dismall o-line performance in the pre season isn't a sign of things to come, but it's going to take a few good performances to start the year before all my fears are at least put at bay...


-Oddly enough, coinciding with that seems to be the glut of talent at running back, and the question of whether or not the Pats will carry 5 at the position. With Eckel being released this week, it leaves Mauroney, Faulk, Morris, Evans and Jordan still in the mix, and I can make a good argument for all 5 of them makin' the squad. If I have to cut anyone, I think it's gotta be Morris...or Evans. Talent alone says keep Sammy around. He did work before going down last season, and his versatility is an important asset to the backfield. On the other hand, Evans can play special teams and provide extra blocking on a team with 2 TEs, and could win the nod if the Pats deem Sammy's ability to stay healthy a serious concern...


-Matt Cassel has continued to stink it up, and it's got me to thinkin'. I know if Tom Brady goes down the Pats will lose a lot of their punch, but what if he just goes down for a few plays? And what if it's in the playoffs? Just because we all agree Brady is the straw that stirs the delicious drink, doesn't mean we can leave the cuppard totally bare behind him. It would be leaving the team totally vulnerable. Look at the Chargers last year. Rivers goes down in the playoffs, and Billy Volek leads them to the win. Sure they lost in the AFC title game, but you see my point. Say that was the Pats, and replace Volek with Cassel. You think the Pats would have been playin' in the AFC title game? Unlikely. And that's why we need a good back up. Not for the majority of the year, but for the few key plays that could make a difference between going all the way, and getting an early start on your golf game...


Red Sox Update
Overall:
77-55, 2nd in AL East by 2 1/2 games; 1st in Wild Card by 2 1/2 games over Minnesota


I tell ya the Sox are really throwin' me for a loop these days. They're winning, which is good. And they're getting key contributions from guys like Bay, Lowrie and Masterson, which is also good. But their stars like Beckett, Ortiz and Drew are either hurt or under performing, and without Lowell, Manny and a fully effective Big Papi, the lineup just doesn't seem to have that same pop! I guess I'm still on the kick from last week, where I think they're good enough to win now, but not playing like a team that will win in the playoffs...

Here are some notes from the past week...




-I know he was hurt this year, but Big Papi's lack of production is beginning to become a reasonable conern. Over the last month, the big man is batting just .267 with just 3 homers and 18 RBI. This is exactly what I'm talking about, too. The Sox may be winning now without his typical power hitting, but missing out on it during the playoffs could cause some problems...



-On the other side of the coin, August has been a big month for Jed Lowrie and Jason Bay. Bay's hitting at .327 with 4 homers and 23 RBI, while Lowrie is up to .300 on the year, as he's hit .321 with 21 RBI over the same 30 day span. It's good to see that Youkilis and Pedroia are finally getting some help from the others in the lineup, but without a major power hitter, I still worry that they'll lack the necessary punch to make a major move come October...

-Good news on Josh Beckett as he threw a pain free side session this week. The Sox still plan on having him make a start this weekend in the series against the White Sox, and seeing how he responds to this latest injury will go a long in way in determining how ready this team is for a World Series run...

-OF Mark Kotsay was acquired this week for a class (A) prospect thanks in large part to JD Drew's recent trip to the disabled list. Drew missed the last 7 games before being thrown on the 15 day DL with a balky back, and Kotsay figures to help pick up the slack with his ability to play all 3 outfield spots, and hit well against both righties and lefties. Geee, who would have thunk it? JD Drew breaking down right in the middle of the pennant race. He may have been good down the stretch last year, but this is exactly the reason we shouldn't have given him such a big contract. I mean if he's not there when you really need him, how much could he really be worth?...


See, I didn't even have enough time this week to thoroughly rip JD Drew! Or even toss some dirt on the grave of the Yankees! That's OK. I'll be back next week. Same Rooch time, same Rooch station. I got some thoughts on the break up of Mike and the Mad Dog, the exodus of Jay Marrioti, and of course my long awaited College Football Preview. Oh and I promise to to bring some extra raunchy shit, just to make up for this week's NFL love fest...


Until then, make sure yo keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars! Or just make sure you drink enough, and do enough drugs. That should get you to the stars without having to leave earth too...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Usain In the Membrane...

Greetings friends and foes. I got a lot on my mind this week, so instead of attempting to throw a few well placed puns and cheap shot jokes in my open, I'm just gonna get right down to business...

Well many of you will be glad to hear that I've seen the light. No, it's not that I've started watching the Olympics. It's just that I've realized no matter what everyone said leading up to the Games, every last one of you is tuning in and watching every event you possibly can. And while I had my suspicions all along, it was a poll on ESPN.com that not only proved me right, but left me questioning whether or not the rest of the sporting world had gone all nut-house on me...



The poll asked, "Is Michael Phelps 8 gold medals in the 2008 Olympics the greatest athletic feat of all time?"

Now knowing that the World is caught up in Olympic fever, I ventured a guess that while I would vote an emphatic NO!, that the results would be roughly 55-45 in favor of swimming's new poster boy. The actual results? With all 50 states, and the International voters agreeing, nearly 77% of the votes tallied had his new gold medal standard pegged as the greatest achievement by any athlete...EVER...

So I pause, and think to myself. Wouldn't that almost guarantee that #2 on the all-time list would be Mark Spitz's 7 golds at the '72 Games? Come on, people! Think a little beyond the last 5 minutes of your life before you make such a bold statement! What about DiMaggio's 56 straight, the Tiger Slam, Gretzky's 200 point season, or Bill Russel's 11 rings? Yeah, I get that the poll is weak sauce to begin with, but that's not really the point. The point is, I figured if anyone was gonna realize how over hyped this Phelps thing was, it would be my fellow sports nerds taking polls on ESPN.com. And even they have been sucked in! Listen, I'm not saying people aren't allowed to get caught up, and I'm not saying his feat isn't impressive, but the extent of this ball washing really needs to be reigned in. I'm sick of it, and now that it's effecting the medium I have chosen to work in, it's flat out beginning to piss me off...


On the bright side, the closing ceremonies are on Sunday, which means the percentage is due to begin it's rapid descent any day now. And then, at least statistically speaking, the level at which you're all being incredible frauds will begin to decline...


Red Sox Update

Overall: 73-54, 4 1/2 back in AL East; 1/2 game lead in Wild Card over Minnesota

-So I was thinkin' the other day about the Sox playoff pitching rotation, and to be honest, the whole situation has me more than just a little concerned. While Dice K might be 15-2, and Beckett has the experience of 2 World Series titles (one with Florida), the only guy I trust right now to take the ball in a crucial game, is Jon Lester. He was once the shakiest out of the bunch, always seeming to follow a stellar outing with one equally as frustrating. But now, thanks in no small part to his willingness to simply "throw strikes", Lester is not only pitching well, but he's able to go deep into games, and shorten the gap between himself and Jonathan Papelbon. Hopefully that will be a strategy that the Dice Man can learn to employ next season, but I'm sorry to say for now, he seems content on nibbling and trying to strike every last batter out. Combine that with the Wakefield injury and Beckett sleeping awkwardly on his right arm, and the most vital part of this team come playoff time, is to say the least, very much in flux. I mean in case you didn't know, late August and early September isn't exactly the best time for your pitching staff to go on the fritz...

...and don't think I'm conceding a playoff spot. Minnesota, Chicago and Tampa right there with Boston battling for 2 spots. I think the Sox are still good enough to grab a playoff spot, and the way I look at it, if they're in, I want them to win. So I'm worried about their chances of winning it all, not their chances of merely limping into the playoffs...


-As for the aforementioned bridge to Papelbon, I've been liking what I've been seeing from rookie righty, Justin Masterson. My fear all along was that his delivery would make him BP for any decent lefty, but he seems to have that under control of late, which has made him a very reliable asset. Sure his numbers against lefties still look piss poor, but in the "what have you done for me lately" category, he's been the best thing goin' in the Sox pen this side of Alex Cora...

-And just because you have all forgotten a few things, doesn't mean I haven't been keeping tabs for ya. Here are a few notes to check out...

*I'm not trying to pile on Varitek like the rest of Red Sox Nation, but don't et his 2 recent home runs change your mind about his offensive woes. Since the All Star Break, Tek is still just hackin' at a cool .208, with those 2 homers and just 5 RBI. Oh, but he's handling the staff so well, isn't he?...


*JD Drew's inability to stay healthy took a back seat earlier this year when the guy was ripping the cover off the ball, but now when we need him most, he's showing his true colors. And not only has he missed the last few games with yet another ailment, but he too has been stuck in reverse since the mid summer classic. .209 with 2 homers and just 9 RBI. So like I said. He was never worth the money Theo paid him, and he never will be...


*There is some good news though, as Julio Lugo suffered a set back this week in his rehab. Good thing too, because with Lowire hitting .328 since the break and really beginning to settle in, it gives Theo and Tito some time to think of a legit excuse to pass off as a reason Lugo can't play this year. Hell, you know what? Maybe this is the excuse! Whatever it may be, anything works for me, as long as it keeps that cracked out lookin' E-6 out of the lineup...



In closing out my Sox news, I want to wish a speedy recovery to Sox legend and the last Triple Crown winner, Carl Yasztremski. Yaz has long been my favorite player from the old school era, and though he may be old, it's way too soon for him to have to say good bye. I'm with ya, Yaz. Get well soon...

Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-Well as much as it pains me to do this, with the fear of the karmic repercussions and all, I have to stick a fork in the New York Yankees for 2008. They can't string together runs. They're starting pitching is in shambles. And even Mariano has blown a save, and lost 2 games in which he started the inning with a tie! Maybe Hank Steinbrenner knew more than we did when he started talking about next year, but this Yankee team just doesn't seem to have that classic closing kick in them that teams past have had in spades. Lucky for Yankee fans, what thsi season has lacked in excitement, this off season is sure to make up for. Between the new stadium, and the expected roster overhaul, it's sure to keep the Bombers on the back pages all Winter long...


...in the meantime, don't be surprised if an old Yankee starter finds his way into the tabloids this week. Hideki Irabu (yes, that Hideki Irabu) was arrested in Osaka, Japan this week after downing 20 brews and trashing a local bar. He threatened the bartender, and smashed 9 bottles of liquor before he was restrained and taken into custody. No word if it was because the guy called him a fat toad, or if he himself realzed how pathetic he was, and just went buck nutty. All I know, is somewhere Frank Costanza is smiling, and most likely yelling something like "Jay Buhner had a rocket arm!!!"...



-And I can't help but wonder if the Milwaukee Brewers are becoming the gold standard for how to get your money's worth a typical trade deadline "rent-a-player". I'm talkin' of course, about CC Sabathia. Not only did the Brewers tactically plan on when to get the lefty in order to maximize his starts, but since he's suited up, they've milked his multi million dollar left wing for every dollar it's worth. He has 6 complete games in his 9 starts since joining the Brew Crew, the latest of which saw him toss 130 pitches despite his team's massive lead. Now I don't wanna sound like one of those pitch count guru's, cause I'm not. But for a guy that looked gassed after a heavy inning load last October, do you really think this is the best strategy? All the power to Milwaukee for trying to get the most bang for their buck, but I can't help but think it might backfire come the stretch run and the playoffs. And let me take it a step further. I can make a case that the Brewers have already resigned themselves to the fact they can't re-sign CC, and seeing as that's the case, don't care what long term damage they might do to him, and are going for broke. Sinister? Of course. But we all know this aint "Show-friends", now, don't we?


Hey, maybe I'm wrong, and maybe he can handle it. Lord knows if any one's got the frame to be an innings horse it's him. I just think it's something worth keeping an eye on when and if Milwaukee ends up making a post season run...

News and Notes
-Take that David Stern! LeBron may not be bolting for Europe quite yet, but one of the league's biggest stars (literally) is making the jump to Italy. That's right boys and girls, Shawny "Appleseed" Kemp, the Master of the Morning After, has landed himself a rather robust $1.5 mil to take up space for some Italian squad during the upcoming season. Whether he's heading to Europe to set up another franchise of his own, or to actually play some ball has yet to be determined. But I must admit, all these defections, no matter how irrelevant the player, are starting to get interesting...

-And just a few more Olympic notes before I get on to the rest of my business. After all, I'm forced to cater to you tools, and seeing as you guys can't shut the damn Olympics off, I figure I might as well humor you...

*The best name of the Olympics has to be that of Chinese trampoline-ist, Dong-Dong. Not only is it obviously funny, but it got me to thinkin'. If that's what his name is in English, are there any English names that similarly translate hysterically into other language? Well I don't have the answer, but believe me, I'm on the case. Who knows, the answer might finally reveal the answers to questions like "Why German's love Hassellhoff" or better yet "Why Asians still continue to worship Michael Jackson"...

*Screw Michael Phelps, the most entertaining athlete of these games has been by far and away, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Not only did he bring home gold medals and World Records in the 100 + 200 meters, but dude did it with style. Thumping his chest as he crossed in the 100, and becoming the first man ever to set World Records in the 100 + 200 in a single Olympics? That's called style and substance, kids. And you gotta love it. American or not. Now the only question left to answer for Bolt is, can he catch a football?...


...and if you're thinkin' that's not a lot to write about a guy who's name is in this week's title, you're right. But hey, it was just too catchy to pass up, so I ran with it. Plus, dude's a pimp. And we all know how much I love me some pimpin'...

*I love how, presumably thanks to the exposed coverage brought on by the Olympics, what was formerly referred to as "Bay-Zhing" is now being over enunciated as "Bay-Ching". So, what? We've been wrong this whole time pronouncing it the other way? No wonder the rest of the planet hates our arrogant asses. For years we've been pronouncing the name wrong, but in one week we make it look like we're the ones that named the freakin' place. God I love this country. Even when we're wrong, we're right. And when we're really wrong, we nuke you so far back to the stone age you wouldn't know "right" if it jumped out of the rubble and bit you in the ass...


-The NCAA wonders why their coaches contracts aren't worth the paper their written on. Tom Crean, the former Marquette head man who was poached by Indiana this off season, just signed a new, 10 year deal with the Hoosiers. Seems normal, right? Well, except for the fact that the guy just signed an 8 year deal a few months ago, only has 7 scholarship players currently on his roster, and has yet to coach a freaking game! Pretty sketch if you ask me. But I do have to give them props this time around. At least they're covered with Crean if he decides to go all Kelvin Sampson on them and break every rule the NCAA has...

-And while I don't claim to be any sort of "ghetto pass" expert, I sure know ways to get one revoked when I see 'em...



That's about as cool as the other side of the pillow....if the other side had a picture of John Rocker wearing a white hood...(plus we all know Stu' pillow has an imprint of Serena's ass on it, and he likes to nuzzle his nose right down in there)

...yea sorry. I just puked a bit in my mouth too...

As for this one, well I flat out don't get it. I like boogie boarding as much as the next guy, but apparently that's all Jamie Foxx and I have in common...



Unless he's pulling a reverse Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, and playing a black guy, playing a white guy, who's actually a Nazi surfer, then I'm simply at a loss for words. They could call it "Ray II: The Rise of the Aryan Surfer"...

Patriots Update
Overall: 0-2

It was another less than stellar performance for the Pats against the Bucs this weekend, but with 21 starters still not on the field I guess it was to be expected. Here are a couple notes from last week's game, and a few observations from the latest practices and roster moves...

-The tenuous state of the offensive line is beginning to give me some concerns. With Matt Light and Stephen Neal still absent from practice, and O'Callahan, Yates and Hochstein all nursing injuries, is the instability of the line the real reason we haven't seen Brady yet in the pre season? Exhibition games or not, nearly every group of lineman the Pats have sent out there has looked over matched in both pass protection, and run blocking, so it stands to reason it may be less of how Tom feels, and more the Pats protecting their greatest asset. Whatever the issue is, I fully expect Tom to be out there for this weeks game. It's just a question of whether or not he has any time to do anything. And needless to say, if that problem carries over to the regular season, the Pats won't really resemble the team we watched go 19-0 last year, and come within one drive of perfection...


-With the release of veteran tight end, Marcus Pollard, it's looking more and more likely that Sammy Morris' roster spot is safe, and the Pats will be carrying 5 running backs on this year's squad. Morris will likely take Pollard's roster spot in the long run, and will complete a group that already figures to have Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, Lamont Jordan and Heath Evans. With the injury history of both Dave Thomas and Benjamin Watson, I can't imagine the roster staying with just 2 TE's, but I like the possible versatility that the projected stable of backs could bring to the table. And I also like not having to tell my friends that I was right about their neighbor being given the axe. That whole Reche Caldwell mess last year was just too much for them to handle...


-To update last week's comments on Matt Cassel, I didn't think he did much to save his job against Tampa Bay. Coach Belichick said he saw a lot of improvement from the 3rd year back up, but I can't help but think that's just a little hype on the way out the door to give the kid a little free agent buzz. I also heard Belichick say this week that he prefers having young QB's under his control for a number of years, but at what point do you give in like you have in the past with Flutie and Testaverde? This team needs a solid backup if for nothing more than piece of mind, and I expect them to make a move to solidify that position in the coming days prior to the start of the season. The team may indeed be crippled if Brady goes down, but with a reliable back up, the rest of the team could still make a serious run deep into the playoffs...

Tackle Box
-The old Latin saying says "In Vino Veritas", meaning basically when you get someone drunk, then the real truth comes out. Well in the NFL they should switch it to "In Injury Veritas", as is the case with Chris Henry and the Cincinnati Bengals. After both head coach Marvin Lewis and owner Mike Brown ripped Henry on his way out the door, the troubled wide out is back in a striped uniform after all, and not the one most would have expected. With both Chad Johnson and TJ Whosyourmama both nicked up, the Bengals welcomed a contrite Henry to camp this week, and are no doubt praying that for once he decides to stay out of trouble. There's no doubt he's talented, hence the 5th chance to make it right. but my money says he reverts back to his old ways. I give him 6 weeks before one of his boys shoots up a flesh farm, he himself breaks a beer bottle over someones head....After all, he is from West Virginia, and he is a Bengal. Some stripes you just cant get out, no matter how much bleach and moonshine you use...


OK kiddos, that's it for me this week. I know I was a little short on football ish this week, but with the season fast approaching you can guarantee that's bound to change. Besides, I only get to vent about the Olympics once every 4 years, so you gotta put up with it whether you like it or not. So I'll catch you next week, where there will no doubt be another look in at the Pats, and who knows, maybe even some solid NFL predictions you can sink your teeth into. Until then, behave yourselves, and I'll catch you on the flip side...

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...


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Brett The Jet

Greetings and salutations my good peeps. There's a lot goin on in the world of sports and entertainment this week, but I wanna start with a little self analysis. No, I didn't have an epiphany telling me that writing blogs is for tools, but that assumption might be a little closer than you may have thought. Now I've long been aware that other bloggers out there like to critique guys like me in their spare time, and while most reviews I've heard of my stuff have been relatively positive, I found this particular criticism downright laughable...

(in response to a piece I wrote about how the Kentucky basketball job isn't all it's cracked up to be. You can check it out here...http://www.roochnation.com/2007/04/dice-is-right.html)

"Not to break up the love fest or anything, but this guy… I dunno. Sounds like your run of the mill, jealous of Kentucky, cheap shotting Jim Rome wannabe — but he’s taking a ‘evil Barnhart’ angle in his rant which is amusing in a fantasy sort of way. That is, if you can read it. Apparently he’s a 24 year old expert on sports and the human soul but paragraphs are beyond his comprehension."




HA! Pretty clever for a hick, huh? I'm not sure what's funnier. The fact that the dude has me pegged. The fact that he's criticizing the structural integrity of my blog. The fact that he's critiquing blogs to begin with. The fact that he got all hot and bothered over my criticism of Kentucky basketball. OR....and this is my favorite. The fact that when I went to check on what this guy has recently wrote on his blog, only to find that it's now nonexistent, and essentially has been since the day he launched that post. Apparently the state pen that he currently resides in after the Feds found his moonshine stills, doesn't have the Intraweb. Either that, or his sister/wife has revoked his computer privileges ever since she caught him anally cheating on her with a corn cobbed pipe. And oh yeah. I'm as jealous of Kentucky as...well...I can't think of anything really demeaning enough to get my point across. But I figure you got the point with all the inbreeding and meth cracks. Yeah, they do meth too. And lots of it...


OK. Now that I've steel toed that hick right in his Confederate flag banana hammock, it's time to move on to the real important shit. Naturally, our views of "important" may differ greatly, but I still recommend you read on...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 66-49, 2nd in AL East by 3 games



-Jason Bay has been better than advertised so far, but to quote Winston Wolf, let's not all go sucking each other's dicks quite yet. Bay may be 11 for 22 since his arrival in the Bean, but in a trade that saw Boston's cleanup man leave town, the cleanup spot in the order hasn't exactly been thriving since the deal went down. Call it trivial if you must, but simple math tells you that if you remove something, you damn well replace it if you're expecting to keep up the same production. Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz are all great hitters and everything, but none are as good as Manny. So if Bay is only as good as those guys I just mentioned, and none of them are as good as Manny, the nit stands to reason that in order to keep the offense at the level it was at before the trade, everyone's gonna need to pick up the pace. So I'll say it again. 11 for 22? Let's not go sucking each other's cocks just yet...


-Two youngsters that have been drawing polarizing reviews of late have been Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie. Both for different reasons, mind you, but both rather strong opinions nonetheless. Lowrie's performance has had all those Lugo haters (aka Red Sox Nation) clamoring for the kid to permanently man down the shortstop hole, while Buchholz gas can like outings have, God for bid, had the same group of fans clamoring for El Guapo Redux, Bartolo Colon. Here's their respective stats over the last month of the season. You be the judge...

Lowrie: .273 / 0 HR / 13 RBI / 3 R

Buccholz: 0-4 / 6.59 ERA / 24 K / 15 BB


OK, so Buchholz is awful. But how much do people hate Julio Lugo that Lowrie's performance has them doing cartwheels down Boylston St.? I understand Lowrie's defense has also helped his cause, but don't tell me the hatred for Julio Lugo hasn't reached truly Nomar-ic proportions...


-Oh, and you want a few alarming stats to really get you shaking in your boots about this year's stretch run? Well here ya go...

*Despite leading the Majors in both road OPS (on base % + slugging %) and batting average, the Red Sox are still somehow only 26-33 on the road. The only other above .500 team with a worse road record you ask? The Toronto Blue Jays, who currently sit at 57-56...

*Only two Sox starters (Lester and Dice K) even have winning road records this year. Even after his win @ Kansas City on Tuesday, Josh Beckett is only 5-5 this year, albeit with a respectable 3.38 ERA...


Not exactly inspiring, huh? I'm not saying it's time to start looking at the Wild Card, or anything like that, but it's obvious the team needs to step it up if they're gonna be able to challenge the Angels for the AL's World Series bid...


Anyway. Let us now move onto some tasty, non-Sox related baseball news. I swear it's delicious...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-Barry Bonds was invited to the Giants 50th Anniversary celebration this week, and now the Left Coast is holding their collective breath to see if he'll show. You gotta think they just did the "classy" thing by inviting him, hoping in return he'll do the "classy" thing, and make up some semi legit excuse why he can't show. You know, like make some shit up about being under Federal Indictment, or having to go cheat on your wife with some money grubbing back-stabber...Oh wait...



-Manny's already up to his old tricks in the city of angels. Despite the team's dress code, and Joe Torre's comment that he'll believe Manny will conform to it, Ramirez still has yet to cut his hair, and doesn't seem in any hurry to do so in the near future. On the other hand, he's raking like a Mexican landscaper, so what are you gonna do? Well there ya go, LA. You got what you paid before. Now it's time to just sit back, accept it, and watch the RBI's keep rollin' on in. And keep your eyes out for that yellow grass in left field. Yes, it is what you think it is...


-And again I have to marvel at the power of one Dr. James Andrews. As the Yankees flew Joba Chamberlain down to Birmingham, Alabama to see the good doctor this week, I can't help but be impressed. Not New York, not Boston, not Chicago and not LA. This guy runs his shop out of a hick post known more for the KKK and crayfish, yet he still gets all the big named teams and athletes to run to him to glance at their X-rays. It's like SoCal-er's runnin' to Utah for top shelf porno...


Unfortunately for the Yanks, Joba's "rays" didn't even make it to the good doctor before the burly righty (whose real name is Justin, by the way) was place on the 15 day DL with shoulder stiffness. Ouch. Combine that with Jeff Karstens, who was traded for Xavier Nady, going 2-0 with 15 shut out innings in Pittsburgh, and you know Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashamn are feelin' instense pulsating pains in the area of their respective crotches. Sure Nady has been great, but with Joba's move from the bully now looking like a bad idea, and the pitching staff ravaged with injuries, I bet they're wishin' they had Karstens well rested arm at their disposal. Oh but don't worry Yankee fans. Word out on the farm says Carl Pavano and Eric Milton are progressing nicely, and could actually make appearances during the '08 stretch run. HA! Carl Pavano! Can't help but to laugh when I say that name out loud...


-And just to round out the AL East, those pesky Rays definitely aren't going away. They haven't suffered that major injury that could cripple them. And as that 6 run come from behind win against Cleveland on Wednesday proved, they don't know who they are, and they don't know this is the time to start foldin' up their Superman tent and headin' to the golf course. And yes, if I could think of another instance in this paragraph in which to use italics, I would have tossed that sucker in here...


News and Notes


-I gotta give props to Green Bay GM, Ted Thompson, and head coach, Mike McCarthy for at the very least sticking to their guns during this whole Brett Favre saga. They've been saying this whole time that Aaron Rodgers was their man, and despite Roger Goodell forcing them to bring Favre back onto their roster, their still holding to their beliefs. Sure it may look like a short term mistake for a team that's fresh of a trip to the NFC title game, but just like in the Manny situation, these actions set valuable precedent within the organization. With Manny, Theo Epstein and crew let players know they can pout their way out of town when they have beef with their contract. Here, McCarthy and Thompson are letting their players and fans know that no one man, not even the immortal Brett Favre, is bigger than the Packers and their ultimate goal of building another long term winner, capable of bringing home possibly a few Vince Lombardi trophies. Whether it turns out to be the right move, or even all that business savvy remains to be seen, but from where this guy sits, I at least have to admire their dedication to their own principles...

As for Favre being traded to the Jets? Well I told my boys in NYC a few weeks back that the Favre to New York rumors were only circulating in NYC (and at the time it was true), but it turns out the Jetropolitans pulled it off. Or should I say, it appears that way as we sit here today. I still stick to my guns and say the guy is still destined to retire after all this mess, but should he end up donning a new shade of green in the Big Apple, it looks like all this mess was basically all for nought. He would replace Chad Pennington, the team will be perhaps a little bit better, and the big market media will make life for anyone in that locker room vritually intolerable. Basically, the only thing that Favre going to the Jets will change, is the amount of National TV games we'll be forced to watch involving the J-E-T-S...

Either way, I guess I'm just happy that no matter the outcome. The Madden cover curse will live on, and the team that gets #4 will be in a classic lose-lose situation. He's not gonna lead any new team to a title, he's gonna be a huge distraction all season long, and the new team will be stuck dealing with his melodrama once the season ends. Funny. I guess that makes it a lose-lose-lose, now doesn't it? That's the exact situation the Packers avoided by telling the former pill popper to hit the bricks. Good for you Green Bay. Good for you...


-A lot of interesting news out of the world of International basketball this week, the least of which is the US Olympic team. First came word that LeBron would "entertain" $50 mil a year offers to play in salary-cap-free Europe. That was immediately followed by an announcement that the 2nd notable NBA player this summer, Earl Boykins, has opted to play abroad next season rather than toiling in the US. Obviously I don't see a LeBron leap to Europe as even remotely likely, but the exodus of Josh Childrees to Greece and Boykins to Italy this off season may be just what the NBA needs to get it's ass back in gear. I know losing two guys like is like dumping a glass of water in the ocean, or taking a dump in West Virginia, but the threat of a decent league with unlimited spending might at least cause David Stern and Co. to alter their ways and loosen the reigns a little. Hey, with a lot of fans skill questioning if the NBA is on the level, and cable/satellite allowing them to watch whatever they want, don't think an improved EuroLeague wouldn't take away from NBA revenues. Again, I know it's unlikely that they would let it get to that, but I like the competeition. Or at least the illusion of it. Hey, I'm American dammit. The illusion of choice and competetion is what we're all about. Well that, and turning 14 year old little girl movie stars into full blown porned out drug addicts that look like they've been ridden more times than Seattle Slew. Yeah, we're chill like that...


-Speaking of the Olympics, they get started this week with the Opening Ceremonies LIVE from the smog ridden, Commie Utopia known as Beijing, China. I for one couldn't care less, but seeing as half the country seems to have a hard on for Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, that "Gay" sprinter and the US Hoops squad, I figure I at least have to address it. I sure as Hell won't be watching much of the coverage, no matter how eloquent that tiny man Bob Costas is, but I will be listening in for this...Oh Hell, here's the whole medly from that creepy kid's piano recital. The Olympic jammy is in there, but his whole thing is just classic...




What a show, huh? All John Williams songs, and they're all dank. And that Olympic jam? man oh man. You know John Tesh is kicking himself for not comin' up with that bad boy...


So enjoy the pollution, kids. It's the least you should have to go through if you're gonna rake in the commercial loots while still posing as "amateurs". Listen. Michale Phelps is an amateur because swimming is beat, and nobody would pay to watch it on a regular basis. So live the charade, friends, and beat some Commie ass!...Mao sucks!!...

Patriots Update

-So it's finally here. Literally as I'm finishing up this post, I'm getting ready to jet out to work, and run the production board for my first New England Patriots game of the '08 season. And while I'm pumped to get to work, and even more excited to start making my week by week picks for the '08 season and talking fantasy football, there's still the pre season to focus on. Here are some things I'll let you mull over before the madness begins, and we all start to wonder what it was we did when there wasn't any football on...


-The Pats added former Kansas City guard, Jon Welbourn to the club this week, bolstering the depth of what many already are calling the strength of the team. Not me, mind you, as I still think Matt Light is possibly the most overrated player in the AFC. But you can never have too much interior line experience, and Welbourne brings that to the table in spades. Apparently the front office and coaching staff also view the o-line as a little thin, and as usual the fact we're on the same page is rather comforting...

-As for what to look for in the first few pre seaon games, you gotta look at the rookies. In particular, keep an eye out for backers Shawn Crable and Jerod Mayo, along with DB's Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley. All are expected to contribute in one way or another this year, so it's time to start seein' what they got. Esepcially keep watch on Crable, who my people have told me has been very impressive in camp, displaying great awareness, quickness, and a rela nose for the ball. The play making from the LBS has been noticeably absent in the past few years, but this new mix of youth and experience could bring back the ball hawking style that helped this bend but don't break defense thrive in the ealier part of the decade...


-Also keep an eye out for safety turned wide out, Ray Ventrone. He could be Troy Brown in reverse, or just anaother failed pre season experiment. Either way it's a unique move to change a guy's position at the pro level, so I know I'll be seein' if the guy has any sort of potential on the other side of the ball...


Alright pimps, that's it for me. If I stay any longer I know I'll start blabberin' about how Ice Cube is trying to make "black" versions of every white family film ever made, that "SportsCenter Steve" ad campaign, or how Dunkin Donuts is now trying to feed me egg white flatbread sandwhiches. We all know that could get pretty ugly, and more than likely, would probably prompt you to go straight to TMZ or MySpace. So, at the risk of pressing my luck, I'm off to learn how to write paragrphs, drink washer fluid and think of the most eloquent way I can tell people that I clean tobacco spit off a stripper pole for a living...


And if you need me this weekend, I'll be eating me some pig...