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Friday, January 09, 2009

New Year, Same Rooch...

Greetings and salutations my good people, and welcome to 2009...

I hope you're all having a great start to the new year, and hopefully my latest barbs and observations will help keep you going down that prosperous path.

Since it's been a while since I last vented, I'm starting the new year with a list of topics that I've been wanting to rant on, but haven't been able to due to the joyful stress of the holiday season. It'll be like a Rooch enema to get your new year started off right. Except not nearly as gross as an enema. OK, I guess it's not like an enema at all, and more like a B-12 shot. And not like the one Miguel Tejada got. OK, you get the picture...

Get your read on, and enjoy...





Stephon Marbury

Celtic fans need to check themselves big time on this one...

1) Marbury has never been a backup

2) Marbury has never not been a role player

3) Marbury has always been a handful

4) This team lacks defensive intensity, and Marbury doesn't play defense

5) He has a tat of his sneaker brand logo on his dome piece


Yeah, signing him would make a lot of sense. Never in his career has he been asked to come off the bench (except when he refused) or play a lick of defense, yet the Celtics are expecting him to do both? Right...

If anything, I want the Celts to pick him up so I feel a lot better thinking that Danny Ainge is still an inept little elf. It'd really be a great year to start the year...


Matt Cassel

I gotta admit I'm in a bit of a bind when it comes to Cassel. And seeing as Starbury got me goin' in list format to start my '09 campaign, I figure why not keep that trend alive...


1) My man Andy Gresh, now of Sirius NFL Radio fame, has been saying all year long that there was no way the Patriots were going to franchise Matty Cassel. Granted he was the only one saying that, but as someone that used to work with Gresh, it wouldn't have been odd at all had he been the only one to get this thing right. Flat out, the guy knows football, and he excels at being able to look at a situation from all sides before coming to what he deems a very logical conclusion. All that being said, reports are now out that Cassel will indeed be franchised, which leads me wonder what good reasons could have possibly led informed my friend to be so misled. Long story short; just because everyone is saying the Patriots are going to franchise Cassel, I'm not gonna believe it until they actually do. And if I were you, I'd heed the same caution, lest you look like a complete tard...(and I mean "tard" in the most PC way it could possibly be used)...


2) A lot of people have been comparing Cassel's situation to that of former Dan Marino backup and noted Wayne Fontz impersonator, Scott Mitchell. A lot of people in the know will laugh that off and say Mitchell was just a bum, but that's just how history has chosen to remember him. Sure he had his off the field issues with the Lions, but he also put up some good numbers before the team and the franchise conveniently came crumbling down around him...

I look at Cassel, and I see the potential for the same thing when he leaves the cozy confines of Foxboro. I'm not saying he's a "system quarterback" that only achieved because of Belichick's genius, but I am saying there's no way he'll end up in nearly as stable an environment. Face it. If you're a team that needs a QB, then chances are your team isn't on very stable footing. Therefore, in more instances than not, adding a QB only means that you have a mess of a team, that's a little better off at the QB position. Not exactly a great situation. Sure the money will be great, but I still live in a world where I think even the mountains of cash won't help Cassel's mind when his team is busy goin' 6-10 and missing the playoffs year after year...

I guess if I were him I'd take the money, cross my fingers, and hope for the best, but in reality the odds are not in his favor that he'll come out on the other side of this thing looking like a great QB. It's just the way it is. And I wish him the best, I really do. And I respect the fact that he'd rather play than be a backup. I just don't like his prospects all that much. He's good, he's just not a franchise changer. There, that's a good way to end it...


Just some things to keep in mind when all this madness starts up for real at the beginning of February...


Mark Teixeira

Going into the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, I figured that everyone involved knew these 2 important facts...

1) Scott Boras is an evil genius. He would as soon shake your hand as he would take a dump on your grave. His job, is to get his clients the most money possible. And while he's good at it, the very nature of his business means that being good at it, makes him a complete and utterly untrustworthy asshole.


2) The only people with a realistic shot at getting Teixiera were the Yankees, the Red Sox, and any sort of legit team that would be willing to grossly outbid the Yankees or Red Sox. That one "legit" team this time around was the Angels. They said no mas, so it was down, as usual, to the big 2...


Well apparently, I was wrong, yet again proving the saying that when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me...

Remember that email that John Henry sent out about a week before the Yanks nabbed Teixeira? It said the Sox were out of the running, but at the time, everyone seemed to view it was simply another negotiating tactic. The reality? The day that email came out, was the same day Theo and the Trio learned that they were being played by MLB's equivalent of "Gecko the Great". It became clear to the powers that be, that at some point during the Teixeira sweepstakes, Boras made a deal with Yankee GM Brian Cashman, that he would bring back the market's top offer, and the Yankees would beat it by enough money to make it worth every one's while. To Boston's credit, when they realized they were bidding against themselves they called it a day. But the real question is why it came to that end in the first place?


Did Teixeira just flat out not want to come to Boston, or was it that somehow Epstein dropped the ball? Well if I'm to believe my own "conspiracy", it would appear the Sox were willing to do whatever it took, but that Teixeira and/or Boras were determined that the 1st baseman land in New York. OR you could subscribe to the theory that Teixeira's wife wanted no part of the Massachusetts capital, and that Boras, knowing this all along, just strung the Sox along just long enough to get the right price out of the pin stripes. Now as a male, I find it hard to believe any one's wife is calling the shots when the husband is making in excess of $20 million a year. But that thinking could also be the reason why I've lived most of my life as an eligible bachelor. Hmmm...

When all is said and done, I tend to think the simplest theory is probably the right one. Boras led the Sox to believe they were the front runner for Teixeira, when all the while Brian Cashman and his CC Sabathia sized check book were waiting in the wings. It was cold hard business, and while the Sox front office may not have dropped the ball, they've learned something I figured all of us already knew.

Scott Boras is an evil genius. Turn your back, and he'll ram some pin stripes right up your backside...

Here endith the lesson...




Big East Basketball

I consider myself a college hoops junkie, and I've never, EVER seen a conference nearly as talented and deep as this year's crop of Big East behemoths. 9 teams currently in the top 25? 4 in the top 10?! And if you ask me, that doesn't even come close to speaking to how good this group really is.

Example: Of the 9 Big East teams currently ranked in the top 25, I can make a legit case for every single one of them to represent the conference in this year's Final Four. The same can't be said for the Big 10's Minnesota and Purdue*, currently ranked 19th and 16th, or the ACC's Clemson and Boston College*, currently slated at 11th and 25th respectively. Simply put, the only thing that seems to rival the Big East's talent these days, is it's extraordinary depth...

(*suffered gross losses after I already had this ish down on paper. Get some!!)

And while from Pitt to West Virginia the Big East's best might be spread full across the top 25, the most intriguing fact may be that they're all much more tightly grouped. It's like there's those 9 teams, and maybe another 10 in the rest of the country that would be able to compete with them on any given night. That's why I've been referring to this year's Big East schedule as "The Gauntlet", and that's why it's gonna be so God damned fun to watch. Almost every game will have direct impact on that week's top 25, and virtually every matchup will have implications to this year's NCAA tournament seeding. Sure it's 3 months away, but with so many "quality" teams in the conference, almost every night is an opportunity to pick up a resume building win...


This season's gonna be bigger than Wahlberg's hog at the end of Boogie Nights!!! It will just also be real...Oh!



Jeff Jagodzinski

BC head football coach Jeff Jagodzinski was told by his athletic director that if he interviewed with the Jets, he would lose his job. He interviewed anyway, and was subsequently canned. The sad thing is that not only did Jag's jolt emotionally stun his good friend and boss BC AD Gene DeFilippo, but it was the biggest news to come from Chestnut Hill despite the Eagles back to back ACC title game appearances...

But that's what you get when your fans don't travel and your school has such high academic standards. You get run ragged playing the recruiting game, and you get the shaft when it comes to your post season payday. I mean this team was one win away from a BCS bid, and they get stuck in Nashville at the Music City Bowl in a virtual home game for the opposing Vanderbilt Commodores? Please, that's just pathetic. So when DeFilippo comes out and say he and Jags had a difference in opinion of the programs "future", you have to believe the coach saw the writing on the wall, while the successful and committed AD still has what would seem to outsiders as delusions of the programs potential grandeur. To most fans worth their salt, it's apparent that BC is a "stepping stone" job, and not necessarily someone would want to spend the rest of their career. DeFilippo disagrees, which shows his dedication to the program, but holding that hard line could eventually lead to discouraging any big time coach from ever taking the job...

There's certainly more to this story than meets the eye, with two friends being torn apart by the rigors of big time football. But thanks to a neat little settlement, I'm sure we'll never know the true extent of the Boras like back stabbing that may have ensued...


Eric Mangini

Staying on the coaching tip for a second, Eric "the Rat" Mangini just inked a comfy little 4 year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Mangini, who began his "career" as a ball boy in Cleveland, always seemed like the man for the job, but his hiring leads me to wonder the fate of their staff and perhaps more importantly, their front office. I mean not that I care, but if you're to believe what's out there, the Belichick imposed hatred for Mangini runs deep throughout the Patriots organization. So what of Scot Pioli and Romeo Crennel? Will Pioli come and will Romeo stay if the Fat Kid's calling the shots? I'm not so sure...

And when was the last time a fired coach got a job this quickly, anyway? Weird. And I know they say your first instinct is probably your best instinct, but for the Browns? Well, let's just say if I were them I would have given this one some additional thought...


Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan

Some of you may recognize Phil Ivey as one of the original superstars to come out of the TV poker boom, but to most the 2nd name should be a complete mystery. Dwan, just 22, has quickly become one of the most dominant forces on the poker scene, specializing in dusting his competition on the virtual felt. And his rise has been as rapid as it has been impressive Example: Ivey was one of only 3 players to have better earnings (over $7.5 mil) in 2008 @ noted poker site, Full Tilt Poker, than the young Dwan who netted in excess of $3 million. Not bad for a BU dropout from Jersey, eh?

Now even though both of these pros seem to be at the top of their game, that alone is not what puts them on my radar. While that alone should earn them props, it's their ensuing uber high stakes online battle that's grabbed my attention. Dwan, known in the online poker world as "Durrr", has recently been taken up on his standing offer to play anybody, anytime, playing no limit hold 'em and/or pot limit omaha, for 50,000 hands...

His stipulations? The game will be played simultaneously on at least 4 tables, with each competitor playing each other heads up at blinds of $200/$400. So you play at least 4 heads up matches at the same time...

The prize? Well if the cash incentive weren't enough, Dwan is also offering 3 to 1 odds on a side bet of $500,000 that he will be the one with the net gain in his bankroll when the marathon session is complete. You win, and that's another coll $1.5 mil you can add to you're already bulging stack...

You can read even more about the match up here, http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/article/5842/ivey-accepts-durrrrs-poker-challenge

(note: the day after I wrote this, high stakes pro, Patrick Antonius, also accepted Durrr's offer, and the two are currently working out the details)


Quick Hitters

*Upon hearing that the Boston Red Sox had recently agreed to term with veteran pitcher, John Smoltz, and veteran outfielder and Rhode Island native, Rocco Baldelli, Frosco sent me a text message that looked a lot like the one below...

Smoltz?! God, we're going to have the most fragile team in baseball, but I love it. Baldelli too! HEY THERE WEIRD MUSCLE DISEASE!

Hey, when you can't say it any better yourself, you just have to tip your cap and move on to the next topic...



*Is Matt Millen really doing pre and post game coverage for NBC?

NEXT on the Travel Channel...Susan Smith Presents: A Mother's Guide to Taking Your Kids on the Perfect Road Trip

I mean, what the fuck?...



*Everything's bigger in Texas, right? Well Colt McCoy better hope so if that little dime next to his parents at the Fiesta Bowl was actually his sister. Dude's gonna need a gun the size of a John Deere and a chastity belt booby trapped with land mines to keep the little Colt wannabe's from trying to get at her gully hole. Yeeeeee haaaww!!!...(Yeah, I wish I had a pic of her too, but een the almighty Intraweb could not meet my demands. It's OK, though. I got it all on file in the spank bank...that is if she's 18...wink, wink)


*Tim Tebow: He's everything your parents wished you were...Peace be with you & thanks be to God...

Just ask FOX's Thom Brennaman who said "Spending 5 minutes with Tim Tebow will make everyone a better person"

And hey, just because Thom thought 3rd and Goal last night was really 4th and Goal and went a little overboard, doesn't mean he shouldn't be taken for his word...Putz. Go get your Jesus on, and leave the sports to the morally ambiguous. Or in my case, to those with little to no moral values at all when it comes to sports and entertainment...


*ESPN.com went and fucked with their website, and now it's beat. Trying to look at one of their scoreboards is like trying to look at a picture of the ocean in one of them "magic eye" paintings. This is the 2nd time in the last 3 years that they've attempted to "fix" it, and I hope like the last time they just give up and head back to the ole reliable format...



*Rip Torn, Charles Barkley and Antoine Walker all got pulled over for DUI's recently. One is a clown, one acts like a clown, and one is brick chuckin' T-Rex putting together an audition tape for the upcoming remake of Michael Jackson's Thriller. I'll let you figure out who's who...


Now, it's on to the NFL and my delicious picks for this week's Divisional matchups. I'll try my best to bounce back from the disappointing 1-3-0 I pulled in the first round, but I have to be honest. I don't like my chances. Hey, picking winners is hard enough, let alone taking into account the unpredictabilty and craziness of the playoffs...


Well, here it goes!...



Divisional Picks

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) vs Baltimore Ravens

I've wrestled all week with this one, and I still don't really like my pick. So instead of attempting to give you analysis on why I picked who I picked, I'll just tell you this. The Ravens are "too good to be true" and the Titans are playing at home. We all think Baltimore is the next best thing since we watched their impressive win last weekend, but just because we haven't seen the Titans at their best in over a month, doesn't mean their still not capable of laying down some smack. I like this to be a low scoring game too, but I;m not even gonna get into that...


Or am I?...


Arizona Cardinals (+10) @ Carolina Panthers

I had an epiphany last week when it comes to picking OVER/UNDERs...

I was watching the Chargers/Colts game in which I had picked the OVER of 50.5, and when Darren Sproles fumbled a ball through the back of the endzone for an Indianapolis touchback, it hit me. If I'm just picking against the spread, I'm more or less picking for one team, or against the other. When I'm picking and OVER or an UNDER, I'm essentially picking for or against both offenses, while at the same time picking for or against both defenses. Well for someone that doesn't trust most of these teams further than I can punt 'em, I realized I was putting way too much of my destiny into their hands...

Why am I explaining this, you ask? Well in a game like this, with two high scoring offenses, and the fact that it's a playoff game, I'd tend to take the OVER rather than trying my luck with such a large spread. Instead, thanks to my epiphany, I'm taking the Cardinals and the massive 10 point spread. I know the Panthers are the better team, but with a spread like that, they're only gonna cover in a blowout. Arizona may not keep it close, but I figure even they have enough on the defensive side of the ball to help keep this one within shouting distance until the final horn sounds...


Philadelphia Eagles (+4.5) @ New York Giants

I learned four things from listening to sports talk on "the Fan" during my New Year's Big Apple excursion...

1) Thomas Jones loves Hot 97

2) Bill Cowher is NOT! a Hall of Famer. (It was a big topic on local sports talk radio, seeing as the story was breaking about Cowher talking to the Jets...it keeps going below...)

3) ESPN doesn't break any news at all, they just steal shit from other people and don't even bother to fact check it before they slap it up on their "bottom line". That's what Mike Francesa (Mike from the now defunked "Mike and the Mad Dog") said in regards to ESPN flashing across the screen every 5 minutes that Cowher told the Jets he would only take the job if he had complete power, and the Jets fired GM Mike Tannenbaum. Francesa made it very clear that he had sources (basically it sounded like he had talked to Cowher or his agent) telling him a very different story, and within minutes of his declaration, ESPN had changed their breaking news to mimic exactly what the legendary drive time host had just said. Naturally they gave themselves credit for this latest bit of investigative mastery,

AND the part that's relevant to this game....

4) Giant fans are scared to death of the Philadelphia Eagles. There were Giant fans everywhere already making excuses (Plaxico, Osi, Jacobs, etc..), and even local radio hosts using the Rooch trick of picking against the team you want, simply for good karma. I feel the thought, I do, but convincing yourself you're jinxed, or turning your team into some sort of #1 seeded underdog just makes you look pathetic. Get a sack, Giant fans. You're supposed to be from New York for Christ's sake! Then again, maybe that was just all those pussies from Connecticut...


And after absorbing all that Big Apple info, I've decided to pick their team to win the game, but pick the Eagles to cover. I figure their divisional rivals, so it should be a close one, and that Andy Reid and Donovan McChoke will show their true colors down the stretch and mismanage yet another golden opportunity. So either Philly wins, or they blow it in the final minutes. Either way, I like the Eagles with the points...


Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) vs San Diego Chargers

I sure do love those powder blue uni's, but thats where it ends...

Now unlike most of my friends, who have come to identify the Chargers as public enemy #2 to the Jets #1, I still have no greater loathing for an NFL team than I do for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And it's the good kind of hatred. I hate them, because if I were from Pittsburgh, aside from having black lung and a one legged Polish girlfriend, I'd love the Steelers, and hate the freaking Patriots. It's like Rodney Harrison. You hate him, unless he's on your team. And no, that's NOT like TO, Pacman, or any other guy who makes you hate them because of things they do OFF the field...

I hate them, simply enough, because I respect them. And in the playoffs, I like to think I can trust them, especially against an enigmatic team like San Diego. So take the Steelers, plus the points, and feel good about your weekend...



Last Week: 1-3-0

Regular Season: 139-90-12 (.602)

'08 Top Picks: 76-39-8 (.650)


Well kids, it's good to be back!


I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, and I'll catch you all some time next week. With the end of football I'll be picking up my NCAA coverage, so make sure to tune in...

Until then, keep an eye out for my latest NCAA poll updated every week, and keep gettin' your life on...

Be good...

100...

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