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Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Lucky, I Guess...


Luck. It's just one of those things. You either have it, or you don't. And it's not a permanent state type deal either. You can talk to a person on Monday and they'll feel they're the luckiest person in the world, bu talk to them Thursday and they could easily feel as snake bitten as Mike Madsen in Kill Bill II...

Take that ugly dude from England, for example. Lives his whole life as a hideous, friendless virgin, but one day he throws on a wig and bam! He/She's the hottest thing to hit Britain's American Idol since toothpaste and diction lessons...

Or maybe Isiah Thompson is a better example for ya. You know Thompson. He's the new coach at Florida International University. At least that's how he was introduced by the school's president.Really? Isiah Thompson? A guy that's been in the news for attempted suicide, sexual harassment, feuding with employees, burying a franchise and destroying an entire league, and the guy that just hired him doesn't even know his real name. Most of us would consider ourselves lucky if our employer didn't uncover minor discretions in our past, but this guys lives his life on the front pages of the NY papers, and still somehow gets a new 6-figure gig...

Good luck. It's really the only way you can explain. Sometimes you got it, and sometimes you don't. Like Ray Liotta says in Blow, "sometimes you're flush, and sometimes you're bust". And look at how his kid turned out. Biggest coke dealer north of Caracas. That's some solid parenting right there. Sure he may have spent a large chunk of his life behind bars, but if you're gonna reap the benefits of good luck, you're gonna have to pay the price when the pendulum swings in the other direction...

You know who feels the luck the most? It's the fans of course. From the one's that stack their fantasy teams with their favorite players and bet their food money on their favorite team, to the ones that their only wish is for their beloved team to do well and win a few games. They're the ones that truly feel lucky or unlucky, depending on the situation. IF they don't watch? Their team might lose. If they do watch and their team still loses? Well, then they just find another excuse, right? And never do fans feel the ominous presence of luck than they do with Major League Baseball, and the NHL and NBA playoffs...

In baseball, a few bad games have the fans running for the nearest bridge, while a few good games have them clearing their Fall schedule and making playoff reservations. Your team wins, it's because they should have. IF they lose, it's because they've hit a patch of bad luck. It's just that whenever a team seems to hit that patch of bad luck, the fans seem to think it's never gonna end. Like David Ortiz. Guy has a bad start to the season, and all of a sudden fans wanna say his career is over. Is he done? I don't know. I know he doesn't look good, but why bother trying to predict such a big thing as his career being over this early in the game? To say you were the first one to say it? Even for someone in the prognostication business, that seems a little absurd. But that's the wild ride that is baseball. Even those of us that know we shouldn't get caught up in the short term often find ourselves doing exactly that. And it's tough not to, especially today with all the round the clock media analysis. When Ortiz goes 0-3, not only do you hear about it 15 times, but you get to see every swing broken down by everyone from Orel Hersheiser to Harold Reynolds. Just makes things seem a whole lot better or worse than they actually are...

In those other sports, the best of 7 playoff format can keep fans on a perpetual seesaw. Win a road game, and you're ridin' high. Lose a home game, and you're making tee times. Not that anyone should be giving a winter pro sport a second thought with Spring staring us right in the face, but if that indeed is your thing, you too can relate to the roller coaster ride...

But it's all luck when you boil it down. In one way or another, your team, your favorite player, is subject to some sort of luck, whether actual or perceived. So keep in mind as we travel through the long summer grind of baseball, and the 2nd seasons of the NHL and the NBA, that unless you're a British tranny with the voice of an angel, an NBA exec with a disastrous track record, or a big slugger with only 1 extra base hit, nobody is gonna care. You're gonna need some sort of luck to get ahead in this world. Good luck gets you on TV. Bad luck, gets you cleaning the bathroom at a hybrid Taco Bell/Red Lobster/Mrs. Fields at the Shell station off of the Mass Pike...

Good news there is I've been told that you can create your own luck. So while I'm searching for the recipe on the Intraweb, in order to avoid a stall's full of Chunky White Chocolate Crabbed Stuffed Chalupas, you can read on about my latest musings in the world of sports and entertainment...

Yeah, that's right. That was only the intro....

Enjoy...

Red Sox Update

Overall: 6-6, 3rd place in AL East

Dice K is out with arm fatigue, huh? You don't say. What do you think did it? The trillion pitches he throws in warm up sessions or the exrta games in the World Baseball Classic? My personal theory is that he was somehow involved in a hot dog eat off with Kobayashi and Ichiro. Ichiro got an ulcer from the hot dogs, and Dice K hurt his arm shoveling those things down his gullet. That makes the most sense to me, but something tells me that the conservative media will never let the true story come out. What sucks is, if one of Dice K's biggest assets was his rubber arm, then where does this leave his career? I know I just said you don't wanna jump the gun on ending guys careers, but it just doesn't bode well for this season if he's not out there to eat up innings and be a stalwart at the top of that rotation...

As for the aforementioned Ortiz, I may not be ready to end his career, but he's certainly not off to an ideal start. And screw the numbers because he just isn't passing the eye test. He's constantly late on fastballs he should be hitting, and at this point he already seems to be gripping. And don't be quick to use the "no Manny" excuse, because last time I checked he's being backed up by Kevin Youkilis, who's rapidly turning into one of the game's most feared hitters. Maybe not feared power hitter yet, but there's no pitcher out there that looks forward to facing him with his plate discipline and ability to hit the ball to all fields...

Like I said last week, until we have an adequate sample size to judge these guys on, all we can really do is sit back and take notes. With Dice K out and Ortiz struggling, we will be able to get a handle on how deep the pitching really is, and whether or not the lack of a truly big bat in the middle of this lineup (Manny, not Ortiz) will really cause the whole machine to break down. Pedroia, Youkilis and Bay are what make this a good offense, but it's guys like Ortiz and Ellsbury that are going to have to perform to help propel this team deep into the post season. As I write this, Papi just hit his second double of the game, so we got that goin' for us, which is nice. Will he keep it up, or is this just a blip on his way into oblivion? With any luck, we'll have all these answers in a week or so...

If not, we'll just have to keep on waiting. Sucks, I know. But it's better than jumping of a bridge...

What you won't have to wait for, are my picks for this year's World Series, and this year's post season award winners...

First, the awards...

AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays

I don't think Doc's career is close to over, but I see this as his last huge season in what will no doubt round out as a very nice Hall of Fame career. What's gonna be even more impressive, and what might put him over the top, is that the bulk of his work should come against the juggernaut that is the AL East...

AL MVP: Evan Longoria, Tamp Bay Rays

Not only is Longoria is the best young hitter in the game (sorry, Pedroia fans), but he could very well this year assert himself as the best hitter in the game period. He's A-Rod without the roids and the arrogance...and a name like a celebrity...and he can actually play his position defensively...and he doesn't wear lipstick...

NL Cy Young: Johan Santana, New York Mets

He's had a year to adjust, and now it's time to thrive. I know I said last year I had him pegged for the DL, but since he proved me wrong, I'm willing to believe...


NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Please be clean, please be clean, please be clean...

2009 Post Season
ALCS
Tampa Bay Rays over Boston Red Sox in 6

NLCS
Los Angeles Dodgers over New York Mets in 6


World Series
Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles Dodgers in 7

I like the depth and the star power that the Rays bring to the table, and combine that with David Price being thrown into the pitching mix in a few months, and they're gonna be mighty tough to beat. Plus, I figure by then they've moved Percival from the closer's role, and even the back end of their bully will be rather well rounded...

Rays in 7. It's not easy to say, but logically, it sure is easy to stomach...


Out Like Flynn

I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on Syracuse's Jonny Flynn opting to sing with an agent and enter the NBA Draft. I think it's a good move, as I don't see his stock getting much higher, but as a fan I'd obviously like to see him stay. If he stayed, Devendorf and Harris would have stayed (I bet they both do anyway), and Syracuse would have had a legit shot at competing for an NCAA Championship. As is, they will probably be a legit Big East contender, but can by no means expect to reach the same heights as a team led by one of the country's premier point guards...

Oh well. Good luck, Jonny. Thanks for the memories, and have fun making millions of dollars. And keep an eye out, because ESPN and CBS keep trying to sneak an "H" into your first name. Don't let 'em, buddy! Hold strong!...

Oh and if you're looking for how I think Flynn will fair at the next level, I'm sorry, but I just don't care enough to give my input. Like I said. I wish him the best, and I know he has the tools to be a good pro. That's where my analysis ends...


NFL Draft

Speaking of luck, the NFL Draft is coming up this weekend. Without a big name headlining the class, the draft hasn't drawn the usual fanfare, but I don't expect that to make the event any less entertaining. With big name receivers till on the market, and the Patriots with 8 of the top 100 picks, there are plenty of story lines out there capable of throwing this whole thing on it's ass...

And again, prediction when it comes to draft isn't really my thing, but when the results are in, I'll be sure to tell you who the big winners and losers are. You know what they say. Those who can't do, teach. And those who can't teach, create their own web page to criticize everyone and make clever remarks...

But seriously, Pats fans. Look for New England to be super active with their abundance of early picks. They have a track record of trading them for future picks, but with some obvious depth issues on defense coming into this season, don't be surprised if you see them moving up more often than you see them trading out. After all, you gotta use that cap room for somethin', don't you?...

Celtics and Bruins

Here we go...

The Bruins are cruising, which I'd rather not happen. But the Cetlics are doomed, and Danny Ainge had a heart attack after we all learned KG was probably out for the playoffs. This is where, as younger man I would take a crack at Ainge and his brush with death, but seeing as the man has never done anything to me personally, I can't really wish death upon him...

But funny is funny, Danny Boy. And I know funny circumstances when I see 'em...

Fantasy Update

My bragging caught up to me in fantasy hoops, as both my teams went down in the Finals, but with fantasy baseball now in full swing, excuse me if I don't take time to shed a tear for my lost opportunities. Sure a nice Yahoo tiny 1st place trophy would have been nice, but 2 second place trophies will look just fine on my virtual mantle thank you very much...

Now the focus is baseball, and my quest not only to win, but to create as many intriguing and fantastical fantasy team names as I possibly can. To me, fantasy baseball is not only an outlet for my desire to digest statistics, but a way for me to feed the need of being the owner of a thoroughbred race horse. Since I was young I was always intrigued by the names of race horses, and constantly changing my fantasy team name seems to fill the void quite well. So far, here have been winners...

Week 1: Pedro's Dead Midget
Week 2: Am I Bo Bice?
Week 3: Black Market Babies

Appropriate? NO. But rest assured there is a funny back story to go with those that, had you been there, you make the names far more palatable. Well except the Dead Midget one. That's just me being an ass. Hey. I think it took quite a lot of restraint for me to not name my team The Mormon Bypass, so I don't even wanna hear it...

One of the many inspirations for my team names, including Am I Bo Bice, come from Family Guy. And in case you missed this week's episode, here's a little musical number for you to enjoy. My hope is that it will serve as a reminder for you to DVR the show on a weekly basis. It's smart, it's funny and the dog talks. Sure the baby is turning gayer by the day, but as long as that dog keeps talkin', and that creepy pedophile keeps doin' his thing, there are few ways that show can really go wrong...

Enjoy...





You don't need meth, you don't need speed! Well, maybe some of you, or else who is Dog the Bounty Hunter going to arrest, and how else would Kevin Pittsnogle feed his 31 children?

Oh well. Good luck, kids...

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