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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Classic Distractions...



Right off the bat I wanna apologize for my tardiness. Really, I do. But when you're called onto the field of battle that is the fantasy football message board, it's not like you can just drop your weapon and run and hide in the protective womb that is your blog, now can you? No. No you can't...

I know for a lot of you it's hard to imagine what I'm even talking about, "battling on the message board", but where I come from, in a fantasy sense, is as much a part of the game as picking up a scrappy QB to fill in on a bye week. It's just how I, and my fantasy compatriots, roll. We're elitists. If you're league has no sense of passion, and your members aren't willing to make fun of their opponent's potential sexual disease, then we feel sorry for you. Fantasy sports should be equal parts skill, making money, and talking junk. If one area is lacking, it's just not complete. Like a Seth MacFarlane show without a talking animal...

If we wanted to let a few numbers simply determine how much money we'd win after the end of a few months, we'd go on a sick Meth bender and play KENO for a week straight. That'd be more fun than checking a box score twice a week. That way is like playing the stock market. Checkin' the paper every so often to see how your investment's doin'...

Now if the stock market had a message board, then maybe I'd change my tune. You gotta think those Ivy League big wig traders would have some funny shit to say, too. You know, when somebody's stock shits the bed after they were hypin' it up? That would be epic. And let's just say I know the term "elephant walk" would appear prominently as would standard smart kid insults as "your mom!", "gay!", and snide remarks about people's message board grammar, containing puns related to various Shakespearean plays and Star Trek episodes...

Ha. Nerds and their money. Gotta love it...

But enough of that, I've explained that I like my fantasy message board more than I like writing my blog, so it's time to move on. That, and now that I've wasted all this time ranting about whatever it was I just said about the stock market and the nerds that follow it, I probably won't give myself enough time to fill this delicious column with all the news I was hoping to get in...

Oh well, I guess you'll just have to make due...

And, yeah. Starting now, begin reading the rest of this as if it were the beginning of the post. it'll make a lot more sense that way. And, yeah. I'm not really a Meth addict with friends at the ready to take me on a 3 month bender. I don't feel I should have to point that out, but when you read on a little further, you'll see why I felt it necessary to put in this disclaimer. So no Meth. Meth is bad. Cold medicine is good. But when you mix it with lighter fluid and whatnot and cook it up in your Meth trailer? No good. IF you do Meth, Dog the Bounty Hunter will hunt you down, and beat the living crap out of you with his wife's tiny boobs. So don't do it. OR do it, tape your experience, and submit it to A&E. After all, drug addicts are the greyhounds of reality TV. Race 'em til their beaten down, and then kill 'em. It's a pretty standard formula, ya know...

But yeah, the next part is really the beginning, so please treat it as such...

Thanks, and enjoy...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. We've reached the "quarter pole". And while that might mean one thing in a Taiwanese "massage parlor", what it means here in the Nation is that we are now head on into perhaps the finest time of the year to be a sports fan...

For you mouth breathers, the NHL and NBA have started what I've long ago deemed their respective "extended and unnecessary pre seasons". Of little interest to me and other serious fans of sports and entertainment, but if you feel the need to wade through 82 games, only to have to wait through like 25-40 more, then by all means, be my guest...

I'll see you in the playoffs, and every now and then to comment on the hysterical things the NBA players, GMs, refs and coaches might blurt out in the media. If there's one thing the NBA's good for, it's sound bytes and media fodder. Especially with my main man Sheed now firmly entrenched in the Hub. What can I say? He's a funny bastard who has a chunk of hair missing out of the back of his head and likes to toss fake legs around at Kansas City Chief games. It's not his fault that his sport, and it's winter counterpart, both suffer from watered down talent pools, too many apathetic fan bases, and separate rules for their regular season and playoffs. Boring league or not, watching that man get T'd up, and the glorious press that's sure to follow now that he's in a big time basketball market, will be something that will put a smile on my face no matter how deep the snow gets, and how much it feels like icicles are flying at warp speed into my beard...

Oh and on that note, I've determined my beard will protect me from the Swine Flu and possibly even the regular flu. Don't ask me how I know, it's just a feeling I get. It's like I can hear my beard telling the Swine Flu "Listen, friend. You want no part of this immune system. I mean the kid has hair on his face, for crying out loud! You really think you wanna mess with what's on the inside? Pffftt. Be my guest, tough guy, but if I were you I'd just keep on movin'. Live to fight another day." My beard's just cool like that...

But anyway. Not that you've been thoroughly distracted and led astray like 4 times in the last 5 paragraphs, allow me to finally focus on what I fully intended writing about this week. The NFL is full swing, and the MLB playoffs are now just a mere hours away. Truly the best time of year to be a serious sports fan, and if those Packers/Vikings and Twins/Tigers games are any indication of what we're in for over the next few months, we could be in for something special. Even by my standards...

Let's start, of course, with the Patriots. Once thought t be just a shadow of their former selves, this team proved against the Ravens that they're not so quick to give up the AFC thrown they still feel they deserve, and the respect they fought so hard to earn on their way to 3 Super Bowl titles...

Patriots Update
Overall: 3-1
Last Week: New England Patriots 27 Baltimore Ravens 21

Next Week @ Denver Broncos (4-0)

I'm about as stubborn as they come, but even I can't deny that whatever it is the Pats are doing, they're doing it well. I won't back down from my statement that they still lack play makers on defense, but in classic fence sitting and hard-headed form, I'll amplify my answer to suggest that even without the presence of true play makers, they're still making plays...

Yeah. And if you're interested, I have a delicious cake sitting right next to me, and a huge slice of said delicious pastry sitting on my man gut, being enjoyed piece by moist and creamy piece. Having your cake and eating it too, it's really a beautiful thing...

What they are doing, is getting just enough pressure up front, and doing a great job of doing just enough covering in the back end. It's forcing opposing QB's into making bad decisions, and it's also helping out to cover the obvious deficiency that still remains in the line backing corps. I know Gary Guyton's play has improved immensely, but even with Mayo and Seau being added to the depth chart, I still don't view the linebackers as any close to a position of strength...

It's not flashy, what they're doing, and it may not produce turnovers, but in a game where it's all about controlling the pace and controlling the clock, their propensity for inducing 3 & outs has become an effective weapon. Even more to the point, I think it's Belichick's decision to dial back on the intensity, on the risk taking, that's allowed this defense to thrive without being prone to giving up the big play. As usual, it's all about playing to your strengths, and nobody does that better than Bill Belichick...
<>weren't doing. By not frequently blitzing and just relying on the pressure provided by the defensive line, Bill's put the focus again on being in the right place, and limiting the potential for big mistakes. That puts the onus on the offense to not only make the simple plays, but stretch those plays into the necessar yardage in order to keep the chains moving. And once an offense realizes that they won't be able to go for the big play, they shorten the field, allowing the Patriots defense to then up the aggression...

It's almost as if their conservative approach lulls the offense into thinking they can only do one certain thing, and by narrowing their game plan, they become easier to defend. I think if you asked him, Bill almost likes it better this way. Instead of having edge guys like Samuel and Hobbs that make big plays but take big chances, he's back to more of the "team" mentality similar to the defense that propelled the team to it's first Super Bowl in 2001. Not saying that this defense is nearly as talented, but it's the style of play and the team approach that to me seem eerily similar. It's the typical "bend but don't break" style, and as we've seen in the past, it's a system where, contrary to what I said above, players can learn to thrive as individuals. Brendan Merriweather and Gary Guyton are perfect examples. Their improved play goes to show that when you learn to play within this system, and when you learn to lean on your teammates for support, it oddly enough becomes that much easier to make freelance plays outside the box...

The old Patriots, the Patriots teams that won Super Bowls, perfected the art of leaning on each other. Everyone knew where everyone else needed to be, and it allowed them to be complex. They could confuse and out scheme other teams, which made it that much easier to beat them and perhaps make up for any talent deficiency. With their offense constantly improving, I don't see talent deficiency as a problem. So with this defense getting better week after week, I say it's time to stop asking "how" the Pats might be going, and instead asking "when" is the Super Bowl, so I can be sure to clear my calendar...

Ha! Don't worry, I didn't let one home win go to my head that quickly. You know me better than that. But at least now I know what to look for when I'm watching this team, so their future success won't continue to boggle my mind...

Ya know, like how people's reaction to these video clips boggles my mind, while at the same time explaining why so much crappy network TV is so successful...





Ray Lewis? OK, I get his beef. If that's an opposing QB, I say the same thing. I think we can all agree the "kid glove" rules for the QBs are excessive and borderline embarrassing, but they are the rules. In the long run, they hurt and help all teams equally, so I figure it's best we just consistently shake our heads, and rejoice every now and again when the flag football rules work to our advantage...

As for Rodney, it's not so much what he said as it has been people's reaction to it. Really, folks? You watched that and thought for one second that Rodney Harrison was serious?! That there might be some longstanding and intense beef between he and Tom Brady? Come on. Maybe on The Hills this is something a "frenemy" might say in order to get under Speidi's skin, but in the real world it's called telling a joke. Ya know, being funny? Taking advantage of someone because you can and because it's funny? I mean I know it wasn't followed by can laughter, like your used to, but that doesn't mean it was a declaration of war. Geez, talk about a non issue. Learn to enjoy life, folks, and then maybe I won't have to regulate on a weekly basis and constantly point out to you what's supposed to be funny, and what's supposed to be taken seriously. It's a fine line, I know. But you're smart people, you can figure it out...



Tackle Box
I didn't start writing a blog with the intent of taking friends to task, but when you're friends are front and center in the public eye, sometimes you don't really have a choice. Ya know, if you want to stay objective, if even just in your own mind...

So that's why, in lieu of calling out out my buddy Scott Zolak as a fabricator and a shameless self promoter, I'll let you sift through the facts and come to your own conclusion on what's the most likely way these events went down...

http://boston.barstoolsports.com/random-thoughts/is-scott-zolak-a-pathological-liar/

http://boston.barstoolsports.com/random-thoughts/breaking-news-elevatorgate-eye-witnesses-come-forward-saying-scott-zolak-is-a-liar/

Say it aint, Zo, Scotty. Say it aint Zo...


In other backup QB news, if I were Jon Kitna right now I'd be stretchin' out the ole wing because Tony Romo is on the verge of a major implosion. The season started with famous Cowboy greats questioning his skills, and the latest loss in their 2-2 start just further exposed Jessica's ex as the poor man's Brett Favre that he truly is. Whether he's scrambling around in the backfield with no apparent plan of action, or hanging his WRs out to dry, this guy just doesn't seem to have the slightest clue about what he's doing out there...

I see a shakeup coming in the Big D, and one that's more than likely going to dominate SportsCenter more than that autistic kid who made all those 3-pointers. It's gonna get messy, it's gonna get personal, and it's all gonna be played out for all the world to see...

Should be good watchin'. There's nothin' I like more than seeing a massive Ted twist in the wind...

Like I said, I had more football news to slang your way, but I got distracted. Next week I'll be sure to make up for it....or maybe get distracted again and toss a few more talking beard analogies your way. Depends on what kind of mood I'm in...


My Picks
NFL
Last Week: 8-7-0 (Top Picks: 4-4-0)

Overall: 35-29-0 (.547)

Top Picks: 11-11-0 (.500)

Lock of the Week: 1-1-0

The lock of the week strategy could easily turn into "Pick Against the Rams". I know it's not the most creative or insightful strategy in the world, but there are certainly worse things I could do to destroy my credibility. Like, I don't know, change my name to "Jonathan Stone" so I can charge people .99 cents a minute to listen to my "Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock of the Week"? Because I heard an add for that fool on the radio, called his free hotline, and he told me to pick the Oklahoma Sooners and take the 7 points. What a Ted, right? Just change your name back to Janni Stein, son, and be done with it. At least then you can be wrong, yet still come away with a shred of dignity. Ya know, kinda like the deal I've got goin' on...

NCAA
Last Week: 8-8-1

Overall: 33-24-2 (.576)

Key last minute change to my Duke/Va Tech pick salvaged what would have otherwise been just a straight kick to the junk. But hey, going .500 is better than losing, right? And believe me, I'll more than make it up for ya with nothin' but winner's for the coming weekend. That's right, I'm going undefeated. If you like money, I'd make sure to check it out on Friday. Or, if you too like watching someone you view as a Ted twist in the wind, feel free to stop by and check it out, if only so that you can laugh at me later. Either way...

Now, a little glimpse at the Fall Classic. The Twins and Tigers already got this thing of on the right foot, and like you, I'm excited to see what twists and turns might lie ahead...



MLB Post Season Preview
About a month ago, I prophesied that the Yankees would cake walk to the World Series, only to be upset by a big time NL underdog. Actually, to be honest, I traveled to the future in a flying Delorian and saw it for myself, but let's not let the facts get in the way. Question is, on the eve of the MLB playoffs, do I still believe? OR has the flap of a butterfly's wings in the Amazon changed what's going to happen this October in the Bronx?

Here's what I think, and pardon me if I forget key elements like stats, trends and match ups. Like I said, I wasted most of my time with all those stock market and beard references...and I'm continuing to wasted time by explaining myself...




*The Yankees are the best team, but as their radio announcer, John Sterling, is so fond of saying "This is why I don't understand why anyone would bet on baseball". It's unpredictable. That's why we love to watch, and that's what makes the playoffs so special. We should get a good read on the Yanks chances, though, starting tonight. We know they have the offense, but if CC continues his less than stellar playoff pitching, and AJ doesn't show up either, then the Yanks will be left with just Mariano, and their powerful offense. Usually good enough to get you deep into the ALCS, but not much further. However, if CC and AJ come to play, the Fall Classic could be all but a formality. And again, for the record, it pains me to say that. It's just that I love being right even more than I love being a Red Sox fan...


*The Sox? Man I wish I had better things to say, but if Lester and Beckett aren't on their game, this thing could be over before it even hits the East Coast. That's not to say I don't like the Sox chances in LA, because I do. I mean, how could I not? They own the Angels in the post season. But like my main man, John Sterling, said above, you never know how this crazy little game of baseball is gonna work out. Sure the Sox have dominted the Angels in series past, but that's ancient history. Besides, there's really no rhyme or reason behind their succes. Most people chalk it up to just, "one of those things". Ya know, just a bad match up...

When push comes to shove, while I will be rooting for the Sox, I just don't think they've played well enough this season to outlast both the Angels and the Yankees on their way to their 3rd World Series in 6 years. Should they pull it off, I'll be more than happy to explain why I was wrong, but until that happens, I'll just be another fan enjoying the prospect of watching his team take down yet another Championship, whilke denying their heated rival something they haven't enjoyed since the turn of the century...YANKEES SUCK! YANKEES SUCK!

See, I'm still a Red Sox fan, no matter how many John Sterling references I make...


*As for the National League? Those games are always more fun to watch because of the constant subs and just the style of ball they play, but I really don't have a rooting interest or any particular feeling as to who is gonna take it down. I guess I'll root for St. Louis because I feel it's the best baseball city in the country. And because I like saying that about their fans, just to piss off people in Boston in New York. It's true, though. I'd never say anything just for the mere shock value, would I? (insert joke about Serena's massive ass and/or that Kardashian man-dude here)...

Finally, I give you your weekly look at the state of my fantasy squad. Let's just say that never has the term "limping to the barn" been more appropriate...


Fantasy Update
Overall: 1-3-0, 11th place overall
Last Week: Ted Bundy of FF 94 Thanks Ted 92

Next Week vs Team FraudfulsReturn (1-2-1)

What can you do, right? I'm 4th in overall points, yet I'm stuck in 11th. Thankfully, as I so elqoquently outlined earlier, my lack of success has yet to deter from my enjoyment. Loser talk, I know, and there's nothing I'd love more than to be whooping everyone's ass, but sometimes you just get dealt a bad schedule, and there's nothing you can do but sit back and accept it. It's frustrating because usually I would make some trades to get myself out of 11th, but what good is trading away my team when on a weekly basis it's good enough to take down more than 70% of the league. It's not as if I'm averse to trading, but if the only thing wrong is my schedule, swapping in new blood is probably a caluclated risk not worth taking...

Besides, whether my team succeeds or not, it's all about about the message board. It's all about the message board...

Catch you Friday for my Pick's to Click, and no doubt a few other tidbits from this bacteria filled petri dish we so fondly refer to as the world of sports and entertainment...

It's October, bitches! Get your game face on...

Teddy Williams...
100...

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