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Monday, April 27, 2009

Hits From the Pong...


Speed.

Strength.

Agility.

Passion.

These are traits that both college and NFL programs alike look for when evaluating who they want on their team. In college, it can be the difference between a D1 power and a DII scrub-factory, and in the NFL it can be the difference between a 7 figure guarantee on draft day, or a guy who's agent is left hustling like legless rickshaw driver. What don't these multi million dollar organizations look for when breaking down a player's talent?

Ping pong skills.

Evidence: While the Red Sox were busy sweeping the Yankees this weekend, yours truly was busy completing quite the sweep himself...


The combatants:

Game 1: Rooch vs former Patriot(?) and former UF Gator WR, Chad Jackson

Game 2: Rooch vs former Patriot and former UF Gator WR, Jabar Gaffney

The Results:

Game 1: Despite his best efforts to alter the score several times, CJ went down like an herb smoker on draft day, 21-15. Granted I was up 14-12, scored 3 straight points, and then somehow the score was 14-14, but let's not get into semantics. Fact is, despite his best efforts, The former 2nd round pick, and now official bust, couldn't handle my pin point accuracy, or my overwhelming power, and was neatly dispatched...

Game 2: This my friends, was quite a different story. Gaffney steps up, and despite claiming he was worn out from "playing NBA 2K9" (he played with the Bulls, by the way, which instantly made me a fan), proceeded to step up and produce some filthy spin that, in the beginning, had me thinkin' potential hustle could be forthcoming. Lucky for me, that was not the case. And while the Gaffer had plenty of English on his bean, he didn't have nearly enough control and dumped more than his fair share of gimmies into the twine. When all was said and done, final score Rooch 21 Gaffney 16...and I'm pretty sure at some point I heard Jackson on the sidelines (appropriate) making some sore of Forrest Gump reference...

2 Florida Gators? 2 second round picks? 2 guys sleeping in Laurence Maroney's house while Laurence is in Chicago?

Nah, they're just two other beached fish, flopping and gasping for air as I part the Red Sea that is the local ping pong community...

And no, I didn't tell Jackson how I'd ripped him on my blog and thought he was a huge bust-o-rama. What? Was I supposed to? I don't open conversations with you people by telling you that you suck at your job, do I? I didn't think so (and count yourself lucky your job isn't on TV, because then I just might). They were both very pleasant, and this was Show-friends, NOT Show-bidness. Had their been an open mic involved, well that could have been a rather different story. Still ending with me as ping pong champion of the universe, but also probably ending with a dredded man standing over me and blood coming from my ear...

Yeah, it was that kind of weekend, boys and girls. And while I'd love to give you a shot for shot breakdown on how I dismantled two pro athletes with my superior table tennis skills, I just don't have the time....Well, I do, but I can't really recall every shot, so you're just gonna have to imagine it. And just to help, I hit lot of sharp backhands and I serve the ball quickly and deep. There, that should be enough to give you a solid mental picture. Oh, and make sure to picture the other guys shirtless, and with tats all over their chests. And in Gaffney's case, two baby faces tatted on his back...

I said it before, and I'll say it again. You're all lucky/unlucky that I don't think I would look good with tats, because otherwise I would be sleeved up so hard that Kevin Pittsnogle would stop humoring me and signing all the Dog the Bounty Hunter memorabilia I send him...

But moving on. There were actually some real sporting events that went down this weekend, and I feel it's my duty to bring you my thoughts and opinions on the goings on...

So sit back, relax, and enjoy. And feel free to sip on a tasty beverage as you partake. I my self am a French Vanilla Iced Coffee man, but you can go ahead and drink whatever you'd like. Perhaps a Mr. Pibb? He's the Pepper's bastard child...

Get some...

NFL Draft

Just a few random observations on the draft. I'm not gonna break it down, because I learned long ago that trying to judge these things is impossible when you have such little information to work on. Like a blind guy judging a beauty pageant, or maybe like a President declaring war despite having contradictory military intelligence. You can pick which metaphor works better, I was just too lazy to make a decision...



Mark my words. Mark Sanchez might not be the next Ryan Leaf, but he's gonna be way closer to the Leafster than he is any guy named Manning, Brady or Roethlisbeger. Hell, let me take it one step further. What's his name, that half black half white Robert Smith lookin dude the Bucs took? Freeman? He's gonna be better than Sanchez. Flacco will be better, Ryan will be better, they'll all be better. Just like with Matt Leinhart, and with any future USC QB, I ask myself the question "Did this guy do anything as a QB to stand out on a team where virtually every player is headed to the NFL?". With Carson Palmer, I saw it. With Leinhart, and with Sanchez. I didn't. I always bring it back to my man Ken Dorsey at the U in the early part of the century. He was on a team stocked with pros, but since he didn't have the big arm, nobody wanted him in the NFL. They didn't care he had led those teams to a million wins, he just didn't have the body to make it as an NFL starter. OK, fine. Fair enough. But what makes Mark Sanchez so different? He led a pro-stocked team to a bunch of wins, but did little to show me that he was the reason the Trojans were a success. You look at his highlight reel, and it's him throwing to a bunch of guys that were either A) wide open OR B) jumping up and ripping the ball away from some JuCo transfer...

I'm not trying to knock him because he's a Jet, that's not my style. Jet, Patriot, Viking, I would rip the pick all the same. I just don't think the guy be a star at this level. Steve Young would want to cut my balls off for saying that, as he almost exploded when Sanchez "slipped" to 5, but I just don't see it. With Carson Palmer I saw it. With Big Ben, I saw it. With Eli Manning? Eh, not so much. 3 outta 4 ain't bad though. And with a record like that, I'll stick with my gut and say Sanchez will be a bust...


B-U-S-T. BUST! BUST! BUST!

Ha! Suck on that, you fireman Teds...


So I've figured out the Patriots draft strategy, which is to say that I'm not more convinced than ever that I will never be able to predict what they're going to do. The good thing is, at least now I know why...

After watching the Pats trade out of the first round, I was hoping that this wasn't the start of a trend that would see the team make virtually no draft picks and instead trade them all away for future considerations. I mean, I love trading for future picks as much as the next guy, but at what point does it become a fruitless enterprise. You eventually gotta pick somebody, don't you?

Luckily, the second round brought the answer the my prayers. The Pats added 4 players in round 2, and were able to trade during round 3 for 2 additional picks in the 2nd round of next year's draft. And it all made sense. Before the draft, while there was some talk of trading up, most of what you heard out of Foxboro was that the Patriots viewed the draft as deep. Not as a whole, necessarily, but in rounds 2 through 4. Their picks reflected that. When all was said and done, the Pats added 7 players in rounds 2 through 5, traded for 2 second round picks in the '10 draft, and they didn't have to break the bank...

In review, I figured the Patriots must work on a draft system such as this...

Step 1: They rank all the players in the draft in order, from the best player in the draft, to the worst.

Step 2: They match up every player in the draft based on how much money they would be willing to pay them.

Step 3: They rank their own teams needs, placing a value on each available position on their roster.

How do they rank these guys? I have no idea, but I know they do it. They traded up last year to take Mayo because he fit into their rankings, but they didn't trade up, or even take their 1st round pick, this year because they didn't have a player on their board that met their criteria for that 1st round slot, or one they felt was worthy of trading up for. Instead, they kept moving back, accumulating picks, until they felt comfortable taking a particular player at a particular position. So while I'll never have the resources to figure how and why they rank players where they do, I think I've figured out how they do it. When the three rankings I have above all mesh, then they take a guy. When they don't they keep moving back. Are they sometimes forced to make a pick based on need or move a pick because of cap concerns? Sure they are. But in most instances, I think they try and stick to their rankings, stick to their scheme...

An extreme example would be if they had the #1 pick, nobody would trade them for it, and they didn't have a player they felt was worth taking, then they would continue to let other teams pick until they fell to a place where they felt comfortable selecting somebody. Gooddell would go nuts, and Belichick would laugh his ass off, but that's an extreme example that I'm sure will never present itself. Sure would be funny, though...

As for their actual picks, which you can view below, I like that they added some more depth in the secondary, and I like how they drafted a DT early to help ease the burden should Vince Wilfork depart during free agency. I know they didn't go after a LB like everyone thought they would, but I think guys on the roster like Pierre Woods, Vince Redd and Mike Crable are a lot better and more ready to contribute in the eyes of the Patriots brass than they are in the eyes of the average fan. Trading Ellis Hobbs? Surprising, but not a total shock. After adding two secondary players on day 1, not to mention Leigh Bodden and Shawn Spring in free agency, Hobbs was apparently the odd man out. A solid player, but someone whose departure doesn't exactly leave a gaping hole...

Patriots Draft Picks: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=nwe

All in all, I like the value the Patriots seemingly attained, but I'm eager to see some of these "value" picks begin to pay dividends. Guys like Wheatley, Crable and Wilhite were all lauded for their value last season, but due to injuries saw little to no playing time. When all is said and done, you have to play. If you don't, you end up playing ping pong against some white kid in North Attleborough...


The Raiders took speedster WR Darrius Heyward-Bey with their 1st pick, most likely because he's basically the fastest man alive. Never mind that the kid couldn't catch a cold wrapped in a waterlogged smallpox blanket while waiting in line outside an Icelandic TB clinic. I actually watched Heyward-Bey play a 3-4 times this year for Maryland, and they got so frustrated with his inability to catch the bean that they would just hand it off to him on a reverse 3-4 times a game just so they could get the ball in his hands. Kid's a track star, not a wide receiver...

But it is the Raiders, after all. And in the 2nd round they did take a lineman from Ohio University that didn't make any of the Mid American Conference's 3 All Conference teams, and was listed as 7th round to undrafted on at least 6 different GM's draft boards. So I guess in the grand scheme of things, it all makes sense...

I bet that lineman had an ill 40 time, though...

"Al Davis picks by 40 times, and Isiah Thomas does all his scouting at the NIT Championship game" Sean Philipps + Yours Truly

Two words. Renaldo Balkman. And if you don't know how that all makes sense, then I suggest you look into it...


One of the best picks of the draft could turn out to be the Dolphins picking up West Virginia QB/WR Pat White. Insert that kid into the WildCat, and watch him work...

I give it 2 weeks before it's renamed the "WildPat". Feel free to proposition me on that one...


The quote of the draft was when ESPN cameras were on UCONN RB Donald Brown, but Keyshawn Johnson's mic was still on. When cameras originally went to Brown, he was sitting alone in his home and began geeking out like a tween at a Jonas Brothers concert. Nobody really noticed, though, because every one's eyes were fixed on the hideous looking blue velveteen couch he was sitting on. That thing looked like a sack full of smurfs being suffocated by a bunch of rail road ties...

So after Brown stops having his gleeful seizure, and the camera is getting ready to cut back to the draft, all you hear is Keyshawn Johnson, off screen, saying something to the effect of "he's gotta use that money to buy a new coach". Truly priceless, Key. I guess there's a reason they keep you around after all, Because we knew it wasn't your ability to break down games...


*The most awkward moment of the draft definitely came when ESPN sent Erin Andrews to Bergen, New Jersey to hang out with Bill and Quan Cosby. Right after it happened, I texted Frosco and asked him if he'd seen it, the train wreck that it was. When he responded that he had missed it, I told him not to worry, and that Deadspin would have it up within the next 24 hours...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Erin Andrews and Bill Cosby Comedy Minute...

http://deadspin.com/5229491/and-now-the-bill-cosby+erin-andrews-comedy-minute

Thank you Deadspin, your predictability is as entertaining as it is refreshing...


Red Sox Update

Overall: 12-6, 1 game behind Toronto in AL East

My Yankee friends up at school and I have always lived by the mantra "The baseball season doesn't really start until the Red Sox play the Yankees". Well, if that's the case, then the Bronx Bombers might just wanna call it quits right here and now. Not only were the Pin-Stripers swept, but thanks to the demoralizing, come-from-behind fashion in which they were so disposed, the sweep may have done more to shake their confidence than it did damage their record.

I know its early 'n all, but losses like that can take a toll, especially within the division and especially and the hands of a division contender and rival. Oh and add to that, especially when that team plays in New York, especially when they spent a quarter of a bil this offseason, and especially when they have the most volatile elderly owner this side of Marge Schott. Whether the Yankees the team on the field are in trouble, it's far too early to tell. But whether or not the franchise could be in for some serious turmoil if they don't quickly turn it around? The jury is still out on that one...

Oh and the funniest thing possibly ever: With 2 outs in the 9th inning of Friday's game, the YES network broadcast awarded it's Player of the Game award to the Yankees bullpen. Jason Bay then proceeded to hit a ball that, if not for that pesky green structure in center field, would be headed out to sea towards a teenage Somali pirate ship...Ahoy, bitches!!


As for the Sox themselves, I'm going to react to this 10 game winning streak the same way I reacted to their 2-6 start. Just like the 2-6 Sox, the 10-0 Sox aren't the team that's going to be around for the majority of the season. And to be completely honest, nobody in their right mind would have confidence in this pitching staff heading into an ALCS the way the starters are going...

I'm not all gloom and doom, though. I mean how can you be riding a 10 game winning streak and fresh off a sweep of the Yanks? I'm optimistic, just cautiously so, as I think any fan should be. And to prove my optimism, here are a few notes...rather one note, on one player...and of course Moneyball talk...


Kevin Youkilis is the best hitter in baseball. Period. As Billy Beane noted in Moneyball, Youk has always had an uncanny sense of the strike zone. Now, unlike most Moneyball walk-machines, he's actually combining that keen eye with the ability to hit to all fields, and hit to them with power. Now I'm not sayin' this just happened or anything. I'm well aware of the monster year he had last year. It's just that now, watching him really come into his own, it's more evident than ever that not only is he still the toughest guy to get out, but he's becoming one of the most feared hitters in the entire league...

I used to rip the guy because every time he got out he acted like a grave injustice had just been done to him, but now maybe I see his point. He's just that good at hitting. With his skills, he should expect to be on base every time he gets up. My apologies, good sir. Feel free to act accordingly...

Oh but don't feel free to continue making shady appearances on Man Vs Food. I swear on my life I watched that show for the first time this weekend, and there is Youk making some Teddish comment in the Eagle Deli in Boston while the show's NY host goes toe to toe with some Boston fatty in a burger eating contest. Listen, Youk. Just because Brad Pitt is tagged to play Billy Bean in the movie adaptation of Moneyball, doesn't make you some sort of defacto SAG member. Stick to baseball, brotha, and try to act like you half expected it to happen the next time you make an out at the plate...



Fantasy Baseball
Week 4 Name: The Jet Stole Home!

Week 3: L, 6-10-0 vs BoroBall8

Overall: 11th place, 17-29-2, 17 games back

This week I was whooped up on by none other than Rooch Nation Ambassador and baby-maker extraordinairre, Mr. Aaron Danho. With a strong opening and closing to the week, Aaron bested me in convincing fashion while yet again affirming to me the notion that baseball is a game of inches, and I am destined to be without those necissary inches for the rest of the season...

Nah, but seriously. Despite my lackluster start, I still have confidence in my squad. And with a couple interesting trades possibly in the works, I might like even more in the days to come...

As for this week's name, it's in honor of the resemblence between Jacoby Ellsbury, who nabbed home against Andy Pettitte on Sunday night, and the creepy older version of Benny "the Jet" Rodrgiuez from the classic film, Sandlot. Remember after the Jet did steal home, and he flashed that sex offender stache and a big thumbs up towards the announcer's booth at his buddy Smalls? Flat out creepy, man. And the older I get, the more convinced I am that at come county fair in the MidWest, "the Jet" is wearing black, Jordache jeans with a $20 hangnin' from the pocket, lookin' to diddle the next 18 year old that accidentally trips on the wire he's conveniently placed in the security camera's blind spot...


Classy? No. But it's a solid ender any way you slice it...



Speaking of classy, check back on Friday for my Kentucky Derby picks! I'll tell you which horse will win, which one's to bet on, and which one will likely end up being put to death right there on the track. What? Too soon?
Eight GlueSticks, we hardly knew thee...

Oh, well. In the words of pre-racist Kramer. "Giddy Up!"...

Have a great week everybody!

100...

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...

100...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Very Interesting...?

A wise man once said "May you live in interesting times". Rather vague, if you ask me, but also rather appropriate for what's gone down over the past 72 hours or so. After all, in life, as in sports, beauty, or in this case "interest", is most certainly in the eye of the beholder. What have I found interesting? Why it's funny you should ask...

Here's a quick rundown. Enjoy...



Let's start with the Masters. What most people are Monday Morning QB'ing as a choke job by Kenny Perry and a "nice" win for Argentina's butt huffing version of Rocco Mediate, I'm viewing as an epic opportunity lost. With that fat Ted, Phil Mickelson charging out of the gate, and Tiger mounting a rally of his own at the turn, it looked as if those two could blow past all the Joe Country Club's ahead of them, and finish in their own playoff, more than an hour before the leaders hit the 18th green. They had a chance to go really low, but the heat on, and they didn't deliver. They had a chance to go shot for shot down the stretch for the green jacket, but instead got swallowed up in Amen Corner, and go quietly into the soft, slave-owning Georgia night.

You say Kenny Perry choked and Angel Cabrera got a much deserved win, I say we missed out on what could have been a battle for the ages. The showdown we've all been waiting for. It truly would have made this year's Masters, a tradition unlike any other...



P.S. - If you're gonna feel bad for anyone or anything in this whole mess, feel bad for the gum in Angel Cabrera's mouth. Apparently someone told him that his epic chain smoking display during the US Open didn't go over too well with the viewing public. He was goin' at that gum so hard I half expected to see his caddy open the bad, and like 5 pouches of Big League Chew to fall out. I'll be the first to admit that smoking isn't a good example to set for the kiddies out there, but something has to be said for having character and letting people be themselves as well. And hey, maybe they don't allow smoking at Augusta. I mean, they've been known to throw people out for less. Like say, I don't know. The color of their skin or their religion? Somebody just give that man a butt already before jitters his way out of the green jacket with some sort of Muhammad Ali scorecard signing disaster...


"So we understand the rules then. No Jews, and No blacks!" - Angus Griffin, creator of golf and ancestor to Petter Griffin. I personally don't see the resemblance...



P.P.S - Phil Mickelson is a fat bastard that needs to buy some shirts that fit him properly. Phil, we get it, you lost some weight. But just because you've lost 20 pounds doesn't mean you can wear the shirts that you bought for when you've lost 50 pounds! So take off the man girdle, throw on a loose polo, and stop showing the Western world that you have nipples comparable to dancer at the Crazy Horse. Get off my TV, and get back to dry humping the cardboard cutout you have of Jared from Subway. You fat Ted...





Now onto the Sox, who themselves provided a tense moment that can be reasonably looked at from both sides of the coin. I'm talking of course about what's rapidly being coined the Beckett/Abreu incident. Josh Beckett was getting ready to throw, Abreu was granted a time out late in the process, and when Beckett released, the ball sailed eerily close to Abreu's head. Benches cleared, Mike Scioscia And Torii Hunter went nuts, Beckett didn't seem to care at all, and after order was finally restored, everyone was left asking one question. What was Josh Beckett's intent?..

My take is that he didn't throw at Abreu, but he wasn't unhappy with where the ball ended up. No pitcher likes it when a batter calls a late timeout, but at the same time, it's very difficult for a pitcher to adjust mid windup as to where he's gonna throw the ball. I think Beckett was looking to throw it away completely as to not strain his arm, and it didn't go as high as he would have liked. Again, I think he was pleasantly surprised with the result, but the intent wasn't there. Like umpire Joe West said after the game, the situation didn't require Beckett to be tossed or warned, because not only was intent not evident, it just didn't make sense. Sure Beckett was probably pissed that Abreu called a late time, but does throwing at his head in the early innings and risking ejection really make sense there? Nah, no way. Maybe in September or October, but not on the 12th of April...

As for Boston's actual play on the field, I'll have more on that, along with my *uncompromised World Series and award predictions next wek, I promise...

*made my picks a week before the season even started, so don't think I'm gonna be swayed by some early results...

Speaking of early returns in baseball, my fantasy baseball team stumbled out the gate this week to the tune of 2-14-0. But never fear, friends, for I feel the news is good. While the scoreboard, the only thing that counts mind you, looks rather dreadful, the actual statistical results do not. Without my 1st 3 offensive draft picks (Ichiro, BJ Upton, Geovony Soto) sidelined due to minor injuries, I still managed to stay close in every offensive category. That's gotta be a good sign, right? And I already feel, even without those guys, that I've managed to favorably work the waiver wire in the early going and may have obtained a few steals in the likes of Jack Cust, John Baker, and Freddy Sanchez. Combine them with the 3 named above and draft steals Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick and Travis Hafner, and I think I could have quite the formidable offense when all is said and done...

My pitching? Not so hot, but everyone knows that pitchers take longer to get in their groove. And seeing as I have aces coming out by backside (Halladay, Lee, Volquez, Santana), I think I'll be alright. I'll need some more speed on the bases and some help in the bully if I'm going to make a serious run, but other than that it was about the best 2-14 start I could have asked for. So stay tuned for my updates all summer long. It should be a great ride, and naturally I know you're all very intrigued, especially as to why I have that picture above this section about fantasy baseball...
Then again, I heard somewhere that beauty is actually in the eye of the beholder, and not necessarily in the eye of the nerd that decided to put his point of view on the Intraweb for all to see...

Another interesting event took place this weekend when Boston University pulled their goalie with more than 3 minutes to go down 3-1 in the title game, and were actually able to pull out the win in overtime against Miami of Ohio. Interesting if you like hockey, which I don't. If you do, read about the finish here...


Then go seek help, because you're an embarrassment to sports fans everywhere and more than likely your parents aren't that fond of you either...

Hockey sucks, and I hope the Bruins lose in 4 games in the first round. There, I said it...


And finally, the last bit of interesting news to come forth this week is that the station I work for, 790 AM in Providence, is going through yet another format change. This time to a talk format focused on financial and business news. I know we all loved the Oldies music, but I for one feel this change is for the better. It will have me working more, which is always a good thing. And we will actually be putting out a product that is entertaining and can help people out in these tough financial times. More money for me, better radio for you. Everybody wins!..

What's even more, is that you'll be able to hear my skills on full display on daily basis as I will be producing a live show called "Making Money", every weekday starting at 530 and leading up until New York Yankee Baseball. Only time will tell if yours truly will be involved in the occasional or possibly frequent back and forths with the hosts, but that my friends is why you're gonna have to tune in. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity, and it should be an adventure and a great learning experience at the very least...


So I know I came up a bit short this week, but with all the goings on at work with the launch of the new station, I hope you all understand. Ahhhh, of course you do...

And fear not. Just because I will be working more doesn't mean I'll turn a blind eye to you, my doting and adoring group of loyal readers. I know you love me. I know you need me. And you know that I know that I need you too. Yeah, something like that...

So continue to keep an eye out for me, and keep your ears open as well when your in or around Providence, or just searching for some mindless ish to do the the Internet. I'm building an empire, one building block at a time, and every emperor needs followers to believe his BS and do his dirty work. You are my people, and I'd be nowhere without you. And that's something that the eye of this beholder can find a lot of beauty in...

Stay fresh, and keep an eye out for those short shorts and halter tops. We're just a few notches on the thermometer away!..


And keep an eye out for Chelsea Handler too. She's still a fat, humorless skank that's getting paid millions of dollars that should be going to me. What? I don't have an axe to grind...



I'm out...

100...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I'm So Money, And I Know It: 2009 MLB Preview


You know the saying, "you can't see the forest through the trees"? Yeah? Do you know what it means? Listen to me. Of course you know what it means! But just in case you need a little refresher, it means that sometimes when you're only looking right in front of you, you're due to miss possibly bigger and more important things that in all likelihood you should be seeing...

Basically, it's saying that in your quest to find something or figure something out, you're blind to a lot of simple facts that normally you would see right away. You're told to look for a forest. You know that forests have trees. So you start looking for trees. You find the trees, but you never see the forest...

Kind of like when my aunt and uncle drove all the way to Provincetown and back to East Greenwich, only to tell their friends and family that they never were able to find Cape Cod (true story). Astonishing, I know, but hey, sometimes it can even happen to the best of us...

Take me for instance. As I have graciously chronicled for you right here at Rooch Nation, my NCAA bracket was about as accurate as Enron's accounting ledger. Truly a disgrace. But what happened once my bracket busted? Out of the final 7 games of the tournament, I was able to accurately predict all 7 of the eventual winners. A perfect 7 for 7...

And to even further my point, I give you my two fantasy NBA teams, Rusty Shackleford and Lt. Shineysides. Despite not having watched a complete NBA game in what seems like years, I was able to manage this teams to perfection, and they now both find themselves in their league's respective championship games...

Fluke? Perhaps. But what I see is a trend that if you sit back and analyze without any preconceived notions, or hopes and desires of your own, it's a lot easier to predict the outcome of a game or maybe even a player's performance. I mean, how else could you possibly explain it? I have no interest in the NBA, yet year after year my pre season predictions are damn close to on point (this year I had LeBron as MVP and the Cavs as the NBA champs). And once my bracket busted, and I lost any real reason to cheer for a particular team, I was able to focus on what was actually in front of me, and make correct pick after correct pick...

What's even funnier, is that while I was thinking this through, I was having a back and forth with my buddy Frosco. He was understandably shocked when I told him I had two fantasy NBA teams, but what he said in regards to how I explained my success is what inspired to do my pre season MLB predictions the way I did...

Me: I think it's easier for me because I don't watch any of the games

Frosco: OK, Billy Beane...


Ahh! There it is! It's been right in front of me all along, and I've just refused to look at it! The book that changed my life in terms of baseball, Moneyball, may very well be the solution to my woes as a wayward handicapper...

For those not familiar, Moneyball is a book written by Michael Lewis (or Mr. Tabitha Soren if you will), about how Oakland A's GM Billy Beane "changed the game" by focusing strictly on numbers, and ignoring whatever it was he saw on the field. Basically, the lesson was to not believe your eyes, unless you were reading statistics on a piece of paper. Sure it may not be the "sweet science" we all envision baseball to be, but hey, you can't really argue with results. And before you come back with the obligatory "results?!? The A's haven't won shit!", blast, just keep in mind that Moneyball is about being able to compete in the salary cap era, with less than an optimal payroll...

So this year, I'm picking strictly based on lineups, rotations, bull pens, and trends. There's still plenty of guesswork involved, mind you, but with a solid foundation of facts behind me, I feel this year's picks will the start of a new era in Rooch Nation predictions. I'm still gonna watch the games, I'm just not gonna consider anything other than numbers when I'm making my decisions...

Will I fall flat on my face yet again, or is this finally the answer I've been searching for all these years? Who knows. only time will tell...

For now, you can call be Double Down. I'm money, I know it, and I'm here to spew some knowledge on ya. And you know what? It's not even me, as it's Roenick. He's good...

Get some...


AL East
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Tampa Bay Rays
3. New York Yankees
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

The Champ: Maybe because Braveheart has been running non stop on TNT this has seeped into my subconscious, but either way I find this comparison eerily appropriate. You know the scene where William Wallace is about to get beheaded, and he lets out the final yell right when the King dies? Well the King is George Steinbrenner, and William Wallace is the Red Sox. I'm not saying their an underdog like Wallace and the Scottish were, but I am saying their eventual AL East victory, in wake of the Yankees spending more than ever this off season, could be the final nail the the Boss's coffin. The Sox win, Big George takes the big dirt nap, and all is well again in Red Sox Nation...

And just to give a little credibility to my prediction, I'm actually taking the Sox because while I'm not exactly in love with their offense, I do love the depth they have at pitching. And we all know, you can never have too much pitching...

The Rest: Tampa is still damn good, but like all young teams they're due for a little setback this season. I have no reason as to why their setback will occur, but seeing as it always seems to happen to these young teams, I'm gonna go ahead and say it's gonna happen to them...

Remember that miniseries "The Bronx is Burning" that ESPN forced down our throats a few years back? Well consider this season the eventual sequel. After spending over a quarter of a billion dollars (that's billion, with a "B") this off season bringing in the likes of Burnett, Sabathia and Teixeira, anything short of their first World Series this millennium will be viewed as a colossal failure....

Oh, and did I mention A-Roid? Remember him? I'm sure the tabloids won't want to focus on him while the most expensive team in history tanks their way way through the summertime. Nah....

As for the O's and the Jays, I won't say they suck, cuz they don't. But I also won't waste my times trying to convince you they have a Speedball's chance in a crack house of making the playoffs. I just repsect you too damn much...

And you see what I did there with the Speedball/snowball thing? Huh? Did ya?

Yeah, I'm clever. And nothing gives me more pleasure than pointing that out each and every day...


AL Central
1. Chicago White Sox
2. Kansas City Royals
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Detroit Tigers

The Champ: The White Sox are the only team in the Central I feel I can trust, which is saying a lot when it comes to head coach Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams. Those two are poised to blow up at any time. That being said, with no other team jumping out, I'm just gonna go chalk on this one and pick the team that one the division the year before...Easy peesy, Japan-eesy...

The Rest: With the Indians and Twins likely struggling through this year with injuries and inconsistencies, and the Tigers primed yet again to be a flat out disaster, the only other team worth watching in the Central could very well be the Kansas City Royals. With Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies manning the front of their rotation, and 1B Mike Jacobs added to the offensive mix, I'm predicting here and now that the Kansas City Royals will be the surprise team of 2009, and put together a strong end of the season to finish just a notch above the fading Twinkies and Tribe...

Hey, I figure if I'm gonna go with chalk at the top, I might as well throw in a shocker just to keep things interesting...


AL West
1. Oakland A's
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers

The Champ: It seemed just about every other week this off season that my main man, Billy Beane, added yet another piece to his team that I viewed as a great fit for his on base percentage formula. Matt Holliday, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi and Orlando Cabrera may be slightly over hyped (Holliday) or past their prime (the other 3), but their patient presence in the lineup should exhaust opposing pitching staffs for the entire summer...

The Rest: The Angels are scrappy, I just don't think they're gonna be able to put together enough offense with an aging Vlad and a bunch of kids...

The Mariners might be better than last year, but not by much...

The Rangers should keep on scoring a ton of runs with my man "Big H" leading the way, but seeing as they still can't pitch their way out of a wet paper sack, I can't say I love their chances of anything but a long summer in the basement...


NL East
1. New York Mets
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Florida Marlins
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Washington Nationals

The Champ: With their '07 collapse firmly placed in their rear view mirror, the Mets are ready to make a run at the NL East crown again in 2009. With Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey at the top, and K-Rod in the pen, their pitching should be solid. And as long as David Wright and Jose Reyes are in that lineup, they shouldn't have any trouble scoring runs either...

The Rest: The Phillies and Marlins may have what it takes to contend, but a young Braves team and a crappy Nationals team will probably spend most of the year looking for silver linings and trying to line up their prospects for a trip to the Bigs in 2010...


NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Houston Astros
6. Milwaukee Brewers

The Champ: Whatever the reason (I blame the fact that there are 6 teams), I'm never able to figure out the NL Central. That's why this year, I'm going with the team that not matter what, always seems to be in the mix. The St. Louis Cardinals. Sure they may only have one player whose name you recognize (Pujols), but that doesn't mean they aren't talented, does it? New addition Khalil Green should compliment a lineup with sluggers Pujols, Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel. While starter Kyle Lohse should help stabilize a pitching staff that features veterans Joel Piniero and Chris Carpenter to go along with youngsters Adam Wainwright and Todd Wellenmeyer. Truly a solid team from top to bottom, which is why I'm installing them as the division favorite...

The Rest: The thing that probably sticks out to you the most here is the fact that I have the young and talented Milwaukee Brewers in the basement behind the likes of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Why, you ask? Well it's simple. Take the top two pitchers off of any team, especially a young one, and you're bound to see some sort of decline. That, and Prince Fielder is too fat...

I expect the Cubs to contend, only to fall short, perhaps into the Wild Card. And I expect both Cincy and Pittsburgh to be better than advertised, thanks in large part to their solid starting pitching, and good young hitters. If they're lucky, next year I'll be picking them to backslide like I am the Brew Crew this year...


NL West
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

The Champ: Over the past two seasons, the Diamondbacks have averaged a mere 716 runs a season (4.4 runs per game) yet still managed to finish 1st and 2nd in the NL West. This year, I think they find a little more pop, keep up the good pitching with Haren and Webb, and are able to hold off the hard charging Dodgers to claim their second NL West title in the past 3 years...

Oh, and look for OF Chris Young (above) to have another fantastic year after taking a slight step back in 2008...

The Rest: Let's see how the left coasters like "Mannywood" when he starts taking games off and complaining about traveling secretaries. Much like the Yankees in the East, this should be more a soap opera than a baseball team, making them very entertaining to most, and very frustrating to their fans. And trust me, there's nothing worse than a frustrated Mexican...

The Rockies should be closer to their '07 World Series form than their '08 72-88 form, but it still won't be enough to make the playoffs...

The average age of the guys the Giants brought in this off season has got to be close to 40, but that doesn't mean their team isn't vastly improved. Their rotation, led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, should be solid, but it's the leaky bullpen and the fear of the old dudes getting hurt that keep me from having the West Coast G-Men finish any higher than 3rd...

And the Padres? Well when your ace asks out during the off season, and you ended last season on a downward spiral, I just don't like your chances moving forward. They certainly have the talent to compete, it's just I don't like the atmosphere down there, and we all know how clubhouse karma can play a major role in a team's success or failure...


So there you have it, boys and germs. My complete breakdown of the upcoming MLB season minus the playoffs and the post season awards. Those are for next week...

Also next week make sure to check back and read my thoughts about how Chelsea Handler is fat, humorless whore, my reflections on the NCAA tournament, a Masters recap, and your weekly update of all things Boston Red Sox...

That's right, I said fat whore...

Catch you next week, kids....

Giggity...

100...