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Friday, April 30, 2010

May The Horse Be With You...


You know that stock footage you see on the news whenever the go to their particular "Wall Street" segment? It's all those guys shuffling around the floors of the New York Stock Exchange, waiving tickets and screaming random nouns at the top of their lungs. Their lungs, of course, only being given that oxygen by the stereotypical loosened neck tie, which is usually accompanied by what one could only assume is some sort of identification badge...

So yeah, you got the image in your head, right? Well that's essentially the process Sean and I go through every year over the phone when we make our picks for the 3 races encompassing Horse Racing's Triple Crown. The first "jewel" of which being this weekend's, Kentucky Derby. I shout, he shouts, neither of us really hear what the other one says, but in the end, we always somehow manage to walk away feeling really good about our prospects. Hey, it may not be a perfect system, and it may not be a winning system, but it's a system dammit, and that's good enough for me. And they don't win on Wall St., either, and you don't see them switchin' it up. So, yeah...

This is, after all one of the few times each year I actually bet on the outcome of a particular sporting event, so if there weren't at least some drama and tradition involved, it probably wouldn't be nearly as exciting and ultimately nearly as fulfilling. And though I might be known to throw a couple papes around on some other random stuff here and there (but seriously, not nearly as often as you would think), this is truly the only time I ever go in knowing that I'm at a severe disadvantage. It's the only time I say, "Screw it", admit I know absolutely nothing, and just sit back and enjoy the ride...

To me, it's like playing the lottery where you bet small hoping to win big. Only better. With the Derby, instead of watching a local "celebrity" pick numbered balls out of...well, out of whatever the Hell you call that lottery ball thing, you get to see midgets whip horses around a track in front of a bunch of fancy-hatted drunkards (Is that Desiree?!?)It's just good ole clean fun, really. And if you haven't been down in the past, well then consider this your invitation...Invitation, to the Horse Nation. OR the Equine Nation, if you will. Just not whatever nation it was that was having these little children serve as, no racially insensitive remark intended, camel jockeys for their 100+ degree camel racing marathons. But don't worry, they've since been replaced with tiny robots. So it's all good...

But enough of that. IF you're not on board with potentially big payouts, egotistical midgets, fancy hats and even fancier drinks, then I'm afraid I'm just not gonna be able to convince ya. It's along the same lines of a saying my buddy Josh Astin, is fond of using. It's somethin' like "If you don't like drinkin' beers and watchin' Family Guy, then I can tell ya right now that we aren't gonna get along". Well, put sir. And while I won't risk alienating you by saying if you don't like the Derby and the Triple Crown than we can't be friends, I will stop trying to convince you how awesome watching and betting on it is, and get right on down to dishing out the winners...

So, here we go. Sean and I have convened, with stupidity winning in straight sets, and here's what we ultimately came up with. Oh, and I took the liberty of throwing in a few other adventurous wagers you might wanna dabble in along the way as well. Ya know, just to keep things interesting, and to give me an outlet to show you just how sick and twisted I can sometimes be. So keep on the lookout for that...


For now, it's time to sound the horn, midgets! Let's run for the roses!...brought to you by Yum Brands Inc.: From Horses, to Taco Bell, they got ya covered. How refreshing...

Trumpet!


2010 Kentucky Derby Picks

Now naturally, we're utilizing the "bet small win big" strategy, so forgive me if you don't find any simple bets like for a horse to "win" "place" or "show", unless it's on an extreme long shot. You're dealing with true, low budget ($25-$50 total), gambling gangsters, here. We go big (relatively speaking), and then we go home (literally). Oh and you won't find potential payout figures here, either. These things change so frequently that the odds would be obsolete about a minute after I put them down , so it's kind of pointless. What I will do, is give you the odds of each horse in the bet winning the race, giving you at least a glimpse as to what the potential payout could be. Again, we're goin' small to win big here, people. So we'll be pushing the envelope and looking for the upset...

Good luck, and may the horse be with you...


$4 Trifectas
(must hit all 3 in order)

(16) Awesome Act (10/1) - (2) Icebox (12/1) - (20) Sidney's Candy (13/2)

(12) Conveyance (16/1) - (20) Sidney's Candy (13/2) - (4) Super Saver (14/1)

(1) Lookin' At Lucky (4/1) - (4) Super Saver (14/1) - (7) American Lion (22/1)

(2) Icebox (12/1) - (1) Lookin' At Lucky (4/1) - (14) Mission Impazible (16/1)

(1) Lookin' At Lucky (4/1) - (15) Discreetly Mine (45/1) - (2) Icebox (12/1)

*My first instinct was Awesome Act, and I'm stickin' with it. Lookin' for Icebox to have a big day, too. I often fall in love with names that I can "hear geing called down the stretch", and that's what I've done again here. I dunno, figure I'm due...

$4 Superfectas
(must hit all 4 in order)

(2) Icebox (12/1) - (20) Sidney's Candy (13/2) - (11) Devil May Care (12/1) - (4) Super Saver (14/1)

(1) Lookin' At Lucky (4/1) - (15) Discreetly Mine (45/1) - (2) Icebox (12/1) - (16) Awesome Act (10/1)

(16) Awesome Act (10/1) - (2) Icebox (12/1) - (20) Sidney's Candy (13/2) - (15) Discreetly Mine (45/1)

*You might notice that some of the Superfectas and Trifectas overlap. And with good reason. If by some miracle we hit a Superfecta, why not get paid twice off of it, right? That's our logic, and however flawed, it's again a strategy we've chosen to stick with...


$5 Winners
(Horse must win race)


"Good odds"

(2) Icebox (12/1) *because why not at this point

(12) Conveyance (16/1)

(7) American Lion (22/1)

Long shots

(15) Discreetly Mine (45/1)

(19) Homeboykris (45/1)

*Somethin' tells me Discreetly Mine is a descendant of Mine That Bird, so I like my chances there. And how can you pass on a name like Homeboyrkis at 45/1? That's right, you can't. And with so many long shots having won these Triple Crown races of late, you almost have to have some sort of long shot bet to even feel good going in...



$10 Super Prop

UNDER 5 - # of horses NBC's Tom Durkin (above) will announce as race leader (-160)

OVER 1 minute 44 seconds - How long it will take Rascal Flatts to perform the National Anthem (-125)

OVER 153, 563 - Will this year's attendance beat last year's attendance (+150)

NO - Will a horse win the Derby wire to wire? (-1100)

NO - Will the Derby beat last year's Neilsen rating of 9.8? (-215)



Now this Super Prop was supposed to include the odds of any horse or a particular horse being euthanized on the track, but for the life of me I couldn't find a place to bet on that. I can bet on whether Barry freakin' Obama will pick the right winner (unlikely), but I can't bet on something that's happened in very recent memory (Eight Belles, 2008. As if I'd ever let you forget)?



Outrageous, I say. Shame on you, gambling community, and especially you, United Kingdom. Your sport books tend to have the juicer and more slanderous props, and even you couldn't come through for me. Bastards. I still give ya props for giving me 80/1 on that black Pope getting elected, but I'm gonna have to go ahead and mark this one in the loss column. Maybe you give me some good odds on the liklihood Bill Cosby ends up in the next celebrity sex tape scandal and I'll let you back into my good graces. Take off you clothes like voo AND vooooooooom!

Enjoy the Derby, kids, and good luck in your betting adventure. Hope Sean P and I were able to help, despite the fact that we hope we win, and we, in the bottom of our hearts, hope everyone else loses. And one more time, just because the picture of Darth Vader is so damn funny lookin, and because I did make it the title of my post, allow me to wish you one final send off with the hopes of it bringing you Derby success...

May the Horse be with you...

Have a great weekend...

Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Changes In Attitude?: Sox, Pats, Derby and More...


When your as passionate and as skeptical as someone like yours truly tends to be, it's always important to keep one popular saying at the forefront of your mind...

It's not impossible for two intelligent people to disagree, while still remaining respectful and civil.

Now I'm pretty sure what I wrote is a slightly altered version of the correct phraseology, but the overall point still rings true. Unfortunately, I find myself having to fall back on this saying far too much lately when it comes to the bosses of New England's 2 premier sports franchises...

Naturally, I'm talking about Danny Ainge and Peter Chiarelli...and if you believe that, you gotta come see the one man production of Precious I'm putting on this weekend in the basement of the Attleboro YMCA. If I'm not arrested for inciting a race riot on Friday night, there should be an early show Saturday, so plan accordingly...

But all racially charged theatrical joking aside, I'm obviously referring to Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein, and New England Patriots Commander in Hood, Mr. Bill Belichick, NOT those other two Garden dwellers whose sports see it fit to continue to screw with my normal TV programs. Ahhh, who am I kidding? I don't watch the channels that broadcast the NBA and the NHL for the most part anyway, so that complaint isn't even legit. I'll tell you right now, though. Should I turn on Adult Swim one night and find the Senators V Penguins or some shit instead of my normal King of the Hill reruns? Well then that, my friends, will be the day I come out spitting straight fire, and change my life's work towards burning that very league to the ground and relieving myself on the smoldering wreckage of charred European flag pieces and beard bits...

But for now, we'll just stick to the topic at hand, which is how lately I seem to find myself deferring to Bill Belichick and Theo Epstein even though I may ultimately disagree with them. Something that's not usually in my playbook, and something that's got me in quite the unfamiliar head space. It's like watching someone fix something you have no idea how to fix, like a car for instance, and getting the sketchy feeling that they aren't doing it right. Ya know, and then you start in with the "Well I'm no car expert, but I'm pretty sure that shouldn't be happening". Well I'm no GM, but there are a few things that I've been seeing lately that I don't think should be happening, either. Regardless of whether they ultimately fix the car or not...

Then again, maybe this is just the classic example of there being more than one way to skin a cat. An example of intelligent people disagreeing, if you will. I guess that means now, the onus is on me to make sure things remain respectful and civil...

Yeah. Wish me luck...

We'll start with the Pats...


New England Patriots 2010 Draft

Now to judge a draft in it's immediate aftermath is just pointless, which is why the cardinal rule these days is to wait 3 years before you give a particular draft class or player a "grade". That doesn't stop all the various pundits and analysts from telling you how each team did, mind you, but at least it seems that most people are willing to wait until these guys actually take the field and prove their worth before they go passing judgment on a team's draft day decision. It may seem like a cop out, but it's definitely the way to go. I'm sure you all remember our good friend, Sauce Beatman, right? Well this is a lot like that. Sure you could make outlandish statements about draft picks right now, but why would you? You really have very little to gain, and by the looks of some "grades" given out in year's past, only your credibility to lose...

But in keeping with this week's theme of like and intelligent minds finding themselves on opposite sides of an issue, I have to point to the Patriots draft strategy in 2010 as something I don't necessarily see hood to hood with...

Now it's a fine line here with Belichick and myself, because while I don't agree with how he went about picking his players, I actually do like most of the guys they brought in.

Devin McCourty is a physical corner who is a big time special teams difference maker; Aaron "Buds" Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski provide solid competition and pass catching potential at TE; Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham are solid linebackers that can provide depth if nothing else; WR Taylor Price is by all accounts an above average receiving talent; Zoltan Mesko appears to be the next "most popular punter in the NFL" based on name and size alone; and even final selection, QB Zac Robinson, could end up being someone that Patriots fans end up becoming very familiar and enamoured with. They're an extremely big and physical group, and they certainly fill a lot of needs, there's just something a little off...

Maybe it's because, if I had explained it to you like this, you'd be more likely to want to "Brandon Spikes yourself" then you would want to ever watch another Patriots game. What if I said...

"Yeah the Pats traded back in the first round...yeah, again...where they could have had WR Dez Bryant, but instead opted for a special teamer from Rutgers that one of the worst coaches of all time judged as the #1 talent in this year's draft, and was definitely alone in doing so. Oh yeah, and then they went out and took 3 guys from a college whose coach is perhaps the biggest Ted in the history of the world, a TE with chronic back issues, some receiver from Ohio, and a punter named Zoltan."

Not such a great lookin' draft now, is it? And for me, it's all about the fact that Bill Belichick seemed to take his cues in this year's draft from Dave Wanndstedt and Urban Meyer. Wanny being the only one that was hyping McCourty, and Urban obviously being the one who saw 3 of his Gators headed to Foxboro over the weekend...

On one hand, you think Wannstedt did recruit and coach Darrelle Revis, so maybe he knows of what he speaks when it comes to Big East DB's. But on the other hand, he's Dave freakin' Wannstedt. Shady mustache, awful coaching record, and just overall a man who's opinion is not to be trusted. He's not the college version of Matt Millen, not yet, but traveling along those lines is where you'd probably find his residence. His is the mailbox with the mustache for the flag...

And Meyer? Dude's proven over the last year that he's probably closer to a Tiger Woods like fall from grace than he is from winning another National Championship. I mean, I know it takes a "special" kind of guy to do a job like that, but Urban's headed more towards a helmet on the short bus type of special than a place in class behind Myron Rolle kind of special, if you know what I mean...

Ultimately, they're just not guys I want my guy taking cues from, and guys that I wouldn't think he would put so much stock in. And who's to say he did, right? I know. (Although it's pretty obvious that Bill loves him some Florida) It's just a little unsettling that such direct lines can be drawn to guys I wouldn't want within 100 miles of my football team...

Then, there's the trading back in the first round, to which I'll simply say what I say every year when the Patriots do it. "When the world comes to an end, the Patriots will be stuck with a 1st round pick, and 3 2nd round picks, in the following year's draft". Eventually you gotta pick somebody, don't you? I get there's a lot of salary cap type math that I'm not totally 100% on that affects how and where team's draft, but it's one thing to do it occasionally, and another to make it your M.O. ...

Hey, maybe it's just frustration that's got me lookin' for faults. The trading down, the passing on big named players, the drafting of relatively unknown players. Maybe it's just so many perceived negatives that I can't help myself. I'd buy that. But maybe, it's just like the case of the mechanic I mentioned earlier. It may not sound right to me, but the guy doing it knows a Hell of a lot more about it than I do...

Fortunately for me, I have 3 years to determine whether or not I was right or wrong about these picks and their merit. The Patriots? Well they better hope they get those answers in 2010, or they could be headed towards a 2011 off season that could turn Gillette Stadium and the Kraft Empire on it's head. Not that I'm predicting an immenent collapse should this draft class not work out, that would be ludicrous. It's just to say things might not be as rosy as we're used to there up on old Rt. 1, with a certain QB and WR tandem possibly headed for free agency...

But that's a bridge we'll cross when we get to it. For now, I cast a skeptical, yet hopeful eye on the 2010 draft class, and hope this is just another case of the mechanic knowing a Hell of a lot more than the dimwitted customer...

Theo Epstein? Well he's not getting off that easy...OR is he?...


Red Sox Update
Overall: (9-11) 4th place 5.5 games back in AL East

This Week: @ TOR (4/27-4/28) @ BAL (4/30-5/2) vs LAA (5/3-5/6)

The Sox may have gone 5-2 this week, but in wake of this week's theme and last week's promise, I feel it's my duty to at least give you some insight as to my thoughts about how Theo Epstein has managed this year's team...

In the off season, Theo went about assembling a team that was advertised as a squad built around defense and pitching. With additions like Cameron, Beltre, Scutaro and Lackey, that definitely seemed to be the case. The team even stated publicly that they were at temping to shore up those areas of their team...

But what I saw, was a team and a man trying to sell something that they themselves didn't necessarily deem to be true. And I was hoping they were right! I knew, like most of you, that Scutaro, Cameron and Beltre were legendary defenders, but I felt Theo and friends were more using their defensive prowess as a cover. I think, they though, these guys were actually going to hit! I think, part of their plan was not just to have these guys upgrade the defense, but that their addition was actually going to upgrade the offense as well! IT's the "forest through the trees" thing I alluded to last week, and I think it's something Theo is currently suffering from...

IT's like when you would build MLB teams on XBOX or PS2 back in the day. You stock it with players that you want on your team as opposed to guys you're team would realistically need. You know, like on that ill team you had where Randy Johnson was your closer, but you had a guy in right field named A. Player R. Fielder? Yeah, you did it. You know what I'm talkin' about. Only problem here is, Theo Epstein doesn't have a reset button. Gorilla suit, yes. But the reset button, I regret to inform him, has yet to be invented. I'm sure Al Gore's working on it, but until he cracks that nut it's something we're all going to have to learn to live without...

Fortunately, despite the injuries and the fact that team's been playing like ass, I still like the Sox chances for success if they stick to the plan I outlined as likely when I predicted they would win the World Series. The pitching will come around, they'll add a bat and a few bullpen arms, and they should be right where they ought to be come October...

And while I may not agree with the way Theo went about building this team, I do have faith in his ability to fix it, and faith that the right moves he did make will begin to bare fruit as the season moves on...

Not right, not wrong. But different styles and different opinions. IT's what makes talking about sports so much fun, and at the same time can make evaluating it all the more frustrating....which to me, is often just as rewarding...

Now, just a few quick hitters before I call it a day...And is it me, or did it seem like I was rip Theo and Belichick only to again give them both the benefit of the doubt? Damn, I'm a sucker. But hey, I guess "until the car breaks down", right? Right...

OK, now we can really move on and finish this sucker out...



*One of my favorite sporting events of the year, The Kentucky Derby, is this weekend, and I've already started feeling the buzz. My first instinct is to have Awesome Act (above) leading most of my bets, but I'll have a bettor handle (pun!) on that by the end of the week. My man, Sean P, is on the case, per usual, scouring the OTB's and the New York papers for the latest tips, so I'm sure to have all the near relevant insight you'll need come the sound of the trumpet...

Check back on Friday and I'll have all the Derby picks you need, complete with money making trifecta picks and the best bet for which horse will get put down on the track. Sadistic? Yes. Immoral? Yes. But when it comes to midgets riding on animals for money, I tend to think that absolutely nothing is off limits. NOTHING!


*Could Mad Men be headed for it's final season? In the words of Bob Ryan in reference to impending signing of JD Drew "...On behalf of an eager contingiency, I hope the rumor, isn't true"

And if the rumors are true, you Teds out there that haven't been watching better hope it's because creator Matt Weiner wants it to end, and NOT because there haven't been enough viewers. Again, as with King of the Hill, if that's the case I'll hunt you all down and burn you where you sleep. If you have a beard, it will be very similar to the NHL situation...


*I watched the Jack Kevorkian biopic "You Don't Know Jack" on HBO this weekend, and actually as I type this it's running again. And my review? Rather unremarkable. John Goodman was good, Danny Huston was good, and Al Pacino was good, but the movie itself just really wasn't all the trailer promised it would be. Maybe it's just that Kevorkian wasn't all that interesting a guy to begin with, I don't know, but the movie just didn't really seem to deliver. And for what it's worth, as good as Pacino's performance was, I couldn't help but think that an aged John Turturro would have been the better pick for the slightly off kilter, "Dr. Death". But that's just me...

Now if you don't know much about Kevorkian, and want to treat the movie as a sort of history lesson, then by all means give it a look. Otherwise, feel free to move it to the back end of your DVR and spend your TV watchin' time gobblin' up old episodes of Family Guy, High Stakes Poker, No Reservations, and for the love of GOD MAD MEN!!!...


*Oh and speaking of poker, I've again resumed my $0-$??? quest on PokerStars, recently having built my once $14 bankroll all the way up to it's current state of about $45. IF you ever want to play, you can find me on Stars as River_Rooch, usually playing the low level buy in tournaments and the micro stakes cash games. For those not familiar, I was able to start with $0 and make money because you begin by playing for money in really big tournaments that actually have cash prizes. It's a path that's been taken by many a grinder and top pro before me, and while I don't have a specific dollar amount I intend on reaching, the discipline something like this entails, coupled with my overall enjoyment of poker, have truly made this something I really enjoy doing. Maybe having an ultimate goal would be a good thing, but I figure as long as my bankroll is headed north, I'm headed where I want to go. Some day that'll be me bluffing Phil Ivey with the 4 high...Or not...


And speaking of wanting to go, that might not be what I want to do, but it indeed is what I'm going to do. I hope you've all enjoyed your most recent adventure through my psyche, and wish you all nothing but the best moving forward through the week...

Be good, people...

Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Red Sox Reloaded?


Red Sox Update
Overall: (4-9) 4th place 6 back in AL EAST

This Week: vs TEX (4/20-4/22) vs BAL (4/23-4/25) @ TOR (4/26-4/28)

Well, let's see. 4-9, coming off a 4 game home sweep at the hands of the Rays that was, to be quite frank, about the most dreadful home series I've ever seen. In a word, it was pathetic. In two words, it was VERY pathetic...

Now, just a mere 13 games into the season, and we're all left wondering whether this team is really as bad as it looks, or if it's only a matter of time before they turn things around. Well, I'm here to tell you not to be worried. And for all you Sox fans out there, to help ease your troubled soul, I offer you some words of wisdom from a man wise enough to find the chosen one, yet not wise enough to find a shirt that could adequately cover his bulging gut and his bulbous man-nips...

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us, but if we are to be prepared for it we must first shed our fear of it. I stand hear before you now truly unafraid! Why?! Because I believe something you do not? No! I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am hear not because of the path that lay before me...but because of the path that lies behind me!

It's Morpheus, of course, and his momentous speech to Zion right before they had that sort of awkward techno orgy. And while I'm about as likely to have a techno orgy as I am to take up residence as a roadie for the New England Revolution, I do agree with the shirtless prophet's overall message when it's applied to judging the Boston Red Sox. Especially when it comes to, "The path that lies behind me"...

Now, let's not get things all muddled up. here. I've watched the Red Sox play the first two weeks of the season, and what I've seen has been some of the worst baseball I've ever seen from any team not coached by Walter Matthau, or Heaven help us, Billy Bob Thornton. And I'm not here to make excuses. Essentially everyone in the lineup is struggling, the pitching has been suspect to say the least, and in going 2-6 against other teams considered in the top tier of the AL, the message has been clear that whatever affliction the Sox are dealing with isn't something that "Every good team is going through", and that their division rivals inparticular seem to have no trouble putting the Red Sox in their rearview mirrors...


But remember, as Morpheus said, it's the path that lies behind us that is most important, not necessarily what we see in front of our eyes. Just as it isn't prudent to expect the Rays to win 124 games (their current pace), it isn't wise to expect the Red Sox to continue at their current pace, either. T0 hit .249 as a lineup, to have an ERA close to 5 as a staff, these are trends that we know, by looking back, aren't likely to continue into the future. Could they? Could the Red Sox finish the season hitting .249 with a 4.78 ERA, and thus finishing with a pitiful total of 49 wins? Sure. Of course it's possible, but I think even the most ravenous Yankee fan would agree that's about as likely as a Mariano trade to the Pirates or Nationals...

So, how are the Red Sox gonna turn it around, you ask? What's the magical solution that will put them right back in the AL East hunt? Just to continue playing, for now. And I know how boring the law of averages can be, and how it doesn't always apply, but like I predicted before the season began, I think this team has enough pitching to get them through until they actually will have enough hitting to make a run. Based on current performances, maybe that move will have to come sooner than many expected, but for now I'm chalking this bad start up to just being a bad stretch of games, rather than a sign of things to come...


The path behind me tells me that this team is damn good. Considered good enough by many, including yours truly, to win the World Series. Has so much changed after just 2 weeks? I think not. And while we might be sitting here a week from now still wondering what's to be done about this team, it's going to take a little more than a bad first 20-30 games for me to start writing this group off...


IF in 3 weeks they're still winning at their current .308 clip, however, then you best believed that I'm gonna have some choice words for Mr. Theo Epstein. After all, he's as big part of the "path that lies behind" as the rest of 'em, right? And seeing as he's done everything almost exactly the opposite as I would have done it following the 2004 World Series, and I've been very vocal about it, I'll be the first to point out how he may be suffering from a little bit of the "forest through the trees" syndrome. For now, I'm more than willing to defer the man that's brought the Sox 2 World Series titles in the last 6 years, but should this team continue to falter, you can best believe I'll be front and center to hand out the criticism. I won't be there to kick him while he's down, mind you, but just to point out how perhaps his once fiercely focused philosophy may have begun to become muddled with pride and ego. Things I already believe are true, and have voiced right here over the past few years, but that the Sox seem to have won in spite of...

And believe me, I realize the ridiculous fence I'm riding here, saying that I think they can win, but that if they lose it's Theo's fault. It's like the worst disclaimer of all time, I know, and while it sounds like I'm just anxiously awaiting my chance to be a hater, I gotta tell ya that's really not the case. I think it's more I believe I'll have a good answer as to why this team isn't able to turn things around, more so than a desire to say that I was right and he was wrong. After all, I do still want the Red Sox to win, right? Of course I do. And I still want to look wise in the eyes of my peers, right? Of course I do. So goin' around rippin' Theo Epstein, and claiming that I've had the right answers for the Red Sox for years, wouldn't exactly be the best strategy. I mean, the guy's won 2 World Series and had the team in the playoffs virtually every year since he's taken over, so how "wrong" could he really have been?

It's a fine line, I know, but that's usually where I like to take my stands. Hence why in my Facebook profile, I list my political views as "Conservatively Liberal". It's a lifestyle, really. A frustrating one, yes, but that's what it makes it all that much more rewarding when it all comes together. Kind of like I'm hoping the Red Sox season will be, counting this as the frustrating part...

Obviously, we'll have to wait and see, but when it comes to my reaction, you already should know what to expect. Should they succeed, it's because of the path that lies behind them. Ya know, experience and skills and whatnot, and all the stuff Morpheus was chripin' about. Should they lose? Well, if they keep on playin' like, to borrow a term often used by my Little League All Star Coach, Billy Michel, "Helen Keller's School for the Blind". If they keep playin' like HK + The 4 Senses, then you can rest assured that I'll be here to tell you where they went wrong. And by "they", I'm gonna mean Theo. And by "went wrong", I'm gonna mean JD Drew. Ha! Nah, it'll be more than just The Misadventures of David Jonathan, but you see where I might be going with all that...

It's early. Too early to form any sort of opinion, and far too soon to jump to any sort of conclusion. But this much I know to be true. If the "path that lies behind us" doesn't start leadind us where we all think we should be going, then Theo better be on the look out for the next Neo. It rhymes, because it makes sense. And you know it makes sense...

Now take the red pill, already, and read on as I finish this sucker out in style with a few thoughts on some other topical ish I know you folks might be interested in...





Kevin Garnett got suspended 1 game for chucking an elbow during the 4th quarter of the Celtics win over the Heat in game 1 of their first round Playoff series. People have been asking me what I think. OK. You wanna know what I think? I think fighting in the NBA is so pathetic, so embarrassing, that what Kevin Garnett did, by NBA terms, is totally deserving of a suspension. Considering that the average NBA "fight", is a lot of chest pumping, and one guy slapping another and then running away, then this definitely qualifies as a punishable offense. An NBA misdemeanor, if you will...T

he players have nobody to blame for their league's tolerance level but themselves. They brought all this upon themselves with all their primadonna behavior, which is, oh by the way, the whole reason this whole fracas even occurred in the first place! If Paul Pierce doesn't fake an injury, and wail and moan on the ground like a baby, then none of this even takes place. So if anything, it's karma coming back to kick the Celts in the ass. But as far as NBA fights go, it's more or less just par for the course. About as brutal as it was necessary, and as always, giving the word "fighting", a bad name. "NBA Fight". You'll find it in the Sports Dictionary right before "Soccer Injury", and right after "Men's Figure Skating". Bunch of Teds...

And don't give me any of that "Pierce has an injury history" blah blah blah bullshit, either. He cries wolf far too often to be taken for his word when it comes to that, knife wounds or not, and the fact he stayed in and played the rest of the game should go a long way towards proving my point. He's just one of those guys. We all know at least a few of 'em...



But as far as all that goes, I can't reiterate enough that I really don't care. At this point, I'm rooting for 2 things. To see LeBron finally get a ring, or to see Rasheed get a ring with the Celts,so all his haters can watch as he does a Duckboat dance all the way down the Charles. Seeing that would be great, but the fact I can't get a singe Celtics fan to take $20 at 8 to 1 that the green will win it all, leads me to believe I'm better off rooting for the former, and not teasing myself with what could possibly be the greatest sight these eyes have ever seen. Well, at least when it comes to non Michael Jordan NBA stuff...


Oh and two more things, real quick! What the Hell was Danny Ainge doing on the floor during the aftermath of that scrap, and how is it humanly possible that Jermaine O'Neal and Sheed weren't involved in that whole thing somehow? Truly mind boggling. Well, not the Ainge thing, he's an idiot. But Sheed and Jermaine missing out on that juicy action? That's just a damn shame...


The Bruins? Well, I predicted two months back that they would make it to at least the Eastern Conference Finals. So there's that. I only waste my time mentioning it now in hopes of derailing them with my reverse karma, and sending them home in truly brutal fashion...


And as for the Patriot's and this weekend's draft? I really only have one prediction. Expect Bill Belichick to do some big things. Why? Because he's Bill freakin' Belichick, that's why. Not to mention there's a new "prime time" draft format, waiting to be exploited, and the dude's flat out due for a good draft! At least in my eyes he is...

Names like Tim Tebow, Dez Bryant, and Sergio Kindle have been tossed about, meaning you can all but take them off the board, but with 3 second round picks, and an "extra" 1st rounder in 2011 to work with, don't be surprised to see the Pats movin' around to fill their various holes. Hopefully, as opposed to years past, the moves will be upward, but whether it's moves or picks I expect the moves to be big. Just something about Bill and this prime time format. Just seems like the new format will almost inspire him to the point where he's gonna want to immediately prove to everyone that he's still as cagey as he ever was. Sounds a little childish to assume he doesn't always want to try and outmaneuver and out pick his adversaries, but I also think it's a little naive to overlook his competitive nature, and his desire to prove he's still on top of his game. Still thinking on another level...

Oh and if Tim Tebow does happen to end up in New England, I'm just gonna have to stomach it. Like I said, I don't see it happening, but I would be intrigued to see how he could be used in Bill's system. Why I say I'll have to "stomach it", is because I'm not a huge fan of his to begin with, with all the preachy Jesus stuff, and I know he'll be fanboy #1 with the Pink Hats, making him virtually intolerable to me. I am intrigued, however, as to what he might be able to bring to the table. Both with his immediate impact and versatility, and his long term prospects as a potential QB. I know he's not close to being that yet, but then again, neither was Matt Cassel. And it's never a bad thing to have an extra capable QB. Not if the price is right...

OK, kids. That's it for this guy. At least for now. As usual, I'll be keeping a keen eye on the sports world over the next week, and be back to report on a smattering of topics in just another 7 days or so. Until then, try not to cut yourself while you're watching the Sox, and try to remember that just because the present might be bleak, doesn't mean the future is going to follow suit. After all, it's the path that lies behind us, that's going to give us hope. At least, that's what the bare chested cult leader said in that cave that one time. And he helped save the world from the machines...

Teddy Williams...
You Don't Know Jack...

Pootie Too Good...
100...

#$>

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A New Rivalry Unlike Any Other


We've all heard it a million times before...

"If you didn't like that, then you just don't like _____"

In this instance, replace the ____ with "golf", and you'll get the gist of where I'm going with this...

The Masters. The "Tradition Unlike Any Other". The Jim Nantz Invitational, if you will. This weekend's tournament really had it all, too...

Tiger was back, the leader board was littered with more green jackets than a Packers home game, and when it was all over, a fan favorite walked away with his 3rd Master's title. As I remarked to a few friends on Saturday, "The only way Hootie Johnson and Billy Payne could of drawn this up any better, is if somehow they could've made Tiger Woods white, and asked KJ Choi to refer to himself as 'Kevin Charles'". Not that I'm inferring that the Masters' chairs are racially intolerant or anything. More like just, "Good ole Southern boys". Or as I like to call them, "Hootie & the Blowhards"...

But political viewpoints aside, even those good ole SoCo swillers couldn't imagine an ending so perfect without involving white hoods and a flaming cross. They had the ultimate family man, with a wife fighting cancer, fending off the unapologetic infidel, who seemed more concerned with blaspheming than with trying to put a positive face on his controversial return. And while I don't speak for CBS, The Masters, or anyone representing the PGA, their unabashed glee was all over their faces and deeply ensconced in their voices. They may not dislike Tiger Woods, and they all definitely realize how crucial he is to the game, but they could not have been any happier with Sunday's result. It's why they kept bringing up the fact that Tiger was still "cursing", and why they kept literally willing Phil to pick the lesser club off of each tee to avoid yet another epic collapse...


And speaking of cursing, since when did "God dammit" become a 4 letter word? I mean, I get that it's not necessarily the most "appropriate" thing Tiger could have said, but for a guy that usually drops S and F bombs, I thought he was able to censor himself quite nicely. Apparently I was the only one you thought so, though, as I've already heard Jim Nantz, Scott Van Pelt, and WEEI's Glen Ordway go out of their way to point out that while Tiger said his on course language was something he would change as part of his resurrection, he'd failed to do so in his first event back...

Really, guys? Really? Guess you're not nearly as familiar with rehab as I would have figured, considering who you cover and who your coworkers are...

In my book, going from screaming "FUCK!" to screaming "Tiger Woods, you suck! GOD DAMMIT!", is quite the step in the right direction. Is it what everyone necessarily wants to hear? No. But if we are to believe what Tiger has told us, that should come in time. But ripping him for saying "God dammit"? That's like kicking a meth head out of rehab for smoking a cigarette. To me, the criticism of his remarks was almost a free pass for those who didn't like Tiger to begin with, or at least since with uncovering of his vast indiscretions, to pile on and continue to point out his flaws...

What was even more strange, and even more defining, was that there weren't ANY commentators at all who decided to take the other side. To take up for Mr. Woods. It was a clean sweep, and it sent a clear message that a new age of golf has arrived. We no longer live in a golf world where Tiger is the ever present wunderkind and Phil is the lovable everyman trying to push through and fight the unstoppable force. Now, it's even more simple. Phil is good, Tiger is bad. For lack of a better term, but at the same time using this term as a pun, it's "black and white". Phil, with his 3 green jackets and 4 Major titles, is now not only likable enough to carry the thrown, but good enough to carry it, too...

This week's Masters may have started out as the Tradition unlike any other, but in the end, it spawned and defined a tradition most of us are all too familiar with. Phil VS Tiger. Good VS Evil. And judging by the reception his victory received, it's all too clear that the masses have switched alliances faster than a cast member of Survivor. Tiger was great, but he proved too good to be true. Now, a new white knight has been thrust into the forefront, with a back story so good that if he too should fall, country clubs everywhere would crumble to the ground...

Me? I'm sticking with Tiger, blasphemy or not. To me, no matter how imperfect he may be as a person, he's long since been established as the ruthless, omnipresent Yankees to Phil's aww shucks, we'll give it our best shot Red Sox. Now, it's just that Tiger represents all that off the course, as well. IT also just so happens that in this instance, I'm a member of Yankee Nation, and not Red Sox Nation. And I can only hope and dream that John Sterling now sees it fit to come up with a great nickname for me...that doesn't involve a pre 50's Broadway play...

In closing, had he not already used his "win for the ages" call on Tiger's win in '97, Jim Nantz would have been well deserved to whip it out on Sunday. Phil's win was not just another green jacket, it was the win that could permanently change the game's very landscape. Or at the very least, it's sure as Hell going to change it's face...

Tiger and Phil. What was once a one sided rivalry, is now the battle for the golf fans' very souls. Pick your sides, kids, and get ready to dig in for what's sure to be a legendary battle...

Tiger Woods...you DON'T suck, my friend. And before all is said and done, you'll have reminded all these haters whose still the best and most deserving golfer in the world. And here's a hint, you won't be able to see his nipples...

Now, before I have to check out to go work some New York Yankee home opener baseball at my stomping grounds of AM 790, here's a quick reaction from the Red Sox first week of legitimate baseball. Ya know, just in case all those Yankee references had you thinking I'd switched sides...

Which I still haven't, by the way. Pricks...



Red Sox Update
Overall: (3-4) 2 games back in AL EAST
This Week: @ MINN (4/12, 4/14-4/15) vs TB (4/16-4/19)

I guess ask and you shall receive, huh? At least when it comes to calling out umpires and refs...

Longtime umpire, "Country" Joe West, came out this week and called the pace of Red Sox/Yankees games "pathetic and embarrassing", and his comments have drawn quite the reaction...

My take? I think Joe's nickname could do without the O, the R, & the Y, and that he should have a Coke and a smile, and shut the f*** up. The fact we as fans even know that you have a freakin' nickname speaks to how big of a ham you are, and you perfectly embody everything that's wrong with today's officials. I've always said we need real men, and not robots, calling our sporting events, but it's guys like Country Joe, who tends to ump more like his cousin, Mayor Adam West, that give even a staunch advocate like me pause for concern...

It's just pathetic, really, that when so many qualified candidates exist, all the major sports in this country insist on keeping guys like West, and my old punching bag, Tim Higgins, on the payroll just because their viewed as "wise" and "experienced". Wake up already. Unionize all these guys, hold them to higher standards, and everyone is going to benefit. I'm not saying we want to make them so perfect that they don't make mistakes, I just want them to be more aware of the position they hold, and they job they are expected to do...

I've said it a million times, and I'll end this rant with this. On what planet does it make sense to have old fat guys in their 50s officiating the premier athletes in the world? And don't tell me it takes that long to learn how to be a ref, either, because I took the weekend course. I know what's up...


Well, now that I've thoroughly wasted the little time I had bitching about Joe West, I'll just give you a few bullett points on the Sox before I hit the bricks...

*David Ortiz may not be "done", per say, but when your the Boston Red Sox, and you have a healthy Mike Lowell and Jeremy Hermeida on your bench, waiting 2+ months for Ortiz just isn't a profitibale practice. Seven games is too early to be writing anyone off, but the 11 strikeouts are alarming, and I hope Terry Francona is able to puul the plug sooner rather than later should that day actualyl come. And if it does come, it will only be in a week or so. David's already made it perfectly clear that if he doesn't start hitting, his demeanor is going to get pretty nasty, pretty quickly...

*"Pitchers take longer" + "He always starts slow", just aren't excuses that fly with me. You got me, Mr. Lester? I got a staff full of guys on my fantasy teams that are doin' just fine, brotha, and even though I think you'll right the ship sooner than later, I just don't like how this start has almost beem deemed "acceptable". A 7.20 ERA is just awful, man. Just awful. And to further that, if you know a guy is going to "start slow", then you should be hesitant to pay, and hesitant to have him start the season at the top of your rotation. Sounds a little stupid, I agree, but so does writing off 2 starts just because a guy usually "starts slow"...


Overall, there's not too much you're gonna learn from 7 games, so despite the slow start I'm not going to make any bold predictions one way or another. Mostly because I know there is plenty of baseball left to play, but mostly because I just picked the Sox to Win the World Series a week ago, and flip flopping so soon would make me look about as credible as...well, about as credible as Joe West, I guess...

The one thing I would like to see, however, is just a little more timely play, and a little better performance overall from the pitching staff. But hey, right now I'm just glad baseball's back...

Give me another week, and I'm sure I could think of more to bitch about, but I'm trying not to jump to any rediculous conclusions, and like I said, I do have a Yankee game that I have to be getting to...


Have a good week, everybody...

Teddy Williams...

You Don't Know Jack...
100...

#$>

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

2010 MLB Preview: Springing Forward With Fatty & Splinter


Well, it's all over. The NCAA Tournament, that is. And like anything worth doing, or worth watching, it seemed to have come and gone faster than Gary Tanguay at 98.5 The Sports Hub... (Welcome back, Gresh. We missed ya, buddy)

And while it's only been over for a few hours, with no doubt winners and losers alike just now finding their way to their beds, I'm ready to label this as not only a great tournament, but a fitting send off to what is probably the last year for the field of "65". I'm not against expansion, per say, but I had a much better plan that I came up with a few years ago that would probably preserve more of the tourney's normalcy, and not create this schedule altering 32 team first round bye. But that, as they say, is a conversation for another time. The other time, in this case, more than likely being at the beginning of next season, or when in fact they actually roll out the full schedule of proposed changes...

If in fact we have seen the last of the field of 65, last night was a great way to go out. For an event that boasts giving every team, no matter the size or the prestige, a shot at glory, while at the same time rewarding consistent excellence, the Duke/Butler match up, and it's ultimate outcome, were the perfect ending to what's been a highly entertaining series of games. And while it might surprise you to hear me say it, considering all the "Splinter" & "Trust Fund Crazies" jokes I've made over the years, the fact that the Blue Devils were able to take that thing down works better to reflect why the tournament model as constituted has always been so successful, so entertaining, and so highly regarded as a great way to determine the best team in your sport. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved it had Duke lost, too, but this result better embodies the spirit of what the 65 team field has brought. A "Cinderella" made an improbable run, to prove that dreams could come true, but the consummate "team" was just too much for them to handle, and that perennial power claimed it's 4th title in the last 20 years. Butler's run had all the right ear marks for it to go down as the ultimate upset, right down to it's "Baby Faced Assassin", having not one, but two, final jumpers go just a bit too long. (The first of which reminded me of that Bird miss in game 1 of I wanna say the '85 Finals?)...

Truly an epic finish to a fantastic tournament. For once a finale actually lived up to the full body of work, despite Clark Kellogg's best efforts...

Also, on a more personal note, the officiating in that game last night also embodied the worst of the charging/blocking disparity that seems to have overrun all forms of basketball during the past 5+ years. With 11 minutes left, and Butler trailing by 3, Gordon Hayward made a drive, a bucket, and appeared to be fouled essentially right under the hoop by a sliding Jon Scheyer. The result? Charge called on Hayward, the basket was wiped out, and the replay CLEARLY showed what I could tell from across the room on TV. At no point did Jon Scheyer EVER stop moving. That blown call turned into a 5 point swing, and while I am by no means trying to insinuate that call cost them the game, or that Duke was receiving favoritism, it did highlight, on the game's biggest stage, a rather large problem that needs to be addressed. IT's become crystal clear to me in the last 2+ years that something is wrong with that way the block and charge are called at all levels of basketball...


To me, it's one of 3 things here, or perhaps a combination of 'em...

1) The refs were given certain instructions in regards to the calls, that the fans were never informed of

2) They don't know the damn rule to begin with

3) There are too many showboating zebras out there whose ranks could use a little bit of thinning

Whatever the reason, it's obvious that their view on the call has changed, and in a world where an NBA ref was recently incarcerated for essentially helping to fix games, you would think that such a blatant issue like this is something the NCAA and the NBA would want to nip in the bud. Well, maybe not the NBA. They seem to enjoy having their refs play an integral part in the game. I mean, why else would they have one of them kiss Charles Barkley on National TV?...

But enough complaining. It is Spring after all, and with the weather forcing the ladies into their more scantily clad attire, there's really not too much bitching to be done. Sure I may have failed for the 6th time in the last 7 years to make any money in the NCAA Tournament, but that just gives me extra incentive to work even harder next year to finally bring home some bacon for all my loyal Rooch Nation readers. That, and I don't wanna go by the way of Sports Illustrated's "Dr. Z", who annually picks a team to win the Super Bowl that will ultimately finish the season at 6-10. A washed up handicapper whose only retort is "Well I used to win all the time...". Nah, that ain't me. I don't make my bones of the success rate of my predictions, and I don't give myself a glorified title in order to impress my readers...

If that were the case, I'd call myself Reverend Brett Ferruccio, and post a weekly column called "The Revs Righteous Redictions". What? I became a Reverend in 2001 thanks to a few clicks on the web page of the Universal Life Church. You saying that's no good? And yeah, I realize that I forgot the "P" when I wrote "Redcitons" a few lines back, but there are 2 important reasons for that. 1) It goes better with the alliteration AND 2) you would have to be a "Re" for even reading a column like that...

Pfffft. Dr. Z. More like Mrs. Pibb, if you ask me...


Now, in keeping with the tradition of speaking out of both sides of my mouth and walking a line finer than Amy Winehouse's breakfast, I'm about to unveil an abridged version of what's going on in my brain right now in regards to the recently started 2010 Major League Baseball season...
Notice how I didn't say "predictions"...

Sure they may look like "predictions", but I like to think of them more like a "hypothesis". An educated guess, if you will. I've compiled what I know, made my guess, and much like in the NCAA Tournament, now it's up to you. Only difference here, is that there's no "pool" to be had here, so I doubt any of you will be scribbling down what I write, or debating with your colleagues which team has the best shot at the NL Wild Card...

But hey, I gotta put somethin' down on paper, right? How else am I going to be able to brag when my predictions come true? Uh, I mean, when I'm able to adequately prove my hypothesis...

Enjoy, kids. And not just the column, but the season. I'm getting the unsettling feeling that true Boston baseball fans are rapidly dwindling in numbers, and while I welcome the departure of all the Pink Hats, I fear the increased apathy could take a lot of bite out of usually one of the most passionate and ravenous fan bases in the country. Maybe the NFL Draft will pass, and things will go back to being normal around here. But even that statement just doesn't sound right. Not for Boston. Not for April...

Oh well. Guess I can just add that to the list of things I'm going to have to "get over", I suppose. A list that, sadly enough, seems to be getting longer by the day. But hey, me and you both, right?

Now get your read on...



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

A Boston fan glances at this, and says "Of course he picked Boston, he's from Massachusetts".

A Yankee fan glaces at this, and says "Of course he picked Boston, he's from Massachusetts".

Someone that knows me glances at this and says "Wow, Rooch really thinks the Red Sox are better than the Yankees this year? Interesting".

I don't pick the Red Sox because I like them, just like I don't pick against the Yankees because they are the Red Sox main rival. This year, I'm banking on two things that will help push the Red Sox past the Yanks and into the top spot of the most powerful division in baseball...

1) It's tough to repeat. Granted, the Yanks have done it in recent memory, but between health issues and just the general "luck" and "breaks" involved in baseball, it's just a lot harder than you would think. Even if you do sport the game's highest payroll year in and year out...

2) People say this team lacks offense, and I agree, but I also bank on Theo Epstein changing that fact before the Red Friends hit the post season. I don't know if it's going to be Adrian Gonzalez or Speedy Gonzalez, but it'll be somebody. Mark my words...

So I give the division to the Sox, the AL Wild Card to the Yanks (hence the *), an honorable mention to the Rays and O's, and a big CANADA SUCKS to the probable cellar dwellers residing north of the border...

Oh, and a big thumbs up to 5 year Joshua Sacco for his Herb Brooks "Miracle" speech. Usually I would be against something that's so Pink Hat oriented, but this is just too damn cute to ignore. That's right, I just called a 5 year old boy cute. And even in the wake of watching Doubt this past week, I feel totally comfortable with that...


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

The sad thing about the AL Central, is that any casual baseball fan can justify thinking that any and all of these teams are just God awful. They would be wrong, mind you, it's just that common perception here in the East coast is that we're more threatened by teams coming out of the West than we ever are coming out of the Central. Justified or not, that's just how people out here think...

I like the White Sox to take this thing down in a battle to the death with the Twins, the Royals to post a respectable 75 wins or so, and for the Indians and Tigers to continue their search for what exactly is going wrong with their respective franchises...

Specifically, I think that while the White Sox offense may hold them back a little, their pitching will keep them in the race long enough for GM Kenny Williams to find them a little extra pop. Just like Theo Epstein, in the East. The Twins will put up a great fight, commentators will remark on their consistency, and they'll be lucky win the Wild Card...

That is if they don't freeze to death playing in their new open air stadium. Yeah. Because that was a good idea. Not like it's cold in Minnesota, or anything. What's next? A legitimate hockey league in the United States?..


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

I always try to pick against the Angels, and whenever I do, it ends up biting me in the ass. So despite the improvements in Seattle (including an LA defection), and the annual buzz that Texas might have enough pitching, I'll take Mike Scioscia and the points, and feel pretty comfortable in doing so...

ALDS
Boston Red Sox OVER Chicago White Sox (3-1)
New York Yankees OVER LA Angels (3-0)


ALCS
Boston Red Sox OVER New York Yankees (4-3)

Sticking to my guns, I say the Sox get another bat, and after another epic ALCS with the Yankees, advance to their 3rd World Series in the past 7 years. If for no other reason than the fact that NYY radio man, John Sterling's, new call for Curtis Granderson is arguably the worst home run call since Joe Buck's mockumentarian "Slam-a-lama...DING DONG!" I mean, "Some sort of grandish"?

Really, John? A reference from some late 40's Broadway play? "Tex Messages" and "Melk Men" are one thing, but when you're creating nicknames just so you and Suzy Waldman can get a good hearty chuckle 20-25 times a season, is just going overboard. I know you wanted to steer clear of any obvious calls like "Into the Grand Stands!", but I think you would have been better off sticking just a little bit closer to home. I came up with "It's a Grand 'Ole Shot-ry!", and while I get it's not the most appropriate reference, I believe it's at least in the ballpark...

Pun, intended.

And that's why the Red Sox are going to win the Amiercan League. That, and their pitching should be enough to send El Captian and El Crappy Tan onto the late circuit sooner than expected...


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

The NL East has the ability to be one of the more competitive divisions in baseball, with 4 of the 5 teams playoff worthy, but despite the potential for parity, I'm still sticking with the team that won the division by 6 games a year ago, and made significant additions this off season...

Just a day into the 2010 campaign, and already Roy Halladay and Placido Palanco have made their presences felt in their new home, and their addition has only helped to solidify an already deep and talented team...

I like the Mets, Marlins and Braves to all hang around the Wild Card for the majority of the season, and I even think the Nationals might be fun to watch with their crop of young guys trying to turn that thing around. Ultimately, I just think Philly is too good for any of these teams to outlast them in the long haul, although I wouldn't put it past any of the aforementioned 3 to make things more difficult for the Brotherly Lovers than it probably should be...


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

The Cardinals are still the class of the Central, it's just the rest of the division that's kinda hard to get a handle on. 2 through 6 all have the potential to make some noise, but with that they also bring the likelihood that they will self destruct due to chemistry or injury (Cubs + Astros) or fail to live up to potential (Brewers + Reds)...

The team I'm most excited to see live up to that potential is the Reds, who may still be a year or two away, but also seem capable of making a shady run towards the Wild Card. Even Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench, thinks so, and according to former teammate and ESPN analyst, Joe Morgan, Bench might be the only white man on the planet allowed to comment on baseball. So I'd listen to what he has to say...

Gut feeling here says Brewers end up having a fire sale, too. Their lack of pitching will catch up to them, and they'll start sheddin' the role. And I know a certain team that might be looking to replace a certain lumbering DH, with another hefty lefty that just might be thrown out onto the market...

Here's a hint. He plays 1st, he's not Mexican, and his dad may or may not be being played by Ving Rhames in an upcoming biopic called "Fatty's Boom Batty"...

Did you figure it out? Yeah, you figured it out. Sure the picture didn't hurt, either...

And don't worry, I'll have tickets to the "Fatty's Boom Batty" premier available right here on Rooch Nation as soon as they go on sale. And if you believe that, there's a lacrosse party on Cig Street that I'd really like to invite you to...


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

More often than not, I'm usually the most incorrect about the NL West, because I guess it's always the last division I do. It always appears last in the standings, they always play their games when I'm headin' to bed. I guess it's just natural...

But not this year. Seeing as I knew I'd do the AL East to open things up, I first focused my attention on what I thought might go down in the NL West. The result, as you can see, is that I probably over compensated by giving two post season bids to a division that usually ranks as the most suspect in all of the Bigs...

I got the Dodgers pegged for a backslide, the Padres set for a fire sale, the D-Backs head for the basement, and the Giants and Rockies headed towards the playoffs. Why? Well I like the Rockies offense, and that with some pretty decent pitching should be enough. And in the Giants I see a young team ready to take that next step. Sure they lack some serious offensive punch, but just throw them on the list of team's that's going to add another bat before things are done. Hell, they paid Edgar Renteria, you think they won't go out and add another slugger if they think they're close? Of course they will...

NLDS
Colorado Rockies OVER Philadelphia Phillies (3-2)
St. Louis Cardinals OVER San Fransisco Giants (3-2)

NLCS
Colorado Rockies OVER San Fransisco Giants (4-3)

As long as I'm sowing my NL West oats, might as well have the Rockies and Giants meet to battle things out in the NLCS, right? I say Lincecum returns on short rest to pitch in game 7, but the Bay Area G-Men fall just short of their first World Series in the post Barroid Era...

Setting up the '07 rematch...


WORLD SERIES
Boston Red Sox OVER Colorado Rockies (4-1)

...where I'm banking on a similar result. Boston's pitching will set them apart, and thanks to a few clutch dings by the Spawn of Boom Batty (or his equivelant), the Sox will get their 3rd World Championship since 2004. The water will be dirty, the duck boats will be floating in it, and I'm sure Joshua Sacco will have a prominent place right next the the Series MVP...

The Rockies?! Screw 'em!


So there you have it, valued friends and foes alike. In true Spring fashion, we've looked back on the great NCAA Tournament that was, and started to look ahead at the great baseball season that's sure to come. Maybe that's why I don't need the NBA and the NHL in my life. Between baseball, college hoops, and both pro and college football, I have a perfect schedule going where in one sport ends, and the other one essentially begins. At no point do I have to settle and watch something I don't want to just to fill the void. Good for me, I guess. I got that part of my life figured out, which is nice. Gives me time to focus on the other 99.9% of the shit I still need to work on...

I'll be keeping an eye on Tiger at The Masters this weekend, and I'll have a some thoughts on that next week, along with the debut of the Red Sox Update. So keep your eye focused on the Intraweb, and keep spreadin' the word about the man that speaks the truth. My numbers are growing, from Twitter followers, to Facebook subscribers, and I have nobody to thank but all of you. I appreacite your support, and hope that I can continue providing you with the witty one liners and the valuable insight that keeps you coming back for more...

Have a great week, and I'll catch you on the flipman...

Teddy Williams...
100...

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