Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not As Strong As They Seem...

Lance Armstrong, the Boston Red Sox and my 2012 fantasy football team. What, you might ask, do these 3 things have in common? Well, if you guessed, "they can all be described as 'one nut and a bunch of drugs'", you're wrong. But I like where you're heads at. Nope, they're just this week's topics de jour. And needless to say, I've got some strong opinions to share on them...

First, we'll start with what's already been dubbed "The Trade". Capital T, Capital T...

Let me be clear. I like this trade, but I don't view it in any way, shape or form as some sort of panacea that will in and of itself help restore the Red Sox to their championship winning ways. Shedding massive of amounts of payroll? Great. Getting perceived bad apples out of town? Fantastic. But it's just the first step in what will be a multiple step process of bringing this team back to where both fans and ownership think it should be. Which makes it important to ask the question, where does ownership even want this team to be?..

That's an element I feel isn't getting enough press. Are they shedding payroll to create room for spending? OR are they cutting payroll to increase profits? I've been saying this for months, and this trade hasn't changed a thing. I don't trust this ownership group any further than I could have thrown Josh Beckett, so forgive me if I'm not thrilled and assuming that they're going to do what we expect in order to bring this team back to prominence. Filling that monetary void with the appropriate talent certainly would seem like the obvious thing to do, but we're also talking about a group of high powered businessmen that think they're fooling people with this never ending "sell out streak"...

I'm also getting confused as to who is running this team. Larry Lucchino seems to get all the blame when things go wrong, yet now that things are going "right", GM Ben Cherington seems to be getting all the credit. Yet another reason why this trade doesn't solve all of my ills. A major part of the problems created up there over the past 5 years have come from lack of communication, or at the very least, a muddled and confusing power structure. And if that doesn't straighten itself out, I'm sorry, but I won't have anymore trust in that group to do the right thing than I did when Josh Beckett was still killin' Keystone's in the locker room...

So, yeah. I like this trade. It's definitely a step in the right direction, but merely taking steps in the right direction don't get anything accomplished. I know they can't take all of those steps at once, but it's going to take more than once fancy move or two for my faith to be fully restored in this ownership, this management and their goals as a franchise...   

I've never minced words when it comes to the career of Lance Armstrong. I've always felt he was cheating (an ideal likely accelerated by the fact that I read Juiced around the same time he was going on his run), and while i think it's fantastic that he's raised a lot of money for cancer research along the way, I can't even begin to see that as a reason to give him anything resembling a "pass". A tact that seems to be the most popular in the wake of the USADA stripping him of nearly all of his worthwhile achievements. Certainly one that ESPN's Rick Reilly seems to deem acceptable, which for me is all the more reason to think it's all just a crock of shit...

True, there isn't a great mountain of evidence against Lance (inconsistent tests, only co-conspirator testimony), but since when have we needed science to back up with what we can readily see with our eyes? The sky is blue, I know it's blue, and no matter what some test may say, I'm going to continue believing that it's blue. That's where I am with Lance. He did things never before seen in his sport, in a way never before seen in his sport, and he did it right after jumping into bed with one of the world's foremost pharmaceutical companies. Write all those off as 'coincidences' if you want, I just can't...

And it has nothing to do with the common notion among reporters and competitors that Lance was a complete dick. I've never disliked him because of those allegations, and I wouldn't use them as a jumping off point for a personal vendetta. I don't like him because he cheated, prospered and did it all while masquerading as one of the world's foremost charitable figures and success stories. See, I can take the cheating, and I can take his being a massive prick while putting on a public front that he's the nicest guy around. I just can't take it when he's held up as a hero and a role model...

As for whether he's the victim of a 'witch hunt', as many have proclaimed? That's just an improper use of a term. A witch hunt is when someone is looking for something that they know isn't there to begin with, and I'm sorry, but I don't buy the fact that the various agencies have investigated him so thoroughly simply in an attempt to bring him down. I mean, what sport forcibly removes it's greatest moneymaker and ambassador? OK, I guess if any sport were to do it, cycling would be it. But still. It's just not a sound business strategy, and I find it hard to believe the powers that be would intentionally gut their sport merely to punish someone they may not like. People like money too much for that to happen, something that was proven by Lance doing what he did in the first place...

It's unfortunate, though. Because with so little compelling evidence, and nothing but shady bastards like Roid Landis to testify against him, his image as a charitable champion will always remain. Something that's already been proven with the increase of LIVESTRONG donations on the day the Armstrong dropped his appeal. And that's cool. People can support whomever they want. I just think it makes us as a culture, as fans of sport, look gullible and naive. We're simply better than that. Better than covering up for a cheater in a sport nobody cares about, and buying into conspiracy for the sake of conspiracy. Call me naive and idealistic, but we deserve better heroes in sports than a guy that cloaks his deception behind his charitable acts. You know who else gave a lot of money to charity? Bernie Madoff. And I don't see anyone rushing to his defense anytime soon. Except for maybe his new big house boyfriend...

So, yeah. Please stop defending Lance. Just consider the millions he raised 'found money', and move on as if he never happened. I know he's not the only dirty athlete on the block, but he is dirty. And with the chances so few and far between to properly punish and vilify a cheater that actually gets caught, we can't let this one slip away... 

Finishing up, we have the dawn of the greatest fantasy season of them all. Fantasy football. And while I wasn't going to tell you (at least not in writing) who I was going to pick before I picked them, I have no problem showing you my selections now. It should be noted that this is a 14 team league, starting 3 WRs and a 'slash', and with passing touchdowns are still worth 6 points. It should also be noted that my picks are reflective of draft pick trades from last season...

Oh, and it's slightly important to know that this isn't your "average" league. Naturally, there are a few "fantasy fish" to fill out the 'ole pool, but we're dealing a solid selection of fantasy nerds with dozens of fantasy football titles under their respective belts. Nobody wins this league by accident, and nobody wins it because they happened to 'back into' a good draft. That being said, I hope I backed into one. Couldn't hurt...

OMG It's Bags Munman
1.(13)Julio Jones(Atl - WR)
2.(16)Larry Fitzgerald(Ari - WR)
3.(32)Hakeem Nicks(NYG - WR)
4.(41)Antonio Brown(Pit - WR)
5.(44)Aaron Hernandez(NE - TE)
6.(69)DeSean Jackson(Phi - WR)
7.(84)Stevan Ridley(NE - RB)
8.(97)David Wilson(NYG - RB)
9.(128)Jacquizz Rodgers(Atl - RB)
10.(137)Joe Flacco(Bal - QB)
11.(153)Kyle Rudolph(Min - TE)
12.(156)Alfred Morris(Was - RB)
13.(181)Alex Green(GB - RB)
14.(184)Jake Locker(Ten - QB)
15.(209)New England(NE - DEF)
16.(212)Matt Prater(Den - K)
17.(237)Christian Ponder(Min - QB)

Hopefully, you noticed a few things about my picks. The foremost being that I took pass catchers with my 1st 6 picks, and my running backs seem more primed for a milk carton than a fantasy squad. Seems slightly unorthodox, but with the league trending more and more towards passing to win, I prefer the strategy of stocking up on premier pass catchers than the one that ties my success to a few top running backs...

Why then, didn't I get a better QB? Eh, I just didn't think the value was there. I certainly would have selected one had I been higher up in the 1st round, but outside of that there just wasn't anyone that I really felt I needed to 'have' on my squad...

It also shouldn't be overlooked that I have the #2 waiver claim, meaning I'll have a great shot at acquiring one of fantasy's top un-drafted surprises.. Between that, and my extra assets at WR, it shouldn't be difficult to fill any holes that my team may have. And it's my belief that the RB spot will be the easiest to fill once the season gets started, simply due to the rate at which so many of the league's top RBs seem to go down...

So feel free to use this information however you'd like. Just remember the infamous words of Bricktop from Snatch, when you do. "When I throw a dog a bone, I don't wanna know if it tastes good or not." Yeah, no guarantees. This is a text book 'grain of salt' situation. So take that salty treat, and get to draftin' the team that will lead you to the promised land. Or at least to some very useful bragging rights...

I'd feel remiss in ripping a fraudulent Armstrong without giving props to perhaps the greatest man ever to take that name. Neil Armstrong passed away this week, and his contributions to our world will never be forgotten. Truly one of the great adventurers this universe has ever seen, and one of a small group of men that helped bring pride to our country at a time when that actually meant something. RIP, Mr. Armstrong. Your one small stepped changed the world, and for that, we're forever grateful...

Have a good week, friends. And don't forget to keep your browser tabbed here for all your football picking needs. Yep, football is back, and so are my picks, We'll win, we'll lose, we'll laugh, I'll curse my luck and how the universe is set against me. It should be good times. So you won't wanna miss it. And at the very least, it will help me begin to make up the fact that I very well could have just thrown your fantasy season into an unrecoverable tailspin before it even got underway. So there's that...

Teddy Williams...



Anonymous said...

Good read Pimpie Brewster. Did you catch S.Carolina vs Vandy last night? Is it me or did S.Carolina look fairly doo doo. If not for a blown pass int call we may have started the year with an upset.

Brett Ferruccio said...

I saw some of it, but not all. Kind of had the feeling this highly touted Spurrier team wasn't as good as their ranking, though. Actually had Vandy ATS in my college picks league. Weeeeeee!

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