Monday, April 24, 2006

Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!

Bush Finally Wins Popular Vote
If you don't think the Texans would be insane to pass on Reggie Bush, and should take a chance on the kid from Texas, then you should stop reading now. I don't want to hear how the Texans have "larger areas of need", how Dominick Davis is a good enough RB or even how drafting Vince Young would give the franchise a huge ticket boost. I don't even want to hear about these new allegations that Bush's family lived in a house given to them by an agent named Michael Michaels. (Although I must say any involvement with a guy who has the same first name as last name does arouse suspicion) Bush is a once in a generation, or even once in a lifetime type talent. Unless some team bowls the Texans over with multiple first round picks and maybe a player as a trade offer, I don't see them moving from the #1 spot, and I don't see them passing on Bush. Their negotiations with DE Mario Williams is just another smoke screen in order to perhaps garner more trade offers. As for the rest of the first round, well it all comes down to where the 3 QB's will fall. As long as Leinhart, Young and Cutler are on the board, many teams will be faced with the difficult decision of whether to take them or not. There is also a log jam at both defensive line and defensive back. Whether your talking about Brodrick Bunkley, Mario Williams, Jonathan Joseph, or Tye Hill, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That's what makes the draft so interesting every year. Different teams become enamored with players for reasons the public may never understand. That's why in my mock draft, I took the liberty to make some picks that may seem a little risky. You never know what's going to happen on draft day, but one thing is for sure. Just like every draft before and after it, there will be some big mistakes and some late round steals. That's the nature of the beast. So here's how I think things will shake out...

Mock Draft
1. Houston Texans - Reggie Bush RB USC
2. New Orleans Saints - D'brickashaw Ferguson T Virginia
3. Tennessee Titans - Matt Leinhart QB USC
4. New York Jets - Mario Williams DE NC St.
5. Green Bay Packers - AJ Hawk LB Ohio St.
6. San Francisco 49ers - Vernon Davis TE Maryland
7. Oakland Raiders - Vince Young QB Texas
8. Buffalo Bills - Chad Jackson WR Florida
9. Detroit Lions - Michael Huff DB Texas
10. Arizona Cardinals - Winston Justice T USC
11. St. Louis Rams - Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt
12. Cleveland Browns - Brodrick Bunkley DT Florida St.
13. Baltimore Ravens - Hanoli Ngata DT Oregon
14. Philadelphia Eagles - Santonio Holmes WR Ohio St.
15. Denver Broncos - DeAngelo Williams RB Memphis
16. Miami Dolphins - Ernie Sims LB Florida St.
17. Minnesota Vikings - Kamerion Wimbley DE Florida St.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Jonathan Joseph DB South Carolina
19. San Diego Chargers - Tye Hill DB Clemson
20. Kansas City Chiefs - Donte Whitner DB Ohio St.
21. New England Patriots - Jimmy Williams DB Virginia Tech

Yeah that's right. My mock draft stops right after the Patriots pick. Basically it's because I am too lazy to do the rest of the first round, and they are far enough into the first round where this is somewhat acceptable. And to those of you in fantasy NFL draft leagues, this should be enough for you to get by. I'm talking' to you 25 sloppy!

Bonds on BondS
Now I promised myself I wouldn't watch Barry Bonds show on ESPN "Bonds on Bonds". And while I haven't sat down and watched an episode, it's been impossible to avoid seeing or hearing clips from the show. I mean the media is covering the show even closer than they are Bar-roid's actual actions on the field this year. So in one clip I hear Barry saying how "Barry Bonds has passed every drug test major league baseball has given him". Gee thanks for that Bar, but we already know the shit you were taking was deigned to beat modern drug tests! Human growth hormone or HGH, isn't detected by MLB's tests. And "the cream" and "the clear" allegedly supplied to Barry by BALCO? Those drugs were deigned to beat drug tests, period. So Barry passing MLB's test is equivalent to a heroin addict passing a drug test screening only for cocaine. It's too expensive for MLB to test for these designer drugs, and when and if their technology does catch up with science, Barry will be long gone. Let's just hope he doesn't get the HR record first. So keep up the good work with your FRAUD of a show Bar-roid. Maybe one day you will be ale to look back on this and laugh. Oh wait, that will be me looking back and laughing. Hell, I'm laughing already. Ha!

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 4-3
Overall: 12-7
Standings: 1st place by 1.5 games

*Sox really struggled this week after rolling out to 8-4 to start the season. Manny is starting to hit though, and if the guys at the top can continue to set the table for Manny and Papi, more runs should be in the Sox future. Hopefully the starting pitching can continue to be excellent, and the middle relief can do a better job bridging the gap from the starters to Jonathan "don't call me Rick Vaughn" Papelbon. Wild Thing!....You Make My Heart Sing!!!

Diamonds Are Forever

*You really have to hand it to the MetsNot only did they come back to beat the Padres 7-3 on Thursday, they did it in style. For starters, second baseman Kaz Matsui homered in his first at-bat of the season, for the third year in a row. Too bad he has only managed 8 more in 728 professional ABs. Then, to cap off a come from behind win after being stifled by Jake Peavy for 7 innings, Julio Franco produced a 2-run homer. Not only did it help the Mets win, it made the 47 year old Franco the oldest player ever to hit a homerun. I think its obvious that the guy is 50+, which makes it even more remarkable. I mean this man played in his first pro season with the Phillies in 1982. Before I was born! And look at him, he's still a physical specimen and his still rockin' dingers with that big loopy swing of his. I told ya I had a feeling about the Mets this year, and it's stuff like this that has me keepin' the faith.

*From the forever young, to maybe the not so physically gifted. I recently heard of a poll that was done to rank the world's 100 Most Unsexy men. Randy Johnson finished second on this list, and deservedly so, and comedian Gilbert Gottfried finished first. Now while I am not going to argue that both of those men are disgustingly ugly, I do believe there is one name that still trumps them all. You may have forgotten this man because he is out of the public eye, but I'm sure he was hoping to place higher than 30th on this list in order to have some sort of comeback. Perhaps a turn in the Surreal Life house? Who is this you ask? The man, the legend, former Yankee, Indian, Expo, Ranger, Blue Jay, Braves, Twins, Dodgers and Red Sox outfielder OTIS NIXON!!
I mean look at the man, do I really need to say any more? Hang in there Otis, I'm sure your big break is coming soon. And yes, this was the mug shot taken after he tried to stab his body guard while he was naked and chasing hookers around his hotel room.

*Fresh Fish? After shelling out $55 million this off-season to AJ Burnett, Toronto GM JP Riccardi and his staff are probably wondering the same thing. Only 4 innings into his second start of the year, Burnett began experiencing pain in his right elbow. This is nothing new for Burnett, who has spent the better part of 3 seasons on the DL in the past with arm troubles. AJ isn't young, at 29 years old, and while he has electric stuff, he often seems to have some issue, whether it's physical or mental. I still don't see how you give $55 million to a pitcher who has a career record of 49-50 with an ERA around 3.80. I know a pitcher's prime comes later than a hitter's, but at age 29 Burnett was not worth the risk. Not with his track record. To make matters worse, he lost the final 7 decisions of his Marlin's career, and left on terrible terms with manager Jack McKeon. It seems like Burnett's name was brought up so frequently around the trading deadline last season, and it was often said how if put in the right system, maybe he could finally learn to harness his ability. It seems now that it may have had nothing to do with the situation, and more to do with Burnett's inability to put it all together. AJ was supposed to be the #2 in the Blue Jays rotation in hope's of taking some pressure off of a rehabilitated Roy Halladay, instead he is the #1 off-season signing to hit the DL so far this year. So far all of you who wanted your team to trade for Burnett last summer, be thankful your GM is smarter than you. As for the Jays, they better pray Burnett can get his act together, or they may be the ones trying to shop him at this year's trading deadline.

*The White Sox and Astros, the two teams that were in the World Series last year, have the best record in the majors at 13-5. Oh yea, and even more impressive? The two teams I selected to make the World Series are 13-5 (White Sox) and 12-6 (Mets). Hey I realize its been about 3 weeks, but it makes me look good anyway so I'll take it.

*Yet another Met note. In another game against the Padres, Met's announcer Keith Hernandez had this to say upon seeing the Padres female message therapist in the dugout. "I won't say women belong in the kitchen, but they certainly don't belong in the dugout." Needless to say, women have not been responding well. My recommendation for Keith on how to handle this? You're Keith Hernandez! You won the MVP! Say whatever the hell you want.

Fantasy Update
I was able to pick up Tim Wakefield this week, tying my season high with 3 Red Sox on my team. I drafted both Schilling and Loretta, and had Mike Lowell on my team for about a week before I released him this pick up former Boston farmhand Hanley Ramirez, who oddly enough was traded to Florida in a deal that included Lowell. More or less I got Hanley because I think it's funny. I doubt he will see much playing time behind Miguel Tejada on my squad, but the way he has been hitting it couldn't hurt to give him a look. Someone needs to pick up the slack the way Loretta has been swingin' the bat lately.

Week 3 Final Score: 8-11-3
Record: 30-25-11 (3rd place 4.5 games back)

Week 4 vs Mikey's Studs (36-22-8) <----he's in first place, should be a battle

Let The King Reign
I know I said last week I had nothing to say about the NBA, but I retract that to bring you this plea. LeBron James for MVP. I know there are a lot of different ways of looking at who should be the MVP. Whether it's the best player on a good team, best player overall, most important player to their team, and so on. But I think LeBron is flat out the best player in the NBA. He does just as much for his team as Nash or Billups, he led a team to the playoffs that was saddled by injury, and he's as good a pure player as Kobe, Wade, Duncan or Nowitzki. King James is only 21 years old, and that shouldn't be held against him. We should be appreciating the fact we get to watch this guy play for his entire career. We are in the presence of greatness, and I for one don't think it's too early to start rewarding him. He's only going to get better, but he's still this year's MVP.

*After I wrote this, LeBron posted a triple double (32 pts 11 reb 11 asst) in his first ever playoff game. Need I say more...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Seymour Inks New Deal as Sox Stay Atop AL East

Sey-Mour Cash
In the modern day NFL, where big name players are routinely let go due to salary cap concerns, it's great to see this story. Richard Seymour, arguably the best defensive player in the league, has signed a new contract that should make him a New England Patriot for the rest of his career. Since the Patriots made Seymour their first round pick in 2001, he has done nothing but solidify the New England defense into one of the stingiest in the league and helped them win 3 Super Bowls. Now he is being rewarded with a new deal that will pay him an average of $9 million until 2009, with $24 million guaranteed. The deal may seem a bit extravagant for a team that likes to pay for the future rather than the past, but Seymour is in the prime of his career, and should be able to stay at an All-Pro level through the remainder of his contract. So now that the Pats have both Brady and Seymour locked up longterm, Pats fans can expect the front office to continue sliding pieces in around those two in order to keep the team at the top of the league for years to come. Brady and Seymour are equally important to their respective sides of the ball, and now they have both been rewarded with contracts worthy of the loads they carry. Another great signing by the brilliant front office in Foxborough. Hopefully they can keep this momentum going through the draft and bring in some more players that fit into their championship mold.

Hey, It's News To Me
Let's say a fifth starter gets traded in spring training. Or how about a closer comes to a new city and the fans get their first taste of his entrance music. Not really news right? Well you're obviously not from Boston or New York. Not only are these stories news, they dominate the sports media and have tremendous staying power. The first story is slightly dated, (but like I just said these stories have staying power) but it was the trade Boston made with the Cincinnati Reds. The trade was Wily Mo Pena, a 24 year old slugger, for Bronson Arroyo, a 29 year old versatile right hander. To clarify, a 4th outfielder with more career K's than hits was traded for a 5th starter with a career ERA of almost 5.00. So, two guys, who their own teams didn't care for too much were swapped. And what happens? The local media and fans make it sound like Jesus was traded for Moses in the deal of the century. Then in the Big Apple, and what I like to refer to as "Metalligate". Everyone knows that Yankee closer Mariano Rivera has been coming into games to the Metallica classic "Enter Sandman" for basically his entire career. Now, new Met Closer Billy Wagner has taken to entering to the same song. Wagner claims the song has some tie to a local Philadelphia wrestler, and that he had no intention of stepping on Mo's toes. Now most normal people would say that it's just a song. And I'm sure there are tons of hitters that have come to the plate to the same song, whether they are an All-Star or a rookie. But the reason that both of these stories are the least bit relevant, is because of how huge baseball is in Boston and New York. Even when there is no news, the fans and media will make some out of nothin'. And that's why the baseball season is important in these parts. Not only does it signal the start of Spring, it signals the start of the greatest season of all, hunting season. The Guns belong to the fans, the Globe, the Herald, the Times and the Post. I recommend all the players grab some camouflage and play at their own risk.

Red Sox Update

Last Week: 3-3
Overall: 8-4
Standings: 1st place by 1.5 games
Hitter of the Week
David Ortiz leads the Sox with a .311 BA, 4 HR, 7 runs, 9 RBI and a 1.070 OPS
Pitcher of the Week
Together Schilling, Beckett and Papelbon are 6-0 with 6 saves to go along with 34 K 9 BB and a combined 1.26 ERA.

Diamonds Are Forever
*Manny being crappy? Through the first week, Ramirez is batting at .214 with no homers or doubles, only 3 RBI and 15 Ks. Manny started off slow last year too, and while I have faith he can turn things around, fact is he only managed to bring his average up to .292 last year, the lowest he has ever hit in a full season during his 13 year career. Could Manny be getting old, or maybe his work ethic isn't as solid as those behind the scenes lead you to believe. Manny should turn it around, but it's quite possible his days of hitting .300+ are over. I'll check back with this story later on in the season, and hopefully Manny can prove me wrong.

*It feels good to be right now and again, and even though they haven't won anything yet, you have to appreciate the fast start the Mets are off too. Behind the best pitching in the majors, and great power from bats like Delgado, Wright and Beltran, the Mets look poised to make a serious run at the Braves and the NL pennant this year. I don't expect them to keep this pace by any means, but hey, you telling me this doesn't look like a World series caliber team? Fuh-get-about-it.

*What's in the water in the AL Central? Whether it's the Tiger's Chris Shelton and his MLB leading 8 homers, Travis Hafner right behind him with 7 dingers or the Twins reeling off 5 in a row to open their season at home. Well, whatever is in the water, it hasn't phased the defending champs, who after a slow start are back atop the divison at 7-5.

Fantasy Update
*After a week where I led every day, Frosco's team went absolutely nutty yesterday to salvage him a tie. I mean I was ready to spank 'Sco back to the stoneage until his team decided to kick it into another gear. At first I was disappointed, because nobody likes to tie, but this morning when I saw the standings it made me feel a lot better. First place baby! And there's no lookin' back...

Week 2 Final Score: 9-9-4
Record: 22-14-8 1st place by 1/2 game

Week 3 vs The Ooo Ooo's (18-21-5)

*You may be wondering why I don't have any sort of NBA or NHL playoff preview posted this week. Well, if you actually were wondering that, then you don't know me nearly as well as you think you do. While I follow both the NBA and the NHL, neither of them interest me enough to spend my time writing about them. I will no doubt do a preview of the conference finals in the respective sports, but that's about as far as that goes. However, for the record, I would like to point out that I predicted from the get-go that Larry Brown would fail miserably in New York. And even he has surpassed my wildest expectations. Brown is a hack that's always been more interested in doing things his way, rather than doing whatever it takes to win. Well they aren't buying into his philosophy in NY, and with the disaster that is Isiah Thomas in the front office, it's only a matter of time before the whole thing explodes and they are both out on the street.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Lefty Seeing Green and Sox Off to Hot Start

Phatty Gets New Coat as Couples, Woods Fall Short
So Mickelson put another green poncho on yesterday as he collected his second Masters title. Phil outlasted a star-studded leaderboard that included former champs Freddy "Boom Boom" Couples, Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods. Just like last year, most players had to complete 27 holes on the final day because of rain Saturday. Unlike a year ago, Tiger was unable to put together a run, despite his great play from tee to green. So, instead of a great champion like Woods, Couples or Singh, we get stuck with Phatty the loser. There is really no reason for me to dislike Phil, but truth is I'd rather see him choke than watch Tiger win. I guess I just got so used to watching him blow leads at the US Open, or pull putts when it mattered in other majors. I like the way things were. I like it when Phatty was hooking 3 woods and pushing putts, and my main man Elderick was walking away with all the jackets. jugs and trophies. Well Phil, you just pissed Tiger off. Look for T. Woods to stay on the practice green until the British Open, where he will lap the field, including a certain hefty lefty who will be too busy wiping fish and chips off his Ford shirt.

Check Your Calendar
The NFL released it's schedule for the upcoming 2006 season this week, meaning that every fan now thinks their team has either the easiest or toughest schedule in the league. Looking at the schedule before free agency is over and before the draft is just pointless. I mean is it me or don't draft picks make a difference sometimes? And don't players get hurt in the pre-season or in mini camps? This is just the nature of the NFL now though. The sport is so huge right now that virtually everything it does is goin to make news and start discussions and debates. I love it, simply because I love the NFL and can't wait for another great season to start. But I don't wasn't to start going through the Patriot's schedule and start marking off wins just yet.

One thing though that I feel I should make clear (and many of you have had this explained to you personally probably more than once by yours truly). While the league may choose when teams play, the matchups have been determined long ago by a system put in place by the scheduling office. So when you see the Dolphins and Vikings hooking up this year, it has nothing to do with Daunte Culpepper. The league follows this easy formula for each team to come up with the schedule:

Each team plays...
1) 6 games within its division, two against each divisional team
2) 4 games vs AFC division which is determined on a rotating basis (entire division plays these 4 games)
3) 4 games vs another NFC division (same rules as above)
4) 2 games against teams in conference that had same finish in the standings in previous season

So just for an example, the Patriots this year play...
1) Jets, Bills and Dolphins twice each (6)
2) Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Titans (4)
3) Vikings, Packers, Bears, Lions (4)
4) Bengals and Broncos (2)

It may seem like the NFL fixes it so they get great matchups, but the fact is that there are just so many good rivalries and storylines in the league, that there are always going to be captivating games.

As for the new scheduling of Sunday night games, it's also pretty easy to understand. The league has yet to schedule Sunday night games for some late season matchups. They will chose which game to move to 8:30 about a week before, so they can have the most relevant and entertaining game in the primetime slot. Fox and CBS will get to protect 8 of these games however, because the Sunday night games air on NBC now. Still, there should be plenty of big games to chose from, and there's no reason to think this new scheduling shouldn't work out.

Red Sox Update
1st place by 2 games
Hitter of the Week

Trot Nixon - .300, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Pitcher of the Week
Josh Beckett - 7.0 IP, ER, BB, 5 K

Diamonds are Forever
*Seems like just yesterday I was typing away, talking about how Manny Ramirez had played his last game in a Red Sox uniform. Well, apparently that was just "Manny being Manny", and he's back in action this year. Does this mean we won't have to go through another trading deadline scare where he is all but out of town again? Probably not. But either way it's great to have his big bat in the lineup, and his nappy dreads in the outfield.

*Paging George Steinbrenner. Your team, the one you paid almost $200 million for, is off to a blazing 2-4 start. I'm not dumb enough to think that the Yankees are doomed because of their slow start, after all, I did sit and watch the Yanks start at 19-28 last year, only to catch my Sox in the final days of the regular season. However, one of the best parts of playing the Yankees, is watching The Boss light up his squad on the back pages of the NY Post. So, even though I picked the Yanks to win the East, I wouldn't mind watching them slide a little further to start the year, so we can get a few more memorable quotes from Steinbrenner, one of the most entertaining figures in sports. Come on Georgie don't let me down!

*Few surprising starts from teams like the Tigers and Brewers have the whole league a buzz. Detroit has the best pitching and hitting numbers in the AL, while the Brewers took their first 4 games, all of which were saved by second year closer Derek Turnbow. It has to be a good feeling for fans in these cities, neither of which has enjoyed a winning season in about a decade. But for them to expect continued success is probably a little foolish. Both of these small market clubs are young and inexperienced, and while the Brewers had a strong finish last year in the NL Central, Detroit is coming off a year where they were only better than the cellar-dwelling Royals. No matter where these teams end up at seasons close, these little runs are what make baseball interesting for all fan bases. These cities have hope for their young players, and maybe a few years down the road they can put together a wild card run, but as for this season, these starts seem more away from the norm than what we can expect to see through the rest of the summer.

Dutch Off the Deep End
Former Phillie and Marlin catcher Darren Daulton is apparently nuts. I had heard that Dutch (Daulton's nickname) had gone a little crazy lately, but the story I saw on ESPN really put it into perspective. He is the best type of crazy, because he thinks he's normal! Daulton, like many nutjobs, found his new frame of mind while in prison for beating his wife. Now, not only is he a new man, but his new beliefs have him thinking he can see the future. He is so in touch with a new cosmic force, that he is certain the world will come to and end in 6 years. December 21. 2012 to be exact. He also claims to have "skipped time" and as the ability to "astro-travel", where he flies through the sky at night. Well thanks for that Darren, now I have no reason to save any money, or bother trying to build any lasting relationships since the world is going to end. I think the more likely scenario, is that Daulton drinks himself to death in the next 6 years. Stay off the sauce Dutch, we all liked you better when you were a fun loving catcher, as opposed to a liquored up prophet.

A Little Too Lax
I don't want to dwell on this Duke lacrosse scandal, but I figured I'd throw my two cents out there. Going to a school where lacrosse was big, (relative to other schools...make no mistake about matter how good the 'Cuse LAX team was, nobody really cared) I feel I can relate to the stigma surrounding the team. Also, there is all the talk about the Durham community being the total opposite of the Duke students, much like Syracuse. When the students come to school, they treat it like a vacation. They have very little interaction with the locals, and when they do, it's usually in a role where the student is the paying customer and the local citizen is the server. So do I blame the Durham community for being pissed? Hell no. For once, these kids who they view as spoiled brats have gone too far. The city of Durham has a large African-American population, and all but one of these lacrosse players are white, so there is bound to be tension. We will have to wait and see how this situation plays out, but to me, this is just another classic example of spoiled rich kids going too far for their daddy's checkbook's to bail them out. They may have cancelled their season, and the coach may have resigned, but there will be no resolution here unless a Duke player ends up in jail. If the story kind of "goes away", it will only continue the thinking that rich kids/athletes get away with anything, and that the big bad University that contributes so much money to the community, is really a heartless business that will do anything for the almighty dollar.

Fantasy Update
As many of my loyal readers know (loyal in this case meaning all 4 of you), I am a big fan of fantasy sports. While football is my favorite and by far the most fun to play, fantasy baseball allows me to indulge one of my many vices, general managing. I've read countless books on general managing and next on my list is Braves super-GM John Schuerholz latest "Built to Win". If I had the drive to get a law degree, I would love to be a GM, but alas it's not to be. So right now I'm in a league with my good friend Kevin Tomasso (aka Frosco; aka Froscowitz; aka Frosty the Sco Man; aka Kevin DiMarco: Swim Instructor) and some of his friends on the reservation (aka Florida St.). It is a head to head league where you battle one team each week in 22 statistical categories (10 hitting and 12 pitching), receiving one point for each category you win. It is my goal to embarrass these fools and take the title, and chronicle the debacle right here on my little piece of cyber space. So, as week one has come and gone, here is where my team, Centerfield Cereal, stands. (Note: My team is named after Coco Crisp, whom I intended to draft, but Frosco chose him before I had the chance, for which he will pay dearly. Perhaps it was in some way revenge for me naming my fantasy football team Frosco Sucks)

Week 1
Centerfield Cereal (0-0) vs KY Jackin' Juicers (0-0)

Final Score: 13-5-4
Record: (13-5-4) 1.5 games back

Sco is goin down.....down, down, down ------------->

Week 2 vs Underpants Gnomes (4-15-3)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

So Long NCAA....Hello MLB!

Nothin' Bruin
Florida trounced UCLA last night, and if you watched the whole thing you are a bigger sports fan than I am. Joakim Noah and his Gator teammates trailed only once at 2-0 on their way to cruising to a 73-57 win. Noah set a title game record with 7 blocks, 5 of them coming in the first half, on his way to being named the MVP of the Final Four. The outcome was fairly predictable and easy to explain. Florida could match UCLA's defensive intensity, had more height and are light years ahead of the Bruin's offensively. UCLA had been depending on the recent upstart play of their 7-footer Ryan Hollins for offense on their run, but he combined with star guards Aaron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar went a combined 15-41 from the field in the title game. Not nearly enough offense to hang with a Florida squad that 4 players in double figures, led by Noah's 16 and Al Horford's 14. Only time will tell if Noah and his talented teammates decide to return to Gainesville for another run, but if they do, you have to consider Florida the favorites going into the 06-07 season.

MLB Probe Has No Juice
Leave it to Bud Selig. I mean the guy is just a loser. Besides being the most unkempt commish in the history of pro sports, he now may be the weakest. Selig assigned George Mitchell to investigate the use of steroids in baseball from 2002 to the present. Problems here? Nah. I think it's a great idea. I mean it's not like Mitchell is on the board at Disney, which happens to be tied in through ABC and ESPN to Barry Bonds' new reality show. It's not like he's on the board of the Boston Red Sox either, which by the way would be one of the teams he would have to investigate and hand out punishments to. But the good thing is, is that Mitchell has the power to subpoena players, meaning they will be forced to cooperate or face criminal charges. Oh wait, no he doesn't. All you have to do if George Mitchell asks to talk to you, is say no. Mitchell isn't going to find anything in this probe, which may be a good thing. I mean what is Selig going to do if Mitchell turns up evidence of steroid use? Erase records? Litter the record books with asterisks? Come on Bud. We all see where you thought this probe was a good idea, but we aren't as dumb as you think we are. Get an independent investigator, with subpoena power, and then you will have our attention. And no Mark McGwire can not be the independent investigator Bud so don't even think about it.

I Think It's A Sign...
This story is just too good to ignore for so many reasons. Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer has been renting out his $12 million mansion in Los Angeles to Prince for $70,000 a month (yea I can't believe Boozer has that nice of a house either). But upon his return, Booze found the following "adjustments" made to his home away from home:

*Plumbing reworked to accommodate a "salon styling center"
*Carpet in the master bedroom ripped up and replaced with a purple carpet with Prince's symbol on it
*Outside of the house was painted with purple pinstripes and the numbers "3121", the title of Prince's new album

As if that wasn't enough, Prince was planning to throw a concert on the property for everyone who found a purple ticket in the new 3121 album. Needless to say, Boozer is suing Prince, and fans in Cleveland just made 3121 the best selling album in the country.

Well Obviously....
Leave it to NASCAR to cover every angle when it comes to marketing and advertising. The fastest growing sport in the country now has it's own brand of meat. That's right. Get on your walkie talkie, rip down a few Winstons and cook yourself up a few prime cuts of Dale Earnhardt Jr. steaks. I gotta hand it to NASCAR. No matter how silly this seems on the surface, they know it's going to sell, and they are right! Note to MLB: Come out with your own line of team logo syringes ASAP.

2006 MLB Predictions

American League Division Winners
East: New York Yankees
Central: Chicago White Sox
West: Anaheim Angels
Wild Card: Boston Red Sox

AL Champion: Chicago White Sox
*Well the defending champs didn't get any worse in the offseason for starters. It may be difficult to avoid major injuries for a second straight year, but they have too much pitching to deny them at this point.

National League Division Winners
East: New York Mets
Central: St. Louis Cardinals
West: San Diego Padres
Wild Card: Philadelphia Phillies

NL Champion: New York Mets
*The NL looks weak this year again. Besides the Cardinals or Mets, I don't see another NL team that has a legit shot at winning the World Series. I feel the additions the Mets made in the offseason will not only be enough to finally overtake Atlanta, but enough to get Minaya's new look Mets all the way to the NL pennant.

World Series Champion: Chicago White Sox


AL: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
NL: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Cy Young
AL: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
NL: Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres

Rookie of the Year
AL: Kenji Johjima, Seattle Mariners
NL: Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

Manager of the Year
AL: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox
NL: Bruce Bochy, San Diego Padres

*Next week be on the look out for NFL Draft news, the premier of Red Sox Update, and more than likely more making fun of Barry Bonds and Bud Selig.*