Thursday, December 20, 2007

Did Greg Robinson Just Sign the Two Most Talented Football Players In The State Of NY? Why Yes He Did!

I don't know but to me this Syracuse football team looks like it has a pulse.

In the last couple of years Syracuse has seen some decent New York football players leave and go to other programs. Maybe you've heard of some of them like Ray Rice, Mike Hart, Mike Paulus and much earlier but a sign of things to come, Marquise Walker. When a guy like Mike Hart who lived within the shadow of the Dome laughed at the suggestion that he might attend Syracuse, that was the moment it was clear Paul P had lost his mojo. And last year when Greg Robinson lost 4 star QB recruit Mike Paulus to a shitstain of a program like North Carolina, well, it added to the perception that not only was Greg Robinson a guy who can't win more than 1 game a year, but he also can't recruit for shit. And following another 2 win season, you'd figure any New York recruit worth his salt would go running for the fucking hills and G-Rob would be as good as dead and buried. Well after today's commitments, G-Rob isn't merely alive and breathing, he looks like he could run a fucking marathon.

Aside from not winning, Greg Robinson's tenure at 'Cuse has been wont of a major recruiting coup. On Thursday he not only got the coup he was looking for, he got two of them! Late Thursday afternoon both Running Back Averin Collier and WR Marcus Sales committed to FUCKING SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY to play football. Collier was the consensus number 1 recruit in the state of NY and was rated as high as #10 in the nation for 2008 RBs. He was supposed to be a lock to follow his brother Kevin to Pitt but when LeSean McCoy went bananas at Pitt this year as a Freshman, brother Averin realized that a change of scenery might be necessary. In less than two weeks, Collier's interest went from sure thing Pitt to wide open. He had offers from BC, Clemson, Louisville and other big name schools, but decided today to head to 'Cuse. It is not such a big deal for the other schools that Collier is no longer on their list, but it is a HUGE fucking deal that 'Cuse got Collier. And then the cherry on top is Marcus Sales. Sales is a kid with offers from Pitt, Louisville, UVA and Miami, just to name a few. AND HE CHOSE SYRACUSE. He was rated the #2 prospect in NY and in the top 30 for WRs nationwide. Had 'Cuse simply been able to score Sales, Thursday would have been an ENORMOUS day for the program. To get both of them, well, that's borderline revolutionary.

To put things in proper perspective, both Sales and Collier are 4 star recruits (Collier is a borderline 5 star). In the previous 5 years, 'Cuse signed five 4 star players and only 2 of them played more than one year with the team (Jermaine Pierce has a serious medical condition and Andrey Baskin was not academically feasible). To get two in one day is beyond outstanding. For a guy like G-Rob who has received nothing but hate over the last 2+ years, he should get nothing but love for at least one day. He may not have saved the Syracuse program, but these signings are the greatest achievement in Syracuse football in half a decade. And while that may not be saying a whole hell of a lot, it's better news than we've had in these parts for some time. In the shitstorm that has been Syracuse football for the last 7+ years, Thursday was a stretch of 75 and sunny.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WWSD? He'd Sue The Pants Off Somebody!

Would you look at that! Curt Schilling has an opinion about Clemens and the Mitchell Report!

It's easy to brush Curt Schilling off as a loudmouth blowhard who wants to be heard on every subject imaginable (largely because it's true). He seems to have weighed in on one too many hot button issues for the average sports fan to be comfortable with (one too many meaning "one"). But while it's easy not to like Schilling because of his ways, at least you know EXACTLY where he stands and how he'd react if the shoe were on the other foot.

In a rambling 3000+ word blog vomit, Schilling weighs in on every aspect of the Mitchell Report and the fallout therefrom. But in the part that I want to focus on, Schilling goes into exactly what he would do if he were ever to be brought into this situation and it's something I can't believe no one else has mentioned in their public statements. He'd fucking sue the shit out of people:
"If Jose had named me in his book, it would have taken about 20 minutes for me to issue a press release vehemently denying the allegations, which would have been as closely followed as possible by as large a legal action as I could have possibly taken to sue for slander, libel, defamation of character and anything else I’d have been able to legally do. It’s either that, or I’m guilty. There is no gray area here, you either did, or you didn’t and Jose, up through today, hasn’t called out anyone that’s sued his ass off for false representation, slander, libel or whatever you would do if someone said something like this about you, that you didn’t do."
Now he's gotten a little overzealous with his legal causes but his point is quite clear. If you're not guilty, I don't want to hear your fake apologies or your unqualified denials. If your reputation is being attacked, FUCKING SUE SOMEBODY! And if you don't, IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE AFRAID OF WHAT MIGHT COME OUT WHEN YOU DO. You see, when you file a defamation or slander suit, your character comes into question. You may have to take the stand and at the very least your medical life and private life would receive a fine-toothed combing that you may not be in any way comfortable with.

Searching for a cure for those genital warts? AP will report it.

Had an affair with a male hooker 6 years ago? Your brother-in-law will know.

Developed a heavy coke dependency to get you through road trips? Hope you don't mind your kids finding out!

You file a lawsuit and your whole fucking life is for sale and that's why no one does it.

And sadly, this is where Schilling shines. He may be acting all "holier than thou," but because his peers are some of the least holy fucks on the planet, he is holier than thou!

To get to exactly what Schilling is saying as it pertains to Mitchell though is to get to something I've been wondering all along: If you're a major league baseball player and George Mitchell contacted you or your agent over the last 18 months and said he'd like to speak to you about such and such, you had a pretty good idea that something was up. And if it is true that you didn't do shit, that fucking lawsuit should have had all but one paragraph drawn up and ready for filing on the day that Mitchell came out. That press conference should already have been called and that statement should already be three t's crossed from being emailed to every fucking press member on the planet. Cuz here's the thing, if you are representing someone whose future livelihood is dependent almost solely on reputation and you have an inkling that that source of income is in jeopardy or will be attacked, you have to be ready to fight back the moment you think it's going to be attacked. You have to assume your guy is going to be attacked. The fact that these guys acted "shocked" about this amazes me considering that depth to which Mitchell both documented the acts and attempted to speak to everyone about the acts. When you are famous and you hire people to deal with shit, THIS IS WHY YOU FUCKING HIRE AN ATTORNEY! HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE PREPARED FOR THAT SHIT!

Anyhoo, the major point is that Clemens can bitch all he wants but until he takes someone to court and puts himself out there on the witness stand, I won't believe a fucking word. And what's becoming more clear about this whole situation is that the scumbag Canseco and the blowhard Schilling may be the only two assholes worth listening to from here on out. They are the only ones who have come out (so far) and not had their legs cut out from underneath them. I hate to admit it because I'm not huge fans of either guys, but maybe we should stop believing guys we like and start believing guys who won't shut the fuck up.

*I'm trying my best not to put the non-mitchell people in the same headline or sentence as the Mitchell "buzzwords" so that when idiots do google searches for someone hoping to find out who did roids, the non-mitchell names won't come up.

Deadspin's Leitch Makes Forbes' Top 25 Web Celebs

Congrats to landing the lucky number 13 spot on Forbers' top 25 list go out to Deadspin's creator.

I generally try and stay away from blog-on-blog ballwashing, but this seemed worthy o acknowledgement. Deadspin.com's Will Leitch was named one of the top 25 Web Celebrities by Forbes magazine. He shares the list with other ne'erdowells like Perez Hilton and Matt Drudge and falls just short of that 23 year-old gazillionaire who started FaceBook (lucky fucking cocksucker that guy is). Well kudos out to Will and here's hoping he can move up and outshine that fat weirdo who does "aintitcool.com" by this time next year.

Let's Settle Er On Down There, Axeman

Brent Axe says Gary Gait is the lacrosse equivalent of Babe Ruth. That makes me laugh.

I think we all ("we" meaning those folks who follow Syracuse sports) appreciate the renewed enthusiasm that young blogger-cum-reporter Brent "The Axeman" Axe (apropos of very little, it is my understanding that the "Axeman" sobriquet was self-initiated) brings to the Syracuse sports coverage scene. He doesn't pull punches, his coverage has a little more bite and relevance than some of his 'Cuse.com brethren and his rundown has a little more depth than the standard fare (though his parlance is far less developed than the Wordsmith Laureate on staff, Bud Poliquin). And though it's nice to hear from someone so shamelessly enthused or angry about Syracuse sports because it gives the common fan a perspective they can more easily relate to than the soundbites and droll rundown of the regular coverage, sometimes he REALLY overdoes it. Yesterday was one of those times, and it had NOTHING to do with his coverage of the on-court game.

In finishing out his rundown of the events that amounted to the injury decimated Syracuse Basketball team rolling over an overmatched Colgate squad, the Axeman went over some of the notables in attendance. After dispensing with the usual rigmarole, Brent went on to talk about some former 'Cuse athletes in attendance and then made a very interesting comment:
"Also seated near DG (Darryl Gross) was Gary Gait and one of the Powell Brothers (I'm pretty sure it was Ryan). UPDATE: Scratch that. It was Casey.

Seeing Gait and Powell sitting together for a Lacrosse player like me would be like a Yankee fan sitting a row away from Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle."
Well then. That's interesting now isn't it? Gait and Powell a latter day Ruth & Mantle for those that count themselves members of the Lax family? I'm sorry Axeman, that's WAAAAAAY too overboard to let slide.

I played Lacrosse myself and actually grew up playing the Powell brothers, so maybe my perception of those guys is a little skewed but the only thing that Gait & Powell have in common with Ruth and Mantle is that they are all four white males and have been known to put down a drink or ten in their primes. I have all the respect in the world for Gait and Powell and grew up admiring Gait and watching his videos and whatnot, but unless I'm mistaken, those guys could walk around pretty much anywhere on earth and not get noticed. If not for Gary's absurd Silver Fox look and ever expanding paunch, I'm not sure you'd have recognized him last night. And Casey looks like any 30+ guy who's ever played lacrosse. A preppy looking white dude who still tries to pretend he could score 18 year-old ass (though in Casey's case, he probably has more opportunity to do just that than most of the rest of us). And in terms of ability, I'll grant you that Gait was the Godfather of the modern game and did things on the field that no one had ever done and Casey was arguably the most complete player ever to play the college game, but Casey wasn't the best player in his family (Mike was/is more talented) and maybe the third best player to come out of Carthage at the time (if Casey was Mantle or Ruth then Carthage's Jason Coffman who went to Salisbury St. is Josh Gibson. Coffman absolutely dominated DIII lacrosse for four years and looked more the Babe Ruth part than any offensive player of his era.). And though Powell was regarded publicly as the best player in the game, for my money I'd say John Grant was more talented, though a bit of a lazier "box style" player and therefore less complete. But I'm getting away from the point...

The point is (was) that even the cliche "the Babe Ruth of..." may not work here and to suggest that seeing to very mortal and relatively unfamous dudes sitting together makes you feel as though you are amongst royalty is a little absurd. There is no way that Bowling aficionados compare meeting Earl Anthony or Dick Weber (or Pete Weber for that matter) to what it must've been like to meet Babe Ruth nor do Poker players make the comparison when they meet Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan or Howard Lederer. I don't think you're gonna get $50,000 grand from even the most ardent of beach volleyball fans for a pair of signed Oakley's from Karch Karaly or Sinjin Smith. It's just not even close to the same to compare the level of celebrity and legend of your more secondary (or tertiary) sports to that of the legend of crossover stars like Mantle or Ruth. I don't care how big a hard-on those guys give you. You do hyperbole a discredit when you go that overboard.

Maybe I'm wrong and maybe in 50 years I'll be telling my grandkids I played against Powell and books will be written and documentaries made, but I for one highly doubt it. Again, we appreciate your enthusiasm but you may want to take it down a notch. Gary Gait is much closer to Brent Axe than he is to Babe Ruth, big fella.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Can You Feel It? The TO Blow-Up Is Less Than 2 Weeks Away

That tape's been stuck there for most of the season but you didn't expect it to hold for the whole season now, did you?

Ever since Unky Wade Phillips came over to babysit the Cowboys and allowed them to stay up past curfew and let them invite girls over, the team has responded by giving him a fantastic season and nary a controversy sprung. The craziest thing to happen so far to the Cowboys was when they signed Tank Johnson, and really, no one even gave much of a shit about that. But a couple errant passes, a superstar in the stands and an awful loss to the Eagles.... and the house of cards may be starting to crumble.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that TO is not exactly psyched about his role the last couple of weeks. In the article, TO says that he isn't being used properly and should be moved around more. He's said he's talked to the receiver's coach about it and is sure they will use him properly in the future. It's not quite as blatant as his Philly days where he hung the team out to dry, but he's moving in the same direction. And with some key guys like Gurode and Williams out this weekend and an injury to Romo's thumb likely to at the very least shift some plays out of the passing game and onto Marion Barber's shoulder, there is some serious potential for a blow-up here. If they lose this weekend, things are certain to get much much hairier. As TO would say, grab you popcorn baby.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Did Gisele Say There's Another Brady On The Way?


Check out the 18 second mark. In the midst of complaining about everything under the sun, Gisele says "Am I late?" Now Tom is nowhere to be seen in the ad but given Tom's history, just what kinda late is she talking about?

Is Chris Simon Certifiably Insane?


In hockey, tough guys are a necessity. You need a guy to rough people up and protect some of your pussy European skill guys who can't fend for themselves. Most guys take on this role about as honorably as you can. Chris Simon does not. In fact, he's not simply just "not honorable," he's fucking nuts.

If you look at the above video, Simon clearly takes out the skate of fellow tough ass Jarrko Ruutu, knocking him down for the sole purpose of stomping on his foot with the full weight of his fucking razor sharp skate blade. I mean, what the fuck is your fucking problem? If this was his only incident it would be bad enough, but there plenty of others:

Incidents

Simon has been involved in numerous on-ice incidents and has been suspended seven times for his conduct.[1][2]

In 1997, during a game against the Edmonton Oilers, Simon allegedly addressed forward Mike Grier as a "nigger" to Grier's face in response to comments about his Native heritage. Although the spoken words were never confirmed, he was suspended three games as a result of the incident.[2] The two were later teammates for a brief time in 2002 with the Washington Capitals.

Simon was suspended for one game in a 2000 playoff series against Pittsburgh for cross checking Peter Popovic across the throat. He was given two-game suspensions once in April 2001 for elbowing Anders Eriksson, and twice in 2004 for cross checking Tampa Bay's Ruslan Fedotenko and then jumping on and punching him, and for kneeing Dallas's Sergei Zubov.[2]
What a sweetheart. I have a feeling the suspension for this leg stomp is going to be a little stiff. And if you don't believe me, you may be forgetting this:


Is Eli The Worst Starting QB In The NFL?


The title of this post may be a little misleading as I do think that Eli is better than guys like Brody Croyle or Chris Redman or Cleo Lemon. And while those guys are starters week-to-week, no one thought that would be the case at the beginning of the year. So I guess I should start by saying that the definition of "starting quarterback" means that the QB was slated to start this year or was in place to become a starter at some point in the future (that way my definition encompasses guys like Kellen Clemens, Trent Edwards and Tarvaris Jackson). So with that as the definition, is Eli the worst in the NFL? The argument could be made.

Michael Kay does not agree with me. One of Kay's favorite things to do after a bad game by Eli is to throw out all the numbers and ask all those people out in radio land who they would rather have than Eli. He then proceeds to go through the list of players he feels are better than Eli and usually ends up suggesting that Eli is one of the top 10 QBs in the league. Well, I'm gonna do it the opposite way. Who is worse than Eli? And out of the "starters in this league," there are not 5 guys who are worse than Eli. I guarantee it. Let's first eliminate the guys who are better than Eli:

First, the easy list:
Brady, Peyton, Favre, Palmer, Romo, Hasselbeck, Roethlisberger

Second, the not-so easy but pretty easy list:
Garrard, Derek Anderson, Jeff Garcia, Donnie McNabb, Jason Campbell, Kitna, Cutler, Brees, Warner, Bulger

So here's who's left:
Phil Rivers, Tarvaris Jackson, Vince Young, Matt Schaub, Alex Smith, Kellen Clemens & Trent Edwards

Of the guys left who play QB in the NFL, none would really qualify as "starters" (no one in Chicago is a starter nor is anyone in Atlanta or KC, though you could make the case that Jamarcus Russell, Kevin Kolb or John Beck might qualify).

So let's go through who's left by using a couple of factors. There are two ways you can judge QBs when comparing them: 1. If you had a big game to win today, who would you pick? 2. If you could choose a guy to build a team around, who would you pick? of the guys left, I think Eli is only better than three.

In examining the first basis for comparison, you need to take into account playoff performances. Eli's performance in big games is horrendous. In two playoff games he's 0-2 with 4 ints, 2 tds and a completion percentage around 55%. Only one other guy has even made the playoffs and that's Phil Rivers and he had a pretty awful game. Another factor to look at would be second half of the season performance. Eli has been horrendous. In 2005 he finished his last 8 games like this: 9-8 Td-Int, 5-3 W-L. In 2006 like this: 9-9 Td-Int, 2-6 W-L. In 2007 so far, this is what he's doing 6-8 Td-Int, 3-3 W-L. In those 22 games, he has had a QB rating over 100 only three times and only broken 80 in QB rating 6 times. I'm not one to buy into the value of QB rating as a pure measure of QB worth, but it does serve as a way to compare the efficiency over time and Eli is much worse when the games matter more. All that being said, there is only one player in the list of available QBs who I personally would 100% pick to win one game today over Eli and that's Vince Young. He just wins games, period. Eli does not. Of the other guys, I would say that a healthy Schaub and Rivers are on equal footing for one game and the other guys either haven't done enough or fall short of Eli. So because of this, I'm taking Vince Young out of the equation from here on out. The list that remains is Rivers, Schaub, Tarvaris, Edwards, Clemens and Alex Smith.

The next factor is would you build a team around Eli or X player. We'll look that in this respect: Can you say with 100% certainty that you would rather have Eli as your franchise back or X player. Two guys I think it's pretty easy. Today, I definitely would rather have Eli than Tarvaris Jackson (though he's not as bad as he looked early in the season) and Alex Smith. For whatever reason, Alex Smith has regressed miles. San Fran may be forced to go in an entirely different direction. So Eli is at least better than 2 other QBs in the NFL. The other guys, I don't know. Eli and Phil Rivers stats are virtually the same. Rivers has a better rating over the last couple years while Eli has more yards and throws the ball a ton more. Personally, I wouldn't want to build my team around either guy. Rivers is definitely worse or better. Schaub has shown flashes, but his stats are kind of incomplete. At this point you'd probably have to say you'd take Eli over Schaub (though I personally like Schaub a lot). Trent Edwards is a very tough one. First, he's a rookie and a couple years younger than Eli, but he's had flashes of very smart if not conservative play. He doesn't have near the physical tools, but he could be a fantastic QB. I don't know who I'd rather have out of these guys so I'd say they're tied. And then there's Kellen Clemens. Up until yesterday, I think the case could be made that Clemens is a better choice moving forward. But with Chad now seemingly back in the picture, I'm not sure how Kellen's growth will be affected. I think I'd probably start team with Eli before I did Kellen Clemens at this point.

So after that review, Eli is tied for 5th worst starting QB in the NFL under my personal rankings. Depending on how biased your opinion is, you may agree or disagree (and I myself and biased against Eli because I think he is horrible. I've actually forced myself to be nicer to him in this review and have held back how I truly feel). But in closing I'd like to finish with these facts: His career completion percentage is 54%. That is horrible. It's worse than Vince Young and Cleo Lemon and barely better than Mike Vick. His QB rating is abysmal. He's one of the least efficient QBs in the NFL over the last 3 years (if not the least efficient). And worst of all, he is much worse in December than he is in September. When the lights are shining brightest, he is at his worst. I know this review may be a little off-base and biased and not all that scientific, but if you're gonna defend Eli, ask yourself this: When the Giants step in that first playoff game, would you rather have him leading your team or the guy on the other team? If you say Eli, then you are a fucking lying sack of shit.


Here's a good rant from last year:

Andy Pettitte: Not Exactly Apologetic

If you're upset with Andy Pettitte's illegal drug use, he could really give a shit.

I like Andy Pettitte so I was sad to see that he used HGH and was named in the Mitchell Report. He seems like a reasonably good guy and given that we can pretty much assume that anyone who's played a sport in the last 20 years or so was up to something no good, that's the standard by which I judge professional athletes these days. Reasonably good guy, you're ok in book. It's because of that good guy persona that it's easy to forgive Pettitte for fucking around with HGH. But with that "good guy" persona comes a responsibility for showing contrition. That's where Andy went a little awry. You see good guys usually admit to doing wrong and then apologize and move on. Pettitte got half of it right by admitting to using HGH then went ahead and accepted absolutely no responsibility for any of it. Good guy my ass:
"In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow. I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped. This is it - two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.

If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days. Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful. I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn't looking for an edge; I was looking to heal."
If what you did was an error in judgment? Are you fucking kidding me? What this suggests is that Andy doesn't believe it's an error in judgment. What's amazing about this is that he contradicts this feeling later in the statement when he suggests that he wasn't comfortable with using this illegal treatment which is why he stopped. So he's not sure if it was an error in judgment, but he thought it sketchy enough to stop it. That seems awfully disingenuous. But what really gets me is the "two days" part.

Again, you'll be hard pressed to find a person who knows Pettitte who doesn't think he's a decent human being, but what the fuck does that prove exactly? He says that 2 days shouldn't define him or take away from what has been an upstanding life led and career had. Shoeless Joe Jackson had a bad couple of days back in 1920, and his reputation was sullied for life and he is out of the Hall of Fame. Jayson Williams got drunk and swung a gun around, fucking up a pretty solid reputation (not to mention the lives of the guy he killed). Kobe bent over a chick in a hotel, ruining an otherwise great reputation. OJ had one bad day in 1994, people view him a little differently. Now of course I'm not equating HGH use to murder or manslaughter or any of that shit, but our entire criminal justice system is setup to so that one bad day could mean you get to spend a good portion of your life trying to remain an anal virgin. And the standard is even lower in the court of public opinion. Mere accusations ruin your life for good in that court. So the idea that these two days out of his career shouldn't besmirch his reputation is laughable. In terms of degrees, he's not as bad as Clemens or Bonds or Canseco, but whatever the damage to his reputation, he fucking earned it.

And lastly, don't give me this bullshit about there being some difference in the moral significance of using drugs to "gain an edge" or to treat an injury to help your team. He makes it sound like he wasn't being selfish. That it was somehow for the greater good. Why does that matter? What is the difference between Bonds juicing to hit balls farther and get his team to the World Series and Pettitte using illegal drugs to heal faster and help his team? Sure Bonds is more selfish than Pettitte, but that doesn't means Pettitte wasn't acting selfishly himself. If Andy didn't use the drugs, he might not have been able to come back. We'll never know how quickly he could have recovered naturally. But the actual effect doesn't even matter. We don't know how many of Bonds' home runs he would have hit without the roids either. What we do know is that Pettitte cheated by using illegal drugs and he knew it was wrong when he was doing it. That he can justify it by saying he was trying to help the team is a fine motive and more commendable than had he said he was doing it to become the best player ever, but that doesn't make it right. It's merely another in the long list of justifications people use to explain their bad behavior. It's like the thief who says he was only stealing to feed his family. That may help Andy sleep at night, but the guy who steals to feed his family is a thief in the same way as a guy who does it for shits and giggles. And the guy who uses illegal drugs to heal faster is cheat in the same way a guy who uses them to hit the ball farther.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gay Man Insults Retards

Here's a shocker, Michael Strahan said something stupid.

In the interest of full disclosure, I hate Michael Strahan. He defines what it means to be an asshole. He thinks he's smarter, funnier and better than he actually is (though I will admit that he's likely had a hall of fame career (small caps)). His speaking style and mannerisms reek of utter condescension, as if the rest of us just don't get it. He just really rubs me the wrong way. And while I'm never one to alert the PC police about insensitive remarks, Strahan really went over the line yesterday when asked to give his opinion about the fact that the Giants are forced to play an 8:15pm game in NY in December:
“Whoever booked an 8:15 game in the Northeast is retarded," Michael Strahan said. “I don't know who set the schedule but that is not good, that is not fair. The way I look at it is that we have to be out there, we have to play, so you might as well win, that will make you a little warmer than the losing will."
Retards have had to deal with many issues over the years and have been called many things (including "retards"), but comparing them to the guy who sets up the NFL schedule....? This is low. Remember, this is the same guy who put the Bengals and Niners on TV this Saturday night and forced us to sit through the Falcons and Saints on Monday night. Whoever decided to put that game on national television doesn't deserve to be called retarded. Not even to get into the fact that the final game of the year is going to be the Chiefs v. Jets in the frigid Meadowlands. You'd have to be a special kind of retard to think that that game would be worth watching. Oh wait...

Pssst.... Antonio, The NFL Has A History Of Steroid Use Too

Does this pic qualify as NSFW?

The sports world was rocked by the revelations in the Mitchell Report. Today we heard from athletes from pretty much every sport who weighed in on the subject. And while most were surprised and upset by it, few were as ironic as Antonio Pierce who apparently didn't get the memo about his sport's seemingly endless history with illegal performance enhancing drugs (documented, just to name a few, here, here and here) and almost weekly news that another NFL player is getting suspended for performance enhancers (in the last 2 years, Merriman, Rodney Harrison, Chris Henry (RB - Tenn, not Crackhead - Cincy) and Marcus Stroud are some big names who were suspended just off the top of my head). But Pierce seemed blissfully ignorant of these facts when he noted:
“I think it is a disgrace for the sport, baseball, whatever sport, if you have to use some kind of enhancement or some kind of performance to get ahead," Pierce said. “We all put in the same amount of hours of work throughout the year and for you to go and get something like that, especially if you are a guy with a big name, it makes no sense to me. It is something I would never hope to see in the National Football League and I hope baseball can deal with it and recover from it."
Umm.... seriously? You hope you don't see steroid use or a documented history of any prior usage in the NFL. Unless you can't read or your eyes are closed, you see it and hear about it EVERY FUCKING WEEK YOU IDIOT! In the 1970's and 1980's NFL players used steroids openly and it was accepted if not encouraged. I know it's unfair and unkind to pick on stupid people, and Antonio Pierce is clearly that. But come on, what a fucking idiot.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Join The Ukrainian Army And You Will Steal Prostitutes & Drink Filthy Water!


This video is absolutely unreal. It's apparently an ad for the Ukrainian Army (originally found on Break.com) and beats the shit out of our lame "Army of one" ads. In the U.S., the military ads feature dudes who climb mountains and fight fire beasts. In the Eastern Europe, their ads say that if you join the military you'll bang average looking hookers who wear a shitload of crappy makeup. No wonder the dollar is sagging against international currency.

Colorado's Invisible Basketball Player

The Buffs of Colorado have had a rough start to the season and No. 0 certainly isn't gonna help out anytime soon.

I got an email from a west coast fanta buddy that featured something pretty funny so I thought I'd share. It seems as though the Colorado Buffalo basketball team is using an invisible guy. Or at least that's what his ESPN player information page would suggest:
#0 Dwight II
Full Name: Dwight II
Birth Place:
Height: 0-0
Weight: 0 lbs.
It's gonna be awfully tough for Dwight II to help the Buffs in any meaningful way at 0-0 and 0 lbs. That's pretty much all I got, so as an additional treat, here's a clip of some asian youngsters playing invisible basketball while drinking a 40. You don't see that everyday....


Germany's MacGyver


I don't have a whole lot to add to this story but this guy takes problem solving to a whole new level:

A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing a liter (two pints) of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new carry-on rules, police said Wednesday.

The incident occurred at the Nuremberg airport on Tuesday, where the 64-year-old man was switching planes on his way home to Dresden from a holiday in Egypt.

New airport rules prohibit passengers from carrying larger quantities of liquid onto planes, and he was told at a security check he would have to either throw out the bottle of vodka or pay a fee to have his carry-on bag checked as cargo.
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Instead, he chugged the bottle down — and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.

A doctor called to the scene determined he had possibly life-threatening alcohol poisoning, and he was sent to a Nuremberg clinic for treatment.
I guess I can sort of relate because when faced with the same predicament in St. Thomas with a liter of Cruzan Rum, I poured some rum into my 16oz coke bottle and blasted my way through security leaving behind .90ozs of delicious rum behind.

They haven't seen a German this drunk since, well...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Does Anyone Really Want To Hear The Names On This Mitchell Report?

Revealing the names on the Mitchell Report seems to me to be about as valuable as tits on a bull, or the above sign.

Call me nutty, but I could give a fuck about the Mitchell Report. What the F is it going to prove? How will they distinguish between the guys who "ordered Rx HGH" from Florida and the guys who shoved Cow strengthener up their urethras? And what will it matter how they are distinguished given that any name that appears in the report will forever be linked to "The Mitchell Report" and therefore inexorably linked to steroids. For purpose of history, you won't be able to distinguish your steroid juicing freaks like Jason Giambi from your HGH sampling idiots like Paul Byrd. Some might say that these guys deserve to be forever flushed down history's toilet. But what good does it do?

One thing that strikes me about this whole thing is the double standard we have with Football and Baseball. We KNOW guys in the NFL do roids and get caught ALL THE FUCKING TIME! Shawn Merriman and Luis Castillo have both been caught and apologized for using performance enhancers. Rodney Harrison got caught in the preseason and Mike Golic announced on the national airwaves that he tried steroids. Yet for some reason no one gives as much of a shit about any of this than they do about the rumor that some big name pitcher* may have used it. And even when the Mitchell Report comes out and fingers someone of note (double entendre intended), the evidence in the NFL cases will be MUCH stronger than the eyewitness reports or hearsay that gets into the Mitchell bullshit. So why is this going to be a bigger deal?

But here's the thing that really gets me, can you think of a player who might appear on that report who you'd be happy to find out had used drugs? I mean, there are some guys in the MLB who I truly loathe. And I mean I really REALLY hate some of these motherfuckers, and I wouldn't get ANY satisfaction out of seeing those guys on the list. What would it do for me? You've got to be a pretty sick fuck to get some satisfaction out of learning that someone's life is changed for the worse forever. From a fans perspective, I just don't get the draw (though, of course, I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for the release of the names at 2pm tomorrow).

And that brings me to the major issue I have with the whole thing: What is the point? Originally, the point of publicizing steroid users was to deter people from future use and educate kids on the problems associated with performance enhancers. Baseball's old "don't ask don't tell" policy was essentially a tacit affirmation that steroids "weren't really that bad." So something had to be done and I get that. But when the NFL and other sports put together their new testing policies, they didn't dig up old files on Juice freaks of the 80's who we all worshipped and cut them down because they now feel guilty that they turned the other cheek for so many years. It was good enough that progress was made. And that's how I feel about baseball. We've moved past the "steroid era" on dozens of occasions, whether it be the Congressional hearing, the Palmeiro thing, Canseco's book or the new testing policy for steroids and search for an HGH test. The result is what we were looking for, not a fine-toothed combing of what they fucked up in getting us here.

Because here's the thing, when this report comes out tomorrow, it will be incomplete in the same way Canseco's book was incomplete and today's testing policy is incomplete. It will be unsatisfying and will stir up controversy. Some people will be upset and we will talk about it. But if it doesn't get us anywhere closer to getting untestable performance enhancers out of baseball and doesn't gain us anything, then what the fuck is the point? I will tell you this, no matter who is on that list and how outrage Jay Mariotti and Skip Bayless are, those names and that outrage alone will not do shit to help us get any closer to eradicating performance enhancers from the game. And if that wasn't the point of this whole fucking thing, then I ask, once again, what the fuck was?


*As I said in an earlier post, I'm not going to throw out names in these posts unless they have been publicly linked. There's no reason for me to add to the thousands of links available when someone types in "Baseball Player and Steroids" into google.

Do We Already Know All The Names On The Mitchell Report?

18 months and a gazillion dollars later, the Mitchell Report might not look a whole lot different than Wikipedia's list.

The Mitchell Report will apparently include somewhere between 50 and 60 names of MLB players who did drugs in the last decade. And while that's terrific and all, don't we already know those names? Wikipedia has compiled a list of players linked to steroids/HGH and those who have been suspended. So far 37 players with MLB experience have been suspended and at least 23 have been fairly linked to performance enhancing drugs with varying degrees of evidence. That adds up to 60 players. So my questions remains: If this is all we're getting, who gives a shit?

Wikipedia's list*
Players linked to steroids/HGH via published reports:
1. Jose Canseco
2. Mark McGwire
3. Sammy Sosa
4. Ken Caminiti
5. Gary Sheffield
6. Barry Bonds
7. Jason Giambi
8. Wally Joyner
9. Gary Matthews, Jr.
10. Darren Holmes
11. John Rocker
12. David Bell
13. David Segui
14. Fernando Tatis
15. Jerry Hairston, Jr.
16. Rick Ankiel
17. Troy Glaus
18. Jay Gibbons
19. Scott Schoeneweis
20. Paul Byrd
21. Jose Guillen
22. Matt Williams
23. Ismael Valdez

Major League players suspended
24. Alex Sánchez
25. Jorge Piedra
26. Agustín Montero
27. Jamal Strong
28. Juan Rincón
29. Rafael Betancourt
30. Rafael Palmeiro
31. Ryan Franklin
32. Mike Morse
33. Carlos Almanzar
34. Félix Heredia
35. Matt Lawton
36. Yusaku Iriki
37. Jason Grimsley
38. Guillermo Mota
39. Juan Salas
40. Neifi Perez (Twice!)
41. Mike Cameron

Players with MLB experience suspended
42. Damian Moss
43. Robert Machado
44. Clay Hensley
45. Brian Mallette
46. Jon Nunnally
47. Tom Evans
48. Grant Roberts
49. Darnell McDonald
50. Steven Smyth
51. Christian Parker
52. Luis Ugueto
53. Wilson Delgado
54. Ramón A. Castro
55. Matt Whiteside
56. Wilson Delgado
57. Luis Ugueto
58. Nerio Rodríguez
59. Abraham Núñez
60. Yamid Haad

*Wikipedia's list is actually more complete than this, but I felt it irresponsible to include some large names who have been mentioned in the past but the only evidence available to date has been conjecture. If you'd like to view the entire list for yourself, feel free.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Knicks' Only Hope

If the only way Isiah is leaving the Knicks is in a Cedar box, Sniper Cat may be their only hope.

I mean, what the fuck else can happen to the Knicks this year? It is absolutely incredible that this team is still heading on the same course it is. There are not words to accurately describe the level of disgrace that the team and organization have sunk. But if you thought Isiah was going down with the ship, you may have misread his contract. Apparently Isiah inserted a "50 Cent"* clause into his contract that we didn't know about:
"I fight till I die. It's not about giving up or quitting. To me, it's win or die. I literally mean death, I don't mean 'walk away.' I mean death. That's how I have coached. We've got a job to do here and we're going to get it done. I'm confident we have the right players and confident we have the right people, and we'll dig our way out of this."
Ho-Lee Fuck, Zeke! Will you take a step back and settle it down for a minute? I mean seriously. First of all, if you lived by the creed "win or die," you'd be long ago dead. But more importantly, why did you need to go there? I think we get it that you aren't walking away and need to get fired. Was it really necessary to suggest that unless Dolan kills you you aren't going anywhere? This doesn't prove that you are more loyal to the cause than anyone (which I am assuming was your hope), it just proves you are an idiot. Which is like someone coming out today with further proof that water is wet.

The future of the Knicks is in your hands, Sniper Cat.

My Guys v. More Titles: After Winning Again, I Prefer The Former

Sure it'd be nice to get Santana but when do I get to root for "my guys?"

Word is that the Santana for Ellsbury/Lowrie/Masterson/??? trade is coming to a head and may actually get itself done. And while the idea of watching Beckett and Santana pitch on back-to-back days is an exciting proposition, so was the prospect of watching Jacoby Ellsbury manning centerfield for the next decade. The difference with Ellsbury was that he had the potential to be "our guy" and now it looks like we'll be rooting for someone else's guy. In the game that has become Major League Baseball, that's kinda par for the course, I guess. But that doesn't mean I can't want it to turn out differently.

Someone is going to trade for Johan Santana. That much is certain. The Twins can't afford him, they likely aren't going to win (especially now with Detroit so loaded) and the longer they wait the less the chance that the teams the Twins need to be involved (the Sox, Yanks, Angels, Mets & Dodgers) will need to grab him. I also understand that the trade with the Sox, as it is outlined in the media, is a virtual no brainer from the Sox perspective. They get the best pitcher since Pedro in the prime of his career and don't have to give up a single member of their rotation, bullpen, or starting lineup from last year's team. It will make the team better without depleting the farm system too greatly as the Sox have an abundance of pitching talent in the minors and both Jacoby and Lowrie are relatively replaceable guys (in the sense that neither is projected as a corner power guy). I also get that one of the reasons you develop a strong farm system is to poach players from teams who cannot afford them. And lastly, I'm well aware that even if Jacoby Ellsbury exceeds expectations and becomes a Carl Crawford-like talent as opposed to the .300, 10Hrs and 40Sbs guy he projects to be, his career will pale in comparison to that of Santana's. But with all that being said, I'd still rather have Jacoby.

I'd never have said any of this 4 years ago. Are you shitting me? I'd have traded Buchholz, Jacoby, Hazel Mae and my scrotum for Santana. You could throw in anyone else and I would've ok'd it. But now after winning 2 World Series, the game is completely different. My fanhood has changed entirely. In 2004, people, though are loathe to admit it today, were rooting for the Red Sox to pull it off. I received congratulations from people are hardly knew who were genuinely excited for me that the Sox won. Now, Sox fans are hated. And while other people's opinions of me don't necessarily affect how I feel about my team, the difference does represent a change in the entire image of what it meant to be a Sox fan then and now. Today, we are supposed to win. We are supposed to be players for the highest priced players and our GM is supposed to make the best deal for the team regardless of how "loyal" we feel towards the players it takes to make those deals. For me, it was fine when we needed to win to end the bullshit of the 1918 chants and force the retards who bought the "Got Rings?" t-shirts to throw them in the toilet because the Sox number keeps going up. But now, with the team and organization legitimized to a degree and those chants gone and those shirts rendered irrelevant, can't the Sox just hold back on this one and try winning it again with our guys?

You see now, after all the bullshit and the two World Series, I find myself rooting for different things. Yeah I cheer when Julio Lugo gets a big hit or grabs his crotch for the 50th time, but I'll never love watching him play. I loved the stories of Pedroia, Lester, Buchholz and later Jacoby. When I turn the TV on to watch the Sox play, those are the guys I'm most excited about seeing (Note: there is some hypocrisy here considering my favorite all-time Red Sox player in Manny, and he was not really "my guy" in the same sense that I'm pulling for the Sox to stick with "my guy" Jacoby because he was drafted by the team. But we can just forget all that for the timebeing...). I like watching them get better and watching them go f'n nuts whenever anything good happens. Those players haven't been tainted by the monotony yet. They aren't cynical. Their eyes are still wide when the cameras come on. They sneak a peak into the stands at big moments (and when famous people are in the stands) and take a deep breath and need extra time to collect themselves when things are clearly overwhelming. When you see a guy in that situation you want him to succeed not just because it will benefit your team but because you want HIM to succeed. I'm not saying it doesn't matter as much to guys like Julian Tavarez or Kyle Farnsworth, but as a fan it's much more gratifying when you are convinced the guy on the mound or at the plate would be up there if he were being paid $50. Maybe I'm naive, but the young guys are I root for on the Sox at least give the impression that they would.

Listen, I'm not saying I'm not going to brag about having Santana or not enjoy the 2008 season (and seasons thereafter) because this Sox team has the potential to be the best team they have ever fielded. Hell, I'll likely be even more insufferable than I normally am about the Sox. But if they do get rid of Jacoby it will be a huge buzzkill for me that clouds the entire season. I'm fine with making this Sox team the best it can be, I just think the team could be pretty damn good with "my guys" on it. And if the decision comes down to fielding the favorite to win the World Series with "my guys" or fielding the overwhelming favorite for the World Series without them, well, I guess I've made it clear how I feel.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The LPGA's New Leading Lady

From this:

To this:

The LPGA's image has come a long way from days when Laura Davies was the face of the sport.

Meet Anna Rawson, the model-turned-pro golfer from Australia who is sure to turn a few heads on the course this year after she announced that she's turning pro and created an internet search firestorm in the process. Anna is just the latest in the continuing trend of young women golfers joining the LPGA who are actually attractive as opposed to the troll-like dregs who used to stomp the greens and convince our baseball heroes to marry them. Ray Knight has to be kicking himself that he wasn't born two decades later.

G-Rob's Perfect Opportunity

The mark of a good coach is utilizing the best tools he has to his advantage. In 2008, Greg Robinson has the tools. Whether he chooses to use them will decide his fate.

If you're not a fan of Syracuse Football (and that breed is more endangered than the Narwal), you probably won't recognize the names Taj Smith, Mike Williams, Da'Mon Merkerson, Lavar Lobdell or Deandre Preaster, but if you're Syracuse Football Coach Greg Robinson, those names and how they are featured on the field represent the only chance you have of surviving the 2008 season.

To say that Greg Robinson's tenure with the 'Cuse has been rocky would be an understatement. Since taking over the 'Cuse, Robinson is 7-28. He just fired Brian White, his 2nd Offensive Coordinator since taking over and is working on picking the third in four years. And with this team Robinson finally has the personnel around whom he can sculpt an offensive philosophy. These are his guys of his choosing and some of them are fucking good. Mike Williams has the potential to be a top 15 draft pick. He'll be one of the best players to come out when he does. Taj Smith, when healthy, is a beast and can break a play better than most in the Big East. Lavar Lobdell has all the promise in the world if he can get his head on straight and get himself involved in the offense. And then they've got the Sophomore Merkerson who was highly recruited out of high school and the kid Preaster coming in next year who both are impact players. That core group of wide receivers are as good in any in the Big East. With offensive line and running back concerns and a defensive that is suspect at best, Robinson needs to show now that he understands what he's got and what he's up against. He needs to hire a guy who will spread it out and fire it downfield. He needs to go 4 wide and score 40 a game. That is what this 2008 Syracuse team is setup to do. He needs to show that he can coach or he's gonna be shown the door.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Exclusive Footage Of The Bart Scott Freak Out


This video didn't capture when he threw the flag into the stands but you get the picture. This Ravens team does an awful lot of complaining.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hank Is Taking This "Steinbrenner Role" Awfully Seriously

Hank Steinbrenner isn't just as pompous and arrogant as his dad, but now he's breaking the rules just like dear old dad used to do.

When George Steinbrenner paid some scumbag to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield simply because he didn't like the guy, big Stein got himself banned from baseball (only to be reinstated 3 years later). It was Steinbrenner's second Commissioner-Ordered absence from the game of baseball and just one of many of Steinbrenner's less than admirable maneuvers. Now that Steinbrenner has moved off into la la land, his son Hank has stepped up and filled that substantial void of low class behavior.

After Hank shot his mouth off, not only was it reported that the Twins and most others in the MLB were laughing at him, but now it seems the Twins might pursue tampering charges:
A Twins official this morning confirmed that the club is not pleased with comments made by Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner about trade talks involving Santana.

When asked if he thought the comments constituted tampering, the official replied, “We’re not happy. We’ll deal with this internally.'’

It’s unsure if the Twins will pursue tampering charges (or what the penalties are) but it’s definitely added even more spice to the Twins attempts to trade Santana - as if more was needed.
I'm sorry for devoting so much time to this, but you have to admit, between spending $400 million on guys they will pay well into their forties, getting all uppity with A-Rod and then paying him the exact same amount, setting some bullshit deadline and getting called out on it and now possibly tampering charges.... the Hank Steinbrenner era is pretty entertaining.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

In The Steinbrenner Family, The Asshat Doesn't Fall Too Far From The Tree

So lil' Stein says the Yanks are gonna pull their offer for the best pitcher in baseball after Monday because he doesn't like waiting. That seems reasonable.

It's been less than a week since the Twins made it clear that Johan Santana was definitely on the trading block. In that week there has been a lot of back and forth and speculation and conjecture and posturing and all the other bullshit that goes along with these types of things in the MLB. Well, it seems that Hank Steinbrenner has had just about enough of your "negotiating." According to lil' Stein, if the Twins don't take their final offer by Monday, the Yanks will go on their merry way:
"By tomorrow," Steinbrenner said (of the deadline) Sunday.

..."The Twins are aware of it, that I'm not going to wait much longer. And the truth of the matter is, they don't want to be stuck with only one team to deal with. If they're stuck with just Boston, they're going to get a lot less. I'm not going to be played. This is not a game. This is serious business. I'm not going to be played, us against the Red Sox. That's not going to happen."
You tell em, Hank! You're not gonna get stuck in some kind of bidding war like the one that already happened where you first refuse to give up Phil Hughes and then concede that you have to because the Sox countered with a better offer (like I said before, I don't necessarily believe that this "bidding war" went down the way it is portrayed in the media, but Steinbrenner makes it seems as though that's exactly how it went down).

But here's the thing that gets me: why is this deadline necessary? Steinbrenner claims that they have to move on because they don't want to miss out on a potential deal for Dan Haren but then later notes, "Nobody wants to lose the Yankees in a negotiation." EXFUCKINGACTLY. Oakland's not going to do a deal without calling the Yanks to see what they will offer. The Yanks won't miss out on shit. And if and when the A's call, the Yanks can give them their offer pending the outcome of the Santana deal and I can guarantee you that the A's will wait. Because if the Yanks lose out on Santana, THEY HAVE TO get Dan Haren. The A's won't come close to dealing Haren utnil the Santana deal is sewn up. That deal is their leverage. The Sox must be ROFL right now (sorry about the text message lingo). They can just sit back and wait wait for Monday to pass and bullshit that they'll go higher than the Yanks. Once the Yanks are "out," the leverage falls apart. And another thing, if the Twins come back on Tuesday and say, "we'll take your deal," Hank will fucking sign the paper work faster than you can say "sweet buzz cutt."

But my favorite part has to be the selective memory that spawned this little ditty from Hank:
"I don't really care what the Red Sox offer, to tell you the truth," Steinbrenner said. "The way I do things is, I make a strong offer, take it or leave it."
Yes, A-Rod would agree that once you turn down Hank's initial strong offer, there's no looking back. This deadline reeks of pompous blowhard and stale cigarette breath, and as a Sox fan, I fucking love it.

I Don't Want To Say I Told You So.... Well, Maybe I Do

Rory the Lion doesn't like what sees in Detroit these days.

About a month ago, I wrote a piece about how the Lions were not nearly as good as their 6-2 record and the only decent teams they played beat them handily. I suggested that not only would they not get to Kitna's promised 10 wins but that they would likely win only one more game the rest of the way. There were some who doubted this theory and others who objected more strongly to it. One commenter was rather forthcoming and undaunted with his disgust and offered his own predictions:
"[The Lions] are just as good as the Cowgirls, Giants, and Packers. The feel good story of Brett Favre will come down to earth on Thanksgiving when the Lions destroy them .... I sure hope everyone continues to doubt the Lions this season because WHEN they have a first round bye in the playoffs people will finally smarten up. Then again people will continue to doubt them until they DEFEAT the previous unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, which I may add is in Arizona, the home of the Cardinals: the team you say will be the home of the Lions final victory. Well your (sic) right in that respect. Sort of..."
The Lions are now 6-6 and finish the season against the Cowboys, Chargers, Chiefs and Packers. That's 1-3 at best. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Do I Believe Any Of These Sox / Yanks / Santana Leaks? Not For A Second

When the Sox and Yanks are involved in a potential trade, there's more feces in the air than a Chinese take-out kitchen.

The Johan Santana trade situation is infuriating. Every minute there's a new story about a different player the Sox or Yanks are willing to part with for Santana despite the fact that the player was labeled "untouchable" in a previous leaked story. And there are the stories about the stories. Writers are writing stories about how the teams are using the media to leak bullshit trade props in order to make the other team up their offer and get rid of better players. And the writers are perfectly happy to oblige and post as many bullshit stories as possible no matter how realistic. It's f'n ridiculous and I don't believe a fucking peep of it. I think when you step back and take a look at the two teams involved in this, it's easy to see exactly what's going to happen without trying to weave through the thorny thatch of misinformation the writers are feeding us.

First, the Yanks need Santana much more than the Sox do for a ton of reasons. The first being that their current rotation is not really major league quality. So far it looks like Wang, Mussina and three guy who have combined for less than 20 starts over their entire careers combined. And as much as you might love the idea of Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy starting some day, that is about as shaky a rotation as there is in the AL East and perhaps all of the major leagues. I know everyone loves Joba Chamberlain (and if you've been a reader here for awhile you know that I do not), but you have no fucking clue what those 3 young guys will give you as starters and even less of a clue what Mussina has left. That rotation is in dire need of a frontline starter. Meanwhile the Sox have 6 guys in their starting rotation right now and two guys in the minors who they think they could bring up at any point this season in Masterson and Bowden. While the addition of Santana certainly wouldn't be a downgrade, there's not as much of a need.

Second, the Sox will not part with either Buchholz or Ellsbury and the Yanks will not part with Cano, Jackson or Tabata. I don't care what you read, none of those guys are going anywhere. The position players especially will go nowhere. Projecting position talent is INFINITELY more reliable than pitching talent. The Yanks are old at every position except 2nd base. Cano is a potential perennial All-Star while Jackson and Tabata (Tabata in particular) are well developed talent in a system very light on good position talent. None of those guys are going anywhere. Ellsbury is locked up by the Sox for a bunch of years for cheap and is the best position prospect in their organization. Meanwhile the guy Ellsbury is replacing, Coco Crisp, is a top notch defender who the Twins could use and who they can move to Oakland for Haren if the Santana deal falls through or to the White Sox straight up for a young arm. Why would the Sox trade their younger, cheaper and better CF option for a position of depth in their organization when teams are interested in the older, shittier and more expensive CF?

Third, other than Chamberlain, the Yanks will give up ANY combination of young pitchers to get Santana. This seems like common sense to me but no one seems to get it. Of the three young pitchers on the Yanks, it is likely that one will flame out and be out of baseball in a couple years, one may find his way to the bottom of a rotation at some point in his career and one may become a number 2 starter, probably after Tommy John surgery. But it is even safer to say that NONE OF THEM will become Johan Santana. Let me repeat that. Of all the pitchers being considered for the trade for Johan Santana, NONE will be as good as Santana. Not Joba Chamberlain or Clay Buchholz or Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy or Michael Bowden or Justin Masterson. The chance that these guys never throw a pitch again in the majors is ten times more likely than the chance that they become a starter even in spitting distance of the talent level of Santana. So the idea that the Yanks would think twice about the giving up the middle of the rotation ceiling of Ian Kennedy or the top of the rotation potential and mounting injury history of Phil Hughes for the best pitcher in baseball is absurd. They will trade any of those guys. The only reason they wouldn't trade Chamberlain is for PR reasons. People haven't fallen in love with Hughes or Kennedy yet (though they probably should love Kennedy because he may be the smartest "pitcher" of the bunch), so they won't be as upset if those guys are moved, even if it may be true that Hughes and Kennedy have a better starter's pedigree.

Fourth(ly), the idea that the Yanks, Twins and Sox are talking and accidentally leaking this information is flat out comical. The Sox don't talk about this shit in public. Ever. Under Theo, they have a steadfast policy of complete radio silence during negotiations. And unlike past regimes, it's actually been effective. The Gagne deal got done in the last days without too many people knowing. The trades for Renteria and Coco Crisp came out of nowhere, as did the famous Nomar trade. Nobody saw that coming. It doesn't benefit the Sox to have other teams know what they are offering. So the only reason that this information would come out would be to provide bullshit information so that other teams up their offers. But there is no way that the other teams aren't aware of this, so it ends up being bullshitters bullshitting other bullshitters. It's all so fucking stupid.

Lastly, you're kidding yourselves if you think that anyone other than the Yanks are getting Santana. In the end, they'll include Hughes, Cabrera and possibly Sanchez or some other young arm (maybe even Kennedy) in order to get a deal done. It makes too much sense. The Twins can't afford Santana so it makes sense for them to move him now when his value is highest (Santana has a history of starting slowly in the first half of the season so his value might decrease by the trade deadline). The Yanks have talent the Twins need and they have a gaping hole at the top of their rotation. Throw in the fact that their biggest rival has won two world series over the last 5 years to the Yanks' none and that their fans are being told that the Sox are in prime position to grab Santana without substantially decreasing the talent in their organization (creating a Beckett, Dice-K, Santana, Buchholz rotation for the next 4 years at least), and it's a no brainer.

My guess is that the 72 hour negotiating window is opened tomorrow and by Wednesday the Yanks have their man at 7 years for around $180 million with Hughes, Cabrera and Horne (or possibly Sanchez) gone to the Twins. As a Sox fan, I'll be glad it's all over. And more importantly, I can't wait for the Jacoby and the Sox to take on the Yanks and their elderly outfield threesome of Matsui, Damon and Abreu. Even Manny could hit a triple against that crew.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Paul Harris Is Charles Barkley

If this Syracuse team is going anywhere, it will be because Paul Harris wants it to.

Syracuse small forward Paul Harris has a game only a mother could love. He can't shoot from outside of 10 feet, he's not that sweet from the free throw line and he just plays ugly. He bangs, he turns the ball over on ill-advised passes and he forces tough shots around the rim without giving a second thought to whether his shot will get sent into next week. But it's that ugliness that makes him so good. He is always around the ball, routinely outrebounding guys half a foot taller than and putting it back up in traffic with reckless abandon. It doesn't hurt that he's built like a truck. He's 6'5", 235lbs and looks like a linebacker out there. Watching him play reminds me of someone about his size who about 2 decades ago played in almost the exact same fashion. So much so that I decided to look up his stats and compare the two. And when I did, I was struck by how much their games mirror eachother. That man, Charles Barkley.

First, Barkley's college playing size was 6'6", 235lbs. Paul Harris is 6'5", 235lbs. So the size is almost exactly the same. But check out how similarly their stats are:

Paul Harris
06-07 Syr 8.6 pts 7.1 rebs 1.6 A's 0.8 stls 0.6 blks 68.1 FT%
07-08 Syr 12.2 pts 10.5 rebs 3.8 A's 2.2 stls 0.5 blks 72.4 FT%

Charles Barkley
81-82 Aub 12.7 pts 9.8 rebs 1.1 A's 1.8 stls 0.5 blks 63.6 FT%
82-83 Aub 13.0 pts 8.6 rebs 1.6 A's 1.5 stls 1.0 blks 63.1 FT%
83-84 Aub 15.1 pts 9.5 rebs 2.1 A's 1.8 stls 1.1 blks 68.3 FT%
It's remarkable how similar they are. Paul is a little more complete a player who looks to dish more often and playing the wing on the 2-3 zone doesn't give him the opportunities to block shots like Barkley did in man-to-man, and Barkley was a little more valuable on the offensive end, but other than that their production is almost identical. And I love watching Harris play in the same way I remember watching Barkley play. If Paul can keep this up, he make a name for himself in the same way... at least on the court.

After This Garza Trade, The D-Rays* Might Be Pretty Good

With 3 young studs at the top of that rotation and the young stars in that lineup, the D-Rays might just be worth watching.

To say that the D-Rays are a second rate baseball franchise would be giving them too much credit. Their moniker was ridiculous even before the cut the "Devil" out of it. Their uniforms look like they were put together by Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald circa 1988. Their manager looks like he should be leading a poetry jam in Park Slope, Brooklyn (I will admit, however, that I really like Joe Maddon and think he's a pretty smart and fearless manager) and they play in a poorly lit mini-putt course in front of less people than the average attendance at MENSA meetings in L.A. (Hey-Yo!). Oh, and they also suck at baseball, finishing last every year but one (we all remember that magical summer of 2004 when they finished 4th) over their entire history (spanning a full decade). But after this Garza trade and with the flier on Troy Percival combined with the emergence of the likes of Carlos Pena, BJ Upton and Jamie Shields... the D-Rays are pretty f'n good.

Lost in the shuffle of the thrice daily updates on the status of the 4th prospect in the hypothetical Santana to the Sox / Yanks deal was the trade that actually occurred between the D Rays and the Twins in which they effectively swapped outfielder Delmon Young for pitcher Matt Garza. And while Young has some name value for finishing second in the AL ROY voting and for being the perhaps the top prospect in baseball before last year, the real prize of this deal was actually Garza. Going into this year, Garza was the top prospect in a deep Twins minor league system. Projected a number one starter, Garza has dominated at every level and was named "Minor League Player of The Year" in 2006 by USA Today; joining a list of former winners including Francisco Liriano, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and Josh Beckett. If Garza were in NY or Boston, he would be an "untouchable." He was "Phil Hughes" before Phil Hughes. It was assumed that Garza would jump into the rotation in 2007 but due in large part to a disagreement over how the organization used him and overprotected him after a bizarre neck injury (he had what was called "common somatic disorder"), Garza and the Twins were never really on the same page and he wasn't the first or second pitcher called up in 2007. He didn't take it very well and coming into the offseason the rumors began that the Twins were willing to part with him. They certainly couldn't be faulted for doing it given their depth at pitching (see Bonser, Slowey, Liriano and whoever they get back from the Santana trade) and need for pop in the outfield, but whoever was going to get Garza was going to get a potential Ace at below market value because of the non-baseball issues. That's where the Rays come in.

The Garza-Young trade almost made too much sense. The Rays are hemorrhaging young talent in the outfield and despite finishing as the ROY runner-up this past year, he may have been the fifth most talented outfielder in the D-Rays organization (whether he is more or less talented than Elijah Dukes remains to be seen. Dukes certainly one-ups him in the crazy department). But now with Garza in the rotation, the Rays feature a top 3 of Jamie Shields (12-8, 3.85 ERA, 184K's, 34BB's), Scott Kazmir (13-9, 3.48 ERA, led the league in K's) and Matt Garza, the aforementioned potential right-handed Ace. As presently constituted, I'd take that threesome over the every top 3 of any staff in the AL other than the Sox, Indians, Detroit or Toronto (even though I said "as presently constituted," I assume Johan won't be with the Twins). The other two guys are barely old enough to drink. That's something to build around. And that may not even be the strength of their team!

The D-Rays offense is young, fast and good. Carlos Pena is the best hitter no one's ever heard about. Pena hit 46 home runs last year. FORTY FUCKING SIX! He drove in 120 RBI... FOR THE F'N D-RAYS! He hits behind some other guys with absurd talent. Carl Crawford steals 50 bags a year and Lou Piniella called him a future batting champ (he hit .315 this year and his average has improved by an average of 10pts per year). BJ Upton is a budding superstar at center after hitting 24 homers in less than a full year of play. Elijah Dukes has more talent than he knows what to do with and if he could just calm down for half a season, he could hit 40 home runs himself (he'd also probably K 200 times and murder several small children with tossed gear). They've also got Rocco Baldelli, who if healthy... well, that's not even worth talking about. And those guys aren't the most talented guys in the organization. They are moving Akinori Iwamura to second base after a solid year at 3b (.285, 7hrs, 20 doubles) because they've got the most talented infield prospect in baseball coming up next year in Evan Longoria (no relation... to me or Eva). Longoria finished 2007 with a combined minor league average of .299, while hitting 26 HR, knocking in 95 RBI and drawing 73 walks for an OBP of .402. With Longoria in the lineup, that lineup has discipline and pop 1-6. It is a legitimate and imposing lineup that can match up with at least Toronto and Baltimore, if not the Red Sox in the AL East (no team can matchup with the paper tiger that is the Yankees lineup. On paper those guys should score about 1500 runs). Unfortunately for the D-Rays, baseball requires more than 3 starting pitchers and 6 batsmen.

The D-Rays' bullpen is their biggest weakness. Though they featured a fairly reliable closer in Al Reyes and picked up the former All-Star Troy Percival this offseason, the rest of that group blows. Last year the D-Rays featured 10 relievers with 20 or more appearances who with an ERA of at least 5.76. I personally witnessed them blow 6 games with leads of over 3 runs after the 6th inning. Their bullpen is so bad that when it gets to like the 6th or 7th inning and your team is only down 3-4 runs, you feel as though your team is winning. But the thing about bullpen strength is that it is very fickle. One year nobody can hit Kyle Farnsworth, two years later batters are knocking his down and away slider into the corner for doubles. Guys like Mike Timlin and Mike Meyers have seen multiple incarnations. So you never know what you're gonna get with your bullpen. But the D-Rays have options. If they could move a guy like Edwin Jackson to the bullpen they could get a big power arm in there for one and two inning stints. A reliable long man would give the D-Rays 6-8 wins a year (seriously).

At the end of the day, while I think the D-Rays are a fun team to watch and are CONSIDERABLY better than they have ever been, they ain't winning the AL East or the wild card. The Yanks will probably pull in Santana and the Sox have Beckett, Buchholz. and Dice-K locked up for another 4 years or so (Beckett isn't "locked up," but he's getting an extension either midway through this year or after the season). But they are markedly better than the Orioles and will compete with the Blue Jays this year. If the Sox or Yanks suffer anything even resembling a serious injury in their rotation or suffers a significant slump, don't be surprised if the woe begone D-Rays start nipping at their heals. They may not be good enough yet to win anything, but these kids are good.

*I'm aware that we are supposed to call them simply "The Rays," but I refuse to abide by that PC Christian bullshit. They are, and forever will be, the fucking Devil Rays.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hobos Of Jamaica Are Not Fans Of Eli Manning

How bad are things for Eli? He's even lost the faith of the hobos.

If I were you, I wouldn't go hanging around the 169th and Hillside Ave subway station in Jamaica, NY anytime past 10pm (or Noon for that matter). It's not.... what's the word.... it's not.... well, safe. It's not safe. At all. Unfortunately, my circumstances require me to hang around this area after 10pm about 4 times a week. I'd have to say that it is not my favorite part of my tertiary education experience. When I'm not looking over my shoulder waiting for Hobo McStabby and Joey AIDS Face to shove me onto the tracks or jam something up my urethra (not that I'm ever taking my piece out around there), I'm dodging the rats that roam the platform like fucking free range chickens. Again, not my favorite half hour of my day.

Now normally the drunken hobos and mole people who inhabit the station stay to themselves and though I am always VERY aware of my surroundings and have one eye over my shoulder waiting for Stumbly McStinkeye to defecate on me, I rarely get harassed. That was until Tuesday evening.

On Tuesday, I had a newspaper with me and it must've been opened to an article about Eli Manning or there must've been a picture of Manning displayed to the outside because as I descended the stairs I heard two guys start to yell at me. Being the naturalized New Yorker that I am, I didn't flinch and kept on my way. The guys continued to yell and though I had trouble interpreting their husky malted drawl, this is what I think I heard:
Hobo1: Eliiiiii. You like Eliiiiiiiiiiiii?
Hobo2: The J-eyes suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Hobo1: Doan...doan, doan bring Eliiii here.... Eliiiiii suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. They all suck.
That last part was really the only thing I heard clearly as they were pretty close to me when that was said. After that, whatever else they were talking about must've been in hobo code because I couldn't make any of it out. The best part was when they later got on the same subway car and proceeded to have a conversation while sitting at opposite ends of the car. Always a good time.

Anyhoo, more than anything I just wanted to get this info out there for Eli's benefit in case he had any inclination to head out to Jamaica to hang out. If so, Elisha, take the bus.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

The Knicks gained some confidence with their 2 game win streak. So much so they started talking a little shit. That worked out well...

Here are a couple of headlines from the NY papers this morning: "BIG 3? BIG DEAL" "The Celtics aren't as good as they think they are." Quentin Richardson had this to say:
It's not that big a deal to us," Richardson said of facing the 11-2 Celtics. “It's like the media makes more of The Big Three and all of them. We're not in awe of them. They ain't won no championships. They have a good record right now, but that don't matter. Dallas showed that [last season]."
And the final score: 104 - 59!

I'm not even a Celtics fans but this is fucking fantastic. If that is not the most embarrassing on-court performance in the team's history, I don't know what is. The Knicks player said that Celts weren't deep. 5 players in double digits (not including KG who ONLY scored 8), 27 assists on 37 field goals. The Celtics could've played only their scrubs and beat the Knicks by 20. I don't think anyone in the world is as bad at anything as Isiah is at coaching basketball. If he were in any other occupation, he wouldn't just be fired, he'd be incarcerated. I'm not sure on what grounds his incarceration would be justified but holy fuck does he suck. He'd probably suck at being incarcerated too. The Knicks sucking is so much fun. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow so I can read and hear all about it!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Welcome Back Smittblogg!


The Smittblogg is BACK! Sort of. Not done with finals but I should be able to pick up the posting a little bit over the next ten days or so. It feels so good to be back. There's so much I want to talk about. I'm gonna post so much shit your ears are going to be pissing useless information and poor grammar. I fuck you not!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This Sean Taylor Thing Sucks


Whether you remember him more for the top picture or the bottom picture, it sucks to be a Skins fan today.

I'm not going to go into one of those speeches where I opine about how Sean found himself and re-dedicated himself to his wife or team or kid or whatever. I have no fucking clue about any of that, and neither does anyone else who is going to take a stab at it over the next couple of days (I'm talking to you, Peter King). I'm also not going to lament over how little we knew the kid because he was a quiet personality who always seemed to mind his own business, except when he was on the field. I'm not gonna get into the sadness of how Sean is the latest example of an athlete from a troubled background who ended up the victim of a violent crime nor will I discuss some greater significance to his death. I'm not even going to try and debate about whether it is more or less tragic that he was murdered and not the victim of some other less senseless death (not that any death makes more sense than any other I guess). The only lens through which I can view Sean Taylor's untimely demise is that of a fan. And though I'm not a Skins fan nor ever more than an admirer from afar of Taylor, for some reason his death is really bumming me out.

This is gonna come out wrong and is kinda a horrible thing to say, but when Joe Kennedy died last week and Darryl Kyle and Josh Hancock before him (those are just some of the ones I could think of off hand), I was sad for their families and friends, but I really didn't spend more than 5 seconds thinking about it. But when I woke up this morning and learned that Sean Taylor died, I was legitimately tweaked. I had to sit down for a little while and gather myself. I got the details from the various news sources and couldn't even really believe it. A lot of it probably had to do with the fact that we were re-assured that he had a good chance of being ok late last night, so the shock was a little greater upon hearing the news but that doesn't really distinguish him from the other guys because those deaths were complete shock. No, I think the thing about Sean Taylor hurt was deeper for a couple reasons.

One, the kid was indestructable. You could never imagine something hitting Sean Taylor and injuring him. It had to be the other way around. Only Sean Taylor's own blunt force against an object and an action of his own volition could create enough force to injure him. It had to be him projecting himself at that bullet, not the other way around. The other thing that made this more tragic and shocking in my eyes is that Sean was the Redskins. People I know had HIS jerseys. When the Skins were in town HE was the guy you were psyched to see. On the replays of Sunday it was Sean Taylor you expected to see taking someone's head off or being in the right place at the right time. AND HE WAS JUST GETTING STARTED! He was 24 years-old. I mean Jesus Christ! In the history of sports, has anyone so young and so outstanding been so unfortunate has to have his life stolen from him like Taylor (maybe Ernie Davis)? It's tough to get your head around.

But for a fan, I don't know how you deal with it. What is a socially acceptable level of reaction? The strange thing for me is the other day I woke up from some strange dream (yeah, that's been happening a lot recently. I need to stop falling asleep in front of the TV) thinking that Manny Ramirez had died. I realized very quickly that this wasn't the case but it got me thinking. What would I have done? I would have been devastated. Would it be ok for me to cry? I don't know the guy, don't know his family. How sad could I really be? People sobbed when Lennon was killed but that was a different time when there were fewer celebrities and far fewer as famous as John Lennon (yes, I'm equating Manny Ramirez with John Lennon and indirectly Sean Taylor. Deal with it). I know that had it been true that Manny was no longer with us, I would have reacted and been treated as though someone close to me had died. I would've gotten phone calls immediately from my friends and family. I would have been consoled by acquaintances and couldn't even imagine focusing on work or school for the immediate future. I would have been absolutely crushed and it would take me much longer than I'm comfortable talking about to get over it. Maybe that makes me crazy but I think anyone who has been a serious fan of any team would be lying if they told you they wouldn't have reacted similarly if the player they hold most dear from their favorite team met an untimely death.

So I guess I really don't know what I'm getting at here or if I have any point at all actually. I think this served as some sort of catharsis because I am having trouble coming to grips with why Taylor's death is dragging me down so much. I think some of it has to do with the small part of me that still views athletes as different than you and I. Not so much in a personal or professional level but in a level I can't properly describe. Athletes can do things that I cannot do. Their ability and achievement inspire awe in a way that no one one else is capable of. Sure there are talented people out there but Yo Yo Ma doesn't make me jump out of my seat and scream at the top of my lungs when he effortless makes his cello sing. Athletes are different in that they can create an immediate and more visceral emotional reaction out of people than almost any other performer. And even amongst those awe-inspiring athletes there is an even more discrete group of athletes who dominate and run circles around the awe-inspiring guys. These are guys who, twenty years from now, sound 20 feet tall and can run faster than cheetahs in the stories you tell about them. These guys are the reason you cheer for your team and they are who you identify with your team. In less than 5 years Sean Taylor had become one of those guys and he had ten more years of that kind of blow your doors off talent up his sleeve. I can't imagine having a guy like that stolen from my team in the most tragic of fashions. I can't imagine being a Skins fan today.