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.