Monday, October 30, 2006

HOF Plaque Wanted on Craigslist

Friday, the NFL announced the nominees for the Hall of Fame class of 2007. The list included 11 first time nominees: Terrell Davis, Bruce Matthews, Randall Cunningham, Ricky Watters, Randall McDaniel, Mark Stepnoski, Steve Wisniewski, Eric Allen, LeRoy Butler, and Carnell Lake. Davis and Matthews are thought to be the two players from this list that will get the most consideration.

There are some players on this list that had very solid careers, but they should feel honored just by being nominated, because they just weren't transcendent enough to be worthy of the hall of fame. One such player is Ricky Watters. Nobody is pushing for him to make it to the hall, nor do I think they should. However, let's look at how his numbers compare to another player who will be retiring this year that has been the subject of recent hall of fame talk- Tiki Barber.

Ricky Watters

Rushing Yards: 10643
Rushing Avg: 4.1
Rushing TDs: 78
Receiving Yards: 4248
Receiving TDs: 13
Pro Bowls: 5
Super Bowl Rings: 1

Tiki Barber:

Rushing Yards: 9434
Rushing Avg: 4.7
Rushing TDs: 50
Receiving Yards: 4940
Receiving TDs: 12
Pro Bowls: 2 (likely 3 at the end of this year)
Super Bowl Rings: 0

The two players matchup pretty evenly, with a slight statistical edge to Watters. Nobody realistically considers Watters to be a hall of fame player, yet because he plays for the New York Giants, some writers want to put Tiki in. Hopefully, they are just hyping him now to show their appreciation for his career, but cooler heads will prevail in five years.

Before multi-dimensional backs like Watters and Barber are given consideration for the hall of fame, the veterans committee needs to induct the player who laid the foundation for their achievements to be possible. Roger Craig revolutionized the game by becoming the first running back in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards and receive over 1,000 yards in the same season, yet for some reason he is overlooked by voters. Granted his career numbers aren't mind-blowing, but they are nevertheless impressive- especially when considering that he started his career as a fullback:

Roger Craig:
Rushing yards: 8189
Rushing avg: 4.1
Rushing TDs: 56
Receiving Yards: 4911
Receiving TDs: 17
Pro Bowls: 4
Super Bowl Rings: 3

Because he had to share a backfield most of his career (Wendell Tyler, Joe Cribbs,and to a lesser degree, Tom Rathman) he didn't have the gaudy statistics of some other featured backs, but that shouldn't diminish the impact he had on both the Niners dynasty and the evolution of the running back position. However despite having to share the ball with so many players (there was also this Rice guy who demanded it from time to time), Craig finished his career as the all time receptions leader among running backs. Roger Craig opened the eyes of the football world by demonstrating how a multidimensional back could be utilized as a powerful weapon on the football field. For that revelation, guys like Thurman Thomas, Tiki Barber, and Marshall Faulk should be thankful. And for that contribution, Roger Craig should be in the hall of fame.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sometimes this Synergy Stuff Actually Works

Lost in the announcement a few weeks ago that Google had purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion was that YouTube had also reached an agreement on distribution deals with many companies that same day. One of the companies was CBS, which agreed to offer, among other things, short segments of sports programming on YouTube. This programming has already begun, as CBS has released many clips from past NCAA tournaments on to YouTube. Here's my personal favorite:

They also have the clip from Princeton beating UCLA in the tournament on a back door play the following year, which is really odd, since I could have sworn that year never happened.

..and just to show that I can appreciate the one good thing that USC has to offer, here's another clip courtesy of the YouTube-CBS-CSTV agreement:

Hmmm...suddenly 1.65 billion isn't seeming like such a bad deal afterall.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fall of the Romo Empire

The following information is provided for entertainment purposes only. However, if you happen to find it entertaining to win a hundred bucks or so, that's your prerogative.

Courtesy of
(Dal vs Car) What will happen first to Tony Romo?

Throw a touchdown pass: -110
Throw an interception: -130

I would have thought the Tony Romo prop bet would have been to determine which Panther would first intercept Romo this Sunday.

What you say?

Looks like my comments haven't been working the past few days. I'll work on it after Blogger finishes their maintenance.

The people must have their voice!

Update: 12:55 pm PST: I've got commenting back to its state at the beginning of the week. Which is to say, crappy, but viable. It looks like you can leave comments now, but after hitting Post, it will take one refresh for the comment to actually show. Lovely.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I was trying to prevent spamming, but it looks like I went too far.

FYI, Blogger is still scheduled to be down between 2pm PST and 3:30 pm PST

No Tigers, But the Lion Comes in a Couple Days

So, raise your hand if you were really disappointed that game 4 of the World Series was rained out last night. neither.

This probably isn't a good indicator for MLB, but with the series on hold for at least a day, I ended up renting Grandma's Boy, and found it far more entertaining than any of the first three games of the fall classic. Tho it's not a really a fair comparison. One has a couple of boobs and some messed up language, and the other is a jacked up comedy featuring Linda Cardellini.

Don't judge me, monkey.

In other sports' news, the Oakland A's interviewed Orel Hershiser as part of the MLB affirmative action policy which requires that at least one pasty white guy be given a meeting for any managerial vacancies.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Baseball's House of Cards

So let me see if I've got this straight- in game 2, Tony LaRussa elected not to have Kenny Rogers tossed out of the game because he wanted to win "the right way." I assumed the right way meant winning the game because of the achievements of your players and not by some sort of freak incident that gives his team an advantage. But then when Joel Zumaya took a tailor-made double play ball in game 3 and threw it into left field, LaRussa was seen jumping up and down like he'd just won a free taco. Now I understand that errors are part of the game, but I would have expected that given his philosophy, LaRussa would have been somber- or at least stoic- while watching that play because the "right" outcome would have been for the Tigers to complete a 1-4-3 double play, leaving a runner on third with two outs. Maybe I'm reading too much into things, but watching LaRussa celebrate that error added some credence to the theory that the real reason LaRussa didn't push for Rogers to be tossed is that after years and years of managing players who have abused the rules (Canseco, McGwire....Pujols?), he's conditioned himself to look the other way when a player is trying to beat the system to gain an advantage.

Another theory is that LaRussa and MLB are trying to avoid creating yet another scandal in what has been a tarnished recent history for the league. Ratings for this World Series are at a record low, and Selig and co. are concerned about what adverse effects another controversy might have on the league. But my opinion is that the poor ratings have nothing to do with any after effects of the steroid scandal or any cheating allegations. Viewers love scandals. In fact if the series goes to a game 6 and Rogers pitches again, it will likely be the highest rated game of the series. Instead, I think there are two main forces at work here that are causing viewers to choose to watch Survivor and Dancing with the Stars instead of the World Series:

1. Major League Baseball, in cooperation with ESPN (and to a lesser degree Fox), spends all of the season establishing the Yankees and Red Sox as the storyline for the entire year. (To be fair, the Red Sox coverage ended after the 5 game sweep and morphed into all Yankees, all the time.) So much time and energy was spent discussing Schilling, Papelbon, Jeter, and of course, Arod, Arod, and more Arod that once both teams were eliminated from championship contention, the casual fan was left with no connection to the remaining teams. The Detroit Tigers were one of the great stories of the year, but I'll bet that less than a third of fans could name their starting outfield. If baseball is going to treat the other teams as an afterthought, then it should come as no surprise that viewers will do the same.

2. Fox's presentation of the World Series has been horrible. I'm going to do my best here to be fair in my criticisms. Joe Buck has a crazy schedule this time of year. He's the lead baseball and football guy for Fox, plus he does some pregame football work for the network. As a result, when listening to him call games, he just sounds tired. There is absolutely no energy coming from the booth, instead giving the vibe of a tedious mid-season game, rather than the World freakin Series. Even when a pivotal or spectacular play is made, Buck's voice conveys neither passion nor excitement, but rather a tone of "whew a double play- now I'm closer to my nap." I've mentioned it before, but I'm continually amazed at how much dead air* there is between pitches and at the conclusion of plays during a Buck broadcast. This is the time when a competent announcer (Jon Miller, Vin Scully, Dan Shulman) would be augmenting the live action by giving the viewer some backstory on the players in the game, speculating on the thought process in either dugout, or relating a story from a past World Series to give the present game some context. Buck rarely does any of these things. Perhaps Buck has been too affected by his football work, in which his job is just to call the play and then shut his mouth while Troy Aikman gives analysis of the just completed play. But a quality baseball two-man booth doesn't work that way (whether baseball really should have a two man booth is a separate issue). Yes, it's McCarver's job to give in-game analysis; but it should be delivered as a free-flowing discussion rather than two independent speakers (something Joe Morgan has some trouble grasping.) It's noteworthy that McCarver has easily outperformed Buck during these playoffs. I don't know if that says more about the job McCarver has done or how poor Buck has been.

The matchup between the Cardinals and Tigers may indeed be a good story. Unfortunately for the viewers, we know very little about our main characters and have an ineffective storyteller. It's no wonder so many people have chosen to seek entertainment elsewhere.

. . .

(*Some, like reader JSon, have theorized that both Joe Buck and the Fox directors "let the fans tell the story," which would help explain the dead air and the frequent shots of the crowd during the telecast. But if that's Fox's strategy, they've made a terrible miscalculation. While the Cardinals fans may have the reputation for being some of the best in baseball, the fact is that it's 30 degrees in St. Louis right now. More often than not, when Fox went to a crowd shot, what you'd see is a sea of red with their hands in their pockets or under their arms, huddled together for warmth. The same scene was portrayed back in Detroit, tho instead of a sea of red, you saw huddled faces painted like either tigers or backup dancers in a sexually ambiguous Vegas show. The crowd shot is designed to reflect the drama on the field. Instead, I'm worried about the grandpa in field level getting frostbite. It doesn't draw me into the game. It makes me crave a cup of cocoa and click over to CSI: Miami for some warmth.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Still Healing

My "real" post is down below in the next entry; but it's 5 am, I haven't slept yet, and I'm still stuck in the 5th stage, Anger, of my seven stages of grief after the UCLA debacle in South Bend. But at least I can take comfort in knowing that I'm not alone. The passionate fans over at Bruins Nation are supporting each other and rallying the forces to work towards the dismissal of Karl Dorrell. Among the more famous alumni, Reggie Miller echoed the displeasure of Bruins fans when he appeared on the Dan Patrick show.

We'll get through this together.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Medical Update: Coach Dorrell Confirmed Brain Dead

UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell and offensive coordinator Jim Svoboda should not be allowed on the plane back to UCLA. Just leave them in North Bend to screw up something in Indiana for a change. Maybe they can open up a Dairy Queen and just give everything away for free, then wonder why they're going broke despite having so many customers. I don't care what they do, just keep them away from the UCLA campus. They've already caused enough suffering for Bruins fans.

I've never seen coaches put their team in a position to lose like those two did today. As upset as I personally am right now, I really feel for the UCLA players. They left everything on the field and played well enough to win, but it's hard to be victorious when your coaches handcuff and shackle you...and then start shooting you in the ass with tranquilizer darts.

I might have more to say later, but right now I need to clear my head. And by clear my head, I mean drink heavily.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Putting My Bookie's Kid Through College

Back by popular demand, as they always seem to make people feel better about themselves, are my picks of the week. This week, I'm picking nine games. I'm going with the road team on eight of them. For some reason, the road team is like getting dealt 10 J suited in Hold 'Em- I know I should just let it go, but for some reason I get enamored with it, and usually to my own detriment.

West Virginia -23 at UConn. Now that Adrian Peterson is out for the season, the Heisman race has pretty much been whittled down to two players: Troy Smith and Steve Slaton. This game is a chance for Slaton to really pad his stats. I'm thinking 200+ yds and 3+ TDs are in order for Slaton. Granted, the 3 TDs alone wouldn't be enough to cover the spread, but fortunately, West Virginia players are never known for respecting opposing players- or the law for that matter- so don't be surprised if they hang half a hundred on UConn.

Colorado +14 at Oklahoma. This will be the Sooners first game without Adrian Peterson, so one of two things will happen- either the Sooners will rally around the loss of their star RB and win huge, or they'll be so lost on the field that the Buffaloes will pull off the upset. For some reason, I'm going with the latter. Head coach Dan Hawkins is working hard to either inspire or confuse his team:
"Victory and defeat, they're brothers and sisters," said first-year coach Dan Hawkins. "They dance together. For these guys to understand really how to look the dragon in the eye and keep coming back in the face of adversity ... yeah, it's easy to hang your head, it's easy to question ... they learned a great lesson in life."
Ummm...rrrright. Still, I'm counting on the Buffs to look that dragon in the eye and come back to Boulder with a victory and their heads held high. Or maybe they'll just get drunk in Norman and have questionable sex with farmer's daughters.

Louisville -17.5 at Syracuse. Louisville was guilty last week of looking ahead to their impending showdown with West Virginia and barely beat Cincinnati. Hopefully, that served as a wake up call, and they'll use this game as a tune up. Syracuse just lost to West Virginia 41-14 last week, so the Cardinals should be using that score as a barometer to how they stack up against the Mountaineers. Louisville 45, Syracuse 10 sounds about right to me.

Notre Dame -13 vs UCLA. I've been trying to think of any reason for optimism for the Bruins. I've yet to come up with anything. This could get ugly.

Air Force -13.5 at San Diego State. SDSU is last against the run in the Mountain West. That's a recipe for disaster when you're going up against Air Force's triple option attack. The Aztecs have lost their last four games by 14 or more points. They should make it five on Saturday.


San Diego -5.5 at Kansas City. I really don't understand why this isn't a double digit spread. I know that Arrowhead Stadium is usually good for three points, but that just means the Chargers will win 31-3 instead of 31-0. I'm a little scared by how much I like this game because it usually means that I'm missing something.

Arizona -3 at Oakland. It's a Pac-10 rematch of Matt Leinart vs Andrew Walter. Unfortunately for Walter, he had more talent around him when he was at Arizona State, and those teams still lost to Leinart. I'm pretty sure the Raiders are what we all think they are- a really, really lousy team that will be lucky to win two games this season. I'm ready to crown their ass with the #1 pick in the 2007 draft.

Green Bay +5 at Miami. How much would I have to bet on this game to actually watch it? I'm thinking $500 might do the trick. But, I'd rather bet 20 bux and watch an entertaining game instead. This game feels like a battle of field goals to me, in which case I'm taking the 5 points.

NY Giants +3 at Dallas. It's pretty obvious how Cowboys games will go. If there's pressure on Bledsoe, the Cowboys lose. If not, they win. That's really all there is to it. I think the Giants front four will be able to get the requisite pressue on Bledsoe which will lead to two god-awful game changing turnovers to lead the Giants to victory. But if that's not enough, Tiki Barber has announced he's retiring at the end of the season, and Peter King has called him a hall of famer. I can only assume that means Barber will be averaging 200+ yards/game for the remainder of the season in order to get his stats to a minimum level that would even warrant consideration.

YTD: 25-29-1

Da Me Mas Yad Molina

A few thoughts on what was probably a classic game 7 of the NLCS (tho I must admit to still being skeptical that Jeff Suppan and Oliver Perez really came up with clutch pitching performances, which would mean that it was actually a game marred by poor hitting).

Headline on MLB that made me giggle: "Molina's Dinger Delivers Pennant." Wow. That's one impressive dinger. It's always good to have a dinger that delivers in the clutch.

A memo to Willie Randolph- here's a reliable indicator that your pitcher doesn't have good stuff. If he gives up a hit to Scott Rolen, it's probably time to bring the hook. Otherwise you run the risk of seeing a 83 mph home run derby pitch float its way to Yadier Molina.

Of course, given the way Billy Wagner pitched yesterday, I can understand why Plan B wasn't all that appealing either.

Paul LoDuca looked pissed when he was removed for a pinch runner after walking in the 9th. I wonder if he after being pulled from the game, he went straight to the clubhouse to play cards with Bobby Bonilla?

While it's hard to feel bad for anyone associated with the Mets, I do feel for Endy Chavez. If the Mets win that game, his home-run robbing catch goes down with Willie Mays and Kirk Gibson as one of the great catches in playoff history. It would have been replayed again and again during the playoffs for years to come. Instead, he'll just get some Plays of the Week highlight on ESPN this weekend before disappearing from our collective memory.

Not to pile on Joe Buck, who I used to actually like once upon a time, but his call of the Chavez catch was pathetic (you can watch/hear it here -Yes he threw in "unbelievable," but there was way too much dead air during that play). When a play is made that might possibly propel a team into the World Series, a little enthusiasm is in order. Keith Olbermann made this suggestion; and I wish I'd listened tonight, but I will follow this advice for the World Series: Hit 'mute' on the Fox Broadcast and listen to Dan Shulman on ESPN radio. His calls actually make a game seem exciting. Crazy concept, but it seems to work (At the time of this writing, the Shulman call is available on in the game recap titled "Cards Move On Courtesy of Molina." Listen to both versions of the call and tell me which you'd rather hear.)

I really hope for Fox's sake that they weren't paying Luis Gonzalez much for his presence in the booth. He was pretty much a spectator for the entire game, then in the top of the 9th, chimes in with "I tell ya what, this has been an exciting game 7." Gee, thanks for the incite, Luis. Now shouldn't you be selling your fallen hairs on Ebay or something?

Finally, congratulations to Tony LaRussa. He's positioned himself so that when the Cards lose to the Tigers, he will have cemented his legacy alongside Bobby Cox and Marv Levy as coaches who have gotten their fan's hopes up, only to fall short of a championship the vast majority of the time. Well, done, Tony. Simply "genius."

(Update: I just read Bill Simmons' liveblog of the game and he totally disagreed with me regarding Buck's call of the Chavez catch. For some reason that makes me feel validated.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This Post Is Just Between Isiah and Me

So it appears that along with being one of the worst GMs in sports history, Isiah Thomas is also a crazy man. Last season he challenged ESPN writer Bill Simmons to a fight in an alley, and now, he's taken ESPN analyst Greg Anthony to task for failing to show the Knicks favoritism in his commentary. It appears that Thomas is none to pleased that Anthony ripped Thomas for his selection of Renaldo Balkman on draft day. Of course, every other analyst had the same reaction to a selection that by all accounts came at least 20 picks too early; but Thomas is upset because he feels Anthony should have responded differently because he is a former Knick.

"This so-called former Knick, on draft night with millions of people watching, had the audacity to take me to task on a player that I'm pretty sure he had never seen before in his life," Thomas said. "I just thought he was very unfair to the Knicks organization. It would be different had he not worn a Knick uniform. But for a guy who claims to have been a Knick, to treat the Knicks the way he treated us that night ... I know a Piston would never do that. A Celtic would never do that. A Laker would never do that. It wouldn't happen. It just goes to show you what we're dealing with."

So what is it exactly that you're dealing with Zeke- Objective commentary?! Dear lord, that's rough. I'm sorry that Greg Anthony was more concerned with actually giving honest analysis rather than show his loyalty to the Knickerbockers. Also, I'm sure a Piston, Bill Laimbeer, said something critical of the Pistons last season. I can't say it with 100% certainty because I don't really pay attention when Laimbeer talks, but I'm sure it must have happened at least once. Also that Charles Barkley fella has been known to speak his mind from time to time. Besides, anyone should know by now that if they want favorable treatment from ESPN, they should get a job with the Boston Red Sox.

Thomas continued to throw insults at Greg Anthony via the media:
"Unlike Greg Anthony, I do have respect for others."
"We all were in a funk last year ... Greg Anthony was in a funk."
"Greg Anthony should never ever be in a position to question myself on anything about basketball. I do remember the kind of player he was."

Later in the article, Thomas says he has not spoken to Anthony about this. However, in the midst of his diatribe to the media, Thomas clarified that, "This is between Greg and I."

So to recap: Thomas is upset because he thinks team loyalty should take precedence over professional integrity, even tho Zeke himself is a former Piston who now works for the Knicks and whose job it is to beat his old team. Then he claims the issue is a personal, private matter between him and Anthony, even tho he's just vented the entire thing to the national media and has never even had a conversation with Anthony regarding the matter? Has a team ever been coached by an insane person before? Aside from Martin Lawrence in "Rebound?" Oh, it's going to be a fun year at the Garden this season.

(update: thanks to readers for pointing out that I kept referring to Greg Anthony as Greg Anderson. I'm auditioning for a job with Fox, and I thought it would help me fit in to mess up some names. The errors have been corrected.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tennis Anyone?

This was a nice way to start the day.

You may say that I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Things Actually Could Be Worse for Cardinals Fans

I wasn't going to write anything about the Bears/Cards game last night because NFL Adam had already written the funniest, most evil line about the impact of that game. But today, there was a little more news, so I thought I'd at least comment on that.

In the wake of last night's Cardinals collapse, Dennis Green has realized that since his team was outcoached by Charles Barkley and Joe Theisman last night (Barkley criticized the team at the end of the first half for settling for field goals instead of taking shots in the end zone; Theisman warned the Cards not to get conservative once they penetrated the 25 yard line on their final drive) heads will have to roll. In order to preserve his own job for at least a few more weeks, he's made the decision to fire offensive coordinator Keith Rowen and promoted quarterbacks coach Mike Kruczek to O. Coordinator. The move probably won't be enough for Green to keep his job next season, but it might at least stall his firing until the offseason.

In the "What if" department, a few years ago when Green was hired as the Cardinals' head coach, he offerred the QB Coach position to ESPN personality, Sean Salisbury. Salisbury ultimately rejected the offer when he realized that there was much more stability in being on tv and criticizing everyone else rather than actually demonstrating any knowledge by being a coach himself. However, had Salisbury taken the job and made it this long without being fired, he likely would now be the offensive coordinator. Then, considering that Green is on his way out and that Salisbury would likely be tight with franchise QB and fellow USC alum Matt Leinart, Sean Salisbury could have actually been the Arizona Cardinals head coach in 2007. That's a scary, freaking thought- tho still much better than actually having to listen to Salisbury's arrogant diatribes on ESPN.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided if this guy had actually practiced kicking the ball through the uprights rather than off of them:

It Doesn't All Stay in Vegas

I'm back from my trip to Vegas and am now in the final stages of detox from 72 hours of drinking, gambling, and other miscellaneous nefarious activities. Like every other time that I've spent a few days in Vegas, the most difficult part is the culture shock of returning to normal society. Now anytime I drive past a hotel, I have the impulse to go in and check out the blackjack tables and cocktail waitresses. It's also really difficult to watch sports with only one tv in the room. I think I'm going to need to visit Best Buy and rectify that situation immediately. At least living in Southern California, all the women already dress like whores, so that part of the return has been seamless.

The weekend has been a bit of a blur, but there are a few things that I learned that might be of some value to the reader:

-Just because the drinks are free, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to drink Red Bull all night long. After seven hours of that, I could feel every internal organ tremoring and plotting to leap from my body if I didn't switch my choice of beverage. You know you're making bad decisions when Jack Daniels on the rocks is the safer alternative.

-Lebron James will not stop to take pictures with kids, however Carmelo Anthony is more than accomodating. I guess we can all be witnesses, we just can't photograph our encounter with King James.

-UFC fighter Tito Ortiz doesn't look nearly as intimidating in person (I saw him at Palms, I didn't go to the fight) as I would have expected. But please don't tell him I said that.

-There are two groups of people who begin to take notice if you're fortunate enough to color in some $500 chips- floor managers and hookers. Both of them will act like they're interested in giving you something for free, even tho they're actually scheming for a big payday.

-Best looking hookers this weekend were found at: 1. Palms 2. Hard Rock 3. Mandalay Bay (note- I didn't visit Wynn, Venetian, or Caesar's this trip and so were ineligible for the list.)

-The casinos are making it harder and harder to find a blackjack table with favorable rules unless you're willing to play at $25 minimum bet tables or higher. That being said, if Bree is dealing at the Hooters Casino, it would be worth dropping a hundred bucks playing 3 Card Monte for the pleasure of sitting at her table for an hour.

-This last tidbit I can only reveal in code because some of my readers are in the circle of people that can't know about this, but hopefully, you'll catch on. You know how every stripper will tell you that she's a student? Well, there's a hot, young dancer at the Spearmint Rhino in Vegas who, based upon her preferences during a very private dance, I can only assume attends Wichita State. For the record, I only acquired this information "second hand."

Now the only info I need to figure out is when I can go back.

Friday, October 13, 2006

That David White Kid is Good, Too

Since this illness of mine has been lingering, yesterday I opted to try some alternative medicine. Instead of using store bought cough syrup, I went with a few doses of kentucky bourbon. I'm not so sure how well it worked as a cough syrup, but it did a hell of a job as a "what day is it?" syrup. Anyway, here are a few observations from what I can remember of the playoffs:

Tim McCarver summed up the NLCS best. The #1 priority for the Mets pitching staff is to not let Luis Pujols beat you. Take care of Luis, and the world is yours.
(Btw, congrats to Fox on finding the only announcer in the world that still wasn't familiar enough w/ Albert Pujols' work to get his name right.)

If Fox ever wanted to stop using McCarver for broadcasts, but for contractual reasons, were unable to fire him, all they would have to do is instruct him to take the subway to a game. He'd end up getting disoriented as soon as he got to the station and would be riding cars back and forth for the rest of his days. It wouldn't even be that sad for McCarver, as I'm sure he'd confuse passengers for old ballplayers and interview them until the train came to a stop, at which time he'd pause for a commercial break.

Couldn't Fox have warned us before they introduced Luis Gonzalez to the world with a close-up low angle shot? It's bad enough that all the parents watching have to cover up their little kids' eyes for the commercial of Grudge 2 that comes up between innings, now they have to worry about their 4 year old waking up in the middle of the night screaming, "Mommy, mommy, that crazy bald man is under my bed!"

If a reptilian alien species landed on earth, and in an effort to hide their presence, they disguised themselves as humans, I think they would probably end up looking something like Jeanne Zelasko.

Joel Zumaya may be out with a wrist injury. Trainers have said that the injury comes from his unique grip which allows him to defy physics and throw the ball 247 miles per hour (as registered only on the ESPN gun).

Did all the Mets fans agree not so shower until their team was eliminated? The crowd shots at Shea made me even more frustrated that the Dodgers and Padres couldn't pull of any victories. It would have made for a much more pleasant viewing experience between pitches.

I thought I was rooting for the Mets in the NLCS, only because I've always liked Billy Wagner and Tony LaRussa is in the exclusive club of managers that I root against because they've bought into their own "genius" label (joining Mike Shanahan, Brian Billick, and Bill Parcells). However I was also a fan of the Cardinals back in the Vince Coleman 80's, so there was a chance I could be swayed back. That might have happened when I repeatedly heard the PA system at Shea playing the "Everybody clap your hands" segment from the Cha-Cha Dance, which is at the same level of "Who Let the Dogs Out" in its power to make me turn away from a team. It's only a matter of time before a team decides to bust out with "Chacarron" when they need to inspire their team:

Actually, I think that would be perfect for any team led by Grady Little.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

And So It Begins

I just received the following email from Firepay, a popular payment system used for online gaming:

"SUBJECT: New FirePay policy for US account holders

On September 30, 2006, the United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

Once President Bush approves the Act. FirePay ( will no longer allow US consumer payments for online gambling merchants.

* Beginning the day President Bush signs the Act, FirePay will decline any purchase transactions from US FirePay account holders at any gambling merchant site.
* Ten days after President Bush signs the Act, FirePay will decline any transfer attempt made by any online gambling merchant to a US FirePay account."

By the time I finished reading this email, I just felt Yes, that Port Security Bill (to which Senator Bill Frist attached the Gambling Act) is already having such a great impact on our great nation. I feel so much safer knowing now that millions of Americans such as myself won't be up to such nefarious activities as playing Hold 'Em while watching the 11 pm Sportscenter. What a relief.

The Poker Players Alliance is still hoping to get a carveout for online poker, however that won't even be a possiblity until after Congress returns from the elections. If you'd like to join the Alliance, membership is $20. Membership includes a tshirt and a ribbon to wear, which as you know, is the emblem of a true American. You can wear your poker freedom ribbon when you aren't wearing your other ribbons to: support our troops, fight breast cancer, or secure genital integrity.

Meanwhile, Wicked Chops Poker has responded to this legislation by reinventing themselves as Wicked Chops State Lotteries, since other forms of gambling such as state lotteries, racetracks, and fantasy football are still legal. As great of a poker blog that it was, it's even more brilliant now. My favorite story thus far in this new incarnation is, "Poor Man Doesn't Win Virginia State Lottery Texas Hold 'Em Game."

For now, my course of action is simple. I'm pulling all of my money out of firepay and going to Vegas this weekend. If my money can't go towards online entertainment, then maybe it can be put to good use with Vegas strippers and Hard Rock cocktail waitresses. I think that's what Senator Frist would want. It's the American Way.

Are You Ready for Some Cross-Promotion?

Once again I'm turning in my homework a bit late, but here are some thoughts from last night's Monday night affair between the Broncos and the Ravens.

The pregame talk was about the weather and who it would affect most. The consensus was that the quarterbacks would be hampered most, losing the ability to roll out or keep a good grip on the ball. After watching the game tho, it was obvious that the ones hurt most by the weather were the Broncos' cheerleaders, who had to bundle up to protect themselves from the element. So much talent and they weren't able to showcase any of it. It was if Marty Schottenheimer were the cheerleading coordinator. So disappointing...

If you're like me, anytime you're watching a football game between two Super Bowl contenders, you think to yourself, "There's only one thing that could make this game better. What if instead of listening to play-by-play, there was an interview with a soap opera star during the action? That would be sweet." Well, ABC got your letters and emails and responded by giving Tony Kornheiser five good minutes with some actor from Desperate Housewives while the Broncos had the ball. These in-game interviews now give TK two things to contribute during a broadcast- shill for the network and announce who's on his fantasy team- and both of them are useless. Given how committed ABC is to using Monday Night Football as a cross-promotional tool, I'm surprised that instead of Kornheiser, they didn't just hire Elisabeth Hasselbeck to be the third person in the booth...

This season, I've heard a couple interviews with Ray Lewis where he claims that he believes he is the most dominant defensive player in football. I understand that confidence is key to success, but Ray-Ray is delusional. At this stage in his career, he's maybe the fourth best defensive player on his own team. Chris McAllister, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed have all surpassed him at this point. If that wasn't evident when the season began, then Tatum Bell giving him a piggyback ride for 5 yards definitely drove the point home that Lewis is on the downside of his career. Ray Lewis' overblown sense of his skills reminds me a lot of Shaquille O'Neal the last few season. While still good, neither are still the dominant force they once were; however both play with an identical mindset. Where there minds differ however is once the game is over, as Shaq has aspirations to fight against crime in his spare time, whereas Ray favors obstructing the investigation of murder cases. But other than that, one and the same.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Quick Picks

This post is most likely going to be of little use with how late it is, but just to get my weekend picks on the record, I'm going with:

Arizona +12 at UCLA. Despite the final score, UCLA struggled offensively last week. The Bruins really have no clue what they're doing once they enter the red zone. There may be a revenge factor for UCLA after last season's embarassing loss at Arizona. But there's a big difference between seeking revenge, and actually being able to do anything about it.

Tennessee -2 at Georgia. It's Georgia's inexperience at QB that's making me go with the Vols on the road today. The Tennessee defense might be able to outscore Georgia's offense on their own in this one. A few big defensive plays early could take the Georgia crowd out of the game and make thing much easier for Ainge and company on offense.

Notre Dame -29.5 vs Stanford. Stanford can't score and that can't stop anyone from scoring. Not a good combination. This is also a good game for Brady Quinn to get his name back in the Heisman talk.

Oregon at Cal UNDER 61.5. If the running back don't break too many and the game comes down to Nate Longshore vs Dennis Dixon, then it won't be the scoring fest everyone expects.

I have no clue who to go with in the LSU/Florida game, but I would like to suggest that ESPN keep their gameday crew in Gainesville in perpetuity. Despite the disappointing decision by the Gators cheerleaders to no longer wear the garter with their uniforms, this is still be far the most attractive pregame crowd of the season.

On to the NFL:

Indianapolis -18 vs Tennessee. A home game against an overmatched, undertalented defense- this is the kind of game that Peyton Manning feasts on. Since he can call his own plays, he'll call his number to pad his stats all game long, regardless of the score. The Titans defense made Drew Bledsoe look good. Just think what it will do for Peyton Manning. Indy 41, Tenn 10.

New Orleans -6.5 vs Tampa Bay. Somehow I missed this last week with Vince Young, but it's usually a pretty safe bet to always bet against a rookie QB making his first start. When that QB is named Bruce Gradkowski, it's a no-brainer. This is the game when people realize that the second half of the season is going to be really ugly for the Bucs.

St. Louis at Green Bay under 46. The problem with betting the under in a game involving the Packers is that Brett Favre can always screw things up with a pick 6. But I think this will be a long grinding sort of the game.

Last week: 6-1
YTD: 23-24-1

Friday, October 06, 2006

T.O. Wants to Raise Your Children

This is true. Look, I've got a reputable link to prove it and everything.

Terrell Owens will be releasing a children's book in November. The title, "Little T Learns to Share."

The synopsis: "It's about a young boy learning the value of sharing. Little T, the title character, refuses to share his football at first but later realizes he can't enjoy his new ball without friends."

I'm assuming it's based on a true story. Except for the learning part.

In the upcoming year, he will release two more books. "Little T Learns What Not to Say" and "Little T Learns to Say I'm Sorry."

I know you think I'm making this up, but I'm not. If I were to make this up, I would probably come up with titles like:

"Little T Learns to Love Him Some Little T."
"Little T and the Magic, Overpriced Popcorn Factory."
"Little T Learns to Take His Medicine."
"Little T Meets His Daddy."
"Little T and his Pet Weasel."
"Little T Teaches Big T How to Read."

The Neverending Genius of Shaq

This season, the NBA is introducing a new synthetic basketball to replace the traditional leather ball, and most players aren't too happy about the change. The most common complaint is that the grip is very different, making the ball more slippery when wet and more difficult to shoot.

I can understand why players might not initally like a different ball, but anyone that has played a pickup game knows that after a little while, you can adjust to the grip and bounce of whichever ball is the gamer. Can't someone explain this controversy in a way that can really make me appreciate the magnitude of the change in equipment?

Enter Shaq:

"It's like touching an exotic dancer and then going and touching a plastic, blow-up doll."

Wow- Thank you, Shaquille. I understand now. And now I also think I understand why during free throws, you cup the ball like you do and hold onto it for so long, almost unwilling to let it go. It reminds you of that dancer at The Gold Rush with the Spalding ass.

Unfortunately, I don't think the NBA will be all that eager to switch back to the old leather ball, as I've got a hunch that David Stern (speaking of old leather balls) is a blow-up doll kind of guy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Let's Play Three

It's a bit of a slow week here at the Lounge. I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days- lethargic, drowsy, and just going through the motions. Basically, I'm feeling just like the Padres right now. Seeing the Pads in person Tuesday made me realize just how anemic their lineup is. Granted, Chris Carpenter was pitching lights out, but nevertheless, this Padres lineup is one of the worst for a playoff team in recent memory. There isn't a single hitter on that team that scares a pitcher. Yes, it was only one game, but suffice it to say that I'm feeling like an idiot for that World Series prediction.

On the bright side, if you are going to attend a blowout game, there's no better stadium to wander around and check out the eye candy in tank tops and short shorts than Petco Park, even in October.

Other playoff thoughts...

With a Joe Morgan doubleheader and Chris Berman batting cleanup, it's pretty easy to bash ESPN's baseball coverage. Instead I'll actually mention some positives I've seen and heard this postseason. Steve Stone has been great on ESPNradio- really good insight into the game and he does a great job thinking along with the managers. In the ESPN studio, I love the addition of Eric Byrnes. I heard him frequently on the radio back when he was with the A's and occasionally with the Diamondbacks so I knew what to expect- incredible enthusiasm for the game and a willingness to be candid and critical. Fortunately, he hasn't disappointed. Hopefully, viewers are willing to see beyond the disheveled hair and bad suit and instead hear a guy who's passionate about the game.

Ok, one critical ESPN comment. What the hell were they doing with Tim Robbins in the booth during the 7th inning of the Dodgers/Mets game? The Dodgers had the tying runners on base with Nomar at the plate and instead of focusing on the action, Gary Thorne is asking Robbins when "Catch a Fire" is opening at theaters! I know ratings are down and Tim Robbins is a Mets fan and was in Bull Durham, but is this gimmick of bringing in someone from the Film Actors' Guild really necessary during a key moment in the game?

(The Robbins invite was just explained to me like this: Let me explain to you how this works: you see, the corporations finance ESPN, and then ESPN goes out... and the corporations sit there in their... in their corporation buildings, and... and, and see, they're all corporation-y... and they make money.)

Grady Little using Brad Penny in relief in the 7th reminded me of Tommy Lasorda using Orel Hershiser in relief back in the 1988 playoffs. Well, except for the minor difference that Hershiser was having one of the all-time dominant seasons for a pitcher while Penny has been struggling ever since the All-Star game. Other than that, it was exactly the same.

I think the Yankees are already in negotiations with Barry Zito for the ALCS...

Am I the only feeling a little insulted by baseball's push to make David Wright the face of baseball? He's a phenomenal player no doubt, but what really makes him any better than Albert Pujols, Carlos Delgado, Vladimir Gurrerro, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, or Ryan Howard? Actually, I can think of one thing that distinguishes Wright from that group. Here's a hint: pretend Barbara Walters is saying his name and you'll get a better idea for why MLB is annoiting the golden boy with such great hype.

Ok...The Detroit/Yanks game is underway. Joe Morgan is in the booth and once again he's challenging his viewers to go three hours without shooting their television. It's only the bottom of the first, and he's already mentioned his disdain for statistics, said that Derek Jeter "plays to win the game" (as opposed to what exactly?), and rambled on after every pitch repeating the same points over and over and over again. Chances of survival for the Sony are looking slim.

(Last minute update: ARod came up to the plate in the 1st w/ the bases loaded and two outs. Verlander strikes him out on 3 pitches with two 101 mph fastballs followed by a beautiful curveball. It's like the old saying goes- Great pitching will always beat great hitting that has a reputation for repeatedly choking in crunchtime.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Playoffs? You Want to Blog About Playoffs??

I've been a bit too preoccupied searching ebay and craigslist for tickets to game 1 of the Cardinals/Padres series (Peavy vs Carpenter) to make any posts lately. For the enlightenment of anyone who lives east of Las Vegas, the Padres are a baseball team that plays in San Diego and can occasionally be seen on ESPN whenever they scroll the National League scores at the bottom of the screen. For more information on these Padres of which I speak, check out these blogs:

Gaslamp Ball
Minor League Town

I've got a difficult compromise to make between being a ticket snob and wanting to conserve funds for the Dodgers home games this weekend, as well as saving money for a potential NLCS between San Diego and Los Angeles. Maybe the best way to preserve my cash is to put the Lounge jinx on the teams. Here are my playoff predictions:

NL Divisional Series: Padres in 4 over Cardinals, Dodgers in 5 over Mets
AL Divisional Series: Yankees in 4 over Detroit, A's in 5 over Twins
NLCS: Padres in 5 over Dodgers
ALCS: Yankees in 6 over A's
World Series: Yankees in 4 over Padres (Hoffman blows save in game 1).

Well, first pitch is in 7 hours and I still don't have tickets. Hopefully, I didn't drive down here just to watch the game at a local sports bar. Then again, given the talent at the Pacific Beach Bar and Grill, it probably still would have been worth it. Wish me luck. Or better yet, send cash.