Monday, April 30, 2007

Did Anyone Else Feel a Draft in Here?

There are already plenty of sites that have done a good job assigning winners and losers from this weekend's NFL draft based on their own projections of player development. And while I'm in agreement with the majority of assessments (Winners: Niners, Raiders, Colts, Patriots; Losers: the entire NFC East), I'm also of the opinion that it takes at the very least one season to really evaluate a draft. However, there were some people who felt an immediate impact at the conclusion of the draft. Here is a list of those winners and losers from this weekend.


Lindy Slinger
Sure, Brady Quinn's girlfriend might be a little disappointed that Quinn may have lost as much as $17 million by sliding in the draft Sunday, but even $10 million in guaranteed money is still more than adequate to purchase some shiny trinkets. The reason Lindy must be smiling right now is because after Quinn learned that he wasn't being picked #3 overall, it appeared to everyone that Lindy was going to have to compete with Miami girls for Brady's attention. Now, all she has to do is match up with the women of Cleveland, which is a much more attainable goal.

Drug Dealers in Foxboro
Times used to be pretty tough for a simple drug dealer hanging out around Gilette Stadium. Sure, Tom Brady used to stop by from time to time for some RU-486, but other than that, the Patriots weren't really big customers. But now Randy Moss is coming to town and business should be booming.

Mike Williams
Williams was going to be permanently entrenched in the doghouse as long as he remained in Detroit. Now that he's a member of the Oakland Raiders, you can be certain that Lane Kiffen will be loyal to him to a fault. Mike Williams will have plenty of opportunities to resurrect his career. (Is it still a resurrection if it was never alive to begin with?)

Keyshawn Johnson
His audition for a job as an announcer after retirement went reasonably well. He offered some insightful opinions, comported himself well, and as long as he wasn't talking about a fellow Trojan or Carolina Panther, did a good job remaining objective throughout.

The Charlotte Chapter of the USC Alumni Association
After gradually replacing UCLA guys (Ricky Manning Jr- gone, DeShaun Foster being phased out by DeAngelo Williams), the Carolina Panthers are quickly becoming USC-East with three of the top four receivers on the depth chart hailing from Southern Cal and recently drafted Ryan Kalil at center. Now if the Panthers could just get some SC song girls to follow in the footsteps of a few of their sapphic TopCats, then everybody would be a winner.


Owners of sports merchandise shops in Miami
Looks like Dolphins fans can just hang on to those old #13 jerseys for another year. No reason to shell out 75 bux for a replica of a punt returner's jersey.

Mike Furrey
Last year, he gave the Lions 93 catches and 1000+ yards. The Lions, in turn, gave him a demotion on the receiving depth chart when they drafted Calvin Johnson #2 overall.

Readers of Bill Simmons
I actually think that Simmons has approached the Simmons of old the last few months. But between the great offseason the Patriots have had and the Red Sox destruction of the Yankees, Simmons will be absolutely insufferable for the next few weeks.

Julius Jones
Once the Dallas Cowboys locked up Cleveland's #1 pick next year, it pretty much sealed Julius's fate as a Cowboy. He can expect this to be his last season on the roster before being jettisoned to make way for what will be Jerry Jones' most hyped pick in over a decade- Darren McFadden. By the way, you can add whoever ends up with the #1 overall pick in 2008 to the winner list, as Jerry will likely give up the ranch in order to move up to take the Arkansas phenom.

Darius Walker
I know that the thought of watching Charlie Weis at team meals for another year couldn't have been a pleasant one; but usually when an underclassman declares early for the draft, it's a good idea for him to make sure that he'll actually be drafted. That's something Darius may have wanted to consider. But on the bright side, at least he doesn't have to worry about losing to USC and Michigan again this season.

Fantasy Football Owners
And not just for all the usual reasons that we're losers. Other than Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, and Anthony Gonzalez, is there another rookie "skill" player who will make a statistical impact this year?


Thursday, April 26, 2007

MLB's Eyes Are Everywhere

I just received this email from YouTube:

Dear Member:

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by MLB Advanced Media claiming that this material is infringing:

Erin Andrews Feeds Ray:

So it's someone's job at MLB to search for videos of Erin Andrews all day? Nice work if you can find it. Of course, it's just like Bud Selig et al to try to curbstomp any activity that might actually promote interest or discussion in their game. I can understand the powers that be not wanting a site to rebroadcast an entire game, but removing images of Erin Andrews is just un-American. Thanks a lot, Bud.

To quote the most versatile baseball player of all time, Bugs Bunny: Of course you realize, this means war!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Erin Andrews Smiles While Giving Head

And if you think the only reason I'm even bothering to post this video is to write that title, you'd be absolutely right.

Just beyond the centerfield wall at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, the Devil Rays feature cownose rays in an attraction known as The Rays Touch Tank. Monday night during the ESPN broadcast of the Yankees/Devil Rays game, Rick Sutcliffe sent Erin Andrews over there to solve that thing:

Sorry about the lighting for this clip. It looks like the cameraman wasn't allowed to use his on-camera light since there was a game going on the background. Whatever. I could understand the courtesy if the game was between a couple of contenders, but this was just the Devil Rays and Yankees.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Gettin' the Skinny on the NBA Playoffs

Maybe it was because I didn't do much sports betting this year (thanks, Feds!), but this NBA season seemed especially dull to me. While I caught pieces of plenty of games, I don't think I was able to watch a single game in its entirety this year, which probably gives me a lot in common with most sports fans. But now the playoffs are starting, so I'll begin to pay closer attention. I asked loyal reader JSon to get me up to speed with the season and provide me with some predictions. Of course, just because I'm woefully uninformed this year doesn't mean that I can't give my own opinions as well. Here's what JSon had to say, along with a few responses of my own in italics:

Round One

Detroit over Orlando (4-1) It would be 4-2 if Darko's ankle lets him play the whole series.
Sorry, but Grant Hill insists that if anyone's ankles be blamed for the Magic's woes, it be his.

Chicago over Miami (4-2) Am I the only one seeing Nocioni body slam Wade onto his shoulder in game one? The only thing more predictable is Bill Simmons making a Cobra Kai reference involving "sweep the shoulder".
That's a safe bet. Unless there's an 80's Celtics analogy to be made that trumps it.

Cleveland over Washington (4-1). (No comment)
No Agent Zero means Zero interest in this series. (I probably should have stuck w/ no comment.)

New Jersey over Toronto (4-2). Vince Carter is pumped up about this one. The homecoming will give him some motivation and team experience will carry the Nets over the Raptors. Pop quiz: how many Raptors have playoff experience?
Vince Carter can get pumped up about a basketball game? I had no idea. As for the pop quiz...Mo Pete is still on the team, right? I think he used to be good.

Dallas over Golden St. (4-3) A battle of homecourt advantage and biased officiating. It'll be weird to see a Cuban team get legacy calls from refs.
This is the only series in which the Dallas defense will have the edge. I'll be rooting for Baron Davis and Matt Barnes, but I see Dallas taking this in four or five.

San Antonio over Denver (4-2) I want to say Camby's D reduces Duncan's impact and that Iverson will switch over to guard Parker while Melo takes Manu out with some physical play. But I have a feeling it will be Blake letting Parker race by while JR Smith tries to learn D for the first time and Bowen does his thing to rattle Melo. It would be a close series if Karl weren't so easily outcoached.
I'm pretty sure the players stopped listening to Karl months ago, so coaching may not be as big of a factor.

Phoenix over LA (4-1) Lakers have last year's series to buoy their confidence, but Odom will have to come up huge to replicate that series. Lakers are just playing ugly ball right now - can you turn it around in a weekend?
Giving the Lakers one game here is generous.

Houston over Utah (4-3) Might be the closest series of the first round. Ultimately it comes down to the disparities at the 2 and on the boards. Utah isn't a good enough rebounding team to make up for the Fisher/McGrady matchup.
If Derek Fisher is really guarding McGrady in this series, then the only hope Utah has is for T-Mac to get one of his trademark back spasms this week.

Round Two

Detroit over Chicago (4-3) I used to think that whoever wins the Miami-Chicago series would win the East, but Ben Wallace has disappeared against the Pistons before and the Bulls still have no answer at the 4. Best hope for the Bulls is quick hands down low to rattle Webber's passing game. Bulls have patterned their roster after the Pistons (Hinrich-Billups, Gordon-Rip, Sefalosha-Prince, Thomas-Sheed then they buy Big Ben) but I don't think the junior squad can get it done against the varsity. Miami would have beaten them, though.
The Bulls were my opening day pick to win the East. I'll stick with them because I'm stubborn and a fool. And really, anytime you can bet against C-Webb in the playoffs, you have to go for it.

Cavs over Nets (4-2). Vince probably shoots his wad in round one and their size down low wins it for Cleveland.
(What would Rod Benson say about this?)

Mavs over Rockets (4-1) Van Gundy's high screen and roll usually nullifies Yao's advantage down low. Unless he revamps the offense quick (feed post, look weak-side cut, otherwise Yao shoot or kick, swing & reset balanced with T-Mac one-on-one weakside on the overload) Mavs whoop em. I do hope the microphones pick up on Mutumbo and Diop trashtalking.
I like the Mutumbo/Diop dialogue, but another subplot is who will collect more in fines this series- Mark Cuban or Jeff Van Gundy?

Phoenix (4-3) over San Antonio. Amare has used Duncan in the low block before. Barbosa-Parker should be interesting, although the speed matchup really only matches up vertically, not laterally. Parker still has the edge in a half court set. The strength of this matchup may let Nash rest a bit, especially if Banks (good defender) gets some burn.
This is the series where people realize that Bruce Bowen is no longer the shutdown defender he's reputed to be.

Conference Finals

Detroit over Cavs (4-2). God, what a boring conference final. It was only close last year because the Cavs all rallied around Hughes and played with an emotional intensity outside of their normal character. Now that it's back to X's and O's, Cavs don't have a chance.
I've got Chicago here, but whichever team faces the Cavs should have an easy path to the Finals.

Phoenix over Mavs (4-3). Look at the Mavs roster and eliminate all players that have no business playing up tempo ball. That leaves Harris, Howard maybe Dirk. Terry and George lack the creativity to drive with the ball and Stack lacks the wind. Mavs D is not as good as people give them credit for (they went from embarrassing to average, but still have no stoppers) which means Suns will be able to play their game, calls notwithstanding. If Nash is rested, this is the Suns to lose.
This will be the best series of the playoffs, which probably means that San Antonio will screw it all up in the previous round by beating Phoenix. Either way, I think Dallas is on a mission and will find a way to win this in 7.


Phoenix over Detroit (4-3). Detroit doesn't force enough turnovers anymore to balance their plodding offence. They need to shoot a ridiculously high percentage to offset fewer possessions and are relying on Chris Webber to come up big in the clutch. Chris Webber. Not good for them.

So the Suns win the championship, might get the Hawks pick at four, which they package with their two other first rounders & Diaw to get Durant. That team could be good for awhile.
I'll go with Dallas over Chicago in six. Mark Cuban will have the biggest sh*t eating grin when David Stern has to hand him the championship trophy. As an added bonus, this win will give him credibility amongst MLB owners and he'll be allowed to buy the Cubs at a time when the NL Central is ready for a changing of the guard. As for JSon's draft prediction- any GM that surrenders the rights to Kevin Durant in a deal should be fired on the spot.

Ok, after all that, I've almost generated enough interest in the playoffs that I might watch the actual games. Almost. I think I need to find a bookie to seal the deal.


Any Bloggers Want to Make a Couple Bucks?

Sorry that I haven't been updating much this week. Just been exhausted, and maybe a bit lazy too. Time to increase the caffeine intake, I suppose.

Anyway, I'm going to be ordering a bunch of stuff on this weekend, and I thought I'd reward the people who have been good enough to stop by this site. If anyone here has a website w/ Amazon ads, send me a comment and I'll buy through your link. First comment gets the bounty. (And by bounty, I mean about two or three beers worth of commission, so it's probably not worth starting a new Amazon acct if you don't already have one.)

Ok, I just put a pot of coffee on. Look for a jittery, nonsensical update later tonight.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

David Stern With a Racist Freudian Slip?

Earlier today on, NBA commissioner David Stern hosted a brief chat (insider only) in the SportsNation. The initial portion of the chat dealt with the fallout from the Joey Crawford suspension. However Stern being the evil genius that he is, it quickly morphed into a NBA public relations session. At one point, someone from the NBA offices posed as Nathan from Milwaukee and gave David Stern this softball question:

Nathan: Milwaukee, WI: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment since becoming commissioner in 1984?

SportsNation David Stern: I think in conjunction with our players and owners we have grown the sport to a place where people thought it couldn't get. Particularly, because, as observed in the 80s comment, it has become a predominately African-American sport (emphasis mine). But we showed in the context of sport it is about the competition and not the skin color. That makes me proud and happy for the NBA.

Ok, seems innocuous enough. Obviously, Stern is just trying to piggy-back off of the recent Jackie Robinson storyline in baseball. However upon reviewing the previous questions, here is the only "80s comment" that Stern could possibly be referring to, which was asked three questions prior to the "biggest accomplishment" inquiry:

Steven (NYC): Mr. Stern, what do you think of Roger Goodell's stance on the NFL's off-field issues? It reminds me a lot of the NBA's crackdown of drugs in the '80s

SportsNation David Stern: This is a subject we all constantly look at. We have been dealing with players who have been convicted or pled with convictions and the like. I hope the NFL system is successful for them.

So someone mentions the drug problem in the NBA in the 80s, and Stern associates it with the abundance of African-American players in the league. Yikes. Stern already has a well documented agenda of removing the "thug" image from the league, but it was usually rationalized that the commissioner was capitulating to corporate interests, and - as Billy Hunter put it - "to make the game and players more appealing to the red states." However, this little slip indicates that Stern may be a bit more motivated by his own preconceived notions of black culture than was originally suspected.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday Night Rambling

So...Don Imus is out of a job and MLB put on an ostentatious celebration of Jack Robinson breaking the color barrier. Based on how much media coverage these events received, I can only assume this means that racism in America is now dead, right? Whew, that's a relief. Now we can move on to some of the other problems in our world. Like accelerating global warming so we won't have to deal with six rainouts on a Sunday in the middle of April. C'mon baseball fans of the Atlantic coast- either start driving your SUVs more or be prepared to be forced to watch your teams play in domed stadiums. The choice is yours.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly agree that Robinson's achievements are worthy of celebration, and I was genuinely moved by Ken Griffey Jr's request to wear #42 today. But the domino effect of that request has been for MLB to respond with a series of self-aggrandizing gestures. From my perspective, the focus was shifted away from the struggles and perseverance of Mr. Jack Roosevelt Robinson and instead a spotlight was put on the benevolent people behind MLB and their outreach toward the African-American player. I expect to see Bud Selig wearing a sling tomorrow to help him recuperate from patting himself on the back so much this weekend. But maybe I'm just being too cynical. It wouldn't be the first time.


Friday, April 13, 2007

If I Were Trump for a Day

One of the best parts about baseball season starting is that it means that the writers at Fire Joe Morgan are in full force again; and this season has been off to a great start. If it's not in your blog rotation already, I highly recommend it.

Reading the site got me to thinking: if I were given the power to fire three sports commentators, who would I chooose? While there are plenty of worthy candidates for the honor, in my opinion, these three have risen above the competition:

1. Chris Berman - Nobody sucks the joy out of sports quite like Boomer, and while Joe Buck gives him a run, no one is impressed with their own humor as much as Berman. Need a reminder of how easy it is for Berman to ruin sports? The NFL draft is in two weeks.

2. Sean Salisbury - The thought of Salisbury showing his junk to ESPN interns is both disturbing and hilarious (unless you're an ESPN intern), but that's not why I'd can him. Salisbury gets the nod because of the disparity between his arrogance and his accomplishments in the sport. It's obvious that Salisbury knows he sucks and is overcompensating- Salisbury chose not to take a job offer as QB coach in Arizona because he knew he'd be exposed as a fraud. Unfortunately, he'll never actually be fired because he fits right in with the ESPN mold of "it doesn't matter what you say, as long as you say it loudly."

3. Joe Morgan - It's not just that Morgan doesn't do any pre-game research, it's that he flaunts that he chooses not to watch game film. It's not just that Morgan hates statistics, he actually believes it makes him more insightful to ignore information. It's not just that Morgan makes only very obvious, very cliche points. It's that he feels compelled to repeat the exact same point ad nauseum within the game. I know seniority means everything in announcing, but I don't understand why ESPN continues to employ him as their lead analyst. There are plenty of ESPN people I'd rather hear instead such as Orel Hershiser, Rick Sutcliffe, or Harold Reynolds (oops). Heck I'd rather hear the Sports Gal call games than Morgan. Joe Morgan's role as lead commentator for ESPN is the best reason to get the MLB Extra Innings package.

While it happens that all of these announcers work for ESPN/ABC Sports, I don't mean to pick on ESPN this time. Since ESPN has the most sports coverage, it's logical that they'd have the most personalities to criticize. But CBS (Nantz, Packer, Dierdorff, Sharpe), Fox (Buck), and NFLN (Sanders) all have worthy candidates.

I'm more interested tho in what you guys have to say. You're given the chance to fire three sports personalities. Who gets the guillotine?


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Someone's After Michael Irvin's Severance Pay

A lawsuit has been filed against Michael Irvin by a disgruntled and "disabled" contractor who claims that Irvin assaulted him during a dispute over the final payment for the installation of a fountain at his Plano, TX home. The contractor, Shawn Vandergrift, has accused Irvin of grabbing his left arm and causing enough pain as to require medical attention.

The story itself isn't that newsworthy. It sounds to me like a contractor who has already managed to get permanent disability for a bad hip is now looking for a bigger score from a famous name with a frivolous lawsuit. Suing because Irving grabbed his arm and yelled at him? C'mon now.

Of greater interest to me is the fountain itself. What kind of fountain would Michael Irvin choose to place at the entry to his estate?

Just a few guesses:

1. Water dripping down the ripped abs of a Terrell Owens bust.

2. Calvin peeing on Tom Jackson and Chris Berman.

3. Bikini-clad hoes wrestling in water.

4. Multiple water spouts to form shapes of "The U."

5. It's not a fountain at all, but rather a giant bong.

I guess we'll have to wait until Deion Sanders interviews him for one of those AT&T spots to find out.

Oh, and if there are any architects or designers amongst my readers, I've been wondering where I could find something along these lines...

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

See Alex Hit. Smile, Alex, Smile.

Out of the Ballpark is the story of a young boy named Alex Rodriguez who wins the game in the bottom of the 9th with a two-out, bases loaded, grand slam. Saturday, life imitated children's art as A-Rod finally delivered in a clutch situation and earned the Yankees' fans love- for a day at least.

Now all Rodriguez needs to do to solve his remaining problem is write a follow-up book, "A Fort Built for Two" about a neighbor kid named Derek who ignores all of the silly little girls on the block and comes over for Alex's slumber party.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Cheating or OCD?

Francisco Rodriguez is under investigation by Major League Baseball to see if he was doctoring the ball during his appearances against the Texas Rangers. You can find still images from the game here, and until the powers that be have the video removed, here's an at bat where Rodriguez is especially fidgety:

To me, it just looks like rosin that was either transferred from the bag to his cap or perhaps intentionally caked on for easier access. While this may be technically illegal, I don't think it's really any different than a hitter putting pine tar on his helmet so he can get some extra grip between pitches.

Either way, I guess K-Rod got the message. His hat lacked any white marks last night as he gave up the game winning HR to Mike Piazza.


In other Angels news, the team announced that Gary Matthews Jr will wear Jackie Robinson's #42 on April 15. Matthews described being chosen for the tribute as a HuGH honor.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Question of the Day

In his postgame interview with Jim Nantz, Billy Donovan suggested that this Gators team be looked at not as just the best team of the season, but one of the best teams in history. So what is this Gators' team place in history? My feeling is that they're the best team since the 1990 Runnin' Rebels. Also judging from the postgame interviews, I think these Gators got just as much of an education as Larry Johnson et al received while at UNLV.

Your thoughts?

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Baseball Double Header and Back to Back Champs

Sunday was opening night for MLB, but Joe Morgan was already in midseason form. During the Cardinals/Mets game, Morgan made certain to repeat each point at least three times, made clear his disdain for statistics, and provided great insight such as, "That's why I say Jose Reyes is the most exciting player in the game because everything he does is exciting." Oh...*that's* why. Thanks for clearing things up, Joe.

Meanwhile, tonight is the home opener for the California Anaheim Los Angeles Angels, and the game overlaps with the NCAA championship game. Had the UCLA Bruins managed to advance to the finals, it would have been very interesting to see what the actual attendance would have been like at Angel Stadium. However, Florida made sure that was a non-issue by dominating the Bruins Saturday.

I don't really have much commentary for Saturday's game. Florida was clearly the better team in every facet of the game. Once the Gators found their range from outside, the game was basically over. Arron Afflalo's early foul trouble made him a non-factor and he must seriously reconsider entering the draft. (He might want to ask Jordan Farmar about yesterday's appearance in the D-league before he submits his name.)

If Ohio State is going to have any chance of upsetting the Gators tonight, Greg Oden is going to have to get Al Horford into early foul trouble and the Buckeyes' guards will need to be hot from distance. Is that possible? Certainly. Would I bet on it? Absolutely not.

Florida 82, Ohio State 71.


The MLB season has kind of snuck up on me this year, and I didn't really pay much attention during Spring Training. But that won't stop me from making some predictions. After thinking about it for a good 5 minutes, here's what I've got:

NL West:
1. San Francisco
2. San Diego
3. Los Angeles
4. Arizona
5. Colorado

NL Central:
1. St. Louis
2. Milwaukee
3. Houston
4. Chicago
5. Cincinnati
6. Pittsburgh

NL East:
1. NY Mets
2. Florida
3. Philadelphia
4. Atlanta
5. Washington

Wild Card: Florida

AL West:
1. Angels
2. Oakland
3. Texas
4. Seattle

AL Central
1. Detroit
2. Minnesota
3. Chicago
4. Cleveland
5. Kansas City

AL East:
1. Toronto
2. NY Yankees
3. Boston
4. Baltimore
5. Tampa Bay

AL Wild Card: Minnesota

NL Champ: Florida
AL Champ: Detroit

World Series: Florida

(Note: these predictions are subject to change at least 50 times over the next 162 games.)