Friday, December 21, 2007

The NBA: This is Where "I'm Done With You" Happens

First of all, a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays and all that good stuff. I am very excited to be celebrating a very traditional and non-politically-correct Christmas. It's my favorite time of year.

Anyways as you may have noticed I haven't blogged much at all about the Vikings (you've probably also noticed I haven't blogged much at all about anything- thought I'd beat you to that joke, but feel free to make it none the less. It's a gooder!), and it hasn't been because of a lack of interest. I just haven't been able to see that many Vikings games living out here, so it's hard to comment on something I haven't seen. But after watching them on Monday night, as well as a Sunday nighter coming against the Redskins, well I'm breaking my silence soon. I'm working on a "getting to know Brad Childress/Tavaris Jackson is not, and never will be, an NFL quarterback" post, but I'm actually going to do crazy stuff like research for it. Yup I'm going to attempt to make a logical argument. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

The NBA on the other hand? I have not blogged about the NBA specifically because of a lack of interest. I've been the biggest NBA fan I know as long as I've known about the NBA. It's always one of those things where I give reasons why I shouldn't be interested in it, and yet I always am. This year? Really couldn't care less. Part of it is living in Canada where we only get Raptors games- they're 3000 miles away but it's Canada's team without one single Canadian player on the team! Canada’s team everybody! Love Toronto! Love Canada! A-holes- and part of it is also that the team I grew up loving, the Seattle Suuuuuuuuuuuuper Sonics, have a once-in-a-generation talent (even if his lack of rebounding so far should be a major concern) and a GM who knows what the hell he's doing, and yet they're moving from a top 12 national market that has supported the team for 40+ years to Okla-f'ing-homa. Oklahoma. From Seattle to Oklahoma. Think about that. And what is the league doing about it? What is the great Don Stern doing about it? Nothing. Less than nothing actually, he's openly ENCOURAGING it!!! What business in their right mind moves from Seattle to Oklahoma and thinks they'll be better off in the long run? Anyone?

For years, sporting leagues have played the "if you don't build us a new stadium, we're moving" card. And it's worked really, really well. While I understand this is why Stern supports his owners, shouldn't common sense take over at some point? Shouldn't the ego get set aside to say that although in the short term a team would come out ahead moving to a city with a free arena instead of using $500+ million of their own money to build a new one in their current city, that in the long run it's a really bad idea? You'd think so, but it won't happen. The NHL is a perfect example of this: they haven't made one move as a league in their time under Gary Bettman, not one, with long term goals in mind. Not one! Every single thing they've done is to make a quick buck, and as a result, the league is a joke. Canadians love it because they have to, kind of like although college football is completely dysfunctional right now Americans still love it, because they almost HAVE to.

As logical as we can be as people, there's nothing logical or rational about being a sports fan. As fans we have been getting screwed more and more with every move every league makes, and yet we keep coming back for more. We love to love sports, and yet we couldn't be getting treated worse. Billionaire owners fighting with millionaire players over billions of dollars while both sides publicly cry about getting screwed while raising ticket prices, holding out, demanding trades, or moving franchises.

But you know what? We have no one to blame but ourselves. We pay owners and players and make them all rich by buying tickets, watching games, and buying merchandise. Baseball, and this whole ridiculous steroid thing is a perfect example. How many blogs/websites/papers/TV shows/media outlets have you seen screaming about how steroids and HGH are ruining "the sanctity and purity" of the sport? All of them right? And yet baseball has never been richer. They've had the highest attendance, and TV deals in the history of the sport. They'll gladly let you bitch about anything you want as long as you keep paying for it. Because until you stop paying, and stop paying attention, sports will keep taking and taking and taking.

My favorite ESPN baseball writer, Keith Law, just laughs at anyone who gets upset about steroids and how it's ruining the game, and he's absolutely right: if people are so upset about it WHY ARE THEY STILL WATCHING THE GAMES?!?!? In 1994 baseball was at an all-time popularity high, and then they went on strike. When they came back, the fans didn't. And it scared the bejeezus out baseball. People were actually making a statement with their wallets, the ONLY thing owners pay attention to, that they were fed up and had enough. And so baseball turned a blind eye on roids, and McGwire and Sosa happened, and everybody came back. And everybody, despite everything that's happened, has stayed back.

If you don't like what's happening in baseball, if you're disgusted by what's happening in that sport or any other, then do something about: stop watching it, stop paying for it, stop caring. It's hard but it's the only way. Otherwise, shut up, stop bitching, and watch the games.

Me personally? I'm not willing to give up baseball, and so that's why I haven't been up in arms about the Mitchell Report and steroids and all the rest. Honestly, the Mitchell Report is a joke. It's all rumors and zero hard evidence. It's all opinions and people blaming other people. None of that would hold up if somebody dared to take it to court. But it's credible exactly because nobody has dared to take it to court. Want to know if a public person is innocent? They sue. I've used this example before, but I'll do it again: at the height of his career in St Louis, running back Marshall Faulk had a women falsely accuse him of having her baby, hoping to blackmail him to get money. I don't know Faulk and have no idea what he's like as a human being or behind closed-doors, but his public persona is one of a class act and good guy. The woman threatened to take her story public unless Faulk gave her money. You know what he did? Sued her. Took her to court. He decided that although this accusation was false, and he could easily by this woman off with hush money, that it could tarnish the image and reputation he had worked so hard to build, that it was worth it. Because if he let this woman blackmail him, what was to stop any other woman from doing the same? So he sued, she immediately backed off, and the story died. She had zero hard evidence, Faulk knew it, believed the short-term credibility loss he'd suffer was worth the long-term peace-of-mind he'd get knowing he was innocent, and he won. It would be that easy for any of these baseball players to do the exact thing to prove they didn't take steroids: and yet curiously, they're not.

As much as I hate frivolous lawsuits, or just lawsuits in general (it's pretty much the epitome of the whiny, always-playing-the-victim, "woe is me" "THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!" culture we live in), if your good name is being dragged unfairly or unjustly through the mud, the easiest way to clear it up is to sue. And as I said, you couldn't find a bigger pile of unsubstantiated dog crap than the Mitchell Report. But nobody's suing. In fact, players like Andy Pettite and Brian Roberts are already coming out saying the reports are true! To me, this just shows how guilty the rest of the guys in that report are. If you're being slandered, do something about it...unless of course the rumors are true. Jose Canseco's book seemed like a total joke...until nobody in it sued him. Now Canseco is actually a credible voice in all of this. The guys from the San Francisco Chronicle who published the testimony that Bonds used roids were willing to go to jail to stand by their story. Bonds? Just sent out denials. Why would he not sue them if they were lying? Why would Roger Clemens not sue the pants off his former trainer if the guy was lying? I believe Bonds, Clemens, and everybody in that report used roids or HGH. And I think there's a ton more guys that used too.

I realize what I'm dealing with here, and I'm willing to put up with it. I'm willing to accept that most baseball players are dirty cheaters. I accept it and move on because being a baseball fan is worth that to me. I cheer for a team with a payroll that will push $120 million this season, that just signed Carlos Silva to a $44 million contract (hang on I need to go throw up after typing that), and will be lucky to finish at .500 this year. And yet I press on.

The NBA? I've been surprised how little I've missed it. Oh sure, I'd love to support the Sonics if they were staying, love to cheer for Kevin Durant (and cheer for him to start grabbing some f**&ing rebounds!) the way I did for Payton, Kemp, Detlef, Perkins, McMillan etc. in the days of my youth. That group of Sonics in the early-mid 1990's was my favorite team I've cheered for. And yet I've decided I've as an NBA fan that I've had enough, and I'm walking away. I haven't missed it as much as I thought, and I don't think NBA fans in Seattle will either. So thanks to David Stern for pushing me away from something I loved, because I've realized life carries on just fine without it. Now if only more sports fans would realize the same, maybe sports in general would get better.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Steve Nash and Bill Smith: Two Guys I Like

Heyo! I'm on vacation! Sorry I haven't posted more frequently, but school finished up on Tuesday, and I've been doing a LOT of nothing since then. In spectacular fashion none the less. Am I too old to be sitting on my buddy's couch playing video games for three straight days? Good, I didn't think so. Just checking. Here's a couple of things from the past couple of weeks I thought I'd point out.

* Just when I thought my man crush on Steve Nash couldn't get any bigger, he goes and gives the "Chipped Tooth Interview". If you haven't seen it, it's well worth your time. He takes an elbow to the face, keeps playing through it, and then gives a hilarious interview at the half. Does it get any better than that? You're right, only if he had a mustache. That's really all Nash is missing to become the greatest human being ever: sweet/ugly facial hair. That's really it.

I'd like to think it's because he's Canadian, but he's just so tough. Watch this play from last year's playoffs vs. San Antonio when he and Tony Parker collide. Parker drops to the floor like he was shot, whereas Nash just stands there and then walks away like nothing happened. Turns out Parker (who, if you couldn't tell from the flop, is French) had a little bump on the head, where Nash broke his nose had a gash so bad they couldn't close it. Just that reaction shows it all for me.

* Tony Parker flopping like a soccer player reminded me of something: go to, type in "French military victories" and then click the "I'm feeling lucky" button and see what happens. You'll enjoy it, I promise...well unless you're French.

* I like new Minnesota Twins GM Bill Smith. I do. So far so good on his moves this offseason. He didn't panic and vastly overpay a declining Torii Hunter to appease the fan base, and he made a good trade to pick up a potential 5-tool allstar outfielder in Delmon Young. The Adam Everett signing was also a really, really good one. Everett's one of the worst hitters in the majors, but he's also one of the best defensive players at any position at THE most important defensive position in the game. Stick him in the 9 slot in the order and let his glove and arm go to work. You'll lose a bit with the bat when comparing him to Bartlett, but he'll make up for it with his D. Can you tell I love that signing?

I also like that Smith's being patient with the Johan Santana talks. I haven't loved any of the proposed deals, which shows that teams are getting smarter: they're just not willing to sell the farm AND pay $100+ million, even for someone as good as Johan. Smith does face a tough dilemma here, and the teams he's dealing with know it. Billy Beane out in Oakland figured out before anybody else that letting your superstars walk and getting two 1st round draft picks is usually better than what you can get by trading them. This has certainly been true of the dealings with Santana so far: the Twins are having trouble getting ONE prospect from New York or Boston that's worth a first round pick, let alone two. The smart thing, as far as value goes, would be to keep Johan for next year and let him walk in 2008, giving the Twinkies the two picks. The problem is that screws up their current plan, which is, I'm guessing, to get a good haul of young MLB-ready prospects for him now, let the young guys play and gel together, and be ready for World Series contention in two years. If the Twins let Santana walk, the two #1 picks, no matter how good they are, won't be ready to contribute by 2010. And probably not by 2011 either. Their potential will certainly be better than what they're being offered for Santana right now, but they can't help you right away either.

What would I do? Keep Santana, and wait till the market gets hot in mid-July. Everybody is way, way too logical right now because there's no pressure on anybody to make the playoffs. By mid summer, with the playoff race in full swing, a bidding war would be much more likely. And if it's not, you bite the bullet and take the two picks. Oh, and for those worried about infuriating the fan base by trading Santana during a playoff chase, I hate to break it to you, but you're not going to be in the playoff chase next year. You're just not. People much smarter than me, like the guys over at ussmariner blog, use all that new-school smart math and believe that you're going to have to win at least 90 games to win the AL wildcard in 2008. 90 GAMES! Minimum! No matter how well the Twins play next year, they're just not a 90 win team. With the Tiggers and Tribe in their division, and then having to compete with one of those teams, plus one of the Red Sox and Yankees for the wild card, their playoff chances are somewhere between slim and none.

This isn't to say you should be upset as a Twins fan though, or depressed about your team for 2008. Quite the contrary actually. As a Mariners fan I'm jealous of the Twins franchise right now. Yes, you're not going to win the 2008 World Series, and maybe not in 2009 either, but there are few teams in the game with a brighter future than Minnesota's. You've got a good, young, exciting team with tons of potential and cost-controlled talent (well other than Morneau, but let's not talk about him today), a good manager in Gardy, and a GM who knows what the hell he's doing. They're in great shape right now. Hey you could be a M's fan like me, whose team has a bloated payroll and a GM who's trying to save his job, which means gutting the farm system for more overpriced talent in a dillusional effort to win now even though there are no series of moves possible to make the M's a World Series contender next year.

So yes, short of a typhoon wiping out New York and Boston, and then moving down the St Lawrence to wash out Cleveland and Detroit too, the Twins aren't a contender in 2008. But you're in good hands with Bill Smith, and the future is bright.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Monday Musings

Hope your weekend was as swell as mine, because mine was pretty freaking swell. Onto it then...

* Hey they got a Heisman vote right! Congrats to all the people who vote for sports' most overrated and overhyped award. I do not like how voters and pundits get all worked up about tradition and not voting for sophomores, and wanting to uphold the image of the award by voting for players that will make good pros because guys like Jason White, Gino Torretta, Danny Wuerfell...holy crap there's been a lot of great college players who were craptastic in the NFL...and the rest "tarnished" the Heisman because they sucked in the pros. First of all, was that the longest run-on sentence I've ever typed? Quite possibly was. But more importantly, last time I checked, and for the sake of accuracy let me just check again here...hang on...yup- the Heisman is still an award for the most outstanding COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER. Not the best pro prospect, not the best quarterback on the best team, but the best player from that year. Tim Tebow was the best college player this year. His 22 rushing TD's broke the SEC's single-season record for rushing TD's by any player at any position. Pretty sure the SEC has had a couple of good players over the years, especially running backs, so that's pretty impressive. As a passer, he had the second best QB rating in the country, his 3132 passing yds were third in the SEC, and his 29 TD's tied for second. As one college football scribe said before the vote (I think it was E!SPN's Bruce Feldman, but I can't remember and I'm not going back to look right now), just the rushing TD's are incredibly impressive, and his passing totals by themselves are also Heisman worthy. Put them together, and it's a no-brainer.

* By the way, how are you feeling about the bowl games? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I'm personally excited for Georgia-Hawaii. Georgia's been one of the best teams in the country since Tennessee took them out to the woodshed in October, and I really want to see how good Colt Brennan and the Warriors are against a real team. That'll be a fun one. USC/Illinois? Good gawd almighty, I love the Pac 10/Big 10 Rose Bowl tradition, but Illinois? Really? I thought the incentive for WINNING the Big 10 was to go to the Rose Bowl? Now apparently you finish second, lose three games, and hey "you're Rose Bowl material". At this point, what would be wrong with everybody playing everybody in the Big 10 and only having 2 non conference games a year? Would anybody be against this? Oh right, the school presidents would. Just like how they're against a playoff system. They're against these things, but they're for adding a 12th game against a 1-AA school to pad their team's stats. I love that almost as much as I love the mediocrity and parity that's running roughshod over this game right now like Tebow ran over defenses this year. We're just a few years away from handing out bowl invitations to every school that fields a D-1 team. That's probably Notre Dame's best hope for a bowl right now. ZING!

* Did you ever think there'd be a time when I'd need to get my dominance/Evil Empire fix from the NFL? Me neither. Didn't see that one coming. Damn did the Pats ever look good again. Um, hey Andy Smith or Adam Smith? Aaron Smith? Anthony Smith? A-hole Smith? Whoever the Smith guy is for the Steelers who decided it'd be a good idea to "guarantee" a victory over the Pats really should have talked to me before he went ahead and lost the game for Pittsburgh before it even started. It's bad enough I'd never heard of you before you made your genius guarantee (trust me, if I haven't heard of you, neither has 99.9% of NFL fans), but is that not the one thing the Pats were hoping for? This is a team that's been using the fact they got caught cheating as motivation as a "slight" against them. So you thought it'd be a good idea to give them a legitimate slight by guaranteeing a victory? How'd that work out for you? 34-13, that's how. Nice move. You should have to play for the 49ers the rest of the year as punishment.

* Wow the Niners are awesome right now, eh? Beyond words, really. The Sports Guy couldn't have been more wrong about his super sleeper (Atlanta), but he was bang on again in predicting that the fashionable sleeper would go down in flames big time this year. As he accurately pointed out, there's a "sleeper" every year that the public and media just love, and every year that team sucks. I gotta admit, although I didn't love the Niners as much as some, I sure didn't see this coming. It's like they decided "hey remember the '89 49ers? Let's be just like them- except the exact opposite!!" The only thing they're good at is throwing to defensive tackles. The Vikes set an NFL record with three different DT's getting picks today. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.

* Hahaha oh Lovie Smith, you're such a character! Looks like the Chicago Bears head coach pulled a fast one on ol' Vikes coach Brad Childress by sneaking the Bears' Adrian Peterson into the lineup in place of the Vikes Adrian Peterson. Because there's no way in hell the REAL AP would have 14 carries for three yards against a team as bad as San Francisco. Wait what? He did? That was him? No freaking way.

* Call me cynical, and some have, but I still don't trust this Vikes team. Now, please keep in mind that I didn't get to see the game today, so I'm just going by highlights and stats. There's the little tidbit about the Niners OUTGAINING the Vikes 284 to 280, most of that done with something called Sean Hill at quarterback. Hill also had as many rushing yards as AP. 84 of Minny's 280 came on one Chester Taylor TD run in the second quarter. Against a good team that's not going to turn the ball over five times, do the Vikes win today? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they won, but I still don't trust them.

* Fine, since you're probably wondering, here's who I do trust: Pats, Colts, Cowboys. Kinda trust: Pack, Steelers, Jags, and...yup that's it. Everybody else has major holes. The Chargers? Not with Phil Rivers. The Browns? They're the Browns. It never works out for them. It's a 4.5 team league right now.

* Finally, good to have the Colts back. You wonder if tonight's woodshed-style beatdown of the Ravens (um how does Brian Billick still have a job? Anyone? Look at that team and tell me how they're just 4-9? Anyone?) wasn't a message to the nation that the Colts are still going to be a force in the playoffs, and that we should all be getting ready for Colts/Pats II in the AFC Championship game. Giddyup I say!

Alrighty then, that's all for now. If you need me, I'll be tis'ing the season. Tis'ing the crap out of it, to be exact. You tis that season and you tis it good!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Football Musings

A whole bunch of football-related thoughts bouncing around my red-headed noggin...

* First and foremost, I was biased and wrong about Sean Taylor of the Redskins. Coming from the "U" of Miami where they've had more than their share of players arrested for gun-related incidents, and with Taylor's handgun incident in 2005, when I heard last week that he was shot in his home and was listed in critical condition, I was not at all surprised. I figured he had gotten caught up in something bad, and it came back to get him. After his death, the investigation, and the arrest of four young suspects, it turns out he did absolutely nothing wrong, and did nothing to deserve this. So even though I didn't share my bias against Taylor in this space, I was still thinking it, and I'm sorry. I was wrong. Peter King has an excellent piece on Taylor in his MMQB column.

* If you haven't watched the Adrian Peterson highlights from the Vikings win over Detroit last Sunday, do yourself a favor. He had some impressive runs throughout that package, but washis second TD run not a Barry Sanders-type move? That poor Detwah LB was waiting in the hole flat-footed for AP, and Peterson goes by him like he's not even there. HE DIDN"T EVEN TOUCH HIM!! I knew AP was fast and powerful, but I did not know he had that kind of agility. I'm not going to say anymore since he'll probably get injured again next week. But for right now, loving Adrian Peterson.

* Tavaris Jackson's play of late is another example of how little patience myself, and sports fans in general, have anymore. For the first nine games of the year Jackson was awful, and it was looking like Brad Kick Ass OFfense Childress made a huge mistake thinking Jackson was ready to play QB in the NFL. Through patience, stubborness and/or arrogance, as well as the ineffective play of Kelly Holcumb and Brooks Bollinger, Chilly stuck with Jackson. Sure he had not other options, but since reinserting him as a starter three weeks ago in the win against Oakland, Jackson has actually looked like an NFL quarterback. While three games aren't a large sample size, he's 45-58 (77.5 comp.%) for 504 yds for 3 TD's and 2 picks in the Vikes last three games, all wins. Hall of Fame numbers they're not, but if this continues the rest of the season, the Vikings could be just a couple of receivers away from being a contender in 2008.

* Speaking of the rest of the season, with four games remaining (at SF, home Bears and Skinnies, at Bronch) it's very possible the Vikes could win out and finish at 10-6. Of course it's also very possible that AP gets hurt again, pre-3-game-win-streak T-Jack resurfaces and the Vikes lose two, three or all four of their remaining games. You'd have to be insane to bet either way on the Vikings, or anybody else for that matter. Well except for maybe the Patriots.

* OK, I'll admit it: I was rooting for the Pats to win last night. I'm also rooting for them to go undefeated in the regular season. I don't care if they win the Super Bowl or not, but it's infinitely more interesting if New England is undefeated going into January.

* Last Patriots-related thought: are you prepared for the 2008 Patriots with Darren McFadden or Glenn Dorsey? The Pats hold the Niners #1 pick, which at this point looks all but guaranteed to be in the top 3. With at least three good quarterbacks available in this spring's draft (Andre Woodson of Kentucky, Matt Ryan of BC and Brian Brohm of Louisville), it's also almost guaranteed that the Patriots will have their choice of the best two talents in the draft: the amazing Arkansas RB or the bull-dozing LSU DT. I personally think the Pats should take McFadden, solidifying their offense as the best in history. But since everybody undervalues RB's in the draft now (and for good reason), they could also take the second biggest impact guy in Dorsey. Either way, the rich are about to get a lot richer. I thought that wasn't supposed to happen in this age of parity?

* Finally, one college football note: Josh Elliott, who I think is now an anchor for Sportscenter (I say "I think" because in Canada we get TSN's Sportscentre, which is infinitely worse than ESPN's Sportscenter. I know, I know, you didn't think it was possible, but trust me, it is). He was trying to make one of those fun controversial statements that ESPN just loves. This one was about how unjust the BCS system is. While that's not controversial at all, his big point of emphasis was, if only because it's so insane and made absolutely no sense: Elliott's big point on why the BCS is so wrong this season is, and I'm paraphrasing here, "it would be like if the NFL had the BCS instead of a playoff this season, and decided Tennessee and Green Bay would play for the Super Bowl, leaving New England and Dallas out!"

Um Josh? No it's not. It's not like that at all. The flaw in the BCS System is not that it doesn't reward the powerful marquee "BCS Conference" teams who go undefeated: the flaw in the BCS System is that it has no way of fairly determining who should play for the title if there's not two clear-cut marquee teams. It's flawed because you can only determine this if you have a playoff, and the BCS is not a playoff.

Therefore, if the NFL had a BCS system, New England and Dallas would be selected for the Super Bowl. They are both marquee teams (ie a "BCS Conference" team) with the two best records in the league. What I think Elliott was trying to argue is that it's unfair somebody like Hawaii (who went undefeated against a JV schedule) or Kansas (one loss against an equally pitiful sched) should be in the BCS title game. First of all, that's just wrong. Neither are more deserving than Ohio State or LSU. Second, the NFL example he gave is, as I've stated, just plain wrong. The NFL equivalent of what happened in college football this season would be if Arizona and Tennessee had the two best records, but did so playing only teams from the NFC West, NFC South, and the CFL, while the Pats and Cowboys did so against a real NFL schedule. THAT'S an accurate comparison of what college football looked like this year. Is the BCS flawed? Obviously and yet still it doesn't prove that the BCS got their selections wrong this year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Simple Rule for Sports Fans

So there's a kid in one of my classes named Adam who likes to rip on other people's favorite teams when they do poorly. I'm not sure if he does this because he doesn't know any better, so I'm not trying to pick on him. He's 18 and Canadian, and doesn't cheer for the local teams because he spent part of his adolescence in Northern Alberta. He also cheers for not one but two different NFL teams: the Packers because of Brett Favre and the Saints because of Reggie Bush. Basically his affiliation for NFL teams changes with the direction of the wind. Adam's a great guy but this particular habit of his bothers me.

I was talking today with my buddy Mark, who is a lifelong Cowboys fan (and a Notre Dame fan...don't even get me started), and was congratulating him on the win over the Pack last night. Anyway, Pack/Saints fan jumps in about how great Favre is, I rip on his comments, and he responds with: "well at least they're better than the Vikings."

The Sports Guy did a whole list of rules for being a sports fan, and I'm not here to recreate the list, or make my own, but I am here to say he missed a major one: you can't rip on other people's teams when you don't have a vested interest in a team in that sport or even that game. Or if you're an extremely fair weather fan.

I may rip on the NHL or CFL to my buddies here who are fans of teams in those leagues, but I would never consider ripping on their TEAMS for poor performances. Although I like to see the Canucks do well, I don't have an emotional interest in their performance. Do I like to see the Canucks do well? Of course, but I'm certainly not living or dying by how they're doing. I've watched maybe 4 games all year. For me to rip on, say, an Oilers fan like Mark because the Oilers are having a rough year would be just plain wrong. Criminal almost (the Maple Leafs are an exception to this: The Leafs, their fans, and Toronto in general should be ripped on whenever possible. Because everyone hates Toronto. That's another rule).

So for Adam, who won't be a Packers fan after Favre retires, and could stop cheering for the Saints if he'd just realize how overrated Reggie Bush is, shouldn't be allowed to rip on me as a Vikings fan. Let's be honest: I've been a Vikings fan for as long as Adam's been alive. Longer even. Sure, that's perhaps a pathetic indication that I'm still in school at 29, but it also says fans should have the decency not to do this.

There are not rules for being a sports fan, and considering that teams, especially professional ones, show no loyalty to us as fans, Adam has every right and reason to cheer for whoever the hell he wants. I'm just saying that for stupid people like me who blindly cheer for the same team their entire lives, there should be a level of respect there. It's just common courtesy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


It's Hot Stove League time in major league baseball, and for a change, the Twins are right in the middle of the action. Sure, they're sellers instead of buyers, but it's still nice to have a lot of Twins talk nationally. As you may or may not know, I'm not Twinkies owner Carl Pohlad's biggest fan. Pretty sure I've been up front about that, especially on how he repeatedly held the Twins back by not letting former GM Terry Ryan (it feels weird to type "former". He's been the Twins GM forever) go after that big impact bat that would cost a lot of money but would put the team over the top.

To some, letting Torii Hunter walk, and pushing to trade allstar pitchers Johan Santana and Joe Nathan, seems like a complete slap in the face to not only Twins fans, but tax payers in Minnesota who are footing the bill for the brand new ball park. Sure, this looks like Pohlad was lying when he said to give him a new stadium and he'll give the fans a winner. I know how this looks, but I'm telling you, seriously, honestly, and with all sarcasm aside, it's not what it looks like.

Are the Twins rebuilding? Yes, sort of. They're repositioning themselves to be a contender for when the new ballpark opens in 2010. Although the fans don't like it, this is absolutely positively what they should be doing. Keep in mind I'm saying this as a third party observer who has no real emotional or irrational feelings towards the team. And maybe this is why I'm so excited for the Twins, because they're building the right way (as a Mariners fan this is a foreign concept, and frankly one I'm jealous of).

As of right now, even IF the Twins resigned Torii Hunter to that horrendous $90 million dollar deal and somehow found a way to keep Santana longterm, guess what? They're still the third or fourth best team in their DIVISION. Not just the league, or even the American League, but the AL Central. The Indians and Tigers are World Series contenders, and the White Sox, if they make a few minor adjustments, have to be considered at least as good as Minnesota. So what's the point of the Twins going for broke when the chances are slim that all that salary won't get them much closer to a World Series title?

Before the words are even out of your mouth, I know your retort to as a Twins fan is that trading star players or letting them walk sets a very bad presidence for their current young players and any potential free agents who want to play for a winner. While that's a valid argument, I don't think it should be a concern, at least not right now, and certainly not enough to focus the roster and organization on being World Series-ready by 2010.

They tried to resign Santana, with rumored offers of $15-$20 million a year, but that doesn't even get them into negotiations at this point, not when the big boys can give him $25-$30 million a year. And I know, he should be loyal and stay for the hometown discount, but come on: no matter how much you like your current job and where you live, if a company in, say, Seattle or Boston or New York offered you double the salary and better position you'd say no? Really? I doubt it. Although I admire the people who have the peace of mind to take less money, I don't think you should think less of Santana for taking the big raise.

Wait, this was not supposed to be about defending Johan, but rather the Twins, so I digress. Even sans Johan, Torii and Joe Nathan, the Twins are still in great shape with plenty of good, young, cheap players that are under team control long term. That's a very enviable position to be in. Shopping Santana now is going to net them, if you believe the rumors, AT LEAST 2 major league-ready blue chip players, plus a third or fourth good prospect and/or quality major league regular. So right now, you've got Mauer, Morneausy, Cuddyer, and probably Bartlett locked into regular starting gigs at C, 1B, RF, and SS. The organization is flush with good young arms, so they're more than covered in pitching, especially with at least one s young arm coming back in any Santana deal. It's a luxury that few other teams have. The major holes are centerfield, a "toolsy" young outfielder, a third baseman that doesn't suck (that means NOT playing little Nicky Punto and his .206 average at the hot corner), and a league average second baseman. They SHOULD be able to get some or all of that back in deals for Santana, Nathan, and even Matt Garza, giving the players a few years develop and be ready for a major push.

A team built like this may not make the playoffs next year, but they'll be fun to watch for the fans, and could really surprise sooner rather than later. I'm telling you Twinkies fans, this is going to look really good when the new park opens and the Twins have one of the best teams in baseball.

Finally, I though I'd give my two cents on what trades or players I like for the Twins to acquire...but considering how long this is already, I'll save it for my next post. However, I had to comment on the that surfaced today: yes, this is the same Delmon Young who threw a bat at an umpire and got suspended 50 games. He's also the same guy who was the undisputed #1 prospect in baseball before that incident. Last year, his first in the majors, he hit .288/.316/.406 with 13 home runs while playing solid outfield defense. Although the low power totals are a little troubling, he's still a 22 year old with all star potential. He's also righthanded, and if the power comes around like scouts think it should, he'd be the perfect compliment to the left handed sticks of Mauer and Morneau. YEs, he could be a headcase/problem child like Albert Belle or Carl Everett, or it could have been a simple case of immaturity and a teenager being given too much too fast. If the Twins can get this deal done, it's a great gamble for them. I just hope the D-Rays don't realize how good a player they're giving up before pulling the trigger.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I should probably do a "Here's what I'm thankful for post" since, you know, it's Thanksgiving and all. But I've been gone so long, I thought instead I'd share some of the things I've been thinking over the last month or so...

...American Thanksgiving is far superior to Canadian Thanksgiving. I saw a story on the news last night that many Canadians take American Thanksgiving off so they can watch football, eat turkey and stuffing and mashed pertaters, and, if you're fortunate, the green bean casserole that Jer's grandma makes. This isn't to argue that we should only celebrate American Thanksgiving, it's that it seems reasonable to celebrate both. Who doesn't want more days off, and MORE Thanksgiving food? Exactly. When I become King of the World, or at least the continent, we will get days off for both Thanksgivings. Also, the Monday after the Super Bowl AND the first two days of March Madness will be official holidays. Who are we kidding? Nobody works those days anyway, so why not get a paid day off?

...I'm not as Canadian in Canada as I am in America. This is just a fact. The two sports everybody talks about here are hockey and the Canadian Football League. While I enjoy hockey, I hate the NHL as currently run. And the CFL? There's 8 teams in the league, and the players are guys who aren't good enough to play in the NFL. Who cares? Many Canadians, that's who. For the life of me I'll never understand why.

...On a related note, the big news up here is Toronto getting a few Buffalo Bills home games. For everybody outside of Ontario, this is supposedly a terrible thing because obviously Toronto is a much better market than Buffalo (TO's in the top 10 for population for cities in Canada or the USA), so it would make sense that the Bills will eventually make a permanent move to Toronto (current Bills owner Ralph Wilson has already said when he dies, and he's 89 years old, the team will not be inherited by his family, but instead be sold to the highest bidder- and there's nobody in Buffalo who could outbid the people in Toronto). Anywho, so when the Bills officially move, it means the CFL's Toronto Argos will fold, and then so will the CFL. People here are honestly angry at Toronto for wanting an NFL franchise because it will ruin the CFL for the rest of the country. This is ridiculous on so many levels, but let's just concentrate on this one: TV ratings for the NFL in Canada are huge, certainly better than that of the CFL. Here in Vancouver we have BC Place Stadium (which is identical to the Metrodome- just remember we built ours first!). For BC Lions CFL games, they close off the entire upper bowl, and a "sell out" is considered filling the lower bowl. Even then, in order to put a Lions home game on TV, they need to sell 35,000 tickets, which they rarely do. And yet the Lions probably have the best attendance in the league. Compare that to the NFL, where a crappy crowd for a game is still 50-60,000, or almost twice as many as a good CFL crowd.

Now, I hate Toronto for reasons I won't go into, but it's just ludicrous to knock Toronto for wanting to get a franchise that will make them hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm apparently a really awful person, and anti-Canadian even, any time I point this out. People here in Vancouver also fail to see that WHEN Toronto gets a franchise, and it's well supported, that the next logical place to relocate a franchise to is Vancouver. We've got a population that's top 20 for the continent, a first-class city that's one of those "Gateway to the Pacific Rim" cities that everybody seems so excited about, and there's a ton of money here. So when the Saints or Chargers or Jaguars are moved, they'll be moved here. Then nobody would complain about the CFL when we have an NFL team. But again, I'm anti-Canadian for thinking like this.

...As you may have noticed from the last item, I refuse to call the NFL the National Football League. People here do it with the NHL too by always referring to it as the National Hockey League. I'm not saying it's wrong to not use the abbreviation, I’m just not sure it's right either.

...For Twins fans that didn't want Torii Hunter to leave: trust me, the Twinkies did the right thing here. $90 million for a 32 year old center fielder with bad knees is not a good investment for anybody, but especially for Minnesota. I know he's a good guy and great clubhouse presence and he was one of the few guys with power in the lineup, but his best years are behind him. Will they miss that bat in the lineup? Yes, but I still refuse to believe he'll keep consistently hitting as well as he did last year. He's also not the defender he used to be, and considering defense is part of the reason he's so valuable, well, under no circumstances is he worth anywhere close to $90 million.

...Also, the Angels will now be paying $53 million for four outfielders next year. Um, you can still only start 3, right? Right?

...I don't buy the argument that the Patriots won't go for 16-0. Have you been watching this team? I understand the position that if they're 15-0 heading into the Meadowlands to face the Giants with home field locked up, it would be foolish to risk injuries by playing your starters in a meaningless game for a silly record that will have no impact on whether or not they win the Super Bowl. While this is logical, it's gone completely against the way the Patriots have played with the ginourmous and collective chip on their shoulder they've been playing with. Winning the Super Bowl? Yes, they want to do that, but I think they also want to obliterate every team in their path, and leave no doubt they're the greatest team ever. It's the only way to explain the rampage they've been on this season. At no point have they showed signs of letting up in a game, so I'm not sure why they'd do so when they're one game away from a perfect regular season.

...If anything, I think Don Shula's comments about putting an asterisk on their record if they go undefeated was the clincher that the Pats WILL go for 16-0. New England is proving that they're taking every slight and negative comment against them, and that for Shula to say things like that, well, call it throwing gasoline on a forest fire. Well done Don: not only will the 2007 Dolphins be the first team to ever go winless, but your whiny comments will now ensured that the 1972 Dolphins will not be the only team to ever go undefeated, ruining the only claim to fame that team really had.

...We are living in a world where the Green Bay Packers are 10-1.

...We are also living in world where the second biggest game of the year, Cowboys vs. Packers, is on the NFL Network, and cannot be seen by the vast majority of television viewers.

...While I hate Canadian sports television 95% of the time, there are four redeeming things about it:
1) No WNBA. Ever.
2) No Stu Scott or Linda Cohen. Ever.
3) During March Madness, one of the sports stations will run a different game than CBS has on. So you get two games for the price of one.
4) TSN (which they say stands for The Sports Network, but really stands for Toronto Sports Network) carries every game the NFL Network does. So I will get to watch the Cowboys/Packers game from the comfort of my couch.

...Finally, I can't think of two NFL franchises I hate more than the Cowboys and Packers. And yet, I'm really excited for the game Thursday night.

...Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and now that it's passed, let me be the first to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Showdown of Showdowns

Hi there, me again. I wanted to get this up Tuesday or Wednesday, but my week has been a tad insane. So forgive me for waiting so long to talk about the Game of the Century: Pats vs Colts. Good vs Evil. Awesome vs Awesome. The two best coaches, the two best quarterbacks, and the two best teams in the league square off in Indy this Sunday at 1:15pm. Short of hell freezing over or a major earthquake, I can't think of anything that will keep me away from the TV Sunday afternoon. It's the first time in history two undefeated teams have met this late in the year. And in my 20+ years watching football, I can't think of a time when two teams were clearly this much better than everybody else. How can this game possibly live up the hype of The Biggest Game in Regular Season history?

That's the best part: it WILL live up to the hype. Surpass it even. There's so many things working in favor of this matchup, we've got a better chance of Brittney Spears winning Parent of the Year than of this game being a stinker. The biggest reason? BOTH teams feels slighted. One of the things I'll never understand is how grown men getting paid obscene amounts of money to play a kid's game need extra motivation from media or fans "doubting" them. The money and joy apparently just aren't enough, so they get their fire from talking heads or newspapers or fan blogs saying they're not good enough.

This has already been pointed out to you, I'm sure, but my favorite story line so far is how the Patriots are ticked off because they were CORRECTLY slighted: they were caught cheating. People called them cheaters. They ARE cheaters. And yet the Pats feel this is an injustice. "How DARE you call us cheaters when we were caught cheating!" I don't know how Bill Belichek has managed to use this as a rallying point, but boy has he! I have never seen a team this mad for this long. In the NBA you'll see Kobe or Gilbert Arenas go off on a team that he feels disrespected him, but it really only lasts for that one game. The Patriots have been playing with a level of anger, hatred, and revenge for 8 straight weeks that even Rambo couldn't top. They CANNOT score enough points or beat a team bad enough. Most teams get up 3 or 4 TD's and either put it in cruise control, or the coach goes ultra-conservative. The Pats? They blitz at every chance, and go 4 wide in the 4th quarter up 30. It's just un-freaking-believable that the whole team is buying into this and WANTS to run up the score. They smell blood in the water and not only go for the kill, but seem to enjoy doing it, ripping their opponents apart piece by piece.

Then we have the Colts. How would you like to be the defending Super Bowl champs, undefeated, and be 5 POINT UNDERDOGS AT HOME?!?!?!?!? That point cannot be stressed enough. It just can't. Never in the history of the world has that happened. Indy's done everything right, beat everybody in their path, and are just as undefeated as the Pats, who oh by the way they beat on their way to the Super Bowl last year, and they're still underdogs AT HOME!!!!

In all the hype for this game, one thing I haven't seen talked about is how this has to be a YUGE advantage to Indy. In the biggest NFL regular season game ever, there's zero pressure on the Colts to win. Think about it: If the Pats lose this game there's going to be an avalanche of criticism about how they've played and what kind of team they are, and what a bunch of a**holes the whole lot of them are. People are DYING to pile on the Patriots and be justified in hating them. But if the Colts lose, well hey they lost to the greatest team in history. They'll get another chance in the AFC Championship game. They were 5 point dogs at home. If the Colts can't beat New England, then nobody can. No big whoop.

There's no pressure AND free motivation for Peyton and Dungy and the rest of them.

The best part about all of this is that both teams wouldn't have it any other way. The Pats have been the Goliath/Anti-Christ since game 2, and have responded by outscoring opponents 331-127. For perspective, the 2nd highest scoring team in the league, the Cowboys, have 227. And yes, they've played one more game than just about everybody, but unless the Cowboys score 104 points this week, the Pats are still well ahead. For the Colts, I can't imagine Peyton Manning, who prepares for every game like it's the biggest of his life, needing extra motivation, but he's got it if he wants it. The Colts have followed in Dungy's footsteps as being the quiet, respectful, reserved, business-like team who'll knock you down, and after the whistle blows help you back up. You can't find more of a contrast in styles.

That's another thing that I haven't heard talked about enough: HOW these teams are winning is having a huge effect on how people perceive this game. Other than the Dolphins game, when the Pats led 42-0 at half in the most impressive 30 minutes of football I've ever seen, New England's huge point totals and margins of victory have been coming because they refuse to pull their starters and go conservative. The Cleveland win in week 5 is the only time where New England didn't have at least one 4th quarter touchdown with their starters in with the game well in hand. Look through the box scores- every game but that one they've got a TD mid to late 4th quarter from their starters with at least a 17 point lead. Is it impressive that they're got at least a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter in 7 of 8 games? Sure, but I still think it skews the thinking on the Patriots. Yes they're winning by a lot, but when they're putting up gaudy numbers BECAUSE they're running up the scores and leaving their starters in, which nobody else is doing.

The Colts, on the other hand, have won 5 of 7 games by at least 17 points, and have just one game, the 41-7 week 1 dismantling of the Saints, where you could say they ran up the score. That's it. If the Colts had continued to pile it on late in games to rack up points and stats, would their wins be more impressive? Maybe.

So who wins Sunday? Honestly, I have no idea. I could see New England winning by 40, gunning for another TD late in the 4th, and Belichek responding in the postgame with something like "Running up the score? If the Colts had stopped us, scored, recovered the onside kick, and then converted a 28 point touchdown, they would have been within 14 points of us. We weren't running up the score." I could also see the Colts cooly and calmly controlling the clock with Joseph Addai and Kenton Keith, Manning picking apart the Pats secondary, and the D being the first and only team to give the Patriots problems, and winning a 24-21 game. The only thing that would shock me would be the Colts blowing out New England, but then again, perhaps that shows I'm underestimating the Colts too. So far, nobody's been able to run a balanced offense against New England for the entire game. The Pats have played from behind for a grand total of about 4 minutes all season, which came in the third quarter of the Dallas game. Other than that New England's been ahead early and often, being able to dictate what they want to do offensively, and being able to "pin their ears back" on defense because they know their opponents have to throw. That's part of why the Vikes D was so good in 1998 because the other team was always playing from behind so they didn't have to worry about the run.

Am I grasping at straws here? Trying to make this matchup seem closer than it is? Decide for yourself. Am I cheering for the Colts? Yes. Am I cheering for the Greatest Regular Season Game in NFL History to be The Greatest Regular Season Game in NFL History? Yes again. The best part is, I think we'll get it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The New Evil Empire

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox. You won two major awards tonight: the 2007 World Series, and The Metric Musing's Most Hated Baseball Team. To take that long-held title away from the New York Yankees just shows how far you've come since your last title in 2004.

For the record I think the Red Sox title in 2004 is one of the best sports stories of my lifetime, and perhaps one of the best of all-time. Not only did they end an 86 year "curse" that year, not only did they become the first baseball team to ever overcome a 3-0 series deficit, but they also did it against the Yankees, the one team they could never seem to beat. In all seriousness, that's one helluva story, and I was rooting for the "underdog" BoSox to beat the Evil Empire from the Bronx and win the whole damn thing.

Since then? As many, many, MANY non-Sox fans have said, Red Sox Nation has become insufferable. It was cute and all when you were loathing, apathetic and borderline suicidal before 2004, but now they've got a sense of entitlement and arrogance that trumps Yankee fans. Yankee fans have an heir of entitlement and arrogance because they root for the most successful franchise in all of sports. I may not like their attitude, but at least it's deserved and well-earned.

Boston fans are acting like they're better than the Yankees and everybody else because they're the underdogs that conquered the Big Bad Bronx. Well you can't have it both ways. Unless it's a two team league, you're either the Goliath or David: you can't be both. With this second title, which was bought as much as it was fought for, the Sox and their fans officially take the place of the Yankees as the team I hate the most.

By the way, I can't say I blame Boston fans for being like this. If the Vikings or Mariners suddenly became King Kong of their sport and won 2 titles in 4 years, I'd probably be pretty annoying too. But because I have the privledge of believing that I could never possibly be as bad as Boston fans, I can keep this opinion of them.

2 thoughts on ARod opting out of his deal tonight and I'm done:
1) ARod WILL go to the highest bidder- NOT the team that gives him the best chance to win. I remember all too well when he left the Mariners wanting to play for a "winner" and picked the Rangers over the Red Sox and M's because Texas offered him almost $100 million more than anybody else. This is NOT about winning a championship, this is about getting as much money as possible. Remember that.

2) I'm not a Scott Boras fan, but there's no doubt he's the best agent in sports. I don't know how he thinks he's going to get ARod more than he would have gotten by staying with the Yankees, especially when the Yankees are always the team that agents use to drive up the prices, but he'll get it done. SOMEBODY will pay him $30 million a year. There's no way he would have told Rodriguez to opt out if it weren't going to happen. Where is he going? Damn good question, because there doesn't seem to be many teams out there that would make sense for a $30 million a year player. Not only are the Yankees out, but so are the Mets (with Reyes and Wright on the left side of their infield they've got no use for him). The Cubbies would definitely be, but it doesn't sound like they'll get their ownership situation sorted out before spring training, which will be way too late to bid on ARod. Atlanta's trying to cut payroll, so they're out, although the Phillies are a major market and could possibly have the money, their media scrutiny and fanbase is almost as bad as New York, so I can't see him wanting to go there.

My hunch is Anaheim will be the team to do it, since the piece they're missing is a cleanup hitter, and they've got the money to make it happen. It would also be perfect for ARod because he could live in a major market without much pressure, since nobody in LA is an Angels fan anyway. Who else could possibly bid up the price on ARod? The Dodgers are a possibility, and would certainly have the money and the market. How about the New Evil Empire in Boston? I can't wait to hear the Sports Guy, who has bashed ARod as hard as anyone, do a complete 180 when the Red Sox sign him. As he would say, it'll be the highest of high comedy. Anyway, Anaheim is my guess for now, but with the 24/7 coverage of this coming soon, I'm sure we'll find out more soon enough.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The More Things Change...

Good thing the Minnesota Timberwolves don't have a franchise or a fan base anymore, because if they did, their fans should be really upset that Kevin McHale made yet another stupid trade. Yesterday the Wolves dealt Ricky Davis and center Mark Blount to the Miami Heat for forward Antoine Walker, the expiring contracts of Wayne Simien and Michael Doleac (apparently so Mark Madsen can have someone to hang out with and exchange awkward high fives at the end of the bench), and a future first round pick that's lottery protected through 2052. On the surface, maybe this doesn't look so bad, at least with how the Wolves are spinning it. But allow me to delve further and explain why this trade is a prime example of one of Kevin McHale's flaws in thinking running the Wolves.

I'm not a business major, so those of you that are can correct me if I'm wrong here, but this trade shows McHale has no idea how to maximize his assets in trades. None. Over the years he has somehow vastly overvalued his own players (by giving out huge extensions to players like Joe Smith, Troy Hudson, Marko Jaric and Wally Szczerbiak to name a few) and yet has vastly undervalued what they're worth around the league. On top of that, he apparently has no ability to discern what other team's players are worth TO THEM, and what role they're playing with their current team. Honestly, it’s a wonder McHale's trades haven't turned out even worse, and that's saying something considering they've been horrible.

Like the Sam Cassell (an expiring contract for a player that had ALWAYS played well in contract years) and a #1 pick (should be self-explanatory. McHale finally figured out this summer these are valuable) for Marko Jaric (who didn't fit into the Clippers plans, and did not have a track record of success in the NBA so therefore they were looking to unload him) trade, this latest one shows somebody once again taking advantage of McHale. This time it was Miami unloading their crap for useful pieces while making McHale believe he was getting a great deal.

Let's start with Miami. Antoine Walker, who had one of the worst PER's in the league last year at 9.65 (12 is league average. 9.65 is what you'd expect from your 12th man, not somebody who will make $17 million over the next 2 years) coming off the bench for a bad Heat team. This is NOT the employee Number 8 you used to know from his Celtics days. He might have been the worst player in the league last year, especially when you include his salary. Toine averaged just 8 points a game in 23 minutes, shooting 39% from the field, 27% from three (he shot an astounding 305 threes) and shot 43% FROM THE LINE! 43%! SHOOTING FREE THROWS! On the bright side, he didn't rebound, pass, or play defense. He's also 30 and his offseason workout consists of consuming more food than Packer fans in the Lambeau tailgating lot.

He had no future in Miami, and the Heat were dying to unload him. Who WOULDN'T want to clear $17 million off their cap and the league's most overpaid player? And if he didn't try on a Heat team that had Dwayne Wade, Shaq, Zo, and Pat Riley, why in the hell would he try on a guaranteed lottery-bound team in Minnesota?

Since the Heat's fluke Title run two years ago and Shaq's dramatic decline since, they've also been dying for an athletic wing that can score to try and take the mountainous scoring load off of Dwayne Wade. They could also use a decent center to get minutes for the 530 pound Shaq and the 97-year-old Alonzo Mourning.

So that's where the Heat were coming from. Ricky Davis and Mark Blount are EXACTLY what they needed. To a tee. And Davis' contract expires at the end of the year to boot.

For the Wolves, I completely understand that Dick Davis is a cancer on a bad team, and they didn't want him anywhere near the young kids. I get that. But he's also a capable 2nd or 3rd scorer on a good team AND HIS CONTRACT IS FREAKING EXPIRING AFTER THIS YEAR!!! HE'S WORTH SOMETHING TO THE OTHER 29 TEAMS!! HE HAS VALUE!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Blount? I also understand that he and the new cornerstone of the team, Al Jefferson, didn't get along in Boston, so they were looking to trade him too. I get that, but again, HE HAS VALUE TO A GOOD TEAM. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth I've done about Blount and his contract the last few years, this is difficult for me to say, but I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong: Blount was a serviceable center last year. There I said it. He doesn't do much else than shoot mid range jumpers, but he CAN score (something that's pretty rare in a center these days) and his rebounding improved to an adequate level last year (6.2 reb for a rebound rate of 11.9). For $21 million over the next 3 years, that's a bargain for a contending team that could start him or have him in the rotation. Seriously.

So they traded two valuable assets for the worst player in the league, 2 small expiring contracts, and a first rounder that has lottery protection for the next 4 decades. You gave the Heat exactly what they needed for exactly what they were trying to get rid of. Congratulations Kevin McHale, you've just made yet another panic move, and gave another fine display of how you lack the ability to evaluate assets on your own team as well as others.

Welcome to the post-Kevin Garnet era in Minnesota. Just like old times, but without Kevin Garnett. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Get your tickets now!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baseball and College Foos

Can you believe it's almost November? What happened to October? It's the World Series, the NFL is at the halfway point, and the crappiest college football season of my lifetime is now past the halfway point. Not much to say about the World Series because really, what can you say? I'd like to think last night's blowout was just a result of Colorado being rusty after more than a week off (To all the people that are complaining about the Rockies getting too many days off between series- um, what else was MLB supposed to do? The ALCS went 7 games, and then gave the Sox a couple of days off. What were the alternatives to this? Have the Rockies play exhibition games in Japan, or see if the D-Backs or Cubbies wanted to play a few more just for fun? If you're going to whine about something, for the love, at least have a viable solution.), but unfortunately I think it's indicitive of how much better Boston is than Colorado. Some other day we can discuss whether postseason "experience" really matters, because there's a very intelligent group of new school baseball stat-heads who say it doesn't. After the Sox blow through Colorado in this series, they might have to rethink that a bit. Or the American League is just that much better than the crappy AAAA baseball they play in the National League.

Speaking of crappy, I can't wait to see which mediocre team "upsets" another mediocre ranked team and we can all scream joyously about how much fun upsets are and how great it is everybody has a chance now in college football! Hell, let's all hold hands and sing koombayah! We're all winners here, and it's just so darn swell that everybody's equal and nobody's better than anybody else, so let's just give everyone a trophy for showing up and forget all this silly competition. Nobody's feelings get hurt and nobody has to experience losing and everybody can feel like a winner, no matter how cheap the cost! Hooray parity! Hooray equality! Hooray level playing field!

Ok ok ok I'll stop. Is this season the beginning of the end for college football, or just one random season of crap? I really truly believe it's the latter. After two of the best years of college football in memory, the game has lost a lot of talent to graduation or the draft. Scholarship restrictions definitely hurt the Big Boys ability to reload as quickly, but this is just one of those years where there just aren't many big names who are ready to step in and fill the shoes of past greats.

Why are all the Big Boys losing? Look at the rosters. Tell me who the offensive stars are this year. USC, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Tennessee, and more have no real offensive stars. They all have serviceable players manning the skill positions, but nobody I'm glued to the TV to see. Tim Tebow at Florida is the one exception. The guy will be a mega star before he's done in Gainesville, and because the Gators have lost twice, he's just not receiving enough attention. If you haven't seen Florida play yet, you NEED to see Tebow.

My buddy Ben and I watched the Florida/Kentucky game last week, and the best play we saw Tebow make was a 2 yard run near the goal line where he didn't score. He lined up in the shotgun, ran right, broke the first tackle, then was quite literally dragging the next 2 guys towards the end zone. Only because a third, fourth, and fifth defender piled on and knocked him back was he kept out of the end zone. The fact he's a quarterback and was DRAGGING a linebacker and safety was just freaking amazing. Tebow's a great quarterback who quite literally runs like a power back, and has become must-see TV for me. Teams now have so much respect for him as a runner, that Florida's started running a play where Tebow takes two steps towards the line of scrimmage, dips his shoulder like he's going to plow through the line, and then takes two steps back and fires a bomb downfield. They ran it twice against Kentucky and ended up with two long completions, one of them for a touchdown. Both times the safeties were absolutely lost.

It's so much fun and such a disadvantage for teams playing the Gators, I'm sure the NCAA will put a stop to it ASAP. So catch Tebow and Florida while you can, because if we're not careful, Florida could actually be dominant AND fun to watch, and apparently nobody wants that. Well nobody except me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Adrian F*&^ing PETERSON!!!!

The accolades are rolling in. The praise is being heaped. The glory is being given. Adrian Peterson is being called everything from the best rookie running back since Gale Sayers to the second best back in the league- RIGHT NOW. Normally I hate the over-hype and how in today's society we want to label everything the greatest or worst, so when a player has one game suddenly he's the best of all time.

But for AP? Wow. Just wow. Because I live on the left coast, I didn't get to see Peterson torch the Bears at Solider Field (by the way: the Bears D has given up over 400 yards in 3 of their last 4 games- all loses. Might not be just the quarterback that's the problem there). I got home from church (yup early games start here at 10. I know, tell me about it!), already had a text message from Jer that he had a mancrush on AP, and then the highlights started rolling in. 224, 3 TD's, and that long kick return to set up the game winning field goal (thank you Ryan Longwell. Good lord it's nice to have a reliable kicker for a change!). I couldn't believe my eyes. Everything I had ever hoped Peterson could be he was being. The cuts, the jukes and the speed to the outside. Here was the Adrian Peterson Joely and I marvelled about when he tore up the Big 12 as a freshman. Here was the player that showed the "best in the draft" potential. Could this REALLY be the Minnesota Vikings?

I haven't been this excited about a Vike since Randy Moss' rookie year. Sure, we're not going 15-1 this year, but this team has gone from unwatchable to unmissable. AP is must see TV, and I have a feeling the Vikings won't trouble selling out games for much longer.

As for the ridiculous claims of "2nd best back in the league" or best rookie since Barry Sanders or Gale Sayers? Well it's early. 5 games in. Jer might be the only person more excited than me about this kid, but let's not going carving out his hall-of-fame bust quite yet. Peterson did this as a freshman before a high-ankle sprain ruined his sophomore year and a broken collarbone took away half his junior year. The reason he was there at #7 wasn't because of a lack of talent, but a concern about his durability. So let's wait and see, and if you're a fan of football, hope with fingers and toes crossed that he stays healthy so we can watch him carve up defenses for years to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century

Mustaches of the 19th Century, A Daily Celebration of The Golden Age of Upper Lip Hair. The 19th Century was obviously awesome!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Baseball Playoffs

Thought I should say something about the baseball playoffs. With the Cubs losing, I have zero interest in the National League (kinda like I had all season long). Honestly, Arizona or Colorado? Does it matter? What does it say about the NL when Randy Johnson AND Livan Hernandez are out most of the year and the D-Backs still win the Senior Circuit's "best" division? Also, can you name anyone on the D-Backs besides those two and Brandon Webb? Luis Gonzalez? Sorry he's in LA. And Matt Williams retired a long time ago. Also the D-Backs are now wearing red uniforms. Just thought you should know since this was all news to me.

If forced to choose sides, I'd like to see the Rockies win because Jeff Francis is a local kid, and...yup that's about it. If you want to play the "can you name a Rocky?", you should know that yes, Todd Helton still plays there. So there you go, you know one guy on Colorado. Congrats. And I just told you who Jeff Francis is so there's two. See? We can learn together. If anyone wants to pay attention and let me know how the series goes, that'd be swell.

In the American League, well I care. I loved watching the Yanks get knocked out (as any warm blooded human should), and am intrigued to see how their offseason shakes out. But that's a whole other post about roster construction and where A-Rod's going and how the game is slowly changing to "new school" ideas. But we'll save that one.

Let me just say I am whole-heartedly cheering for Cleveland. They are the leading example of how to build a baseball team from top to bottom. I could only dream of the Mariners being run this well. Let's see, the M's spent more than $106 million to miss the playoffs whereas the Tribe spent just over $61 million. And the Tribe are set up to be great for awhile because of how they've developed their own players and locked them up long term. In a world of copycats, let's hope the other 29 teams decide to copy the Indians. We'd all be better for it.

What's more, the Tribe definitely have a good chance. Eric Wedge was questioned loudly in the media for starting Paul Byrd in game 4 against New York instead of CC Sabathia on 3 days rest. Paul Byrd pitched well, Cleveland won, and now they're set up with Sabathia in game 1 and Fausto Carmona in game 2. Advantage Cleveland!

I don't hate Boston as much as the Yankees, mostly because I love watching David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez hit. I wouldn't complain if this went 7 games. Not at all.

Finally, I thought I'd point out that other than the Red Sox, who rank second in the league in payroll at $143 million, Cleveland is 23rd, Colorado is 25th, and Arizona is 26th. The beginning of a trend, with teams getting smarter in how they spend and develop their own talent? It'll be interesting to find out. I looked back at the ALCS & NLCS for the last 7 playoffs, looking at where they ranked in payroll in baseball. Here's what I found:

* denotes World Series loser
** denotes World Series champ

2007: Boston (2nd $143.026 Million), Cleveland (23 $61.673), Arizona (26 $52.067), Colorado (25 $54.424)
Teams with a $100M payroll: 7

2006: Detroit* (14 $82.612), Oakland (21 $62.243), St Louis** (11 $88.891), NY Mets (5 $101.084)
$100M: 5

2005: White Sox** (13 $75.178), Angels (4 $97.725), St Louis (6 $92.106), Houston* (12 $76.779)
$100M: 3

2004: Yankees (1 $184.193), Boston** (2 $127.298), St Louis* (9 83.228), Houston (12 75.397)
$100M: 3

2003: Yankees* (1 $152.729), Boston (6 $99.946), Florida** (25 $48.750), Cubbies (11 $79.868)
$100M: 5

2002: Anaheim** (15 $61.721), Minnesota (27 $40.225), San Francisco* (10 78.229), St Louis (13 74.660),
$100M: 4

2001: Yankees* (1 $112,287), Seattle (11 $74.720), Arizona** (8 $85.247), Atlanta (6 $91.936)
$100M: 3

2000: Yankees** (1 $92.938), Seattle (15 $59.215), Mets* (6 $79.795), St Louis (11 $63.093)
$100M: 0

Payrolls are rising at incredible rates, and yet this decade we've seen consistently that smaller market/low payroll teams can compete and win. If you're not the Yankees or Boston, you can't beat them by outspending them (unfortunately Seattle hasn't figured this out yet). Remember that when we see another offseason of wild spending on mediocre or worse free agents (especially free agent pitchers. Wow is it barren!). The Tribe, Rocks and Snakes are very good young teams that will be competitive for a long time because they've built from within and haven't spent ridiculous money on free agents (Arizona traded for Randy Johnson, and got help from the Yankees on his salary). This is good news for Twins fans, because they've got as much talent as anybody, but just need to make a few shrewd moves.

Anyway, enjoy the postseason. And let me know what happens in the National League. Thanks.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Yeah I don't know what else to say. USC lost to Stanford. 40 POINT FAVORITES AND THEY LOST?!?!? AT HOME?!?!?!? Seriously what the hell is going on in college football this year? Is ANYBODY ANY $&%*Q^ING GOOD? ANYBODY?

In the intro to the Common Man Dan Cole's progrum (misspelled intentionally) he plays a clip from Paul Harvey, who talks about "the Common Man" as being "the best of the lousiest and the lousiest of the best." Are we seeing a year of incredible upsets, or is college football turning into the Common Man?

If you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of parity. Not even a little bit. A big reason I love college foos so damn much is because it's sports as it should be, where winning is rewarded and losing is not. Winners should get the best recruits and the most money. Losers get the worse recruits and have to work a lot harder to get better. Losers in college football can't whine about an unlevel playing field and get rewarded with a salary cap or revenue sharing or the #1 pick. You want to get better? Work harder, and work smarter.

Plus with more powerful "winners" it means we get to see better football because more good players are playing on the same teams. And that also makes the upsets better because they're actually upsets. Boise State beating Oklahoma was one of the most amazing sports games I've ever seen, because of how much of an underdog was, and because of how many crazy plays they had to run to win it. Two mediocre teams wouldn't have gone to the lengths Broncos coach Chris Pedersen went to to win, because they could play it safe and be boring and not take chances or risk anything.

Anyways, long story short I AM enjoying this season and all it's craziness. Seriously I am. Yet at the same time I hope this isn't the beginning of a new era where the BC's and South Florida's and Cincinnati's are on par with the LSU's, USC's, and Ohio State's of the world. I'm not against new programs rising to power, but I AM against the powers being brought down to the level of the average schools. Of course there's no evidence this is anything other than a wild year where anything can happen. For the sake of college football, I hope that's all it is, and not a new world where the best teams are simply the best of the lousiest.

Friday, October 05, 2007

NFL 1/4 Poll: The NFC Edition

Dallas was the only team with a chance to be dominant.
The Bears, Seahawks, and Saints would win their divisions.
Eagles, Panthers, and Redskins would battle for the wild card
The NFC West would be much better
The NFC North would be much worse

Well I got the Cowboys dominance right. How is it I trumpet the Boys as the best team in the conference and yet I don't grab Tony Romo in either of my fantasy drafts (A few theories there, most of them revolving around me being an idiot)? They're one of 4 undefeated teams, and lead the league in points scored at a blistering 151. Taking advantage of a soft schedule thus far? Could be, but I think the Cowboys will run away with the top spot in the conference.

I am not ready for a world where Brett Favre wins another Super Bowl. I'm just not. I was scared of the Packers defense because they're young and VERY fast. But Favre didn't have much to throw to, he didn't have anything left in the tank, and they have absolutely no one to run the ball. After 4 weeks it looks like I got one out of those three right. Favre was awful (23-42 for just 206 yds with a pick and a 58.8 QB rating) in their opening week fluke win vs the Eagles (honestly, if the Eagles punt returner just lets it bounce, Philly wins that game). In the 3 games since he's 89-128 for a ridiculous 69.5%, 999 yds, 8 TD and just 1 INT. He's been in-his-3-straight-MVP prime. Even the biggest Favre homers in the world (aka the entire state of Beer, Brats & Cheese) could ever have predicted a Renaissance like this. But can it last? FOr me that's the biggest question of the next 4 weeks. Can a team with no semblance of a running game with EVERYTHING going right continue to roll along? Chicago and Washington at home, a bye, and then at Mile High is how October unfolds. After the Brewers collapse, it's good the Cheeseheads will have something to cheer for this month.

The Bears collapse is not as shocking to me as the Saints. I thought the Bears could be in trouble because of the QB situation, but figured the schedule was so soft and the D so good, it wouldn't matter. Ooops. Still a chance to right the proverbial ship against The Favres this Sunday, but the season is slipping fast from Lovie and crew. The Saints? It's like the clock struck midnight and everybody's Cinderella went from Saints to Sinners in 3 quick games. It's not that they're losing, it's HOW they're losing. Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, AND the defense have all been awful. It's really tough to win when even 2 of those 3 are going badly, but with all three playing subpar, it's been tough to watch. In 3 games they've scored just 38 points (12.7 a game!) and have given up- are you ready for this- 103 POINTS!?!?!? IN 3 GAMES!!! That's 34.3 per game! Good gosh almighty you really have to work to be that bad defensively AND offensively. Wow.

Finally the Purple. We're approaching week 5 and I already find myself checking the standings for who's doing the worst (in other words who are the Vikes "competing" with for the #1 pick?), and starting to scout college football for a receiver or difference-maker of some kind in next year's draft (so far? HELLO DeSean Jackson although let's be honest, IF this season continues they HAVE to fire Childress, and therefore we're guaranteed to see a new coach draft a QB early- thankfully there appears to be many good ones to choose from- since he'll have no allegiances to T-Jack). There's just no rational explanation for only giving the ball to AP TWICE in the 2nd half last week. And it's not even like they were running Chester Taylor instead. Nope, they were throwing with Kelly Holcomb. Somehow to Chilly that makes good sense. By the way, the Vikes have outscored their opponents 67-59. That's right folks, the Vikes have given up 59 TOTAL points in 4 games (a shade under 15 pts a game), and yet are 1-3. Maybe it's a good thing I can't watch any Vikings games this year.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

NFL 1/4 Poll: The AFC Edition

Well here we are at the beginning of October, and believe it or not, the NFL season is already a quarter over. Seriously. I'm doing this little quarter poll assessment in 2 parts because the two conferences really are that different. Let's begin with what we THOUGHT we knew when the season started, and then we'll see what the season has taught us thus far.

New England, Indianapolis, San Diego, and Baltimore were the 4 best teams in the league. Pittsburgh, Denver, Cincinnati, and the Jeets would be competeting for playoff spots, and the rest would be various shades of suck.

You CAN build a dominant team in real life just like you do in Madden '08!
The Patriots are threatening to go 16-0 in a time when that's supposed to be impossible. They've absolutely destroyed all four teams they've played (by a combined score of 148-48!!!), and have done it in exciting fashion. Randy Moss and Adalius Thomas were the two biggest additions for any team this offseason, and the Pats got them both. Tom Brady can't miss, Moss can't do anything but score, and they're getting a superb year from Sammy Morris at running back.

Maybe it's because I'm an old man now, but I'm really appreciating Peyton Manning like never before. I used to hate him because I thought he was overhyped, and thought all his audibling at the line of scrimmage was more for show than effectiveness. Maybe it was the Super Bowl win, maybe it was the great SNL performance last year, or maybe I'm just starting to appreciate the little things more than before. Because Now? I'm in awe of him. The most amazing stat I've heard in a long time is that Manning was only sacked once last year. ONCE! Have you ever seen Manning run? Doesn't exactly look or act like the most athletic guy in the world, and yet he's taken one sack in the last year. Absolutely amazes me. He's so prepared coming into games you cannot rattle him and cannot sack him. The Colts are Must-See TV for me this season. And the Colts/Pats game OCt 20th? Don't even get me started.

The Chargers 1-3 start is a prime example of why coaching does matter. Really, besides the 3 coaches, what changed from last year's 14-2 team to this year's poor start? They're a pretty young team which means everybody should be getting BETTER, not worse, right? And Ladanian Tomlinson is the best player alive, so he's certainly not going to get worse, right? Enter Norv Turner and some new co-ordinators and suddenly the Chargers are looking very, very average. Actually, they're below average right now. What gives? I wish I knew, but I certainly didn't see this coming.

And by the way, don't get the wrong idea from my post about Padres fans: I don't hate San Diego or their teams. Far from it. How can you hate this team with Tomlinson there? I believe if you're a football fan, you like and appreciate #21. This would be like a man not liking bacon (other than for religious purposes of course): I mean really, if you call yourself a man and you DON'T like bacon, then you're not a man. It's that simple. Same with Tomlinson. I wish I could explain what the problem is in San Diego, but I hope the get it figured out ASAP.

Of teams that have played 4 games (Tennesee and Jacksonville are both 2-1), only the Pats, Colts and Steelers are above .500. That's it, folks. Otherwise, you've got a bunch of teams with 1 or 2 wins, meaning it's still WIDE open.

(By the way, just saw that Travis Henry is probably suspended for the year for violating the league's drug policy. Never saw this coming. A guy who has fathered more children with more women than Shawn Kemp made yet another bad decision? Shocker. He and Ricky Williams should be friends. They could talk about having an NFL career on a platter, rolling it up, and smoking it away. Nice work, gents. And damn you Ryan for picking up Selmon Young in our fantasy football league. Curses!)

Ok I think we've learned enough for today. Tomorrow: the NFC. Expect unkind words for Brad Childress and bitter cheap shots at the Cheeseheads. Like you'd expect anything less.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Go F*** Yourself San Diego!

That's what I'd be saying today if I were San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman. I'm not, and Hoffman would never say that because he's classy, but I wouldn't blame him if he did.

I'm driving to school today, and I turn on the Jim Rome show (I like Rome, but I don't like all his listeners who call in and try to sound just like him. Maybe it's me). Anyway, people from San Diego were calling in to say how much they hated Hoffman. They were treating him like, to paraphrase Dusty Bottoms, he "raped their horses, pruned their hedges, and rode off on their women." Yup, Hoffman blew a 2 run lead in the 13th last night, and The Fathers lost to the Rockies in a one-game wild card playoff. He also blew a save opp the night before, again costing them a playoff berth. He also wasn't his sharpest when the Pads lost to the Yankees in The Series a few years back. Do they have a right to be mad? Certainly. But to treat Hoffman, the league's all-time saves leader and the only consistent all-star the team has had since Tony Gwynn retired, as a pariah is ridiculous.

What the hell's going on in San Diego? It's 75 and sunny everyday, and you have a beach. Life isn't so bad. Sure, your team lost a heartbreaker. So what? It's going to be a LONG winter down there, and by "winter" I mean 75 and sunny everyday at the beach. If you live in a place like San Diego, Southern California in general, Phoenix, or Florida, you lose all rights to complain about your sports teams and get all haughty about your star players sucking in big moments. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you when your 2 seasons are "sunny and gorgeous," and "still sunny and really quite comfortable."

Cleveland, Philly, Minnesota, Chicago, Buffalo, Seattle- even New York and Boston: It sucks there in the winter. When your baseball team rips your heart and soul out, or your franchise player craps the bed in a big spot, do you know what you have to get you through a long cold winter? A long, cold winter, jackass, that's what. You have cold, snow, and wind (or if you live in the Pacific Northwest you have 6 straight months of rain), not sun, beaches, and little froofy drinks. If you're a Padres fan, you should be depressed and upset until you go outside and say "hey it's October, I'm going to go golfing".

It just speaks to a level of fan apathy and entitlement that is beyond me. San Diego fans are not entitled to be spiteful and bitter. It's just not allowed, especially at a guy as good as Trevor Hoffman has been for them. And what makes it even worse is that nobody's blaming Cy Young candidate Jake Peavy for giving up 6 runs of his own. Where was he when they needed him? Exactly. Was Hoffman to blame for the loss? He was certainly part of it, but he wasn't the only reason The Fathers aren't going to the playoffs. If those hardluck Pads fans don't want him, trust me, there's 29 other teams out there that would take him.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Crazy College Football

I took one look at the new College Football polls today, and felt the need to quote Stewy Griffin, because I was thinking... WHAT THE DEUCE?

Cal 3rd? South Florida, Boston College, and Kentucky 6 through 8? And things just get weirder the further down you go. At the moment, LSU and USC are the top two teams in the nation but I wonder how long that's going to last. I was going to make a comparison to the NFL, where there's New England, Indy, and then everybody else, but that's really not true in college football. Right now, yes USC and LSU appear better, but I'd honestly be surprised if both go undefeated. For the mighty Trojans, their offense just isn't that good right now, but they've got some issues throwing the ball. The D is crazy good, but I wonder if that'll be enough in a Pac 10 conference that is just loaded with offense this year. Been awhile since we've been able to say it, but the best playmakers in that conference do not reside in Troy, but instead in Berkeley with WR DeSean Jackson (the early favorite to be a Viking if he declares), and in Eugene with the Ducks' QB Dennis Dixon and RB Jonathan Stewart.

For LSU, it's not a question of being good enough, it's a question of can they survive a full SEC slate, and then have to play a conference championship game? I say no. They may beat Florida this weekend, but it's likely they'd get them again (unless Kentucky continues this insanity) in Atlanta in December for the SEC Title. As always there's a LOT of good football teams in the South, and it makes running the table a near impossibility, even for a team as good as LSU is.

What does this mean? As of now, I believe the teams ranked 3rd and 4th, Cal and Ohio State, are going to be playing for a National Title. Seriously. Although I was not overly impressed with the Buckeyes when I saw them against Washington a few weeks ago, they should still have enough to win a watered down Big 10. That's ironic to me considering this is probably their worst team in 4 or 5 years. The D is good (Laurenitis is amazing. He was EVERYWHERE in that Husky game!), the run game is scary with the Wells boys slamming it down your throat, but I am not sold at all on their passing game. Still, they're better than Wisconsin and Tressel flat out owns Michigan, so the conference is again theirs for the taking.

California has Jackson, VERY underrated RB Justin Forsett, a very reliable QB in Nate Longshore, and a D that's certainly proven to be good enough so far. They'll finally beat USC and claim the Pac 10 Title. It's just too bad these teams won't meet in the Rose Bowl where they belong.

Jeff: Upon Further Review...

Since Jer and I decided that perhaps mwsr had run it's course, I've been trying to decide what I'm going to do. Jer is off and running with his Gopher blog. I'm glad he chose to pursue that, because there was a need for a good Gopher blog from somebody like Jer who's an absolute diehard, and of course articulates himself so well. It's a natural fit, and I read it whenever I can (as should you, of course).

For me? Yeah that's been the hard part. Maybe I'm completely wrong in thinking so, but I've felt like I could only address certain issues here, needing to keep the topic to Minnesota teams or Big 10 sports. Although I still have interest in those things, I certainly don't have as much anymore now that I'm living on the west coast. It's much harder to follow Midwest happenings, especially with Canadian sports TV focusing on hockey, the CFL, and hockey. Do I find one team and focus on that? all the teams I really care about (Vikes, Mariners, Sonics, Canucks, UW Huskies) all have excellent blogs already going. The other problem is to run a good team-specific blog, you need to watch every game. That's possible for football, but it's not for every other sport.

I told Jer of my thoughts, and he encouraged me to take over this site and do what I want with it, so that's what I'm going to do. Topics will mostly be sports related, but I'm going to warn you now, it could drift into politics and current events from time to time (I did really enjoy following it when I worked in radio and had the talk show in Aberdeen). As a younger man, I used to listen to and follow nothing but sports, but now I'm listen to more talk radio than sports, and am also willingly watching the nightly news and reading the newspaper. So you've been warned.

Jer, of course, is welcome to post here anytime he wants on any topic he wants. IN the meantime, please read his Gopher blog, as the content is excellent and he's putting a lot of work into it. As for things here on mwsr, the address will remain the same, and hopefully you'll continue to enjoy reading. New posts coming soon.

As Frank the Tank would say "Keep on, keep on truckin'. Ok, good talk."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fare thee well, MWSR

Well folks, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Here we are three years after starting Midwest Sports Rubes, and it seems that it's time to board up the franchise.
Looking back, we haven't tackled any difficult subjects, but we've covered a bevy of them, to say the least.

Remember these topics?
The Lakers trade Shaq to Miami
Ricky Williams retires... then un-retires... then gets high... then gets kicked of the league... then plays in Canada... then... I lost track.
The fall of The Dream Team.
Glen Mason's Minnesota tenure, and firing.
Red McComb's hog-tying, then selling the Vikings.
The Randy Ratio.
Latrell Spreewell not being able to feed his family.
Maurice Clarrett being an idiot.
Kevin McHale being a horrible GM.
Don Stern's implementation of a dress code for NBA players.
The Viking boat scandal.
The Mike Tice Era.
The demise of the Flip Saunders Era.
The Dwayne Casey Era.
The end of Randy Moss.
The end of Daunte Culpepper.
Ty Willingham out... Charlie Weis in at Notre Dame.
Kevin Garnett getting traded to Boston.
Terrell Owens to Baltimore... no wait, to Philly, then to Dallas.
Terry Ryan resigns as Twins GM.
Dan Monson finally fired.
Johan Santana and Torii Hunter contract talks.
New stadiums for the Twins and Gopher Football.

There has been a lot of topics that we have pontificated on. And there will be a ton of future topics that we will have opinions about... those opinions just won't be posted here.
There are several reasons for allowing Midwest Sports Rubes to die. We always imagined this blog to be a community and interactive, but it never turned into that. We have rarely gotten much feedback. This is something that we have discussed and tried to figure out for the entire 3 years. But the bottom line is that it never turned into that. This has sometimes made it difficult to find motivation to write. The numbers say we have been getting 50 or so hits/week, but that number hasn't grown in well over a year. We also don't know if these are 50 unique viewers, or just the same 8-10 people checking the site a few times a week.
In addition, we still have the passion and aforementioned opinions that we once had about sports, we just don't have the passion for writing about them that we once did.
Lastly, we have come to the realization that a general sports blog is tough to maintain, and doesn't really catch on. It seems that in order for a blog to catch on you need a specific niche. As an example, the Fire Glen Mason Blog that we started a year before Mason was fired, still gets almost 50 hits per week... and it hasn't been updated since mid-January.
Jeff has encouraged me to turn the Fire Glen Mason blog into a Gopher Football blog, and I have obliged. Actually, Fire Glen Mason is gone, but my new Gopher Football Blog can be found at Jeff isn't sure what he will do yet as far as writing, but he's talented in writing and verbal communication, so you will certainly here from him in some form down the road.
Thank you for joining us on this sporadic journey over the last 3 years. Thank you to the readers and to those who commented... it's been real!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jeremy: So much to say...

Commenting on a few of the hot sports topics of the day:

*The Patriots/Cameragate
Here is a quote from The Sports Guy's article about the topic:
"Teams in every sport often cheat in little ways to try to get a small advantage. When cheating is exposed, teams are punished. You take your punishment like a man, and you move on -- and the fans of the other teams ALSO move on. The Patriots did something wrong, but the level of the response is just ludicrous because so many fans just hate the Patriots -- not because of anything the Patriots have done, but because of the constant praise they've received from the media over the past few years."
I don't buy it.
First of all, I don't buy that "so many fans just hate the Patriots," and second, I don't believe that "the level of the response is just ludicrous."
In my opinion, Belichick has a bit of Barry Bonds to him, in the sense that, he's just not that likable of a guy. I'm not saying he isn't a great coach, clearly he is, but he's not that likable. I think people have wondered for a long time what is behind his genius. He always seems to have some angle that nobody else has. I don't think fans "just hate the Patriots," but I do think that fans dislike Belichick.
Let me be clear, I'm not implying that Belichick is the coach that he is because of taping, I'm simply offering an opinion why, although I do not think the response is "ludicrous," the there might be some backlash against Belichick and the Patriots.

*Terry Ryan leaves the Twins
As Jeff mentioned, just a huge blow for the Twins organization. Jeff and I had a nice talk about this over instant messenger last night. Jeff made the point that perhaps Ryan got tired of having his hands tied by the Pohlad family, that maybe Carl and his boys said "no dice" on breaking the bank to sign Torii and Santana. And I think Jeff is absolutely right.
Hot Carl is of the old school thought that player salaries should not exceed 50% of your team's expenses, which is such outdated thinking that it's staggering. Jeff has pointed out a few times here that Pohlad is the second richest owner in baseball, but Carl's personal wealth has never entered into the equation when it comes to the Twins. Carl Pohlad is a banker. Banker's like low risk transactions, and Hot Carl is no different.
Terry Ryan has done more with less than any other GM could have hoped to accomplish, and as Souhan points out today, we have been spoiled by the crafty moves that Ryan has made.

*Greg Oden out for rookie season.
The NE Revival took a major hit yesterday when it was announced that Oden went under the knife for knee surgery and will miss the entire season. Don Stern has built a league that centers around player personalities, and that is why this is such a devastating blow to the league... not to mention the Portland TrailBlazers.

*Notre Dame vs. Michigan
As Jeff pointed out earlier this week, either Notre Dame or Michigan is going to be 0-3 after this week's game. Unreal. Earlier in the week I was trying to decide, who would I most like to see lose this game? Which team do I most want to see fall so far from grace that climbing back is nearly impossible? But then I realized... this one is easy.
I work with a couple of hard-core Notre Dame fans (who also happen to be Bears fans) and seeing them on Mondays the past two weeks has been more tolerable than it was last fall. It was hard to fault their enthusiasm after some tough years under the Golden Dome, but my question to them last year was "who have you beat?" ND only played 4 ranked opponents last year, and Penn State (#19 at the time) was their only win in those games. They got beat by AT LEAST 20 points in the other three games, and were absolutely EMBARRASSED by LSU in the Sugarbowl.
Good thing they gave Weis that huge extension.