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."