Thursday, April 30, 2009

Elbows and A-Rod

Dwight deserved to be suspended. As much as it pains me to say that, it's true. Anytime you whistle an elbow at someone's head, you deserve to miss a game. We're lucky he wasn't thrown out at the time, and was able to stick around and have a great game. I predicted a 28-20-6 in a big win. He had 24-24-2 in a big win. I'll take it. I'm actually not as worried as I probably should be about him missing a game. It's not like he was getting the ball as much as he should have anyway. Marcin Gortat is an underrated big man, who happens to be a free agent after the season, so I see him filling in admirably today in an attempt to draw some interest in free agency. The loss of Courtney Lee will hurt though. Michael Pietrus and JJ Redick have had some good games this season...there's just no telling when they are going to come. I'm interested to see what Pietrus does tonight. His game is made for this series and Philly's style of play and I'm curious as to why he hasn't played more. He's know for his defense so hopefully he can hassle Iguodala into some bad shots while Redick comes in and nails some timely threes. I see a big game from Rashard Lewis and Orlando closing this thing out tonight.

Rajon Rondo deserved to be suspended.
That's not suspension worthy? I thought after Rudy Fernandez's scary fall, any contact to the head of an airborne player would result in a flagrant foul. If Miller hit Rondo like that, Bill Russell would have squared up with Mikki Moore at center court and Rondo might still be on the ground. Also, if that was called as a flagrant two, Chicago gets to pick who would shoot their 2 free throws AND they would get the ball back. Chicago could be ahead 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Chicago playing a Boston team without its leading scorer. All I ask for is consistency from the NBA's big wigs. If Dwight gets suspended, so should Rondo. If Rondo walks free, so should Dwight. It's unfair...really unfair.

A-Rod using steroids in high school. Does that surprise you one bit? Not me. According to this article, A-Rod used the juice to put on 25 pounds between his sophmore and junior year of high school. Are you kidding me? He went from bench pressing 100 pounds to 310 pounds in 6 months! In my days, puberty was about progression, not tripling your bench press in 6 months. That's not even the worst part of that article, this is:

" A-Rod "pitch tipped" when he played for the Rangers by letting opponents at the plate know which pitch was coming in lopsided games. A-Rod expected players he helped would reciprocate when he was having an off night and needed to get his batting average up."

That's straight out of Vince Carter's playbook! It's one thing to be a creep on your own, but to tip pitches? Unacceptable. Something else that jumped out at me is that A-Rod tips the minimum at Hooters. That doesn't surprise me a bit, but A-Rod going to Hooters? That's surprising. Can't you see him trying to round up Jeter and Rivera, only they put him off for months at a time until they finally submit. Once he gets there, he goes out of his way to "flirt" with the ladies and prove he's a good guy with lame jokes and "Don't you know who I am?" questions. Is there any doubt that is how a night out with A-Rod would play out?

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'll start with a Matt Stafford story

At this year's UK-UGA game, I sat next to a group of girls from UGA. During the game I mentioned how great Stafford looked and one of them replied," Yea, he's always this good when he's not hungover." The other girls nodded in agreement. I chuckled. They were dead serious. This is a guy I want to guarantee 41 million dollars?

Normally, I'm the first guy to argue that an athlete should be able to steal/make as much money as they can as long as dumb GM's keep paying them, but this is too much. 41 million for Matt Stafford? I heard a draft analyst say Detroit is a perfect fit because Calvin Johnson is the one receiver that Stafford can't over throw. My first thought was "You wanna bet?" I've seen Stafford overthrow AJ Green, a 6'4 freak of an athlete, on many occasions and I'm willing to bet the house that he puts at least 2 "Calvin Johnson sizes up the pass, starts to jump and then realizes halfway into it that there's no way he's catching that ball and shakes his head as he lands" passes up a game. You should be loving this move seeing as you get to play against Stafford twice a year for the next decade. I could have sworn the pic of Stafford and Aaron Curry was crafted by Madame Tussauds herself. NEVER a good sign when evaluating the future face of your franchise.

I know it's too early to judge a draft, but off of first impressions, I am absolutely ecstatic. The Bengals made great pick after great pick and I must commend them. Just check out our first few selections.

1. Andre Smith-OT- The talent is undeniably there, as he was an All-American this past year and I think his mistakes have been overblown. He let people know he was leaving the combine before he left, fired the agent that "advised" him through his blunders and is injury free. Our alternative to Smith was Eugene Monroe who has knee problems. I'm no expert, but I don't think knee problems go away on a man carrying 300+ pounds.
2. Rey Maualuga-ILB- Another 2008 All-American and a first round talent who dropped into our lap.
3. Michael Johnson-DE- Yet another 2008 All-American. By this point, I am ecstatic and everything after this pick is alright with me.
3b. Chase Coffman-TE- That's right, another 2008 All-American. I know the streets are littered with former All-Americans, but at least we're getting elite talent.
4. Johnathan Luigs-C-All good things must come to an end. Luigs wasn't a 2008 All American...but he was in 2006 and 2007. I'll forgive him this once.
5. Kevin Huber-P- Our punter last season, Kyle Larson, finished dead last in the league in punting average last year. Enter one more 2008 All American in Kevin Huber.
6. Bernard Scott-RB- Won the Heisman in Division II last year and scored 73 touchdowns in his last 2 years. Who cares that he's 25 and has been arrested 5 times? Not me, that's who. Once every 5 years? I can live with those odds. I am officially ready for the NFL Season to begin...

which is partly because of the play of the Orlando Magic. You ask how worried I am about them and my answer is not very. Philly has outplayed and outhustled us for roughly 80 percent of this series. They want it more and it shows. If they win, it would be because they deserved it. If they were playing terrible ball and still keeping the games close, I'd be upset and worried but they simply want it more. Outside of Dwight Howard and Courtney Lee, you'll be hard pressed to find a player that appears to actually give a damn about this series. With the talent difference between the two teams, there is no reason this series shouldn't be over right now.

Game 1- We underestimated Philly and paid the price. Not to mention we wasted a 31-16 by Dwight Howard, where he went 9-12 from the line.
Game 2- The light bulb came on for us, or at least I thought so, and we win by 9.
Game 3- Philly outhustled us in their arena to get another win. Dwight Howard throws up a 36-11, goes 12-14 from the line and hits 2 FT's down the stretch to tie the game. Thanks for nothing big guy.
Game 4- Again we are outhustled, but a last second shot by Hedo Turkoglu bails us out.

I think we win this series in 6. Philly played their absolute best for 4 games...and only won 2 of them. Not to mention that their 2 wins came on last second shots. Dwight has been great, 24 ppg, 14 boards, 3 blocks and he's shooting 71 percent from the field. Not the free throw line. The field. He's hitting 7 of every 10 shots he takes, yet he hasn't had more than 16 shots in a game. Philly's fast break offense is superb. Hammering the ball into Dwight would slow them down and throw off their game, but we would much rather shoot three's which leads to long rebounds which leads to fast breaks. We go back home for Game 5 and I see a big game for Dwight. Something along the lines of a 28-20-6 blocks in a convincing win.

Detroit is out of the playoffs and I couldn't be happier. The bully that beat me up for years, just got swirlied and I am loving it. The Pistons as you know it may be over. Sheed, AI and McDyess are all free agents and likely gone. I'm really hoping Detroit panics and overpays for Carlos Boozer in an attempt to get back to the top. Nothing says "Please Don't Forget About Us!" like giving 100 million to Carlos Boozer. Stuckey is solid, but I wouldn't hang my future on him like Joe Dumars did. There best bet is to hold that cap money for a year and try to get into the LeBron sweepstakes.

As you mentioned, the Bulls-Celtics is shaping up to be the best series in the first round. Rondo is averaging a triple double through 4 games, which is incredible. It's not even a wimpy triple double like, 11-10-10. He's putting up 23 points, 11 boards, 10 assists and 3 steals to boot. Derrick Rose is going to be absolutely terrifying in a couple years. His shot is still shaky and his defense is so far from where it could be, yet he's still doing great. Big Baby has stepped up admirably for KG (Sidebar: I saw a guy wearing a Big Baby shirt jersey (Shir-sey?) today. Did you know they made those? Does Big Baby know they make those? Does the guy really like Davis, or were all the KG/Pierce/Marbury shir-sey's sold out? I demand an answer). Chicago is playing some great ball right now, and even though they are similar to Philly in their style of athletic play, I still hope we see them in the next round, assuming we advance.

I haven't caught as much baseball as I would have liked too, because of schoolwork and the NBA playoffs, but I like what I read about the Reds. Tonight we get the Astros and Oswalt, who absolutely kills us. I don't know what it is and haven't bothered to check the stats but I believe he's won his last 47 against us and hasn't given up a run against the Reds...ever. Like not even on video games, or in Little League ball. I really hope Eddy gets it going tonight in what could be a great pitcher's duel.

Did you ever check out Carolla's podcast, or not your cup of tea?

I don't know how much of a fan you are of Rick Ross, but the CD he just put out is good stuff. He doesn't have the world's best beats, but I'd argue that he has the best ear for beats. He always picks beats that complement him well and never picks anything too fast or slow for his style. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of his.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Fidrych, NBA, and MLB

I do have this to say in response to your Fidrych post. You mentioned all the pitch counts and other things that we have in place to protect pitchers that weren't there when Fidrych pitched. The 73 1/3 innings pitched in a month (with 7 complete games, a couple of them extra inning games, thrown in there) is an insane stat, and something that would never (NEVER) happen today. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Fidrych was amazing his rookie year, putting up a 19-9 record with a 2.34 ERA. Look at those numbers. Those are insane.
But, after that year, he was never the same. He battled injuries for the rest of his career (which only lasted another 4 years), while going 10-10 over those last 4 years. In his five year career (all with Detroit), he was 29-19 with a 3.10 ERA. Those are good stats over the course of 2 years...but, based on his rookie season, he was capable of so much more. You just have to wonder if he could've benefited from a pitch count.
I'm not saying that I completely agree with the strictness of some pitch counts, but I do believe that they have some sort of merit.

This Celtics/Bulls series is shaping up to have a great finish. The game today was fantastic, with both teams hitting clutch shots down the stretch. The block on Pierce's three point attempt was a perfect end to the game. I'm really rooting for the Bulls to take this series, but I'm really just looking forward to these next 3 games.

The Pistons, on the other hand, are being pushed out of the playoffs as meekly as possible. Have you ever seen a team with so little fight? Every game has been a blow-out. It's a pathetic series to watch. My hope is that the Pistons come back next year hungrier than ever, with Stuckey out to prove everyone wrong. Will it happen? I don't know...but it's all I have at this point.

How worried are you about the Magic?

The Tigers and Reds are both sitting at 10-8. I've watched a lot of both teams, and I like what I see. The Tigers' offense is looking more consistent than it was last year, with a lot of people producing. If they lose a lead late in the game, they have been much better at regaining it. Cabrera has been amazing, and some of their other hitters (Ordonez, Guillen, etc.) are starting to heat up. Granderson has been on fire the past couple of weeks, and Inge has looked great. The entire team has been hitting pretty well, and that's always a good thing.
Their bullpen is looking pretty good, with Rodney looking great in the closers role (aside from an outing or two). Verlander still hasn't had a good start, which is a little disturbing, and definitely something to keep an eye on. But their other pitchers (especially Galarraga) have looked terrific. If Verlander can get it turned around, their starting pitching will be deadly.

The Reds are also looking pretty good. Harang has looked dominant this entire season, Cueto has been better than I expected him to be, and Arroyo has looked pretty good. Even Rhodes has been great out of the bullpen, allowing no runs and 5 hits over 7 innings. Volquez needs to get his stuff together, though. He has been severely disappointing so far...and he's killing my fantasy team.
On the offensive side, they're also looking pretty good. Votto has been amazing. Bruce is starting to show some signs of life (hitting 2 home runs today). Taveras has been a great addition...speed and base hits. Encarnacion and Phillips have been getting better over the last couple of games, too.

I'm excited for both teams.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Detroit...Meet Your New Quarterback!

No...not the man on the left. It's the guy dressed in a white suit. The guy who apparently can't even muster a wave by himself. The guy who looks like Marmaduke from the short-lived sitcom Carpoolers.

That's him. Your quarterback of the future. Your team just gave him $41.7 million in guarantees.

I have many reasons to not like this, not least of which has to do with the fact that his extremely talented Georgia team underachieved every year he was there. But, for now, I'll focus on the fact that he looks like he barely knows where he is.
Do you really expect that man to lead a team who went 0-16 last year to a stunning turnaround?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fidrych, Paulus and Playoffs

I say you buy the Fidrych jersey...but wait a few months to break it out. Good articles you posted about The Bird. The things that jumped out at me were things off this nature:

"From July 29th to August 29th, The Bird threw a nine-inning game, a seven-inning game, a nine-inning game, another nine-inning game, another nine-inning game, a 10-inning game, a nine-inning game and an 11 1/3 inning game -- each one on three-days rest. Imagine that: Fidrych threw 73 1/3 innings and seven complete games in a month."

Amazing stuff. Athletes today are bigger, stronger and better conditioned than they ever were. Guys in 50's, 60's and 70's would eat hot dogs and smoke in the dugout, yet the guys of our days are on pitch counts? Really? A guy today trains his body 12 months out of the year and is a step up genetically from guys decades ago, but he can't throw more than 90-100 pitches every 5 days? Meanwhile The Bird threw more innings in a month than K-Rod did all of last year. Something ain't right, I tell ya.

How in the world does Greg Paulus get to play four years of Division I basketball, then transfer without sitting out a year to play Division I Football at Michigan? I also heard he was quite the QB in high school...but so was Michael Porter. You've been warned Wolverine fans.

NFL schedules are out. Week 2-Bengals at Packers. Rodgers! Palmer/ O’Sullivan! Come get some!

I saw that Ray Allen elbow and wondered the same thing. Giving a 33 year old man a game off before the playoffs isn’t punishment. It’s a reward. I’ve noticed more than a few dirty moves by Allen. He and Chris Paul are neck and neck for the leader of the “We play as nice guys, but we’re really creeps. Don’t tell anyone” group. The Allen suspension is like pitchers that get involved in brawls. They get suspended for 5 games, but they are only scheduled to pitch one of them. What sense does that make? That’s not a suspension, it’s a vacation.

Speaking of creepy Celtics, I read an article a while back where Stephen Jackson claimed Paul Pierce screamed at a ref, “You can’t call traveling on me! I’ve got a ring!” Is there one person on the Celtics you’d want to hang out with?

Do yourself a favor and wait for the dollar movies or until it pops up on the internet with Observe and Report. It definitely had some funny moments, but Rogen has a chance to be the premier funny man of this generation and this one let me down a little bit.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate my fantasy team, Jumbalaya Johnson, for pulling the upset and taking home the fantasy championship this year. Congrats to Andre Miller, Kelenna Azuibuike (MVP), Brandon Rush, Lamarcus Aldridge, David Lee, Rajon Rondo, Caron Butler, Brandon Roy, Jason Richardson, Roger Mason, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan and Josh Howard. Good job fellas, plaques are in the mail.

Garnett is out and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll never wish injury on anyone, but if the injury has already occurred, then I have no problem hoping the injury doesn’t get better. The Celtics are still potent without KG, but Orlando and definitely Cleveland, have to be licking their lips. Cleveland now knows that they might not go see a Game 6 until the Conference Finals. Orlando is the wild card here. We played terribly against Boston without KG, but still beat them twice. If we get past Philly and Boston, we see Cleveland. I’ve said all along that I’d like to play Cleveland in a series, because they don’t scare me. We play Lebron well enough and we’re a solid team on the road. This postseason could define the rest of Dwight Howard’s career and that’s what scares me. There’s always been the knock on him that he’s too nice of a guy to truly dominate. He’s more David Robinson than Tim Duncan. I believed this earlier in his career, but I’m starting to come around. Dwight has no problem blocking a shot into the third row or dunking on you as many times as he needs too. He destroyed Toronto in the first round last year so I think he’s got what it takes, but this year is the test. If he destroys Philly, holds his own against Boston and has his way against Cleveland, I think we’re in good hands for the next decade. If he struggles against Philly at all and is overmatched by Boston, we could be in trouble.

On to some first round playoff predictions. I’ll start with the East.

Cleveland-Detroit: Ideally, Detroit gives Cleveland a tough 7 game series, but this should be a scrimmage for the Cavs. Cleveland in 5.

Atlanta-Miami- Should be a sneaky good series. Wade is Wade and Michael Beasley is coming on, but the Hawks play some good ball at home and have some weapons. Hawks in 7.

Boston-Chicago- I’m still not completely sold on KG being out for the entire playoffs. Something tells me he makes an appearance late in the postseason. Hence, I hope Boston makes short work of Chicago. The longer the series drags out, the more time he has to get healthy. Boston in 4.

Orlando-Philly- A great matchup for us. They don’t have the bigs inside to compete with Dwight, nor the three point shooters to match ours. If we’re serious about a title run this year, we end this thing in 4 games.

Now out West.

Lakers-Jazz- Many people pick the Lakers to walk through the playoffs, and they probably will, but I think this is a tough series for them. Lakers in 6.

Portland-Houston- Portland has a great team, but I think they have to take their lumps this year before they do some damage. Houston finally gets out the first round. Is it a coincidence that their first trip to the second round coincides with T-Mac being out for the season? I think not. Houston in 6. Sidebar: Greg Oden is questionable for the first game of the series. Knee acting up again? Nope. Back on the fritz? Not this time. Is it his sinuses? Bingo. Oden may miss the first playoff game of his career due to sinuses.

Denver- New Orleans. This could be a great first round series. Denver has yet to leave the first round in the Carmelo era and I think this year is no different. Posey will give Melo problems and Chris Paul runs circles around a 32 year old Chauncey Billups.

San Antonio-Dallas. Losing Ginobili hurts this team in a bad way. Still, I’m not ready to count out a team with Duncan and Popovich just yet. Spurs in 7.

I refuse to make predictions for the full postseason out of fear of jinxing Orlando. I’m taking it round by round baby. Round by round.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RIP Mark Fidrych & Nick Adenhart

I would like to start off by saying a few words about Mark Fidrych. He died on his farm yesterday in an apparent accident. He was 54 years old. I was not yet born when he had his one glorious season with the Tigers in 1976, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate who he was and what he meant to the game. I watched a special on him a number of years ago, and have been fascinated with him ever since. He was a guy who genuinely seemed to enjoy playing baseball...the money was just a nice afterthought. He was definitely a unique player and person. I won't get into all of his quirks here...there have been a ton of articles written just since yesterday about him. If you get a chance, read this article from Sports Illustrated. It does a great job of summing up his impact on the league, and paints a great picture of him. If you have a little more time, treat yourself to this article. It was written in 1976, when Fidrych was 9-1 as a rookie (his one loss at that point coming in a relief appearance).
I have been looking at getting a Fidrych jersey for quite some time. I almost bought one last week, but stopped when I saw an Alan Trammell jersey. I remember seeing Trammell play. He was one of my favorite players as a kid. So I was torn. Which one do I buy? I think I had finally settled on Fidrych...then he died. Do I buy it now, or is that a trendy thing to do?

I would also like to bid adieu to Nick Adenhart, the Angels pitcher who was killed in a drunk driving accident. The night of his 2009 debut, I had been watching the Tigers game and the Reds game. After they both concluded, I looked for another game to watch. It was up between a Giants game or the Angels/Athletics game. I chose the latter, more because I didn't want to watch the Giants than for a love of either of those two teams. Still, I watched the majority of the game. Adenhart looked really good. He pitched six scoreless innings, but ended up with a no-decision after his bullpen blew the lead.
From all accounts, he was an extremely nice guy, and he just seemed to be getting going in the majors. 22 years old. It's a shame.

Now, on to some lighter topics.

From what I'm reading now, Paulus used to be a quarterback...and a pretty good one at that. I would assume that he's working out for another position, as they're all stocked-up on young quarterbacks. I don't think they have any need for a guy who hasn't played football for the past 4 years.
That's me trying to talk the Packers out of looking at Paulus. Please Ted Thompson...I'm begging you. Don't sign Greg Paulus. I hate that man with a bitter, bitter passion. Just looking at him fills me with an indescribable rage. For the love of all that is holy, don't sign him.

The Tigers are sitting at 4-4, which isn't really too bad. I almost murdered Brandon Lyon after blowing a lead, but I'm getting better. That little hiccup aside, their bullpen has actually looked pretty good. They had a streak of 27 straight batters retired. That's an impressive stat. Their offense is looking pretty good, and they've got some good young pitchers. Rodney has looked great in the closers role. They overcame a 4-0 deficit in the bottom of the 8th inning the other day, and ended up winning 6-4. They have the talent to make some serious noise in that division. I realize that I'm being extremely optimistic about a .500 record this early in the season, but I don't really care.

I was never a massive fan of Michael Porter the basketball player, but he seems like a decent enough guy. I've had a couple of classes with him, and he has never struck me as arrogant or anything like that. A little quiet, but that's all. He's married, and he just had his first kid. He wasn't the best on the court, but I can't kick a nice guy when he's down. Best of luck, Michael. I hope everything works out for you.

Ray Allen elbowed Anderson Varejao in the crotch and got suspended for one game, which was meaningless anyway. You okay with that? Personally, I would like to see at least a two game suspension. That was done with malicious intent, no doubt about it. Now I know why Kobe hates the guy.
Also, to harp on the Celtics a little bit...
I don't understand why they're making such a big deal out of the Cavs dancing situation. The Cavs dance. It's what they do. Oh...did the Celtics feel disrespected? Perhaps the same kind of disrespect that goes along with getting down on all fours on the court and barking at a point guard as he brings the ball up the floor? Or maybe the kind of disrespect that goes along with clapping loudly right in an opponent's face? Or maybe the kind of disrespect that goes along with elbowing another man in the junk for no apparent reason?
They're right. That's completely disrespectful. How dare anyone disrespect the Celtics like that. They're such a classy team, I don't know how you would be able to treat them as anything less than kings.
For the love of Pete, fellas, just shut up. You're grown men. "Ohhh...they made us feel bad. We won't forget this in the playoffs." If you need extra motivation to beat a team in the playoffs, something is seriously wrong. You got killed. You take whatever is dished out, and you try to beat them the next time. End of story.

I have not seen Observe and Report. I'm curious about it, but I'll probably wait until it gets to the dollar theater to catch it. I did finally get a chance to see Quarantine, and...holy crap. One of the best horror movies I've ever seen. Terrifying stuff. I was tense for the entire last half of the movie. If you're a fan of the horror genre at all, you really need to check it out. Jennifer Carpenter is terrific.

Just when I was worried Isiah Thomas would never find work...

Baseball season is officially underway. I was surprised to see the Reds as a lot of people's dark horse pick to win the NL Central. As I've said, we've definitely got some talent, but I still think we're a year away. We've won two in a row and look to make it three against a Milwaukee team that figures to have a down year compared to last season. Volquez and Cueto have looked a little rusty coming out of the gate so I'm hoping they'll get into form soon. The good news is that we have 39 year old Arthur Rhodes suiting up for us and he's been a winner everywhere he's been. Not to mention Edwin Encarnacion has yet to commit an error this year, after committing 64 in the past three seasons. Also, Joey Votto is on pace for 54 homers, 216 RBI's, 189 strikeouts and be caught stealing 27 times compared to 0 stolen bases. Gotta love early projections.

The Packers knew how much you loved Greg Paulus, so they brought him in for a workout...at an unknown position. You must be ecstatic.

Isiah Thomas was hired as the head coach of Florida International today. Anytime you can lock up a guy that helped destroy an NBA franchise, threw his 17 year old daughter under the bus after his drug overdose, and caused the Knicks to pay a woman 11 million dollar as a settlement for sexual harassment, you have to lock him up. You can't afford not to.

By lock him up, I mean lock him up with a contract, not lock him up in prison...though either would work.

I'll admit it: I'm enjoying the Calipari Era already. A commitment from the top big man in the nation AND getting Michael Porter to give up his scholarship in your first week of work will get you on my good side. I've had plenty to say about Porter, but I can respect a guy who walks away at the bottom of his game to make time for his family. Everyone is interested as to who will be taking Porter's place as starting PG for the Cats. John Wall, the #1 recruit in the country, is reported to be the leading man and I had a chance to watch him play this weekend. Dynamite. Think Derrick Rose, if he were more of a true point guard. I also caught Xavier Henry, another name linked to UK. He too is a great player, but like Wall, he is likely a one and done guy. Calipari has to be on the phone with these guys night and day because a lineup of Cousins-Patterson-Miller-Meeks-Wall with Liggins-Henry-Orton-Pilgrim-Galloway-Hood off the bench could really do some damage. Two All-Conference players in Meeks and Patterson, teamed with 5 of the top 32 ranked freshmen this year and a coach with something to prove, but something has to give. Talent like Henry and Orton can go anywhere in the nation and start, so I doubt if they would sit on the bench, even if it meant being a part of something potentially special. I believe that Henry will only come if Meeks goes pro and Orton will come if Patterson goes pro. The season just ended, yet already I'm curious for it to start again to see how this all plays out.

Speaking of college basketball, I'm no big fan of women's hoops that don't feature Candace Parker, but I have to give it up to UConn's team. Not only did they go undefeated, but they beat every team by double digits. Every team. That's phenomenal yet I rarely heard about it. I also have to tip my hat to Courtney Paris of Oklahoma. She stated that she would repay her tuition of she did not bring a National Championship to Oklahoma and she intends to make good on her word. Of course, her pops used to play in the NFL so scrounging up that cash will be a little easier, but it' s still a stand up gesture on her part.

Have you seen "Observe and Report"?

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Cutler Era

I won't say much about Calipari because I've made my thoughts known on the matter. I'm glad he's here and I believe he will do well. I love the fact that the first thing he did was call former UK coaches to gauge their response on the situation. That seems like something that a man serious about his job and willing to go the extra mile to succeed would do. I also hear he will meet with each individual player about their chances of being on next years team. We had 18 players on the roster next year, and we only have one graduating. We had four recruits scheduled to come here, with two saying they will attend college elsewhere with the arrival of Calipari. Calipari had 3 guys that committed to Memphis, but have now said they want to play elsewhere. Something has to give. It will be very interesting to see Calipari whittle that roster down to 13 scholarship players.

Get off Cutler's back will ya? If the Packers hired McDaniels and his first act of business was to shop Aaron Rodgers around, wouldn't Rodgers have a right to be upset? Rodgers was one of the few bright spots for the Pack, and now he's on the trading block? What gives?

I actually think Denver made out like a bandit here. They get Orton, a decent QB on a one year deal, so they can see what they have in him. They have two top 20 picks this year to help that awful defense or they could grab Sanchez, if he falls, and a running back and continue to ignore that awful defense. Options is the name of the game. Cutler goes to a team with a decent defense, and some decent weapons on offense and he's in a lackluster division. Both teams win here, but I'm really surprised at how much Denver pulled in. They pretty much had to force their hand, and they still made out well. Are you worried about the Pack seeing "Favre reincarnated" two times a year?

PS- You wanna talk about ugly Chicago QB's? Well the list starts and stops with a punky QB known as McMahon.

"I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: The Reds will jump off to a great start and hear the “Have they finally put it together?” talk. Then we will lose an absurd amount of games, 17 out of 20 sounds about right. We will get it back together only after the inevitable Ken Griffey Junior trade and after the Brewers have locked up the division. We will finish with around 77 wins and wonder how great we could have been if we had pitching. That’s what will happen. It’s happened every year since 1998 and it’s not going to change now. The Reds disgust me. You don't happen to know where I might be able to find a Massachusetts Red Sox or New Jersey Yankees shirt? I've been with those teams through the ups and downs. You baseball fans with decent teams, ownership and something to root for make me sick!"
~Me, before Opening Day last season.

We started 4-2, before falling to 12-20 after that slide I predicted. I was wrong on the winning streak after trading Junior, but we finished up with 74 wins. I was off by 3. This year, I see more of the same. The older I get the less and less excited I get about Opening Day, but this year is an intriguing year to me. Last year, I think we waited to long to trade Griffey and Dunn. This year, we're starting with the youngsters. While I don't see us winning more than 75 games this season, this year is critical because this year may decide the fate of the Reds for the next decade. Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Ed Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey: All core guys on this team and all are 27 or younger. I like the Willy Taveras signing and we get to see what we have with guys like Bill Bray, Micah Owings and Darryl Thompson, all guys 26 or under. If they can at least get some chemistry going here while taking their lumps for a full season, we may really be onto something. In that sense, I'm extremely excited for Opening Day, but more so for future years than for this one. What about you?

I did listen to Doom, all four albums you sent me. I loved The Mouse & The Mask. I liked the Adult Swim theme and cameos, the production was fantastic and the lyrics were on point. This one has been on repeat. Vaudeville Villain was pretty good as well. Again, his production fits him well and his lyrics are out there, but very listenable. I couldn't get into Operation Doomsday or Born Like This, but I've only given them one listen a piece. I'll have to hear them again before I can really judge them.

No mo Plaxico? As I'm typing I hear that the Giants have released our old pal Plaxico. I have to wonder if they have a deal in place for a guy like Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards. Brandon Jacobs, a firm supporter of Burress, was able to give me a quote on Plax being released.

"We need him. Hell, I need him. I'm a mess without Plax. I miss him so damn much. I miss being with him, I miss being near him. I miss his laugh. I miss his scent; I miss his musk. When this all gets sorted out, I think Plax and I should get an apartment together."

Alrighty then. Thanks to Brandon Jacobs for that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cali-Party!

Okay, so that's ridiculous. However, I saw that sign no less than twice today, and I laughed both time. As I did when I saw the shirts for sale that said "Cal's Cats". I will not be wearing one of those any time soon.
Still, the excitement is warranted. Gillespie was run out of town for losing too many games, so they bring in a coach who has won more games in a four year span than any other coach in college basketball history, including 50+ straight wins over conference opponents. Granted, he was coaching in Conference USA, but a streak that long is impressive nonetheless. At some point your team is bound to have a down game. How many times have we seen a superior team lose because the energy wasn't there, or because their shots weren't falling?
He says that he can't be expected to step in and win right away...but I can't see why he wouldn't be able to. It's looking like Meeks and Patterson are both returning. Add a shooter and/or a decent point guard to the mix (along with Cousins, who is likely to follow Calipari here), and that's a pretty good team. I would say they'd be good enough to win the SEC with that nucleus...or at least make it a little further in the tournament than they did.
Of course there is excitement. However, as you mentioned before, he doesn't have a spotless track record. Though never found guilty, he has been under suspicion of recruiting violations a number of times. He also doesn't try too hard to find "character guys". He can recruit like crazy, but he doesn't always care if those guys have spotless records or not.
I'm excited about him. I think he can do really good things here. I just hope the fans give him more than two years if he struggles out of the gate.

Cutler is crying more. There's a lot of he-said, he-said going on. "We tried calling him and he never called us back." "No you didn't."
Now something stranger is going on. This is the conversation that has taken place over the past couple of weeks, in condensed form:

Broncos: I wonder if we could get Cassel from New England? It's nothing more than a passing fancy.

Cutler: How dare you disrespect me! I haven't won a single playoff game. The expectations of following Jake Plummer are overwhelming.

Broncos: ...

Cutler: Trade me. I won't stand by and be disrespected.

Broncos: No. We won't trade you.

Cutler: Okay...but I'm not going to come to any team meetings or anything.

Broncos: Okay. We're going to trade you.

Cutler (weeping like a child): B-b-b-but...I don't think I want to be traded anymore.

I'm sure there's something in there I'm missing, but that's basically it. You're a grown man, Cutler. Say something one way or another, and stick with it. Also, when you're trying to refute a story, try a more compelling argument than "Nuh-uh".
And while I was typing this story, it seems that he has been traded to Chicago. They gave up Orton and two first round picks (one in 2009 and one in 2010). This may actually work out well for both teams. Orton played a pretty decent year last year. He has a strong arm, but he also seemed to learn how to minimize his mistakes. He wasn't fantastic, but he was good enough, which is really all McDaniels is looking for. Chicago finally gets a good quarterback to go with their defense.
However...
Chicago's defense wasn't really that great last year, and they don't have the talent on offense that Denver did last year. Cutler should be able to do well there, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a pretty big dip in his numbers. It should be interesting to see what happens.
That is an awful lot for Chicago to give up. They lose their first round picks for the next two years AND their starting quarterback.
It is good to see that Chicago is keeping its streak of fugly starting quarterbacks alive. Orton, Grossman, and Cutler. Those names alone are enough to make me want to run screaming into the woods.

Sunday is Opening Day. Are you excited?
The Tigers dropped Sheffield. It's about time. He looked terrible last year, and he didn't look any better in Spring Training. on top of that, Leyland insisted on playing him over Thames last year, even though Thames outplayed him (in the field and at the plate). It'll be nice to have someone else filling his position this year.

You check out MF Doom yet?