Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Opening Day and Hoops talk

Well, UK's season ended a couple games earlier than I would have liked it too, but I'm not devastated. I can't even say I'm that sad. Damn the youth and inexperience, because not being able to shoot will kill you every time. Just look at the last few champions and you'll see that each had at least one three point shooter (A guy shooting at least 40% from 3, hit at least 70 three's over the course of the season). North Carolina had Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. The year before that Kansas had Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers. Before that Florida had Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey (twice). UK didn't have one player that met those criteria. It was bound to happen. I won't get into too much stuff about the game since I'm late, but Calipari again made some questionable moves. Late in the game, with time on West Virginia's side, Calipari refused to press the ball and hope for turnovers. WVU even took all of their ball handlers out after realizing such, and Cal still wouldn't press! He waited till about the 2 minute mark, and by then it was too late. Yet again, a Calipari coached team struggled from the line. It's no coincidence. Patrick Patterson, a 77% FT shooter last year, saw his FT% fall to 69%. DeAndre Liggins saw his fall from 67% to 59%. This stuff reflects on the Coach. You would think that after free throw struggles has cost you chances at least 3 NCAA tourney games, including the championship, that you would integrate them into practice. This article tells me otherwise. Two weeks after losing the championship, Calipari says he may try to work on FT's once a week in practice. Unreal.

With that said, it was a great season. We didn't win the championship but it almost feels like a championship team because I'll never forget this season or the guys on it. I'll miss the hell out of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. Patrick Patterson is likely gone to the league and Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton may follow them. I can't blame them a bit. With rumors of a NBA lockout after next season, they'd almost be fools to not go after the money. Some are questioning Orton's decision to test the draft waters, but I think it's a good one. Young athletic big men who have a high motor, ability to mix it up and play excellent defense are a dying breed. He could absolutely go first round. Part of me wants them all to stay, but I know better. Part of me is intrigued by a potential "Fab Five" type of team next year. I'm genuinely excited for next season and that's something I couldn't say as little as two years ago.

The NBA playoffs are weeks ago and I'm eager yet nervous. I'm eager because all the pressure is off of Orlando. All the pressure is on Cleveland. Every move they made in the past 12 months has been geared toward stopping Orlando. They acquired Shaq to make Dwight Howard work on both ends of the court. They signed Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker to defend Vince Carter and provide some outside shooting. Antawn Jamison is in Cleveland to neutralize Rashard Lewis. Cleveland is getting all the publicity, as well they should, and Orlando is kinda flying under the radar. I like it. The Lakers have looked surprisingly average lately and are on the verge of falling behind Orlando in the race for best overall record. I was hoping for Toronto in the first round, but it appears Charlotte will be the draw. Either way I'm not too concerned. I recently revisited my post where I talked about giving actual year off of my life for an Orlando championship. After thinking about such a bold claim...I stand by my decision. What's the difference between being 80 years old and 85 years old? Not much, from these eyes at least. I stand by my ridiculous claim.

Last night Orlando defeated Dallas by 15 points and the game wasn't even that close. Dwight had a good game, Mickael Pietrus came off the bench to hit 6 three's and Vince Carter had another surprisingly good game. After a 22-15 start, Orlando is 31-7. I'd like to think we're peaking at the right time with the playoffs just a couple of weeks away. Last night, Charles Barkley made some good points about Dwight. He's the only star in the league where his negative aspects are brought up before his positives. Let the conversation turn to LeBron, Carmelo, Durant, etc, and people love to talk about what great talents they are, and the praise is well deserved. As soon as Dwight comes up, the talk always turns to his post game and if he's too nice to dominate. It never fails. He doesn't get credit for his improved offense and his defense is so consistent that it's glossed over because it's expected. He's leading the league in rebounds and blocks for the second straight year and is on pace to become a 2 time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Assuming he doesn't put up Olowakandi-esque numbers in the final regular season games, he will become the first player to ever lead the league in field goal %, rebounds, blocks and double doubles. I won't hear of arguments that he only wins DPOY because the NBA is lacking quality centers. While a good center is rare these days, he's anchoring a defense that starts Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis...and is still a top 5 defense! That alone should get him the award!

Talks this week came bout about Tracy McGrady being more than willing to re-join Orlando this offseason. Now why would a washed up star averaging 10 points a game on a terrible team want to join a title contender? Beats me. Let's just forget how McGrady said if Orlando didn't draft Emeka Okafor over Dwight Howard he wanted to be traded. Or the fact that Houston advanced past the first round of the playoffs without him. Thanks bu no thanks McGrady.

I found myself listening to "808's & Heartbreaks", one album we have differing opinions on. While it isn't Kanye's best work, I find myself listening to it considerably more than West's other three albums. Give it another chance. It's really not that bad when you listen to alone it in a dark room with a glass of wine. I promise.

What say you of these McNabb to Oakland trade talks? Is there enough fabric in Oakland to make jerseys for Russell AND McNabb?

Opening day, or night this season, is here. I'm trying my hardest to get excited for the Reds season but can't for two reasons. First, Orlando is still in the mix. As with last season, I can't really get into baseball season until basketball season is over. Second, Dusty Baker is still our manager which pencils us in for 73-79 wins and Aroldis Chapman's arm falling off by Labor Day. I am excited about Jason Heyward of the Braves for a few reasons. First, he's from McDonough which isn't far from Macon. Second, there aren't a lot of black stars in baseball anymore. Third, analysts are going out of their way to hype this guy. I love it. Today, Tim Kurkijan was singing his praises and talked about Heyward being a mountain of a man at 6'6" and about 250 pounds. Then they showed him and I didn't think he was that big so I looked it up. Several sites list him at 6'4", 220 pounds. I guess that's almost 6'6", 250. By All Star break he'll be 6'9" 290! I heard he carries a giant axe with him and always has an enormous blue ox by his side! Kurkijan also mentioned how Heyward has all the tools because his parents went to Dartmouth! Then all the stories of him being compared to Hank Aaron! Hank Aaron's career began in the 1950's! How could some of these analyst possibly be comparing him to a guy that's prime had passed by the time they were born? That's like me saying John Wall reminds me Bob Cousy. Then there are the stories about the, "I heard the crack of a bat and I knew Heyward was batting." What tipped you off? The fact that his AA teammates can't hit the ball out of the infield? And how many times has a scout said that only to get to the field, and it's not Heyward/Babe Ruth/Bo Jackson batting? We never hear that one. Anyways, I love stories like those. I'm excited for the Jason Heyward aka "Young Willie Mays with a touch of Hank Aaron with some Junior Griffey sprinkled in" era. Baseball fever, catch it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness is upon us

I agree that St. Louis has to take a QB for their franchise's sake, but I think if they go QB, Jimmy Clausen is the better choice. The best choice, would be to trade down and pick up as many picks as they can, and maybe even get rid of Steven Jackson for picks, but teams aren't lining up for the right to give Ndamukong Suh $50 million dollars guaranteed. I know Clausen brings up the Brady Quinn comparisons, but Oklahoma quarterbacks aren't exactly lighting up the league. Clausen played in a NFL style offense for three years, has no serious injury concerns, has a slightly better arm and he wasn't playing with the talent that Bradford was. He threw 28 TD's to 4 interceptions this past year, while missing his best WR for most of the year. Of those 4 interceptions, 3 were tipped. This article breaks it down better than I can, but I think if the Rams want a QB to build around, Clausen is the choice over Bradford.

As I look through some mock drafts, I see that the consensus seems to be that the Bengals are taking Taylor Mays, the safety out of USC. Time for my second edition of, "You've been warned". Mays is a freak athlete in every sense of the word. 6'3, 230 pounds, 4.2-4.3 speed, 40 inch vertical, etc. All of that means nothing to me because he can't cover to save his life. Every scouting report I've seen compares him to Roy Williams...the same Roy Williams we just re-signed! All we have are hard hitting safeties in Williams, Chris Crocker and Chinedum Ndukwe to a lesser extent. We need a ball hawk in the worst way. Taylor Mays is not it. Too many times, I've seen him take terrible angles to the ball carrier and give up big plays. Of course he gets praised for tracking down the ball carrier, but the 30 yard run would have never happened if he took the correct angle initially. Of course Roy Williams had his best years under Mike Zimmer in Dallas, and Zimmer is now our defensive coordinator. We also have an unhealthy obsession with USC players so I'm all but certain Mays will be a Bengal.

Hey, you leave Jamarcus Russell alone! Have you seen that guy's college highlights?!? Unreal! What an arm. You ask if I've seen an article that misses the point more than the one about Russell losing weight. I'm not sure if it tops that, but this is surely a close second. Ron Washington may be the first man in his 50's to be a "one-time" cocaine user. "I didn't know what it was! I thought it was flour baby!" Likely story, Ron.

Surely you heard about the rumors of a Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard deal. Can you give me one reason St. Louis does that deal? I've heard that it's because Pujols wants a deal that will rival A-Rod's 275 million dollar deal. So what. Give it to him. He's well worth it. If not, couldn't they get a better deal than a 30 year old Ryan Howard? Maybe I'm missing something here.

I'm glad you brought up Robert Horry because I had this discussion a couple of months back. Is Robert Horry a Hall of Famer? I say no, but I've heard solid arguments that he should be inducted. He had a great career, but no all star games, no all NBA teams, and he was never as much as a first, second or third option on those teams. Sure, he hit some great shots, but he also had the privilege of playing with Hakeem, Shaq, Kobe and Duncan, four of the greatest players of all time. A clutch player? For sure. Hall of Famer, the best of the best? I say no. What say you?

You know, I've been checking some NBA mock drafts to gauge where DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson might go, and the only thing that sticks out to me are the "attitude" concerns of Cousins. I'm willing to take off my UK homer glasses for a second and tilt them askew on my head to get to the bottom of this. I think they are way overblown. I found myself on a mission to find where they may have started from. Did he fight a coach in 9th grade? Throw a chair at a teacher? Wait outside for an opponent after a tough game? Where did they start? I found scouting reports from 2006, 2007 and 2009 and not one mentioned attitude as a concern. This means sometime from his high school graduation in May 2009, to his enrollment at UK in fall of 2009, his attitude became a question mark. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm just trying to get to the bottom of it. Is he emotional? Yes, for better or worse and I'll take that any day over a big guy that doesn't care like Eric Dampier or Kwame Brown. A perfect example came in tonight's game against ETSU. Late in the game, Cousins went up with the shot and was fouled hard by two ETSU players. Nothing dirty, just a solid fouls. Cousins did the "keep my arms in the air and walk through the opponent to the free throw line" move. Right then, Jay Bilas pointed out that there was that attitude that scares NBA scouts and that he has to learn to keep that in check. Come again??? He didn't do anything wrong! He went to the free throw line and nailed both shots. He does whine about calls, which means he will fit in with roughly 98% of the NBA. His body language does need work, but it has improved since the beginning of the year, as have his free throws. Those things tell me he's willing to listen to a coach he respects. I think a Jerry Sloan or Larry Brown could really get the best out of him. Of course these reports could be justified and he could snap at any minute, but I just don't get that vibe from him.

Great slate of games today. Vandy went down on a buzzer beater. Georgetown took a whipping. Villanova pulled out a tough one with some help from the refs. Kentucky thrashed ETSU but I can't help but wonder why Coach Calipari left starters in up until around the 2 minute mark. They were up by more than 30 points for just about all of the second half, yet he kept 2 or 3 starters in at a time. Daniel Orton took a nasty spill late in the game and he still kept starters in. I hope Orton's alright, but it did lead to this exchange between my father and I.

Dad: Why are the starters still in there?
Me: No clue.
*Orton takes a hard fall on his back. The camera zooms in as he screams something about excrement and those who fornicate with their mothers.*
Dad: :-O. Who was he talking to?
Me: America?
Dad: Who said those words? Did Orton say those words?

I love March Madness.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Extra Extra! JaMarcus Russell loses weight!

I'm on board with your Bradford assessment...but I wouldn't quite compare him to Stafford.  Bradford is a risk because he just had shoulder surgery.  You're always taking a risk with a guy coming off shoulder surgery...but the fact that he hasn't played a snap in the NFL yet and he needs shoulder surgery is a bit off-putting.  Still, when healthy, Bradford played at a high level in college, something that Stafford never really did.  Plus, Bradford was never really known for a great arm; it was his accuracy and decision-making that made him good.  If anyone can play well after a shoulder surgery, it's a guy like that (see Drew Brees).
Now, I'm not saying that the Rams should take Bradford.  Drafting a quarterback with health concerns #1 overall is not the smartest thing to do.  They'll be paying him big money for a long time, and, if he's a bust (or if his shoulder starts acting up), they're screwed.  The Rams have multiple problems.  Putting a rookie quarterback behind that offensive line will ensure one thing: Bradford will take a beating.
That being said, Don Banks at Sports Illustrated has made the best argument I have found to say why the Rams will take Bradford #1 overall: it will buy the new GM and head coach a couple more years.  No one expects Spagnuolo to turn this team around immediately, but they do expect to see some steady improvement (which they didn't really get last year).  If they draft Bradford #1, the fans (and owners) are more likely to give them some slack for a couple more years.  "We have a new quarterback...of course he'll need a couple of years to adjust."

I was wondering what you thought about the Bryant signing.  As it turns out, you feel exactly the way I thought you would feel.  I was kind of hoping that the Bengals would sign TO.  It would only be for one year, and I think it would be fun to watch.  Plus, after the wretched offense he just played with in Buffalo, playing on an actual competitive team for a season might make him happy.  TO is basically a possession receiver, but he's a possession receiver who is still really good after the catch (you know, when he makes them).  They still have time.  Go for it, Cincy.  Take a chance.

This article kills me.  Can you think of an article that misses the point more than this one?  "JaMarcus Russell has lost some weight.  Seriously...he looks good."  It's not the weight that concerns people.  Culpepper was not exactly the picture of good health in Minnesota, yet he still had good years.  How about the fact that Russell's completion percentage was under 50% last season?  Or the fact that he has no pocket presence?  Or the fact that he's still not sure what it means to put "touch" on the ball.  But hey...he lost weight.  Good for him.  I'm sure Raiders fans are thrilled.

In response to your Barkley/Smith question: I'm not sure what career I would rather have.  On the one hand, I'd love to be recognized as one of the best ever (like Barkley), but, by the end of my career, I'm sure I would always be thinking about my lack of a ring.  If I had my pick, I'd choose a career like Robert Horry.  His stats aren't amazing, but he collected seven rings throughout his career.  In the process, he made a name for himself as being one of the best clutch shooters in history.  An unspectacular player, but he always came up big when it mattered, and he has seven rings to show for that skill, as well as his intelligence in picking which teams to play for.  Horry...I'll take your career, please.

Glad you got The Roots' stuff.  Hope you dig it.  I really love those guys, and it makes me sad to see them rotting away on Fallon.  Oh least it's not Leno.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Big Ben and Sam Bradford

The story has been out for a while, but I can't get over it. Of course, I'm speaking of the Ben Roethlisberger story. Milledgeville, where the allegations took place, is roughly 30 miles from Macon, so I can say this with all confidence: There is no reason Ben Roethlisberger should ever be in that city. None. It's a small college town and a man with a $100 million dollar contract has no business there whatsoever. I'm not passing any judgement on what happened that night because I don't know what happened. Don't care. Some of the women of Milledgeville are less than stand up citizens in my experience, and this is Ben's second sexual assault allegation. He has to know better than to go places that like. Derek Jeter has done his fair share of womanizing, yet you never hear of tales like this. Why? He knows where to go and where to stay away from. I think this goes deeper than Roethlisberger's celebrity status. From all accounts, the guy is a jerk. He's notorious for skipping out on checks at restaurants around town. Stupid stuff like that. Even after 2 Super Bowl victories, some people around Pittsburgh, still wouldn't mind seeing him gone. This strikes me as the behavior of a guy still getting used to and experimenting with his fame. Roethlisberger is aesthetically challenged, so he seems to be using his status to make some time with the ladies. Nothing wrong with that, especially if you didn't get the action in high school. A guy like Kobe strikes me the same way. Not necessarily the looks part of it, but Kobe is an awkward guy. He grew up in Italy, moved back to the States and seems like he's still working on having normal conversations with other people. It's why he married the first girl that showed him some attention and maybe why an awkward interaction in Colorado lead to rape allegations. Again, with all the women Jeter has associated with, you never hear of things like this and he's got enough money to make this worth a woman's while financially. Why? He's a beautiful bastard who has been charming women into the bed since he was in fourth grade. Am I reaching? Probably, but these are the things you think off when hopped up on prescription medicine.

UK is getting ready to play Alabama in their first game in the SEC tournament. With Syracuse losing in their conference tourney, a win or two by UK should guarantee a #1 spot in the NCAA tournament. I still haven't decided how far we can go. I either think we lose in the second round, or make the Final Four. No in between. That's how up and down this team is. We should breeze until at least the Elite Eight on talent alone. The first couple games will probably be against guard heavy teams. If they can get hot, anything can happen but Cousins, Patterson and Orton down low should be too much for them. Syracuse scares me though. They have athletic bodies on defense, have a couple of big men to throw at Cousins and are a veteran team with a good coach. Then again, if John Wall decides to revert to early season form mixed with Cousins in late season form, the tournament could be for moot. UK has the talent to steamroll anyone into the Final Four, yet are inconsistent enough to lose to Butler in the second round. I have no idea. And that's why I love March Madness.

The Bengals signed Antonio Bryant this week and I'm still torn on the deal. I appreciate the fact that we addressed our need of a deep threat WR, and he got the same exact contract Laveranues Coles got last year, but we could have done a lot better. Chad 85 has been begging for us to trade for Brandon Marshall and I had gotten my hopes up. We'd have to give up our first rounder and give him a new contract, but I'd rather give a 25 year old Marshall 10+ million a season, than to give a 29 year old Bryant 7 million a season. Chad is a free agent after this season, and if he left we would have still had Marshall to build around. He needs a change of scenery badly and I can see him having a phenomenal season if he gets out of Denver. Bryant on the other hand only has good seasons during contract years, is coming off a knee injury and has bounced around the league due to his attitude problems. Hell, I would have rather had TO for one year, than Bryant for 4 years. Oh well.

With the draft coming up, I have to put my "You've been warned" report out there. Last year I advised against taking Matthew Stafford and his 20 interceptions in 10 games this season did nothing to help his case. This year? Sam Bradford. There has been talk of him going as high as #1 overall to the Rams. Bad move. He played in a spread offense which can make almost anyone look good. He played against the Big 12, a conference hardly known for its tough defenses. His arm strength seems above average at best. The injury concerns are definitely there. He didn't really make reads in college. He would look to one spot and put the ball there, which won't work with NFL defenses. It certainly didn't against Florida in the title game a couple of years ago. Too many question marks for someone to be taken #1 overall and given 80 million dollars. St. Louis, stay away from Sam Bradford. You've been warned.

Orlando has been playing some good ball recently. The Magic have won 7 in a row and 9 of its last 10. Of the 9 wins in that span, 7 have been double digit victories. The two that weren't? The Lakers and Cavaliers. The Lakers game was a fantastic one and because of it, I may or may not have an unhealthy affection for Matt Barnes after the way he played Kobe. Dwight has came back to Earth, but Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson have more than picked up his slack. I really thought all the "Orlando misses Turkoglu" talk would be dead, and then I read this gem by Jon Barry. I don't get it. Turkoglu's numbers have been declining for two years, and we're still getting ripped for not giving him $50 million. He gets on Vince and his lack of ability to make plays for other and bashes him for his 3 assists per game. Then he praises Turkoglu for his 4 assists per game. The first quarter against the Lakers on Sunday was exactly why we got Vince Carter. He scored 15 points and went to the line 10 times in that first quarter alone. Why pass the ball when you are that effective? He took two shots from the field, yet had 15 points and an assist in the quarter. Turk can't give you that.

I was watching Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on TNT last night, and somehow Kennys lackluster career, always comes up. Yet, Kenny has the ultimate trump card with two championship rings. Which career would you rather have? The Barkley type, the Hall of Famer and one of the best ever at his position, and 0 rings? Or the Kenny Smith type, a solid but unspectacular career but he has two rings. Which career would you prefer?

Thanks for the Roots collection. I have a drive to Georgia coming up and it will definitely come in handy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You're Darryl Strawberry....Yes

While one of us is swamped with schoolwork, the other is home sick with an "aggravated" case of shingles. Yes, it does suck as bad as you think it does and no, I would probably still rather have the shingles than a ton of schoolwork.

I'm not going to lie: I'm getting excited for baseball season too, even though I already know the outcome. The Reds will come up with between 70-75 wins and Dusty Baker will leave his seat approximately four times during the 162 game season. Still, I'm eager to check up on Aroldis Chapman after his minor league starts. I'm hopeful that Scott Rolen and Joey Votto can play 150+ games this season. I want to see Edinson Volquez back on the mound and Homer Bailey start this season the way he finished last season. I need to see Jay Bruce bounce back from a disappointing season. And maybe, just maybe somewhere in all of that, the Reds will find a way to slide into a Wild Card spot.

And since we're talking baseball, why not throw in a scene from my favorite Simpsons episode ever.

LeBron officially filed the paperwork to change his number from 23 to 6 next season in yet another ingenious move to keep people guessing his future. He'd only file the paperwork if he were staying in Cleveland, right? If he goes to New York, he doesn't have to file anything. He can just change his number when he gets there. Then again, why stay in Cleveland and make the millions of #23 jerseys in Cleveland worthless? Because he's throwing the media off his trail? Possibly. Because he's willing to take a massive dump on the fans who have already spent money on his Cleveland #23 jersey? Probably.

I like the news that Tiger Woods has returned home to "get back in golf shape". Um, what do you think he was having all that sex for? Pleasure? Hardly.

A guy wrote an article last week for the Orlando Sentinel claiming that Dwight Howard should be mentioned in the MVP talks. He's been blasted for it by Bill Simmons and a few other sites. I don't understand why he's getting blasted. He's absolutely right. He's not saying Dwight should get the award, because what LeBron is doing this season is incredible. He's just saying he deserves to be mentioned, and I agree. For what it's worth, my ballot is LeBron at #1, and Kevin Durant and Dwight fighting for the #2 spot. The improvement on his offensive game from last year to this year is immense. He's on pace to become the first person to lead the league in blocks and rebounds twice and become the youngest two time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award. The fact that Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson start on a team fifth in overall defense is a testament to Dwight's defensive skills. Again, nobody is taking the trophy away from LeBron but Dwight and Durant are putting up great seasons. If he keeps improving, I think Dwight will eventually win the award, the way Charles Barkley and Karl Malone won them when people were tired of voting for Michael Jordan.

One more thing with Dwight and I'm done. The talk of him not having a post game is getting old. He's not Hakeem in 1994, but he's different player than he was even 2 months ago. It's like how late in the NFL season people began counting out Green Bay because of their "protection problems", even though they had greatly improved that aspect from the beginning of the season. It just lets me know who actually watches the games and who says what ESPN tells them.

I don't know if you've read this, but it's worth a look. It's made me reevaluate how I feel about Brandon Marshall. His antics in training camp last year were funny at the time, but now they seem like a cry for help. He's scared for his life in Denver and was trying desperately to get out. Check it out if you have the time.

The way Allen Iverson's career is winding down is really sad. I want to feel bad for the guy, but he's doing it to himself. Recently, he was granted the rest of the season off to care for his ailing daughter, but then news comes out that he was helping Jermaine Dupri plan a party in North Carolina. And I'm not remotely surprised. He carries a terrible team to the Finals, then bitches about practice and throws his soon to be ex-wife out his his home nude. He wants a chance to get out of Philly and prove himself and he gets that chance. Then he does the same thing he does in Philly, and gets the same results. He says he's willing to be a team player in Detroit, but refuses to come off the bench. Then does the same for Memphis. Some guys just don't get it, and they never will. Still, Iverson was a big part of my childhood and I truly feel there will never be another player like him.

I was listening to some music the other day when "What They Do", by The Roots came on. Great song. I went to see what else I had by them and realized I had nothing. Can you help me out with this sir?

Johnny Damon

I love when all my teachers get together and say, "When is a good time to make everything due?"  Tests.  Quizzes.  Homework.  Papers.  Everything for every class in the past week or so.  Needless to say, I've been extremely busy.  And it's carrying over until next week.  I'll keep this short, and hopefully will get back to a regular schedule fairly soon (but I'm not holding my breath).

I am ecstatic over the Damon signing.  Sure, I went through the whole, "He played for both the Red Sox and Yankees" thing, but I got over it pretty quickly.  Do I hate those teams?  Absolutely.  But two things really helped me to get past that:
1. He won a title with each of those teams.
2. I never really hated Damon.

He seems like a decent guy.  Likes to goof around and have fun (and not just for the cameras).  By all accounts, he's a great teammate.  Without Damon, we were going into this season with some good defenders (Everett, Inge, Laird, Sizemore, etc.), but not many good hitters.  We've got Miguel Cabrera...but not much past him.  I like Ordonez, but he's getting up in age and didn't have a great season last year (although his numbers did pick up in the second half of the season, after fully recovering from his injury).  He's not much of a power hitter, either.  Guillen's second half was pretty good, but, overall, he hit less than .250 last season.  Everett, Inge and Laird are all sub-.250 hitters.
Bottom line: we need hitters.  Damon is a liability in the field, due to his noodle arm, but he's a good hitter.  And, as I mentioned earlier, he's a good teammate.  We have a lot of young guys this season.  Having a guy like Damon in the locker room could really help them.  I'm excited for this season.

I'm so excited, in fact, that I'm listening to the Tigers/Blue Jays game right now.