Monday, August 23, 2010

Kicking the fantasy football habit and Twitter!

I disagree on Alex Smith. He had a solid campaign last season. In the 11 games he started, he had 5 games with a QB rating of 95+. A 5-6 record but 5 of those losses were by a touchdown or less. Surely you remember a young lass named Aaron Rodgers losing 7 games by a TD or less a couple of years ago, and then bouncing back with a strong year. I remember a young Carson Palmer losing 4 of the first 13 games he played by a touchdown or less, and then having a dynamite year the following season. I have no statistical evidence on teams that lost close games and how they fared the next season, but I'm guessing they play better in close games. Those 7 point losses become 3 point victories. The 3 point losses become 7 point victories. The consistency of the team allows them to close games out better. Back to San Fran for a minute. They added two first round offensive linemen, card carrying Wildcat killer RB Anthony Dixon, Ted Ginn is an upgrade at special teams, Mike Crabtree with a year of training camp under his belt and a Kurt Warner-less Cardinals team. I think the 49ers would be crazy to switch QB's now. I'll even go this far: Alex Smith will make the Pro Bowl this season. And if he doesn't, this post will self destruct.

The Steelers have to start Dennis Dixon in Big Ben's absence, don't they? There is talk of Byron Leftwich, but I don't see how they can give him the nod. Dixon played well enough against a tough Ravens squad, he's younger and has more upside. If Ben rapes again, they may have their successor at QB already on the squad. If he gets his act together, Dixon becomes trade bait. What could you fetch for a 25 year old mobile QB, with game experience? Certainly more than the 5th rounder they used to draft Dixon. But don't let me help the Steelers out. By all means, give Leftwich or Chaz Batch another go round.

I know, I know. I swore off fantasy football many times last season, but I'm back in. Joined a 20 team league and had my draft yesterday. Don't ever join a 20 team league. Slim pickings is an understatement. I think I came out of it with a decent squad, but I had my heart ripped out when Aaron Rodgers went two picks before my selection. Tragic. I'm going to try to talk myself into my team over the next few sentences. Just feign interest for my sake, please and thank you.

QB- Tony Romo- He has too many weapons. Not even Wade Phillips can screw this up...can he?
RB- CJ Spiller- Buffalo has to rely on Fitzy/Edwards at QB yet again. I'd run the ball too. Plus he has value on special teams and catching the ball.
RB- Fred Jackson- Again, I think Buffalo will be down so early and often they will just run the ball to get the game over. Enter Fred Jackson and Spiller.
RB/WR- Devin Aromashodu- When Cutler isn't throwing to the other team, he sometimes completes passes to his own receivers.
WR- Randy Moss- I think Brady has a dynamite year in his second year after the injury. With no Welker for at least a couple of games, I think Moss has another great year.
WR- Johnny Knox- Again, Cutler has to throw to somebody and Knox/Aromashodu are slated to be his starters.
TE- Brent Celek- Almost went with your boy Finley, but I figure a good TE will be a new QB's best friend.
D/ST- Bears- Um... Urlacher, Tommie Harris and Julius Peppers? Hester returning kicks again?
Kicker- Sebastian Janikowski-Has quietly had a couple of decent seasons.

QB- Matt Moore- Hopefully all I'll need out of him is one start this season, and I think he has a nice year.
RB- Tashard Choice- See why I said don't get into 20 team leagues? He could get some touches though because Felix Jones and Marion Barber are injury prone.
WR- Julian Edelman- Somebody is getting Welker's touches until he gets back.
WR- Legedu Naanee- Somebody is getting Vincent Jackson's touches until he gets back. If he does come back.
WR- Jacoby Jones- There were no RB's left.
WR- Brian Hartline- See Jones, Jacoby.
TE- Shawn Nelson- Could be a sleeper. Scheduled to start for Bills but got busted for substance abuse, meaning he's out for the first 4 games. Meaning I got him for a song and hopefully he produces when he gets back.

I just saw that Manny Ramirez could be getting waived by the Dodgers. NL teams would have first chance to claim him and you'd have to pay the 4 million left on his salary, or work out a deal with LA. It won't happen but I'd love to see Manny in Cincy. Gomes and Manny are a wash defensively in left field. At bat, it's no comparison though. Gomes hasn't hit over .245 in a month since May. Imagine a 3-4-5 of Votto-Rolen-Ramirez. Egad! He wouldn't even have to play everyday with our surplus of outfielders. This Reds team is set up to compete for a while, but you never know. If the opportunity comes up, I'd hope Cincy would at least consider it.

Back to reality....well, not really. With Josh Hamilton's success, I can't help but wonder how we do if we had kept him. Defensively, a Stubbs-Hamilton-Bruce trio would be excellent. On offense, Votto-Rolen-Hamilton would be lethal. The first year of the trade seemed like a great deal for both teams. Edinson Volquez went 17-6, 3.21 ERA and topped 200 K's. Hamilton went .304-32 homers and 130 RBI's. The second year hit both with the injury bug. This year Volquez has been up and down but Hamilton has been lights out. Imagine the possible 2010 MVP's of both leagues on the same team in Hamilton and Votto. To be fair to Volquez, good pitching almost always trumps good hitting so I can't fault the Reds. Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Volquez has been up and down this year. He got shelled a couple times early, but has bounced back nicely. He has a 3-1 record and the Reds have won 6 of the 7 start he has made since his return. It took Chris Carpenter two years to come back from the surgery. Josh Johnson and Tim Hudson took around two years. It took Francisco Liriano about 3 years to get back into form. Hopefully Volquez regains 2008 form sooner than later, but what a trade for both squads.

Let me close with this: I'm coming around on Twitter. I don't have an account and don't know if I ever will, but eliminating the filter of the media between athletes and fans/other athletes can result in hilarity. For example, the other day our old pal LeBron James tweeted this to his fans,
"Quick ? yall. If u miss Entourage 1st time it comes on, then what time does it come back on?"
Here are a couple of my favorite responses, straight from the fans.

@KingJames It's never on again. Once the episode is on once, you can't ever watch it again. ******. Mental list that fairy.

@KingJames ask delonte

@KingJames the amount of rings that you twelve.

@KingJames at ***k you o clock

@KingJames you're an asshat. Instead of looking it up you are just going to treat twitter like your own tv guide. I hope you get Leprosy.

@KingJames You like shows where people follow other people and ride coattails, huh? that's a ***king #shocker! #makeamentalnote
Killed me. Absolutely killed me. Just hearing that Roger Clemens got a twitter account got me excited.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

NFL...and a little bit of NBA

I'm watching this Vikings/49ers preseason game at the moment, and I have a thought:
I'm sick of Tony Dungy.
Was he a good coach?  Sure...he turned around a terrible Tampa team and made them relevant again (Gruden won the Super Bowl on the back of Dungy's team).  The Colts have been consistently good ever since he started coaching them (of course, a corpse coached them to the Super Bowl last year, so that's probably not as impressive as it should be).
But all this nonsense with calling out Rex Ryan for too much swearing is extremely obnoxious.  Add that to the fact that he seems to be the go-to mentor for troubled players.  And that's not a bad thing...but it seems like he's starting to slip into a holier-than-though attitude.
Not to mention the fact that he's creepy as hell.

Something else jumps out to me during this game: Nate Davis looks terrific.  If you're a Niners fan, what would you rather do?  Talk yourself into a mediocre Alex Smith, a psychologically damaged David Carr, or the young Nate Davis, an athletic QB with a rocket-arm?  Frankly, I'd roll my dice with Davis.  I hear all this stuff about Alex Smith.  "He can be good...he just needs to play in his offense."  Which is the shotgun offense.  But the Niners are a running team.  Davis looks terrific.
So...Mike Singletary.  If you're reading this, please play Nate Davis.  Your fans will thank you.

Welcome to the Packers fandom.  You won't be disappointed.  I've watched both preseason games so far, and I can say this: their defense looks a little spotty (of course, they didn't play a lot of their defensive starters, but hasn't been pretty), but their offense looks dynamite.  Rodgers has been fantastic in these first couple of games.  Better than last year.  Last year, he took a lot of sacks...some of those were the fault of the defensive line, but some of them were the fault of him holding onto the ball for too long.  Not this year.  He's seeing the rush, and he's getting rid of the ball before it gets to him.  If the blitz is coming, he's been dropping back a couple of steps, and hitting the short man.  He's been ridiculously accurate, too.  We have a great group of receivers (Driver, Jennings, Jones, and Nelson), as well as a pair of talented tight ends (Finley and Lee...get prepared for a big year by Finley, by the way).  I'm telling's going to be a good year for Packers fans.

I'm with you on Dwight.  Is he limited in his offensive game?  Sure.  He has moments where he looks like he has everything put together...but then other games where he looks clueless.  I truly believe he could be a dominant offensive force...but he's not.  What's wrong with being a monster on defense?  He can make up for the defensive shortcomings of his teammates (I'm looking at you, Vince Carter), and clean up the glass in the process.  There's nothing wrong with a line of 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks in a game.  That's a game-changing performance.  So he doesn't light it up offensively...he's still a dominant force.  I wish everyone would cut him a little slack.  If he does learn something from Hakeem and turns it up offensively this's all over.  There's a chance he'll destroy the Heat anyway this year.  Give him some more offensive skills, and he'll average 50 points, 25 rebounds, and 5 blocks against the Heat this year.

I hope a Melo trade happens for you all.  I truly do.  I don't really see it...but I hope it happens.  With the Pistons in the dumps for (at least) the next couple of seasons, I need another team to cheer for.  I suppose I'll roll with the Magic.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mo' NBA rumors

Agree completely on the Jets and that Eli Manning hit. I started to like the Jets a bit last season because they were doing exactly what we were doing....only much better. This year they've become hard to take seriously. Let's not forget they needed the Colts and Bengals to pull up lame in the regular season for them to even make the playoffs. I can absolutely see a 7-9 season coming for them. I think the Patriots and Dolphins will prove to be better teams this fall. I do hope John Connor, former fullback at UK and a nice guy, does well though. Rex Ryan is singing his praises, but Rex Ryans talks just to talk so who knows.

Revis and his hype are a product of New York. As you said, playing behind that great front seven will make a good cornerback look great and it doesn't hurt when NY hypes the hell out of anything they have. Everyone I've met from New York hypes the hell out of it. It's why they think every free agent should sign with the Yankees. It's why LeBron would surely take his talents to Madison Square Garden. It's why there is no debate that Revis would hold Jerry Rice and our old pal Don Hutson catchless. At the same time.

Is it too late to change my mind on the Edmonds deal? Good lord that guys bat looks slow. It seems the ball is in the catcher's mitt before he takes the lumber off his shoulders. The thing about Dickerson is that the Reds have a surplus of outfielders: Bruce, Stubbs, Heisey, Nix, Gomes and Edmonds/Dickerson. Not to mention that first round picker Yonder Alonso projects to be in the big leagues next year and is blocked at first base by Joey Votto, so he will probably get sent to left field. I imagine Edmonds is in the last year of his deal so this move was one to pick up some veteran experience for a postseason run and clear some of the glut for next season. Still, like you said, Dickerson can play and though he's off to a slow start in Milwaukee, he'll prove his worth there if he can stay on the field.

There is word that Antonio Bryant may reach an injury settlement with the Bengals and be released before he even gets on the field for us. I fully support this move. Cut the guy and admit your mistake before you waste a year or a roster spot on him. I think our current crew of receivers will be fine, especially when you add in tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman. This only makes me wonder how he passed the physical to sign the contract in the first place. Bryant practiced on the first day of camp and hasn't seen the field since which is strange to me. Either way, I hope the settlement is reached as it would be best for both sides. I was also feeling good about Andre Smith until I saw him the other day. Earlier in the summer I saw him with Marvin Lewis and he appeared to be in great shape and the foot he broke last year was healing nicely. Then I saw some recent footage of him and he looked enormous and now he's having problems with his recovery. Surprise surprise. Notice stuff like this doesn't seem to happen to the Patriots or know, teams that know what they are doing.

Speaking of your Packers, they have a fan in me. I'd love nothing more for than the Pack to dominate the NFC North after old man Favre's latest actions. I've made my thoughts known on him before so I won't waste the keystrokes, but poor Tarvaris Jackson. His teammates would rather fly south for the summer to beg Favre to come back than to roll the dice with a guy that has been there the entire time.

I was listening to Bill Simmons nasally drone on his podcast and Dwight Howard came up. Dwight has become a bit of a punching bag for Simmons, among others, so I was expecting nothing less from him. Though I will admit, he raised some good points. The topic was the USA basketball team and their lack of star power. I had thought nothing of Dwight skipping the games because of his offseason activities but Simmons raised decent points. He'd be the top dog on that team along with Durant, maybe even more so because the lack of quality big men in the Olympics. He'd get some reps as the alpha dog, a chance to show what Hakeem taught him in real game competition and get some extra practice taking free throws under pressure. All fair points and of course I'd love to see him out there, but couldn't LeBron and Chris Bosh use some more reps under pressure as well? LeBron was excused by Simmons because "we all know LeBron doesn't care about anything". Am I missing something? Is it just me or are people going out of their way to diss Dwight, but not others for doing the exact same thing?

Thanks to the Darren Collison to Indiana trade, which was a steal for the Pacers, the Chris Paul to Orlando deals are dead....for the time being. They've now been replaced with Carmelo Anthony to Orlando rumors! I'll admit I'm not a big Carmelo fan. He's a great scorer, but his defense and rebounding leave something to be desired. He doesn't really make his teammates better and he makes some boneheaded plays. Still, a Melo/Dwight pairing could be potent. I do like Orlando being at the top of stars destination lists though. It's good to be wanted. Like with Paul, I'm not getting my hopes up but Melo does have more leverage than CP3 did. He can walk after the year, but I'd assume if Orlando is tops on his destination list that he'd sign an extension. The Knicks are second on his list and will allegedly offer Danilo Galinari, Eddy Curry's expiring contract and a first round pick for him. Seems kinda weak for a guy that has 4 All- NBA teams to his name at the age of 26. I imagine Orlando's offer, should we make one, would center around VC's contract (which would save Denver more cash than Curry's), Marcin Gortat and maybe Brandon Bass? I have no idea what Denver would want, but I do hope we at least make an offer. Dwight would erase Melo's rebounding/defensive miscues and Melo would be the go to guy in the 4th that Dwight isn't. I also wonder if Melo's knucklehead plays are the results of...playing with knuckleheads. He's played with Allen Iverson, Kenyon Martin and JR Smith over the course of his career. All good players, but they can be counted on to make a boneheaded play down the stretch. What happens if you put him around JJ Redick, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson? Less talented than Anthony's current/former teammates but I'd trust they wouldn't take an awful shot with the game on the line, make a terrible inbound pass or lose their cool in the clutch. Here's to hoping GM Otis Smith gets this done.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why I Hate The Jets

I would like to start out with a link to this article.  It is a horrible, horrible article.  In case you don't want to read the whole thing, allow me to give you a brief summary: The Jets are a terrific football team.  The Jets will smash you in the mouth.  Rex Ryan is the greatest coach to ever live.  The Jets aren't afraid to make your head bleed in a preseason game, which makes them a good, hard-hitting football team.  Blah blah blah.  A whole bunch of other filth.
First off...Eli Manning's head injury is something that was the result of a busted play, and two linebackers blitzing off the edge.  Eli's helmet started coming off when he ran into Jacobs.  The linebacker blitzing off the left hit him, Eli's helmet came flying off, and his head crashed into the linebacker blitzing off the right.  Boom.  Head blood.  Do you know what other team would have done that?  Every other team in the league.  A blitzing linebacker is going to hit you, no matter where you are in the season.  That's just how it goes.

Another article written about the Giants/Jets game featured this little tidbit: "How good are cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, the team's first round pick out of Boise State? Who knows? The unit didn't get much of an opportunity to strut its stuff because Manning was under serious pressure from the Jets' front seven." So...we don't know if the other corners are any good, because the Jets pass rush is terrific?  Fine.  I'll give you that.  However, that's also why Revis looks so good.  You and I have talked about this before, but Revis is severely overrated.  Is he a good corner?  Yes.  Is he the best corner in the league?  No. The Jets pass rush is terrific, so he doesn't really have to cover receivers for very long.  Factor in the times the Jets play zone and his piss-poor tackling, and it's a wonder he gets as much good press as he does.  

Speaking of things that annoy me about preseason chatter...
I've been reading things about how the Colts are better this year than they were last year, because they have Bob Sanders back this year.  Well, they had him last year.  Then he gets injured.  It's what he does.  In his tenure in the NFL, Sanders has never played in 16 games.  There is no reason to believe it will start now.  He can be a game-changer...but he can't play long enough to make much of a difference.  Also, with all of his injuries, he has no doubt lost a step or two in coverage.  So, basically, he's a hard-hitting safety who is great in run support.  Who does that sound like to you?  That's right...Roy Williams.  And having Roy Williams is no reason to be excited (as you know all too well).

I agree with your back-up QB assessment.  Your guys looked terrible.  I like JT O'Sullivan, but he looked awful in that game.  Jordan Palmer stepped it up at the end (his touchdown pass was fantastic), but, overall, he looked awful.  Why Jeff Garcia hasn't been called yet is beyond me.

Reds look good.  I have to say, though, that I don't like the Edmonds trade.  Rolen worked out for them last season...but I've seen Dickerson play, and I think he's too good to trade for a guy in the twilight of his career like Edmonds.  He used to be a great player, but he's not anymore.  I hope he helps them down the stretch...but I really think Dickerson could have been really good for them for a long time.

Honestly, I'd be really mad about the Pistons grabbing McGrady if they weren't so terrible.  Perhaps he'll give them a little something...if he's healthy, he can still shoot.  Platoon he and Prince.  In a relatively weak East, perhaps this gives them a shot.  Besides, it's not like we'd beat the Heat or the Magic anyway.  
Look at me...talking myself into a washed-up McGrady.  Things must be worse than I thought.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pigskin and the FCC

You're right about TO and McNabb. I remembered the show of how close they were after Owens was an Eagle, but had forgotten all about their Pro Bowl campaigning to become teammates. Still, I like TO meeting up with Palmer, Brady, Welker and some other players and tossing the pigskin around. I like what he brings at that salary and on a one year deal. Will I curse his name a few times this season? Probably. I still have no doubts that he will be better than Laveranues Coles though, and he comes at more than a third of the price. I was actually feeling really good about the deal until you typed "They have nothing to lose." In the 7 movies I have seen, everytime that phrase is said, things fall apart.

Actually, make that 8 movies. I watched "Gran Torino" the other day.
Speaking of TO, have you seen this? Apparently, Owens is no lock for the Hall of Fame because of his character. Beg pardon? I'm not defending the deeds of Owens over the entirety of his career, but to keep him out of the HOF because of character is ridiculous. Especially when there are known drug abusers in the HOF. As is, Owens is:

-3rd all time in receiving yards, and 300 yards away from passing Isaac Bruce as 2nd all time
-3rd all time in TD's, 4 behind Randy Moss
-6th in catches, and 100 catches would put him in 2nd.
The article also mentions that Owens gaudy numbers are simply the result of the length of his career. First off, is that a bad thing? Taking care of your body, avoiding injuries and playing a lot of games isn't something to strive for? Second, you could say the same for Jerry Rice. Rice is first in just about every receiving category, and he did it in 303 games. Owens has played 205 games in his. A 98 game, or about 6 full seasons, difference. But Rice's numbers are legit, and Owens' aren't? Ridiculous. Not to single out Rice, because the majority of career records in sports are held by those with length careers. Kareem Abdul- Jabbar is the all time leading scorer because he played for 20 seasons. Jerry Rice holds most of his records because he played for the better part of 20 seasons. Barry Bonds holds the all time home run record, partly because of his 22 year career. Long careers lead to records being set. It happens and it shouldn't keep Owens from his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.
Yep, I'm defending Terrell Owens...which only means one thing: Football is underway. And that only means one thing: Wade Phillips constant look of confusion is back in our lives.
Good to have you back, Wade. In a sloppy game, the bright spots were very slim. Michael Johnson and rookie Geno Atkins looked great on defense. Jordan Shipley had a nice night and Matt Jones was surprisingly effective. Everything else looked bad. RB Brian Leonard got injured The offensive line looked terrible. Our backup quarterback situation is a mess, which makes no sense with Carson's history of injuries. I demand we give Jeff Garcia, or even Daunte Culpepper a call because J.T. O' Sullivan and Jordan Palmer will not suffice. TO had 2 catches and Chad had 0, which has already sparked the "Countdown until Chad begins complaining about catches" punchline. When has Chad ever complained about catches? He certainly didn't when TJ Houshmandzadeh led the team in catches in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Still, I'm glad that football days are almost here again.

Roger Gooddell said Ben Roethlisberger has went "above and beyond" what he was asked to do when given his initial suspension by the league. By doing what? Not sexually assaulting any more co-eds? Good work, Benjamin.

There's talk of Tracy McGrady going to your Pistons. I can't imagine how he would help their surplus of swingmen. They have Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye at the 3, and Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum at the guards. Not to mention, he's done. When you score 9 ppg on 38% FG shooting in Mike D'Antoni's offense, you're done. I assume you are over the moon about this deal as a Pistons fan.

In this edition of the "Francisco Cordero Chronicles" we visit Coco just a couple days ago at Wrigley Field. Given a 4-1 lead and needing 3 outs for the save, let's go to the play-by-play:

F Cordero relieved L Ondrusek.41
B DeWitt walked.41
K Hill struck out looking.41
M Fontenot hit for C Marmol.41
M Fontenot walked, B DeWitt to second.41
K Fukudome walked, B DeWitt to third, M Fontenot to second.41
S Castro hit by pitch, B DeWitt scored, M Fontenot to third, K Fukudome to second.42
N Masset relieved F Cordero.42

That's right. 0.1 innings pitched. 1 strikeout. 2 earned runs. 1 hit batter. 3 walks. And he was given credit for the hold. After the game, blog favorite Dusty Baker announced he was sticking with Cordero because "He's the best we got." That was this week in the "Francisco Cordero Chronicles".
Just today, the Redlegs made a move trading Chris Dickerson for Jim Edmonds. I like Dickerson. He played well in his limited opportunities but he couldn't stay healthy. I certainly wish him well with the Brewers. I like the Edmonds addition. Decent bat, has done it before for a winning and can play all three outfield spots. You can go with an Edmonds-Stubbs-Bruce outfield for defensive pirposes or Nix-Edmonds-Heisey trio for a little offense. I like the move for a team looking to win the division. Tonight the Reds-Cardinals begin a three game series that will be crucial in the fight for the NL Central crown. I'm stoked.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Declare the Baseball Season to be Over

From the Bengals perspective, I'm a big fan of the TO signing.  It's a one-year deal...he always behaves himself during the first year.  If he didn't snap during his one year in Buffalo, he's not going to snap during his one year in Cincy.  
Saying that he's not the player he once was is understating it a bit.  Sure, he didn't have much to work with in Buffalo...but his hands seem to get a lot worse last year.  They've never been great, but they seem to get worse every year.  What you have in TO is a possession receiver who drops a lot of balls and is usually pretty timid about going over the middle.  I think he'll do well for the Bengals this year, but I also think you'll get fairly angry at Terrell "Alligator Arms" Owens a number of times this year.
One more point: you said that TO never played for a team with a quarterback he liked and respected prior to joining the team.  Have you already forgotten the McNabb situation?  They both lobbied to get TO on that Philly team after they hung out together during the Pro Bowl.  We all saw how that turned out.
In their first year together, McNabb and Owens went to the Super Bowl, narrowly losing to the Patriots (after McNabb had dry heaves during the biggest possession of his career).  It wasn't until the second year that the trouble started.  So...yes.  I like the signing for the Bengals.  They have nothing to lose.

I'm ridiculously excited for the Packers season.  Whether Favre comes back to the Vikings or not this makes no difference to me (by the way, I firmly believe that he will play this year).  The Packers are going to win that division.  They're young and talented...but also have the heartbreaking Arizona playoff loss fresh in their memories.  They'll come out hungry, and they'll only get better as the season progresses.  Rodgers is going to have an amazing season.  Jennings will have a major bounce-back year.  Bulaga will improve as the season goes on.  Raji will have an amazing year (he'll step in nicely for Jolly).  I'm a little worried about our cornerbacks, but that's my only concern.  I'm looking forward to a terrific year.  Let's get it started, already.

One of the reasons I'm so excited for the football season to start is because the Tigers season went to crap in a hurry.  We have been wildly inconsistent all season (win 7 in a row, then lose the next 5), but, with Ordonez, Inge, and Guillen all getting injured, Damon battling back spasms, and Boesch going through a major slump, we just completely fell apart.  Also, aside from Verlander, our pitching has also been spotty (and that's being kind).  The season started out good, but the Tigers have been rough to watch ever since the All Star Break.  As of right now, we're sitting 8 games out of first place in the division.  We were a half game out at the break.  It's kind of depressing to think about.  Bring on the Packers.

Reds are looking good.  They remind me of the 2006 Tigers team.  You just keep waiting for them to fall apart, but they don't.  They're young, and they're extremely talented.  Good young hitters.  Some great relievers.  A spotty veteran closer (if you think Cordero is terrifying, you should have seen Todd Jones in his Tigers heyday).  Capable of playing lights-out baseball on all levels for stretches at a time.  Yes...I have high hopes for this team.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Francisco Cordero Chronicles

I like the Terrell Owens signing. A lot. We got him for peanuts and hopefully the lack of interest from teams this summer has convinced him that this really might be his last shot. Carson giving him the stamp of approval was all I needed to hear. Also, a lot is being made of the Chad-TO friendship. The fact is, Chad has already called TO the #1 receiver on the team and both seem willing to make it work. Worst comes to worst, and we cut him because he's only on a one year deal. I know TO isn't what he once was, but we don't need him to be that. He'll be better than Laveranues Coles was last year and he's a good run blocker that Ced Benson will appreciate. Could this fail? Absolutely. Two aging WR's in the last year of their contract, playing for what could be one last good contract in a run oriented offense seems destined for failure. I thought the same about the Cedric Benson signing. And bringing Chris Henry back after we had cut him for his off the field antics. I don't know that TO has ever joined a team where he had a friend already playing or a quarterback that he liked and respected prior to joining the squad. We've both talked about how the media tried to bait him in Buffalo and he wisely refused to take the bait and snap like they thought he would. I like that Antonio Bryant willingly gave up #81 in exchange for a donation to his charity. I don't like the giving Antonio Bryant 28 million dollars without getting his knee checked out, and not it appears he's having trouble with the knee, but that ship has sailed. Welcome to Cincy, TO.

On another Bengals note, if you get the time check out this article on defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. It's a great read.

I'm just going to ramble about the Reds for the next paragraph or so.

Cincy took two of three from the Braves to make their record 9-1-1 in their last 11 series. Not too shabby. Edinson Volquez had a much better outing yesterday, compared to his two previous thrashings. 5 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 5 walks and 6 strikeouts. Other than the walks, not a bad day at the office especially considering he's always walked quite a few batters. You know how we talked about how nervous Francisco Cordero makes me? I'm over it...the nervousness, that is. I'm downright scared as hell when I see him laboring to get from from the bullpen to the mound. He blew the first game in the Atlanta series and came dangerously close to blowing the final game. I don't see how Dusty Baker can keep putting the ball in his hands. Rookie Jordan Smith has looked good this month. Homer Bailey is expected to be back soon. I would have no problem sending Bailey to the bullpen and having a Bailey/Smith/Ondrusek/Masset combo with Arthur Rhodes closing. Or why do we need a designated closer at all? Unless you've got a guy that is lights out, why not go with a closer by committee? Just ride whoever has the hot hand that night. In the final game against Atlanta, Smith had a 9 pitch inning. Masset had an 11 pitch inning. Why not give those guys a little extra work after an easy inning? I don't get it. I think closers are like kickers: When they are on, they are as reliable as they come. When they lose it, it's not coming back. Cordero doesn't have it anymore and it's obvious to everyone except Dusty Baker. He even had Cordero pitch an inning in a 10-2 win. What? He's even trying to ruin the arms of his relief pitchers? That's a new one. Even for you Baker. I've heard some talk of Aroldis Chapman getting called up to join the bullpen. I wouldn't be opposed to it, but the race for the NL Central is too close right now. We can't have him cutting his teeth with the division on the line. Maybe next year, Aroldis. I am glad the Cardinals didn't trade for certified Red Killer Roy Oswalt though. Cincy stood pat at the trade deadline and I can't blame them. Of course, I'd love another bat behind Votto and Rolen, but that wouldn't come cheap. I'd love to get rid of Cordero for a loaf of bread or whatever else we could get for him. A hitting outfielder would be nice though. Stubbs and Bruce struggle at the plate, but play good defense. Gomes is a trainwreck defensively and hasn't been hitting lately. I'm glad Chris Heisey has been making more appearances lately. I recently learned Dusty Baker's contract is up at the end of the year. Aww geeze.

I won't bring up the Tigers recent struggles for your sake.

Surely you've heard about the LeBron article that was yanked from ESPN's website. Why was the article pulled? Allegedly, the rough draft of the story was "inadvertently put on the server". So we can expect a polished version of the article to appear soon, right? Wrong. ESPN recently said that the article will never be published. Then Arash Markazi, the author of the story, had his credentials questioned. He supposedly never identified himself as an affiliate of ESPN and never said he was writing a story.

Then how in the hell did that guy get close enough to sit at LeBron's table all night? I'm almost certain he didn't blend in with LeBron's posse. Was no one suspicious of his intentions when he kept writing things down on a notepad or talking into a voice recorder a la Norm McDonald. ESPN is full of it. Between this, "The Decision" and ESPN's ordering employees to keep quiet on the Delonte West rumor it seems apparent that ESPN has a vested interest in LeBron James and his brand. He's a great player for sure, but what is it about him that makes ESPN do all that they can to cover their trails on anything that might make him look bad? It's disgusting. Pulling a good article because it may portray James in a bad light? He did that all by himself with the way he handled free agency! Forbidding employee's to even mention a "rumor"? (Sidenote: West getting traded to Minnesota was the final straw for me believing the rumor about he and Gloria James. The Cavs traded West and Bassy Telfair, both expiring deals, for Ramon Sessions and Ryan Hollins, both deals run at least two more years. Not to mention they gave up the most talented player, West, in the trade. They had to get him out of that locker room for some reason. As is, they could have held on to him and cut him before August 3rd and saved themselves 4 million bucks. No, they decided to send him to Minnesota, who will probably waive him and let him sign wherever he pleases). It's ridiculous in my opinion.

Are you buying Brett Favre retiring? I'm not, as much as I'd like for it to be true. Still, you have to be somewhat stoked about this. If Favre does call it quits, I think this all but hands the NFC North to your Packers...and maybe more. If Aaron Rodgers keeps improving, I could easily see the Pack securing a top two seed in the NFC without Favre and the Vikings in the way. Surely the Saints and Cowboys will have something to say about it, but I like Green Bay's chances if Favre can be believed.

I've mentioned it before on here, but Dwight Howard is about to go back for part two of his workouts with Hakeem Olajuwon. Like I've said before, I like the move because any work with one of the greats will only help. I was also skeptical because the problem doesn't seem to be Howard's move. It's his confidence in trying those moves. Then this quote came out:

"He made a comparison with a ninja and some other person who doesn't care who they kill -- they just go out and do it," Howard said during a Monday media session at his annual basketball camp for kids at the UCF Arena . "Basically what he was saying is that I have to become a person who is not afraid to do anything on the floor. And he said right now only certain parts of my game that I'm not afraid to do, but other parts I am. I have to be able to do all those things."
That was all I needed to hear. Color me excited for the new season. I'm that easy.