Sunday, October 31, 2010

I leave for San Diego on Tuesday


Now that it's the Sunday before November 6th, I have pretty much all the information I'm going to get from the two teams I will see next Saturday. Yes, it's time for another awkward post about how I am going to see a game somewhere else in the country. The plan is to depart Tuesday to begin my journey to Qualcomm Stadium in beautiful San Diego for the game between Colorado State and San Diego State. I drew Colorado State and their 10th game of the season way back on October 5th of 2009 and had to wait until now to plan the trip, much like I'll have to wait until next year for both of my trips.
But this is about this year. Colorado State and San Diego State each played yesterday, and they each won conference games. I'll start with the Rams. Colorado State won at home versus the woeful New Mexico Lobos, 38-14. The Rams are now 3-6 and out of bowl contention. It seems that no matter the situation, the Rams always play in blowouts. There has only been one game within 21 points in either direction, a 38-34 win against Idaho. They even lost to Miami of Ohio by 21 points. So, it seems as though Colorado State isn't even as good as their 3-6 record says. Their greater successes seem to come through the air, where Pete Thomas, Rams QB and member of the witness protection program, has passed for 2007 yards, all while doing an excellent job of distributing to dozens of receivers. Their running backs have a good yards/carry average, but they are never in the game long enough for that to be a big factor.
The Aztecs of San Diego State are on the opposite end of the spectrum in the Mountain West Conference. They are on a three game winning streak, starting with a win against then ranked Air Force. They have a total of two losses on the season (and six wins), and the two losses were at Missouri (by three) and at BYU (also by three). The Missouri game looks more impressive, and the BYU less so now in retrospect. The Aztecs have done a good job beating teams they should defeat, and struggling against teams more talented, but they have never truly been out of any game. They rely on a strong passing attack as well, 19th in the country in fact. Ryan Lindley, Aztec QB has thrown for 2255 yards and 15 touchdowns, while mitigating mistakes, only throwing 7 INTs and taking 4 sacks. The offensive line must be a good one, because the team has also sprung running back Ronnie Hillman for 893 yards (including 228 against Missouri) but he is battling injury and has slowed way down, getting only 44 yards against Wyoming yesterday.
I have to believe that this game is easily in hand for San Diego State, clearly superior and at home against the Rams, but they need to beware of the potential for a trap game. Colorado State has nothing to lose, and the Aztecs may be looking ahead to a couple of games against the highly ranked TCU Horned Frogs (#4) and Utah Utes (#8). I don't see that being a huge issue, however, and I would guess this one goes the way of San Diego State, 41-13.

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Links of the Day 10/31/10

Happy Halloween! Here is Tony Kornheiser in costume.

Brett Favre is a drama queen. And also is no longer good at football.

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 7

Last week's top team, the Jets, had a bye in Week 7, and despite having New England creep up and tie them for the division lead, they held them off for the #1 spot in the power rankings. The Patriots moved up to #2 after getting a pretty close win in San Diego, moving back the Steelers and Titans, who each fell a spot despite winning this week as well. The Falcons also held on to the #5 spot after winning a crazy game over Cincinnati.

On the bottom side, the Panthers won the clash of the titans between #30 San Francisco and #32 Carolina, moving them all the way up to #30, while the 49ers are now #31, with the only winless team, Buffalo, at #32. The Cowboys horrible season is continuing, and another terrible loss leaves them at #27. The only team to escape the bottom 5 this week was Cleveland, who got a shocking win at New Orleans. The team that replaced them shouldn't be too surprising. If you lose by 45 points at home to the 2010 Raiders, you probably belong in the bottom 5, and that's why the Broncos are #29. This sets up a HUGE international game in London tomorrow between 2-5 #29 Denver and 1-6 #31 San Francisco, just what the NFL needs to expand globally.

This week's biggest gainers were Oakland, who went crazy last week and jumped 10 spots, and Cleveland, who got a very impressive win and jumped 9 spots. The biggest losers were 2 teams that just couldn't stop turning the ball over, the Bears, who fell 7 spots, and the Saints, who fell 6.

Since the ranks were fairly stable this week, maybe its time to start up the playoff projection based on the ranks:
NFC
First Round Byes: #5 Falcons, #7 Giants
#12 Eagles @ #10 Seahawks
#9 Redskins @ #15 Packers
Top 5 Out: #14 Buccaneers, #16 Saints, #18 Bears, #19 Rams, #23 Vikings

AFC
First Round Byes: #1 Jets, #3 Steelers
#6 Colts @ #4 Titans
#2 Patriots @ #11 Chiefs
Top 5 Out: #8 Ravens, #13 Texans, #17 Raiders, #20 Browns, #21 Bengals

Here are the full ranks:
1. Jets - 83.34 - Even
2. Patriots - 77.21 - +2
3. Steelers - 77.10 - -1
4. Titans - 74.92 - -1
5. Falcons - 68.55 - Even
6. Colts - 68.35 - Even
7. Giants - 65.32 - +1
8. Ravens - 64.01 - +1
9. Redskins - 62.59 - +5
10. Seahawks - 62.26 - +5
11. Chiefs - 61.16 - +2
12. Eagles - 57.11 - -5
13. Texans - 56.37 - -1
14. Buccaneers - 55.08 - +3
15. Packers - 52.51 - +5
16. Saints - 49.62 - -6
17. Raiders - 48.08 - +10
18. Bears - 46.99 - -7
19. Rams - 46.28 - -3
20. Browns - 42.88 - +9
21. Bengals - 40.78 - -3
22. Dolphins - 40.54 - -3
23. Vikings - 39.40 - -1
24. Jaguars - 37.46 - -1
25. Cardinals - 36.95 - -4
26. Chargers - 36.90 - -2
27. Lions - 34.87 - -1
28. Cowboys - 32.48 - Even
29. Broncos - 31.81 - -4
30. Panthers - 26.88 - +2
31. 49ers - 23.42 - -1
32. Bills - 19.08 - -1

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Links of the Day 10/30/10

Happy Halloween eve, everyone. Is this something people celebrate?

The Nick Punto era in Minnesota may be over after 30 years.

The Brett Favre era is not, however.

Nice shot!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Cooking with Ryan: Fish Provencal

I'm really upset that the picture for this one didn't save properly, ad I don't have visual evidence of the beautiful plate this turned out to be. It was white fish, which I have never had before, but was similar to walleye, baked in a pan full of tomatoes, onions and yellow bell peppers. It was very colorful. I drizzled lemon juice over it all and seasoned it a little bit (I had never used thyme before last night). Can anyone figure out what some problems with this arrangement may have been?
That's right, the tomatoes + lemon juice all pooling at the bottom with the fish... it got a little mushy. Any recipe for fist always says "bake until flaky" but when the fist is sopping wet, things go a little differently. It still tasted fine, it still had that Mediterranean flare to it that I think the recipe was going for, which is sort of ironic since white fish eaten here is probably fished from the Great Lakes.
For those wondering, Provencal means "of Provence" the region in far southeastern France. I guess they eat stuff like this in southeastern France. If you wanted to say it, I would be OK if you said that I was a French chef.

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Links of the Day 10/29/10

I'm on vacation, but still bloggin'. Yep.

The NFL season is about at it's middle, so it's time to think about coaches that might get the ax.

When Bill Belichick has fun.

For those that haven't heard the circumstances surrounding the tragedy at Notre Dame.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spurned wives

True story: many years ago, a married man had an affair with another woman. He promised he would divorce his wife and marry her--and did so. Yet, the new wife was utterly stunned many years later when he announced he was divorcing her to marry the woman he had been having an affair with. I'm not telling this story with any meaning about love and marriage and people behaving poorly in relationships. I'm telling it because there was something I didn't understand about the ALCS.

When the top of the ninth came during the final ALCS game this year in Arlington, people were noticing Alex Rodriguez could be the final out of the game, and said how fitting it would be for him to strike out to end the game. Which did happen, if I understand (I wasn't feeling well and was in bed).

They felt it was fitting because Alex Rodriguez admitted to doing steroids while in Texas (why do they care? He played well for them, didn't try to glamorize it, and he's not longer with them. They're happy to accept Josh Hamilton and Ron Washington and their drug problems as people being fallible) and reportedly complained about being in Texas with no supporting cast of players around him.

Here's the thing: the Rangers didn't draft Alex Rodriguez, or even trade for him. They got him from free agency. Well, if you can buy someone, don't be surprised when someone else offers more money and the person is willing to be bought by them. You knew he was like that before you took him--in fact that's the only way you got him. It shouldn't surprise you at all.

I'm not sure why Texas fans feel vindicated by Alex Rodriguez being the last out. He didn't cheat on them (he cheated on baseball, but they got the benefits of it). He behaved towards Texas, you could say, exactly like he behaved towards the Mariners. The Mariners have the right to feel bitter--he left abandoned them.

In my intro, the second wife knew the husband would cheat before she married him...but somehow felt she was special and he only cheated because his first wife had some flaw.

The Rangers fans may have thought they were special when they bought him. They were utterly shocked when someone else was willing to pay more, and he took it. (Well, got traded, but with that contract, most people knew he'd have to be traded.)

I'm irritated by Alex Rodriguez's admitted drug use. And Andy Pettite's. But I don't think the Rangers have any specific complaint about it, other than irritation because he was traded. He did nothing towards the Rangers that couldn't have been expected in the first place. The reality is: I wish all people would behave with integrity.

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Links of the Day 10/28/10

In today's gruesome injury news.. Will Weber, hockey player for Miami (OH) got a few stitches in his neck.

Congratulations, nuns. It's a minor miracle!

In case you wanted to watch the World Series without Joe Buck.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hey, I have the World Series off!


For the first time in many, many moons, I actually get to watch the World Series this year. In fact, I think it's probably the first time since my early years in High School, after which I got a job that would more than likely keep me at work during World Series night games after school. Even since I've graduated, I work the night shift so often that I never get a chance to watch as many of the key sports events that I would like. But this year, I have the entire series off. No, I didn't count on the Twins in the World Series (I did, but I have the time off for my upcoming trip to San Diego), but I will be off for the entire series.
I'm really glad at how it turned out, with Texas and San Francisco in it. Good teams that are long struggling, with fan bases that will appreciate a success. Neither city has ever brought the World Series trophy home. The State of Texas has never even seen the trophy, and didn't even send a team to the World Series until 2005. Even so, these aren't teams that are going to completely blow themselves up at the end of the season, and they got themselves where they are through diligence and careful planning, rather than one big purse opening. It reminds me of the early 90s when the Twins and Blue Jays were the dominant AL teams, strange though it may sound. I'm rooting for the Rangers, I guess, but I'll enjoy the games either way.

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Links of the Day 10/27/10

This would probably get the guy kicked out of the NFL.

If I didn't know any better, I would say that the mayor of San Francisco is a little more confident in his team's chances.

The original rules of basketball, if you have never seen them. Subtly different than the game as we know it today.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The most important injury news in the NFL


Haha, no, I'm not going to be talking about the geriatric quarterback for a team that is already out of contention, or even a younger quarterback for a team that is further out of contention. This is about Dallas Clark. Sure, it might be overstating it to talk about a tight end, but I don't think Clark is just any tight end.
Look at Clark's numbers. In 2008 and 2009 he had 77 and 100 receptions for the Colts, emerging as a new receiving candidate as Marvin Harrison's time with the Colts was winding down. Then last year Anthony Gonzalez went down and Clark became a force on a Super Bowl team. Now this year, Austin Collie is nicked up, Gonzalez hasn't been at his best yet and Pierre Garcon is recovering from an injury. Who will emerge across from Reggie Wayne now? Jacob Tamme? Blair White? Who ARE these people?

I have no doubt that Peyton Manning will find his way out of this jam. I mean, Donovon McNabb still shone without ever having a wide receiver in his career. Maybe Manning can prove once and for all he is a brilliant quarterback, not someone that has simply been blessed with skilled receivers.

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Links of the Day 10/26/10

As a meteorologist, I can only say... hold on to your ass today.

Wow, someone isn't excited for the World Series.

Yes, the death of an octopus is news.

BRETT FAVRE IS HURT OMG OMG OMG

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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Favre Sad Gallery, Week 7

Welcome to the latest edition of The Victoria Times' Brett Favre Sad Gallery! 






Latest image thanks to Jim Prisching, Getty Images

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Links of the Day 10/25/10

MLB Traderumors had a poll on what the "model franchise" is. Any guesses?

Arizona State, trying to catch up with Oregon in terms of delinquent universities. Next up? Purple jerseys!

By golly this makes me want to hop in a plane right now!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Sunday, Here is a video of the Rangers winning the pennant

I already showed the Giants winning the pennant, enjoy the Rangers celebrating their win.

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Links of the Day 10/24/10

The Colts could now, officially, be in trouble.

Probably the most prescient thing anyone said during the past week about the NFL's hit policies

After another rowdy day of college football, my most favorite college football team is now number 1 in the BCS.

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Congratualtions, Texas and San Francisco


The most incredible thing about the Rangers and Giants making it to the World Series, of course, is that the two teams started the season with a payroll of less than 100 million dollars! In fact, both teams had a lower payroll than the Twins! This is, of course, incredible, because payroll is the only determining factor in a teams ability to win or lose games, if you would have certain apologists explain the game to you.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if someone says that the Twins can't win in the postseason because of financial limitations, please point to the Rangers (with a payroll of 30 million less than the Twins to start the season) and the Giants, who built their roster with castoffs from the Marlins and Rays.
But anyways, congrats to Texas and San Francisco, I'll enjoy watching your series.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Links of the Day 10/23/10

College football Saturday... how delightful

Solid hustle from Colts punter Pat MacAfee.

Pretty solid life for Bruce Dickinson


Whatever.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 6

J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. For the 2nd week in a row, the Jets are the #1 ranked team, and with Atlanta's loss, they widened their lead over 2nd place significantly. It's strange how things are turning out for the Jets so far. They came into this season with a ton of hype, probably mostly because they play in New York (well sorta). Then, you hear about the HBO show where Rex Ryan said a lot of bad words and you find out Antonio Cromartie has 8 kids. Then, they go out and lose the first game of the season to the Ravens in unimpressive fashion. Then, you hear about the whole controversy involving Ines Sainz, and at this point, you pretty much had to assume their season would unravel fast. But so far, it hasn't. Most of these early season controversies have blown over and now the Jets are 5-1 and looking great every week, making the preseason prognosticators look smart for a change.

The Steelers took advantage of the Falcons loss and moved up to #2, while the Falcons fell to #5. The Patriots also moved up a spot, going to #4, and the Titans big dominating win over the Jaguars jumped them 8 spots all the way to #3.

On the low side of the things, the Vikings win over the Cowboys moved them out of the bottom 5 and moved the Cowboys in. The other 4 members are no big surprise: Cleveland, San Francisco (who finally won), Buffalo, and Carolina. This sets up the pillow fight of the week: #30 San Francisco vs. #32 Carolina.

The biggest gainer this week was the before mentioned Titans, who jumped 8 spots. The Giants, Rams, and Vikings also jumped 7 spots. The biggest loser was Tampa, who fell 8 spots and are crashing back to Earth after their shocking 3-1 start.

I'm thinking I will post the first playoff projections after week 7.

Here are the full ranks:
1. Jets - 84.08 - Even
2. Steelers - 76.31 - +1
3. Titans - 72.84 - +8
4. Patriots - 70.99 - +1
5. Falcons - 69.30 - -3
6. Colts - 68.40 - -2
7. Eagles - 67.66 - +1
8. Giants - 62.08 - +7
9. Ravens - 60.72 - +1
10. Saints - 58.41 - +6
11. Bears - 58.20 - -5
12. Texans - 55.80 - +2
13. Chiefs - 55.68 - -6
14. Redskins - 53.98 - -2
15. Seahawks - 52.18 - +6
16. Rams - 52.15 - +7
17. Buccaneers - 50.29 - -8
18. Bengals - 49.21 - Even
19. Dolphins - 48.12 - +6
20. Packers - 47.04 - -7
21. Cardinals - 43.50 - +3
22. Vikings - 41.90 - +7
23. Jaguars - 39.98 - -4
24. Chargers - 39.71 - -7
25. Broncos - 39.43 - -5
26. Lions - 36.12 - Even
27. Raiders - 33.90 - -5
28. Cowboys - 31.74 - -1
29. Browns - 28.32 - -1
30. 49ers - 23.49 - +2
31. Bills - 19.26 - -1
32. Panthers - 16.81 - -1

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kids are stupid


Just a few weeks ago, Yahoo! linked to something I wrote in 2008 that triggered the craziest comment thread in the history of this site, including someone attributing a Voltaire quote to Peter Griffin. It was highly comedic. It's funnier still when I, every once in a while, get a comment to show up on that thread again (as I did the other day).
I digress. The reason the link came my way was because of the fact that Nike was taking over the NFL uniforms in 2012. Michael Silver suspected that the Seahawks would end up looking like the Oregon Ducks. It was a joke, I think, because, well, he linked to something that explicitly stated that the the Ducks are annoying. This is the common consensus of reasonable, clear thinking adults. The gaudy, ever changing uniforms are unbearable and stupid.
But that's the problem. The jerseys are shiny and new, and shiny and new always attracts stupid people, regardless of whether or not the shininess and newness of said object is useful or important. Oregon has seen a boon to their athletic department, because of a bunch of empty minded athletes who like the idea of glittery wings on their uniforms.
Think about the type of person that attracts. Not worried about tradition, education or even the program, just the fact that they get a shiny, new uniform every game. It attracts morons. If you disagree with me, I have Jeremiah Masoli and Lagarette Blount who disagree with you, just for a start. When they otherwise might have gone to Florida State, they saw a flicker in the distance that caught their eye, and they went to Oregon.
So, I want to boil it down for people from Oregon who might be reading, because they are probably offended: Your uniforms are stupid. Your stupid uniforms attract stupid people. Your university has been dumbed down.  Congratulations on having a football team, though.

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Links of the Day 10/21/10

These are things you should not say to an officer of the law.

Oh noooooo.

Gilette is creepy.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

YYYYAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH



Ron Gardenhire is the best manager in the American League. I am 100% in agreement with this. Best. Freaking. Ever.

*sigh*

It's hockey season now. Everybody find a sparring partner, even if they are in the crowd.

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Links of the Day 10/20/10

Already getting into late October. Hard to believe, is it not?

Several of the undefeated teams will lose this season, have no fear.

Grumpy George Bush and Grumpy Nolan Ryan in the midst of grumpy conversation.

In soccer news, Wayne Rooney is on his way out of Man-U

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cooking with Ryan: Baked Sloppy Joes


This was a fairly simple recipe. Brown some ground beef, through in the sloppy Joe sauce, then whip up some biscuit dough, toss them together and through them in the oven. When you do this, the sloppy Joe meat tends to thicken as the biscuit bakes, which kind of turns it into a sloppy Joe Danish. Frankly, it wasn't a very "sloppy" Joe at all. It was more a regular Joe.
Cleanliness aside, do you know what? These things were delightful! Biscuits + sloppy Joe mix is a winning combination. The sweet biscuit and the somewhat spicy sloppy Joe mix came out to be a fairly floral, sweet flavor that was a little bit more full bodied than just a biscuit. It was like desert for dinner!

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Links of the Day 10/19/10

This is some solid personalized jersey rendering.

Just a surreal story involving Junior Seau.

Carl Pavano does some solid mustache related work, and it's being recognized.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Gardy and the Apologists


No, I still haven't let this die. I'm still upset the Twins are out of the playoffs, and I'm even more upset that people refuse to acknowledge that there is something wrong, perhaps, with Ron Gardenhire's management of the team. Most Gardenhire apologist credos go one of two routes: He's great because the team keeps winning the AL Central, or boohoohoo, the Yankees spend a lot more money so of course they are going to kick the Twins' ass.
I call bull.
In the most recent edition of ESPN the Magazine, Peter Keating [insider required] has an article in which he breaks down the ability for a team to succeed in the postseason by looking at their successes versus quality and inferior opponents. It was a well written and well argued piece that didn't just portray statistics but explained them. In essence, a team's success versus the best teams in the regular season was directly related to their successes in the postseason. Teams that got in by feasting against weaker opponents tended to flounder in the postseason.
Keating explained that teams that defeated their weaker opponents did so by taking advantage of their inferior rivals, naming explicitly the practice of taking extra bases because of defensive errors and succeeding against shallow pitching depth. These are things that their opponents in the postseason do not offer. Basically, what I am saying is that Gardenhire's Twins, who have won their divisions by blowing teams like the Royals, Indians and in other years, the Tigers out of the water, come into the postseason unprepared.
OK, OK, I know the next counter argument... It's still on Gardenhire to get the team to the playoffs. If you want to give him this kind of credit... why? Why in Minnesota does the manager get so much credit? And why are we so comfortable with his failings in the postseason? And make no mistake, Ron Gardenhire is perhaps the worst postseason manager of our lifetime. He will match the Red Sox consecutive games lost in the postseason streak with one more loss. The difference is that the Red Sox did it over the course of over a decade with several different managers. Gardy did it all by himself.
The question though, is why does Gardy get so much credit for the success, and why are Minnesotans so complacent when it comes to his failings? Let's take the case of the Oakland A's, a team very much in the same situation as the Twins earlier this decade. Decrepit stadium, low payroll, little recent success. Then, in 1999, the A's turned it around, finishing 2nd out west, then made it to the postseason in 2000. They reached the playoffs then again the following 2 years. The A's failed to win their divisional series each of those three seasons, and the manager was let go. Do you remember who the manager was? No, because the GM, Billy Beane, got all the credit. He still does. (The Manager was Art Howe, by the way, who failed in New York with the Mets). The next year, the A's hired Ken Macha to be manager. The A's were met with similar success, losing in the first round of the playoffs. in 2006, the A's made it back to the postseason, swept the Twins and then lost to the Tigers. Macha was fired after that season. My questions are twofold. Why hasn't the Twins' excellent front office received the adulation it deserves, and why hasn't Gardenhire been held accountable for the team's failings? What is the difference between the Twins and A's?
The second argument the Gardenhire apologists have put forth is that the Twins can't beat the Yankees because of the Yankees exorbitant payroll. Every other team that has played the Twins in the postseason since the losing streak began has won at least 1 game against New York. Every. Single. One. Every team that has managed to reach the postseason not named the Twins from the AL Central since 2002 has won a series. Every. Single. One. This season, over the course of a 162 game season, the Tampa Bay Rays and their enormous payroll managed to finish with a record better than the Yankees in the AL East. Sure, you can say that the Twins can't beat the Yankees because of their payroll, but do you know who can? Almost everyone else.
Let's not forget that this abysmal postseason decade has featured losses to the A's and Angels as well as the Yankees. The Twins have simply been a bad team when facing other elite teams when it counts. I'm not OK with that, but if you are just happy with the team reaching the postseason and wish to attribute the successes of the team to Gardenhire and not upper management, then I guess I have nothing more to say to you.

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Links of the Day 10/18/10

Terrible story from Rutgers, where a defensive lineman Eric LeGrand was paralyzed during a game against Army.

The BCS ratings were unveiled.

The Phillies have tied the NLCS at a game apiece.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 5

Once again, another very late week in getting the ranks up. We have a new #1 team, the New York Jets. Their win over the Vikings coupled with the last undefeated team to be beaten, the Chiefs, put them in the top spot, leapfrogging the idle Steelers. The Falcons also jumped over the Steelers too into the #2 spot. The Colts charged up 8 spots to #4.

On the bottom side of things, the Vikings, who many picked to be top contender this season, are now ranked #29.

The biggest gainer this week were the Colts, who jumped 8 spots, followed by the Eagles, Redskins, and Giants, who each jumped 7. The biggest loser was the Saints, who dropped 10 spots after being shocked by Arizona.

Here are the full ranks:
1. Jets - 81.02 - +2
2. Falcons - 80.14 - +2
3. Steelers - 76.46 - -1
4. Colts - 67.09 - +8
5. Patriots - 67.07 - Even
6. Bears - 66.20 - +1
7. Chiefs - 65.17 - -6
8. Eagles - 64.27 - +7
9. Buccaneers - 64.00 - +4
10. Ravens - 62.46 - Even
11. Titans - 60.99 - +5
12. Redskins - 56.62 - +7
13. Packers - 56.30 - -5
14. Texans - 52.70 - -5
15. Giants - 51.76 - +7
16. Saints - 51.20 - -10
17. Chargers - 49.79 - -6
18. Bengals - 49.55 - -4
19. Jaguars - 47.60 - +2
20. Broncos - 46.74 - -2
21. Seahawks - 46.56 - -1
22. Raiders - 46.06 - +6
23. Rams - 43.23 - -6
24. Cardinals - 41.44 - +3
25. Dolphins - 40.95 - -2
26. Lions - 39.88 - +3
27. Cowboys - 34.66 - -3
28. Browns - 34.10 - -3
29. Vikings - 31.97 - -3
30. Bills - 17.31 - +1
31. Panthers - 16.52 - -1
32. 49ers - 11.51 - Even

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Links of the Day 10/17/10

As it turns out, if you lose a heartbreaking home game after blowing a 5 run lead to the Yankees in the postseason, it's OK to come back and win the next game.

After yesterday's loss to Purdue, Tim Brewster was canned. This doesn't say anything good about either program.

My most hated enemy is at the top of the polls. That's dumb,.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Terrible news for Purdue


Not long ago, I had mentioned that when the Twins were inevitably knocked out of the playoffs, I had only one possible source for some good news until next season. The Purdue basketball team was going to return all of their star players in 2010-11, and they were going to make a deep run into the tournament, and I was going to be able to enjoy their success all season long.
*sigh*
The only thing heartening about this for Purdue fans is that we were able to make it to the Sweet 16 on the backs of Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, and their youngsters pressed into duty last year, like Patrick Bade, will now have more confidence and experience for the Boilers. But you still just have to feel sick for Robbie Hummel.

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Links of the Day 10/16/10

Some allegations of cheating in the Mountain West. You just can't trust Mormons.

If I am reading this correctly, since I went to private school, I would do well in the NBA.

Here is a very deep personalized jersey.

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So, by extension, Tom Brady looks like Ellen Page


As has been noted by numerous people, including Justin Bieber, Tom Brady has a Justin Bieber haircut. See for yourself above.  Of course, that's funny enough, that Brady looks like a teen pop star. Of course, the teen pop star looks like Ellen Page with short hair:

So there you go. Tom Brady is Juno.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Links of the Day 10/15/10

Yes, this is stupid.

Ole Miss has a new mascot, and it's pretty boring.

How far back to earth will Jose Bautista fall?

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

OK, now Reusse is in on it


Just like Jim Souhan, his cohort at the Star Tribune, Patrick Reusse had something asinine to say about the Twins. In essence: The Twins are wimps.
Yes, Ron Gardenhire does have a tendency to protect his players, but as I've said time and time again, if he has any advantage, it's that he saves his younger players. The Twins have so much more talent than the rest of the AL Central that they should easily win the division, should they remain healthy. Aside from Justin Morneau's concussion, none of the significant players had a season ending injury this year. The Twins didn't lose to the Yankees because they were hurt, that's for sure.

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Links of the Day 10/14/10

The Favre Sad Gallery now has a video for it's collection.

So the Terrell Owens/Chad Ochocinco show wasn't so good.

Another Youtube.... China and Brazil played an exhibition basketball game, and World War 3 broke out.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cooking with Ryan: Vine Ripened Tomato Salad

That is Aaron Sanchez of the Food Network. I decided to go with a Food Network random recipe (Google Food Network Random and click the top link if you ever want to do the same), and ended up with one of Aaron's recipes. It was confusing. Here it is.

Slice tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick and arrange on a plate with the sliced onions. Place the sliced chile alongside the tomatoes and sprinkle the cilantro on top and around the plate. Crumble the queso fresco on top.

In a bowl combine the oregano, oil, and vinegar and mix well. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top just before serving. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
So... that's a pile of tomatoes, right? And the suggested prep time was 80 minutes. What?! Was Aaron expecting me to slice off a finger in the process? My goodness.
Anyways, I added some greens to the tomatoes to make it a salad, and cooked up a steak with it. Didn't end up too bad. Oh, and serrano peppers are entirely to hot for me.

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Links of the Day 10/13/10

This probably has something to do with why Washington State is so bad.

A pretty groundbreaking story from SI about agents and payments to college players

A look at a lost art form, the endzone dance.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Favre Sad Gallery, Week 4

Welcome to the latest edition of The Victoria Times' Brett Favre Sad Gallery! 




The latest installment is from Jim McIsaac at Getty images.

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Links of the Day 10/12/10

Colt McCoy, ready to lead the Browns.

This is why Atlanta lost yesterday.

A guide to hating western conference teams, with a cameo by yours truly.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Here are 6 things the Twins should do to retool

I have decided to help Jim Souhan out with his post from the Start Tribune, in which he tried to tell us all how he would fix the team. Of course, his ideas were a complete disaster. Let me straighten him out with 6 better ideas.

1. Blame the manager

It's pretty clear that the Twins are going to re-up with Ron Gardenhire. If they are going to do that, then the caveat has to be that the Twins now demand results from him. He is the lone constant in a  recent history of ineptitude in the postseason, and he needs to be reminded of that. Hold him accountable for something. The front office put together one hell of a team this year, and he failed to get them ready for the postseason again. Don't let it happen again.

2. Acquire a power arm

I agree with Souhan in this regard, but not the manner he suggests. The Twins are looking to trim payroll a tick this year. Some of that will come from free agents like Orlando Hudson and Carl Pavano leaving, but there is also a good chance that a high priced player will have to be dealt. Who are the high priced players that aren't free agents? Morneau, Cuddyer and by the way, Jason Kubel makes twice as much as Delmon Young. I say those three are candidates to be foisted upon someone else. Cuddyer is the least likely to be dealt, because his salary is way too high for his production, particularly given his pending knee surgery. Morneau's salary may also be restrictive, and there is some concern he may never be back if his concussion syndrome is particularly severe. That leaves Kubel, who is still affordable and a redundantly left handed hitter in a park that is not favorable to lefties. The Red Sox, always willing to trade, could use a big left handed bat with David Ortiz's tenure coming to a close. The Sox also have numerous pitching prospects that could be included in a deal for Kubel. And prospects would have to be dealt if the Kubel money will be saved. On top of that, Kyle Gibson will be up next year and looks like a legit prospect.

3. Stay healthy

Do you know how you stay healthy? Try to protect your players (don't burn out your bullpen) and yes, get younger, especially in highly intensive positions, like the infield. This has already started. Danny Valencia will be the everyday 3b. Don't be surprised if he isn't as successful as he was this year, but be patient. Nick Punto should be gone, with his option not being picked up. JJ Hardy, is a quality, affordable short stop, no matter what you want to believe. He should be kept, especially since there aren't any SS coming up in the system. There is a metric buttload of middle infield prospects that could filter their way into 2b however. Then just hope Morneau can stay healthy, if he plays.

4. Don't resign any of your free agents

...unless they beg to come back. Don't overpay players coming out of the bullpen, and definitely don't pay too much for Jim Thome, who is exactly like Brett Favre. 40 years old, having an unlikely resurgence that may very well not be duplicated next year. Hey, if Jesse Crain wants to come back on the cheap, sure, why not? But don't get into a bidding war on any of those guys.

5. Don't expect much from Joe Nathan.

Poor guy. When adding bullpen help on the cheap, make sure you take into account the fact that Nathan likely won't be the same.

6. Play Mauer at first

It has to happen some day. With Jose Morales ready for a full season, and Morneau, as mentioned, dealing with health issues, this is the perfect opportunity to begin the transition to Mauer at first.

If we go with the moves (and only the moves I have mentioned... there will be more) this is how part of the roster shakes out:

C Mauer
1b Morneau
2b
3b Valencia
SS Hardy
LF Young
CF Span
RF Cuddyer
DH

SP Liriano
SP Slowey
SP Baker
SP Blackburn
SP Duensing
SP Gibson

CL Capps
RP Nathan
RP Mijares
RP Neshek
RP
RP

Not flashy, but the youth infusion is what the team has to do. But this is certainly still a capable team, one that should win the division. Hell, we've got the manager of the year on our team.

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Links of the Day 10/11/10

The TBS intro is confusing.

The Colts won on a day that Peyton Manning wasn't there.

The polls have a distinctly different look today.

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Jim Souhan, WTF

... is your problem with Delmon Young? I was all ready to piss and moan about the Twins, call Gardenhire a loser, all that, but then Jim Souhan presented his 6 things the Twins need to do to retool. Let me be the first to tell you, it is an unrelenting pile of....
Why don't I just break this down, FJM style? (but less funny and more angry)

They must alter their team chemistry and organizational philosophies to better enable them to compete against powerhouse teams in the playoffs

Sounds like Souhan wants the manager out! So long, Gardenhire!

Here are my point-by-point recommendations on how to react in the wake of the Twins' most embarrassing playoff loss in recent history:

I can't wait! We're already off to a good start!

1. DON'T BLAME THE MANAGER

Sh*t


If Gardenhire has a relevant flaw, it's that he is highly emotional and intense

And he's a poor tactician. And his teams come out flat in the playoffs. And he's a little overweight. Oh, sorry, that's not relevant.


Some of the greatest managers of all time enjoyed limited postseason success. Atlanta was right to revere Bobby Cox despite his team's playoff failures, and Minnesota should regard Gardenhire similarly.

Bobby Cox's postseason record: 65-63. Gardenhire: 6-21. Also, Cox has a World Series ring and 5 NL pennants, which is 1 more World Series ring and 5 more pennants than Gardenhire has. Cox has been to the World Series almost as many times as Gardenhire has won a postseason game. So, if Souhan means "Minnesota should regard Gardenhire similarly if they only care about how many times he gets ejected from baseball games," then I totally agree,

2. ACQUIRE POWER ARMS

Agreed.

The teams that have beaten the Yankees in the postseason -- the 2001 Diamondbacks with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, the 2002 Angels with their power bullpen, the 2003 Marlins with Josh Beckett, the 2004 Red Sox with Schilling and Pedro Martinez, the 2006 Tigers with Justin Verlander, etc. -- were able to strike out the Yankees' best hitters in the biggest situations.

Wait, you aren't going to base all of your strategy on beating the Yankees in one series are you? You're not about to propose some sort of ass-minded trade in order to acquire a pitcher that would probably lead to the Twins not making the postseason, in the attempt to beat the Yankees IN the postseason, are you?

Delmon Young is at his highest value, and the organization is down on Kevin Slowey. Could they offer those two plus a prospect and swing a trade for Zack Greinke? 

Dammit.

That might not be possible, but it's the right way to think. 

Delmon Young is the best right handed hitter on the team that plays in a stadium that favors right handed hitters. Kevin Slowey, when healthy, is a serviceable back of the rotation pitcher . You could trade Delmon Young alone for Greinke... if the Royals would be willing to take on Young and his salary for one season. They certainly wouldn't tkae Young AND Slowey. They would LOVE those prospects, though. And besides, the Twins next year, and listen very closely, will be BETTER with Young and Slowey than they would without those two and with Greinke on the roster.
Young led the team in RBI (BS statistic, I know) but was the top HR hitter from the right side of the plate, and had an OPS of .826, (between Vlad Guerrerro and Carlos Quentin, btw), and is still under team control for another year or two. you, Jim Souhan, are the only person I know that thinks that Young should be traded, let alone as part of a package for Zack Greinke.
Slowey, on the other hand, is being plagued by a very high BAbip, which is indicative of bad luck, and WILL be better next year, no matter what your gut tells you.
So in summary, Mr. Souhan, no, trading Young Slowey and a prospect is decidedly NOT the way to think.


3. GET YOUNGER AND FASTER

The impression this offseason is that the Twins need to cut payroll, which means that the team will get younger. Faster? Who cares.

Facing a Yankee team with a weak-armed catcher in Jorge Posada, the Twins found themselves with only one starter who could run, center fielder Denard Span.

Oh right, rebuilding the entire team is focused exclusively on defeating the Yankees, never mind that with your plan, the Twins would be about 14 games behind the Royals, who now have Delmon Young and Kevin Slowey.

While Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy were comforting because of their sure hands and experience, by the end of the year neither had produced much offensively or shown range in the field. The Twins, who won't be able to afford bringing everyone back, should get younger, cheaper and faster up the middle.

Orlando Hudson is 32 and coming off a Gold Glove season. JJ Hardy is 28 (if that's old, then I'm screwed) and hit ,300 with 4 HRs over the last month of the season. But you know, facts.

One possibility is starting Alexi Casilla at short and Luke Hughes at second, with Trevor Plouffe and Matt Tolbert waiting their turn.

/Cough cough choke

Casilla would give them speed and range and would produce more runs than Hardy. Hughes would lack range but add pop to the lineup.

So wait, you are troubled by the lack of range, but want to add Hughes who you say would lack range? And his "pop" involves 10 home runs at triple A. And the whole "runs produced" idea that you cite with Casilla? Yeah, runs are essentially produced by the hitters behind you, since they have to, you know, drive you in. The only time you would have created a run solely by yourself is if you hit a home run, which Casilla doesn't do. Casilla would need someone with a big bat behind him to create a run, like Delmon Young.

Oh wait.

Hudson won't be back. Hardy will be only if he's willing to take a large pay cut.

This is from his 4th point, which is to be smart about free agents, and I generally agree with this. The only thing I have to say is that Hardy is arbitration eligible, so his salary is likely to be unchanged, or at the very least increase slightly. Anyways, no way he gets a pay cut.

5. BRING BACK JIM THOME

Yeah OK. You always start so good, but right now you have Luke Hughes starting at second and Delmon Young taking the Royals to the World Series.

The Twins might have to overspend to keep Jim Thome.

So so so so so.... wait a minute. Wait. Just a minute. Hold on. So.... You want to let go of JJ Hardy for nothing to get his payroll off the books even though he is an above average fielder and power from an unusual spot in the defensive outfield (AND HE BATS RIGHTY), but you advocate overpaying for Jim Thome? Jim "one of 15 lefties on the team" Thome? Jim "will have to split time with Jason Kubel" Thome? Oh right, Delmon Young is gone, so the all lefty line up can play all the time. You're right. No problems here!

6. CROSS YOUR FINGERS

.... and hope nobody listens to you.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Links of the Day 10/10/10

Tony Gwynn has cancer. Good luck and God bless to one of the best people in baseball.

How about some hockey fights?

The Gophers also lost yesterday, but the Boilermakers miraculously won!

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BREAKING: White Sox Unveil New Alternate Uniforms for 2011


CHICAGO - In a surprising move, the Chicago White Sox unveiled a new alternate uniform for the 2011 season, which they plan to wear for 18 games, all of them against the Minnesota Twins. The uniform has pinstripes similar to the home uniform that the White Sox have worn for the past 20 years, but instead of the familiar intersecting S-O-X logo on the chest, it will have an intersecting N-Y logo. "This special alternate uniform that we plan to wear for all 18 games against the Twins next year will not only draw interest among the fans, but will also provide us with a significant advantage in the AL Central race," said White Sox GM Kenny Williams. "Recent history has shown that the Twins are completely unable to even win a single important game against a team with an intersecting N-Y on the chest, or for that matter, a slightly arched NEW YORK on a plain gray uniform. We plan to use this to our advantage in the upcoming season." The New York Yankees, who wear a similar uniform to this proposed alternate, declined comment. They may, however, be forced to provide a comment next week, when the Tigers, Indians, and Royals also plan to unveil a special 18-game only alternate uniform. A joint statement released by those 3 teams and White Sox said it all: "In 2011, we are taking drastic measures with our uniform designs in an effort to make the American League playoffs interesting again."

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Links of the Day 10/9/10

Nice tattoo, White Sox fan.

Yes, the umps may not have been great, but there is nothing worse than a team that gripes about officiating.

Scary moment from yesterday's hockey game in Atlanta.

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 4

So once again this week I missed my goal of posting these ranks on a Tuesday, but at least this week they are up before most of the games are over. My picture to the right for this week may seem a little odd, but it represents how the Kansas City Chiefs became the #1 ranked team this week: Sitting at home, going out to dinner, going to a club...whatever is going on here. The other 2 undefeated teams in the NFL, the Bears and Steelers, both went down in week 4, leaving only the Chiefs as the last remaining undefeated team.

The Bears loss was a tough one. They got dominated by the Giants defense, leaving both their starting and backup QB's with injuries. The Steelers finally got outplayed by someone, the Ravens, and only fell back to the #2 spot. The Jets, who absolutely murdered the Bills, jumped up to the #3 spot, while the Falcons stayed put at #4 after beating the #32 49ers thanks to a careless fumble by Nate Clements after the "game winning" interception. The Patriots move into the 5th spot after routing Miami.

On the low end, our 4 winless teams, the Lions, Panthers, Bills, and 49ers make up the bottom 4, while the Raiders are our lowest ranked 1 win team. Some may be surprised that the 49ers are the lowest of the 4 winless teams, since they nearly beat New Orleans and Atlanta, but in reality they have been truly pathetic this season. Their offense is terrible, ranking 31st in the league in scoring, their defense, which was pretty solid last year, only ranks 27th in the league in points allowed, and they keep turning the ball over while getting few turnovers themselves, ranking 30th in the league in turnover ratio. These are the kind of numbers we saw out of the Rams last year and the Lions 2 years ago, so we'll see how the remaining 12 games go for them.

As far as the big gainers and losers for this week go, the Patriots and Chargers both jumped 8 spots after blowout wins, and the Ravens jumped 7 spots for beating the Steelers. The Titans were the big losers, falling 11 spots for losing to Denver, and the victims of the those Patriots and Chargers blowouts, the Dolphins and Cardinals, each fell 9 spots.

Here are the full ranks:
1. Chiefs - 80.79 - +1
2. Steelers - 76.55 - -1
3. Jets - 74.27 - +3
4. Falcons - 73.22 - Even
5. Patriots - 68.17 - +8
6. Saints - 65.12 - +3
7. Bears - 64.78 - -4
8. Packers - 63.94 - Even
9. Texans - 62.45 - +3
10. Ravens - 59.70 - +7
11. Chargers - 58.89 - +8
12. Colts - 56.14 - -5
13. Buccaneers - 55.02 - +3
14. Bengals - 54.98 - -4
15. Eagles - 54.57 - -4
16. Titans - 54.54 - -11
17. Rams - 53.67 - +3
18. Broncos - 52.16 - +3
19. Redskins - 51.85 - +4
20. Seahawks - 46.27 - -5
21. Jaguars - 44.87 - +6
22. Giants - 42.63 - +6
23. Dolphins - 42.33 - -9
24. Cowboys - 41.37 - -2
25. Browns - 39.59 - +1
26. Vikings - 36.68 - -2
27. Cardinals - 34.94 - -9
28. Raiders - 32.22 - -3
29. Lions - 22.70 - Even
30. Panthers - 16.44 - +1
31. Bills - 14.78 - -1
32. 49ers - 13.08 - Even

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Come on Twins, I need this


The Twins find themselves down 2-0 in their series against the Yankees. Nothing new. I have always been able to take solace in the fact that when their season ends, I will have something to look forward to. Let's break down the Minnesota rooting interests (and my own, for that matter) with the Twins, once again, on the brink of elimination.
Vikings - They started the season 1-2, just reacquired a wide receiver that everyone seems to forget was run out of town half a decade ago, and now their geriatric quarterback is involved in a sexting scandal. At the very least, they could go on a run and annoy the hell out of me before eventually breaking the hearts of Minnesotans.
Gophers - 1-4. Lost to South Dakota. Lost to Northern Illinois. Just an awful team.
Wild - The Wild started their season yesterday, and after today's game will be returning winless. It would be wone thing if they had lost to a good team, bu they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes, who were even worse than the Wild, not winning until February (if memory serves). And it wasn't even fun hockey. It was sloppy, miserable hockey that nobody in their right mind would want to watch.
Timberwolves - They hoped to cash in by putting a billboard up on the Target Center for the Twins postseason run. Oops. The team is entirely new once again. Corey Brewer is the longest tenured Wolf, and frankly the entire team is mostly forgotten.
Gophers basketball - The Gophers hoops team is pernnially frought with controversy. So that's fun. And they also tend to occupy the middle of the Big Ten standings. Only one more season until Nebraska joins! Easy wins!
And now, more personally...
Purdue football - Yes, they are 2-2, but they beat Western Illinois (narrowly) and Ball State (narrowly.. Ball State then lost to Iowa 45-0) but lost to Notre Dame and Toledo, worse than the Gophers have lost any of their games. Toledo also had the worst offense going into the game before scoring 31 points in West Lafayette. So the defense sucks. And the top two choices at QB are hurt, as is the top receiver. They play Northwestern this week, then a clash of the Titans with the Gophers the next. That's going to be a tough ticket.
Colts - Also 2-2. One thing about Indy is that, with their faulty defense, they have always needed the breaks to fall their way. Houston used to throw a late interception or miss a field goal, the Jaguars used to have late personal fouls on the secondary that would give Indy new life. This just hasn't happened this year. Without homefield advantage in the playoffs, I really don't think Indy is a legitimate threat in the postseason.
Purdue basketball - My only hope. The Boilers are returning almost every one of their key players from the past few years, except for Chris Kramer, who is surely hustling his way around the Brownsburg Staples. My entire winter will depend on the Boilers basketball team. No pressure. Unless, of course, the Twins can turn it around, in which case I'm in good shape!
Ugh

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Links of the Day 10/8/10

You know what? Vending machines are perfect for the fast paced consumer driven lifestyle of Los Angeles.

An interesting retrospective on the AL Central GMs when they first got hired.

The Wild will be returning to the States winless.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Orlando Hudson's bunt

There is no excuse for sacrifice bunting with 0 outs in the first inning. 100% of the blame for Orlando Hudson's first inning bunt gets pinned on Gardenhire, and you cannot move me off that opinion. There are many scenarios for which the decision to bunt Denard Span over to second could have come to pass, but all of them come back and point the finger at Gardenhire.
If the sign was sent in, then it's Gardenhire's fault.
If Hudson made the decision on his own, thinking it good strategy, then it's Gardenhire's fault for allowing such poor baseball strategy to exist in his clubhouse.
If Hudson made the decision because he lacked confidence, then it's Gardenhire's fault for failing to recognize an insecure player at the plate and putting him in the second spot in the order.
If the whole team locks up and makes bad decisions or gets weak in the knees during the postseason, that is 100% the fault of the manager, especially one who is lauded for his clubhouse.
Orlando Hudson has an on base percentage of .338 in 2010. He gets on base one in three times he is at the plate. In situations where there was a runner on first base and less than 2 outs, he grounded into 14 double plays in 108 plate appearances. That's a "double play percentage" of .129. He is nearly 3 times more likely to get on base by swinging the bat than he is to ground into a double play in that situation, just taking the statistics from this year. If you decide that that 13% chance of a double play is too high to risk a real at bat, that is a loser's mentality, and has no place on a team I root for.
Here's the part that kills me. His next at bat, he got a single and proved himself a gifted baserunner. Let's say he DID get on base in the first inning. Mauer strikes out, Delmon Young still grounds out. Now, with two outs, Thome gets beaned and Cuddyer hits his homer. The only difference is that now the bases are loaded. Now the Twins have two more runs. As you no doubt recall, the Twins lost by two. This makes a few leaps, of course, but so does automatically assuming a double play. And all that other stuff actually happened in the game.
Poor pitching hurt against the Yankees last night, but a large part of the burden needs to be placed on Gardenhire getting outmanaged once again. And don't even get me started on Mauer's dive into first.

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Links of the Day 10/7/10

Hockey season starts today! Let's focus on that, please.

Roy Halladay threw a freakin' no hitter. I guess we were owed one in the postseason

The NHL's marketing team is at it again, with a plan that will eventually be universally derided.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Randy Moss is different


In case you hadn't heard, the Vikings have once again tried (successfully) to steal Minnesota headlines just as the Twins are starting their postseason run. They have traded for wide receiver Randy Moss, a guy who played for them for half a dozen years to begin his career, before he became a hassle and was sent to Oakland. I don't really want to talk about what this means for the Vikings this year (I think it will help them tremendously, unfortunately.), but rather address the misconception that Randy Moss is just like other big name egotistical wideouts like Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco.
Owens and Ochocinco have something in common, besides their uniform. They are both attention seeking egotists who have become quite skilled at selling themselves. They bought into the system and are trying to exploit it by being ostentatious and self aggrandizing. Is it immature? Yes. But they do well, for the most part, to stay out of serious trouble, and frankly just want to be liked.
Randy Moss is different. He doesn't go out of his way to seek attention, and hasn't really had a big deal advertising campaign in his career. He is insular and has failed to buy into the system, preferring to do his own thing, even if that means smoking weed or being an unrelenting jackass to the press. Is it immature? Yes. And he doesn't care. Moss is in it for the money, but won't bend to anyone else's sensibilities, preferring to fly solo. Straight cash, homey.

If nothing else, I hope the folks of Los Angeles are really excited about the team they will be getting in 2 years.

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Links of the Day 10/6/10

Playoff baseball starts today! This is clearly the biggest and most important story in Minnesota!

Can the Twins beat the Yankees this time around?

Here's a look at some of the uglier uniforms through history.

Ole Miss is in a lot of trouble if these are the only mascot choices.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ryan's Random Road Trips, 2011

With my upcoming voyage to San Diego for the Colorado State-San Diego State game completing my 2010 road trip campaign (the first was to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for a basketball game game between Southeast Missouri State and visiting Murray State), today was the day I drew my trips for 2011.
The two teams that I drew were a near statistical improbability to have drawn at all, let alone for the same calendar year. For those that don't remember, my picks are made by inputting all Division 1 basketball and football teams, NFL, MLB, and NHL teams into a computer program which will randomly select any one of those teams. After the teams are selected, I then have the same program randomly select a game (by number, depending on the length of their schedule. It skews heavily towards college basketball, and in fact, every year I have had at least one, if not two basketball games come up on the schedule. This year was no different. 1 basketball, 1 football game.
The first team that was drawn was a basketball squad who is often in the NCAA Tournament from the America East Conference. There is only 1 team from the entire state, and it was drawn:




Team one is the Vermont Catamounts! Game 13 was selected for them, which on the 2010-2011 schedule is a road game against Iona... However this falls in 2010. I'll have to wait for next year to find out exactly where and when the game will be. Vermont is one of 2 states (Maine being the other) with only 1 possible team to be selected. Even Alberta has more possible teams than Vermont, yet somehow the were the team chosen.

On to team two. The football game I am going to in the first week of November is a Mountain West contest between Colorado State and San Diego State. Either of those teams could again be in my plans as one of the remaining Mountain West teams was drawn:

The Wyoming Cowboys! Their 6th game on the season was selected, but that is relatively meaningless. The conference is getting dramatically changed next season, with BYU and Utah are leaving, while Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada are joining the conference, so it will be interesting to see what happens. Wyoming has only two teams, with the University of Wyoming basketball team being the other in the state.
This is a pretty fun set of teams, and it will be interesting to finally see who the opponents will be!

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Links of the Day 10/5/10

Matt Millen is returning to Michigan, for a game most Michiganders will be watching.

A stellar bit of photography. Expect the cigar guy to show up in your photoshops for a while

Delmon Young love.

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Pretty much the same team


So I have had a lot of people ask me what is wrong with the Colts this year. My answer? Nothing. This is the same team as it was last year. There were no major changes. They just haven't been getting the lucky breaks they did last season.
The Texans probably should have beat the Colts in Houston any of the past 3 or 4 years, save for a missed field goal here or there, and one infamous game featuring Sage Rosenfels. The Jaguars are always the thorn in the side of the Indianapolis, for whatever reason. This time around, they ended up defeating the Colts. It's two things that should have happened any number of times the past several years, and it just happened to happen twice in 4 weeks. The Colts will still get theirs. They have 2 wins on only 1 home game. I still say they get a solid 10 wins and make the playoffs. It's going to be tough in the playoffs without that homefield, however.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Links of the Day 10/4/10

The Twins are playing the Yankees starting on Wednesday. Here is a preview. It makes me sad that Scott Baker may be left off the roster.

The Titans are number 1!

Jose Bautista hit a lot of home runs this year.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 3

Well, I had a busy week at work. Since I am posting the ranks this week incredibly late (12/14 week 4 games are already complete) let's just do it. I'll try to get the week 4 ranks up a little earlier.

1. Steelers - 90.66 - Even
2. Chiefs - 79.34 - +5
3. Bears - 79.30 - +1
4. Falcons - 73.91 - +4
5. Titans - 67.20 - +8
6. Jets - 66.51 - +6
7. Colts - 63.99 - +4
8. Packers - 63.46 - -3
9. Saints - 62.04 - -6
10. Bengals - 61.66 - +5
11. Eagles - 59.91. - +6
12. Texans - 57.38 - -10
13. Patriots - 56.64 - +5
14. Dolphins - 55.43 - -5
15. Seahawks - 55.33 - +9
16. Buccaneers - 55.11 - -10
17. Ravens - 51.34 - +2
18. Cardinals - 44.32 - +7
19. Chargers - 43.12 - -9
20. Rams - 42.23 - +12
21. Broncos - 40.39 - -7
22. Cowboys - 39.86 - +8
23. Redskins - 38.28 - -7
24. Vikings - 37.35 - +2
25. Raiders - 37.17 - -2
26. Browns - 30.64 - -5
27. Jaguars - 29.96 - -7
28. Giants - 29.57- -6
29. Lions - 22.31 - Even
30. Bills - 21.18 - -2
31. Panthers - 18.78 - -4
32. 49ers - 17.82 - -1

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Links of the Day 10/3/10

Ooh, this doesn't bode well for American education.

Wally the Beerman... in trouble.

As expected, the Wild added Jose Theodore.

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Um... Welcome back?

With news that the Justin Morneau may be back for ALCS, there is a bit of joy, and then a bit of consternation. What exactly will we do with him? Part of the resurgence the Twins had late in the season was due to Delmon Young and Jim Thome showing up every day in the lineup. Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer have been all right, but are decidedly in the throes of a down year. When Morneau comes back, that means PAs are taken away from at least one of those guys, right? In the postseason, do you really want to mess with what has been a good thing?
Let's say you do. The obvious choice for a platoon with Morneau is Michael Cuddyer, a righty who has been playing the same position, but isn't really hitting all that well. If Morneau were to play a full slate of games (foolish, if you ask me) then Kubel and Cuddyer could be the platoon in right field. They are the weaker elements of the 4 in question so far.
So why am I concerned, then, that it would be Thome and Young in a platoon? Is it because the Twins too often revert to what is most comfortable? Cuddyer, Kubel and Morneau will probably all see regular playing time in the ALCS.
Hey, what am I complaining about. I would be ecstatic if they make i that far.

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Links of the Day 10/2/10

Late links. That means better links.

Does Mark Buehrle's Opening Day play still hold up as the play of the year?

Nebraska is joining the Big Ten. Eh... No worse than IU fans.

The fact that this guy exists is kind of fun.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Which 3-0 team is the most surprising?

 We're three weeks into the season, and there are three teams still riding high, without a loss.It actually seems like a low number on my end, only three out of 32 teams going undefeated, especially given the success of some teams last year. The three that haven't suffered a defeat are most surprising, but which one is the MOST surprising? Let's look at the case.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are probably the least surprising, if only because they are such a complete team. Without Ben Roethlisberger, other players have had to step up. It certainly hasn't been the quarterbacks, but the defense and running game have been very respectable. Tough games were had, but it was a good team even without Big Ben.

Kansas City Chiefs: Maybe they just weren't as surprising for me. I like what they did with their offense, and their defense has been supplemented every year for the past 3 or 4. They were bound to reach respectability. It doesn't hurt that the schedule they played was very soft, with the Chargers and 49ers at home and a road game against the Browns.

Chicago Bears: The big surprise for me has been the Bears. What did they do in the offseason to warrant such an improvement? Sure, Urlacher is back and Julius Peppers is on the D-Line, but much of their improvement is on the offensive side of the ball. Is Mike Martz that good? And if he is, how do you explain Matt Forte's resurgence? And on top of that, they have faced two stout opponents after narrowly escaping the Lions. Yes sir, the Bears are the biggest surprise for me.

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Links of the Day 10/1/10

An interesting, in depth look at sacks and he statistics that should go along with them/

Going to a playoff game? Here's how not to act.

Roy Halladay has been around for a while, and he's only now making the postseason.

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Cooking with Ryan: Southwestern potatoes

This was kind of a deconstructed baked potato is what it was. I sliced up the potato, threw the cheese, scallions and red peppers on it and threw it in the oven. After they were done, I threw some salsa and sour cream on top. Not too bad. Let me tell you about the fun little mistakes I made.
After I boiled the potatoes, I wanted to drain the hot water so they would cool before I peeled and sliced them, but I moved to quick to the sink and whoops! boiling water at my feet. I'm OK, but that didn't feel so great. Then, as I was pouring off the hot water one of the four potatoes I had boiled rolled out of the pot and directly down the drain. I lost an entire potato. The garbage disposal didn't appreciate it, and I couldn't pull it back out. A quarter of my starch was gone. Well done, Ryan. Anyways, I sliced my potato after peeling went OK, and a couple of those slices totally went rogue and hit the floor. It's like the potato didn't want to be eaten. Everything else went pretty well. It was a very simple recipe and was mostly very healthy, except for the gobs of sour cream I dumped on there.
The side dish I made was a bean and corn mixture, cooked with ranch dressing and cilantro. THAT was mighty tasty. You can take a peak at that below.

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