Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bumping Into Each Other

In honor of Halloween, the NFL provided some spooooooky matchups for the Minneapolis market, and by spooooooky, of course, I mean terrible. So, ducking in between some 15 year old trick or treaters, I'll try to give you all the recap.

I decided to go visit my grandmother (who has the same shoulder strength as Brad Radke, at this point), and frankly, she's the type who is only happy if I'm happy, so she insisted I change the channel from Public Access - Brooklyn Center. Besides, she said after I flipped it to the Cardinals/Packers game, she got a kick about the guys when they bumped into each other. Her words. She said this after a couple Cardinals chest bumped after stuffing Ahman Green. That's really all I have to say about this game.

As I said, I wasn't really focused on the early games, so I asked Steve what he thought about Baltimore versus New Orleans. "I was starting to think the Saints were the surprise team of the year and the Ravens were on a decline after starting well". Also, my aunt was correct. The gold pants wearing team lost. That's all I have.

I finally got to see the Colts and was impressed, to say the least. They fell into the trap of having fast ends, thereby allowing Plummer to operate thoughtlessly, and they have no middle to their defense so the Bells ran all over them. But being devoid of a run defense won't be a real problem, will it? It's not like the bulk of elite teams have good ground games. (Sarcasm, in case my tone didn't translate digitally). But really, Peyton Manning is pretty good. He and his rocket arm picked the Broncos (who are perhaps the best defensive team in the AFC) apart. From what I have seen, with that offense they have nothing to worry about come playoff time, except, of course, their history.

The difference between the Cowboys versus the Panthers and, say, the Cardinals/Packers was that this game was on during prime time, and John Madden mangled his cliches. I can't even figure out the difference between the two teams. They both have subpar quarterbacks, mouthy receivers fifteen running backs or so and good defenses. Even their coaches look alike. I'm sure Madden had a pearl that let us know what exactly led to the Panthers thoroughly trouncing the Cowboys.

Ah the Vikings. If nothing else, they proved me right. Brad Johnson is a miserable quarterback. When faced with real competition, he's trouble. The Patriots gameplanned the Vikings brilliantly, taking away short passes and run blitzing. On offense, they did the little things, like realize the ends aren't very good and E.J. Henderson is a starter. Truly, however, the game was handed to the Pats by the excessive turnovers by Minnesota. In other news, I don't have any opinion on Brad Childress yet. He hasn't really done anything outlandishly stupid or anything particularly intelligent (even by Vikings standards). The one thing I noticed though, is that he wanted a quarterback with working limbs, like Brad Johnson over DAunte Culpepper. However, his second draft pick was a mobile quarterback, Tavaris Jackson, so I assume he knows Brad Johnson is bad. But trust me, Johnson will be revered for the 8-8 record he will put up this year, much like Jackson will be derided for his six losses in his first 10-6 season. I hate Minnesota sportswriters.

One last note. On this Halloween evening, be sure to pay your excorsist, otherwise you may get repossessed. - Ryan

Monday, October 30, 2006

Who Wants to See my Green Fuzzy Balls?

I missed my chance at a good Halloween costume this year. I had a fantastic idea though. It was cheap and easy, since I already had most of the materials. I was going to wear my old tennis uniform, add a headband and a blonde wig. Since I've put on a few pounds since those days, I would easily pass as "If John Daly played tennis". The best part, of couse, is that if I got belligerently drunk, I could say I was in character! And to stay in character, I could just launch a tennis ball as far as I could. But alas, I stayed at home and sucked at poker. What else happened last week?

ITEM ONE: The worst thing to happen to baseball was the MVP for the Cardinals, who, in case you didn't hear, won the World Series. David Eckstein, who is, of course, a scrappy talented player, was named the Most Valuable Player. Why? I understand he had a good series, but you take him out of the lineup and replace him with pretty much any other fleet short stop in the league and I'd bet the Cardinals do just as well against the Tigers, who, aside from Mudthumb, pitched like crap. Not to mention fielded and hit like crap. Of course, now that everyone who didn't fall asleep during the Series will be clamoring for some skinny white kid who tries really hard to anchor their infield. Good thing the Twins aren't in that boat. I mean, we already HAVE a skinny white kid anchoring the infield.

ITEM TWO: I think the Wild and Sabres are each running out of gas. I haven't seen the Buffaslugs in person, but I know just from watching that the Wild have crapped out. You can't help but thing that the 5 game homestand to start the season helped the squad save some energy, being able to sleep in their eds and not having to fly to Alberta. They are good enough to use that energy, but now that its gone, you get games like Sunday nights, where Minnesota was totally overmatched by the Avs. By the way, Mike Greenlay says that Antti Laaksonen does his best work from behind. Just sayin'.

ITEM THREE: I would rail on Purdue again for their abysmal showing at home against Penn State, however, Minnesota crapped their pants against Ohio State. Both teams are bad, At least we can look forward to the Hoosiers in the Motor City Bowl.

ITEM FOUR: At the affair that went on at my house, my aunt invaded the basement where I was hiding and watching Florida St. versus Maryland. After she first mentioned that she couldn't understand why people could watch a whole game, she mentioned how much she thought that the guys who wore gold pants looked like Nancy-boys, something I've been bemoaning for years. Well, after that, the Seminoles lost, not to mention the Saints and 49ers did too on Sunday. Something to be said for the opinons of an aunt.

ITEM FIVE: I have come up with a plan. My journalistic skills lack one fundamental component. I don't actually attend any events. So in order to rectify the situation, I have decided to make three annual trips to sporting events. I compiled a list of all the teams for sports I like (NFL, NHL, MLB, college basketball and college football) and randomly selected one team, and upon that teams selection, made a random choice of game during their schedule. I would pick two random teams and add a trip to the Twins game closest to my birthday (April 5th, buy me something nice), and without further ado, the games I will be attending (or trying to attend. Any volunteers) are : Valparaiso at Missouri-Kansas City on January 25th (CBB), St. Bonaventure at Temple on February 7th (CBB) and my Twins at the hated White Sox on April 6th. It should be loads of fun.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween - Ryan

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Used to Play Second. I'm not Making the Team This Year.

Over the off-season last year, Terry Ryan helped the Marlins dismantle their roster by taking on the owner of a World Series ring and a couple gold gloves. Luis Castillo, when healthy, played the Tom Kelly version of small-ball to perfection, stealing, hustling, playing the field and just getting on base. When he was healthy.
Castillo has a history of knee problems, and this season some hamstring problems kept him on the shelf more than people would like. Nick Punto filled in nicely at second at the beginning of the season before taking over at the hot corner, and later in the season, Luis Rodriguez and later Alexi Casilla were ok in the field but left a lot to be desired at the plate. Before next season, the only thing the Twins management needs to really think about is what is going to happen in the utility role.
On Castillo's off days, which would be more valuable to replace? His bat or his glove? Sure Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Torii Hunter blazed new trails with their RBI this year, but they had to have people on base to do so, and Joe Mauer can score only so many runs. It was nice to almost always have someone from the top of the order on base. If they want a second baseman who can be reliable at the plate, then I would suggest a Junior Spivey type player.
However, Castillo's glove would be missed the most, in my opinion. Second base at the Metrodome has always seemed to be a hotter position than even short stop, so keeping a good glove there is fairly important. It would be cheaper and wiser, then, to stay the course and give Luis Rodriguez the utility role. I think the money could be better spent elsewhere, but I wouldn't fault Terry Ryan if he brought in a veteran utility player, either. - Ryan

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gilbert Arenas is Goin' Off the Rails on his Crazy Train. Also, Football.

Before I get into the NFL recap, I just wanted to mention two NBA stories that I should have discussed yesterday. Usually, I'm not a fan of the NBA (read, the NBA is an enemy of sport) but there are a couple of things that need to be mentioned. First, rapper Fabolous was shot, and one of the suspects is Boston Celtic Sebastian Telfair. I can't believe this isn't getting any attention from anyone! This is the perfect scenario for Law & Order to rip a story from the headlines! Of course, in the L&O, Fabolous would have fathered Telfair's child, instead of a member of his posse stealing his chain. Respect the bling.
The other NBA character I wanted to bring up was my new favorite Washington Wizard, Gilbert Arenas, who, according to his article in the most recent ESPN the Magazine, is certifiable. Among other things, his favorite movie is Bambi, he thinks marriage should be a five year commitment and lastly, and most impressively, he is thinning the air in his house to match that of Denver. It all makes total sense to me. All I hope is that Arenas is constantly in the news this season, and there is enough room in town for him and Coach Janky Spanky. If so, I may get interested in the NBA. But probably not.
OK, my producer is telling me to move it along. On to the football recap.

I... didn't do a good job with my football preview. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (almost all when I got a paper cut). The Dolphins don't have a ground game, what with their lack of a passing game and one back who is used to platooning. They're defense is exhausted, what with always being the field, and they gave up points to Ahman Green, who is well past the day I expected he would blow a knee, and a quarterback who is the pitchman for Prilosec. I hesitate to call this Nick Saban or Daunte Culpepper's fault. Saban plays with the cards he's dealt, and when Joey Harrington is your trump card, you're bound to lose. Ricky Williams in Canada is just another kick in the teeth. And Culpepper, for those that don't remember, came out of the dumbed down Mike Tice offense and is coming off a knee injury, where "knee injury" is kind of what Tacoma could call a "bridge incident". These were all things I should have seen coming, but things are in place for the Dolphins to not suck next year. The Packers can look forward to being heartburn free.

By the way, the Steelers aren't making the playoffs. It's becoming pretty clear that the fates don't wan't Ben Roethlisberger to keep playing, let alone walk upright (I would have said God, but I'm pretty sure He's more interested in hockey). Ok, so they still were pretty ok on the road with Charlie Batch at the helm. Sure, they were fine on offense, however, Michael Vick threw four touchdowns against their defense. Vick is only supposed to surprise people with his quickness and agility, certainly not his passing game. So there is no excuse. For shame Pittsburgh defense. For shame.

The Vikings win was the worst possible thing to happen to them, for their longterm future anyways. Let's review. They toughed it out, winning on the road against a good team who was missing their running back and their quarterback for a half (they only really pulled away after Hasselbeck was out). Then Mewelde Moore threw a touchdown. Then Chester Taylor broke the longest run in Vikings history. The defense too, scored on it's own (Pat Williams!). All told, Brad Johnson threw for 171 yards and a TD. Tell me again, why is he so much better than Culpepper? Sure he doesn't throw as many INTs (because he doesn't really throw that far) but at least healthy Daunte gets the ball down the field. And you may argue that Brad Johnson "just wins ball games". It's because he's lucky! He plays with incredible defenses on the opposite side of the ball. Just look at his Super Bowl victory against the Raiders. Victoria resident Rich Gannon threw two touchdown passes for the Bucs, which is just as many as Johnson, who was ostensibly closer to his playing prime. Now, Johnson's arthritic hip will probably take him out for next season, leaving the team with Tavaris Jackson as the starter. No matter how good he does, it won't be good enough when he inevitably loses his first game. The dumb Minnesota sports reporters will pine for Brad Johnson, because when he was here, the Vikings had a series of fortuitous breaks that helped his team win, no thinks to Brad. Also, I suspect, Sid Hartman et al. feel a lot more comfortable talking to Johnson than a man named Tavaris. That said, Brad Johnson is a truly miserable quarterback, and unless he is removed from the starter spot, the Vikings won't recover for probably five years, and they assuredly won't do a thing in the playoffs.

Ah, the Cowboys. The wheels fell off there pretty quick, huh? I don't think the new QB is going to fair any better than the last one. They both have a knack for hitting the wide open free safety here and there. The AFC East is just as brutal as I thought it would be, although I got the two crappy teams right! Thank you Redskins and Cowboys!

- Ryan

Monday, October 23, 2006

Blurbs Shorter than Barry Trotz's Neck

This is pretty much the perfect week for the random weekly recap. There is a World Series going on, in case you didn't hear, but it involves two teams I'm not particularly enthusiastic about. There was a lot of good college football, and I actually got to watch a lot of it (since anyone who would otherwise nag me was in Arizona, and I had a raging hangover that made watching college football the perfect medicine). Hockey is in full swing, and in case you didn't hear, God loves hockey. (Read the comments). And of course, what with there no Twins games to see, I've been going to the movies. Let's take a look at the week that was.

ITEM ONE: I would be remiss if I didn't mention a little baseball series going on in Detroit and St. Louis right now. Two storied teams meet in a clash of what will assuredly be a classic, and seems as though it already is after two games. I love the series when two teams have something to fight for, where the players don't necessarily have the swagger that a smug team like the Yankees do. Neither team is the "just happy to be there" team like the Astros were last year, and quite frankly, the Twins were in the playoffs this year. Albert Pujols still needs to prove himself a champion (which I think he will) and Kenny Rogers has already resorted to cheating just to get that Ring for his team. I think the Cardinals have the upper hand. They aren't rusty and they have the momentum.

ITEM TWO: Wow, that Notre Dame, huh? And Brady Quinn! Not anybody can find a 6'3 guy wide open and have him run over two defensive backs for 30 additional yards and a touchdown. And against a fantastic team like UCLA too! I'm blown away by Brady Quinn!

ITEM THREE: After seeing The Departed, I feel slighted that I wasn't born with a ridiculous accent, and I couldn't fake one if you paid me. That was far and away my favorite part of the movie. My least favorite, of course, was that nobody shot Alec Baldwin.

ITEM FOUR: The Lord's game, hockey, is fully underway. It's clear that the Buffalo Sabres are the class of the league early on. Can it last? Probably not. But they are doing it against good teams, most notably Montreal twice, including on the road tonight. They also won at Detroit, which isn't really as exciting this year as it may sound. Maybe keeping a guy like Lindy Ruff around isn't a bad idea. The Wild continue to work with Jacque Lemaire, which seems to be working as well. Barry Trotz is doing well in Nashville, and he is the only coach that franchise has ever had. He had to sell his neck to get a contract extension, however. I would love to talk about the Wild this week, but the games were so late! Who put two teams in Los Angeles, anyways?

ITEM FIVE: How do you feel about Christian Okoye? I think he gave the Chiefs of the early 90's a great RUSHING GAME. (Seriously, I bet Dierdorf got all the ladies. That was a sweet moustache.)

ITEM SIX: The otehr movie I saw was Man of the Year. It wasn't terrible, but I wouldn't recommend paying 9 bucks for it. Definitley worth a rental, but nobody needs to see Robin Williams make the moves on Laura Linney on the big screen.

ITEM SEVEN: In case you were wondering why I didn't mention the Gophers or Boilermakers yet, then you don't follow college football. Ugh. I just want to cry.

Until tomorrow - Ryan

Friday, October 20, 2006

NHL Preview, No Excuses

The NHL season is hard to forecast. The first and most important reason is the lack of major media coverage. There is very little made of big free agent acquisitions or trades when they happen, and the various season previews are brief if they appear at all. The other major reason is that the hockey season relies so much on chemistry and momentum, its very difficult to assess which teams have that perfect blend. Who is going to make a trade down the road? Is someone going to get hurt? Will their goaltenders carpool to a game in Calgary and get lost, never to be found again? There are so many scenarios, more so than any other sport, save, perhaps, for basketball that can affect that chemistry.
So those are my excuses. I wanted to give it a few games to assess some of that chemistry before I went prognosticating all will-nilly. Now that I have some more info, it's finally time to dive into this thing head first. Here we go.

ATLANTIC DIVISION: Right now, the Atlantic is a division in turmoil. Even though the Devils are sitting atop the division at this point, I don't suspect this will remain the same all season. The Rangers are young up and comers who look to build on what they had last year. In the spirit of New York teams, however, I also suspect they will wilt in the playoffs. Better than the Islanders, I suppose, who are looking to the Knicks for guidance. They are stocked with bad contracts and little talent. Unless some of those high priced guys, like Mike York or Alexei Zhitnik get their butts in gear, its going to be a long season at Nassau Collosseum. The teams in Pennsylvania, the Pengins and Flyers, will likely both finish ahead of the Isles, despite Pittsburgh's poor record last season and Philadelphia's abysmal start this year. (Wow... Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That state has far too many letters at it's disposal. Maybe share them with Utah, huh Pennsylvania?)

NORTHEAST DIVISION: Buffalo did all the right things this offseason. That means, of course, that they didn't do anything. They faced off with Carolina in order to make it to the Stanley Cup finals and kept the same young corps, minus the expendable J.P. Dumont, as well as retaining two top flight goalies in Ryan Miller and Martin Biron. This means that if a goalie goes down, they have a solid backup, if they find themselves lacking a scorer, or more likely a defenseman, they have the trade bait to execute a deal. I don't think it should be understated that this is a very good division either. Montreal is off to a quick start and will probably make the playoffs on the strong backs of young studs like Michael Ryder and Chris Higgins, and just like the Sabres, two strong goalies in David Aebischer and Cristobal Huet. The Ottawa Senators and their offense, currently in last, will be able to march towards the top of the division, while Toronto and Boston will lurk near the bottom. The Maple Leafs two big problems are that their best player is 35 and their goalie is Andrew Raycroft. The Bruins' is that they had Raycroft last season and took a step back in net.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION: The Southeast is an interesting division, top to bottom. The Lightning are struggling with cap space, but they still have the best 1-2 punch in the league with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. There is Washington who secretly has some of the best young talent in the league, better, even, than Pittsburgh in my opinion, what with Alexanders Ovechkin and Semin (insert joke here) and guys like Brian Sutherby lurking, ready to break out. Carolina is the defending champion, but lost some key players, mostly to the Rangers, or in the case of Mark Recchi and Doug Weight, to their previous team. Florida made waves this offseason, dealing Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi and others. All told, however, Atlanta has the best team and will assuredly take the Division title.

CENTRAL DIVISION: The power in the division has swung from Detroit to Nashville, and from St Louis to Chicago. This means, of course, that in this division Nashville will be unstoppable, playing all parts of the game well. Chicago will play well, as they are now after Martin Havlat's quick start, but will only be the second (or third) fiddle when the season winds down. Columbus is improving, but their supposed phenoms haven't panned out like they'd want, and they're goaltending situation has turned dire now that Marc Denis is in Tampa. St. Louis is still miserable and Detroit's age appears to finally be catching up with the Red Wings. At least they have the Tigers, right?

NORTHWEST DIVISION: While I would love to promote the Wild as the greatest team in the league, I.... oh who am I kidding. The Wild have proven thus far that they are, at the very least, the best team in the West so far. Their offseason acquisitions proved a dedication to chemistry, acquiring two talented Slovaks to pair with Marian Gaborik, and adding locker room nice guy and techniacally talented Mark Parrish to the forward line. They made up for the loss of a couple defensemen by acquiring better defensemen, in Kim Johnsson (who's PP is huge, I'm told) and Keith Carney. They have to play the Western Conference Cup representatives from the past two seasons ad nauseum, and the Flames got better, while the Oilers got worse by losing Chris Pronger. The Canucks need to get used to not having Bertuzzi or Ed Jovanovski, but they will be formadible nonetheless. If anything, the weakest team in the division may be Colorado, after their plan of signing older players is finally backfiring, but don't count the Avs out.

PACIFIC DIVISION: The Pacific will be a dogfight between San Jose and Anaheim this year. The Ducks have proven postseason netminders in J.S. Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov, meaning that they merely need to make the playoffs to be a near lock to make it to the final four. These goalies shouldn't even have to worry, given their defense, which is the best on any team in years. The Sharks also have good goalies with Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, but they are dependant on offensive superstars Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo. The battle of two teams who brought teal into the NHL will be phenomenal this season. The Kings are in a certafiable rebuilding mode, while the Stars will flame out around mid season. The darkhorse is Phoenix, but I don't expect that this stallion is a good wager for anything but "show".

I'm looking forward to watching the Thrashers and the Sharks in this season''s Stanley Cup Finals. At least the Cup will have a good, traditional home. - Ryan

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

First Base, or, the Justin Morneau Lovefest

Its hard to believe that it took twenty years to get a hitter with 30 home runs, and its harder to believe, especially after watching last year, that it would be Justin Morneau. Even more impressive is that he is in the running for the league MVP. Rare, considering he plays in an overlooked market (i.e. not New York or Boston) and shares the spotlight with Baby Jesus Mauer.
There is a reason that Morneau hasn't drawn comparisons to Kent Hrbek, the most recent dynamic and valuable first baseman in the Twins organization. If there was anyone that reminded us of Herbie, it was Matt Lecroy or even David Ortiz, jolly, chubby guys renowned mostly for their bats. Justin Morneau isn't chubby, and while he may be happy, he's certainly not jolly. Morneau is limber and athletic enough to field his position as well, lending, perhaps to his days as a goaltender in Canada. The most striking difference between Morneau and Hrbek, however, is the cornucopia of vowels in his last name.
There's no doubt that Justin Morneau is the franchise player Terry Ryan thought he was when he traded Doug Mientkiewicz for nobody in particular. He has good clubhouse chemistry, especially with the other beacon of Twins excellence, Joe Mauer and wants to stay with the Twins for his career. He's still young and looks to get better with age, unless he gets hurt. That, of course, is something the Twins can try to prevent this offseason. A reliable hitting, if not fielding, first base sub should be a concern for Terry Ryan. Someone like Matt Stairs or even a return of Matthew Lecroy would be money well spent this offseason. I know he's thinking the same thing. It was, after all, why Phil Nevin was brought to town.

I'll be back on Friday - Ryan

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's OK, I Didn't Show Up For the Second Half Either.

The Vikings had a bye week, and it turns out nobody was arrested. It was way too cold this weekend for anyone to get naked on a boat. If there was anyone doing anything untoward, it was well bundled cuddling. There was some football played this past weekend, despite the apparent lack of tonsil hockey played in Minnesota.

Houston continues to be the champion of the first half. While their offense is nothing to write home about, they have a solid defense for two quarters, almost as though they drafted a defensive player early. Against Dallas, they were up 6-3 at the half before totally imploding. If you swap quarterbacks, Dallas is a legitimate Super Bowl threat and Houston is miserable. At least David Carr is learning to feel pressure and get the ball out before he takes a lick. With Dominick Davis on the shelf, however, it's going to be tough for the Texans to get any traction the restof the year. If Davis comes back healthy next year, it will go a long way towards helping them hold their leads in the second half, keeping the ball longer and wearing down defenses. Until then, the Vikings could score on the second half Texans.

What a wonderful game between New Orleans and Philadelphia. The big thing this demonstrated, however, is that the Saints are still geared towards a Deuce McAllister lead offense. They need the big bruiser to barrel through the line, while Reggie Bush, at this point, in any case, is best served as a scat back or a receiver. He needs to bulk up if he hopes to be as dominant in the NFL as he was at USC. As for the Eagles, I continue to be impressed by Donovan McNabb. With him at the helm, I see the Eagles doing great things again this season, something you couldn't have got me to say for fifty bucks a couple weeks ago.

The Steelers won at home against a team led by Damon Huard. You know what? The Steelers aren't going to make the playoffs! I'm just surprised Huard hasn't been whupped like this earlier. Things aren't right in Kansas City. I mean, the Chiefs have resorted to hair pulling!

Ugh, how many times do I have to say it? Jake Plummer sucks against mediocre defenses. He has too much time to think back there in the pocket. So it's no surprise that Plummer and the Broncos nosed the pee-wee team from Oakland. I have to hand it for Lamont Jordan too, who was positively apoplectic over losing a fumble in the fourth quarter. At least one person in Oakland cares. Art Shell cares about Halloween. Perhaps too much. He was a zombie again for the 6th week in a row! All joking at the Raiders' expense aside, why does every white player from Purdue need a beard? Example A. Example B.

Speaking of Kyle Orton (or at least, demonstrating his beard), the Bears played against the Cardinals last night. The good news is that Rex Grossman, the real Rex Grossman was found alive in Arizona. He threw 4 interceptions, which would have been backbreaking if he was playing against anyone but Arizona, who relinquished 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns. Just keep that in mind for the rest of the season though, everyone. The Arizona Cardinals defense held the Bears to 3 points. It was their offense that sucked on defense. The most heartwrenching part of it all for Arizona was that they blew another big first half lead. I can only imagine what would happen if they played the Texans. Would everyone go home after thirty minutes?

I'll talk to you tomorrow - Ryan

Monday, October 16, 2006

What did you say about my mother?

I had so much of this weekly preview written, and then Firefox went kaplooie on me. That in addition to throwing out my shoulder patting myself on the back last week means a tough go of the weekly review.

ITEM ONE: College football makes me sick sometimes. Take the 2-5 Gophers and the 5-2 Boilermakers, for instance. In their one meeting, at Purdue, the Gophers were lackluster, to be generous, even by their standards, and still came within six. They lost to Michigan by 14, the same margin by which Purdue lost to Notre Dame, who, in turn lost to the Wolverines by somewhere around 58. Even looking at the teams's schedules, particularly the non conference games, its clear that the Gophers have been better this season than Purdue, or at the very least, been as good as the Boilers. The Gophers shut out MAC leader Kent State in Ohio while the Boilers struggled mightily with MAC understudy Ball State at home. Add to the Gophers' poor record their back breaking loss to Penn State, thanks to a blown call and missed extra point, and there you have it, Purdue is a lock for a bowl, and the Gophers are screwed.

ITEM TWO: During the ALDS, which I'm beginning to admit actually happened, much was made about how inhospitable the Metrodome is. Well, I'm glad. Oh no, the outfielders lose the ball in the ceiling and the right field wall is soft! What you call a joke, I call a distinct and wonderful homefield advantage. Making fun or complaining about someone elses stadium is the same as belittling someone's mother. Sure, she may have her problems, but leave the comments to those who know her best, unless of course, she causes a serious injury, like, say the Dome turf blows your ACL or my mom hits you with a car. Until then, don't be talkin' 'bout my momma - er... stadium - that way!

ITEM THREE: The Wild are in full swing, winning their first five games. Manny Fernandez is settling into an every day role quite nicely. The biggest problem I see with the Wild at this point is the chemistry, but it's probably hard to establish rapport when you are speaking fifteen different languages in the locker room.

ITEM FOUR: Ryan Newman, Purdue graduate, is a hero among former Boilermakers. He competes in NASCAR, one of the biggest boys clubs in the world. Also, he reveals to CNN, he likes puppies. I'm not particularly in touch with Purdue or NASCAR, yet I'm mildly embarrassed.

ITEM FIVE: I rate Chris Carpenter as a better pitcher than Tom Glavine at this point in their careers, giving the Cardinals a distinct advantage in their remaining games. Of course, the Mets outnumber the Cards in Carloses, giving them an even bigger advantage. Mets in seven.

ITEM SIX: Continuing my look at the Twins last year and next, we move on to what should be the best, most secure position for the Twins for many years to come. Joe Mauer is the best catcher to come up since Ivan Rodriguez, and if he develops a power stroke, may even be better than him when all is told. Even better, they have a second option for Mauer's off day in Mike Redmond. The only real problem is that since Mauer is such a good, young player, the farm system is devoid of anyone who can step into the back up role should one of the two go down to injury. All told, if you thought that the Twins were set at relief pitching, then you must be on cloud 9 when it comes to the catcher position.

ITEM SEVEN: I haven't mentioned much about the Blackburn Rovers or the Premiership lately, but that's mostly because I don't get to actually watch an soccer. In the mean time, I just want to say, Shabani Nonda.

Have a good one - Ryan

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stoking My Own Ego.

There was a recent news report over on WCCO TV that said that most bloggers never make it past one post before they give it up and waste space on the internet. Well, I'm proud to say that I'm not one of those space wasters. This is my 100th post. I'm pretty proud of myself.
I think the Times has accomplished a few things here. Since the beginning of the blog, the readership has quadrupled (from 2 to 8), and I've been able to spout off about things that may only matter to me. I've been able to talk about the ridiculous and the serious, all the while being able to fit in some boring 9 part previews that I'm almost certain nobody read. I still enjoyed writing them, however. This afternoon, I'm going to celebrate this personal milestone by watching some football, and keeping my eye on Fred Smoot. It is the Vikings bye week, after all.
Now, if you'll indulge me, what are some things you've liked over the past 100 posts? Any favorites? What do you folks want to hear about in the future? And please, keep commenting, keep putting me in my place and tell your friends.
Over the next hundred posts, there's a couple of things I want to work on. A) More regularity and B) more partners. I've loved working with Steve since January '05, and I hope to continue doing so, however in the spirit of reliability and partnership, I would love to interact more with my fellow bloggers and commenters. So by all means, keep commenting and let me know if you have any reccomendations. Thanks again for reading. - Ryan

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Bullpen

I've already looked at the starting pitching situation for the Twins this offseason, so now, I'm going to take a gander at the back end of the Twins pitching staff. No not like that. That's totally not what I meant. Stop it. I meant I'm going to review the relief pitching situation in Twins Territory.
The Twins were near the top of the league all season with their bullpen, and they did things the right way. They have several in house pitchers that have developed from the minors, or at the very least weren't big name free agents. Bullpen guys are nothing if not volitaile, and you are best served by having guys with funny deliveries like Pat Neshek or good velocity like Joe Nathan. I like what the Twins did out there, putting a somewhat iffy starter (Matt Guerrier) in the long reliever role, and plopped a couple younger, homegrown guys in for middle relief, like Willie Eyre and Jesse Crain, and they were just as successful as they needed to be. The more important bullpen roles, like lefty specialist, set up man and closer were left to capable veterans. Ok so maybe calling Dennys Reyes capable is a stretch, but he performed when asked this year.Juan Rincon may be losing his touch, but Joe Nathan, when given the opportunity, is still an elite closer.
This off season, the Twins will probably be looking to refill the lefty role, as there are merely six lefties on the forty man roster, and two of them are Francisco Liriano and Johan Santana. Glen Perkins, a potential starter or valuable trade commodity is a third, Reyes is the fourth, and unproven Jose Mijares and Errol Simontisch are the remaining guys. Finding another lefty for the bullpen should be a cheap fix, however.
The Twins may not be so lucky in the setup role, where Juan Rincon may be on his way out. If nothing else, his declining numbers should be a cause for concern. Rather than spend money on Guillermo Mota or something, I would rather see the Twins groom someone internally for the role. There has to be more important ways to blow their money this offseason, especially when the 'pen has been so reliable, and really, there aren't many changes that need to be made. And think, you just spent seven minutes reading this, and that was my conclusion. Sorry. - Ryan

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cory Lidle Dead After Plane Crashes in New York City

It appears that in fact Cory Lidle will not be a Twin. On this tragic day for the Lidle family, I hope that they can take solace in the fact that there is a lot of ice cream whereever he is right now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Penetrating Alan Faneca

I don't know if I mentioned it in passing or anything, but this weekend, I was mostly distraught with the fate of the Twins, the Gophers, and the Boilermakers. But mostly the Twins. The NFL continued despite my call for a week of grieving, and I was obliged to watch. So here's a quick synopsis of five games from the weekend.

Can the Vikings do me a favor? Can they put Darren Sharper in at wide reveiver? Can they make Ben Leber the running back? Half of the touchdowns for the Vikes have been scored by the defense or special teams this year. That's insane! If it wasn't for the defense, the Vikings would have mustered a mere twelve points against the lowly defense. I'm thoroughly convinced that the offensive revival that I anticipated against Buffalo will never happen. If you can;t put points on the board against Detroit at home, you aren't going to be putting points on the board. The biggest travesty in this game was that there wasn't another early game on locally.

Matt Leinart, despite showing some of the same kind of decision making that led him to Paris Hilton's bedroom in the second half, was impressive in his Cardinals debut. I mean, he was no John Elway, but he was at least Steve McNair circa 2006. He was able to get the ball down the field, used Edgerrin James effectively, probably because he has dealt with good receiving backs before (i.e. Reggie Bush). The Cardinals didn't beat the Chiefs for three reasons, however. 1) The Cards look like they went and found guys off the street to play the offensive line. 2) The Chiefs are better, all around. 3) Nothing ends well for Arizona. I fully expect Pink Taco Stadium (Or the Tac, as I'm going to call it) to implode in some sort of cactus accident I don't have a punchline for.

Philadelphia - Dallas was an excellent game. The Eagles proved that even for coaches like Andy Reid that love passing, offensive attacks are only truly effective when a running back is incorporated. Brian Westbrook was the key in this one. The other thing that the Eagles did was get after Drew Bledsoe, causing him to make some key mistakes, including a late interception to Lito Sheppard. Oh, and let me tell you about that wide receiver that Donovon McNabb didn't get to throw to today. Donte Stallworth, who I believe is one of the better, underrated acquisitions in recent years by any team, was out for this game, but McNabb didn't have any problems with the corps he was left with. Now, was there anything else from this game that merited mentioning?

The Steelers aren't going to the playoffs! I think I have to say that now every time I mention them. The Chargers defense, despite the baby blue uniforms, was all man. That will be the key to their winning the AFC West, and maybe garnering a trip to the playoffs (Phillip Rivers has failed to impress me). However, if I hear about Jamal Williams "coming out as a football player" (I guess he was a closet football player before) or penetrating Alan Faneca one more time, I think I'm going to be sick.

So what did I tell you? Huh?! I said that Jake Plummer would beat the Ravens on the mere fact that he wouldn't have to expend any thought. I will keep driving this into the ground until it's picked up by someone else. Jake Plummer is stupid! Make him think, play zone, whatever! It confuses him and you will win! Brian Billick just got outsmarted by Jake Plummer! It didn't help, of course, that the Ravens laid an egg. Ha! Aviary humor!

That was terrible. I'll be back on Thursday. - Ryan

Monday, October 09, 2006

Point/Coutnerpoint. The MLB Playoffs

I really don't like to think about it anymore, but really, the baseball playoffs are ongoing. The two teams that render the most heartbreak deep in my soul are competing to get to the World Series for the AL, and the Mets-Cardinals are looking for the National League pennant. Steve at Is It Sports and I are writing mirror posts with our competing view on what will happen in these series.

Oakland A's versus Detroit Tigers - I can't think of a more intriguing matchup. On the one hand, if the A's stick around, I'll be reminded that they walloped the Twins in the ALDS. If the Tigers are the AL Champs, I'll rock slowly saying, "but we were better than them" while stifling tears. Either way, it's a depressing matchup.
I give the Tigers the edge in this match up, because they demonstrated something that the Twins did not against the A's. The Tigers actually know how to wait for thier pitches, and will let Barry Zito walk them, instead of flailing wildly at curveballs well out of the zone, unlike some teams I know. I need to relax.
The A's offense was stagnant, aside from Game 3 which was at home versus a pitcher with a broken shoulder, against the Twins. The Tigers were able to hit against a Yankees team that has considerably better pitching, top to bottom, and a better track record. Oakland does have the homefield advantage, however that doesn't really seem to be quite as important in these longer series, especially with teams as adept at winning on the road as the A's and Tigers.
I don't see any advantage for the A's, although I didn't in the divisional series either before Frank Thomas happened. I'm going to lean towards the Tigers in 6.

New York Mets versus St. Louis Cardinals - Hey, I've got the National League figured out! See, here's the thing. The Cardinals actually have a couple pitchers, like Chris Carpenter, and he'll steal a game or two, especially after Albert Pujols hits a homer or two of John Maine. The Mets, on the other hand, feature a rotation of John Maine, Tom Glavine, a chimpanzee and a plate of tuna casserole. On the other hand, they have several Carloses to hit home runs, a the best Jewish player in the league in right, Paul Lo Duca, and the greatest thing to ever happen to Queens, David Wright.
I really don't think the series is going to be as lopsided as people seem to suggest. Crappy pitching is the great equalizer, and while the Mets offense is vastly superior, So Taguchi could hit a homer off of the Mets. Looking at the facts, and ignoring the apocolyptic collapse the Cardinals had at the end of the year, I would almost be obliged to take the Cardinals. You I think....
No. I picked the Mets at the beginning of the year. With all respect to Will Leitch, I'm picking the Mets in seven.

No go read what Steve had to say. - Ryan

The Post Tells You That In Fact, I May Be Disoriented.

Over the weekend, I was disconsolate. The Twins came crashing back to earth in a resounding three game sweep by the Oakland Frank Thomases. There shall be no gnashing of teeth, because lo, on the horizon is another baseball season, in which there is going to be a more experienced, and an increasingly talented roster. In the interim, there are three sports that I care about (football, hockey, college basketball) and a fourth I'm developing an interest in (soccer). So let's not dwell on the Twins, because I'll have another post in which I can do that, but rather, let's look at the broader scape of sports. It's for my own good.

ITEM ONE: How often does one city, one stadium see a botched extra point from the home team in one weekend? Such was the fate of the Gophers and Vikings in the Metrodome. The Gophers, unfortunately, lost by one to Penn State, and the Vikings snuck by the Lions despite their special teams foibles. Needless to say, the Gophers took on the tougher of the two Lions squads, because PSU's are Nittany.

ITEM TWO: Now, I like Bill Simmons as much as the next guy, but can we once and for all get a definition on him? He's most certainly not a journalist, something more apparent with him even at ESPN, although the Worldwide Leader treats him as if he is one. He is clearly partisan, even at a media outlet which certainly doesn't try to be overtly. So how did Simmons get a job there? I mean, aren't there enough guys at the network/website that can write about Boston or the NBA? What's his deal? Can we just start hiring someone from every city to do the same time of stuff he does? He's to ESPN what Milton was to Initech, enjoyable to the plot, will probably end up burning the place down, but nobody is exactly sure what he does there. (The previous paragraph was written by Bill Simmons)

ITEM THREE: It's hockey season! The Wild came out a little logy against the Avs, and I suspect the result (a 3-2 overtime win) would have been a little different had Colorado not played a tough game the night before. The Wild did come out to play the Nashville Predators, however, the Preds also realized it was game time. Both teams now feature speed guys, like the Wild's Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik, or Nashville's Paul Kariya and Martin Erat. This it was evident that the Mark Parrish signing was particularly important this offseason. It's important to have a wing who manages to get in front of the net and stay there, because it really helps jam things up on the strong side, and as evidenced by Marian Gaborik's short side goal, always leaves the option for a one timer. This something you don't get with the gritty center, like Jason Arnott. In this game, and for at least a few more, Mark Parrish will definitely be the key acquisition this offseason. After Pavol Demitra and Kim Johnsson, of course. Holy crap, that was the longest bit of analysis I've had here for a while. I'm winded, but I'll keep soldiering on.

ITEM FOUR: I couldn't be happier that Joe Torre is getting canned in New York. I mean, I feel bad for the guy, I really do, but I don't think there is a better person to lead that team. He did an excellent job of managing some divergent and angry personalities. The Yankees will definitely suffer if the reported hiring of Lou Piniella goes down. No word on when the Yankees will run out of Italians to put in charge of the Bombers.

ITEM FIVE: I ws treated to not one but two dominant Iowa victories on the random Iowa channel, including Northern Iowa (who play in the UNIDome, the dirtiest sounding place with no actual euphamisms in the title that I have ever heard of) versus Missouri State, a clash of teams that are better at baseketball. The other was Iowa versus Purdue. All I can say is, it might be time to go back to the princess pants.

ITEM SIX: At random times through the offseason, I plan on going position by position through the Twins roster and take a look at how the Twins did and what they should do over the offseason. No better time to start than now, and we will do so with a look at the starting pitchers. The pitching staff for the millenium has been a point of pride for the Twins, starting with the Radke-Milton-Mays days. Last year, it was Radke-Silva-Santana, but now with Silva likely on the blocks, and if not, faltering and Radke retiring, it's time for a new batch of starters. The most likely to make the rotation are Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano (if healthy). Bonser has proven his mettle, even doing well in pressure situations and doing his best to look like an understudy for a porn movie. (He's even got the name!) Francisco Liriano was impressive, at worst in his appearances this season before suffering a curious arm injury. This was what reduced his value enough to be part of the infamous A.J. Pierzynski trade in the first place. Now all that remains to be seen is if Liriano will be like Johan Santana, which many suspect, or like Darren Dreifort, which many fear.
The last bit of the rotation gets a bit stickier. If things stay as they are, the last two spots will come down to Matt Garza, Scott Baker and Glenn Perkins. Right now, my money is on Garza and Perkins, while Baker would probably get moved. Garza is, after all, the number one pick, while Perkins is a local product. I would like to see the Twins pick up a veteran starter so the Twins can keep either Garza or Perkins (I would prefer Garza, who has less professional experience) in AAA until someone gets hurt so as to help with maturation. I have my eye on Cory Lidle (who could do Kemps ice cream commercials with Joe Mauer), Miguel Batista, or even Greg Maddux. The key is to get someone who can eat innings for the bullpen.

I'm actually going to be back later tonight with a rehash and outlook for the rest of the playoffs. -Ryan

Sunday, October 08, 2006

If the Election Involved Ewoks

My feeble attempts at journalism took a hit last month when I opted for a lengthy road trip than for a review of the local paper. Never fear though, I'm back to offer a counter point for Celine Dion, local newspaper editor. Let's see what the city of Victoria has to offer this month, shall we?

Ooh, election season is upon us, and the lead story is about the candidates for city council spots in this fair city, with particular interest in returning candidates. The article's title was "Return of the Jedi" which is great, because sometimes I think this town believes it's still 1982. I hate to be glib, but the general consensus among the candidates, if I were to water things down, was that they intended to create more bureaucracy, and that their previous achievements were the creation of more bureaucracy. Candidate Tim Amundson did say that he wished to wield a lightsaber with more frequency, however.

The first controversy, when related to elections, arrives in the letters to the editor, where Carver County commissioner candidate Paul Andrescik inquires as to why current commissioner Gary Delaney was given space for an ad and an article, alleging that equal opportunity was not given to all candidates for a position, as is mandated by fair campaign laws. Celine feigns ignorance, implying she really doesn't know any better, or that she's not really a media outlet. In her defense, she says that she has always tried to be "fair and balanced." I'm not even going to touch that one.

The one thought I have while reading these articles, is whether or not all the letters the paper receives are ever responded to, or if they are just left in the letters to the editor. I should write a letter and ask. I guess that could be rather counterproductive.

The lead story from city hall is the purchase of a new fire engine, because ironically, the previous tanker had a fire. The cost of the new vehicle was $160,000, or roughly 200,000 less than the avera home cost of property in Victoria.

The next story involves the Volksfest, of which I had mentioned previously. At this little festival, in the barricaded area, there were too arrests for drunk driving. One of the guys, on a motorcycle, had two ounces of cocaine. Cocaine! In Victoria! I'm blown away! The only thing I can assume is that Bill Romanowski is looking to hook back up with Rich Gannon. The local sherriff assigned to our fair community mentioned some of the recent calls in Victoria:
items stolen from construction sites, a break-in at Hi-5 Liquors, vandalism and a stolen car from CW Auto, bar-type litter on the streets, damaged boulevard trees, abandoned vehicles, people running stop signs in Kirke Lachen, a semi truck that ran off the road, and another semi truck that crashed on Highway 5.

Of course, the Sherriff does mention that his highest focus right now is commercial vehicles that are overweight. Especially when they run stop signs in Kirkelachen.

That about wraps up the big headlines for the month in Victoria. I can't wait for an election recap. - Ryan

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


After going to the Twins game today, especially after the way the season ended, I was brought down hard. I'm emotionally distraught. I'm depressed. I need to get my mind off the Twins for a couple minutes. So let's rehash the week in pro football.

First, as always, we discuss the Vikings and their grossly incompetent offense. Actually, that about sums it up. The Vikings have a grossly incompetent offense. You want more? Chester Taylor wasn't the back they thought. Brad Johnson is exactly the quarterback I had expected. No downfield threat who throws good to short route runners. The Vikings have no short route runners. The Vikings are a one trick pony, and that trick can only get them so far.

My new favorite team was a bit more entertaining. The Colts had two fourth quarter drives to defeat the J E T S JETS JETS JETS. Peyton Manning isn't any worse at quarterback without Edgerrin James, but his options are limited. Teams can sell out on the past because Joseph Addai can't move laterally and isn't strong enough just to hit holes. The Jets, on the other hand, have a good defense and I didn't realize it. Also, Chad Pennington did somethng that people seem to discount as a possibility all to easily. He recovered from his injury! He is single handedly keeping the Jets afloat, and all he has to do is be sure that the ball gets anywhere near Jerricho Cotchery. But the take away point is, I guess, that Peyton Manning is good, bt there will be pressure on him all year. And the Jets are bothersome in their strength this year.

I clearly don't know what's going on. And neither does anyone else, in terms of the NFL. The Bengals are great, they beat the Steelers (I still say they miss the playoffs) and the Patriots were on the downslope. I even thought that Brady was pouting what with Deion Branch out of the picture. But then I realized with the Patriots destroying the Bengals that I am totally in the dark on this one. The best theory that I have is the matchup. The Patriots, despite being bereft of a secondary seem to matchup better with quality spread offenses, like the Colts, or, in this case, the Bengals. They blitzed the heck out of Jake Plummer, and he was forced to make quick decisions and that's where he excelled. I'm guessing the Broncos beat the Ravens. Or that the Patriots lose to the Dolphins, led to another "thinking is the worst case scenario" quarterback, Daunte Culpepper. Or maybe Roger Rabbit will be the Lions halfback this week. Or maybe Chris Henry will join AA. I don't know and I don't believe that anyone does.

Case in point, The Bears-Seahawks. I'll admit, I bought the hype. I thought the Seahawks would roll. However, it seems that the 'Hawks were helped by Eli Manning forgetting what team he was on. When faced with an astute football mind like Rex Grossman, they had no chance. Really. What on EARTH is going on in the NFL? The only sure thing is another Bengals arrest.

The Maverick, from the infrequently updated Whirlwind of Doom and I were having a chat about the Twins today, how I think Jason Tyner is bad and say that it's because his break out season occurred when he's 29. His best season, his first season, is in the middle of his peak athleticism. He's too old to be any good. He countered by saying that Frank Thomas and Nomar Garciaparra are good examples of players who over came some bad years and redurged. Then I said that they had demonstrated their skill previously in their career. Then we said some regrettable things. But this is my blog and I get the last word. Who would you rather have at QB right now, Damon Huard, who just crushed the 49ers and has been overall pretty effective, or Donovan McNabb, playing well again after a couple of brutal years? I say McNabb. And I would drop Huard or look for someone better than him. And Brett Favre is like Barry Bonds. I'm sick of him, he hurts, and he has lost his former greatness. He should hang it up.

You know what? I feel better!

I Hope Frank Thomas Threw Out His Hip Trotting Around the Bases

Monday, October 02, 2006

Surrounded by Rich, Fat, White People

This week has been pretty slow on the Minnesota sports scene, other than the fact that the Twins won the freakin' division on the last day of the season. After the Twins picked up the win at home against the White Sox, the next half hour of television was the most riveting seen in a while. It took me away from football. Nothing takes me away from football! And what was I watching? Professional baseball players watching a baseball game! Brilliant!

A couple other thoughts on the Twins winning the division and the playoffs, (of which Steve has a preview of the first round at IIS). First, how many people thought it would come down to the Royals sweeping a team on the road? That's a bad omen for the Tigers. Of course, now the Twins need to worry about things like "experience" and "starting pitching depth" when they get to the Dome tomorrow. Thankfully, they have something called "momentum" in their back pocket.
In lieu of a long diatribe on the playoffs, here's my attempt of picking the opening series. Twins over A's in 4, Yankees over Detroit in 4, Cardinals over Padres in 5, Mets over Dodgers in 5.

Now that I have that out of the system, here's a look at the week that was.

ITEM ONE: St. Paul was named the host of the Republican National Convention in 2008 and I sincerely do not see what the big deal is. In the past 100 years, there have only been eleven Republican presidents. Right now, there are 246 Democratic congressmen while there are only 55 Republican senators. Seriously, I think Minnesotans are making a way bigger deal out of this than necessary. (Really, congratulations Twin Cities, we're stuck with even more rich, fat, white people for two weeks. Nevertheless, it's an honor)

ITEM TWO: The Boilermakers looked good against Notre Dame this weekend. Not because of the football. Heavens no. They finally rid themselves of the gold pants that made them look like pretty pretty fairy princesses. So that's good. Now if they could look like a football team.

ITEM THREE: So, now that I work the 9-5 scene, I make up for my laze by walking the dog after work. I listen to the radio (the local hip hop station, because there's a lot of rich, fat, white people around here and I want to fit in less) and there were a couple songs that caught my eye. Or ear, I guess. I'm still getting a feel for my body. Anyways, the first was "London Bridge" by Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, whom I think is the worst musical outfit this side of my 4th grade class and their rendition of "Gloria" in the Christmas play. The only difference? The 4th graders weren't nearly as asinine. But now, after performing solo, Fergie has shown me that she was the cinder block dragging the informant that was the Black Eyed Peas to the bottom of the sea. At least the B.E.P. had some decent musical talents and tried (and failed) to make cogent statements. Then Fergie signed up and they released songs like "My Humps" which were about as bad as anything I had ever heard, but they still sort of made sense. Now that Fergie is on her own, it's a train wreck. I give it six months before she just releases a soundtrack of her inevitable sex tape.
The second was a song called "Go to Church" which sounded as though it was Ice Cube's baby. All the cussing and "I hate people" attitude you would expect from Cube. Despite his noxious attitude, Mr. Cube is a brilliant man who is notorious for making statements in his songs, although they are usually unprintable, and has demonstrated an inventiveness throughout his career, which no spans into popular comedies. In short, the world is lucky that such an angry, violent yet creative man merely went into entertainment.
Then he made this. His angry chorus gives way to Snoop Dogg, the least intimidating rapper out there right now, this side of Stagga Lee. As Dave Chappelle might say, Snoop has smoked himself retarded. Also, Ice Cube laments the fact that there are many rappers out there "just makin' noise" and in the background of this entire song on the echoes is the loudest noise maker of them all, L'il John. Overall, it's not a terrible song, but it has glaring hypocrisies that I don't expect from Ice Cube. But hey, I guess there is a possible hilarious upside. Maybe the pope will want to meet Snoop.

ITEM FOUR: The NHL season starts on Thursday. Wedged in between two Twins playoff games. and then football on the weekend. October is phenomenal. And of course, I will repeat my theme from last Halloween. I'm going to drink.

ITEM FIVE: There has been a lot of press on Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, and the incident for which he was hospitalized. The thing that intrigues me the most is the difference in opinions over what happened, whether it was an accidental overdose, as Bill Simmons, ESPN's Sports Guy thinks, or a legitimate suicide attempt, as is hypothesized at Deadspin. Owens definitely did have an overdose, be it intentional or unintentional, and what I'm surprised about is how little that has been addressed. Typically, responsible media gives advice on how to spot signs of an overdose, or treat depression, neither of which were addressed. And if Owens is depressed, and even if he isn't, he is doing a disservice by dismissing the situation so glibly. The fact is, it sounds like Owens is, in fact, depressed, and it's too bad that he can't admit it. What a world of good that would do for the nation's psyche, as it would demonstrate that it's ok, and it's good to seek help.

ITEM SIX: The previous statement was aided in large part to the fact that I have a psychiatrist as a mother, and not that I have gone soft.

That will wrap it up this week. I won't be posting a ton this week, because, well, I may be busy with baseball. - Ryan