Thursday, February 28, 2008

Baseball baseball baseball baseball!

I might be excited for the Twins first spring-training game this afternoon. It’s been a long, cold, dark winter. I’m ready for spring, and this is close enough.

Plus, tomorrow is a free day! I love Leap Day.

In other news, Ryan brought up the NHL trade deadline. The Wild had a couple of needs: they needed someone to score goals. They needed forwards who were willing to be physical. They really needed a center, particularly one who could win face-offs. So, they addressed the physical forward part. Remember this post about the guy who holds the record for the longest suspension in the NHL? The jerk in question now plays for the Wild.

I have no words. (However, there was relief that Pierre-Marc Bouchard was not traded. I love the little guy, who is, admittedly still significantly taller than I am.)

The Timberwolves are 12-44. In lacrosse, the Swarm were defeated again last weekend so they have a 6-2 record; the Philadelphia Wings are 5-0 as the lone undefeated team. In hockey, former Minnesota Gopher goalie Kellen Briggs was invited to the Minnesota Wild’s AHL team for a professional try-out. I always liked Kellen. And did I mention baseball games start today? It’s true!

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Victoria Times Mailbag

Believe it or not, we don't get a terribly vast amount of e-mail, so when we get some, I like to answer it right away. Today, I got some from my friend AJ, whom you may remember. Anyways, he's in Pittsburgh and asked the following question about the Penguins moves at the deadline:
Alight Ryan, I am depending on you for some good NHL trade deadline analysis. How good is Hossa. I have to admit I have not been very good at following the NHL outside of Pittsburgh lately so I have no idea how good he is. The Pens gave up a ton for him. Erik Christensen was a good young forward who has come up big for us in a lot of shootouts, Colby Armstrong is another good young player who has been on our first line most of the last two years. Colby also happens to be Sid's best friend on the team and one of the most beloved players in the city, he is always out doing PR stuff for the team (like charity events, radio show and tv shows), people know him better then almost anyone on the team. The prospect they gave up Angelo Esposito was suppose to be really good too. Since Hossa's contract is over at the end of this year, it seems like the only reason to bring in Hossa is that they think they can win the cup with him this year. Do they really have a shot with him?
Wow. Wordy. First off, let's take a look at what smarter people tell us. They seem to be pretty ok with the deal. The way I see it, Hossa was the best player available and the Pens went out and did what they had to to get him. Now, there was concern that Hossa will just be a rental, and he likely will be, but the Penguins definitely have the talent to make a run deep into the playoffs. The addition of Hossa gives a veteran presence among the forwards and someone to draw attention while on offense. So, yes. I do think the Pens have a shot with him. I would worry about adding Dupuis, however...


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Somewhere in a Minnesota Saloon

(Sebastian Telfair and Delmon Young sit at a table, drinking Sarsaparilla. Bryant McKinnie steps in).

BK: Well, I just got out jail. Got into a fight.

DY: Oh yeah? I mostly haven't been busted, except for that time I chucked a bat at the umpire.

ST: That's nothing. My posse and I were implicated in the shooting of a rapper.

BK: I got a lap dance on a boat one time. Oh, and there was some other stuff too.

ST: I walk around with a gun, even though I've been arrested twice for it.

DY: I scared the crap out of Josh Paul using my bat and Triscuits.

BK: Well, I was involved in dogfighting.

ST: I didn't hear --

BK: Oh, I didn't use two dogs. I just punch puppies.

DY: I hijacked a bus full of nuns and made them watch The Hottie and the Nottie.

ST: I had to be traded out of Boston because because they found out that I relieved myself on the first row of seats at the Garden. Like, daily.

BK: I use stolen identities to buy swords online. I use the swords to threaten the elderly.

DY: I kick mall Santas in the junk.

ST: I teach kindergarteners how to make meth.

BK: I --

(McKinnie is interrupted as a new figure enters the saloon. They look at him. He looks at them.)

DY: Who the hell are you?

(The stranger swings a hockey stick at Young's head, breaks McKinnie's ankle with a well placed stomp and grabs Telfair by the collar and leans in close.)

Stranger: Go out there and tell everyone that this is Chris Simon's town now, bitches.

(Telfair runs, weeping)

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things are about to go crazy

The NHL trading deadline is 12 hours from coming to fruition. It totally snuck up on me this year. Why? Because the NHL has abandoned their typical practice of trading a Ference in advance of the deadline. Actually, it's been very quiet on the trade front this year. My prediction? More than the the 25 trades on the day of the deadline, as we have seen the past 2 seasons.
25 trades in 12 hours. Aren't hockey GMs the best? Hopefully tomorrow night, I'll have something pithy to say about the trades actually made. Now, hold on to your hats.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Kurt Thomas not especially helpful while standing on the baseline

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and frankly, I don't care. One trade, however, saw the Seattle Supersonics trade big man Kurt Thomas to the Spurs for some picks and prospects. Again, nothing I really care about. However, the following quote from Sonics guard Earl Watkins really caught my eye.

For everything he's done in the NBA and what he brings to a team and what he brought to this team, I learned a lot being around him, especially on the court and off the court.

Let's bust out a little prealgebra here, with the distributive theory, where x(y+z)=xy+xz. Therefore you can translate Watkins' quote to Thomas teaching a lot especially on the court and especially off the court. Right.
He'll make an excellent analyst some day. "Who do I think will win this one? Well, I especially like the Nuggets. Also, I especially like the Rockets."


Sunday, February 24, 2008

About the rest of the trip

I already talked about the game that this trip was designed for, but I can't help but tell you a few brief stories from the rest of the trip. In bullet form!

- The first night, we only made it to Des Moines. You would think that finding a hotel in Des Moines would generally be pretty easy. Not so fast, my friend. It was the weekend of the Iowa state wrestling tournament, and if you know anything about Iowa, you know that they love their wrestling. All the hotels were booked and chock full of wrestlers. After getting ourselves a room, this still led to a couple of problems. A) Way too much spandex and cauliflower ear on the local news and B) It was impossible to get to the continental breakfast. Wrestlers like their breakfast.

- Our next stop was visiting a friend in northwestern Arkansas. We ate dinner at a restaurant in Springdale, near Fayetteville, and saw athletes affiliated with three different schools pass through. Auburn, Ole Miss and Michigan, if you were wondering. No, I don't know what sport they played.

- Driving through Pine Bluff, I have more respect for Torii Hunter, coming out of that town. Most cities have a nice side of town, but I'll be damned if we could find it in Pine Bluff.

- Speaking of rural Arkansas, driving through the small town of Jerome, population 46, we saw a man walking down the street. In one hand, he had a bucket and tucked under the other arm was a shotgun. We were speechless for about 5 minutes. I'm never going back to Jerome, Arkansas.

- Driving through Marlin, Texas, doing 77 in a 70, a cop actually drove across the median to get us a ticket. The fine was 140 bucks. All of this is ridiculous. I'm never going back to Marlin, Texas.

-I ate at Sonic for the first time ever. I like the tater tots.

I'm completely certain I forgot some important elements to this trip, but I'm sure those stories will crop up in later posts. Back to regular posting tomorrow.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm back! Let's talk basketball!

I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday like I promised. I'm a bad blogger. I apologize profusely. At any rate, you want to hear about my trip? No? Too bad. I'm going to talk about the game now, and in another post, hopefully tonight, we'll talk about the trip itself.
The game, Denver at Louisiana-Monroe, was held at Fant-Ewing Coliseum in Monroe. The campus, mostly white brick, and mostly seen at night, lies on the Bayou De Siard, giving the whole place a fairly attractive look. The arena was clearly built in the 60s, but is still in fine shape.
Too bad nobody goes to games there.Sure this was taken towards the end of the women's game (great game, by the way, ended in overtime with Denver pulling it out), but I have corroborating evidence from the beginning of the men's game as well (although, look at the army of cheerleaders):

The three guys sitting behind us were sort of ULM super fans and spent the whole game talking about the team, which they said was down this year simply because they weren't making the shots they were last year. Also, they spent a good deal talking about the football team and how excited they are about the game against Auburn next year, how much they don't like Louisiana Tech and how they need to do a better job of keeping students on campus during the weekends, simply to fill Fant-Ewing. There really wasn't much going on around campus that we saw, save for one daiquiri joint, and even that was drive-through.
Also, on the subject of sports, they were almost unanimously not impressed by Reggie Bush of the Saints, and hoped New Orleans would pick a running back to carry the load, so Bush could remain as a swing back. It's what I've been saying all along. But that's not the point of the post. Let's get to the game itself.
The Pioneers were without their leading scorer, David Kummer who was hobbling around the bench on crutches and wearing an air cast, and frankly, the Pioneers looked like they were asleep the whole game. They immediately had a pair of shot clock violations and both times didn't look like they were aware of the clock. Freshman Rob Lewis, who led the Pioneers with 21 points seemed like the only player that knew what needed to be done.
On a side note, the Pioneers kept doing this weird inbound routine, where they passed it along the baseline then inbounded it and then passed it back to the point guard. It took forever and was completely pointless and no doubt hurt them on time.
Louisiana-Monroe was led by Tony Hooper both offensively and defensively. He was a wizard penetrating into the lane and had a couple of awesome reverse layups and really opened up offensive end of the court for the Warhawks. ULM was up by 10 when Hooper took an elbow to the face that opened up a cut under his eye and sent him to the locker room for 6 minutes. In those 6 minutes, I really got a feel for his importance to the game. Denver went on a 15-0 run, as the game shifted to a front court contest, where Denver was much more talented. The Pioneers method for getting the ball down low was taking outside jumpers and letting their big men, like Andrew Tanner clean up the boards and get put backs. When Hooper was in there, he wouldn't let the guards get clean looks at the basket, and they weren't getting the ball inside where they had the advantage.
Hooper came back and energized the team, for the final few minutes, with the Warhawks going on a 20-10 run to finish the game. The Warhawks won, 53-48.
I guess the thing that really struck me was how out of sorts and flat Denver played. They had almost no energy. On the other end of the court, Tony Hooper was clearly the best player on the court. I could see why ULM sits at the bottom of the conference though. On an off night for Hooper, the Warhawks are left with pretty much nothing to work with.
So that's the game. Be back sometime with a recap of the trip itself today. Below are some more pictures that I couldn't fit into the post.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Other Options: Twins Starting Rotation

Brian Bass, Ricky Barrett, Nick Blackburn, Zach Day, Brian Duensing, Philip Humber, Randy Keisler, Kevin Mulvey, Glen Perkins

Well, there they are: The other options. This is presuming, for some reason that either Francisco Liriano or Kevin Slowey--or both!--don’t make the starting rotation. We’ll just assume the lack of options with Scott Baker and Boof Bonser will keep them there--at least to start the year--and that Livian Hernandez’s contract will keep him as well. So, if either Slowey or Liriano is deemed unready for the rotation, this is the list of guys who are in line for it. We’ve talked about Perkins and Humber before, but why not do it again? It’s fun!

Here’s my minor league analysis of their minor league stats:

Brian Bass, 26. Bass seems like the poster boy for a career minor league player. I’m not saying he couldn’t make it in the majors. However, his numbers in the minors are just good enough to keep playing, but just poor enough to not be spectacular. Last year, his numbers improved, but that could be more from moving from a hitting league to the International League’s more pitching-friendly league. If he’s going to make the big leagues, it would probably be as a long reliever. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Outlook not so good. ERA: 4.32/1.33 WHIP, 2.11 K/BB, 180 games/843.0 innings, 149 starts

Ricky Barrett, 27. Barrett’s numbers are better than the previously mentioned, but he’s a year older, and his numbers declined in ’07 versus ’06. His walks rate is fairly high for the Twins organization, as well (approximately five walks per nine innings). As he only started one game last year, I think we can safely count him out as far as the Twins starting rotation is concerned. A good spring training could land him a long-reliever role, but I think the bullpen in Minnesota is already about filled to the max. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: My reply is no. ERA: 3.38/1.40 WHIP, 1.92 K/BB, 149 games/344.0 innings, 37 starts

Nick Blackburn, 26 Blackburn’s claim to fame is going the entire month of June in AAA without an earned run. His total number of walks per nine innings is fairly good, and in the past two years, his strike-outs have been improving, which has improved his entire line. He had a good start his first call-up in Minnesota, but in September had a couple of bad outings. With a very good spring, he has a shot at the rotation, and a shot for long-relief, if needed. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Signs point to yes. ERA: 3.68/1.21 WHIP, 2.82 K/BB, 138 games/702.0 innings, 111 starts

Zach Day, 29. Well, if he made the starting rotation, he’d be the second-oldest. His major league career numbers are almost right in line with Bonser and Baker, both of whom are three years younger, and both of whom pitched in the slightly less pitcher-friendly American League (Day has only pitched in the NL). Oh, except he walks a lot more batters than Baker and doesn’t strike-out nearly as many as Bonser, so his major league K/BB is much worse than either of those two, in 26 more games. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Don't count on it. ERA: 3.66/1.35 WHIP, 2.43 K/BB, 150 games/805.0 innings, 141 starts

Brian Duensing, 25. He seems to have decent control--he’s not quite an insane control pitcher that doesn’t walk anyone, but he’s not the super-dominating pitcher that strikes out everyone. List him as a control pitcher, though. He has no major league experience so I don’t expect the rotation, but I’d expect to see him in Minnesota at some point. I’m hoping September, simply because that means the pitching is uninjured and doing well. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Reply hazy, try again. ERA: 3.17/1.25 WHIP, 3.19 K/BB, 68 games/377.7 innings, 64 starts

Philip Humber, 25. The kid’s got a good sense of humor--and Santana’s old locker in Spring Training. His strike-out rate is good--not completely dominating, but definitely above average, and his walk rate is decent. While he keeps the number of hits down, he’s definitely a fan of the home run, giving them up at a 1.09 per nine innings rate. However, in spite of that, he does have a decent chance to make the rotation if others don’t. He’s only got one year of options left, so it would behoove the Twins to bring him up at some point in ’08--they’ll have to bring him up in ’09. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Cannot predict now. ERA: 4.11/1.20 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB, 54 games/289.7 innings, 54 starts

Randy Keisler, 32. Strike-out ratio: good. Walk ratio: good for the other team. At his age, he’s got a shot of a starting rotation, although it’s not likely in Minnesota. The veteran presence was taken care of with the signing of Livian Hernandez, and Keisler, pending a miracle in spring training, won’t pull ahead of the younger kids, with whom the Twins have a vested interest in. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Very doubtful. ERA: 3.89/1.39 WHIP, 2.11 K/BB, 186 games/1000.0 innings, 160 starts

Kevin Mulvey, 22. Mulvey doesn’t just dislike home runs, he hates them with a passion. His home run per nine innings rate is 0.26 (those state adverse, this means if he pitched four complete games in a row, he’d give up one home run). It’s only been above 0.50 once--in AA when he went straight from rookie league to AA, and then it was at 0.68. Now, to be cautious, Slowey’s minor league HR/9 was 0.43 and his major league is 2.16 (limited stats; I’d say the minor league average of Twins pitchers is 0.75). I’d say he needs a bit more time in AAA, but he’d could easily take a spot. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Outlook good. ERA: 3.02/1.19 WHIP, 2.58 K/BB, 31 games/173.0 innings, 31 starts

Glen Perkins, 25. This one has me hesitant. He had arm injuries last year, but is preparing for a shot at the rotation again this year. He’s got a legitimate shot. His minor league numbers fit the definition of a dominating pitcher--he walks quite a few, but strikes up a lot that makes up for it. I can see him in the bullpen, however, as an extra lefty. The Twins are decidedly short on left-handed pitchers. However, the Twins might like a lefty in the rotation, if Liriano isn’t ready yet. Beth Magic 8-Ball Pitching Rotation Possibility: Reply hazy, try again. ERA: 3.55/1.25 WHIP, 2.85 K/BB, 68 games/335.3 innings, 67 starts

In short, I’d give Blackburn, Humber, Mulvey, and Perkins the best shot of making the starting rotation. Blackburn could go into long relief, and Perkins could go into bullpen as either a lefty or a long-relief, or some hybrid (that is, not the LOOGY--left-handed, one-out guy). Mulvey would not be hurt by more time in the minors, and Humber is a coin-toss.

In general, I don’t see any of these guys in the starting rotation, but I’ve been surprised before.

The Timberwolves are back over.200 for their win percentage, at 11-41, winning the first game after the all-star break! In lacrosse, the Swarm were defeated for the first time last weekend so they have a 6-1 record; the Philadelphia Wings are 4-0 as the lone undefeated team. In hockey, Marian Gaborik is still awesome.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Greetings from Monroe

Hi everyone, I hope you're all well. I see there haven't been too many drastic changes to the site.... wait.... What's this?
In any event, I'm in Monroe, I went to the game last night between the Denver Pioneers and the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. ULM won 53-49 in what was a pretty decent game, if sparsely attended. I'm sitting in the lobby of the Monroe Marriot (89 bucks a night!) watching people eat scrambled eggs, operating off of battery power, so I feel a little weird going to deeply into the game or the trip (like the guy walking down the street with a friggin' shotgun), but I figured I should let you know that I'm alive and well and plan on being back to work on Friday.
Now, is there some sort of race or something today?


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wider is Better!

I think Ryan has been hinting that I should do this for a while, and I finally got around to it. I made some format changes to the blog, as you can see. It's now much wider than it was before so it allows us to put in bigger pictures and makes the readers have to scroll down a lot less while reading the posts. Also, there are slightly less flowers visible now in the background...but I just had to leave them in for old times sake. The links also got a much needed cleanup, with a better format and easy to read titles. Even though blogger decided to add the probably easier to use layout format now to edit templates, I decided to still do this the old school html code way. Partly because I like a challenge, and partly because I was sure I'd lose the ballhype, e-refferer, and add links if I upgraded the template. Let us know what you think!


Friday, February 15, 2008

Best College Basketball Week Ever?

Just think, how could things possibly get any better for Purdue basketball fans in the stretch from this past Saturday until today? For the first time in school history, they beat Top 10 teams in back to back games with their stunning win at Wisconsin Saturday and then following that up with a win over Michigan State on Tuesday to avenge their only Big Ten loss. On Monday it was shown that they rose to #19 in the AP (ESPN/USA Today still isn't giving them much love at 23, but that was before the Michigan State win) and we'll see where they are this coming Monday. They now sit on top of the Big Ten with a 20-5 record and 11-1 conference record, and are also ranked #29 in the RPI ratings, just ahead of .....


...The Indiana Hoosiers! Sure, Purdue has beaten many ranked teams in the past, but what makes this week so great is not only did they pick up their second loss of the Big Ten season by losing to Wisconsin at home on Wednesday, but Kelvin Sanctions is once again in trouble with the NCAA for making hundreds of illegal phone calls to recruits again. The funniest part about this whole situation is Indiana's 1 week "investigation" into this that began today. Headed up by the totally non-biased IU athletic director Rick Greenspan, who only hired Sampson, it allows Sampson to coach the next 2 games in their tough 3 game stretch against Michigan State and Purdue. The problem Greenspan faces is that if he decides that Sampson should be fired, he would likely be fired as well for hiring Sampson in the first place. If he decides Sampson should stay and face the music with the NCAA, the NCAA will more than likely come down very hard on IU, probably stripping away scholarships and even banning them from the NCAA tournament for a year or 2. This will probably lead to the firing of Kelvin Sampson and Rick Greenspan. So Greenspan seems to be in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation....let's see if his decision next Friday has the best interests of IU in mind.

Fans have actually set up 2 sites to get rid of Sampson
Fire Kelvin Sampson
Fire Coach Sampson

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Minnesota Twins 2008: Starting "Five", Part II

Back on November 15th, I wrote about my predictions of the Twins starting rotation. At the time, I said it would be Johan Santana, Boof Bonser/Glen Perkins (one in the bullpen), Scott Baker, Matt Garza, Francisco Liriano. And if Santana was traded, it would be Perkins, Liriano, Baker, Bonser, Garza. Well, Santana and Garza will not be in the Twins rotation, so this needs to be re-worked.

The new names:

Livian Hernandez, 33. In the National League, he’s pitched 200+ innings for the last 300 years or so. Okay, a bit exaggerated, but since 2003, no pitcher has pitched more innings than this guy. On the other hand, his ERA has been approaching 5.00 in the NL, so how this transitions to the American League is suspect. He’ll start the year in the rotation. He’s not brought in as an ace, but rather as a veteran who can eat innings. Call him Carlos Silva Lite, but Heavier. MLB Career ERA: 4.25/1.43 WHIP, 351 games/2.371.0 innings, 350 starts

Philip Humber, 25. Humber is coming off of Tommy John surgery two years ago. His major league ERA of 6.00 sounds frightening until you realize he only has 9.0 innings at the major league level. Someone told me he’s out of options, but as far as I can tell, he still has one left. We’re going to go with that. MLB Career ERA: 6.00/1.33 WHIP, 5 games/9.0 innings, 1 start

I’m going to go on a limb here and say the rotation will include Hernandez, Baker, Bonser, and Slowey will all be in the rotation. The fifth spot, well, we’ll look at that.

The problem we’re dealing with is that there are a lot of innings to pitch. There are 1458 innings, assuming full nine innings in 162 games (last year, the Twins pitchers pitched 1437 innings). Last year the bullpen pitched 469 innings, and the starters pitched 967 innings. Let’s use round numbers, and say that we need the starters to go approximately 1000 innings. If you have five starters, each should pitch 200 innings.

Hernandez’s number of innings has been slowly decreasing the last few years, and he was pitching in the more pitching-friendly NL (not that the NL has weaker players. It’s simply a result of the pitcher coming to the plate). But let’s say he pitches 200 innings.

Now, the educated theory in baseball is that no pitchers innings pitched should be limited, so that every year their innings-pitched should increase no more than 30 innings. That is, if Pitcher A pitched 150 innings last year, he should not pitch more than 180 innings this year. This needs slight adjustment in the case of injury, but workload should not increase dramatically. Because the Twins staff, other than Hernandez, features only one pitcher who spent a full year in the majors (Bonser, 2007), major leagues, minor leagues, and college stats (where applicable) will be included. How many innings can we expect from the staff?

What were their innings like last year?
Baker: 186 innings
Bonser: 173 innings
Blackburn: 160 innings (out for two weeks)
Humber: 146 innings
Perkins: 48 innings (injury)
Liriano: (2006) 121 innings (injury)
Slowey: 200 innings
I rounded numbers. If you really care about the 1/3 or 2/3 of an innings...sorry.

It would not be unreasonable for Baker, Bonser, and Slowey to pitch 200 innings based on previous years. This means that the Twins really don’t need to protect these guys (except for pitch count--not all innings are equal). I don’t believe all three lads will actually reach this goal, but I’ll go on a limb and say that two of them will either reach 200, or come close (around 190). I’ll say the third pitches around 175 innings. So between Hernandez and Baker/Bonser/Slowey, we’ll get about 775 innings. That leaves us with needing around 200 more innings for starting pitching. Liriano’s innings should be limited to 150, so we’re close.

In short, I think that Hernandez, Baker, Bonser, and Slowey will all make the starting rotation, and I’m not sure who will fill in the fifth spot. Baker and Bonser are out of options, and Slowey seemingly has nothing left to prove in the minors (ERA: 1.93, 60 games, 52 starts). Because Perkins and Liriano need their pitching time limited and Humber should be limited, too, it’s likely all three of them will play a role in the starting rotation, although it’s possible for any of them to work out of the bullpen, as well.

Other names to consider for the starting roles include: Nick Blackburn, Kevin Mulvey, Brian Duensing, Zach Day and Randy Keisler. With no analysis, I’d give Blackburn and Mulvey the best shot. Next week, we’ll actually look at those five.

The Timberwolves are back under .200 for their win percentage, at 10-41. However, they’re still ahead of the Miami Heat, who are 9-41! In lacrosse, the Swarm are still undefeated at 6-0; there are two other undefeated teams, the Colorado Mammoth are 5-0 and the Philadelphia Wings are 3-0. In hockey, Wild Center Mikko Koivu still has the best name in the NHL by a 12% margin.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

See you in a couple weeks

Well, kids, its that time. It's time for me to go away for a while. I'm going to watch some college basketball in Louisiana this weekend (speaking of college basketball, how about those Purdue Boilermakers, huh?) and I'm not going to be back in the saddle regularly until next Friday. Beth will have her two regular posts tomorrow and next Thursday, and Steve will try to post as often as he can. Assuming I can find a hotel with decent internet, I'll try to get up a recap Saturday night. You won't be in too bad shape, I don't suspect.
In the meantime, how about a little update on the two teams I'm seeing Saturday night, the Denver Pioneers and the Louisiana-Monroe North Dakotans Warhawks. After a tough two game road trip, including a 71-33 loss at South Alabama, the Pioneers have won 3 of their past four and sit at 5th in the Sun Belt. Forward David Kummer continues to lead the team with 11.6 points a game, but everyone on their thin roster continues to contribute in some way.
The Warhawks have managed to climb their way out of the conference cellar, and are now a half game ahead of Troy State. They recently snapped a three game losing streak by defeating New Orleans in New Orleans. Additionally, they were featured on ESPN, getting trounced by South Alabama. Having seen that game, I now have a decent feel for the arena, Fant-Evans, and the team. They are a little jerky and had a tough time getting into a flow. They rely a little too much on the jump shot, especially since they aren't a particularly good shooting team. Still, their leading scorers, the trio of Tony Hooper, Jordan Payne and Jonas Brown are all guards.
So that's it. I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon. We're taking a rental, and I feel like I'm fated to a Chevy Malibu, the gray of the automotive color wheel. Better than driving my car until the wheels come off, I suppose.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Twins have money to burn

The St. Paul Pioneer Press recently reported that the Twins had 22 million dollars to burn. With today's signing of Livan Hernandez for 5 million, that leaves 17 mil to throw around. What can they do with all that money? Well, I have some suggestions.

- Veteran center fielder, like Kenny Lofton or Corey Patterson to give the youngsters more time to develop.

- Coupons to Old Country Buffet for Livan and Boof Bonser.

- Create a series of instructional videos teaching Nick Punto the fundamental physics of why it's a bad idea to dive into first base. Swimmers dive into the pool because they need to become horizontal. Nick Punto needs to stay upright and run through the base.

- Create a series of instructional videos teaching Nick Punto how to hit.

- Find a nice home for Carl Pohlad.

- Anger management sessions for Delmon Young.

- A third catcher (submitted by Ron Gardenhire).

- Pay for Justin Morneau's wedding.

- Pay for my wedding.

- Find someone willing to marry me.

- Get new "Third place in the AL Central" team rings.

- Johan Santana. (Crap.)

- Steroids for Alexi Casilla

- A bribe so MLB looks the other way.

- Trips home for Joe Mauer.

- And Glenn Perkins.

- And Pat Neshek.

- A vowel for Kent Hrbek

- The entire Pittsburgh Pirates roster.

All of these are good ideas.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

A reminder: I'm going to Alabama in less than a month

I'm leaving Thursday for my trip to Louisiana, and I'll touch on that later, but I also wanted to check in on the competitors for a game I will be heading to 3 weeks later in Montgomery, Alabama. So let's check in on the teams I'll be seeing on March 9th, the Jackson State Tigers and the Alabama State Hornets.
The SWAC is the lowest rated conference in all of college basketball, which is really saying something, however these two teams are at or near the top of the conference. Jackson State, presently at 7-4 in the conference after a win tonight against Southern, good enough for second place in the SWAC. They have the veteran experience, having made a trip to the Big Dance last year and losing soundly to Florida in the first round. This year, they have muddled through their non-conference schedule, with their only non-conference wins coming at Iona and at home against Cal-Davis. They were unimpressive in games against their other opponents ranging from Southeastern Louisiana to Baylor, but were made to play their first 6 games on the road.
Grant Maxey a sophomore forward, and Darrion Griffin a junior guard are the leading scorers on a team that likes to consistently put up 80 points. When they score fewer, they have won only twice in conference games. On their player pages for the team site, Jackson State helpfully informs us that "Maxey is a talented basketball player." Additionally, it says that Head Coach Tevester Anderston coached Charles Barkley and someone named Church Person. It's unclear if they mean Chuck Person or simply someone who goes to church. Perhaps he coached a priest. Additionally, 7 foot freshman Brandon Baker takes a frightening photograph. Lastly, guard Catraiva Givens has the best name of any player on the roster. Plowing through this roster, Jackson State definitely has the size advantage for their game in May.
On the other side of the ball, Alabama State looks to be in the SWAC drivers seat at 9-2. They actually have pulled off a few non-conference wins, winning at SMU and at home against a frisky Oakland team, and against a couple of D-II squads. They only lost by 3 at home against Auburn and played competitively with Miami. Since then, they've been rolling through the SWAC with relative ease, losing only 2 road games, the first at Jackson State in January and last Friday at Mississippi Valley State. The Hornet's up tempo attack is predicated more on speed and quickness, but their center, Chief Kickingstallionsims is a force to be reckoned with both in the lane and at the DMV. Kickingstallionsims isn't the only delightfully named Hornet, either. There is the somewhat ironically named Ivory White, a Tramaine and a Tramayne, and a fellow named Andrew Hayles. Hayles doesn't fit the delightfully named category, no, but I figured I should mention him, since he is the leading scorer. Head coach Lewis Jackson has a good history with the squad, taking them at least to the SWAC championship game every year he played for them, and now as the coach has them poised to reach that game again this year. Fun fact: Jackson is married to the coach of the women's team at Alabama State.
In the first game the two teams played, Jackson States slower, size oriented attack won out, 81-71. Center Jeremy Coldwell had a double double, while 5 players scored in double digits. For the Hornets, guard Brandon Gordon led the way with 23 points and ten boards. I should be in for a good game, particularly from the Hornets who will have revenge on their mind and a hot streak to ride. This time, the running style of Alabama State should win out over Jackson State's inside game.
(Baseball post tomorrow, I PROMISE)

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Basketball Fever in Indiana

I was a student at Purdue from 2001 to 2005. When I first moved into my dorm at Owen Hall in August 2001, Purdue was the defending Big Ten champs in football, coming off their first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1967. The basketball team had enjoyed some recent success as well, winning multiple Big Ten titles in the mid-90s behind "Big Dog" Glenn Robinson and taking a surprise trip to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament in 1999. However, the real story had become football. Drew Brees managed to turn a long time basketball school into a football school in just 4 years with a conference title and 4 consecutive bowl game appearances. Despite the fact that the '01 and '02 seasons featured a football team that was just slightly above average, the stands were packed for every Purdue football game when I was in school. When they played on the road, large groups of people got together to watch the games on TV. When Purdue's rank rose all the way to #5 during my senior year, ESPN College Gameday showed up and everyone associated with Purdue felt this was their time to break away from that mediocrity...but they wound up losing that game to Wisconsin and are now more or less in the same spot they were in in 2001, but without the large enthusiasm of their bored fan base.

Meanwhile, the basketball program was quickly becoming the laughing stock of the Big Ten. During my time in school, they managed just a 55-63 record overall, 24-39 in Big Ten play. They had one appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2003, scoring a first round upset of LSU before falling to #1 seed Texas. They had a losing record in 01-02, and made the NIT in 03-04, all while rumors of a possible retirement or firing of beloved coach Gene Keady were swirling. Many felt Keady could no longer attract recruits because of his age, and that he was out of touch with the modern player. Keady's career unceremoniously ended after the 04-05 season, which saw Purdue finish just 7-21, only finishing 3-13 in the Big Ten, and the program was officially in the toilet. After another miserable 3-13 Big Ten season under Matt Painter in 05-06 (with Keady's players) Purdue was having a very hard time attracting any interest from its students and alumni. I remember when I was in school, if I wanted to go to a Purdue basketball game, I could buy tickets the day of the game and have plenty of room to stretch my legs. When they played on the road, I don't really know of anyone that actually sat down and watched the games on TV. How things have changed....

Fast forward 2 years. In the 06-07 season, Painter, with a combination of his young talent and some Keady stalwarts, put together a surprising 21-11 season and took Purdue to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003, where they beat Lute Olson's Arizona Wildcats in the first round and gave defending and eventual national champs Florida a good game in the second round. In the offseason, Painter had a phenomenal recruiting class, so good that he often starts 4 freshmen and 1 sophomore in games this season. Many thought this would be a rebuilding year for the Boilers, with this young talent needing a year or 2 to develop, and because of the fact they only have 1 senior on their roster (the very benchable Terrance Crump). After a pretty good non-conference run, where they played tough in many games and knocked off then-ranked Louisville (but lost to tiny Wofford), Purdue entered the Big Ten schedule with guns blazing. First, after nearly knocking off highly ranked Michigan State in East Lansing, they ended Ohio State's Big Ten winning streak at home. They later upset then #11 ranked Wisconsin at home, and proving their first matchup wasn't a fluke, knocked off #8 ranked Wisconsin in Madison last night, in relatively convincing fashion. They now sit on top of the Big Ten with a 10-1 record, 19-5 overall, looking like a lock to win at least 23 games and go to the NCAA tourney with an even higher seed than last year.

What's really changed is the attitude to the basketball program at Purdue. I was in West Lafayette last night, and the game was only being shown on the Big Ten network, which Comcast stupidly does not carry in the state of Indiana (though I'm sure the DirecTV subscribing bars in restaurants in town just love it). That forced me to have to go to one of those bars to watch the game. Still thinking like things were the way they were when I was in school, I tried to go to Buffalo Wild Wings about an hour and a half before the game started to get a table (this was the same plan I had for the Purdue-IU football game in November, and it worked out just fine). This time around, B-Dubs had an "indefinite wait" and almost all of the floor space inside the restaurant was packed with people. That forced me to go to a 21 and up place, hoping to weed out some of the freshmen (though I heard they get the Big Ten Network on their dorm TVs). That took me to Jake's Roadhouse, where I was able to snag the last table. By the time the game started (and the under 21's were kicked out) the place was absolutely packed, with everyone there completely focused on the TVs. The atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever witnessed for Purdue basketball, and Jake's erupted as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Now Purdue will have their chance to avenge their only loss to Michigan State in West Lafayette this Tuesday. Students, who now have general admission tickets only, have been camping outside of Mackey Arena for 5 days, and so many have been doing it that the school was forced to change their seating assignment rules mid season. I'd love to go to a game sometime this season, but now I can pretty much forget about landing any tickets, and I probably shouldn't expect to get any for the next few years....My how things have changed...

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Audience Participation: Do you think Clemens did it?

Usually in circumstances such as the one Roger Clemens finds himself in, I tend to believe most of the accusations against athletes, because I know how competitive they tend to be. They are pissed off if they fail, whether that failure be on the field or in some sort of social setting. Do I believe that an athlete could use steroids? Yes, and I figure that more use than any of us want to believe. Do I think athletes get into fights, commit sexual assaults or are involved any any number of lewd or lascivious acts? Yes. I'm sure there are a fair number of people looking to earn a quick buck off of athletes, but there is probably an element of truth to what is said about them as well.
That being said, the whole Roger Clemens situation seems very strange. Clemens is at the end of his career at this point with nothing left to gain. So why is he denying his steroid use so vehemently? The fact that frankly, it doesn't matter whether or not he did steroids at this point (he had a HOF career before his alleged use began), combined with the seediness of the whole situation gives me pause. There is an inkling in the back of my mind that says, you know what, I think it's possible that Roger Clemens is telling the truth. You?
By the way, Barry Bonds totally did 'roids.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Surviving February

Before I get started, i wanted to extend a special thank you to Kevin from Barry Melrose Rocks and the AOL Fanhouse for swinging by and picking up the slack while I was under the knife on Wednesday. Then a sick Beth stepped up and completed her regularly scheduled post. Heck, you haven't seen me since Monday! Sorry to ruin that streak.
Anyways, with the surgery, I learned that I am fairly anesthesia resistant, and they took twice as much to knock me out as usual. However, I also learned that Vicodin is pretty awesome. I have also established that there is only so much chocolate pudding a guy can take, and I'm really looking forward to a nice cheeseburger some time in the near future.
We're entering the time of year when all that we have to watch is hockey or basketball, unless you are into racing, which, admittedly, in February, I can be. Big Daddy Drew gives us solace in the fact that we don't seem to watch those sports that we like, but we still know whats going on. I do have a tough time sitting through entire games, especially when there are three on at the same time, and its on a weekday evening when there is other excellent programming on. And oh yeah, I tend to work from 2-10 in the afternoon. I'm pretty good at following scores on the computer, and I constantly check blogs for my favorite teams so i know exactly what I should be feeling, but really, how many sports do I sit down and watch? I'm pretty much tapped out until March. I'm not proud.
I will, of course, be sitting down to watch a basketball game in Monroe, Louisiana next Saturday, however, so don't forget that.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008


My apologies for the shortness of this. I've been sick for a week.

  • On Tuesday, the Florida Panthers shut-out the Toronto Maple Leafs, 8-0. There are a few things wrong with this. First of all, Florida should not be shutting out Toronto in hockey. There's something oddly disconcerting about "Florida" and "Hockey" in the same sentence, anyway. Second, at what point does the Maple Leafs' coach start looking into the stands and wondering, "Hmm...I should see if that kid wants to play the next shift?" Third, did the Panthers do anything different in the third period? In football, when one team takes a dominating lead, the back-ups are put in (knowing that if things start gonig awry, the starters will come back in the game). Even back in December when Minnesota Wild Marian Gaborik scored his five goals in a single game, the Wild won by 3 goals. At times, the Wild teammates would forego a good shot to pass the puck to Gaby, to give him another goal. If you ever wanted a chance to try stuff out in a game situation, I think after the fourth goal would be the time. Finally, while I appreciate the patriotism of choosing the name "Maple Leaf" for a team, "leaves" is the plural of "leaf". I also understand not exactly wanting to call a sports team "Leaves". Maybe they should've stuck with "Maples".
  • Don't look now, but while we weren't looking, the Timberwolves managed to win *five* whole games. I think they even had a two-game winning streak! In their last five games they've gone 5-5, which seems mediocre to most teams, but c'mon! The Wolves record improved to 10-37, which is a .213 win percentage. And that's not the lowest in the NBA. The Miami Heat are a lowely 9-38, for a .191 win percentage. I'll try to remember to keep you posted on this heavily contested battle of "Who's Worst" in the NBA.
  • Wasn't it a Fairy Tale ending for the NFL season? Isn't it great that I could've written that line a week ago, and you'd never know? Frankly, I'm pleased with the Giants winning. The Red Sox won the World Series, for the second time in the 2000s, and Boston fans were becoming insufferable. Hopefully, this gives them a little humility. Plus, I really like that it was brothers leading their teams to the Super Bowl in consecutive years. I was sick last weekend, so I can't give you any commentary about the game, other than there was little scoring in the first half, and a lot more in the second half.

  • Pitchers and Catchers report in a couple of weeks. That's very exciting. At some point, I'll have to discuss the potential starting rotation for the Twins. Of the nine guys I listed on November 15, six remain. That seems like enough to pick five starting pitchers from, however there are a few new names to add to the mix.

Well, that's all folks. Keep warm, safe, and healthy.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Managing the Great American Football Hangover

I'm a hockey fan first and foremost. But that doesn't mean that I don't pay attention to other sports. In fact, I pay a lot of attention to football during the fall and winter. I might even pay too much attention. With the Super Bowl now just a memory, it's clear that Sundays aren't going to be the same for a while. And by that I mean I'm going to have a lot of free time. Try six hours worth every Sunday afternoon -- and that's if we're not including time spent watching the Sunday and Monday night games. Somehow, I imagine that I'm not alone in this mess. So to help you deal with the loss of the sports world's relevance on Sundays, here's a list of things that will help you fill the considerable void in your Sundays for the foreseeable future.

Hockey! (But you already knew that) -- You're from Minnesota, so chances are that I don't really need to tell you about hockey. You already know how awesome it is. But in case you don't, you really should check it out. Lots of physical play, fights are almost encouraged, and they play on Sundays. This time of year NBC has a game of the week on Sundays, so there's no reason to whine about not being able to figure out what channel it's on.

Basketba--Wait. Yeah, you probably don't want to even think about the T-Wolves right now. Never mind.

Gardening -- I don't know. A lot of people do it when they have nothing else to do. Maybe it's not as bad as it sounds?

Remember you have friends and family -- You've probably spent way too much time with your football loving friends, so now it's time to remember that there are, in fact, other people in your life. Hopefully for you they're at least half as cool as your football-loving friends.

This didn't go as well as I had hoped -- As it turns out, there's really not a lot to do on Sundays without football. Maybe you could start a blog or, I' m just winging it here, go to church. I really have no idea what to do with myself now that there's no football. I mean, sure there's hockey, but I can't waste nearly as many hours watching it as I did with football. I should probably find out if there's a football watching rehab center of some kind. That would be pretty helpful right about now.


Hello, Victoria!

Wow, so Minnesota. How about that? I'm going to get this out of the way right now before things get awkward and we all just put our hands in our pockets, shuffle our papers, and look away... I've never been to Minnesota. But that's not a jibe at you. I've actually never been West of the Mississippi (sheltered, I know). But fear not! That's going to change. I'll actually be passing through Minneapolis while searching desperately for my connecting flight to Calgary tomorrow.

But let's see... Minnesota... There are the Twins and that Johan Santana guy (sorry). The team is building an outdoor stadium, which really confuses me, but maybe you can explain it to me. I know a bit about the Wild (Boogaard rules!). Minneapolis is starting to gain some strength as the new HockeyTown USA, that's for sure. This should be a fun day, though. I'm filling in for Ryan here at the VT, and hopefully we can all make some new friends out of the deal!

Oh stupid me. I didn't even introduce myself. I'm Kevin, from FanHouse and Barry Melrose Rocks. I like lolcats, hockey and long walks on the beach. It's nice to meet you, how are things with you? ... Good, that's good to hear.... How's the family? The wife and kids?... Divorced? Ohh... Crap. That's all I've got. Now this is awkward. Well... I've got to go, but I'll be back in a little while. You see, I'm pretty excited about playing substitute teacher for the day while Ryan has oral surgery (cue the jokes)!

PS -- If you need me, you can reach me at melroserocks (at)


Monday, February 04, 2008

The Final Computerized Power Ranks

Well the Giants did it. Yes, they won the Super Bowl, but they also officially made it impossible for the Power Ranks to spit out the Super Bowl champs as the #1 team. This system was more or a less a success though, and I'm planning on bringing it back in the fall with a few tweaks. Unfortunately, I came up with the idea to start this in a year where a whole bunch of crazy things happened. You had the first 16-0 regular season team in NFL history, but they played in an incredibly weak division that kept them out of the #1 spot for most of the season, but by the time they separated themselves and other teams piled up more losses, they had such a huge lead that it would basically be impossible to drop the #1 spot if they lost in the playoffs, and that's what happened here. But I guess this goes back to saying that the better team lost, which happens sometimes. On the other side of the coin, the Giants were a wild card team with a middle of the pack offensive and defensive scoring units throughout the season but they still managed to wind up at #3. They tied the NFL record for worst record for a Super Bowl champ at 10-6 (with the 1988 49ers, who at least won their division), so I am impressed that they at least wound up where they did. The team in between them was the Colts, who on paper had an impressive season while playing the toughest (by my scoring system) schedule and played in the best division. The playoff collapse didn't hurt their ranking as much as it probably should have. I did have a bit of the problem at the very bottom, where the Dolphins somehow finished ahead of the Rams. The problem there was I take recent success into account and the Dolphins got their lone win near the end of the year while the Rams dropped their last 4 in a row. Something else I noticed that had a big impact was the teams that tanked in Week 17 got penalized pretty hard, but most of them got burned in the playoffs, so that was surprisingly accurate. The one and done playoff teams took a little too much of a beating though, which could explain how the Eagles somehow finished ahead of the Cowboys and Redskins. I think if I change anything for next year, it will be weightings for playoff games and playoff positions to fix some of this. Here they are, the final ranks. Let me know what you thought of them...

1. Patriots - 78.58
2. Colts - 73.01
3. Giants - 70.68 - +2
4. Packers - 66.29 - -1
5. Jaguars - 64.80 - -1
6. Chargers - 63.62
7. Titans - 62.11
8. Eagles - 61.59
9. Cowboys - 60.83
10. Redskins - 60.70
11. Browns - 59.24
12. Texans - 58.92
13. Seahawks - 54.89
14. Vikings - 52.95
15. Steelers - 52.91
16. Bengals - 52.30
17. Bears - 49.02
18. Cardinals - 47.95
19. Buccaneers - 47.64
20. Panthers - 44.62
21. Saints - 42.95
22. Broncos - 41.51
23. Lions - 39.12
24. Bills - 37.07
25. 49ers - 36.34
26. Ravens - 34.30
27. Jets - 31.56
28. Falcons - 26.72
29. Raiders - 25.65
30. Chiefs - 24.28
31. Dolphins - 23.47
32. Rams - 21.27

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I'm not often given to superlatives, but this game certainly is up there as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. Think of all the stories that will be retold for years.
- The mighty Patriots are felled by the up and coming Giants.
- Eli Manning comes to the Super Bowl a year after his brother makes his first trip (and earns his first victory).
- Eli Manning struggles early, but turns his team around and reels off an improbably run, getting the Giants to the Super Bowl.
- Manning leads the Giants on one of the greatest comeback drives ever, including phenomenal plays (that David Tyree catch is probably the best play I've ever seen).
- The Tom Brady led Patriots were at the Giants 20, down by 4, and Steve IMed me to say that the Giants had a .000002% chance of winning the game. There was still a chance.

I think, more than anything, this game will serve to make those mediocre Giants immortals. They play in New York. They stepped up in the playoffs and became unstoppable. They played in the best Super Bowl this decade. I can't believe that I was lucky enough to be around to see it.

UPDATE: If you had any question what play I was talking about, it was this one. Thanks to Ric-S for the tip.

Photo courtesy Fox Sports

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Third Quarter rundown

So lets see, the Patriots can't do anything right, the Giants are playing like animals. If I had to pick an MVP right now, it would be Kawika Mitchell, who would be a line backer for the losing team. I would also speculate that he would be the first person named Kawika to win the Super Bowl MVP.
Steve brought up a good point in regards to the Patriots challenge. Interesting that they had such good photographic evidence of that play, no? Where's Arlen Spector now?
I have to admit, I laughed when I saw Alice Cooper in the middle of the road in that car commercial. Best one of the night.

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Halftime report

Tom Petty was pretty unremarkable, except for the fact that he came out on a GIANT PHALLUS. Hilarious. With the beard, he kind of looked like a disheveled panhandler, out there playing the guitar trying to get people to give him a few dimes so he could buy more hooch. So, the beard is a massive improvement.

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The 2nd quarter.

This may be the most exciting 7-3 game I've ever seen. Things started to happen, there were turnovers, stops, Tom Brady got his but kicked. It was great. I think that the Giants are clearly the better looking team, and the Patriots are only still in it because they are incredibly fortunate.
That being said, it's only a matter of time until the Patriots score three straight touchdowns.
I just noticed this now, but Bill Belichick is wearing his red sweatshirt, so you know this is a big deal game for him.
Speaking of coaches, it's pretty amazing that Steve Spagnuolo has seen more camera time than Tom Coughlin. Sure, he is leading the defense of a team holding back the best offense in years, but I still don't know the name of the D-Coordinator for the winning team. Spagnuolo needs to keep the pressure on Brady, particularly if "keep the pressure on" means "injure".
Lastly, the commercial with the rat coming out of the wall and beating the crap out of the guy was awesome.

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The first quarter.

That was a pretty timid quarter, frankly. It seemed like everyone was afraid to hit. In fact, it seemed like the biggest hit was Lawrence Tynes knocking Laurence Maroney out of bounds. Thats what happens when Larrys collide.
Other than that, this had been a pretty dull game, very slow. Even Joe Buck sounds less interested than usual. Plaxico Burress looks really out of it.
Additionally, why do opponents always make stupid mistakes against the Patriots? You can't tell me that Antonio Pierce manhandled Ben Watson in the end zone because he was intimidated or something.
Weird quote of the quarter: "Ahmad Bradshaw has good escapability in the pocket," Troy Aikman. Which is great for a running back.

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Pregame thoughts

Because I'll forget these two thoughts after the game starts...
1. Jordin Sparks probably outweighs her dad, former Giant Philippi. Not saying she's a big girl, but I seem to remember Philippi being tiny. That being said, she looked like she wanted to throw up.

2. Involved in the coin flip were Steve Young, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott. If I were Junior Seau, I would have said, "sure, you destroyed us in '95, but at least I'm not sitting next to Tom Jackson every week, or dancing on TV." If I were Junior Seau, I still wouldn't be clever.

UPDATED: To make sense.

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About time!

After spending the past few days watching things like the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge (I collected, because I totally had Boris Said in my GBBC pool), or the South Alabama-Louisiana Monroe game (I will have no problem getting tickets in two weeks) it's finally the homestretch. Only a couple more hours of dreck on TV before the Big Game.
So, I think it's time to give you my predictions, and let you know I'll be posting quarterly updates (since I have nothing better to do). Ok. Here it is. The Victoria Times official Super Bowl prediction.
OK. Patriots 41, Giants 23.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Audience Participation: What was your last heartbreak?

The Johan Santana thing has people around here a little blue. It's not so much that he was traded away, which is something Minnesotans have dealt with in the past. Think Matt Lawton, who was a huge component to the Twins success when they began to turn it around. Then there was the whole deadline on getting traded, the insistence that he be dealt that soured people a bit on the whole situation, but we've seen people demand a trade, like Chuck Knoblauch. But Knobby was kind of a bastard, so it doesn't compare. Santana had an outgoing and likable personality, so to see him twist the arm like he did with the Twins definitely hurts. The situation dragged on so long, however, that most of us are glad that it's over than sad that he's gone. If I cared about the NBA in the least, the Kevin Garnett deal would likely sting a lot more.
But that really isn't my most recent, painful heartbreak. No, my heartbreak goes back to this play:
I don't want to talk about that play ever again. What was your most recent heartbreak? Spill some tears in the comments.


Odds and Ends

I meant to throw up a post yesterday with a few little tidbits, but frankly, I hit the bottle a little too hard. These things happen. So, here are the tidbits.

First, Johan Santana signed his extension with the Mets, if you hadn't heard. After hearing about the negotiations, like that he initially asked for 28 million a year and was a real stickler for a couple extra guaranteed years, I have to say, I think the haul we received was adequate. I'm beginning to suspect that the reported deals from the Red Sox and Yankees weren't even close to what was on the table, because if I was running a team, I wouldn't want to give up my top prospects for the chance to pay 30 million dollars a year for 7 years, especially for a pitcher, a position that generally has the most risk for injury. So, kudos, I suppose, for this deal Bill Smith. It was probably the best option in a bad situation.

Now, for those of you not at work, here is Chris Berman taking the Lord's name in vain, over and over and over again. Jesus! If he gets this worked up all the time, it's just a matter of time before he has a heart attack, isn't it?

Lastly, not really sports, but there is this story of a cabbie who got attacked by a passenger with an ax in north Minneapolis. Of course, they are now saying it was merely a hatchet instead of an ax, but it still begs the question, "Why would you let a guy with an ax in your cab?" The only thing I can think is that the guy had Bud Light. Or he was Maurice Clarett.