Monday, October 31, 2011

Links of the Halloween

I have had a heck of a day. Please bear with me. Also, click on ads, because I need money.

Baseball is over, here are your first NCAA basketball rankings.

The Twins added two terrible relievers today. WORLD SERIES HERE WE COME.

If you didn't watch any football this week, just know that the snow was bloody awesome.

San Francisco 20, Cleveland 10 - Only game I didn't get to yesterday. San Francisco will win a game in the Playoffs. Heard it here first.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 7

Better late than never right? With a bunch of byes and a lot of top teams playing bottom teams, this was a pretty uneventful week for the power ranks. The Packers improved to 7-0 and remained the #1 team, while the idle 49ers stayed as #2. Despite losing in ugly fashion to the Jaguars, the Ravens actually moved up to #3 with Detroit losing a 2nd game in a row to Atlanta. With the Lions losing and falling to #5, the idle Patriots moved up to #4. See? Pretty boring...

The bottom only had a little big of movement as well. The Colts 62-7 loss proved that they truly are the worst team in the league, and the rankings now show that. The Dolphins narrow loss to the Broncos may have proved they are the best winless team, so they moved up to #30, dropping the Rams to #31. The Jaguars surprising win over Baltimore moved them out of the bottom 5, replaced by the Broncos, even though they won.

The biggest gainer this week was the Texans, who blew out the Titans to take command of the AFC South, while the Saints and Bears also jumped 7 spots. The biggest losers were the Raiders and Titans, who looked like pretenders with their blowout losses this week.

Playoff Projections:
1st Round Byes: #3 Ravens, #4 Patriots
#9 Bills @ #12 Texans
#6 Bengals @ #15 Chargers
Top 5 Out: #11 Steelers, #14 Jets, #17 Browns, #19 Raiders, #20 Chiefs

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
#7 Bears @ #8 Saints
#5 Lions @ #10 Giants
Top 5 Out: #13 Falcons, #16 Cowboys, #18 Buccaneers, #22 Redskins, #23 Seahawks

Full Ranks:

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Links of the Day 10/30/11

Happy Halloween Eve. I hope you are stocking up on football.

World Series MVP David Freese had an awesome classmate in high school(via Brian Hickey).

The Big East is going to be a disaster.

Mike Modano is on Twitter, and he is... something else.

Minnesota 22, Iowa 21 - What?! I mean.... WHAT?! Way to go Jerry Kill
North Dakota State 27 Northern Iowa 19 - Not a good day for the state of Iowa.
Wyoming 30, San Diego State 27 - The Cowboys are turning into a force in the Mountain West and are one win from bowl eligibility. Maybe they will play Purdue!
Minnesota 1, Detroit 0 - In regulation, too! Also, I don't understand why Minnesota plays such low scoring games.
Minnesota 24, Carolina 21 - The Panthers shank one late to lose. Of course, this means the Vikings win a stadium. Right?
Tennessee 27, Indianapolis 10 - What oh my gosh the Colts lost a game.
Brann 6, Rosenborg 3 - Holy crap. High scoring, and a season clincher for Molde. RBK is still in good position with 2 matches left to get into the Europa League next year.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

How does this make you feel, Minnesota?

Here, we thought it was Nick Punto dragging down the Twins, but after this seasons collapse, it might be that the Twins were slowing down Nick Punto.

(photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Links of the Day 10/29/11

I hope you are enjoying all the snow on your TV screens. Way too early, but tremendously entertaining.

The Cardinals ended up winning the World Series last night, proving once and for all that the regular season doesn't matter at all.

Blackburn 3, Norwich City 3 - Sure, the Rovers got a point away from Ewood Park, but for the second match in a row, they gave up a 2 goal lead.
Michigan 36, Purdue 14 - This doesn't mean that Purdue stopped improving, because they never with in Ann Arbor, regardless.


Friday, October 28, 2011

To reiterate... the Vikings do not have your best interests in mind

The Vikings have been unilaterally opposed to any plan for a new stadium that won't be built in Arden Hills on the site that they have picked out. The city of Minneapolis, the state, pretty much anyone with a brain has had other solutions that would be better for the state and for fans, only to have them shot down by the Vikings. Let's pretend for a moment that the stadium IS an important priority for the state and the Twin Cities and the economy of the region. Building the stadium in Arden Hills for a billion dollars is the worst possible solution for fans.
Here are some pros and cons for the Arden Hills site as they compare to building the stadium downtown for the average Vikings fan, and why some of those cons are unspoken pros for the Vikings.
- I have racked my brain, and I cannot think of a one.
- Site is a superfund site and will cost additional millions to clean up. I bet the Vikings don't kick in any money
- There is nothing around. The proposition is for the real estate magnate, Zygi Wilf to develop the region around it, reaping an exorbitant profit on that, as well as the stadium.
- Inconvenient. There aren't any major highways or railways near the site, like their are with the Metrodome site or anywhere else downtown. This is important for the Vikings, because it will mean more revenue on their parking lots since people have to drive and park somewhere. You had better believe there will be 20 dollar a spot parking, and that profit won't go back to the state.
- The expense of building this stadium, according to their plans, is exorbitant. They want us to spend 900 million dollars on a new stadium (before the cost of cleaning up the site and having to rebuild roads across the region) when there are sites that will cost taxpayers significantly less and will, for our purposes, be just as good.

So whether or not you think a Vikings stadium is important, I want you all to realize that what the Vikings are doing isn't in the interest of finding a solution. It's extortion, plain and simple.

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Links of the Day 10/28/11

That was just an insane game last night, was it not? I feel awful for the Rangers and their fans.

You can actually define a top 10 plays from last night's Game 6.

The best part is that Purdue lost to this team.

The Missouri Tigers are joining the SEC.... oh... oops. Not yet! Forget I said anything!

Anaheim 3, Minnesota 2 - I don't think I have ever encountered a game in which Minnesota beat the Ducks. I do not care for that team.


My if this doesn't sound familiar.

A nod to Awful Announcing for the Joe Buck/Jack Buck David Freese/Kirby Puckett homage.

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Links of the Day 10/27/11

In case you were wondering, yes, my sleep schedule is completely destroyed.

Hey, someone else was calling for a 16 team tournament. This is an old post.

Do you have the time to fight your way through this lengthy story? It's worth it.

The Vikings are definitely trying to screw you over, Minnesota.

Rosenborg 2, Fredrikstad 0 - Nothing like a match against Fredrikstad to cure what ails you, amirite?
Carling Cup
Blackburn 4, Newcastle 3 - I believe I mentioned this.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Breakneck soccer action

In English soccer, they have several competitions, the primary one is the league, which has the full season and everything. There are also European competitions for only select teams, but there are also a couple of national tournaments. There is the League Cup (also called the Carling Cup because of sponsorship) and the FA Cup. The League Cup is a tournament among League teams. The League consists of the top 5 or so levels of English soccer, The FA is the football association, which is ALL soccer in England, including the League and divisions lower than that. The FA Cup is a 700 some team tournament consisting of the top 11 levels. hey are still in the prelims of that tournament, but the Carling Cup is down to 16, 8 after today's matches.
The best involved my team, the Blackburn Rovers and their fixture with Newcastle. Look at the scores. Or rather, the times they were scored. The Rovers had to have been comfortable with a 2-0 score at home going into the final seconds of the match. But then, in the final minute, and once in the added time, the Magpies drew level, seizing momentum and sending this match to extra time.
In extra time, the Rovers struck, 9 minutes in. Morten Garnst Pedersen's goal put Blackburn in front all the way to the end of the first half of extra time. Of course, just before the break, Newcastle scored again, on a penalty kick. Excruciating! Then, 2 minutes before the close of extra time, before this game went to penalty kicks, Frenchman Gael Givet struck to seal the win for Blackburn. Despite their terrible year, they are in the quarter finals of the Cup after a thriller.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Links of the Day 10/26/11

Mid-week, late October. I think this could be the most average day of the year.

Brian Robison kicked a Packer in the junk, and said Packer's junk is doing OK.

This video demonstrates everything that's right with the Colts' season so far.

Greg Gumbel v Hulk Hogan. Hilarious.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Once again, the Victoria Times staff has the best solution

We've been running our Victoria Times college football simulation for 3 years, and this will be the fourth. With conference realignment running rampant, it's still not any more likely that the BCS will be scrapped for a tournament.
But that's not why I came. One of the issues I have always had with tournaments was the assertion that there would be wild card or at large bids.How can you win a national title if you can't even win your conference? Or division?
This came to a head two years ago when the Big 12 South was hotly contested by Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. As luck would have it, though, all three were in different Victoria Times conferences, and all were eligible for the post season tournament, if they won their respective conferences, proving once again that ours is the best solution. Of course, that year TCU, Missouri and BYU won the VT conferences. Oops.
We are in a similar situation this year. Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in the BCS and are thus far tied in the SEC west. Now, it doesn't seem very likely that the two teams would have a chance to both play the national championship game, even though they might be the top teams in the land. Fortunately, once again, we have the chance to put two elite teams from the same division in the VT tournament. Alabama and LSU are in the Dixie and Gulf Coast conferences, respectively. Of course, if this goes the same way it did last time we had this situation, Louisiana Tech and Auburn will make it to the tournament.
Stay tuned for December when we run the simulation to find out what happens! Stanford is the defending champ.


Links of the Day 10/25/11

The most interesting team I follow right now is Purdue football. That's so depressing.

People are willing to do this for BILLS tickets.

Oh good, the jackass that ran on the field during the UCLA/Arizona game was from Minnesota.

Jerry Kill was locked up for a 7 year deal today. Good for him.

Please check back at another time.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Colts might have to make a tough decision

I have been in staunch opposition to drafting Andrew Luck. If nothing else, because the Colts are terrible everywhere, as they demonstrated last night. (62-7!) If anything, they should trade the first pick in the draft for more picks and fill MORE holes, like the offensive line, wide receiver, running back or any position on defense.You know, the entire team. Trading out of the first pick would likely reap a bounty that  could be used to develop a lot of players going forward. Seems like a pretty decent draft to do that with.
Of course, now Tony Dungy brings up another idea. Maybe the Colts should trade Peyton Manning. I actually like this thinking, even thought it seems completely implausible. Manning would also bring a slew of picks, as well as, perhaps, other compensation. If you can extricate yourself from the emotional impact of a move like this, it does make a certain bit of sense going forward. You have a sure fire quarterback prospect fro the next 10-15 years instead of three or four. But of course, you would also have to gradually build a team around him, a la Manning of the early 2000s, rather than inserting him into a ready made team, if you were to keep Manning and rebuild the team under his guidance.
I think either way would work. Regardless, the Colts should add a quarterback in the draft in the early rounds with an eye for the future. There are one of two ways to do it. Either keep Manning and trade their early pick for more picks, or keep their early pick and trade Manning. Whatever happens, they will end up with Manning or Luck, but certainly not both.

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Links of the Day 10/24/11

It's my first full work week back. Boy does that suck.

Darius Rucker has felt the need to apologize to Cam Newton, but when will he apologize to me? He knows what he did.

There are complicated legal issues revolving around a squirrel.

The mayors of NBA cities have sent a letter to the NBA. Because Minnesota does not have an NBA team, R.T Rybak was not included.

Carolina 33, Washington 20 - The Redskins have now lost consecutive games to one win teams.
Green Bay 33, Minnesota 27 - The Vikings actually played pretty well in Christian Ponder's debut. Hope!
New Orleans 62, Indianapolis 7 - It was Indianapolis. Indianapolis was blown out worse.
Stromgodset 3, Rosenborg 1 - I think I spoke too soon. RBK still has a lot of work to do to find their way into European comps next year.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Who get's blown out by more?

It's a simple question... This week, Minnesota takes on the best team in football, divisional rival Green Bay, who may feel the need to run up the score on the Vikings. The Colts are playing on the road against New Orleans, who may not be as inclined to drive up the point total, but are clearly the better team. So, vote below. Who gets blown out by more?

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Links of the Day 10/23/11

It's Sunday, and there are a lot of very bad games on today. 

I don't think UCLA is getting this recruit.

Another gentle reminder... the Vikings are trying to dick us over.

North Dakota State 38, South Dakota State 14 - The Bison are very likely the best team in the Dakotas.
Nebraska 41, Minnesota 14 - Nebraska should be embarrassed by this poor showing.
Vancouver 3 (OT) Minnesota 2 - Another game in overtime. They may end up with a post season worth of games just when you add up the OTs.
Tottenham 2, Blackburn 1 - It may not be a result, but the Rovers played a pretty good team strong, even avoiding the clean sheet.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Watch out, random C-USA team!

Because Purdue is COMING! The Boilers won today against Illinois at home for homecoming. This leaves the team 4-3, which means they are a mere 2 games from bowl eligibility. Let's take a look at the remainder of the schedule and see if they can get there. (And this is why bowls are still good... it makes fans of mediocre teams have something to strive for)
Here are the remaining games on the schedule, and my percentage chances for winning those games.

10/29: @ Michigan - 17%. I don't like Purdue's chances to reign in Denard Robinson, or to keep it together in Ann Arbor.

11/5 @ Wisconsin - 3.6 % Wisconsin is really, really good.

11/12 Ohio State - 43 % I think the Buckeyes are beatable, so long as the Boilermakers have a shred of dignity left after their game in Madison.

11/19 Iowa - 62% Iowa is supposed to be our cross conference rival, so obviously this is a HUGE deal. This would be a 50-50 contest on a neutral field. Playing in West Lafayette gives Purdue an extra 12% chance.

11/26 @ Indiana - 83% This would be in the 90s if the game was in West Lafayette, but really and truly, Indiana is very bad. Almost Minnesota bad.

So, yes, if every game goes as expected, Purdue WILL become bowl eligible. Checking the bowl affiliations, this could mean a trip to Dallas for the TicketCity Bowl! NICE


Links of the Day 10/22/11

Hey y'all, it's time for some links! ARE YOU READY

The University of Illinois is a bunch of money grubbing ho's. 

A streaker in an officials uniform turned into a bench clearing brawl. I.... just watch.

I haven't linked to something else I posted at another site. So, here.

NCAA Football
Purdue 21, Illinois 14 - It sounds crazy, but is it possible that Purdue is getting.... better?


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Key to Nick Punto

It may be frustrating to see Nick Punto in the World Series for Twins fans. How could a player that caused such consternation for Twins fans be 3 games away from winning a World Series? Why isn't he ruining the Cardinals like he ruined the Twins?
Well, part of the reason is that, in small doses, he isn't a disaster. Tony LaRussa is a famous micromanager, and Punto is often inserted as a defensive replacement. In St. Louis, he has played defensively in 60 games... and started in barely half of them. In Minnesota, he was supposed to be the regular third baseman, if you'll recall, last year and was eventually a regular starter at second. The same could be said for Punto earlier in his career. He was foisted into starting roles all too often. With the Cardinals he is not a key component, truly a utility player.
This is where Punto is an asset. In small doses, he can  be a spark at the plate and an asset in the field. He is a good as a utility player, such as he is in St. Louis. As an every day player, like he was often called upon to be, he is nothing less than a catastrophe. The fact that he was so scorned in Minnesota says more about the Twins organization than it does about Punto himself. (and the fact that he would be an improvement on the 2011 team is a depressing reminder of how bad the organization is this year)

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Links of the Day 10/21/11

Hi! It's Friday.

I am really excited about the latest coach kerfuffle, mostly because I can use the word "kerfuffle"

Jerome Harrison's life was probably saved by his scuttled trade.

I can't imagine how pissed off these horses must have been.

Minnesota 2 (OT) Edmonton 1 - Why can't the Wild score? I can't figure it out.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Ron Gardenhire really needs is a substance abuse problem

It seems to have
worked pretty well
for managers this season.

Of course, maybe Gardy is working on it already.

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Links of the Day 10/20/11

Moammar Gadhafi is dead. Bad year for tyrants.

It seems that a fan of the Boston Bruins did the killing. Or something.

This is what they call a "feel good" story. The Panthers are starting an undrafted rookie this week. Read on.

The whole Epstein/Cubs thing looks to be nearing it's conclusion.



NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 6

This week we have a new #1, and not surprisingly, it's none other than the undefeated Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. The 49ers moved up to #2 by dethroning the #1 Lions, while the Lions moved down to #3, Ravens moved down to #4, and the Patriots moved up to #5 over the Bills, who lost again this week.

This begs the question....Are the 49ers for real? All of sudden they are 5-1 and running away with the NFC West. They have 5 games left against their miserable division and also get to play Cleveland and the John Beck led Redskins. If they run the table in those games, they are 12-4 and will likely have a first round bye. One thing that makes me feel good about them this year is that they are based in having a strong defense that gets a lot of turnovers, and their offense doesn't make too many mistakes and Alex Smith has turned into a good Trent Dilfer-ish game manager, which is all they need. The offense, though, isn't so ineffective that they can't score points or play from behind. I guess we'll see how it plays out...

The bottom 5 teams remained the same, but they moved positions. The idle Cardinals passed the Jaguars and despite losing 24-3 to the Packers, the Rams jumped 2 spots to #30 thanks to the strength of schedule boost of playing the 6-0 Packers. The Dolphins are now the new #32 team and if you watched the Monday Night game this week, it shows.

The biggest gainers this week were the Bengals, who are surprisingly 4-2 are beating the pathetic Colts. They jumped 6 spots. The biggest losers were the Saints, who dropped 8 spots after losing to the Buccaneers a week after they were embarrassed in San Francisco, and the Redskins, who dropped 8 spots as well after being shut down by the Eagles.

Playoff Projections:
Byes:#4 Ravens, #5 Patriots
#7 Bills @ #8 Chargers
#6 Bengals @#12 Titans
Top 5 Out: #10 Raiders, #13 Steelers, #17 Jets, #20 Texans, #21 Browns

Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
#14 Bears @ #9 Giants
#3 Lions @ #11 Buccaneers
Top 5 Out: #15 Saints, #16 Redskins, #18 Falcons, #19 Cowboys, #22 Seahawks

Here are the full ranks:

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Links if the Day 10/19/11

This was scheduled to post on the 19th, and there is nothing you can say or do to prove that I posed them late.

It's spelled N-Y-J-E-R for anyone curious. (The Cardinals won Game 1)

This is pretty cool. Old photos of the 61 Yankees.

I'm sure you all heard about this, but  58 wild animals were let out in Zanesville Ohio yesterday. Most had to be put down.

Pittsburgh 4, Minnesota 2 - The Wild really haven't got it going at all. They had that one good game... but other than that, nothing.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Indy racing loses a star

I know that I'm only a racing fan in passing, and that when I do make note of it, I am usually more interested in NASCAR than Indy Car, simply because it's easier to identify with as an American. Still, the Indy 500 has impressed it's mark on me, having lived there and still being proud to have, for a time, called Indiana home.
The stars of the Indy 500 were some of the biggest sports stars in Indiana, from Andretti to Unser of old to Franchitti, Castroneves, Hornish, Kanaan and Wheldon of today.
Wheldon. As you surely have heard, Dan Wheldon lost his life in a crash at the Las Vegas motor speedway over the weekend. The two time winner of the Indy 500 was one of the best drivers in the world. Consider that when he won the 500 in May, he did so on a one race agreement with the owners of his car. He won the race on skill more than equipment. There are few drivers that can make the claim so effectively as Wheldon did. 
Wheldon is perhaps the most famous competitor to die in competition since Dale Earnhardt. There haven't been many comparisons between the two, because other than the circumstances of their deaths and their success on the track, there are few similarities. The cars, of course, are different, as well as their nationalities. Earnhardt had a long career, whereas Wheldon's was near it's beginning. Earnhardt was a driver's driver, known for his intimidating style (even called the Intimidator), whereas Wheldon was renown for his charm. Indeed, he was delightful in interviews, and was always comfortable in the traditional Letterman interview after winning the 500. If you liked racing, you liked Earnhardt. You didn't have to enjoy racing to like Wheldon.
I heard a quote soon after Wheldon's death was announced. "It has been said that racing and boxing are the only real sports cause the specter of death hangs over them, and everything else is a game." Of course, there are others who feel that anything without a ball is not a sport. If you ask me, however, it will definitely take balls to get back in the car next May.
RIP, Dan Wheldon.

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Links of the Day 10/18/11

Good to be home and back into my routine...

ESPN has lost several big names in the past couple of years.

Apparently there is movement to do away with relegation in English soccer. Doesn't seem likely.

Two words on the 2022 World Cup... "Artificial Clouds"

Nothing for today.


Snoop Dogg and Welsh rutabaga farmer, BFF

As I said, I just got in before midnight. That said, here is a BBC report about Snoop Dogg in Wales. (They call rutabaga's "Swedes" in the UK)

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Links of the Day 10/17/11

Just got in tonight, which is why the links are going up so late. But there were a lot of big stories yesterday.

Indy car driver and reigning Indy 500 champ Dan Wheldon was killed in a wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Some crazy stuff happened after the 49ers/Lions game.

The World Series is set.... Cardinals and Rangers. 

Atlanta 31, Carolina 17 - I think this score indicates that neither team should be embarrassed.
Cincinnati 27, Indianapolis 17 - The Colts are 0-6, but Curtis Painter has been better than expected. Yes, he is terrible.
San Francisco 25, Detroit 19 - Oh yeah. There was a game too.
Chicago 39, Minnesota 10 - The Christian Ponder era begins! So, there's that
Rosenborg 2, Aalesund 2 - RBK needed a late own goal to tie it and take a point.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wyoming Cowboys dominate three quarters, Take second quarter off

As you may remember, and as I showed in the highlight video I shared last night, the Wyoming Cowboys defeated the UNLV Rebels by a score of 41-14. As you might have heard, I was there. Here are some thoughts.

- First, there weren't many cowboy hats. Lots of Cowboys hats, but not many cowboy hats.
- UNLV's coverage early was atrocious, just like I expected. The problem was that the Cowboys are a running team, traditionally, and they got away from their game, trying to exploit the porous secondary. It didn't work out too terribly well. But UNLV is pretty bad, so even though Wyoming was slowed, UNLV wasn't able to find their way all the way back in. When Quarterback Brett Smith started to run, that's when the Cowboys really started to open up their lead. (He ended up with 59 yards on the ground, but it felt like a lot more)
- Special teams were huge in this game. The two biggest momentum shifts were on punts to Wyoming. The first was a second quarter punt that Wyoming muffed, only to have UNLV recover. They promptly scored 2 touchdowns. After the half, the teams were playing to a draw, more or less, until a 3rd quarter punt, which was returned all the way by Wyoming. I think, more than the score, the block I alluded to in the video yesterday changed the tone. Wyoming was more aggressive on defense and grittier on offense, eventually salting the game away.
- The Cowboys opened up the playbook in the 4th quarter. Chris McNeill who ran back the punt in the 3rd quarter also threw a touchdown to Brett Smith (the quarterback), and then on another reverse, threw the two point conversion. When one thinks of Wyoming, one does not typically think "razzle dazzle"
- Due to some strong winds, punters and kickers went out of their way to keep balls low to to the ground, taking angles on kicks, squibbing, etc to get it downfield but to allay the chance of a return. It was very strange.
- The Rebels started backup Sean Reilly, to give him a chance, I assume. He looked lost out there, but his receivers were no help. I assume the terrible receivers (and mediocre line) are why Caleb Herring's statistics were so down. Herring came in in the 4th and looked energetic and athletic, giving the Rebels a new life late in the game. He was afflicted by the same problems though, namely that his receivers were very, very bad. Herring should be in starting next week for UNLV.
- Some thoughts on the experience of the game... The Cowboys run out to "Cowboy" by Bon Jovi. At half time, the band did a Billy Joel themed set. The 80s are just now arriving in Laramie.
- After every score, at the beginning of the game, and after the end of the game, Wyoming fires off a cannon. A very, tremendously loud cannon that is fired by National Guardsmen. They are defending the no fly zone around the stadium, I have to believe.
- The food at the game was decidedly faux Mexican. They called it a "Jackalope taco", but really, it was a homemade, Norwegian style taco (i.e. no spice). I was picking jackalope taco out of my beard through the first quarter.
- The girl who sold me my Wyoming sweatshirt threatened to shoot me with a rubber band. I think she was flirting, but I can't be sure. Wyoming is weird.

OK, enough out of me, how about.... pictures! My camera/phone had a low battery through most of the game, so I stopped taking pictures soon after kick off. Nevertheless. here are the pregame pictures.
 The stadium is really high

 A look into the tailgate.

 I was able to get really close to the field. That was fun. I also got there really early.

Mountains to the west of Laramie. Please enjoy the  Mountain West flags off to the side. This was taken from a ramp at the stadium

Several pictures from my seats. Not bad.

 Look! A W! They're fight song is "Cowboy Joe" if you are ever on Jeopardy or something.

And now, last but not least, it's time for kickoff!

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Links of the Day 10/16/11

Hello, how is life? That's great.

I link to this because it was by Michael Schur, AKA Ken Tremendous AKA Mose Schrute.

This is what I call making lemonade out of lemons.

A devastating hockey fight. That is all.

Blackburn 1 QPR 1 - QPR stands for "Queens Park Rangers" If you were curious.
Penn State 23, Purdue 18 - I am worried that the Big Ten isn't very good.
Wyoming 41, UNLV 14 - Perhaps you will hear more about this one later.
North Dakota State 51, Missouri State 21 - I think NDSU has to be considered for a Bowl, right? Right? What?
Detroit 3 (SO), Minnesota 2 = So, the Wild actually can't score goals, as it turns out. If you watch the team, though, you almost always get a shootout!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Video highlights from today's game

I will post pictures and a bit of a recap tomorrow, but tonight, here is a highlight package put together by the mountain. At 1:38, keep an eye out for the devastating hit. They don't mention it in video, but it was definitely the biggest hit of the game, probably any live game I've been to.

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Links of the Day 10/15/11

A little pre game linkage. 3 more hours til game time!

Aaron Rodgers has perhaps a bit too much time on his hands at the beginning of games

What do Carl Crawford and Andy Carroll have in common? They were both overpaid by the same guy!

I still haven't seen Moneyball. This is a scene that is not in the movie.

Nothing.... yet


Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 2 observations

No, Cheyenne, I don't think I will be trying your sushi

- There is a gap between Sidney, Nebraska and the I-80-I-76 split where you can't get any phone reception, and I wasn't able to stream Pandora. At first, I felt lost, alone and and angry, and that made me realize that I've got it pretty good here in America. And then I realized I have to pass back through that same stretch of road again, and now I'm pissed. HOW CAN I GO 45 MINUTES WITHOUT HEARING TOTO

- While I was driving through Nebraska, I saw a legit cowboy working with some horses. He had the hat on and everything, I think he was rustling.

- While the first cowboy hat was a pleasant little novelty, I came to find that residents of Cheyenne wear them unironically. If you have a stereotype about Cheyenne, it is accurate. 

- I got into town early, and I headed to the mall (Frontier something or other). Honest to goodness, the first two stores I encountered were "Wild Western" which sold, obviously, western gear, and "Boot Barn" which sold western gear (with a special emphasis on cowboy boots). What IS this place?

- I went to the Chik-fil-a at the mall. There was a gentleman eating his sandwich while wearing a cowboy hat. 

- My hotel room overlooks I-25. Across the interstate is nothing. Miles and miles of nothing. I can see a couple lights, but that might be Laramie. Laramie is 40 miles away.

- There are a great many buildings with marquees here, something that adds to the undeniable charm of this place. Most of the marquees have a cowboy on them.

- The various news stations here come from; ABC - Casper, CBS - Denver, NBC - Cheyenne. The ABC station advertised it's morning show, claiming live coverage on Monday from the grand re-opening of the Red Lobster in downtown Casper. (Sidebar... internet research tells me the place burned down. Ironically, a bar in Eagan, MN called Casper's just burned down before I left. What do they have in common? I wouldn't eat seafood at either restaurant)

- I went out for dinner at a sports bar in downtown Cheyenne. It was a very nice bar, called Shadow's, with TVs (flat screen and tube. Tube TVs!) and very good burgers. Anyways, two customers stood out to me. One was a gentleman wearing a Detroit Lions sweater, which was strange enough, but he had a gigantic Lions tattoo on his calf too. Sitting next to him was a gentleman in a very nice full suit. He was wearing a cowboy hat.

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Links of the Day 10/14/11

Tomorrow is the big day, UNLV at Wyoming. I am already at... I mean IN Wyoming.

So, on the eve of my trip to Mountain West game comes an announcement that their conference is going to.... merge? With Conference USA?

I think, actually, that the lesson is that there are some relievers that are overworked, and some that are not, depending on their physique and mechanics.

Have I mentioned that someone threw a hot dog at Tiger Woods? 

Minnesota 2 (SO) Edmonton 1 - Yes. The offense is clearly much improved. And the defense is clearly worse. Yes.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Notes from Day 1

Well, I got on the road around 9 today, and it was rainy and gross in the Twin Cities. By the time I got to Owatonna, though, the sun was out and the rest of the drive was very warm. It really saps the battery on my phone/GPS. Here are some notes from the drive.

- I only made one stop, which is incredible. Thank YOU Dexter, Iowa and your Casey's General Store for pizza and gas and directions back to the interstate.

- There is a radio station in Omaha that goes by "The Big O".

- The entire state of Nebraska is under construction. Like, really, every major town had construction in and around it. It was a slow go.

- I went out for a barbecue pork sandwich and a beer. Through eavesdropping, I learned that I was sitting next to this guy's father.

All right, enough for now. I will check in tomorrow night. Game is on Saturday!


Links of the Day 10/13/11

Hi! I'm in Nebraska!

Delmon Young hit two homers in today's ALCS game. I am disappointed I was in the car at the time.

Hey, dummies! You should pay for a new stadium in Minnesota! Mike Florio says so!

Pete Carroll would like Lebron to play football in Seattle.

Nothing for now!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 5

Week 5 is in the books, and this is usually the time of the year where the "recent success" attribute in the calculation starts to make a difference, as you will see. Dare I try to make playoff projections based on these ranks? Sure, I'll start them this week. You probably won't be browsing the bottom of the October archives come January if they are ridiculously wrong.

This week was interesting in that the 5 five mostly remained in tact. The #1 Lions, #2 Packers, and #4 Bills all won this week, while the #3 Ravens were idle. Even the former #5 Patriots won, but they were passed by yet another surprising team that hasn't made the playoffs in a while....the 49ers, who took over the #5 spot after beating Tampa in their biggest blowout win since the days of Montana and Rice, 1987.

The bottom 5 had a little bit of movement. The Vikings destroyed the Cardinals to get their first win of the year and move out of the bottom 5. Also, the Chiefs got their 2nd win of the year over the lowly Colts to move up. Replacing them are the awful Cardinals and the Jaguars, whose win over the Titans in week 1 looks like an anomaly.

The biggest gainer this week were the Vikings, who jumped 8 spots with a dominating first win. The Steelers jumped 7 spots for beating the Titans and getting back on track. The biggest losers were the Cardinals, for the reasons mentioned above, and the Texans, who lost to an emotional Raiders team playing for Al Davis.

Playoff Projections:
Byes:#3 Ravens, #4 Bills
#12 Bengals @ #9 Chargers
#6 Patriots @#10 Titans
Top 5 Out: #13 Texans, #14 Steelers, #15 Raiders, #19 Browns, #21 Jets

Byes: #1 Packers, #5 49ers
#11 Giants @ #7 Saints
#2 Lions @ #8 Redskins
Top 5 Out: #16 Buccaneers, #17 Cowboys, #18 Bears, #20 Vikings, #22 Falcons

Full Ranks:

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Links of the Day 10/12/11

Good heavens... with all the excitement of my pending departure tomorrow, the links must have slipped through the cracks. Tomorrows posts are from Nebraska!

This is pretty gross for anyone who is well versed in bitter rivalries.

Jack McKeon managed like a crotchety grandfather.

How about a post about realignment? NHL realignment, for a change.

Ottawa 3 (SO) Minnesota 3- The Wild came out strong early in this one, but completely blew it in the end. If they had taken the end of the game with New York and combined it with the beginning their game in Ottawam they woudl have really had something.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A post about Taylor Swift

It's easy to pigeonhole Taylor Swift as a flighty teen pop star, perhaps a little bit puritanical given her country roots. She is also extremely annoying to many people who find her hero worship on the scale of Brett Favre. The difference, of course, is that Swift hasn't really done anything to deserve scorn on herself, except to be tremendously talented and fairly attractive, thereby attracting attention.
Yes, I said it, Taylor Swift is talented. She has a a great deal of crossover appeal because she has a purer voice than most country stars, and, as some have put it, she never shuts up. That is, she never stops singing to allow instrumentals.
Still, her country roots definitely give an air of "closemindedness" to her and her career. The saccharine country lyrics still gave a sense of naivete. That is to say until she started having "friends" appear with her on tour. It started with a show in Los Angeles back in August. What do you notice about this?

Or this? I mean, besides Hayley Williams' fanny pack.

Perhaps this?

Or finally, from last week, this?

For me, there are three takeaways:
1) Taylor Swift definitely has the whole "awkward white girl" thing going for her.
2) The closemindedness perception is absolutely false. She's willing to perform with any one, and appears to be having a blast doing so. Seriously, in her duet with Nikki Minaj, was that not the most thrilled you have ever seen a performer? She quite clearly LOVES a wider variety of music than perhaps even her own fans enjoy.
3) Swift has a an incredible amount of appeal. As I said, she has a pure voice, and works well with, and was able to successfully invite 4 people that might be about as different genres as her own as possible to perform with her.If we are out to pigeonhole her, she hasn't noticed. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I think Swift is making a move into popular (as opposed to popular country music) music, and if these concert videos are any indication, I might actually like her work. Because country music still totally sucks.

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Links of the Day 10/11/11

Just two more days until I skip town for Wyoming. Just so you know.

Undoubtedly the sole cause of the Chiefs turning it around the past two weeks. That and playing miserable teams.

The cleat is the most effective peace of equipment, I imagine, for gouging out eyes.

I hate to highlight this as much as any meteorologist, but... oops.

New York Islanders 2, Minnesota 1 - I am REALLY getting tired of putting the Minnesota team in the right side of htese scores. The Wild definitely played better, but possibly fake Al Montoya was just too good.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Something said about Delmon Young, not said about his former teammates

Delmon Young back in the lineup, hitting third, playing in left field. He'll be playing through the pain. - Buster Olney
"It didn't surprise Rangers manager Ron Washington that Young would try to gut through the pain." -Royal Oak Daily Tribune

Oh, an how about this tweet from the Detroit Free Press: "Delmon Young: "I really don't care how I did. We're trying to get a 'W' out here.""

But, you know, Young is soft and lazy and isn't much of a competitor. 


Links of the Day 10/10/11

Happy Columbus Day, all. I hope you all get typhoid. (You know, in honor of Columbus)

The Wild play a matinee that starts in 14 minutes. I aided in a preview at an Islanders blog.

Devin Aromashadu absolutely destroyed a photographer in yesterday's game.

Delmon Young... healthy!

New Orleans 30, Carolina 27 - The Panthers should be proud of themselves. Even if they aren't winning a lot, at least they are competetive. It bodes well for the future.
Kansas City 28, Indianapolis 24 - Oh God, it's so bad. Make it stop.
Minnesota 34, Arizona 10 - Hey, that's a win for Minnesota! It really helps when the opposition tries to give it away.
San Francisco 48, Tampa Bay 3 - As everyone knows, Alex Smith is an elite quarterback.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Looking forward to Wyoming

This time next week, I will have the Wyoming-UNLV game in my rearview. At the beginning of the season, it looked like a pretty clear, dominating win for Wyoming. The Cowboys started off 3-0, and then lost their next game against Nebraska despite putting up a good effort. They looked like a pretty reliable team in the Mountain West, if nothing else. Then there was this past weekend, when they got whitewashed by the Utah State Aggies in Logan. Not so good.
UNLV has been underwhelming all season. They were crushed by Wisconsin, Washington State, Nevada and most ignobly, Southern Utah. They did, however, win a home game against Hawaii. They still haven't allowed 60 points in a game, yet, like the Cowboys did in Logan yesterday.
The Cowboys are a perfect example of "running back by committee" They run for just less than 200 yards a game, and have 4 different backs who have reached that total on the season, Ghaali Muhammad, Alvester Alexander, Brandon Allen and quarterback Brett Smith, a Freshman who is improving with his arm as well. The Wyoming defense is the primary issue, as the team struggles with slowing down running games and allows too many big plays in passing attacks. If it stays true to form, this game will feature some high scoring.
The Runnin' Rebels are less successful running the ball, but more successful stopping the run than their counterparts in Laramie. They also scatter the ball around, with Tim Cornett, Bradley Randle and Dionz Bradford all get touches. Quarterback Caleb Herring is also a threat to scramble, but the Rebs' line is so porous that he will end up sacked more often than not. The passing defense has been atrocious for UNLV this season. Opponents have 200 more yards through the air than the Runnin' Rebels have total offense on the season.
I expect that, if Wyoming feels like they can open up their offense, they should have no problem winning their homecoming game against UNLV. It doesn't fit their typical scheme, but I think young Brett Smith is capable of leading the charge. The weather looks like it will be fine, despite it snowing there yesterday, so an airborne attack is totally viable. Prediction: Wyoming 49, UNLV 14

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Links of the Day 10/9/11

A three post day yesterday. I am winded! You know, even though Steve did the heavy lifting.

Athletics Nation had an extensive interview with Billy Beane. He seems nice.

What exactly IS TCU doing?

Arian Foster is concerned about traffic. 

College Football
Purdue 45, Minnesota 17 - I am just awestruck by how bad Minnesota played this game. I'm still not totally convinced that Purdue is substantially better than Minnesota, but the way the Gophers played, I think Jerry Kill might have lost this team already. Too bad.
North Dakota State 9, Southern Illinois 3 - Did they forget to play the second half or something?
Utah State 63, Wyoming 19 - If this game had been before the Cowboys' game with Nebraska, I think we might have a better idea that Nebraska isn't so great.
Minnesota 4, Columbus 2 - Hockey! And both Dany Heatley AND Devin Setoguchi put pucks in the net! So exciting.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 4

Two huge things I need to address before posting the power ranks this week:

First, the ranks are late this week for a pretty good reason. As Ryan mentioned, I became a father for the first time last Friday, and my little guy is doing great! Last Sunday, we got to watch my 49ers beat the evil Eagles for the first game of his life, which was definitely a memorable one (I won't mention the first Purdue game of his life...maybe I'll just pretend that today's game was the first of his life).

Second, big news in the NFL today as Raiders owner Al Davis passed away. Since I'm not from the Bay Area, its ok for me to like both the 49ers and Raiders, and the Raiders have always been my 2nd favorite team since they are my dad's favorite. Even though Davis has been criticized in recent years for his management of the Raiders, his gigantic contributions to the game and to turn the Raiders into the image of renegades will never be forgotten. The NFL won't be nearly as fun without him.

So onto the ranks, first I'm going to try something new with them this week. To be a little more efficient, instead of just typing them all out like I usually do, I made an image file of the ranks from my sheet where I calculate them. Feel free to comment if you like/hate the new style.

This week was very uneventful in rank movement. The Lions and Packers stayed as #1 and #2, remaining as the only undefeated teams left. The Bills lost their first game, but only fell down to #4. They were replaced at #3 by the Ravens, who moved up from #4. The Patriots surged back to #5 after a big win over the above-mentioned Raiders.

The bottom 5 remained in the bottom 5 this week, despite the Chiefs getting their first win over the #27 Vikings. The Chiefs were so bad the first 3 weeks that their win was not enough to jump over the 0-4 Vikings. The Dolphins, Rams, and Colts also suck.

The Patriots were the biggest gainers this week, jumping 8 spots. The biggest losers were the Cowboys, who blew a big lead to the Lions and dropped 9 spots to #18.

Here are the full ranks:

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The Wild season starts tonight in St. Paul

With the additions to the offense, and a young, developing defense, this is going to be perhaps the most exciting year yet in Minnesota. Reflections on Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra ensure that it will also be a season full of reflection. Let's drop the puck!

(The NFL power ranks are coming later today)

Links of the Day 10/8/11

It's Purdue-Minnesota day. This isn't a celebration. It's a threat.

The Tampa Bay Rays are likely in a lot of trouble.

Is Twitter too exciting for you? Maybe you can ease into it by following the Nebraska equipment manager.

Long time Raiders owner Al Davis passed away this morning.

Just wait oooooone more day.


Friday, October 07, 2011


The Minnesota Lynx have won the WNBA Championship. I only have to assume they will lose in the next round.
Wait, what? No more? That's it? They win? Everything. I am... I'm speechless. So this is what it's like.

Congrats to the Minnesota Lynx, and a serious kudos to those who have been Lynx fans longer than the 15 minutes that I watched them tonight. You earned it, I just get to reap the joy of the first pro sports championship in Minnesota in 20 years.

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Links of the Day 10/7/11

This time in a week, I will be arriving in Wyoming. I can hardly wait.

My favorite part of the camera man eating it is Adrian Beltre pointing at him.

The "Mercedes Benz Superdome" Just sounds wrong.

Nyjer Morgan just can't stop laughing.

You just wait until Sunday.


Purdue-Minnesota... a preview

Things that will be better than watching Purdue-Minnesota game on Saturday
- Watching the Florida International - Akron game
- Washing Andy Rooney's back.
- Washing Andy Rooney's front.
- The Vikings
- The Twins
- The Twins catchers at the plate
- Belgian Waffles covered in thick cherry cough syrup
- Belgians covered in thick cherry cough syrup
- Snake egg caviar
- Camping out in East St. Louis.
- Herpes

This game is early on Saturday, so maybe sleep in or go for a walk. Unless you are a fan of the team in question. If that's the case join me in a pre-noon drink or 5!

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Links of the day 10/6/11

The NHL Season begins tonight! Are you excited? I am! The Wild are a Minnesota team with hope! (Of course, they don't start until Saturday)

A lesson, once again, for sample sizes. Very important to note in the post season.

Tickets for the Vikings-Cardinals game were going for 4 dollars. Overpaying, if you ask me.

It gets harder every day to like Bernard Berrian, doesn't it?



Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The 2012 Sports Adventure teams have been picked

As I'm sure you are all aware and yet completely indifferent about, I picked the two teams that I will try to watch live and in person during the 2012 calendar year. For those that don't know, here's how it works. I lump every team from NCAA basketball and football, the NFL, NHL and MLB into a random number generator, as well as a series of numbers, so as to pick a game off of a selected team's schedule. Then I go to the game. Simple as that. The randomness of this is what makes it an adventure, you see.
So without further ado, the teams. This is the 6th year I have done this, and I had yet to select a professional sports team. Additionally, I had never yet picked a team from the same city as a previous selection. It all changed this time! The 4 that just missed out were the Colorado Avalanche, Baylor basketball, South Carolina basketball and UC-Santa Barbara.Instead, I will be attending week 5 of the Chicago Bears 2012 season~
The Bears are, as I said, the first professional sports team that I have drawn in this little game, and the second team from Chicago. Two years ago, the University of Illinois-Chicago was selected, but due to a blizzard, I was unable to go to their game. Obviously, next season's schedule is not yet known, but the potential opponents are. The Bears could, of course, play at home, but also have potential road games at Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, Arizona, Saint Louis, Tennessee, Jacksonville or any of the 4 NFC East teams, depending on how this season finishes.

Another trend when picking these teams is that I have never failed to select a college basketball team. This trend continued for 2012. I didn't draw a team from a state I had selected in the past. In fact, this was from a conference that I have until now left untouched. The last 4 out, as Joe Lunardi might say, were the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans basketball (in their final D-1 year) Maryland basketball and Utah State football. The team that I selected had another ursine mascot... the Mercer Bears.

Wow, if the Bears have a home game, I can just wear Mercer gear and probably fit in, huh? Mercer is located in Macon, Georgia, and has, if I recall, a pretty decent medical school. They also have a home game on January 2nd against Florida Gulf Coast University, the 16th game on their schedule, which was the game I drew to attend. Mercer plays in the Atlantic Sun conference, long dominated by Belmont, and finished 11-9 in conference last season, good for 5th. Most importantly, I'm heading south in January!

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Links of the Day 10/5/11

I picked my sports adventures for the coming year just after midnight today. I'll have a post up on who was selected, but first... the LINKS!

If Nick Punto has taught us anything, it's that Minnesota loves personable white dudes you never want to see on the field.

"I got your ID right here" is my new go to with club bouncers.

"Franchise Quarterbacks" are sort of a myth. Especially when talking about Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Thai peanut chicken

Have you ever had Thai food? I have only had it a couple of times, and I was surprised at how subtle the flavors were. I think it takes a different level of cooking than I am used to, infusing those subtle but still evident flavors. I mean, it's pretty easy to get to "spicy" or "citrus-y", you know? But "peanut", like I find with my limited Thai experience, isn't a terribly aggressive flavor.
I had a salad with it and put together another vinaigrette, which was delightfully complex. Along with the olive oil (I used the stuff my parents bought me in Greece!), it had sesame oil, white wine vinegar, dried mustard and sugar. It was incredible that each of those ingredients were identifiable on their own.
The problem was, the vinaigrette was thin and I used too much of it. This overwhelmed the flavor from the TPC. Later, I had a second helping without the salad, and the subtle complexity really came through. It was amazing how just a little peanut butter could really stand out as a flavor.
There was also Catalina dressing involved early in the process. It didn't really show up as a flavor, but it did turn the chicken pink. Here is the meal as a whole. I need a food photographer.


Links of the Day 10/4/11

Tomorrow is the day I pick my sports adventures for next year! Stay tuned to Twitter after midnight, and I will tweet through the process.

This will probably be the most exciting 2 points you will ever see in a football game.

Here is a bunch of NHL prognostication.

I'm trying to think of a visual metaphor for how the Gopher's season is going, perhaps with a former star from years past embarrassing himself. This will do.

Tampa Bay 24, Indianapolis 17 - Curtis Painter looked like a decent NFL QB who just happens to play on a terrible team. Color me surprised.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Who was the Twins MVP?

Earlier this season, I introduced you to a metric that I called "Perceived Value". It's a strictly offensive metric that seeks to quantify what a player is thought of at the plate. Eventually, it comes back towards true talent, but some players are still over or under valued. It also demonstrates how positively or negatively a player has made their first impression, which can make or break a career. Just look at Lew Ford.
I also threw in a metric to determine how much a player was over or underrrated. It goes almost directly back to the invented "clutch" stat. Since said stat has a lot to do with what a team around an individual player does, I used the team average clutch and multiplied that by the OPS, which would be closer to an "actual" value by this, again, entirely made up metric. So, I will share with you the players that were perhaps a little bit overrated or underrated, as well as the players with the highest perceived values.
So which player had the greatest Perceived Value? Who had the worst? The top three in perceived value were Chris Parmelee, Jim Thome and Jason Kubel, who were also the three most overrated. Why? Parmelee is an obvious lesson in small sample size. His hot month has everyone thinking he will be the star of the future, and while he did put up some strong stats, he wasn't in the league long enough to regress to the mean. Thome and Kubel often hit 5th or 6th in the lineup, showing just how much batting order position helps perception. Both had a ton of RBI, but also had more opportunity. If it would get to them later in an inning, there was more likely to be a runner in scoring position.
The lowest Perceived Value players were Rene Rivera, Joe Benson and Drew Butera. Unlike the top of the list, Rivera and Butera were perceived to be just as bad as they actually are. Joe Benson, on the other hand, was one of the more underrated players on the roster. The next two most underrated were Brian Dinkelman and Denard Span. The lesson here is the same as with overrated players. Benson and Dinkelman would have eventually come back to the mean, one would expect. They swung the bat well enough, but not at the key moments. Span is a victim of being the lead off hitter. It would be a minor miracle if someone was on base when he came up, and when it happened, the runner would likely be on first with 2 outs. Batting at the top of the order is not good for one's RBI stats, is what I am saying.
The full sheet can be found here,

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