Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1 comments My Name is Gene W. and I Am A Moron

(Edit: This article is completely wrong. I thought the LDS was 7 games long and not 5 games. The premise stays the same and still holds up as my usual bullshit, if you can get past the inherent stupidity of me not knowing how long the baseball postseason is.)

I quit paying attention to baseball pretty much on July 31st for the first time in over a decade and a half, so I have been kind of out of the loop.

Gene Wojciechowski, or Gene W. to me, has brought me right back into the loop with an article that struck me as dumb.

The stunner isn't that Carlos Zambrano is the Chicago Cubs' starter for Game 2 of the NLDS.

The stunner is that Ryan Dempster is the Cubs best pitcher. This is not a joke. Ryan Dempster has a long history of injuries and being a bad pitcher. I did not realize Carlos Zambrano was having such a bad year. Last time I checked he was a good pitcher but Gene has some major fears that Big Z will throw a temper tantrum on the mound and lose the game.

The stunner is that he wasn't dropped to Game 3, or, I kid you not, even Game 4.

Ok. If he was dropped to Game 3 then he would have pitched Game 7, if he is having a tough year, that is definitely not where you want him to pitch. Make sense? Both of these games are also on the road, so maybe the Cubs want Zambrano to pitch in front of the home crowd. Make sense? Even though Zambrano is not having a great year, do you really only want him pitching once? This is really not that stunning really. The Cubs have a great starting rotation and someone has to get the shaft a little bit and that person is Ted Lilly.

The decision to have Zambrano follow Ryan Dempster in the playoff rotation must have been a toughie for manager Lou Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

I am assuming the conversation went like this...

(Piniella) "I want Big Z to pitch at home twice, I think that will benefit him."

(Rothschild) "Do you want him in Game 1?"

(Piniella) "No, I want Dempster in Game 1."

(Rothschild) "Ok, let's put him in Game 2 then, so he can also pitch Game 6. What kind of sandwich is that you are eating Lou?"

They're dealing with a proud, spectacularly gifted player who can no-hit lineups or -- and this is what gives you the heebie jeebies about him -- leave crater marks from the latest implosion.

I will give you the fact he has a temper but he is also a great pitcher who has had a tough year with injuries. Here is the really cool thing about baseball...if Zambrano looks like he is getting ready to freak out on the mound, the manager/pitching coach can come out and talk to him, or if worse comes to worse they could put another pitcher in. It is really easy.

But the numbers speak for him, and right now they're saying the Cubs are taking, at best, a calculated risk by pitching him second in the NLDS rotation. At worst, they're risking another mound meltdown and depriving the more consistent Ted Lilly of his rightful place in the No. 2 spot.

I don't know about the "consistency" of Ted Lilly (Is Joe Morgan writing this article?) but I do know these are these two players yearly numbers:

Ted Lilly: 34 Games started, 17-9 record, 21 quality starts, 204 innings pitched, 32 homeruns given up, 184 SO's, 1.23 WHIP, 4.09 ERA.

Carlos Zambrano: 30 games started, 14-6 record, 17 quality starts, 188 innings pitched, 18 homeruns given up, 130 strikeouts, 1.29 WHIP, 3.91 ERA.

So basically it is kind of a toss up. The Cubs are betting Big Z will do better in front of the home crowd twice and use his emotions in a positive way that will allow him to pitch well. Here is the interesting part, if Big Z does get "too emotional" on the mound you can always have Sean Marshall or Jason Marquis come in the game to pitch and then they could also pitch Game 6 if Zambrano is so emotionally scarred he can never pitch again. It is not like they are contractually bound to keep Zambrano out there at all times. (They are contractually bound for 5 more years and 91.5 million dollars for this "risky" pitcher) I would think if the Cubs are truly worried about a Zambrano blow up, they would rather it happen Game 2 where the worst that could happen is they are down 1-0, rather than a Game 3 where he could potentially be pitching in front of a hostile crowd down 2-0 in the series.

I am not saying this is going to happen, I am saying, this is could be the line of thinking Piniella is using.

On performance alone, the rotation should be Dempster, Lilly, Rich Harden and then Zambrano. Instead, it's Dempster, Z, Harden and then Lilly. But other factors could be at work here, beginning with Zambrano's pride.

Under your incredibly dumb "performance alone" rotation, it should actually be Harden, Dempster, Lilly/Zambrano. Considering Harden has an ERA under 2.00 in the National League. Just saying...

I would actually say Zambrano's pride is at work here. Maybe the pride will cause him to pitch better. Of course, Gene has not thought about that.

Big Z has had a tough year, for him, but he did throw a no hitter recently so he can still shutdown a team's offense.

He's never won any of those four Opening Day starts (5.57 ERA in 21 innings).

Opening day has nothing to do with the playoffs. Let's look at his playoff performance:


Check out his last start in the playoffs, just last year, before you go all "A Rod sucks and look at him in the postseason and that proves it" on Zambrano.

6 innings of 4 hit ball where he struck out 8 batters.

In 2003 he pitched against Josh Beckett and lost, pitching 5 innings and giving up 2 runs on 5 hits. He struggled but Beckett gave up 2 hits the entire game. If the opposing pitcher gives up 2 hits in 9 innings it is not the other pitcher's fault he did not win the game.

So does Zambrano's 2008 medical history: a disabled list appearance in June, an anti-inflammatory injection in his pitching shoulder in early September. And maybe I'm reading too much into it, but did you notice that Zambrano backed out of this past Sunday's start (it would have been two innings, tops) in favor of a long-toss session?

Maybe he did this because of all of the above injuries you just typed. Maybe he wanted to make sure he was completely healthy for his start in Game 2. Maybe he did not think he would benefit from only pitching two innings in a meaningless baseball game. Maybe you should not freak out about this so much Gene.

Zambrano breaks bats over his knee in anger.

So did Bo Jackson...and for some reason everyone thought it was cool.

Dugout water coolers run for cover when he's pulled during a bad start.

So did Paul O'Neill but that was just because he is such a competitor.

His career includes two MLB-imposed suspensions (2002, 2004) and one dugout/clubhouse whupping of catcher Michael Barrett.

The suspensions were for berating umpires, which Lou Pineilla really can't hold against him. Everyone knows Zambrano has a slight temper problem, as long as it does not affect his pitching, he will be fine. It seems, based on Zambrano's career record, more likely than not his temper has not affected his pitching.

This maddening inconsistency and immaturity is what should scare the Cubs as the playoffs begin.

This is why I don't like some Cubs fans. Sorry. They whine and panic about their team and are never happy. Gene is an example of this. Big Z was their best pitcher coming into this year and now he is freaking out about all of the horrible things that could happen. It is kind of annoying.

They are like Red Sox fans, except they call themselves Lovable Losers. I call them Whiny Bitches. I read the article about them in the lastest Sports Illustrated and could barely get through it. I realize the fans have been waiting a long time for a championship but they treat a simple baseball game like it is the most important thing in the world. Also, I could not tell if most of the fans showed up to party or to cheer on their favorite team. Not to pull a Lee Elia but I do have to question any fan base that is able to come to day games almost 60 times a year. Maybe jobs are hard to come by in Chicago.

If Carlos Zambrano is such a bad and maddening inconsistent pitcher then why did the Cubs resign him to a huge contract? Why are his comparables through Age 26 players like:

Jake Peavy
Ralph Branca
Jose Rijo

There are other pitchers in there who are not as great, I admit that, but Gene needs to quit whining about Big Z. This is the first year since 2003 Zambrano has not pitched 200 innings and the least amount of games he has won in that span is 13. His highest ERA and WHIP are 3.95 and 1.33 respectively. He is not a horrible pitcher and his emotions are pretty inconsistent but his pitching is generally pretty good.

This isn't so much about Zambrano's finding the strike zone as it is his finding some sort of equilibrium on the mound. When things go poorly, he has a habit of unraveling like dental floss from a spool.

The big new contract he signed has not even started yet and Gene is already bitching about Big Z's lack of control of his emotions. Why did the Cubs resign him if he is such a risk? I just don't get this. I remember Big Z being an emotional person before this year and now Gene thinks he is this massive risk who should be treated delicately. So either Gene is wrong or the Cubs were wrong to give him 5 years at 91.5 million dollars.

I will let you guess which one I think is wrong.

I tell Lilly that Zambrano's antics sometimes make me want to jump off the Sears Tower. The tantrums drive me crazy.

This column reads more like a fanboy's secret diary entry chronicling his worst fears for his favoritest team in the whole world.

"But when it's Carlos' turn to pitch, I enjoy it. ... You pretty much know what he's thinking throughout the game. It's kind of fun to watch. Maybe that wouldn't make him a great poker player."

If Zambrano isn't more careful, it might not make him much of a playoff pitcher, either.

I am going on record as saying I would take my chances with Carlos Zambrano pitching Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs. More often than not, he pitches a good game. I think if Gene W. put his mind to it, he could figure out it will benefit Big Z more to pitch at home twice and to have Rich Harden available to pitch Game 7. Choosing a pitching rotation is more than just lining up your best pitchers and having them pitch.

Monday, September 29, 2008

0 comments Someone Needs to Steal Alex Marvez's Computer Keyboard

It would save us from the pain of having to read things like this.

As the NFL trade deadline approaches, someone desperately needs to make a deal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

I get it. You think he should force another NFL team to trade for a player like he did with the Brett Favre situation? Let me guess, you think Roy Williams or Anquan Boldin should go to the Cowboys? Matt Leinart to the Patriots?

We're not talking players here. We're talking franchises.

You want to replace the St. Louis Rams with the Toronto Argonauts?

Swap an NFC East club with another from the NFC West. It doesn't matter which ones.

Why would you do that? There would be a team in the NFC West that was from the East and a team in the East that was from the West. This idea blows...and I say that sincerely because I know it took you all of five minutes to think about this and write this column.

If you are going to do this idea, why don't you put an NFC East team in the AFC East and switch from there? That would make more sense.

Also, Philadelphia, Arizona, San Francisco, and St. Louis division would be no more exciting than what it currently looks like.

Because as it stands now, an NFC East team will get shafted while a lesser NFC West team heads to the postseason based on the league's playoff format.

What?????? You mean every division in football will not be completely equal in strength throughout the entire year? All teams in the Eastern part of the country should not be of equal strength, that is not why the NFL lined up the divisions that way. It was geography and interdivisional rivalries, it was not all about making the divisions fair every single year.

Actually, I think teams that were in the weakest division should be able to draft earlier in the NFL Draft so the teams in that division can get stronger and all teams will be of equal strength throughout the year. That way the league would be incredibly boring all the time and every team will either go 4-12, 8-8, or 12-4.

Fuck changing divisions, let's just put the team division names in a hat and then draw out teams from that to determine which teams are in each other's division.

Every division must be balanced and must always stay equally balanced. It has to be that way in Alex Marvez's Communist NFL Manifesto.

The NFC West doesn't have any members with a winning record.

This type of thing happens every year, in every sport, in every division at some point. Then that team that stinks gets knocked out of the playoffs early and the big boys can play. That is the price you pay for parity. It really is cyclical as well. The divisions are not always going to be fair, that is life. Ask the Cleveland Browns who went 10-6 last year but missed the playoffs but the 10-6 Giants won the Super Bowl.

The last time the NFC West won the Super Bowl? The year 2000. What a bunch of pathetic losers.

Every year we get to read "this division is not fair, look at how many good teams are in the division, and look at how many bad teams are in the other division" articles. They get really old, especially since if you have the brain power of a hamster you know these type of things are cyclical and not indicative of an overall trend. Hence, Alex Marvez does not understand this.

If Alex Marvez had his way the Golden State Warriors would be in the Eastern Conference...

Auburn University would go to the Pac-10 in college football and basketball, trading places with UCLA...

Alabama would go to the Big East, trading places with Rutgers in college football.

What could make sport any more fun than diluting a good conference/division, and rather than having a competitive game nearly every week, each team gets to play easier teams so rather than the Redskins and Cowboys play twice a year (once at each team's stadium) and potentially once in the playoffs, to decide who is a better team, they meet in the playoffs only once? Nothing could be better.

Less competitive games, more dilution of conferences to ensure fairness! I think all teams should have to use Brett Favre as their QB as well. Then everything would be really equal.

The NFL's beasts are in the NFC East. Washington's 26-24 road upset of Dallas is further proof.

That one game is fucking proof that something needs to be done. What about Kansas City's defeat of the previously unbeaten Denver Broncos, who beat San Diego, who beat the Raiders, who beat Kansas City? Is that proof the AFC West is loaded and is the beast of the NFL?


Entering Sunday night's Philadelphia-Chicago game, none of the NFC East's four teams had lost outside the division. The Giants — one of the NFL's four remaining undefeated teams — defeated Washington in the season opener. The Cowboys topped Philadelphia the following week. And on Sunday, Dallas fell from the unbeaten ranks at the hands of a Redskins team that has won three straight.

Conclusive proof. Thanks for that.

The most annoying part about all of this is that these were all competitive games. How irritating that competitive games will decide who gets to be in the playoffs! Wouldn't it be much more fun if each team was separated from each other and got to play teams that were not good and it made for less competitive and exciting football? Alex Marvez thinks so.

Since he is obviously a genius with a foolproof plan, I wonder how Alex would handle the fact each NFL team plays four teams in an AFC Division and NFL Division, where it rotates every year? How would we make that fair every year? Each conference can not be identical in strength to the next one, would there just be no games played between different divisions? The Broncos would play the Raiders, Chiefs, and Chargers 3 times and then play the Philadelphia Eagles, Washingon Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants once each, since they are the beast of the NFL and all.

Yet there are only two wild-card spots in each conference, which makes rivalry games like Cowboys vs. Redskins even more spirited

Boring!!! Besides those games are so spirited because of the fantasy impact and not because of a competitive conference. Right, Bill Simmons?

We need more Arizona v. New York Jet games where the outcome is decided at halftime.

Redskins coach Jim Zorn said the contest was a "brawl," an apt description for a game that wasn't decided until Dallas failed to recover an onsides kick with 1:42 remaining.

A "brawl?" How uncouth!

The competition every time we play each other is at a high level," Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. "You never can rate this game before it starts as one team is going to do such and such.

A high level of competition too? Geez, separate these teams before these games get more exciting. Alex Marvez's idea of boring you to do death with games in equal divisions is so much more exciting.

I HATE it when Duke and UNC play each other twice every year in basketball. It sucks so bad to see two teams that are of equal strength playing each other. I much prefer the UNC-UNC Asheville game. They should actually play 15 times a year so we could get a better gauge of how good UNC is.

Spears has good reason to believe the Cowboys are playoff-bound. But a second- or third-place NFC East finish awaits if the Cowboys stage more mistake-filled performances.

This is not fair but this is bound to happen. Just like a couple mistakes would stop the Tampa Bay Bucs from making the playoffs, it could happen to the Cowboys. The interesting part is that if these teams play each other all year, I doubt they would all go 3-3 against each other, then at some point we could determine who the better team was, and who thereby deserves to go to the playoffs. That is also why you should wait until at least mid season to write an article like this.

But in the future, NFC East teams won't have to pummel each other twice a season if the NFL expands to 34 franchises.

He clearly looks forward to this day.

Divisions could be abolished altogether, replaced by 17-team conferences.

The exact opposite of what baseball has done, which normally seems like a great idea. Not here though.

Squads would reach the playoffs based on records after matchups against every conference foe.

In his brilliance, Alex Marvez does not think about what would happen if one conference, say the AFC is incredibly stronger than the NFC, so a team that is 9-7 in the AFC won't make it, but a team that is 9-7 in the NFC will. Just nevermind this. He is currently trying his damndest to get 4 NFC East teams in the playoffs for some reason.

Ok, let's see how this works in the following situation. We can try to determine who would make the playoffs if the Giants, Saints, and Packers were all 9-7 at the end of the year. We do this using the current tie breaker method from wikipedia:

1. Head-to-head (team with the best record in all games played between the teams tied)

The Giants beat the Saints.
The Saints beat the Packers.
The Packers beat the Giants.

So the Giants were 1-1, the Saints were 1-1, and the Packers were 1-1, so onward we go...

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division. (This is for determining Division Champion; also, if there is a tie for a wild-card berth, this is used for breaking ties within a division.)

No divisions, so skip this.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games (only applicable with a minimum of 4 common opponents)

They all played the same opponents and had the same record. Next...

4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

This would also be equal. Next...

5. Strength of victory (winning percentage of opponents that were beaten)

Assuming this is not the same for each, this would be the 2nd criteria for determing who should make the playoffs without divisions. I am not good with this happening because say the Giants beat every team they were supposed to beat and did not lose to any teams below them in the standings, other than the Packers, they could not make the playoffs if the Saints beat 2 of the top 3 teams while they were at home, but lost to 2 of the bottom 3 teams playing on the road, and the Saints winning percentage of teams beaten is still higher.

Basically the Saints stink on the road and are wonderful at home. The first playoff game they play is going to be on the road, so they will most likely lose if they are that bad at home. Alex Marvez's plan would only work really well if all games were played at neutral sites.

I realize this is not outstanding evidence Alex Marvez is wrong about this but one of the main advantages of the divisional system is that teams play at each other's home stadium in a given year and you can use this equal playing floor, regardless of how good both teams are, to determine who is more worthy of making the playoffs. Granted the entire playing field is not even, but at least the second tie breaker is not based on strength of schedule. His insane plan would turn the NFL into college basketball, except strength of schedule becomes the end-all be-all of who makes the playoffs.

That system would better reflect the NFL's top teams. But it also isn't something that can help the Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles or Giants in 2008.

Nor would it help every other team in every other sport this has ever happened to. It makes every game that is played be important and makes the games more competitive and exciting to watch. I don't consider that a bad thing. Maybe every once in a while a division will be weak and a team that did not deserve to make the playoffs does, that does not mean the whole system should have an overhaul. It just means one division is boring while the others are exciting.

There have been 4 games so far this year, who is to say the teams that play well the first 4 weeks are the best teams in the league? Buffalo is undefeated for God's sake.

4 comments I Post Entirely too Much on Manny Ramirez

It's part of the sacrifice you make, posting on a blog like this. You hate the saturation and simplification of the media by morons posting about the same beaten to death topics. Manny. A-Rod. The Cowboys. Brett Favre. Tom Brady. Punting on fourth down. The lack of basketball "fundamentals" (ie. white guys). And so on. You hate it but every day you post on it, you read stuff about it to post on it, and as a consequence, maybe you, we, are part of the problem. I don't know. Complex issues in the arena of journalism, not just in sports, but in general - Obama used the word "pig" and it's dissected for days, Sarah Palin is applauded for being...I don't even know why she was ever applauded. We fixate on the little things and the critique of that fixation seems to only feed the beast. This is a difficult thing to face, the accountability of we, the public, to the standard of media we receive. The answer is not easy to find.

Unlike this position. An answer on whether Manny Ramirez is MVP is easy to find. For those who don't wish to read further the answer is no...that's my basic point here.

Manny being … MVP?

let's not even bother this time.

No, not him. Anybody but him.

too late, Scoop, you've already introduced yourself, right below the column, crushing dreams of those who still value the written word everywhere.

There it goes: "Manny Aristides Ramirez, the 2008 NL MVP." That's a hard one to absorb, ain't it? Maybe too big a blue pill to swallow. Especially if you live outside the 323 area code. "That dude being honored as the MVP? Over our dead bodies." Let the church say, Amen!

Well …

According to the Book of Torreians, the audacity of Manny Ramirez winning the MVP award is not as insane as some people think the man himself is.

not as insane as some people think the man himself is. There are so many qualifiers in this...comparison? Is it a comparison? It's barely intelligible. And that's before we get to the "Book of Torreians".

Even though there's a better chance of Sarah Silverman getting an Emmy (oops, it happened!)

you know, ever since Ben made that excellent point about Bill Simmon's nearly pathological compulsion to compare sports stuff to pop stuff, I've been obsessively looking out for this. What is the connection here? Obviously there is none, it doesn't belong in the column, but stripping it of it's "I'm hip!" wannabe reference, it's trying to make the subtle point that crazy shit happens, and this is somehow substantive evidence for Ramirez winning MVP. People do this stuff all the time; "well if Justin Morneau can win MVP!", well yeah, but he was a terrible choice. We shouldn't encourage terrible choices and we shouldn't be like "if Sarah Silverman can win an Emmy, maybe David Delluci can win the MVP!". No, this is not an argument, even a silly, throwaway argument. Bad judgements, poor decisions, unforgivable choices in this field over there, do not justify nor increase the probability of equally bad judgements, poor decisions, and unforgivable choices over here.

for Manny, it actually should happen. Actually, if this were an episode of "Boston Legal" and William Shatner and James Spader were Manny's legal team handling his case for MVP, they'd both be on the office balcony with celebratory stogies wearing No. 99 Dodger jerseys and blue caps with faux dreads.

hey guys, you like TV right? You're kids. Kids with their TV's hahaha...always with the TV's. Well if you like TV, you're gonna LOVE Page 2. We're totally down with you're..."MTV" culture...dude! We hang out and drink manly drinks with like, hot women. And we like, go to Vegas and gamble, which is pretty out there for fringe social activities that are broadly accepted in mainstream culture! Bill Simmons even mentions porn sometimes! Woah! Radical!

The case should be closed.

But since it's not, let's crunch some numbers of the players mentioned most often as MVP candidates:

• Ryan Howard: .245 BA/46 HR/141 RBI/.334 OBP/.529 SLG/.863 OPS
• Carlos Delgado: .273 BA/37 HR/110 RBI/.355 OBP/.521 SLG/.875 OPS
• Albert Pujols: .348 BA/34 HR/106 RBI/.453 OBP/.631 SLG/1.084 OPS

well I haven't heard anyone advocate Ryan Howard. Literally no one. Basically Chase Utley is still the best player on that team, even just offensively, and he's an excellent second baseman. Delgado I have heard get some press, but it's basically in the vein of people knowing they are making a ridiculous argument based on watching him for like, two weeks. They already anticipate the criticism. It's the kind of MVP campaign that exists purely to make sure no one ignores the fact this guy is playing well, and he is, full props to Delgado, but he's patently not the MVP.

It's Pujols, the answer is Pujols. These stat lines actually put it very well, let's get the engraver out now.

All three front-running candidates for NL MVP have offensive numbers that extend over the entire season, not just the 48 games Ramirez has played since he slipped on Lasorda blue.

But without even getting caught up in the .399 batting average, the 16 home runs and 49 RBIs he's put up since his Red Sox divorce -- or the .493 on-base percentage, .751 slugging percentage and 1.243 OPS -- his season-long numbers provide a part of the story that most are missing (Fox's Mark Kriegel made a similar argument).

• Manny Ramirez: .331 BA/36 HR/117 RBI/.429 OBP/.600 SLG/1.030 OPS

good, but worse than Pujols, across the board in meaningful categories. And then there is the whole, 48 games as a National Leaguer which just has to count against him. Maybe that's unfair, but he hasn't proven he is the best player in the National League this year because he hasn't even played everyone in that League. It would be embarrassing if he won it.

When compared to Pujols, it's like trying to tell the difference between Henry Paulsen and Arthur Slugworth.

I don't know who those people are but I bet I'd be very impressed if I did.

Then there's that small thing called "impact." Some call it "making the players around you better"; others say "making your team better."

have you ever read a column, that used quotation marks for reasons other than to quote someone, that you liked? I never have, it's a repugnant literary move, it smacks of condescention and a lack of creativity. Yeah there's impact, there's hitting balls hard and making great plays (defensively, where Pujols is awesome and Manny...isn't) and helping to build a cohesive unit, and playing through pain and emboding sportsmanship. There's this kind of stuff, we're well aware they are relevant to the MVP debate, and we didn't need sarcastic little quotation marks to get it - thanks.

Of all the aforementioned MVP candidates listed, none has impacted their team the way Manny has the Dodgers. This is the one factor that sets him apart from all the other pretenders in this year's race.

did someone say "Win Shares"?

These numbers are three weeks old, I'm sure Scoop has the latest.

Pujols has 31 win shares. Manny has 28, but here's the deal, only 13 in the NL. That's the impact he made on the Los Angeles Dodgers...13 wins. Pujols...31 wins. Obviously the number is very high proportionate to the appearances he made, but that's the point! Ramirez was worth 13 wins to his team, Pujols was worth 31 wins to the Cardinals. And you wanna lecture me about impact?

True, it's only been 48 games of impact, but he's done more for one team in 48 games than any of the others have done (with possible the exception of Pujols) over the season.

he's done much less for that one team than almost any name player in the NL has done. Pujols especially. Berkman has 35. Beltran has 27. Utley has 26. Brian McCann has 19. Pick a player, throw a dart at NL rosters, you'll hit someone who has been worth more wins to their team than Manny Ramirez has for the Dodgers. And furthermore, the moment you brought "impact" for the Dodgers into this, you forfeited the right to use his season long numbers in a meaningful way. You are in effect, conceding that they do not stack up to Pujols, which would be a good idea because they don't.

More numbers:

6: Number of games the Dodgers have played over .500 since Manny arrived.
500: Dodgers winning percentage before Manny joined the team.
519: Dodgers winning percentage today.
2: Number of games the Dodgers were out of first place when Manny got there.2: Number of games they now lead the NL West.
274: Andre Ethier's batting average July 31.
361: Andre Ethier's batting average since Manny joined the lineup (of late, Ethier has been hitting second, Ramirez third).
16-5: Dodgers' record since Jeff Kent was injured Aug. 29.
25: The number Andruw Jones wears for the Dodgers that Manny has mercifully made you forget.

well how about that. Hoisted by my own petard! Your numbers have won me over Sir. I wholeheatrtedly support your endorsement for all these candidates, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Andre Either, not Jeff Kent and the number 25.

Ramirez himself told the Los Angeles Times, "It's nice that some people think I deserve [the MVP]. I'd like to win it, but I have to be realistic. Someone who was only here for two months doesn't deserve it. It should go to someone who played the six months of the season."

Gotta love political correctness.

if there's one thing Manny Ramirez has been famous for, it's political correctness, subtlety and tact, gotta hand it to you there Scoop - spot on.

But Manny himself is wrong in his episode of humility. He has played all six months; it just hasn't been with the same team or in the same league. He's produced. Plain and simp. He's put up the numbers over the course of the entire season (148 games played and counting) that are on par with if not superior to any player up for the honor.

plain and simp.

Yeah, he has played with different teams, reducing his impact on either dramatically, lessing his impact on any given team, making him less valuable. Scoop Jackson is claiming that the most valuable player in the MLB this year was traded away from the defending champs - they decided they didn't want him any more. He doesn't even claim they are superior numbers, after just calling the remainder of the field "contenders". That's self contradic.

Plus, he's done the one thing that seemed impossible when this season began: He made the Dodgers relevant again.


When owner Frank McCourt and GM Ned Colletti brought Joe Torre to Los Angeles, they figured Torre's name and cachet would be enough to get the people in La-La Land to care about the Dodgers. That didn't necessarily happen (in fact, Dodgers attendance has spiked since the Ramirez trade).

attendence has nothing to do with being the Most Valuable Player. AT ALL. These are the same people that criticise VORP. No, no, don't use EqA, use attendence figures.

Then the Andruw Jones move blew up worse than Barry Zito in Frisco. And to top it all off, the Dodgers weren't even the best team in the weakest division in baseball.

Barry Zito and Andruw Jones and attendence and Joe Torre and the interest in the Lakers and Andre Either and William Shatner, they AREN'T RELEVANT.

Then he came. And all of a sudden everything changed. With an extremely heavy emphasis on the word "everything."

...and I...love him! He fills my soul with wonder and awe, and when he walked into the room I just had to have him, and I instantly became wet.

Heavy emphasis on everything. It's like a sneaky way of saying "literally" when you mean "figuratively". Not everything, most things remain the same. I shit you not, the biggest factor on the Dodgers winning the NL West was Webb (4.02, 9-5) and Haren (3.85, 8-4) having relatively poor periods from July-September. As you yourself pointed out, the Dodgers have played just .519 baseball - they are not a very good team.

And here's one more number to think about:

hold onto your seatbelts kids.

You can't see it, can you? It's there. It's that invisible, impossible-to-define-or-determine number that represents the intangible. That invisible number that changes the culture of a team inside a clubhouse and spreads itself over an entire city. It's that number that helps makes major league baseball better and so interesting. Look at the All-Stars Ryan Howard has on his roster; look at the superstars Carlos Delgado has on the Mets; true, Pujols has carried the Cards, but they are in fourth place and the unwritten rule in sports is that the MVP award usually goes to a player on a playoff contender. But Manny Ramirez, in two months, resurrected one of the most important and storied franchises in baseball.

I can't see it Scoop. Only you can. Open our eyes! Tell me more about your invisible numbers or the magical power of not being Jeff Kent or the fact that playing 48 games makes you more valuable than playing 150 odd. No, I can't see it, because you can't demonstrate it, it's not fucking there. The case is not there, and if it was it would be put a lot more elegantly than you are capable of. Pujols is awesome, he truly is, Berkman has been even better, and they didn't get traded from their teams and played in all the games. They weren't missing their pixie dust, ok? They really weren't. Make the case, but don't pretend we're all fucking idiots for not seeing this non-existent factor, which you readily admit is not apparent and acting like you are receiving your MVP vote like Moses found the commandments.

For that unseeable, intangible number, Manny Ramirez deserves the NL MVP.

unseeable. You see it, right? Therefore it's not seeable, you possess some special, dare I say, magical ability. You think he deserves it because he's more interesting than Pujols, I guarentee it. If Albert Pujols married a stripper and racked up gambling debts and...yes, had a cocaine problem, or got traded because his team hated him, or retired and then unretired, in short, if he was a better "story", you would want him for MVP. Because you don't pay attention to Pujols and fawn over Ramirez, and Favre, and Hamilton, that is why you pick these guys, because it's not about baseball to you, it's about what can hold your goldfish attention span in this highlight a minute sports Universe. That, Scoop Jackson, is why you want Manny to win the MVP, and you hide behind this screen of intangibles because if someone ever actually challenged you you can call them a Phillistine and hater of the game of baseball.

It's a tired old move, and it's time we fucking evolved beyond this rubbish.

It doesn't help his case when even he doesn't believe it will happen. Or that he doesn't feel he deserves it.

At the beginning of the season, all Manny Ramirez said he wanted was to win a Gold Glove.

Pujols already has one, a side of the argument you have completely neglected.

That was just MBM: Manny Being Manny, again. Little did he -- or rest of us -- know that this year there'd be something so much bigger in store for him.

Scoop being Scoop. That is - terrible.

Friday, September 26, 2008

5 comments Unfortunately Even the Government Can Not Bail Us Out From Bill Simmons

Let's just dive right in. It is easier that way.

For instance, if I were that creepy double-faced lady from the airline commercial, one face would look depressed (because my beloved Pats had their Super Bowl hopes crippled in eight minutes),

More analogies Bill, I really don't get what you mean. Please compare how you will feel to something else so I can better understand. Right now, I am like the wife from the Sonic fast food commercials, just confused as to what you will come up with next.

"Super Bowl hopes crippled in eight minutes..." I certainly hope Bill did not get injured flailing his body off of the Patriots bandwagon. That was quick and easy. Show some hope, it is an election year.

Has anyone ever heard of a backup QB? They actually can be used in lieu of your starting QB being injured, and if you get a good one, he can win ball games.

Matty Iccccccccccccceee.........

... 12 teams are thinking, "We can absolutely make the Super Bowl."

After three games in the NFL season, Bill already has twenty teams thinking they can not make the Super Bowl. It seems as if he has jumped off everyone in football's bandwagon. I think he actually believes the football season did get cancelled after Week One.

I am going to go ahead and ruin the surprise...the Patriots are among the 12 teams who Bill is claiming are thinking they can make the Super Bowl.

11. New England Patriots

I am speechless at his inability to proofread his own columns. He thinks their hopes have been dashed for the Super Bowl personally, but he uses his special "Simmons-scope" to look into the Patriots player's heads and know they think they can still make the Super Bowl. Thank God for technology, without it Bill Simmons could not contradict himself.

With the Patriots and Colts falling back to the pack, we're headed for the most wide-open NFL season since 2002,

Also thank God they both fell back to the pack, otherwise the NFL season would have been sooooooooooooooooooooo boring. The Patriots and Colts would have just faced each other in the Super Bowl and the Patriots would have won it. I am glad that did not happen. See, even when Tom Brady does not play, he still gives gifts of joy to the world.

Without further ado, the Playtex Power Poll for Week 4:

No, he did not! He is so wrong...but still clever! Is he 38 or 18?

Well the rest of this column is the CoverGirl Mocking of Bill Simmons then!

32. St. Louis Rams

Is there a more frightening scenario than poor Trent Green starting behind a porous Rams offensive line? At the very least, he should be forced to play with a special helmet like the one Gazoo wore on "The Flintstones." Meanwhile, Eddie in Greensboro, N.C., sends along the 2008 Rams team photo.

A Flintstones reference? Going way, way back, but it is retro so I can give him some credit.

Eddie in Greensboro, NC is contributing stupid shit to Bill Simmons? He lives in the same town as me. I have already requested Eddie's last name from Simmons. Let's just say, he will not be contributing any more jokes to Bill Simmons for a while.

30. Detroit Lions
Matt Millen's firing might have broken the record for "most movie analogies from a euphoric fan base landing in my mailbox in a 48-hour span." I liked these two a lot:

This is why I have to silence people like Eddie from Greensboro, NC. He is part of the Simmons Gang, which is a group of white males from the age 17-25 who write to Simmons and form a co-dependent relationship to him. They think they are cool because they write like an ESPN columnist and he thinks he is cool because young people like him. I think they both suck and write about it angrily.

29. Cleveland Browns

The league didn't just catch up with Derek Anderson; it trampled him from behind like the bulls in Pamplona.

It wrecked him like that Hurricane Ike just wrecked the coast of Texas.

It destroyed him like Tonya from the Real World destroys Kit-Kats.

The league rode him out of there like Spencer rode Heidi's sister out of the house they all shared.

You get the point.....

As the trash-talking e-mails from Dolphins fans came pouring in Sunday, I laughed the same way someone from Goldman Sachs would laugh after getting a ball-busting e-mail from one of the custodians at Lehman Brothers.

Matty Iccccccccccccccceeeeeeee.

Why would a custodian at Lehman Brothers email someone from Goldman Sachs. I am assuming custodians do not have an email address?...................Hmmmm.................I wonder..................

Oh yeah! Bill Simmons is being an arrogrant prick again. I want to clear up the fact I don't dislike Patriot fans overall. I dislike Bill Simmons and he thinks he speaks for Patriots fans.

(Speaking of fake All-Star teams, JW in Pembroke, N.H., has a solution for my "Anthony Gonzalez All-Stars or Jeff Garcia All-Stars?" question from last week's column: "Any All-Star team devoted to guys with Latino names who don't look remotely Latino should be called the Emilio Estevez All-Stars." Done and done.)

Is this something fun to do, like paintball, that I just never caught on to? Making up fake team names?

21. Atlanta Falcons

I'd feel a little better if their two victories hadn't come against Nos. 31 and 30 on this list. Still, your average Falcons fan is like a broke college student who went to a casino with $100 to gamble, turned it into $300 in 20 minutes, put a $100 chip in his pocket, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Whatever happens from now on, worst-case scenario, I'm breaking even."

The Falcons are like that person playing with house money at the casino who is sitting at the table alone, all of his friends have left him, his eyes are half shut in a drunken stupor, but he knows at worst he breaks even.

Quit comparing things to other things! Stop it! Say what you mean!

Can't he say, "your average Falcons fan knows the team has already met expectations for the year, so it may be all downhill from here, but they have nothing to lose now." Is that hard?

(Your fantasy sleeper for this week? Brandon Lloyd. I know, I know -- we've been here before. But they threw to him constantly during that Bucs game and he made a number of impossible catches. Remember, when you catch six balls for 124 yards and a touchdown with Orton throwing to you, that's like catching 14 balls for 225 yards and three TDs with a real quarterback.)

Brandon Lloyd is also injured and has Kyle Orton throwing to him, don't take Bill's advice.

Of course, you may not want to take my advice. I spent the entire day of Sunday thinking I had benched Ronnie Brown and I had actually forgotten to do so. Basically I am a moron, but got lucky. I still lost in that league..........

To recap: Bill Belichick's theory that everyone on a football team can be replaced at any time is absolutely true ... as long as you're not replacing Tom Brady with Matt Cassel.

Back up QB. Should have found one earlier than right now. I must stop saying this. I am actually annoying myself now.

Whether you loved the 2007 Pats or despised them with every fiber in your body, you have to admit, you weren't turning the channel when they were on offense. Now you do. Alas.

False. I watched one game last year and that was the Super Bowl. Just because you love them does not mean anyone else was overly impressed with them last year...though it really was impressive...but I still did not watch the games.

So is Green Bay worse than we thought, or is Dallas better than we thought? There's no way to know.

Dallas is better than Green Bay. They played a game against each other and Dallas won that game, so this is actually easy to know. I love answering easy questions.

"Just curious -- when the SuperSonics were being ripped from Seattle, you dedicated several columns to the topic. Now that the same thing is happening to the Bills, your reaction is the complete opposite. Not only are you NOT outraged, you seem to derive pleasure from rubbing salt in my wounds. You don't mention the Bills without mentioning the possible move to Toronto and are tainting an otherwise exciting season for lifelong Bills fans like myself who have been waiting for the glory years of the early '90s to return. What do you have against the good people of Buffalo? Haven't we suffered enough?"
All good points. My initial response is that when Vincent Gallo is your city's signature celebrity, maybe you shouldn't have an NFL team.

When I hear the Buffalo Bills I immediately think Jim Kelly and the Bills teams that went to four straight Super Bowls and lost.

I would also say the signature celebrity for Buffalo is Tim Russert. Maybe it is just me but I never watched a single show he did and I seem to know what a huge fan he was of the Bills. I am not sure how Bill came up with Vincent Gallo.

it's unclear if Buffalo can support the Bills.

I realize the Patriots have a smaller stadium but the Bills averaged 2,298 more people at their games last year. Again, they have a larger venue but it seems like they do pretty well attendance wise when they are home.

This has always been one of Adam Carolla's greatest theories -- any time someone describes a co-worker by saying their name twice (like "Plax is Plax"), that's code for either "This guy is one of the biggest a-holes in the history of mankind" or "This guy is one of the stupidest, most confusing and most inexplicable human beings I've ever met."

It is amazing Adam Carolla is only doing Taco Bell commercials right now. Such insight and wisdom...

Of course it has really only applied to Manny Ramirez, so I can see how his theory comes true, considering Manny is probably an asshole and confusing.

Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Steve Smith, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Stephon Marbury, Dennis Rodman, Chad Johnson ... they've all been slapped with the "[Name] is [Name]" quote over the years.

I have only heard Manny and Barry Bonds referred to in the "(Name) is (Name)" quote over the years. Never heard about any of the others. If any readers can come up with any quotes that refer to any of these people in that context I will award you with that stale box of Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its no one won a few weeks ago.

I don't think you will find anything though.

1. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys do one thing (score points) better than anyone does anything else. Now that they have Miles Austin going as a much-needed third receiver, really, the only guy who can stop this offense is Tony Romo. What do we make of this guy?

Stupid hick who looks mildly retarded. Not very focused on football at all times, enjoys the spotlight, but perhaps too much. Benefits greatly from an excellent supporting cast that can make him look better than he truly is at times.

I think we can safely say that, after three weeks, barring injuries, the 2008 NFL season rests in the hands of Jessica Simpson's boyfriend. Now that's weird.

That comment ended this column. Now that is weird.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

0 comments A Big Day

Before I get to what the title of this post refers to, I just wanna make a couple of quick, unrelated points, because this is my space to vent my hate filled soul onto you, the unwitting public.

Do you realise Tyler Thigpen was 2/13 for 12 yards with 2 interceptions at one point last week? TWO OF THIRTEEN. I literally think I might be able to do that, a screen pass or something to Larry Johnson. At least I'd lack the arm strength to throw the interceptions. I cannot wait to see how bad Kansas City are gonna be this year. It's gonna be FANTASTIC. I was texting friends of mine saying "he's 1-10 for -1 with an int!". It was at that point that I realised I was becoming Bill Simmons, and after a long, heart to heart with a whiskey bottle, I hope I have learnt my lesson.

Also, my preseason NFC predictions are going great, thanks for asking. My proposed six playoff teams are a sterling 8-10, with St.Louis looking like the most audacious back-to-back fuckup pick of our generation. I'm not too worried about Minny or Seattle, but New Orleans has major secondary issues still and it has the looks of "not their season" with all the injuries (Gay, Glenn, Shockey, Colston, even Jamaal Brown), so yeah. Not so hot.

But it doesn't matter because today is a very special day.

Today is the day I get to lampoon my very own A-Rod Suxors column. Today I am officially a member of the sports blogging community. Ian O'Connor, I will always remember you fondly as my first.

Just a note, this thing made me waaaaaaaaay madder than writing on this blog ever should, so I will not be writing on A-Rod again.

Before long, A-Rod will escape from New York

In the business of sportswriting, nothing carries less redeeming social value than a prediction. I printed one, anyway, on Nov. 13, 2003, and it was the subject of some ridicule from longtime colleagues and friends.

I authored a column around the notion that Alex Rodriguez was destined to end up with the Yankees. "Put it in the books," I wrote. "Theirs will be a marriage of necessity over convenience, a union colored by a player's desperate bid for his first ring and an owner's obsessive bid for his seventh."

The piece in The Journal News of New York inspired a roundtable segment on Madison Square Garden TV, featuring a couple of nationally renowned baseball columnists (Joel Sherman and Jack Curry) swinging heavy lumber at the pinata disguised as me.

A martyr of our age.

There are no links provided, and I guess he has no reason to lie, but like, why was he vilified in such a way? Were Joel Sherman and Jack Curry like; "oh Ian! Ian, Ian, Ian, Ian! You poor misguided fool. Let me get this straight, you think the New York Yankees - who NEVER spend to buy players like, I dunno, Jason Giambi, or Mike Mussina et al. These New York Yankees? Will spend money to get the best player in baseball to play for them? They'd have to be mad wouldn't they? What a sunken cost that would be. You do realise he has only hit 156 homers in the last three seasons right? An OPS of just 1.016? That's a mere 184 points higher than Paul O'Neill! And, if you've done your research, niave Ian, you'd realise he's missed a total of one game in the last three years. It's a liability the Yankees can ill afford with their tight payroll and modest ambitions."

Seriously, Joel Sherman is a douche and Jack Curry not much better, but you'd have to know negative amounts about baseball to make this argument.

On one level, the prediction made little sense. The Yankees would never ask Derek Jeter to vacate the shortstop position, A-Rod was nobody's idea of a second baseman, third baseman Aaron Boone had just delivered one of the most dramatic home runs in franchise history, and Joe Torre had won four championships with a selfless approach that Rodriguez didn't exactly personify.

a) they had a DH spot if needs be
b) if Alfonso Soriano can play second base, I'm pretty sure a 28 year old A-Rod could have gotten away with it
c) I'm not even going to do the stats stuff - Aaron Boone was Aaron Boone, Alex Rodriguez was Alex Rodriguez, case closed
d) on what basis did Alex Rodriguez not personify a selfless approach? Give me one, ONE example of this

On another level, A-Rod clearly wanted to leave Texas, the hated Red Sox were reportedly interested in acquiring him, and the spend-crazy Yanks hadn't won it all in three long years.

...and Alex Rodriguez was awesome right? Right? Wrong, ok.

Two months later, there was Jeter at the news conference to introduce A-Rod as his teammate. Even though Rodriguez had agreed to change positions, Jeter looked as if someone had stolen his bike, his supermodel girlfriend, or both.

sleepovers would never be the same again.

Sure, a strange set of circumstances was needed to put the deal in place. The Rodriguez-to-Boston trade had to unravel in a hard-to-believe way, Boone had to wreck his knee in a pickup basketball game, and one of the greatest shortstops of all time had to agree to move to third.

you had to keep on the Boone angle, didn't you O'Connor? We all know this is a waste of time but you keep pushing my buttons, fine, I'll find your Aaron Boone 2003 stats, but I don't have to like it. Boone OPS .756, Rodriguez OPS .996. And I am supposed to believe, as a sentient being, that it was Aaron Boone's injury that opened the door for Alex Rodriguez. Of course I'm not, you're fucking with me in your incredibly stupid way, and I bit, I took the bait. Are you happy you son of a bitch?

Yet this context is offered as a way of pumping some much-needed credibility into this next absurd prediction: Alex Rodriguez will be a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by the start of the 2011 season.

absurd, crazy! Want an out-there prediction? Go to Ian O'Connor. Alex Rodriguez will be playing for a team other than the Yankees, one of the other two fucking teams that can afford him. Wow, what a McCain style maverick you are sir.

(political editorial btw, did anyone watch the GOP convention? They had Republican supporters with these McCain "Mavrick" signs. You would have thought someone would have consulted a dictionary at some point, it is only the legitimacy of your party beamed to the entire world. Awesome. /political editorial)

OK, maybe not the Angels, and maybe not 2011. But the point is, he won't be a Yankee for the duration of his 10-year, $275 million contract, not even close.

wow, this prediction just gets more outrageous by the minute! You're telling me, that Alex Rodriguez, will, in the next ten years, be playing for another team, somewhere, at some point. I'd also like to think he was saying he will be "not even close" to being a Yankee, like, a professional sychronised swimmer for the Guam Confederates or something, but sadly, I think he means not close to ten years.

But the Yankees missed the playoffs this year for the first time since 1993, and Sunday night sure sounded like the beginning of A-Rod's end in the Bronx. During Yankee Stadium's closing ceremony, a moment for players past and present to be celebrated like never before, Rodriguez was the one Yank to draw some boos from the crowd.

unlike before he signed that ten year deal, when New York celebrated "Alex Rodriguez is the Coolest!" day every November 3rd. Yes, it's a very different time now.

No, it wasn't a full-throttle boo; the cheers slightly beat out the jeers.

please, continue. Let me hear more about the Ian O'Connor scale of booing, I, and no doubt your entire readership are rapt with attention. What is a three quarter throttle boo? Would you call it a subdued, eloquant boo, or whimsical, enigmatic boo? What about the pitch of the boo? Was it consistant? Could the crowd hold the "o" sound for longer than the seven consecutive seconds required by the famous Mike Celzic scale of booing for a player to be run out of town? These are things I desperately need to know.

And no matter what he does, A-Rod can't win any public debate with Jeter.

what public debate? Honest to fucking God, what are you talking about? Do you think Jeter and A-Rod are ever like "Jesus Christ dude, should we just kiss just to give these single chromosome morons something else to talk about?". I gotta be honest, I think I would. I think if I were Derek Jeter, I'd kiss Alex Rodriguez, tongue action, the whole lot. Just to get the reaction. I mean, honestly, the tabloid world is waiting for it. This is the "will they or won't they?" story of baseball apparently. Kissing isn't enough, fuck - on the field - start a website, get married, whatever, I am sick to death of this. Have you heard me world of sports journalism?




The man drove the Yanks to the playoffs last year, and he has put up megastar regular-season numbers since his arrival. A-Rod even had a hell of a postseason run going for himself in 2004, when he hit .421 against the Twins in the Division Series and saved the Yanks from an 0-2 deficit with a 12th-inning double. In fact, Rodriguez would've stood among the heroes of a League Championship Series sweep of Boston had Mariano Rivera put away Game 4.

Rivera failed, the Red Sox managed their own deferred sweep, Rodriguez was widely mocked for slapping at Bronson Arroyo's glove on a putout, and the rest is history.

In the 2005 Division Series loss to the Angels, A-Rod hit .133 and then announced he had "played like a dog." In the 2006 Division Series loss to the Tigers, A-Rod hit .071 and compelled Torre to bat him eighth in the order. In last year's Division Series loss to the Indians, A-Rod managed a .267 batting average and his first postseason RBI since the calamitous Boston series of '04.

In between, Rodriguez hardened his status as the game's leading drama queen. The World Baseball Classic waffling, the World Series opt-out, the poker clubs, Madonna and so much more.

you did that. You. The media, you did all this. He decided to play for one team and not another. He opted out of his clause at the end of the season. The poker clubs I don't even know about but I guess he was living his life. Is the Madonna thing even true? Or were you leeches just following him around with a camera and a pair of scissors, happy to paste A-Rod's face on some guy and snickering about it? You do this, you make this ridiculous non-story, peddle it out every two months as substantive analysis and get paid hundreds of thousands for the luxury. And not only that, you then have the gall to turn this on the poor bastard and accuse him of cultivating this imaginary status and being "undeserving" of the legacy of a team that played fucking ten years ago, when the man is just playing baseball, every day, and doing so very well.


A-Rod carries too much baggage to the plate in critical, must-hit situations, and the process is wearing out a fan base still hopelessly in love with the Jeter-led team that built a dynasty around pitching, chemistry, clutch hitting and a commitment to treating little things as big things.

Nobody doubts A-Rod's otherworldly talent...

everyone doubts it. Everyone. You say you don't, but that's in bad faith. It might not be "hitting the ball" talent, but you doubt his talent to play winning baseball, as though there were some pixie dust delivered by Santa Claus, as though he's sold his soul or something. You buy into the Jeter-love and the stupidity of the whole exercise by writing this column. You aren't defending A-Rod and saying "stop being a bunch of ungrateful-bandwagon hopping-front running-no guts-less humanity-free spending-joy killing-low life morons who are booing an incredible, once in a generation (ok, twice, Pujols) player. Stop it." You could do this, you don't, and that makes you as culpable as anyone with a "full-throttle boo" in that stadium.

but everybody questions whether he'll ever get it.


At the All-Star Game in July, another goodbye event for Yankee Stadium, Jeter understood it was important to stay for all 15 innings, while Rodriguez had checked out hours earlier.

So amazingly enough, Yankee fans talk about being "stuck" with A-Rod for another nine years, all the way through 2017, despite the fact he might finish his career with more than 800 homers and 4,000 hits.

"We can win three World Series," Rodriguez said after winning the 2005 American League MVP award, "(and) with me it's never going to be over. My benchmark is so high that no matter what I do, it's never going to be enough."

he said, selfishly. While killing a puppy. With ivory poached from an unnecessarily large group of elephants. That he stole. From orphans. With diseases. He gave them.

That's what happens when you sign two contracts worth more than half a billion dollars combined. Fair or not, Yankees fans hold A-Rod largely responsible for the postseason failures of the last five years.

the answer is not. Don't pretend this doesn't matter. It does. You're supposed to be the person who sets people straight, who can actually make people think "yeah, maybe this is fucked up". You write for FOX SPORTS dude, you're not writing for some backwater blog, people read this shit, and you just sit by and go "well, people can be unreasonable and retarded, and I'm perfectly fine with that, far be it for me to interfere".

They'll need to persuade Rodriguez to waive his veto power for the good of all concerned, and they'll need to convince themselves that eating tens upon tens of millions of dollars — and trading away the home-run record to boot — makes sound business sense.

if they couldn't do it last year, they sure as hell wouldn't do it now. If I were Alex Rodriguez, I'd be asking for more fucking money, the shit they put him through.

I'm done man, before I have a goddamn heart attack over this petty, dumbing down shit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

4 comments Popping the TMQ Cherry...Slowly

I have no idea who Emma Pacifico is and apparently neither does a good percentage of Internet searchers because it led them here...to this site, according to Google Analytics. I am sure these people were confused when they were looking for information on a fifth grader, they found a smart ass sports blog.

I am going to try and tackle TMQ this week. I have never even read an entire Easterbrook column before but read the first paragraph of this one and decided I would take it on. Then I realized I have to tackle it slowly because there is an insane amount of egregiously wrong material in there. Then I realized he rambles more than I do.......and well, I quit reading carefully. This is all I could decipher from this rambling mess.


He is talking about high draft pick quarterbacks who lost to quarterbacks that were not drafted so high, in order to prove the point he has no point.

Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the first overall NFL draft choice in 2007, was outplayed Sunday by Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards, chosen late in the third round of the same draft.

I personally consider any QB drafted in the first three rounds as a high draft choice, so this was not that shocking to me. JaMarcus Russell also sucks, let's not get confused about this. He was drafted #1 because he beat Brady Quinn in a bowl game...no other reason than that. He is also fat so I pick on him like a high school bully.

Fourth-round draftee David Garrard led Jacksonville to a victory over Indianapolis.

One week. I would not argue Garrard will outplay Peyton Manning for the rest of the year. He just took a sample size of one and flat out ran with it down the hallway of wrongness into the bathroom of incorrectness and took a huge crap all over logic.

Recently waived quarterback Chad Pennington led Miami to a victory over mighty New England.

He was a first round draft pick who was the starter for a playoff team in the past and the Patriots were starting a 7th round pick who was starting his second game. This is the worst comparison to prove anything.

Chad Pennington was also waived so his team could have THE GREATEST QB IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, so that has to count for something, rather than just being waived.

Brian Griese and Kerry Collins, both intimately familiar with the waiver wire, led Tampa and Tennessee to victories

Kerry Collins has lead a team to the Super Bowl and to the NFC Championship game in his career. He was a first round draft pick as well. If he were 27 years old he would not be waiver wire material. Brian Griese has made the Pro Bowl and was a 3rd round draft pick. Horrible, horrible choices to compare anything, yet again.

Overall, only 14 of the 32 quarterbacks who started this week were first-round draft choices.

Read that stat for its face value. Then realize that is actually a really good percentage of 1st round QBs that start for their team, especially considering many teams do not draft QBs high in the draft, and some do not draft QBs at all.

Then Easterbrook starts championing concussion proof helmets and I remember why I never read TMQ. Too much grandfather-esque rambling and too little actual knowledge sharing with the public.

Sweet Defensive Play of the Week: Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield sacked Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme, picked up his fumble and ran it back for six points. TMQ suspects this play was an uncalled "automatic" -- if Winfield saw a certain alignment, he was free to blitz. On the play, Delhomme only looked to his left, with Winfield coming from his right. The Vikings' corner left his man uncovered, but Delhomme never looked that way. From film study, Minnesota coaches must have noticed a formation or down-and-distance situation in which they were certain Delhomme would never look to his right.

Or it could be the fact the running back, Nick Goings, missed his assignment and went out to receive a pass rather than stay back and block. Let's ask the head coach for the Panthers!

John Fox: I think what happened to him the other day is that a guy (held) up; he saw he didn't come and he released. He never really saw the corner coming. Guys make mistakes. All of us make mistakes.

TMQ's reasoning could explain it as well...except if Winfield was wrong and the running back stayed back to block there would be a completely uncovered receiver in the secondary.

City of Tampa defensive end Gaines Adams intercepted a screen pass and returned it for a touchdown against Chicago. The play was a tight end screen, and Adams not only got into position for the interception by interfering with Bears tight end Desmond Clark, he practically threw Clark to the ground. That would have been legal in high school, where there is no pass interference behind the line of scrimmage. But in the NFL, Adams should have been flagged, and it should have been a first down for Chicago.

I am going to assume Desmond Clark was pretending to block so that he could sell the screen, and if so, there is no reason Gaines Adams would have known this and seems to perfectly be able to try and get past the block, which he did, so I would not think there would be a penalty in that case. Also, Kyle Orton did not have to throw the ball, but he did.

City of Tampa? I don't even get that.

Then Easterbrook starts talking about the government bail outs for the financial industry and I lost all interest in reading and began to actually do my job for a few minutes, rather than type.

(20 minutes later)

As TMQ endlessly notes, teams that punt on fourth-and-short when trailing in the fourth quarter almost always go on to lose.

If you are looking for statistics to back this up, you are in the wrong place. This is just hyperbole that has no backing. At this point Green Bay was on their OWN 35 on a fourth down. They did not want to just hand the ball to Dallas when they are already close to field goal territory. Losing 24-9 stinks but logic dictates if you back the ball up a little more, you could close that gap pretty quickly if the potent Green Bay offense gets the ball back.

Who was responsible for Miami's high-school-venerating game plan? Offensive coordinator Dan Henning, who wasn't even working in the NFL last season. Maybe he attended some Friday night high school games and remembered that football is supposed to be fun.

It looked familiar to me as well when I watched the Dolphins game. I wonder why........

Dan Henning was the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers when the below happened in a 2006 Carolina Panthers v. Atlanta Falcons game and it happened because Chris Weinke was the QB and he had no faith in Weinke to win a football game.

The game ended 10-3. In total the Panthers only passed 7 times, connecting on 4. The Panthers ran the ball 52 times, including many from the archaic single-wing formation.

Not that TMQ would need to remember this but this formation was not new for Dan Henning.

Then Easterbrook started talking about the AIG bail out again. This is brutal to read. I am missing Woody Paige and Bill Simmons about right now.

Browns note: "Brady! Brady!" That's what I would be chanting if I were a Cleveland fan. This team has one of football's most expensive offensive lines, and Sunday could not run. It has two high No. 1 draft choices at receiver positions, and Sunday could not pass. It has an average of nine points scored per game, all losses. And it has Brady Quinn on the bench.

After seeing the offensive line could not open holes for the running game and the two #1 receivers could not get open, Easterbrook determines it is Derek Anderson's fault. Anderson is not helping out that much but I don't think he is completely to blame. Imagine what an inexperienced QB would do for that team!

Absolutely nothing is the answer...

Then he starts talking about the fucking bail outs again. Is this CNN or ESPN?

I regret trying to take on a TMQ. I don't have a long enough attention span to get past the diversions he takes in his epic, winding fashion. I give TMQ and Easterbrook two thumbs down.

Monday, September 22, 2008

0 comments Josh Howard: Possible War Criminal

Hey kids. Been slim pickings of late, some of the usual melodramatic stuff. I kind of thought Alex Marvez' head would explode after the Dolphins whipped the Patsies, but alas, no such luck. He's prophecising doom for the Colts now. In my desperation to find the ridiculous sports stories that I feed on for sustinence, I'm not proud to say that I took the easy way out. That's right a double shot of Stephen A. Forgive me my friends.

We know Howard can play, but there's little value in what he has to say

this statement, taken by itself is not only wholly uncontroversial but also very likely to be true. How can Stephen go astray? We are talking about an all-world nutjob here, give him time. Like Rocky, he is planning a crazy comeback in this article. Never doubt the heart of a champion idiot.

Josh Howard may not be the Dallas Mavericks' best player, but he's their most complete player.

this made me "woah! woah! woah!" but I imagine some people would agree with it. I dunno how in touch I remain with the NBA community, but there was an awful lot of Dirk hate after that MVP/losing to the Warriors thing, and he wasn't exactly to everyones taste before. Still you can see the germ of things falling apart here no matter what side of the "Dirk can't defend or score in the paint" great debate of our time you fall on.

He has a better post-up game than Dirk Nowitzki and better all-around skills than anyone else on their roster.

better post-up game than Nowitzki? How did your TO go against Al and Charles this week big fella? Two catches for seventeen yards, write it in stone, best receiver by far in the NFL!

Until six months ago he was universally recognized as the Mavs' best chance at capturing a championship, so much so that seemingly every team in the National Basketball Association inquired about his availability.

six months ago was late March, you'd struggle to find six people in the whole of North America who believed in the benchless Mavs and Jason Kidd's knees. This is a kind of rewrite of history, Howard was a non-story.

Now he's known these days as the franchise's resident idiot, someone who is gainfully employed solely because of his ability to bounce and shoot a basketball.

now we're getting to the good crazy! This is classic stuff. Newsflash Stephen, this is the only reason he was ever "gainfully employed". His comments were totally irrelevant to his job security. More relevant? The fact that he shot 29.2% in the playoffs. Talk about that. Oh wait, that's not a "story".

A character seemingly destined to embarrass his way into exile from a league that's garnered him millions of dollars because he won't stop perpetuating his ignorance and hostility to the masses, simultaneously casting an ominous shadow over his contemporaries.

I went to Wikipedia and looked up the entry for Satan.

For most Christians, he is believed to be an angel who rebelled against God. His ultimate goal is to lead people away from the love of God — to lead them to fallacies which God opposes. Before his alleged insurrection, Satan was among the highest of all angels and the "brightest in the sky." His pride is considered a reason why he would not bow to God as all other angels did, but sought to rule heaven himself.

The comparison is almost ominous isn't it?

A show of hands from any NBA player out there who's inclined to invite Josh Howard to his next shindig?

Ron Artest, Rasheed Wallace, Steven Jackson, DeShawn Stevenson, Carmelo Anthony, J.R.Smith, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury, Michael Beasley, Gilbert Arenas, Tim Duncan.

Just kidding.

Allen Iverson couldn't be reached Thursday for an explanation as to why Howard would use Iverson's annual flag-football event as a forum for vulgarly disrespecting America's national anthem. I am not surprised. Who on earth would want to associate themselves with the radioactive Howard right now?

yeah, that Allen Iverson, always concerned about his reputation amongst flag waving conservatives.

I know, I know, Howard's comments were offensive to lots of people, not just the old faithful gun toters, but yeah, I don't think Allen Iverson really gives a shit, and I'd be willing to test that theory given the opportunity.

For those who didn't see the story, Howard -- against the backdrop of a presidential election rife with banter about patriotism and heightened sensitivities -- decided Iverson's event was the appropriate venue at which to express his disdain for the anthem. Speaking to a cell phone camera while others around him respectfully stood in recognition, Howard provided an on-camera cameo that went something like this: "'The Star-Spangled Banner' is going on. I don't celebrate this [expletive]. I'm black …"

Stephen A. Smith, meet Chuck D, arguably the most respected figure in hip hop. I'll let you two get acquainted.

This is the Josh Howard who validated those concerns last spring when he inexplicably turned into the NBA's version of Honest Abe and admitted to the Dallas Morning News that he was quite fond of smoking dope. The guy who stupidly implicated his NBA colleagues by saying most of them actually do, too.

again, let's make the assumption that Josh Howard doesn't realy give a fuck what you think - to a degree a reasonably noble position IMO. Now, he has crossed a line and become exasperating, but this is such a non-issue. Twenty something, supremely rich athletes, party hard, involving narcotics. I'M STUNNED.

Get real and your head out of the sand Smith, it might have lacked tact, but who really gives a fuck. Get over yourself.

Now Howard has the audacity to publicly challenge America's affinity to its own anthem, clearly oblivious to all the eyes that will be on him the 82 times each season he'll be expected to stand up for it.

I don't really think he was making some sophisticated political statement as just a stupid, ill-conceived, "the man is keeping me down" style comment to be controversial and belligerent. He would hardly be the first (and will not be the last) athlete to speak on race in extremely controversial terms.

That's not to mention the awkwardness his ignorance places upon players, the league, and, in particular, loquacious Mavs owner Mark Cuban once the 2008 NBA season arrives.

wow, how awkward for the NBA, to have to deal with race for the very first time ever. However will they cope? That's not even to mention the retiring, behind the scenes Cuban who abhors the spotlight. This is the beginning of the end for the NBA folks.

"All I can tell you about is the Josh Howard I've come to know," said new Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, speaking as he prepared to depart on a flight from Winston-Salem, N.C. after just spending the past few days with Howard. "Josh has been working extremely hard on his game. He's getting better every single day. He may not be our very best player, but he's certainly our most important player. I can speak about him in that regard and can tell you, from what I know, he's about doing whatever he can to help this franchise."

If only Howard took that the same approach toward representation of the African-American community!


Whether or not Howard is sensitive to whatever plights exist regarding African-Americans is not for me or anyone else to say definitively, because none of us are flies on his wall. In Howard's world, he may think he's being sensitive to black people and what plagues this community, and that may have been what he was aiming for in spewing his rhetoric.

now you are taking a completely inverse, yet equally stupid analysis of his comments, it wasn't the harbinger of the end-time. It wasn't the expression of some call to arms from black militants and it wasn't some attempt to empathise with the black community at large and offer some solution.

He was trying to look cool and edgy in front of his friends. There, I just saved you weeks of banging your head into a wall.

Howard is not a spokesperson for the Democratic presidential candidate, despite offering some unclear message about "Obama" to that little cell phone camera.

right, so we shouldn't really give a shit what he says, because he is irrelevant in mobilising any true social movement.

He's not former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who in 1996 refused to stand for the national anthem, citing religious reasons.

Instead, he's simply an athlete so busy spreading his rhetoric, he hasn't taken into account the collateral damage it could potentially cause.

the ominous fog of hate...like that thing in Ghostbusters II. Oh Josh! What have you unleashed!

Fresh off the heels of a fantastic summer in Beijing, where the NBA clearly established itself as the architect of globalization in sports, we now return to the American sports world, where juvenile behavior reigns. Where an individual such as Howard can expect to earn $21.8 million over the next two years despite having essentially admitted to violating league rules by smoking weed in his off time. Where a league and its fans sit in utter disgust at Howard's apparent lack of appreciation.

I'm ambivalent, and I bet I'm not the only one. But don't worry Stephen, you have enough righteous indignation for us all. Let melodrama reign!

Once upon a time, Howard was considered quiet and timid. It was only after the checks got cashed and his future was secured did Howard reportedly once reveal: "I think like a Democrat but because of my tax bracket, I'm a Republican."

gotta be honest, I find that refreshingly honest and actually pretty funny. You Stephen? Give me your best crazy man shout now, let's get ANGRY!

One could easily ask just how such a statement benefits anyone other than himself. Then again, that would be an exercise in futility. After all, to ask would be to presume Howard cares.

Since he opened his mouth, we know better.

I'm sorry Stephen. There is no Santa Claus and some NBA players (and you may wanna sit down for this one) are selfish pricks who don't give a shit about you or what you think. Deal with it or go have a cry you big baby.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

1 comments Live Blog!

12:39- We are live in my mom's attic today live blogging the Carolina Panthers-Minnesota Vikings game and whatever game is on CBS (I am going to flip periodically when I get angry/bored with the NFC game). My Mexican panther-cat is in his blue reclining chair, which also happens to be the only piece of furniture in the room, so I am on the floor with a computer and a weak wireless connection. I have no friends so I am not going to call anyone or converse with anyone about the game, a la Bill Simmons. Life could not be better. Three guarantees of what we will see today:

1. The Panthers are going to have a let down game. They have won two straight hard fought games and Steve Smith comes back this week from his suspension for punching Ken Lucas. By the way, I have wanted to punch Ken Lucas many times, so I think he should have gotten a new contract. Combine the fact the Vikings have a QB who doesn't one hops screen passes with the fact Adrian Peterson is "injured," and I think I see a Vikings win in the future. How sad is it that Gus Frerotte is the savior of the Vikings and I am actually afraid he will have a good game? He concussed himself against a wall a few years ago!

2. I am currently choosing between starting Jerricho Cotchery and Devery Henderson for Ronnie Brown in my fantasy WR/RB spot. The guarantee is that no matter who I choose, it will be wrong, it is just one of those years for me in my fantasy leagues. I just benched LT and am going to bench Ronnie Brown. I may not win a game this year. I look at my roster and have zero confidence.

3. We will get to see one or two Chris Gamble "I can not believe I did not intercept that pass that was right in my hands" dance. He played WR at Ohio State periodically. I actually tried to YouTube video of this because I did not believe it. It is like he has Hulk Hands out there. Two straight weeks and there have been two straight balls right to him, he has dropped. Just know it is going to happen, followed by Tim Ryan saying, "that was right in Gamble's hands, I don't know how he did not catch that." Followed by Dick Stockton calling Jason Baker, John Baker, and Jake Delhomme, Jim Delhomme. Those two things happened the past two weeks.

All times are Eastern Standard Time.

1:00- All I know is Charissa Thompson is the sideline reporter and has informed us the "injured" Adrian Peterson is going to play.

1:08- First pass to Steve Smith and he did not punch anyone. Good start.

1:09- DeAngelo Williams got the start over Jonathan Stewart and is immediately stuffed by the Vikings defense. John Fox continues his 6 year goal to make sure the second best RB always starts every game.

1:10- Field goal by John Kasey. Panthers winning 3-0. Settling for field goals...another John Fox staple. If he were a sheriff in the Wild West he would have brought flares to a gun fight.

1:11- "Crazy Eyes" from Curb Your Enthusiasm is in a Southwest Airlines commercial. He is now in literally every commercial. I just am waiting for him to be in a Sonic commercial and go into Crazy Eyes' character and stab the two men talking about the Sonic food in the car from the backseat.

1:16- Gus Frerotte just completed a long pass to Shicanthoeoeoe but it was dropped. He looks good. It took me five minutes to write that sentence because I am afraid to say it.

1:17- No clue yet on who the announcers are...but one is being called Tony, so I will assume that is Tony Biselli. Fox's production values need help.

1:19- We have Pats-Dolphins on CBS. So why did Jerry Porter talk shit this week? It is not wise to piss off the Patriots. Also, I have been watching for one minute and heard the word "team concept" so I am going back to Fox.

1:22- Boselli just said Jared Allen respects the game. If only he respected each state's drinking and driving laws. At least he never killed anyone....uh, Leonard Little.

1:26- Chris Gamble just intercepted a pass. I don't have TiVO, so I will just have to believe my eyes. This covers up the fact nearly every receiver for the Vikings has been open, they can't catch the ball though. In their defense, they are not used to catching the ball without a hop.

1:30- Jonathan Stewart is stuffed on a third straight run up the middle. I am all for running the ball but against the Vikings I would just run shotgun all day. They are very good.

Momentum destroying plays while on offense is another John Fox staple. I think he is a great coach but Tucker Carlson is less conservative than him.

1:37- My Mexican panther-cat has fallen asleep. I am not far behind. I feel a turnover coming.

1:39- DeAngelo Williams gets tackled while running backwards. Paging Jonathan Stewart....

1:40- Jake Delhomme fumbles the snap. Viking ball. I hate it when I am right.

1:42- Gus Frerotte just bounced a screen pass. Chris Simms or Daunte Culpepper are looking really good right now. The fans are booing....Thomas Davis was injured laying on the ground during a sack and Fox went to a Hardee's commercial. We got a Jimmy Kimmel commercial where he is being a smug asshole talking about the Giants game we missed last year and if we had DirectTV then that would not happen. Is there a type of television provider that actually shows football players and updates you on their injuries? Then Adam Carolla does a Taco Bell commercial. The Main Show huh?

1:45- We are back and no word on Thomas Davis. Possibly dead but not on the field. Fox comes through again with great production. What is the opposite of an Emmy Award?

Jonathan Stewart runs for 8 yards on first down...John Fox, angry with forward movement, puts DeAngelo Williams back in the game STAT.

1:55- Panthers are still insisting on running the ball up the middle. On third down, Delhomme throws to no one in particular and gets a mercy pass interference call according to Tony Boselli. Replays clearly show Boselli is watching a different game. Boselli then announces his knees and back hurt too much to call the game, he'll take Fox's money but is not going to be in the booth. No wait, he did that to the Houston Texans...not Fox.

1:58- Jared Allen horse collars DeAngelo Williams but the officials say Allen was just trying to slip a beer to Williams, so it was not a penalty.

The most interesting sub plot so far: Adrian Peterson has two rushes so far and the Panthers are insisting on running the ball three straight downs and not getting the ball to Steve Smith. Brad Childress and John Fox are locked in a death battle to see who can use their star player the least. Invigorating to watch.

2:02- Jonathan Stewart scores a touchdown to make it 10-0 Panthers.

On CBS the Pats are losing 14-3, so I am torn between the Pats winning or Joey Porter being right. Tough situation for me. Renaldo Hill almost intercepts a Cassel pass, tips it and Wes Welker catches the rebound. The announcer says, "that is why the Patriots are so good, you make a mistake and they make you pay." True but not incredibly relevant to the situation.

Then announcer says the Dolphins could have gotten the ball back and chewed up the rest of the quarter but couldn't make the play. There were 6 minutes left in the quarter at that point...That is a drive, not just chewing up the clock.

2:09- Fox interrupts live action for a commercial about Lowe's and NASCAR. My high school A/V club had better production. Then it went back to football action, then to a Barack Obama commercial, then to Charissa on the sidelines, then to a Ford commercial. It went to commercial after every...single...play.

2:11- The Vikings start running the ball with Adrian Peterson. John Fox starts yelling at Brad Childress across the field about "broken promises."

2:14- GameBreak time! Chicago v. Tampa Bay Kyle Orton throws an interception to Gaines Adams, a Tampa Bay DE, though to be fair, the intended receiver was his left guard.

2:17- Just a quick reminder Julius Peppers does not have a sack this year and had 2.5 last year. Overrated much?

2:19- Ken Lucas gives his typical 9 yard cushion to a receiver. Robert Ferguson takes advantage of this and gets a 9 yard gain on a pass from Gus Frerotte. No, this is not the CFL either.

Ronnie Brown just scored a touchdown. Just a big "fuck you" from my new fantasy benchwarmer.

2:22- Vikings are in the red zone and Ken Lucas is still giving a 9 yard cushion. He does this even on the goal line. They settle for a field goal.

Panthers will have the ball with 1 minute and 40 seconds left. I have $50 that says the Panthers down the ball to end the half. Stewart is returning kicks. Nothing like having your best RB on special teams willing and able to be injured.

2:26- 3rd and 6. They will run a screen pass or a draw. Which is it????

2:27- Neither. Delhomme got sacked, fumbled and Antoine Winfield ran it back. Delhomme is complaining on the sidelines about something, but probably not the fact that it is his job to read the blitz.

2:30- Panthers run the clock out.

Let's take a halftime break. I am getting a bad feeling.

2:48- It is Ron Pitts and Tony Boselli calling the game. I am drinking now...it is the middle of the afternoon.

I have a feeling we are going to get a steady diet of Adrian Peterson this half.

2:50- 48 yard completion to Benard Berrian. I am currently double fisting.

2:52- 34 yard TD pass from Frerotte to Shiancoe. So to sum it up, the Vikings can now throw the ball easily against the Panthers "defense" and that is when they don't run the ball with the best running back in the NFC. Things are not looking up for the Panthers.

My Mexican panther-cat is disinterested, but this let down game prediction is looking pretty good right now. Remember we still have not seen the Chris Gamble "I should have intercepted that pass" dance, so that has to come at some point.

2:56- Stewart runs a kickoff back to the 17 yard line...of course there was a block in the back by Jeff King, so it was called back to the 8 yard line. I have and never will understand the block in the back. Why not just not block in the back? I can't see how it would be that hard. You will get caught by the officials, so why try?

3:03- The game momentum has turned at this point. The Vikings has established the run and are passing well, while the Panthers can't throw or run at this point.

3:07- Gus Frerotte looks like David Carr. I hope they replaced Frerotte with David Carr.

Also Julius Peppers got his first sack of the year! Unfortuntely Ron Pitts called him Julius Peters. Is it that hard to get these player's names right?

3:08- Ronnie Brown has run for three TD's and now thrown for one TD. Not my fantasy year. If I benched Tavaris Jackson last week, maybe I would not have to be worried about Gus Frerotte right now.

3:11- Williams is back at running back for the Panthers and has run up the middle twice. I don't know whether to complain they are running up the middle too much, don't throw to Steve Smith enough or Jonathan Stewart should be in the game. I will just comment on it and then let it go.

3:16- Ken Lucas is still giving 9 yards to his receiver so passing is easy and the Vikings just realized they have Chester Taylor, so now he is running the ball well and the Vikings are driving.
3:19- Vikings are in a 3rd and long. This is where the Panthers should be able to control the game better...since Gus Frerotte is the quarterback.

..........1st down Vikings on a screen pass. The Panthers have never been able to cover a screen pass. Never ever.....

3:21- According to Ron Pitts, it is the end of the 1st quarter now. Two and a half hours for the first quarter, man, they need to hurry these games up.

I don't like being so hard on announcers but it is hard to believe these guys are the best Fox could find.

3:24- Back on CBS, Matty Ice is not looking too good. He missed a wide open receiver and fumbled. The New England fans are heading for the exits. Bill Simmons must be pissed.

Simmons had a theory earlier this week that Kevin O'Connell was going to be starting come Week 11 and that is why the Pats did not sign a QB when Brady went down. I think it is because Cassel has been in the offense for 3 years now and would be better at any point this year than anyone they bring in.

Of course he also said he thought they could get a first round pick for O'Connell down the road, so he clearly doesn't know what he is talking about.

3:28- Back to Fox, Chester Taylor just scored on another screen pass. It is called back on a hold and then Thomas Davis illegally contacted Shaincooeoehehe downfield. I am glad we finally found out Thomas Davis is not dead from his injury earlier.

This game is all FUBAR. Here is my question:

If the Panthers can't get a pass rush, which they can not, how can teams run screen passes on them so successfully? Usually you run a screen just to slow down the rush. The Vikings are running them just to fuck with the Panthers.

3:31- On CBS, I see that Trent Edwards does not have a touchdown, so Marshawn Lynch must have scored the touchdown. That is the good thing about the Bills. When you see they have 7 points, you know either Lynch scored it or Edwards through a touchdown pass, so you really only need to draft those two in any fantasy league and you will get 7 points every week!

That was my justification for drafting both of them.

3:34- Back to Fox. My Mexican panther-cat just passed gas, I think, and that is about how I feel about this too.

3:38- Field goal for the Vikings. 20-10 Vikings.

3:41- Panthers need a good drive, decide to run on second down, though they have 46 yards all day rushing and need 10 points in 7 minutes...and then go 3 and out. They are clearly playing for overtime at this point.

3:44- Back to CBS for my sanity. O'Connell is playing for the Patriots and Chad Henne is in for the Dolphins, so this is going to get ugly as well.

3:50- Jared Allen had approximately 4 sacks on the Panthers final drive...they actually lost 20 yards, so I don't want to really call it a drive.

Let's just end it here. Nothing good can come of either game on television right now.