Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Syracuse is Oranges


Post #18 Topic: We had all we ever wanted, in that Keg in the Closet… OR SO WE THOUGHT!

If you didn’t attend one of Florida, UNC, Uconn, Maryland, Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky or Arizona over the past decade listen up. Figure out the common thread? Well if you did then you must be wondering why I left out Syracuse. The answer is because I went there, and it will take me far more than 1 word to explain how amazing it was to watch Syracuse win the championship.

At the start of the 2003 season Syracuse was unranked. The previous year was marked with turmoil as what had at the start looked to be a promising season quickly went sour. (The following contains a vicious rumor but one that I find true, explanative and US Weekly worthy). Syracuse started the 2002 season on fire, lead by sharp-shooter Preston Shumpert. That was my Freshman year, and although the ORANGEMEN started out 14-2 and reached as high as #7 in the national rankings, something looked askew. Within only a matter of games I noticed that Preston Shumpert’s collegiate contract did not require him to play defense, and was a contract that given the college rules of “no compensation” the Orangemen should have had repudiated for lack of consideration (and general Unconscionability that a lazy scrub such as Preston should be granted permission to don the Orange). On one occasion Preston faked a loose shoe-lace so as not to have to go back on defense.

The team’s next best player and starting point guard was DeShaun Williams. At the beginning, things looked peachy on the hill, until that vicious rumor reared its head. According to other drunk people in a bar on Marshall street, Preston Shumpert had gotten Deshaun Williams’ girlfriend pregnant. As soon as that rumor surfaced the entire season went down the drain. Over the next 13 games the team went 4-9, missing the NCAA tourney, and making it only as far as the NIT (Nobody Interested Television) semi-finals. After that year Preston failed to get drafter (he was a pre-season lock for the 1st round) and DeShaun transferred to Iona (institution on North Avenue…near my home) to play for the Gales where he slipped into Ryan Leaf-esque obscurity. Leading into the 2003 season, things looked bad.

But there was one bright spot. The Orangemen had received a commitment from the nation’s 2nd best high school prospect (pre-Baltimore crack-slinging video) behind Amare Stoudemire in Carmelo Anthony from NBA hot bed, and Jim Boeheim recruiting sanctuary Oak Hill Academy. The year prior, Cuse had signed another Oak Hill star, Billy Edelin, and the combination had fans thinking success.

But things quickly picked up where they left off. After an opening loss to Memphis, where Carmelo played well but selfishly, Billy Edelin was suspended 12 games and the clouds that cover Onandaga county 9 months out of the year looked once again to be bringing bad fortune. And then things turned around.

An unknown Shooting Guard out of Scranton PA, Gerry “G-Mac” Macnamara, famous for bussing his entire town to games at the dome (a 4 hr hike) showed that he could handle the scoring load when Carmelo was being deouble and triple teamed. Senior Kueth Duany’s (brother of Wisconsin hoopster Duany Duany (no joke)), defensive tenacity and hard-nosed play in the offensive end was a catalyst for what Jim Boeheim had hoped would be a gritty team. Josh Pace proved he could come off the bench and provide valuable minutes while the starters took breathers, and Craig Forth demonstrated his inability to do anything right but nonetheless drew high praise from Dickie V and crew and thus contribute a debatably valuable presence in the center. Oh, and Hakim Warrick, a last minute signing that replaced the previously committed Julius Hodge (who wound up choosing NC State… big mistake), emerged as a monstrously athletic 4, whose patented the turn around, over the defender’s head slam that could single-handedly reinvigorate a seldom but at times silent Dome (Dome is where the heart is). Plus, other teams had no answer for the Orangemen’s zone defense, making them virtually unbeatable on almost every night.

On the way to the final four, Syracuse defeated 5 Big 12 teams, including 4 in the tourney: Mizzou, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas and eventually Kansas). That year the Big 12 was considered by leaps and bounds to be the best conference.

The early rounds of the tourney were exciting. I ventured to nearby Albany (total unfair placement by the selection committee) to watch Syracuse beat Oklahoma St. Thereafter, with my Albany ticket as proof of my dedication, 12 friends and I decided we would drive to New Orleans for the finals, seeing as we were now guaranteed tickets. So off we went to the dome (by we I mean we had pledges wait on line for 16 hours), to pick up our tickets. Once in hand, we were thrilled that the next day we would be leaving for New Orleans. However, hardly right outside the dome, a man offered us $900 each for our tickets. Being the little hustler that I was I instantly said $1500 each; for the finals, my friends and I would no longer be drinking Keystone Light… it was all Bud Light now.

Before the final game came we had our pledges build us a throne out of a recliner, plywood, 2 by 4s and several decorative vices. That way, if we won, we could be carried down to the Marshall st. fiesta in style which after torturing those poor Freshmen for 12 weeks we certainly deserved. At that time it was Hell Week, and our pledges had been in the basement listening to “All the things she said” by Tatu for 6 consecutive days. When we told them they would not be permitted to watch the game they were stunned.

I remember parts of the game clearly and other parts not so clearly.

The parts I remember: there were 50 of us there with several kegs and a lot of shitty Syracuse Pizza to get us through the 40 minutes of nail-biting action. We even brought in TVs from other places on campus just so we could watch the game as we walked to and from the bathroom. Eventually we allowed the pledges to come watch the game (how could we not), although they were responsible to be waiters and foot rests whenever we “brothers” felt so inclined. We also “asked” them to have a royal rumble during halftime.

The game was extremely close pretty much throughout (if you saw the game and the ending you’ll understand the actual definition of close), but rightfully so. Afterall, this was no bunch of schlubs we were playing against. Kansas had future NBA’ers Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison, not to mention a damn good supporting cast.

Now I’ve seen friends faces as their teams have won championships. I remember when the Rangers won in 94, when the Yankees won their string of titles, when the Sox won both this year and several years ago and I remember the Patriots claiming several of their own rings. For anyone who has witnessed a friend’s team win a championship, you know that shit-eating grin that they get as soon as the game ends, as if to say that they can finally take a breath. Well imagine that look, on 50 people’s faces for three consecutive hours. It truly is something to behold. The room reeked of the prospect of victory, and the denial that we could possibly lose, but in everyone’s eyes you could see that reserve of distraught that would awaken should the game fall out of reach.

There was a 20 minute portion during the game when one of the guys in the house insisted on playing 50 Cent’s “If I can’t do it, homey it can’t be done…”. No one else wanted to hear it and for about an hour we had a continual battle of him putting it back on, and us sending pledges to shut it off. The room was thick with anticipation.

But Syracuse never pulled away. There was no relief. There was no time when we could sit back and say “we got this wrapped up” or that “it was only a matter of time”. No, the game was neck and neck till the end.

No one will ever know whether that last second shot from beyond the arc by Michael Lee (Kansas) would have gone in or not. Thankfully, we didn’t have to speculate, as the limber Hakim Warrick came flying from out of nowhere (he was right there) to send the shot flying. Syracuse, a football school with a basketball habit had done the unthinkable. Carmelo had taken his team in one year to the top of the basketball world, and I mean all of basketball.

The pledges knew what to do. They came running in with the throne and hoisted one of the seniors upon it. Then as a group of 50, but as part of a group of 5000 or so, we stormed Marshall street. People were climbing trees, breaking windows, knocking down light poles, swaying cars. There was absolute pandemonium. One pledge (and now a good friend) got nailed in the head with a billy club by the riot patrol (which inexplicably made his toe nearly three times that of a normal human’s toe). And above the entire crowd was our man on our throne rejoicing in Sryacuse’s victory.

The next day on the front of both the school and Syracuse newspaper was a large picture of us, holding up our throne above the masses, cheering for the victors… the Syracuse Orangemen. What few people ever get to experience had been gifted us by the basketball gods and it truly outdid any reaction I can recall from any of my friends witnessing any of their teams win anything… PERIOD.

Prior to that season I thought that I had all that I ever wanted in college (I need not go into the specifics but there was a time when Syracuse was in fact an awesome place to go to school). But having lived through winning a national title, at some private school buried in the annals of New York state, in a city known for nothing but salt, crime, and plans to build a big mall, I discovered what having all the spoils was like. And more importantly, that Bud Light tastes a lot better when you really are the king.

Other Notes:

Middle school girls should not be allowed to dress slutty on Halloween. How on earth are their male teachers supposed to concentrate? (joke… I swear).

I have a fish tank in my room. It sounds like someone is peeing. Now, when ever I want to be left alone I turn on the filter so that whoever is thinking of coming in thinks that I’m peeing on my floor, and to avoid my insanity, leaves me alone.

Today at the salvation army I saw an entire bed platform. Who has the time, energy, or interest to warrant carrying a bed platform from wherever it is that you live, all the way to the salvation army where you get nothing in return but a cough from all the dust and a couple sweet $1 t-shirts (half off on Tuesdays for college kids)?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

AFC > (being eaten by the duck) NFC


Post #17 Topic: There's a story, of a Man named Brady, and Peyton Manning who was the Colt's field boss. Peyton played just like his father, and Tom Brady threw to Randy Moss.

The Bears are 3-5, third in their division behind the Detroit Lions. THE DETROIT LIONS. The Detroit Lions haven’t been in the playoffs since 1999 when Barry Sanders was the world’s best back. Since then they’ve drafted four wide receivers in the first round: Carlos Rogers, Mike Williams, Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. Two of those are still on the team. Since 1999 the Detroit Lions have used half a million quarterbacks including: Joey Harrington, Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky, Jeff Garcia, Mike McMahon, and my grandmother’s Pomeranian.

In front of the Lions in the NFC north are the Green Bay Packers who conveniently have lost to no one other than the lowly bears (see first post, and Rex Grossman’s passer rating). The Green Bay Packers are atop what proves to be a pathetic pathetic NFC. Tied with them at 6-1 are the Dallas Cowboys (more on them later), who have proven to be a venerable foe in the NFC.

Behind the Cowboys are the 6-2 Giants who were in fact beaten by the Cowboys, albeit in the 1st week of the season, with a defense that had yet to click (become dominant) and quarterback who was still desperately searching for that little divot in Giants stadium where he lost his confidence (I say San Diego stole it but Philip Rivers isn’t looking too much better and at least Eli is in some sweet commercials. Oh that’s not Eli, its his similar looking but far more talented brother? Nevermind). Other than those three teams the only team in the NFC with 5 wins is the Detroit Lions. Right there is my analysis of the NFC. That’s all it gets. A lot of my 7 readers complain that my columns are too long. Those people will probably feel that this column is also too long (actually, its come to my attention that most of the people that read this aren’t actually reading it but just look for what stupid things I am going to say at the end.. assholes). But the NFC simply doesn’t deserve any more attention.

Ok, maybe a little. The NFC, is home to 4 maybe 5, possibly 6 competitive teams. It is also home to several NCAA teams wearing NFL jerseys: the Falcons, the Rams, the Niners, half of the Cardinals and the Ohio State Buckeyes who no one realizes has played several NFL games because Roger Goodell had them play in Croatia in efforts to expand the NFL.

The NFC is the AFC’s brother that the parents didn’t really want but got too drunk to care to prevent, and have neglected ever since. While the AFC is out overachieving, winning games, padding stats, and smiling for photographs, the NFC lives in the basement, eats microwavable Mac ‘n Cheese every night and smokes pot till he passes out with his Playstation guitar in his hands. Then every night around 2 am, the AFC comes home, sees his brother passed out, laughs, and goes and nails the prom queen.

Other than the obvious ones, the AFC has more than a few teams that make it even more competitive. In the AFC West, the Broncos are 3-4 after an amazing ending and heartbreaking loss at the hands of Brett Farve. Mind you that Jay Cutler is getting better and better and this team has yet to establish a consistent running attack which has been the Broncos’ staple for over a decade. When these two pieces come together, the Broncos will be better than their 3-4 suggests.

San Diego started out rough but appears to have bought into Norv Turner’s offensive scheme. As of now at 4-3, the Chargers have scored the 6th most points in the league (approximately half of what the Patriots have scored) and seem poised to rocket into the playoffs on the shoulders of re-emerged LaDanian Tomlinson.

The Chiefs, who have miraculously developed a throwing game thanks to the surprising maturity of 1st round pick Dwayne Bowe, sit atop the ultra-competitive AFC West (We have yet to see whether JaMarcus was worth the #1 pick, at which point 1 more team may be added to this category).

Elsewhere in the AFC Jacksonville and Tennessee are both 5-2, and in 2nd and 3rd in the AFC South. In the North, Pittsburgh is 5-2 and both the Browns and Ravens are but a game behind. That makes 8 teams that are capable of capturing a spot in the NFL playoffs, without even having mentioned the 2 best teams; The Bengals and The Dolphins The Patriots and The Colts.

The Patriots and Colts are so far ahead of the rest of the NFL, that this coming weekend’s matchup between the two juggernauts is destined to be anti-climactic. No one denies that this matchup is the best of what the NFL has to offer. The odds on favorite to come out of the NFC, already faced off against the Patriots and were handed their asses by a score of 48-27. In no other game (other than a fluke against the Dolphins), did the Cowboys fail to register one of either a 200 yard passer, a 100 yard runner, or a 100 yard receiver. The Patriots simply shut the Cowboys done. Tom Brady? A modest effort throwing for 388 yards and 5 touchdowns against an otherwise stingy Dallas defense that has let up more than 25 points only once, coincidentally in the first week in the season against the formidable Giants. So what does this mean? The answer should be obvious.

But how do we wind up with such a huge discrepancy in league powers? We can start and end with the quarterbacks. The top four rated passers are AFC slingers: Brady, Garrard, Manning and Roethlisberger. The 5th? Tony Romo. Coincidence? Probably not. Rather, this interesting statistical conundrum points to the heart of successful franchise building techniques (and the obvious), that a team can only go far as its quarterback can take it. More proof? Look at some of the teams in the NFC’s basement. Minnesota is starting Tavaris Jackson who has no NFL experience. Chicago plays without a quarter back and hopes the center snaps the ball to Cedric Benson. Atlanta is rumored to be considering signing Steve DeBerg who will become the first active player to also be on the league’s pension program. Arizona is without Leinart or Warner, St. Louis has been without Bulger and the Niners are without Smith, and suddenly the mystery as to why the power is based in the AFC has been solved.

But this creates another problem. The Super Bowl this year is destined to be between either the Colts or the Patriots… and some team from the NFC. Whoever that team may be, the real Super Bowl will have been decided if and when the Patriots meet the Colts in the AFC championship.

And that brings us to this week. The Colts will play the Patriots. Both teams will come out adrenaline pumping. More likely than not both teams will take a couple of early stabs downfield, Indi to its “old faithful” combo of Wayne and Harrison (if healthy), and New England to new weapons Moss, Welker and Stallworth… and Vrabel!!! One team will make a defensive stance, take the lead, and the rest of the game will be a catfight to put up enough points to outscore the other side. And at the end of the game, either the Colts or the Patriots will be undefeated, while the other will have one loss.

Then us poor poor sports fans will have to listen to weeks of sports reporters debating whether the games accurately portrays the hierarchy of the NFL or whether the game showed us something deeper to suggest that the losing team was truly the superior one, and more likely to claim the golden ball come February. People will debate who the better quarterback is, whether the Patriots or the Colts were have stronger defense. Whether Belichick is still cheating or Dungy is too soft on his bunch. Whether Freeney is the league’s best defensive player or Rodney Harrison’s return makes the Pats even more unbeatable.

The critics knew before the season started that the upcoming Colts Pats matchup was this season’s hump-day, where everything before it was just build-up and everything after it just the aftermath. The NFL probably chose to put this game in the middle of the season so as to allow for some hype, without putting the game too close to the AFC championship game. And it’s a good thing they did, because with so little else of importance going on around the NFL (other than the Saints and Chargers slow start and Brett Farve’s fountain of youth), there really is not much else to talk about. But god curse the structure of the NFL, because no matter what NFC team spends two weeks preparing for their February showdown with the best of the NFC, the true best contender will already be home playing golf, planning what to do better against the Patriots/Colts during the next year.

DCMSG prediction: Patriots 34 Colts 24.

Other Notes:

Whoever invented Sam’s club must be a fat fat man. Ugh, I’ll have 340 buffalo wings, an 800 pack of airheads, 68 cokes and 20 cartons of Menthols Please.

Speaking of airheads, what did the white one actually taste like? Everyone used to claim that it was “wild” and could taste like anything, but I always felt the white airhead tasted like the white airhead.

Low def is the new high def… vintage shit.

I think I figured out why the Irish people have the reputation of being such big drinkers. There’s something about their music that just induces you to grab a cold one. Like that part in the Mask where Jim Carrey was about to be arrested in the park after a make out sesh with Cameron Diaz, and he started playing the Mexican music and the cops started rumbaing. Trust me, listen to Fuck You I’m Drunk, available for theft on limewire and the next thing you’ll know you’re waking up in a dumpster in Brooklyn with a Tony the Tiger tattoo (from personal experience).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ko Be or not Ko Be - there really is no question


Post #16 Topic: Kobe’s Beef

If you have been reading this column regularly then you are undoubtedly impressed by my predictions.

I successfully predicted a Rockies/Red Sox world series

I successfully predicted that Nigel Dawes would be a worthwhile call-up for the Rangers.

AND, I successfully predicted that Kobe Bryant would be traded to the Bulls. Today, ESPN reported that there have been “substantial ongoing talks between the Bulls and the Lakers, regarding the future of Kobe Bryant”. Out of the three aforementioned correct predictions, you’ll note that the Kobe to Chicago is perhaps the least impressive. Due to the lack of NBA teams boasting both considerable youth and talent, there were only several options to begin with: The Clippers, the Nuggets, the Nets, the Mavericks, the Suns and the Bulls. The Sonics are not included because, as mentioned in an earlier column, Kevin Durant is untradable.


But now that Kobe seems to certain to be on his way out… we sports fans must ask… Kobe, WHAT’S THE BEEF?

Kobe seems so certain that he wants to get out of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, in deciding to forego a college education, Kobe has not learned that the grass is not in fact always greener. In Los Angeles, Kobe is THE STAR. He is the leader of a team that although currently inexperienced, has room and money to grow through some aggressive trading, smart drafting, and player patience. Should Kobe wind up in Chicago, he is joining a team that has several of its own “rising stars”, of which at least several will still be around should he switch cities. People in Chicago want to see Luol Deng. He’s insanely athletic and during his third year in the league is poised to become one of basketball’s most dangerous weapons. People in Chicago want to see Tyrus Thomas, who could potentially be a BETTER version of Dwight Howard (who I predicted to have a monstrous year). Thomas rebounds, he blocks, he runs and plays defense. Should he ever EVER become more comfortable in the post, either with a short jumper, a small hook, or a quick step to the net, Tyrus Thomas will be a star.

The Bulls also have a supporting case full of guys that, if playing elsewhere, could also be considered stars. Ben Gordon has quietly been one of the NBA’s most consistent over the past few years, AVERAGING MORE POINTS OFF THE BENCH THAN WHEN STARTING. Kirk Hinrich is one of the smartest PGs in the game and will be crucial to the continued development of the Deng/Thomas combination. Joakim Noah showed us two things in college: That he can be the team star, and he can be the guy to do all the “little things” that make winning possible. As of yet, which role he will take with the Bulls has yet to be determined, but he is sure to take on one or the other. Oh and then there’s Ben Wallace, who now more familiar with Coach Scott Skiles’ defensive scheme, should return to the effectiveness he became synonomous with in Detroit.

Should Kobe be traded to the Bulls, several of these guys (for the record I predict Joakim Noah, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni and a future 1st rounder), he will quickly find out that the grass is most certainly not greener.

Coming to Chicago would mean Kobe would INSTANTLY expected to win a championship. His major beef is that LA is not in a position to compete, thus we can assume that he would only accept a trade to a club that was… and that club will then be expected to win. The question then is, “Can The Bulls Win?” My suspicion is yes… now. However, I feel that with Kobe, the Bulls would only become more ineffective. Rather, Kobe’s best chance at winning a championship may ironically be to stay in Los Angeles. Critics claim that Andrew Bynum could develop into the starting center the Lakers had been hoping for. If he should, then Kobe Bryant would be in position to benefit the most. All of the sudden, the return of the inside presence that helped Kobe stand out returns Kobe to his “dominant” notoriety, and more importantly, some of his weight is lifted. Then Lamar Odom slides into the spot he should be in.. 3rd option, and gets more chances to draw a double team and create more room for Bynum and Kobe. Then rookie and 2nd year PGs Jordan Farmar and Javaris Crittenton get significant court space to show their worth, and fight to become the future point guard of a team that all of the sudden doesn’t look so bad. PLUS, the Lakers salary number will be low, their attractiveness becomes higher to the following year’s free agents. Oh, and Phil Jackson is still Phil Jackson.

Bringing in Kobe relegates the remaining young Bulls as supplementary players. If I’m Jerry Krause/Scott Skiles… I want Deng taking 25 shots a night…getting him accustomed to the weight of a city hungry for a return to basketball glory. On top of that, I want ben Gordon rushing the ball up the court to set up fast-breaks for Thomas and Noah, both of whom should start getting comfortable in a supporting role. In addition, I’d want Hinrich handling the ball with 5 seconds on the clock, when the Bulls are down by 1 to the Cavs and need a “bright” ball-handler. Those demands seem to set Chicago’s starting lineup. So where does Kobe fit in?

I don’t think that he does. Financially and player-wise, Kobe does seem the perfect fit. But Kobe is one of those rare players, that comes along every so often, that only makes sense to trade for if your roster is otherwise bare of “ball-demanding” player. As of now there are only a couple of teams that fit that bill.

Toronto: Young, talented, good role players, Chris Bosh… But a trade of Barngani and any 5 of the other bench players on their roster makes this unfeasible.

Houston: Tracy McGrady tends to make the worst of most of his good situations. After 3.5 years in Houston (injuries), Tracy still hasn’t reaped the benefit of playing with the games BEST CENTER. Send Houston Tracy, along with Shane Battier and Luther Head (more as insurance policies on Tracy’s crumbling body), and perhaps Kobe gets his star center back.

Atlanta: Kobe Bryant for Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams and Josh Childress. This gives the Lakers a great young starting 5 with Childress and Johnson at the guards, Williams and Odom at the forwards and Bynum at center. Plus, it gives the Hawks what they really need… A GO TO GUY NOT NAMED JOE JOHNSON, To play with rookie Al Horford, one of the NBA’s most underrated players in Josh Smith (and his 16 pts, 3 blks and 8 rebounds), and Shelden Williams clogging the middle until something better comes along. The Hawks also have Acie Law, entering his 1st year, who could be the starting PG sooner rather than later.

But Kobe won’t go to any of these places, since according to Kobe, only Chicago and Dallas are poised to win championships. Which raises another point. A good Basketball player takes the responsibility of creating a winning team upon himself, doesn’t look for a place where other people’s sweat have created a championship contender, swoop in and take everyone’s minutes and hotel clerk/prostitutes.

Dear Kobe,

Stop being an ignorant ass. You are no longer the best player in the league. Lebron is. And Lebron was able to get his team to the finals BY HIMSELF. You never have and never willk do that. Perhaps this is a sign that you can’t win a championship on your own, and rather, you are merely a product (albeit a very good one) of the players that surround you. Furthermore, if these teams you are requesting to be traded to are already of championship caliber, then why would they upset their chemistry by adding a brat who sells out his teammates. And why would the fans join your fan club when both Chicago and Dallas have put in their respective time rebuilding, and having some home grown talent to show.

I believe, Kobe, that you would be wise to stay in L.A, the home of the “vicious cycle”. So long as the Lakers are in LA, then Jack Nicholson comes to the games. So long as Jack Nicholson makes the Lakers “cool”, the rest of the seats are filled with celebrities and the rest of LA. So long as the seats are filled, the Lakers are making money. And so long as they Lakers have money, they will spend it, to make sure that Jack Nicholson is still a fan.

Agreed Kobe. Ever since Shaq has left you’ve been on your own. But what did you expect? All of these other teams that have become good again have done so through the draft and patience. The Lakers, although richer are no different than these other clubs. So hold your horses. Keep your points up and your speeches down. And in several years, the right free agent, the right draft pick, or the right injury to your right foot will come along and make the Lakers the competitive force they have been in the past, once again.



Other Notes:

Somebody tell Korean Restaurants to stop serving Hamburgers.

The other day I went to a Rangers/Devils game. The Rangers shut the Devils out but that is irrelevant. At the game I saw somebody wearing an Atlanta Thrashers jersey. We get it buddy, your powerful brain acknowledged that this was a hockey game, and figured out to put on a Hockey Jersey. I was pissed. I mean who really wears a Jersey of a non-playing team to a game. That’s like wearing a Dr. Dre concert shirt to an Enya performance. My anger towards that man was soon dismissed when I noticed a man wearing a SeaHawks Jersey.

Imagine what its like to be a fish. Your whole life you swim around knowing your environment and satisfied that “what you see is all that will ever be”. Then some ass comes and plucks you out of the water and right before you die, right before you’re about to kick the literal bucket, and all the while you’re struggling to discern what strange world you’ve been taken to, right before you get that funny looking lock jaw, some obnoxious kid comes and pours Cheetos on your head. YOU HATE CHEESE. What a cruel world.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wicked Miserable


P.S. make sure you check out the youtube links on the side, this weeks is great.

Post #15: If you're going to Boston, be sure to wear lice shampoo in your hair

Yesterday I lost my fantasy football match. My league has ten teams, of which only 6 make it to the playoffs. Currently I am 2-5 and sitting pretty in 8th place. My chances of making the playoffs are now slim. But missing the playoffs is not what angers me. Rather, how I lost this last match was the true source of my irk.

When my commissioner was setting up our league he must have been delusional… the set up is simply terrible. We start two quarterbacks which is simply ridiculous. I chose Carson Palmer with my first pick who has been endlessly disappointing, and on top of that, my 2nd quarterback slot has been filled by a platoon of Rex Grossman, Joey Harrington and Brian Griese. We start two backs and two receivers which is normal. But then we also start a w/r (your choice of a running back or wide receiver) which requires taking a guess as to what starting back is going to get hurt in the 1st quarter that coming week and leave ample yards for his backup (this week it was of course Ronnie Brown, my best player as of last week).

But amazingly, my commissioner’s delinquency is not the source of my frustration. No; my vendetta is against Tom Brady. This guy single handedly beat my team. In fact, his stats are so ridiculous that the team that drafted him didn’t even need to start three of his other position players in order to beat me. And he didn’t. Tom Brady (as per the point breakdown in my league which is silly to say the least) had 76 fantasy points. Marvin Harrison, Carson Palmer, Calvin Johnson, Brian Griese and Kenton Kieth (Indi’s reserve back) combined didn’t have 76 points. Tom Brady beat my team on his own. The best part is that he was actually taken out after his 1st 5 touchdowns. For a minute, as I watched my ten dollar but worthless stat tracker, it looked like there might be some end to his insanity. But of course not. Back up Matt Cassell came in and on his 1st pass, threw a pick (Miami must have been stealing signs!!!). Sure enough, not confident that they could muscle their way through the pathetic Miami Dolphins, Tom Brady came back in and tossed another TD. Awesome. Say goodbye to your 50 bucks David, it was money well spent.

But this Tom Brady dilemma is only a minor piece of what I consider to be a much larger problem. Before our country addresses global warming, before we extinguish the fires plaguing the Midwest, before we fight terrorism or improve the quality of American made cars… we have to stop Boston from being good at sports. THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC OF EBOLLA-ESQUE PROPORTIONS WITH KATRINA-ESQUE REPRECUSSIONS.

There are no more miserable fans in the country than Bostonians. I would know, I lived with 20 of these jackasses during college. When the Sox were eliminated the year before their world series, my friend, we’ll call him Fluter, decided he was going to lie down naked on the kitchen floor in protest. These asses used to lock themselves in one room and not let anyone from NY into the room until the game was over. And when the game was over, they refused to talk about it… win or lose. Clearly this was a violation of the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause, and furthermore, a elementary due process violation. Every time the Red Sox lost there was an excuse. Every time the Pats were defeated the refs were biased. When the Celtics got crushed… well the draft was rigged (in advance). I can think of about a million more examples about what makes Boston fans the worst, and that’s not including their accent or drinking problems, that make Boston the worst sports city in the world (like anyone could even know that… Gosh!)

On top of that every time I go to Boston I either get punched in the face, lost in the middle of the city, stuck picking my friends up in Jail, or drawn on by ex-girlfriends as I pass out; I can’t stand Boston.

And now we as sports fans are going to have to put up with this nonsense more than ever this year. The Partriots don’t look like they can be beaten. Of course no Boston fan will admit that they only care about the Patriots when the Sox aren’t playing, but now that they’re undefeated and the Sox are in the series we have to contend with misery stemming from both.

And that’s only the surface. The Celtics are actually a good team. Sure they haven’t started the season yet and yes there are a lot of guys on that team that want/need the ball… but with that combination I find it hard to believe that they could be bad. Garnett doesn’t need to create his own shots. He’ll get his collection of post-ups, ten foot jumpers, and quick steps past opposing defenders to the hole. He’ll also get his 12 boards and 2 blocks and 3 assists. And while he may only average 20 pts/nite, that is the role he was destined to play. Garnett down low will give pierce more room on the wings to slash, and shoot and shoot, and shoot. Pierce is going to get more open shots than ever and his scoring average might even go up. But if he’s not hot from outside, he need only swing the ball to the top of the arc where Ray Allen can either pop his own 3, or feed it back down to KG as defenses struggle to get reorganized and find ways to double team 3 guys, and guard 2 others, with only 5 men on the court. Even worse is that the lottery disappointment wound up being the best bet for the Celtics, who would otherwise have been stuck with Old-Man Oden, no Garnett and no chance at winning.

So the Celtics, the Red Sox and the Patriots are good. This is enough to drive a normal human being wicked insane. But no, these miserymongers have to make it even tougher for us “evolved” beings. The Boston Bruins, one of the most storied franchises in any sport anywhere, home of Cam Neely, and Ray Bourque, and Bobby Orr and Joe Thornton’s old house are playing far above expectations (and the Rangers…). WHO THE HELL IS ON THE BOSTON BRUINS? No one. They have no one. There is no reason why they should be an efficient team. There coach (Dave Lewis) hasn’t been good since he left Detroit, and their management hasn’t made a good move since they left the Boston Garden (although they were forced to seeing as it was demolished). But their Thornton move is paying off (1/3rd of it) as Marco Sturm has been effective on offense while maintaining a positive +/- rating. Marc Savard is once again near the top of the league in assists. And one time projected 1st overall pick and cancer success story, 19 yr old Phil Kessel is contributing 15 minutes a night and has a few points himself. Then there’s Tim Thomas… not the NBA journeyman but backup goaltender who is leading the league in Save Percentage and Goals Against Average. I highly doubt that the Bruins keep up their success without finding a capable defensive partner for Zdeno Chara, but the fact that they are competing now is enough.

The other thing I can’t stand about Boston fans is that anyone who lives within 300 miles of Boston is “from boston” when their teams are playing well. I have a friend from Maine, a friend from Rhode Island and a FRIEND FROM Albequerque that tell people they are from Boston. And sometimes I think they actually think that they are. (If you guys are reading this, YOURE NOT FROM BOSTON… GET OVER IT). So not only do us real sports fans have to deal with Bostonians cheering for their teams, we have to deal with non-bostonians, which is the worst type of Bostonian there is.

So here is my plea to the Colts, the Rockies, the Bulls and the Rangers… WE NEED TO STOP THESE BOSTONIANS. We need to get them before they win anything else and we are forced to hear about it for another million years. We need to get them to start admitting that they aren’t really Patriots fans…again. Otherwise their infectious, contagious, diseased personalities will continue to spread across our vulnerable nation. And before long even the Boston Yankees will be fighting the Boston Padres for the 2008 world series.

Other Notes:

I ran into Gina Gershon today on the street. They say TV adds 20 lbs, but frankly, I think that the TV set is the only thing making her look presentable.

What can I be for Halloween? One year I was Bob Ross and that was the best costume I ever assembled. Of course no one knew who it was so I just looked like a child molester with a paint brush and a turtleneck. I could go with Spiderman or a ghost or something but I wouldn’t want to offend any DC Comic purists.

Tonight I was at a networking event that had food. One trey had Salmon in a butter lemon sauce. There was no salmon left but the butter lemon sauce was delicious.

Im going to change my name to something Russian, just so people struggle to say it. That way I can take a sip of drink, laugh, cock my head, correct them and walk away.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Laura, did you say... CHEEEEESE

Post #14 Topic: Ladi Dadi, Wisco Likes to Party

Pre-Mature P.S.: On the right side of the page are links that correspond with each post... Click em.

Do you remember Freshman year of college? Well I most certainly do not. But from what my friends tell me it was a lot of fun.

That’s not entirely true. I do remember the first few weeks of school. That awkward phase where everybody starts meeting everyone, finding out who their common connections are, hooking up with people because they had extra wheat thins and you were out of easy mac. The part of Freshman year where you read your textbooks, highlight important information, take notes and go to bed feeling like college is going to make you a smarter person (when in reality, 95% of my friends from college left significantly dumber than they were upon their arrival...oh, the files are IN THE COMPUTER). Its only about a month before you find out that the bar down the street has three dollar pitchers of beer flavored water that you drink until you vomit from near drowning and being full… not from intoxication. It takes even less time for you to realize who you’re going to like and not like, what fraternity you want to join, and where the closest Burger King is.

One of my most memorable memories from beginning of 1st semester freshman year involves a guy who to this day is still one of my closest friends. To protect the innocent, we will call him Jaguar. Jaguar was one of the 1st people I met at Syracuse, but not on my own accord. Instead, within hours of settling in I was startled by a loud “WHOOOOOOO” coming from down the hall. Shortly thereafter my door (which I swear was locked, although I would soon learn that locking doors was not a detterent to the jaguar but rather an invitation for him to try harder to get in) swung open and in walked the Jag. Now I didn’t come up with the name “Jag”, rather, he introduced himself to me as the Jag. From then on out he was Jaguar WHOOOOOOOO, to everyone on the floor. (I swear this is sports related, but the back story is truly crucial and I would be negligent to nonchalantly pass over it).

Jag was the biggest personality at Syracuse and perhaps the world. Over the 7 years during which I have known the Jag, he has provided me with endless entertainment, countless ridiculous (some true some not) stories, hilarious encounters, heartfelt conversation, strange yelps, awkward laughs, disgusting eating habits, but more importantly, the Jag is undoubtedly a great friend to have. Who else has lost 7 friends to marijuana and tells you not to get on a plane because he "has a real bad feelin man, and you know about my sixth sense bro... WHOO"

That first weekend after I had established a sort of “crew”, Jag came running down the hall with great news. “Bro Bro Bro, I just talked to Dwight Freeney Bro. Me and D-freen are boys bro, (insert hilarious laugh-like sound effect of which this day no impression has done justice). Freeney man he’s my man… man. He told me of this amazing strip club that him and all the football players go to every night we gotta go bro. My boy Freen (Jag was great at making multiple nicknames where there were none already) says McNaab loved this place bro, its called Moulin Rouge”.

So me and my new friends saddled up and moved it to Moulin Rouge, where we were greeted by the first one-toothed, pregnant, meth addict stripper I’d ever seen. On a side note, another friend named Greene got his first ever lap dance that night. He was kind of ignorant about life and didn’t know any slang, so that when he came out of the lap dance with his hands above his head laughing, and we asked him if he, well… finished, he claimed that he didn’t know… enough said. Anyway the strip joint was a joke. Disgusting and filthy, and their drink selection was 6 different snapples (not including diet lime green tea which is by far the best tasting one).

So the lesson was, JAG DOES NOT KNOW DWIGHT FREENEY. Nor did he know any of the other athletes that he claimed to know over the next 4 years. But this is not the point of this post. Rather, the point is that… Neither did I. I had no idea who Dwight Freeney was. I knew nothing about college football and didn’t think I cared to learn.

But that year Syracuse football was great and I fell in love with it. 63,000 people in a dome to watch a game in the middle of three feet of snow is something else especially when everyone is jingling their keys on 3rd down, chanting “fuck em up fuck em up GO SU”, and drunk. That year they went 6-1 in the Big East finishing behind only Miami (although the bowl makers gave them 3rd in the big east given that the true 3rd place finisher, Virginia Tech had a larger TRAVELING FAN BASE (which obviously included all of Michael Vick’s dogs, dead and alive, and all of Marcus Vick’s drug dealers). That year if I ( remember correctly, the Orange started off losing their 1st two games to Georgia Tech and Tennessee. They then won 8 straight games against some great teams including: Auburn, Pittsburgh (good at the time), Va Tech, and West Virginia. Then after being blown out by Miami 59-0 (the same Miami team that had Frank Gore as a 3rd string running back, Willis McGahee 2nd and Clinton Portis starting), they beat Boston College to send them to a bowl game against ranked Kansas State which they won by a score of 26-3. 'Cuse was a good football team, and so they should have been as a football school (until the following year when i experienced the best moment in my career as a sports fan... stay tuned for future post).

Undersized linebacker Dwight Freeney was projected to go at the end of the 1st round. The same Dwight Freeney who in Donovan McNaab’s masterful upset of the Michigan Wolverines in 1998 sacked quarterback TOM BRADY to change the landscape of the game. But with a surprise pick, the Indianapolis Colts selected Freeney at 11… people wondered what was wrong with the Indi Brass. Now, as one of the best defensive players in the game, their questions have been answered. And ever since his departure Syracuse football has been shameful/embarrassing.

Which brings me to the topic of this story. This weekend I’m off to Wisconsin to see a real college football game, in a big ten stadium, with a big ten school. Although Wisconsin hasn’t been at the top of its game in recent weeks they are still a top notch football team, unlikely to experience the rapid, dane-cook-supporter-numbers-like decline that Syracuse has gone through in the past years. The stadium, Camp Randall holds 80,321 people and is the 4th oldest college football stadium in the country. Fortunately the Badgers are playing Northern Illinois. And hopefully after Saturday afternoon I will remember what its like to be part of a winning football tradition, which can take a non football fan and turn him (or her) into a fanatic with just one crowd rustling, Dwight Freeney-esque sack.

With that being said, Syracuse Basketball is going to be DIRTY this year. Absolutely disgusting. The recipe for success? The same recipe that professional franchises use all over the country to secure wins and fans and groupies… the all-criminal team.

Other Notes:

Wisconsin or no Wisconsin, there’s no place like dome.

Guys, do your friends a favor. If they have a turkey club and get mayonnaise on their face, let them know before they raise their hand in class.

Today I saw a homeless guy, the same one whose been outside of my school for years, sitting on a recliner. Not just any recliner, a brand new comfy one. I was so tired from working all day that I almost wanted to sit. Which made me think of a great invention… a motorized recliner so you can recline to and from wherever you’re going. Of course it would have an optional built-in toilet.

You can take away our keys and you can take away our phones, but you can’t take away our dreams, cause we’re like sleeping when we have them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Portland SuperSonics

Post #13 Topic: Return to Relevance

Forget Rashard Lewis. Forget him. He’s never been anything more than a good player on a bad team. On a bad Sonics team Rashard Lewis stood out as a playmaker, a high-flyer and a franchise star… But now he’s surrounded by talent. And not only talent, but perhaps the BEST CENTER IN ALL OF BASKETBALL. Yes, a bold statement. With names like Shaq, Camby, Duncan, Jermaine and… Biedrins??? (I don’t care what Don Nelson SR, Jr, Esq, Dr or PHD say, this guy is NOT THE REAL DEAL. He’s nothing more than a stream of European players that play such fundamentally sounds basketball that our American born players have yet to figure out how to defend… them), the best center in basketball is Dwight Howard.

And how much better is Dwight Howard going to look when he isn’t drawing triple teams in the post? The answer is both phenomenal and irrelevant to the topic, but nonetheless Rashard Lewis will be at best a good compliment to one of the best players in basketball, a role he was destined to fill ever since he entered the league as the 3rd overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in 1998… in the 2nd round. Keep in mind that Lewis is from Houston, who had three first round draft picks that year. With all three they refused to take High School grad Rashard Lewis. Instead they took Michael Dickerson who was effective before traded to Memphis and had his career cut short by injury, Bryce Drew who was decent at a mid-major (Valaparaiso), and Mirsad Turckan who is now the leading rebounder in the history of the NBA; the Nicaraguan Basketball Association. In other words, perhaps Houston had an idea that this guy wouldn’t be a star.

To Rashard’s credit, the only decent NBA player selected after him was Cuttino Mobley. But before him went all-scrubs such as: Michael Olowakandi, Raef LaFrentz, Robert Traylor, Keon Clark, and Nazr Mohammed amongst others.

I am by no means attempting to imply that Rashard Lewis is not a good basketball player. I can name 28 teams that would love to have him on their roster in the supporting role that he has now assumed with the Magic, and which I believe he will excel.

But still, he’s only Rashard Lewis, and even with him lighting it up in Seattle, Seattle was not relevant. Even with Jesus Shuttlesworth slinging rock and the rock from the arch, Seattle was not relevant. Case in point: Seattle hasn’t been relevant since the roster featured Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Hersey Hawkins, Detlef Schrempf, and long-ball champion Dale Ellis. Not since the 8th seed, Dikembe Mutumbo backed Denver Nuggets ousted the #1 seed Seattle Sonics for the first time in NBA history have the Sonics been relevant (the Sonics were my favorite team growing up and I still have a Shawn Kemp jersey that I have worn once in the past 5 years, one time more than Shawn Kemp has worn a Shawn Kemp jersey).

Come November 4th, the 3rd regular season game for this year’s Seattle Sonics, the one-time residents of Key Arena (which was the backup arena when their home arena seemed to be blacking out more than a college Sophomore…There’s no place like Dome (see other notes)) will make a storied return to relevance. Recent talk has been of the team moving to Oklahoma, where the team would be the 1st to sponsor ride your tractor/sister to the game promotion. However, given that until recently no one cared about the Sonics, or whether they were in Oklahoma, Akron Ohio, or Azkaban prison, only on November 4th will the Sonics return to relevance.

The West is much weaker this year than last, and with certain trade demands on the docket (marion, kobe…) the west stands to grow even weaker. Surprisingly, the young Sonics could be in a position to make a strong run in the West and eventually find themselves with the Nuggets, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors at the top of the conference.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your… 2008…SEATTLE SUPERSONICS:

At Center, standing 6 foot 9 from Kansas… NICK “always second best to ‘cuse” Collison.

At Forward, the round mound of INBOUND, Chris Wilcox

At Guard, at 6 foot 2 from Oregon, LUKE “I’m not your father, im your PG” RIDNOUR

At the other Guard, from Georgetown, Jeff “the 2nd best rookie in the lineup” Greene

Kevin Durant starting at the remaining forward position is single-handedly responsible for Seattle’s return to relevance. But not so much because of his skill, his potential or his collegiate dominance… More importantly, because of the date that his return will take place; November 4th.

The Sonics also have a formidable bench. Veteran stalwart Kurt Thomas, pesky guard Delonte West, softie but capable forward Wally (Last Name), and Earl Watson (who makes 6 million bucks a year, which he deserves about as much as Todd McCullough did after the Nets signed him citing his ability to guard Shaq, afther the sixers were mysteriously swept by the apparently impotent-Shaqed Lakers). But how good they can or will be is not what will usher in their return to NBA.COM’s front page. Rather, it is their opponent on November 4th… The Portland Trail Blazers.

Being a college basketball fan without the relevant game package on TV is somewhat difficult. You get to watch only those games that are aired nationally and have to read about the rest in the morning in class when you should be paying attention but really couldn’t care less whether the burden of going forward is on the prosecution or the defense… (Sorry I blacked out for a second… DID I SAY THAT? I take it back, oh how awful). Thus a NCAA fan typically doesn’t get the full hype of young stars until tournament time, or draft time latest. KEVIN DURANT WAS THE TALK OF NCAA BASKETBALL AFTER THE 1st game of his collegiate career. Daniel Gibson, who was slated to be a star, left after his freshman year solely to avoid the shadow to be cast the following year by Durant (I made that up but it sounds realistic). Durant averaged 26 pts, 11 boards, an assist, 2 blocks and 2 steals in under 36 minutes per game. On a team with four freshmen starters Durant was supremely dominant.

Immediately there was talk of whether Durant would surpass the previously assumed to be unanimous selection for the 1st pick in the draft, Greg Oden. Throughout the season Oden put up good numbers and Durant put up better. Oden’s STACKED Ohio State team reached the finals while Texas was eliminated in the 2nd round. But even after his team was eliminated and Oden’s Buckeyes tore through their brackets, Durant was still being considered for the 1st pick.

When the draft came, the Blazers had a tough choice. And for a team that has a history of draft-day blunders, they selected Greg “Sam Bowie” Oden. The Blazers selected a Greg Oden that would give them a front court of Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge, another 20 year old potential superstar, with a backcourt to be quarterbacked by ROY Brandon Roy. Things looked good for the Blazers to say the least and it appeared as if for the 1st time since Bonzi Wells and Rasheed Wallace roamed the sidelines that the Blazers were going to turn their franchise around.

All the while, buried in the background were those critics who would have taken Durant. The problem was simple… Franchise centers come along once in a blue moon, and Oden had the tools to turn into a Ewing, an Olawjuwon, a David Robinson… players that can change the landscape of the entire league on their own. But at the same time there was talk that Oden wasn’t healthy, that he was a liability and that Durant’s ceiling was much higher, albeit at a position much more populated with all-stars. But the Blazers took Oden, and almost on cue, Oden’s season was ended before it began and the questions started coming. The answer to the Oden/Durant debate which had only days before still seemed destined to be decided over the course of what was expected to be two glorious careers, was answered prematurely. Durant would become an offensive talent unlike many players his senior, and Oden would ride the treadmill at rehab, hoping to finally lose what has been a serial injury bug since he picked up the sport.

And at Forward, at 6 foot 9 from Texas, with a wingspan of 74 inches, with a vertical of three empire state buildings, with an inside presence, a post presence, a soft jumper, a consistent three ball, a nasty handle, and great court vision, Kevin Durant. Blazers fans will go silent thinking about what could have been had the Blazers taken Durant as the true experts cautioned was the wiser decision. All 34 Sonics fans will be sitting on their rain soaked couches, grinning, and thanking the Blazers executives for handing them Kevin Durant. The Sonics will win the tip and on the 1st possession, Luke Ridnour will toss a misguided alley-oop to Durant, who will reach backwards, spin around, do three flips, light on fire, make the sound of a gorilla and then dunk the ball shattering the rim and backboard to which Marv Albert will respond “He’s on fire”. The Blazers will then inbound the ball. Brandon Roy will let the clock run a few ticks and find Channing Frye (Oden’s replacement) inside, who will then throw up a brick you could build a house with. “He can’t buy a bucket”, Marv will say. But what he can buy with non-deserved contract is a subscription to NBA ticket which will allow him to watch every Sonics game of the season. That way he can watch his one-time potential teammate steal the ROY award and contend for NBA MVP. And at the end of the season, the Blazers will receive the largest thank you card ever made by Hallmark.

“Dear Blazers… Thank you for gifting us this return to relevance…”

- Love Sonics

Other notes:

Dome is where the heart is.

There’s no place like dome.

Daylight come and I want to go dome.

Dome, dome on the range.

Dome, dome again. I like to be there when I can.

I hate when people have different food agendas that I do. This weekend I really wanted to go to this hamburger place in Syracuse called Zebb’s which is so delicious that its being considered as the next pope and if not, to be installed as a saint. My friends wanted to get sandwiches. Unforunately (and for the better of society) I didn’t have my car and thus couldn’t factor into the decision. Needless to say my sandwich sucked and I spent the entire 4 hr ride home bitter that I didn’t get to Zebbs.

I think my roommate has Herpes… What a loser.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'd love to change the world, but i dont know what to do


Post #12 Topic: If A Rod falls outside the Bronx, and no one’s there to hear it, does it make any noise?

As a Mets fan, I can admit for the first time since I can remember I am actually interested in what the Yankees are going to do over the off-season which typically involves no more than a combination of expensive free agents, talk of prospects who don’t fit into the next year’s lineup and questions over where Joe Torre will be managing come March.

This year, for the first time since the Yankees glory run in the late 90’s those questions actually bear some relevance. Starting with the last:

Joe Torre: If I were making the decision Joe Torre would be back; reasoning which is best supported with an awesome analogy. Did Phil Jackson ever really coach Michael Jordan??? Although I lack the actual answer to this question, I am still confident in my opinion that the answer is no. That is not to say that Michael Jordan was uncoachable, rather, Michael Jordan did not need to be coached. The only coaching Phil Jackson had to do during the bulls 6 championships was instructing Pete Myers and Jon Koncak on how to get the ball to Jordan (along with the occasional subliminal message to Scottie Pippen letting him know that it was Jordan’s Bulls, not Jordan and Pippen’s bulls). Joe Torre faces a similar problem. Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Mike Mussina, Johnny Damon and the rest of the Yankees all-geriatric team need not be coached. They are amongst a class of players talented and proven enough so as to not require coaching (Bobby Abreu is questionably a part of this group but Bobby Abreu has little to no talent anyway so he CAN’t be coached (stats only tell a part of the story)). Therefore, when the Yankees lose, it is not Joe Torre’s fault; not winning the world series this year was a criminal offense, but to be guilty of a criminal offense requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt, and I still think the ghost of Don Zimmer is haunting this franchise and has something to do with their flaccidness. Instead, it is a clear cut case of players not doing what it is they are paid to do… WIN.

The other day I got into an argument with a friend about the demands associated with being a baseball manager. I argued that coaching football was harder. He said baseball. I said, “but in baseball every play, every pitch is independent of the next, whereas in football plays are always part of a related sequence”. He told me that, “baseball has hit and runs, and steals and fielding position”. Not feeling like arguing with him anymore I “accidentally” spilled my coke on him and considered our discussion dead. But as it once was, so shall it be. Baseball managers have a hard job as far as managing primadonnas goes, but beyond that baseball managers are free to labor over each sunflower seed (peeling sunflower seeds in one’s mouth has to be a born with trait because no matter how hard I try I can’t help but become frustrated and spit the whole wad out of my mouth. On that note, if I had to choose an in-game snack it would be sour patch kids, because every time you bite into a new one you make that weird sour face that makes everyone who doesn’t know youre chewing sour patch kids wonder what the hell is wrong with you, and that scares people).

Hey Joe, if the moon were made of spare ribs, would ya eat it? Would ya? This ain’t rocket science, just say yes and we’ll move on! And move on Joe should. In fact, if I was Joe I would be on the next Fung Wah out of town. Although joe hasn’t won a series in years, his consecutive streak of

playoff appearances is pretty damn impressive. People seem to ignore that the Yankees early-season lack of effort named slump lasts farther into the season each year. This isn’t Joe’s fault. If Alex wants to play he can play and the same goes for the rest of those impostures undeserving of the uniform that Mickey sowed.

Next year’s Yankees roster will include some prospects… If uncle George is wise. Melky should start in Center (leaving Johnny Damon to RF… more on this in a tit). Phil Hughes and Joba should be in the rotation. Cano will be back at 2nd. Truthfully beyond that I don’t know much about the Yankees farm system. But what I do know is that the current recipe is not working, which indicates time for a change. Of course making such change is difficult in NY, where fans expect championships every year. But management must be strong… for the investment in prospects always pays off in the long run (just look at the Mets and Rangers success and the Knicks’ failures).

This leaves the question of the roster and what will eventually be left of it. As the Yankees GM: Giambi is gone: he’s still effective but not worth his salary and can be replaced by a younger more explosive and defensively responsible 1B (wish you hadn’t made that Nick Johnson trade???). Abreu is gone: he gets on base and has a cannon but see Giambi… not worth the money. Johnny Damon: This one is interesting. I don’t think his salary allows you to hit him DH, and I think the step he lost moves him to RF… That is of course unless the Yankees can secure Torri Hunter (or even Aaron Rowand), moving Melky back to Left, in which case Johnny is gone as well.

This leaves a potential hole in LF, which I think can be filled perfectly by MOISES ALOU. He has leadership, he’s quiet, he gets on base, plays good D, and will bring a much needed change of attitude to a Yankees roster lacking humility (and mets uniforms). For 1B the Yankees should look to Sean Casey. He is another role player that will exceed his salary. Plus Casey is one of the best defensive 1Bs in the league… He will likewise bring some base to an otherwise acidic lineup.

Andruw Jones and Barry Bonds must be ignored at all costs. Let them go somewhere else and be under-productive and generally disappointing.

As for 3B… It is my firm belief that Alex will be gone. Yes he is still the best player in baseball, and yes business and baseball wise he is worth every dollar. But no, he is not a fit for the Yankees roster. He needs to go somewhere that will pad his offensive numbers, where he is the star, but has a roster strong enough to compete now and for years to come. By process of deduction, the following is where I see A-rod landing and not landing.

Teams that Can’t afford A-Rod:

White Sox – This team is still competitive, and can challenge with minor changes

Dodgers – Too many prospects that are going to need contract extensions. Jason Schmidt doesn’t help

Cubs – Get a lot of talk in the A-Rod sweeps but should be concerned with signing KERRY WOOD

Marlins – Marlins owner 0 – MSG 3

Nationals – need to build within before they get the fan base necessary to sign a star… see Alfonso

Tigers – With a handful of pitchers nearly due for a raise, and Pudge returning there are no funds

Cardinals – Have to re-sign Eckstein and have Rolen (hopefully) – plus need more pitching depth

Phillies – I hate to admit it, but the Phils are 1 pricy pitcher (not named Eaton) away from competing

A’s – Such ridiculous spending is not within the team’s culture

Brewers – Too much money, plus no need to break up a good thing which the Brewers certainly are

Twins – Riiiiiiiiight!

Reds – See Twins

Teams with no room for A-Rod

Red Sox – too clogged with big salary players and need to secure Lowell

Mets – Many other areas need addressing + have Wright/Reyes for years. Plus A-Rod/NY = water/OIL

Indians – Is there any weakness on this team? Every position is stacked and healthy.

D-Backs – See the Yankees (and the reason for their early post-season exit directly above)

Teams A-Rod would be unlikely to be willing to play for

Orioles – This team is too far from contending… A-Rod or not

Astros – This franchise is in shambles… Poor MVP candidate Carlos Lee and scapegoat Brad Lidge

Blue Jays – Playing the Yanks 18 times a season would not = getting out of the big apple

Rangers – A-rod needs a hitters park…+ this experiment went awry once (although they still pay him)

Royals – Interesting. I think the Royals are on the verge of a Tigerish turn-around… but in 3-4 years

Pirates – I wouldn’t play for the Pirates for a billion dollars (figure of speech but Pittsburgh Blows)


Giants – With Bonds gone, this team needs a new face (and ace), and has a good fan base/tradition

Braves – With Andruw Jones gone there is room. And A-Rod would like great b/w Chipper and Mark

Padres – Are they ready to commit to winning? They have the pitching and are missing only a slugger

Rays – Young team with stars in the outfield and Pena at 1st and Kazmir at the mound… not definitely

ready to compete yet but could be very close. If I’m A-Rod I go there and open their new park as the FACE OF FLORIDA BASEBALL (Owner of the Marlins 0 – MSG 4)


Colorado Rockies – This move makes the most sense. A-rod gets to go to a true hitters park where he can hit his 1,000th homerun and break Pete Rose’s hits record as promised by Scott Boras. Plus, he fits right into a monster team.

Helton at 1st is a horse, and with the surrounding new talent Helton’s shoulder’s shouldn’t hurt quite as much. Helton makes 16 mill a year but I can not imagine he wouldn’t be unwilling to defer some of that money if it meant not having to leave his career long team and retiring with a ring (or 5)

Kaz is at 2nd. He had a good year and showed some promise. But he’s had 1 good year and isn’t in line for a terribly large raise from his current 1.5 mill. Plus as a fringe player, he should be thrilled to stay on a competitive team where the fans actually like him (never come back to NY Kaz)

At SS is ROY candidate Troy Tulowitzki. He won’t be due for a raise for a couple more years and will only get better.

3rd can easily be opened by trading young Garrett Atkins who can return top notch pitching prospects from a team in need of a 3B (Yankees anyone???)

In the OF you have Matt Holliday, the soon to be NL MVP and Brad Hawpe who quietly posted 30 HR’s and 120 RBI’s. If Willy Tavarez can get keep his OBP above .360 then this team looks nasty with AROD.

Not to mention they have a young ace (Jeff Francis), two capable young starters, a good closer in Manny Corpas and more trade bait in Brian Fuentes.

Seemingly, this is the perfect place for A-rod to land. They’re competitive, they have money, they have room, they have a chance to win, and can cement A-rod’s position as the most prolific hitter in Baseball’s history. And although the increase in payroll is a stretch, A-Rod pays for himself in merchandise sales, and for the 81 sellouts his 81 Home Runs are likely to bring.

Now obviously A-Rod will be back with the Yankees for 35 mill per season. The Yankees will re-sign their cast of cast-aways and be no better off. Meanwhile, the other teams in their division improve (Rays and Jays drastically) and the Yankee’s record falls below that ever-increasingly important wild-card cut off.

Other Notes:

My words carry life like stretchers… Ya Dig?

Peanut Butter and Jelly is so delicious. I could be in the library, doing my taxes, with my hair falling out, my hemorrhoids acting up, my rascal engine stalled, in the year 2045 eating a PB&J and still feel young.

Its amazing to me how many law-schoolers play video games during their classes. Maybe if the school had a class on video games the students in it would read law books for other classes (genius).

Quick, staring contest, me and you. AHHH, you win again, you always do.

If you don’t know what beef jerky is, chances are everytime you see it in the store you are turned off by the name. Imagine the potential sales figures if Beef Jerky was actually called Beef Indulgence, Beef Ecstacy, and was made by the “Be all you can Beef” smoked snack company (registered trademark, patent, all that stuff).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The deepest Broadway Blues are black


Post #11 Topic: The Hossa the Rising Sun

In what could very well be a preview of next year’s Rangers team (its important to acknowledge next year at the beginning of this year so as to recognize that the opportunities for a Stanley Cup are not a one time deal… especially for a team that only recently turned the corner on a decade of misery and mistakes) tough guys Sean Avery is out for a month. Sean Avery, a pesky, agitating, slightly scoring inclined forward that the Rangers acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for a marginal prospect WAS the sparkplug that lit the Rangers fuse at the end of last season. One can not deny that Sean is largely responsible for the Rangers late season surge. However this is a contract year. And as in all professional sports, a contract year symbolizes “one last chance to earn a spot on next year’s roster/earn a higher paycheck elsewhere”. A month on the bench will not be conducive to either of those options, and will instead give some young Rangers a chance to take the spotlight.

But not so fast! Three years ago the Rangers traded one of the few bright spots of their miserable farm system, Garth Murray, to the Montreal Canadiens for brother of NHL superstar Marion Hossa, Marcel Hossa. Since that acquisition Tom Renney has been patiently waiting for a track for Marcel to explode on, and other than slight glimpses, Mt. Marcel has been disappointingly dormant.

That was until the end of last year when Coach gave Marcel an opportunity that few NHLers get, and even few are bad enough to screw up… a chance to play on a line with Jaromir Jagr. To be fair, Marcel played great on that line. He scored, he forechecked, he grinded, he pinched, he played defense, he hit and most importantly, he made Jagr happy. Just as things were going well for Marcel he got injured, ending his short but illustrious rise to the top of the Rangers depth charts. When he returned, he was not the same.

That takes us to this year where Marcel was benched for the first two games. With the acquisitions of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez (both of which I remain uncertain about), Marcel’s spot seemed to disappear. The only remaining openings (penciling in Sean Avery) were 3rd line center, and 1st line wing. Unfortunately for Marcel that 1st line wing spot had to be taken by Marty Straka in order to avoid relegating Avery to the 4th line where he could not be as effective as last year. So Marcel was benched for two games, until Avery got hurt. Now it is Marcel’s chance to show all of New York why he should be traded as quickly as possible.

Prediction: Marcel comes back, plays several effective games, chips in a few points, and plays some defense. Jagr is happy, but only because he gets to keep the puck more often than if he were playing with Gomez or Straka, and Hossa slides under the radar, remaining in the line up. CAUTION: this will be a huge mistake.

Looking at the future, Marcel Hossa does not fit into the Rangers plans. Out of the 12 forward spots on next year’s team, 8 are already filled including: Jagr, Drury, Gomez, Straka, Callahan, Prucha (or equivalent replacement from farm system) Blair Betts, Brandon Dubinsky (if he is given the time to show his talents which Marcel’s presence could hinder). This leaves four spots that might already be spoken for. 1st, Artem Anisimov, young Russian phenom WILL BE IN THE RANGERS LINEUP NEXT YEAR. The kid is simply too good not to be. He showed flashes of brilliance in camp this year and is only 19. After a year of dominating the AHL, there will be nowhere else for him to go. The same can be said about this year’s draft day steal, Alexei Cherapanov, a 17 year old who has already broken Russian super league records set by Ilya kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin (which is great company for non-hockey fans).

Down to two spots. Now I assume that Brandan Shanahan will not be back, and have a slight intuition that we will see Marty Straka depart over the course of this year, however neither predictions are guaranteed which is even more evidence of an imminent Hossa Departure… Plus Avery might be back, which I highly doubt. The next name in line is Alex Bourret, acquired from Atlanta on the trade deadline for a bagel and a free movie pass by the name of Pascal Dupuis. Last year, as the youngest skater in the AHL, Bourret started slow. But, once he got comfortable on that Hartford first line he illustrated why the Rangers were so thrilled about his deal. Bourret has 1st line potential, but will likely be stuck on the 3rd line due to the Rangers strong farm system and already impressive professional depth.

The last spot is opened by the departure of Ryan Hollweg or Colton Orr, whomever takes more stupid penalties. Within the Rangers system are several prospects that play a similar agitating style of hockey but, gain an advantage over Hollweg/Orr from their ability to put the puck on the net. These names, who will compete for that last spot are: Jessiman, Byers, Korpikoski. Assuming the Rangers roll 4 lines then this spot is (Lauri) Korpikoski’s. Should they choose to have a seldom used checking line then the job goes to one of the other two. Either way, the potential lines look something like this (projected mid-season lines after we see how talented certain youngsters truly are)

Bourret Anisimov Jagr

Drury Gomez Callahan

Prucha Dubinsky Cherapanov

Byers/Korpikoski/Jessiman Betts Hollwg/Orr

This leaves no room for Marcel Hossa. On top of that, there are several other prospects within the system that have a chance to make large strides this year (Tom Pyatt being a strong candidate), that could create an even greater problem of “who goes where”.

So why trade Marcel today? Simple. By staying on a line with Jagr, Hossa’s true abilities are disguised. If any do surface they will quickly be credited to playing on a line with Jagr, and if they don’t then his trade value will plummet even farther. Ironically, Marcel’s trade value is already low, perhaps in part to unfair comparisons to his brother Marion, but nonetheless, he is a 25 year old forward who has yet to show any of the promise he was originally pegged with.

If the Rangers trade him today, they are likely to send him off at his highest value. In his place the Rangers call up Nigel Dawes, who had a terribly impressive finish to his camp and has been amongst the league leaders in the AHL in scoring for two straight years (and juniors before that). Chances are Dawes doesn’t make the lineup next year, which is the perfect reason to bring him up now. Should he pan out, score 25 goals and play a decent +/-, then the Rangers win and have a tougher competition for Alex Bourret’s otherwise pending spot next year. Or, in worst-case scenario, the Rangers have a valuable chip to package with goalie prospect Al Montoya and one of either Paul Mara or Marek Malik at the deadline for a true #1 defenseman not named Michael Roszival, in which case the Rangers become the absolute favorites for the cup.

Should he flounder the Rangers have at least determined that he is not good for their system, and can dump him at season’s end at no loss. If he stays in the minors all season, he is exposed to the same mediocre talent that has enabled him to post such great numbers on a consistent basis… Nigel Needs to show that his game translates to the NHL, and keeping Marcel around completely ruins that chance.

So in essence, the Avery injury was a blessing in disguise, as it should give the Rangers a chance to find out a little bit more about some of their presumably NHL ready talent. Here is how I see the lines breaking down:

Straka Drury Jagr

Dawes Gomez Shanahan (this line showed a lot of chemistry in the pre-season)

Prucha Dubinsky Callahan

Hollweg Betts Orr

This way, by the time Avery comes back we know whether we really need him. If Dawes pans out and then Avery is highly tradable as an expiring contract to a cup contender looking for some grit. If Dawes doesn’t work, then Avery pops right back in on that 2nd line as if he never left. And if I have my way, Marcel Hossa is playing in Colorado or Calgary where should he emerge as the star he was once predicted to be, there won’t be a radio feed anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard with enough interest to let us know how terrible of a mistake we made.


Other Notes:

No one goes to Subway without ordering ETNC (Extra Tuna No Charge). I swear that all of the people that work in those stores know what it is already, and expect you as a customer to ask for it. Therefore, if you don’t you’re inevitably being ridiculed by the guy who always gives more peppers than he should.

I can’t stand the people that make fun of the people that say “do you hear the lyrics?”. Only mindless music is worthwhile for its beat alone. A really good song becomes good by how catchy its words are, and its goodness should be judged based on how many times/day you catch yourself singing it without reason: Case in point: Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you will be SUCH A FINE GIRL.

Florida Marlins Manager admitted that he’s not tough enough and needs to toughen up. Owner of the Marlins 0 – David 2

You take my hand I’ll take your hand, together we may get away.