Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big Showing at the Herbies for Arizona

As far as I am concerned Kirk Hebstreit is the voice of college football. Year after year he seems to be the most knowledgeable and consistent when it comes to his analysis and picks. I hope that doesn’t jinx anything as he has just released his 8th annual Herbie Awards and has shown Arizona a considerable amount of love. The following are his categories, who placed and where. I have also added in links to some of our articles that correlate to his decisions.

Best Wide Recievers:
6. Mike Thomas

College Football's Top WRs: By Conference

Best Tight Ends
2. Rob Gronkowski

Best Quarterbacks: Old School: Classic Dropback Style
5. Willie Tuitama

Gone Bowling: First Time in a While
1. Arizona

I need sock cause were going BOWL-ing
Eff it Dude...Let's go Bowling: Arizona Preview Part Deux

Movin On Up
2. Arizona

Arizona Football Season Preview

Conference Picks- Mark It Down
Champ: USC
Sleeper: Arizona

Coaches Who Will Exceed Expectations:
3. Mike Stoops, Arizona

It looks like we aren’t the only ones that think that Arizona is ready for a break out year.

More after the jump...

Roddick Serves Too Hard for Professional Tennis

Alright, it is time to vent. I think everyone has had more than their fair share of the coverage on Jericho Scott. A quick refresher: Jericho was the nine year old from Connecticut who was told that his 40 mph fast ball was just too fast for little league. As much as I had to say on the matter I refrained from ranting due to the fact that the coverage was so overwhelming it made me lose complete interest in the story. Today, however, I found a related story that happened at the pro level and this time I could not let it go. In the U.S. Open Andy Roddick was taking on Fabrice Santoro and was just two points away from sealing the win. Roddick hit a 140 mph serve that Santoro barely got out of the way of. The next serve Santoro stood there with his racket on his hip while Roddick waited for him to get in position, but he never did. Instead Santoro motioned to him seemingly saying “just serve it” and watched the ball go by him for the ace and the victory.

Here is what Santoro said after the match (From the Boston Herald)
The match was over, I was a little disappointed in the way he served the point before. He served straight at me for sure. That’s a good strategy during the match, but it was almost over. He realized it was kind of a mistake. (Santoro was told that Roddick was aiming for the T and he responded by saying the following) Then it was the biggest mistake of his life. When he serves for the T, he gets the T.

When asked what the exchange was like when they met at center court after the match, Roddick said

I just said I wasn’t going for him I’m not going to go for someone up 6-2, 6-2, 5-2. It was a bad miss, but it was a miss I hit very hard. I was excited about the way I was playing, but to end like that it was a little disappointing. I can understand where he was coming from and I probably would be a little (ticked) off, too.

Come on Santoro, you really have to be kidding me. You are a professional tennis player, or say you claim. You are faced up ready for a serve to be sent your way, and it happened to be hit extremely hard. You know who you are playing, you know that Roddick is known for his explosive serves. If you can’t handle it, then don’t bother showing up. If I were to step in there and reacted the same way then it might be warranted because I have no business on a tennis court, not at a country club and definitely not at the professional level. I share the same sentiments as Around the Horn’s Woody Page who so aptly put it “Go back to France, drink some wine and smell the flowers”. It is one thing to be a little upset by thinking it was intentional, but when you react by not even attempting to put a racket on the final point it is completely disrespectful. You have no class, Roddick was overly apologetic to the media and to you. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. He is Roddick and you are Santoro so get over it or don’t bother showing up again.

More after the jump...

It's Baaaaaaaack!

I know I'm straight up thieving from Staples but am I the only one who is picturing the following:

Exterior Arizona Stadium (or whatever team you wish) - Afternoon

SOFT FOCUS: Friends and families join together in a grassy area beer in one hand, grills aflame, smoke rising. Laughter, High Fives, a KID runs by the screen clutching a tiny football. Shirtless Frat guys pass by the screen, 12 identical skinny blonde girls in school colors follow in their wake.

BACKGROUND MUSIC: A. Williams, "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Ahhhh it's back again ladies and gents. It's Fall and it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, screw Christmas. If I need to make a list of pros and cons I can but Sports in the Fall takes it down.

Of course it would start off close:
Both would start by checking off Family, Singing Old Traditional Songs, Good Food, Fun and Games, and Drinking before Noon. But where Christmas pretty much only adds Presents to the list Fall brings us Cheerleaders, Upsets, Violence, Rivalries, Rushing the Field, Beer Bongs, Scantily Clad Co-eds, and Playoff Baseball.

Imagine my excitement this morning clicking onto and seeing NCAAFB among the options to select for score updates and schedules. That's right sports fans, we've got 14, count 'em Fourteen Games on the Gridiron tonight, and while not many are going to go down as the best games of the season, a couple of them (Oregon State at Stanford and NC State at South Carolina) will go down as the first games that I watch of the 2008 College Football season, an honor in itself.

Not only that but take a look at the calendar, it's the 28th of August. For those of you unaware that means that September 28th is 1 month away. September 28th also happens to be the last day of Major League Baseball's regular season. Starting September 29th it's Playoff Baseball.

Things to watch for this weekend:

Youngstown State (Y-Town) AT Ohio State -
This will most likely be a huge blowout, as per usual, but expect to see Highly Tauted recruit Terrelle Pryor and the Sweatervest's new Pryor Package take the field at some time. The future of Buckeye Football.

Appy St. AT LSU -
Defending FCS Champ vs. Defending FBS Champ. Don't expect LSU to fall like Michigan last year because well, LSU doesn't suck, Michigan did. The upstart Appy St. will likely be plenty excited about this game but they will see what it's like to actually play against the D-I rather than Michigan.

Bama AT Clemson -
One of two big Week 1 games with Top Ten teams facing off against other ranked opponents. This could be the first big upset of the '08 season. There are two certainties about Saban and Clemson. Saban will coach his team to one big upset each year and Clemson will drop one big game a year. This seems like planets aligning to ensure that happening.

Illinois AT Missouri -
This will flat out be a great game. The Illini are without Mendenhall but Juice is one year older and one year better, and he is the same QB who led the Illini to a major upset win over Ohio State last year. Missouri was in the title picture until they lost the Big XII Championship. Chase Daniel and Co. want to show just how good they are. This should be an epic showdown in The Arch Rivalry. Phillies AT Cubs -
Big Series for both teams. The Phils are a half game back from the Mets in the East, 4 games back from Milwaukee for the Wild Card. The Cubs are hot and holding onto a 6 game lead going into the final month. this should be a big matchup. This could be the series that sends one team in a down spiral to end the season and could provide the other enough juice to finish the season strong.

Sox AT Sox -
Boston's fighting to hold onto their Wild Card spot in the AL. Chicago's holding a very, very slim lead (1 game) over the Twins in the Central.

Doy-ers AT D-Backs -
D-Backs have a 3 game set hosting the once hot Dodgers. They also have an unsettling 3 game lead over the Men in Blue.

I dare you to find something better to watch than any of the above. This is a good weekend to be a couch potato.

If you're wondering how much I love the fall and all that it brings to the table. I named my daughter Autumn. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

It Truly is... The Most, Wonderful Time....Of The Year.

More after the jump...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Games, Absurd Trophies: College Football Rivalries

The collegiate world provides the best setting for spirited competition and rivalry in all of sports. Debating rivalries is definitely a difficult task and brings you to points that steer the argument towards which is the biggest, which has the most tradition and of course which is the most relevant now. I looked into College Football’s rivalries to determine where I stand on these issues, and came up with some categorizations to help myself in future debates.

The Biggest:

The Ohio State University vs. Michigan
All Time Record: Since 1897: 57-41-6 (Michigan)
Trophy: N/A
Reasons Why:
1. All Time Wins: #1 Michigan 869 vs. #5 Ohio State 798
2. Annually played as both teams last game, the match up has decided the Big Ten Championship 23 different times and subsequently Rose Bowl bids (Michigan reactivated in the Big Ten in 1916, Ohio State Joined in 1912).
3. The game goes beyond the collegiate world, it is a phenomenon that is not seen in other parts of the country. The State of Ohio revolves around Buckeye Football, regardless of alma mater or collegiate affiliation, same can be said for Michigan on a slightly smaller scale.
4. Bo vs. Woody: Ten Year War, followed by friendship and show of class that is unrivaled in coaching before or since.
I could write a 100 articles on Ohio State Michigan Rivalry, but those are the top five to come to mind.

Honorable Mentions:

Alabama vs. Auburn: “Iron Bowl”
All Time Record: Since 1893: 38-33-1 (Bama)
Trophy: Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Award
Why: Rooted in deep southern tradition revolving around football, this game is always gritty. State bragging rights are on the line between two teams that have traditionally been very competitive.

Oklahoma vs. Texas “Red River Shootout”
All Time Record: Since 1900: 57-40-5 (Texas)
Trophy: Golden Hat (Exchanged between Teams)
Red River Shootout Trophy (Exchanged between Student Bodies)
Governors Trophy (Exchange between Governors)

Army vs. Navy
All Time Record: Since 1890: 52-49-7 (Navy)
Trophy: Commander in Chief’s Trophy (which is given to the winner of the series between Army, Navy, and Air Force)
Why: It is a patriotic thing. It has a long and storied tradition. Neither team has been relevant in terms of football, but those playing have never been so important. Most will never play after this game, but will join each other as brothers in arms and there is a
very emotional aspect of the game that comes along with that. It will continually be televised and watched by countless of Americans every year.

“First”, “Longest”, “Most” Rivalries:

“Lafayette vs. Lehigh: FCS: “The Rivalry”
“The Most Played Rivalry in College Football”: 143 Games
All Time Record: Since 1884: 76-62-5 (Lafayette)
Trophy: The Rivalry was established before trophies became a staple. Instead, the winning team receives the game ball which is painted with the teams colors and the score of the game. This is especially interesting because it gives a historical view of the evolution of the football that is enshrined at both schools.

Arizona vs. Arizona State: “Duel in the Dessert”
All Time Record: Since 1899: 44-36-1 (Arizona)
Trophy: Territorial Cup: The Oldest Rivalry Trophy in College Football
Harvard vs. Yale: “The Game”
“Oldest Rivalry in College Football”:
All Time Record: Since 1875: 65-51-8 (Yale)
Trophy: N/A

Best Name for a Rivalry Game:

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”
All Time Record: Since 1893: 56-38-5 (Georgia)
Trophy: N/A
Why: There is something to be said for being blunt.

Honorable Mentions:

Arizona vs. Arizona State: “Duel in the Desert”
Why: Nothing is harder than a duel, especially in the Wild West.

Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia “Backyard Brawl”
All Time Record: Since 1895: 60-37-3 (W.Virginia)
Trophy: N/A
Why: There is something about the word Brawl. Add in the idea that its taking place in the Backyard and you get that rough no holds bar kind of love to hate situation.

Best Rivalry to Party at Regardless of Affiliation:

Florida vs. Georgia “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” or simply “The Cocktail Party”
All Time Record: Since 1912: 46-37-2 (Georgia)
Trophy: N/A
Why: Neutral Site. Two States. Tailgating that starts nearly a week in advance. Look it up, it is on my list of things to do before I die college football list.

Best Rivalry Trophies:

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
All Time Record: Since 1890: 33-24-3 (Wisconsin)
Trophy: Paul Bunyan’s Axe
Why: When it comes to instruments of forest destruction, Bunyan’s Axe stands alone.

Purdue vs. Indiana
All Time Record: Since 1925: 68-36-6 (Indiana)
Trophy: Old Wooden Bucket
Why: Quite honestly, because it looks homemade. It resembles the 1920’s version of a fraternities trophy made from a keg shell.

Absurd Rivalry Trophies:

Fresno State vs. Boise State “Battle for the Milkcan”
All Time Record: Since 2005: 2-1 (Boise)
Trophy: Milk Can
Why: Milk Can? I understand you are two of the top dairy producing states in the nation. Idaho you are potatoes. California you are a lot of things, in the dairy world maybe you are cheese. Seriously, a Milkcan? If the trophy originated over 50 years ago I would have given you the tradition excuse, but in 2005 I think we can do a little bit better don’t you?

Bowling Green vs. Toldeo “Battle of 1-75”
All Time Record: Since 1980: 15-13 (Toledo)
Trophy: Peace Pipe
Why: If a rivalry is to be truly gritty, you can not hit the peace pipe after it is over knowing full well that it will happen again next year. The losing team should be fired up and wanting to take back something that was taken from them. The only thing worse than the peace pipe would be playing for an olive branch.

Oregon vs. Oregon State: “ Civil War”
All Time Record: Since 1894: 55-46-10 (Oregon)
Trophy: First awarded in 1959 Platypus Trophy
Why: As far as the state of Oregon is concerned the result of breading a Duck and a Beaver would produce a Platypus. That is really what is happening here, and I don’t think I need to add anything of my own.

Iowa State vs. Missouri
All Time Record: Since 1959: 58 -34-9 (Missouri)
Trophy: The Telephone Trophy
Why: The story goes something like this: The phones from the coaches box were wired so that that the teams could listen in on conversations happening on opposing sidelines. They fixed it before the game started. To immortalize their inability to wire the stadium correctly Northwestern Bell created the trophy.

I bet there was at least one of these that you didn't even know about....

More after the jump...

Rookie Season

Once again, I follow Dom in obscurity. I will not get up on a political soap box, and this is no way me advocating people into believing my personal views, but when someone kicks ass you have to give due credit.

And Hilary Clinton, last night, you kicked ass!

When the Democratic National Convention began, political analysts all over the country said that there were four things that Barack Obama needed to accomplish if he hoped to beat John McCain in November;

1. Unite the Democratic Party
2. Show how he intended to change America
3. Have Hilary Clinton fully back him and
4. Start going after John McCain

Well Barack Obama, you better start thanking Senator Clinton, because she just gave you what you needed to win this election.

First of all John McCain when you start talking about Barack Obama being the biggest Democratic celebrity, you missed the boat, it is so obviously former President Bill Clinton. They are referring to him as Elvis at the DNC.

But last night wasn't about Elvis, it was about Senator Hilary Clinton. Here is a woman who 18 months ago most likely assumed she would be accepting the Democratic nomination at this very convention and last night stood on a platform and told the 18 million who voted for her that they must elect someone different. In a 6 minute speech Senator Clinton reminded us all why she is who she is. She knows she's powerful and she's not going to let us forget that, but she also sees the bigger picture and she swallowed her pride and stood there for Barack Obama.

On the 88th year marking the passing of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, on the 40th year marking the riots protesting the Vietnam War at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, we for first time we heard and believed that Hilary Clinton truly supported Barack Obama. She came out swinging.

She started by listing the reasons she ran for the Presidency and right when you thought she was going to end with " told you so", she asked "did you vote only for me or did you vote for the causes we all believe in, because if you do believe in these causes you must elect Barack Obama". Classy move- cross 1 and 2 off the list.

She also went after John McCain, something Barack Obama has yet to do. She proclaimed " No way, No how, No McCain". She also made quite the analogy- saying " it's funny that George Bush and John McCain will be in the Twin Cities next week [ for the Republican National Convention], because these days it's awfully hard to tell them apart". Zing- cross 4 off the list.

Obama you better know an awesome florist. As the DNC continues we'll hear more from former President Clinton, Obama himself, and other Democratic leaders but the energy and spirit of last night most likely won't be created again. As this convention goes on John McCain is not hiding, he's out doing numerous press circuits and his supporters are taking ample opportunities to take swings at Barack Obama, which they should be doing this close to an election. However, one comment interested me more than others. State Representative Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota said " You need to bet on McCain, you cannot put a rookie in the White House". Well with all do respect Ms. Bachmann- some rookies kick ass.

Kerry Wood:
Took the NL by storm with the Chicago Cubs and gave a rookie of the year performance. Finishing 13-6, a 3.40 ERA, 233 strikeouts and on May 6, 1998 before the age of 21 striking out 20 Houston Astros. He kicked ass.

Andre Igoudala:
Dick Vitale said it was a mistake for the 76'ers to take him, seeing as how he was a 27% shooter from the 3 point line in college ( it's also probably because his name wasn't J.J. Reddick), but Iggy used this as motivation. He was thrust into the 76'ers starting line up, and was the only 76'er to play all 82 games including 5 playoff games. He was the only 76'er to record a triple double and he was named to the All Rookie First Team. He kicked ass.

Finally, Devin Hester:
Criticized by sports fans and analysts because they believed the Bears should have spent their early draft picks on offensive prospects. Well in his 13th week as a professional football player he scored 6 touch downs, including one for 108 yards, and returned a punt for a game wining 83 yard touch down. He kicked ass.

My point being, rookies aren't always bad, sometimes they can kick ass. John McCain says that he's worried " it's too early for Obama to be in the White House". Well frankly I'm worried that it's too late for John McCain- we have serious issues that need serious ass kicking.

So whatever party you align yourself with- get all the information you can, ask all the questions you can and when it comes time to vote- vote, like Senator Clinton said no matter what you believe, we cannot afford to have people sitting on the sidelines.

Side Note: Jay Mariotti announced this morning that he will no longer be working for the Chicago Sun Times- because he believed that the future of sports journalism is online. Well Jay... does this mean your officially muted off Around the Horn?

More after the jump...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dancing with the "Stars"

I know I'm stepping on 4Real's toes here jumping into the reality TV sect of The Beardown, but I just couldn't help it. I was scanning through my RSS feeds and stumbled across something about Misty May and Warren Sapp, and before I finish reading the Headline I clicked to view the article...oops.

It listed the newest contingent of Dancing with the Stars contestants and to fulfil the athlete portion Retired Behemoth Defensive End Warren Sapp, Gold Medal Beach Bikini wearer Misty May-Treanor, and American Olympic Sprinter Maurice Greene have been tabbed. These proud athletes have been selected to follow in the dance steps of other "stars" such as:

J Peterman from Seinfeld
Ian Ziering AND Jennie Garth of 90210
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman

Cliff from Cheers
The formed and molded plastic formerly known as Elvis' Wife
The ex-wife of Beatle Paul McCartney
3 Boy Banders: 1 NSync, 1 New Kid, and 1 kid brother/98 Degrees member
1 Spice Girl
AC Slater
Miley Cyrus' dad
Countless Disney Channelers
Wayne Newton
and many more!!

Congratulations to the accomplished Athletes participating in this amazing event and being able to compete against other such Stars as Lance Bass, Susan Lucci, Toni Braxton, Kim Kardashian, Rocco DiSpirito, Brooke Burke, Comedy Central Official Roaster Jeffrey Ross, and the guy next door in Married With Children.

Three thoughts have come to mind while researching this:

I wonder if the season with Heather Mills was the highest rated Dancing with the Stars due to people watching to see if her leg would fall off in mid-spin.

How many times has Al from Home Improvement had to turn down a chance to appear?

When does LeBron show up?

God I hate Reality TV.

More after the jump...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Olympics: Home Field Advantage?

In the process of researching for a much more extensive article I started to see a couple of different trends and facts about the Olympics that I had not seen written about in any of the articles I came across. The main thing that stuck out to me is the apparent home field advantage that being the host country gives. For this particular article I will be focusing on the Summer Games pre and post separation only. Since the 1906 Games are not officially recognized by the IOC even though the 1896 and the 1900 were I will use the 1908 London Olympics as the base figures for subsequent comparisons.

1908 Sweden won 8 Gold, 6 Silver, 11 Bronze : 25 Total
1912 Sweden hosted the games in Stockholm where they posted:
24 Gold 24 Silver 17 Bronze: 65 Total

In 1912 Belgium posted 2 Gold 1 Silver 3 Bronze for a total of 6 medals.
The next Olympics were held in 1920 in Antwerp where Belgium took home 14 Gold, 11 Silver, 11 Bronze: 36 Total

1920 France: 9 Gold 19 Silver 13 Bronze : 41
1924 France hosts in Paris: 13 G 15 S 10 B: 38
While their total medal count was down they did win more Gold that year.

1924 The Netherlands: 4 Gold 1 Silver 5 Bronze: 10 Total
1928 The Netherlands Host in Amsterdam: 6 Gold 9 Silver 4 Bronze: 19 Total (Their highest total til the 2000 Games)

1928 The United States: 22 Gold, 18 Silver, 16 Bronze: 56 Total
1932 United States plays host in Los Angeles: 41 Gold, 32 Silver, 30 Bronze: 103 Total

1932 Germany: 3 Gold 12 Silver 5 Bronze: 20 Total
1936 Germany hosts in Munich: 33 Gold, 26 Silver, 30 Bronze: 89 Total

1936 Great Britain: 4 Gold 7 Silver 2 Bronze: 14 Total
1948 Were the next Games which Britain hosted in London: 3 Gold 14 Silver 6 Bronze: 23 Total

1948 Finland: 8 Gold 7 Silver 5 Bronze: 20 Total
1952 Finland hosts in Helsinki: 6 Gold 3 Silver 13 Bronze: 22 Total

1952 Australia: 6 Gold 2 Silver 3 Bronze: 11 Total
1956 Australia hosts in Melbourne: 13 Gold 8 Silver 14 Bronze : 35 Total

1956 Italy: 8 Gold 8 Silver 9 Bronze: Total 25
1960 Italy hosts in Rome: 13 Gold 10 Silver 13 Bronze: 36 Total

1960 Japan: 4 Gold 7 Silver 7 Bronze: 18 Total
1964 Japan hosts in Tokyo: 16 Gold 5 Silver 8 Bronze: 29 Total

1964 Mexico: 1 Bronze : 1 Total
1968 Mexico hosts in Mexico City: 3 Gold 3 Silver 3 Bronze: 9 Total (Highest in their history)

1968 West Germany: 9 Gold 9 Gold 7 Bronze: 25 Total
1972 West Germany hosts in Munich: 13 Gold 11 Silver 16 Bronze: 40 Total

1972 Canada: 0 Gold 2 Silver 3 Bronze: 5 Total
1976 Canada hosts in Montreal: 0 Gold 5 Silver 6 Bronze: 11 Total

1976 Soviet Union: 49 Gold 41 Silver 35 Bronze: 125 Total
1980 Soviet Union hosts in Moscow (60 Countries including United States do not participate in boycott): 80 Gold 69 Silver 46 Bronze: 195 Total

1980 United States did not compete
1984 held in Los Angeles

1984 South Korea: 6 Gold 6 Silver 7 Bronze: 19 Total
1988 South Korea hosts in Seoul: 12 Gold 10 Silver 11 Bronze: 33 Total (Highest in their history)

1988 Spain: 1 Gold 1 Silver 2 Bronze: 4 Total
1992 Spain hosts at Barcelona: 13 Gold 7 Silver 2 Bronze: 22 Total (Highest in their History)

1992 United States: 37 Gold 34 Silver 37 Bronze: 108 Total
1996 The United States hosts in Atlanta: 44 Gold 32 Silver 25 Bronze: 101 Total

1996 Australia: 9 Gold 9 Silver 23 Bronze: 41 Total
2000 Australia hosts in Sydney: 16 Gold 25 Silver 17 Bronze: 58 Total (Highest in their History)

2000 Greece: 4 Gold 6 Silver 3 Bronze: 13 Total
2004 Greece Hosts in Athens: 6 Gold 6 Silver 4 Bronze :16 Total

2004 China: 32 Gold 17 Silver 14 Bronze: 63 Total
2008 China hosts in Beijing: 51 Gold 21 Silver 28 Bronze: 100 Total (Highest Total in their history, 04’ was second highest)

I know that there are a lot of controversies surrounding the Olympics as a whole and an infinite number of variables besides straight medal counts. That being said, I still feel as though it demonstrates that there is a common theme amongst the performance of a country when they are the host.

More after the jump...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dream vs Redeem

I've been watching a lot of the Olympics this year, for the first time since 1996, and I'm loving it (apparently that over the top McDonalds proud partner of the Olympics has worked on me). I've been listening to lot's of sports radio coverage of the Olympics. Not necessarily by choice because I listen to sports radio and that's what is talked about, but I can't say im upset. One thing I'm absolutely sick of.....

The Redeem Team

Not the team itself, they have been nothing but well behaved while representing us in Beijing. Most likely they've been responsible for a good portion of th 100,000 condoms donated to Olympic Village. They show up at events which is more than can be said about teams in the past. They were sideline awestruck watching Michael Phelps, and not only during his 7th and 8th Gold Medal wins but other events. They are all about the greater team, that of the USA. I applaud their efforts on and off the court. I am not sick of the team itself, but the stupid Redeem Team marketing ploy. I was sick of Dream Teams II-IV as well as the Dirty Dozen. There was only one Dream Team because it was in fact THE Dream Team. I would rather turn the TV on and watch grainy game film of a Dream Team practice than any game featuring any of the players on the Redeem Team. With the exception of Christian Laettner, who I can only assume stuffed himself in Assistant Coach Krizooski's Gym Bag to make his way over there, this was the Dream Team. 10 of the 12 players who represented the US in Barcelona made up 20% of the Top 50 of All-Time. Two of their coaches (not Coach Krizooski) are among the Top Ten of All-Time.

When you've got John Stockton, who started 1,255 of 1,258 games he appeared in from 1987 until he retired in 2003, on your bench starting precisely 0 games you know you've got a good team. The Redeem Team is an All-Star Team, the Dream Team was an All-Time Team. I realize they aren't out there to replace the dream team but let's be honest. Maybe, maybe Kobe could have started for the Dream Team, but that's still having to choose between Bird or MJ and Kobe to start and I don't think Kobe is better than Bird, and I Know he isn't better than Jordan.

If you wanted to break it down on a position by position basis let's look:
1: Jason Kidd vs. Magic Johnson
2: Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
3: LeBron James vs. Larry Bird
4: Carmelo Anthony vs. Charles Barkley
5: Dwight Howard vs. Patrick Ewing

Things aren't as easy when we get down to the Second team since (other than Jordan) the other 4 starting positions went back and forth, there wasn't a designated starting Line-up, but we can look at the guys who started less games.
1: Chris Paul vs. Clyde Drexler
2: Deron Williams vs. John Stockton
3: Dwyane Wade vs. Scottie Pippen
4: Michael Redd vs. Karl Malone
5: Chris Bosh vs. David Robinson
No Contest. I'm pretty sure the Dream Second Team could beat the Redeem First Team. When it comes down to the Top 100 Players of All-Time in 2047 at least 10 of the Dream Teamers will be on that list, and Chris Mullin might even have an outside shot at getting on to that team but how many of this years Redeem Teamers will be on the Top 100 at 100. By my count 5 guys have a pretty good chance, but aren't guaranteed, at being on that list.

Can't we just call them the Olympic Men's Basketball Team or Team USA?

More after the jump...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Arizona Football Update

Just like players at some of the other Division I Football programs around the country the Arizona Wildcats football team has had many of its' players sleeping on cots and bunks in rough conditions. Unlike those players, the Arizona Football Team has been doing it by choice and won't have a criminal record linked to it. For those of you who do not live in the Greater Tucson area, or do not check out the online Tucson Citizen or Arizona Daily Star you might not be aware of Stoops Troops new off-season Training Camp Regimen. Thanks to innovative thinking by Stoops and Major General John M. Custer over at Fort Huachuca in Cochise County, AZ. The Kitty Kats football team has taken a team building trip and Fall Ball Camp to the Military Institution to get ready for the upcoming season.

The players and coaches spent 4 days at Fort Huachuca located in Southern Arizona doing a lot more than focusing on football. Anyone who has been to any kind of team getaway camp will tell you that coming away from that week/weekend has the team better prepared for the season at hand. After living together for that time they grow closer. Rather than just two-a-days where the players see each other all day then go their separate days for dinner and sleep, these guys are together. From the moment the wake up until the moment they go to bed they do everything together. They run, eat, sleep, practice, and team-build with one another over the course of training camp. They learn to communicate and work together and become much closer. They also are free from the trappings of cell phones, e-mail, Myspace, Facebook, and of course newspapers and blogs.

This is the first year the Cats have ventured down to the Military Installation (rumored to be connected to the teaching of torture methods used in Abu Ghraib) and from the sounds of the reviews coming back it won't be the last. In fact, players and coaches are both asking that the 2009 trip be extended longer than this years 4 day jaunt. In my personal opinion I think this will be great for this Wildcats Team going into the season (10 days away). Team building activities do so much in the long run for these players and teams as far as building bonds and communication. This will definitely pay off every Saturday this Fall.

And I'm willing to bet, no one tries to mess with our kickers

More after the jump...

Let's Make a Deal

Hello again Everybody it's time for everyone's favorite, let's make a deal. Today's contestants are the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears.

First we have "Bowtie" Bill Bidwell here representing the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have been the team that's a year away almost every year for the last 15 years. The last time they were in the playoff was 10 years ago. They also have had a slight QB Controversy since drafting Matt Leinart.

The next contestant we have today is Jerry Angelo representing the Chicago Bears. The Bears have one of the most staunch Defenses in the NFL and the most threatening kick return specialist in the game. They were recently in the playoffs 2 years ago when they lost the Super Bowl. The Bears are only a couple of pieces away from making another strong push.

So Mr. Bidwell, Mr. Angelo.....Let's Make a Deal!!!!!

Proposed deal:

Part I - The Bears send Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, both proven Back up quarterbacks looking for a team that needs a back up quarterback, to the Arizona Cardinals for QB Kurt Warner. Some might think this will just further intensify any kind of controversy in Arizona adding 2 QBs to the mix. But upon further review the Bears are in need of two things a Veteran QB and an actual starter, enter the ultimate 2 for 1 Kurt Warner. He's not a long term answer but he can play and win for a couple more seasons.

Meanwhile, Arizona will further show their support for Matt Leinart and the Media won't be immediately pushing for Kurt Warner to take over at the first sight of uh-ohs. With a starting caliber QB as a backup there will always be QB Controversy's and negatives. With Rex and Orton as the Back ups people won't be pushing as hard for Leinart to be replaced. This way Leinart, who is the future of this franchise, will be able to take over and gain confidence.

Besides Leinart and Orton can party together.

Part II - Anquan Boldin wants out of Arizona, according to Super Agent Drew Rosenhaus. One of the only teams to offer up anything so far is Arizona Cardinal Arch Rival Dallas Cowboys. They may not be in the same division anymore but they are still bitter rivals from the old NFC East days. The Bears have receivers but a star receiver could be a nice addition. So the Bears deal Brandon Lloyd, Rookie Earl Bennet and a 2nd round pick to the Cardinals for Boldin and a 3rd rounder.

The Bears get their downfield threat receiver, the Cards get some youth at the spot including a rookie with major upside as well as one of the most coveted things in the NFL, a 2nd round draft pick as well as getting rid of a player they don't want with Drew Rosenhaus as his agent without dealing him to the Cowboys. The 2nd round pick gives the drafting team the ability to get top tier talent at a lower price.

There are plenty of other deals out there but tell me this isn't a great idea.

More after the jump...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Breaking News: Orton's #1

Breaking News from Halas Hall the Bears have named their starter after 2 preseason contests. Kyle Orton has gotten the nod over 2006 Super Bowl QB Rex Grossman. Grossman, who started the '06 season in the same sentence as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady through the first month. After all he was the September NFC Player of the Month. Of course those outlandish numbers he amassed over the first few weeks became a rare occurrence as "Bad Rex" started making appearances.

In 2006, Grossman, who had spent years on the sideline after numerous injuries, was a pleasant surprise to Bears fans who had seen Surprise Rookie Starter Kyle Orton lead the team to a 10-5 record as a starter but with very minimal major plays or Touchdown drives. Sexy Rexy threw the ball downfield, used his receivers better, and led the team to a 7-0 start. A welcome occurrence in comparison to the dink and dunk 3 yard out Kyle Orton led offense in '05. But by the end of the '06 season fans were no longer enamored with Rex who, over the last 6 games of the 2006 season amassed QB Ratings of 0.0, 1.3, 23.6, 80.4, 104.3, and 114.4.

But 2007 saw much more of the lower end "Bad Rex" than the offensive threat of "Good Rex". Orton came in to start the last three games of the 2007 season leading the team to a 2-1 record with a last minute loss to the Minnesota Vikings in his first start since a Sunday Night game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15 of 2005. This also included a victory over Green Bay with a 103.2 QB Rating (Out dueling Brett Favre's 0 TD/2 INT 40.2).

After 2 preseason games KO has officially been named the QB1 for the Bears Week 1. His numbers match up, slightly, more favorably than Rex. With a 63.2 - 56.5 edge in Completion Percentage, 5.21 - 5.13 Yards Per Completion Average, and a 76.4 - 66.9 Passer Rating. So far in the 2 contests Orton has led the Bears on 5 Drives leading to 3 FGs and 2 Punts. This is starting to seem a lot like 2005. Then again in 2005 the Bears surprised many and won the division only to lose in the 2nd round of the playoffs to Carolina, so maybe that isn't the worst thing that could happen to 2007's 7-9 team.

The Bears have always thrived with a strong defense and mediocre quarterbacks. The 2005 11-5 Chicago Bears didn't have Devin Hester. Maybe all the Bears need is a Quarterback who keeps the Bears in the game rather than one who wins (or loses) it. Bottom line, I have been pushing for Orton since mid-last season and really never understood why he lost the starting job in 2005 with Grossman's return. I don't expect a Pro Bowl season from Orton but I also don't expect any sub 65 QB Ratings (Grossman has 12 Sub 65 Ratings over the last 30 starts).

Congratulations Kyle.

More after the jump...

Faulty Tie-breaker Shows Liukin's Grace Beyond Her Years

David Flumenbaum seems to believe that he can prove the Chinese womens' gymnastics team is falsifying their ages. If this is true than the United States' Nastia Liukin deserves the uneven bars gold medal more now than she did last night. After a faulty tie- breaker (which will be broken down later in the article) resulted in He Kexin taking gold over Liukin, the United States gymnast looked visibly upset and confused yet held on her to composure and grace. Here is what happened.

He Kexin and Nastia Liukin both had high favors to medal in the uneven bars, both had identical start values 7.7 , and both scored the exact same on execution, 16.725. However, one thing separated them, He Kexin took a small step in her landing while Liukin nailed hers. When the scores came up He Kexin had been declared the gold medal winner with Liukin taking silver. As was seen around the arena everyone was wondering how He had taken gold when she had stepped on her landing and Liukin hadn't.

Lets break this down shall we:

First Tie Breaker: The start value. Since both gymnasts had equatable start values the judges moved onto;

Second Tie Breaker: The deductions taken by the middle four judges. They were equal for both gymnasts and then;

The Third ( and final ) Tie Breaker: The average of the three lowest of the four counting judges deductions. For He these came from Poland, New Zealand and Brazil. For Liukin; New Zealand, Bulgaria and the nail in the coffin Australia.
The Australian judge had given Liukin three tenths of a lower score than He - sealing her fate as a silver medal winner.

The irony in this judging in palpable, considering what happened in Sydney eight years ago. Need a refresher here you go;

At the 2000 Olympic games Chinese gymnast Yang Yung won a bronze medal on the uneven bars ( coincidental, I'm sure). A few years later in an interview Yung copped to being only 14 at the time of the Olympic games, admitting that both she and her coaches falsified documents and lied about her age to the International Olympics Committee (IOC).

Fast forward to 2008, Chinese gymnasts being accused of lying about their age, uneven bars, medal controversy- dicey.

The IOC rules and regulations were changed in the mid 90's to balance the age of gymnasts. The new regulations stated that gymnasts must be 16 in the year of the Olympics to compete. At the center of age debate are three Chinese athletes. Jiang Yuyan, Yang Yiung and He Kexin. It's stating the obvious to say that looking at a picture of these girls, one can only think they could be between the ages of 8 and 12. However, here are some interesting facts on He Kexin.

He's passport was issued on February 14, 2008 six months before the Olympics began and very close to the deadline when athlete information had to be submitted to the IOC. He's passport states that she is 16 years old, however in other documents recovered ( and since removed, because China has a very free press informational policy) her birthday is listed as January 1, 1994- making her 14 and ineligible. He also stands at 4'8 and 78 pounds. While gymnasts are known for being small, this seems almost too small, numerous gymnastics coaches have conceding that her height and weight is below average for a 16 year old gymnast.

So for Liukin, if the tie- breaker pill was not enough to swallow she must deal with all of this. However, to actually and legally be 16 she showed the world that she was graceful beyond her years; when asked as she was coming off the floor if tie-breaker and age disparity made winning the silver harder to deal with, she looked into the camera and said; He's a great athlete no matter what age, and these are the rules you have to play by.

Nastia- you deserve it, we all know that.

More after the jump...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Greatest Video Ever

Having about as much to do with sports as, well as my 2 and a half month old, the Wife had me YouTube search for something about Dwight Schrute Kidnapping/Holding Pam hostage. Before I could do the in depth search I found the following video that, just might be the Best Video in the World... It was the best video in the world....

More after the jump...

How Phelps Stacks Up...As A Country

There have been a number of articles regarding Michael Phelps’ success in the 2008 Olympic, and that is an obvious understatement. The problem I have with the coverage of American athletes is that it has made the public jaded. It is simply not enough to compete at the highest level, to be great, or even to just win. In the case of Phelps it isn’t even enough to break world records or to win gold medals. The public watches Phelps and expects him to win every time, and win by a substantial margin. Not only that but to win in every single event across the board. The 2008 coverage of Beijing has built up Phelps’ run at 8 gold medals to such a height that if he were to get silver in his eighth attempt there would be disappointment with his efforts. This of course is speaking to the general American Olympic watching audience who may not be as informed or as versed in the games or in aquatic events as others. I openly admit that the only time I watch any swimming competitions is the Olympics and a rare exception when Arizona won the Swimming and Diving National Championship this year. I started thinking more and more about Phelps and how absurd the coverage and the expectations he faces are, and decided to try and break it down into quick facts that might put it into a better perspective for those of you who are indeed jaded.

Athens 2004 Olympics (If Phelps were his own country) :

  • Phelps: 6 Gold 2 Bronze
  • 74 Countries Medaled, so automatically Phelps had more medals than 124 countries that were participating considering they didn’t win a single medal.
  • As far as gold medals are concerned Phelps would have been tied for 15th with Greece.
  • With 8 total medals Phelps would have been in a five way tie for 24th overall with Thailand, Denmark, Czech Republic, and Kazakhstan.

At the time I wrote this Article (After watching Aug 15th in the U.S, I don’t do well with time changes especially when watching events that say “live” only for my roommates to come in and ruin it because they heard who won on the radio on their drive home…Thanks NBC):
2008 Beijing Olympics
  • Phelps 6 Gold
  • Currently Phelps is tied for 4th most gold medals with South Korea, Italy, and Japan.
  • His 6 total medals puts him in 14th place overall one above North Korea and one shy of the Netherlands.

I feel as though the Olympics come and go, and you may remember a certain athlete that you picked to watch for those particular games, but overall the memories of the participants fade pretty fast. As Americans we expect to win, and are utterly confused when we don’t. It is a sad state of affairs when we expect someone to set a record that hasn’t been done in over a hundred years of the Olympic Games. He already has more Golds than any other Olympic athlete, and is just four away from the most total medals of any Olympic athlete ever. I think that we are praising him more than a fair amount, but for some reason outside certain circles it sounds like we are taking him for granted. The “Call me when he gets 8” mentality. I think something needs to be done to commemorate his accomplishments, besides lucrative purses.

More after the jump...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Optimal Stubble

I'm pretty busy today but recently, on one of the days I was much, much less busy, I went back to the Archives of an old Comic Strip from The Arizona Daily Wildcat. Optimal Stubble, written by Micah Zahler, and inspired by the average college guy life of sports, drinking, girls, and sarcasm, was one of the top things of attending the U of A from 2003-2005. Since I'm swamped at this terrible, awful, soul stealing thing called a job, I'm just posting a few of the old ones, and occasionally I'll post a few more. The Complete Series of Optimal Stubble can be found at, unlike the complete series of Ed which, for whatever inane reason, can not be found anywhere....bastards.

When you've got some free time head over to and check out all of them.

More after the jump...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Safe Olympiad

Fame was never a driving factor. Gold medals weren't really enough of a motivator. Endorsements and travel are fun and all but it wasn't worth the training. So early on I gave up on any thoughts of being an olympian despite my prowess at Gymboree. Swimming was out of the question, I never had lessons. I learned by the "My dad pushed me in the deep end at a young age and I kept my head above water a.k.a literal sink or swim" methods. Bottom line there was never really an interest in making it to the olympics for me.

Of course that's apparently because this report failed to cross my radar. 100,000 condoms have been giving to the olympic athletes participating in the games.

70,000 wasn't enough for the 2,000 athletes in Sydney, they had to go grab 20,000 more. The hope is that this year 100,000 will keep the athletes happy. There are more condoms at the games than screenshots of Michael Phelps. It makes perfect sense there are many attractive olympians who are there for 2 weeks and only compete once or twice and sit around doing nothing for the remaining days. What better to do?

Tour Beijing? Many of them have been there before in different trials and tests. They've seen plenty of the things to see in Beijing. So I suppose there is only one other option. The real question remains how do they even have the time or energy to compete in olympic events? The last thing on my mind would be running, swimming, shooting, gymnastic-ing. I would want a sandwich and a nap. With Softball and Baseball gone from the olympics will they be replaced with Sex as an Olympic Sport.

I understand the need for safe sex and that sometimes you're bored and just need something to do, but 100,000 condoms. They're only there for 2 weeks. Other questions then come to mind. Are they olympic themed? If you win gold do you also get an accompanying amount of Gold condoms? Of course another thought comes to mind. If we've got all of our best athletes in one place. And they are keeping themselves busy with one another. Why are we giving them condoms? We could have future generations of incredible olympians bred at the Olympics.

Imagine being bored at the Olympics, a pile of condoms at one side and at the other....

More after the jump...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chicago 2016

There's nothing like a little worldly competition to get one pumped for 8 years from now. This Olympic round I've been doing some comparisons between applicant cities for 2016 and past cities and I've decided that Chicago is the best place to host the 2016 games ( biased? perhaps, but keep reading).

In order for Chicago to host the 2016 games we first must beat out Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo- sounds daunting however I have come up with the top tens reasons that Chicago should host the games; here you go:

1. Sports Culture:
Chicago has the best sports culture in the United States; Chicagoans are insane about sports and competition in general. Everything in Chicago turns into a competition: racing to a seat on the L, working your way around a group of tourists that are walking 5 deep on a sidewalk, beating anyone to a cab in -15 degree weather- you get the point. Chicago fans deserve this.

2. Food:
Chicago has the most comprehensive selection of food. During my time abroad I found the food situation to be a little tricky at times ( Italy being the exception- Pasta all day everyday). Spain is famous for their Tapas- but bring in the Germans and serve them 14 plates of small food and there's going to be a beer house riot. Take the Italians to Tokyo and serve sushi it's going to be a St. Valentines Day Massacre all over again, and I'm not sure what they serve in Rio besides steak but it's probably laced with some techno drug. Chicago, has it all - 27 Tapas bars throughout the city, numerous Sushi bars, there's Italian food, Greek food, Arabic food, Mediterranean food, Bratwursts, Hot Dogs (American style not Vietnamese), and if you look in the right spot probably some steak on X. Chicago is like a United Nations for the palate.

3. Transportation:
Tokyo might have us on this one- they have trains that run up to 300 miles, which I'll golf clap you- is awesome. However, let me invite you to ride one of the classiest trains in the world the " L" brought to you by the Chicago Transit Authority- second to none in smart organizational structuring and management.

Here's the deal if Chicago gets the Olympics our taxes are going to sky rocket for Daley's dream of having the most state of the art venues ( which I support, if we're going to invite the world here lets not look like schmucks); therefore the " L" is going to get the major upgrading that it needs. Yes, we have to pay for it, but everyone now is too scared now to talk about raising taxes to fix the "L"- hey I almost fell through a floor board the other day- it's time and if takes the Olympics to make it happen I'm all for it.

Also, Rio's public transportation is not good- there is a forest that separates city life and rural relaxation. The trains are outdated and don't run from major parts of the city to others- it would be a clustered nightmare. Imagine all those people after eating their steak not being able to get back to their hotel- that's a lot of lost foreigners- and a Gypsy's paradise.

4. Venus Williams:
I dislike Venus Williams almost as much as I dislike Aneres ( yes that's Serena spelled backwards, the clothing like brought to you by her equally as annoying and much more talented sister). Venus wants Madrid for 2016. Well I bet you do- they don't think you're as annoying as we do- could you both stop wearing tuxedo's to play tennis in- I don't get it and it's not fashion forward. Therefore, because she supports Madrid everyone else should support anything else.

5. Sports Venues :
Building the venues for the games is going to be pricey no matter where you are, and lets hope that a replica of the "birds nest" is no where to be found in 8 years - although I'll give props to the water cube that's awesome. The venues for certain events ( swimming, gymnastics, athletics (i.e., track and field)) have to be built specially, other events can occur in our already laid out ( goes back to #1) sports venues. Take your pick:

Soldier Field, United Center, Wrigley Field, Allstate Arena, The Cell, Rosemont, Sears Center, Toyota Park, Loyola, Northwestern, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Chicago, Chicago State University, Northern Illinois University and the lovely Lake Michigan.

6. Japanimation:
I don't get it, I don't want to get it, it scares me and therefore the games should be in Chicago.

7. Michael Phelps:
He went to Michigan strike 1, but he's breaking records therefore I can look over his Wolverine past. If he's in Chicago he's easier to find.

8. Bar Wars:
Who doesn't want to see countries compete in Bar Olympics- German's vs. Chicago regulars- It'd be a whole other two weeks.

9. Doping:
Olympic athletes will be sent home in masses for doping if the games are held in Rio.

10. Because it's Chicago<
Enough Said.

More after the jump...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Top 15: Biggest Thieves in Baseball - Hitters

Last Week I gave you all the pitcher edition of the Top Ten Biggest Thieves in Baseball. I actually started that post with Top 20 and realized a lot of the pitchers made a case and thus decided to separate them into a separate category. Really all pitchers making over 5 Million are thieves since they only play at best 20% of the season. I guess it's a good thing I waited until today because one member of this list, actually a Top Fiver was today moved to a new team. Find out But I figured why not let you the fan know why your ticket prices are so high, and that sometimes you don't get what you pay for (Minimum 70 Games AND 200 + ABs).

15. Geoff Jenkins - RF - Philadelphia Phillies - $5,000,000
Barely cracking the Top 15 the Phillie Right Fielder plays with a bunch of guys who are keeping the Phils atop the NL East standings. In a dog fight for the NL East, the Phils are battling and they are being led by Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley. Unfortunately for this team fighting, a good portion of their salary is locked up in their Mediocre, at best, Right Fielder.

$:Stat Ratio - $555,555/HR, $185,185/RBI, $76,923/H, $192,307/R

14. Austin Kearns - RF - Washington Nationals - $5,000,000
Another guy raking in $5,000,000 per year Kearns doesn't impress many with his power or well anything. Both the Phils and Natties have RF's making $5,000,000 and underperforming. Why then are the Phils in 1st and Natties in DFL. Probably because Jenkins isn't one of the Top 5 paid players in Philly. Kearns comes in at Number 3 for Washington. When almost a tenth of your team's salary is stuck in one player he should probably have more than 30 RBIs and 60 Hits in 74 Games.

$:Stat Ratio - $833,333/HR, $166,666/RBI, $83,333/H, $156,250/R

13. Mark Kotsay - CF - Atlanta Braves - $7,000,000
Despite the recent offensive surge of Kotsay his season numbers don't reflect those of a guy making 7 Mill or in the Top 6 in Team Salaries. Of course he is having a Hall of Fame season compared to the guy he replaced in Centerfield. Kotsay is one of those guys who is slightly above mediocre, but his $7 Mill payday seems a little high. Of course it's better than the $8,000,000 he made last year. Then again, he's been slightly overpaid for more than a few years now.

$:Stat Ratio - $1,400,000/HR, $212,121/RBI, $85,365/H, $218,750/R

12. Jay Payton - LF - Baltimore Orioles - $5,000,000
Payton made not one but two great grabs, WebGems for the O's last week, and if I felt like including outfield performance that would have moved him down to the bottom of this list, or perhaps not even on it. Unfortunately I haven't adjusted my rankings based on defensive performance hence the name being Hitters and not Position Players. His $5 Mill tag might not seem like a lot but there are plenty of other Outfielders making less and producing a lot more at the plate. All he would have to do is look over at Right Field on his own team.

$:Stat Ratio - $833,333/HR, $138,888/RBI, $86,206/H, $192,307/R

11. Ray Durham - 2B - Milwaukee Brewers - $7,500,000
A decent mid-season pick up for the Brew Crew, I'll bet Ray's pretty damn happy to be out of San Francisco. One thing remains the same for Durham though, in SF his too high contract was overshadowed by Barry Zito, in Milwaukee he gets to hide behind Eric Gagne. He will help keep Milwaukee in contention with Chicago, but for an organization throwing money around by overpaying Durham right now but unwilling to sign younger proven talents to longer, higher grossing contracts might not be a good thing this coming offseason. Ask Prince.

$:Stat Ratio - $1,875,000/HR, $227,272/RBI, $89,285/H, $153,061/R

10. Kenji Johjima - C - Seattle Mariners - $6,383,333
The Seattle Catcher is making 6.3 Million in only his 3rd year, which could very possibly be his last in the Pacific Northwest. As of a couple days ago Mr. Johjima has been sidelined for the remainder of the season to make way for a younger talent. I'm sure Kenji will see the field again, but it looks like they might have written that check a little too early. Good luck dumping his contract in the offseason.

$:Stat Ratio - $2,127,777/HR, $265,972/RBI, $104,644/H, $319,166/R

9. Gary Matthews Jr. - LF - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - $9,400,000
Another member of the "If Defense Counted" list Matthews, Jr. finds himself in the Top Ten. Perhaps that 2004 - ? HGH prescription mentioned in the Mitchell Report has something to do with his numbers dropping in all but one area, salary. Surprisingly, he is the only name named in the Mitchell Report to appear on this list.

$:Stat Ratio - $1,342,857/HR, $261,111/RBI, $123,684/H, $247,368/R

8. Julio Lugo - SS - Boston Red Sox - $9,250,000
Boston fans are sick of Lugo. There is a more talented prospect (Jed Lowrie) hanging out in his shadow that can actually perform at the plate, and (I know I said this wasn't about Defense but) they can't wait to have someone at Short who doesn't give up 16 (and counting) errors per season. This is a bust on every level. And it really hurts Sox Fans.

$:Stat Ratio - $9,250,000/HR, $420,454/RBI, $132,142/H, $342,592/R

7. Brandon Inge - C - Detroit Tigers - $6,200,000
I'm sure sharing time with Pudge behind the plate has affected Inge but unfortunately for Tigers fans the wrong catcher is gone from Detroit. I can see getting rid of one of them, but I think Detroit got rid of the wrong one. Pudge's power numbers might have been slumping but at least he got his bat on the ball once in awhile.

$:Stat Ratio - $688,888/HR, $193,750/RBI, $140,909/H, $229,629/R

6. Scott Rolen - 3B - Toronto Blue Jays - $11,625,000
I think it would be safe to say that the Cardinals don't really miss Scott Rolen all that much. Troy Glaus might not be a huge upgrade (until his recent outburst against the Cubs) but it's still better than Rolen and his outlandish contract. I know people in Toronto expected a lot more out of a 5 figure guy, and needed a lot more to be in contention for the division or a Wild Card spot.

$:Stat Ratio - $1,660714, $305,921/RBI, $147,151/H, $290,625/R

5. Adam Dunn - LF - Arizona Diamondbacks - $13,000,000
The Newest Diamondback, as of a few hours ago is Adam Dunn. The DBacks don't have much power in their Clubhouse so I'm sure they will welcome Dunn and his 32 HRs. Unfortunately for the DBacks they will soon learn what Cincinnati has known for awhile. The man's got 80 hits, 32 of which left the park. Of course 120 other times he has come up to the plate he's sat right back down with a nice K hanging from his neck. He's had 6 or 7 games with 3 Strike Outs and has fallen victim to Golden Sombrero already once this season.

$:Stat Ratio - $406,250/HR, $175,675/RBI, $149,425/H, $224,137/R

4. Jason Varitek - C - Boston Red Sox - $10,442,030
The Captain of the BoSox, one of everyone's favorites. So much so that he went to the All Star Game. Now I understand that there is more to being a catcher than offensive numbers, but again I'm ranking hitters and Varitek is one of the more overrated ones in the league.

$:Stat Ratio - $1,305,253/HR, $326,313/RBI, $151,333/H, $417,681/R

3. Paul Konerko - 1B - Chicago White Sox - $12,000,000
Konerko took a couple weeks off in June on the DL, but it doesn't look like it improved his game at all. The White Sox are going to need their First Baseman to start seeing the ball in order to have any kind of chance in the post-season. It's a good thing Chicago has some of their better players on the bottom end of their pay roll in order to maintain. Of course it's always interesting when some of the teams top performers (Dye, Quentin, Swisher, Danks, etc) combine to make less than Paul Konerko.

$:Stat Ratio - $1,090,909/HR, $315,789/RBI, $171,142/H, $307,692/R

2. Todd Helton - 1B - Colorado Rockies - $16,600,000
Helton might have 7 HRs but he plays at Coors so even that number seems high, well higher than it would be if he played somewhere else. He makes almost 2 Million more than the number 2 and 3 salaries on the team (Holliday and Cook) Combined. I'm sure they're looking forward to the next 75,300,000 comitted to him through 2012. Sorry Rox. It might seem like it couldn't be worse but....

$:Stat Ratio - $2,371,428/HR, $572,413/RBI, $210,126/H, $425,641/R

1. Andruw Jones - CF - Los Angeles Dodgers - $14,726,910
It's not often a team has the best and worst pick-ups in the same season. It would appear that the signing of Andruw Jones is probably the worst move in team history other than Piazza leaving. I think part of the reason they signed Manny was just so Andruw was no longer listed in the team's Top 3 Salaries so the fans might forget. Also, he's been benched.

$:Stat Ratio - $4,908,970/HR, $1,051,922/RBI, $446,270/H, $701,281/R

More after the jump...

Stupid Surrender Monkey's

I am not a huge fan of the Olympics or any of the "International Competitions" for that matter. They just don't do it for me. I like football and college basketball, neither of these sports scream international rivalry or competition. However NBC had me cornered Sunday night as I could find nothing else worth watching on TV except the overly complimentary Bob Costas. Low and behold I tune in just in time to see that the French 4x100 freestyle relay team has been talking smack about the good ol' US of A. In fact Frenchie Surrender swimmer Alain Bernard made this comment when asked about Team Freedom: "The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for." Well now Bob Costas had me tuned in...god damn those heart string pulling bastards at NBC Sports.

I was moved to the point of screaming at the TV as I watched our boys destroy the world record and take down team give up in dramatic fashion. There may not be commies to root against anymore(China doesn't count) but there will always be cry babies and quitters to hate on.

More after the jump...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Top Ten: Biggest Thieves in Baseball - Pitchers

I started thinking about just how much money the Milwaukee Brewers are flushing away as their prized Closer sits on the bench, since putting him in the game holds the risk of another blown save. More on that later. I realized he was making $10,000,000 dollars this year. He is basically stealing money from the Brewers organization, which I am ok with. So I started wondering, who else is stealing money from their organization and severely underperforming. So bear witness to the Top Ten pitchers who should be wearing little masks with the eyes cut out when they leave the clubhouse.

10) Paul Byrd - Cleveland Indians: $7,500,000
Might be on the higher end of the total salary he actually earns it, well more of it than some of the others on this list. His 4.72 ERA isn't something many brag about but his 122 Innings does help the Bullpen out a bit. Honestly, 6 wins for an underperforming Indian team is actually kind of a surprise, especially since he doesn't get above 90 on a fastball too often. Played well in the postseason last year but offseason HGH accusations might have something to do with the drop in performance.

$:Stat Ratio - $61,475/IP, $1,250,000/W, $358,695/Start, $117,187/ER

9) Adam Eaton - Philadelphia's Phillies: $7,958,333
Eaton can't look back on teammates for his W-L total. With a 4-8 record Eaton hasn't really impressed many and surely hasn't shown that his nearly $8 Mill is worth it for the Phillies organization. The Phils offense has put up an average of 3.25 runs in those 8 losses, but that doesn't make up for his 5.80 ERA. The nearly $8 Mill does however look similar to his 8 losses.

$:Stat Ratio - $74,376/IP, $1,989,583/W, $418,859/Start, $115,338/ER

8) Bob Howry - Chicago Cubs: $4,500,000
Came into the season in a 3 way battle with All-Stars Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood for the Closer position. Lost the battle. As a middle reliever he has 14 Holds. In his 4 Save Opportunities he has blown 3 and gotten one. He's 4-4 on the season. In his 4 wins he's given up 3 runs in 4.1 Innings of work. On the season he has given up 32 Earned and 11 HR in 54.1 Innings of work. That doesn't include Inherited Runners he has let in. That 5.3 ERA is one of the last things you want in a reliever.

$:Stat Ratio - $83,333/IP, $1,125,000/W, $140,625/ER

7) Brad Penny - Los Angeles Dodgers: $9,250,000
This one might not be as fair since he's been on the DL the last month and a half but needless to say the Opening Day starter hasn't played up to his potential. He has however made the most of his earning potential. Early in the season BP looked more like Batting Practice than last year's Cy Yong candidate. On the plus side he got decisions in 14 of the 15 games he started in prior to his DL stint. On the down side 9 of those were losses and the Doy-ers pulled off the comeback after Penny left the game in the 5th which would have been his 10th L. Dodgers fans might have been relieved when Penny went on the shelf in June, his 5.88 ERA wasn't impressing many fans. Of course with the addition of ManRam more runs might mean a couple extra wins for Brad Penny.

$:Stat Ratio - $107,558/IP, $1,850,000/W, $616,666/Start, $165,178/ER

6) Jason Isringhausen - St. Louis Cardinals: $8,000,000
Thanks to last nights 2 inning 0 run performance Isringhausen's ERA drops below 6 again at 5.98. Jason started out strong for the Red Birds with 7 Saves and a Win in 9 innings over their first 9 games and a deceptive ERA of 4.00 (2 games with 2 runs each out of the first 9). The Cardinals surprised many with their burst from the gates in didn't last too long. His next 9 appearances gave him 4 Saves, 4 Blown Saves, and 4 Losses and he lucked into a 9th inning rally to save him from his 5th Loss. During that stretch (6.2 Innings in 9 games) his ERA went up a little higher to 12.16. Since that stretch Jason has played mostly in a mid-relief role with a couple more Blown Saves tagged on as the season has gone on. St. Louis GM was quoted earlier this week as saying, "we can't keep giving games away. We've been very supportive of Izzy. At some point, you have to get results." Especially when you're paying "Izzy" $8,000,000

$:Stat Ratio - $210,526/IP, $666,666/S, $296,296/ER

5) Carlos Silva - Seattle Mariners: $8,250,000
Ironically enough, and a huge surprise to me, the AL leader in losses falls onto this list. Who woulda thunk it. This isn't really on Mr. Silva since his career high in wins is 14. Of course his career high in losses is 15 so that isn't saying much. In fact over the last 3 seasons (including this year) he has amassed a record of 28-41. I'm not sure a few subpar to mediocre seasons are worth an $8.25 Million dollar contract but what do it know. It's amazing that a guy who has an opponent batting average of .323 has 12 losses...wait, I mean it's amazing that a guy with an opponent batting average of .323 has actually put 4 wins on the board. Of his 23 starts 8 times he hasn't made it past 5 innings worth of work. I'm actually kind of shocked he only has a 5.92 ERA.

$:Stat Ratio - $62,977/IP, $2,062,500/W, $358,695/Start, $95,930/ER

4) Brett Myers - Philadelphia Phillies: $8,583,333
The second part of the Phillies Two Headed Monster on the list Myers has done even less than any of his counterparts mentioned above. Unfortunately, he too missed time. Unlike Penny though he wasn't on the DL during his missing chunk of July, he was in Pennsylvania playing for LeHigh Valley of the International League. After a few games in AAA ball the Phils brought him back up to the majors. It seems to have straightened him out with a Win and 2 No Decisions. Not exactly what you expect of a guy making over $8.5 Million Dollars, but at least he's not giving up 5 Earned in 2 innings. Unfortunately for Myers, his season has actually been worse than his 4-9 record. Many of his 7 No Decisions had him leaving with an L hanging over his head to be saved by his offense. He has given up HRs in 13 of his 20 starts and has allowed at least 3 Runs in 15 of his starts...Boom Outta Here.

$:Stat Ratio - $71,527/IP, $2,145,833/W, $429,166/Start, $120,892/ER

3) Eric Gagne - Milwaukee Brewers: $10,000,000
If he would have had this contract a few years ago when he was putting up 50+ saves it would have been a steal at under $200,000/S. Unfortunately for the Brewers he got an Opening Day win. Of course your closer getting a Win usually means your Closer Blew it when he came in to close out. Luckily for him, the Brewers managed to win in the 10th to give the former Cy Young winner a W. Usually when a team commits that much money to a player they expect a certain amount of productivity. And it's not as if he was on the DL so his numbers are low. He did miss a few weeks in June but the fact that he's only pitched 28 innings in 31 games speaks volumes about his performance since heading to Milwaukee. He's got 5 Blown Saves on the year in 15 tries, but they haven't been looking to the Mad Bandit to take the ball in close games.

$:Stat Ratio - $370,370/IP, $1,000,000/S, $500,000/ER

2) Aaron Harang - Cincinnati Reds: $6,750,000
I really should have stretched first because I'm about to reach back and pat myself on the back pretty hard right now. To Aaron who commented on my Season Preview , "Aaron Harang isn't Cy Young caliber? Are you kidding? You can't claim to be an NL Central "expert" and make claims like that..." Well Aaron I think that Mr. Harang's 3-11 record with a 4.76 ERA speaks just enough for me and my "expert" status. Also, In the course of that article, I never referred to myself as an expert, though maybe I should now. Anyway may be on the DL, and has been there since July but somehow put up 19 starts and 123 innings, and while that may seem high you have to remember just who the Reds manager is and his penchant for ruining pitchers. Of course the season really didn't start off too good for Harang with the Opening Day loss...and 10 more since then.

$:Stat Ratio - $54,878/IP, $2,250,000/W, $355,263/Start, $103,846/ER

1) Barry Zito - San Francisco Giants: $14,500,000
The biggest Thief among pitchers in Major League Baseball, and top3 Thieves playing the game right now. He is actually worth more not playing because putting Z man on the hill. Though he's 5-4 over his last 10 games he was 1-9 before that. His ERA has fallen over the last few 5.40. Barry ranks #1 in the NL and ML in Losses.

$:Stat Ratio - $125,000/IP, $2,416,666/W, $659,090/Start, $207,142/ER

They always say Defense wins championships and that you've got to pay for pitching but relievers making $10,000,000 dollars and 14,500,000 who was barely over .500 since winning the Cy Young. Things to pull away from this article, sorry Philly but it doesn't look like the World Series is in your reach when two of the pitchers on this list happen to play for you and are allowing more runs than even your powerful offense can put up. There are also 2 casualties of the Mitchell Report/HGH allegations (Gagne, Byrd). There's also a whole lot of National League pitching on this list.

More after the jump...

The Top 10 Reasons We All Hate Notre Dame

10. The demands of being Irish-Catholic: Yes, we know that you are a Catholic Institution. Yes, we know that you have a derogatory Irish Mascot. Yes, I happen to be both. No, I don’t feel obligated to support you. Facts show that nearly 14% of the United States thinks they are Irish, and over 26% claim to be Catholic (80 Christian). From my own research 95% of the U.S. thinks they are Irish and 99% of those people claim to be Catholic-ish (Those numbers increase depending on how far you are into the tailgate). Furthermore, you can make anything green, slap a shamrock on it and it will sell. Notre Dame has been abusing that fact for over a century. Seeing Notre Dame apparel is the only time when I wish I wasn’t Irish.

9. Lou Holtz’s Lisp: Listening to this man makes me long for Lee Corso. When did having a speech impediment move you to the top of the list for anything, especially TV analysis. Someone has a pact with a higher power….

8. WWTDJD: How do you like to picture Jesus? Notre Dame likes the Touchdown version the best: Sorry Boston College, Sorry TCU, Sorry SMU, Sorry Villanova, Touch Down Jesus supposedly lives in South Bend. Unfortunately, over the last ten years it appears as though the big guy spent more time watching Boston College games: Since the 97’ season Boston College is 87-48, Notre Dame is 78-56. Plus the way things are going lately looks like he has been in Ohio anyways:

7. Notre Dame is in South Bend which is In Indiana. Anyone that knows me, knows that I have an eternal beef with the state of Indiana. South Bend, not impressed. I spent time in Elkhart, even worse. Worst yet, and my permanent vote for worst city in the United States: Gary Indiana. The whole state smells like home made playdoh. That is why people from Indiana have more narrow faces, it’s just evolution.

6. Heisman Voting : Notre Dame boasts about having the most Heisman Winners in its history with 7 ( Tied with USC and Ohio State who actually has 6 winners and 7 trophies). I have a problem with 2 of their last 3 winners. Lets Start with Paul Hornung who took the Bronze Stiff Arm in 56’. Hornung was the running back for a Notre Dame team that finished 2-8 when he took home the prestigious honor. Who Should Have won? How about Jim Brown? His Syracuse Orangmen went 7-2 that season and were ranked 8th in the country or Johnny Majors from 10-1 1st ranked Tennessee? The next and latest Irish player to win the Heisman was Tim Brown in 87’ making him the first Wide Reciever to win the award.

Brown’s 87’ Stats: 34 Rec 846 YDS 34 PR 401 YDS 144 YDS Rusing 23 KR 456 YDS Total: 8 TDs

Who should’ve won? How about Don McPherson of Syracuse who led the Orangemen to 11-0 regular season before tying Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and finishing 4th in the country. Notre Dame went 8-4 in 87’ ranked 17th in the AP and UR in the Coach’s poll.

Do you like your Shillelagh with Jewels or Without? They play 5 Rivalry Games a Year. That’s right, FIVE. Notre Dame, you are an independent team, you play teams from four or five conferences a year. Did each conference make a case for who hated you more, and thus won the right to be your rival? The State of Michigan has some major problems with you, maybe both states will do us all a favor and wipe eachother out.

Rivalry Games:
Boston College: The Ireland Trophy
Purdue: The Shillelagh Trophy
USC: The Jeweled Shillelagh
Michigan State: The Megaphone

4. Rudy. Pre-Reality TV no one got so far with such little talent. If I remember correctly, Rudy wasn’t good enough to make the team. He stuck around for four years trying, but never made it past the practice squad. Then after long await he got the epitome of pity minutes, earning 15 seconds at the end of the final game of his four year career (remember, on the practice squad) when the game was over and no one was playing. BUT WAIT he shared a sack. If that doesn’t touch you then you are a rational human being. Sorry Rudy, you were never good, and plus the movie definitely isn’t in the top 5 sports movies discussion. Hell, it isn’t even in Sean Astin’s Top 5 best works (Behind the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Encino Man, and the Goonies).

3. They Were Ranked and Your Team Deserved it: I refer you to my previous article about the BCS bias. I also refer you to this database that has ranked the most overrated and underrated teams 1989.

2. They Were in a Bowl Game, Your Team Wasn’t. We make a huge deal out of Hawaii going undefeated, winning a BCS Conference, and getting to play in a bowl. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has gone to BCS bowl games with multiple loses, aren’t in a conference, and have proceeded to lose their last 9 appearances. How can this happen….

1. Money. As if the very fact that Notre Dame has an NBC contract to televise every single home game through 2010 isn’t enough to make you want to convert, it gets worse. In 2004 NBC extended the contract through 10’ after losing the Bowl to Oregon State by 17 points. Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t their 7th straight bowl appearance loss. Don’t worry they would lose their next two as well. That is enough to make any college football fan mad, but to add insult to injury they receive so much money that they repaint their helmets with real gold before every game. I think there was something in the Bible about worshipping things made of gold but my memory is a little fuzzy.

4Real Out....

More after the jump...