Friday, February 29, 2008

Zell Inspires A Million Dollar Idea



So this Wrigley Field Naming Rights thing really had me going there for a while. Well tonight it took a whole meaning when I was talking it over with my best friend who reiterated how I thought any Chicago Native would: she was heated and rightfully so. Well the ideas really started flowing, first in the form of what would happen if that were to actually go the way it is planned? She assured me there would be riots in the streets. My first thought was of flipping cars lighting them on fire and subsequently starting the second great Chicago Fire. Her reaction to this…”How can I get my car to Clark and Addison so it can get flipped and set on fire? You know, so that way I would have to get a new car.” That a girl, now were talking. Then I remembered that a couple years back I gave her the idea to name her dog Wrigley. Well that inspired me, I mean maybe Zell is right. He is upset about the Wrigley Co. getting their name displayed for free for 80 years right? Excuse me, but Garnes’ dog has been walking around Lincoln Park constantly getting his named called out loud for the last couple years. Isn’t it about time the Wrigley Co. did the right thing and paid her for what they’ve been getting for free? If they don’t then we are just going to have to put poor Wrigley’s name on the market with the rights of renaming him going to the highest bidder. Well why stop there. The dog formerly known as Wrigley will be taken to the neighborhood formerly known as Wrigleyville fully equipped for alcohol distribution. We will also be accepting bids for the alcohol brand and any other signs you can strap, tape or mount to our four legged advertising machine. Email for more details….

4Real Out…
More after the jump...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hometown Hero Trevor Crowe Off To Big Start In Spring




It’s officially here. Spring Training started today, and after a good convo with Dom planning our first spring training outing this Saturday I decided to take a closer look at my Tribe’s big win (Its Spring I know but Ws are still Ws) over the Astros today. Solid stats all around, some decent performances, but there was one guy in particular that stuck out to me: Trevor Crowe. Arizona fans might remember him from the 05’ team that went deep into the College World Series. At the University of Arizona he ended his career (In 171 games) with a .361 average 16 homeruns, and 122 RBI. This includes his 05’ campaign in which he hit .403 with 9 homeruns and 54 RBIs in 60 games. Those kinds of numbers secured him 1st Team All American, Co-Pac 10 Player of the Year, and a finalist spot for the Golden Spikes Award (Best Amateur Baseball Player in America). He would go on to hit .500 in the College World Series and be named to the ALL- CWS team.

Crowe entered the draft where he was taken 14th overall in 2005 by the Cleveland Indians. Crowe has been playing ball primarily with the Indians AA affiliate the Akron Aeros, and has had some decent numbers. I don’t want to put them here since Minor League players jump around so much that the numbers end up coming out somewhat skewed.

The Indians may need a solid outfielder, and are not shy about bringing young talent into their roster (Cabrera, Gutierrez. Sizemore). With the absence of Lofton in left field, is it unreasonable to think that Crowe has a shot of getting some playing time over Jason Michaels? He was invited to spring training this year and got some substantial playing time this afternoon against the Astros. In the first game of spring he went 2 for 3 with a walk and 3 RBIs. He may be a hometown favorite to us here at the BearDown, but if he keeps up his momentum through spring we may see him making the show in 26 days.


4Real Out…..
More after the jump...

Spring Beginnings

It has finally arrived. That glorious day that reminds us once again what it's like to be an American. Spring Training is upon us, and not just the pitchers and catchers reporting kind I spoke of 2 weeks ago, I'm talking play by play on the way back to work from my lunch break. And if there is any shock on your part, you are new here, but Baseball is back, in the immortal words of Bill McNeal a.k.a the late Phil Hartman, "The crack of the bat... the roar of the crowd... join us and the boys of summer for all of the baseball opening day action." And here it is. Granted who cares past the 4th inning other than those in the perfect conditions in AZ and FLA at the game, but that doesn't really matter. I get to hear Mark Grace telling stories not fit for most audiences (if you don't know what I'm talking about google Mark Grace and either "Jim Rome" "Slump Buster" "Dan Patrick" "Greg Maddux" or "Woody" and no he wasn't talking about Kerry. A brand new year, clean slates, and a great outlook for most baseball fans, unless of course you're a pirates fan.

If you are somewhere in the Southwest or Southeast, I would suggest finding a group of friends and head to a Spring Training game one weekend soon. It's a great environment, and the areas (bars) near the parks are alive and ready for action. It's a magical time of the year. Plus the weather doesn't get any better than it is right now. Go to weather.com and look up Tucson, Mesa, or Scottsdale, and tell me you don't envy us right now. This might not be on the same scale of the Super Bowl or Final Four, but sometime in your life, do yourself a favor and make a spring pilgrimmage, it's so worth it.

With that the Finale to our Baseball Pre-season breakdown, since the Pre-season has started. If you have read our past columns, and I dont' feel like linking them right now, you know our Division winners and all of the analysis that went into it. For the brief version here it is:

NL West: D-Backs
NL Central: Cubs
NL East: Mets
NL Wild Card: Phillies
AL West: Angels
AL Central: Tigers
AL East: BoSox
AL WildCard: Indians

NLDS: Cubs over Mets, Dbacks over Phils
ALDS: Tigers over Boston, Tribe over Halos
NLCS: Cubs over DBacks
ALCS: Tribe over Tigers

World Series: The AL is the better division. In a fair match-up I would always go with the NL team because the AL has to play NL ball for a few games which is more difficult strategically and lends itself to a slight NL advantage. But in this case, the game is seriously divided to the AL's advantage and the Tribe should wipe the floor with the Cubs in 5 games. Sweet Lou's troops might push it to 6, but this series won't go 7 and the Cure of Rocky Calavito will soon be over. Rejoice in Cleveland, you guys have earned it. A town that hasn't won a professtional title in God knows how long, and has had to watch Ohio State lose 2 football championships and a basketball championship. They finally get their W. And the world will collapse on itself once the final pitch is thrown. Right in the middle of Wrigley Field at HDNet Stadium on the North Side of Chicago.
More after the jump...

Bears Notes

The Chicago Bears are confusing many a Bear and football fan out there with their recent off-season moves. First, they release their #1 receiver, then it looks as if they won't be signing their #2 (and leading) receiver. Then go out and extend T-(roublesome)Rex and the Neck Beard for another year. Apparently Bears management decided that having receivers simply didn't matter anymore since the quarterbacks weren't even capable of getting the ball to them to begin with. Thank god it's a good running back class in this year's draft, I say the Bears should just pick all of them. Lovie must be working on a new style of offense, he's bringing back the wishbone and aborting the forward pass. The Bears are going to be playing 2008-2009 football the way it was meant to be played.

I'm sorry I'm just ranting because the Bears are making less sense with each passing day. Also possibly options right now are going after Roosevelt Colvin (since there's no way Rosen-ass will let us re-sign Briggs) and Marty Booker. Why stop there? The Bills released 2001 Rookie of the Year Anthony (A-Train) Thomas. Well for the record Keith Traylor is out there too. I think David Terrell might be interested in a contract. Alonzo Spellmen could be available after his stint in the asylum. I really don't want to see which moves are next in thie re-building process. typically rebuilding does not mean re-building the same team from 6 years ago. Yikes.

Back to Grossman and Orton for a second. I think I might have figured out what's going on with these QB issues. Grossman only plays well when he's got something to prove (1st half of 2006 season) once he was settled in as the starter and making "who are you voting for" MVP commercials he became inconsistent. As long as Lovie said Rex is our guy he got worse. He went into the 2007 season as the starting QB with support. After a few terrible games making many of us forget that Good Rex ever existed, he was pulled. Griese went in, got hurt and went back out. Grossman actually performed OK. Once again he was the starter, even when Griese was ready to go again. Then in ultimate Rex fashion Rex got injured and the team decided to give the ball to Orton. Here's the thing. Had Kyle Orton started the Super Bowl against the Colts I firmly believe the Bears would have won XLI. The only thing stopping the 2005 Bears from being successful (and remember they went 9-4 with Orton as a starter) was the lack of scoring. Well enter Devin Hester. In XLI with Orton not losing the game and the Bears Defense and Special Teams winning the game, they would have won. Unfortunately the Bears stuck with we need Rex to win the game knowing full well that Grossman is capable of both winning and losing a game whereas Orton was only capable of managing a game and letting it's pieces fall where they may. So the point of all of this is that The Bears are banking on Orton pressuring Grossman into performing first half of 2006 well and if he doesn't they'll put in Orton. This has to be one of the worst decisions and QB Controversy Oddities I have ever heard of.

2008 promises one thing for Bears fans. Frustrating post-game press conferences.
More after the jump...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

College Basketball Thoughts

OK It’s about that time to take a look at the 2007-2008 College Basketball season that is/has been. Apologies are also in order to the masses for my lack of creative/any real material recently, work is killing me. Namely, they’re actually making me do stuff around here instead of simply writing for my sports page in between cold call messages. So I hope you all aren’t too angry at me. Then again, chances are your cares are very little. For those of you who do care I appreciate it, and as a side note, if you are reading this in your office and you get sales calls during the day, it’s not that hard to be polite. There are some attitudes on people out there, and let’s just say that there are a few people in Northern California who are not very receptive to taking calls, or attending the conferences I have invited them to. But enough about that, like I said, it’s time to talk some College Basketball.

Believe it or not I absolutely love the College Basketball season, it is a close second to the College Football season, and typically a little more reliable. The late season Duke Swoon, the undefeatedes start falling in conference play, the phenoms start playing every game like it’s the combine and take selfish shots (I’m talking to you Jordan Hill, look how that worked out for Hassan Adams a couple years ago). The best thing of the last regular season weeks of the College Basketball season, in my opinion, is the fact that as of right now, my bracket isn’t busted yet. Of course 3 weeks from now I will have guessed the play-in game wrong on my way to my bracket being officially busted by noon Thursday. So let’s talk some college basketball.

Lute Olson:
First off, the man is a legend like him/Arizona Basketball or not he deserves a little respect. And the treatment he got in the beginning of the season from the media was terrible. If he needed to take some time off, he deserved it and he did not deserve having his private life on the front page of ESPN/SI/etc. I realize these people are public figures. But what Coach O’s divorce had to do with public knowledge is beyond me. It didn’t need speculation, he left the program in capable hands during a rebuilding year, and as of November 4 the media should have left it with that. Coach O, on behalf of Wildcat fans everywhere we can’t wait to have you back next year, if you’re still willing to come back.

Arizona Basketball:
What a down year for the Wildcats. UA is on the verge of being a bubble team come March Madness and at least 1 win over the remaining 4 games is mandatory to have a shot. The win over Washington State on Saturday was a major step in the right direction. But it’s still too little too late for a rebuilding team that will most certainly lose 1 if not 3 of their top players to the draft this year and have another rebuilding year next year.

Consistency:
As a U of A fan I see this in all of our sports, and have for years. I’m used to it but that doesn’t mean that I like it, and I know there are people out there that agree with me. The team constantly playing to their opponent’s level and never knowing which team is taking the floor. And it’s not just a matter of having an off night, Using Arizona for example taking Kansas to Overtime but losing to Virginia. Beating Washington State twice and losing to Arizona State twice. This makes March even more upsetting because before we (or any other team in the same position) can even take that 5 or 6 seed deep enough in the tournament to upset a 2 seed in the Sweet 16 we lose to a lesser team in the first round. It drives me crazy.

Rankings:
As with College Football, though not as ridiculous as the 2007 season teams have been all over the AP Top 25. 47 to be exact, 47 different teams have appeared in the Top 25 at one point this season. Also the Top 5 is not really that safe. 3 teams, NC, Memphis, and Tennessee, have lost as #1, UCLA, Kansas, and Duke have all lost when ranked #2, Tennessee, NC, and Kansas have all lost when ranked #3, Texas, Washington State, UCLA, and Kansas have all lost when ranked #4, and Georgetown (twice), UCLA, and Duke have all lost when ranked #5. What does this mean? A Few things, first of all that this year’s Conference tournaments, will mean a lot to teams like UCLA as far as getting that #1 seed. Second, three teams have been #1’s this season. All three of those have been #1 in the last 6 weeks, and they just so happen to be the respective 1, 2, 3 going into the second to last weekend of the regular season, and current #1 Tennessee, lost to Vanderbilt last night. Third, Georgetown is praying for anything but a 5 seed in the tournament. The main difference between these rankings and the BCS rankings are the fact that these don’t really matter and the teams get to play it out tournament style which I am still pulling for in football.

Kelvin Sampson:
What really can be said? Sampson was bound to get in trouble, that’s why you don’t bring in coaches with past indiscretions, especially to a program that is finally rebounding after the Bob Knight fiasco a few years back. What did Kelvin do at Oklahoma? Oh that’s right illegal communication with recruits? I would make a joke about them going after Larry Eustachy but since he took a leave to be with his ailing mother and did not leave the program due to pictures of him with Natty Lights, I’ll refrain as much as I can. I think Jerry Tarkanian is looking for a Head Coaching position.

Pac – 10 Officiating:
I am saying this as a fan of a team in the Pac – 10 and I happen to watch mostly Pac – 10 games. I also say this knowing full well that Arizona has been on both sides of poorly officiated games. The Stanford vs. Arizona game 2 weeks ago was one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen on any level in any sport, including a High School game involving Gilbert High School in Arizona where the head official took off his referee jersey/shirt after the game and was wearing a Gilbert High School Football supporter T-Shirt. If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it, it was straight out of the WWE Storylines. But I digress. The Thursday before that Stanford game Arizona played Cal and attempted 36 free throws. Pac – 10 officials are by far the worst officials in all of college sport. As I said it is not bitterness as an Arizona fan because we have been on both sides of the calls. It’s the fact that you go into the game knowing it will most likely be one sided and as a fan you don’t know which side your team is on. It’s not abnormal for Pac – 10 football officiating to be just as bad.

Bubble Time:
It’s about that time of year where Men hear the word bubble and thoughts of excitement, Selection Sunday, and basketball, rather than beer and gum. By my count there are about 6 teams who are on the bubble for the Tournament who were ranked by the AP at one point during the season. Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Kent State, Miami, Texas A&M are the 6 that need a big win, a couple wins, or a strong showing in an (if applicable) conference Tournament to secure a spot, but all 6 should be in. Other formerly ranked teams that look less likely of going to the Big Dance are Dayton, Ole Miss, Oregon, Rhode Island, Southern Illinois, Syracuse, Villanova, Virginia, and Kentucky, who, if they missed it would snap a 16 consecutive tournament appearance streak. These 9 teams still have an outside shot but conference tournament success looks to be their only chance at this late junction. They’re still breathing but on life support.
More after the jump...

Tribune Co. To Sell Naming Rights to Wrigley Field



Coming off my frustration of the Barry Bonds Japan speculation I turn to try and find some good baseball information to lift my spirits. Instead I found another huge blow to what is left of baseball when the sport was still pure. To me there are three stadiums and teams that have preserved their long standing traditions to the best of their ability while keeping up with current trends: The Red Sox at Fenway Park, the Yankees at Yankee Stadium and The Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, the Cubs who have stayed faithful for a 100 years without a World Series Title are now in jeopardy of selling out an iconic part of baseball history and tradition. It has been reported that The Tribune Co. who currently own the Cubs and Wrigley Field are in the market to try and make a transaction that would sell Wrigley. The Cubs hold an annual “Meet the Cubs Management” convention, and this year there were a number of comments and discussions made that disappointed me as a baseball fan who appreciates tradition. The following are quotes from the Tribune Co’s spokesman for the cubs, Crane Kenny.

"The naming rights are very valuable, The last naming-rights deal that was done in New York, Shea Stadium is being renamed Citi Field. That's a $400 million naming-rights deal.”

"The Wrigley Co. doesn't pay anything for the naming rights at our ballpark. We're trying to balance our desire to win, to have a big enough payroll that gives us an advantage. We should have an advantage. We're the only major market in our division.”

"Nobody wants to see the name changed. In my perfect world, the Wrigley Co. would step up and start paying for what they've been getting for free all these years."


These comments disgust me, especially the last one about the Wrigley Co. getting a free ride for about 80 years. To set the record straight the Wrigley Family did own the gum company, and William Wrigley did end up taking the majority share of the Cubs. The renaming of the stadium to Wrigley field was not a corporate move, but to honor William Wrigley who was a major influence in the Cubs organization.

The blame for disregarding the tradition, prestige, and beauty of Wrigley comes from the Tribunes Co. new owner Sam Zell (Took control in April of 07). The likely option for the Tribune Co would be to sell the stadium to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and continue to lease from them. Zell, a real estate Billionaire, is primarily looking at the business aspect of the move, and supplying the Cubs faithful with little hope for preservation of the culture they have created.

"In New York, Barclays is paying $20 million a year for 20 years for the new Nets stadium and Citi Corp is paying $20 million for 20 years for the new Mets stadium. I can do pretty good math here. Four hundred million dollars seems to be the benchmark, and you're telling us we're being paid nothing.’

Kenny would go on to make this statement
"Once we get a stadium deal done, I think Sam will decide how the books go out and what order. I think he's going to want a very level playing field for the auction."


Auction? I refuse for someone to refer the pillaging of a stories and iconic franchise as an Auction, a commodity to be sold. This is not like paying more for a T-Shirt that is “retro”, this is an important part of American and Baseball History and should be treated as such. Show some class Zell, you still have to work in that town after the final papers has been signed.


4Real Out……
More after the jump...

Bonds Considering Japan?



The newest story line in the Barry Bonds drama is the speculation that a move to Japan could be in order if no teams picks him up before the season starts. Bonds’ agent Jeff Borris was quoted as saying “He’s not retiring. He intends to play somewhere. If a door doesn’t open for Barry in the major leagues, as unbelievable as that possibility sounds, then Japan certainly is an option.” Can we all agree that for Bonds that would be a completely pointless move? He doesn’t carry the same prestige over there, at least I wouldn’t think so (He probably would get hype, but what I mean is that his home run records are his selling point and they don’t carry over). With the homerun record already broken and tainted what is the point of extending his career any longer? There have already been rumors of the Tampa Bay Rays making some moves to get him which was bad enough as it is, but now Japan? In my mind this move is completely degrading to the sport. You’re honestly going to tell me that the man who is fresh off claiming the most prestigious record in all of baseball would consider leaving to play in a different country? How many different ways can this man disgrace America’s Past Time?

4Real Out….
More after the jump...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sometimes Bias is Bias, Sometimes Bias is Fact

If you are just showing up there has been a back and forth debate between 4Real and myself, as well as a poll on the side over who was more Dominant MJ or Tiger. I got personal in my original rebuttal against 4Real, and he claimed bias. So the point of this response is to reiterate my original while trying to find what bias there was other than saying Jordan was better than Ehlo, which I'm pretty sure is fact.

While I fully agree that Tiger is the best golfer in the world right now hands down, and that he has been exceptional in his sport and even the most dominant in his sport, that is not the argument, at least as far as I thought, and who knows maybe my extreme bias is responsible for me missing the point. The point is Tiger vs. MJ: Who is/was more dominant. Well that’s not an easy task to separate for many reasons. Awards, Statistics, Competition, Accolades, these are nowhere like one another between PGA and NBA. Sure you can force things into molds to make a comparison possible but the bottom line is, it isn’t.

One man is the best individual athlete at an individual sport. One is the best individual athlete in a team game. The fact of the matter is, there is not a correct answer. To say that MJ is more dominant than Tiger is to say that what Tiger has accomplished isn’t on the same level or that Golf pales in comparison. The same holds true for alleging the opposite. My arguments were not necessarily for MJ, sure on occasion they may have leaned that way, but moreover the point of my “biased/homer” response was that comparing the two was not possible, specifically based on the stats and reasoning that 4Real dropped on us. Rule number one of any argument is to show only the good. So by taking stats and leaving other things out you can prove your point easier. Not necessarily lying or making things up but by omitting things and making the argument fit your thesis rather than vice versa. These are commonplace in any English 101 class.

4Real takes offense at the shots I took at him, which were in part because it was just waiting to be served up but also as an attack on his character. Some might look at his article as pure fact, and I just wanted to make the record straight that 4Real in fact on many occasions has made his case, very strongly in fact, for a hatred of His Airness. I on the other hand begin with a full disclosure so as not to confuse the reader into thinking it’s purely factual, but rather a response to 4Real’s claims.

So once again, my as unbiased as possible breakdown of why 4Real’s first, and following articles are wrong.

Point 1 – Rookie Comparison:
4Real points out that they are comparable since both players were Rookies of the Year in their respective sports. My statement as a rebuttal was “What Tiger did was remarkable yes, but using the award as a comparison is a stretch.” What I meant by this was not that it was a stretch to assume that Golf Rookie of the Year was as high an honor as NBA Rookie of the Year, but rather that comparing the two in their Rookie seasons was a stretch in and of itself. Once again, I’m not saying either player wins in this battle, I’m saying the comparison doesn’t work because of so many different levels of attention, of assumed leadership, of media interaction. Being a young, multi-cultural kid, beating older white veterans in a historically older white country club sport, and carrying a new breed of golfer title with you everytime you tee off is an outstanding amount of pressure, it’s comparable but not the same as being the leader savior of a historically struggling basketball team in a major market who was the 3rd pick. Neither is easier/harder or more impressive than the other, they are just completely different seasons, players, games, and decades. And they were both the best young talent in their respective sport at the time.

Point 2 – All Team Honors:
Again 4Real makes points, that I rebutted, and he rebutted, comparing the money list to the all-NBA honors. My argument there was not MJ was better it was, “Again another off-comparison. The awards are voted on not based merely on accomplishments. Also the distinction that First team selections are the equivalent of a Top 5 in the Money list is off” I was simply pointing out that 4Real’s original facts were slightly skewed and that comparing money list to all-NBA didn’t work, and I used K.J. Choi as an example. 4Real decided that he wanted to change it from money list to golf world rankings. Which is fine except for one thing, it is the essentially the same thing. You are comparing an award that is vote based (all-NBA honors) to the World Golf Rankings which are based on performance. There isn’t a ranking system in the NBA because there are so many factors. Position, Wins/Losses, FG%, 3p%, REB, BLK, STL, AST, TO, etc. There is no statistical way to breakdown and show whether or not Jordan was the #1 or 2 ranked at his position let alone the entire league. While over his career on many occasions he led in points or points per game, he never led in rebounds or blocks because he was a guard. Once again, my point was not that Jordan was better, only that the comparison being used was flawed. And as for competition sake as I mentioned. There may be 1000s of golfers in the world but the guy at the 49er Country Club in Tucson has a PGA Tour card, competition with Tiger he is not. There are more Golfers than players in the NBA, but as far as acceptable competition there are only a handful of golfers in that upper echelon who compete week in and out with Tiger and each other. Going into each golf season any golf fan will be able to correctly guess 16 of the top 20 golfers, the same doesn’t hold true for the NBA. Competition is much different.

Point 3 – Championships:
My point once again rested on the comparison since again it is a team sport and as Dirk, LeBron, Nash, Ewing, Malone, etc can tell you, it takes more than one player to win a championship. Even if you consider Tiger’s Points Championships (7/13) this is yet another astounding number, and if you read carefully not once do I say that Tiger has somehow accomplished less. But with the points championships being the most wins equaling the most points and thus a championship then last year the Spurs weren’t the NBA Champs the Mavs were with 67 wins compared to the Spurs 58. If you want to use that as a comparison, we need to re-write a lot of the records in the record books. The fact of the matter is you can’t compare individual championships to Team Championships. Once again if you read it all I did is break it down to the only possible comparison, number of championships out of number possible. And as for 4Real’s note of “Did I mention its only possible for one person to win a major or championship and not 15 like in the NBA” That’s exactly what my point was, comparing team to individual is not possible.

Point 4 – MVP Amended:
4Real amended this category to include all accomplishments rather than MVP to close to gap of comparison. The problem with that is it doesn’t solve any of the problems above it just compiles them nicely into one line of summation. As for his breakdown of Money, Points, and World Golf Rankings, all three are almost identical. The more tournaments you win the more points you get the higher you’re ranked and the more money you bring home. And if you want to say that plus a major it just goes back to the point that you get 4 chances at a major a year. As to 4Real’s point that 15 people on a team win a championship, that's true but it’s still only one champion. Golf could have 4 or even 5 champions. One each of the majors plus one for ranking or whathaveyou. Not to take anything from Tiger, my point was simply that “in an individual sport it’s easier to get the award because it's singly on you.” If you win 4 or 5 Tournaments and a Major you’ll probably win player of the year, and congrats. In basketball you could be the league leader in scoring and top 5 in other categories but if your team is 38-44 the chances of you pulling down that MVP award are slim. 1986-87 season. Chicago Bulls go 40-42. Get swept in the 1st round of the playoffs. Michael Jordan was #1 in the NBA in Pts., PPG, FG, FT, and Player Efficiency Rating, among other categories and #2 in Steals and STL/G. Once again, I am not saying that Jordan was better in this category, just that it’s a false comparison because if Tiger was #1 in almost every conceivable category he would be the MVP because there are no team Wins and Losses for comparison sake. Once again, I’ll repeat it was not a pro Jordan statement rather a fact that the comparison is weak. If with 4Real’s amended additions.

The only real comparison would be individual to individual (Dunk Contest?) but since that won’t work team to team?

Ryder Cup Stats for Tiger Woods according to the Ryder Cup site through 2006 are: 10-13-2 (3-1-1 single, 7-12-1 team) and the US is 1-4 in the last 5 which he appeared on. All-Time there are 104 US Golfers who have scored more of their Ryder Cup Team's points than Tiger. I am not saying that this is the penultimate comparison because golf is still an individual game, it just goes to show that when teams are involved things can change.

Fact of the matter is this, team settings, Tiger doesn’t win. Sunday’s and losing, Tiger Doesn’t win, Eli Manning has more comebacks on Sundays than Tiger Woods. I reiterate. Tiger Woods is probably still the most dominating golfer of all time even with those stats being accurate. But, to call him the most dominating athlete of all time goes too far. I would have to say that based on all statistics registered here between 4Real and myself, I give the edge to Jordan. But that doesn’t change the fact that the comparison between team and individual sport is not possible at least on a fair level. And the only comparison Tiger’s numbers in team events are much much lower than Jordan’s. Jordan had much more heart and drive and showed the ability to go big under pressure, he’s got comebacks and he’s 2-0 when he plays other countries. I’m not saying this as the beginning to yet another argument rather than just backing up my original arguments that A) comparing the two just isn’t possible, and 2) on the comparable stats of heart, desire, and intensity, I give the SLIGHT edge to Jordan as the most dominant athlete of all time. No disrepect to Eldrick, I think he is an absolutely amazing golfer, competitor, and athlete, and I wouldn't want anyone else on the USA Ryder Cup Team. My point from the first second was that making the comparison makes no sense, and that if I had to choose between the two I look at what Jordan has done as slightly more dominant than Woods, and if that makes me biased so be it.
More after the jump...

Extreme Bias: Tiger Vindicated

Preface: I wrote this Article about who was More Dominate Tiger or Jordan. Dom tried with all his bias might to rebuttal here.

Let’s start by saying that every great rebuttal that is completely factual and relevant starts off with over a page of personal attacks. He pull out all the stops including short jokes which don’t bother me since it makes me more aerodynamic all the better to navigate through your bias. By the time you got done reading Dom’s post the best thing you could have come away with is the clear fact that he is a homer. I mean I am honored that it took a whole paragraph devoted to me missing an apostrophe to get his momentum going, but really it’s all about the facts here kids. Grammar? We’re talking about Grammar? Not the Debate….Grammar… I’ll let Lebron make my point for me (and he is doing just fine for himself let me remind you)…




Rookie Campaigns:
I mention that Jordan won rookie of the year and made the all-star game as a point of reference to their careers. Rookie of the Year is a big start to a career and a good way to round out a resume in retrospect. The addition of the All Star team is icing on the cake. I mention this because Tiger also won the award, but failed to mention that in addition to finishing in the top 25 in 7 out of his 8 starts he also won the PGA Points Championship that year a little more impressive then a bias All Star Appearance.

“All Team Honors”:
Ok so Dom had to take my point of making the money list the equitable thing for All Team Honors and trying to break it down to make MJ’s stats look better. Well then lets get rid of my Top 5 and Top 10 designations and make them Top 2 and Top 4 like he suggested. By doing that Tigers numbers change from 11 first team honors to 9 first teams and 2 second teams. By you are right money isn’t really a good way of going about those rankings. Instead lets break down the field and prestige a little better. In 19 seasons Jordan had 10 first team honors while going against roughly 450 other NBA players. Lets say that makes him roughly in the top 10% or so at his position. Tiger would have received 11 First Team Honors if you were looking at rankings at One or Two in the World Golf Rankings. That makes him in the top 2% of players in the World seeing as it ranks the top 1,000 golfers.

Championships:
Ok so 4 chances at a Major in one year, fine. Jordan could have had an off game and still won a championship that doesn’t happen in a major…but we’re not going to get into that. If you want to talk about PGA Points Championships, which is like an NBA season with multiple events rewarded points for placement at tournaments throughout a season we could work with that too. In that case Tiger has won 7 out of 12 championships sitting him at 58% of the championships since he started the tour which includes a season like Jordan’s where Dom claims he only played 1/3 of the season. The difference is unlike Jordan, Tiger still won the championship that year. Side Note: Did I mention its only possible for one person to win a major or championship and not 15 like in the NBA?

MVP Amended:
I decided that this category should be reworked. Instead of MVP seasons, since were talking about domination, we should look at combined accomplishments. In this case MVP + Finals MVP + Championship in a single season. If we break it down like that Jordan is sitting with an impressive number of 4 in 19 seasons which is 21% since Dom loves percentages so much. Tiger on the other hand has had 6 seasons in which he has been ranked number one in Money, PGA Points Championship, The World Golf Rankings, and named PGA Player of the Year (That excludes 01 where he was Money Leader and #1 in the World, but #5 on the Tour and the 8 years he won a Major). It also excludes Fedex Championships and numerous other accomplishments).

So I leave you with one of “Jordan’s Clutch Shots”…need I remind you that when you have a thirty foot putt to win a Major there is no one to push off of to get a better line. You miss one in Augusta and there won’t be any “No Calls” to save you, it’s in or it isn’t.




4Real "The Tiger Woods of Sports Blogging and Now Debate" Out....
More after the jump...

Ahem: Well, Allow Me to Retort - MJ vs. Tiger Part Deux

In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you, the reader that I am a Bulls fan and have been for a very very long time. Those of you who read this column on a regular or semi-regular basis most likely would have picked that up by now. Also in the interest of full disclosure 4Real is a Cavs fan and more importantly anti-Jordan. It probably has something to do with






First of all, who tries to block a shot backwards? That crazy Craig Ehlo. I have no bitterness towards the Cavs, but that probably has to do with the fact that at the end of that play a.k.a. “The Shot” My guy is jumping up and down, doing the fist pump to end all fist pumps while his guy is crumpled in a pile on the ground. But anyways, that was in the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t rubbing anything in.


If you haven’t figured out yet, or didn’t read it, this is a response to 4Real’s post yesterday regarding Tiger vs. MJ. Well 4Real titled it “The Great Sports Debate”, so I figure, let’s debate.
It would be petty to point out that 4Real wrote “Well complicate things” and I’ll just have to assume that he meant “We’ll complicate things”. That would be petty, to make this personal and attack his many, many spelling and grammatical errors. And I, being a stand-up guy (for those of you wondering, by stand-up I don’t mean comedian, I mean when I’m standing up I’m about 6 inches taller than 4Real) would never make things personal like that. But back to the debate.

He is right Tiger is approaching every record set in the history of the game. And is without a doubt in my mind the greatest golfer of the game today. But that’s the thing. That’s the problem with comparing athletes in the same sport to different eras. There weren’t golfers out there in the past. It wasn’t as widely played of a game. How do we know that Tiger Woods isn’t really the next Jake Sampson who had amazing talent but never picked up the sticks because he couldn’t afford to play the game. (Ed. Note Jake Sampson is made up, I think, he is not some great golfer that never played). The same can be said for basketball. There are different eras. The pre-black players, the pre-24 second shot clock, the pre-3 point line. As the rules change so too does the game. If it really isn’t possible to compare athletes in the same sport, how can we really cross the boundary into different sports. I say this as a preface. I understand the 4Real himself pointed out just how difficult it is to compare different athletes in different sports. Of course he went and did it anyway.


Rookie Campaigns:
4Real points out that both were Rookies of the Year in their respective sports. This is true, but winning Rookie of the Year is tougher in the NBA because there are more people to go up against (remember not everyone gets a tour card) for the award. So using this as a comparison really isn’t that equal, though Tiger winning it in a short season is impressive, that shows just how little competition there is for the award. There wasn’t any other rookies in Golf that put together several top-25 finishes. What Tiger did was remarkable yes, but using the award as a comparison is a stretch.


“All Team Honors”:
Again another off-comparison. The awards are voted on not based merely on accomplishments. Also the distinction that First team selections are the equivalent of a Top 5 in the Money list is off since Jordan was a guard and there were only 2 guards voted to each team. Thus a First team selection was not a Top 5 finish but a Top 2 finish, Second team a Top 4 and so on. There is also the fact that different tournaments have different purses (winnings). A Player could land in the Top 5 in money lists by winning on average 2 events. In 2002 Ernie Els won 2 events and was 5th in the money list. So being the best on the course only twice during a 49 tournament span will put you in the Top 5 money leaders. K.J. Choi was 5th on the Money List last year and he only won 2 events, and neither was a Major.


Championships:
4Real broke it down correctly, “Jordan took home 6 championships in the form of two 3petes. Yes, he was the Finals MVP in every series, but since we comparing this to an individual sport that would make Tiger the MVP of every championship he won ( No Caddy MVP controversies in the PGA).” The fact is you are comparing it to an individual sport. Also His Airness could only attempt to win 1 championship per season. Tiger has won 13 Majors, but he gets 4 chances per year to win a major. Once again this is a comparison between individual player and team sports. Jordan took his team to 6 championships. The two years he wasn’t there, the exact same players and coaches combined for 0 Championships in those 2 years. When he was back they strung together 3 more. But good Old MJ can’t do it alone, no one can. Let’s take the best players in the NBA Nash has won 2 MVPs and no Championships, Dirk 1 and 0, and we all know LeBron is probably, and in my opinion is definitely, the best player in the game right now but he struggled against the Spurs in the Championship last year without the proper supporting cast. The same thing held true for Dirk last year as the Mavs couldn’t get past the Warriors, and Nash in the two years before struggling with the Spurs. Tiger has won an astounding 13 Major Championships but for him it’s one against the field. He’s won 27% of the Major Championships since entering the game (based on 4Real’s number of 13 total out of 12 years (times 4 per year). Jordan’s teams won 6 Championships in his 19 seasons (including the Washington years and his third of a year year back with the Bulls in 1995 prior to the 2nd threepeat) That’s 31.6% of the time. Which is higher in a tougher to win team sport.

MVP Seasons:
Jordan 5 Tiger 9. Once again if you are on a terrible team as Jordan was in the early and late years (remember he was the 3rd pick, meaning that the year before the Bulls weren’t that good, and they didn’t turn it around right away) you aren’t going to win the MVP, so the MVP award can be narrowed down to the fact that it’s a team sport as well as more people eligible for the award. Not to take anything away from Tiger but in an individual sport it’s easier to get the award because it's singly on you.

Bottom Line:
Tiger is good, Tiger is really good and is probably the best golfer of all-time. The reason it’s probably and not definitely is based on loads of what-ifs and the fact that his career is still going. If I had a gun to my head I would say he was the best ever without thinking twice. But Jordan was more Dominant. I base this on the one and only viable comparison between the two. Heart, drive, and competitiveness. Tiger wins, a lot, and is the best on the Tour right now, hands down. But, and I can’t believe I’m gonna sound like Skip Bayless here, Woods has never won a major when trailing after 54 holes. If he’s losing on Sunday, he’s not walking away with the trophy. Jordan on the other hand had to be carried off the court battling 100+ degree temperatures in the flu game. He would not back down, and he willed his team to win after win. Taking the last shot. Jordan was clutch, he was the man who’s will, heart, drive, and competitiveness made him feared on the court. That’s what made him THE Most Dominant Athlete of All-Time. Hell the Heart and intensity can be found by comparing fist-pumps, which Jordan made famous.

Jordan is 3 feet off the ground, Tiger is saluting the crowd. Not too mention Tiger's winning combination of Red and Black look eerily remnant of someone else who made red and black a winning combination.

Make sure you take a second to vote in the poll to the right.


That's the way you do it! That's the way you debate!


More after the jump...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh God He's Pulsing - ECU's Impact Player Chris Johnson



4real and Dom can vouch for the ludicrous choices I made while playing NCAA football '05 and '06 when picking East Carolina University to play against either Ohio State or Notre Dame. However, the Pirates had a nasty little running back that was good for atleast 4 touchdowns a game and gave me a little laugh as 4real and Dom struggle to stop him(except for AJ Hawk that wirey bastard). Well now that little MVP has graduated and made a name for himself at the combine. Here's some ECU love.

NameTime
Johnson, Chris4.24
McFadden, Darren4.33
Alridge, Anthony4.36
Charles, Jamaal4.38
Simpson, Chad4.42
Mendenhall, Rashard4.45
Forte, Matt4.46
Jones, Felix4.47
Parmele, Jalen4.47
Stewart, Jonathan4.48
oh and also a small blurb about his college career...

In 2007, Johnson established a new Conference USA record with an average of 227.69 all-purpose yards per game. That figure led the nation, and he was 24th with 109.5 rushing yards per game. He became the 24th player in Division 1-A history to amass more than 6,000 all-purpose yards in a career.


In 47 games at East Carolina, Johnson became the 11th player in school history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a career, amassing 2,982 yards with 32 touchdowns on 624 attempts. He holds the school career-record for running backs with 125 receptions for 1,296 yards and 10 touchdowns. He became the first player in school history to amass more than 5,000 all-purpose yards in a career, totaling 6,993 yards.

Not too shabby, EA sports props for showing the love.


*stats from NFL.com

More after the jump...

Most Dominant of All Time: Tiger vs. Jordan



The great sports debate: Who is the best of all time? Well complicate things more by comparing athletes in different sports (team vs. individual) to determine the most dominant player of all time. I saw a little blurb on ESPN about who was more dominant athlete in their respective sport ,Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, and this time I couldn’t let it go. The phrase “He is the Michael Jordan of (Insert Anything Here)” is common place, and Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. Tiger, on the other hand, has always had the arguably tag thrown before his best golfer of all time description and most of the sports world is just waiting for him to break certain records before committing to that idea. You have to realize that I am coming into this debate knowing that it is next to impossible to compare individual and team sport performances, That being said I will now break these two athletes down with comparable accomplishments as close as sportingly possible.

Rookie Campaigns:

Jordan came into the league out of the 1984 draft as the third overall pick and secured the 1985 Rookie of the Year Award. During this year he average 28.2 ppg and also made the All Star Team (This is a big accomplishment for a rookie which is why I included it, but I will not take Jordan’s 13 other appearances into consideration because it is primarily fan based and there is nothing comparable in golf).

Tiger started on the PGA Tour in 1996 and was named the Tour’s Rookie of the Year. This was after a campaign in which he only he was an amateur for the majority of the year, but made 8 starts as a professional. In those 8 starts he had 2 wins, 2 3rd places, and finished in the top 25 in 7 of those 8 tournaments.

“All Team Honors”:
In the NBA 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Teams are Awarded which means 15 totals players are awarded with such an honor each season. I’ll make the equivalent to this honor the list of top money earners in the PGA.

Jordan received 10 First Team selections (Top 5) and one 2nd team selection (Top 10).

Tiger has been in the Top 5 the last 11 years in a row, missing only his rookie campaign where he was an amateur most of the season.

Championships:

Jordan took home 6 championships in the form of two 3petes. Yes, he was the Finals MVP in every series, but since we comparing this to an individual sport that would make Tiger the MVP of every championship he won ( No Caddy MVP controversies in the PGA).

Tiger has won 13 Major Championships in his 12 years on the Tour. That includes Two U.S Opens, Four Masters, Two Open Championships, and Four PGA Championships. To compare to a three-pete we look at 2000 where he claimed the Open Championship, PGA Championship, and U.S Open. Also added to the consecutive championship idea are Back to Back Masters in 01 and 02, PGA Championships in 99 and 00 as well as 06 and 07, Open Championships in 05 and 06, or the fact that since 99 the only year he didn’t win a major was in 2004.

MVP Seasons:


Jordan took home the NBA MVP in 5 seasons including back to back honors in 91 and 92.
Tiger has taken home PGA Player of the Year and Tour Player of the Year each 9 times. He won it from 98-03 and from 05-07.

Bonus Facts For Arguments Sake:

Jordan:
Most Scoring titles: 10
Highest Career Playoff Scoring: 5,987
Third On All Time Scoring List: 32,292
Highest Career Scoring Average: 30.12
Highest Career Playoff Scoring Average: 33.45

Tiger:
Holds Largest Margin of Victory in Three Majors:
Masters 12 Strokes
U.S Open 15 Strokes
Open Championship 8 Strokes
(In Winning the 2006 PGA Championship he became the only player to win all four majors by more than 5 strokes)

I think it safe to assume who I believe to be the most dominant player in any sport ever. Woods is a mere 5 Majors and 19 wins away from tying the all time records, and he is only 32 years old. The dominance that Woods has portrayed is unparalleled and continues on year after year. To date Woods has won 8 of his last 9 World events, and last 4 PGA tour events. I could go on for pages about Woods accomplishments, the circumstances in which he won, and the absolute absurdity of his performances. Jordan may be the best player in NBA history (Debatable because of team aspects, and the help that he had on those championship teams), but as a single Athlete Dominating in their sport Tiger takes it hands down.


4Real “The Michael Jordan Tiger Woods of Sports Blogging” Out…
More after the jump...

Friday, February 22, 2008

VOID the Trade?

Maybe Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich's Crazy idea a few weeks ago wasn't that far fetched. Following the lopsided Gasol to the Lakers trade less than 2 weeks ago, the coach stated in an SI interview that, "What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension. There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I would have voted no to the LA trade." Now as we all know that little thing doesn't exist and many talking heads made light of Popvich's statements. But think about how many people would have vetoed that Garnett for scrap trade the Celtics made in the offseason. Was it any coincidence that Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale and Celtics GM Danny Ainge are friends who happened to play together in Boston. Perhaps that is something that should have been looked into.

Following yesterday's trade I was very upset with the acquisition of Larry Hughes. Sure Wallace may not have been helping as much as we'd hoped but losing him and Smith hurt. So I would have loved for this committee to be in existence. Not because of any wrong doing in Chicago, it was just a boneheaded trade of running in place. But maybe we should look closer at Seattle GM Sam Presti. For those of you in San Antonio and Cleveland the name might sound familiar he worked for (Cav GM) Danny Ferry in San Antonio. Hmmmm that Kurt Thomas deal with San Antonio seemed relatively even based on the 2009 draft pick the Sonics acquired. But then helping to make the deal work between Cleveland and Chicago and giving up Sczcerbiak and West for Newble, Marshall, and Griffin? Something doesn't seem right.

This means the Bulls are going to have to get rid of Gordon this summer because Hughes is eating up all that Cap Space with his ridiculously overpaid $13 million contract. Am I the only Bulls fan that would rather have Gordon's 20 PPG and 42% FG than Hughes' 12 PPG and 37% FG? Am I the only person who realizes that Joe Smith has the same numbers as Drew Gooden in less PT? Can we pretty please get a do-over? Paxson rarely makes mistakes, but this was a biggie let him get a re-do please?
More after the jump...

The Boys of Spring

In yet another addition of “Dom’s bored at work and feels a rant coming on” the eyes of one sports fan fall on the rest of the Fan Nation. I know I’m not the only one who prefers college sports to professional sports. March Madness is a time when men all over the country start coming down with odd ailments that keep them out of work on Thursdays and Fridays. I have seen many a Saturday with a group of people surrounding multiple TVs watching 3, 4, or in one glorious day at the old Thunderdome 5 TVs all at once. I can’t explain why College sports are better they just are.

To hypothesize it might be the lack of overpaid primadonnas on the court/field or it might be because College sports lend themselves to gambling so much better, or the fact that college Rivalries are far better and more intense than professional rivalries (especially since the advent of Free Agency). When you play college sports you are a representative of your school and you play for your school and in many cases your city. In professional sports you’re playing for the almighty dollar. But that’s an argument (rant) for another place and time. So the question remains, why, if Baseball is “America’s Game”, does College baseball go so widely overlooked?

Who won the 2006 Football National Championship? How about last year? What about the 2006 Basketball? How about last year? Who won the last 2 College World Series’? How about this one, when is the College World Series? You probably have no idea who won the last 2 World Series or even when it’s on. Have you ever watched the College World Series? It’s like the professional one but without days and days in between games for broadcast reasons. Without A-Rod announcing his decision to leave the Yankees, without the obligatory shot of Stephen King or Rudy Guiliani. It’s ok, it’s not your fault. You might be able to catch some CWS games on ESPN2 if you’re lucky.


Another great thing about college baseball is the existence of many high tiered programs. There are more teams of a better nature because the cost of running a baseball program isn’t as high as football or basketball. One of the best things about College Baseball is it’s the anti-professional sport. Take Arizona for example 5 members of it’s roster were drafted this year and chose rather to stay and play college ball. 3 others were incoming freshman who chose to play college ball first. They TURN DOWN playing pro-ball. This is common practice in College Baseball, these guys play their hearts out for the game, their team, and school, not for money or draft selection.
Then there is my absolute favorite thing about college baseball. The Atmosphere. Have you ever been to a college baseball game? Chances are you haven’t. Attending college baseball games are great from the fan perspective; it might actually be the pinnacle. It combines the perfect weather and fun up-close atmosphere of Spring Training (as well as the low cost of tickets) to the competitiveness of regular season baseball (because it is) as well as College football/basketball because of the polls and rankings and rivalries. I recall Thursdays and Fridays in my undergrad meeting up in someone’s room to pound a few Stones or in some cases take copious shots of Jager in less than 20 minutes then walking over to the stadium on a perfect, warm, sunny afternoon and watching some baseball as it was meant to be played. You can be part of the game much more than the Cameron Crazies could even hope. You can stand up 10 feet away from the On-Deck Circle yelling at the opposing batter. Get into his head if you want, it sure beats some stupid sign they won’t see. Not saying that heckling is what makes college baseball great, but the ability to heckle anyone from the pitcher to the batter to the 3rd base coach is a privilege. If you aren’t the heckling type, that’s fine, chances are some clever undergrad is doing a great job and the humor is there for you.

Now this is not some preachy “Love of the Game” article, this is me wondering why, if College Baseball takes only the best parts of all other fan-worthy sports and improve on some of them, why don’t we ever see or hear anything about it? Where is the coverage? Finding anything about college baseball is almost impossible on ESPN.com. It’s sandwiched somewhere between wrestling and ultimate Frisbee on the ESPNU page. There’s barely a mention of it if you search SI.com. Do yourself a favor, instead of forking over 44 bucks for the next over-rated boxing pay per view, get season tickets to your local college baseball games. It’s far more enjoyable, and it shows just how much farther your 44 bucks will go. If you’re like me, you’ve suffered in silence for far too long so send e-mails to ESPN and SI, ask them where the coverage is. Link this article to your friends, College Baseball has been hiding out in the background for far too long. Viva la Aluminum!

More after the jump...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Larry Hughes....

...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO The Bulls don't need A) Another guard and 2) one who shoots 36% on 480 FGA. I sent this link to 4Real (Cavs fan) months ago, now I suppose I should expect it on my facebook wall in the near future. Chicago, say it with me now, Hey Larry Hughes Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots. We don't need a ballhogging, bad shooting, bricklayer on Da Bulls. Karma you ravenous bitch. Sure you gave me 6 Titles in 8 years (and yes I do still appreciate that) and arguably the best to ever play the game, but why do you have to continually rub it in my face and make it worse. Who do I call to get this trade anulled? On a Separte note. Red Chicago Bulls #3 Ben Wallace Jersey for sale. Slightly used (less than 2 years) and way overpriced originally in retrospect. I've got a deal for you.
More after the jump...

Pats Looking to go 18-1* Again in 08

The Patriots are following up on their old off-season moves trying to repeat the rarified feat of going 18-0 and losing the Super Bowl despite being heavily favored. How do they plan to do this? Simple. First they attempt to sign an aging former pro-bowl Linebacker who is on the open market. 2006: Junior Seau, 2008: Zach Thomas? Next they go after a Miami Dophins Wide Receiver 2007: Wes Welker, 2008: Marty Booker? Then get Randy Moss on board for the year. 2007: Trade for Randy Moss, 2008: Tag/extend Randy Moss? So with all of those in play and possible the question is where do they go next. At this point last year they cut Corey Dillon (look out Maroney). Talk about uncreative. You've got to make some kind of big move if you want to improve. The Bears didn't do anything after losing Super Bowl XLI and look what happened to them in 2007. Take heed Pats or you might be next. I think they just signed the guy on the right to play linebacker next season. Sorry Zach, seat's taken.
More after the jump...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The PAC-10: America’s Conference.

As I’m sure many of you have picked up on over the recent months of reading we here at The Beardown are college sports fans, specifically Arizona, but as is the case with most college fans we root for our conference. Sure the SEC boasts about their football prowess, and that’s fine, they have more than earned it with their recent success. Other conferences are stuck looking like the Eastern Conference in the NBA, top-heavy talent. But there are more sports than football. So I decided to break down the top 5 collegiate sports programs as a whole. The sports world has been broken down into the Big 3 for a while now so I decided to keep with that tradition. But why limit it to only men’s sports. Here are the top College Athletic programs based on Top 10 appearances by the 6 major conferences in 5 major sports (Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Softball, Baseball).


5(t): Big East – The Big East is the home to 16 schools (8 in football season) and through this point in the 2008 year have appeared in the Top 10, 3 times. West Virginia (Football), UCONN and Rutgers (Women’s Basketball). Final Number: 3/72 (4.1%) of Big East teams rank in their respective Top Ten.


5 (t): Big Eleven – The Big Ten boasts 11 teams but refuses to change their name. In the last year they have placed 3 teams in the Top 10 in their respective sports. Ohio State (Football), Northwestern (Softball), and Michigan (Baseball). Final Number: 3/55 (5.4%) of Big Eleven teams rank in their respective Top Ten.


4: ACC – The Atlantic Coast Conference is home to 12 teams in two subdivisions. Despite having 12 teams in each of the 5 major sports, they only place 8 in their respective Top 10s. Virginia Tech and Boston College (Football), Maryland (Women’s Basketball), Miami (Baseball), Duke (Men’s Basketball), and North Carolina (Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Baseball). Final Number: 8/60 (13.3%) of ACC teams rank in their respective Top Ten.


3: Big XII – Once again the home of 12 teams in two subdivisions the Big XII places ten teams in their respective Top 10s. Missouri (Football and Baseball), Kansas (Football and Men’s Basketball), Oklahoma (Football and Softball), Texas (Football and Men’s Basketball), Baylor (Women’s Basketball), and Texas A&M (Softball). Final Number: 10/60 (16.6%) of Big XII teams rank in their respective Top Ten.


2: SEC – Another home of 12 teams that separates into subdivisions. Many are aware of their seemingly football dominance (despite having half (2) of the top ten teams of the Big XII (4)) but their real strength is softball fielding 4 of the Top Ten teams. The SEC proves home for 11 Top 10 Teams. LSU (Football, Women’s Basketball, and Softball), Tennessee (Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, and Softball), Georgia (Football), Alabama and Florida (Softball), and Vanderbilt and Mississippi (Baseball). Final Number: 11/60 (18.3%) of SEC teams rank in their respective Top Ten.


1: Pac-10 – Despite having less teams than any other division mentioned above the Pac-10 is the home of the most Top 10 ranked teams in the 5 major sports. They edge out the SEC with 12 Top Ten Teams. UCLA (Men’s Basketball, Softball, and Baseball), Arizona (Baseball and Softball), Arizona State (Baseball and Softball), Stanford (Men’s and Women’s Basketball), USC (Football), California (Women’s Basketball) and Oregon State (Baseball). Final Number: 12/50 (24%) of Pac-10 teams rank in their respective Top Ten.

I suppose maybe that might shed some light in some people’s eyes. Sure the SEC and Big XII are still powers, but don’t overlook the Pac-10. Sidenote, those are also the only 3 conferences to field a Top Ten team in all 5 sports. I figure it would come down to the SEC, Big XII, and Pac-10 again if you were talking girls instead of sports. Have you ever seen the girls at Duke? The South, West, and Southwest are the places to be for good college sports, and the best looking (scanitly clad ladies). It's the beauty of it down here, by mid-February the girls are walking around campus in bikini tops on their way to the Rec. But that's a battle for another time.
More after the jump...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fun With Google!

As many of you are aware Google is the premier search engine available today. So much so that the word Google itself, nonsensical a mere 10 years ago has transformed from Noun to Verb, as in I just Googled … or Google “asldfjhasd” and check out the links, so much to the point that I have heard, believe it or not, as an insult someone saying “I Googled your mom last night”. I don’t even know what that means. Nonetheless Google has become and important part of our society. Well for those of you who are unaware Webpages have tracking systems so the authors can see what works and what doesn’t as far as bringing in traffic. They can also see what brings people to their site. So I was skimming through the results of our own Google searches and figured I would answer some of the top questions that have sent people to our site, all in one post. So here it is some of the top Google queries that may have directed you to our site.

Mock Draft: In a who knows how many part series (ed. Note 5 thusfar) we have been laying down Round 1 of the 2008 NFL Draft/2008 NFL Mock Draft through piece by piece updates. The most recent being the 1-31 with the Top 20 abridged. They can be found here at the top of which there are posts to the different sections. Please visit those for some updated draft coverage, Version 2.0 will be coming out shortly following the 2008 NFL Combine. The whole combine circus begins on the 21st (a.k.a Thursday) and I believe the coin toss is this Wednesday to decide the 3rd 4th and 5th picks between Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, and Kansas City Chiefs. I believe the Combine wraps up on the 26th.

Heisman…: We did a few pieces summing up the Bronze Stiff Arm (a.k.a. The Hesiman Memorial Trophy) discussing Heisman Hopefuls, leading candidates, past winners successes (Barry Sanders), failures (Rashan Salaam) and those in between (O.J. Simpson, Charlie Ward). In a 2 part series we broke down the Top 25 Heisman Candidates for 2008-2009 but I’m waiting until Spring Ball to narrow the list down to 15-ish going into mini camps. All of the Heisman info can be found by clicking the link in the right toolbar or clicking here.

Conan vs. Colbert: I just quickly posted the video. And without going too in depth this is one thing that has gone amazingly out of control but in a good way. Without posting all of the videos and slowing the site down, do yourself a favor and just search it on YouTube. All of the clips are on there including the Huckabee and Chuck Norris Lever ad. Which is priceless. For Background if you are unaware of the battle. Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert battled to see who was more responsible for the success of Mike Huckabee after his surprising presidential nomination run despite many thinking he was way out of his league. Conan claimed the rebirth of Norris’ fame and pop-culture notoriety through his “Walker: Texas Ranger Lever” and through Norris, Huckabees popularity grew. Conversely Colbert said it was because of his backing of Huckabee and agreement to be his running mate. If you have 20 minutes to kill on youtube, this should be how it’s done.

NCAA Football Bracket/Mock Bracket: I put together a mock playoff bracket for college football during the hectic and out of control 2007-2008 NCAA football season. Mine was a 16 seed format seen here:


With Each Bowl being determined by Conference Winners and at-large bids. It breaks down as such:



16 spots with 11 designated to the 11 Major Div I "FBS" leagues (ACC, Big XII, Big East, Big Eleven, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Pac-10, SEC, Sun Belt, WAC) with 5 open spots for the remaining top teams.
Stipulation 1: This would also cancel out the "Notre Dame Rule" that states that Notre Dame goes to a BCS bowl if they have 8 wins, which further proves the greed of the Bowl System because ND has been vastly outplayed the last 9 times they've been to a bowl game and it's because they bring in revenue to everyone and get beat on Nat'l TV in front of a huge audience.
Stipulation 2: If a Conference does not have a team in the AP/Coaches Top 25 they would forfeit their bowl spot.
Stipulation 3: At the end of the season 1 poll of Equal Strength would be completed for playoff positioning and to grant the at-large bids. 2 votes would be given to each member the Las Vegas Poll I have mentioned before, 1 vote to each voter in the AP Poll, and 1 vote to Each member of the ESPN/USA Today's Coaches Poll.

The seeding of last year’s playoffs would have been:
# 16 Clemson vs. #1 Ohio State in the Sun Bowl
# 15 BYU vs. #2 LSU in the Insight.com Bowl
# 14 Boston College vs. # 3 Oklahoma in the Music City Bowl
# 13 Illinois vs. # 4 Georgia in the Outback Bowl
# 12 Arizona State vs. # 5 Virginia Tech in the Las Vegas Bowl
# 11 West Virginia vs. #6 USC in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
# 10 Hawai'i vs. # 7 Missouri in the Motor City Bowl
# 9 Florida vs. # 8 Kansas Holiday Bowl

2008 Preseason Rankings: We have done a few different rankings so here they are:
2008 College Football Top 25
2008 NL East Preview
2008 AL East Preview
2008 NL Central Preview
2008 AL Central Preview
2008 NL West Preview
2008 AL West Preview
2008 NL Post-season Preview
2008 AL Post-season Preview

2008 World Series Predictions will be coming soon.

Antoine Cason: AC was a DB at The University of Arizona. He has been moving up many draft boards and could be the top DB chosen in the 1st round. He won the 2007-2008 Thorpe Award and besides that he ran track as a Wildcat and is a helluva guy. He will be sadly missed in Tucson, and I can’t wait for my buddy Matt Randle to have a kid. He has promised that his kid’s middle name will be Antoine Cason.

Duke: 90% of those who searched for Duke also searched with some form of the word Hate. I wrote a piece on why everyone hates Duke last week that got a lot of responses on our Yardbarker page. Apparently I was right, everyone really does hate Duke.

Sluggo Route: Sluggo is actually the shortening of Slant and Go. It can be seen every single Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on football fields across the country. It’s a slant with a short pause to cause the defender to bite on it/fall for it and then the receiver takes off. As I mentioned in a previous post, The Double Sluggo in Madden or NCAA Football is 4Real’s favorite play to run. 9 times out of 10 he tells you it’s coming too because he is so excited, like a chubby kid running after the ice cream truck.

Micah Zahler: I made mention to Micah Zahler in a column a while ago after taking and editing a quote he had in his old cartoon “Optimal Stubble”. It was a cartoon that ran in the University of Arizona paper years ago that was flat out hysterical. Archives of which can be found here. Again if you have some time to kill that’s a pretty good place to start, if you like inane conversation about drinking, sports, tv, and a lot of sarcasm.

Vic Chanko: I don’t even remember when I dropped Vic Chanko in an article but Anthony Bourdain is one of my heroes. Kitchen Confidential is one of the few books I have read cover to cover, and I did it in only a couple days (while traveling). It is the first book I ever read cover to cover then proceeded to go out and buy myself. I love his show No Reservations. When it all boils down, the man is hilariously cynical and sarcastic and used to be a cook! Vic Chanko is his evil alter-ego and can be overheard in a couple of episodes of No Reservations. It’s when he’s being star Tony and not sarcastic Tony he becomes Vic Chanko as in (Tuscany episode of No Reservations) Vic doesn’t climb mountains. For those of you searching for Vic Chanko and landing here, that is who he is.

Majerle and don’t forget the coffee: I mentioned it before, and it has been mentioned in TrueHoop but former Phoenix Sun/Cleveland Cav Dan Majerle does TV nowadays and when a player throws down a nice dunk he drops the line “Hey Hun, Don’t forget the Coffee” in reference to the Good Will Hunting scene when Will tells the joke to Robin Williams. If you haven’t seen it I don’t have the effort to transcript it so let’s just say, why haven’t you seen Good Will Hunting yet?

Some of the more humorous searches that landed people on our page (at least twice):

Kyle Orton and some form of drinking, drunk, and Jack Daniels.
Ditka hates Belichick: I’m sure he does but I’m not sure why this search has A)Landed people here and 2)was originally searched for.
(Arizona Interim Head Coach/in-Waiting)Kevin O’Neil + Larry David: presumably because of their physical similarities)
Hotlanta + Origin (or something similar): It’s pretty obvious isn’t it Atlanta is Hot, they just threw it at the beginning, duh.
Cleveland Flats Thefts: among the many other places that have an abundance of thefts, in Cleveland.2009 College Preseason polls/rankings: It’s a little too early don’t ya think? Why don’t we just play 2008 first.
Top Rated _______ + Consumer Reports: people searched for top-rated Fridges and cars, among other things. I apologize to those of you who searched for real information regarding Consumer Reports and landed on the page of a former Fraternity Member making fun of CR's top light beer rankings (Keystone Light, Busch Light, and Natural Light). For those of you who missed that, I will repeat Consumer Reports, the magazine that people trust for decisions like buying refrigerators, ranked the 3 cheapest beers (Stones, Busch, and Natty) as their best buys. Still trust them to buy that Ford Focus they think is so nice?

And lastly an apology to the 30+ of you who searched for Why being really lonely is sometimes Super Awesome or some comparison of that. It was a title to a post I did a long time ago (October I believe) it had nothing to do with the Scrubs episode where Private Dancer attempts Suicide and Turk admits to sleeping with JD’s college girlfriend. I apologize for wasting your time.


More after the jump...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lebron's Resume Keeps Growing



In last night’s All-Star Game Lebron posted close to a triple double with 27 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds. This was while leading the East to Victory ,and claiming his second MVP in four All Star appearances. By taking home the honor for the second time he joins 11 other players in NBA history that have won multiple All Star MVPS. Why don’t we take a look into the crystal ball and see what this accomplishment means for his career:


Bob Cousy: Boston Celtics
All Star MVP: 1954 and 1957
Rookie of the Year: 1950
All Star Appearances: 12
Hall Of Fame Inductee 1971

Bob Pettit: St. Louis Hawks
All Star MVP: 1956, 58, 59, 62
Rookie of the Year: 1955
NBA MVP: 2
All Stars: 11
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1971

Oscar Robertson: Cincinnati Royals
All Star MVP: 1961, 64, 69
Rooke of the Year: 1961
NBA MVP: 1
All Star Appearances: 12
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1980

Julius Erving: Philadelphia 76ers
All Star MVP: 1973, 83
All Star Appearances: 11
NBA MVP: 1
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1993

Isiah Thomas:
All Star MVP: 1984, 86
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2000

Michael Jordan: Chicago Bulls
All Star MVP: 1988,96,98
All Star Appearances: 14
Rookie of the Year: 1985
NBA MVP: 5

Magic Johnson: Los Angeles Lakers
All Star MVP: 1990, 92
All Star Appearances: 12
NBA MVP: 3

Karl Malone: Utah Jazz
All Star MVP: 1989,93
All Star Appearances: 13
NBA MVP: 2

SHAQ: Los Angeles Lakers
All Star MVP: 2000, 04
Rookie of the Year: 1993
All Star Appearances: 14
NBA MVP: 1

Allen Iverson: Philadelphia 76ers
All Star MVP: 2001,05
Rookie of the Year: 1997
All Star Appearances: 8
NBA MVP: 1

Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers
All Star MVP: 2002,07
All Star Appearances: 10

Lebron James: Cleveland Cavaliers
All Star MVP: 2006,08
Rookie of the Year: 2004
All Star Appearances: 4


I think it’s safe to say that this is a pretty elite club, and with only 5 years under his belt Lebron is well on his way to living up to the hype.

Add this to the list of his other accomplishments.

Now if Cleveland could only give him a little support, maybe he could start catching up in the Championship department. I don’t know how many more statements he has to make to the organization, but if they don’t do something they are going to lose a kid who has the potential to be one of the best of all time.

4Real Out…
More after the jump...

2008 Baseball Preview: AL Post-Season

It’s time for the AL Update. Whether you are a casual stopper by or you’ve been here before this series is the place to be for MLB Predictions. As always, please refer to the links on the side of the page for the division by division and NL conference breakdowns, or just wait till you get to the bottom of this page, the links will be there as well. The AL is much different than the NL in the fact that the “cream rises to the top” almost every year and 2008 won’t be any different. So without further adieu the AL Breakdown.

The Red Sox and Yanks are the top teams once again and the Blue Jays might make some noise, but the closest the O’s and the Devil Rays will be to the top of the Division will be opening day. There isn’t going to be a whole lot of infighting and I suppose it’s just a shame to those fans that their ball clubs can’t spend as much as Steinbrenner and Sons, co. The Central shows us the Tribe and the Tigers (after a MONSTER offseason) perched atop the division and the rest falling ever so far behind. That will be, in my opinion, the division to watch (as it seems to be every year). The Tribe comes back with nominal improvement over a division championship ALCS loss season and has every right to win it again. El Tigres went on a spree bringing in serious talent to add to an already strong roster. That one will be close. The West doesn’t look to surprise many. Texas, Oakland, and Seattle were pretty much out of the running by August last year and none of them made any strides to catch up to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Southern California at the Corner of Gene Autry and State Boulevard off the I-5(LAAASCCGASBI5), or whatever their name is this season.

In the ALDS we’re going to be looking at some serious baseball to be played. In my humble opinion this could be one of the better AL playoff runs in recent history and that is including the ’04 Sox and almost all of last year’s AL series. Serious talent is prime to make some noise in the post-season in ’08 and the top ranked Tigers will face off against defending Champ Red Sox. At the exterior with all of the additions the Tigers made coupled with the fact that they were in the World Series 2 years ago they really look like the team to beat. PLUS their additions have playoff experience and have been successful there before. They have all the pieces for another run. BUT they’re facing off with the defending champs who, after going about 90 years without a Series Title, have made Will Hunting and the rest of the delinquent “Southies” deliriously happy with 2 wins in the last 4 years. Also, as sports fans we have been paying attention to all of the glory that is going in the northeast right? BC’s magical run, the *Pats, the C’s taking it to the rest of the NBA, and the aforementioned Red Sawx. I think Karma Kracks down on the Nordeast and their superior attitudes and the Sox get dropped in round 1 starting off the Curse of Eric Gagne and another near century without a Title. Tigers in 5.

Then we see the Tribe taking on the LAAASCCGASBI5. This should be an interesting series. The Tribe has been the odd man out in a tough division many seasons and has been flying mostly under the radar. Then in 07 they were a couple of outs away from the Series but couldn’t close it. This year they will most likely be playing second fiddle all season to a powerful being known as the Tigers. Here’s the thing, they didn’t get worse, they actually improved a little bit and Asdrubal Cabrera will be another year older and more experienced and he was pretty key in the late season Indian run last season. The Angels did a little bit here and there, namely adding Torii Hunter and Jason Bulger in the relief spot to help their cause. But all that really does is further separate them from the rest of the West. They should go into a series against Cleveland as the quintessential not enough team. They did some stuff, just not enough to make it out of the first round. They’ll score runs against the Tribe, just not enough in the late innings to get or keep a lead. They’ll win games in the post-season just not enough to take the series. Tribe takes it 3-1.

So in the league dominated by the AL East of recent memory, this year's top division, will be facing off in the ALCS. Tribe vs. Tigers. This one is almost impossible to predict when everything is on the table. It comes down to Cleveland’s great pitching, with C.C. and Fausto in Cy Young consideration, and Byrd and Westbrook AMAZING in the post season, and their good/above mediocre bats facing off against Detroit. Detroit was already one of the best offenses in the league (Shef, Magglio, Pudge) now they get to pile on with the young Cabrera. That is just scary. Offensively Willis should help out an above average pitching staff. Experience? The Tribe was most recently there and it left a bad taste in their mouths, the Tigers were there and even further (WS loss) 2 years ago. Going out on a limb, because I live my life on the edge. I give it to the pitching. IF Byrd and Westbrook look as good as they did in the post-season and IF C.C. and Fausto look like they did in the regular season 2007, they take the Tigers in 7 really, really, really good games. Remember these two teams will be very familiar with each other. They face off 18 times in the regular season (unless games get snowed out again) and should be very familiar with strengths and weaknesses. Of course this sets off a possible friendship ending series with 4Real’s precious Tribe against my Cubbies. At which point I root for the Tribe, because I did last season during the ALCS and we saw how that turned out. From that point who knows we’ll get to that later. I think the world explodes after a Cubs/Tribe series but I don’t really know. As for a fun fact. Both the Cubs and Tribe have won the World Series in the last 20 years, unfortunately both teams did it in movies. Can Henry Rowengardner and Chet Steadmen lace them up again and face off against Jake Taylor and Rick Vaughn? Who knows.

Divisional Breakdowns:
NL West
NL Central
NL East
AL West
AL Central
AL East
NL Conference Wrap-up
More after the jump...