Friday, July 31, 2009

Twins Bullpen Proves The point That I Did Not Want Proved

Maybe you'll remember, a couple of days ago, I wrote (emphasis mine):

This starting rotation could really use a solid, veteran arm. Same goes for the bullpen, which has been a juggler's nightmare all year, after the pre-season injuries to Boof Bonser and Pat "The Sub-Mariner!" Neshek.

Well, the Los Angeles Mickeys of Disney Land proved the point, taking Matt Guerrier deep to tie a game that had been 5-2 at one point. Look, Matt Guerrier has been throwing amazing shit all year long, but sooner or later, he was going to blow a hold, and he did tonight. That's OK--that's baseball.

Here is what is not OK--the second you have to go to your bullpen beyond the set-up man and closer, this happens--I quote the Star Tribune's Joe Christensen:

Once Guerrier, Jose Mijares and Twins closer Joe Nathan had left the game, the Angels unloaded on Bobby Keppel and Jesse Crain for six runs in the 11th, with the first eight batters reaching base.

Eight runners, zero outs! This bullpen, it needs fixing.

Professor Badcock's Preview: First Glance

Professor Badcock's fortunes dwindled rapidly in 2008, as he over-leveraged his market share in NFL predictions in the plummeting economy. His losses in pumpkin futures after the November 1st Pumpkin Crash left him without the capital to run his fabulously expensive and complicated Fabulously Sublime NFL Holistic Prognosticator, the Hyperbolic Highly-Speculative NFL Forecast Machine , or the Giant Licorice Amalgamatron Numbers Differientiator.

Professor Badcock had no choice but to scale back his operating costs for NFL prognostication. Behold, Professor Badcock's 2009 NFL Pre-Viewer.

With only a stale bag of cheerios for fuel, the Pre-Viewer is fully operational. And so safe, a non-union ethnic operator doesn't even need to wear shoes. Good job, #22436-J6!

Just as a test of its powers, let's take a first glance at the upcoming season and the prospects of some favorite IDYFT teams as NFL training camps begin. Next up will be in-putting training camp and preseason data. This will allow an Auto-Accurate Conference Pre-View. All this pre-viewing should come in handy for this season's IDYFT Pick'em, featuring more marvelous as-yet-undetermined prizes. God bless us, one and all: football is back.

Green Bay Packers
In position to win the dreadful NFC North by default, the Packers have stability at a handful of key positions. They are relying on miraculous rookie contributions in other areas. But changing to a 3-4 alignment could delay progress for the soft defense. They have a pathetic easy-cheese schedule, as befits the NFC Norse. Prediction: 8-8

Offense: QB Rodgers showed promise and chemistry with WRs Driver and Jennings. However, Rodgers played poorly in 4th quarters. The running game was lame; they're relying on injury-prone RB Grant again. The line is in upheaval and will take time to jell - and there's no guarantee they will.

Special Teams: The Packers are poor in kickoffs, kick returns, punts and field goals. The only bright spot is the 6th-ranked punt return unit.

Defense: Decent against the pass but terrible against the run, the Packers decided to start over with a new alignment. It is a better fit for their personnel up front. The lineman won't make many plays but could free up Kampman (now an OLB) and the other LBs to make some tackles. They have a talented secondary that spends too much time supporting the run.

Minnesota Vikings
This is a team without a rudder. Begging after Favre made them look pathetic and sets them up for swapping ineffective, 3rd-string caliber QBs. Last year they won the division by default; if they can somehow pass the ball, they should edge the Packers and Bears. Their easy schedule has a hump in the middle to get through. Prediction: 9-7

Offense: RB Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher in 2008, is a great player. The Vikes need to involve him in the passing game more, and give more carries to backup Taylor, to spare Peterson from another 363-carry season. The passing game is poor; WR Berrian has great talent but disappears ... an average of over 20 yards per catch but less than fifty catches. If the Vikes have to throw 25 passes in a game they will lose.

Special Teams: Except for K Longwell, the Vikings have poor special teams. Their coverage units allowed an NFL-record seven TDs last year.

Defense: Just as lopsided as the offense, ranking #1 versus the run and #18 in passing. The outcome of the Williams's lawsuit regarding their suspension will have a heavy impact on the line's effectiveness. The Vikings are excellent against the run and a bit better against the pass than the numbers indicate; they faced 53o attempts last year and produced 45 sacks. However, with that many chances they need more than 12 INTs.

Detroit Lions
Rebuilding isn't quite the word. It's more like trying to breed dinosaurs using advanced cloning techniques, as in "Billy and the Cloneasaurus." The Millen era is over but the effects will linger ... just look at that offensive line. Better yet, don't. The Lions have a harder schedule than the rest of the division because they don't get to play against themselves. Prediction: 4-12

Offense: The rookie Stafford or the tiny-handed veteran Culpepper? Either way, the only pass-catcher is WR Calvin Johnson. Second-year RB Smith has potential but no depth behind him. The line, like the rest of the division, is in transition, although in Detroit's case it looks like poo transitioning to diarrhea. No reason to expect they'll give up less than 52 sacks again.

Special Teams: Coverage units were decent, K Hanson was excellent. They are looking for kick returners. Probably the best of Detroit's three teams.

Defense: The new coaches will address a defense ranked dead last two years in a row, and nearly gave up the most points in NFL history last year. The line is old and weak; the secondary is relying on gambling CB Buchanon to help a unit that only intercepted one pass in 2008. Linebacker is suddenly a strength with the acquisition of Larry Foote and Julian Peterson.

Oakland Raiders

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jack Johnson Hadn't Been Pardoned Yet?

Not that Jack Johnson. When that one is finally brought to justice, I'll be the last to ask for a pardon on his behalf.

The pardon I'm talking about is for the boxer Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight in the US, who had to endure unbelievable racism during the early decades of the previous century. He was successfully convicted using the Mann Act, after a couple of attempts. He was transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes, you see. The fact that Jack consorted with white women, or was beating the stuffing out of every white man who faced him in the ring had nothing to do with it of course.

It has taken almost 100 years to get a pardon. Technically, it still hasn't happened. What we have now is a Congressional Resolution, passed by both houses (and sponsored by Republicans--McCain in the Senate; douchey New York Rep. Peter King in the House) urging a pardon for a guy who was convicted under a law that was basically created to stop fictional white slavery and all-too-real uppity blacks.

Johnson only served a year in the Federal Pen in Leavenworth, but that's at a year more than he should of. Jack Johnson certainly deserves a pardon and it is pretty shocking that this didn't happen during the Civil Rights push in the 60's. I've got a feeling that now this thing has passed both Houses with bipartisan support, President Obama will make it happen. It's not the most important thing that will be passed in 2009 (one would hope) but it is a gesture. A long, long overdue gesture. If you have not watched Unforgiveable Blackness by Ken Burns, I highly recommend that you do. In the meantime, PBS has a nice little Flash piece on the first Fight of the Century of the 20th Century. Watch it!

DC Skins Training Camp 2009/day one

The first practice session of 2009 just concluded at Redskins Park. I will be twittering and myfacing and blogging from Dan Snyder's tent throughout training camp. Catch my live patter every day, all day.

Well no, but I am almost embarrassed by how enjoyable this practice report is. It does remind me of the first day of three-a-days. Walking back into the smell of that locker room, everyone chuffed up because of nerves and no hitting to release it. Stretching out for the first time in cleats. The brand new mouthpiece.

Here's a little nugget I've already learned. Backup QB Colt Brennan was named after Colt Seavers on The Fall Guy. Classy. Can't say I remember anything from the show besides this:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Statistics Don't Lie; Idiots Use Them to Lie

Baseball loves statistics. We know that. We've seen the explosion of new stats, like VORP, and MORK, and GORP. Even old standbys like AVG and ERA can be illuminating. Statistics are not inherently good, of course. In the hands of a hack, they can be twisted to deliver fake good news, often by using too small of a sample to be a true stat. Let's take a quick look at an example of each, delivered by sportswriters for the Star Tribune.

First, some context. yes, the Twins are riding a four game winning streak, including a 3 game sweep of their nearest rivals in AL Central, the Chicago White Sox. Leaving tonight's game, the Twins moved from being 2 games back of Chicago, to one game up; they also gained ground on Detroit, who lost 2 of 3 to Texas during the same span. But even the most casual fan can see some trouble in the line-up. The bottom of the line-up is hitting like a bottom of a line-up from the dead-ball era. Nick Punto has ridden a hot bat the past 10 days or so to get his average up to just over .210. Breakout second baseman of 2008, Alexi Casilla is hitting .171 and has jumped up and down between the Twin Cities and AAA Rochester.

More worrying for people who follow this team closely is the starting rotation. Yes, of late, the rotation has performed well--in their last four straight wins, the Twins have gotten good outings from Anthony Swarzak, Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, and most surprisingly, mediocre reliever Brian Duensing started on short notice and a shorter leash, yet put together five very good innings in his first MLB start against Chicago tonight. But counting on young guns like Swarzak and Duensing while the Twins deal with the inconsistency and/or injuries of Perkins, Francisco Liriano and Kevin Slowey (done for the year) is a risky strategy, at best. This starting rotation could really use a solid, veteran arm. Same goes for the bullpen, which has been a juggler's nightmare all year, after the pre-season injuries to Boof Bonser and Pat "The Sub-Mariner!" Neshek.

Which is all a very long way of saying that fans (and Twins players) are hoping against hope for some help via trades--particularly in the bullpen, rotation, and bottom of the batting order/middle of the infield.

One of those targets that was in the Collective Mindset of the Fan was Pittsburgh Pirate Freddy Sanchez, who can hit a ball at a .300 clip and play decent 2nd base. The Pirates apparently wanted either the Twins best 3rd base prospect, Danny Valencia, who the Twins will need next year at the hot corner, or outfield prospect Aaron Hicks. So Freddy Sanchez was moved elsewhere, and fat lazy-ass Patrick Reusse delighted in the counterplay (he calls fans who disagree with his assessment "frothers")--the day Sanchez was traded for a Top 50 prospect, homegrown and targeted Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla went 2 for 3:

"That put Casilla at .667 with two RBI, a stolen base and two double plays turned since Freddy Sanchez landed elsewhere and [Twins Manager Ron] Gardenhire offered Alexi a new start."

That's true, of course. And "funny". Reusse could have even mentioned that for the series against Chicago, Casilla went a combined 2-6 with 3 walks. A very respectable .333--though, it would point out that his only hits were in that last game. Still, the 3 walks suggest a developing eye at the plate. Maybe someone would take a look at the previous series, to see if this was a burgeoning trend? Well, that's where the lie of taking a one game snapshot as a statistic comes out. Look, I hope Casilla is about to turn things around. I hope he hits .280 the rest of the way, and becomes a bothersome pest on the bases. But in the four games with The Los Angeles Angels in the Outfield of Disneyland, he went 1-13, with four K's, and 2 BB's. So, in two series, and 7 games, he went hitless in 5 of them. Over that same span, he went 3-19, or about .157. And Reusse makes it sound like Casilla is a guy proving himself! Bullshit, Fatty Patty!

Now, quite quickly, we'll mention a real sportswriter for the Star Tribune, La Velle Neal III, who reports that the Twins are pursuing second baseman Marco Scutaro, but are held up by the Jays waiting to see if they get takers for Halladay. But he proves that stats, through a decent filter, can be illuminating. Twins fans have no doubt noticed or simply felt that Carlos Gomez was playing more, and hitting better of late. Neal gives us the straight dope:

Gomez is going to make mistakes, but he's one of the best center fielders around.

"The defense," Gardenhire said. "He's all over the field. And when he's not out there, you see a difference. You want to try to use everybody and we're going to have to. But the way he's running the ball down and his energy, we just have to have it right now.''

Gomez entered Wednesday's game batting .313 this month with a .500 slugging percentage.

Friends, that's a stat we can believe in, because unlike Reusse's, it takes in a full range of games, and shows a growing confidence at the plate. Two different writers, two different takes. One lazy, dismissive and arrogant; the other delivering straight dope. If the Star Tribune had more writers like La Velle Neal, and fewer like Patrick Reusse, I'd be willing to support that last gasp of print journalism.

DC Skins: 2009 Pre-Camp Preview

Eager for alternatives to the genocide-rationalizing R-word, "DC Skins" will be given a chance to take a few snaps. It has the advantages of brevity and lack of prior use. If we don't start thinking up alternatives now, it will eventually be changed, by court order, to the Washington Cooters or something even worse.

DC got off to a hot 6-2 start including wins at Dallas and Philly. Portis was on his way to 2,000 yards and steady QB Campbell looked as if he would never throw an interception. Then the aging line wore down, RBs Portis and Betts went out with sprained knees and the offense died. The tough defense broke down, exhausted. Team unity crumbled in the locker room; they finished 8-8.

Coach Zorn did his best to keep the boat steady despite the best efforts of the front office. Undermining Campbell served no purpose. Adding $100 million Haynesworth could be a great move or yet another bust in the grand tradition of Snyder's Free Agent Busts. During the offseason this is Snyder's team. Zorn needs to make it Zorn's team in this second year of his tenure.

DC Skins 2009: Offense
Longtime captain RT Jansen was let go; the job is young Stephen Heyer's to lose. If this Offensive Line can stay healthy they might be decent, but that hasn't happened in a dozen years. Pass protection was a problem all year; their 38 sacks allowed (23rd) would have been doubled if not for Campbell's tackle-breaking strength. Grade: C

Quarterback Jason Campbell has exemplified poise and dignity. What he needs this year is bellyfire. Finally getting a second year in a system should allow him to play instinctively, a zone he hasn't yet reached. In Seattle, Hasselbeck's second year under Zorn was a break-out. Campbell doesn't have a contract for next year, so this season is make-or-break. He clearly has the ability; does he have the willpower to raise his game to the next level? I think that he does. Grade: B+

Running Backs are solid with Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, so long as both are healthy. When Betts went down, the DC Skins didn't have a good option to spell Portis. Portis had 342 carries last year and his yards per rush plummeted late in the season. FB Sellers is a monster blocker and went to the Pro Bowl last year. They have some inexperienced speedsters in the stable; can one of them emerge? Grade: A-

The DC Skins' Receivers underperformed last year. Moss disappeared under blanket coverage. Despite 83 catches, Cooley only found the endzone once last year -- on a throw from Randle El. The door is open for Devin Thomas to step up in his second year. Too often, that "West Coast Offense" resulted in a five yard reception on 3rd and 6. The blitz was very effective against them last year; hot receivers must make teams pay in 2009. Grade: B-

DC Skins 2009: Special Teams
The Punting game was a weakness last year. Acquisition P Hunter Smith should change this: last year his Colts were tied for first in yard per punt return. But who will return punts? Randle El has not done well. Grade: C+

Kickoffs and Kickoff Returns were very good last year, 1st in the NFC in both categories. Rock Cartwright continues to lead the team in returning and tackling. Grade: A

K Suisham was yet another disappointment from this musical-chairs position. It looks he'll be the guy in 2009; he has a decent leg but has poor accuracy beyond 40 yards. Too many blocked kicks last year, a killer. Grade: C-

DC Skins 2009: Defense
The Defensive Line received a much-need upgrade with DT Haynesworth and rookie DE Orakpo. They bolster a run-stuffing line that hasn't generated any pass rush for years. This unit is finally on par with the rest of the defense which has ranked in the Top Ten the last two years and, remarkably, has been a Top Ten defense in seven out of the last nine seasons (with only one playoff win to show for it). Grade: A-

The Linebackers are led by MLB London Fletcher. A sure tackler, Fletcher is the linchpin for the entire defense. If the new line does its job, his tackle totals will only increase. On the weakside, Rocky McIntosh seems to have recovered from his pre-2008 knee surgery; hopefully he'll get his explosion back for this season. Strongside is the team's biggest question mark. Experiments with rookie Orakpo seem like a bad idea and a confusing waste of time for the youngster. Better if someone in the stable of journeymen can step up, otherwise this position is the only weakness on the defense. Grade: B+

The Secondary was an elite unit last year until injuries exposed a lack of depth. But it also exposed #48 Chris Horton, a seventh-round savior with a nose for the ball. With another year under his belt, the Horton-Landry safety tandem could be lethal this year, especially if Landry's solid play can blossom into play-making. Both starting CBs are excellent in coverage and run support. However, teams will likely spread the field to force a choice between age and inexperience at the nickel and dime spots. Grade: A

DC Skins 2009: Schedule
On paper, the DC Skins play a middle-pack strength of schedule. However, they face the rising NFC South and play against five playoff teams on the road. After visiting the Giants in week one, the DC Skins should be 3-1 when they head to Carolina on October 11th. We'll have a real insight into how good the DC Skins are during this game. Grade: B

With an pre-camp preview Overall Grade: B+, the team has the potential to challenge for the division crown. 10-6 is my prediction; a wildcard ticket will be hard to come by in the NFC. If the team develops a natural passing game, their running and defense could win some contests.

If not, they'll cease to be the Skins ... and become the Skinned.
From "Bodies: An Exhibition"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Speaking of Iron Head Heyward

Adrian Peterson Is More Ready for Football Than I am For Fantasy Football

There's a new commercial (at least, new to me) showing Adrian Peterson working out and also running in games. Despite the fact that it features slow motion shots of him running without a shirt, the commercial is not for Abercrombie and Fitch. Rather, they are all about some channel's outreach to the Fantasy Football world. ( Network)

Uh, Adrian Peterson? Haven't you watched the work of John Riggins, Jerome Bettis or the late Ironhead Heyward? You don't have to be in shape to be a great running back. Adrian, did you have to make us feel too inadequate to play even Fantasy Football?


Brett Favre, We Did Not Hardly Know You

It is over (though I'm still not quite sure even now that I totally believe it). Favre is staying retired. It had seemed a fait accompli. Just ask rather the fairly well respected sports director/anchor of WCCO, Mark Rosen. This is a guy who has been working the sports circuit in the Twin Cities longer than I've been alive (of course, so has Sid Hartman, but to fair, Sid is cold and there are wolves after him). Rosen sounds like he knows what he is speaking of here (though, clearly, he doesn't)

The Star Tribune of course already has a poll in the field (The Field being self-selected, crazy Star Tribune Sports commenters) and they are unhappy about the news. As of this writing, over 9700 people have responded, and less than 40% thinks this is any kind of good news. Equally interesting/hilarious, the Star Tribune has a second poll, asking the same pool of folks "Who Should the Next Vikings QB Be?" With over 9000 people responding thus far, the number 1 answer is...Michael Vick, with 35%. Sage Rosenfels was second at 33%. Last year's starter, Tavaris Jackson, is currently at under 14%, despite finishing last season pretty strong.

So now we say goodbye to Brett Favre. Things I knew about Brett? He loved to play the game. He inspired a corn maze. He gave Koy Detmer the business. He did a great imitation of John Elway.

Things I didn't know until watching the below video? He liked to give Steve Mariucci's kids the Dutch Oven treatment. He pondered religion ("You think God never farted?" answer: Brett, I've been to Gary, Indiana. I know God farted.) Also, he apparently sometimes made the media wait on his decisions. Who knew?

Fare thee well, Brett. Please come to the next NFL Quarterback Challenge and bust out your imitations of your fellow Pro QB's again. I can't find them on the Internets anywhere.

Dave Zirin on Michael Vick

If you don't read our fellow (and much more respected and famous) Macalester graduate David Zirin, you really should. I don't have much to say about the Vick thing, but Zirin does. Here's the bit that struck a chord with me:

"...none of it means a lick unless one of the NFL's thirty-two teams takes a chance and signs Vick, which is hardly guaranteed. It's a preposterous scenario. The NFL continues to employ J.T. O'Sullivan, Trent Edwards and Dan Orlovsky--quarterbacks who couldn't throw a tantrum, let alone a touchdown. They also employ players who have been convicted for manslaughter, spousal abuse and everything short of molesting pandas.

Yet Michael Vick could remain radioactive for some time. It's hard to believe that NFL owners care deeply about animal rights. According to political donations, a typical NFL owner runs slightly to the right of Ghengis Khan."

Go read the rest here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Unbiased Insight From Bill Duffy

Bill Duffy, former Gopher and current NBA agent, quoted in Sid Hartman's column:

"To be honest with you, the other kid, Brandon Jennings, who played in Italy, ranked higher," said Duffy, referring to his client, a point guard who was picked 10th by Milwaukee. "I had three other first-round point guards, but I didn't have [Rubio] ranked that high. I think he is pretty good, but I think he might be a little hyped up." (emphasis mine)

Headline for this Column was not "Bill Duffy is Sour Grapes Because He Couldn't Land Rubio". Because that would have been prejudicial. "NBA Insider Says Rubio Overhyped" is completely kosher, though. Nice work, Star Tribune.

Not to say that Rubio isn't overhyped. He might be. But maybe it shouldn't come from an agent's mouth, and maybe he shouldn't be called an NBA insider in the headline, like he's some disinterested GM on the West Coast or something. As one Star Trib commenter pointed out--Sid Hartman has the gall to consider this a compliment: "Duffy is also a great judge of talent, according to former Timberwolves chief Kevin McHale."

Oh, Mitch Albom, You So Stoopid

Left or Right, Democrat or Republican, let's come together and agree that Mitch Albom should not be writing about tax policies, especially ones he doesn't seem able to grasp.

I'd say that he should stick to sports, but I don't think he's got anything interesting to say on that front, either. Maybe stick to treacle about Heaven and shit like that? I'm sure the night tables of our grandmothers are eagerly awaiting a sequel to "The Five People You Meet in Heaven".

Suggested title: "The Five Other People You Meet in Heaven". You're welcome, Mitch.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Timberwolves Backcourt Looking Good

Yeah, it is only summer league, and they are playing against fellow rookies, or 2nd year players, or cast-offs looking for a roster spot. But Good Goddamn, the All-New, All-Exciting Backcourt for the Timberwolves is beginning to get us stupid Timberwolves fans a little tingly in our pants.

First of all, when Jonny Flynn was being discussed as an odd pick after the Wolves used their 5th pick on Ricky Rubio, perhaps they forgot what the Spanish Pete Maravich can't do. He can't do this:

I don't know the last guard in Minnesota who could do this kind of thing. I feel like I have to go all the way back to Stephon Marbury, but that can't be right, right? Sadly, I think it is.

But you know, he's only one half of the new tandem in Minnesota. Here's a little compilation of Flynn and Wayne Ellington. I don't think based on their work here means that the Wolves will win more than 40 games, but they might be fun to watch. Which is a miracle in the NBA and in Minnesota.

Friday, July 24, 2009

That's a Great Deal on Cock-Shaped Popsicles!

thanks Amazon's Friday Sale, for marking down a 6-Pack of Grape Flavored Cocksicles from almost $33 to $6.70!

At those prices, I can't afford not to fill myself up with Ice Cocks! I love the taste of a big grape cocksicle. And so on.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Black Freighter Speaks: Joe Crede & Danny Valencia

Occasionally commenter, Twins-related contributor The Black Freighter has seen the possible writing on the wall when it comes to the hot corner in the Metrodome, and Target Field. Back in April, TBF said this about Danny Valencia:

Do not be surprised when Danny Valencia is manning the hot corner on opening day of Target Field. The 24-year old is the most complete 3rd base prospect the Twins have had in years and will get his chance to be the 3rd baseman of the future. Valencia is a slick fielder, can hit for average and has power. In 486 at bats for Fort Myers and New Britain, Valencia hit .311, with 37 doubles, 15 homeruns and 76 RBI.

Today Joe Crede did not play, after being very effective at the plate the night before, and not playing the night before that. The Twins have to pay big bonuses to Crede if he hits a certain number of at-bats, regardless of performance. Will they give Crede time to prove he's effective enough to get spot duty, or will they start to look at this 2nd part of this season as a time to bring up Valencia?

The Black Freighter Speaks:

I’m calling a Danny Valencia sighting very soon. Crede pulled himself out of the lineup today with severe shoulder pain. If he goes on the DL, I bet they call up 3rd baseman of the future Danny Valencia, who is absolutely raking in AAA (.362 average). Split between AA and AAA this year, he is hitting .308 with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 12 homeruns and 47 RBI. He’s also getting on base at a .370 clip and plays very solid defense. I don’t think he’ll be an immediate All-Star, but I would not be surprised if he put up Cuddyer-like numbers in his first full year (.270, 20 and 75).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Superbowl XLIII: a final rinse

On the eve of training camp for the 2009 NFL season, let us give thanks and a final rinse.

Previous posts traced the playoff paths of the Steelers and Cardinals and the Superbowl's first half. LB Marvin Harrison's heart-attacking 100 yard interception return on the last play of the first half gave his Steelers a 17-7 lead. What play could possibly be more exciting than that? Hint:

Third Quarter
The Cardinals were still stunned when they received the second half kickoff. Relying on vets QB Warner and RB James, Arizona dinked to midfield before LB Farrior crushed Warner and Harrison pounced on the ball. The play was challenged and reversed; the Cardinals were lucky to be able to punt.

The Steelers stuffed the ball into RB Wee Willie Parker's gut. The Cardinals defended the line of scrimmage well, but they borrowed the dunce cap of stupid penalties from their offense to help the Steelers get down to inside the five for the third time in the game. Arizona made a stand and the Steelers kicked another short field goal making it 20-7 at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter
With grim malice did the terrible towels whip the steamy Tampa night. The Cardinals offense bounced off the Steel Curtain, spazzing out with a holding penalty and a shanked punt.

The Steelers took over at midfield with 13:41 left in the game. They had their cleats on Arizona's naked throats. Arizona's defense committed a penalty and allowed a six-yard gash by RB Parker that seemed to foretell doom.

But then monster DT Darnell Dockett took down Parker for a four yard loss. The next play, Dockett sacked QB Roethlisberger and the Steelers had to punt.

Starting at their own thirteen, the Cardinals went no huddle. Warner nailed eight passes in a row, gaining 87 yards in under four minutes while hitting five different receivers. It was a brilliant drive which culminated in a alley-oop catch by WR Fitzgerald and the Cardinals were back 20-14 with 7:41 in the game.

The Pittsburgh drive was exploded by a third sack by Dockett, tying the Superbowl record. Arizona accepted the deep punt. Both teams traded major penalties. Though the Cardinals made it as far as the twenty-six yard line, they had to punt. And what a beauty punt it was, downed on the Pittsburgh 2. A questionable roughness penalty pushed the Steelers back to their own 1 with 3:26 in the game.

The Steelers got nothing on their first two downs, then hit WR Santonio Holmes for nineteen yards and a first down ... except they held Dockett and got nailed for a safety to make it 20-16 with three minutes left.

The Cardinals received the ball. Warner hit Fitzgerald on a slant across the middle. Fitzgerald burned straight up the field, outrunning the flashbulbs, for a sixty-four yard touchdown. The Cardinals took the lead for the first time, 20-23, with two and a half minutes left.

Pittsburgh started on their 22 and were immediately called for holding. Holmes made a tough catches to get them a first down. With one minute left, Holmes took a short pass for 40 yards. The Steelers took their last timeout with 49 seconds left on Arizona's six yard line.

WR Ward and TE Miller were both covered; Roethlisberger fired a hot rocket to Holmes at the back edge of the endzone. The ball screamed through the defenders until it was snared by Holmes who tapped his toes for the game winning touchdown.

With 35 seconds left, the Steelers had their 27-23 Final Score.

The Cardinals valiant comeback was stripped away by the defense, a fitting end to a blood-frying Superbowl. Holmes earned his MVP and the Steelers are officially the best franchise in the NFL.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Some Twins Batters Have Gone Bananas Tonight

As of the middle of the 5th inning, the Twins have scored 13 runs against Oakland. The 3-4-5 hitters, have gone a collective 9 for 9 with 3 walks. The trio of Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel have combined for 4 homeruns and 12 RBI. They are doing this with Joe Mauer on the bench.

Again, that's as of the 5th inning--this game has already gone almost 2 hours, and it's barely halfway done.

update: fixed typo

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yep, That's a Penalty

The US beat Panama 2-1 in Overtime, after being down 1-0 at halftime. It was all because of a great goal scored by the unlikely dreaded (that works on two levels) Kyle Beckerman, and a penalty kick given up by Panama. Apparently, sticking your boot in the gut of Kenny Cooper is a foul now. (note that Kenny is playing the ball with his left foot as he is receiving said boot to the gut.)

Ron Coomer In Creepy-Vision

Sure, the talk this week has been all about another creepy, sick video, but the lads over at FSN have a response. The Twins media folks have been doing some promotion work at Wisconsin vacation getaway city, the Wisconsin Dells. It's been horrible timing for it, as the weather has been the coldest it has ever been in 100 years for July in the northern midwest.

But during tonight's Twins game (which the Twins won over the Rangers, 4-1, to get their win streak up to four games) there was one of the most disturbing cross promotions. This one is former MLB'er (career AVG: .274) Ron Coomer, being massaged by an employee of Rhapsody Resort and Spa. Your camera operator is Garwood B. Jones of IDYFT, and would wholly endorse his fancy iPhone has a video camera.

"Enjoy" the video--please note the volume isn't super loud, and you may have to turn up your speakers to really the truly creepy way Ron Coomer is talking (I term it the "near-release whisper"). The people reacting at the end are the awesome crew of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven, who should be in the Fucking Hall of Fame already.

Who is reading this blog?

I'm all for search engines, but really, someone found us typing this into a search engine?:

strapon stepmother baseball ass

Friday, July 17, 2009

In Wisconsin, The Hot Dog Eats You

An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile crashed into a home in Wisconsin. What more needs to be said? I think I used my best joke in the title anyway.

I can't even find a full length video of The Detroit Cobras song "Hot Dog". I'm going to stop by the Straw Store, and see if I can't buy some of them Grasping Straws I've heard so much about. In the meantime....Ladies and Gentlemen, The Detroit Cobras!

R.I.P. Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite, dead at 92 years old.

The video I'm posting is a real downer, so I'd like to remind everyone that Walter Cronkite had an awesome sense of humor. When asked how he'd like to spend his final moments, he replied, "Like Errol Flynn--on a 60 foot yacht with a 16 year old mistress." His wife, sitting next to him, said, "You'll probably die on a 16 foot boat with a 60 year old mistress."

Walter Cronkite would have loved being on The Daily Show, I'm guessing. But he was also the definition of what a TV news anchor should be.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hey, Emmys, You Fucking Suck

I know I'm not telling the Emmys (or anyone else) anything they don't know already--but this sentence really grates for any number of reasons:

"'Family Guy' is the first animated comedy to be nominated for best overall comedy series since "The Flintstones" - and that was in 1961."

1. The Flintstones? I remember, at the age of 10, the idea of a tiny pterodactyl being employed to play records, and saying, "It's a living" to be pretty facile humor. It was a cartoon with a fucking laugh track.

Consider, briefly, that brilliantly awesome movie "The Hustler" was nominated for Best Picture the same year, so it isn't like American culture was completely backward at the time. (please do not note that West Side Story beat The Hustler that year; that noting hurts my point).

2. So, according to The Emmys, there hasn't been a funny enough cartoon on prime time between 1961 and 2009 to merit nomination. So, hit the bricks, The Simpsons, particularly from 1993-1996, when you were, by far, the funniest damn thing on TV, including Seinfeld. Fuck off, South Park--even though you brilliantly deconstructed what makes Family Guy not particularly funny.

3. Futurama? The Tick? Venture Brothers? The Emmys finally recognize animation, after a 48 year absence, and they pick fucking Family Guy? Boo. Boo, I say.

Two Bold Predictions: Ricky Rubio

The news about Ricky Rubio and his buy-out beginning to build up again. Wolves GM David Kahn (KAAAAHN!) is headed to Spain to ask DKV Joventut to lower the buy-out price tag (and what kind of jerky Spainard doesn't lower prices when the buyer asks nicely?).

With that in mind, IDYFT Contributor Garwood B. Jones emailed yesterday with a Gentle Reminder (he called the Rubio pick a full 24 hours before the draft started) and a Bold Prediction. Here's Garwood B Jones (please note--no one asked him to call this a Bold Prediction. He decided that all on his own:

I boldly predict that not only will Ricky Rubio play for the Wolves, he will do so this year.

The whole "playing for free" argument is kind of ridiculous. If he plays in Europe he'll be playing for $100,000. If he plays for the Wolves he'll be playing for "free" ($3.6M salary toward the buyout) + USA endorsement money. He may get less $$$ than he would in NY but he'll get more in MN then he will in Europe and he'll be in the NBA which is where he wants to be.

The Wolves are going to give him the keys to the franchise. He's going to get paid here. He's going to be here.

25 - 30 minutes a game is plenty for a rookie PG. Give Jonny Flynn the other 18-20. Draft a 2/3 next year or trade expiring contracts close to the deadline for a reasonable small forward. They'll be under the cap and have a year of understanding how the pieces (Rubio, Love, Jefferson, Flynn, Ellington, Gomes, Brewer) fit together. They'll have the Euro big coming over next year at the 5. I think this team wins 32 games this year and 48 next year.

My bold prediction was written to Garwood in response, and is reproduced here, in full.

That is a bold prediction. The issue (i always thought) is that the buyout can't come directly from the drafting team, only $500,000 of it can, so even if he making good money, he doesn't get the big signing bonus that puts him free and clear right off the bat. And he doesn't get endorsement deals until he is actually here.

I don't dispute the notion that he'd eventually (and quickly) getting paid more here than he is in Spain. But is his Spanish team going to him pay his buyout on a lay-away basis?

I think Team Rubio is kind of lying when they say he'd be happy to play here, and I think Flynn may outperform him, especially in the early years of their contracts, and I think Team Rubio thinks that, too. I guess I'm finding myself rooting, almost, for a Rubio trade, as I'm not sure I buy into the Transformational Player tag that Kahn gave him.

Using your definition of "next year" (which I would I would think of as 2 years down the road) I don't see more than four (and probably just 3) of the players you listed still on the team by the start of "next year".

No Shit News

From Sid Hartman's column in the Star-Trib:

Childress says he is willing to wait on Favre decision

Oh, wow, really? Because Brad has been super demanding thus far on the whole Brett Favre situation. I've said it before, and I'll say it again--Favre could show up on August 25, and the Vikings would still happily take him then.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jeremy Mayfield and NASCAR's Evil, Evil Lies!

I don't pretend to know who is telling the truth about Jeremy Mayfield's testing positive for methamphetamines for the second time.

But I do know how not to sound like a paranoid meth addict. Here are a couple of ways avoid sounding like a paranoid meth addict:

1. Don't argue that your employer (NASCAR) bribed your family (or "trash" stepmother, who is an "[expletive]") to testify to your meth use.

Actually, #1 is the big one. It makes you sound kind of paranoid, especially after you've tested positive twice for meth in 3 months.

Maybe just don't say anything, and let the lawyers do their thing, if you are innocent, maybe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ass Effects? Oh, AcipHex. Much Better.

Nice name for your drug, AcipHex. Great idea. I'm going to create my own heartburn drug, and call it PuuPhloze.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Got Questions About the Steelers? Want a Comic Book Writer To Answer Them?

Jason Aaron, author of many, many books that we love, has agreed to a second interview (first one here), focused on the Steelers and the AFC North. If you have questions you'd like some dude who writes kick-ass comic books to answer, feel free to throw them into the comments below.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Steve Martin!

Quick note: Yes that is Tisha Campbell in the chorus.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Honorary Wisconsite

From Reuters:

"A badger in Germany got so drunk on over-ripe cherries it staggered into the middle of a road and refused to budge, police said Wednesday. A motorist called police near the central town of Goslar to report a dead badger on a road -- only for officers to turn up and discover the animal alive and well, but drunk."

Or as Jess from I Was Told There Would Be Bacon put it, "Drunk Badger, my ass. It's probably just Milhouse."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Early Drafts of George Allen's Book Here

If you are a George Allen news watcher like I am, you have surely heard that the former Governor of Virginia has signed a deal with eminent book publisher Regency. Regency is a well-respected publisher, having midwifed the brain babies of such Idea Uteruses as Bernard Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Paul Corsi, and Ted Nugent.

This is an exciting partnership, but our average sportsreader may wonder why we are covering such an auspicious marriage. We are doing so for two reasons: Governor Allen is bringing his love of sports into the political arena (something we admit we are prone to do on occasion). His book will be called The Triumph of Character: What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports.

Secondly, using our connections in the publishing world, and the world of Virginia politics, we've been able to get our hands on some early drafts of the book. To be fair, the book isn't due to be published for another year, and there is probably still some polish to be applied to some tarnished prose, but we hope you'll get a flavor of the gist of the taste of the book here. In some cases, we were only allowed to see a paragraph here or there, with some editing marks, but if we may say so, it's coming together quite nicely. We're quite excited to present these squeezings from the mindgrapes of one of the most prominent Virginians ever to be unfairly defeated by Jim Webb (VA Senator--Dem/Socialist). Please, enjoy:


My staff, and my constituents, have always enjoyed the degree to which I use sports metaphors. Some find it helpful, some find it a little confusing, but they always enjoy them. So I will attempt to split the uprights with this book, explaining how sports can teach Washington.

Chapter 1: Running the Ground Game.

A lot of liberals played soccer as kids, and even now, currying favor with the Latinos that will make up their future revolution (as much as I admire the Latinos--it isn't their fault they are being lied to by the likes of Jon Stewart and The Entire Obama Family (I'm looking at you, Sasha)) call their sport "futbol", a clear perversion of our American Football. So while Jon Stewart was playing "futbol" in his Ivory Tower, Multi-Cultural, Elitist William and Mary, I was playing real American Football at the public, egalitarian University of Virginia.

And my lesson from that time is one every Football Coach (including, obviously, my father, NFL Hall of Fame Coach, George Allen) knows--hit the ground running. Run the Ground Game. Do the basics. For example, if you are thinking of being a coach, or a Representative of the People of Your State, consider seriously being the son of a beloved coach. Look at Bobby Bowden, and his kids--Terry, Tommy, and Jeff. They've all had great success, at some point, coaching. If I were looking for a coach, I'd be looking for a guy who had Bowden genes. But don't think that if you are the son of a beloved coach, you have to coach--in fact, I'm living proof that you don't have to go into the family business (which, frankly, is a lot of work). You can also run for Governor, assuming your dad is famous enough. If I were you, and not me, I'd seriously consider being the grandson of Vince Lombardi. In Connecticut, you should be the son of Jim Calhoun. In North Carolina, consider being the son of Dean Smith.

Of course, you don't have to be the son of a famous coach to win an election, but it helps, and if you think you know how to change Washington, when you are just the son of some guy who isn't famous for coaching sports, than you are part of the problem. You should drop out of the race and let either an athlete or his (or, sure, "her") child win. They know better than you. You hear me Jim Webb? Do you fucking hear me?

Chapter Four: Playing Defense

It's a natural part of Washington--the press, you see, are nerds, former and current asthmatics who want nothing more than a chance to either befriend the stud (that's me, and possibly you, reader) or make out with the cheerleader (Marilyn Quayle jumps to mind, but that's just me). If they don't get to do either, those nerds turn into a traitorous bunch, bent on bringing you down to make themselves feel better.

So be prepared--that press corps who worships you is plotting against you. And that's a problem. Just look what happened to me. I was minding my own business, when I accidently used what was an apparently racist word to describe an Indian (Gandhi Indian, not Crazy Horse Indian). I thought I was using a nonsense word to describe him. And suddenly, the press, a School of Nerd Pirahnas, was all over me.

They paid money, I'm sure, to three white former teammates to say that I used the word "nigger" regularly, and that I went out of my way to stuff a dead deer's head into a black person's mailbox. Which is of course silly. How does a Completely Innocent Person defend that? You play defense. And you just hope that the Washington Press Corps learns from its mistakes, and stops publishing stories that are sourced by three different people, and takes its cues from the man in charge, like a sports team would. Hey press corps--we are all on the same team, and that's Team America. When you publish bad stories about me, and allow Closet Sheep-Fuckers like Jim Webb to get elected, you fuck us all like "Senator" Jim Webb would a sheep.

Chapter 10: Conclusions

1. When truly great people are denied Washington, like myself, it is because we were mistreated. When will White Governors who are the sons of Beloved Sports Figures get a Fair Break? WHEN? When will we learn from sports, and judge politicians on my their merits?

2. Speaking of sports, a lot of talk is flying around about baseball stars being juiced. I personally don't believe that great Americans like Mark McGuire or Brady Anderson would ever use drugs to get ahead. Sad to say, but I am quite ready to believe that people like Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Rafael Palmeiro did. Call it a gut feeling. And Barack Obama is the Barry Bonds of politics. He's clearly juiced, politically speaking, and the press is turning a blind eye. And you know what? I'm pretty sure that Jim Webb is literally juiced on roids. Look at that guy! He's way too cut to be natural!

3. Soccer, or "futbol" are Democrats, looking to change our American Way of Football into something with "finesse" and "touch" and "Brazilian free-form". I don't know what that last one means, but based on what Brazilians did to my wife, I want no part on their way of life. Soccer, you see, is a game of the underclass, the immigrant, the dirty, the impure. Mark Sanford went to Argentina to experience that sort of fluid movement of balls, and he hasn't been the same since. I mourn our Conservative Loss. It is a beguiling sort of sport, but it isn't American. Real Americans know what to do with balls--we pass them deep, we dunk them with authority, we hit them sharply to left field; we don't push them around, looking for an opening. American politics needs to learn from American Balls before it sucks on the European/Brazilian ball teat.

In conclusion, Washington needs Legacy Hires. Washington needs a bit of protectionism. Washington needs to be able to cheat. Washington needs to hit balls hard. Washington needs to ignore uppity teammates of color (like Iraq, India, China, Japan, Africa, etc). Washington needs to play to win! If Washington plays to win, it can not lose.

Mariners Host Cheezburger Night Tomorrow

The Mariners are honoring the finest site in the World. Or maybe the site itself has organized this get-together. Oops, clearly the Mariners are behind it, considering the amount of LOLSpeak on their site:

It's a Cheezburger Night wif the Seattle Mariners!!!1! (Safeco Field on Thursday, July 9) Bring awl of ur frends and familee 2 dis fun event. We will haz sum awesum pre-game festivitiez and u can meet sum noo Cheez Frends! And if u buy ur tickets thru dis speshul offer, u git a FREE Cheezburger Nite t-shirt! Woo hoo!!1!! C u awl der!

Here's why I'm bringing this up at all--I'd like that Cheezburger Nite shirt. Make it happen, random occasional reader who lives in Seattle. I'd do it for you, possibly! Do it for the original
LOLCat, who is probably dead by now:

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