Monday, November 30, 2009

Thursday Stain & Lucky 13

The annoyance of Thursday football is like a lump of undigested turkey giblets in the cold dregs of a gravy boat. Not only can no one watch it (oh, sorry to those member of the liberal elite who have the NFL network), but it also musses up our IDYFT NFL Pick'em.
I'll be making an effort to get this done earlier in the week, perhaps as way of apology for everyone having to watch Detroit get creamed and Dallas wax a patsy for the 300th Thanksgiving in a row.

Who decided that Detroit and Dallas deserve this tradition? Assholes, that's who.

Should you not get your picks in by Thursday's Jets-Bills fudgefest, have no fear, go ahead and pick the rest of the week ... but don't cheat, for I am always watching you. Good luck!

1. Miwacar: 43 pts (this week +2)
2. MMMan: 38 pts (this week +6)
3. Jess: 36 pts (this week +4)
Barnyard: 36 pts
4. Big BM: 21 pts
5. Adw: 18 pts (this week +6)
6. Leftnut: 17 pts (this week +6)

Lucky Week Thirteen
1. Big Shoe-in? +2/-4
2. Little Shoe-in? +1/-2
3. Surprise! +3 Underdogs:
Generals, Lions, Browns, Oaktown
4. Favorite/Disliked? +/-1
5. Clash of the Titans: +/-2
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals

Clash of the Wildcarders: +/-1
Houston at Jacksonville

Lucky Bonus Questions
6. Which game will be the closest? +3
7. Which game will have the largest point differential? +3

8. Which game will have the highest total points? +3
9. Which game will have the lowest total points? +3

10. Do you Smell a Shutout or Do You Oggle an Overtime? +2
11. Last team standing: Saints or Colts? +2

nota bene: Because this is lucky Week Thirteen in the NFL, I've included extra bonus questions which can boost your score.

Explanation of bonus question 10: pick whether you think there will be a shutout or an overtime this week. You can't lose points, even if neither a shutout nor an overtime occurs.

Monday Night Football Drinking Game That Will Kill You

Take a drink every time Jon Gruden starts a sentence with "That guy" or "This guy". Have 911 on the speed dial, because I reckon you are probably looking at 100+ pulls.

Someone needs to get in a room with Gruden and teach him some other words he can use.

Finally, A Fake Golf Club That I Can Piss In

Thanks, UroClub! I don't even play golf, but I want one of these. I'll piss anywhere I want, and people will just think I love cleaning my seven-iron. (seen via AV Club's Gift Guide)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Billy Bragg!

There are worse ways to spend your Sunday mornings, waiting for the NFL to start, than to listen to Billy Bragg sing about gender politics via the lens of Motown songwriters and singers. Like, for example, going to church. That's a much worse way to spend time.

Here's Billy, from around 1986, I guess, singing one of my favorite songs by him, "Levi Stubb's Tears", and if you don't know who Levi Stubbs is, then you can fuck right off, until you Internet Search him. And if you don't know who Billy Bragg is, then get off my blog, asshole.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grumpy Troll Targets OPS

Patrick Reusse must have paid extra to live under a bridge that had internet access. Most bridges don't, you see. And he's a troll. Get it? I've just made a joke more clever than any of the dozen or so Reusse attempts in his Turkeys of the Year column.

It starts with some inexplicable shots on the federal stimulus package (as best as I can determine, Reusse is mocking the stimulus), which makes about as much sense as Paul Krugman ragging on Denard Span. Less, actually, because if Krugman went that route, he'd have numbers to back his insults up. Seriously, read this fucking thing, and see if the first four or five paragraphs make any sort of sense to you (keeping in mind that Reusse is going with the Not At All Hackneyed premise that there is a Turkey Committee, and he's just reporting the results).

Reusse doesn't care for your "numbers" or "statistics", though. He makes that painfully clear, with his first Turkey of the year--pretty good baseball writer (for the Star Trib, no less) Joe Christensen. What about Christensen has drawn Reusse's ire? I quote directly, "[Christensen is] the Twin Cities' leading advocate for OPS, a make-believe number that Bill James acolytes have embraced. How often must we say this, Joe? Runs scored and RBI mean something; OPS doesn't."

And right there, with that piece of blithely announced arrogance, Reusse demonstrates his worthlessness. OPS isn't complicated or tricky to understand, and is hardly a made up stat. To quickly explain--lots of writers, throughout the years, have noted that baseball is fundamentally an individual contest in the midst of a team sport--it comes down to pitcher vs hitter. There is team defense, to be sure, and yes, even team offense, but at the end of the day, when you are evaluating a hitter, you should try to remove elements the hitter doesn't have in his control. What stats does Reusse invoke? Stats that are fundamentally tied to things outside a hitter's control! I could, in theory, hit 100 triples, but because I'm followed up by Nick Punto and and Patrick Reusse, I score exactly 0 runs. And Reusse's "stats that mean something" wouldn't give a shit about my 0 runs scored off of those 100 triples.

OPS is simple as can be--it combines two stats that show a player's ability to get on base, and to hit. OPS actually stands for On-base Plus Slugging. It's couldn't be simpler. And it is hardly "made-up". It combines two stats that have been around forever, and just says, "OK, you are good at getting walks, and you are good at getting doubles, and because we are evaluating you, and not the guys who hit ahead or behind you, we're not going to worry about your RBI or Runs Scored".

It is hardly a stat that leads to completely alternative models of great offensive players. Top 3 players in OPS of all time? Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. This crazy system threatens all of baseball, with such topsy-turvy selections!

Reusse also targets the following: A University of Minnesota RB for not finishing a TD run, a Woman's Volleyball player for quitting, the President of a small technical college in the Twin Cities, Francisco Liriano*, and assorted others (at the end, he finally got to some folks who deserve it, but I'm going to make you read the column to see who those folks were.).

Patrick Reusse, you are a stupid fat fuck. You are not quite yet at Tom Powers Levels, but you are awfully close.

*brilliant piece of self-editing in the Liriano discussion. Reusse "paraphrases" Dean Wormer from Animal House--"thick, disorganized and stubborn is no way to go through life, son." Of course, the actual quote is, "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." Even someone as unself-aware as Reusse knew that his success, which is basically predicated on being fat, drunk, and stupid blew that line out of the water from the get-go. Kudos to Reusse for not using it.

Dear ESPN: More Tiger Car Accident Coverage Please

Updating every 15 minutes is simply not often enough for me to know how much no new information is available, and when that no new information became available.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Man, the PAC-10 Is Going To Be Full of Suck

The Portland Pilots destroyed UCLA tonight, and that isn't the worst loss UCLA has suffered already this year.

UCLA isn't the best team in the PAC-10, but they aren't the worst. The best will probably have to be the Huskies, but I think Steve Lavin was quite right when he predicted that it will take a great run in the PAC-10 tournament for more than 2 teams to be playing in March.

Insanely early to make those sorts of predictions, you say? Every mid-level PAC-10 already has a pretty big, embarrassing loss. Only the Washington Huskies have the look of a team that good give the 2nd place team in say, the Horizon, or the Big South a fucking game. UCLA, Arizona, Arizona St, California (remember when Syracuse blew them out?), Stanford--not a one looks like they are worth talking about.

UCLA, to repeat, was totally dominated by Portland. I don't mean to imply that Portland is teh Suck. They are not. Portland looks like a very good team, who can bomb from the outside, and likes to. Maybe this is the year that Gonzaga is joined by another team from their conference, and that both advance to the second round. Maybe--but it should be said that by January, beating UCLA isn't going to be a very impressive feat.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Predictions, Part 2 by the Prognosticating Tots

Upon further reflection, and the 27-7 score on the TV, the tots jump ship and switch to the Packers. For the rest fo todays games the girls predict upsets - the Raiders over the Cowboys by 72 points, and Denver to upset the Giants! Gobble-gobble everyone and Happy Thanksgiving.

The Tots Predict the Lions for the first game by six!

The Lions win? By six? That's a bold prediction tots... but I hope it comes true!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Buffalo Bills Don't Care For Your "Trends"

One way the Bills bucked trends was to ignore Dick Jauron's NFL record when they hired him in the first place. Keep in mind, Jauron had two NFL Head Coaching Jobs prior to being hired by Buffalo, and they break down thusly:

Chicago: Over five years, a record of 35-45, which is pretty unimpressive. Considering it was the middle year of his five-year tenure that contained his outlier year, of 13-3 (their only trip to the playoffs), I think it is fair to consider that one year aside, Jauron's record was 22-42, or an average record of 6-10 or 7-9.

Interim Coach at Detroit: 1-4. Understandable, right? He was a interim coach brought in to simply maintain the rudder on a losing franchise, that had just Mariucci, who had led the Lions to a 4-7 record. Of course, Mariucci was winning roughly 1 out of every 3 games. Jauron? 1 out of every 5.

With the Bills, Jauron hit the average he had in Chicago, with 3 straight years of 7-9 seasons. He was on his way to his fourth, when he was unduly dumped.

I don't really need to tread on my fellow IDYFT'er Andrew Wice's ground, as he eulogized Jauron pretty effectively last week. Let's talk about the candidates the Bills have looked at since they shit-canned that Dick.

Sure, lots o' NFL Teams have gone with a trend popularized by the Steelers when they interviewed and hired Mike Tomlin--the new "fad" all of a sudden is hiring young talented coordinators, and giving them their first taste of NFL Head Coaching.

You've got Harbaugh in Baltimore. McDaniels in Denver. Whisenhunt in Arizona. The counter-example that proves the rule, Jim Zorn in Washington.

Buffalo says, "Fuck all that shit! Give us retreads! Where is Sam Wyche? Where is Rich Kotite"

Here is who they've been interviewing.

Mike Holmgren--who rejected them outright. Which is a shame, because he was a perfect choice as a continuer of the Jauron trend. Even in the super-weak NFC West, over Holmgren's last 5 years, Seattle averaged 9 wins per year. Let's be clear--if Holmgren has a Hall of Fame QB or RB, he can win 13 games, no problem. Buffalo doesn't have either of those at the moment.

Mike Shanahan--Apparently engaged in talks for seven hours over 2 days! My goodness! That's a long time! His last three years in Denver, he averaged an 8-8 record (that's with getting to play the Raiders twice, by the by), and there is no weird math happening there--over his last three years, Shanahan never won less than 7 games, never won more than 9. But give the guy Terrell Davis, or John Elway, or preferably, both--he'll win you a Super Bowl! (without them, he might take you to the playoffs, where he was 1-4)

Mike Martz--Intriguing! Give him a QB that is not lauded, but has God and a weird Devil Lady on his side, and a multi-talented running back, and a bunch of WR's, and maybe you've got something. Buffalo has a bunch of WR's, and a couple of potential running backs (Fred Jackson would fit a Mike Martz system better than Marshawn Lynch). All you need is Trent Edwards to marry some freaky goblin lady, and build a dome in Buffalo, and you've got yourself a winning team!

Thanksgiving Sports: Don't Forget the Hoops

I know that Thanksgiving means football, for people lucky enough not be saddled with family who think that Thanksgiving is about family (Boo, family members who think that!).

But, let's face it--we've got some kind of garbage games for this Thanksgiving. You've got one of the worst passing defenses in the league in Detroit (gave 3 TDs to Brady Quinn on Sunday, for fuck's sake) playing one of the most dangerous QB's in the league in Aaron Rodgers. Raiders vs. Cowboys promises to be a crapfest, even (especially?) if Oakland manages to pull an upset. The Giants and Broncos both started like a house on fire, and both have pretty been poopy the last month or so--plus it is on NFL Network, which very precious few of us have (yeah, I'm one of the Chosen).

May I kindly suggest, when the football gets out of hand, you switch on over and watch what looks to be a pretty good run of College Hoops?

starting at 12pm EST:
Creighton* vs. Michigan. Michigan is every prognosticator's darling of the Big 10. Creighton has a habit of wrecking darlings. (I love Beilein in Michigan, but I think his team is probably a year and one Pitznoggle away from being truly badass)

Marquette vs. Xavier. Great match-up of Big East and A-10 teams that have been great in recent years, but are being looked to have to rebuild this year. Still, depending on how things shake out, this could be a preview of a 1st or 2nd round game in March.

Clemson vs. Texas A&M--Clemson is nationally ranked, thanks to positive buzz and a string of cupcakes, just like they are every year. Big 12 vs. ACC is always competitive, and should be fun.

Alabama vs. Baylor--one or both of these teams will come out of nowhere to scare the absolute shit out of everyone, before collapsing down the stretch.

Butler vs. Minnesota--Two top 20 teams face off, both facing questions as to whether they might be a touch overrated. A possible preview of a Sweet 16 match-up.

That's a lot of good hoops, all on ESPN2. Should be better than most of the football on the TV.

*by the by, Creighton has one ugly website.

Sunday Showers

An outrageous Sunday of surprises showered both points and poo all over our contestants. Oaktown, Kansas Shitty and Detroit were all unexpectedly victorious. Although their seasons are over, they are still playing. They are among the worst teams in the league, but so far only the Rams and Squawks appear to have quit.

Not only did no one predict that the Detroit-Cleveland clash would result in the highest point total (75) this season, it was picked as the likely lowest scoring game by almost all participants. Another shower upon our Sunday best.

1. Miwacar: 41 pts (this week +3)
2. Barnyard: 36 pts
3. MMMan: 32 pts (this week +9)
Jess: 32 pts (this week +6)
4. Big BM: 21 pts
5. Adw: 12 pts
6. Lefnut: 11 pts

Week Twelve
1. Big Shoe-in? +2/-4
2. Little Shoe-in? +1/-2
3. Surprise! +3 Underdogs:
Lions, Oaktown, Bucs, Generals, Chefs, Bears
4. Favorite/Disliked? +/-1
5. Clash of the Titans:
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints

Bonus Questions
6. Which game will be the closest? +3
7. Which game will have the largest point differential? +3
8. Last team standing: Saints or Colts? +2

John Runyan Running For Congress in New Jersey

Or he will, after one more year in the NFL. From CQ Politics.

"I personally informed the Republican County Chairmen in NJ's 3rd Congressional District that after the season is over I plan to officially retire from football and pursue a campaign for the United States Congress," he said in a statement.

Maybe he and Heath Schuler can start some sort of cross-party NFL caucus, in which they can craft pointed barbs at Dan Snyder as House Resolutions. (That will take Runyan winning, of course, which seems to me to be a bit on the unlikely side).

CQ Politics can talk about 'name recognition' all they want--having a recognizable name is one thing; being remembered as being a big fat guy who stops other big fat guys from going where they want to go isn't a well known prerequisite for political office (last time I checked).

Mauer Wins MVP, Jerky Yankee Fans Salivate

I was going to write a whole screed about how the reporters and the game-wrecking Yankees speculators couldn't wait a single day after Joey Mau-Mau won his MVP before they started masturbating to their plans to acquire him. I was also going to include some reasons why I felt that it feels unlikely to happen. (one of my reasons not covered below is the Zen way Joe is approaching things; he's been quoted over and over again as saying, "Things will work out." He's said that much more often than the Free Agent preamble of, "At the end of the day, this is a business."

While I may quibble about a point here or there, it seems that Two Seam Fastblog has effectively beaten me to the punch, so I'll just link to them, and you can read their screed.

Two Seam Fastblog

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ari Fleischer, Willing to Defend Anything

The BCS has hired Ari Fleischer's PR firm. Why do they need such a sneaky, accomplished bullshitter? Here's why, from the AP (on ESPN's site):

"BCS executive director Bill Hancock...said in a statement the goal of the hiring was to help highlight the positive aspects of the BCS, which he called the best way to match college football's top two teams, while preserving the bowl system."

Clearly, if that's your starting point, you are going to need a hell of a bullshitter. And Ari is one of the best. Remember how cool he was, compared to the sweaty fumblings of Scott McClellan? How he'd always say, "I think your facts are wrong, and you need to go back and check them," even when he knew the reporter's facts were dead on?

That's exactly the kind of guy you need to say with a straight face that the BCS is the best way to match college football's top two teams, or that the current bowl system is something that even deserves to be preserved.

(first of learned via Yglesias)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dear ESPN News--Why is Lou Holtz Talking NBA?

Yes, he's talking about the failure of the Knicks--and you can never have too many people doing that. But Lou Holtz?

Were there no slurring, slobbering old men who know basketball in the studio?

Dance, Jason Sudeikis, Dance!

This is a couple weeks old, but just watch Jason Sudeikis go?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Late Night Live Bloggin': Classic Family Feud

Dear College Basketball Rankers--You Forgot Syracuse

As recently as when the Sports Illustrated College Basketball Preview was printed, Syracuse was considered a marginal Big Conference team. One that would make the Dance, sure, but not in the Top 20, or 25, or 30. SI had them at 35, though they were smart to mention the possible impact of transfer Wesley Johnson.

Since that issue hit my mailbox on Friday, Syracuse has beaten two teams that were ranked in from of them. They absolutely destroyed SI's #11 team, the California Bears (the Bears were overly ranked by SI, and they are dealing with some injuries. But, let's be clear--the best team in the PAC-10 ain't nothing special, and Cal probably isn't the best team in the PAC-10.)

So maybe Syracuse beating California isn't all that special. But how about beating them real, real bad? And turning around, and locking down UNC into one of the most horrific offensive displays a UNC team has ever participated in? Syracuse opened up the second half of their game by outscoring UNC 22-1. Holy shit!

As a Georgetown fan, who hates Syracuse, it pains me to say this--Syracuse is underrated, or every team they have played and beaten handily is overrated.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I expect to hear some booing in Oakland, and no, they won't mean "Bruce".

An amazing two touchdowns in nine games has finally lead the Raiders to bench Russel in favor of Bruce Gradkowski. Some may think that it's about time, but I beg to differ. Do you remember this guy? He hasn't thrown a touchdown in three years, but has thrown 11 interceptions. Last time he started was for Cleveland where he completed only 8 out of 16 passes for 18 yards AND two interceptions. Did he win the job last Sunday? Here are the ending plays for his four possessions last week: Incomplete pass, Int, Sack, Int. Russell has played aweful, but I think Gradkowski should prove even worse this week. The Raiders would be better off with Kitna. There, I said it.

Ireland Got Fooked!

I'm a supporter of Ireland, and I'm attempting to not let this get my Irish up too much, but FIFA needs to step in and fix this bullshit. No way France should get into the World Cup on two hand balls by Thierry Henry in overtime. This is the kind of shit that makes people hate you, France.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Too Soon For Bracketology for reals ESPN

I was complaining toward the end of last season about how early ESPN rolled out Joe Lunardi's Bracketology. I also showed how inaccurate it was to predict the March seeds in early January. There was no point to it two months before the tournament. There's superultradoubleplus no point to it now.

I'm not particularly self-centered, but I have to say I have to assume that ESPN is purposefully just sticking its dick in my eye with the Bracketology scrolling at the bottom of my screen right now.

It is November! No one has played a conference game yet. And yet, Bracketology is there, predicting the top four seeds in each bracket. Is this a joke? For posterity's sake, we will record the flat-out guesses here, and we will make fun of it come March.

1. Kentucky
2. North Carolina
3. Washington
4. UConn

1. Michigan St
2. Villanova
3. Butler
4. California

1. Texas
2. Duke
3. Tennessee
4. Ohio State

1. Kansas
2. Purdue
3. West Virginia
4. Michigan

Dick Jauron Released From the Frozen-Over Hell of Buffaloaf

Bonus Question note: nobody picked Dick "Dick" Jauron as the first coach to be fired.

I figured that if the Bills had been content with his mediocore coaching for three straight 7-9 seasons (and eight straight non-winning seasons; for his career he had losing seasons nine out of ten times), they would stand pat at least until the end of the year.

Instead, Bills ownership has to eat his recently extended contract. Sounds like they got a touch of the ol' Snyder flu! This picture makes me think of "Trading Places." And hey, how is T.O. working out for you boners?

As for Jauron ... I wish I could say enjoy your retirement, but I'm sure you'll soon have your own show on ESPN with equally qualified expert Matt Millen.

Ten weeks into our IDYFT NFL Pick'em, Miwacar and Barnyard seem to be pulling out ahead of the pack. The pack, however, remains within striking distance. With more bonus questions in the coming weeks, even those in the rear will have an opportunity to make up some ground.

Bonus Question: the "last team standing" will be offered every week until one or both currently undefeated teams is eliminated; this bonus will compound other relevant bonuses, so enjoy!

1. Miwacar: 38 points (this week +8)
2. Barnyard: 36 points (this week +8)
3. Jess: 26 points (this week +3)
4. MMMan: 23 points (this week +4)
5. Big BM: 21 points
6. Adw: 12 points (this week +1)
7. Leftnut: 11 points (this week +4)

Week 11
1. Big Shoe-in? +2/-4
2. Little Shoe-in? +1/-2
3. Surprise! +3 Underdog list:
Lions, Seahawks, Bucs, Generals, Jets, Oaktown
4. Favorite/Disliked Team? +/-1
5. Clash of the Titans: +/-2
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

Bonus Questions
6. Which game will result in the most total points? +3
7. Which game will result in the least total points? +3
8. Last Team Standing: Colts or Saints? +2

Monday, November 16, 2009

Supreme Court Doesn't Wanna Hear About Redskins

I've talked, at length, on several occasions about why I think the Redskins team name has got to go. And it would be great if the team would just do the right thing. Because that's something that heartless corporations do all the time, right? Just doing the right thing because it is the right thing?

Anyway, there's also been a lawsuit moving through the system for the past 17 years that finally has finally come to the end. Suzan Shown Harjo (in conjunction with a number of plaintiffs) initially won her protest with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to get the trademark rescinded.

The group that owns that trademark, Pro-Football Inc (aka Washington Redskins) has won every appeal since, and the case has been slowly making its way to the top of the court system. Today it came to a totally expected, anti-climatic and yet disappointing end, with the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case without comment.

To be fair, the Pro-Football legal team found a pretty good procedural issue to turn the case on, and while it was minor it was enough to get everyone off the hook without really addressing the fundamental issue of whether the pejorative "Redskin" is really something that should be controlled by anyone, much less a dude like Dan Snyder.

I believe the writing on the wall for this appeal was apparent for quite awhile, and I will not be surprised to see a new case that addresses the minor league bullshit the first one was dismissed for having (which was related to the age of plaintiffs).

Or Dan Snyder could suck it up, spend a little bit of money, and get rid of the most racist name in sports. Just a thought.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nice Work, Washington

I don't think you'll see a trick play work this well the rest of the season. This is the Washington Savages, starting in a long field goal look, sliding it to a punt look, and finally having punter Hunter Smith heave across the field for a very unlikely and momentum stealing touchdown. The thing that this highlight doesn't show is that the Savages kind of tipped their hand--they came out, lined up the Field Goal, and then did the first half of the shift, into the punting formation. Then they kind of freaked out and called time out. But Denver still reacts to the shift (seeing it a second time) with a good deal of confusion. Regardless, awesome.

Something new and unique happened today...

Today I felt something new - a disturbance in The Force if you will. I, and many others, thought and perhaps even a few muttered something like:

"They better get Orton back in there or this game is lost!"

or the converse

"I hope Orton doesn't come back in the game..."

Congrats to Washington and Chris Simms for making Orton look like a franchise quarterback. Simms - 3 for 13, for 13 yards, 1 int, and a QB rating of ........ drum roll please.......


That's the lowest I've ever seen for a half of football. Worse than Dilfer's worst man.*

*Update: I stand corrected. Trent Dilfer had a passer rating of 0 vs the Jets on 12/14/1997. Here are some other's who have achieved the same greatness: Eli Manning, Joey Harrington, Jeff Garcia, Ryan Leaf, Gross Rexman, and believe it or not Terry Bradshaw pulled it off THREE times and holds the record for the most 0 passer rating games.

Prognosticating Tots, NFL Week 10 (with Grandpa)

The Prognosticating Tots answer some fan mail and make predictions for week 10. I'm not sure if Jess's new team is an improvement over her old team (Vikings). Well, perhaps 0-2 is better than 0-4 in the big game? The Tot's and grandpa pick the Bengals unanimously to defeat the Steelers, and there is some confusion for the Washington vs Denver game. Does this bode well for our Skins fans - we will see!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This Week In Openly Ridiculous Fines in the NFL

Chad Ochocinco was fined $20K for what seemed like a pretty light-hearted joke, in which he "attempted to bribe" an official with a $1 bill. It was a silly, harmless thing for Chad to do, and once again, the NFL stepped on him hard. Following last week's chin strap thing, it is easy to wonder if Chad isn't doing this sort of thing on purpose--a one man crusade to find the silly ways of being fined.

Meanwhile, Eric Weddle, Safety for the Chargers, was fined $7500 for helmet to helmet contact on a defenseless receiver. You might think that carrying a $1 bill onto the field would be less cause for concern than a potential concussion/major head injury type hit, but you would be wrong, if the NFL fining structure is any guide. We had another nice demonstration of the structure of fining in the fudgefest from Thursday.

Two Bears were fined last week--Tommie Harris, predictably enough, for punching a dude in the head whilst said dude was on the ground. Punching a dude in the helmet should be at least a $10K fine for stupidity. You are punching a dude's head, but it is encased in expensive armor. And your hands are not. That's just fucking stupid. Harris was ticketed $7500. In the same game, Jay Cutler was fined for being mean to an official. He did not punch that official, mind you. He was fined $20K.

So there you have it--being mean to and or joking around with an NFL official is more than twice as bad as punching an opponent, or using your head as a weapon on a guy who is in the air and defenseless. (Wearing the wrong color chinstrap is also worse than punching a guy, just not as worse.)

The NFL Powers-That-Be seem really set on killing the Golden Goose, and maybe angrily fucking the corpse of the Golden Goose afterwards. I'm not saying that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a hate-based Avarian Necrophiliac. I'm just saying that if you have a goose that you love and treasure, and Roger Goodell comes around--keep your goose safe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Live Bloggin' Late Night Family Feud on GSN!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Those Who Find Larry the Cable Guy Too Subtle

there is always Jared Allen. Minnesota fans, you must be proud.

Bravo, Who Are You Kidding?

I rarely mention my interest in/love of shitty Reality Shows, but I do watch a few, including Top Chef. But I do bring my critical eye to it, as you, fair reader, would demand. And there was some fucked up editing going on in tonight's episode.

Here's a couple of screenshots from chef Michael Voltaggio--these two were taken within the same minute, of the same interview with cuts to the food. But, wait a minute. Are they the same interview?

Michael Voltaggio, shot one. He's engaged, eyes almost bugged out, and his skin showing the healthy tan/burn that he's been sporting since day 1.

Michael Voltaggio, shot two. 15 seconds of TV later, without a break in his commentary. Different hat, different shirt and he looks ill. At first I thought maybe they interviewed him after he lost the challenge, and he had been crying. Now, I know that wasn't the case. But I'm now wondering if he isn't ill, or whether he loses next week, and they talked to him about his last good dish at that point. Something isn't right, and something was clearly edited without any real mention of it. Weird, to tie two different interviews together, when they are so clearly not the same interview.


Thanks for the big shoe filled with poo, Green Bay!

1. Miwacar: 30 pts (this week +7)
2. Barnyard: 28 pts (this week +5)
3. Jess: 23 pts (this week +4)
4. Big BM: 21 pts
5. MMMan: 19 pts (this week +1)
6. Adw: 11 pts
7. Leftnut: 7 pts (this week +3)
8. Garwood: 6 pts

Week Ten
1. Big Shoe-in? +2/-4
2. Little Shoe-in? +1/-2
3. Surprise! +3 Underdog list:
Lions, Seahawks, Bucs, Texans, Generals
4. Favorite/Disliked Team? +/-1
5. Do You Smell A Shutout? Yes (+2/-1) or No (+/-1)
6. Clash of the Titans: +/-2
New England Patriots at Indy Colts

Prognosticating Tots - Week 10

I'm going to start something new - you ask the Prognosticating Tots your NFL related question for week 10, and the tots will answer! Simply place your question as a comment and the tots use their Nostradamian skills to predict the answer.

Jimmy the Greek Made Money Listening to Al Davis?

From the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on Jimmy the Greek. According to Brent Musberger, the happiest he ever saw Jimmy the Greek was when he cashed a 25K bet on the 1983 Superbowl, by betting on the Raiders, because Al Davis told him the Raiders had too much speed for the Redskins.

Imagine putting 25K on anything because Al Davis assured you it was a sure thing.

By the way, if you aren't watching 30 for 30, you really really should be.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Off-Season Twins Manifesto, Part 3: The Players

Folks who read this blog may remember The Black Freighter for his Twins predictions and analysis at the beginning of the just concluded season. He knows, on any given week, who is playing well in the Triple AAA and Double AA farm teams. It is possible he's a lunatic. And he's back with a blueprint/manifesto for what the Twins need to do this offeseason. This is part three. In this section, The Black Freighter looks at potential players that could join the Minnesota Twins. Part two is here.

spoiler alert: The Black Freighter predicted that the Twins would trade for J.J. Hardy during the course of the regular season last year. He was sure it had to happen, because of the inherent logic of the deal. Later on in his 2009 Off-Season Manifesto, he predicts the starting line-up for the Minnesota Twins when they take Target Field for the first time, and he's got J.J. Hardy in there at shortstop. He wrote it in a full 24 hours before the Twins pulled the trade. So there you go. The Black Freighter Knows Things. Enough! The Black Freighter Speaks:

Ace Pitcher

There are certainly some nice names available… Javier Vazquez and Derek Lowe in Atlanta, perhaps Roy Oswalt in Houston or Brandon Webb in Arizona, but each of these guys are going to come with a hefty price tag. If I am the Twins, I am going to target two young studs who aren’t nearly expensive… Cole Hamels of the Phillies or Josh Johnson of the Marlins.

Hamels had a tough year and struggled down the stretch for the Phillies. With J.A. Happ pitching great as a rookie, Pedro Martinez eager to return, Jamie Moyer locked in and 2008 Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee needing an extension, this might be a perfect time for the National League champions to sell high on the young lefty. With the Phillies in need of bullpen help, perhaps a deal centered around Matt Guerrier, a younger and cheaper lefty starter in Brian Duensing and a possible replacement for Ryan Howard in 2006 first round draft pick, Chris Parmelee gets it done.

Another possibility would be Josh Johnson. Florida is looking to lock-up Johnson to an extension, but word is that he will be out of the price range for the notoriously cheap Marlins. The 2009 all-star went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA and will only be 26 next year. With Mauer now locked up, this is the time to trade high on catching prospect Wilson Ramos. The young kid is nearly ready and profiles to be a possible all-star down the road. A package centered around him, Brian Duensing and Alexi Casilla (the Marlins are looking to deal Dan Uggla so they could use the depth) would actually make quite a bit of sense.


While it might be farfetched to believe the Twins can find a suitable trading partner for an ace pitcher, J.J. Hardy of the Brewers is out there for the taking. The Brewers have made it abundantly clear that Hardy no longer fits in their future plans and he had a horrible 2009 that saw him demoted to AAA, however Hardy was quite solid in 2007 and 2008 and appears to be a logical bounce back candidate at only 27. Hardy is an above average fielder and has the ability to regularly hit 20+ homeruns. A package of Glen Perkins and Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year, David Bromberg should get the deal done.

Trim the Fat

Finally, the Twins have two players who should be attractive to other clubs in Delmon Young and Matt Guerrier. Young was fantastic in September, but his defense is awful and his plate discipline has not improved. He certainly could still be a wonderful player, but the Twins should sell high on his September performance and see if they can net a quality prospect or two for Young. Some might argue that Gomez should be dealt, but I find his defense and speed incredibly valuable and he improved his plate discipline in 2009.

Matt Guerrier has led the league in appearances the last two seasons and has generally been quite good. Guerrier had his best season yet last year, but is getting a little older and more expensive so the Twins should deal him at his peak. With what teams pay for quality relievers these days, it would not be shocking if the Twins netted a nice-looking prospect or two in return.

Ideal and Feasible 2010 Twins Opening Day Roster:

Projected Roster Cost: $88 million + Mauer signing bonus

Starting Lineup:

1. Denard Span LF

2. Placido Polanco 2B

3. Joe Mauer C

4. Justin Morneau 1B

5. Michael Cuddyer RF

6. Jason Kubel DH

7. J.J. Hardy SS

8. Joe Crede 3B

9. Carlos Gomez CF


C Jose Morales

IF Nick Punto

IF Matt Tolbert

OF David Winfree

Starting Pitching:

RH Josh Johnson

RH Scott Baker

RH Kevin Slowey

RH Nick Blackburn

LH Francisco Liriano


RH Boof Bonser

LH Ron Mahay

RH Jesse Crain

LH Jose Mijares

RH Jon Rauch

RH Pat Neshek

RH Joe Nathan

* Note that in this formula, I have not tendered a contract to Brendan Harris, instead sticking with a cheaper Matt Tolbert. The loss of Delmon Young opens a spot for rookie, David Winfree who brings a strong bat off the bench. The losses of Duensing and Perkins clear away unnecessary competition in the starting ranks, but Manship and Swarzak remain if ineffectiveness or injury strikes again. Finally, with Guerrier gone, Boof Bonser and Pat Neshek maintain cheaper spots in the pen and are arguably just as effective.

With this roster, overall defense has improved with nearly every position containing an average or above average fielder. I was able to deal Delmon Young, Matt Guerrier, Alexi Casilla, Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins and two nice prospects for JJ Hardy and Josh Johnson. Hardy gives us a young shortstop we can count on for several years and Johnson is the ace we desperately need anchoring our staff. I’ve also picked up 2-4 prospects for Young and Guerrier who may potentially turn into big leaguers down the road. Alright, Mr. Bill Smith… get to work!

Timberwolves May or May Not Have a Manifesto

I understand that the Minnesota Timberwolves have a long range game plan, and it includes losing a fair number of games this year while a very very young team gains experience. But the hope is that they will be fun, hard-fought losses.

So you can imagine the visceral pain a Timberwolves fan has when they switch over to a late game against the Golden State Warriors to find that the Timberwolves are losing by 40, that Stephen Jackson somehow has 15 assists, or that the Timberwolves starters are a combined -90 in +/-, or that the team as a whole has 26 turnovers.

Brutal game. These things happen. But it is especially galling when a Timberwolves fan is watching the game, and a commercial comes on saying, essentially, "Hey, we know we aren't very good, but we have a plan," and then invites the fan to check out that plan at:

As of right now--the image below shows that plan. Hey, look! "Content". Sweet. That inspires confidence.

Portis Injured + Larry Johnson Released = UH-OH

With Portis still a bit foggy, and reportedly questionable for Week 10, and the Chiefs wisely casting away over-the-hill pain in the ass former great Larry Johnson, it feels like one of those Dan Snyder perfect storms is brewing.

Whenever a guy who had a good career but has been ineffective lately, Snyder and buddies get all excited (Deion Sanders, anyone?). Combine that with the Portis head injury, we Drunken Savage fans have to get prepared for the very real possibility that we will have to at least attempt to cheer for Larry Johnson in the near future. I'm unexcited, to say the least. God, I Dislike MY Favorite Team.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Twins Off-Season Manifesto: Part 2, The Blueprint

Folks who read this blog may remember The Black Freighter for his Twins predictions and analysis at the beginning of the just concluded season. He knows, on any given week, who is playing well in the Triple AAA and Double AA farm teams. It is possible he's a lunatic. And he's back with a blueprint/manifesto for what the Twins need to do this offeseason. This is part two. Part one found here.

spoiler alert: The Black Freighter predicted that the Twins would trade for J.J. Hardy during the course of the regular season last year. He was sure it had to happen, because of the inherent logic of the deal. Later on in his 2009 Off-Season Manifesto, he predicts the starting line-up for the Minnesota Twins when they take Target Field for the first time, and he's got J.J. Hardy in there at shortstop. He wrote it in a full 24 hours before the Twins pulled the trade. So there you go. The Black Freighter Knows Things. Enough! The Black Freighter Speaks:

1. Sign Joe Mauer to a contract extension.

This is probably the most obvious move the Twins have this offseason. A lot of people think Mauer will be making at least $20 million annually, but I just don’t see it because of his injury history and the fact he may have to change positions in the future. Currently Jorge Posada is the highest paid catcher at $13.1 million and I see the Twins topping that by $5 million annually. A 6-year contract worth $108.6 million should make our hometown hero plenty happy… he becomes the highest paid catcher by a large margin and is the 9th highest paid player in baseball. If they do not sign Mauer to an extension by the end of spring training, you can kiss him goodbye.

2. Sign Placido Polanco to a 2-year, $9 million contract.

The 33-year-old 2nd baseman hit .285 this year with 10 homeruns and 72 RBI for the Detroit Tigers. His fielding is above average and he gets on base at a 35% clip. Polanco is an ideal fit for the Twins and would slot perfectly between Denard Span and Joe Mauer.

3. Resign Joe Crede to a 1 year, $2 million contract plus incentives.

Why would the Twins resign a guy that was only able to play 90 games? Defense. Joe Crede’s glove was as good as advertised leading all 3rd baseman, who logged over 700 innings, in UZR. With 3rd baseman of the future Danny Valencia still needing some seasoning, the Twins can gamble that Crede logs a fair amount of innings on the new grass field and adds double-digit homeruns.

4. Resign Ron Mahay to a 1 year, $1 million contract.

Mahay came over to the Twins on August 28th for a player to be named later. Mahay only logged 9 innings, but struck out 8 and allowed only 2 earned runs. Gardenhire used Mahay almost strictly as a LOOGY (Lefty One Out Guy) and it worked quite well. Jose Mijares is the only other lefty in the bullpen and he is primarily used as a set-up guy for Joe Nathan, so the Twins could certainly use a guy with Mahay’s talents.

5. Let Orlando Cabrera, Carl Pavano and Mike Redmond find greener pastures.

Cabrera was certainly an igniter for the Twins during their torrid finish, but he lacks the on base percentage in the 2-hole that Gardy reserves for him. Tack on the fact that he is stretched defensively (11 errors in 57 games with the Twins) and you have a sub-average player demanding more money than he is worth. Carl Pavano pitched admirably down the stretch, but he is not the ace this team desperately needs. On a championship-caliber team, Carl Pavano is your 4th best pitcher. The Twins are better off spending the money on a #1 or #2 guy. Mike Redmond has had a great run in Minnesota, but his skills are in decline and the Twins have a capable and younger #2 catcher in Jose Morales. Redmond was a wonderful leader in the clubhouse, but his naked batting practice will not be missed!

6. Be active in the trade market.

As I mentioned above, the Twins have some major holes to fill, but own some attractive depth players available for other teams. In part 3, I'll discuss some of the possible trades and free agents that the Twins could pursue.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dirty Woman Soccer: Officials?

Somehow, ESPNews has found a women's college soccer game worthy of covering every 15 minutes? The reason is dirty player extraordinaire, Elizabeth Lambert of the New Mexico Lobos. She seems nice enough on her Lobo player page--anyone who loves Tacos can't be all bad.

But she was a bad defender, and a bad person against BYU. I don't know why. Maybe a Mormon killed her grandparents, or something? But the question I have, watching over a minute of Lambert acting out and violent is this--why was she still on the pitch after the hair tug? Some of her lowlights don't look that bad to me, they are the kind of thing that happens on a pitch. But between the tackle (yellow) and then the hair pull (straight red), how is she on the pitch for the face punch (yellow) and then kicking the ball into another's player's face as they lie prone on the ground (yellow)?

Where was the officiating? Generally speaking, defenders will do anything they think they can get away with. Defenders tend to be violent, brilliant sociopaths, who try to determine what the ref will and will not call. If Elizabeth Lambert can get away with a violent hair pull, why would she assume that she could not get away with everything else? Hey, soccer officials, of which there had to be at least three, and possibly four--how was this woman in the game at the end? She should have been sent off early.

Here's your video. By the by, dudes recording off their DVR--I'm unsure how this counts as a Cat-Fight. It's a dirty soccer player. That's it. Terming it a catfight is sexist in my mind. There's no fight. It's one bad actor in the mix. One dirty soccer player. Who should not have been on the pitch. Enjoy the lowlights:

Manny Ramirez Had a $20 Million Option?

Oh, Dodgers. You'll never win a post-season series that way. But you'll spend a lot of money, thus convincing folks your team must be good, despite all of your hilarious failures.

Minnesota Twins Off-Season Manifesto, Part 1: Intro

Folks who read this blog may remember The Black Freighter for his Twins predictions and analysis at the beginning of the just concluded season. He knows, on any given week, who is playing well in the Triple AAA and Double AA farm teams. It is possible he's a lunatic. And he's back with a blueprint/manifesto for what the Twins need to do this offeseason. This is part one.

spoiler alert: The Black Freighter predicted that the Twins would trade for J.J. Hardy during the course of the regular season last year. He was sure it had to happen, because of the inherent logic of the deal. Later in his 2009 Off-Season Manifesto, he predicts the starting line-up for the Minnesota Twins when they take Target Field for the first time, and he's got J.J. Hardy in there at shortstop. He wrote it in a full 24 hours before the Twins pulled the trade. So there you go. The Black Freighter Knows Things. Enough! The Black Freighter Speaks:

First of all, congrats to the New York Yankees for winning their 27th World Series. What a bunch of smug, egotistical douchebags. Take your Park Place/Boardwalk Monopoly and your totally not vain painting of Alex Rodriguez posing as a minotaur and shove it. Okay… I feel better now.

Speaking of Monopoly, the Minnesota Twins are no longer Mediterranean/ Baltic Avenue dwellers… woohoo! Moving into the completely kick ass Target Field in 2010 allows our favorite nine to build houses and hotels on par with Kentucky Avenue or Marvin Gardens. We’ll never be a New York or Boston in terms of spending, but the additional revenue from a new stadium should allow the Twins to break the $100 million barrier at some point in the next few years.

The Twins sported a $65.3 million opening day roster in 2009, but also invested heavily with international signings and the draft, pushing that payroll total above $70 million. It has been stated that the Twins will receive $15 – 20 million annually to invest in the on-field product with a new stadium, couple that with standard inflation increases and the Twins’ opening day roster may be as high as $90 million for 2010.

So with that money in hand, what do the Twins need to do to improve a team that won the Central Division? This might surprise some people, but the Twins were actually quite putrid on defense. Despite committing the second fewest amount of errors in the majors, the Twins had the third worst UZR (ultimate zone rating). Ultimate zone rating is the amount of runs a player saves or costs his team in the field versus a league average player and the Twins had a UZR of -37.3. Yikes. With a more athletic defense that can get to additional balls up the middle or bloopers in the outfield, our pitching should improve as well.

This brings me to the second item the Twins need to address… starting pitching. What was supposedly a strength for 2009, ended up being an incredible weakness. Injuries and ineffectiveness plagued nearly all starters. I can’t imagine that they pitch this poorly next season, but it is quite clear that the Twins are lacking a true ace.

Finally, the Twins have a nice problem they need to address… depth. The experiment of having 5 starting outfielders really did not work too well last year. The Twins need to make a decision regarding Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez, because both players need to start daily if they are to reach their full potential. The Twins have 8 pitchers who are viable starters in MLB: Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins, Jeff Manship and Anthony Swarzak. The Twins also have a wealth of bullpen arms with intriguing possibilities in the minors as well. It is time for the Twins to trade away some of this pitching depth and replenish areas that need improvement.

With those principles in mind, in part 2 I'll discuss the actual steps the Twins need to take.

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