Monday, December 24, 2007

Republican Hopefuls

Now it is the Elephants’ turn to prove themselves worthy of the nomination from The OpinionSmith.

Rudy Giuliani: Quite simply the most pathetic athletic resume I have ever seen. All I have found is that he is a Yankees fan. If a tyrannosaurus rex was in the presidential race, the dinosaur would get the nod over Guiliani if you asked me. And to top it all off he isn’t even that good at being a Yankees fan. He was rooting for the Red Sox in the most recent World Series. That is the true definition of a politician: Moronic.

Mike Huckabee: He is a former Baptist preacher, which isn’t impressive from an athletic standpoint. But did you know that the Baptist preacher at my church growing up played college and semi-pro basketball? Even more impressive is that Huckabee lost 110 pounds after finding out he had adult-onset diabetes. To put that in perspective: He lost my wife! I recall seeing him in a Runner’s World issue a while back because of the weight loss and the fact that he has run four marathons.

Duncan Hunter: He served in Vietnam but was not a POW, which I’m sure he is thankful for. The fact that he wasn’t a POW does not lessen the fact that he fought though. Hunter represents San Diego, which is a city I am very fond of from a sports perspective. I played in Spring Break baseball tournaments in my high school days and my wife ran a marathon there.

John McCain: Everyone should be familiar with the fact that McCain was a POW during Vietnam after his plane was shot down. If you’re not, shame on you. I encourage you to read up on his time in captivity because it’s quite amazing. All in all, McCain spent 5.5 years as a POW. Some lesser-known facts on him are that he received two varsity letters as a prep wrestler, boxed while attending the Naval Academy and drove a Corvette and dated an exotic dancer out of school. If that last tidbit doesn’t resonate with today’s professional athletes nothing will.

Ron Paul: Fairly impressive athletic resume when compared to the other characters in the race. He was the Pennsylvania state champion in the 220-yard dash and finished 2nd in the 440-yard dash in high school. Given those distances that must have been a long time ago since I’ve never heard of races at that distance. Rumor has it, Paul had a track scholarship but due to an injury he figured it would be prudent not to take the risk. He also competed in wrestling, football and baseball.

Mitt Romney: He has the best chance of relating to the lifestyle of an elite professional athlete. His net worth is estimated to be between $190M and $250M. You know you have a lot of money when the gap between the low end and high end is $60M. Romney did have a successful run as CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. From all accounts Salt Lake did a great job hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics and Romney gets some credit since he took over after it was determined the previous regime was corrupt.

Tom Tancredo: He taught junior high school before selling out and becoming a politician. A lot of junior high teachers are known to coach so maybe Tancredo did some of that. He is known for his hard-line stance on immigration so you have to figure he is a huge fan of Team USA at the Olympics or any other international competition.

Fred Thompson: After high school he worked nights at a bicycle assembly plant. This isn’t really the same as competing in the Tour de France but what else can you expect from an actor. Thompson had a role in Necessary Roughness (also starring Kathy Ireland, who was in the SI Swimsuit Issue a time or two) and Days of Thunder. Not exactly the makings of a decathlete here.

The Pick: Needless to say this group is much more impressive from an athletic standpoint than the Democrats. I get the impression that some of these guys have actually played sports during their lives. Since The OpinionSmith values winning more than just participating the choice is Ron Paul. He actually won a high school state championship. I love the fact that he knows how to win and that he did it in an individual event. There was no relying on teammates for Paul, just relying on his fast-twitch muscles.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Democratic Hopefuls

The research has been done and consider yourself lucky. I am letting you in on how The OpinionSmith selects candidates from both parties. Without further ado here are the Donkeys.

Joe Biden: What is it with these East Coast lawyer types? Again, no mention of sports which makes voting for him impossible. In his first Senate election he beat J. Caleb Boggs. Wade Boggs, not sure if related, was quite a baseball player and even more of a legend when the liquor cabinet was involved. Biden also worked to pass a bill that made androstenedione illegal. I wonder what “worked” means. Does it mean he voted against it or actually laid some of the groundwork for the bill?

Hillary Clinton: Apparently she participated in tennis and other sports as a kid. Not exactly the most impressive sports resume. She certainly can relate to the career path of a middle reliever having been raised in Illinois and claiming Arkansas, Washington, D.C. and New York as home.

Chris Dodd: Dodd isn’t much of an athlete. If he really is he can thank his Wikipedia page for mentioning his athletic prowess exactly zero times. I really had to connect-the-dots to make mention of sports with this guy. He attended Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, MD. Since it is an all boys school you have to figure the school is a sports power. Since it’s a preppy East Coast school G Prep probably dominates crew, which isn’t all that impressive.

John Edwards: He was a football star in high school, which isn’t a surprise at all. With his charm and good looks you have to figure he was the James Van Der Beek from Varsity Blues at his own school. During his schooling Edwards attended three ACC schools (Clemson, NCSU, UNC). I’m guessing when he talks of two Americas he’s referring to his type (uber-rich) and the ‘poor’ folk he befriended at public universities.

Mike Gravel: Apparently he is a candidate. I saw him at the first debate and thought he was a paid actor trying to make the debate exciting. He drove a taxicab during college so he might be the choice of liberal NASCAR fans. I say fans but would be surprised if it was even a fan.

Dennis Kucinich: He was a third-string varsity quarterback in high school. I admit to respecting his honesty. He could have pulled a Richardson and said he was a Notre Dame recruit. Kucinich is vegan so his disdain for Michael Vick must be as high as anyone else’s. My love for meat (I know this makes me an evil Neanderthal but I have to be honest) makes voting for him unlikely.

Barack Obama: During his much-publicized childhood he spent time in Indonesia and Hawaii. I suppose this means he may have spent some time on a surfboard. He did play basketball in high school and continues to play. Obama claims to be a good poker player but I don’t consider that a sport so it factors very little into whether I pick him. Plus, who doesn’t say they are good at poker? If you have played poker against 3 friends and won the pot you say you are good. Lastly, Obama’s dad is Kenyan. Kenyans are phenomenal distance runners so if Obama decided to quit smoking (not a very athletic thing to do) he may become quite the runner.

Bill Richardson: Like many boys growing up Richardson played baseball in high school. Unlike many boys Richardson was selected in the baseball draft. Well, he said he was drafted. It turns out they keep track of such things and there is no record of a Bill Richardson being drafted. It’s easy to relate to someone that remembers his playing days fondly (though not quite to the level of lying about being drafted) so you might be able to relate to Richardson.

The Pick: The OpinionSmith has to go with Bill Richardson. I love recounting my days as a prep baseball prodigy. I batted .500 senior year (1 for 2) and definitely would have been drafted if I had wanted to be. It’s just that I wanted to move on with life and subject myself to college courses. Other factors that likely explain why I wasn’t drafted were that I peaked in my freshman and sophomore seasons, broke my thumb both years of varsity and was stuck behind someone currently playing AA ball for the Indians.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Mitchell Report

Just when I was getting ready to put the finishing touches on my presidential choices former Senator George Mitchell got behind the mic and released his findings. I didn't take the time to read the 400+ pages. For me, The Mitchell Report is of interest because I wanted to see the names. When I saw that over 80 names were included I felt I should see which team had the most accusers. What I did was use the fine statistical resource, Baseball-Reference, to find out which teams each player listed has played for over the course of his career. This only includes team played for through the 2007 season. I realize that in many cases the player may not have used performance enhancing drugs while on the team but go along with me here. It was hard enough trying to chart all of the names and teams, let alone read The Mitchell Report and figure out when they supposedly took the drugs. Now, I did not double-check the teams I marked for each and every player so it's reasonable to assume there are some inaccuracies. I assume the numbers to be fairly accurate though. Without any further ado, here is the list:

22 NYY
18 BAL
12 FLA, KC
4 CHI(A)

It certainly made my day when I counted the tallies and the Yankees showed up at the top. My disdain for the Yankees is obvious so I was fired up to see they have paid more players on the list to wear their uniform than any other team. To be honest the teams that suprised me most were the Mets, Giants and A's. I figured since the Mets former clubhouse slappy, Kirk Radomski, and BALCO (located in the Bay Area) were major players in this saga that those teams would be leading the charge. I didn't do anymore statistical analysis than what is shown above but a quick glance at the list does tell me one thing, I think. The top part of the list is dominated by teams along the East and West Coasts. The bottom of the list seems to consist of teams in between. I'm not sure what this means but it is interesting.

The only thing I conclude from the names provided is that performance enhancing drugs were a big deal in baseball. There is no way this is close to an exhaustive list of names. If somehow we had access to all the names that ever cheated in this way it wouldn't surprise me if every team had just about the same number of offenders.

My last point on The Mitchell Report is that no matter how much people want to bad mouth MLB for steroids and this report at least they are doing something. Everyone wants to pile on MLB for turning a blind eye and putting this report together without subpoena power. I ask you, what's the NFL doing? Players are being suspended on a weekly basis and when they return it's as if nothing happened. Whenever Barry Bonds plays all the announcers can talk about is steroids. When Rodney Harrison plays all they talk about is how much he loves the game. When Shawne Merriman plays all they talk about is how dominant he is and that he has really cool commercials.

Whether the media, public or both has forced MLB's hand I can't say. You never see MLB praising the virtues of its players that have tested positive. If the NFL doesn't watch out they are going to wish they learned from the backlash MLB received from steroids. Since the NFL is the most arrogant pro league in American sports they probably won't. They will feel really foolish when it happens because they had MLB's debacle as a chance to learn a lesson.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In The Works

In the next couple of days I will be rolling out my latest investigative work. Since it’s getting close to the presidential primaries it is appropriate for The OpinionSmith to make known its picks. After analyzing the field for both the Republican and Democratic parties I chose one from each that best fits the ideals of The OpinionSmith. It is expected that if you are registered to vote and plan to do so in your state primary that you will choose the candidate recommended.

I looked at the race, not from an issues perspective, but from a sports perspective. My research has shown that some of the candidates have more, and in some cases far more, interests in athletics. For each of the candidates I went to his/her Wikipedia page to get the information. It was impossible to find out if any of these characters had a sporting past or present by looking at official campaign websites. Those sites spent their time on immigration, the economy, foreign relations and other issues that The OpinionSmith doesn’t care about.

It is understood that Wikipedia is not the end all source of factual evidence. For this reason I made sure that the information I used was cited and from a reputable source. I would not recommend going to each of the candidates’ Wikipedia pages unless you are incredibly bored. To save you time I will let you know about the candidates. Let’s see: a childhood of privilege, young adult years spent in prestigious law schools and adulthood selling their souls to their respective political party’s devil. A couple of these candidates do not fit this profile but they are the exception, not the rule. Just thank me for doing the legwork later. In summary, without sports I would have no chance to relate to any of them. Thankfully sports allow me to relate to this bunch so I’ll let you in on what I found in the coming days.

(Photo of White House from Ben's Guide.)

Born in 1938

Video games have never been that big of a deal to me. We never had video games when I was growing up. In elementary school I begged for a Sega Game Gear but not hard enough. It’s just as well, I always had to be outside playing sports anyway. My big video game moment happened in middle school. My mom, sister and I waited in line during the wee hours of the morning at Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving. It was the day that Nintendo 64 was released. So of course, we waited in that line to buy Super Nintendo because it was super cheap. It was hilarious because there was a mad rush for the electronics department and my sister and I were the only ones jacked to see the Super Nintendo pile. In the 10+ years since my family has yet to buy another system.

Well, those days of never being that impressed/enamored with video games may be coming to an end. My wife and I had the pleasure of playing Wii Fitness. It was a lot of fun. I certainly was not any better at the Wii than any other video game system but I had a great time playing it. After playing a little bit of tennis, baseball and bowling the Nintendo Wii calculated my skill level to be that of a 69-year-old. Yeah, I thought of all the jokes too! I have no idea how the age was calculated. The thing about the Wii that made it fun for me was that I could run around the living room and prove that I was a top-notch athlete. I may have slipped and fell over the ottoman once or twice but I could care less.

What was difficult for me to handle was that my wife performed as a 46-year-old would. Only in video game land could a pregnant lady be that much more athletic than I! The 23-year difference can be attributed to bowling, which I found outrageous. She smoked me in that but I did very well in the home run derby in relation. That is the last of the complaining you’ll hear from me. The next time I play I will score better than my wife!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

No Heisman For Dixon

It was announced yesterday that Dennis Dixon is not a finalist for the most prestigious individual award in all of sports, the Heisman Trophy. Given that Dixon did not play in the final 2.75 games it is not a surprise that he isn’t a finalist but it is kind of sad. Before Dixon went down in Tucson he seemed to be the clear front-runner for the award. Unfortunately, it appears missing the last part of the season really hurt Dixon’s chances. I had no expectation that Dixon would win but was hoping he would at least be invited as a finalist.

As I understand, there are no real criteria for voting on the award. Sometimes voters pick the best player overall, most valuable or best player on a top team. The award has almost exclusively been given to offensive players though that technically is not required. As the last part of the Ducks season has shown Dixon would clearly be the winner if it was given to the most valuable player.

Another thing that hurt Dixon was that he was such a darkhorse coming into the season and through the first half of the season. Even the most diehard of Duck fans, local TV announcers come to mind, questioned whether or not he should have been the starter after spending 7 weeks of the summer playing baseball. It’s hard for a guy that even the Duck homers won’t get behind to have a pre-season Heisman campaign.

In the end, the biggest factor in Dixon not being invited to New York was not that he was injured or that some of the biggest Duck fans felt he should be benched for playing baseball. It was that he came from out of nowhere to contend for the Heisman. Imagine if Dixon had been the favorite for the award for the entire off-season and then played as he did. He most certainly would have been a part of the final discussion even after getting hurt. Since no one had anything invested in Dixon’s campaign (financial, emotional or otherwise) it was far easier for voters to dismiss Dixon once he got hurt. Whether that’s right or not, that’s for you to decide.

(Photo of Dennis Dixon from George Sakuma/AP.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Broncos Finally Win

It has been an extremely difficult and disappointing season for the Broncos. It has become so bad that Tuesday was the best day of the season as far as I can tell. Travis Henry won his appeal of a positive drug test and will not be suspended. Now that the season is practically over for the Broncos it is nice to know that Henry will be with the team for the remainder of this season. More importantly, Henry should be in the backfield next year when the Broncos totally redeem themselves.

Back to the drug test debacle. I realize this may be a surprise to some but I am not a doctor so I don’t know all of the medical jargon associated with the drug test. I do know that Henry tested positive for elevated levels of something. When the story first broke Henry claimed the test was not valid because he did not smoke pot and he did not have representation present at the test. What I like about this case is that Henry and the Broncos showed that they weren’t going to let the NFL run all over them. Too many times the players are treated like expendable assets by the league. Maybe this will inspire other players to stand up to the big, bad NFL.

A little known piece of this story that I heard on the radio a couple of weeks ago was that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had Henry take a lie-detector test. Shanahan said that he believed Henry’s story but wanted a lie-detector test to be taken to prove it to everyone else. If Henry failed the test Shanahan said he was going to cut Henry. Well, Henry passed the test, did whatever he had to do to dispute the positive drug test and is not going to be suspended. I’m not sure who Henry’s lawyer is but if he can give the NFL the middle finger I think he is going to be quite busy representing other athletes in the future. As a Broncos fan I’ve had very little to get excited about this year. Given that, this certainly counts as something to get fired up about.

In entirely unrelated news: How does one manage front row seats at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? A legitimate answer may even top the news of Henry avoiding suspension.

(Photo of Travis Henry from AP.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Was That The NBA?

Just finished watching the Monday Night Football game against Baltimore and New England and all I can think is that David Stern has had a hand in preparing NFL officials. It sucks for the NFL that they want an undefeated team so badly because all of a sudden they started calling every play against the Ravens. On the Patriots final drive they converted a couple of 4th downs, well saying they converted them would be too generous. The referees decided after 59:30 of tough, hard-nosed football that they were going to call every ticky-tack foul they could. The most egregious penalty was on 4th and 5 from the 13. A touch by a Baltimore defender was called holding and as I watch the highlights on ESPN it’s no wonder they didn’t show a replay on the worst holding call of the weekend. If the NFL routinely called plays as closely as this one each game would average 40-45 penalties. I could have sworn I was watching David Stern’s referees directly change the outcome of games with selective penalty enforcement.

I definitely was not the only one that thought the referees decided they needed to do their part to keep the Patriots undefeated. After the Patriots scored on a catch that certainly could have been overruled but wasn’t, Bart Scott of the Ravens accumulated 30 yards in penalties. The referees called an unsportsmanlike penalty on Scott so he picked the flag up and threw it in the crowd. I thought it was great because it showed how much emotion the Ravens defense played with and how unfortunate it was that the referees would play such a crucial role in the game.

Championship Weekend In Review

This last weekend was a big weekend for college football. As has been expected this season the #1 and #2 teams lost so the BCS was flipped upside down. Let’s just hope that this time the BCS is such a mess that they have no other choice but to implement a playoff-type system. No matter how small it will be better than what is being done at this point. With all of the big games my mind was racing.

The Civil War: The Ducks have found every way to top the pain of the previous week’s loss this past month. Each week I thought there was no way a loss could hurt more but each week I have been wrong. You will not find me making any excuses for the loss against the Beavers given the fact that the opportunity was there for a win. Everyone knows that if the game was played a month ago it would not have been close but it wasn’t played then so there is no need to whine about it. My one observation concerns the OSU defense. Coming into the game I was worried because statistically the OSU defense was as good as any in the nation (USC included). Well, after seeing them play against a shell of the UO offense I can only come to one conclusion. They are words spoken by a person smarter than I. “Statistics don’t lie, but you can lie with statistics.” When it comes to the OSU defense truer words have never been spoken.

Hawai’i: Since Hawai’i has been on TV quite a few times I have been able to see a lot of their games. Given all that was riding on their game against Washington I felt it appropriate that I watch the entire game. Well, if I were the god of a college football playoff there would have to be at least 32 teams in the tournament before I’d consider putting them in it. Washington was the only BCS conference team Hawai’i played all season. They were clearly the best team Hawai’i played all season. (Don’t anyone tell me Boise State is better because Washington dominated them.) Since Washington is part of the Pac-10 I have seen quite a bit of them and know that they are not a good team. If the only game you’d seen Washington play was their last one you might think differently. Hawai’i made Washington look like a Top 10 team if you believe Hawai’i is any good. Hawai’i was playing at home in the biggest game in their school’s history and they needed a questionable illegal pass by Washington QB Jake Locker (he’s going to be very good), a last minute touchdown and a last play stop after Washington drove the length of the field in 20 seconds. There was nothing impressive about the Hawai’i victory. There’s a chance that Hawai’i gives Georgia a game but it will do nothing to change my opinion about a WAC team being any good. If the conference’s biggest teams think they are big time because they play Washington they are mistaken. Given a month’s time to prepare any team can pull out an upset. It’s something else to actually play 3 good teams in a month (not in a player’s 5-year playing career), which WAC teams never do.

Weak Schedules: While on the topic of lame schedules I figure it’s a good time to talk about Ohio State. Last year, when USC was cleaning up in the Pac-10 I came to the following conclusion: There is no reason to have a competitive conference if a team plays a tough non-conference schedule. In fact, I think teams should root for their conference to be poor. It makes it a whole lot easier to shoot up the rankings (see Hawai’i or Ohio State). When talking about Ohio State a wise man once compared them to “qualifying for the U.S. Open by playing a par-3 golf course.” I find it funny, true and sad all at the same time. Now I can only conclude that the theory of playing a tough non-conference schedule is overrated too. Ohio State has proven there is no benefit to playing tough teams when the other option is to create a schedule that all but guarantees an undefeated season. The fact that Ohio State couldn’t even go undefeated is likely quite embarrassing but not nearly as embarrassing as getting pounded in the BCS Championship for the second year in a row.

No BCS for ASU: Last week on the radio Lou Holtz commended the Pac-10 for playing a round-robin league schedule. When the NCAA allowed for 12 regular season games the Pac-10 was the only conference that added a league game instead of a cupcake. Kansas coach Mark Mangino likes cupcakes on his schedule and dinner plate. In fact, I think he likes them on his breakfast and lunch plate too but I can’t confirm that. Back to Lou Holtz. He said that if it comes down to a Pac-10 team and a team from another conference a Pac-10 team should be chosen. Note that Holtz didn’t define it but you have to figure he was talking about BCS-type decisions. I thought Lou Holtz had a great point. So you know, it didn’t change my opinion of him since I already love him having grown up on Notre Dame football! With all of that said I don’t think ASU was screwed by the BCS. The Pac-10 didn’t deserve multiple BCS bids. Notre Dame (an epically bad team) only won 3 games, 2 of which were against Pac-10 teams. Need I say more.

Bowl Eligible: I do not get paid to watch or analyze college football but maybe I should. The people that do are complete morons. Does anyone really think that comparing how many bowl eligible teams are on a team’s schedule is a reasonable way to determine whose schedule is more challenging? If you have a brain you can’t. I’ve already explained how teams create non-conference schedules. As a reminder, teams create non-conference schedules to mirror Mark Mangino’s diet. Now the other piece of this pie (Mark Mangino probably likes pie too) is that a team only needs to be 6-6 to be bowl eligible. It doesn’t take a math major to realize that a team that is not from the Pac-10 only needs to win 2 conference games to be bowl eligible. There is nothing about bowl eligibility that impresses me and the media pundits need to realize this. In summary, a team can win its first 4 games then win 2 of its next 8 to be bowl eligible. Very impressive!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hot Dancers Make For Good TV

I spent the other night watching the finale of Dancing With the Stars. Luckily I am married so I can pass it off as having to watch what my wife wanted. Whether or not that’s true, one will never know. Since IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves was victorious this certainly is an appropriate forum to congratulate him on the victory. I did not, I repeat did not, watch every episode. In fact, I don’t think I watched one in its entirety so I can’t speak to whether or not Helio should have won. What I can say is that the young lady that is his partner, Julianne Hough, certainly could not have hurt his chances of winning. If I’m not mistaken she won the previous season with Apolo Anton Ohno (speed skater) so she must be a great dancer. It is also pretty apparent that she’s very good looking and to be honest nearly all of the female professional dancers are. That fact alone is the reason why I find the show bearable. My wife knows that’s why I watch the show and it doesn’t bother her, which makes her the coolest girl ever. Congratulations to Helio and I hope he is able to bounce back from the news that his engagement has been called off. Something tells me he’ll be just fine.

(Photo from

Pre Is Smiling

If I’m going to be crazy enough to congratulate the Beavers on their back-to-back college baseball championships I need to acknowledge the men’s cross country team at Oregon. Last week the Ducks regained their rightful place on the podium at the NCAA Division I Championships. Additionally, the very young and inexperienced women’s team finished 2nd, which leaves the rest of Division I wondering if they can ever win again. Oregon had not won a national championship in any sport since the late 1980s so it was time a trophy came back to Eugene. The men’s team will likely return every scoring runner (though Galen Rupp could go pro) and the women’s team only loses one scoring runner so the future is very bright.

(Photo from Geoff Thurner/UO Media Services.)

Investigation Is Over

You come to this blog for unprecedented investigative work. After a couple of weeks of sleuthing I have found out that the actual number of people that attended the Oregon women’s basketball game on the night of the football battle against Arizona was about 400. As I understand it two people took it upon themselves to try and count every fanny in the house so I believe this number to be fairly accurate. Now, 400 is certainly greater than the 150 I guessed so it looks like Eugene will be missing me in a few years. Of course, I came up with this idea without talking to my wife so I may not be able to keep my word. I do commend Eugene on keeping the number below 500 but it still worries me. Given the boredom of women’s basketball this should be a seasonal average for attendance and not the attendance on a night when no people should be present.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Boras Has Last Laugh

Ripping on Scott Boras has been the chic thing to do this offseason. He announces that A-Rod is going to be a free agent in the 4th game of the World Series so everyone gets their panties in a bunch. Everyone seems to have forgotten his announcement was the highlight of the most boring World Series ever. Additionally, the media is to blame for the whole thing. Boras did not force them to announce it during the game, Fox just knew the World Series sucked and they needed some reason for people to watch. But I think I have already gone over this so I'll move on.

For about a week the press and all of baseball wanted to rip Boras for having A-Rod opt out of a contract that guaranteed him $27M+ per year. At that point the 'rebuilding' Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner's words not mine, were not going to negotiate with A-Rod. They were offended that a player would want to become a free agent. I mean who could blame them, they've built their team on homegrown talent and routinely lose their best young players to other teams that pay them more.

It was repeated over and over, "Boras has overestimated the market for A-Rod." The thought was if the Yankees aren't one of the bidders there is no way A-Rod was going to get his $300M. Well, guess who was the genius after all and called the Yankees' bluff? Why it was none other than the horrible agent himself, Scott Boras. It doesn't matter at all that the Yankees asked that Boras need not be present at the negotiations. I suppose they were mad about having to deal with Boras and not that A-Rod wanted to get paid after all. As far as I'm concerned Boras did a great job of handling the opt out for A-Rod. Whether Boras was at the bargaining table or not, his client appears to be getting the $300M contract he promised.

My last point on the rumored A-Rod deal is that because the Yankees are the team he signed with nobody is talking about how this will ruin baseball. No one is talking about the foolishness of the Yankees for bidding against themselves for A-Rod. These are things that were said about the Rangers when they signed A-Rod seven years ago. I suppose it's a double standard when the media's favorite team is the one being duped by Boras and the greatest hitter of this generation. I'm not sure signing with the Yankees for so much will get A-Rod his World Series ring since the team is keeping everybody that has melted down in the playoffs. It will get him a lot of notoriety and an excellent chance to break Bonds' record though, which is all we could ask for.

(Picture of Scott Boras from Jamie Rector/New York Times.)

It's Been A Long 2 Weeks

Not too long ago the Ducks were in prime position to visit the White House. Unfortunately one too many major injuries makes that dream a distant memory. It seems a lot of people (my dad included) are ready to jump off a cliff because Oregon's 5th string quarterback is not very good. Though everyone has the right to feel like the sky is falling and things need to be done one needs to realize that's too harsh a reaction. I believe that no organized football team could win with its 5th string quarterback. The player may be a nice guy but he is 5th string for a reason. It's not like he spent an offseason in a heated battle with others for that coveted 5th string spot. Just ask Oklahoma how good their 2nd string quarterback is.

Another thing I have heard is that the young 4th and 5th string Oregon quarterbacks don't have experience. While that is true, the larger problem is that they aren't good. If you are a good high school quarterback are you going to go somewhere to be 5th string? Of course not. Not even USC has 5 quarterbacks worth putting behind center. The larger question that must be asked is who was the offensive coordinator that recruited these guys? It was Gary Crowton and he is in Baton Rouge as we speak. Certainly he didn't think he would be recruiting these guys to put on the field for a right to play in the Rose Bowl. Before Duck fans start to clamor for major changes be a little realistic. No 5th string quarterback could win a game. If you are a big-time gunslinger worthy of leading a Pac-10 Championship team you're not going to take a scholarship to be 5th string.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Parenting

I am still making every effort to get an official number on the number of people that were actually in the building for the women’s basketball game on November 15th. The paper reported 2,008 in attendance but even I know Eugene does not have that many crazy people. With the Thanksgiving weekend upon us I likely won’t get an answer until early next week. I have spoken with one person and that individual guessed the number to be very low but doubts I will be able to stay in Eugene through 2010 if I stay true to my word.

In related news there may actually be some normal parents in town. And of course, it’s how I define normal, which isn’t normal at all! Someone told me they were going to go to women’s basketball games this year because the head coach hands out an iPod to a fan every game. I can neither confirm nor deny that an iPod is actually given but I have no reason not to believe the guy. Well, come to find out this guy told his mom he was going to attend women’s basketball games just to receive an iPod. Her response was, “How much does the iPod cost? I’ll give you the money to buy one so you don’t go to women’s basketball games.” That is an excellent response from mom. Can you imagine showing mom and dad a report card they paid for with subpar grades and explaining it’s because you were watching way too much women’s basketball? That has to be what this mom was thinking when she offered up cash to go buy an iPod.

Professors Love Tenure

I have a friend of a friend that was lucky enough to go the Oregon vs. Arizona football game last week. Lucky enough until the injuries mounted and the true colors of Tucson started to show. He described the place as a lot more like Tijuana than any place in the USA. I wouldn’t know but that’s not the point. My friend of a friend was there on official business so had to miss 1.5 days of school.

A couple of days before he left he sent his math professor an official letter explaining the reason for the absence. Since he was away on official university-related business it was an excused absence and any missed work is supposed to be made-up without incident. Well, that’s the way most people think but not this professor.

Professor Wendy Sullivan (shown above and imagine having to look at her for a couple of hours each week) told my friend of a friend that because he did not give her proper notice she was not going to let him take the midterm he missed. She used e-mail to explain taking the midterm was not going to happen. You may be wondering why my friend of a friend did not contact Wendy (she’s too lame to use her last name or the title of Professor) in person. Well, it’s because Wendy thinks she is MacGyver and has been on the search crew for a missing math professor. It sucks that the guy has gone missing but after he’s been missing for more than 2 weeks it’s time to get back to work and teach class. Leave the people searching to the professionals and make sure the students are getting their money’s worth.

Well, my friend of a friend had class cancelled again today so 2 weeks before finals Wendy decides to cancel class for the week and not respond to e-mail. My friend of a friend has contacted her twice this week via e-mail and attended her office hours (she did not show up) to no avail. As far as I can tell Wendy benefits greatly from the outrageous practice known as tenure in the teaching world. Only a teacher at a public university could be granted the luxury of taking incredible amounts of time off and disregard all forms of communication with students. Another thing to point out is that the UofO is on the quarter system so the class that students pay too much for only lasts 10 weeks, unless of course Wendy is the instructor.

Disclaimer: Knowing my luck with ripping people on this blog someone knows this lady and is bummed I point out the fact that she's not doing her job. I wish I could say sorry to anyone that is offended but I can't so live with it.

(Photo from UO Math Department.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bring In The Moving Van

It has come to my attention that somebody is not smart. The University of Oregon women's basketball team plays on November 15th at 7:00pm. No, the fact that there is a game is not what makes someone stupid. Oddly enough at the exact same time the University of Oregon football team is playing at Arizona on ESPN. Who is the genius that decided it was a good idea to schedule a women's basketball game at the same time as a football game involving the #2 team in the nation? Granted, saying the Ducks would be #2 at the beginning of the season would have been laughed at but still, football is king. Maybe I'm the only one that thinks it takes an extraordinary lack of intelligence to schedule a women's basketball game at the same time as a football game. Given this stroke of brilliance from the scheduler folks I'm convinced the U of O would schedule a women's basketball game on Super Bowl Sunday if the Pac-10 would allow. For once being a part of the Pac-10 is a good thing I suppose.

How this whole thing applies to me is that I want to know if where I live is a place I could feel comfortable raising a family. After thinking about it for a couple of days I have concluded that if more than 150 people show up to watch the women's basketball game on November 15th I have no other choice but to rent a U-Haul and move before the 2010 calendar year is complete. Don't ask why I chose 2010, there really is no reason. Initially I was going to go with 50 people in attendance but decided to raise it a little bit after consulting with people that have lived their entire lives here. If someone has lived here for more than 25 years they deserve some type of reward by the way. From my vantage point I see no reason for anyone to choose watching women's basketball over seeing the #2 football team try to earn a trip to the BCS Championship game. It's the performance of the football team that allows all other sports to function so don't think you are hating on the women's basketball team by staying at home and watching football.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Upset Special: Week 10

This week's pick is a dangerous one. I see this game as either being very close or a major blowout in favor of the wrong team. The big pick for this week is Alabama (+7) over LSU. Both teams are coming off bye weeks so I'm not sure who that favors if it favors anyone. I suppose if Glenn Dorsey plays then it favors LSU initially since he is dominant and was injured in LSU's last game. The game is being played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama so that has to favor Alabama. The deciding factor in this game is that I befriended an Alabama booster on our cruise this summer and I told him I would root for the Crimson Tide when given the chance. He agreed he would do the same for the Ducks so let's hope he returns the favor. In the end, if you pay a coach $4M per year to coach your team the least he could do is beat his former team in his new home stadium. Nick Saban (pictured above) receives a lot of publicity and if Alabama wins the media lovefest for Saban will only get worse. However, it will all be worth it if Oregon is able to claw out a tough victory and hopefully move up the rankings.

Season to Date: Last week was an unmitigated disaster with Stanford showing why they are known for academics and not athletics. At least in sports that matter to the average college fan. The step-brother was able to hold serve on his home field so my record has dipped below .500 yet again (4-5). I'm starting to get sick of being around .500 but would certainly love to be at that point at the end of the day today.

(Photo from Robert Sutton/AP Photo.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Genius Of Weis

First things first, it has taken me a while to admit it but I grew up a huge Notre Dame fan. In fact, I am still a Notre Dame fan but not nearly as much of one as I was growing up. Now the Duck faithful that are fortunate enough to read this have permanently blocked this blog from their browser as a result of my liking Notre Dame but that's okay. Growing up I lived in 3 different time zones and 5 different states. In none of those places did I feel the pure hatred for Notre Dame I feel here in Oregon. I don't know what the deal is with Oregon fans hating Notre Dame but they do. It could be jealousy since Notre Dame is always the talk of the nation no matter how bad they are. Or it could be that Notre Dame is a private, Catholic school. I've learned that religion, God and the state of Oregon do not mix well at all.

Now that I've let the dirty secret out of the bag the people that are still reading this (very few I would imagine) get to actually read the true point of this post. Last week Portland State lost to Weber State by the score of 73-68. PSU's freshman quarterback, Drew Hubel, threw 9 touchdowns in his first collegiate start. After reading this today for the umpteenth time I decided to do what everyone else has been doing; check out how a player or team's stats for one game compare to those of the entire Notre Dame team over the course of the season. It should come as a surprise to no one that Notre Dame as a team has 4 touchdown passes this year in 8 games. That Charlie Weis sure is a genius! To think that this late into the season a player had more than twice as many passing touchdowns in one game than a team during the entire season is astounding. Times as a Golden Domer have not been good this year but in reality I could care less with the Ducks doing so well.

(Photo of Drew Hubel from Steve Brenner/PSU Athletics.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Following Grady Little

It has been no more than 15 minutes since I commented on my desire for Joe Torre to manage the Dodgers. Well, I don't have to wish anymore. As I watch SportsCenter right now Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News is telling me that Torre is the new manager of the Dodgers. That really pumps me up for next baseball season already. It certainly lifts my spirits after the Broncos fubar tonight. As much as I despise the Red Sox the Dodgers seem to be following their plan. Hire Grady Little for a couple of years. Have him do a decent job then get rid of him for someone better. I am such a homer. Only 30 minutes ago Joe Torre was the most overrated manager and now I am sizing him up for a World Series ring. I can't say it enough, if Torre fixes the Dodgers he should receive a Congressional Medal. As my dad would say, "Yipee!"

(Photo from Rick Chapman.)

Random Thoughts

There are quite a few things happening right now so I figure some commentary is appropriate.

1. The Oregon vs. ASU football this game is being televised by 3 networks. That is how stupid the Pac-10 and its administrators are. What other game in the history of the world needs 3 networks to broadcast a matchup of the #4 and #5 teams to ensure the game is seen by everyone? The game can be seen on FSN Arizona in Arizona, OSN in Oregon and ESPN everywhere else. Let's just say if I wasn't going to the game I would wish I lived 'everywhere else' so I could watch a broadcast of top-notch quality.

2. Brett Favre and the Packers just ripped the heart out of my beloved Broncos. The Broncos are not very good this year but a win tonight would have kept them in the thick of the playoff race. Some will claim sour grapes but tonight's game proves the AFC is vastly superior to the NFC. Denver is an also-ran in the AFC and Green Bay (coming off a bye week) has the best record in the NFC. This further proves my point that the Seahawks only became good after they were traded by the AFC to the hapless NFC. Oh well, Cutler looked decent tonight and maybe a high draft pick can help the pass rush.

3. I spent this entire year telling Red Sox fans at the workplace that the Red Sox are the new Yankees. They spent an ungodly amount of money on payroll this year and it paid off for them. I suspect the strategy of buying players like the Red Sox have done and the overzealous nature of Red Sox Nation are going to turn people off to the Red Sox. Just because 3-4 guys on the roster came up through the farm system does not mean the Red Sox are a homegrown team. As I recall that is roughly the same number the Yankees have had over time. Also, the number of East Coast people here on the West Coast has grown exponentially the last few years. Maybe it's because I now live in Oregon where everybody is a transplant but I find it hard to believe these people have been Red Sox fans for an extended period of time. I had one guy tell me today that because he is from Connecticut (not sure how long ago) he likes the Red Sox and Yankees, and in particular the Red Sox today. Unbelievable!

4. Everyone loves to hate Scott Boras. So it should come as no surprise that I like him. I think he is a smart guy and if I was a player I certainly wouldn't mind him on my side at the negotiation table. Boras is likely very successful because of his humble roots and his highly respected high school alma mater but that's just a guess. A lot of folks were upset with Boras today because he announced Alex Rodriguez becoming a free agent during last night's game. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with it. The World Series had been over for a few days so what was he supposed to wait for? Red Sox homer Peter Gammons wanted to jump off the Green Monster because it overshadowed the Red Sox win last night. For me it was the most pathetic World Series I have barely seen and I'm thankful Boras was able to spice it up a little bit.

5. I am not a fantasy sports geek. I don't spend money on premium services and only check my team once a week to make sure I have players playing at every position. With that said, I cannot stand Norv (Norville, Norvelle, Norval, Norvel or whatever he wants to be called) Turner. He is killing my fantasy team by disrespecting LaDanian Tomlinson. It is rumored that friends of Turner read this blog every now and then so they will take offense to my thoughts but I could care less.

6. There is no reason to keep any secrets. The first meaningful post on this blog explained how Joe Torre was overrated and needed to be fired by the Yankees. I still believe that to be true but I sure wouldn't mind seeing him prove me wrong in a Dodgers uniform. Rumors are flying that the Dodgers may be interested in hiring Torre. I say why not? If he can turn around the debacle that is the Dodgers clubhouse then I will be forced to change my tune.

7. Lastly, the NBA season starts tomorrow and I don't care so don't expect too much analysis from me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Upset Special: Week 9

There have been a number of huge upsets this year so I'm going to go away from picking a game with a 6-7 point line and look for a large upset. It's taken me 9 weeks to pick an upset involving the step-sister to the north but this is the week. Stanford (+12.5 vs. Oregon State) has shown an ability to pull off a major upset already. This certainly would not be on the same level but an upset nonetheless. Oregon State is due for a flat performance, they haven't had one for a few weeks and always do. Additionally, I can't advocate for a team that uses ineligible players like the Beavers have. This cheating is not looked favorably upon by the football gods so look for the Cardinal to have another road upset.

Season to Date: Miami came up huge last week and pushed the season record back to .500 (4-4). I did not see a single play/highlight of that game. Kind of like the rest of the country in relation to huge Pac-10 games but that's for another day. I'm looking forward to the rival up north to push my record above .500.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pure Brilliance

I have insinuated in the past that Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen is a moron. He clearly loves the way things used to be and it hurts the Pac-10 as a whole. I could go on and on with his love for the Rose Bowl. I agree that it is a great bowl but Hansen has said the Pac-10 would want nothing with a playoff or even a +1 system because it wouldn't ensure a Pac-10/Big Ten matchup in the Rose Bowl. I would much rather win a National Championship than play a JV squad from the pathetic Big Ten but I'm too young and don't appreciate tradition. Okay, now that I have that off my chest I'll move on to the things I really want to talk about.

Since I only write a blog I am not a 'real' journalist so I wouldn't be able to ask Hansen the following question at a press conference but I wish someone would. Why do you love having Fox Sports Net as the flagship network of the Pac-10? It makes no sense to me at all. Take this weekend for example. Oregon plays USC in what is easily the biggest game of the weekend in the country and perhaps the entire season as far as the Pac-10 is concerned. This game starts at 12:30 locally and is being broadcast on FSN. Who really watches FSN and why is the Pac-10's premier game buried on a regional network? The only people that like FSN are NHL fans, people looking to get scammed by watching a real estate pyramid scheme infomercial or card players interested in watching the minor league professional poker circuit.

After spending some time in Michigan earlier in the football season I believe there is an East Coast bias. I don't think it's an intentional bias but one that is related to time zones and the brilliance of Tom Hansen. Pac-10 night games start as late as 10:30pm on the East Coast. There is no way to get around that but burying games on FSN is a self-inflicted problem. If I'm on the East Coast or even in the Central Time Zone I would much rather watch a highlight show on one of the ESPNs then go to sleep. Who in his/her right mind would scour the cable listings for a Pac-10 game on a second-rate network when highlights of all the day's action is one channel away?

My second beef with Hansen is the brilliant bowl tie-ins he has found for the Pac-10. Having been to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX I can assure you I will never go again. It is not a coincidence that the Big Ten no longer is aligned with the bowl. To make this even better the #5 team in the country had Sun Bowl representatives at its game this past weekend. That's right, Sun Bowl folks were in Seattle watching the Oregon Ducks.

The Big Ten didn't have any trouble bucking with tradition and saying "adios" to the Sun Bowl. (The use of "adios" was intentional. El Paso is whole lot more Mexico than it is USA.) In fact, the Pac-10 is the only conference that even wants a part of the Sun Bowl. The 3rd place Pac-10 team faces a Big 12/Big East team. I suppose the conference commissioner that loses a rock-paper-scissors battle has to tell the constituency that they've been banished to El Paso. I am by no means a BCS expert but I'm sure it's completely reasonable that a Pac-10 team that has spent much of its season in the Top 15 could be sent to the Sun Bowl. What a treat for having a great season in the 1st or 2nd toughest conference in the land.

Tom Hansen needs to pull his head out or the Pac-10 athletic directors need to throw him out. Given his track record, relying on Hansen would be a terrible idea so I guess we're left with the hope that the athletic directors will realize a change is needed. It's great to be 'The Conference of Champions'. But winning the women's equestrian title is not going to help the bottom line at all. In fact, it likely hurts it but that's for another blog entry. If schools are expected to pay for women's lacrosse teams it's about time Hansen gets the boot so more money can be made.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Upset Special: Week 8

For the longest time this week's Upset Special game was one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Not so much this year. In fact, this rivalry game has been played on the Monday of Labor Day weekend the last few years, meaning it was the first game of the year for both teams. The games have been defensive slugfests lately so a game scheduled later in the year is thought to have given the offenses time to iron out the wrinkles. I doubt that is really going to happen this weekend but you never know. This week the Miami Hurricanes (+6) visit the Florida State Seminoles. There will likely be a ton of fast, future NFL players on the field. Oddly enough, I enjoy watching these two teams play because the defenses are usually very impressive. I'm an offensive guy but something about really fast players hitting hard and limiting the game to a battle of punters interests me. If history teaches us anything watch for a late field goal being missed wide right/left by the Seminoles. Maybe it's because I never see such a thing in the Pac-10.

Season to Date: Last week was another disaster so things have slipped below .500 for the first time (3-4). I thought Wisconsin would at least pretend they didn't like plummeting out of the Top 10 but I was gravely mistaken. I'm feeling good about getting back to .500 though this week.

(Photo of Miami head coach Randy Shannon from JC Ridley/

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kirk Herbstreit (Class of '93)

Kirk Herbstreit is a popular guy in college football land. He is on ESPN's College GameDay show, which appeals to the men. He also could be classified as good-looking, or so says the ladies. I generally don't have anything against Herbstreit but the fact that he is a former non-throwing quarterback for Ohio State bothers me a little. One, because they still don't have a use for a quarterback that can actually throw the pill. And two, because he likes him some Ohio State Buckeyes. Herbstreit had a prominent role discussing college football on SportsCenter last night and was nice enough to give us his Top 5, which included Ohio State in the #1 spot. Here are more brilliant tidbits from Ohio State's own.

Herbstreit: Likes the BCS as it is, though he wouldn't be against a +1 format.

Well of course he loves the BCS as it is as opposed to a playoff. With the BCS the Big Ten is guaranteed a team (Ohio State or Michigan) in the championship discussion. Never do both of them play tough non-conference games in the same season and the Big Ten is an abomination of big-boy football. If there were a playoff the Big Ten would rarely be able to advance past the first round of play, unless of course two Big Ten teams were playing each other.

Herbstreit: Doesn't think South Florida should be in the championship if they are undefeated.

I wonder why they only asked him about South Florida and not Ohio State. By looking at their schedules it is painfully obvious that going undefeated through South Florida's schedule is more impressive than doing the same with Ohio State's. As far as I'm concerned the Big Ten and Big East are about the same. Both have a significant presence in the Eastern Time Zone and both are incredibly overrated. I doubt those two facts have anything to do with each other but I digress. With South Florida playing at Auburn and winning I would be far more offended if Ohio State goes undefeated and plays in the championship. I'm a Pac-10 guy but listing a road win against Washington as your best victory to date is embarrassing. Remember both conferences they play in are incredibly weak so pointing out conference wins does nothing to separate the two.

Herbstreit: Doesn't like Boston College because they need to be more consistent.

What does that mean? They have played a bunch of cupcakes, looked good in some wins, poor in others. Sounds a lot like a team from the Midwest I've heard a lot about lately. The great thing about Herbstreit not liking Boston College was that he simply said they weren't consistent. No mention of the fact that they have played a lot of weak teams. From that I can only assume Herbstreit knows Ohio State is in the same boat so doesn't want to say Boston College is out of his Top 5 because of a weak schedule. By using that criteria it would blow up his #1 team, making him look like more of an idiot/homer.

(Photo from IMG.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Really Good Story

Generally, the intentions of this blog are not to find touchy feely stories and make the masses cry but this story might just do that. Read about Eli Florence here and here. Should you read these make sure you start by reading the first link. Eli is a high school sophomore from Lake Fenton, MI near Flint. He has been diagnosed with leukemia and his spirit and personality have left quite an impression on the student body at his school. As evidenced by the picture he was crowned homecoming king, which was a surprise to him. It's an unprecedented to have a sophomore crowned the homecoming king but if you read the articles you'll learn why.

(Photo from Tri-County Times, Fenton Michigan)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Upset Special: Week 7

I'd like to provide more analysis for these upsets but time does not allow. It seems I go to the two worst BCS conferences for my upset picks a lot and this week is no different. This week's pick comes from the Big Ten. This is by far the worst conference to watch in all of the land. I find the style of play to be offensive. There is a reason why the conference does so poorly in out of conference games. It's also a reason why Illinois is going to be a tough team from here on out. In fact the people in the Midwest probably think Illinois is a revolutionary team with so much team speed. Revolutionary for the Midwest but not for the rest of the country. A team with a lot of speed and an exciting offense in the Midwest is more rare than a Colorado Rockies loss. Don't worry I will have much more to say about the Big Ten when Ohio State is yet again undefeated at the end of the season after playing nobody that would be bowl eligible in any other conference.

Now back to the Upset Special for this week. This week I have the poster child for boring, slow Big Ten football pulling off the upset. Wisconsin (+6.5) is in Happy Valley to play Penn State. You could not pay me enough to watch this game. I predict the first team to 3 will win this game, which means I have Wisconsin getting a field goal sometime late in the 3rd quarter.

Season to Date: Things have been very much up and down for the Upset Special. I am 3-3 on the year. Last week's pick of Purdon't over Ohio State was so bad I should never pick again but I'm giving it a go anyway.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The AL East's Minor League

I have heard and read talk that the NLCS between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks is terrible for baseball. Apparently nobody knows anything about these teams and as a result TV ratings will suffer. Additionally, these teams are from the West and people on the East Coast think the only baseball worth watching is their own. I contend that the East Coast, particularly fans of the Red Sox and Yankees, should be watching this series very closely. As I see it the young players on the Rockies and Diamondbacks are going to be the free agents and players acquired through trade that the Red Sox and Yankees will be getting in 5 or so years.

Yankees and Red Sox fans contend they have built their teams with an abundance of homegrown talent but I find that laughable. The Rockies and Diamondbacks rosters are what I consider homegrown. Having a couple pitchers and 3 or 4 everyday regulars that came up through the system does not constitute a roster choked full of homegrown talent. When all is said and done the East Coast should be thrilled with the NLCS. They get to watch their AAA teams on national TV and get a good look at how their next stars perform under pressure. These fans will get a great idea of what they are trading their homegrown talent for and having to pay a few extra dollars for the nosebleeds when the Rockies and Diamondbacks become free agents.

(Photo from Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Now That's A Bargain

At the end of every season some folks like to make a list of the most overpaid players in a given league. When it comes to Major League Baseball my favorite team, the Dodgers, usually has half of the starting 9 so it makes me happy to note that the most overpaid player is not a member of the Dodgers. You'd think the Red Sox paying J.D. Drew to be a 5-tool player only to find out that he hits like a pitcher would be the worst investment of the year but it is not. This year it is a legend that runs away with the award. The worst investment in MLB this year was none other than Roger Clemens. On so many levels his season was an utter failure and may go down as one the worst signings in history.

First, let's review what exactly Clemens was being paid. For his part-time work Clemens was rewarded with a pro-rated salary valued at $18,500,000. With luxury taxes added to that the Yankees spent $26,000,000 to have Clemens wear the pinstripes. Additionally, Clemens publicly admitted that he came back for no other reason than to win a World Series. That didn't exactly work out very well as they were unable to win anything this year except the Wild Card. Since the Yankees and Clemens failed so miserably to attain their goal it is likely Clemens is distraught over his performance. After all, he would have come back to the Yankees for free because he so desperately wanted to win.

Given his performance let's look at just how good of a teammate Clemens really was. All of these numbers are based on the $18.5M salary Clemens reportedly received and stats from the regular season and postseason. Even as a Yankees hater I cannot stomach having to run these numbers over the $26M he cost the team overall.

6 wins = $3.08M/win
69 strikeouts = $268,116/strikeout
101.1 IP = $182,571/IP
1646 pitches = $11,239/pitch
137.17 minutes worked* = $134,869/minute worked

*This was based on it taking 5 seconds for Clemens to wind up for every pitch. This is admittedly low for the amount of time Clemens worked since it doesn't count watching Posada flash his fingers between his legs and whatever else Clemens did.

After looking at the numbers one must conclude that his only value to the team cannot be measured by on-field performance. Perhaps he was a great DJ on the clubhouse sound system, I can't say for sure. All in all, Clemens' wife should be thankful Roger's cell phone reception died out on the golf course.

(Photo from Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Upset Special: Week 6

I want to make sure I get this in before the kickoff in about 5 minutes. As a result, there will be limited analysis to accompany the pick. I have Purdue (or PurDon't if you are an Illini fan) defeating Ohio State at home. Purdue is a 7-point underdog but are playing at home. For me Ohio State is the college football version of the Yankees or Patriots, can't stand them. The silly tuba player that 'dots the I' doesn't impress me and the wishbone offense in the year 2007 does little to make me think they are any good. For that reason, I am going with the Boilermakers to win. I really don't know much about them but it's time Ohio State lost so why not tonight.

(Photo from Andy Lyons/Getty Images.)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cleveland Tourism Bureau Can't Be Happy

The Yankees have lost their first 2 games in the playoffs and I could not be any happier. Most of Cleveland feels my same sentiments but there is a small group in Cleveland that may not be so happy. Of course LeBron James, raised in Ohio, is disappointed given his recent proclamation that he is a Yankees fan. After tonight I can assure you the Cleveland Tourism Bureau and Chamber of Commerce are a bit disappointed in tonight's game. There was an insect plague of Biblical proportions at Jacobs Field. You know the insects are thick when they are visible on my standard definition 24-inch TV. I can't imagine what it must have looked like on 60-inch Hi-Def.

My lovely wife was nice enough to watch the latter stages of the game with me and every time they showed a close-up of the pitcher (which was nearly every pitch) she said, "Eeewwww, Gross!" At one point she asked, "Where is this game being played?" I told her it was Cleveland and her response was very simple. "We are never going to visit Cleveland." I laughed and couldn't disagree with her. I want no part of insect plagues myself. We couldn't possibly be the only ones that watched that game and decided Cleveland was a place we didn't need to visit.

(Photo from Amy Sancetta/AP Photo.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MLB Playoffs

It's October so we have some exciting baseball on our hands. Each pitch is huge, the games are usually very close and the crowds are in the game from the first pitch on. I understand that a lot of people are turned off by the length of the season and the pace of the game but the playoffs are different. You've got to give the playoffs a chance, trust me, you'll thank yourself. It certainly beats most of the TV shows. So you know, all Division Series games are being shown on TBS, Championship Series games on TBS and FOX and the World Series on FOX. As part of the playoff excitement I have made some solid predictions on each playoff series and am very confident I know exactly what will happen this month.

National League Division Series
Cubs defeat Diamondbacks in 4
Rockies defeat Phillies in 5

American League Division Series (got the losing teams wrong initially, thanks go out to Anonymous for the heads up)
Angels defeat Yankees Red Sox in 3 4
Indians defeat Red Sox Yankees in 4 3

National League Championship Series
Cubs defeat Rockies in 5
American League Championship Series
Indians defeat Angels in 6

World Series
Cubs defeat Indians in 7

My paternal grandmother is a life-long Cubs fan and I have a feeling she is going to be able to finally celebrate a win. That really is the only reason I am picking the Cubs because I don't think they are the best team.

(Logo from

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Was First

Many blogs and articles written by hoity-toity journalists are starting to wonder if Norv Turner is the right man for the job. As a Broncos fan I strongly dislike the Chargers, but as a fantasy football team owner I love LaDainian Tomlinson. Turner is trying to single-handedly destroy my team by being a terrible football coach. It comes as no surprise that Turner is not doing well since nothing on his resume suggested he was going to be good when the Chargers hired him. Well, maybe one thing. He did attend the University of Oregon but that was a lot of coaching losses ago.

In an effort to toot my own horn (no hidden meanings with that verbiage so don’t try to take it that way) I called for Turner to be fired after watching the Chargers preseason game against the Seahawks. The Chargers had one too many players on the field for a Seahawks field goal. The Seahawks missed it but were given another chance and made it. In the end the field goal did not factor into the game but it was an early indication that Turner has no idea what is going on. Again, it’s nice to see the Chargers stumble since the Broncos haven’t exactly set the world on fire but Can’t Beat Ginormous needs some points from Tomlinson. Turner is coaching the way he always has so others will start to follow my lead and wonder if he should still have his job.

Jeff Tedford Teaches Elementary School

As an Oregon Duck fan some may paint this as sour grapes but it simply is not. However, it is true that I don’t like Cal-Berkeley or anything/anyone associated with it. That includes the hippie commune trying to save trees near Memorial Stadium. I was lucky enough to go to one of the better college games of the season, if not the best, and noticed something in the first quarter. Cal’s head coach uses a poster board on the sidelines during the game. Is that even legal? You’d think there would be a limit to the size of the “sheet” coaches use on the sideline. Tedford has to be at the maximum allowable size.

I know the incredible science projects I was able to document on poster boards so there must be play calls for every situation imaginable on that sheet. I think it looks a little silly. Especially when Tedford has all of those plays on the 3’ x 4’ monstrosity and all he can come up with in the final 5 minutes is run the ball up the middle. It ended up working out for him but it likely was a little closer than he would have liked. You have to figure that for Cal’s next game the posterboard will be 6” wider to include aggressive play calls at the end of games. It will be interesting to see if the "sideline sheet" police will allow that. With a #3 ranking already just imagine how high Calvin and Hobbes would be if Tedford stapled 2 poster boards together.

I'm bummed I can't find a picture of this. With Cal ranked #3 you are bound to see him in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for the posterboard.

(Photo from The Daily Californian.)

Upset Special: Week #5

Only someone that does not get paid to write a blog can identify his upset special two days after the game has happened. With things being busy I am to announcing my upset special for the week that just completed at this time. Only the people I told at work before the game started will believe my selection but it is South Florida (+7) over West Virginia. If you follow my thoughts on college football this shouldn’t be a surprise and I have no reason to lie. If I wanted to be obnoxious and pick a game after it happened I would have gone with the Colorado upset over Oklahoma so people would think I was a genius. Everyone knows I think the Big East is lame and I thought West Virginia was overrated since they played exactly no one before playing the now 6th ranked South Florida Bulls. People like to hype up Boise State but what South Florida is doing is more remarkable. This is only the school’s 11th season fielding a football team and they are now ranked 6th and play in a BCS Conference. That is simply amazing and further proves that the state of Florida has wicked amounts of talent.

Season Record: 3-2. South Florida’s performance overshadows my blunder of a pick the previous week with South Carolina over LSU. That did not pan out at all but South Florida makes me feel better.

(Photo from Chris O'Meara/AP Photo.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thanks For Nothing

It comes as no surprise that none of the affluent regulars to this blog sent me contact information. But through the powers of my last name and bank account the meeting that has been cancelled twice is now back on. The individual with which the meeting is to be with was kind enough to open up his schedule and fit me in. The third attempt at the meeting is now...(drumroll)...October 24th! Wow, sure seems like the guy wants to meet with me. I understand I am the one that has been trying to set the meeting up but if the guy had any sort of class he would just tell me (or have his secretary tell me since she is the only person I can get a hold of and that isn't even that easy to do) he does not want to meet. If I'm ever worth multiple millions I vow to be straightforward with everyone. Perhaps that openness will be a reason why I never achieve such financial success. If so, I'll be able to live with that. My plan is to call the ball breaker next week and cancel the meeting. At this point he is of no use to me and things will get done without him. That is the last of the meeting debacle I will write about. Now back to sports.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dave Wannstedt?

In the age of blogs and message boards you can read some of the craziest things. Come to this site and you will likely read something you find outrageous but that's not the point. As an example of reading about interesting thoughts or predictions is a tidbit I came across today. Since I am not a professional writer I don't really have to reveal my source. It would be nice to but it really doesn't matter to the story because there is no way this is true. I simply bring it up to prove my point.

The first month of the college football season is coming to a close and some coaches are on the hot seat. One of these coaches may or may not be Dave Wannstedt of Pittsburgh. What may go down as the craziest rumor I have ever heard is that should Wannstedt be fired he would be interested in a graduate assistant (GA) position with the University of Oregon. Nothing against GA's but I find this hard to believe. A GA is the coach behind the coach. He does a lot of behind the scenes work that is crucial to a team that no one ever knows about or appreciates. Something tells me Wannstedt would love to be involved with a team on the cusp of the Top 10 but not that badly. We won't know about this rumor until the end of the season but it certainly is only a crazy rumor. About as crazy as hearing that the star linebacker on the football team and the lunch lady slept together in the kiln used for ceramics class.

(Photo from John Raoux/AP.)

China Would Never Cheat

I have professed my belief that the Chinese will do whatever it takes to look good for the Olympics next year. It is true that they plan on shooting missiles into clouds to avoid rain, they have displaced a fair number of people to make room for Olympics-related things. China is well-known for giving the middle finger to the copyright laws of other countries, they don't treat citizens as well as they should, the list likely goes on and on. I am of the belief the Chinese Olympic team will also do whatever it takes to win medals. I mean, it's a part of the culture so I would be foolish to think otherwise.

Today word came out that the DEA has busted a steroid ring in the U.S. that is incredibly extensive. These are numbers related to the probe: 124 arrests, 27 states, 56 labs, $6.5M, 532 lbs. of raw steroids. Now you're asking, what does this have to do with China cheating at the Olympics? Well, according to the report a large majority of the steroids came from China. You ask, what constitutes a large majority? Try 99.9%. My assumption is that the number is not 100% because some meat head at a fitness center mixed a PowerBar with cocaine and tried to sell 1 ounce of it.

Call me crazy for thinking this can prove my theory that the Chinese Olympic team will be the dirtiest one in attendance but I do. Should any member of the Chinese team win a medal I will most certainly think they are on an illegal drug of some kind. The fact that they don't fail a test will not factor into my opinion. The Chinese government wants to put on a show. Since it is essentially a Communist state the government can do whatever they want to ensure that happens. If it means spending crazy amounts of money on performance enhancing drugs instead of providing legitimate opportunities for many of the Chinese people then they will.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Upset Special: Week 4

I am really taking a chance this week. Kind of like when I picked Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship. I am sticking to the Southeast corner of the country and taking South Carolina (+ 18) to defeat LSU in Baton Rouge. This is certainly a crazy pick but I like Steve Spurrier. I don't have a list of his results at South Carolina but it seems to me his teams never get blown out. I realize not getting blown out doesn't constitute an Upset Special but the fact that Spurrier might be the best college coach is only part of my rationale. It's taken me at least 5 minutes to come up with more of an argument than Steve Spurrier is the better coach in the matchup and I can't. I suppose this is why the 2nd ranked home team is more than a 2 touchdown favorite. Well, that is all I can say about this pick. I like Steve Spurrier, Steve Spurrier is good.

Last Week: Kentucky came through and defeated a team from the incredibly overrated Big East. That brings my season record to 2-1. Interested to see how this week turns out.

(Photo from John Bazemore/AP Photo.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Help Needed

I am looking for someone that has a significant number of zeros coming before the decimal point in his/her bank account. My request is simply that I can use your name or that you make a phone call to set up a meeting with someone. Instead of you showing up at the meeting I will so it really doesn't matter where you live. I have been trying to set up a meeting with someone for 2 months now and have had meetings canceled twice after they have been scheduled. When I reschedule I am given a date weeks into the future so essentially I am of the belief that if someone influential calls on my behalf I will have a meeting within 24 hours. If you are willing to help me just send me an e-mail and I can give you further details. When all is said and done this individual is going to wish he didn't bust my balls for 10 minutes of his time. Whether he regrets it two months from now or 10 years from now I can't say but he will. If you would like to be a small part of pulling one on a guy that thinks he can jerk me around just shoot me an e-mail.

Jr. High Redux

I woke up this morning and thought I was reliving junior high. It was during these formative years that the primary news story was the O.J. Simpson murder trial and brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts were a staple of my diet. Every night my family would watch the NBC Evening News with Tom Brokaw and get the day's rundown of the trial even if we were sick of it. It was also the biggest story in the hometown Sacramento Bee every single day. I don't think the attention paid to the trial was only in California but maybe it was. As sad as it is the day I remember most vividly from junior high was the day Simpson was acquitted. We watched the verdict in Mrs. Watanabe's Algebra class and then spent the rest of the day discussing the matter.

Back to this morning. I turned on MSNBC and there was Dan Abrams waiting for Simpson to walk into the courtroom and I was eating Pop Tarts. I'm sure no one is crazy enough to remember but it was the Simpson case that put Abrams on the map. Many people probably don't even know who he is today but he is a prominent legal talking head for MSNBC and even has his own evening show. Seeing Simpson walk into the courtroom like a cagey veteran was impressive. I can't imagine how nervous I would be if I was being charged with multiple felonies and meeting the judge to determine bail. Simpson was so calm and just going through the motions. It seems like he is in his element wearing a jumpsuit and sitting in the defendant's seat in a courtroom. Who could blame him though? He has gotten away with murder in the past so what's a silly charge of kidnapping, armed robbery, etc.? It seems the evidence may not be nearly as strong this time around either. I mean, how could it be?

The last thing that struck me was seeing the prosecutor, Marcia Clark, from the Simpson murder trial walk out of the courtroom (see now and then). I'm convinced it's not the same person. I guess over the course of 12 years a lot of cosmetic work can be done. When someone is her age they usually don't look better 12 years later. At least naturally. And this isn't to say she was all that attractive today but certainly better than in the mid 1990s.

(Photo from
Jae C. Hong/AP Photo.)