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.)