Friday, October 30, 2009

Lookalike Friday 22

Hey everyone,

Lookalike Friday time!

This one is courtesy of my friend Brian.

We have Lakers reserve guard Shannon Brown. Brian told me boy, doesn't he look a lot like...

Puss in Boots from Shrek?

And yes. He also looks like Chris Brown, but that would be too easy wouldn't it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

World Series Preview

So I was wondering what the experts were saying about the World Series.

9 of the 10 experts on have the Yankees in an average of 6.4 games.
The lone expert who has the Phillies (Karabell) has them winning in 6., which simulates 10,001 games predicts Yankees in 6.

Yahoo! Sports (which has secretly become a credible sports news source) has 3 experts picking the Yankees in 6,7,7 and one expert picking the Phillies in 7.

If I was an "expert" I would pick the Phillies in 6. Why?

If you're wrong, who will notice? If you're right, you're a sage of baseball wisdom.

However, I'm no expert. I'm just a dude who writes occasional entries on a sports blog. I say the Yankees take it in 7.

Game 1: Phillies - The Phillies will get late game hits against the Yankees bullpen and steal game one.
Game 2: Yankees - Pedro will get lit up. Yankees will cruise.
Game 3: Phillies - Hamels returns to his form of last year.
Game 4: Yankees - In basically a must-win the Yankees come up with just enough to win.
Game 5: Phillies - Burnett can have really bad games. This may be one.
Game 6: Yankees - They will win this game in the 8th or 9th.
Game 7: Yankees - CC got rocked versus the Phillies on short rest last year. Not this year. CC dominates and the Yankees win easy.

These predictions will probably be wrong, but who knows? Like I said earlier, if I'm wrong nobody will remember, but if I'm right I can always point back to my prediction. I think that's the luxury people who comment on sports have. Each analyst and expert on TV should have a scorecard on how accurate he/she is on his/her predictions and speculations.

Here are a few of my assorted thoughts on what I've observed while watching the MLB Playoffs so far.

- Charlie Manuel's tendency to bring in multiple relievers seemingly for no good reason may end up biting him because the Yankees have been more clutch than the Dodgers and Rockies have been.
- The Phillies eat up "good bullpens."
- The left handed batters of the Phillies will be able to turn on some balls to hit into the right field bleachers in New Yankee Stadium, if given the opportunity.
- Wasn't Phil Hughes supposed to be the-next-thing in New York?
- Pedro is supposed to not be comfortable pitching in the cold. No way to avoid that this series. That's why I think he'll struggle.
- Who pitches for the Phillies in Game 5? Blanton? It won't be Pedro on short rest.
- Cliff Lee has NEVER pitched on short rest. He will have to do it this series, possibly twice.
- A.J. Burnett for his career is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA on 3 days rest. CC Sabathia is 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA for his career on 3 days rest. Not a huge sample size, but still inspires confidence.
- Have the Yankees ever had so much fun? They haven't won as many games in recent years as they have this year, so that probably adds to it, but they are a really loose, fun bunch to watch.
- Who will the Phillies use as DH?
Matt Stairs? Matt Stairs as a DH has a career .260 BA with 61 HRs in 1452 ABs.
Greg Dobbs? Greg Dobbs as a DH has a career .259 BA with 1 HR in 108 ABs.
Probably some combination of both, but the Yankees will have a clear edge at home with respect to the DH.
- The All-Star Game win for the AL has no bearing, as the Yankees would have had home-field advantage anyway. They really should do away with that. Call it a tie, who cares?

Whatever the case may be, I really am hopeful for some great, memorable games. I didn't think I would watch much of the World Series after the Dodgers were eliminated, but I think I just may.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lookalike Friday 21

Hey hey hey! Lookalike Friday!

This week we have Saints linebacker Scott Fujita (Cal alum, btw). I was watching his team destroy the Giants and I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

John Krasinski, most notably Jim from the Office?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thicker than water

I came across this article today:

Basically it's about how Kobe is disloyal to Philadelphia by showing up to a Dodgers game and flashing an LA with his fingers.

Read it. It's short and absolutely ridiculous. This is perhaps the dumbest article I've ever read in my life.

Here are my issues with it.

- Why should Kobe have any loyalty to the Philadelphia Phillies?

He went to high school in Philadelphia, yes, but Kobe did NOT grow up in there in the sense that his major developmental years were not spent there. He was born in Philly, moved to Italy when he was 6, moved back for high school and then moved to LA. I'll spare you the math. Basically Kobe has lived in Philadelphia for 11 years and Italy for 7 years. The Philadelphia 11 years was a broken one. And besides he says in the article himself that Kobe grew up a Mets fan. Why would he change just because he was born in Philadelphia?

Not only that, let's say he has no rooting interest one way or another. What would he have to gain by rooting for Philadelphia at Dodger Stadium? He's probably going to live in LA the rest of his life. Making enemies with his community probably isn't high on his list of priorities.

- Why should Kobe have any loyalty to the city of Philadelphia as a whole?

Remember when Philly fans booed Kobe before, during, and after the All-Star game in Philadelphia? The one where he won the MVP? I don't have a problem with the boos, just don't expect love from someone you've treated that way.

From the article:
"It was like watching Zell Miller at the Republican National Convention or Arlen Specter cozy up to President Obama and the other Democrat fat cats - the defection was complete and the insult was obvious."

Okay drama king! How is that anything like Kobe cheering for the Dodgers? Philly has no pride for Kobe! They don't identify with him because 1. He doesn't play for the Sixers 2. He grew up in a posh SUBURB of Philadelphia, not in the inner city. Not to mention we're not even talking about Kobe's profession. We're talking about something totally unrelated. It would be like if we found out Allen Iverson likes to drink Swiss Miss instead of hot cocoa made with Hershey's Syrup. TOTALLY UNRELATED.

Are Philly fans THAT sensitive that one gesture by someone they don't even like, but linked to thim in the distant past can cause such backlash? I don't think so. I personally don't think anyone in Philadelphia cares if Kobe roots for the Dodgers or Mets or the New Britain Rock Cats. I think Philadelphia washed its hands of Kobe Bryant as soon as it was pretty certain he was never going to play for the Sixers.

Another quote from the article:
"Even though there's a lot of infighting and dysfunction, Philly has a family feel to it. You're either one of us or you're not."

Infighting and dysfunction is booing McNabb when he does poorly and calling for another QB, but cheering for him when he does well and buying his jersey. Philadelphia has never cheered Kobe since he turned pro. One of us or you're not? Judging from the way Philadelphians have treated Kobe in the past, they made the decision for him, haven't they?

John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer, you are an idiot. Just because you were born somewhere and lived part of your childhood there doesn't make you obligated to root for every team in that city.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lookalike Friday 20

Oh yeah Lookalike Friday time!

Sorry this week was super busy so I didn't have too much time to update. But I will never forget to do a Lookalike Friday!

This week we have Philadelphia Eagles left guard Shawn Andrews. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Rapper/producer Mannie Fresh?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pon de Replay

So this past weekend the left field line umpire clearly missed a seemingly easy fair/foul call that robbed Joe Mauer of a double. Instead, he got a single later on in the at bat. The next batter got a single, and one would assume Mauer would have scored. Instead, the Twins got no runs that half inning and eventually lost the game.

At the end of the day the Twins didn't really lose too much because they would have eventually lost the series to the Yankees anyway, and if you can't win the series, nothing matters, right?

This opened up the debate of expanding the parameters of instant replay. Purists claim if you allowed more things to be reviewed, a) the game's "rhythm" would be disrupted and b) there would be no end to what can be reviewed.

Though I don't agree with either of these arguments, I do believe there needs to be a change. The bottom line is that human error by an umpire should never factor into the outcome of a game.

So how do you do it? A typical baseball game has four umpires - one at each base. In the playoffs they add two more to left and right field on the fair/foul line. I propose that you have one more official at all times in a booth. He will watch the game as the fan at home sees it, with replays. At any time, at his discretion, he can stop play and overrule any review eligible call made on the field if he believes a wrong call was made. Obviously, he will be advised to err on the side of the call made on the field and to reverse only when there is clear visual evidence the call made on the field was wrong.

This solution addresses both arguments.

1. The game's rhythm is not disrupted. Changes will be made without prompting from the manager, so they can be made promptly. The fact of the matter is that play is stopped when there is a close play because one of the managers runs on to the field to talk to the umps. During this time the replay ump can watch the replay, and chances are he will have the correct ruling by the time the first words of the on-field conversation between ump and manager are even spoken.

2. Where do you draw the line? In the NFL there are plays that cannot be challenged. The same will be the case in this system. Any calls that are based on judgement (balls and strikes, interference, running outside the basepath) cannot be reversed by the replay umpire. Fair/foul, safe/out at a base, check swings all should be able to be reviewed and corrected by the replay official.

Major League Baseball needs a system like this. This will ensure that the "rhythm" of the game is not interrupted and it will also ensure that as many calls as possible are made correctly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lookalike Friday 19

Hey everyone, Lookalike Friday time!

I have to admit I cannot take credit for this one, but I want to share it anyway because it is so good. I don't quite remember where I read it, but it was at least a year ago that I stumbled upon this lookalike. This week we have Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen. I once read someone say, "Boy...doesn't he look a lot like...


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday Picks

Totally forgot about Thursday Picks last week, but not this week!

This week, though is marked by three huge mismatches. If I could find a moneyline parlay for the Eagles, Steelers, and the Vikings, I would put as much money as I could possibly put on it. That is the definition of easy money.

Alternatively, if I could find a teaser that brought down the spreads of those games down to Eagles -8.5, Steelers -4, and Vikings -3.5 I would be tempted to do that as well.

To be honest, I don't particularly like any other matchup very much this week. They are all too close. If I made any of these bets myself, I wouldn't put too much on it. That having been said, here is what I like the most.

Steelers -11 at Lions.
The Steelers will cover the spread. The Lions will be down by too many points too early to go for field goals at any point in the second half, thereby opening the door for the Steelers to maintain a 2 TD or more lead.

Patriots -3.5 at Broncos.
Belichick does well vs former assistants, and I don't think this will be any different. The Cowboys lost last week's game with poor tackling on the Brandon Marshall touchdown, and poor decision making by Romo. The Patriots, though they have a shakier defense than the Cowboys, will score points and keep the pressure on Kyle Orton to perform. This is the week Broncos doubters will get to point and say, "I told you so."

Texans +5.5 at Cardinals.
The Texans have a much better defense than they get credit for. In terms of yards per game, they have the 9th best pass defense and the 9th best rush defense. The Cardinals, on the other hand, do a great job against the run (6th best) but do an awful job against the pass (2nd worst). Matt Schaub will keep the Texans in this game, at least enough to keep it close until the end.

Colts -4 at Titans.
The Titans continue to get the benefit of the doubt on lines because of the perception that a 13-win team can't go winless much longer. The fact of the matter is that the Titans pass defense went from being 9th best in 2008 to DEAD LAST this year. Yes. The worst pass defense in the NFL playing Peyton Manning. Enough said.

Bet wisely and good luck.

Let's Make a Deal

Michael Crabtree has finally ended his holdout with the San Francisco 49ers. They settled on a deal that seems to be a nice compromise.

Darrius Heyward-Bey got 5 years, guaranteed 23.5M. Eugene Monroe got 5 years 23M with 19M guaranteed. The Niners were offering 5 years, 20M with 16M guaranteed. What was settled on was a 6 year 32M deal with 17M guaranteed. The Niners give him more if he lasts the full six years, but were able to only add one million on the guaranteed money.

The thing about this was that you could make an argument for both sides in the impasse. Those who said Crabtree should take the money say that he should take what he can get because 16 million dollars is a crapload of money for anyone. Those saying Crabtree should get more counter by saying the Niners got lucky to get Crabtree, and had they had the 7th choice and taken Crabtree, they would have gladly given him the kind of money DHB got, so why should you not pay him just because he fell to 10th? Just be glad you have the chance and pay him the money. If you asked me, I would tell you I am on this side of the argument, but I could see both sides.

I wondered two things when I heard about the signing.

1. Did the Niners' hot start have anything to do with it? Was Crabtree more motivated to sign because the team was doing well? Or maybe were the Niners more motivated to sign because if the team had a strong wide receiver, it could put them over the top? If the team was 0-4, would anything have been different?

I'm inclined to say no. I don't think the Niners' record had much to do with the timing. I have a feeling that Crabtree and his agent knew that if they reached week 5 without a deal, they would go in and take the best they could get. I don't think Crabtree would have ever gone the whole season without signing. The only thing, though, is that I think the Niners would have been more likely to give him more if they were struggling. The fans would want it, and the Niners would need someone exciting to keep fans coming.

2. If Crabtree went the whole season without signing and then went back into the draft, would that be such a ridiculous situation that the NFL would create a definite rookie pay scale as soon as possible?

Yes. The NFL needs a rookie pay scale, and proponents for it (such as myself) lost a good opportunity for a much publicized situation to point to and say "THIS is why we need a rookie pay scale" However, I sure hope the new deal that WILL be reached between the players union and the NFL before the much dreaded 2011 lockout will include something that at least resembles a rookie pay scale.

The only question that is left to be answered is how much of an impact Crabtree will have this year on a surprisingly good 49ers team. We'll see soon enough.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stumbling to the Finish Line

The MLB Postseason starts on Wednesday. Many an expert has said that momentum heading into the playoffs is key to winning the World Series. I wondered just how legit that statement is, and what the norm of "hotness" is for teams that do win the World Series.

Here are the past 10 World Series winners and their record for the last 20 games heading into the postseason.

2008 Phillies: 14-6
2007 Red Sox: 10-10
2006 Cardinals: 8-12
2005 White Sox: 12-8
2004 Red Sox: 12-8
2003 Marlins: 14-6
2002 Angels: 11-9
2001 Diamonbacks: 12-8
2000 Yankees: 5-15
1999 Yankees: 13-7

The average W-L is 11.1-8.9
The mode W-L is 12-8
The median W-L is 12-8

This season's postseason contenders?
New York Yankees: 12-8
Boston Red Sox: 11-9
Anaheim Angels: 11-9
Detroit Tigers: 10-10
Minnesota Twins: 16-4

Los Angeles Dodgers: 11-9
Philadelphia Phillies: 11-9
Colorado Rockies: 10-10
St Louis Cardinals: 7-13

I don't know about you, but I'm surprised to see that 6 of the 9 teams are playing .500 or .550 ball. In fact, all of the teams except for the Twins have winning percentages that are less than their overall winning percentage. In a sense, almost all of the teams have been playing below par.

I posted postseason picks before, but here is an update:
Yankees over Tigers in 4
Angels over Red Sox in 4

Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
Rockies over Phillies in 3

Angels over Yankees in 6
Dodgers over Rockies in 5

Dodgers over Angels in 7


Friday, October 2, 2009

In the right reinstate of mind

So rumor has it that LeGarette Blount may be reinstated before the season is over by the University of Oregon. Though initially Chip Kelly said there would be no possibility for reinstatement, he seems to have changed his mind.

At first I thought, "Oh gosh. A chance to win the Pac-10 and now they're selling out to bring back their best running back."

I mean, how can you not?

And then I thought, "Well, the initial suspension was a bit much. I thought a few games max, but the whole season? If they had initially gone for a few weeks, then I wouldn't have had a problem with it, so why should I have a problem now?"

And I've read that LeGarrette Blount has very clearly shown, at least in words that he is contrite and that he does realize how big time he screwed himself and the University of Oregon program.

And I do believe that people deserve a second chance. If my punch could actually inflict pain, given those conditions and what had just happened, I think I may have clocked that crap talking pompous Boise State player also. The world is about second chances. LeGarette Blount did not do something so heinous as to not be able to show to the world (and more importantly the NFL) what he's got and how he's changed.

Steve Smith of the Panthers clocked teammate Ken Lucas last year in the preseason. Bill Romanowski punched some unknown tight end during practice a few years ago and ended that guy's career before it could start. Robbie Alomar, then of the Orioles, spit on an umpire, which I find just as offensive as punching. In fact, in mound-charging, bench clearing fights in baseball, punches get thrown all the time. The fact that nobody lands any clean shots shouldn't discount the fact that they're thrown, right?

My point is that LeGarette Blount didn't shoot someone or kidnap someone or intend to end someone's life or career. He was in a powder keg, and it got lit. The man deserves a second chance.

If the University of Oregon does in fact reinstate him, they will receive A LOT of crap for this, as they should, but it's absolutely the right move. And you better believe they will make doubly and triply sure that LeGarette Blount always has someone around him keeping him from losing his temper again because if Blount decides to go Holyfield on someone else, that's the end of the line for Kelly, Bellotti, and it wouldn't be too crazy to hear Phil Knight scale back some of his donations and involvement. The University of Oregon has to really trust this guy in order to reinstate him.

Will they? If I had to guess, I would say they wait until there's about 3 or 4 games left on the schedule, but I think they will eventually.

Lookalike Friday 18

Hey everybody! Lookalike Friday time!

This week we have newly slimmed down Timberwolves big man Al Jefferson. This guy lost 31 pounds in the offseason, apparently by eating Subway! His sandwich of choice? "Ham and turkey on wheat bread, footlongs; sometimes I eat two footlongs." GOOD GOD! Very well done, Mr. Jefferson. I saw his new svelte look and thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Grammy Award nominated rapper Flo-Rida?