Friday, August 31, 2007

Some quick thoughts...

How is it the Red Sox can dismantle a solid pitcher like Mark Buehrle and then five games later make a mediocre Roger Clemens look like he's vying for the Cy Young award?

Imponderable - If Indians fans are "on the reservation," Red Sox fans are part of "Red Sox Nation," and Phillies fans are "phanatics," does that make Padres fans "pod people?"

A couple of comments on Peter King...

Peter King this week took issue with the NFL's pre-season, noting that football's exhibition season should be shortened from four weeks to three for several reasons. On ESPN radio this week he noted that the Giants suffered severe injuries in last week's game to four players that were likely to make their roster.

In general, I like Peter King - I don't always agree with him, but he tends to put a lot of thought behind his arguments. This was not one of them.

He talked about how the pre-season should be shortened to three games in order to avoid these injuries, using the Giants as an example. Of course the Giants injuries came in the third game rendering the argument...shall we say impotent?

Personally, I'm one of the few freaks that genuinely likes this time of year. I like to see the guys on the bubble, sometimes find somebody to root for to make the team. I will have my butt parked on my couch tomorrow night with the channel tuned to the NFL network to catch that last Patriots pre-season match-up with the Giants.

Also at, King listed what he felt were the top 500 players in the NFL - approximately the top 30 percent. Interesting read - 21 of the Patriots 22 starters made the list (T. Brady, Watson, Light, Welker, Moss, Stallworth, Koppen, Neal, Mankins, Maroney, Seymour, Warren, Wilfork, Vrabel, Colvin, Bruschi, A. Thomas, Hobbs, Samuel, Harrison, Wilson). Go over there for the actual rankings.

Little more than a week to kick-off. Can't wait.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why I haven't posted regularly for the last week...

Today I welcomed Calliope Smith (middle name to be determined) to the world.

Born August 29, 2007, 11:06 AM, 8 lbs, 5 ozs, 20 inches.

Mother and daughter are doing's still not so sure and sister Aurora (Borealis Smith...yes, that's what we named her. Wanna make something of it?) pictured below is overjoyed to have a sibling. She is currently vacationing on the Outerbanks and will not meet Calliope until this weekend.

She will begin her indoctrination into Red Sox and Patriots Nations ASAP.

Back to my regularly scheduled sports rants tomorrow...and boy, do I have some catching up to do.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

TWIR...the week in review...

The Yankees won two games in a row, Friday and Saturday, and lost a half game in the standings to the Red Sox who dismantled the White Sox.

Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett both have 16 wins on the season and Daisuke Matsuzaka has 14. That's huge in the absence of an effective Curt Schilling.

Michael Vick is likely done in the NFL. The NAACP should stop wasting their time with this and find someone whose civil rights are actually being violated and help that person.

With the exception of one lapse in pass coverage late in the first half, the Patriots looked sharp in their pre-season match-up with the Carolina Panthers. Some quick observations -

  • After looking a little tentative and indecisive on his firs couple of rushes, Maroney looked good.
  • I'm not sure I like the offensive line going to a zone blocking scheme - it seemed at times that too many people were coming free in the backfield on running plays. The pass blocking, on the other hand, was almost flawless.
  • Tight end Marcellus Rivers is making a strong case for sticking with the team. He had two more catches including one for a touchdown, and is a decent blocker. If the Pats cut him and no one picks him up, I will be shocked. I can't figure out why the Giants cut him.
  • Donte Stallworth made a hell of a play coming back on a severely under-thrown fluttering duck from Brady.
  • Wes Welker appears to have come as advertised and might be the biggest impact free-agent the Pats picked up.
  • Am I the only one who is wondering if Randy Moss is pulling a T.O/Terry Glenn here with the hamstring injury?
  • Mike Richardson looks like a real player at corner. Hopefully that arm in the sling was precautionary and nothing more.
  • For a team playing with only one of its starting defensive linemen, the guys up front did a good job of slowing down the run and of getting penetration.
One final observation (not Patriots)...

Just another example of how ESPN's product has been slipping. ESPN has a piece about baseball teams and "who's the face of the franchise." In the case of the Red Sox, Eric Young at baseball tonight said that it was the Green Monster.

While not the worst choice, it is indeed a choice that required no thought, reflection, or the realization that an inanimate object associated with where the team plays cannot be the face of the franchise. That would be like saying the face of the franchise in Toronto is the Sky Dome because there is no player who is big enough, or has a strong enough personality to be the face of the franchise.

Not surprisingly, three of the other four sources named David Ortiz, and the fourth named Mr. Red Sox, Tim Wakefield.

Ultimately, I guess you have to wonder what the criteria are for being the face of the franchise. My own criteria, and the player has to meet any three of these to qualify - is he the guy the press go to for a comment? Is he the guy that kicks the rest of the team in the ass when they aren't playing well? Is he the guy that carries the team on his back when the team needs him to? Is he the guy that the Team actively markets to get fans to games? Is he the guy that fans automatically associate with the team?

The only exceptions to this can be owners. As much as Derek Jeter is the face of the Yankees, so to is George Steinbrenner. The player doesn't even have to be the best player on the team, he just has to...well meet a number of the above requirements.

To give you an example - two of the sources named Miguel Tejada the face of the Orioles. I live in Oriole country, and I don't see it. Brian Roberts, Peter Angelos, even Kevin Millar I think all are better choices.

It's an interesting, albeit flawed list. Worth a visit none the less.