Saturday, October 06, 2007

All that glitters is not gold...

The Yankees are potentially nine innings from thinking about 2008. Nine innings and maybe just a couple of days from learning whether there will be a bidding war for their star third baseman/shortstop, or if he will just play out his contract.

Alex Rodriguez will be the pretty bauble on the free-agent market.

There is reason after regular season reason for pursuing him. A-Rod is a perennial MVP candidate and an RBI producer. This year he had better late inning production than any other time in his career.

It is not exactly a secret that Theo covets A-Rod and his production. He sees A-Rod as the successor to Manny Ramirez in the line-up behind Ortiz, and can have him bat behind Man-Ram in his final year in a Sox uniform in Mike Lowell's spot.

There is a major reason to stay as far away from this money pit as possible. It's called the post-season.

This is a man that melts in a cauldron like a wax monkey.

Since his home-run against the Red Sox in the 2004 play-offs A-Rod is more FRod (yeah, do the phonetic pronunciation for the double entendre). He is a raging 4 for 50. That's a blazing post-season average of .080.

I can't help but think that signing him away from the Yankees would essentially be the Red Sox taking the monkey of the Bronx Bommahs' collective backs (not that any of his teammates have been doing any damage - check out my last post).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Two down, one to go...

The Yankees are one game away from being swept. One game from being bounced in the first round...again.

In the first game their pitching - starters and bullpen alike - failed them. In this game their bullpen once again failed them.

More importantly, in consecutive post-seasons, their all-star starting line-up has failed them.

This is what we've seen from the Yankees starters -

Johnny Damon, 1 for 9 (.111)
Derek Jeter, 1 for 8 (.125)
Bobby Abreu, 2 for 6 (.333)
Alex Rodriguez, 0 for 6 (.000)
Hideki Matsui, 0 for 7 (.000)
Jorge Posada, 0 for 7 (.000)
Robinson Cano, 1 for7 (.143)
Melky Cabrera, 1 for 8 (.125)
Doug Mientkiewicz, 0 for 4 (.000)

That means Yankee starters are batting .o97 for the ALDS thus far. Against a team they swept in the regular season. Against a team against which New York batted .348 and outscored 49-17 during the regular season - an average of 8 runs per game to Cleveland's 2.83 runs per game.

Right now they're averaging 2 runs to Cleveland's 7 per game in the playoffs.

What was Steinbrenner's name for A-Rod again? Mr. April?




Interesting week...

I'm gonna start with the bad and work my way back to the good....

Do The Right Thing...

Thirty-seven years ago I was born to Lawrence and Elaine Smith in the City of Brotherly Love. At the age of three my parents moved to Sudbury, MA. Growing up we would visit my extended family, almost all of whom remained in the Philadelphia area.

I remember being taken to see the Phillies at Veteran's Stadium when growing up. I may have seen more Phillies games in person while living just outside of Boston than I did Sox games.

I rooted for the Phillies during the 1980 World Series (familial ties and all).

That said, I have to admit, in light of recent actions by the Colorado Rockies players, I am rooting for the Coors Field crew this year. During an era filled with "me-first" players, this is one of those stories about players doing the right thing for the right reasons.

For those of you who don't know, a first-base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, for one of the Rockies' minor league affiliates was struck in the head and killed by a line-drive earlier this season. Coolbaugh was survived by his pregnant wife and two small children. The players voted Coolbaugh's widow, Amanda, a full playoff share.

For more on this, check out this article.

Sorry Philly, but the playoff share is bigger for the winner than for the loser, and I think the Rockies are playing for more right now than you are.


Chien-Ming Wang is supposed to be the Yankees' Ace. The roster Joe Torre and Brian Cashman activated for the playoffs is supposed to give the Bommahs their best chance to win.

Wang gave up eight earned in four-and-two-thirds innings.

The pitcher who relieved him, Ross Ohlendorf, gave up another four in just an inning of work.

At this point I'm unwilling to count out the Yankees due to their record against the Indians this year (6-0), however, a team that has struggled to get quality starting pitching like the Yankees have, this sort of performance from the team's ace cannot be reassuring to the Yankees faithful.

About as surprising as a bad Yankees pitching performance...

Track star Marion Jones is reportedly admitting to doping use after years of vehement denials.

For anyone familiar with Jones, she has been fighting allegations since before the 2004 Olympics, however they were heard the loudest at the '04 Games. Her denials always rang hollow with me.

I'm a track and field guy. I was a quarter-miler and hurdler in high school and college. I used to follow the sport much more closely than I do now, but now it seems as though for all the biggest names in the sport that it's not a matter of whether or not they're doping so much as when they'll be caught doping.

Marion Jones should come as no surprise.

Her former coach Trevor Graham was a reputed supplier, she has links to Victor Conte and BALCO, her former boyfriend Tim Montgomery is serving a two-year ban for doping, her then-husband, shot-putter CJ Hunter and fellow Olympian at the time of the 2004 Olympics was dismissed from the world's biggest sporting event when he tested positive. Graham also coached fellow banned track stars Michelle Collins and Justin Gatlin. Jones also hired Canadian coach Charlie Francis, who had already admitted providing drugs to banned Canadian track-star Ben Johnson when she hired him.

She has surrounded herself with people of questionable character. Is it really any surprise that she is too?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Welcome to the old boy network...

Ah...the NBA. Providing a woman a place where she can be called "bitch," or "ho" without any ramifications for the man.


You heard right.

A jury found Isiah Thomas guilty of sexual harassment and the league says that it won't discipline Thomas because its system does not account for civil matters. Women of America, welcome to a great place to work...if you're a guy.

This is just another black-eye for a league that has been steadily declining in popularity since the mid-Nineties. Does anyone think Roger Goodell would claim impotence under the rules if Tom Heckert in Philadelphia, or even Scott Pioli in New England were convicted of the same? Paul Tagliabue would have had to deal with the 49ers and their "training tape" were it not for the fact that 49ers ownership acted swiftly and decisively in canning the man responsible for the tape.

Thank you, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Don't collect $200.00.

There's the rub.

No matter what Thomas does, he's James Dolan's golden boy. He can do no wrong.

Never mind the fact that he has put together some of the worst teams the NBA has ever seen and completely destroyed viewership in the nation's largest television market (and Dolan supposedly fired the plaintiff for incompetence? HAH!). Never mind the fact that Thomas has spent a record amount of money in putting these putrescent teams together (her incompetence had to do with budget management? And Thomas has shown such a gift for this?). And now, never mind the fact that a jury unanimously found him guilty of creating a hostile work environment for this woman.

Dolan will stand by his man and David Stern will stand by and do nothing.

Dolan will stand by, inarguably, the worst executive in professional sports right now (and that includes Matt Millen).

Dolan's loyalty is an admirable quality in an employer...when the employee has shown that he/she is worthy of such loyalty. But there are two problems with Dolan's loyalty - he has put it in a man whose every action has destroyed the Knick reputation, and in an effort to defend his delinquent team president, accused another employee of almost everything that Thomas is guilty of - incompetence, and an inability to manage a budget. The only thing Dolan didn't accuse her of was sexual harassment.

Yup...welcome to the old boy network.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

So, that's what an off game looks like...

Patriots 34, Bengals 13.

Tom Brady had his lowest completion percentage of the season at a gaudy 78.1.

Randy Moss had his lowest yardage total at 102.

The offense put up only 34 points.

For other teams these offensive numbers would increase the respective averages associated with each. On the Patriots its bringing the overall numbers down.

And, oddly, in spite of the 21-point loss, the Bengals defense did appear to slow down the Patriots a little. Of course the only time Cincy really stopped them they had 12 men on the field.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, and the Patriots have yet to face their toughest opposition, but could 16-0 really be within reach? Not something I would normally put out there, but with this team you have to wonder.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The weekend that was...

What a weird weekend.

There are a lot of things that happened in the last three days that I would not have thought possible, or even likely four days ago -

  • The Phillies, looking every bit the champion in taking advantage of the Mets' woes in managing to overtake New York to win the East. Now New York teams bear two dubious honors - the worst post-season collapse in the history (see Yankees), and now the worst regular season collapse in the history of baseball with the Mets coughing up a seven game lead with seventeen left to play. No team in the history of baseball has done that.
  • New York fans can look at the bright side - the Giants took revenge on the Eagles on the Mets behalf. That Sunday night game was just ugly, and unless the Eagles make adjustments, every team they face is going to attack that turnstile they call a left tackle. Actually, to call Winston Justice a turnstile is to pay him a compliment - turnstiles slow people down when they have to drop a token in the slot. Osi Umenyiori would at least have had to break stride on his way to McNabb had he encountered a turnstile. He blocked like a kicker tackles...ole.
  • Anyone here see the Cardinals win over the Steelers coming? Anyone? Ken Wisenhut, put your hand down.
  • The Chicago Bears offense was...well...offensive. I said it last week, Greise is not the answer. Let's face it, the Bears are hoping that a guy who failed to make the grade in four previous spots would bail them out of their quarterbacking predicament. This is going to be a long, long season for the Chicago faithful. If Greise has another start like this one, get used to the following words Bears fans; Welcome to the Kyle Orton era.
  • Reportedly JP Losman is worried about his job as the starter in Buffalo. He should be. From the little I have seen of his back-up, Trent Edwards, the rookie looks to be as far along as the now veteran Losman in terms of development, and that should worry Losman. Of the two, right now I think Edwards gives the team the best chance to win over the long haul.
  • Brett Favre looks like he has found the fountain of youth.
  • When a team blows a first round pick on a glorified kick returner when in desperate need of a quarterback, is it any surprise to see that team start 0-4. I'm talking about you Miami, I'm talking about you.
  • Could Cleveland (2-2) have turned a corner? They are currently 2-1 in their division, putting them in second place in the AFC North ahead of the 2-2 Ravens. It's still early, but Cincy and Baltimore are giving the Browns hope. In their next three they have a tough game against the Patriots, winnable games against the Dolphins and Rams, and if they can steal a game from the Seahawks, they could go into their rematch against the Steelers at a respectible 5-3. If they keep playing like this, ten wins might not be out of the question. I'm guessing eight, but ten wouldn't surprise me, not at this point. Looks like Romeo Crennel might be well on his way to saving his job.
  • Take heart Denver fans - as bad as the final score looked, the Broncos did a lot of good things on offense that will pay dividends down the road if and when the defense comes together. Granted, Jay Cutler can use more seasoning, but there was nothing wrong with that running game.

Just a few thoughts.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


AJ Smith has been exposed.

He has been exposed as arrogant and conceited. He has been exposed as nothing more than a glorified scout that should not be allowed to make personnel decisions in regards to coaching staffs. He has been exposed as a man who obviously believes that HE is the most important cog in constructing a winning NFL franchise.

He is not.

Worse - he probably still doesn't get it.

Because he couldn't stand his Hall of Fame Coach or the thought that his HOF Coach wanted to hire his own brother as the defensive coordinator. So, he fired him.

Smith replaced Marty Shottenheimer with the man Shottenheimer replaced in Washington DC - Norv Turner. Somehow Smith missed that Shottenheimer was successful with the same roster that Turner couldn't win with.

Now, Turner is showing how he can once again fail to win with the same personnel that Shottenheimer had.

Ted Cottrell has coached the Chargers once aggressive, attacking defense into a mess that gave up 23 of 30 points to a team that had scored a record low 26 points in the first three weeks of the season. Turner has presided over a team that looked barely ready for prime time in their one win against the Bears, and has given up over 30 points per game during their three game slide.

Turner, the so-called offensive genius has managed to turn one the best teams from last season to one of the worst in the AFC...only quarter of the way through the season. They are last in their division and only one team, the 0-4 Dolphins have a worse record in the AFC. In their own division the Raiders have outscored them by over 40 points, and in the entire conference only three teams have given up more - Jets (103), Browns (118), and Dolphins (109).

The Chargers today lost to a rebuilding Chiefs team that has struggled to move the ball...well, until they met the Chargers.

And the bottom line is that AJ Smith is responsible for this mess. If Chargers owner Alex Spanos is smart, he gives Turner and Smith until the bye on October 21. If the team blows games to either Denver or Oakland, both divisional foes, it is likely done for the season unless a radical change is made. That change needs to be both Smith and Turner, because if there is one thing that has become painfully obvious, it's that the Chargers weren't amongst the most talented last season - but they were among the best coached.

For those who dispute that. Other than Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson, who on that offense instills fear in opponents? And right now, no one on that defense is instilling any fear either. So maybe Smith, as opposed to him being the great talent evaluator, and his players were a product of Shottenheimer's coaching.