Monday, December 29, 2008

Thanks a Millen!!


For all of you Lions fans that are left out there, I hope that your suffering is over. The Lions pathetic excuse for a 2008 season is finally over. They will go down in history as the first team to finish 0-16. When people talk about the worst teams in professional sports history, they will talk about the Lions.
When your grandkids are watching a football game with you and complain that their favorite team is terrible, you can always say that you used to waste your Sunday afternoon's watching the worst team in professional sports history.
Today, the Lions did the expected...and the unexpected. They fired Rod Marinelli, who amassed a whopping 10 wins in his 3 seasons at Detroit's helm. They also fired 4 of his coaches, but lets face it, they will all be gone by the time a new head coach is hired.
But, they gave promotions to two of Millen's cronies. Tom Lewand will be running the business side of things for the Lions and Martin Mayhew will be the new GM.
Mayhew comes into his new job having a whopping 0 years of experience running a professional sports team. But, since Matt Millen hired him, then I'm sure that he'll be fine. The Lions won't be making anymore stupid draft decisions, or idiotic free agent signings.
One thing that I don't understand is if they were going to give the job to Mayhew anyway, why did they wait until the end of the season? If that was the way that they wanted to go all along, he should've been given the title right away after Millen was fired and been told to go to work fixing this mess.
So now this inexperienced GM has the daunting task of deciding who their head coach should be and what should they do with the #1 pick in April. Today, on Mlive.com, it was reported that the Lions requested to interview Washington's secondary coach. I hadn't heard of him, so I decided to look him up. He's got some solid credentials, but the first thing that I thought when I saw him was that he wasn't going to get the job. He is an African American. In the NFL, they have what's called the "Rooney Rule". It requires all teams looking for a head coach to interview a minority candidate. I hope that I'm wrong, but I believe that this man is fulfilling the Lions commitment to the Rooney Rule.
It'll be interesting to hear what comes out of Detroit. Most likely, they won't have a coach in place until after the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Damn Yankees!!!


I was just laying on my couch watching television. It was a wintry day, I had just had a hot lunch, and I was very comfortable. The television program that I was watching went to a commercial, so I decided to check ESPNEWS to find out if anything had happened in the world of sports that I should be aware of.
Then I saw it.
BREAKING NEWS...THE NEW YORK YANKEES SIGN 1B MARK TEIXIERA TO AN 8 YEAR DEAL WORTH AT LEAST 170 MILLION...
I felt like throwing up.
The Yankees, the team that has already spent $234 million on 2 pitchers, has just dropped another large sum of money on the most sought after position player on the free agent market. Roughly, that's about $400 million on three players!!!
I really thought that the Red Sox were going to land Teixiera. All along, they were mentioned as the front runners for his services. It was reportedly down to the Red Sox and the Nationals. I was okay if Teixiera were to sign with the Nationals, it would just say to me that he was more about money than about winning. I felt like if Teixiera wanted to be on a winning team, then he would sign with Boston.
I should have known that the Yankees were going to do this. All along, the "experts" would say that the Yankees have interest, but they haven't even extended an offer to Teixiera. Apparently, they swooped in at the last minute and got their new first baseman.
Luckily for the Red Sox, they still have a really good team going into 2009. But, with the Rays bringing most everyone back from last years squad and the Yankees breaking the bank while putting together this years team, I hope that the Red Sox will be able to improve in some areas before Opening Day. I'm only a fan, but I'm hoping that they can add a starting pitcher (Derek Lowe?) and possibly a big bat to protect David Ortiz (Adam Dunn?). If Mike Lowell can come back from his injury plagued 2008 and Josh Beckett can rebound to his 2007 form, the Sox will be right in the thick of things by playoff time next year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Even Roy Schneider would have been impressed...

Did you ever see the movie Jaws? Do you remember the part at the very end where Roy Scheider is on the sinking boat and shooting at Jaws as it's coming for him? And then when Jaws opens his mouth enough that Roy Scheider can see the air tank and shoot it, blowing up the shark in the process?

Well, that is exactly what I felt when I watched the Detroit Red Wings take on the San Jose Sharks last Thursday night. The Sharks came in with only 3 losses on the year. The Red Wings were a not too shabby 5 losses also. So, nonetheless, it was going to be a good game.

The Red Wings stomped the Sharks 6-0 just like Roy Scheider blew up Jaws at the very end. GO WINGS!!

Hot Stove Season in MLB!



The Hot Stove season is in full force in major league baseball! This is a time of the year where I really look forward to spring training. Each team is able to wheel and deal in order to make them better for next season.

The Yankees have made the biggest splash so far with their signing of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. These are both very impressive signings. Assuming that they are able to sign Andy Pettite before spring training, they will have a starting rotation of Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettite, and Chamberlin.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, are in the hunt to sign Mark Teixiera. He is the most wanted position player on the market this off season. There have been rumors that the Red Sox have walked away from negotiations because he is asking for too much money. I don't believe it.

The reason why is Teixiera's agent, Scott Boras. Boras is notorious for telling teams that his clients have offers on the table for a lot more money than they actually do. I'm sure that Boras did that with the Red Sox and they called his bluff. My guess is that Teixiera is going to sign with the Red Sox within the next couple of days.

I also believe that the Red Sox are going to get a starting pitcher also. From what I've been hearing, the leading candidates are Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets. Personally, I'm pulling for Lowe, he's more of a big game pitcher and isn't as injury prone as Sheets.

Either way, I believe that the Sox and Yankees will be duking it out for the pennant when the season winds down.

That's why I'm glad that I'm a Chiefs fan...


The Detroit Lions lost today to the New Orleans Saints, 42-7. They are now an impressive 0-15 on the season so far. Already, they are the only team in NFL history to lose their first 15 games. Next week, they will attempt to make it a perfect season when they travel to Lambeau Field in Green Bay to take on the Packers, a place where they haven't won since 1991.
Tom "Killer" Kowalski posted an article on mlive.com today in which he asked Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. about the upcoming off season and what his plans are for the future of the Lions. There are a few parts of the article that I wanted to point out and then comment on...
- Despite the possibility that his team could finish 0-16 this season, Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford made it clear that there will not be a complete house-cleaning in the offseason.
* Why should they clean house? They've only lost 21 of their last 22 games and are about to make history as the only team to ever go 0-16 in a season. I'm certain the Ford Sr. isn't watching the Lions at all.
- Prior to Sunday's Lions-Saints game, Ford said that he will hire another person to join the team's football operations but that person might not fill the typical general manager role. Ford said the new hire might not have total control over all personnel matters and that those decisions could be done by committee.
* I don't understand why they will not hire somebody to take TOTAL control of the football operations! It's obvious the there is nobody in the Lions front office right now that has ANY clue as to how to put together a winning football team.
- Ford said that regardless of who he hires, he also wants both Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand to stay with the organization -- possibly in the positions they currently hold.
* Why the heck does he want these two stooges still with the organization? They are both Millen guys. The Lions need to rid themselves of the "stench" that is Matt Millen out of their organization!
- Ford said he's "talked to some people'' and that the team is still putting together a list of candidates to be interviewed. Ford said he doesn't believe there is one "football genius'' out there who can come in and make all the right decisions independently.
* If Ford doesn't belive that there is one "football genius" out there that can comen in and make all the right decisions independently, just ask the Miami Dolphins. I think that they would argue that Bill Parcells has done that for them. From 1-15 last year to 9-5 and competing for a playoff spot this year? I'd say that he's a football genius.
- "I hope when this whole process is over with that we've got an organization that can build a winning team,'' Ford said. "The fans have been great and they deserve winners. We're all frustrated. We want to win, too. I hope this is the end product.''
* I'm speechless...absolutely speechless.
Even though I'm a Chiefs fan and they have amounted to only 2 wins this year, I can still honestly say that I'm happy with the way that they're going. I know that they will be winners and back in the playoffs before Detroit will. GO CHIEFS!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Moving and Shaking

Since I last updated this blog, two teams in Detroit have made some significant personnel changes that they hope will pay off in the end.

Let's start off with the Detroit Pistons. They traded Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson.

I really like this trade. For the Pistons, they are getting a proven star in the NBA. Iverson has been one of the league's top scorers for his entire career. He does have the reputation for being a bit of a renegade player who does what he wants when he wants. But Rasheed Wallace had that reputation also when the Pistons acquired him a few years back. And that trade brought the Pistons a championship. This Iverson trade reminds me of that. Another good thing about getting Iverson is that his contract expires at the end of this year. I don't really see him sticking around in Detroit after this season so that would allow Joe Dumars to use that money to stockpile the team with talent.

The Pistons are losing Billups, who has been their leader during the regular season for years now. But, he seems to have disappeared during the playoffs ever since they won their championship. Also, Billups still has 5 years remaining on his contact and many millions of dollars still left to be paid to him. That is now the Nuggets problem. Antonio McDyess was a steady player off the bench for the Pistons, but his game has been deteriorating for a while now. And the final piece of the puzzle in this deal is Cheikh Samb, a 7-footer who hasn't played for the Pistons yet.

All in all, I really like this trade for the Pistons. It gives them an improved team for this year, and if Iverson leaves next summer, they will have plenty of extra cash to acquire some more people and continue to improve the team.

And now onto the Lions. They signed the recently retired Daunte Culpepper to a 2 year contract. I only have one question for them...

WHY!!

Culpepper retired recently because he was not happy with the offers that he was getting. According to his agent, Culpepper only had a couple of offers from teams as a backup qb.

For those of you who don't know much about Culpepper, I'll fill you in on what he's been up to these past few years.

He had some good years in Minnesota, but was prone to injuries. After the Vikings, he went to Miami and stunk up the joint while constantly fighting injuries. After the Dolphins didn't want him back, he went to Oakland and did the same thing (stunk up the joint while being prone to injuries).

So, his last few years were spent with a couple of the worst teams in the NFL (Miami and Oakland). He was so bad there that even they didn't want him back. So this past off season he tried to find a new team. NOBODY wanted him to come in. Only a couple of teams offered him a chance to compete for a back up job. Culpepper didn't like the offers and decided to retire.

So the Lions, who are the worst team in the NFL, decide that given their current situation, bringing Culpepper in is the best thing that they can do right now.

All that I can say is "Wow".

Bringing in Culpepper is one of the stupidest things that they could have done. Why would they bring in an aging, injury prone quarterback when they are trying to rebuild this franchise? They need to start playing the younger guys, no matter how bad they seem right now. There is no hope for the future of the Lions if they don't realize that players who were good 5 years ago, aren't good now.

From top to bottom, the Lions have to be the biggest idiots in the world at evaluating talent. If they had any brains at all, they would have just played out the season with their younger guys and watched to see if they had anything to build off of with them. Then, after they go 0-16 and get the #1 pick in the draft, use it wisely and improve your team for next year.

But, history does have a way of repeating itself, so the Lions will probably draft the wide receiver out of Texas Tech, Michael Crabtree with the first pick in the draft.

Even though my new team, Kansas City, is really bad this year, I am not frustrated because I do see some signs of life with them. It may take a few years, but I guarantee that the Chiefs will have a winning record before the Lions do. Mark my words...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back and better than ever...

After taking a bit of a hiatus from my sports blog to recover from the Red Sox being eliminated in the playoffs, I'm back.

First off, I now have a favorite NFL football coach. Hall of Famer Mike Singletary was named the interim head coach of the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and coached his first game on Sunday. Although the Niners got beat by the lowly Seattle Seahawks 34-13, I firmly believe that he's got what it takes to be a successful NFL head coach.

For a guy that's never been a head coach before, he sure hit the ground running. In the second quarter, he benched starting quarterback J.T. O'sullivan after he threw his second interception of the game. Then, in the fourth quarter, starting tight end Vernon Davis (a former first round pick) got an unnecessary roughness penalty after he slapped the facemask of a Seahawks defender after a 7 yard reception. The following is an excerpt from the Associated Press article on NFL.com about what happened when Davis went to the sideline...

Davis tried to avoid his coach as he ran to the sideline, but Singletary got in his face and gave him an earful before sending him to the bench. Singletary said he was upset by what he considered a nonchalant attitude by Davis, who did not seem to understand why his coach was so upset.
Singletary later walked over to talk to Davis on the bench, yelling some more at the former No. 6 overall pick in full view of his teammates. Then with 10:41 remaining in the game, Singletary went back to Davis and told him to go to the locker room. Davis started walking before being called back to get his helmet. He then waved his helmet at the crowd as he left.
"I'd rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team," Singletary said. "It is more about them than it is about the team. Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them. Can't do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win."
Davis wanted to talk to his coach after the game, but Singletary advised against it.
"I told him he did not want to talk to me," Singletary said. "I assured him, 'You do not want to talk to me right now.' "

I sincerely hope that Mike Singletary is able to get a full time NFL head coaching job after this season. I hope that the Detroit Lions are aware of this...

Now, back to baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies are now 1 game away from winning the World Series. The Tampa Rays are experiencing something similar to what the Red Sox experienced during the ALCS. Their heavy hitters are not hitting. Evan Longoria is 0-16, Carlos Pena is 0-13, and ALCS MVP B.J. Upton is only 4-16 with 0 home runs. Combine that with the Phillies bats coming alive (Ryan Howard hit 2 home runs and drove in 5 last night) and that makes it all the more difficult for the Rays to win. Unless the Rays start hitting, this series will end tonight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What can I say...


First off, I just wanted to say that my football picks from this past weekend were so bad, that I am allowing myself a mulligan and pretending that this past weekend did not happen.
I know that most people would say that I've got to take the good with the bad. But these are my picks and this is my blog, so my rules.
This past weekend the Tampa Rays defeated the Red Sox in Game 7 to move on to the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After the game I tipped my hat to the Rays and congratulated them (I said this to the television, I wasn't actually there at the game). But, I will be honest and say that I probably won't watch as much of the World Series as I have in the past. It's probably because the Sox got so close and didn't make it, but I am just not that psyched up for these games. I would have been happier if either the Red Sox or the Dodgers had made it. But I'm sure that the people in Tampa and Philadelphia are ecstatic.
Since Tampa hasn't been around as a franchise for as long as Philadelphia, I will be rooting for the Phillies. Tampa has only been around for 10 years, and Philadelphia hasn't been in the World Series since 1983.
Getting back to the Red Sox, they have a busy off season ahead of them. First and foremost, they need to decide what they are going to do with their captain, Jason Varitek. He is still their leader, and he handles a pitching staff probably better than anyone in baseball. But, he had one of his worst seasons offensively this year. If I'm not mistaken, he left around 15 runners on base in the ALCS. With their not being a whole lot of catching alternatives out on the market this winter, their best bet may be to resign Varitek to a 2 year deal (he's 37 now) and look for catching help. Other issues that will have to be addressed will be whether to keep Mark Kotsay or Sean Casey, who are both free agents. If I had my choice, I'd keep Casey because I feel like he's a better hitter than Kotsay and can deliver in clutch situations better than him.
Other issues will be who will take the 5th spot in the starting rotation. Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, and Wakefield (he has an option that the Sox will most likely pick up.) are all coming back. The Sox need to decide whether to put Bucholz in the rotation, move Masterson back from the bullpen into the rotation, or go out on the open market and pick up a pitcher (Jake Peavy?).
These, among many other issues, will have to be decided upon before spring training next year. It should be a busy time for the Sox and many other clubs.
I am a baseball fan, but the off season is a very exciting time for me also! Trades are made, contracts are signed, salary caps are juggled, it's a very fun time of the year. I can't wait until spring!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The comeback kids & pigskin picks


Last night, after many of you probably went to sleep, the Red Sox overcame a 7 run deficit to the Tampa Rays and won a game that they had to win to prolong their season.
The game started off like the last three have, with the Rays knocking the ball out of the park like there's no tomorrow.
But, in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Sox bats started to wake up. David Ortiz broke out of his playoff slump and finally hit one out of the park. And J.D. Drew finished the Rays off with a homerun and a game winning double.
The Rays had all the confidence in the world last night. I could see during the game they were laughing and joking around in the dugout. But the Red Sox had the last laugh and now the series moves down south to Florida for games 6 and 7. I predict that if Tampa doesn't win Game 6, then Boston will take the series.
Now to the football picks for the weekend...
College
Penn State over Michigan - Michigan couldn't beat a team from the MAC at the Big House last Saturday, so why would I think that they have a chance against a top 5 team in their house?
Michigan State over Ohio State - Terrelle Pryor has made Ohio State a better team than when the year began. I'm hoping that the home field advantage will give MSU the edge.
Western Michigan over Central Michigan - This should be a great game, as both teams are in the running for the MAC division title.
NFL
Buffalo over San Diego - I'm giving this one to the Bills because they are playing this game in the frigid temperatures of Buffalo.
New Orleans over Carolina - I really like the Saints offense. But I believe that Carolina will give them a run for their money.
Chicago over Minnesota - The Vikings poor play last week against the Lions has forced me to go with 'da Bears.
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati - Carson Palmer is out again for the Bengals and is being replaced by a guy from Harvard. I heard a guy from ESPN state that having a guy from Harvard is good if you need someone to represent you in court or do you taxes. But it is not good if you want someone to quarterback your football team!
Kansas City over Tennessee - I believe that Kerry Collins honeymoon is over as qb of the Titans. The Chiefs will beat the Titans in a nail biter.
Miami over Baltimore - I'm a fan of the Dolphins. They are a young up and coming team that is only going to get better as the season goes on.
New York Giants over San Francisco - The Super Bowl champs will rebound from last weeks loss.
Dallas over St. Louis - Even without Romo, the Cowboys will win.
Houston over Detroit - Detroit will keep hope alive that they will go 0-16 this season.
Green Bay over Indy - I'm still a fan of the Packers and believe that Peyton Manning has been too inconsistent to win against them.
New York Jets over Oakland - I still don't like Favre, but the Raiders are almost as bad as the Lions.
Washington over Cleveland - Yes, the Browns trounced the Giants last week and the Redskins did lose to the Rams. But that was then and this is now.
Tampa Bay over Seattle - Jeff Garcia is back and so are the Bucs.
Denver over New England - No Tom Brady = no wins for the Patriots.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This one is a puzzler...



The Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Denis Savard today...AFTER 4 GAMES!!!

Hours after winning their first game of the year against the Phoenix Coyotes, Savard was let go. The Blackhawks were only 1-2-1 on the very young season so far.

Since I am still new to the game of hockey, I decided to do a little bit of research. Savard was 40-34-8 while having a bunch of young hockey players take a lot of minutes. This was their first 40 win season since the 2001-2002 campaign. Over his Blackhawk coaching career, Savard posted a record of 65-66-16 over parts of three seasons as a coach.

It seems to me that Savard had the Blackhawks heading in the right direction. But then I thought to myself, "was it personal?". Unless Savard did something so horrific in the past three games, it couldn't have been personal. The new owner has been there for a little over a year and if he didn't like/want Savard as coach, then he would have made a change already.

But why make a change now? The Blackhawks management had to have known that they wanted to make a change in the off season, or even during pre season games. Why not make a change then?

I just don't understand why they would wait until this early in the season to make a change. With a hockey legend like Scotty Bowman in the front office, I would think that they would be smarter than that.

Joel Quenneville is the new head man on the Blackhawks bench. He has been around and will bring a wealth of experience the this young team. Previously, he had been working as a scout for the Blackhawks.

It will be interesting to see how this change affects the Blackhawks this season. I for one, will be paying attention.

2007 all over again?


The Red Sox and Rays face off in Game 5 of the ALCS tonight in a must win game for the Sox.
I'll admit, the Rays are a really good team and one that has never gotten their due respect this season. Everyone (including me) has waited all year long for them to burst their bubble and plummet to the bottom of the division. But it never happened. They have consistently defied the odds and are one game away from going to the World Series.
But I still can't decide if the Rays have played that good during the ALCS, or if the Red Sox have just played that bad. Besides Dice-K, the Sox pitching has been atrocious. Beckett has been very un-Beckett like this post season. And Jon Lester has looked nothing like the Lester of old against the Rays. Tim Wakefield's knuckler was hanging so much that it would have been easier to just put the ball on a tee and let the Rays hit it from there.
The hitting hasn't been much better at all. Besides Youklis, Pedroia, and Bay, there isn't anybody that is hitting very well. Ellsbury has been so bad that he got benched. Ortiz hasn't been the same since Manny got traded. And Varitek isn't even hitting .200. Although Mark Kotsay played well in Game 4, I'd still like to see Sean Casey playing first base. I believe that he is a better hitter than Kotsay and would put a spark in their lineup.
One thing that really has been frustrating me is the way the Red Sox are constantly looking at first pitch strikes. The Rays pitchers are grooving pitches to them and the Sox are letting them go by every time. The Rays hitters, on the other hand, are jumping all over first pitch strikes if they are given to them. I'd like to see the Sox take advantage of some of those pitches and make the Rays pitchers work a little.
If the Red Sox are going to extend this series, they are going to have to put some runs up on the board by not leaving runners on base. I believe in Game 2 they left 13 runners on base that night. They have been outscored 31-13 in the past three games.
If Beckett and Lester return to form and can quiet the Rays offense, the Sox will have a chance. But first, Dice-K needs to get a win tonight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shipping off to Boston!!


The weekend is now over. Michigan gave a disappointing performance on Saturday at the Big House. They lost to the University of Toledo...a MAC team. And the thing is, they weren't even a very good MAC team. Going into the game against Michigan, Toledo was 1-4...1-4!!!
Oh well. There is no use crying over this loss because we all knew going into this season that we wouldn't be seeing a typical Michigan team. Let's just hope that this can get turned around by the time next season rolls around.
The Lions lost a nail biter at Minnesota 12-10. I didn't watch a whole lot of it because I had other things to do. I'm really rooting for the Lions to go 0-16 this year. And I'm not just saying that because I left them via free agency. I just think that it would be pretty cool to see a team go winless in the NFL. One part of the game that does stick out in my mind was when Lions qb Dan Orlovsky took the snap in the end zone and then was chased out by Vikings de Jared Allen. He ran for about 5 yards out of bounds and didn't even know it!! You can see the play here
http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d80b8de5f.
I also stayed up and watched the entire game 1 & 2 of the ALCS between the Red Sox and Rays. Even though the Sox lost Game 2 in extra innings, I still feel pretty good with the Red Sox. I hear a lot of journalists saying that Tampa now has the momentum heading into Game 3 this afternoon. I disagree. The Sox shouldn't have lost Game 2. Josh Beckett was very un-Beckett like the entire game. A normal Josh Beckett does not give up 3 home runs in 5+ innings in the post season. If Beckett does not give up the 8 runs, and the Red Sox don't leave 13 runners on base during the game, the Sox would have blown out the Rays and this would be a totally different series.
But he did and now it is 1-1 going into Game 3. The Sox will bring in their Mr. October of 2008 Jon Lester to pitch today. He has been lights out for them and turn in another great pitching performance today.
I also watched last nights Game 3 between the Dodgers and Phillies. I turned it on at about the time Dodger catcher Russell Martin was being thrown at for a second straight at bat. The next inning, Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda stood up for his battery mate and threw at head of Phillies OF Shane Vicotorino (I don't know if I spelled that right, sorry).
Now I know that there are unwritten rules in baseball, as there are in all other sports as well. In baseball, if one of your guys is being thrown at intentionally, then your pitcher will stand up for his teammates and throw at one of their guys. Kuroda did stand up for his teammate, but he threw at the head of Shane Victorino. Victorino, took exception and told Kuroda and Dodgers catcher Martin that if they are going to throw at him, to throw at his ribs and not his head.
I totally agree with Victorino. Getting hit is a part of the game. The Phillies had to have known that the Dodgers were probably going to hit one of their guys that night. But I did not like the fact that Kuroda threw at Victorino's head. If he would have drilled him in the ribs, then I would have completely understood. But you don't throw at a guy's head. That is a bush league play.
Finally, to recap on my picks for the weekend, I went 2-1 in college (thanks a lot, Michigan). In the NFL, I went 8-5. However, 4 of my losses were very close and some went down to the final seconds. So I don't feel too bad.
Go SOX!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pigskin picks and big news!!!


I've got some pretty exciting news that I want to let everyone know about. It is a big step for me and should be a lot of fun. But first, I want to make my picks for the weekend.
COLLEGE
Western Michigan over Buffalo : Western is playing great this year and I've got no reason to believe that they won't beat Buffalo this weekend.
Michigan State over Northwestern: I believe that Spartans RB Javon Ringer is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate as long as Michigan State keeps winning.
Michigan over Toledo : This game couldn't have come at a better time for Michigan. After last week's disappointment against Illinois, they need to come out and play well against Toledo. Oh, and one more thing Michigan...HOLD ONTO THE BALL!!!
NFL
Chicago over Atlanta : The Falcons are playing better than I thought, but the Bears should take this one.
Miami over Houston : The Dolphins already have doubled their win total from last year when they beat the Chargers for their second win of the season last week. I believe that Miami will make it three in a row on Sunday.
Indianapolis over Baltimore : One of these weeks Peyton Manning is going to come through with a Peyton Manning type game. Here's hoping that it is Sunday.
Minnesota over Detroit : Do I really have to explain why?
New Orleans over Oakland : Not even a new coach will get the Raiders past the Saints.
New York Jets over Cincinnati : I can't believe that I'm going to do it, but this weekend I'll be pulling for Brett Favre.
Carolina over Tampa Bay : Carolina looks really good this year, and the Bucs are a bit banged up at quarterback and wide receiver.
Washington over St. Louis : Even with Jim Haslett at the helm of the Rams, they are still a really bad team.
Jacksonville over Denver : With one of Denver qb Jay Cutler's favorite receivers (former WMU player Tony Scheffler) out with an injury, I'll take Jacksonville in this one.
Dallas over Arizona : Even with the Pac man controversy, the Cowboys will roll on the Cardinals.
Philadelphia over San Francisco : Donovan Mcnabb won't be embarrassed at his team's play this week.
Green Bay over Seattle : Seattle is a bad, bad football team. Also, look for Greg Jennings to have a great game for the Packers.
San Diego over New England : Without Tom Brady, the Patriots have become an average football team.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
New York Giants over Cleveland : The defending Super Bowl champion Giants are quietly looking like the best team in the NFL.
And now for the big news. As some of you may know, I was once a freelance sports writer for our local paper here in town. Well, I am proud to announce that I have moved up to freelance sports writer for a magazine. I will be writing a season long piece for Inside Hockey magazine (http://www.insidehockey.com/).
I came to them explaining that I have always been a major sports fan (football, baseball, and basketball), but have never really gotten into hockey. But this year, I wanted to give the sport a fair chance. So, I am going to be watching more games than ever this year. I will be going to see more games live than I have in past years. I will also be talking to people at these games (fans, staff, and players) about why they love the game of hockey. I will be documenting my hockey fan exploration in a blog for insidehockey.com. I am currently working on my first piece for them and will let everyone know when it is up on their website.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

He's baaaacccckkkk!!




Reports out of Dallas yesterday surfaced that Adam "Pac-Man" Jones got into an altercation with one of his bodyguards at a Dallas hotel at around 1:30 in the morning on Wednesday.
Apparently, Pacman and his bodyguards arrived at the hotel and went in to use the bathroom in the lobby. There was some arguing and Pacman jumped his bodyguard from behind.
I don't get it. This is a guy that was suspended from the league for almost two years due to his off the field issues (spitting on college students, shooting up strip clubs, etc.). The Dallas Cowboys put their neck on the line to trade for him and give him a second chance. The Cowboys even hired bodyguards to watch Pacman and make sure he didn't get into any trouble. They also hired a driver for him because they wanted to avoid any problems that way.
So, Pacman Jones gets to play football for a living. He doesn't have to drive anywhere, because his employer pays for somebody else to do it for him. And he's got hired bodyguards that can help him with his lack of judgment problems that he's been having. The Cowboys have gone to all of this trouble and Pacman STILL can't keep out of the news for reckless behavior.
Honestly, if I were Pacman, and had gone through all of his legal issues, being suspended, then luckily reinstated to the league, I wouldn't go out of my hotel room unless I was going to practice or to a game. I would have all of my food delivered to my door, and never leave unless it was Dallas Cowboy related.
He obviously can't keep out of trouble. And what the heck was he doing out at 1:30 in the morning when he's got practice the next day? I don't care what time the practice was, he's got to stay in. Unfortunately, he's put himself in a situation where he'll be scrutinized if he's out on the town drinking. But that's his own fault. He's now got to show that he is taking himself and his football career seriously. And by his alleged actions yesterday morning, he still doesn't get it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The chicken strips worked again!!!


Well, the chicken strips were baked in time for the first pitch last night and what do you know...the Red Sox won!!! This got me thinking about superstitions in baseball. Most people know about Wade Boggs and his barbecue chicken superstition. And if anyone has ever seen Nomar Garciaparra bat, then you have seen him step out of the batters box after every pitch, re-adjust his batting gloves, then tap his front and back feet multiple times until the next pitch come in. After the pitch, it starts all over again.
Well, I did some research on baseball superstition and found a few doozies...
1. One classic baseball superstition requires that teammates must not talk to a pitcher who is working on a no-hitter. It's an obligation that usually results in the pitcher sitting in isolation on the bench in the latter innings, as illustrated below. The Yankees' Don Larsen, en route to the only World Series perfect game in baseball history in 1956, tested this superstition in the seventh inning, when he sidled over to teammate Mickey Mantle and said, "Hey, Mick — look at that. Two more innings. Wouldn't it be something?" Mantle got up and walked away without responding.
2. Countless players observe the time-honored superstition of not stepping on the foul line (except for the ones who observe the time-honored counter-superstition of stepping ON the foul line).
Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees' longtime ace and current pitching coach, told how he came to believe in the power of foul-line avoidance. He said that a Yankees coach, Jim Hegan, told him one day before a game with the Twins that it was a silly belief, and that stepping on the foul line would have no effect on his performance.
Stottlemyre thought he might have a point, and cavalierly stepped on the foul line as he went out to face the Twins. Here's his account of that day's game in "The Baseball Almanac":
"The first batter I faced was Ted Uhlaender, and he hit a line drive off my left shin. It went for a hit. Carew, Oliva and Killebrew followed with extra-base hits. The fifth man hit a single and scored and I was charged with five runs. I haven't stepped on a foul line since."
3 - Back in 1984, Minnesota Twins pitcher Frank Viola noticed a large banner at the Metrodome that said "FRANKIE SWEET MUSIC VIOLA." He also noticed that whenever the banner appeared, he seemed to pitch well, and, in fact, never lost. According to Sports Illustrated, the banner's creator, a fan named Mark Dornfield, introduced himself to Viola in 1987, and the two talked for two hours. That season, Viola went 15-0, with four no-decisions (all Twins victories) in banner games.
The Twins made the World Series that season, and Viola learned that Dornfield didn't have a ticket. That prompted Kathy Viola, Frank's wife, to call Dornfield up and offer him tickets to Games 1 and 7. As SI reported, "With the banner proudly unfurled, Viola won both games and was named Series MVP."
4. Turk Wendell a former Cubs and Mets reliever use to brush his teeth and chew licorice between every inning to perhaps enhance his taste and performance for each pitch.
5. Frank Viola (again), a three-time MLB all-star and former Cy Young winner had a secret to his success on the mound. He would clean the mound before every inning, kicking up dirt exactly four times. However, if something bad happened, he couldn't do it in repetition of four’s any more, instead he would try three or five.
That is just a small sample of some of the superstitions that are involved in the world of baseball. I usually don't get superstitious in other sports, but there are plenty of people that do.
All I know is that come Friday night, I will be sitting in my chair in the living room watching Game 1 of the ALCS. GO SOX!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm sorry...my bad



I'd just like to take a moment here to apologize to the Boston Red Sox. It was my fault that they lost last night. It was my fault that they did not clinch the division series.

How could I, a sports fan in Kalamazoo, have any affect whatsoever on a Boston Red Sox game? Plenty.

As some of you may know, I can be superstitious when it comes to sports, especially baseball. When I was working Battle Creek, with the Michigan Battle Cats, I thought that I was a jinx on the team in the playoffs. In fact, no team that I ever worked for had won a playoff game. So when the 2000 Midwest League playoffs started, the Battle Cats were playing at home for the first two games of the opening round of the playoffs verses the Fort Wayne Wizards. I was at the game, but I didn't watch one pitch. I spent most of the game either underneath the grandstand or simply looking down at my feet. Most people outside the baseball community would say that this was stupid, but when the Battle Cats won those games I was even more convinced. When the series shifted to Fort Wayne, the entire front office staff decided to go. I stayed behind because if I went, I was sure that they would lose. So I stayed behind and listened to the game on the radio in my parents car in the driveway (I don't remember why). I was busy that night and wasn't able to start listening to the game until the 4th inning. Well, the Battle Cats won that night to clinch the series! So, naturally when the next series came about, everyone traveled to the game except for me. And I wouldn't go out to the car to listen to the game until the 4th inning. And guess what! The Battle Cats didn't lose another game for the rest of the playoffs! They won the Midwest League championship and I got a ring!

What does this have to do with the Red Sox/Angels game last night? Well, my normal routine is 2 chicken strips with ranch dressing at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the chicken strips in the toaster oven until the second inning (with the Red Sox already down 1-0). Then I forgot to set temperature on the toaster oven, so they weren't done when the timer went off.

So I set the temperature again and went back to watching the game. During that time, the Sox retook the lead, 3-1. Then Angels catcher Mike Napoli came to the plate just as the timer for my food went off. Normally, I don't like to miss any of the game. I'll wait for commercials to go and do anything. But, I didn't want my chicken strips to burn, so I figured that I'll hurry up and just get them. WRONG DECISION!! During the 30 seconds that it took to get my food, Mike Napoli hit a two run home run to tie the game!! I only saw it on replay.

That's just a coincidence, you say? Well, a couple of innings later I came back out from the other room to watch the rest of the game in the living room. While I was switching rooms, Mike Napoli was up again. And guess what!?!? During my room to room switch, that guy hit a solo home run to put the Angels up 4-3!!! Coincidence? I think not. So I made it a point to sit in one spot for the rest of the game and not leave the room for anything. And it started to work because the Red Sox were able to tie the game.

Alas, my efforts were too little, too late. So I'd like to apologize the the Boston Red Sox. And I promise to never again sway from my superstitions during the playoffs again. The chicken strips with ranch dressing will be baked and ready to consume by the time that the first pitch is thrown.

Also, for those keeping track at home, I went 3-0 on my college picks and 12-4 (my best week ever) on my NFL picks. That gives me a cumulative record of 53-29 on the season and a success rate of 65%.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The playoffs & pigskin picks


The baseball playoffs are in full swing and already they are full of surprises. For instance, did anyone really think that the Cubs would get beat and play this bad to the Dodgers? I actually predicted a split in the two games at Wrigley between the two teams.
A couple of things that I was really surprised about was the inability of the Cubs pitchers to throw strikes in Game 1, and then their players inability to field balls cleanly in Game 2. It just goes to show you, a team can have the best hitters in the league, but if they can't play defense or pitch, they'll have a hard time winning.
The Red Sox and Angels play game 2 of their series tonight in Anaheim with the Sox up 1 game to 0. I'm always nervous when the Sox play the Angels. They are such a talented team that can beat you in so many ways. The "experts" on television are making me nervous also because they keep saying that the Sox have the Angels number in the playoffs (they have beaten the Angels 8 times in a row now in the playoffs). If the Angels lost all of their players on the major league roster and were forced to play the playoff games with members of a retirement home slow pitch softball league, I still wouldn't take any of the playoff games for granted.
IT'S NEVER OVER UNTIL THE FINAL OUT IS RECORDED!!! Does anybody remember the 2004 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees? The Sox were down 3 games to 0 against the Yankees and were losing in Game 4 in the 9th inning while facing Mariano Rivera (the Yankees closer). They came back to win that series. So I will never be comfortable or give up until the final out is recorded.
Now for some football picks for the weekend...
COLLEGE
Illinois over Michigan : I know that I picked the Wolverines to lose against Wisconsin last week and they surprised everybody and won. I am a very superstitious person when it comes to sports so I'll go ahead and pick them to lose again.
Michigan State over Iowa : I'll go with the Sparty's to beat the Hawkeyes. I've always admired the Hawkeyes athletic program over the years, but I believe that State has something special in RB Javon Ringer. The Spartans defeat the Hawkeyes on homecoming in East Lansing.
Western Michigan over Ohio : Western is having a good year, Ohio is not. Broncos roll...
NFL
Tennessee over Baltimore : If Vince Young were the qb of the Titans still, I'd go with Baltimore. Unfortunately for the Ravens, veteran Kerry Collins is at the helm for Tennessee.
Carolina over Kansas City : I picked Kansas City to lose last week and they won, so I'm going to pick them to lose again this week. We'll see if this logic works on Sunday.
Chicago over Detroit : Yes, the Lions fired Matt Millen. But they still have the same team, same coaches, same results will follow.
Green Bay over Atlanta : Even if Aaron Rodgers doesn't play for the Pack, they still have too much talent for the Falcons to handle.
Indianapolis over Houston : I think that this one will be close. The Colts haven't played well this year yet, and Houston will be excited to be playing at home.
San Diego over Miami : The Dolphins are a lot better than they were last year and proved it by beating the Patriots last week. They won't get by the Chargers.
New York Giants over Seattle : The Giants will win despite not having Plaxico Burress.
Washington over Philadelphia : The Redskins have made me believers after handling the Cowboy's last week.
Denver over Tampa Bay : The Broncos and Jay Cutler won't play bad two weeks in a row.
Buffalo over Arizona : Buffalo is for real...Arizona is a dud
Dallas over Cincinnati : Chad Ocho Cinco says that he'll score a touchdown and kiss the star in Dallas, I don't think that he even gets to the end zone.
New England over San Francisco : The Patriots are angry after getting beat by the Dolphins.
Jacksonville over Pittsburgh : The Steelers are too banged up this week to win
New Orleans over Minnesota (Monday night): I've never liked Gus Frerotte as a qb...The Saints go marching into MNF and stomp the Vikings.
Well, there you have it. I don't want to jinx myself, but I do feel pretty good about these picks. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another one bites the dust...


Lane Kiffin was fired yesterday as coach of the Oakland Raiders. In the less than 2 years at the helm, he posted a pathetic 5-15 record. Kiffin was replaced on an interim basis by offensive line coach Tom Cable.
If you turned on ESPN or any other sports network in the past 24 hours, you probably saw a bit of Raiders owner Al Davis's press conference where he called Kiffin a liar, and said that he fired him "for cause". Kiffin responded by saying that Davis was the one that was lying. I'm not sure if we will ever really know what happened between the two.
"I reached a point where I felt that the whole staff were fractionalized, that the best thing to do to get this thing back was to make a change," Davis said during a lengthy news conference. "It hurts because I picked the guy. I picked the wrong guy."
Apparently, in Al Davis's warped mind, he did pick the wrong guy. He's picked the wrong guy 5 TIMES IN THE LAST 6 YEARS!!!!
A report came out after week 3 in the NFL season that a Raiders executive told Kiffin that Davis planned to fire him. But that didn't happen right away. Davis put off the firing (I'm not sure why) until yesterday.
Some people say that Kiffin was trying to get fired during this Sunday's game against the Chargers. After watching the Raiders attempt a 76 yard field goal attempt, I might agree with them.
In the end, I'm going to put the blame for this on Al Davis. No matter who he brings in to fill positions with the Raiders, he is the one that calls the shots. And as much as Davis refuses to believe it, the game has passed him by. He no longer is able to run a football team like he once did. There are people out there that are much smarter than he is and much better at assembling a championship caliber football team. The sooner that Davis realizes that, the sooner that the Raiders can return to their "just win, baby" glory days.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let's get it on!!


"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." - Babe Ruth.

The Babe sure said a mouthful, huh?

Tomorrow starts the 2008 baseball playoffs. The playoffs are what a team works for beginning in February during spring training. This is the goal of each team. It doesn't matter who had the best record, because once the playoffs start, all bets are off. The slates are wiped clean and everyone has a new life.

Sure, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim clinched their division almost a month ago. And the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins still need to play a one game playoff to determine the Central division winner today. But that doesn't mean that one team is a sure thing to defeat another.

Did anybody outside of Colorado expect the Rockies to blow through everybody in the National League playoffs last year into the World Series? How about the 2005 Chicago White Sox? Or even the 2004 Boston Red Sox? After 86 years of futility, they finally won the World Series!

This year has the potential for a lot of stories. The Chicago Cubs, who haven't won the World Series in 100 years, have an impressive lineup and pitching staff that has the potential to win it all this year. Or how about the young Tampa Bay Rays? They have been the laughing stock of the major leagues for all ten years of their existence, but now have a legitimate shot at winning it all. The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox have to be taken into consideration also, as they are trying to become the first organization since the New York Yankees in 1999-2000 to repeat as champions.

This is the time of the year when every pitch, every hit, and every managerial decision can make or break you. This is the time of the year when a fan can rejoice one minute, and mourn their team the other. I think that former manager Chuck Tanner said it best, "It's hard to win the pennant, but it's harder losing one". Tanner was speaking about players and managers, but I believe that this especially applies to fans.

So to all the fans that have their teams in the playoffs, I wish you good luck. The games start tomorrow, so be sure to break out you lucky hat, eat your lucky chicken wings, sit in you lucky chair, or whatever you do to help your team out.

To all of the fans that don't have teams in this years baseball playoffs, the Red Sox start against the Angels at 10pm tomorrow. There is always room in Red Sox Nation for new members.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!



Have you ever heard the saying, "Two wrongs do not make a right"? Most people would agree with this saying. After this weekend, I am going to disagree with it wholeheartedly.

Each Friday I make predictions on college and pro football games. I like to think that I know enough about the games to make educated guesses as to who will emerge victorious each Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend, I predicted that my favorite college football team, the Michigan Wolverines, would lose by a large margin to the #9 nationally ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Michigan was 1-2 on the year and was playing many freshman who were playing their first Big Ten conference game. To my surprise, the Maize and Blue shocked the nation and upset the Badgers 27-25. I am usually disappointed when my predictions are wrong, but not this time. If I had it my way, Michigan would win every game that they play, but that's not logical. So I was very happy to be wrong on Saturday.

On Sunday, I predicted that my favorite NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs, would lose and lose big to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos were playing very well this season so far and their quarterback, Jay Cutler, was really coming into his own as one of the elite quarterback's in the league. The Chiefs, on the other hand, were winless on the season and have been playing musical quarterbacks all year long due to injuries. Once again, I doubted my favorite team and they proved me and the rest of the country wrong! The Chiefs earned their first win of the season by defeating the previously unbeaten Broncos 33-19!

The Chiefs, like the Wolverines, are a very young team. I was not expecting much from either of them all year long. But, like I said before, I was never happier to be wrong.

The rest of my picks were just above average. I went 7-5 so far with my NFL picks (I have the Steelers beating the Ravens on MNF). Also, I was 2-1 on my college picks. That leaves me with an overall record of 36-23 on my football picks.

Finally, I just wanted to send my thoughts and prayers out to Buccaneer kicker Matt Bryant and his family. For those that don't know, Matt's 3 month old son, Tryson, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep last week. Matt flew back from the funeral to kick in this game for his son. I watched some of the game yesterday and saw Matt point to the sky after each field goal and extra point that he kicked. I am very impressed that he was able to play in the game yesterday. You can hear more from Matt Bryant in the post game press conference here http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80b31686.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy to be wrong!


I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong. But I've never been so happy to be wrong in my entire life!
While I was making my football picks yesterday, I started to think about how Michigan has played in each of their three games so far this season. They started off really bad against Utah and ended up making it a close game. Then they beat a team from the MAC, Miami of Ohio, but they weren't very impressive in that game either. Then, two weeks ago against Notre Dame, they couldn't hold onto the football while playing in a torrential downpour. So when I was making my pick for their Big Ten conference opener against #9 ranked Wisconsin, I didn't give them much of a chance. Going into the game, the Badgers were by far the best team that these young Wolverines had played. I assumed that they would be pushed around and turn the ball over countless times during the game.
And during the first half, I was correct. Michigan couldn't seem to hang onto the ball at all and was down 19-0 at halftime. Worst of all, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema's teams have a 19-0 record when leading at halftime.
But, the Wolverines came out in the second half and posted the biggest comeback in Michigan football history! They definitely made it a nail biter, but the maize and blue came away with a 27-25 win in the 500th football game played at the Big House.
This game made me think of the 1969 Michigan football team. 1969 was the first year that Bo Schembechler was the Wolverines head coach. They faced the #1 ranked Ohio State football team led by head coach (and Schembechler's former coach), Woody Hayes. The Buckeyes were on a 22 game winning streak and defending national champions. Michigan beat them 24-12 at Michigan Stadium. Bo went on to become one of the greatest coaches in college football history.
The game played today did not have the glitz and glamour of the Michigan/Ohio State game in '69, but it did have some similarities. Wisconsin came into the game ranked #9 nationally, and most people (me included) thought that they would demolish Michigan. Rich Rodriguez is the new coach at Michigan who is trying to bring the Wolverines back into the upper echelon of college football again with a young football team.
I knew that Rodriguez would make this Michigan team a contender, but I never thought that it would be this soon. This win wasn't pretty and the stats for the game were very ugly. But this game shows that you can never underestimate someones heart. Today, Michigan showed that they have a lot of heart. GO BLUE!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Football Friday!



This past week seemed to fly by, but it's time again to make some picks for this upcoming football weekend! The Big Ten conference schedule starts off this Saturday with Michigan facing Wisconsin and Michigan State taking on Indiana. Our hometown Western Michigan University will travel to Pennsylvania to take on the Temple Owls.

Without further adieu, here are the picks...

  • Wisconsin over Michigan - The Badgers are currently ranked #9 in the associated press poll. The Wolverines will have a hard time scoring 9 points.
  • Michigan State over Indiana - The Spartans are playing well and I expect Javon Ringer to run all over the Hoosier defense.
  • Western Michigan over Temple - Temple is a basketball school, football is not their forte.

NFL

  • Carolina over Atlanta - Atlanta is a young team on the rise, but Carolina is too much for the Falcons.
  • Cleveland over Cincinnati - Neither one of these teams are very good right now. Cleveland is the better of two bad teams in Ohio.
  • Jacksonville over Houston
  • Denver over Kansas City - Damon Huard is back at quarterback for the Chiefs. At this point, I'm hoping for the #1 draft pick from the Chiefs next season.
  • New Orleans over San Francisco - Although the Saints are hurting in the wide receiver department due to injuries, they still have too much offensive firepower for the 49ers to contend with.
  • Arizona over NY Jets - Even though they let me down last week, I still believe that the Cardinals can beat Brett and the Jets.
  • Green Bay over Tampa Bay - Even thought Brian Griese is playing well for the Bucs, I will take Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in this battle of the Bay's.
  • Tennessee over Minnesota - Both of these teams are going with new quarterbacks now. I'll take Kerry Collins over the Vikings Gus Frerotte.
  • San Diego over Oakland - The Chargers finally got their first win of the season last week against the Jets. They are now on a roll and will pound the Raiders.
  • Buffalo over St. Louis - The Rams are attempting to see if a blast from the past (Trent Green) can revitalize their team. It won't work. Buffalo will win in a blow out.
  • Dallas over Washington - I picked the Cowboys to lose last week against Green Bay. I won't make that mistake again.
  • Philadelphia over Chicago - McNabb is healthy, and that is bad news for the Bears.
  • Pittsburgh over Baltimore - The Steelers will rebound from last weeks loss to the Eagles.

So there it is, your week 4 picks. I hope that everyone has a great weekend! Go Chiefs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The first step in a long journey...



Yesterday the Detroit Lions took the first step towards reestablishing themselves as a legitimate NFL franchise. Matt Millen was fired as President, CEO, GM and whatever other position that William Clay Ford appointed him to. Millen was fired after posting a 31-84 record in just over 7 years at the helm of the Lions.

For Lions fans, this was a long time coming. The season before Millen was hired (2000), the Lions posted a 9-7 record. In the seasons that followed they finished 2-14, 3-13, 5-11, etc.

Millen was a great player in his time with the Raiders, and then went on to a career as a broadcaster, where he developed a reputation for telling it like it is. But he had no business taking the job with the Lions.

Lions fans have been calling for Millen to be fired for many years now. They have even staged "Millen Man March" in protest of the extension the he got a few years ago.

Since he was fired, Matt Millen has not spoken to the press. But Chris Mortensen of ESPN spoke with Patty Millen, his wife. She said that she was glad that he was no longer in Detroit and that he was out of "football prison".

Well Patty, your husband built that "football prison" brick by brick and would be considered the warden of this prison that you talk about.

So, Millen is gone and all is well in Detroit, right? Not quite. Firing Millen was only the first step towards turning this franchise around. There are many things that the Lions need to do. I've taken the liberty of putting together a to-do list for them.
  • First, the Lions need to fill Millen's position with somebody that has a proven track record of putting together a winning football team. This doesn't have to be somebody with a well known name, just a good football personnel person.
  • Fire Marinelli and bring in a reputable coach. The Lions had a good coach in Mariucci, but Millen had his hands tied when he forced Mariucci to play players that he didn't want to (Harrington).
  • Trade Roy Williams and Jon Kitna now! Roy Williams looks like he doesn't want to be in Detroit any longer. His contract is up at the end of this year anyway. Does anybody really think that he will resign in Detroit? Not a chance. Trade him when his value is at his highest and get what you can in return. Trading Jon Kitna will allow the Lions to find out if Drew Stanton has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback or not.
  • Make sure that whoever replaces Millen will have the guts to tell William Clay Ford that he needs to but out of football decisions. Yes, Ford is the owner and writes the checks, but he is not a football guy. He needs to let the people that he hires do their jobs.

This should get the Lions started on turning things around. Just be aware Lions fans, replacing Millen was a good move. They need to replace him with a legitimate NFL personnel person to make this a great move. If they go out and hire Terry Bradshaw or Howie Long to take Millen's spot, then they are right back where they started.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend wrap up and one last time at the house that Ruth built



The Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles last night 7-3 in the final game to be played at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers will move across the street to their new ballpark next season.

Although I am a Red Sox fan and normally love to see the Yankees lose, this time I wanted to see them win. First and foremost, I am a baseball fan. I love the history that baseball has to offer. Watching a game at Yankee Stadium was like taking a trip through time. All time greats like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Dimaggio, and Maris all played at this hallowed ballpark.

I believe that many people, especially New Yorkers, are having a hard time today. Yes, their Yankees are moving into a state of the art facility that will rival some of the best ballparks in the league. But also, they will be demolishing Yankee Stadium, the place that they called home for so many years. I imagine that people have many memories of that place.

When the Detroit Tigers played their last game at Tiger Stadium, I felt a little sad. Yes, I was excited for them to move into Comerica Park. But I was also going to miss the original Tiger Stadium. If definitely had its faults, but it was a classic ballpark. It was a park where so many people in this state saw their first major league ball game. I know that it was for me. And when I saw the pictures of Tiger Stadium with a big hole in the side of it after they started the demolition process, I felt like I wanted to cry.

Yankee Stadium will be demolished soon also, and I can imagine that a lot of New Yorkers will go through a lot of those same feelings when the time comes. But you've got to look forward to the future. New York has a brand new ball park, and quite possibly, a new look team next year also (if Hank Steinbrenner has anything to say about it).

Now for the rest of the weekend in review;

  • The US won the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1999. And they even did it without Tiger Woods. I watched some of it and I now have a new favorite golfer, Boo Weekley. If any of you watched it, or saw highlights, you probably saw Weekley galloping down the first fairway "Happy Gilmore" style riding his driver between his legs and whipping it like a quarter horse. He also gave a great comment when asked about the adrenaline that was keeping him going throughout the competition, "I feel like a dog that somebody done stuck a needle to and it juiced me up like I've been running around a greyhound track chasing one of them bunnies." I have a new reason to watch golf now, and his name is Boo Weekely.
  • The Boston Red Sox have a 6.5 game lead in the Wild Card with 7 games left to go which gives the Red Sox control over their own destiny. Barring a meltdown of epic proportions by the Sox and Rays, the Red Sox will be in the post season as the wild card.
  • I didn't do so well in my football picks this week. I was 2-1 on my college picks and 8-7 so far with my pro picks (I have San Diego beating the Jets tonight). That makes me 5-2 on my college picks and 27-17 on my pro picks for the season.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Revenge!!



It sure is a good thing that the Detroit Lions got rid of Mike Martz after last year, huh? That offense that he was trying to run doesn't work at all, huh? He was definitely the reason why the offense tanked last year, huh?

After two years as the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, they fired him during the off season. It didn't take long for Martz to find work again, as the San Francisco 49ers hired him to be their offensive coordinator.

Today, the Lions came in to face Martz and the 49ers. This game had a lot of hype because it was the "new look" Lions facing their former offensive coordinator.

The funny thing is that Martz has the 49ers running the exact same offense that he ran in Detroit. The EXACT same offense. So you would think that Detroit would know what was coming, right? WRONG!! San Francisco torched Detroit 31-13. What is even funnier is that the knock on Martz in Detroit was that he ignored the run too much. Detroit was an efficient passing team, but was near the bottom in the NFL in rushing. Well, San Francisco out rushed Detroit 182-116.

But the Lions problems were his fault though, right Ford and Millen?

I can just imagine a conversation between Martz and Millen/Ford. It would probably go something like this;

Martz: Hey Matt and William Clay! Do you two like apples?

Millen and Ford: Well sure we do.

Martz: Well my team just ran up and down the field on your team. How do you like them apples!?!?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Football Friday!

The end of the work week is here and now it's time for the football picks to be made. Last week was a wet, sloppy week for football. I've checked the weather forecast for this weekend, and everything looks to have the making for a great weekend for football. With that being said, let's get to the picks.

NCAA
  • Michigan State over Notre Dame : Even thought the Irish beat up on Michigan last week, I'm still not convinced that they are back to form as the Notre Dame of old.
  • Auburn over LSU : This is my upset of the week in college. I believe that the #10 ranked Tigers will upstage the #6 ranked Tigers
  • Western Michigan over Tennessee Tech : Honestly, I don't know a thing about Tennessee Tech.

NFL

  • Atlanta over Kansas City : I know, I am a KC fan. But with the Chiefs qb struggles (because of injuries, Tyler Thigpen will be their 3rd starting qb in as many weeks), I've got to go with Atlanta.
  • Buffalo over Oakland : The Bills have made me a believer in them.
  • Chicago over Tampa Bay : I don't think that Griese is the answer for the Bucs
  • Carolina over Minnesota : Switching qb's isn't going to help the Vikings
  • New England over Miami : The Matt Cassell show continues in NE
  • New York Giants over Cincinnati : The Super Bowl champs are too much for the Bengals to handle.
  • Tennessee over Houston : Switching to Kerry Collins at qb was the best move the Titans could have made.
  • Arizona over Washington : This one is just a gut feeling.
  • Denver over New Orleans : Denver's Jay Cutler is quickly becoming an elite qb
  • San Francisco over Detroit : Mike Martz gets his revenge for being last years scapegoat in Detroit
  • Seattle over St. Louis : The Seahawks aren't that good, but the Rams are that bad.
  • Cleveland over Baltimore : The Browns will wake up and defeat the Ravens
  • Indy over Jacksonville : The Jags are too beat up to win this one
  • Philadelphia over Pittsburgh : In one of the better games this week, the Eagles topple the Steelers in a shootout
  • Green Bay over Dallas : Dallas was (and still is) my Super Bowl pick. I believe the the short week will hurt them in the long run.
  • San Diego over New York Jets : The Chargers will get their first win over the year against Brett Favre and the Jets.

Well there you have it folks. Good luck to your teams this week and I hope that you all have a great weekend! Go Chiefs!

Seriously?


Lions president Matt Millen held a press conference today after the teams workout. I really don't have the words to describe it. All that I can say is that I'm glad to be a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
On the state of the team:
"I believe in the guy I hired (head coach Rod Marinelli) and I believe in the staff we put together and I believe in the players we have on the field. If you want to point a finger at anybody for that stuff, it's on me. I'm fine with that because I believe in what's out there.''
We'll see if he still believes in Marinelli if this train wreck called the Lions 2008 season continues.
In retrospect, did you have too much confidence in the ability of the defensive players:
"Do what you're coached to do and play to your capability and we'll be fine. I still believe that and that's not going to change.''
So, is it the players not doing what they're being coached to do, or are these players playing up to their capability and that's just not good enough? Who's fault is it Millen?
About irate fans after the team's 0-2 start:
"I guess I wouldn't be surprised, I really haven't thought about it. I'm more concerned with this (pointing to the workout) than any other part.
What he's saying is that he doesn't care about what the fans think. He just wants to make sure that his team practices well.
Has it taken too long to build that foundation?
"Since I've been here, sure. Obviously. Like I said earlier, I'm the one who hired the guy and I believe in him 100 percent, I believe in him now more than I ever have. That guy is exactly what you need.''
Like I said, we'll see if he still feels that way when the Lions continue their downward spiral.
Why (continue believing in Marinelli)?
"Because he's consistent. You see that and it's not changing. He's a straight line. He'll do what he believes is the right thing to do and what he's doing is the right way. The players we picked we did for a reason, the same reasons still exist. The staff is in place for the same exact reason.
I agree with Millen one point. Marinelli is consistent. He has a consistent 10-24 record as head coach.
Have you talked to owner William Clay Ford:
"Yeah, sure, all the time. You'd have to talk to him, but here's my take - he has high expectations. When you have high expectations, you also get frustrated, too, and there are answers you want, too.''
High expectations? Really? No, really?
There it is Lions fans, your team president. The man that has given you a 31-83 record during his tenure and turned the Lions into the laughing stock of professional football. Until William Clay Ford and Millen are gone from the team, this will continue.
"That's why I'm fine with it. What we're doing is the right thing to do.''
-Matt Millen, 2008

Two steps back



This past summer, a group of NBA players went to Beijing to represent our country and play in the Olympics. They considered it an honor to play for the United States. People in the military are willing to put their lives at risk to fight for this country.

We are so lucky to live in the greatest country in the world. A country that gives us so many freedoms and choices. So we honor our country by flying our flags and standing at attention when the star spangled banner is played.

Apparently, that doesn't apply to Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks. In this clip on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1llOTCAyf0, Howard is at a charity flag football game. There is someone on the field going around to some of the players. While the national anthem is being played, Howard looks into the camera and says "The Star Spangled Banner is going on, I don't celebrate this [expletive], I'm black".

But this isn't the first time that Howard has gotten into trouble. Last spring he admitted to a Dallas Morning News reporter that he liked smoking dope. He only fueled the fire to this story when he decided to call a Dallas radio station during the NBA playoffs and talk about it. He next got in trouble for inviting teammates to an after hours birthday bash (in his honor) after his coach told the team not to go party. This past July he got arrested for street racing in North Carolina. And if we got back to his college days at Wake Forest (where he went to school for free because he plays basketball), he was publicly criticized when he condemned the war in Iraq.

The Mavericks need to do something about this situation. In every arena of every game that Dallas plays this year, all eyes will be on Howard to see if he is standing at attention during the playing of the National Anthem.

I personally would like to see some sort of mentoring system for young athletes. All too often, we see young athletes get their first taste of fame and fortune and turn into total morons. With a seasoned veteran watching over the young superstar, they would be able to show them the ropes, give them advice on handling certain situations. It's kind of like Crash Davis and Nuke Laloosh in the movie Bull Durham. Nuke had a million dollar arm, but a 5 cent head. Crash was brought in to mentor him.

It's sad to see a player like Howard do stupid things. He's got all the talent in the world, but he seems to think that he's untouchable. Yes, he's making almost 10 million dollars a year to play basketball and he's one of the best players on his team. But what he doesn't understand is that professional basketball is a business, and the owner of the team (Mark Cuban) is getting tired of all the negative publicity that Josh Howard is bringing to the team. It will be interesting to see what Cuban does with him.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New family members

Last night, my brother and his wife welcomed a new addition to their family! Their new daughter Kylie was born last night at 7:15 and came in at 8 lb. 8 oz and 21 inches. Mother and daughter are doing great, as well as the new proud papa.

I was at the hospital when my brother came out to tell us all the good news. Having known him for 27 years now, I have never seen him happier. Congratulations Ryan and Jessica, and welcome to our family Kylie!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quarterback shuffle


The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Oakland Raiders yesterday to fall to 0-2 on this young season. Damon Huard, who started the game, left in the first quarter after suffering "mild head trauma". Tyler Thigpen, the 3rd string QB who has thrown only 6 passes in his short NFL career, came in and finished 14-33 for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Brodie Croyle, the opening day starter, is out for a few more weeks with a separated shoulder. The status of Damon Huard is unknown until sometime today. So for right now, the Chiefs have Tyler Thigpen as their starting quarterback going into next week against Atlanta. They will be looking to break their 11 game regular season losing streak.
This is not a good situation for the Chiefs. I am expecting them to sign a veteran quarterback this week. I'd like to see them try and lure Daunte Culpepper out of retirement. He'd be a good guy to come in and hold court until one of the other qb's comes back. Worst case scenario, Daunte leads the Chiefs for the rest of the year. Then, they go out and get a quarterback in the off season, via draft or free agency.
Was I disappointed by their loss this week, yes. Will this 0-2 start (same as the Lions) make me any less of a Chiefs fan, no. These two losses are completely different. In week 1, the Chiefs lost to the Patriots 17-10 in a game that everyone thought that KC was going to get blown away in. The Lions got blown out in a game that everyone thought that they would win. In week 2, the Chiefs lost to the Raiders in a game that some thought they would win. The Lions choked in the 4th quarter and ended up getting run out of their own building by the Packers.
The Chiefs quarterback situation makes me a little uneasy, but I am still optimistic about a decent year. Lions fans, how do you feel?