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.