Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Muted!: Episode 1: The NCAA Tournament

The inaugural episode of "Muted!" has finally been compiled. "Muted!" is a round table like exercise among bloggers on a given a topic that is currently relevant. While one can argue whether or not the NCAA Tournament is relevant at this time. The process of compiling the following information began before the tournament's first game even tipped.

(NOTE: I have no idea what the deal is with the font. It will not let me fix it no matter how many times I try to.)

Participating in this first episode are Eric from Sealclubbers, Signal To Noise, Mini Me from WBRS Sports Blog, Marco from Just Call Me Juice, Complete Sports and obviously me from the very place your reading this now. I would like to thank you five for helping out with what was an interesting trial run with this concept.

Without any more rambling I give you "Muted!: Episode 1: The NCAA Tournament:"

Should the field of 65 be expanded?

Eric-SC: Kind of, sort of. I mean, where does it end? If you expand past 64/65 you either have to have a "play-in round" or go all the way to 128 teams and add another round/week to the tournament, and that's just ridiculous.

S2N: No. Making the field bigger isn't going to solve the arguments had every year when the selection committee screws up by letting some seriously undeserved teams get in (Stanford, Arkansas) at the expense of others (Syracuse, Drexel, K-State).

Mini Me:
I agree with S2N. Look at this year's field. The number of teams is ideal in my opinion, but which teams received bids is the problem. And that leads us to a great problem...The fact that the NCAA committee has less than an hour after the final game to come up with the bracket. They should be given at least 3 hours to determine the final field. If given sufficient time, the committee would do a much better job not only in regard to which teams are given bids, but also in regard to seeding , another major problem in this year's tournament.

I completely agree that the field should stay where it is except for maybe expanding to 68. This would create four play-in games. For which I'll share my idea later. Rather than given the committee the extra three hours though Mini Me why not a full day? ALL conference tournaments should end the day before the brackets are announced. This should fix any major seeding issues. As far as who gets those final slots? Human error may be inevitable as any extra time I don't think will sway any one's argument. One thing I wonder is why not let some of those writers in for real? Rather than the mock they did earlier this season why not add a college basketball writer or two to the committee. A rotating panel of course, or even former players?

: I'm against expanding the field. This isn't like the BCS where the 3rd or 4th best team in the country is getting robbed, we are talking about the 66th and 67th teams. If anything, I would expand it to 68 teams, adding 3 play in games on Tuesday. But I'm not much of a fan of that either.

Complete Sports
: On the contrary, I believe the NCAA field should be reduced by one team, back to 64. If we expand any further, we run the risk of making the regular season in major conferences almost irrelevant. With more teams, 5-11 or 6-10 in a major conference might be good enough to make the Tourney, and that's a road that nobody wants to go down. So my plan would be to get rid of the Play-In game, and get back to 64 teams, which just seems like the perfect number for the Tourney.

Should all 65 bids be At-Large? Thus abolishing the auto-bids.

S2N: It's tempting, given the faltering of a lot of favored teams in conference tournaments this year (Xavier, Nevada), making the NCAA pick two teams from conferences that were expected to only send one. However, you lose Cinderella teams this way, and it would turn March Madness into a slightly more legitimate form of the BCS, and most of us hate college football's convoluted bowl system to begin with.

I say that each conference hosts a tournament, with the regular season champ of that tournament "hosting" and being that tournament's top seed. Then a selection committee (who will still be scrutinized) decides seeds and every other team would be shipped out to these tournaments. So the last place team in the worst conference would be the worst seed in the tournament hosted by the top team in the best conference. It would be complicated as hell, but might actually reduce the number of games played and every single team does have a chance... no one is left out in the cold. Some teams will get screwed by placements, but there is no Syracuse style controversy.

Then of course the winners from these tournaments go into the final brackets. Its way more complicated, but with the kind of money that gets thrown around this time of year on commercials, broadcast rights and tickets, I think that they can manage. Also, it helps everyone, including the small conferences who many times do not really deserve to be playing in the tournament just because they won their rec-league of a conference. Think about the boost in attendance at some small conference tourney where Duke would have ended up. I think it would really spread the wealth and expose fans to teams they would have never dreamed of seeing live.

Complete Sports:
No, I love the format the way it is. One of the best parts of college basketball is the low-major conference tournaments, where it is literally win or go home. By abolishing the auto-bids you lose that type of magic and excitement. There are some problems with this format, in that a 'non-deserving' team can make the field, but that's the beauty of college basketball and the beauty of these conference tournaments... no matter what you've done, you have a chance as long as you can keep winning at the end. That's the beauty of college basketball.

No way that should happen. Having schools from smaller conferences make the tournament is what makes March Madness great. I would rather see the tournament somehow expand to involves every team in college basketball than to 65 at-large bids. All at-large bids would ruin what makes March Madness so special.

Rather than make all 65 bids at-large why not give the auto-bids to the regular season champions? Because I think upsets would actually increase if the better, more consistent team always got into the dance. I, for one, do not enjoy watching the schools who steal bids get destroyed by high seeds after making such great runs to sneak into the dance in the first place. This idea would also make the regular season relevant for those small conferences who do not allow the regular season champion to host the conference tournament. As winning the regular season title in many leagues gets you nothing. If this idea isn't an option then I'd surely say no. We get enough Jay Bilas bashing small schools as it is now. I can't even imagine all the small school bashing that would go on if every bid was at-large. Not to mention the NCAA Tournament would become nothing more than a showcase for the major conferences. Which would ruin the tournament overall and I think actually put pressure on the few small schools who do get in. As they'd feel like they have to win for the sake of their fellow small schools who were snubbed.

Mini Me:
If the NCAA tournament implemented an all at-large policy, how would the tournament be different? Well, the majority, if not all of the typical 13, 14, 15 and 16 seed teams would be replaced with most of the NIT field. What would be the result? I think we would have more competitive first round games, but involving mostly teams from major conferences, thus less mid-majors and small conference teams. Because of this we would lose the entire concept of the Cinderella team. Without the potential for upsets by unfamiliar teams the tournament would lose a great deal of intrigue and become not that indistinguishable from other sports tournaments. Thus, I believe it is in the best interest of the NCAA to keep the format which they currently use. Also, I highly recommend allowing Gus Johnson to call Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games, rather than James Brown.

Should the play-in game be eliminated all together?

Mini Me: NO! Do not eliminate this game. And that adamant answer has nothing to
do with the game itself. Hell, I don't even watch it. But with this game, the NCAA can add one more bubble team to the field. In a time when more mid-majors are emerging and major conferences are becoming even deeper in quality, it gives the NCAA a chance to add one more
quality team into the field.

If anything I would suggest creating 4 play-in games and moving them to the 12 seed qualifiers. This would put 8 bubble teams against one another for the opportunity to get into the field. The biggest problem with the game is the fact that two AUTOMATIC bid winners play one another. Since it's the "play-in" (the "opening round" tag line is bullshit) game, that nullifies the fact that these teams had already been guaranteed a spot in the field. In using bubble teams your pitting "at-large" contenders against one another. This idea could even potentially help the committee avoid a little scrutiny. If they had used this idea this past season the games would have likely included Drexel, Syracuse, Kansas State and West Virgina. Say Drexel and West Virginia knock out Old Dominion and Illinois and arguably strengthen the field. This Tuesday T.V. numbers for a quadruple header would without a doubt increase as well. In the end everyone is happy with this small field expansion.

If they don't do what I suggested above, I say that all the smaller conferences should have to play in to get in no matter what, and they would have to play these games immediately after their tournaments end. This cuts the automatic bids nearly in half and would dramatically increase the quality of competition in the first round of play.

Yes. There's no emotional investment in watching a team win that we all know is going to lose the next game, but both FAMU and Niagara won conferences recognized by the NCAA, I believe. Make at larges play for that game if you're going to keep it. Not to keep beating on every one's favorite whipping boy, but make Duke play for their spot.

Complete Sports:
Yes, I do think the Play-In Game should be eliminated. I understand the positive effect of getting an extra at-large team into the field, but I just think about the teams involved. Think about the team that wins their conference tournament (thus earning the right to play in the Tournament), but then loses the play-in game. Technically, they were in the Tournament. But is it really going to feel like it to the players? If I were in charge, I would get rid of the Play-In Game and drop the field back down to 64 teams.

Yes, they should either eliminate the game all together or have of a four game play-in. Just sending two teams off to Dayton for one game isn't fair to those two teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Either expand it or eliminate it.

Does the CBS exclusivity hurt/ruin the tournament coverage?

I actually really enjoy the CBS coverage of the NCAA Tournament. I grew up watching the tournament on CBS and it wouldn't feel right on another network like ESPN (just like the NBA doesn't feel right on ABC instead of NBC). My only complaint is the speed at which they switch to interesting/close games.

Complete Sports:
I don't know that it necessarily hurts the Tournament, though it does give
them less incentive to try really hard. For the most part, people will watch no matter what. So CBS can do things like go to long commercial breaks after every stoppage of action no matter what the moment is (like a 30 second timeout late in the game). Since you can only find the games on CBS, there doesn't seem to be a real interest sometimes in making it as compelling as possible so viewers will stick with it, because they don't have any other options if they want to watch. But that said, I don't have too many complaints about the Tourney broadcasting, so no, I don't think the exclusivity hurts it too much.

CBS' exclusivity is only annoying or problematic if you're live-blogging a game or really want to pick the game you watch. The Eye is very sensitive to the viewer Mercy Rule, switching games when teams are getting destroyed or other games are in closer, more crucial situations, which is good. Sometimes they can be itchy with the trigger finger, moving away from GT-UNLV after the Rebs opened up a lead only to have the Yellow Jackets make a comeback while they were away. The MMOD service probably wouldn't be available if CBS and say, ESPN were splitting rights. Besides, we hear enough of Vitale and some of the other more annoying ESPN analysts during the regular season.

I don't think it huts it per se, especially since that is how I have always remembered it... but then again if ABC/ESPN combo'd that shit fans would be much happier with an increased number of games to choose from. If I get to dream, I would dream that the NCAA would sell one region each to the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) and then CBS could get the Final Four exclusives. Again, its all about maximizing the number of games on TV from a fan's perspective, and from the NCAA's perspective, more games on TV means more money and ads.

Mini Me:
Well we know that the NCAA loves CBS exclusivity. It is that exclusivity that has made them a boat load of money (none of which go to the players, but that is a different topic for a different day). I enjoy CBS' coverage of the event. They do a good job switching between games, and if you don't enjoy the game you are currently watching you can always watch the games online. So, in summary I don't have a problem with CBS' monopoly of NCAA games. If they did a poor job covering them, then I would certainly feel different though.

Overall the CBS coverage is actually pretty good. I really dislike the the studio team but because I don't see them too much it's not that bad. I think CBS needs to get a better handle on when to switch from one game to the other, however. I was literally yelling at my TV watching the Duke-VCU score as Michigan State pounded on Marquette. They didn't switch until Marquette-MSU got under a minute. This is probably because I live in Michigan but that's no excuse. A blow out isn't any fun to watch regardless of who your rooting for. I'd love to see Fox or NBC pick up half the games. Even more games would be on TV, and as Eric said CBS could keep the Final Four exclusivity.

How do you think the NBA's age rule has and will effect the tournament in the future?

Complete Sports: I think it's had a large effect for fairly obvious reasons... many freshman
that may have entered the draft will be in college for at least 1 year. This improves the quality of play, which is obviously good. Just looking at this year, the results are large. Without Greg Oden, OSU wouldn't have made the Championship. Kevin Durant was one of the stories of the year. Brandan Wright was one of the top players for North Carolina. There's a good chance
none of these guys would have been in college without that rule. Looking ahead, I see more of the same. Guys like OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon, and Michael Beasley all might have gone straight to the NBA... instead, they'll be on college campuses next fall. Having talents like this is great for the college game.

I'm not a huge fan of Bob Knight as a person, but I won't debate his emphasis on graduation rates and avid interest in making sure his players are also hitting the books. I would ditch the age rule and then adopt his suggestion that anyone who accepts a college scholarship to play ball has to fulfill a number of credit hours of semester in order to even be eligible to play on the team, and if you go play college ball, no leaving until after your sophomore year.

The rule as it stands is a half-hearted solution that doesn't address the bigger issue at all. It gives the NBA some cover, but does nothing for college basketball or athletics in general. If I ran the NCAA, I'd either push the NBA to get rid of the rule altogether or make it tougher, NFL-style.

Well, it definitely upped the level of competition, because you look right now at Ohio State and Texas and wonder where they would be if the age rule had not been modified. But the biggest impact on the level of competition is not just the studs, its those guys who would have gone undrafted and fallen off the face of the Earth. More quality players all trying to get in, get off, get out and get to the NBA means that every team from Duke to Old Dominion has a chance to land a stud recruit who wants one year of exposure and then jet to the NBA. With only one year required, I think a lot of recruits are not going to necessarily go to the best team, they might go to the team who will let them on the court immediately and let them shine. I think that by making it only one year, we are going to see a lot more small schools land recruits way out of their league because they are assured PT right away.

Mini Me:
Because of the NBA age rule, expect in the future to see very similar match-ups to the Ohio State v. Florida game. A running theme in college basketball will be the young, talented, freshman led team vs the experienced, team-oriented team. Sometimes the experienced team will prevail (Florida) and sometimes the Phenom Freshman led team (Syracuse) will win. No matter who wins titles, the bottom-line is that having more super-talented freshmen in college basketball will result in an increased quality of basketball.

The rule as far as I'm concerned is a joke. While the level of competition was certainly up this past season it means nothing when these guys leave for the NBA. It hurts CBB as a whole when these schools basically rent these guys for one year. As the teams have to immediately rebuild rather than waiting at least 2-3 years. If anything the rule should be 2 years to protect the schools who are willing to take these guys on and give them a place to showcase themselves for the NBA. I agree completely with Mini Me, championship games of the future will put experience against young, raw talent time and again. Is this a good? Maybe. The games will be good but it's the players themselves as well as the schools who take them that will suffer in the long run. A guy who goes to school for one year is no different than a guy coming strait out of high school as far as I'm concerned. The one year rule is nothing but a quick fix for the NBA. Where they cash in even more, as those who have big years like Kevin Durant did become instant marketing giants. While the Kobe Bryant's, Tracy McGrady's and KG's took a few years to become the players everyone thought they were. The only good thing about the rule is it prevents those who are not ready from entering the draft. But does anyone actually think those guys won't hit the draft the next season anyway? I don't.

I think that the NBA age rule will have a positive effect on the NCAA Tournament in the future. Just look at the quality players who we may not have seen had it not been for the age rule: Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Brenden Wright and Mike Conley Jr. There is no doubt that these players have increased the quality of play in college basketball. While some may ague that players constantly leaving after one year to go to the NBA will hurt team chemistry, it's not like players have just started jumping ship after one season since this rule.

As you can see we generally agreed on all of the questions. Whether or not any of our thoughts and opinions come to fruition remains to be seen., But on a couple of the topics we can only hope.
This turned into much more of a question and answer session than a back a forth argument style I was looking for. Mostly due to some bad planning by your truly. I have a few new ideas for this moving forward to create more debating on each question. The trial run for "Muted!" was overall a success however. Thanks again to all of those who took the time to partcipate your assistance was and is greatly appreciated.

If you have a blog, and would like to be part of any future episodes of "Muted!" or have any ideas for future topics you'd like a panel to take on. Leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail at sportsshowonmute(at)gmail(dot)com. The next topic and panel is currently undecided at this time. I'm also unsure of how regular this feature will be.

The MLB "Survivor" Challenge: Week 2

After each eliminating one team last week Ted and I have set our sights on the opposite league. As this week I take on the AL while Ted pencils in the latitude and longitude of an NL team. And preps to send that WMD right on over. While here in the early going the list of teams who likely won't be winning anything is long its still amusing to pretend they're no longer playing at all. Kaufman stadium is a figment of every one's imagination from this point forward. If your looking for the rules you can click here. Otherwise let's get to the eliminations.

Ted's up first this week with his National League cast off.

Leaving The Diamond: The Pittsburgh Pirates

Reasoning: Look, it's not like the Buckos are bad - alright, alright, they are bad, but so is the entirety of the NL Central - it's that this season, their futility (with the Warriors making the playoffs, they have basically the longest postseason drought of a long-standing professional franchise) is serving as a backdrop to other items of baseball relevance.
For example, Bonds this season? Not one, but two homers in a single game against his former club. Saturday night? Pittsburgh falls prey to a Russell Martin walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th at Chavez Ravine, serving as a footnote to Martin's ascension as a top NL catcher and the Dodgers "we're old, but we're good" last ditch effort to make Grady Little slightly more than a guy who waited too long with one pitcher.
Even the Pirates landmark wins this season - over the Astros, right at the beginning - have proved a joke, because the Astros are now running with Milwaukee for first in the division; and even Pittsburgh's acquisition of record - Adam LaRoche - hasn't been great. As of me writing this, he's got 3 HR (cool), 7 RBI (eh), a .281 slugging percentage (blech), and a .105 average (I just threw up in my mouth a smidge).
For all these reasons, Pittsburgh is now off the island. It's alright, though: Steelers are only what, 17 weeks away?

And now my American League sacrifice. And ironically enough it's an all Superbowl 50 edition.

Leaving the Diamond: The Seattle Mariners
Reasoning: Well lets see, the best pitcher they have is on the DL for the next two weeks. Adrian Beltre is still horrible if you consider his contract post steroids (allegedly). Richie Sexson has exactly five more hits than he has HR's. FIVE! Considering he has only 3 HR's you see why I'm astonished this guy is the 10th highest paid player in the entire league. Sexson's average so far this season is an amazing .160 in 15 games. That's absolutely brutal. Looking at how bad Seattle is you'd never think they had the 7th highest payroll in the MLB. Not to mention that it tops 100 millions and they can't even hang with the Marlins.

It has to hurt knowing that the highlight of their season was Felix out dueling "The Monster" (Dice-K) at Fenway two weeks ago. And that Ichiro who's contract expires at season's end will likely head to greener pastures. Or at least you would think. Fan's in the pacific northwest can't help but shed a tear as they watch A-Rod, a former Mariner, decimate the competition after leaving Seattle. He obviously wasn't too expensive if you consider what the Mariners are getting out of their highest paid guys. A-Rod can do what they've both done this season all by himself.

So much like Pittsburgh's fans, Seattle's will be looking toward the fall sooner, rather than later.

Friday, April 20, 2007

NBA First Round Best Guesses

The NBA playoffs are finally upon us as the most monotonous of regular seasons has come to a close. I've never been less excited about the NBA playoffs in my life but more likely than not a game or two will keep me watching well into the night. So lets get this show on the road...


(1) Detroit Pistons Vs. (8) Orlando Magic
This one is a forgone conclusion as the Pistons will roll whether it be in 4 or 5 games. There biggest concern should be getting "too much" rest as they await the winner of Chicago-Miami. My biggest issue with the Magic is their mascot. It's some green smurf-like creature that makes absolutely no sense at all. Where in the hell is the wizard or some other magical creature.
Guess: Pistons in 5

(4) Miami Heat Vs. (5) Chicago Bulls
The Bulls despite being the 5 seed have home court advantage here with the better record. The Bulls perimeter defense gave Miami fits last season and it should be much of the same this year. I don't know how healthy Dwayne Wade is but unless he's in the 90% range the Heat probably aren't very happy Cleveland moved up to the 2 seed and left them with Chicago. Provided the stockpile of talent Scott Skiles has at his disposal I'm going to take the Bulls in this one.
Guess: Bulls in 7

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. (7) Washington Wizards
Wow. How the Wiz have fallen since losing two of their big three. Without the Hibachi and Caron Butler LeBron will likely have his way with Washington. I'm going to count on Jamison for at least one night in the forties and the Wiz to steal one at home.
Guess: Cavs in 5

(3) Toronto Raptors Vs. (6) New Jersey Nets
Thanks to the injuries in Washington the Nets were able to steal the 6 seed on the final day of the regular season. So Vince Carter has to go back to his old home to try and get his underachieving Nets into round 2. I had thought Toronto would win this one. But with Garbajosa out I think the Nets will be able to pull this off despite not having home court. It should be a long one and a Vinsanity highlight filled one at that.
Guess: Nets in 6


(1) Dallas Mavericks Vs. (8) Golden State Warriors
While the Warriors have arguably had the Mavs number the past two years I'm just not buying a 67 win team losing in the opening round. If it happens that fine, I'll be more surprised than shocked. But I think the Mavs come out to get started again what they should have finished last year. The Mavs should run through these Warriors without little trouble unless Josh Howard gets hurt.
Guess: Mavs in 5

(4) Utah Jazz Vs. (5) Houston Rockets
Just like Chicago in the east Houston has the home court advantage here. I think that may be the difference as T-Mac gets the first round money off his back. T-Mac has had his best season yet as a pro as far as I'm concerned and it'll continue that way as it extends. The x-factor in this one is probably Kirilenko though as if the old version shows up they may be able to steal this one.
Guess: Houston in 7

(2) Phoenix Suns Vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers tank-fest down the stretch netted them a date with Phoenix instead of San Antonio. While this is the more winnable series it not going to happen. Everyone wants to think that after last year the Lakers are ready to pull it off this time. I'd say not a chance. The rest of the team spends too much time watching Kobe. His scoring spree down the stretch was certainly impressive but it did nothing but hurt his team. I don't even need to mention anything about Phoenix you all know who they run out on the floor.
Guess: Phoenix in 4

(3) San Antonio Spurs Vs. (6) Denver Nuggets
Everyone seems to think the Nuggets are going to give San Antonio a major test. I disagree completely as my thoughts on the Nuggets are well documented. The Nuggets are this years version of Sacramento for San Antonio. The team "no one wants to play" that the Spurs dispatch rather easily. The first game or two should be amusing but after that I expect the Spurs to take care of business like they always do.
Guess: Spurs in 5

Well that it for my guesses. While many of them will likely be wrong I like to feel like I know something about basketball. Hey I got the Gators correct in the NCAA so I'm not that bad at this...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The MLB "Survivor" Challenge

In watching the opening two weeks of the MLB season I find myself already wanting to eliminate teams from playoff contention. The Royals and Nationals of the world might just as well hang up their cleats and look forward to 2010 when the young talent they do have might be able to carry the rest of a mediocre roster into the playoffs. Enough rambling, the idea here is that Ted from APABR and I are going to eliminate teams on a weekly basis from the MLB. Officially ending their seasons before they're even really over. In the end we'll each have one team left standing and if one of us manages to pick the team that wins the whole damn thing I'm sure they'll get some kind of prize. Such as a shiny penny with the year of their birth as commemoration for their contribution to this blog.

Here are the general rules:
-We must alternate leagues. If one goes AL, the other eliminates NL that week etc. except ONCE. As the NL has 16 to the AL's 14 teams
-1 team per week for 20 weeks.
-2 teams per week for the final 4 weeks.
-The Final elimination during the playoffs opening week.
-With each elimination we will provide a reason. Said reason does not at all have to be a well thought out, valid and insightful one.

Here in the first week I've got the National League while Ted will be taking the American League to tribal council.

Leaving The Diamond: The Washington Nationals
Reason: The obvious pick for the first National League team who's season is already over the Nationals are arguably a AAA team masquerading as a Major League team. The only player on the Nats entire roster I'd want on my team is Ryan Zimmerman. The promising young third basemen is surely to compete with David Wright as the best third basemen of the league for years to come. A fantastic defensive player as well as a solid offensive contributor Zimmerman just missed out on last season's rookie of the year award. He's likely going to leaving Washington whenever he becomes eligible for Free Agency a few years from now.

While I would attend a Nationals game if I lived in the DC are and someone gave me tickets I doubt I'd pay more than 5 dollars to go to a game. I feel sorry for any die hard baseball fan who lives in the DC area as the alternative (Baltimore) isn't a whole lot better than these guys are.

Moving forward one can only hope the Nats can figure out what the hell they're doing in the front office. Not trading Alfonso Soriano last season was one of the worst decisions I can remember by a front office at the trade deadline. Especially considering the Nats knew for a fact they weren't going to be able to resign their best player. The Nats do not currently employ even one pitcher I'd trust to take the mound for my team.

Onto the AL where Ted will cast off his first team.

Leaving The Diamond: The Kansas City Royals
My logic? Simple. Even with a relatively hearty performance from Zach Greinke, and an overall Royals team that beat the Red Sox on Opening Day, KC is still the worst team in baseball through the first two weeks, with the Nationals victory Monday night. The team has promise: Alex Gordon, if he stays, will be a stud; Mark Teahen will, as well; and Emil Brown is the best player you've never heard of not named David DeJesus. You also have to figure (hope?) that Dayton Moore knows something about running a baseball team, considering that: a) he studied at the foot of John Schuerholz, and b) he could have had the Boston job in '05.

As a final piece of workable logic, there's this: my friend invited me to a Royals game this summer. It's a friend I haven't seen in a while, and it's summer baseball, and it's bad summer baseball, which to me is a little slice of heaven (doesn't matter how drunk you get, now does it?). I still declined. I told him we could meet up at the new Busch instead, which involves a great deal more logistics. I just can't sit in the sun at Kauffman and not cry. This team is that bad.

And that concludes week one of as Ted called it "the Sports Show on Mute Kinda-Like-Survivor MLB Challenge." If any of you other bloggers out there would like to join the challenge just leave a comment or send me an e-mail at sportsshowonmute(at)gmail(dot)com with your blog name and your first two eliminations. One from each league to be posted next week alongside Ted and I's second elimination.

Mocking the Draft Experts...

The First round of the mock draft over at Awful Announcing is complete and up on the site. Some interesting, senseless, and even smart picks throughout. I was picking for the Jaguars in the first round and will be doing the same in 2nd. Below is what AA has up regarding my pick and a few surrounding comments. I've also added a few more comments that followed my pick.

SSOM is picking for the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think their biggest weaknesses was a lack of a proper state of mind. They need to be focused. Someone needs to scare the shit out of them. In which case the best pick is 6'9" offensive tackle and, by the look of his name, possible mafia enforcer, Jason Cappizzi out of Indiana (Pa.).- Digital Headbutt

With the 17th Pick in the AA Mock Draft The Jacksonville Jaguars and Sports Show On Mute select:

S Reggie Nelson from The University Of Florida!

If he had been taken I would have taken Leak as the Jaguars feel that drafting a "winner" is the most important thing. Nelson will replace Dean Grant who defected to Seattle as a Free Agent.

The Biggest problem is that according to the WWL Nelson has a mental problem. He does not learn and retain the defensive system very well. But because he didn't tank the Wonderlic the Jaguars feel like he can be a great, intelligent player.

No witty commentary? this is shocking.- Me

I think witty commentary is a victim of Fridaynightitis. - The Extrapolater

I think the problem with the Jags drafting "winners" is that anyone who puts on those hideous teal uniforms is, by definition, a loser.- East Coast Bias

Oh C'mon now. Teal is new Blue. What else would explain the Pistons 4-5 year Teal run?- Me

You'll notice that they won the Championship after they went back to classic red, white, and blue. - East Coast Bias

I second Brien. Why do you think the Pistons sucked those years? Why do you think the Hornets let go of all their good players? That color does something to you.

But in SSOM's defense, the Jags usually go with black home uniforms now. - Digital Headbutt

The Hornets, (who I had forgotten about) are resurrecting themselves right now. Teal will own this country in 10 years. Just wait, it's coming. - Me

I would tell you that teal is extremely gay, but then I would have no moral authority. After all, I pledge unwavering allegiance to a team in light blue. -- Teal is REAL manly, I'll tell ya that. Blech. >:P - Digital Headbutt

I'm not claiming Teal is manly. But it's not any less manly than Light Blue is.

I should probably toss out that I'm not a Jaguars fan. The Lions were gone and the Jags were the next best thing. So I'm not sure I'm even qualified to debate the manliness of Teal in the first place. But I think its safe to say Jimmy Smith will smoke you (or is it sniff?) if you were to ever question his manliness. - Me

Can't argue with that. Jimmy Smith will f--- you up. But so will Lawrence Taylor and Julius Peppers. - Digital Headbutt

I also was damned to hell not much later by S2N and Holly from Ladies... as they both wanted Reggie Nelson. But were holding on to unreasonable expectations that he would even be on the board when the picked.

I maintain the manliness of Teal still. Especially if it's being put up against Light Blue in said contest. I found the fact that we were discussing such a subject more amusing than the context of either argument. So I wanted to post a few more things that AA had not as he waded through the 15+ pages and 100+ e-mails of useless commentary from all of us.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

There's nothing I can say about yesterday's events that will change, or affect anything. Thus I will say nothing but this:
(Per: Our Book Of Scrap)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Linkfest!: 100% Schrutebag Free

Bloggers will unite for an NFL Mock Draft this week. Anything can and probably will happen as we pick what we think will happen, what actually might happen, or just go completely nuts and insert a punter into the first round. I've got the Jags for those interested. (Awful Announcing)

Complete Sports reminds us all what used to be as Kenny Mayne returns to the SportsCenter desk. I, for one, wish he had never left. (Complete Sports)

Marco handicaps just who might be the #1 pick in his upcoming Criminal Fantasy Football league with Pacman off the board. (Just Call Me Juice)

I give you Kevin Millar: Dancing Machine... courtesy of S2N and many others. (Signal To Noise)

The Extrapolater will be adding Josh Hamilton to the SLP leader board and hopes, as I do, to still see him there come August. (The Extrapolater)

Brad Penny's apparently dating Eliza Dushku and I'm weeping on the inside as one of my favorites dates a Dodger! (The Big Lead)

Mini Me fills us all in on the new high-school drug testing policy in Texas. (WBRS Sports Blog)

The Oriole Post throws out a few of Don Imus' past episodes of verbal vomit. (Oriole Post)

The Glorious Guest Post: Best Kings of All-Time?

Hello, friends. My name is Ted, and I don't often write on this site; rather, I typically write on this one. Come by and see me sometime. I crave acceptance.

It's a lazy Hump Day here in my living room, consisting of me mindlessly cruising the Internet, sipping a Corona Light, and marveling over the fact that I had vegetarian Indian food for dinner... and liked it. Meanwhile, the NESN telecast of Red Sox vs. Mariners is on a low hum in the background. The game was supposed to be a showcase of Japanese superstars in Dice K and Ichiro (and to a lesser extent, that Mariners catcher).

Instead, a funny thing happened on the way to the multi-national flashbulb convergence: Felix Hernandez - "King" Felix, mind you - had other plans. He tossed a complete game one hitter to stifle one of the better offenses (and teams) in baseball, one day after they hung a 14-3 whupping on his Pacific Northwest crew. Hernandez, who is about 1/4 of the age of Julio Franco, has had a good season thus far (there ain't much else on the Mariners): he K'ed 12 on Opening Day, and now this.

So, it got me thinking: who is the best - most worthwhile, let's say - "King" in sports?

King James: The obvious contender, LeBron James actually made his NBA debut against the Sacramento Kings, in what had to be some type of sign from whatever religious deity you happen to believe in. He did well, and uh, he's continued to do so. He's even got the whole MJ "Can't solve the Pistons early in his career, even though he elevated his team already to the level of challenging them" thing going on. It's almost too cute to watch. His dunks are breath-taking, his shoddy defense is defendable by pundits until it reaches a breaking point, and he's the most marketable cat in the entire world, sans MJ himself. He might just be the most worthy of his "King" nickname.

The Kings themselves: No, no, no. I'm not talking about the Los Angeles Kings. The last time they were relevant, so was Marty McSorley, and Wayne Gretzky was doing more than whispering sweet nothings (and horse racing tips) in his wife's ear. I'm talking about the early millenium Sacramento Kings (or the "Queens" as Shaq might say), who re-energized Arco Arena behind a dynamic pass and pass and pass and shoot offense led by Webber, Peja, and the rapidly-approaching-career-shark-jumping Bibby. Ahmad Rahad opened a Western Conference playoff game in 2002, screaming over an image of rabid fans in Sac-Town, "The Kings have single handedly made basketball fun again." Well, uh, I think Kobe and Shaq helped too, but the Kings were certainly fun to watch - the Blazers, but ten years later, and with a better PF (sorry, Buck). The fact that they never actually got over the hump kind of hurts them here.

King Kong Bundy: In an era when the immobile fat ass was king for Vince McMahon, King Kong Bundy had a good run. He main-evented 1/3 of WrestleMania II (that was the weird 'Mania broadcast from three locations), taking on Hulk Hogan in a steel cage match, which he invariably lost. He had the classically entertaining Bobby Heenan as his mouthpiece, and later in his career, when he returned to the WWE, he got a big match with Undertaker at WrestleMania XI (he lost that one too) and had DiBiase as his moto-mouth. He weighed about 450 pounds in his heyday, and went at it with Andre the Giant too. He existed in an era for wrestling when girth meant everything, and your ability to sell a storyline was secondary. You sneak attacked a babyface, they got hurt, and they came back and beat your ass. He didn't have much to work with, but he was a spectacle. You gotta at least include the brother, no?

Macho King Randy Savage: In the same vein, Randy Savage was the "Macho King," although it should be noted he only used this moniker for a very specific period of his career. He defeated potentially retarded Hacksaw Jim Duggan for some Burger King style crown he wore around, and then proclaimed himself "The Macho King." This led to his mixed-gender feuds with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire, and later the incredibly intense battles with Ultimate Warrior. The peak of Savage's career, though, was probably the WrestleMania IV era, when he won the tournament to grab his first World Heavyweight Title. During his "Macho King" days, he was a jackass with an ugly valet. I can't rank him that highly; his WCW days were seemingly even better.

Rex Hudler: Rex means King, no? Hudler was the ultimate utility man (sorry, Bip) in the 1980s and early 1990s, and is now a fairly sweet commentator for the Angels. Much as he was called "Wonder Dog" and also "Worm Eater" (for his penchant for downing worms as a delicacy in Japanese ball clubhouse), he loves to dish out the generic nickname, calling John Lackey "Big John," for example. Rex was Lenny Dystrka, with less flair and on the west coast, before it was truly cool to be Lenny Dystrka (I loved Dystrka with the Mets, but I think he reached his "sweetness peak" with those early 1990s Phillies teams). He rates high amongst my kings.

Henrik Lundqvist: I just read, via Google, that some people call him "King Henrik." That's laughable. The Thrashers will red light this guy into Swedish obscurity. He is Swedish, right?

Arnold Palmer: This is a more generic nickname, although I have a sneaking suspiscion Palmer has probably asked a hooker somewhere during his career to call him "Golden Bear," just to see how it sounds. Palmer won a ton of events, was golf's first TV star, and has things - tournaments, awards, etc - named after him, which is the ultimate nod to you within a sport you competed in. He's definitely a worthwhile King.

My take right now? Palmer at the 1 slot, James at the 2, Sacramento circa '02 at the 3, Rex Hudler somewhere beyond that, King Felix coming up on the outside (can you imagine if this guy gets big money from a major market in a few years? He could either combust like Gooden or take off like Koufax, only with a longer, and ostensibly less Jewish, career), and Lundqvist way back on the Q.

Your take, now? I am sure I missed a crapload of people, including a bunch of figure skaters and European-born race car drivers I wouldn't know if they busted in my house right now doing the Macarena (which might be the most interesting that's happened to me in weeks).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why Mute Is Necessary: Swin Cash

I've been meaning to chime on this for weeks but as I only manage to catch NBA Fastbreak once a week at best I kept forgetting. I'm not sure if the WWL hired Swin Cash to show they were open to female analysts on male sports or not. But her first appearance (as far as I know) on NBA Fastbreak coincided with Stacy Dales first appearance on College Gameday. While Dales was solid, Swin Cash was, and is horrible. She's worse than John Kruk and Sean Salisbury combined. Cash finds it necessary to emphasize every other word she says. I've never in my life heard anyone speak the way she does. I unfortunately cannot find any clips of her talking online, and I have no doubt that's not a coincidence.

If NBA Fastbreak was recorded by a stenographer (as illogical as that is) it would look something like this:

In order! To get the! Ball to the! Post! You! Must! Pass it! Yes! Pass It! I! Said! Pass it! Yes!

I find myself wishing the WNBA season would start. Something I would have never expected to wish for.

Thank You, Swin Cash, for reminding us all "Why Mute Is Necessary"!


This is fantastic. Steve Nash shows off his soccer prowess once again by kicking a ball off the glass and into the basket from about 5-6 feet behind the three point line.

Streaming Thoughts: Suck On That, Derek!

First of all, I'll admit I'm a little late on this but as I near the end of the semester at school things have become a little more chaotic. In 3-4 weeks when the semester finally does end, expect me to update more often than I ever have. Moving on the actual subject of this post.

The WWL has been experimenting with the possibility of implanting chips into the brains of the biggest athletes on the planet. Then streaming all of their thoughts on the .com or across the bottom of the screen should they be competing on one of their networks. The initial attempt (or BETA) was on Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees third basemen. Below are a collection of A-rod's most amusing thoughts over the first week of the baseball season.

April 2nd, 2007
- Dammit Jorge, that should have been your ball. Here come the boo's and it's only the first inning of the first game.

- (Approaching the plate in the 8th) I suppose I should hit one out now. Put this game away.

- A curtain call? For me?? Wow!!

April 5th, 2007
- Snow?? This is ridiculous, I'm cold.

- Need to get this over with. If we lose, we lose. I'm just going to pop one up here and get back into the heat of the dugout. (Bases were loaded)

April 6, 2007
- (As the game winds to a close and A-rod sits alone in at the end of the bench.) Why doesn't he want to have sleep overs anymore? At least one night during the off-season we should get together and watch movies all night. Maybe even talk about boys women. If he doesn't appreciate me than I think it may be time to take New York from him. That's it! If Justin can Bring Sexy Back. The surely I can take NYC back, right? Why am I asking myself questions?

- (Driving home) Maybe I should just hit 81 HR's this year. Make steroid Bonds look like a school boy and expose everyone else who doesn't try every single plate appearance. Nah! Too taxing.

April 7, 2007
- Let's get this started. I'll put one in the seats now and try to put this game outta reach early.

- That's it, draw a walk Derek. Force someone else to pick up the slack.

- Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, and all I need is a single? To hell with that this one's going into the black seats.

- Whooo! Suck on that, Derek!!

April 8, 2007
- Might as well start another game with a long ball. It never gets old watching the ball fly into the seats.

April 9, 2007
-Ponson's pitching today? HA! Someones guaranteed a souvenir tonight. That guy sucks.

April 10th, 2007
- (Sigh...) Might as well start this one off with the long ball as well. Oh... and there it goes..!

- What to do that's even better than Homering almost every day? I've got it! I think I'll steal home in the bottom of the ninth, in a tie game, when the Mets come to the Stadium in June. We'll see if Derek's still the king of New York after that.

A-rod's first week in thoughts has certainly been interesting. Will he take New York from DJ? I doubt it. But he can dream, right?

Once a week, if not bi-weekly I'll be "Streaming Thoughts" here at the Mute network. Anyone who's head you like to have checked out? Leave a comment or email me at sportsshowonmute(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, April 6, 2007

Colin Cowherd is a Douchebag

(Awful Announcing got an image off of CC's webcam.)

I'm sure all is aware of what the D-Bag did to The Big Lead yesterday. I didn't hear it, as I, much like any real sports fan do not listen to ESPN Radio at all. Before getting rid of my Sirius account I had caught D-Bag's show once. It was bad, really bad, and it amazes me that he has enough listeners to pull of this little stunt. ESPN's radio content as a whole is garbage and D-Bag is only one of the many who don't earn their paychecks clogging our airwaves. As no one on any of ESPN's many networks, radio stations and of course the .com are allowed to truly speak their mind. For fear that ESPN may ruin any potential or current partnerships. I'm sure we all still remember them canceling Play makers over the NFL's dissatisfaction.

I really have no idea what TBL could have possibly done to upset the D-Bag. I read virtually everything TBL posts daily and cannot recall D-Bag even being mentioned. Below I've listed nearly everyone's take on this. As many seem as baffled as I am when it comes to what provoked the D-Bag.

This Hurts Us More Than It Hurts You, Colin (Deadspin)
Somehow, We let all the Morons on Radio and TV. (Signal To Noise)
Cowherd: Nous Accusons!! (Every Day Should Be Saturday)
Cowherd Invetigated, Colin Cowherd and Great Bullies, and On Open Discourse: Colin Cowherd (Pacifist Viking)
That Wasn't A Very Nice Ting To Do (One More Dying Quail)

I'm off to work, I'll be adding to this list tomorrow afternoon/evening some time. ANy that I may have missed leave in the comments and I'll add them.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Too Cold?????

Since when is it "Too Cold" for baseball? If it were November and the wind chill was 16 Degrees as it was today the players would have taken the field as if it were any other playoff game. Yet, today baseball in Detroit was canceled. The first game I'm able to get out to this season didn't happen. I was finally going to see Justin Verlander pitch in person, but of course not. Now when I go to this particular game on September 10th it'll likely be Chad Durbin, Zach Miner or some other ass-hole never been who doesn't deserve his rotation spot toeing the rubber.

I'm even more unhappy about this because I made the 45 minute, or so trip down to Comerica Park. Despite listening to SPORTS RADIO during this entire 45+ minutes the cancellation was never mentioned. The local news channels that I was watching before leaving for the ballpark also failed to mention to this. So allow me to thank you local media. Yes, THANK YOU for wasting a quarter tank of my three dollar a gallon gas. Too Cold??? What a load of shit crap!

EVEN WORSE the damn Yankees played in the snow. The YANKEES! The most overpaid manicured bunch in the majors played in cold, snowy New York. Yet, TIGERS cannot? Why don't we call them the paper Tigers from now on and I'll buy this.

Let's be honest with ourselves here. This game was canceled because the Tigers knew that only 1-3,000 people were going to show up. Thus, they're not making any money. God forbid the rich don't get any richer. To think, I was excited to see a snow game. I should have figured Verlander couldn't pitch without any nice warm sand in his v........

The Glorious Guest Post: Sports, and Johnny Drama

This is a guest post for Sports Show on Mute. I'm Ted, and you may know me better as a guy who writes here. If you don't, well, that's OK. For now I'm here, and that's the important thing.

As some of you may know, especially if you are inclined to watch sports on mute and thus occasionally find other programming worthy of your interest, HBO's power-packed lineup returns Sunday. While most of the attention is on The Sopranos - this is it, for real; the last nine episodes - will Tony be dead come June 8th? - perhaps some more attention should be focused on the other half of the Twin Towers for HBO, Entourage.

That's right: Vinnie, E, Johnny, and Turtle, along with Ari and company, are back for another eight episodes themselves. It's a show that's made countless 20something males feel absolutely miserable that their lives aren't like that, but it's also firmly established the hanger-on culture as pop culture relevant, even revered.

Aside from the show itself, there's no place in the world where the Hanger-On, Second Fiddle and Loving It gameplan comes into play like professional athletics. Consider this: once, many years ago, I was at a party at Georgetown. Makes a ton of sense, since I went there. Allen Iverson, then in his early days with the Sixers (post-crossing over Jordan, but pre-NBA Finals) showed up. He had, legitimately, 11 people with him. Honestly, maybe more. You wouldn't recognize a single face among them, unless you were from Newport News, VA or Washington, DC - and even then you wouldn't. But this is his posse. His entourage. In a similar, although more depressing vein, most surveyors of the Adam "Pac-Man" Jones situation say that his greatest undoing is his friends, and his need to provide for them. Purportedly, he was asked once: "If you could choose the NFL or your boys, what would you choose?" He responded in an instant. "My boys."

Everyone who's anyone in sports has an entourage. However, since I don't hang out with professional athletes (sigh), I can't really rank said groupings. What I can do, though, is take an assortment of four-person pairings from recent and past sports history and equate them to the HBO crew. Let's get poppin.

The Throwback: The 1971 Baltimore Orioles 20-Game Winners
You ever consider how rare this truly was? Four 20-game winners on one team, given how baseball is today? Impressive. I needed an old school throwback comparison, and this seemed random enough to just work.

No question that in this group, Jim Palmer is Vincent Chase. He's the first name that comes to your mind; whether it's the fact that he seems oddly out of place in modern society, perhaps even deranged, or the fact that he does those lending advertisments, he's still the first name on everyone's mind when it comes to the Orioles of this era. Since Vincent is the reason "Entourage" even exists, well, Palmer is him.

Eric would probably be Mike Cuellar. My logic here is that Mike Cuellar is the main character amongst the O's "Big Four" who could, to use the parlance of the industry, "hold his own storyline." He was the Co-AL Cy Young in '69, and he won 20 games four times in five seasons. He's in Baltimore's top five pitchers of all-time in virtually every relevant statistical category. Now, on Entourage itself, when the show isn't about Vincent or his movie deals, who is it usually about? Well, perhaps Drama and Turtle, but they tend to come as a package. Shows have been about "E" and his "man-caught-in-the-middle-of-fun-and-responsbility-almost-like-a-Greek-drama" package before. If it ain't about Palmer, it's about Cuellar; and if it ain't about Vinnie, it's about E.

The next two are a bit sadder, because Pat Dobson and Dave McNally are both deceased now. I'd vote McNally as Johnny Drama. Why? The sad part about McNally is that at the very end of his career, he became a free agent, but never got to actually experience what his freedom might have brought him. Drama's like that, too. He's a free agent in many respects, but because of his situation, and who his other peeps are (i.e. his brother), he never seems to experience it. Still, Drama is capable of big things - like McNally, who hit a Grand Slam in the 1970 World Series. And that leaves Dobson as Turtle. I'm not sure I can make a rational argument for that, except maybe this: Dobson ended his playing career on a down note in '77, going 3-12 with a 6.16 ERA. That's kind of like how Saigon did up Turtle, no?

A More Modern Example: Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Hoford, and Taurean Green
Talk about relevant. The first back-to-back national champion since the early 1990s? You know what's even better? These four cats (er, Gators) live together. They're suitemates. Just like the Entourage boys!

Joakim Noah is the leader, or so it seems. "We gon' do it all night, baby! All day and all night!" Um, what? Anyway, even though Horford might go higher in the draft, Noah is Vinnie Chase in this foursome. Their hairstyles are even vaguely similar.

"E" would probably be Taurean Green. Here's my logic: a) he's short, and so is Eric; b) he's the Gator most similar in terms of wordly problems to Green. See, on the Gators, Green is apparently the "wormy, nerdy, book-study" one. "You'll be more likely to find him on the couch than in the club," says Horford. Eric isn't a nerd, by any means, but that's his essential quandary at all times: is he the responsible guardian of his boys from home, or a wild man living out a dream on the West Coast? He's got no idea. You know Noah has brought him along when he's about to tag team two girls wearing a Japanese smoking robe, and Green's been like, "Well, err... ummm..."

Horford is Turtle: capable of so much, yet often overshadowed. They also both probably have mad officially licensed NBA gear in their closets; and I could see Horford ending up on the Knicks, kinda, so that makes it relevant too.

That leaves Brewer as Drama. This makes sense. See, as noted above, Drama is constantly in the shadow of his brother (more peeps discuss Noah than Brewer), but sometimes - sometimes - Brewer breaks out, like he did winning the '07 MOP. Drama breaks out too, occasionally. I mean, hell, he did that pilot once, right? Plus, don't they kind of have the same wiry-yet-beefy frame?

Another Modern Example: Beltran, Delgado, Reyes, and Wright
I'm honestly doubting that these four Mets - all of whom, and this is the best part, are legitimate MVP candidates in the NL - actually hang out. I'd be more inclined to think Wright does his own thing, or maybe pals around with Reyes, and then Beltran and Delgado are close. Although, I believe Delgado just had a kid, so he might be out of the loop all together. Regardless, none of 'em are probably like Ty Wigginton, who once stabbed his foot on glass at a NYC bar. Guess what, buddy? You're going to the Pirates. Take that.

I'd make Reyes into Vinnie here. He's hot (uh, I think I can say that...), he has movie star charisma, and he's redefining his position, in much the same way as Vince redefined the action hero for Aqua Man. Plus, you know Reyes has slept with at least one girl right before her wedding because he was on her list.

Wright becomes Eric. You know he's probably ending up with a girl as simeltaneously exotic and slutty as Sloan - I always thought that during Kris and Anna Benson's brief breakup, she would start sleeping with Wright - and I think he worries about his game enough that he doesn't want to be all wild. Again, the morality conundrum. It defines Eric, and it defines No. 5.

Delgado is Drama. Why? They both lift a lot, and no one paid nearly enough attention to Delgado until he took over in the playoffs last year. Then he got this big SI feature and a bunch of other articles, and suddenly he's the toast of the town. That has happened to Drama yet, but it will. It has to. For all of our sakes. All he needs is a big playoffs, er... some type of pilot with Kristy Swanson.

Thus, Beltran is Turtle. Not sure why this works other than process of elimination. However, wouldn't you like to be at a place in your life where you could call Carlos Beltran "Turtle" and get away with it? I would.

Last One: Dirk, Jason "The Jet" Terry, Josh Howard, and Jerry Stackhouse
You can pick a lot of examples on the Mavericks, the prohibitive favorite to get the latest sports monkey off their back. I even contemplated using Cuban and Avery. I'll save for that for later.

Dirk is Vince, no doubt. Dallas revolves around him, despite what Terrell Owens might think (or Michael Young, or whoever happens to be good on the Stars at a given point in time). He's the movie star, the leading man, whatever.

His wing man, in the truest sense, is Howard. This team got so much better since Josh Howard hit the floor running. He does almost everything right, and he's a classic story because no one wanted him except Wake, and then no one wanted him except Cuban. Eric always seems to be second fiddle to Vince, but he's still a man in his own right, and a cool one at that. He's J-Money.

Jason Terry is Turtle. Why? They both have a lot of shorts. Jason Terry sleeps in the shorts of his opponents before he plays 'em. I bet Turtle does that with whoever the Knicks are rumbling with the next night.

That leaves Jerry Stackhouse as Drama, which makes sense: was big at one point (Drama had a pilot, and Stackhouse once averaged 28 points in a year), and is now playing a smaller part contextually in life. I think Stackhouse might be a bit happier about it than Drama is, but if you sit around all day playing video games and fuckin' with James Woods, your life is still pretty sweet.

As a bonus for the Mavericks comparison, let's call Avery Johnson Lloyd. They kind of sound alike, no? And Mark Cuban can be Ari. I envision him doing push ups in a full suit in his office at 10:55am daily, telling Avery to hold his calls. Actually, there's no question in my mind that if Ari was a real life person, he'd probably be representing Mark Cuban in some capacity.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Superprogram A Reality?

With the Gators-Buckeyes back-to-back championship finale's it seems many are ushering in the new era of big-time college athletics. Pat Forde sure is. An era in which the Superprogram finally becomes a reality. Gone are the days of schools who consider themselves either a basketball or a football school. Or are they? I would say those days are far from gone. Despite the Gators and Buckeyes recent two-way success it's unlikely to continue, or at least become the norm. The belief that a Superprogram can never truly exist is the main reason many think Billy Donovan is heading for Kentucky. Most coaches ego's are far to large for them to play second fiddle to another sport.

If being a Superprogram means duplicating what Florida and Ohio State have done this past year than its an emphatic no from where I'm sitting. If it's being consistently competitive in both sports then I think this era has been upon us for years. Florida's been competitive in football forever and for at least the last nine years or so have done the same on the hardwood. Texas has been solid in both sports for years but has never been called a Superprogram as far as I can remember. Despite the football team's National Championship last season to go along with the basketball team reaching the Elite Eight.

If the Superprogram is indeed a reality I'd imagine those one-way schools are in some trouble moving forward. If teams can consistently reach championship games in both sports in the same academic year, the Duke's of the world could have some difficulty recruiting. Wouldn't you think? If I were being recruited by two schools; one a Superprogram and the other a one-way program. Why in the world would I go to the one-way school? Wouldn't I rather go to an Ohio State just because of the possibility of being there when they pulled a Florida? I think I'd find it soothing to know that the football team was there to relieve some of the pressure if we don't get it done on the court. Or vice versa. Yet if I'm playing at Duke it's all us, all the time. If we fail the student body is disappointed until the next season tips. Because the football team surely won't do anything but disappoint. What if I'm at Auburn and we're once again spurned by the BCS. As basketball season rolls on everyone will still be talking about it. Why? Because the basketball team hasn't seen the NCAA Tournament but once since the War started.

I'll admit my theories are a bit flawed here, but I think the overall idea I'm going for works.

If you were playing football and were torn on whether to attend Auburn or Ohio State (regardless of where you live) wouldn't you head for Columbus?

NOTE: I hadn't seen Forde's article until Marco over at JCMJ mentioned it. Thanks to him for pointing me in that direction as it's a good read. And I probably would have missed it in the after game jumble.

Buckeyes and Gators lead the Megaprogram parade (ESPN)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Obvious Conclusions After Opening Day

Now that opening day has come to a close it's pretty clear what's going to happen this season. From HR totals to CY Young winners. Here you go.

-Adam Dunn will hit 324 HR's (Renteria will get hurt and miss 20 games falling 40 HR's behind Dunn.)

-Miguel Cabrera will hit .750 with 648 RBI and 162 HR's and an .833 OBP

-Hanley Ramirez will score 648 runs and steal 324 bases to go along with 648 hits.

-Chris Burke will "leg out" 324 doubles.

-Tony Pena Jr. will put up just as many triples.

-Craig Monroe, Adam LaRoche, and Willy Taveras will each strike out 648 times.

-Ben Sheets and Gil Meche will win the CY Young's in their respective league's.

-Jose Contreras' 63.00 ERA will cause Ozzie Guillen to choke him.

-Solomon Torres will save 162 games for the Pirates.

-Carlos Zambrano will allow 324 HR's, 50 of them to Adam Dunn.

-Felix Hernandez will strike out 420 batters.

-The Tigers will return to the AL Central cellar as the Royals in an uplifting story win 100 games.

-The Red Sox will finish dead last in the AL East as the Yankees make it 10 strait.

-The Pirates will compete for a playoff spot.

-The Indians will put up a combined 2106 hits.

If Opening day really told us anything, Gil Meche would have probably already won a Cy Young.

Continuing the Pessimistic Approach

I realize everyone on the planet is picking the Gators to once again dash the hopes of a state tonight. I, however, have a weird feeling the Buckeyes will get their vengeance. The fact that I somehow manage to always find a reason my team will lose. Rather than win should be noted. I like to consider myself a realist. But, recently I've discovered I may be more pessimistic than realistic. While I did pick the Gators in my original bracket I spent days trying to figure out who would beat them.

So continuing my pessimistic approach I'll take the Buckeyes over the Gators tonight. As fortunes reverse completely from the December match up and January football game.

Regardless though, all of Gator nation should appreciate the run this school has been on in both major sports as it's unlikely to be duplicated any time soon.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Why Not Rely On Some Devil Rays?

A Saturday ago I drafted my first and only Fantasy Baseball team for the upcoming season. I, along with 11 others, will be apart of "Show & Tell W/ Sean Salisbury". Seal Clubbers is running the show and scheduled said draft for 5 P.M. eastern time. Until about 2-3 days before the draft I had forgotten all about it. I realize this is irresponsible on my part, but hey, shit happens. With that said I think it's obvious I had no real strategy for drafting my team at all. Instead I just woke myself up an hour or two before I probably would have. (I work midnights, thus I sleep days.) Came to my computer and entered the draft room a minute or two before my first pick. Looking at my team now I can't help but think I'm an idiot. Partially because I paid a little less attention to baseball's off-season than usual. I've been spending all of my free time with my mistress, March Madness. I'm not going to get into the fact that apparently the Braves are solid again, while Arizona and Milwaukee are division contenders. Never mind that let's get the debauchery that is my fantasy team.

I had the 9th pick of the opening round. When the time came just a few minutes removed from my slumber I debated between David Wright and Miguel Cabrera. In the end, I, of course, went with the Marlin. Drafting Cabrera as the cornerstone of my infield.

When my next pick rolled around #16 to be exact I finally landed a player I've wanted for years in Carl Crawford. My favorite Devil Ray will roam left field for this team.

It was a long wait after that and I began to wonder who I might get when pick 33 rolled around. To my surprise one of the best short stops in the league was sitting there, I quickly invited Michael Young onto the team bus.

When pick 40 came up a few moments after that I knew I had to take a pitcher. So I took my NL Cy Young favorite in Roy Oswalt.

The next time the draft pendulum swung my way I picked up Carlos Delgado(57) and John Smoltz(64) to guys I consider reliable. While Delgado isn't necessarily a top tier first basemen he has a lot of protection in the Mets lineup and should produce as usual.

At pick 81 I took my first closer with Huston Street. He should be solid if he can avoid injury and I'm as confident as one can be that he will stay healthy.

My next two picks had me laughing out loud, thankfully without the clever (HA!) online acronym staring me in the face. At pick 88 I went with Scott Kazmir who's fragile body could let me down. But he's got great stuff if his team could back him for once. At 105 I decided to take my first leap of the draft with Delmon Young. While I think Young has the potential to be great he also gave me my official team name. "TossMeTheBatDelmon!" I wanted it to be "Throw Me The Bat Delmon!" but its to many characters for Yahoo! to handle apparently. I wasn't sure what to think at this point having drafted THREE Devil Rays in the first nine rounds. Let alone back-to-back risks in Young and Kazmir.

I followed Young with a hometown favorite of mine (Who's first start I will be on hand to witness Thursday) in Justin Verlander. While I agree he may run into a sophomore slump and face some arm fatigue after last season. This was a leap I had to take as V as I like to refer to him as. Is one of my favorite players. Not to mention I didn't get Carlos Guillen so I have to have my other favorite Tiger, right?

Mike Cameron(129) and Ervin Santana(136) were the next to join my team. While I'm still iffy on the Cameron pick he had a decent year last year if I remember correctly. Santana doesn't strike out a lot of guys usually but he wins and I'll take that.

I decided to take the other half of the Rangers middle infield with Ian Kinsler(153) as my starting second basemen. While Paul Lo Duca(160) gets the honor of being my catcher for the second consecutive year. In Lo Duca's case I expect him to score a lot of runs which is enough. Kinsler should hit for average and I guess that will be enough. Wow. I'm going to finish last or close to it in this league.

Former Marlin AJ Burnett(177) was my next pick as I continued to put together a solid stable of starting pitchers. His injury past is a concern but when he's healthy he's usually good for 7-8 strikeouts a night. Mike Gonzalez(184) though is not the closer in Atlanta. I'll admit I knew that but took him anyway. Forgetting all about Rafael Soriano's presence in the bullpen in case of a Wickman breakdown. Gonzalez is a candidate for release as I need a second catcher.

After this I took one chance after another opting for youth and potential (bad idea) over reliable yet older (more fragile) guys. Below is the rest of my draft picks in order:

201. Stephen Drew
208. Willy Taveras (Has since been released in favor of Luke Scott as I had ZERO RF/LF backups outside of Victorino.)
225. Jhonny Peralta (Could be a steal!)
232. Adrian Gonzalez
249. Nate Robertson (Custom Oakley's anyone?)
256. Anibal Sanchez (Another reach, for sure.)
273. Edwin Encarnacion (He'll battle for the backup spot behind Cabrera.)
280. Shane Victorino (Could take Cameron's starting job.)
297. Nick Punto (One word: Versatility!)
304. Alex Gordon (Encarnacion's competition. Who I think will overtake him.)
321. Jason Jennings (He was solid in Coors. If he can avoid the short porch he'll be fine.)
328. Casey Kotchman (I think this is a steal in the 28th round. )
345. Chris B. Young ( Another ROY candidate on my roster.)
352. Luke Hochevar (Has been released in favor of Dustin Hermanson.)

So I need a backup catcher badly. Theres a good chance I'm going to be starving for saves with Street as my only reliable closer. Though Hermanson should be decent at least. I'm trying to drop Gonzalez for Solomon Torres but he apparently doesn't exist in the parallel universe that is Yahoo! Sports. I want to cut Punto but will then be without a backup 2B and that's not different than not having a catcher. Plus Punto has three position availability which is always nice.

In the end I anticipate my fantasy baseball season going over about as well as Delmon's bat toss did. Like a fart in a salon full of women. I tried to hold it back though. The youth movement that is.

UPDATE: Within minutes of posting this I found out the Reds had cut Dustin Hermanson. I picked up Ronny Paulino to fill the backup catcher spot.

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