Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MLB awards

The Major League Baseball season is coming to a close and the postseason is right around the corner. Of course, if you're a Pirates fan, the season pretty much ended in June for you. So here are my awards for the season. Some are your typical awards like MVP and Cy Young, some are my own awards. Feel free to come up with awards you want to give out.

NL MVP - Albert Pujols: Do I need to justify this?

NL LVP - Brad Lidge: Despite all of Lidge's best efforts, the Philadelphia Phillies are going to win their division. Lidge is 0-8 with 11 blown saves, a 7.38 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. What the heck happened? He was perfect last year. I'm thinking Pujols starting writing him letters and sending pictures of that massive homer he hit off Lidge in the NLCS a few years back.

AL MVP - Joe Mauer: Usually I think a league MVP needs to be on a playoff team, but not here. I know the Minnesota Twins still have a chance, but I think the Detroit Tigers will hold them off. Mauer is batting .367, has a .441 on-base percentage, is slugging .597 and has 28 homers. He is doing all this as a catcher, who missed a month of the season with a hip injury. The 28 homers really stands out considering he's never hit more than 13. If that doesn't do it for you, remember Kevin Slowey and Justin Morneau had their seasons end early and Mauer kept the Twins alive.

AL LVP - Josh Hamilton: More proof that drugs are bad. Hamilton's body broke down this year. He went from 32 homers and 130 RBIs to 10 homers and 56 RBIs. His average also dropped almost 40 points. If he were the Hamilton of last season, the Texas Rangers would still be in the Wild Card chase. Instead we get the Red Sox, who I hate more than swine flu.

NL Cy Young - Chris Carpenter: Back in March, I decided that Carpenter was a bigger injury risk than Erik Bedard and went with the lefty for my fantasy team. Oops. Carpenter is 16-4 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP on the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals. This is after making a combined five starts the two previous seasons. I thought he would be OK, but not back to being great. He'll beat out Tim Lincecum and also take home the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

AL Cy Young - Zack Greinke: He's awesome. On a 64-94 team, Greinke is 16-8 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 237 strikeouts. If he got any kind of run support, he would be flirting with 25 wins. There were 12 games this year where Greinke gave up three earned runs or less and did not get the win.

NL and AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year - Who cares?: I don't even know if they give this award out anymore, I just know they did in MLB: The Show 07'. This award is always given to closers, who I think are the most overrated players in baseball. They pitch one inning, don't give up three run leads, and they command huge salaries. Saves might be the most overrated stat in baseball. Look at the Phillies. Their closers are terrible, yet they are going to win their division. All I know is that Matt Capps and Brad Lidge will not win this one.

AL Comeback Player of the Year - Justin Verlander: He was so much better this year than last year. He ERA dipped a a point and a half, he struck out 100 more batters and won seven more games.

NL Rookie of the Year - J.A. Happ: Stupid Happ. If it weren't for him, the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen or Garrett Jones would be taking this home. If it weren't for Happ, and the addition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies might have blown the East this year. But Happ was outstanding with 12-4 record, 2.85 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

AL Rookie of the Year - Elvis Andrus: OK, so he wasn't amazing, but he had a nice season at short for the Rangers. A .268 average with little power wasn't much, but he played solid defense and stole 32 bases playing just about everyday. I was thinking of giving it to Gordon Beckham, he has better numbers, but his team wasn't in contention and he had 100 less at bats. Some might say that is reason to take him over Beckham, but I think The Rangers depended on Andrus more than the White Sox depended on Beckham.

NL Old and Busted Veteran of the Year - Gary Sheffield: This is not a good award. I strongly dislike Gary Sheffield and would be happy if he never played again.

AL Old and Busted Veteran of the Year - Jason Giambi: I know he is now with the Colorado Rockies, but he was terrible with the Oakland A's this year. Terrible was an understatement.

Team That Made Me Happiest Award - New York Mets: How great was it seeing them and their $135,773,988 payroll go down with injury after injury en route to a 90+ loss season? Beautiful.

Team That Made Me Saddest - Toronto Blue Jays: I love the Jays. And when they jumped out to the best record in baseball through mid-May, I was pumped. Then they went on to suck down the stretch and give me nothing to like about baseball from June on. Except the downfall of the Mets. That never got old.

NL Manager of the Year - Jim Tracy: I hate this man. He was so terrible for the Pirates, but there is no doubting the Rockies responded in a big way when he took over. They were a joke under Clint Hurdle, then Tracy took over and they will probably grab the Wild Card. Damn you, Tracy.

AL Manager of the Year - Mike Scioscia: OK, so Joe Girardi will probably win this, but I really like the job Scioscia did out in LA. The Angels dealt with injuries to John Lackey, Vlad Guerrero and Tori Hunter to name a few this year, and never missed a step. They play in a relatively deep division, but it is still impressive that they maintained their advantage all season. I think I could manage a lineup of Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, A-Rod, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Melky Cabrera to at least a Wild Card.

Player I dislike the most - Johnathan Papelbon: He just gets on my nerves. And the way broadcasters think the mean face he puts on intimidates batters bothers me. If they are intimidated by anything, it's the fact he could throw a 96-mph fastball at their heads, not that he looks like he's constipated.

Favorite player - Andrew McCutchen: He is the only player I saw this season that sprinted down to first no matter where he hit the ball. Nothing annoys me more than a batter grounding a ball to third or short, and they lightly jog down the baseline. McCutchen, on the other hand, puts his head down and bolts down the line every time. That's the way the game is supposed to be played.

Team no one would miss - Seattle Mariners: I'm sure a lot of you want to put the Pirates here, but who would the national media tease on a daily basis if the Pirates were gone? But the Mariners have nothing to offer but Ichiro and King Felix. Let's auction those two off, get rid of the Mariners and move a team from the NL Central to the AL West.

The Fixer - Pearl Jam

Monday, September 28, 2009

Poll results: Swayze's best movie

The votes are in and Road House has been picked as the late Patrick Swayze's best film.

What was it about that movie that swayed the voters? Could it be the scene where he rips a man's throat out with his bare hand? Was it the fact that his love interest in the movie, played by Kelly Lynch, looked creepily similar to Swayze twin sister if he had one? Or maybe it was the way he delivered the brilliant line, "pain don't hurt."

While I agree with America on this topic, I was surprised that Point Break only received two votes. That film really had everything any movie fan wanted: bank robbing surfers, Keanu Reeves in his prime and a Mythbusters episode dedicated to it. I haven't seen every Mythbusters, but I know that other films they have honored were Indiana Jones, Jaws and Entrapment. Not bad company to keep, except for Entrapment. It's hard for a Sean Connery movie to be bad, but Entrapment was.

Red Dawn and Dirty Dancing tying with one vote apiece was also eye-raising. I take it as proof that I have one female reader, because no self respecting man would risk voting for Dirty Dancing. If his friends ever found out, he would never live it down.

How Red Dawn only got one vote is beyond me. Haven't you ever wondered what we would do if the Soviet Union ever invaded? Well Red Dawn answered that question. Patrick Swayze would take a gorilla force into the hills and kick the communists' butts back to Russia. The only way that movie could have been better is if Swayze's character was immortal like the the Highlander. Imagine him fighting through the enemy lines to face the Soviet general, also an immortal, in an epic sword fight with the winner taking the other's head. I smell Oscar.

Ghost didn't get a vote even though it was the only one of these films to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. That just goes to show you how wrong the Academy can be.

It's a shame Swayze's career slowed down the past 10 years or so. Imagine him as Jack Bauer. One minute he'd be killing terrorists with his pinkie, the next he'd be wooing would be informants with his smooth dance skills. He probably could have pulled off the role of Optimus Prime without the CGI. No way Megatron would kick Swayze's ass. Now picture him as Aragorn carrying hobbits around for three movies.

Anyone else getting goosebumps?

Doolin-Dalton - The Eagles

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fantasy preview

So what if I missed the first two weeks? I'm going to try and do a fantasy football blog every Friday or Saturday. I am no fantasy genius, but I watch a lot of football and think I have a decent grasp on the topic. Let's do this!

Players to start:
  • Any and all Green Bay Packers - They are playing the Rams so they should score a lot of points and hold the Rams to single digits.
  • Any and all New Orleans Saints - OK, so these first two are no brainers.
  • Denver D/ST - While the fact that only the Jets are giving up less than yards per game is a product of their schedule, the Broncos are playing the Raiders and should continue to put up solid numbers. Raiders' QB Jamarcus Russell is 19-for-54 this season with two picks. Expect Champ Bailey to have one. Also, Robert Gallery is out, so Russell with be in a hurry most of the game.
  • Willis McGahee - He's averaging almost 5 yards per carry and has four touchdowns. He's playing the Cleveland Browns, who gave up 180 yards to Adrian Peterson and a combined 151 yards to Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno. He also seems to have taken over the goal line duties from La'Ron McLain.
  • Mark Sanchez - OK, so last month I told fantasy owners to stay away from him because he was a rookie with little college experience and questionable wide receivers. I'm here to tell you I was wrong. The Tennessee Titans gave up 300+ yards in their first two games. Don't expect Sanchez to replicate the yards, but 250 and two scores is definitely doable.
  • Steve Slaton - He stops sucking this week thanks to a mediocre Jacksonville Jaguars defense that gave up more than 100 yards on the ground to the Arizona Cardinals. He can't fumble in every game, can he?
  • Matt Schaub/Andre Johnson - The Jags' pass defense has been poor as well.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew - You're going to start him no matter what, but the Texans have been especially bad against the run this year.
  • Kevin Smith - The Detroit Lions still suck, but the Washington Redskins have been pretty bad as well. Their offense only managed nine points last week against the St. Louis Rams. The Lions will stay in the game and Smith will have his best day yet this season.
  • Felix Jones - Marion Barber won't be 100 percent if he plays, and the Carolina Panthers defense has been pretty bad.
  • Willie Parker - There is a lot of talk in Pittsburgh of Fast Willie being washed up. He's not and this is the game where he proves it.
  • Jay Cutler - The Seattle Seahawks have some big injuries to the defense and Cutler threw for two scores against a tough Pittsburgh Steelers team last week. Expect at least two scores this week.
  • Philadelphia D/ST - If your league gives one point for sacks, the Eagles are going to have a good day. If you r league gives two points per sack, they're going to have a great day.
Players not to start/won't have big days:
  • Frank Gore - You took him in the the first or second round and have been rewarded so far. The Minnesota Vikings are going to stack the box and force Shaun Hill to beat them. Gore will be lucky to have 60 yards.
  • Cleveland Browns - They suck. Seriously, they and the Rams might go 0-16 this year.
  • New England Patriots running backs - The Atlanta Falcons defense is pretty solid and the Patriots don't run the ball with any of their 20 running backs.
  • Matt Cassel - The Philadelphia Eagles are going to sack him... a lot.
  • Vikings receivers - The San Francisco 49ers defense is actually good this year. Also, Brett Favre only attempted three passes longer than 10 yards last week. Expect a lot of Adrian Peterson and not a lot of passing.
  • Michael Turner - Like Gore, you're going to start Turner every week, but I see this game as a shootout with very little running in the second half.
  • Seahawks - Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is not going to play, and look at how they did last year when he was hurt most of the season.
  • Joseph Addai - The Cardinals have been great against the run dating back to the Super Bowl last year. It helps that Addai hasn't been the same since his rookie year and he's splitting carries with rookie Donald Brown.
  • Tampa Bay running backs - The New York Giants gave up a lot of rushing yards to the Dallas Cowboys last week, but I think they remedy that this week. I also expect the Giants to score a lot and force the Bucs to pass most of the game.
  • Falcons and Patriots Def/ST - As posted up above, I think this is going to be a shootout. One of these defenses might have negative points this week.
Sunday Updates: Make sure you get Brian Westbrook, Kevin Curtis, Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker and Domenik Hixon out of your lineups. They are all inactive.

Let it Roll Down the Highway - Bachman Turner Overdrive

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What a terrible idea

Fick Nell sent me this link today. In case you're too lazy to click on the link, the gist of the story is that King's Island Amusement Park is running Halloween Haunt Show and pictures leaked onto the internet depicting a skeleton of Steve McNair and his mistress.

I believe the term you're looking for is too soon. Messed up and sick could also work in this instance.

The man was unfaithful, which is pretty classless in it's own right, but McNair still has a family out there. For someone to come up with this idea and think it's funny, or OK makes me wonder how that person has a job.

That is the scariest thing. Not that someone came up with the idea, but that more than one person thought it was a good or funny idea.

If you read the whole story, you know that the display won't be up when the park opens the Halloween show, but that doesn't change the fact that they were thinking about it. It's also interesting that the park's spokesman tried telling the media the display never existed, despite pictures and video circulating on the internet.

I'm not one of those people glorifying McNair after his premature death, but there are some things that should not be done. Portraying a skeleton that is poking fun at the circumstances of his death is one of them.

Casey Jones - Grateful Dead

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oregon fan gets his money back

Poor Tony Seminary. The man flew from Portland, Ore., to Boise, Idaho to see his University of Oregon Ducks lose 19-8 to the Boise State Broncos.

According to a story on, Seminary was so angered by his team's performance he sent a $439 bill to Ducks' head coach Chip Kelly. While a fan expecting his money back because the team lost is not surprising, the fact Kelly actually sent him the money is.

Kelly wrote a check to Seminary, and now Seminary is saying Kelly is a classy guy that won't hear anymore criticism coming from Seminary.

This is bad. Kelly better get an extra mailbox or two, because once some Oregon fans read this, he's going to get a lot of letters.

For this fan to send a letter and a bill is ridiculous. Sports fans know what they're getting into when they buy a ticket and travel to see their team play. There is a 50 percent chance your team is going to lose. Now combine that fact with playing a consistent top 25 team at a very tough place to play, and it shouldn't be that surprising the Ducks lost.

This is going to open a door for tons of silly sports fans that think they deserve to be reimbursed for watching their team lose. Letters are going to come streaming in to team offices across the country from fans that would balk (and rightfully so) at teams asking for fans to pay double after their team upsets someone. Should Oregon send bills to all the fans in attendance to last weekend's upset of the No. 18 Utah Utes?

Just imagine that for a moment. Your unranked team just toppled a top 25 team in your home stadium. You're ecstatic and nothing could take the smile from your face as you approach the exit. Suddenly, there is a long line, and when you get to the end of the line there are ushers checking your tickets. Your smile disappears. They are looking at your tickets so they know what to charge you for witnessing an upset.

I'm pretty sure it would be illegal for a school or pro organization to do this, but you get my point. You would be outraged. So what gives this Seminary guy, and others like him, the idea that they deserve their money back if their team doesn't meet expectations?

Just stay home next time.

Get Over It - The Eagles

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Liking the Tennessee, Florida rivalry

It's hard finding a good rivalry in sports today. Everyone is too nice, or pretending to be. That's why the constant shots University of Tennessee's Lane Kiffin and University of Florida' Urban Meyer are taking at each other are so refreshing.

It started when Kiffin was hired. Telling the Tennessee faithful that he was excited to sing "Rocky Top" all night long after beating Florida. Kiffin went on to accuse Meyer of a recruiting violation in front of media, even though he was wrong.

The latest episode is Meyer telling the press he kept his offense conservative in Florida's 24-14 victory over Tennessee because he didn't think the Volunteers were playing to win. Meyer also blamed the flu, and yes, he even brought up his fear of swine flu.

Kiffin said he played to win, it's just running the ball was how Tennessee was effective. Look at the stats from the previous two weeks, and it's easy to see where Kiffin is coming from. Vols' quarterback Jonathan Crompton is not reliable. Against UCLA he went 13-for-26 with three interceptions. His team probably wins if he doesn't play so poorly. So why not run the ball, when it was working so well against Florida.

The young Vols coach also made sure to take a shot at Meyer afterward. Kiffin told reporters "I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick."

I'm all for sportsmanship. Taunting bothers me, and people being cry babies is really annoying. But neither is the case here. These are just two guys, and programs, that do not like each other. And we need more of that in sports.

It's a shame the teams only play once this year. If Tennessee improves and regains their spot as a top 25 program in the next couple years, this could be a very fun rivalry to watch.

The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Baseball intro music

Seeing as my follower made a request, I shall honor it. This post is all about songs baseball players should come out to when they come up to bat. Whenever I attend Pirates games the music each player comes out to is weak. And they lose, but that's neither here nor there.

So let's get on with it. We'll start with the Buccos

Andrew McCutchen: Cum on Feel the Noize - Qiot Riot
Delwyn Young: Mighty Mouse theme
Garrett Jones: Any Metallica song that is not the crappy one he comes out to now
Lastings Milledge: Rockin' Robin - Jackson 5
Ryan Doumit: Dark Eyes - Bob Dylan (Have you seen Doumit? He has no iris, just pupil. They are pure darkness, and he sucks)
Brandon Moss/Steve Pearce: Sound of Silence - Simon and Garnfunkle
Andy Laroche: Carwash - Who cares
Ronny Cedeno: Substitute - The Who

Manny Ramirez: Because I Got High - Afroman
David Ortiz: I Don't Remember - Peter Gabriel
Roger Clemens: The Mercenary - Iron Maiden
Eric Chavez: Hurt - Johnny Cash or Trent Reznor
Derek Jeter: I'm Your Captain - Grand Funk Railroad
A-Rod: If I Had a Million Dollars - Bare Naked Ladies
Ryan Howard: Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
David Wright: My Brain - Weezer or Rivers Cuomo (You say they are the same, but really they are very different versions)
Prince Fielder: Brick House - The Commodores
Kellen Winslow: Warrior - The Scandal (I know, I know. He plays football and said he's a soldier, but I think the song fits. Just picture him dancing to it)

If I missed one or many, please feel free to fill it in.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beard of depression

Ever notice how movies and television shows try to show you a character is depressed by giving him that scruff beard look?

I didn't until a friend of mine, we'll call him Fick Nell, pointed it out after we saw X-Men: The Last Stand. Cyclops was all sad about his girlfriend dying, so he had a lovely beard of depression going on.

After that conversation with Fick, I have noticed it in countless movies and shows. Jack Bauer had it in 24 at the beginning of Season 2. I won't spoil it for you, but his wife dies in Season 1.

Those are just two examples, but please, look for it and you'll know it's true. Now the question is; why does Hollywood think that a scruff or unkept beard is a sign of sadness?

Beards are glorious things in hockey. The uglier and worse the beard, the better. It's when you shave that beard that you become depressed. That mean's your team is out of the playoffs.

I know when I am sad, I don't stop taking care of myself and forget about hygiene. Am I the exception? I always thought we men went with scruff look because A) we're lazy or B) razors are expensive and we're trying to save money. I have never noticed my friends not shaving because they were just so sad they didn't care anymore.

Where did Hollywood come up with this idea, and is there a female equivalent? I haven't noticed it yet, but I'm on the lookout.

Legs - ZZ Top

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

R.I.P. Swayze

Acting legend Patrick Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday. Some may disagree, but this loss is much worse than the loss of Ted Kennedy, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett combined.

So many of us grew up wondering how Swayze could be so, well, Swayze. How many actors do you know had the range to go from saving the country from a Soviet takeover, to being a dance master, to ripping someone's Adam's apple out with his bare hands? The answer is one. Swayze.

The man could also do bad guys better than anyone else. In Point Break, Swayze had audiences in the palm of his hand. One moment we loved him, then we hated him, then we were hoping he'd get away with it. Even when he was bad, he was so good. In the director's cut (yes, there is a director's cut of Point Break) Swayze actually survives the once in lifetime wave. You have to wait until after the credits, but he pops out of the water and he calmly walks back to the beach.

He wasn't just a badass in his characters though, Swayze was a beast in real life. When filming the television show, "The Beast" last year, he went off his painkillers. That's right. The man was dying of cancer and in constant pain, but he thought the meds would take the edge off his performance.

Now I can't confirm this, but from watching Road House 247 times I think it's safe to say Swayze performed his own stunts in the movie. To make the feat even more impressive, he also did the rest of the cast's stunts. He was actually in the building when it exploded.

Let us not forget his softer side. He was a part of one of the best Saturday Night Live skits of all time. If he's not there looking incredible, then Chris Farley's performance is not nearly as funny.

I could go on for pages about the greatness of Swayze, but I will let you do your own research and learn to appreciate him in your own way.

And before you even try, nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Hungry Eyes - Eric Carmen

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Serena's classless outburst

In case you missed it Saturday night, Serena Williams lost in the semifinals of the US Open to Kim Clijsters.

The 6-4, 7-5, match should have been remembered for Clijsters taking one more step toward her comeback. The woman took off 2 1/2 years and will be the first mother to win a grand slam since Evonne Goolagong Cawley (sweet name) won Wimbledon in 1980. Instead, the match will be remembered for Williams' immature, curse-filled temper tantrum.

Williams was serving at 15-30, 5-6 in the second set, when she the line judge called Williams for a foot fault. It was Williams' second serve, so she lost the point. That's when Williams went off. She marched toward the line judge dropping numerous f-bombs and appeared to say that she would shove the f-ing ball down the line judge's throat or up her ass. Neither sounds pleasant.

Somehow that inital blow up didn't lead to a penalty, and it looked as if Williams would let it go and serve the next point. Williams wasn't done, though, and she started yelling again. As a result, the line judge ran over to the chair umpire, and Williams was forced to forfeit the point to end the match. It was Williams' second penalty. She broke her racket after losing the first set. Another mature action.

How could Williams argue so much about a foot fault? When a player is serving, they aren't looking at their feet. The line judge's only job in this case is to make sure the player does not step on or over the line. I have to think the line judge got it right. Just because it's the semifinals of a major doesn't mean judges should turn a blind eye to infractions.

When tournament officials asked the line judge what happened, the television audience could hear Williams save "I didn't say I'd kill you!" Now, I didn't hear Williams say those exact words, but something tells me that if you shove a tennis ball down someone's throat, they will probably die.

In the post match press conference, Williams actually claimed she didn't threaten the line judge, which is a lie. Maybe it was an idle threat, but she did scream she would do bad things to the line judge. Williams also refused to issue an apology for her actions. If you saw the press conference, you know Williams thinks she was the victim.

The world's No. 2 player even went so far as to say she didn't think the line judge new the rules, and that the penalty would end the match. News flash, Serena, the line judge probably knows the rules, you just think you're above them.

If you want to act like a child, go for it, but be prepared to accept the consequences.

Life's Been Good - Joe Walsh

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Federer's streak

For those of you not familiar with tennis, Roger Federer has advanced to his 22nd consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. In case you're not sure how good that really is, the next best streak is 10 by Ivan Lendl.

In a sport where it is so easy to lose focus for a few minutes, Federer has never wavered in the first week and a half of a grand slam in the past 5 1/2 years. That statistic, along with his men's record of 15 grand slam singles titles, is more than enough proof to say he is the best ever to play the game.

No one player has ever dominated tennis, or any sport (sorry Tiger) like Federer.

Tennis' grand slams are on three different surfaces: clay, grass and hardcourts. Playing on different surfaces allows for certain players to be specialists. Spaniards are known for being the best clay court players in the world, while big servers have historically dominated Wimbledon's grass courts. Federer has found success on all surfaces.

The French Open and the red clay of Roland Garos was Federer's last obstacle in cementing is place in history with a career Grand Slam. Federer's critics like to say he is weak on clay, and that his victory at the French this year is less impressive because Rafael Nadal was hurt. And they are wrong.

Federer has been to four consecutive finals and five straight semifinals at Roland Garos. He has consistantly been the second best clay court player during this time. His only problem is that he goes up against the greatest clay court player to ever set foot on the court in Nadal. While it's true Federer didn't have to beat Nadal for the title this year, he did have to play great tennis for seven matches. He also rallied in several of those matches when lesser players would have folded.

The other critique of Federer that is popular is that he isn't facing the same level of competition as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe to name a few. This is unfair. When you have a player as dominant as Federer, you don't really know how good the rest of the competition is.

Bear with me here. Andy Roddick has only won one grand slam despite being in five finals. He faced Federer in the other four. Who knows how many titles Roddick would have if it weren't for Federer. Then we would not be talking about how disappointing Roddick's career has been, but rather how he was one of the great American players of all time.

Nadal would also have several more titles if Federer was not there to stop him. So to say that his competition is not the same as what Sampras, Borg and Agassi had can't be an criticism. Perhaps Federer is just so much better, he makes others look bad.

Look back at some old footgae of McEnroe and Borg. Their form would be laughed at today, but because of technology it was how the game had to be played back then. To try and compare them to Federer and say they were better and had more competition is impossible to prove considering the technology and other changes in the game.

Federer has dominated his genereation of tennis like no one before him, and when he retires he will do so as the best to ever play. End of story.

If You Want Blood - AC/DC

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pirates bad, but Phillies worse

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their 82nd game on Labor Day. It was a significant loss because it ensured that they will finish the season under .500for a record setting 17th consecutive season.

It's not only a baseball record, but an NFL, NHL and NBA record as well. No team has been so bad for 17 consecutive seasons in the history of the big four sports. But look closer at baseball history. This is not the worst stretch for a team, yet.

The Philadelphia Phillies had losing seasons in 30 of 31 seasons between 1918 and 1948. They had streaks of 13 and 16 seasons with losing seasons. In 1929, when they were 78-76 and did not make the playoffs. So is it any different than being a losing season?

Another factor to look at is that during that streak, the Phillies had 12 seasons of 100 losses or more. The Pirates have only had one such season (2001) during the past 17 years. So, yes the Pirates are terrible and have been so for awhile, but until they have 31 losing seasons in 32 years, the Phillies have us topped.

Let's be honest, while Pittsburgh fans would actually get excited about baseball again if the Pirates managed a winning season, it doesn't mean anything if they don't make the playoffs. Ask any team or player, and I guarantee they are not satisfied unless they make the playoffs. It doesn't matter if they have a winning record or not.

Since we're talking about playoffs, the Milwaukee Brewers had a stretch that was worse than the Pirates too. Between 1983 and 2007, the Brewers didn't make the playoffs. That is worse than 17-year playoff drought the Pirates are in.

The Pirates might break both of those records for awful, but they're not there yet.

By the way, Chad Ochocinco thinks the Cincinnati Bengals are going to win 12 games. I'll leave it up to my loyal four readers to describe how stupid that prediction is.

Another by the way. I wrote this before I read Gene Collier's column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Sarah - Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chad Ochocinco

He was on First and 10 this morning debating with Skip Bayless about, well, himself. They were also talking about other prima donna receivers. I had to stop watching because it was a mind numbing conversation.

Ochocinco was his usual immature self, and I found myself in an awkward position. I agreed with Skip! He was calling Ochocinco (do I really need to type that name every time?) and Terrell Owens distractions to their teams. Chad said Bayless had no idea what he was talking about and that he and T.O. are not. He had no reasoning or defense. Just that T.O. wants to win.

No, that is not all T.O., or Chad want. They want to be the center of attention. That's why one of them started a phony reality show and the other changed his name to his number in spanish.

There is no doubting they are awesome talents. The numbers don't lie. But they are not team players. If all they cared about was winning, why is it they have zero Super Bowl rings between them? In the case of T.O., he forced himself off a Super Bowl contender in Philadelphia. Look at his numbers and the Eagles' record when he played for them. He and McNabb were awesome together. But that wasn't good enough for T.O.

As for Chad, he is coming off a terrible year. He said he's not a distraction. Well what about his constant trade demands last season? If he is so great, how come the Bengals have made the playoffs all of one time since he joined the squad? He can't argue that he doesn't get the ball enough. He's had 87 or more receptions in five of the last six seasons.

It's time for receivers to stop worrying about their stats and start worrying about wins. They remind of that annoying kid we all used to play backyard football with. You know, the guy who is constantly whining how open he is. Now these guys usually suck, whereas Chad and T.O. are pro bowl receivers, but I still think the argument stands.

They are not thinking about the type of position the quarterback is in. Maybe he is being rushed, or he is going through is progression and sees another receiver open.

It's not all about you, Chad and T.O.

Waiting - Soulcracker (Good luck finding that one)

Monday, September 7, 2009

NFL preview

I'm jumping on the bandwagon and going to predict who wins each division and then the Super Bowl in the NFL this season. While I am doing this, I will admit that this has become a problem with sports journalism.

People always want to hear predictions and projections for the season, or each week. When the columnist, reporter or whoever it makes a wrong call, they are ripped into. It also causes readers and viewers to think less of that columnist or reporter, because they couldn't correctly predict what happened. We have all done it. We make fun of these journalists that are supposed to know more than anyone about certain teams, yet here they are making wrong picks, and we feel like we know more about the sport than they do.

I am as guilty as anyone with this idea of thinking I'm better than beat reporters and national columnists. It's easy for us to think we're smarter. We're not on national television or in large circulation papers making predictions. When we're wrong, only a handful of people hear it. When we're right, we let everyone who will listen know that we were right.

If experts, broadcasters and writers stopped making predictions, it would be a good thing. But until then, here are my picks!

AFC East: The Patriots are going to runaway with this division. Their secondary is weak and they don't run the ball well, but the offense is way too explosive for anyone in that division to compete with them. Brady and Moss won't be setting records like they did two seasons ago, but they will do enough to make it to the AFC Championship game.

AFC South: No Dungy? No problem. Peyton Manning will coach the Indianapolis Colts to another division title. Losing Marvin Harrison is going to be a good thing for the Colts. Last year he was not effective. Now Anthony Gonzalez has a chance to shine. His preseason wasn't good, but it's the preseason. No one cares.

The Tennessee Titans will challenge for the division, but I expect a drop this year. Six of their 14 wins last season were by 10 points or less. Subtract the havoc that Albert Haynesworth wreaked on opposing offenses and I think they only win 10 games this season. It will still be enough for a Wild Card.

AFC North: The Steelers are going to win this division again. This is not a homer pick, just the truth. The Bengals and Browns are going to suck again this year, leaving the Ravens and Steelers to fight it out again.

The Steelers will take it because their defense is better, and Ben Roethlisberger is the better quarterback with better weapons. The Steelers also have a soft schedule on paper. Only six of their 16 games are against playoff teams from last year, four of those six are at home and one of them is against the Miami Dolphins in January.

The Steelers will go 13-3 and win the Super Bowl. OK, that last one might be a homer pick, but I really think the AFC comes down to them or the Patriots.

I almost forgot the AFC West because it is so terrible. The San Diego Chargers will win this division. They could probably win it with six wins, but they'll get 11 this season. Which will be more than Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos combine for.

NFC East: The only team I like in this division is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants can run the ball well, but I am not confident in Eli Manning and his unproven receivers. I think teams will stack the box and force the Giants to throw. Of course, this could blow up in my face and Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks step up, but I don't think they will.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are good on both sides of the ball. Despite not having a go-to receiver, they make it work with what they have. Brian Westbrook will be great when he plays and Shady McCoy do well enough when Westbrook misses a few games. The Eagles' defense will also be playing their hearts out for the recently deceased Jim Johnson.

The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys will just be meh this year and will have new head coaches next season.

NFC South: This is the hardest division to pick. There is no dominant team here. It's the Saints turn this year. The offense is just too good to miss the playoffs for a third straight year. Drew Brees might throw for 10,000 yards this year.

The Atlanta Falcons will be solid enough to grab a wild card and the Carolina Panthers might kill Jake Delhomme before the year is through. Seriously, he might just go missing come December.

NFC North: A 39-year-old quarterback with a partially torn rotator cuff is not the answer. Therefore, the Green Bay Packers will take the North this year. Aaron Rodgers has a full season under his belt and is only going to get better this year. Ryan Grant is healthy and had a full camp and the defense should be better. Add all that up and I smell a run at the NFC Championship.

The Minnesota Vikings will get a wild card, though. Not so much because of Brett Favre, but more so because the defense and running game. Adrian Peterson is a freak and will carry that team. The Vikings will run the ball a lot more and take the ball out of Favre's hand. But teams will still have too much respect for him to stack the box. Favre will still cost them two games, though.

NFC West: Why do teams out west stink so much? Seriously, only one team in this division is going to have a winning record. The Arizona Cardinals will win this division with 10 wins. No matter who is quarterback, this team is going to have a great offense and will be fun to watch. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin is the best receiver tandem in the league, and this division is just bad.

The Seattle Seahawks did get T.J. Houshmandzadeh (didn't even need to look up the spelling!) but their offensive line is in shambles. Their best lineman, Walter Jones, had knee surgery is late August and will miss at least four games. He could be out all year. Matt Hasselbeck will be under constant pressure and they won't get eight wins.

The San Francisco 49ers are OK, but they still don't have a quarterback that can lead you to the playoffs.

So there you have it. The Steelers, Patriots, Chargers, Colts, Titans, Ravens, Eagles, Saints, Packers, Cardinals, Vikings and Falcons will make the playoffs. The Steelers will then beat the Packers in the Super Bowl.

We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off - Jermaine Stewart

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"24" in a nutshell

I've had friends tell me for years how amazing "24" is. How Jack Bauer is the greatest person and biggest bad ass in the world. This fanaticism turned me off of the show and I never watched -- until now.

The show is definitely intense, with every episode ending with a cliffhanger that makes you need to watch the next one. Through three seasons, I think I can fairly rate the show. The short story would be it's like crack, or any other addictive drug. It's not good, the acting is pretty laughable at times, but it's addictive and hard to quit.

So rather than give an in depth review of the first three seasons, (they're on to eight, so I have a ways to go) I figured I'd give you some observations. I just love lists too much to resist.

  • Don't get attached to any character not named Jack Bauer. They will disappear without explanation when the next season comes around. Or they will die.
  • The main agency in the show is the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit. They are tasked with saving the day every season, yet they have the worst security ever. Any bad guy owns them.
  • CTU is also constantly infiltrated by bad guys, or the bad guys get to agents. You'd expect them to be a little harder to find. On the other hand, they are not the CIA.
  • How there still is an L.A. branch of CTU is beyond me. In the three seasons I've seen, the agents die by the score. I'd say for every bad guy taken out, there are five CTU agents dying.
  • The show hates women. They're either very dumb, or get the crap beat out of them, and/or are killed.
  • You will want Kim Bauer to die or go off to college. Her good looks only go so far before her annoying character and bad acting bother you.
  • Harrison Ford would be the greatest Jack Bauer. Even at age 70.
  • You'll be on the edge of your seat waiting for the President to try and sell you car insurance.
  • Lou Diamond Phillips is awesome.
  • The whole 24 hours in real time is a neat idea, but it hurts the show. They really stretch out the seasons to fill their 24 show requirement.
  • Jack Bauer's character is loosly based on the life of a friend of mine we'll call Levi. Levi just doesn't know it yet.
I'll Fight - Wilco

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer movie reviews

Seeing as today is the start of Fall, I decided to give everyone a review of the summer movies I saw. There will also be some that I did not see. For some reason, movies that came out in May were considered summer movies, so Wolverine and Star Trek will be reviewed.

Also, I enjoy movies, but I am not that hard to please. You will never hear me talk about cinematography or that kind of stuff. So this is a simple review. I either liked it or I didn't.

Wolverine - C-: Gambit and Deadpool (the correct Deadpool) are not in this movie very much. Just like in X-Men: The Last Stand, the makers of the film just tried to put in as many mutants as they could to draw people to the movie. It worked.

I went expecting Gambit to have a large role, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool was perfect casting. Instead I got 10 minutes of those two combined, lots of action and a storyline that didn't make a lot of sense. While I was fine with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's subpar plot, Wolverine just annoyed me. It wasn't accurate, and even the great action scenes couldn't rescue it.

Star Trek - B: I'm not a big Star Trek guy, but this was a fun movie. Special effects were cool, acting was surprisingly good and the story made sense. It's weird seeing a movie with Harold in it, but no Kumar. And then to see Harold being a expert, weird lightsabre-esque swordsman was even more surprising.

Loved that Leonard Nemoy made an appearance and think this was a good reboot for the franchise.

The Hangover - B+: Really funny. Not on Old School or Slackers level (yes, I said Slackers. Deal with it), but it was very enjoyable. Zach Galifinakis steals the show and reminds us all how cool it is to be in a wolf pack.

It probably would have been an A- if not for my inexplicable hatred for Bradley Cooper. Don't ask me why I hate him, I just told you it's inexplicable and I have no reason I can think of. Something in my subconscious just hates on the man.

Public Enemies - B-: It wasn't bad. It just wasn't anything special either. I'd take the Untouchables over it any day of the week. Johnny Depp did a good job as John Dillinger, but his was the only noteworthy performance. Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover was cool, but he just wasn't in the movie enough.

Christian Bale as Melvin Pervis was interesting. I saw it with Swan, who had read up on all these people, and the potrayal of Pervis was very inaccurate he said. In the movie, Bale was a one man, crime fighting, gangster killing machine. Early in the movie he kills Pretty Boy Floyd (who was in the movie for all of two minutes), when that never happened. There was also the multiple kills he had near the end of the movie that never happened in real life.

It kind of makes you wonder if Bale had some rewrites so he could look more badass. I was half expecting him to show up in his Batman costume at one point.

The Orphan - Did not see: I remember this movie coming out a long time ago when it was called The Omen. Why pay to see it again?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - A: Loved it. What is more fun than seeing giant robots from outer space blowing each other, and everything around them, sky high? I can't think of anything other than Keira Knightley.

Sure the story is kind of weak and there are no Oscar performances here, but this is Transformers people. You don't see it for either of those two things. You see it to escape for two hours, enjoy a lot of special effects, debate if Megen Fox is hot or just slutty, some quirky lines and to see robots fighting. Optimus Prime is amazing in this one because he went from getting his ass handed to him by Megatron in the first one, to taking on several Decepticons, including Megatron, all at once. He also talks more smack than Miami Dolphins' Joey Porter. It's hilarious.

Try and ignore the twins Autobots that appear to be terrible steretypes. I actually felt dirty for laughing at them a few times.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra - Did not see: Remember that inexplicable hatred for Bradley Cooper I have? It goes double for Channing Tatum. I'll probably rent it at some point because I have an inexplicable love for Dennis Quaid. I'm still trying to figure out what accent he was shooting for in Dragonheart.

The Ugly Truth - F: I have a beautiful girlfriend whom I love very much. So there are occasions that she wants to see some pretty awful looking romantic comedies, and I get to go with her. That is how this occurred.

It was the worst movie I have seen in theaters since Daredevil. Usually there will be a few scenes in Rom-Coms that make me at least giggle. Didn't happen here. Everything was predicatable, not funny and lame. The Orphan had to have been better. And why does Gerard Butler only speak with one side of his mouth? It's like the David Beckham effect and I can't stand it.

G-Force - Did not see: But I laugh every time I see the trailer where the mice chant, "Poop in his hand! Poop in his hand!"

The Final Destination - Did not see: Why are they still making these? And is there really that much going on under an escalator?

if I missed one, please feel free to give your own review.

Burning Down the House - Talking Heads