Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week 8 picks

Once again, I had a pretty ugly week at 7-6. If I missed, I missed big. I am so embarrassed with some of those picks, I'm not even going to pat myself on the back this week for the one I got really right.

Biggest misses from Week 7 are as follows: New Yorks Jets 38, Oakland Raiders 0, San Diego Chargers 37, Kansas City Chiefs 7, Cincinnati Bengals 45, Chicago Bears 10. Yes, I picked the Raiders, Chiefs and Bears to win last week, and they lost by a collective score of 120-17. I don't feel too bad about the Bengals game. No one expected that kind of smack down. But I'm deeply regretting the Chiefs and Raiders picks.

Not only did I say the Chiefs would win, I said Larry Johnson would get his first 100-yard game. Instead, he had 49 yards and went on to bash his coach and gays via twitter. He probably won't play another snap for the Chiefs.

Meanwhile, JaMarcus Russell was busy turning the ball over like crazy and getting benched in Oakland. But if you ask him, none of it is his fault. And really, how can you disagree with him? He's only turned the ball over 13 times this year.

On with Week 8!

Disclaimer: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on bye, so they don't have a chance to lose this week, but the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns are playing this week and they will lose. I was almost tempted to try and give some insight on the Detroit Lions-St. Louis Rams game, but I made a commitment to these teams and I'm not going to go back on it.

Houston Texans 24, Buffalo Bills 9: Ryan Fitzpatrick should not have a job in the NFL. He got lucky last week when Jake Delhomme did his best Jake Delhomme impression and handed the game away. Matt Schaub is not Jake Delhomme. In fact, he is leading the league in passing and touchdowns. Also, Andre Johnson plans on playing despite a bruised lung. All of this is bad news for the Bills. Only potentially bad weather is going to hold the Texans' offense back.

Dallas Cowboys 27, Seattle Seahawks 20: While the Cowboys' secondary has been this year, the Seahawks offensive line has been pretty terrible. Walter Jones is on the IR, and Matt Hasselbeck is going to be under constant pressure. Seattle will also be without linebacker Lofa Tatupu (sweet name), so expect Tony Romo to have another strong outing.

Indianapolis Colts 35, San Francisco 49ers 13: Welcome back to the lineup Alex Smith! You get to play an undefeated Colts team led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Oh, and Dwight Freeney plans on playing. I wish you luck, Alex, but I'm pretty sure you're going to get crushed.

Miami Dolphins 24, New York Jets 13: Miami's defense is among the best in the league at stopping the run. Mark Sanchez is playing like a rookie that had not started 20 career college games before entering the draft. Expect Miami to dominate the clock with that Wildcat of there's and force Sanchez to beat them. He will fail to do so.

OK, quick interruption. I can't stand the Wildcat. What I despise even more is other teams renaming it to fit their team name. You have the Denver Broncos calling it the Wild Horses and the TCU Frogs calling it the Wild Frogs. Stop it. This job falls on the announcers. Just call it the Wildcat and don't make such a big deal out of it.

One more side note. Does anyone else find it funny that other teams continue to try and run it, even though it's pretty obvious Miami is the only team that really knows what they're doing in that formation?

Sorry, I just have one more thing on my mind. Why the heck are the Jets continuing to wear those ugly throwbacks? I think they've already worn them three times this season. The point of throwbacks is to do it rarely so that those occasions are more special and make us look back to a different generation. Wearing them every other week is ridiculous. Maybe I wouldn't mind so much if they weren't so heinously ugly.

New York Giants 24, Philadelphia Eagles 14: The Eagles have not looked good the past two weeks. But neither have the Giants. Both teams have looked great this season, though, so it's any team's ball game. Brian Westbrook won't play, but mini-Westbrook (LeSean McCoy) is. In the end I think Brandon Jacobs is the difference maker. I know I said he would breakout last week, and he kind of did (13 carries, 76 yards and a touchdown), but I think the Giants commit to the run and wear down the Eagles.

Denver Broncos 20, Baltimore Ravens 13: Every week it seems people are saying this is the week the Broncos come down to earth. I don't think this is the week. The Ravens have been struggling to get pressure on quarterbacks and look at their schedule so far. They have yet to step up and beat a quality team. No, the Chargers are not a quality team this year. Meanwhile, the Broncos have wins against the New England Patriots and the Bengals. Oh, and they have only given up 10 points in the second half this SEASON. That might be the most overlooked statistic in the NFL this year.

Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Tennessee Titans 10: Let the Vince Young Part Deux Era begin. This would be a fun game, if I had any confidence that Young could take advantage of the Jaguars' joke of a secondary. But I don't so I think it's another one-side affair, with Jacksonville passing all over the crummy Titans' secondary.

San Diego Chargers 30, Oakland Raiders 3: I wish I could play in the AFC West.

Arizona Cardinals 24, Carolina Panthers 10: Jake Delhomme is still the starter in Carolina. Until that changes, they are not beating any decent teams. Wait, Matt Moore is their backup. They aren't going to beat a decent team this year. Period.

Green Bay Packers 24, Minnesota Vikings 17: You may not have heard, but Brett Favre is returning to Lambeau Field for the first time since leaving the Packers. Apparently it's a big deal. And I'll be honest, I want to watch this game. As annoyed as I was with Favre this summer, I enjoy watching him play. It's fun. Anything can happen with him back there. He might make a throw no one else in their right mind would thik of throwing, or he could try and throw a pass behind his back as he is being sacked and it ends up being intercepted and returned for a touchdown. You just never know. It will be a good game, but the Packers will be too determined not to be 2-0 against Favre.

New Orleans Saints 30, Atlanta Falcons 14: The key to beating the Falcons is jumping out to an early lead and forcing them to abandon the run. I know, that seems pretty obvious to beating any team, but I think it is really obvious against the Falcons. In their losses to the Patriots and Cowboys, the Falcons had to rely on Matt Ryan to bring them back, and he couldn't do it. Expect that to happen again this week.

Happy Halloween everyone. Be safe. And ladies, the trampy cop costume is so 10 years ago.

Down by the River - Neil Young

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yigo's near escape

I am not the greatest map maker, as you can see from the above sketch. The lines and arrows are the route Yigo took through my neighborhood a little while ago when he broke off his leash and embarrassed me and my family. I'll give a play-by-play, because you probably can't interpret my beautifully created powerpoint map.

So it was a pretty evening and I decided I would take my dog, Yigo, and my parents' dog, Sydney, for a stroll around the neighborhood. We had done so countless times before, but this walk turned into a chase worthy of the movies.

The problem began with me hooking the leash to Yigo's identification tag instead of the ring on his collar. For those of you without dogs, the metal ring on an id tag is very weak, so a 40-pound dog tugging is going to break it, and Yigo did. Free from his chains, Yigo bolted to the yard across the street. I didn't want to lose sight of him, so I didn't take Sydney inside, but took him running across the yard to try and bring back Yigo.

Well, because I was afraid to let Sydney's leash go, I was very limited in my chances to catch Yigo. Sydney is the craziest dog I know and I was terrified of him running loose in the neighborhood. He'd probably try and jump into a moving car if given the chance.

Faced with this dilemma, I called my house to get reinforcements. My mother and father quickly came outside and started calling to Yigo, but he was free and having a blast. He wasn't coming back without a fight. Once my parents crossed the street, Yigo stopped running circles around me and bolted farther down the street. My mom tried telling me to let her handle Sydney, but he is almost 70 pounds and would drag her across several lawns with ease. That's when my brother showed up to help with Sydney and more problems arose.

He and my dad took turns tugging very hard on Sydney's leash to try and get him back to the house. But Sydney saw how happy Yigo was running around that he wanted to join in. So while me and my mom chased Yigo through the mean neighbors' lawn, Sydney was slowly maneuvering his way out of his collar.

In the mean neighbors' lawn, who would have come out yelling had they seen a dog running in their yard, I had position on Yigo and would have tackled him, but my mom had caught up to us and as I moved to grabbed Yigo, she set a pick and ruined my plan. Yigo then took off toward the street again where Sydney and the rest of my family were waiting.

It was at that moment that Sydney escaped his leash and went chasing after Yigo. My dad and brother just stood in the road with confused looks on their faces.

So now I am sprinting down the street while our neighbor in house B is trying to have a conversation with me about my time in Guam. I didn't mean to be rude, but I had to catch my dogs!

After a quick run, I thought I had Yigo trapped in a backyard (A), but the little bugger is way more agile than me, and he had no problem running another circle around me.

That's when the humans finally caught a break. Sydney is not in the best of shape. He is probably 10-15 pounds overweight to be exact. So he was getting tired and wasn't quick enough to get away from my lunge. One down, one to go.

By the time I had Sydney's collar and leash back on, Yigo was now running freely through Neighbor C's yard. There are a lot of trees on the edge of their lawn, so Yigo was easily ducking in between them while I clumsily chased. After a few minutes of this, I lured an exhausted Yigo into the car with promises of treats.

While the dogs were captured and unharmed, it still was an embarrassing day for the whole Rickel clan.

Band on the Run - Wings

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fantasy football trades: to veto or not to veto

Anyone that hates fantasy sports should stop reading now. I feel that is an important disclaimer, as those of you who do not enjoy fantasy (despite never trying it) REALLY don't like it and are kind of mean when sharing your opinions about us fantasy football players.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about whether fantasy football trades, and any fantasy sports trades for that matter, should be ruled upon by the league. Now I have to admit, I used to be a poor sport in fantasy leagues. If I thought a trade made one team a lot better than the other, I would try and get the trade vetoed. It wasn't even that the deal was unfair. I was in first place and the guy in second got Miguel Cabrera. There was more to the deal, but I definitely thought the Miguel Cabrera team got the better of the deal and really didn't want my adversary to get better.

That was wrong of me and I have since changed. My stance now is that as long as the two teams involved in a trade are not working together to make one super team, then let the trade go through. Just because one player gets the better end of the deal, doesn't mean league owners should rally to shoot the trade down.

I am in an ESPN league where this situation arose. Two brothers made a deal where one owner gave up Marion Barber, Kenny Britt and Mike Sims-Walker for Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. The league was pretty much split on the situation with half calling it unfair and the other saying let it go through. In the end, the commissioner viewed it as unfair and vetoed it.

Was this the right decision? I wouldn't have done it. Like I said, unless it's obvious one team is tanking to the other, then it should go through. Now, the brother getting White and Gonzo is tied for 10th, and the other is playoff bound, so perhaps one was trying to help his bro makes the playoffs. But I don't know them well enough to make that call.

I like that the commish took control, I just would have gone the other way.

So that brings up the question as to whether fantasy trades should be voted upon by the league? You know how I feel, now it's time for you to share your opinion. Specifically you, Greg. You haven't been on the boards in quite some time. The MBA can wait, Sports, Dogs and Everything Else needs you!

Don't Stop - Rolling Stones

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy belated birthday, JCVD

Let us take a moment to thank the big man upstairs for giving us the gift of Jean Claude Van Damme a little more than 49 years ago.

Born Oct. 18, 1960, JCVD rose to become the greatest Belgian action star of all time. If you disagree, you have no idea what you are talking about and deserve a jumping spin kick to your face.

Try and tell me you've never imagined yourself in a sports arena/stadium that has been overrun by terrorists and you're the only hope for the innocent lives trapped in the building. While all of us were dreaming it, JCVD was living it in "Sudden Death". Any other year and that movie takes home the Oscar. Unfortunately for JCVD, that was the year "Braveheart" came out.

Of course, there is no excuse for Nick Cage stealing the Best Actor award for his role in "Leaving Las Vegas". I guarantee more saw and enjoyed JCVD's powerful performance as the security guard who takes matters into who own hands.

We need a sequel this year. They can actually blow up Mellon Arena!

Somehow "Blood Sport" also went without any Oscar nominations, only furthering the belief that the Oscars are all about politics. And let's face it, JCVD does movies that will change lives, not just what some suits think has nice cinematography and big stars. The man was practically blinded and still managed to defeat the baddest bad guy of all time and avenge his pummeled friend. He even got the bandanna back. There are rumors floating around that the end of "Blood Sport" was actually the inspiration for the concept of bromance.

I could gone on for hours about the greatness of JCVD (Lionheart, Hard Target, Kickboxer, Cyborg, Nowhere to Run etc...) but I have a job now and don't have the time. But I have to bring up "Double Impact". JCVD played two characters in this classic. As a pair of twin brothers separated at 1-year-old, he kicks the crap out of so many people. Hell, he even fights himself. It was "The One" 20 years before "The One" was even thought about. And "Double Impact" was actually good, whereas "The One" was pretty lame.

So thank you, JCVD. You were my favorite actor growing up and deserve a chance to shine again.

St. Elmo's Fire - John Parr

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 7 picks

Last week was ugly. While I finished 8-6, most of those 6 were horribly off. And let's be honest, when you don't factor in the spread, you should finish above .500 every week. I blame the Philadelphia Eagles. Those bums lost to an Oakland Raiders team that didn't attempt 20 passes the week prior, even though they were down at least 20 points for most of the game. How did the Eagles not manage a touchdown? Mind boggling. Well, let's get on with it.

Biggest hit: I'm going to say it was a tie between the Arizona Cardinals 27, Seattle Seahawks 3; and the New England Patriots 59, Tennessee Titans 0 - The Cardinals were on top of Hasselbeck all game, preventing the Seahawks' offense from clicking. The man was 10-for-29 for less than 120 yards and two turnovers. The shootout that many analysts and reporters expected never showed. Considering how poorly I did with some of the other picks, I just want to relish this one for a bit.... Thank you.

I had the Titans scoring some points, but other than that I was pretty much spot on. Tom Brady lit up their secondary (is there a bigger understatement). What I didn't expect was the Titans literally quitting. Would you have been surprised if the team literally hit the showers during halftime and didn't bother coming out for the second half?

Biggest miss: Oakland Raiders 13, Philadelphia Eagles 9 - Ummm, what the hell!?! When I predicted a 50-6 Eagles' romp, I was only partially joking. What I was really thinking was 42-6. When JaMarcus Russell has the most touchdown passes in a game, something has to be wrong. Seriously, that whole 2012 apocalypse might be sooner.

An honorable mention would be New Orleans Saints 48, New York Giants 27: In my defense, I said I had no justification for predicting the Giants to hold the Saints to 17 points. But to miss it by 31 points is pretty ridiculous. These Saints are Super Bowl contenders. Drew Brees is great and the defense is for real. That was the last time I pick against them. Time for Week 7.

Disclaimer: The Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers games will not be mentioned beyond this point because two of them are finishing 0-16 and the Browns are finishing 1-15 (way to go, Buffalo).

Houston Texans 31, San Francisco Giants 21: The only reason this one is within 10 is because Frank Gore is back and practicing without limitations. But it won't be enough for a Texans offense that has realized that their best chance at winning is throwing the ball around 40 times a game. Expect another 300-yard three-touchdown game from Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

Kansas City Chiefs 24, San Diego Chargers 21: Upset special, baby! This Chargers defense is a mere shadow of its former self. Shawn Merriman hasn't been the same since his steroid use. Coincidence? Probably not. I see Dwayne Bowe and Matt Cassel hooking up all day and Larry Johnson rushing for his first 100-yard game this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Minnesota Vikings 21: Jeff Reed will hit a winning field goal, down a beer and then punch a security guard in the face. Meanwhile, Matt Spaeth will urinate on Brett Favre's leg, causing mass hysteria and laughter in the stadium. Also, with Antoine Winfield out, Big Ben is going to rain death upon the Vikings' secondary. Quick question for all of you out there. Who has the most receiving yards this season? Not Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne or Larry. It's Hines word with 599. He doesn't even have ACLs!

Oakland Raiders 13, New York Jets 12: The Sanchise has hit quite a rut. After getting picked off five times by the Buffalo secondary last week, expect the Jets rookie qb to continue to struggle. I feel like this pick is an apology to the Raiders last week for disrespecting them as much as I did.

Carolina Panthers 10, Buffalo Bills 2: I feel sorry for anyone planning on attending or watching this snorefest.

Chicago Bears 17, Cincinnati Bengals 10: Matt Forte will not fumble this game away. He will bounce back for 100 yards on the ground and the game-winning score. If the Bengals never won another game, I would be a happy man.

Atlanta Falcons 27, Dallas Cowboys 13: The Dallas offense is mediocre this year. They are not slow out of the gate, or just slumping, they just are not that good. Meanwhile, the Falcons are looking great since their loss to the Patriots. Michael Turner has four TDs in in his past two games and Roddy White is has broken for long touchdowns the past two weeks. Combine those two with Tony Gonzalez and Matt Ryan playing well, and you have a NFC title contender.

New Orleans Saints 38, Miami Dolphins 13: The Wildcat is not going to save the Dolphins here. They are going to have to pass the ball, and do so effectively, if they are going to have any chance at keeping up with the Saints. Then there is the mediocre Dolphins secondary that Drew Brees will shred. How much do you think the Dolphins are regretting signing Daunte Culpepper a few years ago instead of Brees?

New York Giants 24, Arizona Cardinals 14: The Giants are going to get a lot more pressure on Kurt Warner than they did on Brees, and Kurt tends to turn the ball over when he fears for his life. This will also be the game where Brandon Jacobs breaks out of the funk he has been in all season long. He's due.

Philadelphia Eagles 28, Washington Redskins 7: There are very few teams in the NFL I would pick the Eagles to beat this week after the stink bomb they laid against the Raiders. It just so happens the Redskins are one of them. Jim Zorn will probably be coaching high school football at this time next year.

Going Underground - The Jam

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dear WWE, please bring back real tag teams

The 1980s were awesome for professional wrestling. It was the rise of Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man Randy Savage. If you include the Ultimate Warrior, I will slap you. But something they had back then that is sorely missed today is real tag teams.

Anyone else remember Demolition, Legion of Doom, the Rockers, Orient Express, Power and Glory, the Bushwackers and many more? These were all tag teams first, and it was surprising when members of these teams competed in singles matches. Now, and for years now, the tag team division has been dominated by big-name singles competitors that just so happen to team up one night and win the titles.

Well I'm sick of it. Bring back the real tag teams with sick finishers. Does the Doomsday Device ring a bell?

Not only do the lack of cool finishers bother me, but it's just not surprising when they super teams break up. Half the time, the partners hate each other but are forced to team up by whoever is in charge. Then they somehow coexist for a match and win the belts. Two weeks later, that team has a mess up that costs them the belts, they get into a brawl and then fight each other at the next pay-per-view. Boring!

Remember when Shawn Michaels ended the Rockers by giving Marty Jannetty a nasty Sweet Chin Music in the Barbershop? And as if that wasn't enough, Michaels then through Jannetty's face through a window. They were my favorite tag team and I still can't believe they ended like that! You don't get those kinds of moments any more.

Younger fans are being robbed of what was once a very prestigious part of the sport. Instead they just get John Cena and Randy Orton constantly feuding with HHH thrown in there every now and again, while the tag team division is ignored.

There was hope for a time. The Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian were putting on classic matches every month back at the start of the decade. But then the Dudleyz left, while the Hardyz and Edge and Christian all went solo.

Maybe when the WWE brings back some real and entertaining tag teams, I'll start watching again. Either that or Jake the Snake comes back and DDTs everyone.

Sister Disco - The Who

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 6 picks

Thank you Buffalo Bills for ruining history. Your embarrassing display against the Cleveland Browns allowed the Browns to win a game this season, destroying my dream of three 0-16 teams this season. How do you only score 3 points against a defense that bad? How do you lose a game against a team whose quarterback completed only two passes? Start updating that resume, Dick Jauron. You are so not going to be a head coach next season.

As for last week:

Biggest hit: Atlanta Falcons 45, San Francisco 49ers 10 - OK, so the Falcons were even better than I thought, but I did say they would shut down the 49ers offense and Michael Turner (97 yards, 3 TDS) would get it going.

Biggest miss: Seattle Seahawks 41, Jacksonville Jaguars 0: Not only did I have the Jags scoring a point, I also had them winning the game. Let's move on.

Time for this week's picks! Remember, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams are not winning a game this year, so I'm not going to waste time analyzing their games. And I will also say the Browns don't win another game this year.
  • Cincinnati Bengals 27, Houston Texans 21: Where was this Cedric Benson four years ago? Heck, where was he last year? Benson is the NFL's leading rusher this season with 487 yards. That's six more than Adrian Peterson. The Texans' run defense, well all of their defense, is pretty poor, so expect the Bengals' balanced attack to pull through.
  • Green Bay Packers 33, Detroit Lions 17: Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford didn't practice Thursday and it doesn't look like they'll play this week. Even if they do, The Packers have too much firepower.
  • Baltimore Ravens 17, Minnesota Vikings 14: This is the week that Brett Favre doesn't get the job done for the Vikings. I think the Ravens will bring everything at Favre and sack him a few times. Also, look for the Ravens to come out angry after losing two games in a row.
  • New York Giants 28, New Orleans Saints 17: I really have no justification for the Saints only scoring 17 points at home. While I like New Orleans' defense, Eli Manning and Giants have proved that missing Plaxico Burress is no problem. The Giants and their balanced attack will give the improved Saints defense fits and will get to 6-0.
  • Kansas City Chiefs 14, Washington Redskins 10: Holy cow, this is going to be a boring game. Does anyone really care about this game? Both teams are so bad, how could either fan base get excited about a win?
  • Arizona Cardinals 30, Seattle Seahawks 13: A lot of talk show/radio hosts are predicting this will be a high scoring shootout. I'm thinking the Cardinals run away with it. Larry and Kurt Warner are back in sync and every secondary has to be terrified of that matchup. The Seahawks' O-line is beat up and unlike the Jags, the Cardinals are going to get to Matt Hasselbeck and force some turnovers.
  • Philadelphia Eagles 50, Oakland Raiders 6: The Raiders will be down by 28 by halftime, then come out of halftime and try to establish the run. They don't play to win, or even be competitive. It's times like these I wish I had some Eagles on my fantasy team.
  • New England Patriots 42, Tennessee Titans 13: The Patriots' offense has not been the scoring machine everyone thought it would be with Tom "Butt Chin" Brady back at the helm. But the Titans are one of the worst teams in the league against the pass. Expect Brady to have a field day tearing a part the Titans' secondary.
  • New York Jets 24, Buffalo Bills 0: So last week I said that Braylon Edwards would not really contribute this year as a Jet. My bad. He had more than 60 yards and a TD last week in his first game. Now that doesn't mean he won't drop a goose egg this week, but I think he keeps rolling. I will never predict the Bills to win again after their turd of a game last week.
  • Atlanta Falcons 28, Chicago Bears 24: I found myself writing Broncos their instead of the Bears, thankfully I caught it. This is a great game with two young qbs full of potential. I picked the Falcons because Matt Ryan doesn't look like he's about to cry every time the camera cuts to him on the sideline.
  • San Diego Chargers 24, Denver Broncos 20: I really don't like Phillip Rivers. He's talks way too much for a guy who has never played in a Super Bowl, let alone win one. But he and this offense can put up a lot of points fast. The Chargers are coming off a bye and probably have a great plan to give Rivers the time he needs to pick apart the Broncos' secondary. On a side note, you'd think that I would have learned by now to stop picking against the Broncos. Nope. I'm stubborn like that.
Sugar High - Sweet

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Questions about final scene of the Sandlot

After yesterday's post, a few of my friends and I were discussing the situation at the end of "The Sandlot." Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez is brought in to pinch run at third base. He then stole home for the win.

First, is Benny a bench player or a star? He wasn't brought in until the final inning, and it wasn't even to hit, so did they really value his bat that much? If he were a star, I'd bring him in to pinch hit.

But then he stole home. You don't let a bench player do that. I don't care if he has the speed of a young Ricky Henderson. Scrubs don't risk the game by stealing home. If they do, they will be placed on waivers the next day. Benny must have been an important player for the Dodgers. He looked kind of old, so maybe he was an aging star making a last great run, but he was definitely a starter and a star.

Benny also has a nickname, so he has to be good, right?

Second, what the heck was the coach thinking putting on a steal of home? I haven't watched the movie in a while, so I don't know if they say how many outs there are. But baseball common sense tells us that you never make the first or last out stealing home. It just doesn't make sense. Also, even if there is one out, why on earth would you steal home? Benny obviously has tons of speed, so he can score on even a shallow fly ball. In conclusion, if this coach made the call, he might have been fired at the end of the year.

The call to steal helps support the idea that Benny is a star. If the call was not made, and he did it himself, he has to carry a lot of weight in the franchise. Like I said earlier, if a scrub gives himself the green light there, he is done playing that year. If a star does it, he gets away with it.

Third, the batter at the plate must be terrible. Whether Benny gave himself the green light, or the coach did, they obviously had no confidence in the guy at the plate. But once again, if that guy was so terrible, why not have Benny pinch hit for him?

Which then brings us back to the coach. Nothing he does in those two minutes makes any baseball sense, but it works.

In conclusion, Benny is a star and the film's director obviously didn't know much about baseball.

Boys of Summer - Don Henley

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What if they were real?

Haven't you ever wondered if Roy Hobbs really could destroy a ballpark? Or if Shane Falco really could rally a group of nobodies to defeat a team full of pro football players. That's what I'm here for. To let you know if these fictional athletes really could dominate a sport like they did in their respected movies.

Shane Falco: No way. His mechanics are lousy and the deaf tight end was the real story in "The Replacements." Falco reminds me of a poor man's Jake Plummer. He can scramble some and look great at times, but he's not a quarterback that can take you to a championship.

Roy Hobbs: Robert Redford's movie version of the ace pitcher turned amazing slugger in "The Natural" is plausible, just ask Rick Ankiel. But I don't think he is that clutch or powerful in real life. I'm thinking a 2008 Josh Hamilton-esque season for Roy. And for those of you interested or hate spoilers, Roy strikes out in the book. Quite different than destroying the stadium with a moonshot.

Jimmy Chitwood: Holy cow he has a dream of a shot. If he didn't come like a decade after Larry Bird, I would think Chitwood inspired Bird. He would definitely be a star SG on an NBA roster. Not only is he clutch from downtown, but he can drive to the hoop, rebound and pass. Heck, I don't think he's ever missed a free throw. Honestly, he's probably a high-round draft pick in any standard fantasy basketball draft.

Paul Blake: OK, he was a 40-year-old freshman quarterback for the Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos in "Necessary Roughness." His record was something like 1-8-1, but he beat the No. 1 team in the country in his last game. He was also on a team that had 18 players, so he wasn't exactly working with the talent surrounding today's babied QBs. Despite taking brutal hits, just about every snap, Blake has a rocket for an arm and has surprising accuracy. Look what Brett Favre is doing with the Minnesota Vikings. Blake could definitely lead a team to the playoffs.

Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez: In "The Sandlot," Benny had all kinds of tools. He hit for power, stole bases, played defense at just about every position and was a mentor to the younger players of his team. We flashed forward in the movie and he was pinch runner. Was he a bust, or was he just taking the day off. As long as he continued to improve throughout the high school and college days, I'm sure he would be a first round pick with tons of upside. He definitely would be a 20-20 guy with potential for 30-30. The one question is, what position would he play? He might be like Pujols early in his career, just playing wherever to get him in the lineup.

Charlie Conway: Definitely didn't make it to the pros. He was a wimp that couldn't even make the varsity team at his college in his freshman year. For those of you who think Goldberg would be a star, you obviously didn't see "D3." He didn't have what it took to be a goalie and he's way too fat to play the ice. Adam Banks was the only player on that team with NHL potential. Well, Fulton Reed could have been a goon, but that's stretching it.

Captain Robert Hatch: He was the goalie in "Victory," where Allies POWs played the German National team in a game of soccer. He would start for any national team in the world. Why? Because he CAUGHT a friggin' penalty kick. And he helped a team compete with the German National Team. He might be the biggest lock of this list.

The Jamaican bobsled team: Why am I even bothering? They don't have snow in the island nation and there is no way they can go from no practice on the real stuff, to medal contenders. I'm sure they could be great sprinters and be medal contenders in the proper sport. Bobsledding though, they are toast.

Kevin Costner: I'll mention his characters later, but he played a pitcher with perfect game stuff and a crazy golfer that goes big or goes home. As a golfer, I give him a punchers chance. Look at who won majors this year. A guy named Yang and another one named Glover, no relation to Danny. While he won't sniff the top of the money list, Roy McAvoy could definitely win a major and maybe a few other tour events.

Billy Chapel probably makes it too. He threw a knee buckling breaking ball in the first inning of his first game that would freeze Ichiro on a good day.

Now the tough one is Crash Davis. Catchers with pop are hard to come by. He calls games well, but sometimes goes too far. You don't, under any circumstances, give the pitch away to a batter. Sure, he wanted to teach the young hurler a lesson, but there are better ways to go about it! Until he matures and learns to handle pitchers in a proper way, he's stuck in AAA ball.

Reno Hightower and Jack Dundee: They were the quarterback/receiver combo that hooked up late in "The Best of Times." Hightower had the arm, but Dundee is undersized for today's NFL. He was jammed at the line just about every play except the last one where he pulled a nice spin move. That will work maybe once a game. Hightower was tough and played by Kurt Russell. As we know, Russell fails at nothing and would rock the NFL.

There are millions of movie athletes, but that's what I have for now. Please share your own thoughts.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some apologies are in order

Admitting you're wrong is never fun, but it's something we all have to face. That's why I'm writing this. To admit I was wrong and apologize to those who I called out or insulted.

First, Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. Several people probably heard me say the Broncos would contend for worst team in the league and McDaniels might be fired before the season ended. Well, they're 5-0 and just beat the New England Patriots. He pissed off their franchise QB to the point he demanded a trade and got it. He angered their stud wide receiver to the point he was batting down passes in practice. And let's be honest, who thought that defense could make that drastic of a turnaround to quickly? So Josh, I'm sorry. You go from my candidate to be fired, to being my coach of the year candidate.

On a side note, how right was I about the attention the media would give to the McDaniels/Bill Belichick handshake that never was? Picture this. As the Broncos line up for the game-winning field goal, The Fray's "How to Save a Life" comes on and everything is in slow motion. While the kick is in the air, we go to shots of Belichick and his fear, then quickly cut to McDaniels' joy. Now the chorus starts and we cut to McDaniels pumping his fist like he's clubbing a seal. Then, just as the music is fading, we cut to Belichick looking for McDaniels to wrap him in a beautiful man hug, then fade to black with his look of utter sadness.

If I had any video editing skills I would so put that up on YouTube.

As much as I hate to admit this next one, I owe Jay Cutler an apology. He still looks like a spoiled little kid who is ready to cry at the drop of a hat, but he is doing a great job up in Chicago. His touchdown leap against the Detroit Lions was a football play that I wished happened every week. He started hot last year before being a part of Denver's collapse last year, but I think he will probably lead them to a Wild Card spot this year.

For the past two weeks, I've been telling anyone who would listen that the Cleveland Browns would not win a game this season. Well the friggin Buffalo Bills had to go and make me wrong. How do you lose a game where the opposing quarterback is 2-for-17 for 23 yards and a pick? After almost beating the Patriots in Week 1, the Bills have been a joke. For the record, I think that is the only win the Browns get this year.

I'm going to apologize to readers for not coming up with a quirky O.J. Simpson joke for the above paragraph. If I can't do it right, I'm not going to do it.

While we're on the topic of the Bills, I was so wrong about Terrell Owens and the rest of my receivers in a certain fantasy football league. TO always runs into trouble after a year of service, so I thought the Bills were very smart to sign him to a one-year deal. He would take attention away from Lee Evans, and defenses would have to respect a good running game of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. Of course, I overlooked the fact they had no offensive line and Trent Edwards is still playing scared after getting a concussion last year.

I also thought Roy Williams and Braylon Edwards would have bounce back years. Week 1 looked OK. Roy had a 66-yard TD and then Week 2 Braylon had 90+ yards. They have been terrible since and will cost me a that league. It happens to the best of us.

Then there was that preseason prediction that the New York Giants would miss the playoffs and the Tennessee Titans would snag a Wild Card. The Giants are now 5-0 and the Titans are 0-5 and looking terrible.

Mario Manningham was awful last year and Steve Smith couldn't beat out Amani Toomer or Domenik Hixon for playing time. Yet here they are lighting up opponents' secondaries. I also didn't think Osi Umenyiora would come back from a major knee injury and play this well this soon. I was pretty much wrong all around on that one.

Then there are the Titans. Does losing Albert Haynesworth do that much damage to their defense? They were one of the best defenses in the league last year and now they can't stop anyone. I really shouldn't make predictions.

The Steelers did win, though. It wasn't a shutout like I said, but I'll take whatever I can get right now.

Glad Girls - Guided by Voices

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Week 5 picks

So I had some hits and misses last week and now I'm back for more! Just like last week, I'm not going to bother analyzing, if you can call it that, the St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns or Tampa Bay Buccaneers games. I'm sticking by my statement that those three teams will not win a game this season. Before I do the picks, we'll review last week.

Record: 10-4

Biggest hit: New Orleans Saints over New York Jets - Not to toot my own horn, but I touted the Saints secondary and predicted them making Jets rookie Mark Sanchez look bad. Feel free to bask in my brilliance.

Biggest miss: Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville Jaguars - All of you who were basking in my brilliance are now feeling uncomfortable and gross in my stink. Not only did the Jags win, but they crushed the Titans. It was 30-3 at one point.

On with the picks!
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 33, Detroit Lions 10: Change this to a shutout if Lions QB Matthew Stafford doesn't play. The Steelers' offense finally got rolling last week for 38 points against a mediocre San Diego Chargers team. Now they are playing a bad Lions team. The offense will continue to roll. For all of you fantasy people out there, start every Steeler you can!
  • Dallas Cowboys 20, Kansas City Chiefs 10: The Chiefs are bad, we're talking two wins all season bad. But the Cowboys' offense has not been very good lately, so this game will be closer than most think. I'm expecting Dwayne Bowe to have his best game of the season and Tony Romo will keep struggling.
  • New York Giants 38, Oakland Raiders 3: How is JaMarcus Russell still starting? The Raiders have no passing attack. The Giants could play only 10 guys on defense and still win this game. Even if Eli Manning misses this game, expect the Giants to score at will and Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to torch the Raiders.
  • Carolina Panthers 17, Washington Redskins 9: The Redskins squeaked by the Rams and Bucs and lost to the Lions. After reading that last sentence, how could you ever feel comfortable picking the Skins to win a game? The Panthers are not good this year. Jake Delhomme is confused as to what team he should pass to and ends up guessing wrong. But that doesn't matter this week. DeAngelo Williams is going to have a great game and keep the Redskins offense off the field. And as long as they are handing the ball off, that limits Delhomme's chances to shoot his team in the stomach.
  • Baltimore Ravens 27, Cincinnati Bengals 17: What Bengals are going to show up? The ones that held the Steelers to 20 points, or the ones that gave up 20 points to Browns? I'm thinking it will be closer to their Browns performance. The Ravens will force a lot of three and outs and the Bengals' defense will get tired by the fourth quarter. On a personal note, I hate these teams as much as the New England Patriots. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't be sad if the stadium crumbled to the ground on top of both teams.
  • Atlanta Falcons 24, San Francisco 49ers 10: This would be a different story if Frank Gore was playing, but he isn't. The 49ers' offense is not producing that much despite their 3-1 record. Their defense is responsible for that record. I expect the Falcons to come off the bye week with a solid game plan that gets Michael Turner back to his 2008 form.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 28, Seattle Seahawks 14: I have to admit, I unjustly hated on the Jags. They have only play one bad game, Week 2 against Arizona, and I went and portrayed them as a mediocre team. Then they go and outgun the HoustonTexans and destroy the Tennessee Titans. David Garrard finally has a playmaker at receiver in Mike Sims-Walker and that is opening up the running game for Maurice Jones Drew. I now like the Jags to take the second Wild Card spot. This could change in a week. Bump up the Seahawks to 24 if Matt Hasselbeck plays.
  • Arizona Cardinals 41, Houston Texans 24: says that Warner practiced at 100 percent during the team's bye week and he could start throwing downfield more. In the Cardinals' first four games, Warner was relying on dump passes. I expect him and Larry "No Last Name Needed" Fitzgerald to hook up early and often. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson will keep pace for about a half before Schaub tries forcing throws that result in a few turnovers.
  • New England Patriots 35, Denver Broncos 14: The game doesn't matter because all eyes will be on the handshake between Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels after the game. Will it be the cold, quick handshake Belichick gave to Eric Mangini the first time, or will it be the beautiful man hug he gave to Mangini after the second game. You know, the one wear Bill body checked a photographer out of the way to get to his former assistant. It was so powerful, it inspired Annie Proulx to write Brokeback Mountain back in 1997. That's right, their bromance fought through the space and time continuum. Will McDaniels and Belichick inspire a sequel? We'll see.
  • Indianapolis Colts 28, Tennessee Titans 13: This is the week the Titans go back to Vince Young. Of course this will be after Peyton Manning lights up the Titans for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. How the heck did the Titans go from 14-2 last year to 0-4, soon to be 0-5, this year?
  • New York Jets 17, Miami Dolphins 6: Braylon Edwards will make his debut for the Jets and get all of two catches. I like the move for the Jets, but not for this year. It will take time for he and Mark Sanchez to click. But I still don't think the Dolphins are a very good team. Shut down Ronnie Brown, shut down the Fins. And the Jets can shut down the run.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 4 picks

I wish I could tell you I was too busy to make picks in the first three weeks of the NFL. I wasn't. But from this point on, every Thursday or Friday I will try and tell everyone who I think will win come Sunday and Monday. I don't do the spread. You shouldn't be betting on sporting events unless it's with your friends and the stakes are humiliating acts.
  • St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Bucs are all going to lose. The Bucs will have the best chance of winning against the Washington Redskins, but they won't.
  • Baltimore Ravens 17, New England Patriots 10: This is one of the games where I wish there was no winner. The Ravens are going to be blitzing like crazy to try and get pressure on Tom Brady, and they're going to succeed. The New York Jets didn't sack Brady, but they were swarming all around him and he was flustered. It's going to happen again this week.
  • Tennessee Titans 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 13: The Titans stop the run, and they run well. Jags' QB David Garrard is going to have to beat the Titans and he doesn't have to the weapons to do it. Also expect Chris Johnson to rush for at least 100 yards and a score.
  • Houston Texans 28, Oakland Raiders 17: The Texans appear to have no defense this year, especially against the run. Fortunately for them, they play the Raiders, who have no real offense. Darren McFadden will probably break a long run though to give the Raiders some offense.
  • Indianapolis Colts 38, Seattle Seahawks 14: Seahawks' QB Matt Hasselbeck is out and Peyton Manning is still leading the Colts. Enough said.
  • New York Giants 31, Kansas City Chiefs -3: The Bucs, although terrible, only managed 86 yards against the Giants last week. The Chiefs aren't going to do much better.
  • Chicago Bears 24, Detroit Lions 7: Lions' RB Kevin Smith is probably out, so the Lions will need Matthew Stafford to carry them. That's not going to happen against a solid Bears defense. While seeing the Lions pain end last week was nice, expect a new streak to begin.
  • Buffalo Bills 21, Miami Dolphins 17: Honestly, this might be the most boring game of the week unless you are a Bills or Dolphins fan. If Terrell Owens doesn't break out his slump this week, he is not going to do it this season, and those of you who took him as your first receiver in fantasy drafts (me) are going to be in a lot of trouble. Fortunately for the Bills, Chad Pennington is out and Chad Henne will be making his first career start. Don't expect a Mark Sanchez or Matt Ryan-like debut. He was behind Pennington for a reason.
  • New Orleans Saints 27, New York Jets 14: The Jets have shut down some pretty good offenses this year, but this is the game where Sanchez makes some mistakes that lead to short fields for the Saints. Greg Williams has done some great work with the Saints defense this year. They have seven interceptions already. Combine the improved defense with the studliness (should be a word) of Drew Brees and you have a 4-0 Saints team after this week.
  • Dallas Cowboys 17, Denver Broncos 9: I don't think Marion Barber plays at 100 percent, and Tony Romo is going to struggle to throw on Champ Bailey. Put those together and you have a low scoring affair here. With the Cowboys stuffing the run and forcing Kyle Orton to beat them, the Broncos won't score a touchdown.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 24, San Diego Chargers 20: The Steelers are going to wise up this week. Instead of giving up the go-ahead score with just seconds left, they're going to let the Chargers take the lead with 4 minutes left. This will allow Ben Roethlisberger to work his magic and lead the Steelers to a last minute win. If not, at least hockey season starts tomorrow.
  • Minnesota Vikings 20, Green Bay Packers 14: The Packers have struggled pretty bad against the run the past two weeks. Cedric Benson tore them up for 141 yards, and Steven Jackson had 117 against them. Now they have to face Adrian Peterson. Expect the Vikings to control the clock and Keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. Aren't you happy I didn't hype up Brett Favre facing the Packers for the first time since their messy divorce?
Long Live Rock - The Who