August 4, 2007

Another F1 Controversy

Today, in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was unable to complete his final pole attempt because he was held up in the pits by his teammate, Fernando Alonso (link includes a video of the incident).

Around the F1 blogosphere, there have been many different opinions, most of them saying that Alonso is a dirty cheater.

Ron Dennis, the McLaren team boss, claims that Alonso was just doing what he was told, and that a mistake by Hamilton at the start of Q3 is the real reason that the pit stops were out of sequence. That explanation doesn't quite fly with me. Hamilton doesn't seem like the sort of guy to explicitly disregard a direct order from the team. On the other hand, I don't think Alonso seems like the sort of guy to resort to dirty tricks to screw over his teammate.

To me, the most likely explanation is that the team screwed up. That Alonso's engineer was holding him up for a gap in traffic, but didn't realize what it was doing to Hamilton's chances. This kind of thing seems to happen a lot in F1, though. Something strange happens, and instead of a real explanation, you get spin by the team. That's one thing that NASCAR does really well, I think. They let the drivers speak their mind and say controversial things.

The race stewards declared that Alonso will start sixth instead of first, which is total bullshit. The whole situation just sucks, it doesn't make any sense that Alonso would deliberately hold up Hamilton, it doesn't make sense that McLaren would keep Hamilton from getting a final lap in, and it doesn't make sense that Hamilton wouldn't let Alonso pass him.

Whatever, hopefully we'll see rain tomorrow.

Inspirational Videos

Because the Ravens won the scrimmage today against the talent-deficient Washington Redskins, I am posting two inspirational videos to get the purple blood flowing.

(Brien, since we don't get to beat the Squealers till later, you can post a video of Ben Roethlisberger's best motorcycle tricks)

News Roundup - Aug. 4

1) Elton Brand ruptured his Achilles tendon during a normal workout, and will be out six months to a year. LAist ponders whether the Clippers, still reeling from Shaun Livingston's potentially career ending patella dislocation, might be in the Kobe sweepstakes now. My question is, what do they have left to trade? Also, why are ligaments and tendons "torn", but the achilles tendon and the patella tendon "rupture"?

2) Calvin Johnson signed with the Lions. I don't know if you saw, but ESPN has declared him one of the Hall-of-Famers currently playing in the league. Zach Thomas didn't make the list, apparently on the assumption that he can't do enough at this point to get in. I think Zach has a better chance of being a late-career Super Bowl MVP than Calvin Johnson has of being a HoFer with the Lions. The story that isn't being reported is that Calvin Johnson (who desperately needs a nickname) got $27.2M guaranteed and $64M overall, which might not sit well with Roy Williams and Mike Furrey, who made the vet minimum $500,000 in 2006 and signed a three-year deal for $9M (all guaranteed and $5.5M in the first year) this offseason. That's some cheddah, but it still has to hurt to make so much less than a guy who has proven nothing beyond how bad ACC cornerbacks were last year.

3), related to 2), know and love Rotoworld. It's the only site I know of that provides contract info for each NFL player. If you actually care about winning your fantasy league, that information reveals motivation, and motivation spawns true sleepers. ESPN: The Magazine ranked players on an opportunity/talent scale, but motivation is the true X Factor. Ask anybody who has ridden Yancey Thigpen, Joe Jurevicius, or Ricky Proehl to fantasy championships. Eminem's "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow" doesn't apply to the NFL. You need guys who are on their LAST shot.

4), related to 2), the list of first round holdouts is down to:

1. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Raiders
14. Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets (slotted, but being an asshole. Losing major ground to Justin Miller)
22. Brady Quinn, QB, Browns
23. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs (waiting on Quinn)
25. Jon Beason, LB, Panthers (slotted, but hoping Dan Morgan can't make it back)

5) Neifi Perez, Tigers IF, has been suspended for 80 games for a third "banned stimulant" violation. Oriole Post states the obvious, that Perez must be an idiot. Given that Perez is a comfortable major leaguer, as in one not likely to fall out of the league, I have to wonder if cocaine and other drugs are considered "stimulants". All of the other guys caught in the steroids policy have been marginal players or minor leaguers.

6) USC is the overwhelming #1 in the opening USA Today Poll. More disturbing, Maryland received no votes. Vastly more disturbing, Duke received one vote, reportedly from Spurrier who always votes for his alma mater. If Spurrier is protesting the ridiculousness of preseason rankings (which likely provided really high expectations for Spurrier's Florida teams), then I don't mind so much. If he really just thinks this could be Duke's year, he's dumber than his Redskins experience indicated.

7) The Ravens and Redskins scrimmage today at noon (MASN-1 with local live coverage). Let me say right now that I care way too much about the outcome of this now-annual event. I'm hoping the McNair-Heap and McNair-Demetrius Williams connections continue to develop, and I want to see something out of Troy Smith to make me comfortable cutting Kyle Boller loose this February. The two teams meet again in Week 3 of the preseason at Fed-Ex/Gay Pride Stadium in Raljon/Landover.

8) Browns RT Ryan Tucker has been suspended four games under the NFL's steroid policy. This makes me plenty nervous, because I think steroids are more pervasive in the NFL than we know. It makes me plenty happy too, because the Ravens play the Jamal Lewis-led Browns in the first four weeks. He can still train with the team and play preseason games, but somebody better keep Jamal away from him. Jamal has "friends" who don't "appreciate" his starting RT getting caught for juicing. Now, Joe Thomas has to start right away, which makes it entirely likely that Ryan Tucker has started his last game. That's too bad, because Tucker got off to a great start as the starting RT for the Rams during their Super Bowl run and can legitimately claim a portion of Marshall Faulk's success during those years. Tucker missed much of last season with "mental issues". I would link to discussions on the topic, but they're all Browns-related, and I'd sooner cut off my own balls than give anything to a Browns fan.

9) Eddie Murphy knocked up Scary Spice. I feel like I already knew that, but maybe I'm recalling a TMZ unfounded rumor. Congrats to Eddie. Considering his past arrest for soliciting a tranny for prostitution, knocking up an actual woman, and a hot one at that, will do more to resurrect his career than anything else could. Eh, dohnkay?

August 3, 2007

That's not a truck....THIS IS A FUCKING TRUCK

Pretend you don't have a throbbing boner seeing this truck and Chris McAllister.
I mean, this is like getting a fucking cameo in Transformers. The truck looks Photoshopped. HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

News Roundup Aug 3, 2007

Nothing happened. Go back to bed.

August 2, 2007

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit

I watch a lot of television. A lot of bad television. A lot of bad television marketed to teenage girls. Including The Hills. There, I said it. I watch The Hills. And I might have a little bit of a TV crush on Lauren Conrad (LC). I think she's cute and I watch The Hills cheering for her to be successful and happy. I've come to accept the fact that she has horrible, self-destructive taste in men. It's part of what makes her such a sympathetic character.

But I will turn on her like the Russian crowd turned on Ivan Drago if she keeps pulling shit like dating Josh F-ing McRoberts. Dating Jason was a bad decision, dating a former Duke basketball player is beyond the pale.

Luckily, though, the romance may be short lived

nAtPATHY Continues

Even if you can't find a guy on the street who cares about the Nationals, at least you can rely on the local newspaper, right?


In re: Jeremy's Bachelor Party

Yes, J-Red nailed me with the ice bucket while I was passed out cold. The sad thing is that ice is supposed to wake people up from the dead. I think I woke up just enough to brush the cubes off of me because somewhere in the back of my mind I knew if I didn't do that, I'd be covered in freezing water all night. The other sad thing is that if you look closely in that picture, I haven't even flinched despite already having ice covering half my body and ice water about to rain down. So I give props to J-Red for pulling a good bachelor party prank, and I appreciate not having woken up with Sharpie on my face ala Reggie Love or with waking up to find one leg cleanly shaven. And thanks for editing the hookers out of the picture, the fiance does sometimes read this blog. It'll really make for less domestic dischord with one month to go.

Oh, and how about those Nats making Bronson Arroyo suspect that maybe a rockstar career was the way to go after all? John Lannan gave a typical Nats start... pitched kind of crappy, never got ahead in the count, but made clutch pitches when it counted to induce long flyouts to the outfield. Nice that the team can call on a 22-year-old who started the season in single-A Potomac to earn a major league win, and to avoid breaking the hand of another National League all-star. Disturbing to see Ryan Zimmerman make two fielding errors in one night, although admittedly his first error in the first at bat of the game was a real tough play because he was playing in and got a rocket hit to him on one hop. The second error, overthrowing first base, is something I've come to see way too much of from him.

August 1, 2007

News Roundup - Aug. 2, 2007

1) Major props to the Nation of Islam Sportsblog. Normally, we don't see eye-to-eye, but he nailed how Bobby Petrino is having his dreams come true in Atlanta.

2) Awful Announcing throws its weight behind former ESPN face Robin Roberts in her fight against breast cancer. I speak on behalf of this blog when I apologize for failing to address this subject a couple days ago. Robin Roberts is a pioneer and without question the best female sportscaster we've ever had. Don't just get well soon Robin, get well, beat the shit out of the disease, and get into that half-assed ESPN Monday Night Football booth.

3) Deadspin and still both exist.

4) Training camp injuries: Clinton Portis (knee tendinitis), Willie Parker (knee inflammation (read: tendinitis)), Bill Walsh (dead)

5) Michael Strahan feels betrayed by his team's refusal to renegotiate his contract after he failed to show up for training camp and publicly stated he was contemplated retirement. Umm, what? Your regular season ended in January, and YOU feel betrayed that YOU waited until now to tell your team that you might not play. Good effort pretending that money isn't the problem, and then coming out blazing when your team says they won't pay you more. Like I said yesterday, if Simeon Rice passes a physical, I bet Michael Strahan breaks land speed records getting to camp.

6) Jerry Crasnick of uses Miguel Tejada as the headline for his story about post-trade deadline deals, yet only gives him a 10% chance of being traded. Look Jerry, don't bullshit a bullshitter and don't try to put an attention-grabbing headline past a blogger.

7) If a bridge collapses in Minneapolis, and only one person dies, why do I care? I bet 50 people died yesterday within 20 miles of my house.

8) Barry homered! Barry Bonds hits 755. Bonds home run chase. Hank Aaron Barry Bonds. Balco porn. (It hasn't happened yet, but maybe we'll get some cheap hits from people blindly Googling in the morning.)

Nationals Tour New Ballpark

Nothing extraordinarily "newsworthy" to report although plenty of good pictures below of the inside of the new ballpark. It is incredible how far along they are in construction... this will possibly be the first thing ever funded by the DC Government that is built before schedule and on budget.

Pictures of Nationals Touring New Ballpark

Live Webcam of New Ballpark Site

The new park is going to be a palace. I've renewed my share of season tickets, so expect plenty more Nats reporting. Not to mention the fact that I'll be at the ballpark tonight for the fearsome matchup of John Lannan (0-0) versus Bronson Arroyo (4-11).

Fun with O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpson Interview

Whatever you do, please click on the above link to see one of the greatest videos ever. O.J. Simpson took part in an hour-long live Internet interview with the first portion being scripted questions from the interviewer. Make no mistake, that's not what this video contains.

This portion of the video contains snippets from the "interactive" portion, where O.J. graciously took phone-in questions. You have the ability to see O.J. squirm his way out of such questions as, "My kid wants to know which do you think was a bigger feat: to break 2000 yards in one season, or slicing two necks in one night?"

News Roundup Aug. 1, 2007

Here are the headlines you've seen, and some you haven't.

1) So-called "Super Tuesday", where Bonds had a shot at 755 (or more), A-Rod could get his 500th (or more) and Tom Glavine could win his 300th (but no more) has come and gone with nothing happening. I wouldn't be surprised if the same trio is looking for the same trio this Sunday, or whenever Glavine starts again.

2) Mark Madsen (Stanford/Lakers' dance sensation) and DeadSpin both lament the loss of Kevin Garnett to the Boston Whining Simmonses.

3) MAJOR DC unveils a new Nats hat. I kind of like it. I also would have liked if the Washington Post had a headline informing me of the Nats actions at the trading deadline today. I checked at 4:30p, expecting a headline like the Baltimore Sun and Milwaukee fishrag both nicely provided, but instead I got a story about Freddy Adu (that big soccer guy who isn't Pele, Beckham, Alexi Lalas, Kobe, etc. etc. etc.) playing in Portugal. No, seriously, the Nats are enjoying great success that will survive the initial euphoria of opening a stadium no better than Comerica, that crap in Pissburgh, etc.

4) Just Call Me Juice, the Veronica Corningstone of the Channel 4 News Team, likes the Garnett trade and likes the Scott Proctor trade. I like Dick Cheney and Martin Luther King, Jr. As the title of the blog indicates, all people are required to either support Boston or New York sports. Only people in Baltimore and Philly are excepted, and only because those cities have an inferiority complex that Boston's inferiority complex is better.

5) Rod Beck had cocaine in his house. Who cares? I'm tired of reading stories about famous athletes being knocked down once they've passed. If I was butt-rich, and I was a known party hound like Rod Beck, I might have a little nose candy hanging around once I retired on my $20M. Does this seem like a guy who wanted to be pushing 90 in a retirement home? Next up: Bill Walsh once drank caffeinated tea. Stories like this are why I'm watching this horrible Giants-Dodgers game just to see poor poor Barry stroke one.

6) The NYG are behaving as though Strahan won't show up this year. Oh really? O RLY? Then why haven't you signed Simeon Rice? I know why. Because you're full of shit. You want Strahan back, because if you have to fire Coughlin midseason, you need vet leadership, and Tiki is on NBC. The Giants want to pretend Strahan is a distraction, but he's just the distraction they'll need after a 1-5 start (and that win comes over the Skins natch).

7) I've heard (not seen, I work) John McEnroe on PTI on Monday and Tuesday this week. He's pretty good. 94.3 to the west, 92.7 to the east, 730 AM....ALL OVER DeeeeCeeeeee. Is that enough, Sir Snyder? Do I still owe the $25 webparking fee?

8) Shady Jimmy has something to say about Bowden and the Nats that doesn't include the phrases "inner rectum licker", "fucking moron", "mouth breather, if you replace 'mouth' with 'anus'", "numbnuts", or "Forrest".

9) The Loss Column, on the other hand, reports that the Orioles are still kickass and headed for a wild card.

10) I speak for all bloggers on this site when I say that we're all big fans of Awful Announcing. Congrats on the new layout. Arial Narrow has never looked so good....nor sexified.

11) I watched the SF-LAD MLB game (and I resent having to write LAD now that ANA is LAA). It was okay. I was not prepared to see the WBNA crap that aburptly followed.

12) The Raiders signed Daunte Culpepper today, while JaMarcus Russell holds out. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?! Daunte wanted a one-year deal, so he avoided the Jax three-year deal? Has Daunte BEEN FUCKING WATCHING JAX?!?!? They had a QB controversy between Leftwich and Garrard last season. They seriously brought Tim Couch in to compete for the third QB spot. I get that Daunte wanted a one-year deal, and somewhere he could start. What's wrong with TB? Is he scared of a little battle with Jeff Garcia, but not of Andrew Walter? In Baltimore he'd start 8 games if my fears are correct. And then there's Atlanta, where Daunte could be God.

Oh, that's right. Daunte is his own agent. How's that been working for you?

July 31, 2007

DVR Disasters

Since F1 races normally air at some godforsaken hour of the morning on Sundays, I generally record the race and then watch it later. This is one of the many reasons I am in love with my DVR. It has changed the way I watch television, and I can't say enough good things about it. Now, my wife hates Formula 1, so finding a time to watch the race can be tricky.

For example, I just got around to watching the German GP from July 22. In the 9 days between when the race aired and when I watched it, I imposed Fortress of Solitude style isolation on myself to avoid finding out who won. Luckily, no one else in the US likes Formula 1, so I could happily browse worry free. I managed to avoid hearing anything about the race, which turned out to be awesome. There was a ton of rain, a red flag, and 5 cars skidding off the track in the same corner within about 30 seconds of each other. Basically, it was everything I look for in a great F1 race.

Except that my DVR cut off the last 10 laps. I can't blame the DVR for this, because the race went long on account of the red flag period. It's not really SPEED's fault, either, because they have to schedule the race into their tight time constraints. Losing the last bit is one of the risks you run when recording sports events. It got so bad with some earlier seasons of The Ultimate Fighter that I resorted to recording the show after TUF so I wouldn't miss the end of the fight every single week.

The other big risk of watching tape-delay sports events is, of course, that you'll find out the result before watching the event. But which is worse? If you DVR a game/race/fight, are you more worried about hearing the result, or that your DVR cut off the ending? Hearing the result is more common, but even if you find out who won, you can still enjoy the event like it was on ESPN Classic. With the ending cut off, you might have missed the most exciting 15 minutes.

I guess the final verdict is: it depends. If it's an exciting ending, I'd rather hear who won but still have a chance to watch the ending. If it's a blowout, I'd rather watch without knowing who won, but miss the anticlimactic ending. The clear solution here is to record for 2 hours after any sports event I want to watch, and to never talk to anyone about sports ever again. That way I won't have to deal with any more DVR disasters.

Worst... week... ever

As depressed as we've been here at ECB over the Tour de France, Barry Bonds, Mike Vick, and all the other crap going on in sports today, we are reminded that things could be worse. My personal favorite:

In his Hall of Fame induction speech on Sunday, Cal Ripken Jr. confessed that his younger brother, journeyman infielder Billy Ripken, suited up on his behalf at least two dozen times during what was thought to have been a streak of 2,632 consecutive games played. "Sometimes I just had other stuff to do," the longtime Oriole told a crowd of well-wishers in Cooperstown, N.Y.
—Baltimore Sun, July 30, 2007

Scott Speed out at Toro Rosso

Not that it came as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention, but Scott Speed has been replaced at Toro Rosso. Sebastian Vettel will take his place for the remainder of the season. Rumors about Speed's future have been circulating for pretty much the entire season (and well before the season, Speed was confirmed as a driver for 2007 just before the season started), but they increased after reports of a physical confrontation between Speed and Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost (doesn't that sound like a villain from a cartoon? Fraz To[a]st?).

I can't shake the feeling that Scott never really got a fair chance at Toro Rosso. He came in as a bit of a gimmick, a way to get American fans interested in the sport. His teammate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, was always the favored one on the team. Neither of them ever had a competitive car, though, so both were normally lapping towards the back of the field by the end of a race, if they were still running at all. It is tough to evaluate a driver in a bad car, but generally neither Liuzzi or Speed have ever looked particularly strong. It will be interesting to see what Vettel, who was a revelation in his first race at Indianapolis in a BMW earlier this year, can do in the piss-poor Toro Rosso car.

Most of the coverage of Vettel replacing Speed will center on the fact that, yet again, there are no American drivers in F1. And at least for next season, there won't even be a race in the US. I don't see the driver situation improving anytime in the near future, but it doesn't really bother me. Formula 1 is not big in the US and it probably never will be. I like watching the races, but I can understand why a lot of other people don't. The drivers are bland Europeans and the races can turn into very expensive parades without any passing at all. Sure, an American driver would help increase the profile of the sport, and it gives me someone to cheer for, but in the end, it won't affect my enjoyment of the sport all that much. And isn't that what really matters?

Vick: Distinctions Between Federal Crime and NFL Policy

So this will play a little bit off J-Red's post below, but the more I read about the Michael Vick situation, the more I think it's time to distinguish between what he's been charged with and the ramifications of those charges on the various aspects of his life:

1) Vick's Liberty
Liberty, of course, referring to Vick's freedom and ability to stay out of jail. When I read about Vick's co-defendant pleading guilty and the feds being most interested in Vick's bankrolling the whole operation, I think less and less that the feds really care about the dogfighting aspect of this, and more about the financial avenues. The dogfighting is sensational, it's titillating (I still snicker when I type that word), and it exposes fringe areas of American society that most sports fans, and most people in general, are not exposed to unless they watch The Wire. However, it's Vick's financing of an illegal gambling operation (the dogfighting) and whether or not he reported these gains on his taxes (unlikely that he reported gains from an operation illegal both due to gambling and due to cruelty to animals) that place Vick in jeopardy of going away for quite some time. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are just that... guidelines. Therefore, if Vick is found guilty of racketeering and/or tax charges, the sensational and gruesome nature in which he committed the offenses, as well as Vick's purported major role in the offense as the alleged kingpin, will likely lead Judge Hudson to go above guidelines. So again, it's the GAMBLING, and FINANCING OF THE GAMBLING RING that jeopardize Vick's liberty.

2) Vick's Professional Career
As J-Red noted, any conviction for gambling would have likely resulted in an additional sanction from the NFL. However, it's unlikely to me that Vick would've gotten the Pete Rose treatment because he didn't bet on the game. With regards to Vick's professional career, it is the dogfighting itself that's going to do him in. If Vick is found guilty, and if Vick does some time in jail, and if Vick gets an additional suspension from the NFL, even if Vick is able to stay in shape in the meantime (seriously... Vick would be a God in jail... something tells me he wouldn't have troubles surviving), I highly doubt that Vick would ever land with another professional team in the States because his convictions deal with dogfighting and the butchering of many, many, many dogs. Vick would be cancer to an NFL franchise in a league that is now stunningly more concerned than the NBA about its image. P.E.T.A. has shown that they will make life a living hell for any franchise that dares give Vick a paycheck. All of Vick's endorsement deals are going down the tubes. Basically, the vast, vast majority of Americans hate dog killers. And if Vick is proven as such, his professional career is over.
I felt the need to clarify, because I've read so much about the feds being interested in dogfighting, and something tells me the FBI and ATF have way bigger fish to fry than dogfighters. However, if you're bankrolling an illegal gambling ring, they'll be at your doorstep.

July 30, 2007

News Roundup

1) Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for Al Jefferson and a host of expiring contract underachievers. God save us from Bill Simmons....just checked's....Too.....LATE!!!!

2) Mark Texiera to the Braves. Remember Saltalamacchia. When Tex signs a deal with his hometown Orioles in 2009, the Rangers' new C will be the story of the trade.

3) Vick's traitor alleges he funded the entire operation, including backing the house for dog gambling. Let's be clear about something. Dogfighting brings on PETA and draws the ire of average suburban fans like myself. Gambling, in any form, makes Roger Goodell soil his mismatched blazer-wool pants combo and opens the door to "banned for life" instead of "conduct detrimental to the league".

4) Ravens' LB Dan Cody to miss at least preseason, possibly regular season. Read the comments attached to that article and you can see me compare Cody to Anthony Poindexter (once a UVa God (akin to a minor Boise State deity), then unfortunately injured, then a Raven and currently the Hoos' RB coach) and also rip some mouth breather for speculating that steroids have caused Cody's bad knee.

5) Redskins and Ravens enter camp with first round picks signed. I mean, read that again. No major holdouts? For either team? [Note on the Skins' did USA Today and get the Landry signing (at approx. 1:10a Monday) before the Post? Is Snyder really this desperate to make Red Zebra Radio work?]

6) The estate of StL Cards' pitcher Josh Hancock has dropped their dram shop suit against the restaurant that served him before his fatal crash. That was probably the right thing to do considering there was no evidence and the restaurant owner, Mike Shannon (Cards' broadcaster and current player), lost his wife Judy on Saturday to brain cancer.

7) Maryland flunkee and Ravens' supplemental draft steal Jared Gaither was in camp today, though I'm not sure if he has signed a deal or not. I assumed he would hold out given the disparity between his supplemental draft position and his projected 2008 draft position. Reports out of Westminster state that Gaither stifled Terrell Suggs, aka T-Sizzle, in their time against one another.

8) Brady Quinn is still holding out in Cleveland. But really, can he hold out long enough to only eat grass at the hands of the Ravens/Steelers/Bengals one time this season? No. Here's what Phil Savage had to say: "Savage characterized talks with Condon as 'in the same neighborhood, but not on the same street.'" Think back to Draft Day. Brady looked stunned and pained to slide as far down as he did, and then he faked ecstatic to be drafted by his hometown Brownstains (who he only talked up pre-draft assuming they would draft him with their high pick). At some point on that Saturday, Quinn achieved enlightenment. He has Tom Condon. He's still going to get paid like a top-10 pick. Wait and see it. Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson (I still rue the day the Ravens cut him to make room for Clarence fucknuts Moore) are not going to inspire much confidence. At least Jamal Lewis knows someone other than Andra Davis. I'm surprised Jamal didn't show up wearing 295 to mock Andra and now-out-of-the-league Daylon McCutcheon.

Super-Duper NFL Fantasy Sleeper

Everyone and their brother seems to share their fantasy football advice this time of year, and since I'm in leagues with both Brien and Jeremy, I don't want to tip my hand too much. However, I do want to be on the forefront of predicting who will be the top scoring D/ST this coming season. It's not the Pats, Ravens, Bears, Chargers or Raiders, the usual suspects in all the soon-to-be-out-of-date magazines ranking units.

The New Orleans Saints will be rolling in D/ST points this season. Their division contains formidable QBs like Joey Harrington, Chris Redman, David Carr, Jake Delhomme, and the five or six Buccanneer QBs. Add in dates against Jacksonville, Houston, Philly (who knows who will still be standing in Week 16) and Chicago, and the Saints are poised to bring down plenty of picks. Since the Saints have the potential to be nursing plenty of 21-point leads this season, they should be the recipients of plenty of trash time sacks and picks as well.

blalahhblblaThis is not a scene from the impending Michael Vick prison rape movie
Pictures of Michael Vick at a dogfight
The Saints submitted a middle of the road 38 sacks last year, but that number should only go up given the woes of their NFC South division mates. They ranked third from last with only 11 INTs last season and fourth from last with only 8 recovered fumbles, but INTs and FRs are susceptible to odd bounces and QB pressure. Those numbers, too, should go up from last year's deceptive -4 turnover ratio. Much like the Redskins (whose D/ST will continue to suck this year), the Saints had very low giveaway and takeaway numbers, averaging only 1.19 takes/game and 1.44 gives/game. (Compare Ravens at 2.5 takes/game and 1.44 gives/game).

Special teams are difficult to predict, but you could do worse than having Michael "Beer Man" Lewis, Reggie Bush, Terrance Copper, and NFL Europe/TB 3DRB stud Aaron Stecker returning kicks and punts.

Considering you'll likely be able to take the Saints D/ST after you've filled all other starting positions and grabbed a backup QB and RB, you are going to get a real bargain taking the unit in the 8th to 10th rounds. Thank me later. I'll provide an address to mail checks in December.

Bill Walsh Loses Fight with Leukemia

Leukemia 2, Legends 0. Bill Walsh passed today away after a long battle with leukemia. Legendary television and radio broadcaster Tom Snyder also died of leukemia complications in the past 24 hours. Everyone knows about Walsh's achievements as a coach with the Niners and Stanford, and everyone knows about his vast, successful "tree" of coaches throughout the NFL. What impressed me most about Walsh was the way his former players and assistant coaches still think of him as a father figure. His profile on HBO's Real Sports revealed that he was a great innovator (though some, like Michael Lewis, would argue) as well as a great person.

Hopefully Mike Nolan (connected to Walsh through Billick) can return the Niners to their former greatness. It just seems right to be afraid of that uniform.

July 29, 2007

Mark McLemore

I was reading a recap of the Astros-Padres 18-11 slugfest today, when I was confused to see that Mark McLemore gave up a double in the second inning. Angels', Indians', Astros', Orioles' Rangers', Mariners' and A's' fans might remember McLemore as a "supersub" in the mold of Jeff Reboulet and Tim Hulett.
A-Rod homosexual

This isn't the same McLemore. I can tell because he's a pitcher and he's a white dude. Of all the Steve Smith/Ja[y]son Williams/Adrian Peterson-type names, who could have figured there would be two Mark McLemores? Also, does this McLemore pronounce his last name like the original (Mack-leh-more), or like Joe Morgan used to butcher the original (Mick-ell-more)?