Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Day of Great Expectations and Melancholy [J. Mark English]

The only thing that I am certain of today is that by eight o'clock tonight, I will be sitting in my seat at Giants Stadium, awaiting the kickoff to a Sunday Night Football match up between the Eagles and the Giants. The Giants come in with a 1-2 record, as are the Eagles. The result of the game will likely determine which team has the hopes of turning around its season, and which team may want to start early preparation for the 2008 draft.

The implications of the Sunday night match-up will pale in comparison to the events that would have already occurred in Queens, slightly north of Giants Stadium, as well as the events that would have transpired a hundred miles south on I 95 in Philadelphia.

The Mets and the Phillies, as well as the Padres, will set the mood for Met fans at Giants Stadium tonight. Can the Mets stave off a complete disaster by finishing with a desperate finish in their finale? Will the Phillies actually surpass their expectations of always choking? Will there be an additional game needed to determine who wins the division tomorrow afternoon? Beyond this, will their be even another game after Monday to determine the Wild Card team?

Many questions hover in the baseball world as of this post, and most will be answered by the time I have made it past the security entrance at the Stadium. Football really will take a back seat to baseball today.

I'm sure to have vertigo from staring simultaneously at the Mets game, the Phillies game, and the Padres score. I'm dreading the tension, the palpitation I'm likely to suffer as the games take hold. It is likely I'll have a few heart attacks an during every gut wrenching pitch.

I think I have a pretty good notion of how this day will end. The Mets will probably lose, and the Phillies will win. This will make me an angry Giants fan, but an even more depressed Mets fan. There will be a feeling of melancholy for me at the game tonight. Instead of thinking about the Jints and their present day battle, my mind will still be on the Mets and what could have been.

Earlier this season the Mets played an up and down game against the Phillies that could be seen as an allegory for the season (they lost). Matt Cerrone of Mets Blog described his reaction following the game:

…man, i’m exhausted from this game…i can only imagine how the players feel…frankly, this game felt like a microcosm of this entire hi-wire, roller-coaster of a season…good play, bad play, down, out, dejected, hopeless, up, winning, hopeful, then, bam, the carpet is yanked out and i’m sitting here confused, looking at the scoreboard wishing it would change…

I fully expect that this will be my range of emotions throughout the games today. Of course, I will be enjoying it while it lasts to the very last out. Then I will console my sorrows with a shot of whiskey, and then hope that the Giants can exact some revenge on the Philadelphia Eagles.



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Mets Win, Phillies Lose, Setting Up A Great Final Day [David Stefanini]

What a roller coaster ride it has been this month being a Mets fan. Entering this month I thought for certain I would be taking my girlfriend to a Mets playoff game this year. In the middle of the month I found myself saying, its ok they will turn on the jets and start pulling away any day now. I was upset that the Mets allowed the Phillies to shrink the lead down to 2 games. Right now, at the end of the month, I am overjoyed that they have pulled even with the Phillies, a predicament I never thought I'd be happy about. With the Mets 13-0 victory today and the Phillies loss to the Nats 4-2, the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies enter the final day of the regular season with identical records.

The scenario is simple when it comes down to the NL East. If the Mets win and the Phillies lose, the Mets are in; and visa-versa for the Phillies. If they both win/lose, then a one game playoff will be played on Monday at Philadelphia to determine the champion.

Tomorrow, the Mets will send Tom Glavine to the mound in the biggest situation of the season. Glavine, who is coming off two sub-par performances, will look to beat Dontrelle Willis. Willis, who has been a great disappointment this season has an ERA of 5.4, and hasn't looked right since the beginning of last season. Hopefully, the Mets can jump on him early and give Glavine the run support he will need.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's About Time! [David Stefanini]

For the first time in a very, very long time, the New York Mets look alive! Already up 9-0, the Mets jumped out of the dugout to run to the back, when a Marlins pitcher threw at Louis Castillo twice in a row. The first one barely missed his legs, and the second one was an inch behind him. The Mets cleared the bench and got in the face of a few Marlins players.

My question is this, WHERE THE HELL HAS THIS BEEN? The fans where chanting 'Let's Go Mets' as the Mets were on the field. It took 161 games, but they look to be alive. Instead of walking aimlessly through the season with nothing to worry about, they are a scared team that knows they are going to go down in history as choke artists unless major changes happen over the next two days.

AND HERE WE GO!!! Olvio, the Marlins catch took a big swing towards Reyes but missed. The Mets run out onto the field looking for a fight. The Mets fans are screaming Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose. It about time the Mets look alive. Its probably to late, as they are probably out of the playoffs, but at least I know they actually care. I thought throughout this month the Mets didn't care, they were getting paid and making the playoffs meant nothing. Finally they are giving me reason to cheer for them again.

After the everyone settles down and goes back to their dugouts, David Wright gets up and slaps a base hit to center field. The Mets now have a 10-0 lead.

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As Mets Lose Control. Cubs Clinch Division [David Stefanini]

We all know how miserable this season has turned out for the New York Mets. However, the Chicago Cubs have clinched their division and are looking towards the playoffs. Here is with more:

"They lost on the field, fought in the dugout, fell out of contention before the season's midpoint. Then, the Chicago Cubs did something that defied their long history of failure and disappointment.

Somehow, they pulled together and won the division.

Chicago's two biggest offseason investments took them the final step toward the playoffs on Friday night. Alfonso Soriano hit another leadoff homer, Carlos Zambrano kept his cool and the Cubs clinched the NL Central with a 6-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

"Hopefully we can have a few more little parties like this," said Lou Piniella, who enjoyed a champagne shower in his first season as the Cubs manager. "They're fun."

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 4 Picks [EdMcGon]

As Shakespeare might have said: "Cry bacon! And let slip the pigs of war!"

Ok, I took a few liberties with that, but here are my picks (in red) anyway:

Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons: The Matt Schaub Bowl, otherwise known as Schaub returns to Atlanta to show the Falcons why they were horrendously stupid for trading him and keeping Mike "Dog-fryer" Vick.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: Welcome to the NFL, Trent Edwards.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns: Take the Brownies to pull an upset in a surprisingly close game.
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys: No Steven Jackson. No Orlando Pace. No win for the Lambs.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions: With Brian Griese in for Rex Grossman, the Bears look like a much better team. Griese's flaw has always been choking in the clutch, but the Bears should be able to get far enough ahead of the Lions to avoid that possibility.
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins: Thanks for the victory guaranty, Joey Porter! I was worried the Raiders might take this game lightly, but not anymore.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: Two teams moving in opposite directions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: If QB David Carr plays, and wins, he deserves to be the full time starting quarterback for the Panthers. But I wouldn't bet on it.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers will be happy to be returning to the NFC this week, after their drubbing by the Steelers last week. Pity the poor Seahawks.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals: Speaking of pity, that's a good plan for dealing with Cardinal fans this weekend.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts: When they are at home, you have to pick the Colts against almost any team.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: You would be hard pressed to find two worse coaches with two better teams in any game this week.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: The Eagles might have a letdown after last week's win.
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals: The game of the week, only because it should be a lot of fun to watch. I would hate to have to go up against the Patriots without a defense. The Patriots defense will be the difference in this shootout.

Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)


A Consoling Quote for Met Fans [J. Mark English]

Senator Jim Bunning, who played for the 1964 Phillies team that watched a 6.5 game lead evaporate in their 12 games, once said that he would not wish that kind of pain they felt on anyone. Not on any team, nor fans, nor city.

It reminds me of what A. Bartlett Giamatti once said about baseball when he was the MLB commissioner in the 1980's:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

Sadly, the Mets are facing the stark reality of leaving those who bleed orange and blue with a fall to be forgotten as the cold begins to sink in. Have mercy on us please, oh baseball lords :-(.

Photos: ...Phillies in Jubilation as they Share NL East Lead [J. Mark English

Photos: Mets Sulk as they Lose the Division Lead... [J. Mark English]

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 3 Results [EdMcGon]

Sorry this is late folks. But the winner for week 3 is (followed by the rest of us losers):

Robert A. George - 12
bl - 10
David Stefanini - 8
Bill Barker - 8
Dave O'Leary - 8
FunkyPundit - 8
J. Mark English - 7
EdMcGon - 7
SoloD - 7

And the year to date standings (with weeks won in parentheses):

David Stefanini(1) - 28
J. Mark English(1) - 24
EdMcGon - 24
Robert A. George(1) - 23
Bill Barker - 21
Dave O'Leary - 16
bl - 10
FunkyPundit - 8
Mike - 8
SoloD - 7
Rigel - 5

I will have this week's picks up either tonight or tomorrow, so hurry back and play!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Video: Are the 2007 Mets the 1964 Phillies? [J. Mark English]

As I Pull My Hair Out... [J. Mark English]

...I have a wild solution to the wild card.

But first... I've been wanting to spew vomit all over the place for the last few weeks. I mean how much more can I take as a sports fan?

Notre Dame (not my alma mater, but since I am Irish Catholic I claim the right to root for them) 0-4. The for worst start in 120 years. Ugh.

The New York Giants - They made a nice little come back against the 'Skins, but the first two weeks, the defense gave up 80 points in two games. The first them their defense has been so futile since the early 1970's.

And then there are the New York Mets. Ah, my Mets. This is a team that just a few weeks ago were in position to wrap up the NL East with ease. Tonight, after giving up a five run lead to the Nats, with the Phillies leading the Braves, the Mets might not even make the playoffs!!

So yea, it has not been a cheery time to be a sports fan. I've been almost avoiding the blog in the hopes that all this bad luck with my teams might just turn around... And I can write about something positive But so far, its only been getting worse.

While the Mets try to stave off historic disaster I'd like to throw out a solution to what I think is a weird scenario in baseball.

The Red Sox and the Yankees have both clinched playoff spots, but neither team knows until the end of the season which team will be the wild card winner, or which team will be the division winner.

What does it matter though who gets what title? The Red Sox know that as the wild card team they can win the World Series since they did it in 2004. There seems to be little punishment for being the Wild Card team.

I think more incentive needs to be put on winning the division. A simple solution would be to add another wild card team to both leagues. This way, the two wild card teams in both leagues would square off in a one game playoff on the Monday following the end of the season. The wild card team with the best record would have home field advantage. This forces both teams to use up their best pitcher in that game in order to advance. Then the division winner with the best record is rewarded by playing the wild card team that wins the Monday playoff game.

This now puts much more emphasis on winning the division, and having the best record in the league. It rewards the team that excels the most in the regular season, and it does not cheapen the meaning of winning a division.

To the purest this will bring back memories of when the division meant more then it does now.

Plus, imagine the ratings the two single elimination games would get would get on the Wild Card Monday?

I know I'm not the first person to have come up with this idea, and I'm sure that there have been other writers to have already proposed this idea. Be that as it may, I think its a great idea.

Also, there is one more change I would make. Even under the current system, many more teams are alive past the trade deadline then previously under the old in prior to 1994. It used to be that the trade deadline was June 15. They moved it to July 31, because when they had four teams making the playoffs as opposed to just two, they wanted to move back the deadline since there were all of a sudden more buyers then sellers.

Now there are so many buyers past July 31, and most trades happen afterward the deadline...obviously only involving players that had cleared waivers.

Why not move the trading dead line to at least August 15? It makes more sense.

Anyway, I'm rambling, and the Mets are still blowing away this division lead. Fingers are crossed, and my stomach is tied up in knots. I hate this....

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Video: Oklahoma State Coach Goes Off [David Stefanini]


Monday, September 24, 2007

Ranking the Top 5: NFL Week 3 [David Stefanini]

Well it has been a very long time since I have written for this blog. I'm sorry for that, but school has taken control of my life and won't give me any free time. With that out of the way here is how I see the NFL after Week 3.

1 - New England Patriots: There isn't even a team in the NFL that I can honestly say has a chance of beating them. They are far superior in every aspect, and they are playing undermanned right now. I think they'll finish the regular season at 15-1. They'll lose a game, maybe 2, because of Brady having an off day. But come playoff time he doesn't have bad games, they will walk away with the Super Bowl Ring again this year.

2 - Indianapolis Colts: A very distant 2nd place. They are the Super Bowl champs and are once again a force to be reckoned with. They seem to have figured out how to stop the run, and their offense is led by Peyton Manning. They will make it to the AFC Championship with a record of 14-2, but lose to the Pats.

3 - Dallas Cowboys: This team is for real. The way they handled the Bears on Sunday Night Football showed the rest of the world that they are the team to beat in the NFC. Tony Romo looks superb and Owens is Owens. Get him the ball and good things will happen.

4 - Pittsburgh Steelers: They have been flying under the radar because of the amazing play of the Patriots; but the Steelers have been the 2nd best team in the league so far (using Points Scored vs Points Given Up measurement). They have been blowing teams away using the old fashion Steeler way. Run, run, run, and play defense.

5 - Baltimore Ravens: To me once you get outside of the top 4 the competition goes down, way down. The Ravens, once again, do not have the offense needed to win in the playoffs. They have superstars on defense that will keep them in the game, but McNair can not stay healthy. They will make the playoffs but probably lose in the first or second round.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

PSU Loses First Of Season [A.J. Cordi]

As I predicted, Penn State lost their first game to Michigan. The score was 14-9 and Penn State didn't score a single touchdown. But predictions aside, this game truly showed the areas that Penn State needs to improve on - mainly their offense.

They held Michigan to just 14 points, which is very impressive against any ranked college team. But in the end, Anthony Morelli needs to complete more than half his passes, the receivers need to work harder on getting open and ready for the pass, and Austin Scott needs to stop fumbling. Needless to say, the offense needs work!

But overall, the team is in good shape. The defense stepped up and did all they could do. This game was their first real challenge of the season, and I believe that there will be better things to come from here on out.

For an article on the game, click here.

For the box score, click here.

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AL Cy Young Award: Beckett or Sabathia? And Let's Not Forget Santana. [Addison Quale]

The final stats aren't in quite yet. But we do have a pretty good sense of who might win the AL Cy Young award (the NL Cy Young is a no-brainer in Jake Peavy of SD). The two obvious candidates seem to be Beckett and Sabathia. In Boston, it seems to be a slam-dunk for Beckett. I'm not so sure. Here are their lines:

20 6 29 1 194.7 179 68 15 40 188 3.14 4.54 145 1.125
18 7 33 4 234.0 230 83 19 36 205 3.19 4.41 138 1.137

You can probably tell who is who. But just glancing at these stats, they are for all intents and purposes identical. Similar wins and losses. Similar Strikeouts. Similar ERA. Similar WHIP. There's one BIG difference though. One pitcher has thrown 234 innings and the other has thrown only 194 innings. That's 4 extra starts. And that's an average of 7.1 and 6.7 innings per start respectively. If you didn't know already, Beckett's line is the one on top and Sabathia's is the one below. It's C.C. Sabathia who has pitched 4 extra starts and who has averaged more innings pitched each of those 33 starts as well. These pitchers are essentially identical in their numbers. But Sabathia has done it more. He never went to the DL as Beckett did. In my opinion, therefore, as much as I love Beckett on the Sox, Sabathia should be the man for the Cy Young. But before we finish up, we should acknowledge that Johan Santana is still probably the best pitcher in the AL. He still is tops in terms of WHIP, has a comparable ERA and his strikeouts are the most of any. He isn't too far behind Sabathia either in IP with 216. If he had gotten some better run support he'd be picking up his 3rd Cy Young award.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Bloggers React to Mets Decline, Phillies Rise [J. Mark English]

Wow, where did that win come from? It wasn’t a brand new Phillie that provided the spark as I thought, but it was another amazing finish. Jayson Werth’s 3-run blast into the upper deck of left field to bring the Phils within one run was certainly reminiscent of the Russell Branyan shot. More impressive though was the Phillies bullpen which salvaged Kyle Lohse’s pitiful two inning performance as Durbin, Davis, Condrey, Romero (W), Gordon, and Myers (S) combined for seven scoreless. The Phillies now have 47th come-from-behind wins. That is the most in the majors and with 83 wins overall, that means the Phils come-from-behind in more than half their games (57%).

Elsewhere in the National League, the Marlins held off a Met rally to escape with a win in ten innings. As fans were walking out of RFK last night, the concourses erupted when we found out the Fish had tied it in the ninth. I expect there to be even more fans at the stadium this weekend - you can’t beat $5 tickets. Unfortunately the Padres won as the tend to do. Yet the biggest news outside the Phillies big win was the hiring of Ed Wade by Houston to act as their General Manager. Go Phils! - Brian Mitchel, Phillies Nation


…i seriously don’t know if i can take this any more…

…i mean, look, if the Mets are going to be forced to navigate their way through the rest of this season with Billy Wagner missing in action, given how sad the rest of the bullpen has been, well, i’m gonna have to have my inevitable heart attack…i mean, it’s been coming for a long time, and i just assumed i would have one some day anyway, so, i guess this as good of a time as any…because, this is just nuts…it’s crazy…

…so, here we go again…willie will get ripped for how he managed the bullpen, especially in the ninth, as if feliciano has given any reason of late to make one think he’s back to being the pitcher he was at the start of the season…as such, i keep getting e-mails tonight asking, ‘why didn’t willie do this,’ and ‘why didn’t willie do that,’ and, ‘why didn’t he leave in feliciano,’ who had one job, which was to get out Jeremy Hermida, and he couldn’t even do that…why didn’t willie do this or that, well, because he isn’t Nostradamus, folks…he doesn’t have the luxury of hindsight…i guess he just trusted sosa, who came up huge for him just 20 hours earlier…the thing is, it’s not like willie makes decisions assuming every option will fail – even though, at this point, he probably should…seriously, he’s throwing darts out there, or are some of you not watching the same people pitch that i am…these guys had a three-run lead…three runs…these pitchers should be able to protect that…willie may as well just pick names out of hat at this point, especially if wagner cannot pitch…

…the story tonight is not willie, folks…i’m sorry, it isn’t…it’s wagner, and where in the world is he… - Matthew Cerrone, Mets Blog

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And as a Mets Fan this is How I Feel... [J. Mark English]

Once Again, Need I Say More? [J. Mark English]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 3 Picks [EdMcGon]

Feel free to add your picks to the comments (rules below). My picks are in red:

Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens: This one is not as obvious as it appears on paper. Regardless, the Ravens should still win a squeaker.

San Diego Chargers
at Green Bay Packers
: I predict a painful day for Lord Favre.

Indianapolis Colts
at Houston Texans
: If WR Andre Johnson was playing, the Texans might have a chance. Without him, take the Colts.

Minnesota Vikings
at Kansas City Chiefs
: If there's a more boring matchup this weekend, I don't see it.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
: I don't need the video to know who's going to win this one.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
: If Mangini is half the coach he's supposed to be, the Jets should win.

Detroit Lions
at Philadelphia Eagles
: When Donovan McNabb made his comment about how hard it is for black quarterbacks, I doubt he had the Lions in mind, but he'll definitely be thrown (and throwing) to them this week.

San Francisco 49ers
at Pittsburgh Steelers
: Take gold over steel this week.

St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
: The Rams are struggling with offensive line woes, while the Bucs look like they might be for real.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos
: Denver at home is hard to beat, especially for the Jags.

Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders
: Don't expect the Browns offense to look like it did last week.

Cincinnati Bengals
at Seattle Seahawks
: Don't expect the Bengals offense to look like it did last week either, but they should still beat the Hawks.

Carolina Panthers
at Atlanta Falcons
: The Panthers aren't great, but they are good enough to beat these bums.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins
: Both of these teams are beat up, but at least the Skins seem to have some depth.

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears
: The game of the week, but only because these two teams match up well. I lean towards the Bears, but only because of their great defense and the unstoppable Devin Hester on special teams.

Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints
: The Young-Bush Bowl. The Saints need this win desperately.

Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)

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The AL East: Does It Even Matter? [Addison Quale]

First off, props to the Yankees for coming back--almost all the way--from being 14.5 games back in late May. I never doubted the fact that this team was good and knew that the Sox lead wasn't ever that safe. But, does the victor of the AL East really mean anything? Call it a case of sour grapes or what have you, but the Sox are in the playoffs. They have a 1.5 game lead on the Yankees and a 7 game lead on the Tigers with about 9 games to go. It's pretty much a sure thing. And does it really matter that much what regular season record a team ends up with as it heads into the post-season? I can recall two teams in recent memory which limped into the post-season. One was the 2000 Yankees who stumbled to an 87-74 record losing a string of games in their last week. I think we can all remember how that juggernaut of a team bowled through the playoffs to its third consecutive WS title. Then there is 2006, last year. The Cardinals were all set for the playoffs--that is until an big losing streak and an Astro surge almost nipped them at the end. But the well rested Cardinals found their way to the World Series and made short work of the Detroit Tigers who were supposed to wipe the floor with them. My point is this--a team's record in getting into the playoffs doesn't matter so much. What does is how well a team plays once they are IN the playoffs. To be well rested is definitely a good thing. Perhaps that's what the Red Sox are doing. Either way, kudos to the Yanks for a job well done. Hope to see 'em in October!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Need I Say More? [J. Mark English]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 2 Results [EdMcGon]

The final results for week 2 are:

J. Mark English - 12
Robert A. George - 11
EdMcGon - 9
David Stefanini - 9
Dave O'Leary - 8
Bill Barker - 7
Rigel - 5

Congrats Mark!

For our year-to-date results (with weeks won in parentheses):

David Stefanini(1) - 20
J. Mark English(1) - 17
EdMcGon - 17
Bill Barker - 13
Robert A. George - 11
Dave O'Leary - 8
Mike - 8
Rigel - 5

I will post the week 3 picks later this week, so stay tuned!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Best Rivalry in Sports; And Give Props to Jorge Posada [Addison Quale]

Did you see last night’s game between the Sox and Yanks? I’m sorry, but this has got to be the best rivalry in sports hands down. Just when we can’t imagine any more drama between these two teams, it just keeps getting better. First of all, Friday night was pretty much a disaster for Boston. Ahead 6 runs late in the game, and they can’t hold it? It’s pathetic. And as I heard one sports writer say, “Just as the Angels are in the Yankees’ heads, the Yankees are in the Sox heads.” The Yankees KNOW they can beat the Sox. And not only that, A-Rod knows he can beat Papelbon—the biggest defensive weapon the Sox have, who has been terrorizing AL hitters for the last month. So Friday’s game was huge.

And then last night’s game featured the 2 winningest pitchers in the AL in Wang and Beckett. The stakes were high for that matchup and considering the Sox were still intent on breaking up the Yankees ten year stranglehold on the AL East. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 for most of the game. That is until 2007 official goat JD Drew actually came up with a clutch hit and put Boston ahead 2-1. But perhaps the best part of the game was with no outs in the sixth and Hinske on third base when a grounder to second baseman Cano was quickly rifled home to Posada who was out in front of the plate, awaiting Hinkse. Posada caught the ball put his hands out and turned just in time to be absolutely mauled by the driving Hinske. It was an absolute plow-job and Posada went flying. But just as quickly as he went, he seemed to get up and present the ball swiftly from his glove to the home-plate umpire. OUT! I stood mesmerized while watching these replays over and over again. It was the single most intense, best baseball play I’d ever seen. And all I have to say is that Jorge Posada deserves some respect for that. He got absolutely cracked—in the head too!—and barely even flinched. What a warrior. Even a Red Sox fan such as myself can appreciate that.

Meanwhile, the tackle by Hinske seemed to get the Sox going and then went on to score 3 times in the inning despite the out. They ended up blowing out the Yanks after all this 10-1 taking back momentum from NY and putting them on the defensive again. Tomorrow’s game will feature even more drama of course as the hated Roger Clemens comes back to Fenway Park for the first time since 2003—and probably for the last time (unless they meet in the playoffs). So it’ll be Schill vs. Clemens. Don’t miss it! It’s the greatest rivalry in sports.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Satire: Two Cartoons via the New York Post [J. Mark English]

Did O.J. Simpson Break into a Casino? [J. Mark English]

Police seem to think he may have been dumb enough to do so. Maybe this will finally get him behind bars. Here is more from NBC:

NBC5 has learned that Las Vegas police are questioning O.J. Simpson Friday morning in connection with a burglary.

The Las Vegas NBC affiliate confirmed that Simpson is accused of breaking into a room at the Palace Station Casino sometime Thursday.

Police confirmed that they are questioning Simpson and several other people.

No other details were available early Friday.A statement is expected to be issued by police later Friday.

Simpson's book, "If I Did It," hits store shelves Friday amid much controversy.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

NFL Discilpines Belichick and the Patriots [J. Mark English]

The happy go lucky days in the NFL of Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has been replaced by the disciplinary age of Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell and the NFL have come down hard on the New England Patriots. Here is the latest from CBS:

The NFL has fined New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the team a total of $750,000 for videotaping an opponent's signals. The team also has been told to forfeit draft choices.

The Pats were caught videotaping the New York Jets' defensive signals during last Sunday's 38-14 win at the Meadowlands.

CBS 2 HD has learned Belichick was hit with a $500,000 fine by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The team will have to hand over $250,000.

The Patriots will also have to forfeit at least one draft pick in 2008, but that will depend on how they finish this season. If they make the playoffs, they will lose a first-round pick. If they don't make the postseason, they will give up their second-and third-round picks.

Belichick will not be suspended.

Thats not all... Not only did Belichick and his team spy on the Jets, but they have been accused in the past of spying on the Packers last year. Further more, some members of the Philadelphia Eagles that squared off against the Pats in the 2005 Super Bowl, suspect some dirty dealings by the Pats in that game. This comes from ESPN:

Sheldon Brown and the Eagles hoped a blitz would rattle Tom Brady.

One problem: Every time the Eagles rushed Brady in the Super Bowl, the Patriots nullified the defensive attack with screen passes. Lots of them. On almost every play defensive coordinator Jim Johnson called for a blitz, the Patriots used the short pass to confuse the Eagles.

After the Patriots beat the Eagles 24-21 in 2005 to win the Lombardi Trophy, Brown thought the Patriots beat them with nothing but sharp offensive playcalling. Now, he's not so sure.

With spying accusations leveled this week against the Patriots, some of the Eagles left from the NFC title team are wondering if New England used bootleg film to their advantage in the Super Bowl.

"Do I think about it? Mmm hmmm," said Brown, their starting cornerback. "It's crazy. I just don't know how far back it goes. Something's not right about that."

Comment -

There will be much ado about this whole filming/cheating scandal. But I remember what Wellington Mara once said about the 1986 New York Giants. He said that that team was so good, that they could go into a game and the opponents would know exactly what play they were going to call but it didn't matter. The Giants simply overpowered their opponents. I'm not sure how much of an edge knowing the calls of the other team gives you. But no matter what, the end result is what happens on the field. If you can't throw the ball, catch the pass, make the run on fourth down and inches, or stop the team on defense, then who cares what the call is in the end. The Patriots have won their championships because of what happened on the field, not because of cheap gimmicks.

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NBA: Greg Oden to Miss the 2007-2008 Season [J. Mark English]

Well, this is never good. You gotta feel bad for Portland.

This is from the NBA:

An exploratory arthroscopic surgery performed on Greg Oden today revealed cartilage damage to the Portland Trail Blazers rookie’s right knee. Oden is likely to miss the 2007-08 NBA season.

"Greg had an arthroscopy and a micro fracture surgery today," said team physician Dr. Don Roberts, who performed the surgery. "He was found to have articular cartilage damage in his right knee. The area of injury was not large and we were able to treat it with micro fracture, which stimulates the growth of cartilage. There are things about this that are positive for Greg. First of all he is young. The area where the damage was is small and the rest of his knee looked normal. All those are good signs for a complete recovery from micro fracture surgery."

Oden is expected to be on crutches for up to eight weeks. Recovery time from micro fracture surgery varies from person to person, but generally takes between six and 12 months for full recovery.

"Certainly this is a setback, but our future is still incredibly bright," said Trail Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard. "Is it disappointing? Yes. However, this is a great core of talent and players of strong character and will continue to be."

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Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 2 Picks [EdMcGon]

Time for our week 2 NFL game picks! My picks below are in red:

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers: This is what is typically referred to as a "no-brainer".
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: Is this "no-brainer" week?
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars: While the Jags aren't great, the Falcons still have Joey Harrington, who makes David Garrard look good by comparison.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants: The Giants new motto: "Is there a doctor in the house?"
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers: Expect the Bills to give the Steelers a tough time this week, but the Steelers should squeak by them.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams: The Rams REALLY miss Orlando Pace, otherwise they might win this one. Regardless, it should be close.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Expect the Saints to put a smackdown on the Bucs. After losing to the Colts last week, this should be a monster bounce-back for the Saints.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: The AFC South teams always seem to play each other tough. This game will be no exception. This game will be decided in the final minutes, and I lean towards Peyton Manning doing something spectacular to win it, although it could just as easily be Vince Young.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: The Cards looked like a rebuilding team last week. The Seahawks looked like a savvy veteran team.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: The Lions are a huge step up from the Falcons, as the Vikings are about to learn.
Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins: If the Boys play Miami like they did the Giants, this one could get ugly.
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens don't have an offense like the Pats, but they should still be able to put up enough points to slip by the Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears: You couldn't pay me to watch this game. Rex Grossman might even look good against the Chefs (no typo).
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: While I will be rooting for the Raiders in this one, I know the history between these two teams all too well.
San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots: The game of the week. Expect the "camera-less" Pats to fall to a revved up Charger team bent on revenge for last season's playoff loss.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Take the Eagles in a toss-up. On paper, these two teams are evenly matched. The Eagles need this game just a bit more than the Skins.

Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

7 / 11 is Heaven for the New York Mets [J. Mark English]

A few weeks ago after the Mets lost four straight to the Phillies, I said that it was time for them to "stand their ground" and prevent further "free fall". Of course those quotes came from Tom Petty's repertoire. Not only did they "stand their ground" but they went to down to Atlanta with a "Damn the Torpedo's" full speed ahead attitude.

Over the past two weeks they have begun to run away with the division. They have won 10 of 12 games including 5 of 6 from the Atlanta Braves. They tied the season series against the Braves. They have built their lead against the Phillies to 7, and now have a magic number of only 11. The countdown can begin towards a second division championship in a row.

Soon, once the division has been clinched, the Mets can turn their attention to doing what they could not do last year. Advance beyond the NLCS, and win a World Series for the first time since 1986

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RAGGED Sports Break [Robert A. George]

This is from Guest Blogger, Robert A. George, of Ragged Thots:

Golden Dome in black and white. Those Notre Dame boosters who thought they were so Weis three years ago look fit to be Ty-ed right about now. Pat Forde nails ND perfectly.

2) Who'd a thunk it? Baseball isn't the only sport that uses the wonders of modern technology to, uh, "gain a competitive advantage" (AKA "cheat"). So does the NFL!! So, if the Patriots weren't stealing signs, they might have only scored 24 points on the Jets!

Don't laugh, the Jets did beat the Pats up in Foxboro late last year -- admittedly, Randy Moss wasn't there.

It also appears that this isn't the first time the Patriots pulled this, given that Green Bay's GM claims they pulled something similar last year. Which causes more than a few people to wonder whether Bill Belichik is a true "genius" -- or just another boob tube junkie like the rest of us.

Rather than dunning New England a few draft picks, how about just sending Tom Brady to the Jets? That sounds like a fair punishment!

Oh, and while we're in Beantown-bashing mode, one more thing: In light of this scandal, wonder if Barry Bonds foe Curt Schilling has any choice words to say about Belichick, given the coach's "complicated" domestic issues?

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Breasts, Exercise, and Bras [J. Mark English]

Guys, do I have your attention? Actually its really the girls who should be paying attention now.

The following story is based on research that was actually, they must have been really bored. Anyway, this is from Women's Health News:

Researcher Dr. Joanna Scurr from Portsmouth University conducted a study on women and found that during exercise a woman's breasts move in three directions, including forwards and back, whereas bras are designed only to stop up and down movement.

Dr. Scurr says an estimated 60 per cent of women suffer breast pain when doing even a gentle form of exercise, and others are embarrassed by the bouncing caused when running.

As a rule bras are designed to stop the bounce but according to the researchers breasts also move side-to-side and in and out.

Biomechanical data of 70 women of varying breast sizes was studied and Dr. Scurr says a "smart fabric" is needed that can provide custom-made support for each woman which would contain movement in the three directions.

The study revealed that during exercise, breasts bounce more than was measured in past studies and size made no difference; whether breasts were an A cup or a double-FF cup the impact was exactly the same whether they were doing a slow jog or a fast sprint.

Dr. Scurr who is a sports scientist, says if women wore the correct form of support, the use of pain medication would be reduced and women would be encouraged to be active and therefore lead healthier lives.

Dr. Scurr says the domination of sports science by men and for men, has made the study of breasts in relation to exercise something of a joke, but for women it is credible and they can see the benefits.

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CameraGate? SpyGate? Patriot Games? [J. Mark English]

Call it what you want, but the New England Patriots being caught cheating is bizarre. Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, has more:

For the past 24 hours, since CameraGate was exposed, I've been trying to think of a good excuse for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. There has to be a good excuse, right? So why couldn't I think of one? How could I save them from America's scorn? How could I remove those three asterisks from the Super Bowl titles? Even when I channeled my inner O.J. and decided, "If Belichick did cheat in the Jets game, it's only because he loved the Jets too much," it didn't quite work.

The truth is, there's probably no saving the Pats. Everyone outside New England was searching for a legitimate reason to hate them for the past four years, and now they have an excellent one. Spying on opponent's signals is just plain seedy. It's one step above playing footsie with someone in an airport men's room. It's a disgrace. It's embarrassing. Even though everyone probably cheats in the NFL to some degree, the 2007 Patriots have been caught twice in a month -- once because their defensive leader (Rodney Harrison) admitted to buying HGH, once because they videotaped defensive calls at the Meadowlands. We're on a blistering pace of 17 bastardizations of the sport this season.

Just know that every Pats fan is horrified -- not as horrified as Michael Myers' mother in the "Halloween" remake when she finds out little Michael butchered his family, but definitely more horrified that 50 Cent during Britney's drunken stripper routine at the VMAs on Sunday night. Since I had trouble sorting out my thoughts on the month when the Patriots officially became the Cobra Kai, I decided to e-mail another sportswriter and Patriots fan -- Aaron Schatz, the creator of and author of the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus -- so we could sort through this stuff and search for some mutant form of peace.

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Good News: Everett Moving Arms and Legs [David Stefanini]

One day after all of us heard how Kevin Everett is still in serious condition and how the likelyhood of him making a full recovery was slim, doctors are reporting today for the first time since the hit; Everett is moving his arm and legs.
Kevin Everett might walk again after all.

The doctor who performed the spinal surgery on Everett told Buffalo TV station WIVB on Tuesday that Everett has voluntary movement of his arms and legs and as a result he is optimistic that Everett will walk again.

Dr. Andrew Cappuccino told WIVB that Everett's sedation levels were lowered on Tuesday, allowing him to respond to verbal commands. WIVB also reported that Everett's latest MRI shows only a small amount of swelling on his spinal cord.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Septemeber 11, 2001: Never Forget [J. Mark English]

Patriots Spying on the Jets? [J. Mark English]

The Jets and the Pats really are fighting a cold war right now. Espionage is the only the latest in the continuing saga of bizarre tales of competitive spirit gone awry.

This is from ESPN:

NFL security confiscated a video camera and its tape from a New England Patriots employee
on the team's sideline during Sunday's game against the Jets in a suspected spying incident, sources said.

The camera and its tape were placed in a sealed box and forwarded to the league office for investigation, the sources said. "The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game," the league said in a statement from spokesman Greg Aiello. "Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited.

"We are looking into whether the Patriots violated this rule."

The Patriots' cameraman was suspected of aiming his camera at the Jets' defensive coaches who were sending signals to their unit on the field, the sources said. The league also is investigating some radio frequency issues that occurred during the game.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Kevin Everett: Keep Him in Your Intentions [J. Mark English]

This is from the Buffalo Bills website:

It was eagerly anticipated news when the Bills provided an update on
Kevin Everett Monday afternoon, following his game halting spine injury on the second half kickoff of Sunday's loss to Denver. But the update only gave a clearer picture as to the severity of what is still a potentially lethal injury, and the steps that were taken to give him the greatest chance for recovery.

Everett suffered a fracture dislocation between the third and fourth cervical vertebra. So there was an injury to the cervical spine and cervical spinal cord. But the spinal cord was intact. There was disc material pushing on the cord and bone was applying pressure as well.

"The vertebrae were out of alignment," said team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, who specializes in injuries of the spine. "The vertebrae of the spine line up like box cars of a train. The third cervical vertebra had translocated completely over the front of the fourth cervical vertebra causing a scissoring effect on the spinal cord."

"Emergency decompressive surgery was performed Sunday night to prevent pinching of the spinal cord," said team medical director Dr. John Marzo as part of a Monday afternoon press conference at One Bills Drive.

The surgery was performed by Cappuccino and Dr. Kevin Gibbons at Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in downtown Buffalo after consent was granted by Everett who was awake and alert along with his mother who was reached by phone. The surgery lasted about four hours as Everett had his third and fourth vertebrae fused together.

"Dr. Gibbons and myself worked first on the front side of the cervical spine to remove the disc, realign the spine and to fixate the spine between the third and fourth vertebrae with a bone graft, with a small cage, and with a plate and four screws," said Cappuccino. "We had the spine in good alignment and it was confirmed on all x-ray studies."...

....According to Cappuccino, Everett remembered the entire play that led to this severe injury. Prior to surgery the team's spinal specialist informed Everett that his chances for a full neurologic recovery were less than five to 10 percent and that surgery was his best alternative but still an option. Everett chose surgery.

"Kevin said, 'Do everything that you can to help me with this,'" said Cappuccino.

Comment -

When things like this happen in sports your reminded that football is only a game, and that there are so many more important things in life. All you can do is pray for the recovery of Everett and that one day he will be able to walk again.

These guys are paid millions of dollars for a reason. They do things that most people aren't willing to put themselves through. Although, they are not fighting over in Iraq and putting their lives on the line in defense of our country, they are sacrificing their bodies in a way to provide us fans with entertainment. (I'm just trying to put in perspective the idea heroes are fighting in overseas, not playing a children's game...)

It is easy to forget the clear and present dangers that are associated with football. It is why Tiki Barber thanks his lucky stars for being able to retire on his own terms, and not after a catastrophic injury. Hopefully, Everett will be able to recover. During these next few days be sure to keep him in your intentions.

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Darth Federer? [J. Mark English]

Just how good is Roger Federer, whom won his 12th grand slam yesterday? Sean Randall of the Tennis X Blog breaks down just what a phenomenal athlete this man has become:

Roger Federer has never lost a match in his career in the all black Darth Vader look. After the US Open final today that will still be fact.

Novak Djokovic has enjoyed a great US Open, with great wins over Radek Stepanek and David Ferrer, he’s also shown us his personal side with a pair of memorable impersonations Thursday evening. But today’s going to be too much for the 20-year-old Serb.

While Federer will be comfortable in playing in front of 23,000 plus and in his 10th straight Slam final, this will be Novak’s first go round in a major title bout.

The lack of a day off also hurts Novak. Fed’s used to it, not Novak. The heat could also play a role. Djokovic has had problems with conditions and injuries in the past, and even yesterday he looked somewhat sluggish at times in the heat and had to summon the trainer.

By wearing the black outfit Fed will send a message to Novak that he’s just fine playing tennis in warm, humid conditions.

Federer and Djokovic match-up pretty well. But I think Federer right now is better than Novak in just about every department, even backhand. I think Novak is a more consistent ball striker, but in the pressure of a final he’s likely to make a few more errors than normal.

Fed will also have revenge on his mind after losing to Djokovic in the Canadian final.

I also don’t think Novak will be completely overwhelmed by the occasion. That win over Federer last month showed the kid’s poise, which is quite remarkable for a 20-year-old. And Novak looked a lot better than Fed did yesterday in the semifinals. After jittery starts by both players they each managed to win in straight sets. But I’m not going to put much stock in either of those wins.

Federer’s never lost a Sunday Slam final not played on clay. That said I’ll bet on black again, in straight sets.

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A Giant Infirmary [J. Mark English]

Oh man, talk about a game of attrition for the New York Giants. The Jints suffered so many injuries in the game last night against the Dallas Cowboys that their trainers were nearly performing triage on the field. This is the latest from the Giants website:

Here are the results of this afternoon's MRIs on quarterback Eli Manning, defensive end Osi Umenyiora and running back Brandon Jacobs. Manning has a contusion to the right A-C joint. His status is day to day for this week's game against Green Bay. Umenyiora has an irritation to the lateral meniscus of his left knee. His status is also day to day and he will be re-evaluated later in the week. Jacobs sprained the MCL of his right knee. He will be evaluated on a week to week basis. The results of the MRI on cornerback Kevin Dockery's ankle were not available as of 5 p.m. today.

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Pigskin Pick'em - Week 1 Results [EdMcGon]

The first week's NFL results are in, as well as the results for our Pigskin Pick'em contest.

Even with two games remaining to be played, David Stefanini has already got enough wins to claim victory in the first week (tonight's picks are shown after the weekly totals):

David Stefanini - 9 (Bengals & 49ers)
EdMcGon - 7 (Ravens & 49ers)
Mike - 6 (Bengals & 49ers)
J. Mark English - 4 (Bengals & Cards)
Bill Barker - 4 (Bengals & 49ers)

I will be tracking correct picks for the entire season, so be sure to play when I post later this week.

I must admit that my Browns over Steelers pick was a truly bad one, for which I received a ton of grief. I overestimated the Browns, mostly due to the fact the team played with a lot of heart last year, even when they were losing games. On the other hand, I underestimated the Steelers because of Tomlin installing a new playbook. If you look at the Steelers on paper, they simply outclass the Browns as far as talent.

That said, I feel quite vindicated with my Titans over the Jaguars pick, for which I also received a ton of grief. Lest any of you forget, here is what was said regarding the Browns and Titans picks:
I should have stopped reading when you picked Cleveland...or Tennessee.

I understand the Falcons pick, but the Browns and Titans?

David Garrard is an upgrade over Byron Leftwich. I would wager that the Jags have the highest margin of victory this week.

luckily jax's d is about 500 tims better, and their RBs are 200 times better than their Tennessee counterparts.

The Jags aren't terrible and they have .... ah, screw it. Let Young's curse begin.

Admittedly, the Titans surprised me with how much their running game dominated the Jaguars defense (282 rushing yards), against what appeared to be a mediocre running game for the Jaguars (72 rushing yards).

Still, when I watched Tennessee in the preseason, I noticed how much better both their offensive line and defense were playing. The game against the Jags was NOT an upset.

The true test for the Titans will come this weekend against the Colts.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

NFL Uni Notes [J. Mark English]

  • The "C" on the uniforms look kinda cheesy. I mean is the NFL trying to mimic the NHL? Why not just stitch up an "A" on the uniforms for the assistant captains as well!
  • Notice the plethora of patches being worn by teams this year marking some sort of anniversary year? The Redskins, the Packers, and the Eagles so far have them on. I'm sure there are other teams as well, but I haven't watched every game yet. (And I won't be, but I'm just making a point...)
  • The Jets wore their away whites at home today. Was that to make them cooler in the summer heat? Man, Mangini and Belichick really despise each other.
  • The Chargers new uniforms look sleek and yet old school at the same time. I just wish they'd put the numbers on the helmets like when they used to wear the baby blue jersey.
  • Oh and are the green dots on the back of the QB helmets really necessary? The green dot designate the player on the field that can communicate through a wireless device to the sideline. But we all know its the quarterback, why is it necessary to put a dot on the back of the helmet? I'd imagine there will be some color clashes with that dot. Take the Giants for example. A blue helmet with a slide red stripe down the middle, and a blue dot on top of the red, overlapping the blue. Hmmmm. Kinda weird.

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Happy New Years! NFL Style! [J. Mark English]

Tennis: Justine Henin Wins 2nd U.S. Open [J. Mark English]

This is from

Psst. The name is Justine Henin. Get to know her.

Might just be one of the greatest tennis players ever. Is certainly the undisputed No. 1 at the moment. As of Saturday night, she owns two U.S. Open championships and seven Grand Slam titles overall.

So let's get that correct. Everybody now: Justine Henin.

Overwhelming No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 in the final, the top-seeded Henin capped a dominating run through the U.S. Open in which she didn't drop a set and became the first woman to win a major title while beating both Williams sisters along the way.

"This one is maybe the most important one. The quality I played in the last few matches has been amazing, and it's a great feeling, because I had a tough draw," said Henin, the 2003 Open champion. "I had a lot of things to prove to myself. Not to anyone else, but to myself. And I did it."

Yet both times she conquered New York, someone got her name wrong during the postmatch trophy-and-check ceremony.

Four years ago, a representative of the main U.S. Open sponsor called her "Christine." On Saturday night, CBS announcer Dick Enberg referred to her as "Justine Henin-Hardenne" — even though she dropped the hyphenated part after separating from her husband at the beginning of the year.

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College Football Notes 9.9.07 [J. Mark English]

  • Michigan & Notre Dame - Notre Dame lost an ugly game to Penn State, and Michigan was blown out at the Big House against Oregon. For the first time in history both teams are 0-2 in the same season. Its the first time since 1959 that Michigan has lost their first two games at home. Looks like its going to be a long season for these two storied collegiate football programs. At least we know that they both can't go the whole season with out a win since they play each other. Talk about mediocrity. Although, Notre Dame has an upshot in that freshman Clausen can only improve on his performance yesterday.
  • Penn State - I admit that they have a good defense, and maybe the best linebacker corps in the nation, but their team is not the stuff of champions. Sorry A.J., but Penn State is not going anywhere this year based on their performance last night which was sluggish at best.
  • LSU - #2 LSU crushed #9 Virginia Tech 48-7. LSU has been slighted in years past and even when they "won" a share of the title four or five years ago it didn't feel real since USC got most of the credit. If last year proved anything, the SEC is probably the best conference in the NCAA. The only problem is that since they all have to play each other its really difficult to get an undefeated team out of the conference. But when they get a chance to play for the BCS championship they usually win. Last year Florida stomped all over Ohio State and showed why the SEC really is the best. LSU should be this years version of Florida.
  • Boise State - The Cinderella team from last year, finally lost. They had had the longest streak in the nation. That streak ended yesterday with a loss to Washington. I was really hoping that they would finally get a chance to play for the championship. It will not be happening this year.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

VIdeo: In Memoriam - Luciano Pavarotti at the 2006 Olympics [J. Mark English]

Friday, September 07, 2007

Breaking News: Jury Selected For Vick Case [David Stefanini]

Rick Ankiel Was Given HGH [David Stefanini]

Rick Ankiel, who has been the feel good, comeback story of the past month or so, has now been linked to HGH. However, as of right now, it does not look like Ankiel did anything wrong. He was prescribed HGH by a Florida physician in 2004. HGH was not officially banned from MLB until 2005. Here is ESPN with more:
The New York Daily News reported Friday that Ankiel received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation, citing records its reporters saw. That Orlando outfit, Signature Pharmacy, has been implicated in a steroids investigation run by Albany County (N.Y.) District Attorney P. David Soares, which has resulted in 22 indictments and several Florida clinic raids.
Ankiel's HGH prescriptions, including Saizen and Genotropin, were signed by Florida physician William Gogan, who provided them through a Palm Beach Gardens clinic called The Health and Rejuvenation Center, or THARC, the newspaper reported.
The drugs were shipped to the 28-year-old Ankiel at the clinic's address, the paper said.
Right now MLB said they are going to "look into" this story, but are unsure on whether they will discipline Ankiel or not. I do not think they should. If this story holds up to be true and Ankiel stopped taking HGH in 2004, then he should not be punished. HGH was banned from baseball in 2005. Ankiel was not taking a banned substance at the time he was using HGH.

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Defending Champions Colts Romp over the Saints [J. Mark English]

I thought the NFL was hoping for an age of parity. But after the Indianapolis Colts smothered the New Orleans Saints in the RCA Dome, the age of parity may have yet another dynasty on its hands. Peyton Manning has become the Tiger Woods of the NFL. There is no one even close to his ability as a quarterback, as a player, as a football mind. Its as if the head coach is the one playing QB, and we as fans are privileged to watch this guy demonstrate his magic. For more on tonights drubbing of the Saints, here is Jeff Rabjohns of

Capping a day of city-wide festivities designed to celebrate the Super Bowl champions, the Colts rode a strong defense and second-half surge to open the 2007 NFL season by beating New Orleans 41-10 in front of a national television audience.
A sellout crowd of 57,361 saw the Colts score 31 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from a 10-10 halftime tie.
The defense that held the Bears without a touchdown in the final three quarters of Super Bowl XLI, didn't allow a touchdown against the Saints, who last year reached the NFC title game. The Saints only touchdown came on a fumble return.
Third-year defensive back Matt Giordano capped the defensive effort by intercepting Drew Brees and returning it 83 yards for a touchdown with 55 seconds left.
Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning opened his 10th year in the NFL by throwing for touchdowns of 27, 28 and 46 yards against the team for whom his father, Archie, played.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Video: Matt Drudge on Keith Olbermann [J. Mark English]

MLB Notes 9.6.07 [J. Mark English]

On a night when the NFL begins anew, the baseball season is still heavy on our minds. As the Colts battle the Saints, lets look around at some of the big stories swirling around the Majors.
  • Some bad news for the Mets...just as Carlos Delgado was finally starting to regain his swagger of years past, he finds himself injured, and will be missing the next 7-10 days due to a hip flexor.
  • The Cardinal's Rich Ankiel continues his improbable resurrection as an every day outfielder, as opposed to a pitcher. The former wild man on the hill, has now become a wild man at the plate. Just read this: The Cardinals sent Mike Maroth to the mound on Thursday hoping that the left-hander could keep them in the game for a few innings. They learned again that with the way Rick Ankiel is swinging the bat, they may never be out of a game -- regardless of who is on the mound....Ankiel's shock-and-awe assault on the National League continued Thursday at Busch Stadium when he went 3-for-4, hit a pair of home runs and a double, drove in seven runs and even walked for good measure in a 16-4 evisceration of the Pirates.
  • Yesterday the Philadelphia Phillies had an opportunity to gain ground on the Mets. Instead, they once again proved why they are the most pathetic team in the history of baseball. Here is the recap: Where to begin in this apple-cart-tipping defeat that may resonate well into October, should the Phillies miss the postseason they've been fighting so hard to reach. They led, 8-2, heading into the eighth inning after first mounting a 5-0 lead off Tim Hudson. They allowed seven unanswered runs over the next two innings...

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Photos: NFL Kicks Off the 2007 Season [J. Mark English]

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 1 Picks [EdMcGon]

It's that time of year again! Time for the weekly Pigskin Pick'em, where the rules are simple:

1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites: Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)

So to get the ball rolling, here are my picks (in red) for the first week:
Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills: While the Broncos are not a great road team, it's hard to go against them when they are playing the Bills.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns: New coach in Pittsburgh, so expect a few growing pains. I like the Brownies in an upset.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers: Even on a bad day, the Eagles should be able to have the Pack for lunch.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans: This one is a toss-up between a team getting worse (Chiefs) and a team that can't get any worse (Texans). If Gary Kubiak is ever going to turn the Texans around, he needs to win here.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: This should be a fun game to watch, although my gut tells me the Jags are going in the wrong direction.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings aren't that good, and the Falcons want to prove they can win without Vick. This one is all about motivation for the Falcons.
New England Patriots at New York Jets: The Pats come loaded for bear. Gotta lean towards the talent in this one.
Carolina Panthers at St. Louis Rams: This is completely a guess. Either of these teams could win this one.
Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins: It's going to take a lot more than one game for Cam Cameron to clean up the mess Nick Saban left.
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders: Welcome to the NFL Lane Kiffin.
Chicago Bears at San Diego Chargers: The only question is whether Norv Turner will let the Chargers run on auto-pilot. He'll win a lot more games that way.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks: The battle of the 1976 expansion teams. As long as Jeff Garcia is healthy, the Bucs should win a lot of games like this one.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: Tom Coughlin vs. Wade Phillips? Not exactly Bill Parcells vs. Jimmy Johnson. Take the Boys at home.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: Definitely the game of the week. Two hungry teams looking for redemption after disappointing seasons last year. Defense wins big games, and few teams have defenses as strong as the Ravens.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers: It will take Ken Whisenhunt a while to install his system in Arizona. In addition, the 49ers are a playoff team this year.

Just for anyone curious, I like the Saints tonight vs. the Colts.