Monday, December 31, 2007


Who is Justin Roper?

Until today, there were not many sports fans who could answer that question. After the University of Oregon Ducks' 56-21 victory over the University of South Florida Bulls, more people will know about the Ducks' redshirt freshman quarterback from Buford High School, in Douglasville, Georgia. In the first start of his collegiate career, and in a bowl game no less, Roper responded by completing 16 of 29 passes including four for touchdowns in leading the Ducks to the win.

Most college football fans and pundits had given the Ducks (9-4) up for dead after a season-ending knee injury to starting quarterback Dennis Dixon against the University of Arizona Wildcats November 15. Dixon was headed for a possible Heisman Trophy, and Oregon, 8-1 and ranked #2 in the polls at the time, seemed destined for a BCS bowl game... then Dixon, playing on a knee he and the team knew was damaged, went down early in the 34-24 loss to the 'Cats. Backup quarterback Brady Leaf took over, but the Ducks were unable to catch Arizona.

In the next game against UCLA, Leaf was injured, and with third-string QB Nathan Costa already unable to play due to a knee injury, Oregon was forced to use fourth-stringer Cody Kempt. Oregon's defense played very well against the Bruins, but the offense was unable to put any points on the board in a 16-0 loss. Oregon's quarterbacks were only 11 for 39 for 105 yards in that game, including a 1-for-5 performance from Roper in his first action of the season.

Roper got his chance to step up in the Civil War game versus the Ducks' archrival Oregon State Beavers. After Kempt failed to move the offense early in the game, Roper came in and nearly guided the Ducks to a win, completing 13 of 25 passes . Oregon ultimately lost in two overtimes 38-31, allowing the Beavers to finish ahead of them in the Pac-10 Conference standings. Oregon finished the regular season 8-4, and although there would be a bowl invite, many Duck fans were left thinking that any bowl appearance would only end up in another disappointing loss. The mighty team that appeared set to make a BCS splash seemed to be a shell of the group that was 8-1 prior to the Arizona game, and .

Oddly, instead of opting for the Sun Bowl, the Beavers chose a lesser bowl game matchup against Maryland in San Francisco's Emerald Bowl. Oregon State's argument was that they didn't want to go to the Sun Bowl two years in a row. The Ducks ended up with the Sun Bowl invite, which offered a payout of almost a million dollars more than the Emerald Bowl, but which appeared to offer Oregon little chance for a win in a matchup with South Florida (9-4), which had also been ranked #2 earlier in the season until three consecutive mid-season losses dropped them to #21 in the BCS standings.

Enter Roper. The freshman guided the Ducks as if he had been doing it for a year or two, executing ball fakes and misdirection plays with skill while throwing frozen ropes to his receivers. His stellar play, combined with 253 rushing yards from running back Jonathan Stewart and two interceptions returned for touchdowns, helped the Ducks vindicate their season. Their effort today proved, contrary to the belief of many college football fans, that Oregon could be a very good team even without Dennis Dixon playing.

Today's win offers ample hope for Duck fans for the 2008 season. Although Dixon will have graduated and Stewart will probably have gone pro, only three defensive starters were seniors this year. With a number of offensive linemen graduating, it may be tougher for the QB to get adequate protection in 2008. Opening holes for RBs Andre Crenshaw and Jeremiah Johnson may also prove problematic, but Oregon has recruited well enough that maybe this won't be a problem.

Life isn't always fair, but today's 56-21 Sun Bowl victory over a ranked team SHOULD put Oregon back into the Top 25 in the final poll of the season. It should also put Justin Roper in the catbird seat among Oregon's quarterbacks... enough so that nobody will have to ask "Who is this guy?" Roper answered the question for all of us today, and in grand fashion.

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 17 Results [EdMcGon]

We have two winners this week! Yours truly (of course) and David Stefanini:

EdMcGon - 12
David Stefanini - 12

Bill Barker - 11
Robert A. George - 9
Audio Dave - 8

As for the YTD standings, no great shocks here:

EdMcGon(4.5) - 152
David Stefanini(2.5) - 145
Robert A. George(2) - 143
Bill Barker(1) - 123
J. Mark English(1) - 114
Audio Dave(2.5) - 84
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 76
BL(2) - 74
SoloD(1) - 53
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Jay - 9
Snave - 8
Mike - 8
Moose - 2

With only 11 playoff games left, and an overwhelming 7 game lead, I have decided to call the Pigskin Pick'em season officially over. However, I have decided to begin the Pigskin Playoffs! Here are the new rules:

1. The top six pickers from the regular season (EdMcGon, David Stefanini, Robert A. George, Bill Barker, J. Mark English, and Audio Dave) are all in the playoffs. Like in the real playoffs, everyone starts from 0. Anyone else is welcome to pick the games, but only the top six from the regular season will be counted towards the final score.
2. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL playoff 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 the kickoff of the first NFL playoff game each week (otherwise known as "The Barker Rule").
3. The person who has the most playoff picks correct by the end of the Super Bowl gets...bragging rights! (you knew that was coming, didn't you?)

Good luck, and let the new season begin!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 17 Picks [EdMcGon]


It may be the last week of the regular season, but we will be continuing the Pigskin Pick'em through the playoffs and the Super Bowl, to give all you, I mean to give all you fine people a chance to catch up to my overwhelming YTD totals. Of course, you could still take the weekly "bragging rights" prize.

My picks (otherwise known as the correct picks):

New England Patriots at New York Giants: At least the NFL made the right decision to simulcast this NFL Network game on both CBS and NBC. However, don't expect to see great football here. The Pats will get to 16-0, the Giants will rest their starters early, and the second half should be a yawn-fest.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons: Speaking of "yawn-fests"...
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears: Don't let the records fool you. The Bears are the better team here.
San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns: The Browns need the win and a lot of help to make it to the playoffs.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: This one could go either way. The Packers decided their own playoff fate last week, so this game is meaningless to them. The Lions, with a win here, could at least make it to .500 on the year. If history is any indicator, expect the Lions to choke here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: The Texans win this one for pride.
Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins: A meaningless game for two teams that disappointed their fans all year.
Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have been playing with a lot of pride the last few weeks. The irony in this game is both of these teams may have new quarterbacks next year. This may also be Andy Reid's last game, since rumors about his retirement have been swirling for months. It is a shame that Reid's retirement might get lost in the hype over the Pats-Giants, although Reid has NOT made it official. But if it is his last game, let me say for the record, I'll miss you Andy. You were one of the great coaches of this era. (Of course, if it isn't your last game Andy, then you need to get off your duff and fix this team!)
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Meaningless game for the Bucs. But the Panthers are good enough to beat the Bucs IF the Bucs dog it, or if the Panthers play their best game.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals: Did anyone get the score from that Paraguay-Ukraine soccer match? This game is about as interesting.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens: Remember how close the Ravens came to beating the Pats? I can just see the Ravens playing spoilers here.
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos: The Vikes need the win, while the Broncos mail it in. (rhyme intended)
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets: In the "Herm Edwards Bowl", I will go with his new team over his old team.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders: The "Norv Turner Bowl". I would love to see the Raiders win this one, but even the Chargers second string should give the Raiders some fits.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins: Don't think for a second that the Redskins wouldn't love to make it to the playoffs on the backs of the Cowboys.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts: The Titans win, they're in. Add to that the fact the Colts will be resting their starters early, and the Titans should take it.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 16 Results [EdMcGon]

It took him all year, but Bill Barker finally won a week legitimately. He even got his picks in on time. Congrats Bill!

Bill Barker - 13
EdMcGon - 12
Robert A. George - 10
Jay - 9
Audio Dave - 8
David Stefanini - 7
J. Mark English - 7

Now, to my favorite part: The YTD standings, where I increased my lead over Stefanini and George, proving my uncanny prognostication abilities. Fortunately, you guys still have the playoffs to catch up with me. And the Patriots might lose to the Giants this week too...

EdMcGon(4) - 140
Robert A. George(2) - 134
David Stefanini(2) - 133
J. Mark English(1) - 114
Bill Barker(1) - 112
Audio Dave(2.5) - 76
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 76
BL(2) - 74
SoloD(1) - 53
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Jay - 9
Snave - 8
Mike - 8
Moose - 2


Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Monday, December 24, 2007

A Holiday Gift For All of You... [A.J. Cordi]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 16 Picks [EdMcGon]

Time for everyone's favorite game, "Ed wins!", otherwise known as Pigskin Pick'em!

Mercifully, this week we don't have to go to the trouble of picking the winner of the Steelers-Rams. It would take a Christmas miracle for the Rams to win.

However, there is a Saturday night game, so remember to get your picks in before 8:15 EST on Saturday!

My picks:

Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers: Will there be a Jessica Simpson sighting in Carolina this weekend? If so, take the Panthers. More likely, the Cowboys win this one.
New York Giants at Buffalo Bills: There are two factors in this game: first, the G-men are on the road; second, the Bills don't seem ready to win the important games yet.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears: The Bears could win this, ruining Lord Favre's farewell tour. And then I woke up...
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals: Is there a more likable team in the NFL than the Browns? They have struggled for decades in that godawful city, they have a no-name quarterback who comes out of nowhere to lead them to the steps of the playoffs in the hardest conference in all of football, they have a former star running back on his last legs trying to earn one more shot at glory, they have a stud wide receiver, they have a great offensive line anchored by a rookie tackle...and they have an awful defense which leads to a lot of high scoring games that are fun to watch. The Browns could almost be the Bengals. Fortunately, the Brownies are better.
Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions: Remember that "10 win" prediction from Jon Kitna? This will be number 7.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts: Sorry Texans, the Colts are out of your league.
Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars: With Justin "Huggy Bear" Fargas gone for the season, this game could get ugly. (I just love having an excuse to say "Huggy Bear".)
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints: What Brian Westbrook did for the Eagles last week will go down in the annals of football history as one of the classiest acts of all time (even if he was listening to Jon Runyan).
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals: Note to Arthur Blank: Please concede this game. Do we have to watch the Falcons get steamrolled again like they were last week?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers: The Niners win this one for pride.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots: God said, let the Patriots have an easy December. And He looked upon the schedule, and gave Fish unto the Patriots. Upon seeing this, the coach Belichick proclaimed, "Thank you God!"
Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks: And the Ravens will also be playing.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans: The ultimate Red State-Blue State matchup. Well, not really. But it sounded good, since the Red State team will win.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings seem like the perfect team to beat the Skins, but I have this nagging feeling I am wrong here.
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers: This game will be a lot closer than it looks on paper, but it is hard to go against the Chargers.

Just in case anyone forgot, here are the 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 (otherwise known as "The Barker Rule"), 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)


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fantasy Football: Gates vs. Scheffler? [EdMcGon]

As I was getting ready for the first round playoff game in my fantasy football league last Thursday, I was reviewing the last minute news when I saw there was a strong possibility that Antonio Gates, my tight end, would not be playing (he has a minor back injury).

I was faced with the dilemna of taking a chance that Gates would play, or take a chance on my backup tight end, Tony Scheffler of the Broncos. Even though Scheffler is only a backup for the Broncos, he has had a few solid games this year, his best game coming against the Bears when he had 5 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Deciding it would be better to take a chance on Scheffler and get SOME points, rather than the potential goose egg I was looking at from Gates, I played Scheffler. I made the right choice, since he got 7 catches for 100 yards and one beautiful touchdown. Gates did play, but only got one catch for 8 yards.

(I should state that I would have won the game regardless of who I started at tight end, as I won by enough points that Scheffler's contribution was irrelevant.)

But now, like most NFL coaches who have a backup step in for an established starter and proceed to have a great game, I have a decision to make: Which of them shall I start in the championship game? Gates is still suffering from his back injury, and now it looks like Scheffler might even start for the Broncos this week. To make this decision even tougher, the Broncos play against the Chargers on Monday night, so I can't even use the "one game is earlier than the other game" as an excuse to make the decision for me.

To anyone who has (or has ever had) Gates on their fantasy team, he is arguably the best tight end in fantasy football over the last several years. However, this has not been his best season (thanks Norv Turner!). In the league I am in, he is only the second best tight end (Jason Witten of the Cowboys being the best).

But even in this off year for Gates, he still has more great games than Scheffler. Gates has four 100-yard games this year, and has scored a touchdown in 7 games (with two touchdowns in two games). Scheffler has only topped 100 yards once (obviously last week), but has scored touchdowns in four games.

However, Scheffler saw little playing time in the first four games. As his playing time has increased during the course of the season, his numbers have gotten better. When Broncos starting tight end Daniel Graham got hurt (high ankle sprain) early in last Thursday's game against the Texans, Scheffler had his best game of the season.

If that isn't enough to consider, reported a rumor yesterday:

"...Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall got into a verbal altercation with one or more members of the coaching staff on Monday, and then stormed out of the facility.

The talk is that Marshall at one point challenged the team to "cut me."

Marshall IS the Broncos best receiver, even if he is a head case. While the team is not likely to cut him now, if ANY disciplinary action is taken against him by the team, or if Marshall decides to dog it in retaliation, Scheffler would immediately become quarterback Jay Cutler's best receiving option.

Even with Marshall playing, Scheffler still managed to catch 7 passes last week. On the other hand, Gates has to compete with Chris Chambers and Ladainian Tomlinson for catches. So when the Broncos have the ball, Scheffler will clearly get more oppurtunities than Gates.

(For the record, neither team is good against opponent's tight ends. The Broncos are the worst in the NFL, and the Chargers are 9th worst.)

But which team will control the ball more? The last time they played, which was in Denver, the Chargers won 41-3 and controlled the clock for 32:53.

In that game, Gates had 7 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. Scheffler wasn't starting then, and he only caught two passes for 37 yards.

But another thing to consider is team motivation. The Broncos might want revenge for that earlier loss, even though they are eliminated from playoff contention. Add in the fact the Chargers have already clinched their division, and have no chance of getting a first round bye in the playoffs, and the Chargers have no real motivation to win the game. If Gates is still hurt, the Chargers may decide to bench him early or not even play him at all.

I fully expect the Broncos to play a much better game against the Chargers, regardless of whether they win.

As for individual motivation, Scheffler wins hands down. He is trying to win the starting tight end job for next season. Gates has nothing to prove in this meaningless game.

All things considered, I will decide who to start between the two based on the following factors (in order of priority):

1. If Daniel Graham is out, Scheffler gets the start.
2. If disciplinary action is taken by the Broncos against Brandon Marshall, then Scheffler gets the start. The Broncos would have to play Scheffler much more than they otherwise might.
3. If Gates is NOT on the Chargers final injury report, he gets the start.
4. If Gates is on the final injury report as "probable", and has participated fully in at least one practice this week, he gets the start.
5. Scheffler gets the start, due to the fact that both he and the Broncos are motivated to do well, plus the fact that Gates would be less than 100%. Add to that the fact that Scheffler has shown he can put up receiving numbers comparable to Gates, then Scheffler becomes the choice.

Wish me luck this week. I'm going to need it.

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Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 15 Results [EdMcGon]

It has been a great week for me. I won the first round playoff game in my fantasy football league, AND won Pigskin Pick'em, AND moved into first place in Pigskin Pick'em's YTD standings. As Terrell Owens would say, "I love me some me!" (I still have no clue what that means, but it sounds appropriate.)

Let the bragging commence with the weekly pick results:

EdMcGon - 12
J. Mark English - 9
David Stefanini - 8
Robert A. George - 8
Audio Dave - 8
Bill Barker - 7

So how did I end up with a 3 pick lead over second place? 4 picks over third place?

I can thank the Jaguars for part of it. Mark was the only other person to pick the Jags. The Jags are a far better team than people give them credit. Don't be surprised if the Jags end up being the team that beats the Patriots in the playoffs.

How about them 49ers? Barker was the only other one to pick the Niners.

And I can't forget a hardy chorus of "Hail to the Redskins"! One important thing I left out of my comments on that game: The Giants stink at home. Of course, Mark not picking the game at all certainly helped.

This all leads to me being in first place for the season:

EdMcGon(4) - 128
David Stefanini(2) - 126
Robert A. George(2) - 124
J. Mark English(1) - 107
Bill Barker - 99
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 76
BL(2) - 74
Audio Dave(2.5) - 68
SoloD(1) - 53
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Snave - 8
Mike - 8
Moose - 2

In case you hadn't noticed, I plan to be a completely insufferable braggart if you guys let me win this.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Steroids in Baseball: "Win at all Costs" [Chris Luttig]

(Chris Luttig is a former minor league pitcher)

Yesterday came the names from the now famous Mitchell Report. Mind you do we really care, we all know there are performance enhancing drugs and supplements in sports. There have been substances induced into the body to give one an advantage since the first recorded instances of sports as well as substances given to other to inhibit there performance. This isn't something new it will always be there no matter the sport, football, bowling, table tennis, hockey, badminton, curling, cycling, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and so on and on all sports. There is one commonality of sports and war. "Win at all costs" do you think our soliders are clean? If you do,pity your ignorance they get more pills to pop then a speed junkie or do most people go on no sleep in a mission 36-48 hrs in combat. Not to mention anything else they can get to make them bigger stronger faster and make the enemy obsolete.

Is anyone going to seriously tell me there are no steroids in Football? We all know they do testing, so does baseball but there are ways around the system, new drugs that arent detectable. There are men in the NFL with bodies that are incomprehensable to bodybuilding without anabolic aid, its a simple fact as well as certain baseball players. Did anyone believe the olympic sprinters have ever been clean, some of those guys and ladies could throttle a NFL player. There have been some I could believe in the last 12 years but hey its the nature of the beast.

So my take on baseball....well steroids and baseball have been friends since the 1960's. Amphetimines have been in baseball since as early as the early 1950's. Its all about having the edge. Minor League baseball players have been offered off season workout packages for years. Did you ever take the time to look at your favorite player when they were on or off the field during the game? Did you ever see one standing still or are they constantly moving clicking there feet together playing with there hat, walking up and down the dugout, shuffling there feet in the infield, playing with there batting gloves between every at bat in a figgetty sequence. Do they always have a bit of an evil stare on them chewing tobacco products to make them even keel, level out the rush a lil bit. Did you ever wonder why there were three different gatorade coolers in the dugout and a water fountain and that one cooler had a black X on the top of the lid. How about the pitcher his body flying wildy towards the plate like he is a man out of control. The stone faced concentraiton of a pitcher trying to finish the no hitter and it seems he has caught his third wind and is looking in at the cathers sign acknowlidging it and starting his wind up as he was in a world all his own not hearing one of the 65,000 cheering fans just a cold sweat slowly dripping from the brow like some gatorade colored sweat.

We all watched as men who hit an average of 15 home runs a year and all of the sudden he was hitting 35-45-50 home runs. You looked the other way and cheers your buddy at the bar celebrating another victory!!! Even the common sports fan lives by the motto " Win at all costs" Is it possible a man hits 53 home runs when his career high is 16, when his contract is coming to an end and free agency is looming? Could he possibly injected testoterone and HGH into his body and sell his soul to the devil to reap financial rewards and security for him and his family? Better question if your boss came in and said you have a big presentation coming up for eveyone to see and if you knock there socks off everyone will want you and pay you upwards of 5 times your salary a year and possibly more, all you have to do is take this pill for 5 months 4 weeks on 2 weeks off 1 week of taking the blue bill and the purple pill and 4 weeks back on again. Hmm 5 minutes a day and i increase my wages 5-7 times of what i make now. So your wife and children could be taken care of for life and all you had to do was give 6 months of your life to a cycle of pills and or injections. Ya well im sure the same percentage or most likely more of the common everyday working man is going to do it. Just like these men have done, they had a window of oppertunity to make enough money to care for there family for a long time, or preserve what little of a career they had left knowing they had nowhere else to go if baseball was over. Once again "Win at all costs"

Will this change how we see baseball, no. Maybe to those who are so called die hard lifers, all they look at is numbers they dont watch the game they dont have favorite teams, they like numbers and whatever you do don't mess up there formula to predict there numbers, to them its called evolution my friends the nature of the beast changes with its surrondings. That is why of mathmaticians haven't solved or predicted correctly everything in the world. Everything evolves, ask Darwin, and im not talking about Danny Darwin the infamous Houston Astros Pitcher. To the rest of the fans, youngster might be disappointed as some adults but just like sensory adaptation after a little bit of time you forget it and carry on as if it wasn't there or never happened, kind of like we have been doing since the 70's.

The Brewers fans will still have the best tailgate parties in baseball they will not stop because one of there players took steroids. Wrigley field will still be the biggest outdoor bar in the united states. Hell im still 11,000 deep on the waiting list to get season tickets do you think the fans are really gonna walk away. There will still be kayakers in the San Fransico Bay waiting for a home run. Some lucky fan will get a chance to catch A-Rods record breaking home run in the new 1 billion dollar Yankee Stadium. Just as 70,000 will be on hand at Yankees stadium next year to watch the final out at the house that Ruth built, most yankees fans wouldn't miss it for the world. The Atlanta Brave chop at Turner field will spark a little flame again this year When Tom Glavine is re-united with John Smoltz as 2/3 of the famed trio that put the Braves on the map, trust me fans will come out to see it. Ichiro continues on a terror to be the quickest ever to 3000 hits and King felix the 21yr old 100mph fireballer continues to amaze fans as they wonder if he is there next Randy Johnson. Baseball is here to stay, it made it through a strike in which there was no World Series, remember Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa made us all turn the Televison back on. We all embraced them as they went for the record it was on the cover of newspapers around the globe, and every sports television broadcast. We all remember the celebration and the hug as McGwire rounded first base.

Now comes the report of steroid use we all knew we all saw the massive size they became but back in 98' we didnt care they were going to break the record! We wanted the record! We got what we asked for, baseball got what it needed a new start a fresh era, better rating more fan interaction, more revenue, better stdiums. Which brings more family entertainment gives the fans a better experience and no body complains they all want more. We all want to see our team in the post season holding up the trophy, ala the Red Sox and maybe someday the Happy go lucky Cubs.

So next time you are at the park or at the gym looking around, stop and really look at what you see is anyone on the up and up, or is everyone trying to be the best albeit they aren't on National Television or making a million dollar salary, they still live by the motto, "Win at all Cost" Its like my father told me years ago, "you have to have the right tools and equipment to be the best at what you do, then there are no excuses." Take that comment for what you will or construe it in any fashion you might if you care to put me into it somewhere. I had my Ride through with the Boys of Summer and what a ride it was. I would never change a thing, I got to do what one in a million high school baseball players gets to do. I lived my dream and it can never be taken away nor can any of the memories whether good, bad or indifferent. Do I have stories that could be told in a report, hmm guess thats for me to know and everbody else to speculate about. Just remember we as fan and the public are no different in what we do everyday. The difference is they have a bigger paycheck and a lot more to lose then we could ever imagine. When we lose our jobs there are other companies to go to to continue on with our skill that pay moderately the same or better. When baseball is gone for these men there is nothing that pays the same nor is there any major skill that provides a job that is near the same. It is there Life, its all most of them know and at times they are to old to learn a new skill. Kinda like the lifetime factory worker when the plant closes and goes to china and he is 43 yrs old and been there since he was 18yrs old, he has nothing to fall back on and it is rough. We are all the same just on a different level.

So in closing "im in it to win it" lived my life that way and im not changing now. Remember the next time your go buy your child the greatest new thing to make him better then the rest or you get him a personal trainer to excel above the rest. Or you find a new product that is going to help them run over the competition you are training them to "Win at all Cost" they are the next generation and will go down the same road its engrained in each and everyone of us who ever played a sport and had a coach or parent passionate about it. Oh yeah and the next time there is a chance to get a raise think about what your going to do to get ahead of the competion to get the raise and promotion, we all sell out at some point.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Black Eye for Baseball: The Mitchell Report (Updated) [J. Mark English]

Here is the actually PDF file of the Mitchell Report.

Senator George Mitchell's press conference can be seen here.

And Commissioner Bud Selig's response can be found here.

Soon to come is the Players Union head, Donald Fehr.

Here comes the list of names that are to be heavily scrutinized.

Lenny Dykstra, David Segui, Larry Bigbie, Brian Roberts, Jack Cust, Tim Laker, Josias Manzanillo, Todd Hundley, Mark Carreon, Hal Morris, Matt Franco, Rondell White, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch, Jason Grimsley, Gregg Zaun, David Justice, F.P. Santangelo, Glenallen Hill, Mo Vaughnm Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Ryan Franklin, Chris Donnels, Todd Williams, Phil Hiatt, Todd Pratt, Kevin Young, Mike Lansing, Cody McKay, Kent Mercker, Adam Piatt, Miguel Tejada, Jason Christiansen, Mike Stanton, Stephen Randolph, Jerry Hairston, Paul Lo Duca, Adam Riggs, Bart Miadich, Fernando Vina, Kevin Brown Eric Gagne, Mike Bell, Matt Herges, Gary Bennett, Jim Parque, Brendan Donnelly, Chad Allen, Jeff Williams, Exavier "Nook" Logan, Howie Clark, Paxton Crawford, Ken Caminiti, Rafael Palmeiro, Luis Perez, Derrick Turnbow, Ricky Bones, Ricky Stone

The following players were cited under "Alleged Internet Purchases of Performance Enhancing Substances By Players in Major League Baseball."

Rick Ankiel, David Bell, Paul Byrd, Jose Canseco, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Jason Grimsley, Jose Guillen, Darren Holmes, Gary Matthews Jr., John Rocker, Scott Schoeneweis, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams, Steve Woodard

The following players were linked through BALCO:

Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Randy Velarde, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Bobby Estalella, Barry Bonds, Marvin Benard

Earlier I had made comments about some of the players that came out on a previously incorrect list. This is the actual list that came officially from the Mitchell Report. Not to many surprises, and not that many shockers in this list.

Here is more from Michael S. Schmidt and Duff Wilson of the New York Times:

Roger Clemens, who won the Cy Young award a record seven times, and seven players who won baseball’s most valuable player award were among dozens of players named Thursday in the former Senator George J. Mitchell’s report on his investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.

“For more than a decade there has been widespread anabolic steroid use,” Mr. Mitchell said in a news conference announcing the results of a 20-month investigation he led at the behest of Major League Baseball. He said the use of performance-enhancing substances “poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game.”

Clemens was the most prominent name in the report, along with the Most Valuable Player award-winners Barry Bonds, Ken Caminiti, José Canseco, Jason Giambi, Juan Gonzalez, Mo Vaughn and Miguel Tejada.

The report also includes the names of three of the top 10 home-run leaders of all time: Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero.

Mr. Clemens was among several players named in the report from the Yankees championship teams of the late 1990s, which put together one of the most dominant performances in baseball, winning three consecutive World Series from 1998 to 2000. Others from those teams included Andy Pettitte, David Justice and Chuck Knoblauch. Other players named included Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, Lenny Dykstra, Denny Neagle, Todd Hundley, Mike Stanton, Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagné.

“Each of the 30 clubs had a player or players involved in taking illegal substances,” at one time or another, Mr. Mitchell said. He called the years on which he focused his investigation “the Steroids Era.” “If there are problems, I wanted them revealed,” said Bud Selig, baseball’s commissioner since 1992. “His report is a call to action, and I will act.”

The evidence against the players includes receipts, checks and e-mail, much of it provided by Kirk Radomski, a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who has pleaded guilty to federal charges for selling steroids from 1995 through 2005. Mr. Radomski cooperated with Mr. Mitchell as part of his plea bargain. Other evidence came from Brian McNamee, a former trainer for Mr. Clemens and Mr. Pettitte and from an investigation led by the Albany County district attorney into Signature Pharmacy.

Don Hooton, who became an outspoken critic of steroid use after his son Taylor committed suicide after using the drugs, attended the news conference Thursday and said of the Mitchell report: “This is more than about asterisks and cheating; it’s about the lives and health of our kids.”

Mr. Canseco, the former slugger who was named in the report and wrote a book about steroids use in baseball, also was in attendance.

In his report, Mr. Mitchell called for tougher testing and an independent body to investigate and judge players who do not test positive for drugs but for whom there was evidence they purchased or used them, known as “non-analytical positives.”

Mr. Selig noted that he had the authority to implement several of the recommendations, but that the majority — including any changes to the sport’s drug testing policies — would first have to be agreed to by the players’ association under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Mr. Mitchell’s report did not address the use of amphetamines in sports, nor did it call for blood testing, the only way to detect human growth hormone.

He did say that baseball should not punish players for their past misdeeds, noting that it was time for baseball to look forward. Mr. Selig did not rule out possibly punishing players.

The report was littered with juicy details including Mr. Radomski telling investigators that he once found a wet delivery package filled with $8,000 in cash from Mr. Brown on his porch; Mr. Justice denying that he used steroids but providing the names of players that he suspected of using them; and Mr. McNamee injecting Mr. Clemens in the buttocks with steroids approximately four times in 1998.

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 15 Picks [EdMcGon]


And just for the record, I like the Broncos over the Texans in tonight's game.

My picks this week:

Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers: Two teams with coaches on the hot seat. But it's hard to see the Bengals defense stopping Frank Gore.
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers: This game should be close, but the Hawks bring just a little more to the game.
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns: I would not have expected this game to have playoff implications, but it does. This is the game of the week, as these two teams are about equal in my mind. It could go either way, but I am leaning towards the Browns. They have a better offensive line.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs: In a Jeff Fisher vs. Herm Edwards coaching battle, who do you pick?
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: The Fish could pull out of their funk with this game, as the Ravens are nothing special. More likely, the Fish go down once more.
New York Jets at New England Patriots: At this point, the only team that can beat the Patriots IS the Patriots.
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints: Close game between two underachievers.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Jaguars are appropriately named. This team is like a jungle cat that quietly sneaks up on you. By the time you realize they are there, it's too late, and the game is over. Sorry Steeler fans, but the Jags are too good for your team.
Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams: Mismatch.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: So long Bobby Petrino. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. That said, I am glad to see Emmitt Thomas get a coaching job, even if it is only interim.
Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders: Take pity on us Tony Dungy!
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys: I just don't see the Eagles having the firepower for this one.
Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers: The Bolts are too much here.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants: Eli Manning is NOT a bad quarterback. The New York fans need to get off his case. The problem for the Giants is simple: offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: If the Bears had an offense, I might look for them to win here.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 14 Results & Mike Vick [EdMcGon]

The best pick this week was made by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, when he chose to give Mike Vick 23 months in prison, instead of the 12-18 months recommended in Vick's plea agreement.

I know a lot of people want to see Vick out of football forever, but I personally hope Vick can learn from this mistake, get his head on straight, and come back better than ever in a few years. Although if he doesn't play well, I am sure the fans will have him on a "short leash".

Seriously though, in our weekly picks, I win!

EdMcGon - 13
David Stefanini - 12
FunkyPundit - 12
Audio Dave - 12
Robert A. George - 10
Bill Barker - 7
J. Mark English - 6

In the YTD standings, David Stefanini returns to sole possession of the top spot, but with only two games separating him from Robert George and me:

David Stefanini(2) - 118
EdMcGon(3) - 116
Robert A. George(2) - 116
J. Mark English(1) - 98
Bill Barker - 92
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 76
BL(2) - 74
Audio Dave(2.5) - 60
SoloD(1) - 53
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Snave - 8
Mike - 8
Moose - 2

UPDATE: Originally, I had Bill Barker with the weekly win. WRONG! Barker posted his picks after 1:00 pm on Sunday, so I had to take away all his 1:00 games, leaving him with 7 games. Sorry Bill.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 14 Picks [EdMcGon]

As usual, the Bears-Redskins game tonight will NOT count in the weekly or YTD standings. But for the record, I like the Skins tonight.

Now for the rest of my weekly picks:

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills: This could be the week for the Fish. More likely not.
St. Louis Rams at Cincinnati Bengals: This might be a fun game to watch, only because neither team knows how to play defense.
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions: They should have played this game on Thanksgiving.
Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers: Even a banged-up Brett Favre is too much for the Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans: This is the closest game of the week. With Bucs QB Jeff Garcia looking like he will play, and Texans QB Matt Schaub looking like he won't, I will gamble on the Bucs to win it. Even if both played, it still could go either way.
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are the better cats here.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles: Take the Eagles in this revenge match.
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans: The Bolts should be able to take care of business against an overmatched Titans team.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers: The improving Vikes are too much for the floundering 49ers.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: Another revenge match, with the Hawks coming out on top.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos: I imagine the Broncos are still stinging from last week's loss to the Raiders. Expect the Chiefs to pay for it.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots: I can't pick the Pats to lose, but this one should be close enough for the Steelers to pull it off, but only if they don't make crucial mistakes.
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets: Nice victory for the Jets over the Dolphins. Now they can come back down to earth against a real team.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens: Don't expect the Ravens to do any better against the Colts than they did against the Pats.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: This is a Monday night game? Take the Saints and go to bed early.

Pigskin Pick'em rules: Look 'em up in one of the previous weeks!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 13 Results [EdMcGon]

Last night's Patriots-Ravens game was why I watch football: Watch a lesser team dominate a better team for 58 minutes, only to lose the game in the last two minutes. And I do mean the FULL two minutes.

Speaking of better teams, Audio Dave won his second week in a row in our Pigskin Pick'em pool:

Audio Dave - 11
J. Mark English - 10
Robert A. George - 9
Bill Barker - 9
FunkyPundit - 8
David Stefanini - 7
EdMcGon - 5

Finally, we have a dramatic development in our YTD standings! Robert George has moved into a tie with David Stefanini for the lead:

Robert A. George(2) - 106
David Stefanini(2) - 106

EdMcGon(2) - 103
J. Mark English(1) - 92
Bill Barker - 85
BL(2) - 74
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 64
SoloD(1) - 53
Audio Dave(2.5) - 48
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Snave - 8
Mike - 8
Moose - 2

The great irony here is that if Robert had remembered to make the first week's picks, he might be winning by now. Of course, if Audio Dave had started playing earlier in the year, he might be winning too. If, if, if, if, if...


2007 Sportsman of the Year?!?!?! [Robert A. George]

Who else?

That spinning head? The hideous shriek? The slashing of wrists and gouging out of eyes?

That would be our own Ed McGonigal.

It would be best to leave Ed alone right about now.

[It hadn't occurred to me, but I have to agree with ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike, who mentioned it this morning: Tony Dungy would have been a much better choice -- even though the AFC championship and Super Bowl games occurred during the first five weeks of 2007. Yes, the historical nature of being the first black coach to win the Super Bowl is nice to note, but there are far more substantial reasons that make Dungy deserving: He finally got the "can't-win-the-big-one" monkey off both his and Peyton Manning/the Colts backs. Furthermore, in a pretty horrid year of bad sportsmanship (Michael Vick, NBA referee gambling, Pacman Jones, Barry Bonds, the Tour de France) -- he is one of the classiest, most upstanding men in sports.]

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