Monday, January 31, 2005

January 31, 2005

THE ETERNAL HYPE:

I can’t take it anymore. Six more days until the Super Bowl? I’m already sick of Freddie Mitchell and Terrell Owens. How many more “obscure player profiles” can we read in the Globe & Herald? How many more local news reporters can we send off to Jacksonville? My God, I think Jane Lopes is down there as a correspondent for the Middleboro Gazette.

BIRDS WHO TAKE FLIGHT:

Of course, when it comes to the Philadelphia wide receivers, my thoughts turn away from the two chuckleheads, Owens & Mitchell, to the one wide receiver who has the (warning, dangerous term used in conjunction with a football player ahead) potential to turn the tide of this game—Todd Pinkston.

Pinkston, known in Fantasy Football circles as the kiss of death (due to his showing up on your roster immediately causing a downward spiral), has fantastic physical gifts. He’s tall, he’s fast, he’s strong, and he’s in a comfort zone of having run the same offense for numerous years with the same starting quarterback. Somehow, though, he never fulfills that rich potential.

Pinkston, if he’s on his game, can make the tough catches across the middle, snatch away the sideline pass from the defenders, run away from single coverage, and out-jump a defender in the end zone. Of course, as Pinkston has repeatedly shown over the years, he can curl up in the corner of the field and become a non-factor after getting hit and pushed around. Carolina last year in the NFC Championship Game simply mauled the poor guy. He was running slants with his head on a swivel, looking for defenders instead of the ball. He was completely taken completely out of the game.

Incredibly, no one in Atlanta watched that game last year. Free to run off the line with no jamming, no getting hit and pushed around, Pinkston had a good game against the Falcons in the NFC Championship game last week. With Owens likely a non-factor even if he plays, Freddie Mitchell already being lined-up for the big hit by the Patriots secondary, Todd Pinkston could be the Eagles’ make-or-break player in the Super Bowl.


SAMMY SOOSER IS HERE…WHERE’S MIKE MCGUIRE?

Heck, for $12.5 million, I’d have taken Sammy Sosa off the Cubs hands. Seriously, good for the Orioles. I hope they sell some tickets and make some money off the deal. A club desperate for pitching and they pick up…an overpriced, defensive liability, declining power, malcontent outfielder. Good job. Another 77-84 season is looming over the horizon.

Sosa, of course, could bounce back. Then again, my cat, Slim Mimit, could start explain the theory of relativity to me. OK, maybe it’s not that unlikely. In fact, my gut tells me it could be a good move for Sammy to get a fresh start on a new team in a new league. Think Roger Clemens being leaving the Red Sox back in 1997, for example. A switch to the American League allows Sosa to be used as a designated hitter, which should save some wear and tear without sacrificing at-bats. Also, Baltimore has Javy Lopez and Miguel Tejada in the line-up, which will offer better protection to him than Moises Alou and Aramis Ramierez.

A healthy, happy Sammy Sosa is good for the game of baseball.


PREVIEW OF COMING EVENTS:

I’m looking into the Red Sox off-season moves and am really excited about how Theo Epstein’s master plan has unfolded. A little more research and fact checking will have that ready for publication this week. Also, that should segue into a look into the Sox’s pitching staff this year, and why I believe it is a primed for 100 wins and another run for the post-season prize.

Also, I’m planning to enjoy the hype all week long for the most important event of the year: the beginning of the Arena Football League. Seriously, I’d like to touch on the AFL. But this week will be dominated by talk about the Patriots on their march to Jacksonville.

Thank you all, as always, for coming along for the ride.

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