Wednesday, September 28, 2005


When exactly is Bud Selig sending in his super-secret agents on loan form David Stern and the NBA to fix the last week of the season so that both Boston and New York (#6 & #2 media markets) are in the playoffs and Cleveland is out? Now do not get me wrong, I want the Yankees out of the playoffs and bawling in the dugouts this weekend if the Sox can beat them up and send them home for the winter. That, in fact, is what everyone wants to see. In fact, they want to see Derek Jeter being struck out by Mike Timlin to end their miserable season. Quick note for the Yankees front office: Jose Contreras, El Duque, Brandon Claussen, Jeff Weaver and Jon Lieber, all with their double-digit wins this year, all look pretty darn good right now, eh?

As much as baseball wants parity and competitive balance with small-market teams competing, they know that the real money comes from the networks, and the networks want Boston-New York in the playoffs. Now, I am not sure how Bud is going to pull this off, but I have some suggestions:
1. All-you-can-eat at McDonalds coupons mysteriously appear in the locker occupied by C.C. Sabathia;
2. Aaron Boone gets a little payment from his former Boss;
3. Travis Hafner gets the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan treatment (of course, he is so good, he probably would keep hitting on one leg!);
4. Victor Martinez is reminded of that little dispute with Pedro Martinez and the Sox a few years back and is informed that Pedro is a man of considerable influence and power, and he has a long memory. Or just ask Curt Schilling about why his ankle REALLY hurt so much last year;
5. Give Eric Wedge a wedgie.

Like I said, I am rooting for the Yankees to be eliminated from the playoffs this weekend, but unfortunately, I think that unless Ozzie Guillen takes the step of his metamorphosis into Mephisto and starts literally biting the heads off of players in Chicago, sinister forces are aligning right now to ensure that the television ratings are going to be there for major league baseball this fall.

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Wesley Mallard and Andre Davis, it would have been nice to get to know you. Michael Stone and Famous Amos Zereoue, welcome aboard but do not get too comfortable. Gene Mruczkowski, I am glad to have the Polish Power back on the O-Line depth chart. How much these signings will help is debatable, but I am certainly more comfortable with the O-Line depth with Mruczkowski aboard. He knows the team, he knows the system, and if Koppen goes down (heaven forbid) he can fill-in at center. Stone at least should help initially on special teams, and Zereoue is a great pickup. I may have preferred the unpronounceable Chris Fuamatu-Maafala, but I have wanted the Pats to pick him up every year since he came into the league. Like Marion Butts, I love seeing those fat, wrecking balls picking up steam coming out of the backfield and wearing down the defense that tries to stop them. Still, if they do not pick up Fu, I like Zereoue as well, and he should be solid as a third-string running back.

Of course, I wish the Pats could have kept some of the talent that they were forced to cut, but that is why the league limits the roster. Dex Reid and Chad Morton stepping in would have been nice.

Changes-a-plenty for the Patriots this week, but then again, things could be worse. Fans in Buffalo are actually clamoring for Bledsoe and lamenting the fact he was let go and is in the process of reviving his career to a point where he could retire second only to Marino in many offensive stats (sure, Peyton Manning will pass them both, but still, Drew is only in his early thirties. Six or seven years of 3,750 yards passing could land him in the Hall of Fame!). The Dolphins are, as expected with Nick Saban at the helm, playing above and beyond their talent level, but unfortunately are only a .500 team this year. If they get a QB though, look out next year. The Jets? See below for my opinion on those bozos.

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One last note on Vinny T and the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS: why in the world did the Jets not sign Rohan Davey? Are they nuts? Is it stupidity? Arrogance perhaps? Davey actually just hooked on with the Arizona Cardinals, which is a great fit since the starter is perennially injured Kurt Warner, the back-up is scatter-shot Josh McNown (or is it Cade McNown, no he was the wash-out with the Bears), and they probably have a third QB who stinks and I could care less if he is on the roster or not. Davey should be starting by week nine and finally getting the break he has been working towards for so long. I always thought Davey would turn out ok, but I understand that with Flutie and second-best QB in college football last year, Matt Cassell, ahead of him it meant that there was no way the Patriots could carry four QBs and, this is very important, Flutie puts fannies in the seats for pre-season games which makes him worth his salary right there.

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Sonny, get ready for company. Hockey is back soon and the boy & I are ready secure our spot in the Bruins TV sanctuary for the regular season. You get the chips, I will bring the Heinekens. Yee-Hah, it is FINALLY time for hockey in the hub again!

Sonny, of course to all who know me, is my father-in-law and a HUGE Bruins fans. Many of my evenings spent courting his daughter (my beautiful wife, Kat, natcherly) were spent on the couch with Bruins game on and Sonny dozing off in the recliner until the Bruins scored or almost scored where he would leap up, arms and legs flying, shouting GOOAALLLLLLLLL!!! or YES-NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! and scaring the crap out of me as I had assumed he was asleep what with the eyes closed and snoring sounds. Once the game was over, it was always my cue to get the hell out as visiting hours were over.

I am happy as hell that hockey is home again in the hub, because the Bruins are one of those things that bring me back to the good old days and makes me realize, like with the Sox and Pats, that sports are important: if only to bring family together. And Sonny, after opening night, I am drinking all of your Heinekens.

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Bwah-hah-hah-hah! Testacles makes his triumphant return to the site of his greatest failure. I love it. Beeyooteeful.

Come on Happy Herm,
call on your brothers everybody,
gotta love one another right now.

Well, at least the Jets and Coach Hapless, aka Happy Herm, have their built-in excuse now: Sorry, Woody. We would have beaten the Pats for the division but without the most overrated quarterback in football, we just had no chance whatsoever. Flutie-who? Never heard of him, but I am a big Jay Fiedler fan.

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Nothing worse than afternoon games; I said it before and I will say it again. Wait, I will amend that statement: the only thing worse is an afternoon playoff game. With the second game tonight and without Tivo (sorry, but my tv-related expenses are way too high to begin with) I am stuck waiting for baseball tonight to see highlights (as NESN, God bless the smiling face of Hazel Mae greeting me on NESN every morning rather than some bald dude or jolly fat guy, never shows enough of the game on SportsDesk, as a Sox game should be ten minutes and the Bruins ten minute daily report can be toned down). The NFL, with the NFL Network, have ALL of the games on Sunday available broken down to ten minutes of action. Like manna from the heavens, every Tuesday night I catch up on all the games I missed on Sunday and scout out my next fantasy football finds (say hello to Michael Jenkins and my new back-up QB, Eli Manning).

Of course, while baseball has no such life-affirming option like the NFL Network, it at least gives everyone in the country the right to watch their product without limit if you have the cash. The NFL, it one of the biggest mistakes ever made by the league, limits the Sunday package of games to losers with DirectTV.

Hmm, most people have cable, so we want to be perfectly clear that they cannot pay us money to watch whatever games they want. Those people, we have no desire to obtain their money.

Let me guess, this marketing plan was brought to the NFL by Herm Edwards? It reeks of his intelligence and foresight. OK, that was a cheap shot, but the gripe stands: MLB & NFL, you know the problems you face: Now fix them!

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So the Big Unit vs. the Bloody Sox showdown is off. What a shame. Personally, I like the idea of the two of them in a steel cage, but I think this was the last window for the showdown. This was it for the colossal showdown. Players over forty are always a major risk to stay healthy and effective (see: Bonds, Barry. Everyone who really believed he would not have passed Ruth by now please raise your hand. Nobody? That is what I thought).

Of course, there is still the chance that either team will dramatically cool off and the final three games will be an afterthought: which I fervently hope is not the case. These two teams on the last weekend of the season for all the marbles is a thought too delicious to let go of right now. Major league baseball needs these pennant races right now after the season of the steroids. My fingers are crossed.

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Not for nothing, but if I were Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmiero would be among the walking wounded. Squealing on the best all-around player in the AL about a B-12 vitamin? I would have kicked his Cubano ass right there if I were Tejada. The Island War would be on!

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