Friday, August 25, 2006

SWINGS AND MISSES

Some recent thoughts:

RED SOX:

* Is there any way that the Red Sox are going to be stupid enough to leave Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen next season? I hope not, because a rotation of Schilling, Papelbon, Beckett, Lester, and Wakefield next year looks like a perfect mix of power and finesse, age and youth, and raw emotion and restrained detachment.

* Has anyone pulled together the stats for when Schilling and Beckett pitch back-to-back and when they pitch with another pitcher in-between them? I still think that the idea to toss Wakefield between those two fireballers was inspired.

* Everyone repeat after me: the Sox still have a four game series against the Yankees and a series against the White Sox.

* I love how Mark Loretta plays the game, but with Alex Cora still around as the best utility infielder in baseball, how can the Sox not keep Alex Gonzalez and play Dustin Pedroia at second base?

* Heck, Cla Meredith looks like a good bullpen option right now.

* I am amazed at how many people think the Red Sox not only should, but are a disgrace because they do not, spend along with the Yankees and send their payroll up towards $200 million. What, the owners and investors have their money back already? It is not like the team has not poured millions into the ballpark and surrounding area. I know, let us go back to the John Harrington days where he spent money recklessly in order to inflate the value of the franchise. That worked so well.

* Manny has a bum hamstring and sore knee. Oh my gosh, time to get worked up into a frenzy. Is that all they have at WEEI? Nothing better? Pitiful!

* I still cannot believe Tony LaRussa was right and Edgar Renteria was such a dismal failure. This guy should have been a perfect fit in the line-up and out at shortstop. So what if it was a year ago, I am still upset that Renteria failed so miserably, because no one but Tony LaRussa saw it coming.

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PATRIOTS:

* Summer is not the same without Bethel Johnson on the PUP list. Jonathan Sullivan can smoke a Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle sized bag of marijuana on the team plane and he still would be less a waste of talent than Bethel.

* Sidenote: Yeah, I loved the movie. How could I not since I am a Harold (though not Asian or Indian) and loving sliders, painful humor, dancing cheeseburgers, and all things Neil Patrick Harris, but do not call me Roldi.

* Monty Beisel, where have you gone?

* Did Seau wear number 55 at USC before Willie Mac? Either way, he looks right in the uniform. He looks like he always belonged in New England wearing number 55. By the way, does anyone know how San Diego got Seau? Yup, they traded up with the Patriots who got Ray Agnew and Chris Singleton in return. Hosed does not sum up that trade in any way, shape, or form. Of course, they traded down with the 49ers a few years earlier and San Francisco got Jerry Rice with out pick and we got Trevor Matich. This is why Bill Belichick gets more leeway than any other Boston sports decision-maker.

* OK, so what exactly did Deion Branch say that was news? I heard nothing of substance or in any way noteworthy.

* Bam Childress, is he the next David Patten? I would like to think so. I think Reche Caldwell is going to be yet another example of Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli unearthing another diamond in the rough.

* Too bad about Martin Gramatica getting cut, but give the Patriots front office credit for cutting him early enough to latch onto another job before the season. He certainly looked more like the 2002 all-pro kicker rather than the 2005 unemployed and injured kicker.

* Someone needs to alert the media that Daunte Culpepper sucked before he Rodney Harrison-ed his knee last year. Unless Miami trades for Randy Moss, I expect the Finheads will be clamoring for Joey the Duck Harrington before too long.

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FANTASY FOCUS

Well, the fantasy football draft is fast approaching, which means I will once again have to put aside my loyalty to the New England Patriots and attempt to keep my Seattle Seahawks dynamic duo (Shawn Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck) together again (one year I got stuck with Jake the Snake Plummer at QB). The Yahoo league operates at a distinct disadvantage of having family, friends, and other fantasy sports-related pals and friends-of-friends stretching across the Northeast. Getting everyone together for the draft due to travel, family obligations (I have a freaking family birthday party almost every weekend it seems) and work schedules has been a logistical nightmare. So despite my loud exhortations, we end up with the Yahoo draft where you rank all your players and the draft unfurls in a frenzied madness of the computer picking players in the order you have pre-ranked them. Not a keeper league, though I argue for that every year.

Suffice to say, the waiver wire is ALWAYS active the next day, which in a way is the charm of that kind of draft. Anyway, I am hardly one to give fantasy sports advice since my teams always suck. But there is a method to my madness: in their first seasons with new teams (2002? 2003? Whenever) Peerless Price and Lavernius Coles were both taken by me in the early rounds of the draft. Oh I suffered. Bad, bad pain. I also remember drafting Brett Favre early in the draft that year and it was his first year of the steady decline of his stats this millennium. Lesson learned? Load up on running backs, then sift through receivers and tightends. Anyone can find a serviceable QB, kicker, and defense on the cheap.

I remember back in the days when we played Sandbox fantasy football, we used to draft defensive players instead of a team defense. You got points for tackles, interceptions, td returns, fumble recoveries (I would think forced fumbles is a more worthy stat), and of course sacks. It certainly made for another level of strategy, but I hated it so much. No point, just a sidenote because Kat was talking about if I remembered drafting defensive players this morning. I remember, it drove me freaking nuts! Anyway, I think she misses it because she cannot have Tiki & Ronde Barber both piling up stats for her unless she grabs the Tampa defense.

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