Snow, a roaring (gas) fire, an idyllic mountain view, and a week off from work. A recipe for relaxation, re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy in its entirety back-to-back-to-back (a family vacation tradition), trying to talk the boy into watching Superman I through IV with me, playing Football Mogul & Baseball Mogul on the computer (Free plug: by far the best wannabe General Manager computer games out there, hands-down. Check them out at http://www.sportsmogul.com/ to try the demo and fall in love with it and then buy the games) and lots and lots of sports on TV.
To that end, let's get things rolling with some salient points about what is on my mind:
I am particularly looking forward to catching the Saturday night Texas Tech vs Oklahoma match-up. With an Oklahoma win it creates a three-way tie in the Big12 South with my beloved Longhorns, Tech, & Okie with no real tie-breaker (tie-breaker is BCS poll rating--Tech beat Horns, Horns beat Okie, Okie beat Tech...). Three teams with identical records, with pretty consistent strength of schedule, and 2 out of 3 royally ticked-off with legitimate gripes. I love it. Someone tell me again why there is no playoff system?
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As one of the "run the bum out of town" leaders after '04, I have to say that you can call me Pete Carroll because I am pumped and jacked at the possibility of D-Lowe coming back to Boston as a free agent. Toast of the town? D-Lowe will own this place like no one short of Bronson Arroyo returning (not a bad idea...I think I am finally ready to admit that Wily Mo Pena is not going to hit 50+ home runs in Fenway playing right field). Lock up the BU and Northeastern co-eds, D-Lowe could be back in town.
Really, he was always a great fit at Fenway, and with Lowell, Lowrey, Pedroia, and Youk providing superior leather skills in the infield, his BABIP (Batting average allowed on balls in play) whould make him extremely effective again in Fenway. I would love to have D-Lowe back (if only to complain about him incessantly for the next three or four years).
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Please, Detroit, take the hideous Lugo contract off our hands. I would take D-Train off their hands so quickly their heads would spin. Put Willis in a locked room with pitching coach John Farrell for all of spring training, and all of a sudden, there would be some great depth.
Sorry, still not buying the Matt Cassell hype. Sorry, but with two Pro Bowl WRs (Wes Welker & Randy Moss), a starting-quality # 3 (Jabar Gaffney), two pass-catching TEs (David Thomas and Ben "Don't Believe the Hype" Watson, and the best pass-catching RB in the NFL (Kevin Faulk), he should be throwing for 300+ yards. Yes, he has exceeded my expectations (which were an unconditional release after training camp), but I would really have rather seen the growth coming from Kevin "Don't call me Jerry" O'Connell this season as he will be back. Good luck to Cassell, though. Let's hope he gets the Pats to the playoffs and then gets a fat check from Detroit or someone desperate for a QB.
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I will believe the Patriots are ready to make a run when I see the defense return to a normal, Bill Belichick turnover-creating machine. Forget the blah-blah about Deltha O'Neil and Ellis Hobbs holding down the cornerback positions--at least they are not Otis "My Man" Smith and Hank Poteat. Losing Adalius Thomas hurts, but this team needs to start making plays. Too often the defense does not make that one play to get off the field on third down (Indy & Jets losses--both games had 3rd down breakdowns that cost them the game) and get the ball to the offense.
Also, has anyone alerted the team that Mike Vrabel retired last year and never told anyone? Has anyone seen him do ANYTHING this season? Someone tell Shawn Crabel to use his redshirt season well and get ready to supplant Pierre Woods at OLB.
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My Coco Crisps are soggy this morning as Coco Crisp has taken his game to Kansas City. Great job of maximizing returns, as Ramon Ramirez is a flame-throwing stud not seen since Mike Timlin circa 2003 in Fenway. Deadly against righties, Ramirez can team with Manny Delcarmen as a 1-2 punch against righties late in the game, freeing up Justin Masterson to take his place in the rotation.
Coco, as great as his defense was in centerfield, he never recovered after being injured his first week in Boston and never fully recovered the power he had in Cleveland. At least Andy Marte never came back to bite the Sox in the rear (yeah, Kelly Schoppach should have never been added to the deal).
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Holy Toledo! I turn my back and the Bruins lead the division and conference? They are fun to watch, have a nice mix of talent, youth, and a blue line at last.
Yes, Boston FINALLY has a hockey team!!!
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