Spare Neurons

Here is where you find the random thoughts, caffeine-fueled rants, "smacking the dashboard and screaming at radio hosts" diatribes, and bizarre observations that pop into my head and are not worthy of a full post:

I am glad Rob Gronkowski skipped practice on Wednesday.  He needs to rest that damned ankle until he's close to 100% or game-time, whichever comes first.  Without both tight-end at full-speed, this team is lacking a key play-maker (see no Aaron Hernandez last year).

* * *

When I think of Eli Manning, I am haunted by the horrible Oreo cookie commercial with Eli and brother Peyton in a "Lick-off" with Venus and Serena Williams.  Oog, I think I'm sick to my stomach.

* * *

I have come to the conclusion that Rex Ryan is correct, as much as it pains me to admit it. As evidenced by all the talk out of Baltimore about jumbo tron down and distance disparities on the final drive of the game, it is obvious that Bill Belichick is in the heads of the opposing coaches in the NFL (save Ryan).  

The fallout from "spygate" is that teams are convinced that forces are conspiring against them the minute the walk into Foxborough. Strange forces controlled by Bill Belichick.  "Bill Belichick is going to cheat!" They walk into the stadium convinced they have already lost the game.  Sexy Rexy meant that by not kissing Bill Belichick's rings means that he's not going into the game already defeated.  

Is there any other explanation why the Jets are one of the Patriot's toughest opponents.Look at how teams react when they defeat the Patriots. The Detroit Lions declared themselves Super Bowl contenders when they beat the Patriots in the pre-season. The Buffalo Bills celebrated like it was the a championship game when they won during the a fall game this year. Heck, Josh McDaniels at Denver in 2009 when they beat the Patriots in the regular season. 

Staying in the game feels like a victory even if they lose when they come into the game defeated. Funny how Ray "Murderer Who Belongs in Prison" Lewis of Baltimore went on a rant after the game a few years ago when Tom Brady turned to an official and mimicked throwing a flag (LIKE EVERY SINGLE PLAYER DOES IN THE LEAGUE!). Lewis could not stop his mouth then, but where was he calling out his own coach for running down the sideline last Sunday doing the SAME EXACT THING.  Funny how it's only New England, those damned consistently winning while millions under the salary cap Patriots, who elicit so much negative attention.

You know, even if it makes Rex Ryan correct, I kind of like rooting for the bad guys. 

* * *

The Red Sox are killing me this off-season.  Replace the aging, lefty designated hitter with a bigger thumper who is years younger? Of course not.   The Red Sox (official slogan: "We don't admit to scrambling to be under the luxury tax when it is obvious to all") have decided to keep David Ortiz for another year and pass on signing Prince Fielder to create the best 1-2 punch since a young David Ortiz paired with Manny Ramirez.  For less than the cost of Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey the Red Sox could have had the best power-hitter this side of Ryan Howard.

* * *

Prince Fielder to Detroit?  OK, I did not see that coming.  Good fit? Sure. He's gonna chomp burgers and hit dingers no matter what park you put him in. paying out $214 million in guaranteed dollars means that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch must be making some serious Little Caesar's pizza money.  Of course, check out Cliff Corcoran working the WAR numbers: 

By Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement, which factors in runs saved or lost on defense and adjusts for position, Fielder ranks just 23rd in baseball over the last five years, just barely ahead of the Reds' Joey Votto, who played just 24 games in the first of those five seasons, and far behind four other first basemen: Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, new teammate Miguel Cabrera, and Mark Teixeira. Swap out the declining Teixeira for Votto, and Fielder looks like the fifth-best player at his own position, never mind among all hitters. That does not suggest that he's worth the fourth-largest commitment in total dollars ever given to a major league player.
Read more:

No matter the cost, someone needs to point out to Ben Cherington, Boston Red Sox Neo-Boy Wonder General Manager and the John Henry ownership group that THAT is how you replace Victor Martinez's numbers in the lineup.

* * *

I can't say enough great things about  Kerry J. Byrne has been backing up his smack talk online with cold, hard facts (and lots of talk about two other favorites of mine, food and beer) for years.  Just passing on a must-read about his Passer Rating Differential statistic and how it affects this and past Super Bowl as an indicator of victory.  Great stuff here at: Kerry's Super Bowl Tour de Statistical Force .