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Sports nostalgia and useless facts

Entries in this blog

 

The Baseball Network (1994-1995)

I mentioned it my last entry that I was running out of Redo ideas in my lifetime and then I realized I skipped over an obvious one in the 1995 A.L. MVP. I can't believe I missed it because I did the 1995 N.L. MVP already and it also gives me an opportunity to reminisce about one of the worst ideas since New Coke.   Edit: I've decided to do the 1995 A.L. MVP redo in a seperate entry that I'll do in the next day or two and leave this as an entry on it's own.   As I already mentioned on the redo of the 1995 N.L. MVP, we came incredibly close to replacement/scab players starting the season as the strike was still going in March. Although that embarassment was avoided for baseball another would pop up that October. The previous season a national television deal split between ABC and NBC had started which was called The Baseball Network. The name was purely for marketing reasons as there was no actual Baseball Network as all it was is ABC and NBC, I believe on a rotating basis, would have a Friday Night primetime game every week after the All-Star Break. Now there was no feature game as everyone just got a local game which the broadcast team being split between to local announcers of the two teams. It seemed very odd as what was the point of having a national game of the week if all you received was a local game? But the presentation of the games was inoffensive and I suppose it was nice to watch a local game with a national feel to it. The strike of course ended the 1994 season and there was no postseason to cover. The Baseball Network deal was still in place for 1995 and it was the same coverage for the regular season. But then came the postseason....   1995 was the first year that the new expanded playoffs would be used with the new five game divisonal round. The format for it initially was a nightmare as someone thought it was a good idea to pre-determine what divisions would play each other and what division would play the wild card team in the divisional rather than basing it on record. So for example in the A.L., the Mariners played the wild card Yankees despite having the worst record of the divison winners while the two best teams in the league, the Indians and Red Sox, were forced to play each other in the divisional playoffs. Then for the five game series they decided to go with the awful 2-3 format where the team with homefield would actually start the series on the road and then go home for three games if necessary.   But now onto the actual coverage of the playoffs. They decided that one network would host the entire divison round and then would switch to the other network for the league championship series. This seemed odd and unecessary and of course created an fairly obvious problem, as in how would they televise the entire division series on one network? The brilliant plan the came up with was schedule all four games at the same exact time, 8PM EST/5PM PST, and only provide a regional telecast. You have to stand in awe of the stupidity of this. The NBA could televise every single playoff game of a 16 team first round yet MLB could only figure out how to televise one game a night. So me being California I only was able to see the Dodgers/Reds series for the first three nights of the playoffs and nothing else.   Now I know what your thinking, or if you've forgotten, "now there's no way they did this for the league championships, right?" They did. The Reds/Braves and Mariners/Indians league championships series would be played at the exact same time, every night and the country would be split between them. I'm not even sure how they handled the Reds and Indians coverage. Can you imagine being an life long Indians fan, a franchise playing in it's first ever ALCS, living in Cincinnati and not being able to watch the game?   Thankfully The Baseball Network deal was only for two years and in 1996 a new deal started with Fox televising regular season games and then splitting the postseason with NBC. All division series games were televised but unfortunently we've been stuck with Fox ever since. But when we whine about the awful coverage of Fox or the fiasco with games being put on Fx and ABC Family channel in the past, just remember for one year it was much, much worse.

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The 30+ Years of Misery Club

In a couple of weeks we have the chance to witness something none of us have seen before (I assume we have no one in their 60's on this board) and that is see the Cardinals as champions of the NFL. This got me to wonder about how many franchises in the four major North American professional sports leagues have never won their league's championship in my lifetime. I also wanted to know who would replace the Cardinals as the most moribund franchise in the NFL (I know you will all be shocked!) and who in the NBA and NHL have the longest run since their last championship.   In total there are 47 teams who have failed to win a single "world" championship in the last 30 years, of course that does not include expansion franchises who have come into existence since. Note I do count championships won in the AFL, ABA, and WHA for those franchises who were grandfathered in to their current leagues. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Phoenix Coyotes (won the last ever Avco Cup in the WHA as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979) are set to join this list after this year. The Seattle Supersonics would have also joined the list if they hadn't had their franchise stolen away.   1. Chicago Cubs - 100 years 1908 World Series Champions Misery Fun Fact: Have not played in a World Series since 1945 which is a longer drought for playing for a championship than any other franchise has gone without winning a championship (current streak).   2. Arizona Cardinals (Chicago/St. Louis) - 61 years 1947 NFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: Before this year had won one playoff game since last championship.   3. Cleveland Indians - 60 years 1948 World Series Champions Misery Fun Fact: Had a 41 year World Series drought between 1954 and 1995.   4. Sacramento Kings (Rochester Royals/Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City) - 57 years 1951 NBA Champions Misery Fun Fact: Haven't played in a NBA Finals since '51 championship.   5. San Francisco Giants (New York) - 54 years 1954 World Series Champions Misery Fun Fact: Haven't won a championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958 and hopefully never will.   6. Detroit Lions - 51 years 1957 NFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: One playoff win since last championship.   7. Atlanta Hawks (St. Louis) - 50 years 1958 NBA Champions Misery Fun Fact: Last conference/division finals appearance was in 1970.   8. Philadelphia Eagles - 48 years 1960 NFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: Have now lost four conference championship games this decade.   9t. Chicago Blackhawks - 47 years 1961 Stanley Cup Champions Misery Fun Fact: Only one playoff appearance in last 11 years, although that will change this year.   9t. Minnesota Vikings - 47 years Misery Fun Fact: 0-4 in Super Bowls and 0-4 in conference championship games since their last Super Bowl in 1976.   9t. Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers) - 47 Years 1961 AFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: 1-4 in conference championship games.   9t. Texas Rangers (Washington Senators) - 47 years Misery Fun Fact: Oldest franchise in the Big Four leagues to never reach the championship round of it's sport. Zero playoff series wins.   13. Houston Astros - 46 years Misery Fun Fact: Took 43 years win their only NL pennant.   14. San Diego Chargers - 45 years 1963 AFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: 1-5 in AFL/AFC Championship games since '63.   15. Cleveland Browns - 44 years 1964 NFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: 0-6 in NFL/AFC Championship games since '64.   16. Buffalo Bills - 43 years 1965 AFL Champions Misery Fun Fact: Only franchise in the Big Four to lose in the championship round of it's sport in four consecutive years.   17. Atlanta Falcons - 42 years Misery Fun Fact: Advanced past divisional round of playoffs only twice.   18t. New Orleans Saints - 41 years Misery Fun Fact: Did not win a playoff game in their first 33 years of existence.   18t. Toronto Maple Leafs - 41 years 1967 Stanley Cup Champions Misery Fun Fact: Haven't played in a Cup Final since '67 championship.   20t. Cincinnati Bengals - 40 years Misery Fun Fact: One playoff appearance in last 18 years.   20t. Denver Nuggets - 40 years Misery Fun Fact: Have yet to reach the NBA Finals since merger in '76-'77.   20t. Los Angeles Kings - 40 years Misery Fun Fact: Reached Cup Finals only once.   20t. New York Jets - 40 years Misery Fun Fact: If Brett Favre couldn't bring them a Super Bowl, who can????   20t. St. Louis Blues - 40 years Misery Fun Fact: Last Cup Finals appearance was in 1970.   25t. Kansas City Chiefs - 39 years Super Bowl IV Champions Misery Fun Fact: Have only reached conference championship game once since Super Bowl IV win.   25t. Milwaukee Brewers (Seattle Pilots) - 39 years Misery Fun Fact: Won only two division championships.   25t. Phoenix Suns - 39 years Misery Fun Fact: Despite a .559 all-time winning pct., only reached NBA Finals twice.   25t. San Diego Padres - 39 years Misery Fun Fact: 1-8 in World Series games.   25t. Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos) - 39 years Misery Fun Fact: Only playoff appearance was in the bizarre '81 split season.   30t. Buffalo Sabers - 37 years Misery Fun Fact: Only two Stanley Cup Finals appearances.   30t. Cleveland Cavaliers - 37 years Misery Fun Fact: 35 year wait for their only NBA Finals appearance.   30t. Los Angeles Clippers (Buffalo Braves/San Diego) - 37 years Misery Fun Fact: .364 all-time winning percentage and never reached a conference final.   30t. Milwaukee Bucks - 37 years 1971 NBA Champions Misery Fun Fact: Advanced past first around of playoffs only once in last 19 years.   30t. Vancouver Canucks - 37 years Misery Fun Fact: Their two Stanley Cup Finals appearances are the only two years they've reached the conference finals.   35. Boston Bruins - 36 years 1972 Stanley Cup Champions Misery Fun Fact: Only one playoff series win since 1995.   36t. Indiana Pacers - 35 years 1973 ABA Champions Misery Fun Fact: 1-5 in Eastern Conference finals series.   36t. Miami Dolphins - 35 years Super Bowl VIII Champions Misery Fun Fact: Best all-time winning pct. of any active NFL franchise (.583) but haven't played in a Super Bowl in 24 years.   36t. New York Knicks - 35 years 1973 NBA Champions Misery Fun Fact: Seven straight losing seasons.   39t. Golden State Warriors - 33 years 1975 NBA Champions Misery Fun Fact: Haven't reached conference finals in 32 years.   39t. Philadelphia Flyers - 33 years 1975 Stanley Cup Champions Misery Fun Fact: 0-5 in Stanley Finals series since '75 championship.   39t. Utah Jazz (New Orleans) - 33 years Misery Fun Fact: Only one losing in last 25 years but only two NBA Finals appearances to show for it.   39t. Washington Capitals - 33 years Misery Fun Fact: Reached conference finals only once.   43t. New Jersey Nets (New York) - 32 years 1976 ABA Champions Misery Fun Fact: Only advanced past first round of playoffs six times since NBA merger.   43t. Seattle Seahawks - 32 years Misery Fun Fact: Just two conference championship game appearances.   45t. Portland Trail Blazers - 31 years 1977 NBA Champions Misery Fun Fact: 8-17 in first round playoff series since '77 championship.   45t. Seattle Mariners - 31 years Misery Fun Fact: 14 straight losing seasons at their inception and played in the ALCS only twice.   47. Washington Wizards (Bullets) - 30 years 1978 NBA Champions Miser Fun Fact: Advanced past first round of playoffs only three time since '78 championship.

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Tecmo Super Bowl Simulated Season: Week 1

About four years out of Boredom I went on a binge of downloading roms to play old NES games. It was fun for a little while but playing on the keyboard got old fast. One of the games I downloaded of course was the favorite childhood video game of many men my age, Tecmo Super Bowl. A couple of weeks ago I finally had the itch again to play TSB but again playing on the keyboard just isn't nearly as fun as playing the original on the NES. So I decided for my next series of blog entires was to simulate a TSB season and track it here on my blog.   Yes I'm officially out of ideas.   Anyways I'll just be doing the quick simulation of each game. I thought about sitting through computer vs. computer games but that would take too damn long and get boring. Besides the computer can play really fucking stupid, like ignoring the wide open receiver streaking 50 yards down the field and throwing to tight end underneath who is covered. Maybe when I get to the playoffs I'll do that and add some screen captures.   For Week 1 the big game was obviously the rematch of the 1990 NFC Championship between the Giants and 49ers. Giants blew a 21-0 lead here in the 4th but prevailed in overtime 24-21. The big news of the week though is an upset win over the Redskins, the Lions lost Barry Sanders to injury. Randall Cunnigham, or better known as QB Eagles, went off against the Packers with 348 yards passing and 5 touchdowns.   Week 1 Scores   Seattle 27, New Orleans 21 -John L Williams: 5 catches, 121 yards   L.A. Rams 24, Phoenix 21 OT -Henry Ellard: 5 catches, 147 yards   Philadelphia 38, Green Bay 24 -Randall Cunningham: 348 yards passing   San Diego 21, Pittsburgh 20 -Anthony Miller: 6 catches, 106 yards   N.Y. Jets 31, Tampa Bay 28 OT -Jets: 176 yards rushing   N.Y. Giants 24, San Francisco 21 OT -Phil Simms: 154 yards passing   Indianapolis 19, New England 14 -Steve Grogan: 16% comp pct, 46 yards   Denver 38, Cincinnati 14 -Bobby Humphrey: 14 rushes, 116 yards   Buffalo 24, Miami 21 -Thurman Thomas: 191 total yards   L.A. Raiders 30, Houston 21 -Oilers: 12 yards rushing   Detroit 17, Redskins 14 -Barry Sanders: 106 yards rushing, leaves injured   Dallas 24, Cleveland 10 -Jay Novacek: 4 catches, 102 yards   Minnesota 30, Chicago 17 -Wade Wilson: 204 yards passing   Kansas City 38, Atlanta 0 -Falcons: 64 total yards, 3 first downs   Leaders thru Week 1   As I get later into the season I'll add expanded leaders. I've never quite figured out what the hell formula Tecmo used for passing rating on the game as it is obviously not the standard NFL version.   Passing Leaders Rating: Randall Cunnigham 302.0 Yards: Cunningham 348 TD: Cunnigham 5   Receiving Leaders Receptions: Art Monk; Anthony Miller, 6 Yards: Henry Ellard; Fred Barnett, 147 TD: Many with 2   Rushing Leaders Yards: Bobby Humphrey, 116 TD: Many with 2   Defensive Leaders INT: Many with 2 Sacks: Richard Dent; Lawrence Taylor; Al Baker, 3

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Team USA 2009

Quicky entry here. First off I'm currently working on a list of the 100 greatest baseball players of my lifetime. Whether I actually finish it is another story as I've tried to do similar lists like this before and always ended up chucking the whole thing.   Hey it's World Baseball Classic time and for this entry just going to very quickly put together my own Team USA. I did this a for 2006 (LOLZ Dontrelle Willis) so might as well do it for 2009 since I need an excuse for an entry. This time around though I'm going construct a roster based on a more standard baseball roster rather than the extreme reliever heavy WBC rosters. This is totally based if no one was injured and if Alex Rodriguez wasn't a TRAITOR TO OUR COUNTRY!   Starters C.C. Sabathia Brandon Webb Tim Lincecum Roy Halladay   Relievers Joe Nathan Jonathan Papelbon Brian Fuentes Brad Lidge Heath Bell David Price   C: Joe Mauer 1B: Mark Texeira 2B: Chase Utley 3B: David Wright SS: Alex Rodriguez LF: Matt Holliday CF: Grady Sizemore RF: Nick Markakis DH: Chipper Jones   Bench Brian McCann Lance Berkman Dustin Pedroia Jimmy Rollins Evan Longoria Curtis Granderson

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Steelers DVDs: Super Bowl IX

As I've mentioned previously I love original televised footage of classic games and I recently added two more DVD sets to my collection one for the Pittsburgh Steelers and one for Oklahoma Sooners football. First off regarding the Oklahoma set, I probably should have actually looked up the scores to the games on the set before purchasing it as only one of the five games was decided by single digits (1976 Orange Bowl), but oh well. There is a bonus feature "The Best of the Barry Switzer Show" which might actually be worth an entry if I ever get around to watching it.   The Steelers set has all five of their Super Bowl victories. Well it was supposed to have all five Super Bowls but my set showed up with no Super Bowl XL disk. Bang up job their NFL! If it had been any of the 70's Super Bowls I would have mailed it back. Since I had no intention re-watching that boring, horribly officiated, Jerome Bettis lovefest I decided not to bother with the hassle of returning it. And also NFL, get off your ass and release a 49ers Super Bowls set already.   Now Super Bowl X and XIII annually make All-Time Great Super Bowl lists and Super Bowl XIV might be one of the most underrated Super Bowls of all-time. But anyone can watch the good games, so I decided to watch Super Bowl IX which is just 60 minutes of the Steel Curtain destroying the Vikings' offensive line.   January 12, 1975 - Super Bowl IX: Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)   -There were several poor reviews for the set on Amazon due to the video quality of this game and Super Bowl X. The video quality ended up not being quite as bad as some the reviews painted it but it's not very good either.   -Sadly there are no player introductions on the disk and no postgame. Announcers for the game are Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis, and Don Meredith.   STEELERS OFFENSE LT: Jon Kolb LG: Jim Clack C: Ray Mansfield RG: Gerry Mullins RT: Gordon Gravelle TE: Larry Brown WR: Frank Lewis WR: Ron Shanklin QB: Terry Bradshaw RB: Franco Harris RB: Rocky Bleier   VIKINGS DEFENSE LE: Carl Eller LT: Alan Page RT: Doug Sutherland RE: Jim Marshall LLB: Roy Winston MLB: Jeff Siemon RLB: Wally Hilgenberg LCB: Jackie Wallace RCB: Nate Wright SS: Jeff Wright FS: Paul Krause   VIKINGS OFFENSE LT: Charles Goodrum LG: Andy Maurer C: Mick Tingelhoff RG: Ed White RT: Ron Yary TE: Stu Voight WR: Jim Lash WR: John Gilliam QB: Fran Tarkenton RB: Chuck Foreman RB: Dave Osborn   STEELERS DEFENSE LE: L.C. Greenwood LT: Joe Greene RT: Ernie Holmes RE: Dwight White LLB: Jack Ham MLB: Jack Lambert RLB: Andy Russell LCB: J.T. Thomas RCB: Mel Blount SS: Mike Wagner FS: Glen Edwards   FIRST QUARTER   -Vikings use a 14 man defensive huddle where they would run off three defenders after the Steelers break their huddle, a practice that is of course no longer permitted in today's game.   -On the Vikings first play on offense, Tarkenton completes a pass to John Gilliam on the sideline and as Gilliam is knocked out of bounds he runs over a cameraman who I'm pretty sure was Steve Sabol.   -Steelers would blow two scoring chances in the quarter after getting the ball on the Vikings' 44 and on their own 47. Roy Gerella missed an relatively easy field goal attempt and then the holder bobbled a second attempt.   -Curt Gowdy makes only one mention of Rocky Bleier being a Vietnam vet, playing with shrapnel in his body. I can only imagine how many times a modern announcer would make mention of fact like that during a game if an active player was a veteran. Good thing Tim Tebow isn't a Gulf War II vet.   -Gowdy also brings up the story Terry Bradshaw being pissed during the week because the media kept bringing up how he was viewed as a dumb player. Hasn't he pretty made a career out of this?   SECOND QUARTER   -Lynn Swan and John Stallworth were both in their rookie year and were not starters but they take almost every snap at wideout from the second quarter on.   -Vikings get their first opportunity to score after Bleier fumbles and the Vikings recover on the Steelers 24. But as would be the case through the much of the game, the Vikings could not move the ball and settle for a field goal attempt but kicker Fred Cox hits it wide right.   -After the Steelers were forced to punt on the ensuing possession, Vikings punt return Sam McCullum would field the punt on a hop inside his own 10. Al DeRogatis thinks it was a bad decision but there were two Steelers near by when he fielded the punt and I think they probably would have downed it inside the 5 anyways. Nevertheless this does lead to the first score of the game when what appears to be miscommunication between Tarkenton and fullback Dave Osborn as Tarkenton pitches it but Osborn doesn't even attempt to grab it. The ball gets kicked back, Tarkenton reaches the ball just before the goal line but slides into endzone where he is touched down by Dwight White for a safety.   -On the Vikings next possession, they put together their best drive of the game reaching the Steelers 25. But on a Tarkenton pass over the middle to Gilliam at the Steelers 5, Gilliam attempts to making a leaping grab but he is immediately nailed by Glen Edwards and the ball pops up in their air and is intercepted by Mel Blount. Game heads to the half with a 2-0 score.   THIRD QUARTER   -Huge break for the Steelers on the second half kick. Gerela slips just as he kicks the ball and it ends up being an accidental squib kick. One of the upbacks Bill Brown doesn't field it cleanly and the Steelers would recover on the Vikings 30. Three Franco Harris runs later and it was 9-0.   -There's a bizarre moment on the Vikings next possession. It was 4th and inches on their own 38 and lined up like they were going to run the play but are just trying to draw the Steelers offsides. As Tarkenton tries to draw them offsides a couple of Steelers players start pointing that one of the Vikings lineman flinched, although on the replay it doesn't appear anyone moved, and then the Steelers run across the line. The refs of course blow the play dead but none of them threw a flag. After a quick discussion, there's no false start on the Vikings, no offsides on the Steelers, no timeout was called by the Vikings, and essentially no play. It was like the refs all forgot to throw a flag and when then decided to just say "fuck it, no play." Vikings end up punting.   -Probably the most infamous play of the game happens on the Vikings next possession. L.C. Greenwood deflected a Tarkenton pass, which happened quite a bit in this game, that went right back to Tarkenton who catches it and then throws another pass to a wide open Gilliam for a huge gain into Steelers territory but that's of course that's a penalty. Gowdy doesn't appear to know the rule as he calls it like it's a huge play for the Vikings, all the while Don Meredith tries to correct him during the play. But considering a 14 year veteran in Tarkenton apparently didn't know you couldn't throw two passes on the same play, I guess Gowdy deserves a pass.   -Even though it's only 9-0 after three, the game already felt like a blowout.   FOURTH QUARTER   -Oh but the Vikings actually do have a glimmer of hope. Early in the quarter the Vikings recover a Harris fumble on the Steelers 47 and a pass interference penalty sets them up with a first a goal on the 5. But Chuck Foreman promptly fumbles the ball right back to the Steelers.   -Steelers can't move the ball and Matt Blair would block the punt which the Vikings recover in the endzone for a touchdown. But the Vikings can't do something good without screwing something else up so the kicker Cox shanks the PAT to keep it a three point game.   -The things we take for granted watching football today like knowing how much time is left in a quarter. We don't get a camera shot of the clock here until there is 9:52 left in the game. Although there's no plays missing from the disk, there are several times during the game where the time between a play is edited out so this made it very difficult to figure keep track of how long was left in a quarter.   -The Steelers would put the game away with what was really the only sustained drive of the game by either offense on a 11 play, 66 yard march that at up 7:02 of the clock that ends on a Bradshaw touchdown pass to tight end Larry Brown. There was some mild controversy earlier in the drive on a 30 yard completion to Brown where he appeared to fumble and it was initially ruled the Vikings had recovered but another ref ran in and changed the call. Replay shows that he was clearly down before the ball came loose though.   -Late in the game it's noted that L.C. Greenwood had signed with the Birmingham Vulcans of the short lived World Football League. He ended up changing his mind.   -As the game goes off the air, Gowdy notes that the Steelers were only going to get better. Okay announcers say that almost every time after a team wins a championship but guess one deserves credit when they actually are right in making that proclamation.

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So I had an A's preview typed up...

...and when I went to preview it, it told me to log back in. No biggie it has happened before with previous entries and I've always been able to hit the back button, copy the text, and log back in. But nope not this time. So I really don't feel typing that up again although I'd be even more pissed if this happend with my original A's preview idea where I'd talk about the entire team. I started typing it in a word file a couple of weeks ago but got Bored after seven players so I decided to go with a condensed version (or actually a lazy version) where I talked about six players in particular (Chavez, Zito, Harden, Bradley, Loaiza, Thomas) and that is what I had typed out in the entry. Oh well, I should have known I was gonna be timed out. I do actually have what I said about Chavez already in the Word file so here's that:     And this I had tacked on to the my original entry that I lost which was also in the world file, just stat lines for everyone on the 25 man roster, nothing special:   Jason Kendall   Age: 32 2005: 676 PA, .271/.345/.321, 79 RC, .249 EQA, 18.1 VORP, 14 Win Shares 2004: 658 PA, .319/.399/.390, 96 RC, .280 EQA, 47.5 VORP, 25 Win Shares (Pittsburgh)   Adam Melhuse   Age: 34 2005: 102 PA, .247/.284/.381, 12 RC, .234 EQA, 1.3 VORP, 2 Win Shares 2004: 231 PA, .257/.309/.463, 23 RC, .262 EQA, 9.4 VORP, 5 Win Shares   Mark Ellis   Age: 29 2005: 486 PA, .316/.384/.477, 78 RC, .301 EQA, 41.9 VORP, 21 Win Shares 2004: Injured 2003: 622 PA, .248/.313/.371, 63 RC, .246 EQA, 13.9 VORP, 18 Win Shares   Eric Chavez   Age: 28 2005: 694 PA, .269/.329/.466, 96 RC, .280 EQA, 35.5 VORP, 20 Win Shares 2004: 577 PA, .276/.397/.501, 91 RC, .311 EQA, 45.5 VORP, 18 Win Shares   Bobby Crosby   Age: 26 2005: 371 PA, .276/.346/.456, 48 RC, .283 EQA, 25.4 VORP, 12 Win Shares 2004: 623 PA, .239/.319/.426, 66 RC, .262 EQA, 23.0 VORP, 14 Win Shares   Frank Thomas   Age: 38 2005: 124 PA, .219/.315/.590, 17 RC, .299 EQA, 9.2 VORP, 3 Win Shares (Chicago-AL) 2004: 311 PA, .271/.434/.563, 58 RC, .333 EQA, 34.2 VORP, 12 Win Shares (Chicago-AL)   Marco Scutaro   Age: 30 2005: 423 PA, .247/.310/.391, 45 RC, .251 EQA, 11.0 VORP, 11 Win Shares 2004: 477 PA, .273/.297/.393, 45 RC, .240 EQA, 9.3 VORP, 11 Win Shares   Antonio Perez   Age: 26 2005: 287 PA, .297/.360/.398, 43 RC, .274 EQA, 15.7 VORP, 10 Win Shares (Los Angeles) 2004: 476 AB, .296/.379/.511 (AAA Las Vegas)   Nick Swisher   Age: 25 2005: 522 PA, .236/.322/.446, 63 RC, .269 EQA, 14.2 VORP, 12 Win Shares 2004: 443 AB, .269/.406/.537 (AAA Sacramento)   Mark Kotsay   Age: 30 2005: 629 PA, .280/.325/.421, 86 RC, .263 EQA, 23.2 VORP, 18 Win Shares 2004: 673 PA, .314/.370/.459, 100 RC, .289 EQA, 45.3 VORP, 21 Win Shares   Milton Bradley   Age: 28 2005: 316 PA, .290/.350/.484, 43 RC, .290 EQA, 24.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares (Los Angeles) 2004: 597 PA, .267/.362/.424, 74 RC, .274 EQA, 25.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares (Los Angeles)   Jay Payton   Age: 33 2005: 435 PA, .267/.306/.444, 57 RC, .261 EQA, 12.1 VORP, 12 Win Shares (Boston/Oakland) 2004: 511 PA, .260/.326/.367, 63 RC, .251 EQA, 9.5 VORP, 15 Win Shares (San Diego)   Bobby Kielty   Age: 29 2005: 433 PA, .263/.350/.395, 53 RC, .270 EQA, 12.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares 2004: 278 PA, .214/.321/.370, 32 RC, .249 EQA, -1.2 VORP, 4 Win Shares   Rich Harden   Age: 24 2005: 128 IP, 177 ERA+, 2.81 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 40.8 VORP, 12 Win Shares 2004: 189.2 IP, 117 ERA+, 2.06 K/BB, 1.33 WHIP, 41.3 VORP, 14 Win Shares   Barry Zito   Age: 28 2005: 228.1 IP, 116 ERA+, 1.92 K/BB, 1.20 WHIP, 41.8 VORP, 13 Win Shares 2004: 213 IP, 105 ERA+, 2.01 K/BB, 1.39 WHIP, 31.5 VORP, 12 Win Shares   Danny Haren   Age: 25 2005: 217 IP, 120 ERA+, 3.08 K/BB, 1.22 WHIP, 39.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares 2004: 128 IP, 4.15 ERA, 4.55 K/BB, 1.32 WHIP (AAA Memphis)   Joe Blanton   Age: 25 2005: 201.1 IP, 127 ERA+, 1.73 K/BB, 1.22 WHIP, 44.3 VORP, 13 Win Shares 2004: 1761.1 IP, 4.19 ERA, 4.21 K/BB, 1.32 WHIP (AAA Sacramento)   Esteban Loaiza   Age: 34 2005: 217 IP, 105 ERA+, 3.15 K/BB, 1.30 WHIP, 42.1 VORP, 12 Win Shares 2004: 183 IP, 84 ERA+, 1.65 K/BB, 1.58 WHIP, 2.8 VORP, 7 Win Shares   Huston Street   Age: 22 2005: 78.1 IP, 261 ERA+, 2.77 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 33.3 VORP, 16 Win Shares 2004: 57 IP, 1.58 ERA, 4.54 K/BB, 0.86 WHIP (University of Texas)   Justin Duchscherer   Age: 28 2005: 85.2 IP, 204 ERA+, 4.47 K/BB, 1.00 WHIP, 30.0 VORP, 11 Win Shares 2004: 96.3 IP, 143 ERA+, 1.84 K/BB, 1.22 WHIP, 30.2 VORP, 9 Win Shares   Kiko Calero   Age: 31 2005: 55.2 IP, 139 ERA+, 2.89 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 15.7 VORP, 5 Win Shares 2004: 45.1 IP, 151 ERA+, 4.70 K/BB, 0.82 WHIP, 14.7 VORP, 6 Win Shares (St. Louis)   Jay Witasick   Age: 33 2005: 63.1 IP, 163 ERA+, 2.52 K/BB, 1.30 WHIP, 13.6 VORP, 6 Win Shares (Colorado/Oakland) 2004: 61.2 IP, 125 ERA+, 2.19 K/BB, 1.35 WHIP, 11.1 VORP, 3 Win Shares (San Diego)   Joe Kennedy   Age: 27 2005: 152.2 IP, 77 ERA+, 1.52 K/BB, 1.68 WHIP, -17.5 VORP, 3 Win Shares (Colorado/Oakland) 2004: 162.1 IP, 138 ERA+, 1.75 K/BB, 1.42 WHIP, 36.0 VORP, 13 Win Shares (Colorado)   Kirk Saarloos   Age: 27 2005: 159.2 IP, 108 ERA+, 0.98 K/BB, 1.40 WHIP, 28.3 VORP, 9 Win Shares 2004: Pitched insignificant number of innings in AAA New Orleans, AAA Sacramento, and Oakland   So that's that, this blog will probably turn into an A's blog by the time the season startsso I'm sure I'll touch on some of the subjects from the entry I intended to post.   Oh and my prediction: A's win 97 games, finish first in the A.L. West, and finally win an ALDS series. Anything after that is gravy.

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Roy Oswalt Tests Positive for Hyperbole

Roy Oswalt is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore!   Okay first off this is just silly. You're an active player and a very good one at that. A-Rod hasn't cost you a spot in the Majors, hell he's not even a pitcher!   So why did God let these heathens have their performance enhancing drugs? Jesus didn't need steroids to hit a curveball!   Hmm, interesting considering they've never even played in the same league together but they have faced off in three games in interleague play so let's go to the video tape! Or let's go to baseball-reference.   June 8, 2001 Oswalt failed to retire Rodriguez in three plate appearances as he doubled, walked, and doubled. Obviously those doubles would have been infield pop outs without steroids. Oswalt also gave up home runs to Ivan Rodriguez and Rusty Greer and I now demand both have their records removed the books as obviously Oswalt's God given gifts would not surrender home runs to clean players. Oswalt got a no decision but the Astros won, but who cares because A-ROD COULD HAVE COST HIM MONEY!!!   June 28, 2002 In this game Oswalt did get the better of Rodriguez in two of his at bats but in the 4th inning A-Fraud hit a home run off our hero and if I were Roy I would demand that MLB lower his ERA for the 2002 season immediately! But our hero did win the game but hey he could have also lost it which means A-ROD COULD HAVE COST HIM MONEY!!!   June 15, 2008 Rodriguez reached base only once against Oswalt on a walk. But with these new fangled PEDs they keep coming up with who knows they might actually give players telekinesis. I think A-Fraud may have caused Roy's pitches to land out of the strikezone with his mind! Oswalt lost this game and this certainly means that A-ROD COST HIM MONEY!!!   For those scoring at home Roy Oswalt has made $46,950,000 in his career and his current contract will guarantee him another $45 million over the next three seasons. And you know what he deserves it, he's a fantastic pitcher and I'm just having some fun here. He has a right to be pissed that there will be a cloud over all players who played in the last 15 years. But he really comes off like a sanctimonious crybaby in this and does anyone really want to hear a millionaire whine about possibly being cost money? Also if Roger Clemens is ever "proven" to have used PEDs in his career, I hope Roy has the same conviction that he has with A-Rod and demand the Astros be stripped of their 2005 National League Championship.

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Repost: Conference Tournaments are the Tool of the Devil!

Nothing like saying you're out of ideas by reposting an old blog entry but that's what I'm resorting to. Actually I probably would have come up with something over the weekend but I was near death (or at least felt like it) with the flu so putting together semi-coherent thoughts wasn't an option.   The weekend after next will be what I believe to be the best time of the sports year and that is the first two rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This week however is one of the worst time's of the sports year with Conference Championship Week. Conference tournaments primarily accomplish two things, 1) Render the conference regular seasons meaningless and 2) Weaken the overall field of the national tournament. They are a pox on humanity and should be eliminated.   So I now present to you a Bored "classic" entry from 2/27/06, Conference Tournaments are the Tool of the Devil!  

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Ranking the Super Bowls I've Seen

Start out by giving kudos to the NFL Network for finally airing the original broadcasts of past Super Bowls, if only a small sample of them but it's a start. I can only hope that is a test run that leads to them airing classic games on a regular basis or at least start putting some of them on DVD like MLB and NBA are now doing. Super Bowl XIII is on tommorrow night and I think I might do a write up on that one.   As I've mentioned in the past my memories of sports begin in 1986. I've been told by my family I already had a big interest in sports before then but for whatever reason I can't remember anything before 1986 and my first sports memory is watching Super Bowl XX with my brother on my parent's bedroom television. We were rooting for the Patriots and not that I remember why, maybe because the Bears dominance had completley wiped out the 49ers dominance of the previous year. Obviously we ended up being dissapointed. Now for ranking the Super Bowls that I've seen, or remember seeing at least, there is no formula to this. It is purely subjective and incredibly biased.   #1 Super Bowl XXIII - 49ers 20, Bengals 16   See what I mean? Ya the first half was nothing special but unless the 49ers win another Super Bowl in a more exciting fashion it will never be trumped as my favorite Super Bowl ever. Still the only one to ever to be decided with a touchdown in the final minute and I hope it stays that way for a long time.   #2 Super Bowl XXXVIII - Patriots 32, Panthers 29   There was nothing to indicate that this would be a classic going into but we all know the NFL is fixed and the Patriots always have to win on a last second field goal or something. Anyways like the halftime show, the 4th quarter of this game was indeed the tits.   #3 Super Bowl XXXII - Broncos 31, Packers 24   Start to finish this might truly be the best Super Bowl ever although had a some what anti-climatic deciding touchdown. I always hated John Elway but I was actually rooting for the Broncos here as for some odd reason I started feelling sorry for the guy's playoff failures. That would change the next year.   #4 Super Bowl XXV - Giants 20, Bills 19   I'm looking forward to watching the re-broadcast of this game as I couldn't appreciate the game at the time. I wanted the entire Giants team dead, especially Leonard Marshall, for ending the 49ers run at a three-peat so I was just pissed when Norwood missed the winning field goal.   #5 Super Bowl XXXIV - Rams 23, Titans 16   Had the most exciting play ending to a Super Bowl ever but for most of the first three quarters this game was a dog but the Rams inability to put the ball in the endzone allowed the Titans to stay in it.   #6 Super Bowl XXXVI - Patriots 20, Rams 17   Big upset with a memorable finish but it took a defensive holding call on a 4th and goal that kept this a game instead of turning into a blowout.   #7 Super Bowl XXXIX - Patriots 24, Eagles 21   Biiiiiiiiiig drop off in quality after the top 6 and this game is put here by default as a late touchdown by the Eagles kind of made it interesting.   #8 Super Bowl XXX - Cowboys 27, Steelers 17   A game that was supposed to be a blowout and may have had a big upset if Neil O'Donnel doesn't groove two interceptions to Larry Brown. Seriously they shouldn't have even given out an MVP award for this one.   #9 Super Bowl XL - Steelers 21, Seahawks 10   Only this high for being competitive but this was an ugly game with terrible officiating.   #10 Super Bowl XXXI - Packers 35, Patriots 21   Three huge touchdowns by the Packers and the Patriots sort of hanging around made this game semi-entertaining but you never got the sense that an upset would happen.   #11 Super Bowl XXVII - Cowboys 30, Bills 13   Now we're getting to the blowouts and this is the top one only because of the Bills shocking halftime lead that was gone by the first minute of the second half.   #12 Super Bowl XXIV - 49ers 55, Broncos 10   BIAS~! Come on you'll never see a more perfect display of offense for four quarters again than what the 49ers did this day. History also forgets that the Broncos did have a very good defense. Ya probably is the worst one of all-time but my list.   #13 Super Bowl XXXVII - Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21   MORE BIAS~! The next best thing to the 49ers winning a Super Bowl is the Raiders losing a Super Bowl. Still one of the hilarious moments in sports history is the Raiders not thinking to change up their playbook at all against their former coach.   #14 Super Bowl XXI - Giants 39, Broncos 20   Well it was competitive for a half.   #15 Super Bowl XXII - Redskins 42, Broncos 10   Well it was competitive for a quarter. Watched the replay the other night and that second quarter of the Redskins is fun to watch.   #16 Super Bowl XX - Bears 46, Patriots 10   It's amazing I still watched sports after this debacle. Only ranked this high for the historic nature of the beating the Bears defense put on the Patriots.   #17 Super Bowl XXIX - 49ers 49, Chargers 26   Ya even my bias can't rate this high as this game was as much a forgone conclusion as you'll ever get and was over by the 3rd play of the game.   #18 Super Bowl XXVI - Redskins 37, Bills 24   The Redskins could have turned this into one of the historic blowouts by they called off the dogs after going up 24-0. The In Living Color special at halftime was much more entertaining than the game.   #19 Super Bowl XXXIII - Broncos 34, Falcons 19   Eww. John Ewlay suddenly now THE GREATEST QUARTERACK EVER according to the media after the game against the The Dirty Bird. Pass.   #20 Super Bowl XXVII - Cowboys 52, Bills 17   Didn't even watch the second half so I missed the Leon Lett play. Only doesn't come in last because I had a genuine rooting interest since there's never been a team in sports I hated more than this 90's Cowboys.   #21 Super Bowl XXXV - Ravens 34, Giants 7   Trent Dilfer. Kerry Collins. Super Bowl quarterbacks. Yikes. Never have I cared less about a Super Bowl going into it and it lived up to my expectations.

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Random A's Highlights

While I'm still trying to figure out what to do next with this blog, King Kamala's post about the A's 20th straight win in 2002 in offseason thread reminded me that I recently tripped upon some old A's highlights. This past season was the A's 40th year in Oakland and they had some Top 40 Moments poll, which I didn't even realize until after the season, but I guess on MLB.com at one point they posted a ton of old A's clips. I think they've been taken down off the A's site since then but by accident I found them with a url to the Cubs website of all places.   Almost all the clips from the 70's and 80's were old MLB home video footage but there were some cool 90's and 2000's clips in there with many of them having the radio call by the legendary Bill King. Here are the more choice ones that I found, or were at least the ones that were still working. I was disappointed that the clip to Ramon Hernandez's game winning bunt single in Game 1 of the '03 ALDS was not working.   October 18, 1988 vs. Los Angeles - Mark McGwire's forgotten walk off in Game 3 of the '88 World Series   June 29, 1990 at Toronto - Final out of Dave Stewart's no hitter   August 15, 1990 vs. Boston - Mark McGwire walk off grand slam   October 1, 2000 vs. Texas - Final out of division clinching win -Was at this game and it was my birthday too.   August 12, 2001 vs. New York - Jason Giambi walk off to sweep the Yankees   September 1, 2002 vs. Minnesota - Miguel Tejada walk off for 18th straight win   September 4, 2002 vs. Kansas City - Scott Hatteberg walk off for record 20th straight win -Covered this game in a prior entry.

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Pro Bowl, Ahmad Rashad, and Mike Patrick

Since the Pro Bowl was today I thought about trying to find some useless, maybe interesting Pro Bowl facts but then I remembered there is nothing interesting about the Pro Bowl. When I was younger I actually used to love watching the game and would even record it to watch it again later. What the hell was wrong with me? I would be upset when my favorite players wouldn't play in the game but now I question the sanity of any player who'd play in the game. Hey if I were a player I wouldn't play, call me a pussy if you want but I wouldn't risk my career in such a meaningless game. Well I guess suffering a potential career ending injury in the Pro Bowl wouldn't be as bad as suffering one playing a flag football game on the beach like poor Robert Edwards in 1999.   One thing I did find when I was looking for anything from the past from the Pro Bowl was the first MVP of the Pro Bowl after I was born (that being the 1979 Pro Bowl) was Ahmad Rashad. Almost no one seems to remember that he was a pretty good wide receiver in his day at the University of Oregon and then with the Minnesota Vikings. His post career is better remembered for marrying the mom from the Cosby Show and being Michael Jordan's personal interviewer. You know in the 1990's if you were to kick Michael Jordan in the balls you would have also been kicking Ahmad Rashad in the head.   Speaking of verbal fellatio of athletes, I made the mistake of flipping on the Pro Bowl when they were discussing Brett Favre. Now I don't have it down word for word but here is essentially what Mike Patrick said of Favre possibly retiring: Good lord. I know announcers aren't journalists but how can you take someone seriously when they something like this? Mike also seems to have a conflict of interests with his feelings as he says it'll make him happy but it will break his heart. With him done with announcing after tonight he'll now have free time to stalk Brett. I definently won't miss him as listening to Mike Patrick announce a game always sounded to me like a guy calling a game that he just saw the previous week.

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Playoff & Bowl Idea 2007

Before I get to the redux my of idea for creating a playoff system and at the same time improve the bowl selection process, I'm going to make a little comment on Hawaii. Whenever I see someone say "Hawaii should be in the BCS Championship!", I just want to pat them on the head and say "Aww, aren't you cute? Yes you are, yes you are!" In the current structure of college football, which I agree is a joke, Hawaii has no business playing for the championship.   The purpose of the BCS is purely to match-up the two most deserving teams and nothing else. Hawaii is in no way shape or form one of the two most deserving teams in the country of playing for the Mythical National Championship and they are not on the same level of Boise State last year or Utah in 2004. I know it's a tired argument but it is always worth enforcing that they played what was the weakest schedule in the country. They played a total of three teams in the BCS Top 80 this year (Fresno State, Boise State, Washington) and all three game came at home. The best team they played on the road this year was Nevada who is ranked 83rd overall by the BCS computer rankings and only the Billingsley rankings had them in the Top 80 (78th). This team is going to get flat out killed in the Sugar Bowl by Georgia and I think it's going to be a beating so bad that it could hurt the cause of the non-BCS conferences.   And that being said, Hawaii deserves to play for a National Championship...if there was a playoff. Like Boise State last year, they didn't lose a game. It's the biggest hole in the "the regular season is a playoff" argument. If you didn't lose a game, how'd you get eliminated? I'm not going to retype my whole idea from last year but here is my idea in a nutshell: Eight teams, the first round is played on the homefield of the higher seeds, while the semi-finals and finals are played on the traditional BCS bowl sites. Automatic qualifiers would be the six BCS conference champions and any undefeated non-BCS conference team. If there are any available slots after that they will go to the highest ranked team(s) that did not win their conference championship.   Now there is an argument out there that we only need a four team playoff and I'll tell that has too many problems for it to ever to work. First off the BCS conferences will never go for it. Are you gonna tell me the SEC or Big Ten would ever agree to a playoff that could leave the possibility of their champ not having a chance to win a real National Championship? Also it doesn't solve the problem of the exclusion of the Boise State's and Hawaii's of the world as no non-BCS conference team has ever finished the season ranked in the BCS Top 4. An eight team playoff gives all the BCS conferences a piece of the pie while pleasing the non-BCS conferences and the general public of giving the opportunity for those "small" schools to play for a championship. An eight team playoff is logistically possible and doesn't over bloat the season too much.   So in my hypothetical scenario this year the Sugar Bowl is the site of the National Championship while the Orange and Rose Bowls would host the semi-final games. Here's how the playoff would set up:   Hawaii at Ohio State Georgia at Oklahoma   West Virginia at LSU USC at Virginia Tech   I don't know about you but I'll take the Pepsi Challenge of these games versus the sad slate of BCS bowl games we have this year.   Now last year as well I also suggested that the whole bowl selection process has to be overhauled. Now this is an issue that obviously doesn't get much attention because the issue of actually crowning a real National Champion in major college football takes precedence. We need to junk the preset conference bids which are inherently unfair. BYU for example, who has been completely overlooked because of Hawaii, is ranked in the Top 20 of the BCS for the second straight year but once again they have to settle for the Las Vegas Bowl rather than a bigger game. Now there are certainly years where the Mountain West champ may only deserve a bowl of that caliber but the preset bids ensure that those teams will never get a better bid, unless they go undefeated and get into the BCS. The preset bids also can give us lopsided, uninteresting match-ups. Michigan is ranked 32nd in the BCS yet they will play in the biggest non-BCS bowl against Florida who is ranked 12th. Anyone remember what Dennis Dixon and company did against Michigan earlier in the year? What you think Tim Tebow is going to do them? Also we have the lameness of bowls like the Hawaii Bowl or the New Mexico Bowl that can take the home school to play creating a road game for their opponent for what is technically supposed to be a neutral site.   My idea was/is to have an actual bowl committee that assigns similar ranked teams to appropriate bowl games. Now you wouldn't want to necessarily match-up #15 vs. #16 and #21 vs. #22 automatically because obviously there would be cases where you'd have two teams from the same conference or two teams that already played each other, which funny enough even with the preset bids we have two rematches this year (Las Vegas and Motor City). You also wouldn't want to have say a Pac-10 team play a Mountain West team in the Outback Bowl in Tampa nor would you want a Big East team to play an ACC team in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Location can be important for selling tickets which is part of the reason why we have preset bids, although it would been unavoidable in some cases to have bad location match-ups and hell the ACC sends teams to San Francisco and Boise. Another advantage to getting rid of the preset bids is it would create more variety in inter-conference match-ups instead the same conferences playing each other in the same bowls for several yars. Just for example, the Pac-10 and SEC haven't played each other in a bowl game since the 1989 Freedom Bowl (Washington State vs. Florida).   One other thing for the BCS bowl who is not part of the playoff, that being the Fiesta Bowl is this scenario, they would get the two highest ranked teams not in the playoff provided those two teams aren't in the same conference which this year would be the case with Missouri and Kansas. And just to make the conference presidents fat and happy those schools would get the same payout as the playoff schools.   So here's my "fantasy booking" of the bowl games. The order I placed the bowl games are based on how the current preset bids are handed out and not necessarily how I view each bowl. Last year I wanted only 20 bowl games outside the playoffs but I know there's no chance of ever significantly shrinking the number of bowls so this year I'm including them all. One provision I didn't think of last year is that after you get past the BCS Top 25 I'd only place teams based on their overall computer ranking as otherwise you could get coaches or former players (Harris Poll) giving their school a throw away 25th place vote to get their school a better bowl game.   Fiesta: Missouri vs. Arizona State Capital One: Kansas vs. Florida Cotton: Illinois vs. Clemson Holiday: Boston College vs. BYU Chick-fil-A: Tennessee vs. Wisconsin Gator: Texas vs. South Florida Outback: Virginia vs. Cincinnati Sun: Auburn vs. Boise State Champs Sports: Connecticut vs. Wake Forest Music City: Oregon State vs. Michigan Insight: Oregon vs. Arkansas Meineke Car Care: Florida State vs. Kentucky Las Vegas: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Liberty: Penn State vs. Mississippi State Independence: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech Emerald: Utah vs. UCLA Motor City: UCF vs. Texas Tech Humanitarian: Michigan State vs. South Carolina GMAC: Maryland vs. Alabama Texas: Rutgers vs. Oklahoma State International: Colorado vs. Troy Poinsettia: California vs. New Mexico Armed Forces: Louisville vs. Purdue PapaJohns.com: Fresno State vs. Indiana Hawaii: Tulsa vs. Navy New Orleans: TCU vs. Florida Atlantic New Mexico: Central Michigan vs. East Carolina

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Playoff & Bowl Idea

I don't have to repeat myself when it comes to what I think of the BCS and what I'd prefer to happen in college football...but I will anyways. I view the BCS as a bad compromise that was created to sort of give us the opportunity to have a clear cut national champion while sort of keeping the tradition of the bowls but fails on both levels most of the time. I personally either want a true 16 team playoff system, like every other level of college football, completely removed from any association to bowl games or just go back to the traditional bowl system where trying to match-up the #1 and #2 teams in the country was an afterthought and stop pretending that we're crowning a true Division I-A national champion when no such thing exsists.   But I'm not dellusional, neither of things I want will ever happen. A 16 team playoff would be a cash cow but would have some definite logistical issues where potentially some fan bases would have to travel four times in the span of four to six weeks. Obviously we're also never going to see the old bowl system comeback either. So I've come up with an idea that does in some way combine the playoffs and bowls.   First off there would be an 8 team playoff that would include the six BCS conference champions and two at-large teams. Now in a perfect world we'd just take the Top 8 teams in the country but no conference would ever agree to a playoff system that could possibly prevent them from getting a piece of the pie, which is partly why I think a 4 team playoff will never happen. The two at-large bids would be two highest ranked teams not to win their conference or would also include any non-BCS conference team that went undefeated. As good as Utah was in 2004 I don't think anyone thinks they were the best team in the country but they certainly had every right to prove that they could be beaten and the same goes for Boise State this year. If Boise State beats Oklahoma by double digits and Florida beats Ohio State won't on some level the Broncos would have some right to claim that they should be the national champs?   The first round games would be home goes for the higher seeded team and then the semi-finals would be played at two of the four major bowl sites and then of course at another bowl site for the finals. So for example this year the Fiesta Bowl would be the site of the finals with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl as the semi-final locations. The Orange Bowl was at the bottom of the BCS pecking order this year so they would be seperate from the playoffs which I'll get to. So here is how the 8 team playoff would look.   Wake Forest at Ohio State Louisville at USC   Oklahoma at Florida Boise State at Michigan   Now as for my bowl idea I want to change how the bowls are selected. The preset bids I feel devalue the overall importance of the bowls and unfairly punish teams for how their conference has performed in the past. A pefect example is the Big East bids this year. Because of the purge of the conference a couple of years ago this year the Big East bids took a big hit. Their #2 bid, the Gator Bowl, now had a deal with the Big XII where they could have skipped over the Big East and send their second place team to the Sun Bowl which is very much a midlevel bowl. Texas' collapse at the end of the season and West Virginia's win over Rutgers prevented that from happening. Then their #3 bid, the less than prestigious Meineke Car Care Bowl, had a deal with Navy to take them as long as they became bowl eligible and leaving the Big East with no alternative. That would send the 3rd place team in the confernece to it's #4 bid, the "new" Texas Bowl which is replacing the Houston Bowl which went belly up to play the 8th place team in the Big XII. This has of course happened as Rutgers, ranked #16 by the BCS, is stuck playing a bowl game against the #55 team in the BCS, Kansas State who happens to be the lowest ranked BCS conference team with a winning record.   Now I understand why some bowls have certain conference tie ins. It wouldn't make sense to have a Pac-10 team play in the Outback Bowl, just as it wouldn't make sense for an ACC team to play in the Holiday Bowl. Travel has to be taken into account and it's completely understandable. But my proposal is have an actual bowl committee that places similar ranked teams in appropriate bowl games. With the current system they set themselves up for bad match-ups. The #9 team playing the #23 team in the Cotton Bowl. The #13 team playing the #28 team in the Gator Bowl. The #25 team is playing the #52t team in the Emerald Bowl. The #19 team is playing the #52t team in the Alamo Bowl. There has to be a better solution.   On the subject of the Alamo Bowl, why is a team like Iowa even in a bowl game? With the preset conference bowl bids they're awarding a team that went 2-6 in it's own conference while beating no one of note out of conference and give them a midlevel bid with a $1.9 million payout. Why is Miami in a bowl game? Half of their wins came against I-AA Florida A&M, winless FIU, and winless Duke. There are a handful of other examples of teams that have no business being a bowl game which comes to the next problem with the bowls, there are way too fucking many of them. 32 bowl games is absolutely nuts. More than half of Division I-A teams are going to a bowl game this year. What is this, the NBA Playoffs?   My proposal to go along with the bowl committee idea and eliminating preset bids is to cap the total number of bowls at 20, which would not include the bowl sites that are part of the playoffs. With the playoffs and the bowls you'd have 48 teams in the postseason which is plenty. Now going back to the Orange Bowl, since in this hypothetical scenerio it would not be part of the playoffs it would be host the two highest ranked teams in the BCS who did not qualify for the playoffs so this year it would be LSU and Wisconsin.   So here is the bowls I came up with using the BCS rankings trying to match-up closely ranked teams in appropriate bowl games. This is some what thrown together so you could argue with the order itself I have of the bowls. I would eliminate bowls that are to reliant on getting their home team into the bowl to hope to make money (Hawaii, New Mexico, etc.) and bowls where there is already another bowl game at the same site (Poinsettia, Champs Sports). Also no team that fails to finish with a winning record should ever to go a bowl game.   Orange: LSU vs. Wisconsin Capital One: Auburn vs. Notre Dame Cotton: Arkansas vs. West Virginia Chick-fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee Outback: Rutgers vs. Texas Holiday: California vs. BYU Gator: Texas A&M vs. Boston College Alamo: Oregon State vs. Nebraska Liberty: Penn State vs. Georgia Tech Sun: UCLA vs. TCU Music City: Georgia vs. Houston Insight: Oregon vs. Hawaii Independence: Clemson vs. Navy Las Vegas: Arizona State vs. Central Michigan Meineke Car Care: South Florida vs. South Carolina Emerald: Maryland vs. Missouri Motor City: Kentucky vs. Cincinnati MPC Computers: Rice vs. Purdue Texas: Texas Tech vs. Tulsa GMAC: Southern Miss vs. Troy

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OMG GREATEST TOURNAMENT EVER!!!

The thread title is a parody of the typical comments after the first couple of rounds of every NCAA Tournament. Every single year there are big upsets and "mid-majors" getting past the first weekend and every year it seems to come as a big shock to CBS and ESPN's analysts, or they pretend to be shocked at least. I guess we can chalk this up to the typical short attention span of networks and the people who watch. Really the biggest surprise maybe that no #10 seed made it to the Sweet 16 for the first time in ten years but not that CBS or ESPN would notice.   Here's a look back at the "surprises" of the NCAA Tournament in just the last five years and I'll work backwards just to show how quickly people forget how "crazy and wild" past tournaments have been.   2005 -A #14, #13, #12, and a #11 seed win first round games. -#12 seed Wisconsin-Milwaukee advances to the Sweet 16. -#5 seed Michigan State advances to the Final Four.   2004 -Two #12 seeds win first round games. -Two #1 seeds are elminated in the second round. -A #8 and #7 seed make it to the Elite Eight.   2003 -A #13, #12, and a #11 seed win first round games. -#12 seed Butler advances to the Sweet 16. -#7 seed Michigan State advances to the Elite Eight.   2002 -Three #12 seeds win first round games. -#11 seed Southern Illinois advances to the Sweet 16. -#12 seed Missouri advances to the Elite Eight. -#5 seed Indiana advances to the title game.   2001 -#15 seed Hampton wins in the first round. -#12 seed Gonzaga advances to the Sweet 16. -#11 seed Temple advnces to the Elite Eight.   So you get the point. This year is really no different from any other. If George Mason reaches the Final Four then we can talk about this being a surprising tournament.   -Speaking of upsets as mentioned in a prior entry I picked Bradley to make it the Sweet 16. I've been near perfect in that Oakland Region as only missed the Alabama/Marquette game. Of course every other upset pick failed miserably and this was probably one of my worst years ever picking the tournament but I prefer just to brag about picking Bradley. Oh and hey did you notice the game? It was Brad/Pitt in the little scorebox. Get it? Brad Pitt! Didn't take them long to drive that into the ground.   -Enough with the gratuitos shots of the coaches wives at the end of games. Does this really bring more viewers in? Is there some sort of extra drama I'm supposed to feel because the coaches' wife is praying? It got really out of hand at the end of the UCLA/Alabama game as literally every five seconds they were cutting to one of the wives.   -One final thing, March Madness On Demand was simply the greatest thing ever. Kudos to CBS and NCAA for agreeing to do this for free when they certainly could have charged a subcription fee for it and made a killing on people wanting to watch games while they are at work. It allowed me to not watch the Cal game (although I tuned in for the final minute to watch N.C. State win, woo hoo!) and for that I will always be grateful.

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Oakland A's: Top 50 Individual Seasons

50TH ENTRY EXTRAVAGANZA!!!   Double sized issue! Mike Gallego hologram cover! If you read only one entry this is the entry you must read!   Anyways, after watching You Know Who of the San Franciso Baby Killers getting a curtain call in Oakland I needed to find something positive to talk about the A's. Since it's entry #50 figured I'd do the Top 50 individual seasons in Oakland A's history. Now the list is based almost solely on Win Shares and I used Baseball Prospectus' Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3) to break ties. I'm only taking into account full seasons with the A's so for example Rickey Henderson had 30 Win Shares in 1989 but the A's acquired him midseason from the Yankees and 20 of his Win Shares came with the A's so thus that season didn't crack the Top 50.   #50 Miguel Tejada, 2003, 25 Win Shares .278/.336/.472, 703 PA, 98 R, 177 H, 42 2B, 27 HR, 106 RBI, 10 SB, 53 BB 6.9 WARP3   #49 Dave Henderson, 1991, 25 Win Shares .276/.346/.465, 637 PA, 86 R, 158 H, 33 2B, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 6 SB, 55 BB 8.0 WARP3   #48 Rickey Henderson, 1991, 25 Win Shares .268/.400/.423, 578 PA, 105 R, 126 H, 17 2B, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 58 SB, 98 BB, 8.4 WARP3   #47 Billy North, 1973, 25 Win Shares .285/.376/.348, 642 PA, 98 R, 158 H, 10 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 53 SB, 78 BB, 8.6 WARP3   #46 Rickey Henderson, 1992, 25 Win Shares .283/.426/.457, 500 PA, 77 R, 112 H, 18 2B, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 48 SB, 95 BB, 8.9 WARP3   #45 Carney Lansford, 1984, 25 Win Shares .300/.342/.439, 651 PA, 70 R, 179 H, 31 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 74 RBI, 9 SB, 40 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #44 Barry Zito, 2002, 25 Win Shares 23-5, 2.75 ERA, 35 GS, 229 1/3 IP, 78 BB, 182 SO, 1.13 WHIP, 10.1 WARP3   #43 Vida Blue, 1976, 25 Win Shares 18-13, 2.35 ERA, 37 GS, 298 1/3 IP, 20 CG, 6 SHO, 63 BB, 166 SO, 1.11 WHIP, 10.2 WARP3   #42 Eric Chavez, 2003, 25 Win Shares .282/.350/.514, 654 PA, 94 R, 166 H, 39 2B, 5 3B, 29 HR, 101 RBI, 8 SB, 62 BB, 10.3 WARP3   #41 Mike Norris, 1980, 25 Win Shares 22-9, 2.53 ERA, 33 GS, 284 1/3 IP, 24 CG, 83 BB, 180 SO, 1.05 WHIP, 10.7 WARP3   #40 Rick Monday, 1968, 26 Win Shares .274/.371/.402, 563 PA, 56 R, 132 H, 24 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 14 SB, 72 BB, 6.5 WARP3   #39 Gene Tenace, 1973, 26 Win Shares .259/.387/.443, 636 PA, 83 R, 132 H, 18 2B, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 101 BB, 6.5 WARP3   #38 Reggie Jackson, 1972, 26 Win Shares .265/.350/.473, 572 PA, 72 R, 132 H, 25 2B, 25 HR, 75 RBI, 9 SB, 59 BB, 7.0 WARP3   #37 Dave Henderson, 1988, 26 Win Shares .304/.363/.525, 570 PA, 100 R, 154 H, 38 2B, 24 HR, 94 RBI, 47 BB, 8.0 WARP3   #36 Jose Canseco, 1990, 26 Win Shares .274/.371/.543, 563 PA, 83 R, 132 H, 14 2B, 37 HR, 101 RBI, 19 SB, 72 BB, 8.5 WARP3   #35 Bert Campaneris, 1970, 26 Win Shares .279/.321/.448, 650 PA, 97 R, 168 H, 28 2B, 22 HR, 64 RBI, 42 SB, 36 BB, 9.8 WARP3   #34 Eric Chavez, 2001, 26 Win Shares .288/.338/.540, 604 PA, 91 R, 159 H, 43 2B, 32 HR, 114 RBI, 8 SB, 41 BB, 10.2 WARP3   #33 Mike Epstein, 1972, 27 Win Shares .270/.376/.490, 537 PA, 63 R, 123 H, 18 2B, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 68 BB, 7.2 WARP3   #32 Dwayne Murphy, 1980, 27 Win Shares .274/.384/.380, 702 PA, 86 R, 157 H, 18 2B, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 26 SB, 102 BB, 8.2 WARP3   #31 Reggie Jackson, 1975, 27 Win Shares .253/.329/.511, 669 PA, 91 R, 150 H, 39 2B, 36 HR, 104 RBI, 17 SB, 67 BB, 8.3 WARP3   #30 Mark McGwire, 1990, 27 Win Shares .235/.370/.489, 650 PA, 87 R, 123 H, 16 2B, 39 HR, 108 RBI, 110 BB, 9.5 WARP3   #29 Catfish Hunter, 1974, 27 Win Shares 25-12, 2.49 ERA, 41 GS, 318 1/3 IP, 23 CG, 6 SHO, 46 BB, 143 SO, 0.99 WHIP, 9.9 WARP3   #28 Rickey Henderson, 1981, 27 Win Shares .319/.408/.437, 493 PA, 89 R, 135 H, 18 2B, 7 3B, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 56 SB, 64 BB, 11.1 WARP3   #27 Mark McGwire, 1988, 28 Win Shares .260/.352/.478, 635 PA, 87 R, 143 H, 22 2B, 32 HR, 99 RBI, 76 BB, 7.4 WARP3   #26 Rickey Henderson, 1982, 28 Win Shares .267/.398/.382, 656 PA, 119 R, 143 H, 24 2B, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 130 SB, 116 BB, 7.5 WARP3   #25 Rickey Henderson, 1984, 28 Win Shares .293/.399/.458, 597 PA, 113 R, 147 H, 27 2B, 16 HR, 58 RBI, 66 SB, 86 BB, 8.3 WARP3   #24 Sal Bando, 1971, 29 Win Shares .271/.377/.452, 643 PA, 75 R, 146 H, 23 2B, 24 HR, 94 RBI, 86 BB, 6.4 WARP3   #23 Joe Rudi, 1972, 29 Win Shares .305/.345/.486, 653 PA, 94 R, 181 H, 32 2B, 9 3B, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 37 BB, 8.3 WARP3   #22 Mark McGwire, 1996, 29 Win Shares .312/.467/.730, 548 PA, 104 R, 132 H, 21 2B, 52 HR, 113 RBI, 116 BB, 9.5 WARP3   #21 Mark McGwire, 1992, 29 Win Shares .268/.385/.585, 571 PA, 87 R, 125 H, 22 2B, 42 HR, 104 RBI, 90 BB, 9.7 WARP3   #20 Bert Campaneris, 1968, 29 Win Shares .276/.330/.361, 707 PA, 87 R, 177 H, 25 2B, 9 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 62 SB, 50 BB, 9.8 WARP3   #19 Jason Giambi, 1999, 30 Win Shares .351/.422/.553, 695 PA, 115 R, 181 H, 36 2B, 33 HR, 123 RBI, 105 BB, 7.9 WARP3   #18 Mark McGwire, 1987, 30 Win Shares .289/.370/.618, 641 PA, 97 R, 161 H, 28 2B, 49 HR, 118 RBI, 71 BB, 8.5 WARP3   #17 Mitchell Page, 1977, 30 Win Shares .307/.405/.521, 592 PA, 85 R, 154 H, 28 2B, 8 3B, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 42 SB, 78 BB, 8.6 WARP3   #16 Rickey Henderson, 1983, 30 Win Shares .292/.414/.421, 622 PA, 105 R, 150 H, 25 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 108 SB, 103 BB, 9.6 WARP3   #15 Reggie Jackson, 1974, 30 Win Shares .289/.391/.514, 604 PA, 90 R, 146 H, 25 2B, 29 HR, 93 RBI, 25 SB, 86 BB, 10.0 WARP3   #14 Vida Blue, 1971, 30 Win Shares 24-8, 1.82 ERA, 39 GS, 312 IP, 24 CG, 8 SHO, 88 BB, 301 SO, 0.95 WHIP, 11.4 WARP3   #13 Sal Bando, 1973, 31 Win Shares .287/.375/.498, 689 PA, 97 R, 170 H, 32 2B, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 82 BB, 7.7 WARP3   #12 Jose Canseco, 1991, 31 Win Shares .266/.359/.556, 665 PA, 115 R, 152 H, 32 2B, 44 HR, 122 RBI, 26 SB, 78 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #11 Reggie Jackson, 1971, 32 Win Shares .277/.352/.508, 642 PA, 87 R, 157 H, 29 2B, 32 HR, 80 RBI, 16 SB, 63 BB, 8.9 WARP3   #10 Reggie Jackson, 1973, 32 Win Shares .293/.383/.531, 629 PA, 99 R, 158 H, 28 2B, 32 HR, 117 RBI, 22 SB, 76 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #9 Miguel Tejada, 2002, 32 Win Shares .308/.354/.508, 715 PA, 108 R, 204 H, 30 2B, 34 HR, 131 RBI, 7 SB, 38 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #8 Gene Tenace, 1975, 32 Win Shares .255/.395/.464, 623 PA, 83 R, 127 H, 17 2B, 29 HR, 87 RBI, 7 SB, 106 BB, 9.9 WARP3   #7 Rickey Henderson, 1980, 34 Win Shares .303/.420/.399, 722 PA, 111 R, 179 H, 22 2B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 100 SB, 117 BB, 10.3 WARP3   #6 Sal Bando, 1969, 36 Win Shares .281/.400/.484, 734 PA, 106 R, 171 H, 25 2B, 31 HR, 113 RBI, 111 BB, 9.2 WARP3   #5 Jason Giambi, 2000, 38 Win Shares .333/.476/.647, 664 PA, 108 R, 170 H, 29 2B, 43 HR, 137 RBI, 137 BB, 10.8 WARP3   #4 Jason Giambi, 2001, 38 Win Shares .342/.477/.660, 671 PA, 109 R, 178 H, 47 2B, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 129 BB, 11.9 WARP3   #3 Jose Canseco, 1988, 39 Win Shares .307/.391/.569, 705 PA, 120 R, 187 H, 34 2B, 42 HR, 124 RBI, 40 SB, 78 BB, 12.1 WARP3   #2 Rickey Henderson, 1990, 39 Win Shares .325/.439/.577, 594 PA, 119 R, 159 H, 33 2B, 28 HR, 61 RBI, 65 SB, 97 BB, 13.6 WARP3   #1 Reggie Jackson, 1969, 41 Win Shares .275/.410/.608, 677 PA, 123 R, 151 H, 36 2B, 47 HR, 118 RBI, 13 SB, 114 BB, 11.5 WARP3

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Notre Dame DVDs: Catholics vs. Convicts

A while back I mentioned that during some post-Christmas giftcard shopping I made an impulse buy purchasing a DVD box set titled College Football's Greatest Games: University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Collector's Edition. Even though I'm not a Notre Dame fan I purchased the set due to it being the only one if it's kind out there for college football and it was released by A&E Home Video who did the World Series box sets that I've done write ups for. Now since the set is geared torwards Notre Dame fans it does contain some games that are far from "great" but are important in Notre Dame history. Here's the game list:   1966 vs. Michigan State - "Game of the Century" (2nd Half only) 1977 vs. USC - "Thee Green Jersey Game" 1978 vs. Texas - Cotton Bowl 1979 vs. Houston - Cotton Bowl 1988 vs. Miami - "Catholics vs. Convicts" 1989 vs. West Virginia - Fiesta Bowl 1992 vs. Penn State - "The Snow Bowl" 1993 vs. Florida State   The USC, Texas, and West Virginia games are not good games. The USC game is just there for it being the first game the Irish wore green jerseys and the Texas and West Virginia wins wrapped up their last two national championships. The other five games are all true classics. I don't know if I'll do a write up for them all but the one game I definately wanted to watch was the infamous "Catholics vs. Convicts" game.   On a side note I did purchase both the 1977 and 1987 World Series box sets but don't know when I'll get around to doing write ups for them.   October 15, 1988 - #1 Miami (4-0) at #4 Notre Dame (5-0)   -Miami carried a 36 game regular season winning streak into this game and a 16 game winning streak overall with their last loss coming in the infamous 1987 Fiesta Bowl to Penn State. Quarterback Steve "Better Than Troy Aikman" Walsh had yet to lose as a starter.   -This game took place the same day as Game 1 of the World Series that year between the A's and Dodgers or as I call it the "Worst Day in Sports History."   -The opening package by CBS is fantastic as they play it up as a battle of old school, Notre Dame, vs. new school, Miami. To this day I think the opening montage to CBS' college football coverage in the late 80's and early 90's was the best in sports. Brent Musberger and Pat Haden have the call.   Miami Offense QB: Steve Walsh RB: Cleveland Gary, Leonard Conley WR: Randall Hill, Dale Dawkins TE: Rob Chudzinski C: Bobby Garcia G: Mike Sullivan, Barry Panfil T: Darrin Bruce, John O’Neill   Notre Dame Defense NG: Chris Zorich DT: George Williams, Jeff Alm DE: Arnold Ale, Frank Stams LB: Wes Pritchett, Mike Stonebreaker CB: Todd Lyght, Stan Smagala S: George Streeter, Pat Terrell   Notre Dame Offense QB: Tony Rice RB: Anthony Johnson, Mark Green WR: Steve Alaniz, Ricky Watters TE: Derek Brown C: Mike Heldt G: Mike Brennan, Joe Allen T: Andy Heck, Dean Brown   Miami Defense DT: Russell Maryland, Shane Curry DE: Greg Mark, Bill Hawkins MLB: Bernard Clark OLB: Randy Shannon, Rod Carter CB: Donald Ellis, Kenny Berry S: Bobby Harden, Bubba McDowell   -Loooove looking at the old score updates as the game is going on. Wyoming ranked #14!?   FIRST QUARTER   -Frank Stams forces Walsh to fumble on the opening possession and Notre Dame recovers near midfield, although I’m not so sure it was a fumble. Stams hits Walsh’s shoulder as he cocks to throw but the ball doesn’t come loose until Walsh starts moving his arm forward and looks like it should have been ruled an in complete pass. Irish don’t take advantage though and go three and out.   -Ironically enough on Miami’s second possession, Stams hits Walsh again with the ball coming loose before Walsh’s arm goes forward and this time it’s called an incomplete pass. Pat Haden agrees with both calls for what that’s worth.   -Miami’s new head coach for 2007, Randy Shannon is a starting linebacker for the Hurricanes here.   -Rocket Ismail is just a freshman at this time and isn’t a starter but makes his presence known early with a 22 yard reception on Notre Dame’s second possession to convert the first of four 3rd down conversions on the drive. Tony Rice scores the first touchdown of the game on an option keeper from seven yards out.   -Musberger calls Walsh one of the best 3rd down college quarterbacks ever seen. Of course that very next play he throws an easy pick to D’Juan Francisco for Miami’s second turnover in their first three possessions. Very next play after Walsh’s interception, Russell Maryland forces Rice to fumble to turn the ball back over to Miami.   SECOND QUARTER   -Miami ties the game on a Walsh eight yard touchdown pass to Andre Brown.   -Rice hits Ismail on a 62 yard bomb down to the Miami 25. Ismail juggles the catch and stumbles to the ground or otherwise he would have taken it the distance as he beat Bubba McDowell who misjudged the ball and jumped too early trying to pick it off. Drive concludes with nine yard touchdown pass dump off to fullback Braxston Banks on a 3rd down to put Notre Dame back up 14-7.   -Miami quickly advances past midfield on their next possession but Frank Stams continues to be a beast in this game as he tips a Walsh pass that is picked off by Pat Terell who takes it 60 yards for the touchdown. The Irish were looking like they could potentially blow out Miami at this point in the game.   -With the departure of Michael Irvin and Brian Blades, Hurricanes were really lacking at wide receiver here as Walsh’s most effective target is Cleveland Gary out of the backfield. That being said Miami moves the ball almost exclusively through the air in this one as they couldn’t get anything on the ground against the Notre Dame defense.   -On the score updates during the game, Vanderbilt beat #20 Florida 24-6 and it notes that Florida hasn’t won at Vandy since 1966. That trend has just kind of changed the last couple of decades.   -On 4th and 4 on the Notre Dame 23, Miami goes for it and Walsh hits Leonard Conley in the flat with no Irish defenders around him and takes it the distance to get Miami back in the game.   -Notre Dame plays it conservative near the end of the half and goes three and out. Miami gets good field possession but Walsh nearly throws another pick six on the first play of the drive as his intended receiver doesn’t look for the ball coming and Todd Lyght almost picks it off with no one in front of him to prevent him from taking it the distance. Miami moves quickly from there ending with Walsh hitting a wide open Gary from 15 yards out with 21 seconds left in the half to tie it up, 21-21. Gary already had seven catches for 88 yards.   THIRD QUARTER   -On the opening possession, Rice throws a wounded duck that is picked off by McDowell. Miami proceeds to give the ball right back on a Conley fumble on their first play of the half.   -Notre Dame moves into field goal range on the next possession but McDowell blocks the field goal attempt by Billy Hackett. It was a 43 yard attempt into the wind so probably would have been a miss as it is.   -Miami can’t move the ball on their next possession and Jimmy Johnson gambles with a fake punt, with the direct snap to the upback but Notre Dame stuffs it and gets the ball on the Miami 46. On the very next play Rice hits Ricky Watters for a 44 yards gain and Pat Eilers runs it in for the score from there to put the Irish back up 28-21.   -Notre Dame’s short ranger kicker Reggie Ho jumps up and down like an idiot after every successful extra point. Musberger mentioned earlier in the game that he’s missed a few so guess wasn’t always a guarantee it’d go through for him, thus the reason to celebrate.   -Miami drives to the Notre Dame 25 but Walsh throws his third interception of the game as lineman Jeff Alm makes a leaping interception on a dump off attempt to one of the backs.   -Notre Dame marches to Miami 11 before their next drive stalls and they settle for a Ho field goal to extend the lead to 31-21.   FOURTH QUARTER   -Miami had come back from 30-14 deficit with five and a half minutes to go against Michigan earlier in the year in Ann Arbor to win 31-30.   -Miami moves quickly to down inside the Notre Dame 10 but the Irish hold and force Miami into a Carlos Huerta field goal to trim the lead to 31-24.   -Near disaster on the ensuing kick off as Ismail has a brain fart and badly misplays the kick but falls on it back at their own 11. Notre Dame then later in the drive almost has another huge misplay on a 3rd and short as Rice makes a bad pitch to Watters that he can’t handle, the ball gets kick around all the way back to the 24 before the Irish recover to avoid giving the Hurricanes great field position.   -Now we reach the big controversy about this game. With about seven minutes to go Miami goes for it on a 4th and 7 from the Notre Dame 11 and converts on Gary’s 11th reception of the game but as he tries to dive for the goal line he supposedly fumbles and the Irish recover at the 1. Looking at the replay it looks fairly clear that A) his knees hit the ground, B) the ball had broken the plane of the endzone before it came loose, and C) the ground caused the fumble. The only thing I’m unsure of is if his knee hit before he crossed the plane but at the very least should have been First and Goal at the 1. Pat Haden completely agrees with the officials yet again and Musberger doesn’t protest. Jimmy Johnson to say the least is not pleased.   -You can’t stop Frank Stam, you can only hope to contain him. On Miami’s next possession he forces another Walsh fumble, this one legit, and the Irish recover on their 28 with 3:30 to go. It was Walsh’s fifth turnover of the game, seventh turnover overall by the Hurricanes. Walsh would throw for 424 yards in this game but obviously gets completely overshadowed by the turnovers.   -They go back to the controversial Gary “fumble” and Haden says he was bobbling the ball before he it the ground which again the replay doesn’t show any of what he supposedly sees. Even though Haden played at USC, Miami was the most hated team in college football at the time so I got the impression watching this game Haden really wanted to see Miami lose.   -Shannon sacks Rice on 3rd and long, forcing a fumble, and Miami recovers on the Notre Dame 15 with 2:14 to go. Great, entertaining game but god damn has it been sloppy.   -Hurricanes immediately face another 4th and 7 from the Notre Dame 11. This time there is no controversy as Walsh hits Brown for the touchdown to make it 31-30 with 45 seconds left in the game. Since we’re still several years away from overtime in college football Miami decides to go for two. Walsh tries to hit Conley in the corner of the endzone but it is deflected away by Terrell. Miami probably would have kept their #1 ranking if they settle for the tie, especially since they were on the road, but it would have been quite the pussy move at the same time to do so.   -Notre Dame recovers the onside kick and runs out the clock to hand Miami their first regular season loss in over three years. The Irish ran the able from there on their way to their last national championship to date.

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NFL Random List: Super Bowl winners in Week 1

I realized that I haven't done a single entry on the NFL out of the first 90. That mainly has to do with that the NFL doesn't interest me nearly as much as it used too. And a lot of that has to do with the current state of my San Francisco 49ers. It's tough to get too inerested when you're force fed your terrible team every Sunday in which I can't typically make it through an entire a game before changing the channel. When your team is this bad there's no point in paying much attention to other scores as every other game is inconsequential when your team has no shot at the playoffs.   So I decided I'll every once a while during the season come up with some total random list of useless NFL facts and useless facts is the true heart of this blog. So this week, since it is Week 1, I give you the Week 1 results of every eventual Super Bowl champion. Before the list here are a few useless facts to throw out.   -Eventual Super Bowl champions are 33-6-1 overall in Week 1.   -1981 49ers were the first eventual Super Bowl champ to lose their Week 1 game.   -Of the six teams who have defeated the eventual Super Bowl champ in Week 1, none of them made the playoffs.   -Only once has the eventual Super Bowl champion played the defending Super Bowl champion, 1976 when the Raiders beat the Steelers.   -For three straights from 2001-2003 the eventual Super Bowl champion lost it's Week 1 game, matching the total number of times the eventual Super Bowl champ had lost the previous 35 years.   1966 Packers 24, Colts 3   1967 Packers 17, Lions 17 tie   1968 Jets 20, Chiefs 19   1969 Chiefs 27, Chargers 9   1970 Colts 16, Chargers 14   1971 Cowboys 49, Bills 37   1972 Dolphins 20, Chiefs 10   1973 Dolphins 21, 49ers 13   1974 Steelers 30, Colts 0   1975 Steelers 37, Chargers 0   1976 Raiders 31, Steelers 28   1977 Cowboys 16, Vikings 10   1978 Steelers 28, Bills 17   1979 Steelers 16, Patriots 13   1980 Raiders 27, Chiefs 14   1981 Lions 24, 49ers 17   1982 Redskins 37, Eagles 34   1983 Raiders 20, Bengals 10   1984 49ers 30, Lions 27   1985 Bears 38, Bucs 28   1986 Cowboys 31, Giants 28   1987 Redskins 34, Eagles 24   1988 49ers 34, Saints 33   1989 49ers 30, Colts 24   1990 Giants 27, Eagles 20   1991 Redskins 45, Lions 0   1992 Cowboys 23, Redskins 10   1993 Redskins 35, Cowboys 16   1994 49ers 44, Raiders 14   1995 Cowboys 35, Giants 0   1996 Packers 34, Bucs 3   1997 Broncos 19, Chiefs 3   1998 Broncos 27, Patriots 21   1999 Rams 27, Ravens 10   2000 Ravens 16, Steelers 0   2001 Bengals 23, Patriots 17   2002 Saints 26, Bucs 20   2003 Bills 31, Patriots 0   2004 Patriots 27, Colts 24   2005 Steelers 34, Titans 7

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NFL Random List: #1 Seeds in Playoffs

I was trying to figure something out to relate to the NFL Playoffs for a blog entry. I originally thought about looking back at random playoff games from the past that may have been forgotten but doing research on the internet for football is a hell of lot harder than baseball. But as I was watching the divisional playoffs and the Bears were on the ropes against the Seahawks I was wondering when was the last time both #1 seeds lost in the divisional playoffs? The Bears of course won but the AFC #1 seeded Chargers lost but I did find out the last time it happened was the 1979 playoffs when the Cowboys and, you guessed it, the Chargers both lost as #1 seeds in the divisonal round.   So for a random, useless fact list I figured I'd take a look at how each #1 seed has faired in the playoffs. Now I only look at the playoffs since 1978 when the Wild Card round was added as the NFL has the same basic playoff structure (except for the '82 strike year) since then with the only major change being when they expanded the field from 10 to 12 teams in 1990. Good news for the Bears this Sunday is that only four times since '78 have both #1's seeds not reached the Super Bowl, the last being 1997 (Chiefs/49ers). On the flip side both #1 seeds haven't advanced to the Super Bowl since 1993 (Bills/Cowboys), which incidently enough was the last season before the salary cap. Not sure if that is a coincidence or not.   1978 AFC: Steelers -Won Super Bowl   NFC: Rams -Lost NFC Championship   1979 AFC: Chargers -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Cowboys -Lost Divisional playoff   1980 AFC: Chargers -Lost AFC Championship   NFC: Falcons -Lost Divisional playoff   1981 AFC: Bengals -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: 49ers -Won Super Bowl   1982 AFC: Raiders -Lost in Second Round   NFC: Redskins -Won Super Bowl   1983 AFC: Raiders -Won Super Bowl   NFC: Redskins -Lost Super Bowl   1984 AFC: Dolphins -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: 49ers -Won Super Bowl   1985 AFC: Raiders -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Bears -Won Super Bowl   1986 AFC: Browns -Lost AFC Championship   NFC: Giants -Won Super Bowl   1987 AFC: Broncos -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: 49ers -Lost Divisional playoffs   1988 AFC: Bengals -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: Bears -Lost NFC Championship   1989 AFC: Broncos -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: 49ers -Won Super Bowl   1990 AFC: Bills -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: 49ers -Lost NFC Championship   1991 AFC: Bills -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: Redskins -Won Super Bowl   1992 AFC: Steelers -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: 49ers -Lost NFC Championship   1993 AFC: Bills -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: Cowboys -Won Super Bowl   1994 AFC: Steelers -Lost AFC Championship   NFC: 49ers -Won Super Bowl   1995 AFC: Chiefs -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Cowboys -Won Super Bowl   1996 AFC: Broncos -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Packers -Won Super Bowl   1997 AFC: Chiefs -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: 49ers -Lost NFC Championship   1998 AFC: Broncos -Won Super Bowl   NFC: Vikings -Lost NFC Championship   1999 AFC: Jaguars -Lost AFC Championship   NFC: Rams -Won Super Bowl   2000 AFC: Titans -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Giants -Lost Super Bowl   2001 AFC: Steelers -Lost AFC Championship   NFC: Rams -Lost Super Bowl   2002 AFC: Raiders -Lost Super Bowl   NFC: Eagles -Lost NFC Championship   2003 AFC: Patriots -Won Super Bowl   NFC: Eagles -Lost NFC Championship   2004 AFC: Steelers -Lost AFC Championship   NFC: Eagles -Lost Super Bowl   2005 AFC: Colts -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Seahawks -Lost Super Bowl   2006 AFC: Chargers -Lost Divisional playoff   NFC: Bears -???

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NCAA Tournament Random List: Lowest RPI At-Large Schools

The importance of the Ratings Percentage Index has been greatly devalued in the last two years by the tournament committee. Before 2006 not a single Top 30 school in the RPI had been left out the tournament but in the last two years three schools in the Top 30 have been sent to the NIT (Missouri State and Hofstra in 2006, Air Force in 2007). Nevertheless the RPI is still used to consider who gets into the tournament and I was curious to see which schools for each year since the creation of the RPI in 1994 were the lowest rated RPI team to get an at large bid and how they faired in the tournament. Or maybe I just needed an excuse for an entry and am not really interested in this at all. You make the call!   1994 George Washington (#61 in RPI, 10 seed) -def. 7 seed UAB 51-46 -lost to 2 seed Connecticut 75-63   1995 Minnesota (#66 in RPI, 8 seed) -lost to 9 seed Saint Louis 64-61   1996 California (#52 in RPI, 12 seed) -lost to 5 seed Iowa 74-64   1997 Georgetwon (#57 in RPI, 10 seed) -lost to 7 seed UNC Charlotte 79-67   1998 Western Michigan (#58 in RPI, 11 seed) -def. 6 seed Clemson 75-72 -lost to 3 seed Stanford 83-65   1999 New Mexico (#74 in RPI, 9 seed) -def. 8 seed Missouri 61-59 -lost to 1 seed Connecticut 78-56   2000 Pepperdine (#52 in RPI, 11 seed) -def. 6 seed Indiana 77-57 -lost to 3 seed Oklahoma State 75-67   2001 Oklahoma State (#49 in RPI, 11 seed) -lost to 6 seed USC 69-54   2002 Wyoming (#63 in RPI, 11 seed) -def. 6 seed Gonzaga 73-66 -lost to 3 seed Arizona 68-60   2003 N.C. State (#53 in RPI, 9 seed) -lost to 9 seed California 76-74   2004 Air Force (#70 in RPI, 11 seed) -lost to 6 seed North Carolina 63-52   2005 N.C. State (#63 in RPI, 10 seed) -def. 7 seed Charlotte 75-63 -def. 2 seed Connecticut 65-62 -lost to 6 seed Wisconsin 65-56   2006 Seton Hall (#58 in RPI, 10 seed) -lost to 7 seed Wichita State 86-66   2007 Stanford (#63 in RPI, 11 seed) -lost to 6 seed Louisville 78-58

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NBA Playoffs: 2-0 Deficit

Going into Thursday's games Chicago, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Denver, and Memphis are all pretty much on the verge of elimination. Now they can still lose a game and not be eliminated but they'll have to pull off something that has only been done 11 times since 1984 when the NBA Playoffs expanded to 16 teams and that's comeback from 2 games to 0 to win a series. I need an excuse for an entry so here's a look back at those 11 series.   1987 Western Conference First Round   #5 Golden State over #4 Utah, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Jazz 99, Warriors 85 Game 2: Jazz 103, Warriors 100 Game 3: Warriors 110, Jazz 95 Game 4: Warriors 98, Jazz 94 Game 5: Warriors 118, Jazz 113   You'd think as a Warriors fan I'd remember this series fondly but I have no memories of it because as a kid I was a bandwagon Lakers fan. The only thing I remember about the Warriors in the '87 playoffs was Sleepy Floyd's 51 point game against the Lakers in the West Semis, the Warriors only win in that series.   1990 Eastern Conference First Round   #5 New York over #4 Boston, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Celtics 116, Knicks 105 Game 2: Celtics 157, Knicks 128 Game 3: Knicks 102, Celtics 99 Game 4: Knicks 135, Celtics 108 Game 5: Knicks 121, Celtics 114   I'd guess that no one thought the Knicks had a prayer after giving up 157 points in Game 2. Most impressive about the Knicks comeback was by beating Boston in the Game 5 they ended a personal 26 game losing streak at the Boston Garden.   1993 Western Conference First Round   #1 Phoenix over #8 L.A. Lakers, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Lakers 107, Suns 103 Game 2: Lakers 86, Suns 81 Game 3: Suns 107, Lakers 102 Game 4: Suns 101, Lakers 86 Game 5: Suns 112, Lakers 104   Forgot about this series as the Lakers nearly swept the heavily favored Suns. Very controversial call in Game 5 on a Charles Barkley put back on an air ball where it appeared the shot clock may have expired that forced the game into overtime.   1993 Eastern Conference Finals   #2 Chicago over #1 New York, 4 games to 2   Game 1: Knicks 98, Bulls 90 Game 2: Knicks 96, Bulls 91 Game 3: Bulls 103, Knicks 83 Game 4: Bulls 105, Knicks 95 Game 5: Bulls 97, Knicks 94 Game 6: Bulls 96, Knicks 88   Kincks seemed to determined to end the Bulls dynasty by taking the first two games but it was not meant to be in this the biggest series to have a 2-0 defecit erased.   1994 Western Conference First Round   #8 Denver over #1 Seattle, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Sonics 106, Nuggets 82 Game 2: Sonics 97, Nuggets 87 Game 3: Nuggets 110, Sonics 93 Game 4: Nuggets 94, Sonics 85 Game 5: Nuggets 98, Sonics 94   The first eight seend to ever beat a one seed in the arguably the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history. I just seem to remember Robert Pack playing out of his mind in that series.   1994 Western Conference Semi-Finals   #2 Houston over #3 Phoenix, 4 games to 3   Game 1: Suns 91, Rockets 87 Game 2: Suns 124, Rockets 117 Game 3: Rockets 118, Suns 102 Game 4: Rockets 107, Suns 96 Game 5: Rockets 109, Suns 86 Game 6: Suns 103, Rockets 89 Game 7: Rockets 104, Suns 94   Rockets were left for dead after losing the first two games at home against the defending West Champs.   1995 Western Conference Semi-Finals   #6 Houston over #2 Phoenix, 4 games to 3   Game 1: Suns 103, Rockets 108 Game 2: Suns 118, Rockets 94 Game 3: Rockets 118, Suns 85 Game 4: Suns 114, Rockets 110 Game 5: Rockets 103, Suns 97 Game 6: Rockets 116, Suns 113 Game 7: Rockets 115, Suns 114   If you were a Suns fan circa 1995 you must have wanted to murder the entire Rockets team. This year's loss was even worse as they blew a 3-1 lead.   2001 Western Conference First Round   #5 Dallas over #4 Utah, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Jazz 88, Mavericks 86 Game 2: Jazz 109, Mavericks 98 Game 3: Mavericks 94, Jazz 91 Game 4: Mavericks 107, Jazz 77 Game 5: Mavericks 84, Jazz 83   Mavs came back from 17 points down in Game 5 and won an a Calvin Booth lay up in the final seconds.   2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals   #2 L.A. Lakers over #3 San Antonio, 4 games to 2   Game 1: Spurs 88, Lakers 78 Game 2: Spurs 95, Lakers 85 Game 3: Lakers 105, Spurs 81 Game 4: Lakers 98, Spurs 90 Game 5: Lakers 74, Spurs 73 Game 6: Lakers 88, Spurs 76   Everyone remembers the Derek Fisher basket in Game 5 in that awful, awful game.   2005 Eastern Conference First Round   #5 Washington over #4 Chicago, 4 games to 2   Game 1: Bulls 103, Wizards 94 Game 2: Bulls 113, Wizards 103 Game 3: Wizards 117, Bulls 99 Game 4: Wizards 106, Bulls 99 Game 5: Wizards 112, Bulls 110 Game 6: Wizards 94, Bulls 91   Signature moment was of course Gilbert Arenas' buzzer beater in Game 5.   2005 Western Conference First round   #4 Dallas over #5 Houston, 4 games to 3   Game 1: Rockets 98, Mavericks 96 Game 2: Rockets 113, Mavericks 111 Game 3: Mavericks 106, Rockets 102 Game 4: Mavericks 97, Rockets 93 Game 5: Mavericks 103, Rockets 100 Game 6: Rockets 101, Mavericks 83 Game 7: Mavericks 116, Rockets 76   The first five games were awesome, the last two not so much.

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My Terrible 2006 TSM Fantasy Draft

As many of you know the TSM Fantasy Baseball Draft is currently going on. I personally don't really even like playing fantasy baseball that much as I never want to be on those people rooting for players on the team who's playing against their favorite team. Because of this I never play for money as I have enough things to worry about than if Brett Myers gets 10 strikeouts and smacks his wife three times so I can win my game that week. This is the 4th year of the league with it being the 2nd year of the current incarnation run by MJ Styles. The first two years of the league were run by Lightning Flik and in those two years I had one of the best teams in the league, reaching the championship game both years although losing the title both years. I had Albert Pujols and Bobby Abreu both seasons and all was right with the world. But when Lightning Flik left the board, I think at least, the league was rebooted and all keepers were gone. No biggie but when I drew the 17th pick in the draft order I knew there'd be no Pujols left for me and I proceeded to draft one of the worst teams in the league, finshing 15th out of 20 and not even qualifying for the consolation bracket.   Here's a recap of my terrible draft from last year. Feel free to point and laugh.   1. Carl Crawford - (Final Yahoo Ranking: 20th, 89 R, 183 H, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 58 SB, .348 OBP)   This is another reason why I don't really like fantasy baseball is that because of stolen bases a player like Crawford is a superstar in fantasy baseball. He's a good player no doubt but no one would ever think of Crawford as one of the elite players in baseball.   2. Rich Harden - (Final Ranking: 379th, 46.2 IP, 4 W, 0 SV, 46 K, 0 HLD, 4.24 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)   I didn't follow Rule #1 of fantasy sports: Don't draft players from your favorite team. Harden certainly has the talent of a pitcher to be drafted this high and I gambled on him finally having an injury free year and lost badly. I did end up keeping him as I had hardly any players worth keeping but we were required to keep four so maybe Harden will finally pitch 200 innings this year. And maybe the Royals will win the World Series.   3. Chad Tracy - (Final Ranking: 175th, 91 R, 168 H, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 5 SB, .343 OBP)   Ugh. I had a hard on for Tracy going into last season as I was convinced he'd have a breakout year and plus he also had eligiblity at three positions. Had a decent year but no where near a 3rd round pick.   4. Brett Myers - (Final Ranking: 73rd, 198 IP, 12 W, 0 SV, 189 K, 0 H, 3.91 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)   This was one of my few solid picks as based on the Yahoo rankings he ended up being worth exactly a 4th round pick thus I ended up having to keep him almost by default.   5. Bobby Crosby (Final Ranking: 613th, 42 R, 82 H, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 8 SB, .298 OBP)   I forgot one of my own rules here: If ESPN "experts" are really high on a player assume he'll be terrible. Now I didn't think Crosby was going to emerge as an MVP candidate like some did but I definately thought he'd continue to improve. Not only was he hurt, he was also terrible when he was in the line up.   6. Derrick Turnbow (Final Ranking: 428th, 56.1 IP, 4 W, 24 SV, 69 K, 4 HLD, 6.87 ERA, 1.69 WHIP)   Maybe I should just stop this entry because this is getting embarrasing. I should have listened to those who thought Turnbow's excellent 2005 season was a fluke and boy were they right. This pick pretty much killed me in the saves category all year as I never found a decent closer.   7. Brian Giles (Final Ranking: 216th, 87 R, 159 H, 14 HR, 83 RBI, 9 SB, .374 OBP)   Because of the park he plays in Giles isn't a very attractive player in fantasy baseball but he had an outstanding 2005 season so I was happy when he fell to me but his OBP dropped 49 points in 2006. I actually have drafted him again this year hoping he'll have a bounce back year but I'm probably going to be wrong on that as he just turned 36 last month.   8. Placido Polanco (Final Ranking: 430th, 58 R, 136 H, 4 HR, 52 RBI, 1 SB, .329 OBP)   This seemed like a good pick at that time as Polanco had emerged as one of the better second basemen in baseball the previous couple of years but he had a terrible year offensively in 2006.   9. Michael Barrett (Final Ranking: 317th, 54 R, 115 H, 16 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB, .368 OBP)   Barrett was having a good year for a catcher, and became one of my favorite players for punching A.J. Pierzynski, but he missed the last month of the season due to injury.   10. Nick Johnson (Final Ranking: 120th, 100 R,145 H, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 10 SB, .428 OBP)   The best pick I made in the draft and even it came back to haunt me. He of course suffered an ugly broken leg injury with about a week left in the season and is likely going to start this year on the DL but because my team was so terrible I decided to keep him in spite of this.   11. Brad Radke (162.1 IP, 12 W, 0 SV, 83 K, 0 HLD, 4.32 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)   Because he retired I don't know what his final Yahoo ranking was but it couldn't have been very good as Brad went out at the right time.   12. Scott Linebrink (Final Ranking: 235th, 75.2 IP, 7 W, 2 SV, 68 K, 36 HLD, 3.57 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)   One thing I really dislike about this league is the inclusion of the completlely irrelevent Hold statistic being included. I let Linebrink go at some point because I think I was desperate to fill the other numerous holes on my team due to injuries that I abandoned Holds.   13. Carlos Silva (Final Ranking: 375th, 180.1 IP, 11 W, 0 SV, 70 K, 2 HLD, 5.94 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)   Another terrible pick. Silva had made a living off never striking out anybody but never walked anybody either but the never striking out part bit him in the ass finally last year and I didn't wait too long before releasing him.   14. Dan Johnosn (Final Ranking: 693rd, 30 R, 67 H, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 0 SB, .323 OBP)   Yet again not following Rule #1 but even I wasn't as high on Johnson as some A's fans but I figured this was a low risk pick here and boy was I wrong.   15. Brian Anderson (Final Ranking: 664th, 46 R, 82 H, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 4 SB, .290 OBP)   Gambled on a rookie here and once again was wrong as Anderson was not ready yet to hit MLB pitching.   16. Dave Roberts (Final Ranking: 146th, 80 R, 146 H, 2 HR, 44 RBI, 49 SB, .360 OBP)   Hey a decent pick, imagine that.   17. Luis A. Gonzalez (7 R, 36 H, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 1 SB, .269 OBP)   Picked purely because he was eligible at a ton of positions and had been halfway decent offensivley but was just awful in 2006. Don't know his ranking because he's now in Japan.   18. Jason LaRue (Final Ranking: 762nd, 22 R, 37 H, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 1 SB, .317 OBP)   Seemed like a decent choice as my back up catcher but not even close.   19. Jeff Franics (Final Ranking: 285th, 199 IP, 13 W, 0 SV, 117 K, 0 HLD, 4.16 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)   Pretty good pick here as him and Myers were the only pitchers I could rely on all year.   20. Todd Coffey (Final Ranking: 285th, 78 IP, 6 W, 8 SV, 60 K, 15 HLD, 3.58 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)   I was hoping Coffey would emerge as the Reds primary closer but never happened.     Because I had so little to work with going into this year I already hate the look of my team this year so far. I'm counting on Ryan Zimmerman emerging as a superstar this year but given how things went last year I'll assume he'll do a good Bobby Crosby 2006 impression.

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My Team U.S.A. (baseball)

This Tuesday the United States plays its World Baseball Classic opener against Mexico. As widly documented by now several top players have pulled out from the U.S. squad and other countries thus we aren't getting a true showing of the world's best. The best example of this is now the inclusion of the ancient and no longer effective starting pitcher Al Leiter to the U.S. roster. As much as George Steinbrenner has voiced his displeasure with the tournament he didn't say anything about being upset over Leiter being added to the team as he is not even expected to make the Yankees. Now even with Leiter on the team the U.S. still should win the um, whatever they give away to the winner, but the U.S. men's basketball team should always win the gold in the Olympics too.   So I've decided to pick my own United States roster. Every U.S. born player is available to me in this fictional scenerio. I'll use the same roster set up as the current U.S. team has: 4 starting pitchers, 10 relievers, 3 catchers, 7 infielders, and 6 outfielders.   Starting Pitchers   Roger Clemens Roy Oswalt Jake Peavy Dontrelle Willis   Relievers   Neal Cotts Justin Duchscherer Brad Lidge Scott Linebrink Joe Nathan B.J. Ryan Scot Shields Huston Street Billy Wagner Dan Wheeler   Catchers   Michael Barrett Joe Mauer Jason Varitek   Infielders   Travis Hafner Jeff Kent Derrek Lee Alex Rodriguez Mark Teixeira David Wright Michael Young   Note: Let's be real, A-Rod is the best shortstop in baseball even if he plays 3rd now so I'm putting him at short. Hafner doesn't play the field really but there is the DH in the tournament and the way he rakes righties you'd need to have him in there.   Outfielders   Adam Dunn Jim Edmonds Brian Giles Aaron Rowand Gary Sheffield Vernon Wells   Ya, Aaron Rowand. I was having hard time picking the 6th outfielder so I went with a defensive specialist. It does give me three center fielders but really you can stick Rowand in a corner late in the game for someone like Dunn or Sheffield. Ya, ya no true lead off hitter on the roster but with this many big bats you don't need one. Giles would make a good lead off hitter with his excellent plate patience.   ****BONUS MATERIAL****   Just as I finished this I figured, why not pick the Un-American team? No, no not Venezuela. I'm gonna pick a team of U.S. players you wouldn't want representing Team U.S.A. I'm only taking into account players who regulars last season as obviously I could pick an entire team filled with bench scrubs or guys who had cups of coffee in the Majors.   Starting Pitchers   Mark Hendrickson Al Leiter (oh the irony) Joe Mays Eric Milton   Relief Pitchers   Doug Brocail Jim Brower Brian Bruney Jason Christiansen Mike DeJean Alan Embree Travis Harper Dan Kolb Braden Looper Matt Thorton   Catchers   Brad Ausmus Chad Moeller Chris Snyder   Infielders   David Bell Aaron Boone Bret Boone Royce Clayton Doug Mientiewicz Aaron Miles Kevin Millar   Outfielders   Eric Brynes Steve Finley Terrence Long Corey Patterson Scott Podsednik (ya I said it!) B.J. Surhoff

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My Sports DVDs Update

I've made it no secret I'm a junkie for original televised footage of classic sporting events. Back in the day when ESPN Classic actually showed classic games I would love watching classic games from the 70's and 80's. I was thrilled when two years ago MLB started releasing complete World Series boxsets of the 1975, 1979, and 1986 World Series which I promptly bought all three and did write ups of all three sets on the blog. Last year two more World Series sets were released, 1977 and 1987 but I have yet to start watching either. Considering how bad the A's will be this season I might finally crack those sets open when looking for alternative things to watch during the baseball season. Both the NBA and NHL have followed suit although I'm not as interested in those sets as I am for baseball and football, but I would pick up the 1987 NBA Finals set if they ever release it as I have fond memories of it as a bandwagon Laker fan when I was younger. There has even been a set of "classic" Notre Dame games released which I did a write up the Cathlolics vs. Convicts game but haven't gotten around to viewing any of other the games.   The NFL had been a long time holdout when it comes to airing any classic games, even on their own channel, but last year around the Super Bowl they finally started re-airing original Super Bowl broadcasts which continued this year. Also this past Fall they released a handful of DVD sets and individual DVDs with "classic" games. Their choices so far have been a bit odd. They released three sets of every playoff game from the 1999 Rams, 2000 Ravens, and 2002 Bucs seasons. The '99 Rams set would be kinda interesting as that year's Super Bowl had probably the best finish ever in a Super Bowl but I really have no interest in anything from the last ten years and there's nothing "classic" on either '00 Ravens or '02 Bucs set. They also released the 1980 NFC Championship game between the Eagles and Cowboys. Now that'd be a must have for an Eagles fan but the game was not particularly competitive and why release that game instead of the 1981 NFC Championship featuring "The Catch"? In addition there is a three game set of "classic" Cleveland Browns games (yes I know, what classic Browns games?) but the three games they picked left a lot to be desired. One of the games is a regular season blowout from 1989 against the Steelers and another is a playoff clinching win against the Falcons from 2002. If they swapped out either of those games for their double overtime win in the '86 playoffs against the Jets I would have bought it.   Now there were two others that I did decide to pick up, the 1992 AFC Wild Card Game featuring the Bills record comeback against the Oilers and they released an 11 game set of the 1985 Chicago Bears season. I actually haven't received the Bears set yet as I got in on backorder from DeepDiscountDVD.com when it was on sale for only $44 a month ago but should be receiving it any day now. Now there are not any real "classics" on that Bears set but the '85 Bears always held a special place in my childhood because the Bears were the first "it" team for me that you just had to watch and as I've mentioned before my earliest sports memory is watching Super Bowl XX. On the set there is their MNF loss to the Dolphins that ended their undefeated season, which is actually kind of surprising as these sets are of course marketed to the fans of the teams but having that game on the set made it an automatic purchase for me as I don't know if I ever watched the original live game.   So here's my complete list of of sports DVDs, that have original games on them:   1975 World Series 1977 World Series 1979 World Series 1986 World Series 1987 World Series Notre Dame Collector's Edition (7 Games) 1992 AFC Wild Card Bills vs. Oilers 1985 Chicago Bears (11 Games)   In April MLB will be releasing the 2001 World Series boxset but again I'm not particularly interested in anything from the last decade, especially something that was televised by FOX, so I'm not sure if I'm going to pick that one up even if it was a true classic. Before then in early March there will be another World Series boxset released and, well....there's no fucking way I'm going to buy it.

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MVP Watch #8

For the first time this year I actually had to give more than a second of thought for who would take the #1 spot in the N.L. MVP race. As the Cardinals have slumped so has Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran has now tied him for the M.L. lead in Win Shares. Pujols hangs on to the top spot for now but we now finally have a race. Chase Utley is hot, David Wright is not, and Ryan Howard makes his first appearance of the year.   #10 Ryan Howard, Phillies .294/.378/.625, 78 RC, .308 EQA, 41.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #9 Nick Johnson, Nationals .294/.425/.521, 82 RC, .317 EQA, 39.1 VORP, 19 Win Shares   #8 David Wright, Mets .308/.383/.545, 86 RC, .302 EQA, 37.1 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #7 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 175 ERA+, 4.31 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 58.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #6 Chase Utley, Phillies .328/.390/.557, 86 RC, .301 EQA, 52.7 VORP, 21 Win Shares   #5 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals .290/.362/.594, 93 RC, .304 EQA, 43.0 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #4 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins .326/.422/.547, 90 RC, .319 EQA, 47.4 VORP, 21 Win Shares   #3 Lance Berkman, Astros .322/.411/.621, 96 RC, .324 EQA, 46.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #2 Carlos Beltran, Mets .284/.388/.626, 93 RC, .318 EQA. 52.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals .319/.428/.684, 98 RC, .344 EQA, 56.3 VORP, 27 Win Shares     Hey did you hear the news? David Ortiz has won the American League Most Valuable Player award. ESPN told me so. All kidding aside after not even being on my radar until recently Ortiz has made a big jump on my imaginary ballot and if he keeps this up he could even possibly grab the top spot by the end of the year, but for the moment he's still not even the Red Sox MVP in my view. Travis Hafner has grabbed the top spot back but it wasn't without reservations and I gave consideration to everyone in the top 4 this week for the #1 spot. Carlos Guillen and Justin Morneau both make their first appearance in the Top 10.   #10 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays .319/.382/.597, 79 RC, .314 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #9 Jason Giambi, Yankees .249/.407/.578, 82 RC, .322 EQA, 35.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #8 Justin Morneau, Twins .323/.378/.605, 85 RC, .313 EQA, 41.9 VORP, 19 Win Shares   #7 Carlos Guillen, Tigers .307/.389/.511, 75 RC, .304 EQA, 42.0 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #6 David Ortiz, Red Sox .291/.395/.627, 90 RC, .324 EQA, 51.3 VORP, 19 Win Shares   #5 Jim Thome, White Sox .298/.417/.627, 91 RC, .332 EQA, 49.5 VORP, 19 Win Shares   #4 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox .319/.429/.633, 91 RC, .338 EQA, 52.7 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #3 Derek Jeter, Yankees .350/.425/.487, 88 RC, .317 EQA, 54.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #2 Joe Mauer, Twins .365/.446/.525, 75 RC, .328 EQA, 52.8 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #1 Travis Hafner, Indians .306/.430/.641, 103 RC, .348 EQA, 62.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares

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MVP Watch #7

Not much of note in the N.L. this week accept the arrival of You Know Who for the first time this year.   #10 Chase Utley, Phillies .317/.382/.531, 71 RC, .294 EQA, 40.5 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #9 Barry Bonds, Giants .255/.477/.509, 63 RC, .333 EQA, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #8 Nick Johnson, Nationals .302/.429/.535, 73 RC, .321 EQA, 39.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #7 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals .288/.361/.594, 83 RC, .305 EQA, 40.3 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #6 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins .330/.429/.545, 78 RC, .321 EQA, 42.8 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #5 David Wright, Mets .315/.387/.568, 83 RC, .308 EQA, 37.8 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #4 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 192 ERA+, 4.68 K/BB, 1.11 WHIP, 59.6 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #3 Carlos Beltran, Mets .274/.381/.598, 78 RC, .311 EQA, 40.2 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #2 Lance Berkman, Astros .318/.403/.602, 87 RC, .319 EQA, 41.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals .328/.444/.713, 92 RC, .354 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 26 Win Shares     And the wide open A.L. race has a new #1.   #10 David Ortiz, Red Sox .281/.389/.607, 78 RC, .318 EQA, 42.8 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #9 Jermaine Dye, White Sox .316/.395/.620, 71 RC, .322 EQA, 37.6 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #8 Johan Santana, Twins 153 ERA+, 5.43 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 46.7 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #7 Francisco Liriano, Twins 237 ERA+, 4.31 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 47.5 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #6 Derek Jeter, Yankees .344/.423/.466, 76 RC, .314 EQA, 46.0 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #5 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays .322/.385/.624, 75 RC, .320 EQA, 51.5 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #4 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox .310/.429/.608, 78 RC, .334 EQA, 43.0 VORP, 19 Win Shares   #3 Jim Thome, White Sox .293/.408/.632, 85 RC, .330 EQA, 46.7 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #2 Travis Hafner, Indians .308/.438/.637, 92 RC, .351 EQA, 58.1 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #1 Joe Mauer, Twins .381/.457/.534, 69 RC, .334 EQA, 51.4 VORP, 20 Win Shares

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