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EVIL~! alkeiper

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Blog Entries posted by EVIL~! alkeiper

  1. EVIL~! alkeiper
    After a sabbatical from wrestling, 24/7 got me interested again in the product. I'll confess that I'm a John Cena fan, and I think the in-ring product has been as good as ever perhaps. So with a live Monday Night Raw coming, my friend, his fiance and I picked up some tickets for the show. We lucked out with it becoming a three-hour special featuring the draft lottery.
     
    -Legends! We got appearances from Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper and the Fabulous Moolah.
     
    -Chris Benoit's last Raw match.
     
    -Local product Snitsky got DQ'ed for beating up Miz after the bell. Like that merited a DQ. My friend actually worked with Snitsky a short time at a local resort.
     
    -The limo explosion. What an odd event at a show, we found out later that it was actually filmed the night before. The arena is actually in a fairly isolated spot, which made it an attractive venue to pull off that stunt.
     
    For those who bash John Cena, it is really obvious from most live crowds like this that he is a tremendous draw. What struck me more than anything though is that the sound feedback was incredible. During the matches you just heard this incredible hum through the sound system. WWE cranks up the music to the point where I'm surprised the announcers can function.
     
    Next up: Smackdown
  2. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Fast forwarding to 1999, a friend winning a radio contest netted us tickets to WWE Raw at the Meadowlands, the day after Wrestlemania XV.
     
    This event featured a two hour live Raw, along with Shotgun and Super Astros tapings. Some highlights I recall.
     
    -The Public Enemy pinned by six other guys in a four team tag match.
    -El Hijo del Santo!
    -Goldust winning the Intercontinental title from the Blue Meanie.
     
    We got the taping first. The night's Raw featured the usual Russo era storylines. The problem with this type of show is that while everything is designed to engage the live audience, none of it is particularly memorable. The Undertaker kidnaps Stephanie McMahon, leading Vince to order his hooligans to find her. Ken Shamrock gets a confession from Christian. All a little more soap operaish than I prefer. Austin regained his Smoking Skull championship belt at this show. The Rock's popularity was on the rise, and it was clearly evident that he would turn face within a month.
     
    Apologies for a short entry, but I'm really at a loss to write anything really interesting here.
     
    Coming tomorrow: Live shows in 2000 and 2003.
  3. EVIL~! alkeiper
    This Saturday I'm attending a WWE house show in Wilkes-Barre, PA. In the week prior, I thought it would be fun to look back at various live shows I have attended.
     
    Kicking off is my first live wrestling experience. In the early days of Monday Night Raw, WWE would run shows in much smaller venues. The Fernwood Event Center was a small convention hall in Bushkill, PA that held maybe 3,000. The town more or less consists of a single resort. Parking at the place was sparse, with cars lining Route 209 perhaps for half a mile. My friend, my father and I got standing tickets for the show, I being unable to convince my dad that the show just might sell out beforehand. Still, we were in.
     
    The show was a combined live show and taping. The matches started with a series of squash matches, some of which aired the next week on Raw. What I remember most is that it seemed to take ten minutes between each squash, more frustrating when the matches themselves lasted two minutes apiece. Razor Ramon defeated Pat Tanaka, the Headshrinkers won a squash, Diesel won a squash, and Ramon came out again and beat the Brooklyn Brawler. (As an aside, one of the jobbers against the Headshrinkers was a young Mike Bucci, who later rose to fame as Nova and Simon Dean.)
     
    Finally we got some competitive matches. IRS defeated Marty Jannetty clean and Doink defeated Bastian Booger. Those matches later aired on the Survivor Series Showdown. Bret Hart beat Jerry Lawler in a dark match. That may have been scheduled to air, but Lawler was charged with statutory rape soon after and was taken off television. Then we got the live Raw, which consisted of Ludwig Borga vs. Scott Steiner and a few more squash matches. The live show saw Randy Savage attack Crush in the dressing area, but without monitors all the live crowd saw was Bob Backlund vs. Barry Horowitz.
     
    Being late, we left during Luger vs. Pierre. An Undertaker/Yokozuna dark match followed.
     
    The show itself is almost entirely unmemorable, as Raw was not much more than a live episode of Superstars at that time. Fernwood was a poor venue, it was cramped and allowed little space for movement to concessions and merchandise, and some fans found themselves sitting directly in walkways. Adding the poor location, and it's a wonder WWE bothered. I would have liked to see them run the Scranton CYC for a Raw once or twice. Or even the Ag Hall in Allentown. Those would have accomplished the same goal of an intimate venue, with a nod towards history.
     
    Coming tomorrow: March '99 in the Meadowlands
  4. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Coming up with a list of the Phillies' Top 30 prospects, a step ahead of Baseball America.
     
    1. Carlos Carrasco, RHP
    2. Jason Donald, SS
    3. Michael Taylor, OF
    4. Dominic Brown, OF
    5. Travis D'Arnaud, C
    6. Kyle Drabek, RHP
    7. Lou Marson, C
    8. Zack Collier, OF
    9. Vance Worley, RHP
    10. Joe Savery, LHP
    11. J.A. Happ, LHP
    12. Sebastian Valle, C
    13. Michael Stutes, RHP
    14. Jason Knapp, RHP
    15. John Mayberry Jr., OF
    16. Edgar Garcia, RHP
    17. Antonio Bastardo, LHP
    18. Drew Naylor, RHP
    19. Andrew Carpenter, RHP
    20. Quintin Berry, OF
    21. Freddy Galvis, SS
    22. Julian Sampson, RHP
    23. Michael Cisco, RHP
    24. Sergio Escalona, LHP
    25. Jeremy Slayden, OF
    26. Anthony Gose, OF
    27. Brad Harman, 2B/SS
    28. Michael Zagurski, LHP
    29. Anthony Hewitt, SS
    30. Jason Jaramillo, C
     
    This is a work in progress. Any questions, comments or suggestions are more than welcome. I'm curious to see how it stacks up against BA's list later this offseason.
  5. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Final Standings of pool play.
     
    Giants 6-4
    Dodgers 6-4
    Highlanders 6-4
    Yankees 6-4
    Bridegrooms 4-6
    Gothams 2-8
     
    With four teams tied, a tiebreaker is actually easy to set up. Teams seeded one and four will compete, along with teams seeded two and three. The winners will play for the top spot, the loser of that getting the second spot. The losers of the first game will play for third place and the final playoff entry. The Giants pick up the first seed thanks to their 4-2 record against the other three teams. The Dodgers will get home field against the Highlanders due to better run differential. Hera are the tiebreak matchups.
     
    Yankees (Hunter) @ Giants (Gomez)
    Highlanders (Ruffing) @ Dodgers (Pettitte)
     
    Giants 3, Yankees 2
    Dodgers 6, Highlanders 3
     
    Dodgers 6, Giants 1
    Yankees 5, Highlanders 2
     
    First round is Giants vs. Yankees, winner battles the Dodgers. Both series will be contested best of five.
     
    Earle Combs hit .481/.526/.750, taking MVP honors. Jimmy Key will take best pitcher honors with two wins, 23 innings pitched and a 2.74 ERA.
     
    Yankees 3, Giants 4
    Yankees 1, Giants 4
    Giants 3, Yankees 4
    Giants 8, Yankees 2
    Giants win series 3 games to 1.
     
    Giants 2, Dodgers 15
    Giants 1, Dodgers 10
    Dodgers 9, Giants 10 (13 Innings)
    Dodgers 4, Giants 6
    Giants 8, Dodgers 9 (10 Innings)
    Dodgers win series 3 games to 2.
  6. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Had this idea at work. Simple concept, create an All-Star team using only one player from each country. 25 man roster, plus a manager.
     
    Starters
    C: Dave Nilsson, Australia
    1B: Sadaharu Oh, Japan
    2B: Glenn Hubbard, Germany
    SS: Luis Aparicio, Venezuela
    3B: Reno Bertoia, Italy
    LF: Larry Walker, Canada
    CF: Devon White, Jamaica
    RF: Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rico
    DH: Babe Ruth, USA
     
    Rotation
    SP Pedro Martinez, Dominican Republic
    SP: Bert Blyleven, Netherlands
    SP: Chien-Ming Wang, Taiwan
    SP: Dennis Martinez, Nicaragua
    SP: Tony Mullane: Ireland
     
    Bullpen
    CL: Mariano Rivera, Panama
    RP: Lance Painter, United Kingdom
    RP: Moe Drabowsky, Poland
    RP: Danny Graves, Vietnam
    RP: Bobby Chouinard, Phillipines
    RP: Byung-Hyun Kim, Korea
     
    Bench
    C: Eddie Ainsmith, Russia
    IF: Orlando Cabrera, Columbia
    IF: Hector Espino, Mexico (the minor league home run king)
    OF: Elmer Valo, Czechoslovakia
     
    Manager: Bruce Bochy, France
  7. EVIL~! alkeiper
    A couple weeks ago six of us ran an All-Time Yankees draft. With six teams chosen, the time has come to create a competition. I entered all six teams into a baseball simulator. The games are yet to come. Before the festivities begin, I thought it would be helpful to lay out the specifics and ground rules of the tournament.
     
    1. Each team will play ten games, two against each opponent (one home and one away).
    2. The top three teams will advance to the playoffs. The team with the best record receives a bye.
    3. In the case of a tie for a playoff berth (first or third place), a tiebreaker game (or games as necessary) will be held. Teams can not be eliminated in a tiebreak scenario, except via an on-field game. Seeding for those games will be decided by:

    Head to Head record among tied teams Overall Run Differential Random Draw 4. Playoff rounds are five games apiece. Home field format is 2-2-1.
    5. Each team will use a five man rotation, ensuring two starts per pitcher.
    6. Each team will use their reserve catcher in the 5th and 9th games, their reserve infielder in their 6th game and their reserve outfielder in their 7th game.
    7. The extra reserves and relievers (those not drafted) will only be used in an extra inning game, or if a team has exhausted their bullpen.
     
    See the comments for game details.
     
    Day Ten
    Yankees 7
    Bridegrooms 5
     
    Giants 9
    Dodgers 2
     
    Highlanders 12
    Gothams 2
     
    Day Nine
    Bridegrooms 3
    Yankees 10
     
    Dodgers 4
    Giants 10
     
    Gothams 2
    Highlanders 5
     
    Day Eight
    Highlanders 4
    Bridegrooms 5
    11 Innings
     
    Gothams 4
    Dodgers 5
     
    Yankees 1
    Giants 3
     
    Day Seven
    Bridegrooms 4
    Highlanders 6
     
    Dodgers 8
    Gothams 2
     
    Giants 8
    Yankees 10
     
    Day Six
    Gothams 7
    Bridegrooms 4
     
    Yankees 5
    Dodgers 3
     
    Highlanders 7
    Giants 11
     
    Day Five
    Bridegrooms 10
    Gothams 2
     
    Dodgers 18
    Yankees 2
     
    Giants 4
    Highlanders 8
     
    Day Four
    Giants 2
    Bridegrooms 4
     
    Highlanders 3
    Dodgers 12
     
    Yankees 5
    Gothams 4
     
    Day Three
    Bridegrooms 3
    Giants 4
     
    Dodgers 6
    Highlanders 5
     
    Gothams 7
    Yankees 8
    10 Innings
     
    Day Two
    Dodgers 3
    Bridegrooms 6
     
    Gothams 3
    Giants 4
     
    Yankees 4
    Highlanders 6
     
    Day One
    Bridegrooms 4
    Dodgers 11
     
    Giants 2
    Gothams 6
     
    Highlanders 7
    Yankees 0
  8. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Let's take a look at the Phillies' top 30 prospects and see how they look with less than three weeks left in the minor league season. Little statistics here, just opinions and analysis. If you need numbers, they are readily available.
     
    1. Carlos Carrasco
    Good season, showing he can handle AA and making two good starts now in AAA. Not dominant, but probably a good mid-rotation starter in the making.
     
    2. Adrian Cardenas
    Performed well in Clearwater before a trade to the Oakland organization. Now promoted to AA Midland, where the Athletics have moved him back to shortstop.
     
    3. Joe Savery
    Disappointing showing, but low home run totals are encouraging. Savery has actually DH'ed in four games as well. Still a prospect.
     
    4. Josh Outman
    Outman actually performed worse when converted to the bullpen. Traded to Oakland, the A's have placed him back in the rotation and promoted him to AAA Sacramento.
     
    5. Kyle Drabek
    Coming back from Tommy John surgery, pitching in the Gulf Coast League. Next year will indicate where he stands.
     
    6. Dominic Brown
    Great plate discipline and some pop. Potential star player on the rise.
     
    7. Greg Golson
    That he can handle AA pitching and hit for average yet is a great sign. Strikes out often but shows a good approach at the plate. He is not a wild hacker.
     
    8. Lou Marson
    Top-notch AA season. Phillies' catcher of the future.
     
    9. Andrew Carpenter
    Hugely disappointing season, only now showing signs of coming around.
     
    10. Jason Jaramillo
    Last really good offensive season was in Lakewood. A non-prospect, IMO.
     
    11. J.A. Happ
    Has good minor league numbers but looked bad in the Majors. At 25, he's short on time.
     
    12. Scott Mathieson
    Second Tommy John surgery. A longshot.
     
    13. Freddy Galvis
    Slick fielding shortstop. Not producing much in Low A but not completely overmatched. Still very young.
     
    14. Edgar Garcia
    Getting hammered at AA. Garcia has always been young for his levels, never impressive but always climbing the ladder.
     
    15. Jason Donald
    Big season, climbing into the Phils' top ten next season.
     
    16. Travis D'Arnaud
    Performance at Williamsport behind his already good defensive reputation will shoot him up the charts. If this has seemed an overly optimistic view of the Phillies' system, wait til we're finished.
     
    17. Heitor Correa
    Has not pitched.
     
    18. Travis Mattair
    Not performing well at Lakewood. Has at year a year to turn things around.
     
    19. Julian Sampson
    Good groundball pitcher, but not getting many strikeouts. Again, has a year or two to improve yet.
     
    20. Brad Harman
    Showing power, but numbers otherwise disappointing in AA Reading. He has a future if he can stick at shortstop, probably as a utility infielder.
     
    21. D'Arby Myers
    Did so badly at Lakewood that he got pushed back to Williamsport. A good athlete but status is slipping fast. Too bad. "I'm thinking D'arby" could have been big.
     
    22. Carlos Monasterios
    Poor season in Clearwater. Does not look like that Bobby Abreu trade will pan out.
     
    23. Quintin Berry
    Currently riding a 30 game hitting streak. Speedy, not much power. He could be a fifth outfielder down the road.
     
    24. Joe Bisenius
    At 25, if you can not handle AAA and do not dominate AA, you're not a prospect.
     
    25. Tyler Mach
    Retired.
     
    26. Antonio Bastardo
    Very good strikeout numbers, but beginning to struggle at higher levels. Has a future as a reliever.
     
    27. Mike Zagurski
    Tommy John surgery.
     
    28. Matt Spencer
    Traded to Oakland after a disappointing FSL campaign. He's hitting (albeit hacking) at High A Stockton. He was skipped a level, so I'd wait before writing him off.
     
    29. Drew Naylor
    Great season in Lakewood but struggling in Clearwater. Still an encouraging campaign.
     
    30. Lincoln Holdzkom
    Rule V pick returned to Boston before the season.
     
    Next, five players who emerged this season.
     
    Michael Taylor. Great numbers combined between Low and High A. One of the highest OBPs in the minors.
     
    Michael Stutes. 0.85 ERA with matching peripherals in ten starts.
     
    Jason Knapp. Strong strikeout numbers for high school draftee in GCL.
     
    Zach Collier. Early numbers from supplemental draftee are encouraging.
     
    Justin De Fratus. 20 year old pitching well in Williamsport.
  9. EVIL~! alkeiper
    A mini-MLB draft is in the works. Instead of the whole of MLB history for this one, we are going to focus solely on the New York Yankees. Why the Yankees, a team I despise? They simply have the talent necessary to sustain this kind of idea. I'd run Phillies, but who is going to get excited over Fred Luderus?
     
    We have five entrants. Myself, Canadian Chris, Smues, Brooklyn Zoo and 161st and River. One more person can join in if they are interested.
     
    Here are the basics.
    1. 21 man rosters (eight position players and a DH, three reserves, five starters, three relievers, and a manager)
    2. You draft a player's career ONLY as a Yankee. If you draft Randy Johnson, you're getting 34 career victories.
    3. A player may only be chosen either as a manager or player. A player may not be chosen twice for each role. Two exceptions, Hal Chase and Clark Griffith may be player-managers.
    4. All home parks are assumed to be Yankee Stadium.
     
    Results
    Round One
    CC: Babe Ruth
    Al: Mickey Mantle
    Bored: Lou Gehrig
    BZ: Joe Dimaggio
    Smues: Alex Rodriguez
    161st: Bernie Williams
     
    Round Two
    161st: Whitey Ford
    Smues: Yogi Berra
    BZ: Mariano Rivera
    Bored: Derek Jeter
    Al: Charlie Keller
    CC: Bill Dickey
     
    Round Three
    CC: Tony Lazzeri
    Al: Lefty Gomez
    Bored: Red Ruffing
    BZ: Don Mattingly
    Smues: Spud Chandler
    161st:Ron Guidry
     
    Round Four
    161st: Jorge Posada
    Smues: Jason Giambi
    BZ: Thurman Munson
    Bored: Reggie Jackson
    Al: Joe Gordon
    CC: Andy Pettitte
     
    Round Five
    CC: Goose Gossage
    Al: Allie Reynolds
    Bored: Rickey Henderson
    BZ: Dave Winfield
    Smues: Roger Clemens
    161st: Roger Maris
     
    Round Six
    161st: Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez
    Smues: Mike Mussina
    BZ: Earle Combs
    Bored: Ed Lopat
    Al: Phil Rizzuto
    CC: Paul O'Neill
     
    Round Seven
    CC: Bobby Murcer
    Al: Elston Howard
    Bored: Graig Nettles
    BZ: Tommy Henrich
    Smues: Casey Stengel (manager)
    161st: Dave Righetti
     
    Round Eight
    161st: Willie Randolph
    Smues: Sparky Lyle
    BZ: Wade Boggs
    Bored: John Wetteland
    Al: Herb Pennock
    CC: Bob Shawkey
     
    Round Nine
    CC: Jimmy Key
    Al: Bill Skowron
    Bored: Hideki Matsui
    BZ: Joe McCarthy (manager)
    Smues: Mel Stottlemyre
    161st: Waite Hoyt
     
    Round Ten
    161st: Joe Torre (manager)
    Smues: Tino Martinez
    BZ: Catfish Hunter
    Bored: Tommy John
    Al: Gil McDougald
    CC: David Cone
     
    Round Eleven
    CC: Home Run Baker
    Al: Roy White
    Bored: Alfonso Soriano
    BZ: Vic Raschi
    Smues: Robinson Cano
    161st: Lou Piniella
     
    Round Twelve
    161st: Hank Bauer
    Smues: Frankie Crosetti
    BZ: Tony Kubek
    Bored: David Wells
    Al: Carl Mays
    CC: Chien-Ming Wang
     
    Round Thirteen
    CC: Mike Stanton
    Al: Johnny Murphy
    Bored: Gary Sheffield
    BZ: Bobby Richardson
    Smues: David Justice
    161st: Clete Boyer
     
    Round Fourteen
    161st: Jeff Nelson
    Smues: Gene Woodling
    BZ: George Selkirk
    Bored: Steve Howe
    Al: Miller Huggins (manager)
    CC: Don Baylor
     
    Round Fifteen
    CC: Kid Elberfeld
    Al: Bob Meusel
    Bored: Billy Martin (manager)
    BZ: Al Downing
    Smues: Ben Chapman
    161st: Wally Pipp
     
    Round Sixteen
    161st: Jack Chesbro
    Smues: Mickey Rivers
    BZ: Bob Turley
    Bored: Butch Wynegar
    Al: Steve Hamilton
    CC: Nick Etten
     
    Round Seventeen
    CC: Jerry Mumphrey
    Al: Urban Shocker
    Bored: Ron Davis
    BZ: Fritz Peterson
    Smues: Hal Chase
    161st: Bob Wickman
     
    Round Eighteen
    161st: Roberto Kelly
    Smues: Clark Griffith
    BZ: Joe Page
    Bored: Ralph Terry
    Al: Ryne Duren
    CC: Lindy McDaniel
     
    Round Nineteen
    CC: Johnny Blanchard
    Al: Mike Stanley
    Bored:Roy Smalley
    BZ: Red Rolfe
    Smues: Joba Chamberlain
    161st: Ron Blomberg
     
    Round Twenty
    161st: Tom Tresh (or Shane Spencer)
    Smues: Wally Schang
    BZ: Joe Girardi
    Bored: Ron Hassey
    Al: Snuffy Stirnweiss
    CC: Randy Velarde
     
    Round Twenty-One
    CC: Ralph Houk (manager)
    Al: Birdie Cree
    Bored: Tim Raines
    BZ: Ramiro Mendoza
    Smues: Tom Gordon
    161st: Rick Cerone
     
    Round Twenty-Two (Relief Pitchers)
    161st: Shane Spencer
    Smues: Lee Guetterman
    BZ: Dick Tidrow
    Bored: Hal Reniff
    Al: Steve Farr
    CC: Jack Aker
  10. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Over in the General Wrestling forum, there is a draft going on to select all-time rosters of wrestlers. I missed out on this, but it provides an opportunity to do a little list creation in my spare time. I created a list of my ideal top 64 picks. When selecting a wrestler, I feel you need to look for uncommon attributes, something to stand out from the crowd. Mid-carders are crucial to a good promotion, but you can find many, many guys at that level. Also, I think a wrestler needs some ability to succeed in today's environment. Gorgeous George was extremely popular as a heel for a time, but he was a limited attraction and today the novelty would be gone. I don't think he would be a top draw today. Let's see how my 64 stands up against the actual draft. I will divide this into four sections.
     
    1. Wrestlers both in my top 64 and the draft top 64.
    2. Wrestlers in my top 64 who just missed (first 100 picks).
    3. Whiffs, Guys in my top 64 who went beyond the 100th pick.
    4. Undrafted wrestlers.
     
    I did not rank my list, so it is simply a list of 64 wrestlers/teams.
     
    1. Wrestlers both in my top 64 and the draft top 64.
     
    Since there is a consensus, there should be no need to comment on these names individually.
     
    1. Bret Hart
    2. Hulk Hogan
    3. The Rock
    4. Ric Flair
    5. Steve Austin
    6. Randy Savage
    7. Andre the Giant
    8. Shawn Michaels
    10. John Cena
    11. Triple H
    12. Sting
    13. The Undertaker
    14. Brock Lesnar
    15. Mick Foley
    16. Kurt Angle
    17. Roddy Piper
    18. Bill Goldberg
    19. Vader
    20. Terry Funk
    21. Eddie Guerrero
    22. Chris Jericho
    23. Ricky Steamboat
    27. Steiner Brothers
    30. Harley Race
    31. Ultimate Warrior
    33. Kerry Von Erich
    34. Dusty Rhodes
    35. Curt Hennig
    38. The Road Warriors
    40. Superstar Billy Graham
    44. Bruno Sammartino
    45. Jake Roberts
    50. Stan Hansen
    51. The Great Muta
    52. Jack Brisco
    54. Bruiser Brody
    56. Terry Gordy/Miracle Violence Connection (I had him as part of the Freebirds)
    61. Barry Windham
    64. Magnum T.A.
     
    2. Wrestlers in my top 64 who just missed (first 100 picks).
     
    65. Jimmy Snuka
    67. Rey Mysterio
    68. Sid Vicious (as a member of the Skyscrapers)
    69. The Big Show
    70. Jerry Lawler
    72. Sgt. Slaughter
    89. Lex Luger
    100. Yokozuna
     
    Great picks here, a few main eventers, a couple of solid workers (Sgt. Slaughter is underrated). Chalk this up to slight differences of opinion, perhaps some crowding with posters preferring Japanese workers.
     
    3. Whiffs, Guys in my top 64 who went beyond the 100th pick.
     
    Now we get to the portion where drafters are simply missing the boat on great talent, underrating guys who could carry a promotion, or make a significant contribution. Kudos to those who took the bait and made a wise choice on a late round pick.
     
    101. Junkyard Dog - For a time, one of the most popular wrestlers in the country.
    102. Nikita Koloff
    104. Nick Bockwinkel - A wrestler with Bockwinkel's cockiness and interview style would no doubt make a top heel today. I could easily see him paired up against John Cena.
    110. Trish Stratus - Possibly the greatest female wrestler in U.S. history, incredibly beautiful. Capable of filling a variety of roles.
    117. Sabu - Unique style, still unmatched in wrestling. A genuine sensation in the 1990s, unwillingness to work at times hurt his potential.
    128. Dory Funk Jr. - Interesting to think what he would do nowadays. Playing the grizzled veteran along with his backstage teaching skills, he'd be an asset to any organization.
    131. Lou Thesz - Could he make it today? I think his wrestling skill could carry him, particularly as a stooging heel.
    137. The Sheik - The most feared, savage heel of all time.
    161. David Von Erich - Future NWA champion until his untimely death. David is a "what if" story, so I can't blame people for overlooking him.
    176. Buddy Rogers - Top heel of his era, huge television star. Think Randy Orton cockiness combined with Ric Flair's charisma. Drew the biggest wrestling crowd in the United States in 1961. 38,000+ at Comiskey Park to see him win the NWA title, a mark unsurpassed until 1984.
     
    4. Undrafted wrestlers.
     
    Seven mostly old-school wrestlers who could benefit any promotion.
     
    Mil Mascaras - One of the most popular latino wrestlers in history, used dazzling aerial manuevers in his prime.
    Fred Blassie - Before managing, was a blond, vicious heel with incredible talking ability.
    Billy Robinson - A great performer from Britain. Had less backstage warts than the Dynamite Kid. His mat work is good even by today's standards.
    Jim Londos - Who? The greatest gate attraction of the pre-1950s era. At 190 lbs., handsome and tanned, would make a great babyface champion for a light heavyweight division.
    Bobo Brazil - Popular black wrestler who re-defined racial boundaries. 6'6".
    Gene Kiniski - Largely unknown NWA champion. Good worker and talent, around 6'4". His size would make him credible and his heel work would carry him from there.
    Ernie Ladd - A former NFL star, legitimately huge with great heel mannerisms.
    Johnny Valentine - Greg's father worked the same style, but better.
  11. EVIL~! alkeiper
    I rented this game recently off Netflix. I thought I had pegged the Gibson walk-off, but this game certainly did not disappoint. A 2-1 victory highlighted by Mark McGwire's walk-off home run in the ninth. A few thoughts:
     
    -It surprises me somewhat that you rarely hear about this homer from McGwire, even during his playing days. You would think a player known for his home run exploits would have this one highlighted.
     
    -McGwire's home run game came three days after Gibson won game one with his own home run. This was the first time two batters hit walk-off home runs in the same series. The only other series to earn this distinction was the 2004 NLCS.
     
    -I will never, ever complain about too many pickoff throws again. Bob Welch threw over eight times after Steve Sax reached base to leadoff the game. The eighth inning was interminable, with the Athletics obsessed with neutralizing Lasorda's running attack.
     
    -Despite the throw overs, the constant threat of hit and runs, steals, etc. make this game very interesting. Broadcaster Vin Scully does an outstanding job of giving the relevant situation, letting the viewer know the potential strategy given the statistics and results of the season. Fox should watch Scully and NBC work games and take notes.
     
     
  12. EVIL~! alkeiper
    I'm blatantly ripping off a concept from Bored. The best player from each pick in the draft. The MLB June draft has run from 1965 to the present.
     
    1. Alex Rodriguez, SS
    2. Reggie Jackson, OF
    3. Robin Yount, SS
    4. Dave Winfield, OF or Barry Larkin, SS
    5. Dwight Gooden, RHP
    6. Barry Bonds, OF
    7. Frank Thomas, 1B
    8. Todd Helton, 1B
    9. Barry Zito, LHP
    10. Mark McGwire, 3B
     
    Not one #1 overall pick has yet made the Hall, though Junior Griffey and A-Rod certainly will. Having no player better than Zito at #9 is a surprise, ditto for Doc Gooden at #5.
     
    11. Greg Luzinski, 1B
    12. Billy Wagner, LHP or Nomar Garciaparra, SS
    13. Manny Ramirez, OF
    14. Derrek Lee, 1B
    15. Chase Utley, 2B
    16. Lance Parrish, IF
    17. Roy Halladay, RHP
    18. Willie Wilson, OF
    19. Roger Clemens, RHP
    20. Mike Mussina, RHP
     
    21. Rick Sutcliffe, RHP
    22. Craig Biggio, C
    23. Jason Kendall, C
    24. Rondell White, OF
    25. Chuck Knoblauch, 2B
    26. Alan Trammell, SS
    27. Vida Blue, LHP
    28. Lee Smith, RHP
    29. George Brett, SS
    30. Mike Schmidt, SS
     
    Where are the Hall of Famers? Currently, 19 members of the Hall of Fame began their careers out of the amateur draft. Only six of them (Jackson, Yount, Winfield, Puckett, Fisk, Molitor) were chosen in the first ten picks of the draft. Five of them were not picked in the top 100, and Ryne Sandberg was the 511th pick in his draft. Nolan Ryan was the 226th pick, Goose Goosage was chosen 204th.
  13. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Over/Under
     
    I'm establishing a rule for myself. 15 overs and unders. Let's see where that leads.
     
    Baltimore Orioles 66.0 66.0 UNDER
    Florida Marlins 69.0 69.0 UNDER
    Pittsburgh Pirates 70.0 70.0 OVER
    Kansas City Royals 71.0 71.0 OVER
    Washington Nationals 72.0 72.0 OVER
    Tampa Bay Devil Rays 73.0 73.0 OVER
    San Francisco Giants 73.0 73.0 UNDER
    Oakland Athletics 74.0 74.0 OVER
    Texas Rangers 75.5 75.5 OVER
    Minnesota Twins 75.5 75.5 OVER
    Houston Astros 76.0 76.0 OVER
    Chicago White Sox 77.0 77.0 UNDER
    Cincinnati Reds 79.0 79.0 OVER
    St. Louis Cardinals 80.0 80.0 UNDER
    Colorado Rockies 83.0 83.0 UNDER
    San Diego Padres 84.5 84.5 OVER
    Seattle Mariners 85.0 85.0 UNDER
    Milwaukee Brewers 85.0 85.0 UNDER
    Toronto Blue Jays 85.5 85.5 UNDER
    Arizona Diamondbacks 86.0 86.0 OVER
    Los Angeles Dodgers 86.5 86.5 OVER
    Philadelphia Phillies 86.5 86.5 OVER
    Atlanta Braves 87.0 87.0 UNDER
    Chicago Cubs 89.0 89.0 UNDER
    Cleveland Indians 89.5 89.5 OVER
    Los Angeles Angels 92.5 92.5 UNDER
    Detroit Tigers 93.0 93.0 UNDER
    New York Yankees 93.5 93.5 UNDER
    New York Mets 94.0 94.0 UNDER
    Boston Red Sox 94.5 94.5 OVER
     
    I noticed that I tended to go the over on mostly sub-.500 teams and under on mostly over-.500 teams. As a whole, I think most teams are ranked fairly on this list. For example, the Cubs are listed above the Brewers. I took the under on the Cubs and over on the Brewers. I still think the Cubs are favorites, I just think the win margin will end up 88-86.
     
    I will be happy to answer questions about individual teams. The Astros replaced three awful players in their lineup (Ausmus, Biggio and Everett) with J.R. Towles, Kaz Matsui and Miguel Tejada. Their rotation sucks, but it sucked last year too, no loss. And it's a weak division.
     
    The Pirates will no doubt finish below .500, but 92 losses? Not a sure thing in the NL Central. The Pirates are an odd team in that they are bad, but they lack truly bad players. They just do not have a truly standout player on their team. (Unless Jason Bay rebounds.)
  14. EVIL~! alkeiper
    I don't usually blog about politics, but I feel the urge. Pennsylvania runs their primaries quite late in the season, around late April. Consequently, we have little say in the Presidential primaries. Political ads have begun popping up, but I have yet to see a plethora of spots for presidential hopefuls. Some of the local politicians have started in earnest. Two candidates air ads on local television for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania's tenth district (More on the district later). Here is one hopeful, Dan Meuser!
     

     
    A blogger for the Morning Call refers to Meuser as robo-candidate! Indeed, Meuser has that stereotypical conservative politician look about him. His commercial targets illegal immigrants, a popular hot-button issue when you have nothing else to offer. Here is what amuses me. The commercial refers to his ideas as "the Meuser Plan." I can just imagine him showing up for Congress the first day, when the House of Representatives tell Mr. Freshman Politician what he can do with his plan. Newbs do not exactly carry a lot of pull around Congress.
     
    (As an aside, part of this glorious plan is to make English the official language. Personally, I have taken to crossing out all the latin words on my currency. You need to start somewhere.)
     
    Chris Hackett also runs ads, his campaign promises to fight wasteful spending. There's a fresh idea. It bothers me mostly that campaigns involve such blatant pandering and empty promises, but I guess that is how the public reacts.
     
    I mentioned the tenth district, and here is where this all fits in. This seat is currently held by a democrat. It was Republican from 1961-2005. The first candidate became Governor after one term, the second has a stretch of highway named after him. The third, Don Sherwood, was caught in a love scandal and was defeated in the last election. This seat is easily winnable for the Republicans, so no wonder they are eager to fight Chris Carney.
     
    It's not my district, so I don't need to put much thought into it. We have our own long term Congressman (Paul Kanjorski-D) who is going to be opposed by Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton (he of the illegal immigrant crackdown). Democrats have won 24 of the last 25 elections there, so Barletta has an uphill battle.
  15. EVIL~! alkeiper
    I picked up Volume One of the Royal Rumble Anthology (1988-92) from Amazon.com. At $35 any of these sets is a great value, as each event comes out at $7 apiece. I do not know how many of you were WWF fans in the early '90s, but Coliseum Video copies of the events used to run in the neighborhood of $60. Next time your elderly neighbor complains about prices these days, remember not everything has gotten more expensive.
     
    1988 Royal Rumble
     
    It is harder to judge this event against the others, because it was not a standard Pay-per-view event. This show was essentially an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event with an extended battle royal attached. The Royal Rumble was not outstanding and not dull, and you got a Jumping Bomb Angels match in the deal. I still think the Islanders/Young Stallions match is poor. No crowd heat whatsoever and nearly ten minutes in-between falls. Given the show live must have run close to three hours, it has more of a vibe of "let's get this over with."
     
    1989 Royal Rumble
     
    The Rumble enough is solid enough but the undercard is very weak once you get past the opening tag bout. (Rougeaus and Dino Bravo against Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the Hart Foundation.) Actually there are only four matches on the show, including the Royal Rumble. The Rumble itself is again fairly good, with Demolition entering one/two, the compelling Hogan/Savage angle, the Savage/Bad News Brown feud, and the Hogan/Twin Towers feud coming into play. The match dies off with Hogan's elimination, but watching DiBiase get his comeuppance makes the match watchable.
     
    1990 Royal Rumble
     
    As a kid I used to fast-forward through the undercards to get to the Rumble match itself. As a result, I missed the Valentine/Garvin feud. There is great stuff between those two guys, and their submission match is a great battle of psychology, with each guy sporting their own shinguards, losing them mid-match, Garvin pelting Valentine with his own shinguard to set up the finish. Up until 2000-02 gave us some good Rumbles, this was the second best of the bunch.
     
    1991 Royal Rumble
     
    For the first time, this disc gave me the opportunity to watch Koko B. Ware vs. The Mountie (it was cut from the CV version). It does not matter much, but it would bug people who are completists. The overriding theme here is the patriotism in the wake of the Iraqi War. Vince really mis-measured fan reaction and it caused him to set up a drastic failure in Hogan/Slaughter at Wrestlemania VII. The first hint should have been the end of the Warrior/Slaughter match. Security guards line the aisle for Sarge's return to the dressing room, and the fan hatred is lukewarm at best. As an aside, it is amusing that Slaughter stayed with the AWA until the bitter end and never held the title. Yet Vince gave him the WWF title within six months.
     
    1992 Royal Rumble
     
    Let me take a few moments and lay out the reasons why this Rumble match is whitout question the greatest of all time. Not only is it a great match, it links all the participants together and just about every point of the match means something in the grander scheme. The match is really split into two parts. Part one is the prologue, Ric Flair enters third, Bobby Heenan goes apoplectic, and Flair fights for survival. The first part is setting up Flair for ironman status. There comes a point where Flair eliminates the Boss Man and Flair is left alone for several seconds. Then the fun starts with Roddy Piper entering the fray. Then Jake Roberts with his heel character, alternatively turning on Piper and Flair as the situation dictates. You have the Undertaker entering, the Savage/Roberts feud, the Hogan/Flair feud, Sid Justice becoming a legitimate force, etc. It is solid action for the last 20-30 minutes, and watching 15 years later I am surprised how quickly everything unfolds after number 30 enters.
     
    The whole set and each event is an easy thumbs up really. I will not do star ratings, but let me take a shot at ranking the matches.
     
    Rumbles
    1. 1992
    2. 1990
    3. 1991
    4. 1989
    5. 1988
     
    Non-Rumble Matches
    1. Rockers vs. Orient Express, 1991
    2. Ron Garvin vs. Greg Valentine, 1990
    3. Jumping Bomb Angels vs. Glamour Girls, 1988
    4. Jim Duggan/Hart Foundation vs. Dino Bravo/Rougeaus, 1989
    5. Roddy Piper vs. The Mountie, 1992
     
    Greatest Moments
    1. Ric Flair wins WWF Title, 1992
    2. Virgil turns face, 1991
    3. Roddy Piper shocks the Mountie, 1992
    4. Ultimate Warrior/Hulk Hogan showdown, 1990
    5. Demolition enters first and second, 1989
  16. EVIL~! alkeiper
    I caught a bit of the two NFL playoff games on Sunday. (Yeah, I can dabble in the NFL if need be.) Had a few thoughts to share.
     
    -Playing professional sport games in sub-zero conditions is fairly stupid in its own right. Players in short-sleeves and fans in body paint is downright ridiculous. I live in the Poconos, a climate that can get fairly chilly in the winter. At a certain temperature, you can deal with the chill but you don't mess around with it. It's dangerous. I can't help but think it would make much more sense to make use of Miller Park, and I can hear the howls of protest already.
     
    -On that note, building flashy new MLB stadiums was wasteful enough but NFL as well? The multi-use stadiums in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were one thing. But before that, NFL teams frequently played in places like Shibe Park, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field.
     
    -The New York Giants based on the statistics are probably the worst team to play in a Super Bowl. The other teams with 6+ losses to reach the Super Bowl are the '79 Rams and the '88 49ers. How do they stack up long term? Let's see their three and five-year records.
     
    Three year record
    Giants: 29-19
    Rams: 31-15
    49ers: 33-13-1
     
    Five year record
    Giants: 39-41
    Rams: 53-20-1
    49ers: 58-20-1
     
    I think that's pretty convincing. The reason I go with multi-year records is that a 14-16 game sample is simply not large enough to draw any firm conclusions. A good team wins year after year.
     
    -Are the Giants a better team than the Packers because they won? Not necessarily. If the game were 30 minutes instead of 60, the Packers would be in the Super Bowl. One game decided by a margin of a single score hardly proves a damn thing. Any player or team can have a bad day. Again, I preach long term samples. The more data you have, the better conclusions you draw.
     
    -Looking for weaker championship teams, I came across the 1932 Bears. No, they were not a weak team. They won seven games and lost one. They tied the other six. In their first three games, NEITHER team scored! They lost their fourth game by two points, 2-0. Interestingly their championship game was not played in Wrigley Field due to adverse weather. It was moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, a smaller sporting arena. On an 80-yard field, the NFL more or less invented arena football on the fly.
     
    -With a team seeking a perfect season, this year's Super Bowl will no doubt draw high ratings. I do not know yet if I will watch. As you all know, I am not an especially big NFL fan. The bigger problem is that the commercials have become too big for their own good. The more I think about it, I am going to take a four hour chunk so that I can watch scads of advertisements? Not happening. I'm visiting my lady friend that weekend, I find her company more enjoyable. Besides, assuming a local sports outlet airs the Caribbean World Series again, my sports needs are satiated.
  17. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Philadelphia Sports
     
    I wanted to clarify my supposed Eagles hate. I don't hate the Philadelphia Eagles. If I watch a football game I cheer for them, and if they are in the Super Bowl, I will watch. (More on that later.) The problem comes from the Philadelphia fan base. In 2005, I attended a game between the Phillies and the Florida Marlins, September 9, 2005. The Phillies were fresh off a five game losing streak, and fell behind 4-1 by the third inning. Among the fans, an E-A-G-L-E-S chant struck up.
     
    The general problem is that the fans do not stick behind their teams and support them. At the slightest provocation, they turn on the team and voice their displeasure when things go wrong. The tone of the crowd was, "we give up, we support another team now with a better chance." Of course the Phillies won the game 12-5 and made an admirable run towards the wild card (and fell short.) I think it hurts the local teams that the fans are not more generally supportive. It's tiresome to listen to "woe is me" fans. The Phillies have been good the last several years, as have the Eagles.
     
    So they did not reach the championship. Them and 29-31 other teams. I think fans need to give up championships/playoff wins as a barometer of success. Winning any playoff series is 50/50, and winning a championship at best is an 8:1 shot in the postseason. Long term win/loss percentage is the best measure of team success in sports.
     
    Steroids
     
    Today Congress spent another round of hearings due to the Mitchell Report. I think the big problem specifically is that the report contained information based on the early part of the decade, before Congress held their first hearings. They could not use the report to evaluate baseball's progress. Bigger than that however, I am generally tired of steroids entering the discussion. I am honestly not interested; I would rather hear and talk about transactions and what roster moves teams are making towards next season.
     
    I am a big fan of baseball, as everyone knows. I love the competition. I do not wish to look at the game and wonder who is and is not on steroids. No one does really. I probably support some real bozos. I think Mark McGwire should go into the Hall of Fame. I would rather pretend they do not exist than let it invade every portion of baseball evaluation. That is likely not the wisest position to take. Think of it as a coping mechanism.
  18. EVIL~! alkeiper
    FINALS
    Colorado 7
    San Diego 6
    WP: Manuel Corpas
    LP: Trevor Hoffman
     
    Trailing 4-3 heading into the ninth, the Padres scored three off Manny Corpas to take a 6-4 lead. Not to be outdone, the Rockies scored three off of Trevor Hoffman for the win. Brad Hawpe drove in two RBIs with a two-out, bases loaded single. A do-or-die at bat to end a championship tournament? Works for me.
     

    Lineup: 07 Padres B.Giles           RF M.Giles           2B M.Cameron         CF Gonzalez          1B Greene            SS Bradley           LF Kouzmanoff        3B Bard              C Young             P Lineup: 07 Rockies Taveras           CF Matsui            2B Holliday          LF Helton            1B Atkins            3B Hawpe             RF Tulowitzki        SS Torrealba         C Cook              P      Inn. 1: 07 Padres [Starter] Cook B.Giles           6-3        . . . M.Giles           K          . . . M.Cameron         8          . . .      Inn. 1: 07 Rockies [Starter] Young Taveras           1B         . . X Matsui            BB         . X X Holliday          BB         X X X Helton            4-6-3 DP   X . . 1 Atkins            8          X . .      Inn. 2: 07 Padres Gonzalez          K          . . . Greene            1B         . . X Bradley           8          . . X Kouzmanoff        2B         . X . 1 Bard              3UN        X . .      Inn. 2: 07 Rockies Hawpe             7          . . . Tulowitzki        1B         . . X Torrealba         9          . . X Cook              K          . . X      Inn. 3: 07 Padres Young             7          . . . B.Giles           9          . . . M.Giles           7          . . .      Inn. 3: 07 Rockies Taveras           BB         . . X *SB:Taveras       SB         . X . Matsui            8          . . . [email protected]:Taveras       8-5 DP     . . . Holliday          BB         . . X Helton            E-6        . X X                   WP         X X . Atkins            K          X X .      Inn. 4: 07 Padres M.Cameron         K          . . . Gonzalez          3-1        . . . Greene            BB         . . X Bradley           9          . . X      Inn. 4: 07 Rockies Hawpe             K          . . . Tulowitzki        6          . . . Torrealba         5          . . .      Inn. 5: 07 Padres Kouzmanoff        6-3        . . . Bard              9          . . . Young             5-3        . . .      Inn. 5: 07 Rockies Cook              K          . . . Taveras           6-3        . . . Matsui            1B         . . X Holliday          8          . . X      Inn. 6: 07 Padres B.Giles           1-3        . . . M.Giles           1B         . . X M.Cameron         BB         . X X Gonzalez          K          . X X Greene            8          . X X      Inn. 6: 07 Rockies Helton            6-3        . . . Atkins            K          . . . Hawpe             1B         . . X Tulowitzki        1-3        . X .      Inn. 7: 07 Padres Bradley           9          . . . Kouzmanoff        7          . . . Bard              3-1        . . .      Inn. 7: 07 Rockies Torrealba         BB         . . X Cook              2-4 FO     . . X Taveras           2B         X X . [Relief] Meredith Matsui            E-1        X . X 1 Holliday          2B         . X . 2 Helton            1-3        . X . Atkins            8          . X .      Inn. 8: 07 Padres *EX:Meredith (for PH) *PH:Hairston      HR         . . . 1 B.Giles           2B         . X . [Relief] Fuentes M.Giles           8          . X . M.Cameron         1B         . . X 1 Gonzalez          4-6-3 DP   . . .      Inn. 8: 07 Rockies [Relief] Bell Hawpe             8          . . . Tulowitzki        1B         . . X Torrealba         6-4-3 DP   . . .      Inn. 9: 07 Padres [Relief] Corpas Greene            HR         . . . 1 Bradley           1B         . . X Kouzmanoff        5-3 SAC    . X . Bard              2B         . X . 1 *EX:Bell (for PH) *PH:Blum          9          . X . B.Giles           2B         . X . 1                   WP         X . . M.Giles           K          X . .      Inn. 9: 07 Rockies [Relief] Hoffman *EX:Corpas (for PH) *PH:Spilborghs    9          . . . Taveras           1B         . . X Matsui            1B         X . X Holliday          BB         X X X Helton            1B         X X X 1 Atkins            K          X X X Hawpe             1B         . X X 2
  19. EVIL~! alkeiper
    SEMIFINALS
    San Diego 5
    Atlanta 4
    WP: Heath Bell
    LP: Peter Moylan
    Sv: Trevor Hoffman
     
    Brian Giles drew a bases loaded walk in the eighth inning to force in the winning run. The major turning point of the game occurred in the fourth inning, when Josh Bard drove in two RBIs with a two-out double and Justin Germano followed up with an RBI single.
     
    Colorado 5
    St. Louis 4
    WP: Jeff Francis
    LP: Ryan Franklin
    Sv: Manuel Corpas
     
    Troy Tulowitzki drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth with a single and David Eckstein's error in the eighth allowed an insurance run to score.
     
    That gives us San Diego @ Colorado for the finals, fittingly.
  20. EVIL~! alkeiper
    QUARTERFINALS
     
    San Diego 5
    Minnesota 4
    WP: Greg Maddux
    LP: Carlos Silva
    Sv: Trevor Hoffman
    Padres scored four in the fifth, including Adrian Gonzalez's two-run home run.
     
    Atlanta 3
    Chi. Cubs 1
    10 Innings
    WP: Peter Moylan
    LP: Scott Eyre
    Sv: Rafael Soriano
    The Braves prior to the tenth scored just one run on 12 hits. The Cubs only managed two hits in the game. Kelly Johnson drove in he go-ahead runs with a double in the tenth.
     
    Colorado 5
    Oakland 4
    WP: Josh Fogg
    LP: Lenny Dinardo
    Sv: Manuel Corpas
    Brad Hawpe homered for the Rockies. Travis Buck hit three doubles in a losing effort.
     
    St. Louis 10
    San Francisco 7
    WP: Adam Wainwright
    LP: Matt Cain
    Sv: Jason Isringhausen
     
    Cain imploded, giving up four runs without recording an out. The Cards scored nine of their runs in the first three innings. Chris Duncan collected four RBIs in the victory.
     
    Semifinal Matchups:
    Atlanta Braves @ San Diego Padres
    St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies.
  21. EVIL~! alkeiper
    This is something that I had floating in my head the last few days. A lot of wrestling reviewers will give negative star ratings to a particularly bad match. Often times it is prompted not by the workers involved, but the sheer idiocy of the booking of the match. In many cases the reviewer goes into the match expecting to hate it. But what truly merits negative stars? In my opinion, it is not enough to put together a boring match. I think a negative star match must fit one of X criteria.
     
    1. The match contained several noticeable, blown spots.
     

     
    Let's see what they messed up here.
     
    1. Nowinski comes in late to break up a pin attempt.
    2. Trish attempts a springboard manuever but Gayda is out of position.
    3. Trish attempts a leg sweep but Gayda fails to take the move properly, stumbling to the mat.
    4. Trish tries twice to set up the bulldog but Gayda fails to position herself properly.
    5. When Trish does go for the bulldog, she misses completely. Gayda sells it anyway.
     
    That is an easy one, it won Wrestling Observer's Worst Match of the Year award for 2002. Now, even good wrestlers will blow spots. Good workers will work it into the flow of the match, making it somewhat indistinguishable for casual wrestling fans. Knowledgeable wrestling fans notice, but they know it is a work anyway.
     
    2. The match contained booking so bad that it insulted the intelligence of the viewing audience.
     

     
    The Fingerpoke of Doom. WCW advertised Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash and instead gave the fans a ten second "angle" match that turned many against WCW for good.
     
    When does a comedy match merit negative stars? For the most part, if the crowd dies. If the crowd is into the match, you can't really punish the workers because you did not like it. I give an exception to a match such as The Four Doinks at Survivor Series '93. When working the match requires ignoring the established rules of the game, that falls under bad booking.
     
    3. The match denigrated into a shoot with the wrestlers losing all cooperation, preventing the match from reaching an intended conclusion.
     

     
    This one is extremely interesting, Bruiser Brody vs. Lex Luger. Brody sees fit not to sell anything Luger does until Luger just gives up, draws the DQ and leaves the cage.
     
    I wish I could find Andre the Giant vs. Akira Maeda. I have seen it before. There is a perception often that a better worker gave it to the lesser worker and taught him a lesson, or exposed him. More often it just becomes a disorganized mess with both wrestlers standing awkwardly until someone steps in. Failing to complete a wrestling match is an overlooked, but deserving reason to issue negative stars.
     
    What does not merit negative stars? Two workers stepping into the ring, giving a reasonably competent exhibition of professional wrestling but boring the audience. That merits a dud IMO. Dave Meltzer gave Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd negative stars. That was a pretty dull match with no high spots outside the finish. But it looked legit and the crowd enjoyed it. That can not possibly be negative stars.
     
    I rarely rate matches but if I did, my scale would give a basic match at least *, just for stepping in the ring. If the match was bad, that lowers the score as far as a dud, providing the combatants did not at least embarrass the sport. In my view, that is the criteria for negative stars.
  22. EVIL~! alkeiper
    Since my dad sent something out on my outbox, I occasionally get emails from the HRCC of Pennsylvania. That's some Republican lobbying group. Got this one in today.
     

     
    If you want to lobby for your cause, that is perfectly fine. Politics is all about that. In this case, I agree with them on the merits of the issue. I am against putting tolls on I-80. Principally, it is a national highway and if New Jersey hasn't put tolls on it, no state should. What bothers me is when they try arguments such as the one bolded above. Trucking companies are charging less than they have to currently because there are no tolls on I-80? Putting that aside, gasoline prices have risen 300% in the last eight years. Let me make a quick count of the business lost. Certainly doesn't seem to stop developers from putting up a shopping outlet featuring a Best Buy, or a waterpark themed resort, or a brand new Casino and resort.
     
    Honestly, how stupid do you think I am? If you want a good argument, state that drivers will clog already crowded side roads to avoid toll plazas. That's a good argument, and it will carry further appeal to the citizens. It's direct.
     
    And on a side note, I'm tired of their "OMG big cities will eat your money" cry that they seem to bring out on every issue.
  23. EVIL~! alkeiper
    http://www.wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=7338739" target="_blank">http://www.wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=7338739
     

     
    Thank god Cordaro lost. Him and his Yankee-loving attitude can go fuck themselves. Instead of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, I now have the Yankees and their corporate interests grubbing every penny, catering to the well heeled and providing no excitement or incentives in return. The Yankees provided NO giveaway items this year. The atmosphere is completely dead, and the ONLY selling point is that these are the AAA Yankees.
     
    The history in Lackawanna County is that the commissioners tend to stick their noses in the baseball team for publicity. In this case, Cordaro has negotiated a deal where an outside entity can buy the team. If they do, there is nothing stopping that entity from then moving the team. Which is likely, because Scranton is NOT in a class with Buffalo, Louisville or Columbus as far as cities go.
     
    The Lehigh Valley IronPigs open up next season. They may be the lowly Phillies and not the mighty Yankees. But their management provides baseball for the FAN.
  24. EVIL~! alkeiper
    With the preponderance of baseball statistics on the internet, you might question the need for an annual statistics book. Certainly, baseball-reference.com provides a plethora of statistics along with sorting options and statistical splits that a printed version simply can not match. In this environment, a publisher needs to add a few bells and whistles to entice paying customers.
     
    First off, if you feel the need for a print stat book of any kind, stop now and buy the book. That said, here are a few other features. The book offers a look at the first version of the "Fielding Bible" awards. The publishers chose a panel of ten voters, ranging from Bill James and Rob Neyer to the Tangotiger online fan poll. Honestly, this strikes me a bit elitist. It is one thing to say you can improve the process. It is another to assume you are a better voting group because you disagree with the results. The awards are improved by the nature of the process, each voter submits a weighted ballot rather than choosing a single player. If they selected candidates the same way the actual gold glove awards do, three of the picks would change.
     
    You get the usual chapters you expect. Park factors, managers' records, platoon splits, etc. The manager index demonstrates how many lineups a manager used, how many pinch-hitters and runners used, and more than a dozen other categories. Some other records are compiled. Particularly useful are baserunning statistics, chronicling how often a player went from first to third on a single, or scored from second on a single, or scored from first on a double. The best baserunner in 2007 of course was Jose Reyes. The best baserunning team suprisingly was the Kansas City Royals.
     
    Much has been made of the Young Talent Inventory. That James produced a list based solely on 2007 statistics seems quite sloppy. I believe it is an example of the commerce aspect of the book, needing to attach names and essays to the book in the interest of sales. The player comments however are interesting. Player projections are covered (only for established players), as well as win shares. I wish the publishers would simply list the win shares in the career register.
     
    Amazon currently lists this book around $15. For that price, it's a solid purchase.
  25. EVIL~! alkeiper
    It's time for another sim tournament. The concept here is simple. The 64 best teams in organized baseball. One week, single elimination. All 30 MLB teams, all 30 AAA teams, and four AA teams. Much like the NCAA tournament, upsets galore. The basics are that there is no rest for teams. When you win, you go on to face a new team the next day. The four AA teams consist of the champions of the Texas, Southern and Eastern Leagues, plus the Reading Phillies (because it's my tournament and they're only Red Sox fodder anyway). The champions of the International and Pacific Coast Leagues get a home field matchup in the first round. Home field goes first to the team from the higher level, then to the team with the better record.
     
    Here is how the field fleshes out.
     
    Boston
    Reading Phillies
     
    Richmond
    Nashville
     
    Minnesota
    Indianapolis
     
    LA Dodgers
    Norfolk
     
    San Diego
    Round Rock
     
    Florida
    Tucson
     
    NY Mets
    Charlotte
     
    Chicago White Sox
    New Orleans
     
    Arizona
    Ottawa
     
    Kansas City
    Iowa
     
    Chi. Cubs
    Las Vegas
     
    Houston
    Omaha
     
    Atlanta
    Pawtucket
     
    Texas
    Louisville
     
    Pittsburgh
    Durham
     
    NY Yankees
    San Antonio Mission
     
    LA Angels
    Trenton
     
    Tampa Bay
    Toledo
     
    Milwaukee
    Tacoma
     
    Oakland
    Albuquerque Isotopes
     
    Colorado
    Memphis
     
    Baltimore
    Fresno
     
    Detroit
    Syracuse
     
    Washington
    Salt Lake City
     
    Philadelphia
    Portland
     
    San Francisco
    Rochester
     
    Seattle
    Columbus
     
    Cincinnati
    Buffalo
     
    Toronto
    Colorado Springs
     
    St. Louis
    Oklahoma City
     
    Sacramento
    Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
     
    Cleveland
    Huntsville Stars
     
    Expect first round results next Saturday.
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