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Archive for January, 2011

UPDATE: Jay Cutler, Get Ready For A Ton Of Flack

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Jay Cutler plays it safe and makes sure he's ready to play next week

This seems to be just the start of it.

Right now, we don’t really know what specifically caused Jay Cutler to leave today’s NFC Championship showdown after a few plays in the third quarter. The only explanation has been vague; it’s a knee injury. But for the sake of Cutler’s image in Chicago and across the league, he better have a torn ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL and maybe some severe meniscus damage for good measure (Update: Cutler will undergo an MRI tomorrow and the early rumor is that he has a torn MCL. That likely won’t be enough to quiet the pitchfork mob).

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Reason No. 329 To Dislike Santonio Holmes

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Ugh:

Well, at least he's not wrong; it is a first down

I know, I know. He does these kinds of things all the time, no matter the game situation. But it must be somewhat uncomfortable for even Jets fans to watch, incredibly annoying for everyone else.

Posing after a first down when trailing by 21 points doesn’t make you a good player; it makes you a cocky jerk. Not that Holmes has ever had any problems with such titles.

And while it doesn’t completely absolve him of these actions, he did make a nice touchdown catch on the next play.

Los Angeles Angels Suffer Severe Panic Attack, Trade For Vernon Wells

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Panic. That’s how you have to describe this move by the Los Angeles Angels.

They missed out on all of the top free-agent pitchers.

They were close, but couldn’t seal the deal on Adrian Beltre.

At one time, everyone thought Carl Crawford was going to the Angels.

After all of the big names were off the block, the Texas Rangers were the ones who ended up with Beltre and took a low-risk, high-reward gamble on Brandon Webb. Even the penny-pinching Oakland A’s made a couple of nice additions to their bullpen and signed Hideki Matsui. the Angels had nothing to show for their efforts.

Oh, I mean they had Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi to show for their efforts.

Halos general manager Tony Reagins had to do something. And that’s what he did. Something. Something bad. The Angels picked up Vernon Wells from Toronto for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. Wells is coming off a 31-homer season, but from 2007-09, here was his average line:

138 games played, 17 HRs, 75 RBIs, .265 average, .317 on-base percentage, .425 slugging percentage.

There’s no telling if the Angels just acquired the Wells from 2010 or the one from those “other” seasons.

Rivera is nothing more than a reserve outfielder who will probably be released soon, but trading Napoli hurts the Angels doubly. First, it rids a lineup in need of pop of its top home run hitter from last season. Napoli’s .784 OPS was the third-best among the team’s regulars. He’s a slugger who has never been one for a high average and hit just .238 in 2010, but that’s still an improvement over the guy who will now have to take his place behind the plate.

Jeff Mathis is a Mike Scioscia favorite, supposedly because of his defense. It certainly can’t be for his offense. Mathis is turning into just another highly-touted Angels prospect who is flaming out at the highest level. In 333 career games, he’s a .199 hitter with a laughable .576 OPS. But he’ll have to become an every-day player. The inclusion of him and Wells would leave the Angels’ defensive alignment looking like so:

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UPDATE: Was NBA Blowout History Made Friday Night?

January 21, 2011 2 comments

Jan. 22 UPDATE: So the Lakers topped the Nuggets by 10 and the Kings threw away a sure victory at Golden State, losing by seven in overtime. Those totals sadly lower our possible record average to 18.3.

Still impressive and I’m still not sure if it’s a record, but I’m looking because I really want to know now, dammit. Secondly, when’s the last time the NBA saw a night where 70 percent of its games were decided by double digits? With a set minimum, of course.

Hopefully I can update this post again with answers.

Sure, that's a picture of a baseball scoreboard, but there's two reasons for that: One, it goes along with the blowout theme and, two, I think it's the best picture available if you type "NBA blowout scoreboard" into Google

Jan. 21: I ask because I just don’t know. But looking at the scoreboard, it certainly seems that way.

Right now, it’s 8:03 p.m. here on the West Coast. Eight games have finished, and here are the margins of defeat — or victory for you optimists out there:

24

15

18

40 (Orlando outscored Toronto 39-14 in the fourth quarter, all without Dwight Howard)

41 (Not to be outdone, the Hawks, at home but without Al Horford, didn’t score more than 17 points in any quarter)

14

5

9

That’s an average of 20.75 points. Yes, the two 40-pointers skew the number, but it’s not like the rest of the games were thrilling. Only the Rockets-Grizzlies was watchable at all.

Two more games (Lakers-Nuggets; Kings-Warriors) are still in the first quarter, so I’ll have to update this post later tonight. Until then, I’ll try to find the NBA record for largest average margin of defeat on one day with a minimum of, say, five games played? Something like 20.75 has to be close or past the current high.

Brady Hoke Is A Good Coach With A Great Name

January 12, 2011 2 comments

Brady Hoke is a good hire for University of Michigan football. He grew up rooting for Michigan and was a Michigan assistant coach in the mid-90s, so I guess that makes him a “Michigan Man.” The man knows how to orchestrate a program turnaround as he took Ball State and San Diego State from the bottom to bowl games. He obviously wants to be there.

But above all else, he has a fantastic name.

Brady Hoke

Case in point, take this witty plea from a Wolverines fan on Michigan athletics’ official Facebook page from Tuesday: “come on hokey pokey and turn this thing around.”

Brilliant, but that’s just a start. I understand the tangible newspaper is a suffering medium and the Internet’s endless supply of space commonly leads to long, dull headlines. In case you were wondering, newspapers do still exist and there is something comforting about those quick, large, bold, sometimes funny puns. Those tasked to fill out main headline fields must love this hire because “Brady Hoke” inspires infinite possibilities.

Or in the case of this post, 11 possibilities.

Here’s a few you could see in your paper tomorrow as a reaction to Wednesday’s introductory press conference:

HOKE SPRINGS ETERNAL

Or:

THE GREAT BLUE HOKE

And if you really wanted to push it, perhaps as a subhead:

FANS HOPE HOKE ISN’T HOKUM


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Running Blog Of The 2011 BCS National Championship Game: (1) Auburn vs. (2) Oregon

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

In terms of pro potential, this game isn’t Texas-USC from 2006. But I think this is the most eagerly awaited college football championship game since that Pasadena classic. Sure, both teams are perfect and both offenses make you freeze whatever you’re doing and watch.

But I think the plot lines of this game are what’s really intriguing:

Can Oregon just slow Cam Newton?

How will the Ducks’ offense react against the fastest defense it’s faced all year?

In a similar vein, will the Ducks be able to play their game at their pace?

How will Oregon deal with the much bigger Auburn offensive line?

The current over/under is 74; will that be cleared? Will that be cleared with ease??

Hype is always dangerous in these games because there tends to be a feeling that if it can’t live up to the lofty pregame expectation (i.e. a back-and-forth shootout where both teams score in the high 40s, and it comes down to the last possession), the game is a disappointment.

You can’t look at it this way. Just know that these are clearly the two best teams in the nation and as such, this should be a dandy. Follow along with this running blog throughout the night as the country watches this unfold.

5:21 p.m. A moment of silence was just taken in honor of those lost during the shooting in Tucson on Saturday. The story of the 9-year-old girl who was killed, Christina-Taylor Green, just amazes me. She was extremely interested in politics, even at her young age, and went to meet Rep. Giffords to understand more about how politics work. Born on Sept. 11, 2001, she died as a result of what I would consider domestic terrorism. And if you are a fan of baseball, she was the granddaughter of former MLB player and manager Dallas Green. Just tragic.

5:25 p.m. OK, as far as a prediction goes, Vegas has Auburn as a one-point favorite, a true pick’em. And I pick Auburn. There is no denying Cam Newton, and I think Auburn’s defense is fast enough to at least trouble the Ducks’ fast attack.

AUBURN WINS, 36-30. No, that doesn’t cover the current over/under.

5:26 p.m. WAR (bald) EAGLE! National anthem.

5:32 p.m. Oregon hits the field first followed by Chizik, Newton and the Tigers. Five minutes or so away.

5:35 p.m. Before this game, I will point out one thing: Going into last season, I thought Alabama was the most overrated team in the nation. We know how that turned out. Coming into this year, I thought it was Oregon. Will history repeat itself, thanks to my stupidity? However, the SEC has won their past seven BCS championship games, including four in a row.

5:37 p.m. Oregon wins the toss — drawing an “Oooo” from Lee Corso, who picked the Ducks to win — and will take the ball.

Here we gooooooooooooooooooooooo …

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The Dolphins Come Crawling Back To Tony Sparano

January 10, 2011 2 comments

This weekend’s games were entertaining for the most part. Saints-Seahawks was like a day at the amusement park. The first half of Jets-Colts was like the car ride home from said amusement park before a thrilling finish (I would like the record to show that I thought of “Folk Hero” before that game-winning kick. Although, I’m guessing two million other people did, too. Whatever).

On Sunday, Ravens-Chiefs turned into a second-half demolition. While Packers-Eagles didn’t quite live up to the hype, the Packers showed they are the more complete team in a closely contested game.

But the other event from this past weekend that drove me back to this blog was a press conference, fit with a pathetic and hilarious mia culpa.

Early last week, we all heard about how close the Miami Dolphins were to naming Jim Harbaugh their next head coach. One problem: They hadn’t let go of their current one. Despite the fact that Tony Sparano was still working under that title, team owner Stephen Ross flew across the country to woo Harbaugh to fill a position that was already filled.

A couple of days later, the Dolphins extended Sparano’s contract through 2013.

“OH BOY! I CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT PRESS CONFERENCE!” is what I said to myself upon hearing the news. I’m alone for most of the day, so I’ve got a lot of time to speak to myself.

How would the Dolphins’ brass explain their way out of such an awkward corner? How could the owner and general manager Jeff Ireland truthfully commit to a coach whom they had discarded in their minds just a few days prior? I didn’t think they could successfully, and they didn’t disappoint.

“We did our due diligence in an effort to improve this organization,” Ireland said while reading a statement during Saturday’s presser. “In the beginning and the end of all this, I believe Tony Sparano is the right coach for this team. I’ve always felt that. That has never changed.”

One night, you go out to that hot club downtown with your girlfriend of three years. You spot some sexy chick in the corner and secretly sneak away with hopes of falling in love all over again. Things are going well, you buy her some drinks, the conversation is entertaining, the music gives a great background, you think this could be “the one.” Meanwhile, you see your girlfriend hasn’t noticed that you are putting the moves on who you hope will be her replacement.

All of a sudden, some guy straight out of GQ up to your target and simply says, “Yo, wanna see my yacht?”

Game over.

So now, desperate for a female’s approval, you walk back over to the girl you came with and exclaim, “Baby, I have always loved you.”

I’m pretty sure you can tell who plays the part of the old girlfriend in Miami.

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