Monthly Archives: November 2011

Post-Lockout NBA Poll

Valentine Hire Good for Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox hired former ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine as manager for the 2012 season.

This is a good hire on many levels.

First of all, the Red Sox needs an ass-kicker in the clubhouse.  Former manager Terry Francona was a players’ manager, and Boston needed a change in the clubhouse culture from the top.  If reports were true concerning certain guys dogging it at the end of the year and starting pitchers drinking beer and eating chicken on days they are not pitching, then Valentine is the right man to clean that (spit) up.

Valentine also knows the right buttons to push.  He will have a talented and underachieving team giving 110%.  Be rest assured that there will be no collapses under Valentine’s watch.

Valentine is a proven winner who will have the Red Sox heading in the right direction (unfortunately).  Hell, dude led the friggin’ New York Mets in the World Series for Christ’s sake!  He had the Mets competitive in a pro-Yankee town for several seasons.  Too bad he had a douchebag for a general manager (Steve Phillips) who didn’t appreciate him.

Enjoy the Valentine hire Red Sox Nation.  Just don’t run him out of town the way you did Francona.

Top Ten Teams in the NFL: Week 13…

  1. Green Bay
  2. Baltimore
  3. New Orleans
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. New England
  6. San Francisco
  7. Oakland
  8. Atlanta
  9. Dallas
  10. Cincinnati

Read it and weep, …dammit!!!

 

Del Rio Just Wasn’t Good Enough

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio was fired after 8 1/2 seasons this morning, according to sources.

I can’t say that I am surprised.

Under Del Rio, the Jaguars were stuck on mediocrity.  The Jaguars were 69-73 under Del Rio, with a 1-2 post-season record.  The Jags have not made the playoffs since 2007, when they made it as a wild-card team.  They have not won the AFC South during that time as well.

Del Rio did not help himself with dubious coaching decisions.  First, while I understand that former starting QB David Garrard did not set the world on fire, he was at the very least a serviceable QB who did win some games for the Jaguars.  As soon as Del Rio cut Garrard on the week before the season opener, I knew Del Rio would not be long for the job.

Del Rio was never a good in-game coach.  His time management style was constantly under fire this season.  He was also not the best at in-game adjustments.

Last but more importantly, the fan base (if there is one) soured on Del Rio.  While fans became a bit lukewarm during former coach Tom Coughlin’s final years, at least at that time the Jaguars had a following in Jacksonville.  Fans grew disenchanted with Del Rio, and management had to make a change to retain the few fans the Jaguars have.

I agree that Jacksonville had to make a change, but who in the world is going to coach this team and excite its fan base going forward?

Stay tuned…

Meyer Hire Great, but Risky

In what was perhaps the worst kept secret in college football, ESPN analyst Urban Meyer accepted the head coaching position at Ohio State.  The financial terms call for $40 million over 7 years (I am definitely in the wrong line of work).

This is an outstanding hire on several fronts for Ohio State.  First of all, the Buckeyes are going to be the unquestioned big dogs of the B1G in the foreseeable future.  Meyer is a great – and an even better recruiter – and will have kids lined up to play for him.  He will build an offensive juggernaut that will dominate the B1G as long as he coaches there.

This is also bad news for Michigan.  There was Michigan getting that emotional win last Saturday – albeit a close one – and there was much rejoicing at the Big House.  I can imagine the emotional thud that whisked through campus once the Meyer hire hit the news cycle.

I’m sorry to say this Wolverine fans, but your team will not beat the Buckeyes the next seven years.  In fact, I do not think the games will be competitive.  Meyer is an Ohio kid, and there is no way he will let up on Michigan.

For all of the good Meyer will bring to Ohio State, there is a risk.  I do not think he will hold up medically through the life of the contract.  He has had health issues while at Utah and Florida, and had to quit at Florida because of heart problems.  While he will give Ohio State everything he has in coaching and recruiting, Meyer will go hard and it may take a toll on his health sooner rather than later.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say it wouldn’t shock me if Meyer is done in three years, no longer than four.  I hope I am wrong, but I believe his health will not allow him to see this through.

Again great hire by Ohio State, but potentially bad for Meyer’s health.

Syracuse Did What Penn State Should Have Done

Syracuse basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine was fired by the university over allegations of sexual abuse on ball boys.  After a third victim came forward and in the wake of a damning – but legal – recorded conversation with Fine’s wife, Syracuse had to break him off.

Bravo, Syracuse University.

The school didn’t mess around like, oh I don’t know – Penn State.  Syracuse’s president didn’t offer a clumsy statement in supporting the alleged transgressor like Penn State’s did.  Syracuse’s administration had not lawyer-ed up (yet) like Penn State’s.

In short, Syracuse did what Penn State was too cowardly to do: the right thing.

However, there is a parallel (albeit a small bit) here.  Head basketball coach Jim Boeheim was not only outspoken of his right-hand man and friend in Fine, but he also called two of the accusers liars.  Remember that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno supported Jerry Sandusky, even if it was a bit quieter.

The only difference was Boeheim did the following in the wake of Fine’s firing: he retracted his support of Fine, and apologized to the alleged victims.  He also did not go to the Board of Trustees and told him that he wasn’t going anywhere – even though Boeheim’s job is not in danger.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, Penn State was slow to act and should have been held accountable.  At least Syracuse was not asleep at the wheel.

Again, bravo to Syracuse and shame on Penn State.

To the NBA: Way to Come to Your Senses Fellas!

Well whaddaya know, there will be an NBA season after all.

The NBA owners and its players association came to a tentative collective bargaining agreement Saturday morning in an attempt to save the 2011-2012 season.  While it is not official (the players and owners have to vote on it), commissioner David Stern is confident that the season will start with the triple-header on Christmas Day.

What a way to ingratiate its way back into the fans’ good graces.

At any rate, here are a few highlights of the new CBA:

  • Revenue split: The players will receive anywhere from 49 percent to 51 percent of basketball-related income based on revenue projections. The split is set on a base case of 50 percent, with the players receiving 60.5 percent of every incremental dollar beyond the targeted amount.
  • Maximum salary: A player finishing his rookie scale contract will be eligible to receive a maximum salary equal to 30 percent of the salary cap if he signs with his prior team and meets certain performance benchmarks: first, second or third team All-NBA two times; an All-Star starter two times; or a one-time MVP.
  • Minimum team salary increases to 85 percent of the salary cap in the first two years of the deal and 90 percent of the cap in the years thereafter.

What remains to be seen is if the NBA will increase the age-limit of incoming college players.  I hope that they do for the sake of both the college and pro games.

Bottom line: it was good to see the owners and players use some good ‘ol common sense in getting this deal done.  If the season was cancelled, there would be no way in hell that the game will be financially sustainable.  Hell the NBA still might have a hard time getting fans back from this work stoppage in a down economy.

Again, I know nothing is official and both sides still have to vote on it.  I’m hoping that common sense will prevail at the end of the day.

P.S.  GO KNICKS!!!

2011 NFL Week 12 Preview: the Early Thanksgiving Edition

This is the early-ass Thanksgiving edition, due to the fact that I will be on the road on the way back to New York City for Thanksgiving starting tonight.  This edition will also include the inaugural winning percentages of my week-to-week picks.  I think you all will get a kick out of my aggregate winning percentage up to this point.

At any rate, let’s get it…

Games of the Week

All of the Thanksgiving Day Games.  Finally, a Thanksgiving Day when at least one game matters.  This year is special because ALL of the games matter.  The first game is a divisional matchup not only between the top two teams (Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions), but where an unbeaten (Packers) is rumored to suffer its first loss.  You know that Ford Field will be rocking, and the Lions tend to always put its best foot forward on Thanksgiving – only this time, they are good.  And I am calling my shot: the Lions will hand the Pack its’ first loss!!!  The Pack’s D cannot stop a nosebleed these days, and it will be ripe for the picking.  Lions 30, Packers 27.

The second game has playoff implications.  The Dallas Cowboys are on a roll, partly because this is the soft point in their schedule.  HOWEVAAAA, the Miami Dolphins are not an easy out as of late, winning three in a row.  If the Cowboys win, they will be in the driver’s seat in the NFC East (I do not see the Giants winning this week).  While I have Dallas winning (unfortunately), it will not surprise me if Miami takes this to the wire.  Cowboys 20, Dolphins 16.

And finally, the night game is indeed the game to watch.  It will not be because of the “Harbaugh Bowl”, but this game may be a Super Bowl preview.  Both the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens are physical teams that look to wear teams down and force them into submission.  Look for a lot of chirping between both teams – I can hear T-Sizzle calling the Niners “wannabes”.  However, this is the same Ravens squad who gave up over 300 yards and 24 (should have been 28) points to a rookie QB last week, which is why I think the Niners will win this one on the road – especially if Ray Lewis is unable to play.  49ers 20, Ravens 17.

“Who Gives a Damn” Game of the Week

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Lambs.  Another NFC West game, another snore-fest.  Sure Seattle scored over 20 points in the last one (the sun shines on a dog’s ass every once in a while), but I’d be stunned if either team scores in the double-digits in this one.

Upset of the Week

Broncos over Chargers.  I promised myself I would not get caught up in “Tebow-mania”, but what the hell.  I find myself believing more and more in Tim Tebow.  Can he complete a forward pass?  Hell no, but dude knows how to win ballgames.  Couple that with San Diego being on the verge of imploding, I think Denver will pull out another head-scratching win.  By the way, I have Tebow completing 11 passes in this game.

Sunday’s Games

Texans over Jaguars
Jets over Bills
Bengals over Browns
Falcons over Vikings
Colts over Panthers (Indy will definitely get its first win here)
Titans over Buccaneers
Raiders over Bears (that Jay Cutler injury sucks big time for the Bears)
Seahawks over Redskins (I do not think Washington will win another game)
Patriots over Eagles
Steelers over Chiefs (go Steelers!!!)

Monday’s Game

Saints over Giants (let the annual late-season Giant swoon begin…)

Last Week: 9-3

Season to date: 105-51 (look it up, bitches…)

Verlander More than Deserving for AL MVP

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander became the first pitcher in 25 years to win the Most Valuable Player award in the American League.  This goes along with the Cy Young award in which he won in runaway fashion.

In fact, Verlander had 13 first place votes and finished ahead of the Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury who had four.

I know a lot of people – namely baseball “purists” – who say that a pitcher should NEVER be considered for an MVP award, but Major League Baseball got this right.  If you took Verlander from Detroit, it would not have been a wildcard team.  That was how important Verlander was to his team.

I mean, sure Ellsbury had a good year (he sure as hell helped my fantasy team), but he wasn’t dominant.

Verlander was indeed dominant.  I mean dude went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts to take the AL pitching triple crown.  Winning the pitching triple crown is one thing, doing so when that team does not have a legitimate #2 starter is another.

Verlander has officially established himself as a stud, and winning the Cy Young and MVP awards proved that.

Loving the Astros Move to the AL and Wildcard Plan in MLB

It’s about time Major League Baseball got something right.

The Houston Astros will be moving to the American League in 2013, ensuring both the AL and the National League will have 15 teams.  That will put the end to unbalanced scheduling that has plagued MLB for years.

MLB voted to add two additional wild cards in each league and have those wildcard teams play a one game sudden-death playoff game, stressing the importance of winning the division.

Bravo, MLB.

HOWWW-EVA (in Stephen “Screamin’” A. Smith’s voice), I think MLB could have done one more thing.  It could have eliminated divisions altogether.

Mike Greenburg from ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” came up with that idea months ago during the heat of the pennant races and shared that idea with his co-host Mike Golic and other baseball experts such as Tim Kurkjian and the great Bob Costas.  Greenburg also proposed having the top six teams in each league qualified for the playoffs, with the top two teams receiving byes.

Now that’s a plan that I could live with, and would make the regular season in MLB that more meaningful – not to mention popular.  Something tells me that is where this will eventually head.

Stay tuned.

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