Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The King vs. the Unit    

Tonight's pitching matchup:
Randy Johnson vs. King Felix.
And it's a Wednesday, the night ESPN has broadcast rights.
Are they showing this game?

Hey... ESPN, I'm talking to you!
Hey Pal, you're excuses are your own!
Where did you learn your trade?
What makes you think you can work in the world of men?
You fucking child.

Ok, a minor amount of slack given cause they're showing teams involved in heated playoff races (anaheim v. oakland, st. louis v. florida), but still.

Junkees update (Warning- rant alert)    

Give us your poor, your tired, your humble masses of strikeouts.
In other words, welcome Mark Bellhorn. Oh boy. Somebody pinch me. Now if only we could get Alan Embree, we'd really be in business. Oh, wait... never mind.

Oh, and please, could we get an over the hill, injured outfielder who's lost a step and can't play in center? Cause I really want a reason to piss off Gary Sheffield. That prick has been smiling way too much lately. Enter Matt Lawton. Wait, you mean he only costs 8 million a year? Sweet! That's a 30% markdown from his partner in suck, Bernie Baseball. Thanks, Cash. I never liked Junior anyway.

Of course, all that is just a preamble to the real reason for this post:

Jason Giambi talks to a Psychic daily. Seriously. A Psychic.

From (it was reported in the NY Daily News):
"Only one moment of levity in an otherwise dismal game (they're in the 7th). I'm watching on FSN Northwest and they mentioned that Giambi consults a psychic once or twice a day."

Channelling Cerrano... Is very bad to piss off Ms. Cleo. Is very bad.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Knee Injury Alert    

(Warning: descriptions contained in the following link may be graphic.)

In today's installment of "A Few Good Meniscus," we bring you the sad story of soon-to-be-retired Atlanta Thrashers goalie Pasi Nurminen.  He hit a rut in the ice while skating in Finland, and suffered an apparent career-ending injury that the Thrashers' GM described as "the kind of injury you normally see in a car accident."  I'll spare the details, but if you've ever needed knee surgery in the past, be warned that you will feel Nurminen's pain after reading this.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Uma... Oprah...    
One More Thought On Hockey Rules    

Rumor has it that Gary Bettman wants to expand the playoff field from 16 to 20 starting in 2006-07, with 7/10 and 8/9 matchups serving as the first round.  This has to be one of the worst ideas ever taken seriously.  One of the running gags made about the NHL playoffs every year is that everyone makes the NHL playoffs.  Nobody takes them seriously, because the impression is that everyone made it.  So, naturally, Bettman's response is to include MORE teams.  Is this one of those things where you figure a guy's retarded, but it turns out he's the kind of retarded that makes him really brilliant, like Rain Man?  Maybe Bettman's kinda like that, except he's the kind of retarded that makes him retarded.

How does the league expect its twelve best teams to stay playoff-sharp if they have to sit on their asses for two weeks while the bottom-feeders slug it out?  If we've learned anything from the Carolina, Anaheim, Minnesota and Calgary playoff runs in recent years, it's that a lousy team's goalie can heat up at the drop of a hat.  Combined with playoff-clutch-and-grab (let's not pretend the new rules will prevent this), some shitty team can do damage that it really has no business doing.  I mean, look at how Minnesota, Anaheim and Carolina responded to their improbable runs... they didn't sustain any momentum, it was just a one-time fluke.  Please explain how an excess of flukey losers is good for hockey.

I suppose, however, that this has nothing to do with making the best possible playoff.  Having four more playoff teams means that four more teams get playoff revenue.  You may recognize this short-term damn-the-torpedoes money-grab from such hits as "Expanion In The Early 90s" and "Putting A Team In Friggin Atlanta."  Commissioner Charly should stop being a mouthpiece for greedy owners and start doing his job: shepherding hockey towards future revenues, instead of just snatching whatever money he can as soon as he can.

Teaching An Old Goalie A New Trick    

Goalies don't have a lot to celebrate right now, as far as the new rules are concerned.  But Ed Belfour is particularly pissed about the new trapezoid rule, which defines the space behind the net outside of which a goalie may not handle the puck.  (Previously there was no such restriction.)  The intent, as with most of the rules, is to reduce the amount of time spent chasing pucks around, and raise the amount of puck possession in the offensive zone.  Guys like Belfour and Marty Brodeur have built reputations based on their stickhandling abilities, so the rule appears to attack only a particular subset of goalies.  It's tough to blame Belfour for feeling picked-on in that sense, because he is.  Additionally, between those guys adjusting to the new rule, and referees having yet another violation to f#@k up royally in the playoffs, we'll probably see an increase (no pun intended) in goalie delay-of-game penalties, which will slow the game down a bit.

Then again, it's not like the other goalies aren't under attack in other ways... equipment is being reduced, and any unnecessary cover-up of the puck will also result in a delay-of-game minor.  And the intent of the trapezoid rule makes sense... prohibiting stickhandling in front of the goal line will result in more offensive-zone faceoffs, which theoretically pressures the defense.  Even the penalties could theoretically help goal-scoring... more penalties means more power plays.  And goalies still get to stickhandle in front of the goal line, meaning we haven't lost the most exciting play in hockey: the goalie goal.

So even though the rule is kind of an unnecessary complication to a problem that didn't really exist, we have to keep something important in mind: anything that pisses off Ed Belfour is good.

A Thousand Words    
Sir Kidney Strikes Again    

I think the odds on Kidney Pon-Stones driving drunk (again) have been off the board for quite some time.  All this time, I figured it was binge eating that caused his girth and general inability to pitch... but apparently it's binge drinking.  My bad.

Sid's got some serious problems.  I bet San Diego is breathing a sigh of relief.  They were actually going to trade major-league talent for him?!?  Pathetic GM-ing right there.  Although, I suppose if you're dumb enough to trade for him and his stats (7-11, 6.11 ERA, ungodly 1.73 WHIP) maybe you're dumb enough to tolerate a repeat DUI offender.

That said, Sidney is about to cement his place on the all-time Major League Baseball boat race team.

Gallon Challenge: DENIED!    

Brad Penny gets high marks for daring a Marlins' batboy to do the Gallon Challenge for $500.  The current Dodger, and former Marlin, gets even higher marks for his quote regarding the Marlins' subsequent six-game suspension of the poor kid: "It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk."  Yet another reason why the 10-day steroid suspension is a little light.

But shouldn't they lighten up a little?  Why would the Marlins embarrass themselves like this?  How can they sell themselves to their notoriously fickle fans as a good time when the employees aren't allowed to have a little fun?  This is Gestapo tactics!  Batboys are basically mascots; it's their job to goof around with the players.  And they've cost the kid an awful lot of tip money... six games' worth of batboy tips is a huge amount of cash.  It's bad enough that he failed the challenge (he went over the one hour time limit, despite holding the gallon down) but why add insult to injury?  It'd be a nice F.U. to the Marlins if Penny paid the kid anyway, but it'd also cost this kid an important lesson in how the world works... big companies are capable of blowing any punishment out of proportion, so you basically can't do anything fun, ever.

Not that I wasn't rooting for the Nats already, but this is my official anti-Florida notice: I hope the Marlins drop like a rock.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Rally Panties    

Yikes.  Who did Timo Perez get that enormous pair of black panties from?  His mother?

You Don't Know Dickau Like I Do    

Dan Dickau is coming.  Marcus Banks is clearly on his way out now... there's no way he stays as the #3 guy behind Dickau and Delonte West (whichever one slugs his way to the starting spot).  Throw in undrafted point Will Bynum (of Georgia Tech pseudo-fame) and the picture gets even darker for Banks.

I wonder what Danny Ainge thinks he can get for Banks, as well as who would give up anything of value for such a weirdo.  He's talented and whatnot, but he's a heart attack.  Shipping Banks to New Orleans for Dickau would've been the perfect move (they'd have nothing to lose by setting Banks loose 30 minutes a night) but maybe Ainge thinks he can get more for him... but who?!?  I'm dying to know what the holdup is.

NCAA-Sanctioned Racism    

coughBULLSHITcough.  Gee, I wonder why the local Seminoles decided to $upport the ma$cot's u$e.  I suppose it's possible that the Seminoles are actually, truly, honest-to-God okay with it.  But I'm inclined to think a relationship between the tribe and the school is more valuable to them than doing right by themselves and their brethren.  Which they're entitled to exploit... it's just too bad.

As for Native Americans without any financial stake, the president of the National Congress of American Indians does acknowledge that the Seminoles were allowed to make their own decision, and lauds their involvement, but he rightly laments that the action sets a dangerous precedent for other schools.  I'm gonna guess Utah and Illinois get similar exemptions now that FSU is cleared, and not necessarily with the blessing of the Illini and Utes.  Naturally, little schools will be the ones who suffer, while the big boys get a slap on the wrist.  So nothing will change enough for any good to have been done.  Nice job, NCAA... you finally did something right, and you screwed it up.

Oh, one last foray into bleeding-heart territory before getting back to sports... naturally, the ESPN story doesn't quote any Seminoles giving support to the mascot.  I mean, why bother?  You've got Jeb Bush standing up for their rights, so who needs to hear it from them?  So although the tribe is, for whatever rea$on, okay with the mascot, the news still reads like a bunch of cracker assholes who raised hell and got their way.  You know, kinda like how the South resisted anti-slavery and anti-segregation laws.

OK, I'm done now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Whoa Whoa Whoa!    

Hockey blockbuster alert!

Ottawa RW Marian Hossa was just traded to Atlanta for LW Dany Heatley.  Both are restricted free agents and are expected to sign extensions.  Yikes!!!  Atlanta picks up a reliable, dependable top-line forward, and Ottawa gambles that a fresh start for Heatley will put him back on track to being a superstar (one who is better and ballsier than Hossa will ever be).  Fascinating trade.


Given that the Craig Hansen rumblings have begun, and that people aren't ready to give Timlin the keys to the Porsche yet, I'm a bit upset about a dumb stat that invariably gets thrown around when setup men are elevated to closer status:

Timlin has five blown saves in only seven chances this year!  That's only a 28% success rate!

That statistic is an undeniable crock of shit, and has been exposed as such in the past by The Hardball Times' Aaron Gleeman, using 8th-inning juggernaut Arthur Rhodes as the example.  The basic point is that any time you blow a lead, no matter what inning it is, it's a blown save... you can blow a save in the 8th, the 7th, the 4th, even the bottom of the 1st if the circumstances arise.  This means that any reliever who isn't the closer will have a horrendous conversion percentage, simply because he never gets any convertable save chances.

Timlin's case is no different... of the five blown saves, three were blown in the 7th and two in the 8th... all situations in which he was never intended to pitch the 9th.  And yet, there he is with that 2-for-7 stigma.  He's had dozens of chances to blow a save, but only a handful of chances (two, in fact) to actually convert one.  As Gleeman did with Rhodes, we can add Timlin's 23 holds to the equation, which shows us that Timlin has held onto the Sox' lead in 25 of 30 appearances. That's quite acceptable, particularly for a 39-year old fastball pitcher who has been overworked since his arrival in 2003.  Factor in Timlin's closing experience (31 saves in 1996 for Toronto, another 27 for Baltimore in 1999) and the fact that he is enjoying arguably his best season as a setup man (1.73 ERA), and you will see there's far more evidence to suggest he'll be just fine.

That's not to say Hansen should be in Portland at this time next week.  He shouldn't.  But don't have him close.  With a couple notable exceptions, like Huston Street of the A's, closers develop better when groomed elsewhere on the pitching staff.  Francisco Rodriguez... Brad Lidge... Eric Gagne... Billy Wagner... Joe Nathan... Mariano Rivera... none of them were closers as rookies.  K-Rod, Mo and Lidge dominated from day one, but they weren't thrust into the closer role until they'd established themselves.  Even Huston Street wasn't elevated until midseason.  So absolutely get Hansen up to Boston as soon as possible, but when you do, Timlin is a far more palatable choice to hold down the fort.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Andre' Davis    

The acquisition of Andre' Davis from Cleveland makes a lot of sense... with a front three of David Givens, Deion Branch and Troy Brown, and Tim Dwight likely making the team as a kick returner, they were in need of a lanky track-star type split end to counteract all that shortness.  (Givens is tall enough, but he flourishes in the same over-the-middle game that the other receivers are built for.)  Anyway, this probably means washout WR David Terrell should call his agent.

(As an aside, I have always wondered how to distinguish the role of the flanker from that of the split end... and found out here.  There's not a lot to learn if you're already a football fan, but there's a couple fun facts you can still pick up.)

The Joy of Sox    

  • Bellhorn DFA
  • The majority of Sox fans are dancing on his grave, but you have to feel bad for any decent guy who falls apart so badly.  He couldn't even hit AAA pitching.  It's a mental thing, so it's really sad to see.  But it's also a dead issue now, and not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.  Graffanino is doing fine, and we don't need a long-term fix anyway given that Dustin Pedroia has a stranglehold on the 2006 job.  So it's just too bad, and I hope Bellhorn figures it out elsewhere.

  • Schilling Starts on Thursday
  • I have low expectations for the next month and a half's worth of Schilling starts.  The constant injuries (and hamburgers) clearly kept him from staying in game shape while on the DL, and he wants to pitch his way into shape... at age 38... in a pennant race.  I'm not buying it.  We don't need another David Wells-ish innings horse whose clock is always ticking... we need Bloody Sock Schilling.  Fortunately nobody else at the top of the AL has particularly good pitching either.

  • Foulke Implosion?
  • Ready in a week or two, not reclaiming closer role until he can earn it back from Timlin.  But in the meantime, we do not have a setup guy.  Chad Bradford is the only semblance of a setup guy they're using.  Mike Myers is situational, and Mike Remlinger is a walking calamity right now.  This bullpen is on the verge of collapse unless Foulke regains his form.  Hopefully the 2 months' rest will serve as a Juvenation Machine hook-up.

  • Bullpen Babies
  • The only alternative to a Foulke renaissance is if a) hot prospect Jon Papelbon succeeds in the bullpen as he has in the rotation, and b) 2005 draft pick Craig Hansen actually gets the call before the playoff roster deadline of August 31, which is inevitable considering the stats he's posted since leaving St. John's (9 IP, 0 ER, 13 K, 1 BB).  High 90s fastball, high 80s slider... smells an awful lot like a certain Anaheim reliever's rapid ascent.  The consensus is that Hansen was the closest to the majors of any draft pick, so elevating him would not be unreasonable... and they have absolutely no reason not to make room for him.  What, they're worried about losing Tampa Bay castoff Jeremi Gonzalez?!?  Papelbon, meanwhile, has already established that he can get major league hitters out, having posted a 3-ish ERA in three starts this month.  If Papelbon and Hansen have the stones for playoff baseball, the bullpen problems could be a thing of the past.

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Pucks To Be You    

    The Bruins have, since I last looked, signed the majority of their young talent (including C Brad Boyes and draft pick D Jonathan Sigalet) and brought back C Travis Green for two more years. All good moves. So the depth chart now looks something like this...

    G:  Raycroft
    G:  Toivonen

    I think it's OK to assume that one of our forward prospects (still pulling for Colton Orr) has an equal shot at that 12th forward spot. It's also fair to assume that youngsters like Sigalet or Mark Stuart have a shot at making the team as a 3rd-pair defenseman. Stuart was the B's #1 pick last summer, and he captained Team USA at Junior Worlds last year, winning their first gold medal, so he looks like the front-runner.

    I'm still not thrilled with the defensive depth... still seems pretty thin if Slegr and Gill are your second pair. Based on some of the names that signed recently, they could have done better than that. The success of the defensive corps will hinge in all likelihood on the youth. Not bad, just not optimal.

    EDIT [5:29 PM 8/18/05]: The consensus, without having any legit information sources, appears to be that Stuart is penciled in for a spot, possibly a top 4 spot. Also in the running are BC alum Andrew Alberts and Slovakia native (but juniors participant) Milan Jurcina... they and Sigalet, however, are not in Stuart's class.

    Also, Samsonov is on the block. There's talk on the board of sending him to Washington for Brendan Witt, which I think would be a major coup for both teams if the Caps were interested.

    Give It Up, Or Turn It Loose    

    Two consecutive blown wins against Tampa?  One on a bases-loaded walk, the other on a wild pitch?!?  Makes me wanna do the James Brown.  Can I count it off?  One, two, three, FOUR!


    Sad States of Affairs    

    A couple quick hits on disappointing news:
    1) The Devils just signed Alex Mogilny, opting against the guaranteed marketing bonanza that is Lucifer, aka Beelzebub, the Tempter, the Father of Lies. Shame on the Devils. Shame! This makes me hate them more than the goddamned left-wing lock. Incidentally, check out the numbering at the end of that link to the Dark Lord... someone at ESPN has a fantastic sense of humor.

    2) ESPN has opted to drop their NHL coverage, largely because Stump the Schwab was beating it in the ratings. Ouch. The result? NHL, meet Bassmasters.

    3) The PennyRoyals have lost 18 games in a row. Jeebus. Seems like a lot, right? Well, as you probably know, they're only 3 games away from matching the 1988 Glorioles, who hold the all-time AL record for prolonged suck, at 21 games. Bravo, KC. Keep the faith, and hang in there.

    4) The Yankees have gone 4-9 against the goddamned Devil Rays this year. The DEVIL RAYS. I now hate the Devil Rays almost as much as I hate the Devils. Didn't the DRays do something like this to the Red Sox a couple years ago? I seem to remember laughing at Jeff about that. Can I get a witness? Oh, and as a side note, I'm pretty sure that Stottlemyre and Torre are openly trying to get fired right now.

    That's all I got.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Joe Johnson    

    Does anybody else think this Joe Johnson thing is totally ridiculous? I do. I think what the NBA did is totally wrong. How can they get rid of an owner for blocking a deal he didn't think was in the best interest of his team? It isn't like the guy is historically a terrible owner or anything, he just thought Joe Johnson didn't deserve to be paid money like that and that they would suffer down the road for it. He is allowed his opinion and the NBA forcing the deal seems to reek of too much meddling by the league.

    Drawing Blood    

    First Patriots post of the year!  Haaaaaail to the Patrioooooooooooooots, haaaaaaaaaaaail vic-to-ryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  Don't misinterpret the lateness of this post... training camp bores me.  All of the interesting decisions have been made, and the news that comes out is generally insipid; anyone reading up on Iggles camp knows this.  The big story now is whether Tom Brady is hiding an arm injury.  Who cares?  He's fine, so shut up and move on.  That's why I generally don't pay attention until our fantasy draft approaches.  (Rule one of Postgame Spread is...)  Anyway, here's what I think as of right now.

    I was concerned about the Pats' losses on D (Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson) until I looked over the depth charts.  They have a few spots of weakness, notably at starting cornerback and inside linebacker.  However, the importance of the shut-down corner has been in question lately, and Bill Belichick always gets something out of his linebackers.  Sure, there's only so many times you can lose a big-name player before it becomes a problem, but the situation with young players now (Ty Warren, Jarvis Green, Vince Wilfork, Eugene Wilson, Dan Klecko) as compared to, say, when Lawyer Milloy was cut, is far different.  Plus they added Duane Starks, Chad Scott, and Chad Brown to help out with those positions.  They're better off with Law and Bruschi than without them, but if this team proved anything last year, it's that they can still dominate with lesser talent.

    The only unknown on offense is how they will do w/o Weis, but I have a suspicion that Brady and Dillon can fly on their own.  Other than that, they are 100% intact, and only getting deeper.

    And that's the beauty of this team... the work is done.  Depth at nearly every position, talent and brains in every sub-unit, good coaching, smart management.  Not to mention that everything they've done since 2001 has worked magnificently.  There's no need to argue about, say, whether Green or Warren should start at the left end, because whatever what happens will work; the choice is between Yes and Yes.  Speaking as someone who regularly questions the sanity of moves made by the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics, it's nice to leave the details to the Patriots, and just enjoy them.

    ...Quite frankly?  That's all you need.

    Sunday, August 14, 2005

    Done, Done, On To The Next One    

    Kenny Rogers... check.
    Mark Buehrle... check.
    Jon Garland... check.

    If Boston sweeps Chicago, after having swept the Rangers, the rest of the league gets put on alert, and the Red Sox reassert themselves as favorites in the AL.  I don't think they'd necessarily be better, but all the White Sox doubters (including the White Sox themselves, possibly) would have an excuse to dismiss them.  They absolutely, positively, have to beat Boston today, or else their season might go on a downright Oriolean slide.

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Yes, We Have Some Bananas...    

    We have some... Bananas... to-daaaaay!  The best news here is that the contract is short, so he's tradeable.  This ain't over... but in the meantime, it's good news.  Now all that's left is to find a couple of defensemen.  Hopefully they've been dangling their toes in the water while concentrating on getting Bananaman signed up.

    Re-play! Whurr's thuh Re-play?    

    I decided Lehr's comment on instant replay being unnecessary, and that you should suck it up when calls go against you, was worthy of a full post.

    The only people who can sincerely disagree with replay are a) people who don't care about the outcomes of games, and b) people who have never watched in awe as someone makes the dumbest call in history against their team.  Alex spoke the truth when he acknowledged he hadn't had any bad calls go against him.  The only team of Alex's that hasn't won it all in his lifetime is the Knicks, and they've been the beneficiary of lousy calls far more often than the victim.  (Hue Hollins, anyone?)  Few things are worse, as a sports fan, than to watch your team actually win, but have the game taken away by a blown call.  Compound that with your team being the underdog, or the opponent being your hated archnemeses, or going for a prolonged period without having won a championship, or all three at once, and you start to get why it's important enough not to simply chalk stuff up to human error and move on.

    The only time I can think of that replay has led to the wrong outcome is the infamous Snow Game.  That's the only game-related argument against instant replay.  But honestly, the Raiders won an identical playoff game from us in 1976 in what I understand was a far more specious call (not the enforcement of a BS rule, but a roughing-the-passer penalty that never happened).  The Pats actually WERE the best team in the AFC that year.  So fuck the Raiders.

    Every sport should have video replay.  Football and hockey have good systems in place, and the NBA and NCAA are starting to get the picture, so really the only slackers are MLB (no surprise there).   The NFL's system is nearly ideal, where coaches have two challenges per game, and two successful challenges results in a third.  It's a good system, but if I were King Of The World, I'd make it so you get two wrong challenges per game.  If you were right, you shouldn't be penalized for a goddamn thing.  I would extend existing replay rules in hockey and basketball to be more like the NFL's, where coaches request replay instead of having the refs decide.  I can understand opposition to that; it's a little like having the patient tell the doctor what drug to prescribe.  But you have to assume that the doctor (or ref) is a total quack whose first cousin, once removed, is Brick Tamland.  Trusting coaches to use challenges judiciously and responsibly may not always be the best policy, but it's much worse to get the call wrong and have no way to reverse it.

    Baseball, given that so many rules exist, is the one sport that demands replay the most, and whose game quality would suffer the least from a stoppage in play.  Baseball is like 70% stoppages in play anyway, so why haggle over five more minutes if it means you get the calls right?  At a minimum, baseball needs to enact video replay on any play other than balls-and-strikes (Don't Go There!) that causes a difference between an out or a run.  That covers pretty much anything that someone would be pissed about.  They don't have that big-ass rule book for nothing... anything can be fixed.

    Speaking of balls and strikes, I would also propose, as King Of The World, approval of The Nuclear Option.  Typically, judgment calls like fouls, balls and strikes, and penalties are not reviewable, because there are too many variables in the equation.  Most of those variables have to do with not showing up the oh-so-sensitive officials, but I can see why the leagues won't touch it.  (Don't Go There!)  The problem is that judgment calls get blown a lot more frequently than reviewable calls do, and they cause just as much damage if not more.  The Nuclear Option gets around that.  Once every game, a team can review absolutely positively MFing anything the referee calls.  If you're right, you get to use it again later in the game.  If the refs don't overturn the call, you lose your Nuclear Option for a few games (ten for baseball, five for basketball/hockey, three for football) pending league review (if the ref really was wrong, you get your N.O. back).  That way the coaches look stupid if they use it without justification, but they also have protection from the league's governing bodies in case the ref was ruling irresponsibly.

    This will never happen, because it takes away the ability of major pro sports leagues to fix games. (Don't Go There!)

    Next MENSA Meeting Coming to Toronto    

    This from ESPN, along with announcing Eric Lindros' going to the Leafs:

    The shoulder injury that limited Lindros to 39 games with the New York Rangers the last time there was an NHL season is completely healed, he said. He's been skating for four weeks, practicing yoga with Leafs enforcer Tie Domi, and weighing in at slightly more than 250 pounds.


    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Message To Steve Moore    

    Here's your bottle, you big baby.

    All Steve Moore knows how to do is attack people by elbowing them in the head and checking them face-first into the boards.  Now that poetic justice took that one ability away from him, he's trying to score as much sympathy cash as possible off the Canucks on his way out the NHL door.  He's playing the legal system and the media as cowardly as he played hockey.  I mean, I pity Steve Moore, but not because of his injuries... I pity anyone who can't be a man about his actions to that extent.  I mean, I'm not (seriously) saying the guy is the Antichrist, but do we have to treat him like a saint?  Is it really so hard to acknowledge that Moore and Bertuzzi both made brutal, vicious, uncalled-for hits on unsuspecting players?  The only difference between them is that Moore's victims were lucky enough to walk away from their hits... should it matter that Bertuzzi's wasn't?  The intent is the same: injure a defenseless human being.  I don't think it's right to villainize one cheap-shotter while canonizing the other.

    And I promise that's all I have to say about this ever again... unless something else happens.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005


  • Gabe Kapler was robbed of a home run tonight by four blind men.  As a result, I now firmly believe in a) beating Derryl Cousins into a fine paste, and b) instant replay on any ball in the field of play that, when ruled incorrectly, costs a team either a run or an out.  I mean, it's not like you're going to affect the flow of the game... baseball moves glacially at best, so the occasional replay shouldn't cause too much trouble.

  • Good news: LWs Sergei Samsonov and P.J. Axelsson finally signed with the Bruins.  Bad news: they signed their qualifying offers, so they will be UFAs next year, and the B's can go through this crap all over again.
  • Yes! We have no Bananas!    

    So Boston apparently doesn't hate Joey Sensitive as much as certain authors of this blog.
    Good for them. We need to show players like him the love. I totally picture him wearing garters under his padded pants, a la Nuke.

    For all your hockey news in one nice, easy to read and argue about chart, go here... and note that the Rangers fixed their woes by hiring more expensive old farts and assholes, and the Capitals did, um... nothing.

    Top this, Sox fans    

    In response to recent rumblings about how awful Boston fans have become, I have only this to offer. Ah, my brethren. Still kings amongst men.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Even More Reason In The Face Of Overwhelming Public Retardation    

    Justice finally prevails.

    When will owners and commissioners ever learn to stop being friggin fascists?  In addition to reinstating him immediately, they should have reversed a few games of the suspension, forcing Bud Selig to pay another two or three game checks' worth of money to Rogers out of his own pocket.  And Selig's got the nerve to whine about "standards of behavior."  What a spineless corporate monkey... what a sanctimonious ass.

    This Just In: Tony Graffanino Sucks    

    OK, so there's baseball to talk about after all.  Thank you, Chris.

    I wouldn't have laid down odds on Boston's sudden love affair with Tony Graffanino.  I could see this coming from a mile away.  The abuse heaped upon Mark Bellhorn (who is just as responsible for that red flag in center field as anybody) has been so predictably overblown that the mere thought of Tony Graffanino makes me want to vomit.  The existence of a pro-Graffanino movement among the Boston media and the shark-jumping Sox fans tells me beyond a shadow of a doubt that being pro-Graffanino is bad.  Bellhorn may be struggling, but I'd rather have a competent Bellhorn than a faux-plucky Graffaffafino.  Everyone is conveniently forgetting that Graffanino's typical offensive performance is more along the lines of Bellhorn's current nightmarish performance... Bellhorn at least has a chance to improve.

    Tony Graffanino is little more than a big-market broadcaster's wet dream... "awwwww, I just love this guy, he does all the little things, he plays the game the way it was meant to be played, blah blah blah."  Pure, utter, uncut BS.  He wasn't so adorably scrappy when he was Kansas City's second baseman, doing absolutely nothing for a shitty team.  Speaking of plucky guys, what was the name of that plucky guy on the Sox last year who "did all the little things to help the team win"?  Oh that's right... we didn't have one.

    We had Mark Bellhorn though.  You may remember him from such game-winning home runs as "Game 6 against the Yankees" and "Game 1 against the Cardinals."  Game-winning home runs!!!  In the middle of an embarrassing slump, he stepped up and decided two crucial games all by himself.  Would Graffanino have done that?  Absolutely goddamn not.  At best, he would he have bunted his way on, stolen second, and waited for a teammate to drive him in... which is not only more work than just hitting the goddamn home run, but also passes off responsibility for winning the game to the next guy at bat.  No thanks.  I'll take the guy who can win it all by himself.

    For Those NOT About To Rock...    

    It has come to my attention that two of this blog's three readers are uninterested by hockey talk.  I challenge you two to tell me what else is so interesting that it demands discussion.

    How about NFL training camp?  Hey, we can talk about T.O.!  Or the Pats' depth chart at linebacker!  None of that stupid T.O. soap opera shite up in here, missy.  I'd rather go comment on the folks in the pissers down the hall.... "gentle readers, Ronald really has a knack for keeping the entire urinal surface area covered in pee."

    You should talk about the new BCS!  College football is for retards.

    Baseball!  It's August, you should talk the first-place Red Sox.  I've said my piece on steroids, and thanks to the most impotent deadline trades in history there are no changes in the pennant races worth discussing in detail.  The Sox are in the catbird seat, except inasmuch as the Yankees can block any and all waiver deals involving Boston.  Oakland has made its annual push towards contention, but I expect a 2004-style collapse more than a 2003-style assertion... no Miggie.  And that's the only news there is.  So, what's next?

    Hey, how's that fantasy team looking?  Ben Sheets' post-break WHIP is impressive.  Get that shit out of my house, Brandon Funston.  First Rule of Postgame Spread is you do not talk about fantasy.  Second Rule of Postgame Spread is... you do not talk about fantasy.

    So that leaves hockey.  This offseason is the most compelling in history, and it deserves more attention than it's getting.  In fact, I don't think I'm posting enough about hockey.  Where's the post about Pittsburgh's signings?  Or how Colorado's cupboard is suddenly bare?  How the Blackhawks actually overpaid for the premier goalie on the market?  Excepting Bertie's return to Vancouver, I've barely even touched on any of it.  There's tons of real, actual news to discuss, none of this stupid "will they renegotiate?!?" crap.  Who cares?  That doesn't affect the on-field product one friggin' bit.  Nashville signing Paul Kariya, however, is major news for a young franchise.  That's a much bigger deal than whether T.O. is getting cheered or booed at practice today.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Free Bertie!    

    About time.  Now instead of being his sole defender outside of British Columbia, I can get back to what I really enjoy doing... pointing out his deficiencies.  What a meathead.   He single-handedly cost the Canucks a shot at the Western finals.  Remember in 2003 when he scored a goal to put the Canucks up 2-0, then taunted the Wild's bench, declaring the game over in a very nasty way that I can't recall in its entirety?  The Wild scored four unanswered goals to win the game and cement Bertie's place in history as a friggin moron.

    Some guys aren't meant to win, and I think he's one of them.  In other words, he and Joey Bananas are destined to play together on the Flyers someday, getting three coaches fired by Bobby Clarke in a season and a half.


    According to a Globe article I linked to in an earlier post (I believe regarding the Leetch signing), the Bruins want to acquire two more defensemen.  I don't think there's much left on the market though.  I see a lot of scrap-heap names like Jason Doig, but unless I'm reading the list wrong, there's nobody left who could be considered an improvement, as opposed to a warm body.  I dunno what the plan is, but Leetch/Boynton/Gill/Girard/Moran is not going to cut it.  I wish they'd kept Dan McGillis... he would be perfect, and they already had him.  Oh well.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Daily Puckhead Report    

    The Bruins just signed Alexei Zhamnov to a three-year deal.  Pretty nice signing... not a marquee name, but an ideal second-line center.  Excellent passer.  This cements Dave Scatchard's place on the checking lines, and Patrice Bergeron's apparent spot on the right wing, as opposed to the pivot.  Presumably Shawn McEachern has been bumped to the third line, unless they play him on the left, in which case Brad Isbister gets bumped all the way down to fourth-line duty behind P.J. Axelsson.  Based on Isbister's recent history (injuries, no goals) it might be wise not to count on him anyway.  Hell, given that the P-Bruins have 37-goal-scorer Andy Hilbert steaming up his tail, he may not even be a regular.

    While the left seems solid, presuming Axelsson and Sergei Samsonov sign, the B's are awfully weak on the right.  Glen Murray is a beast, but then you have Bergeron playing out of position, 37-yo Tom Fitzgerald, and (if I had my druthers) 223-lb grinder Colton "For The Last Time, No Relation!" Orr.  The center position is looking deeper, with Thornton, Zhamnov, Scatchard, and probably Brad Boyes making the jump from the Pruins... he popped in 33 last season, not too shabby.  Hilbert is an ex-center as well, so he should be in contention for that spot as well.  Defense is still a nightmare, although I don't know who Providence's defensive prospects are.  Kevin Dallman is a familiar name, but I have no idea whether he's any good.

    So, the other thing worth mentioning is that the Rangers just signed villainous Ville Niemenen to replace Bobby Holik on the Vicious Prick Line.  I hear Ville refers to his stick as the "big tomahawk," and opposing players as the "little scalps."

    Stanley Ozolol    

    These alerts are becoming entirely unnecessary, aren't they?  But still, we have much to learn about the standard, typical uses of stanozolol, so voila.

    I'm still not entirely convinced.  Sounds like you'd have to be either a complete friggin' idiot (or an addict... it's a longshot, but still) to take this stuff on purpose, so it actually backs up Raffy's story.  However, it also makes the worst-case scenario way, way worse for him... instead of just being a guy who got caught, he'd be a complete friggin' idiot who got caught.  (Or, ahem, an addict who needs our help, love, and support.)

    What's on my mind right now is this... does his Hall of Fame candidacy hinge on apology and forgiveness?  Remember, Pete Rose committed an equally horrendous crime against baseball... even worse in a way, because you can't chalk his crime (gambling, possibly against the team he was managing) up to simply "gaining the competitive edge" as you can with steroids.  The only things keeping him out of Cooperstown are that 1) he won't admit it, and 2) he would rather use the triannual Elect Pete Rose campaign to sell books than to actually get elected.

    Raffy's case is a little shakier than Rose's, since his act of cheating actually affected the numbers he posted as a player... Rose's crimes were committed in large part after his playing days were over.  And in fairness to Rose, he was one of the greatest baseball players in history, not merely a "deserving" player like Raffy.  Raffy's case is tenuous regardless of his alleged crimes, so maybe the scandal will be too much too overcome.  What hurts him the most is that one of stanozolol's key properties is that it helps to protect against, and recover from, injury... which just happens to be the ability that has contributed most to Raffy's numbers.  Reading that today (see the first link) was a major nail in the coffin.  There's still a decent chance that he'll be forgiven if he comes forward with a sincere apology, but I have a suspicion that he won't do that.  He might figure even an apology might not be enough to save him, and when in doubt, deny deny deny.

    (By the way, Pete Rose should never, ever be in the Hall of Fame.  He can throw 'em back with Joe Jackson in the Hall of Purgatory in Poughkeepsie.)

    Our competition    

    We're about to lose all 1 of our readers, but here goes.
    Go here right now. Prepare to laugh.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Is there an ESPY for Fan of the Year?    

    What is it about the term "claw hammer" that immediately makes me think "crazy motherfucker"? Has anyone ever used that phrase referencing anything except a brutal bludgeoning?
    The good news for Mr. Offord: Inmates don't like to cuddle after sex, either.

    JR to LA    

    Jeremy Roenick sure did a hell of a job washing the Flyers' balls on his way out of town, didn't he?  Translation: he wanted out.  I guess despite all his rage, he was still just a rat in a cage.


    News over the last couple days:

  • Checking-line expert C Dave Scatchard signed for three years.  He's one of the most talented third-line centers in hockey, but could also serve as insurance against Patrice Bergeron's development... if he doesn't step it up and win the second-line job, Scatchard is more than capable.
  • Martin Lapointe signed with Chicago.  Boy, it'll be weird to not blow a playoff game in the last few minutes because of a stupid Lapointe penalty.
  • Mike Modano left our money on the table and stayed with Dallas.  Ehh, he's got too many miles to justify a five-year deal.
  • Speaking of too many miles, Brian Leetch signed for one year.  Not a bad consolation prize after missing out on Sergei Gonchar.

  • So at present (assuming our key restrictos sign on the line that is dotted) our lineup looks something like this:

    G:  Raycroft
    G:  ?

    They're still half-baked, but Mike O'Connell told the Globe that they still intend to add one more major forward and two defensemen.  They've proven themselves to be active in the new market, making offers for Modano, Gonchar, and Pronger, so if I were Zdenek Kutlak or Ian Moran, I'd watch my ass.

    Then again, as the above article implies, Joe "Bananas" Thornton and Sergei Samsonov have both seen their values rise since the Bruins' initial offers.  So maybe O'Connell is the one who needs to watch his ass.

    All in the family    

    So there's not much funny about marines dying in Iraq.

    That said, I am absolutely shocked that there is a member of the Bell clan NOT in professional baseball. How is this possible?! They're the Kennedy's of MLB, minus the drunken manslaughter!

    One day will have an amazing game on their hands, pitting the Cabreras vs. the Bells vs. the Flying Molinas.

    Magic Boy, 24% Off Retail Price    

    From ESPN's coverage of the Peter Forsberg signing:

    Forsberg is known as Sweden's "Magic Boy" and is the first hockey player to appear on a Swedish postage stamp. He was a 1994 Olympic gold medalist and scored the winning goal in a shootout against Canada.

    Magic Boy???  Sounds more like a toilet detergent than a hockey player.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Almost There    

    It looks more likely that Raffy was lying through his teeth after all. He apparently tested positive for stanozolol, which is not something you ingest by accident due to supplement contamination (which is, in fact, plausible in other contexts). Stanozolol use is how Ben Johnson, the sprinter from America Jr., lost his gold medal in 1988. So while still not impossible, it's extremely unlikely that Raffy's defense about contaminated supplements is actually true. Either way, I'm grateful to have more solid information. I do think he did it, but I won't go from "think" to "know" until I see more hard evidence.

    Too bad the media is so unified in jumping all over the guy. Why is it that we can get dissenting viewpoints on pretty much anything out of columnists, and yet we still don't have a single "what if he's telling the truth?" column? This shameful adoption of the "presumed guilt" policy is a real nice lesson to teach the kids, isn't it? I'm also not exactly doing backflips over the insistence that if he were innocent, he would have come forward with the details of his case. Oh, so if he'd sat down for that interview with you, after you spent the last few days publicly skewering him, then he'd be less guilty? That's real principled. Which journalism school taught you to act that way?

    God, I wish people cared about this stuff. Nobody gives a shit about principled reporting anymore, be they reporters, editors, or readers... everyone is more concerned about the particulars of their job than they are with their vocation. Reporters want quotes, and they want a prestigious byline. Editors want circulation/page hits to go up. Readers want something interesting to read. But nobody cares whether they're keeping true to their mission! It's about everything BUT reporting facts. (I'm obviously some kind of lunatic for thinking this, right?)

    an open letter to Brian Cashman    

    Dear Sir:

    I am writing to request that you explore aquiring one (1) center fielder, post haste. As you may be aware, there is a large section of the playing field between the foul lines, and I feel we could really use three (3) players to patrol the wide expanse beyond the infield. Given the current state of Mr. Bernie Williams, I have been forced to place a backup second baseman in this most critical defensive position on the field, not to mention adorning the bottom of my batting order with the third worst player in all of baseball. The results speak for themselves.

    Please, heed this call and kindly send one (1) center fielder with all speed. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Mr. Cashman, you're our only hope.

    Yours in Christ,

    Joe Torre

    P.S. There's this young buck named Ken Griffey Jr. who might be available. You might have seen his dad play back in the day. I hear he's pretty good.

    Uh Oh    

    Danny Ainge just executed the biggest trade in NBA history, sending Antoine Walker to Miami in a sign-and-trade, and sending shrapnel flying towards three other teams. The breakdown looks like this:

    Miami: F Antoine Walker, PG Jason "White Chocolate" Williams, SF James Posey, PG Andre Emmett
    Boston: BWS Curtis Borchardt, F Qyntel "Pit BULL!!! a-WOOF" Woods, rights to Spanish C Albert Miralles, two 2nd rounders, $$$
    Memphis: SG Eddie Jones, PG Raul Lopez
    Utah: C Greg Ostertag
    New Orleans: G Rasual Butler, SG Kirk Snyder

    Now, though a lot of this deal makes sense (Miami stocks the bench and upgrades at the point; New Orleans grabs rising sensation Butler; Utah re-acquires the Prodigal White Stiff), there's a TON that makes no sense. I suppose getting something in return for Antoine, whom the Celtics had no intention of keeping, is a good thing, but what do the Celtics get out of two white stiff centers and a pit bull enthusiast? The only possible explanations I can come up with, so soon after the news broke, are a) Q is gonna cut Al Jefferson a deal on some puppies and b) Ainge has his eye on J.J. Redick in the second round next summer, and is stockpiling picks to make sure it happens. Either way, I'm puzzled as to what good this does, but intrigued nonetheless.

    The team that really gets hosed is Memphis. What were they thinking?!? I mean, Lopez is fine and all, but two serviceable players for friggin Eddie Jones?!? Gol'dangit thurr. Jerry West really has to get over his Eddie Jones fetish... it didn't work the first time, and it's not gonna work this time either. But I guess he's The Logo, so he clearly knows more than I do. Guess we'll see.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    More Hockey    

    More news for puckheads:
    1. Alexei "Piece Of" Zhitnik signed with Team Gorton.

    2. Squirrelly C Pavol Demitra left St. Louis for the Kings.

    3. Playoff expert Martin Gelinas joins Gary Roberts and Joe Nieieuiueiuieuwiendyk in Miami.
    I'm curious to see whether the Lightning will contend again. After being the most forgettable champions in league history (they were neither fearsome dominators nor lovable underdogs), with a young roster, having rode to the Finals as one of the "hot" teams... the signs aren't so good. But their roster is set up extremely well: solid goalie, good defense, young horses up front who stand to improve. So while conventional logic suggests they played over their heads last season, they do have an excellent shot to maintain their elite status. After all, with many of the other Eastern Conference giants breaking up (Philly and Toronto notably) they have less established competition to worry about. Finally, they're led by native Prince Edward Islander (and 2004 Conn Smythe and Lady Byng winner) Brad Richards... given that he's from PEI he's probably a cousin of some kind (everyone's family up there) so I've gotta root for him.

    Shaq needs to feed his family...    

    and by family, I mean his tubby ass.

    In case you haven't heard, Big Aristotle, Diesel, and ex Fu Shnickens collaborator Shaquille O'Neal opted out of his fucking enormous (over 30 million) one year contract for a fucking enormous five year, 100 million dollar one.


    Don't get me wrong. Shaq is one of the best 3-5 players of all time. He's the most unstoppable force in the NBA, and this past year emerged as its most personable marketing resource, all apologies to his date-raping prick of an ex-teammate.

    He's also 33 years old. His free throw shooting, always awful, has gotten WORSE the past two seasons. Even worse, he's set for life now, and I can't imagine him staying match fit. If Damon Jones knows what's good for him, he'll stay away from the Big Appetite, or else it'll be like Cap'n Murphy and Quinn eating themselves to death in Sealab 2021.

    They're going to regret this one, and I can only hope it keeps them from being able to re-sign Flash in 2008, so he'll be free to come to New York and defile the corpse of Stephon Marbury, dragging it around MSG, Achilles-style.

    Puckin' Around    

    With the exclusive-rights window closing on Sunday, the NHL free agent free-for-all has begun.  Already some interesting moves:

    1. Boston trades a 4th-round pick to Edmonton for LW Brad Isbister, a former first-liner with the New York Gorton's Fishermen.
    2. D Adam Foote leaves Colorado for the financial bounty that is Columbus, Ohio.
    3. The Philadelphia Scumbags will announce today the signings of twin towers D Derian Hatcher and D Mike Rathje, on the heels of trading the one, the only, RW Todd Fedoruk to Anaheim.
    4. One-way D Adrian Aucoin signs with the Chicago Skinflints.
    5. Bearded RW Jeff O'Neill was traded from Carolina to Toronto for a pick.
    6. The mighty Miroslav Satan was cut by Buffalo, potentially allowing him to sign in New Jersey.

    Gotta admit, it's pretty weird to see Boston making actual moves.  They actually offered UFA defenseman Sergei Gonchar a contract!  It's almost as if they care about... about winning... oh God I think I need to lie down.


    Still not feelin' the hate.  I'd like to add the following false assumptions to my list of beefs:

    1. We should punish these players retroactively for steroid habits they began in the 80s and 90s.

    2. Great idea.  Hey, maybe the government can raise our taxes retroactively and put everyone in jail for tax evasion.  It wasn't illegal!  You can stop it all now, but holding the players accountable in the 90s for steroid use that was not against the rules is idiotic.  Jayson Stark, who normally does not impress me, is actually the voice of reason in the wake of the positive test.  Kudos to Stark for resisting the urge to point a finger at Palmeiro without implicating the sport at the same time.  His response is the first I've seen that is on-target and bluster-free.  He alone has been wise enough to see (and brave enough to SAY) that the steroid issue isn't a yes/no proposition.  It's a complex case in which the entire sport is guilty.

    3. Chemical enhancers are okay, but steroids aren't.

    4. No, no, no, no, no.  That line is greyer than Bob Uecker's pubic hair.  You're telling me it's OK to cheat with performance enhancers... but not these performance enhancers over here?!?  And we're supposed to look at the roid-heads as cheaters, while everyone else gets off scot free?  It's still cheating whether or not it's got steroids in it.  How is this a clear-cut morality case?  If we're fighting against cheating, the target needs to be ALL performance enhancers.  Then the grey area disappears... if you can't get it at Whole Foods, don't eat it, and if it comes in a syringe, don't shoot it.  Given that there have been controversies in the past over androstenedione, wouldn't you think that baseball would come out against more than just steroids if they were serious about curbing the problem?

      (In defense of baseball, I'm guessing the reason they targeted steroids and not all agents has to do with testing accuracy.  Fair enough... to be honest I much prefer a broke-ass steroids-only system to the World Anti-Doping Agency's system, where you're stripped of your championships for taking NyQuil sixteen months before running the 200m hurdles.  Baseball (and the other sports) would be wise to obey whoever is blackmailing them with WADA-involvement threats, because the day WADA gets involved in American professional sports will be the end of American professional sports.  Pro wrestling will look like a paragon of virtue by comparison.

    5. Raffy testing positive is somehow a "stupid" act on his part, one that could have been easily avoided.

    6. Didn't all the controversy start because young kids were getting addicted to steroids?  Hey moron, steroids are addictive!  You don't just up and stop doing drugs because somebody told you to.  Hence, a guy tries to juke the test instead of stopping with the drugs.  If the "War On Drugs" has taken 20+ years and accomplished nothing, how is three months of media attention going to be any more effective?  So maybe... bear with me, now... we should treat him like someone who has a drug problem!  Whoa, back up the crazy train, right?  But honestly, would we see the same kind of finger-wagging, God-you're-so-stupid reaction if he'd been caught with cocaine?  We might think of him as a druggy from that point on, but how many people would've gotten up on their high horse and shouted "How could he have been so dumb?  He knew there would be testing!!!"  IT'S DRUGS, DUMBASS!!!

      To some extent, the public humiliation is a good thing.  Yes, you need to face the music when you err.  But the judgmental tone of the humiliation sets a shameful example to a generation of young kids.  If you want to maintain the high ground when dealing with, say, a drug addict, shouldn't you show some compassion?  Say, who was that guy who went around having compassion for people regardless of their sins?  Nailed to a cross and died?  Jesus H. Christ, I wish I could remember the guy's name.  It'll come to me later.  Anyway, let's assume (if you haven't already) that Raffy is guilty.  Given how obvious he made himself during the Congressional hearings, how involved he's been in anti-steroid groups since those same hearings, how he came out of the Congress fiasco smelling like roses... and still tested positive... shouldn't that tell us something about how difficult it will be to clean the rest of the game up?  Passing judgments won't solve this problem; showing steroid users a way out will do much more.

    I think the smart play for Raffy, apart from coming clean about every last aspect of the testing process and his own defense, is to shut it down for the season and check into rehab, regardless of whether he has a problem.  At this point, and it saddens me to acknowledge this, it doesn't really matter whether he's guilty or innocent, because America (a.k.a. Moronistan) has made up its collective mind.  He hasn't got much of a shot at protecting his legacy unless he demands forgiveness and proves his ability all over again, with what limited time he has left.  He needs to make a grand public display of his intent to get clean, relax in the rehab clinic for a few months, get clean, and concentrate on 2006.  Next season, he comes back for a few months as a mid-season replacement, returning just long enough to show he can hit without the 'roids (which he can) and then call it quits.  Or, alternately, he can go down in history as a goat (again, regardless of actual innocence or guilt).  His choice.  Given that the birth of his power output coincided with Canseco's arrival in Texas, he's not gonna have many defenders.  And if the recent outpouring of bile is any indication, sportswriters aren't going to give him much of a break when it comes to Cooperstown.

    Monday, August 01, 2005


    Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the 2005 AL MVP (stats are season OPS):

    Jason Giambi

    Alex Rodriguez

    Travis Hafner

    Miguel Tejada

    Brian Roberts

    David Ortiz

    Manny Ramirez

    Richie Sexson

    Jason Varitek

    Gary Sheffield

    'Roids Flareup reported today that Rafael Palmeiro has tested positive for steroids, netting a 10-day suspension.  I have a few thoughts on the matter:
    1. His HOF campaign isn't over, but it's on life support.  The story will have to develop in surprising ways for him to get out of this alive.
    2. He probably did it, and the jury of public opinion has already ruled against the defendant, but I still think there's more smoke than fire.  Without proof of the steroids test's authenticity, I can't assume that the test is accurate.  In fact, the above article states that the arbitrators did not establish intent, and were in fact moved by Palmeiro's testimony (without disclosing what that testimony was).  Given that I wouldn't trust Major League Baseball to properly administer a hand job, never mind a cutting-edge drug test, I have no reason to think this case isn't indicative of a serious flaw in the steroid test itself.  MLB was under enormous pressure to implement something, anything, better than nothing, so why would anyone assume it to work without seeing some kind of conclusive evidence?  And we all know how much interest President Retard Jr. has in seeing the issue claim some victims, so can we really believe anything to be on the level?  I'm not saying this so much because I believe him to be innocent... I just figure if you're not 100% sure, don't side with the monolithic corporation when there's power at stake.
    3. The corporate suits at ESPN must be thrilled.  Not only is Raffy a high-profile victim, but they just spent a month pumping up his profile even further, thanks to the chase for 3,000 hits.  As a point of order, I believe wholeheartedly that reporters, their editors, and ESPN know full well who's juicing and who isn't.  I have no problem with keeping quiet until news breaks, but I have an eeee-normous problem with setting someone up for an even bigger fall with all this HOF talk.  I mean, what do all the pro-Raffy guys do now?  "Gee, Karl, I'm as shocked as anybody right now!"  Barf... to quote The Meaning of Life, "a BUCKET for Monsieur!!!"  It'd be nice if they attacked the billionaire owners (who provide ESPN with significant funding and media access) as vigorously as they attack millionaire players.
    Anyway it's a shame.  I was finally convinced into accepting his HOF credentials without qualification, and now look what happened.  Oh well, at least Big Papi is clean.  (Right?  Right??????)

    Quick Technical Note    

    Check out the new icons to the right of the post titles.  Clicking the icon toggles whether a post is visible or not... minus means expanded, plus means collapsed.  I'm also going to add "collapse/expand all" buttons to the right-hand sidebar.  Should make it a little easier to read the site.

    Edited 3:04; I had the icon meanings backwards.

    Dananananananana, hey! WE SUCK    

    I'd like to address something that saddens me, deep in the cocles of my heart.  At first I didn't believe it could be true, but after a good deal of subconscious digestion, I now believe it to be fact.

    Boston fans suck.

    I'm beginning to think this city didn't deserve to win after all.  The behavior of the Fenway "faithful" this season has been nothing short of shameful.  Booing Edgar Renteria within weeks of his first appearance?  Booing Keith Foulke, without the slightest degree of understanding that his 2005 performance is an unavoidable result of his 2004 performance?  Booing Manny Ramirez for committing the mortal sin of demanding the same trade he's been demanding ever since he signed here?!?  Good lord, I wonder why he'd want out.  If it were me, and I were having second thoughts about asking out of Boston, getting booed like that mere months after being named World Series MVP would make those doubts disappear into thin air.  I would have expected this kind of repulsive behavior from Philly fans, not New Englanders.  Truly disgusting.  I clearly don't speak for the rest of my fair city when I say this, but I'd like to apologize to every sports fan in every city in America (except New York and Philly, you all suck) for Boston's behavior the past 3-4 months.

    By the way, if any of you Philly fans are reading this, presuming Philly fans can read at all, take a good look at Sox fans right now, because we're your future.  When the Iggles or Flyers or Phillies finally do it, you'll be just like this.  I hoped it wouldn't be true, but it is... once a miserable sports fan, always a miserable sports fan.