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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Old-Ass Neil Rackers Video    

When you take a monthlong sabbatical from sports, you miss some pretty incredible shit.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big Mike    

This has been posted all over the place, but this Michael Lewis book excerpt concerning Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher is excellent reading.  In brief, a homeless, orphaned black teenager from West Memphis gets transformed by a rich white family into a freshman All-America offensive lineman and a can't-miss NFL prospect.  The excerpt concentrates on his ascent from homelessness to his matriculation at Mississippi.

The most provocative parts of the story revolve around his patrons, the Tuohy family.  While I don't doubt their intentions to help Big Mike, it does become readily apparent over the course of the piece that Big Mike didn't care either way whether he played football.  It was everyone else who wanted him in the NFL.  Having grown up in a world without choices, his adjustment to a world with choices was to allow complete strangers to make those choices for him.

The stepping stone that makes me wonder the most is Sean Tuohy's manipulation of Big Mike's grade point average.  Basically, Tuohy found that Brigham Young University offers 10-day courses that can replace a high school F with an A.  They enrolled Big Mike in several of these classes, all of them suited to Big Mike's abilities, and elevated his GPA to an NCAA-acceptable level.  You get the feeling that nobody took the academic content all that seriously... that it was just another hurdle.

I don't know how I feel about that.  Big Mike as a successful NFL tackle would be a major improvement over the alternative, obviously.  And he seems to be a lovable kid, based on everything that was done for him.  But you also don't want him to be a charity case.  That angle was damn near ignored by Lewis.  He did get his grades up, but his work ethic isn't exactly portrayed in the typical "pull myself up by the bootstraps" manner.

All told, the story raises more questions than it answers.  Did the generous white folks truly save his life from a class system that failed him?  Or was he merely exploited for his physical gifts?  What does Mike think about his situation?  Have his patrons really done the right thing?

Either way, it sounds like a really fascinating book.  If the rest of the book is like the article, I'll definitely be checking it out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Weirder and weirder    

So there's only one situation in which I'll make a joke about suicide.

And this is it.

Read this through, and check out the amazing and totally unrelated Parcells quote towards the end.

Ok, so the joke wasn't about suicide, but I find it fascinating and somewhat hilarious that they paired these two stories together. Forest for the trees, people.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wait, What? Basketball?!?    

Camp opens next week?  Oh boy!!!  Finally, I'll be able to hold something over Lehr!  It's a shame how neither of us cares too much about it, but hey, you take what you can get.

When we last left our heroes, I was less than thrilled that Danny Ainge chose Sebastian Telfair over Randy Foye and Brandon Roy.  However, after much reflection, I have decided that DA has accrued enough Postgame Spread "Benefit Of The Doubt" points over the last couple years to earn himself a break.  So I will stay positive about our point guard situation, which has a collective shooting percentage reminiscent of Doug Mirabelli's batting average, out of loyalty to DA.

Beyond that, they appear to have all of last year's problems.  Too much youth.  Not enough defense.  Few rebounders.  Doc Rivers.  Veal Scalabrine.  And the eternal question of which Paul Pierce will show up this season: the good one, or the evil one?  Having real point guards will help, but not enough.  They needed a grown-up.  They needed Sam Cassell, not Sebastian Telfair.

Regardless, the division is still a little light on talent, so I could see them contending for a playoff spot again.  But we all know Doc's gonna hold them back, so that's the end of that.  At least they'll be better than the Knicks.  Booyacka!

Punch Drunk Love    

Whoever gave the press access to Chad Johnson here needs to be seriously fired.
I was going to make a real joke about this, but even I have limits. This is more than a little scary.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Stretch    

The world of Philly sports has gotten more than a little exciting in the last couple weeks. The Eagles are looking like a top contender again, despite a 15 minute no-holds barred deep throat chug job against Manning III. And despite Javon Kearse's horrifying knee injury, this defensive line looks like maybe the best in the league right now. Travis Cole is awesome, by the way.

Oh, and there's the small matter that the Phillies are leading the wild card standings right now.


I've been avoiding extensive comment on this, cause I don't want to jinx it like a Cole Hamels no-hitter, but I can't resist anymore. A couple months ago, they traded away their second best hitter (Abreu), their most popular player (Big Sal), and began a public smear campaign of their fourth best hitter (Burrell). If they pull this off, and make the playoffs, you sort of have to upgrade the Abreu-Lidle-Fasano fiasco from "Worst! Deal! Ever!" status to... well, I don't know what actually. Since the deal, the Phillies are on a tear of historic proportions, and are in position to stick it in the faces of an entire nation that poo pooed their decision making and competitive guts. Either that, or tear their fans' hearts out and devour them while they gang rape their little sister in front of their very eyes. Seriously. This next week will play out either as Major League IV (Back in the Illy), or as a live-action city-wide Aristocrats joke. And I'm sitting on ground zero, and enjoying every second of it.

Like I said, Philly's WAY more fun when our teams are good, because the fans are as passionate, ignorant, crazy, creative, and violence-prone as any in the nation, and the higher the stakes, the bigger the impending explosion when the end times come. Will the explosion be of joy (skeet), or of Steven A's head? And which to root for?


The Patriots looked pretty crappy last night, huh?

Tatum Bell and the Denver O-line had their way with the Pats all night long.  While the Denver unit can run on anyone, the extent to which they ran on the Pats and their star-studded front seven is troubling.  Maybe Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau are too old to stop the run.  But it's not like there's any way to make the club better without the players themselves playing better.  The team's only option is to hope those guys remember that whole thing about tackling the guys on the other team when they're holding onto the ball and running towards them.  Instead of, you know, getting shoved out of the way by the fat guys every time.

Then again, what's the point of forcing a 3rd and long if the moron cornerbacks allow Jake The Snake to convert anyway?  Hideous pass defense on the two Walker touchdowns, and in general.  When did Willie Clay start coaching their DBs?  Based solely on last night, it looks like the trend of Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs failing to make any kind of contribution on defense, apart from treading water, has continued.  They do realize they can run in front of the ball and knock it away, right?  Hey, I wonder if Otis Smith is available...

The de facto bright spot.  But they had a rough game too.  I'm feeling somewhat forgiving towards them, because Denver has a pretty good run defense, and Corey Dillon got hurt.  And we know there's no problems, as a whole, with the run offense.  So I'm cool here.

With the exception of Ben Watson and Laurence Maroney, brutal.  Scrub my eyes with a Brillo.  They did get it together eventually, and looked pretty good in the no-huddle offense, so I've given them credit for that.  The deficiencies at WR are obvious, but that's not what bothered me the most.  What really infuriates me is that Hollywood Tom didn't play with the remotest sense of urgency until he was down 17-0.  Oh, how dreadfully boring it must be to play these regular season games.  What an imposition.  P'shaw, I say.  You remember back when you couldn't watch five seconds of a Pats game without hearing how the team really got behind Tom Brady, how he energized the team, etc.?  I thought it was 100% Grade A bullshit up until last night.  He looks bored, frustrated, and pissed, and his teammates followed suit.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F-----------
Atrocious.  Two blocked figgies in two weeks, and nothing happening in the return game that wasn't nullified by penalty.  In fact, the reason for so few minuses up there is that Denver was pinned, more than once, inside their own five by the punt team.  OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but this is an area in which the Patriots are supposed to never fail.  This is supposed to be a bread-and-butter area.  What the hell happened?  Does anybody remember that they only advanced to Super Bowl  XXXVI because their special teams bailed them out?  It's not like special teams guys get paid much, and that's the only factor I know of that should result in poor talent on this roster.

Not looking too good for the Patsies.  They're still head and shoulders above their division opponents, and will still grab a playoff spot without too much trouble.  With two jackhammer running backs and a solid O-line, they've got a chance to control more games than they probably should.  But given the hand they've been dealt at CB and WR, I don't see it going much further than the second round.  I mean, Denver has a glaring, interception-throwing, Honda Element-driving, easily-exploited deficiency, and the Pats did nothing to force him into mistakes.  If they can't force Jake Plummer into a mistake, I don't know what they expect to do against someone good.  But my fingers are still crossed... eternal optimism and all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You knew this was coming    


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh, those wacky NY GMs    

Isiah, meet Wang, Wang, Isiah.

This is so monumentally stupid that I really don't know where to begin. I'll just say that I'm glad I'm a Rangers fan (bleeeeeeeeech!).

So I'll avoid any serious analysis of the state of winter sports in NY, and make a modest proposal:

The owners and GMs of the Rangers, Knicks, and Islanders have it out in a no-holds barred tag team deathmatch. Once the match ends, all three teams are melded into one, which forms the basis for a combination WWF/American Gladiators league, with the winning owner/GM combo serving lifetime stints as joint Commisioners.

Where's Rob?    

Thanks, Improv Everywhere.

And I'd like to take a moment here to recognize last night's game against the Irwin-hataz, where Abreu hit 7 RBIs, and Gojira went 4-4. Moose didn't allow a run. I also hear tell that Sheffield may return by the end of the week. Rivera's still resting, and there's a mathematical chance we can clinch this weekend vs. the Sox.

In other words, life is GOOD.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Optimist Report, Sports 2k6 Edition    

Ok, there's a ridiculous amount of good vibes being sent my way lately from the sporting world, so I thought I'd take a moment to take stock of it all for my own savoring sake. And speaking of savoring sake, the #1 story is:

Gojira returns! (see what I did there? sake/sake? get it?)
I passed at the last moment on going to this game, which was up in Trenton, where $9 scores you front row box seats for a playoff game, and am pissed that I did. Would have gotten to see my man hit live pitching, and a GW RBI to boot. And oh yeah, Philip Hughes striking out 13 in 6 innings.

Anibal Sanchez' no-no. I've been enamored of this guy since early last year, when he was in low-A ball, striking out about 2 batters per inning, and looking ridiculous while doing so. He represents the first prospect I've followed ridiculously closely (checking box scores every week), and it feels great to see him succeed, and even better that it's not for the Sox. Now if only the Fish can win another World Series, then we can get him on the Yankees after their fire sale. Maybe trade PavaNO for him? :)

Bill Simmons, and King Kaufman, the only two sportswriters whose columns I read and enjoy regularly, have both picked the Iggles to make the playoffs. Awesome. One of my favorite aspects of being in Philadelphia is how obsessed with the Iggles this town is. With the death of Ice Hockey, it's become even more so. And it's just not as fun when they suck. Its WAAAAY more fun when they lose in the playoffs.

Fast Willie Parker is still fast (115 yards rushing last night), and Daunte Culpepper still sucks (2 INT, one returned for a TD while he watched). I root for the little guys, and Fast Willie is the littlest of guys.

Oh, and did I mention that Ryan Howard guy? He's pretty good too. Screw Pujols, give my man the MVP. I believe it would be the first time a rookie of the year won MVP the next year since McGwire. Anyone wanna check that for me?

All that, plus basketball season is still months away, and the draft is a distant memory, so I barely even think about the Knicks these days.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

You're Nothin!    

It's a testament to Fred Smoot that, two seasons after his departure from the sunny climes of Columbia, his ex-teammates still hand out the You're Nothin' Award.  Three hails to the Redskins for cementing The Smootmeister's place in history.

Ah, prospects    

A quick glance at the Beckett deal, in light of last night's no-no...

Anibal: 7-2, 2.89 ERA, 53 K, 39 BB, 1.19 WHIP, 87 IP, $N/A
Beckett: 14-10, 5.11 ERA, 138 K, 66 BB, 1.31 WHIP, 176 IP, $4,325,000

Hanley: 104 runs, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 44 SB, .283 AVG, .806 OPS, $327,000
Boston SS (Gonzalez and Cora): combined OPS .660, over $4,000,000.