Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Fall Classic

posted by MoneyMouth

With just a few games left in the regular season and October baseball just around the corner, I think it’s time to bust out my predictions for the fall classic.  And I’m going to do so without really even commenting on the NL.  “Why?” you ask?  Well, that’s easy.  The NL is full of a bunch of sorry, pathetic teams, that’s why.  No matter who goes to the World Series, the AL is going to win 4 games to 1.  With that very bold statement in place, let’s figure out which AL team is going to be crowned as the World Champs.

Our 4 teams heading into the playoffs for the American League are the Yankees, the Twins, the Tigers, and the Athletics.  And just to make things different, let’s take this team by team and deduce to our champion.  

A’s: No matter whom the A’s play in the first round (either the Tigers or the Twins), they are going to lose.  I don’t care how good Frank Thomas has been (and I said he would be all the way back in March), the A’s just don’t have the bats to compete in the playoffs.  Therefore, strike them off the list.  It’s just not going to happen.

Tigers:  This one is a little more complex.  With these guys jockeying for first in the central, I say this one is dependent on if they take the wildcard and subsequently face off against the Yankees in the first round.  If so, I have to say the odds are against them on this match up.  The Tigers have been a strong team but have underachieved since the all-star break.  Remember when people (and I use that loosely in order to make a point) were saying the Tigers will end up with over a 100 wins?  Well, they didn’t do it, and now they are simply trying to cling onto first place.  Good run Tigers, but you won’t be making the big dance either.

Yankees:  It’s always quite trendy to pick the Yankees.  Let’s face it: they are a good team.  With Sheffield back in the lineup, it starts to get scary.  But with Randy Johnson having some back problems, they still lack any kind of a consistent starting rotation.  They are as good as dead in the water.  They might make the ALCS, but they won’t emerge victorious, especially when A-Rod has a nervous breakdown after Yankee Stadium boos him for his first strikeout.  Sad, sad times.

Twins:  Well, that of course leaves those pesky Twins.  They have played too well down the stretch and are too good at home for this October to slip away from them.  A first round match up against the Yankees could prove difficult, but I have faith in the pitching staff of Minnesota that this won’t be a problem.  And don’t forget that this team will quite possibly be hoisting a Cy Young winner, the Batting Champ, and the MVP of the league.  Now that’s pretty good.  My money goes on these guys.

NL:  Okay, I couldn’t leave these guys out.  If the Phillies can make the playoffs, then they might have a chance to compete for the pennant.  Otherwise, I guess you just say the Mets can have it and hope Carlos Beltran shows up again like he did in ’04 so this doesn’t turn into another clean sweep like it’s been for the past 2 years.  As far as I’m concerned though, just flip a coin.  It’s not going to matter who you put out there.  And if you NL fans are upset about that statement, then try putting together a better All-Star team this next year.  If you’ve forgotten, the game counts, and you guys are doing a lousy job of acting like it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All I Have To Say About T.O.

posted by IntrinsicBent

Let me just say that I am not going to do some typical sports fan rant or callous take on today’s Terrell Owens circus of events.

Life is precious, and there’s a lot more at stake here than receptions, wins, rings, respect, or money. There needs to be concern in this case for basic humanity of man’s sake.

I don’t know what happened so I’m not gonna let some glib attempt at humor roll out of my pie hole at someone elses’ expense that may or may not be struggling with deep issues.

The only thing I am gonna say is that if I was a celebrity athlete, I would not want my publicist, whom I pay what I’m sure is a handsome fee, to represent me when I need professionalism and calm in the eye of the storm looking like she just rolled out of bed and in crumpled looking jeans give the press a sound bite that says, “He has 25 million reasons to stay alive.” In case you don't see this light, she's referring to the $25 Million that the Dallas Cowboys have him under contract for, as if money alone soothes all ills.

Wow, to me, that’s one of the most callous representations I have EVER seen laid down. Before I saw Kim Etheridge (T.O.’s publicist I’m referring to) do that, the most irresponsible representation of a professional athlete I’d ever seen was Drew Rosenhaus………………Terrell’s agent when he hosted that “No comment, Next question” press conference after the Philadelphia Eagles dismissed Owens last football season.

Get better Terrell. And when you do, get rid of those vulture employees that are circling you.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Just Let Ron Coomer Do His Job

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is a little bit late, but I’ve got one more note from my most recent Red Sox game. We had great seats, right behind the third base side camera well; compliments of one of my coworkers. The Minnesota Twins’ on-the-field television analyst Ron Coomer was stationed right in front of us.

A few notes from my experience sitting behind Coomer for the evening. First of all, the on-field man of a baseball telecast has got to be the easiest job in the history of sports television. This guy sat and watched the whole game, only two rows in front of me. He never even had to do an interview. The only difference between him and me was that he had an ear piece, and occasionally made some comments into a microphone. I couldn’t hear everything he said, but I’m pretty sure the comments I was making to my friends were more insightful than his.

At some point late in the game, a Twins fan next to me decided to try and chat it up with Coomer. As he yells “Ronnie,” Coomer kind of motions to his ear piece, as if to say, “I’m going to pretend to not hear you because of this thing.”

Of course, Twins fan doesn’t get the point, and keeps talking, forcing Coomer to take out his ear piece, only to hear the guy inform him that “You hit 20 homers when that actually meant something.” To which Coomer smiled, replaced his ear piece, and returned to watching the game.

For the record, Coomer’s career high in homers was 16, and he did it a year after Sosa and McGwire both passed Maris in the record books. Twins fan: just because a former player is sitting in front of you for three hours doesn’t mean you’ve got to pretend you’re a big fan or something. Just let Ron do his job . . . even if it is one of the easiest jobs in the world.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Milton Bradley Melts Down

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’m watching the Angels and A’s baseball game which is in the bottom of the 11th inning and tied 4-4.

Angel fans are holding onto the slightest sliver of hope that their club can limp into the playoffs. The Angels are 7 games out of 1st place in the AL West behind the Athletics, whose magic number is 4.

With one out, Milton Bradley steps to the plate and works the count to 3-2. The pitch comes and is slightly high and beautifully framed by Angels’ catcher Jose Molina. The Ump calls the strike and I see Bradley getting worked up.

I unconsciously react by saying, “uh-oh Milton Bradley’s got an anger problem”. This was a mistake because my wife and daughter who were with me didn’t look up from what they were doing and couldn’t have cared less. The dog looked up because I think she thought I said something about a bone, or I maybe thought I was injured.

Bradley starts yelling and going through his histrionics before he gets tossed. When he gets ejected from the game he tries to go into ballistic mode.

An unknown coach (to me) comes out of the dugout with A’s Manager Ken Macha not too far behind, and get between Bradley and the Ump. Bradley brushes aside the coach and then tries to do the same to Macha and knocks off his hat.

Macha grabs him bear hug style and picks him up like Welterweight UFC Champ Matt Hughes. And then carries him toward the dugout.

It quells the outburst and Macha releases him and never says a word or changes his expression.

It resembled a baseball kind of catch and release program.

Happy Birthday Tommy!

posted by IntrinsicBent

I believe the two greatest ambassadors of baseball alive today are Rex Hudler, and Tommy Lasorda.

After you listen to either of these guys passionately describe their experiences and their love for the game, you’ll have this uncontrollable urge to pull off the freeway and find the nearest batting cage. That is, if you’re listening to them in your car on the radio.

Today is Tommy’s 79th birthday, and he seems to get more fired up the older he gets.

Tommy’s day started with a truck pulling up in front of his home and a delivery person bringing him 79 Disney themed gift baskets.

Each basket had a letter attached from a close friend on what Tommy meant to them.

The whole event was orchestrated by Bobby Valentine who is in Japan managing baseball.

The Sports Frappe wishes you at least 79 more Tommy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Give It a Rest

posted by MoneyMouth

Michelle Wie needs to give it rest. As you can tell, I’m not going to dance around the subject on this one. It’s time for Wie to stop trying to play with the men and focus on the fact that she still isn’t that great of a golfer.

Let me clarify that last statement. Even though she isn’t that great of a golfer, she’s still a pretty darn good one. The last time I shot a 14 over on a course was on the intermediate course at the put-put in Anaheim, CA. Wie was able to throw down a 14 over par performance last week at an extremely long course. The only problem is I don’t remember the last time a 14 over par ever qualified a golfer for the cut.

Still, Michelle Wie has insisted on playing in PGA events even though her last two appearances ended in a dead last finish. These last place finishes fall right in line with her track record: in all her other PGA events she has missed the cut completely as well. And let’s not forget that Wie hasn’t even shown that she can beat the ladies either. You got it. Wie is still without an LPGA victory! So what makes her think (or the people that are handing her sponsor exemptions) that she can compete with the men?

I say that as long as Wie goes winless playing on the ladies’ tees, then she might as well forget about even setting foot in the parking lot of a men’s event. Otherwise I’m going to have to continue to endure watching Wie choke on 5 foot puts every Thursday that ESPN insists on following her instead of airing PTI, and quite frankly, I enjoy hearing Tony Kornheiser talk about his fantasy team more than that.

Bird Turf

posted by IntrinsicBent

I noticed this once before this season. The problem is it was during the game where the Toronto Blue Jays Manager went Rocky Balboa on his pitcher so I had forgotten about it.

Have you noticed how hideous the turf looks in Toronto’s Carpeteria? Seriously, it’s horrible. It jumped out at me again tonight while watching the highlight of Johnny Damon crashing while making a wonder catch.

Even on TV you can see the patchwork of indoor turf. The really bizarre thing is that the “dirt” areas in the foul territory are also obvious patchworks of tannish brown carpet samples.

I’d like to see the size of the Hoover they use to clean up with after the game.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sports Frappe Debate Club - NFL Versus College Football

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Hello, Knowledge Droppings back again.

I have a great topic for the geniuses to debate today.

Football is in full bloom.  What do you think represents the best brand of football:  College or NFL?

BiCoastal Bias: This is an absolutely brilliant topic by Knowledge Droppings, because he knows that whoever takes a side on this question will inevitably look like a fool.  

But what the heck, I’ve never been one to back down from a quarrel involving typed words sent out over the internet.  

At the risk of being drug out and stoned by all the old schoolers who are reading this, the NFL represents the best brand of football.  The athleticism in the NFL is unmatched, not only by the NCAA, but by any sport around the world.  These guys are humongous creatures from a different planet, and yet they are still quicker than Intrinsic Bent when our Frappe meeting is down to the last donut.  

One of my favorite things about watching college football is the option – but there is a reason you don’t see it run in the NFL.  Professional defenses are just too complete and too athletic.  There isn’t a college quarterback anywhere who can make his college playbook work in the pros.  Sometimes it might not be as entertaining to watch, but everyone’s game gets pushed up a notch when we’re comparing what works in college, and what works in the pros.

The only subject I can even think of that would give my opponents an edge is the overtime rules.  It’s true, the NFL sudden death overtime format is weak, and the college rules are much more preferable.  I mean, if a sport like soccer has the decency to play out the full 15 minute overtime quarter, I don’t know why the NFL can’t.  

But other than that, NFL wins hands down.

IntrinsicBent: How can you vote against kids playing a sport that they love?

It’s still a competitive contest, a test of strength, strategy, and execution.  It’s still a game.

Before that game is sullied by money and grandstanding where individualism reigns over team, there is College Football.

Your vote for pro football is a vote against tradition, history, and frankly, the American way.

For many campuses, football is the central bonding activity that builds school spirit and pride.

The majority of college football athletes will never see the big show for the reasons you mention, and the few number of pro positions that are available.

College football athletes still have stars and fire in their eyes.  Going to war for the logo on their helmet, their classmates, their coach, and their teammate standing next to them.  

Adrenaline still flows in response to the fiery motivational speech before the game and at the half.

All players are equals, going to the same house, with the same size rooms after the game.

And where but College Football do you find the creativity in plays, albeit much more simple than at the pro level, but that is what this whole take of mine is about.

College Football represents the good old days for each of us.  And we can tap into it again.  This Saturday.

Red Sox, Twins, and Rain

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I endured a nine inning game between the Sox and the Twins tonight, six of which took place during heavy rain fall. This one was a typical late season match up between one team fading, and one team flourishing. The biggest highlight of my night took was watching my fantasy first baseman go 5 for 5 with 3 doubles. (Oops, did I just pull a Kornheiser?)

The second biggest highlight was hanging out with Peter Gammons during the pre-game festivities. And by hanging out . . . I mean I passed him in the aisle a total of three times while going to and from my seat from purchasing a Fenway Frank. We didn’t speak, but I could tell by the nod he gave me that we have a mutual respect, he being a baseball journalist and me being a hack blogger. Peter, when you read this, I want you to know how great it is to have you back in the baseball landscape.

Last week I read a report by economists John Kwoka and Kamen Madjarov, giving a statistical argument that Boston has the most loyal fans in all of baseball. Their data was actually somewhat convincing. Without giving the details, the only critique I have is that I think the way their results were concluded gave an advantage to teams with small parks, Fenway and Wrigley being the best examples.

Nonetheless, I saw more proof of their claim tonight. Most of the crowds sat through consistent rainfall, to watch the home team with no chance at the playoffs lose a game they trailed by no less than 3 runs from the second inning on. Granted, the stadium lacked the buzz I’ve grown accustomed to in Boston, but they still got on their feet for Varitek’s pinch hit appearance in the eighth.

I did see one thing that I thought was impossible – Big Papi struck out to end the ninth. Has this ever happened before? I’ve got Knowledge Droppings checking all of the old boxscores, but I was under the impression that Ortiz is Superman any time his team is playing from behind past the seventh inning. Do you think the rain had anything to do with it – like maybe water is Big Papi’s kryptonite? If that’s the case, I’m not sure how to explain the fact that he spits on his hands before each pitch . . .

The Best Baseball Game I've Seen This Season

posted by IntrinsicBent

A quick backdrop:

After tonight’s football game I switched channels to the only live sports still going on in SoCal, while I busted out amazing content for your favorite sports blog. This game featured the San Diego Padres versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

This game is rife with implications. First, this is a fierce rivalry. This matchup is to Padres’ fans what a game against the Giants is to the Dodgers’ Fans.

Second, this matchup would decide who is atop the NL West.

Third, this game also affects a paperthin NL wildcard chase.

I picked it up in the 7th inning and there was a lot of offense going on in the background while I reduced my genius posts to writing.

The bottom of the 9th had the Padres up by 4 runs Padres 9 Dodgers 5.

Trevor Hoffman, who is only a few saves away from taking over the title of saving the most games ever from former closer Lee Smith, is warming up for the bottom of the 9th until the Padres get another run in the top making it a non save situation. Hoffman then sits down. Padres Manager Bruce Bochy and hindsight would both like to have that one back.

The top of the 9th has Jeff Kent leading off and Dodgers’ fans streaming out of the park like ants on the way to a picnic basket. Kent knocks a dinger out of the yard off of reliever Jon Adkins. Padres 9 Dodgers 6. Too little too late. Right?

The next batter up is outfielder J.D. Drew. You guessed it, he goes yard as well. Padres 9 Dodgers 7. Cut to the exits to see the bailers reentering the ballpark. This is getting interesting. No outs.

Padres go oops, better bring in Mr. Nails, Trevor Hoffman, to close this thing out.

Rookie Russell Martin steps in against the seasoned closer and knocks one out on the first pitch. Padres 9 Dodgers 8. Whew! We still have Trevor on the mound though, thinks your average Padres’ fan. With no outs though, hopes your average Dodgers’ fan.

Marlon Anderson steps in and like déjà vu all over again, knocks the first ball out of the park. Is this possible? Padres 9 Dodgers 9.

The Padres close out the 9th with no further scoring from their roach like opponents.

The Pads then score in the top of the 10th to make it 10-9 before their opponents return to the plate in the bottom of the 10th.

The new Padre pitcher walks Of and speedster Kenny Lofton. Nomar Garciaparra comes to the plate even though he has a bad quad. Nomar knocks a walkoff homerun over the fence giving the Dodgers an 11-10 victory and a return to 1st place in the NL West.

Shades of Kirk Gibson. Seriously……it had that feel. The circumstances were not as momentous, but they were as close as they could have been to that never to be repeated feat.

Nomar was close to tears during the immediate post game interview. There was a buzz you could feel in my family room coming from the TV.

Steve Lyons broke the euphoria for me by uttering that it was the best comeback ever. C’mon dude. That’s like someone winning the Million dollars on Deal Or No Deal and then someone piping up with, “Yeah, but they’ll only take home $400,000 after taxes."

I’m pretty sure that the Game 4 come from behind victory by the Red Sox in the 2004 Red Sox/Yankees playoff matchup ranks higher than tonight’s baseball fun fest.

Thanks Sports Frappe for your insanely demanding deadlines which allowed me to be in the right place at the right time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Zebras Are Evil Animals

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’m sure I beat SubversiveTheory to the draw in posting this.

You Frappers all know I’m a Sooners honk, so that’s an automatic disclaimer. It’s taken me two days to even be able to type about the scalping that the PAC 10 officials did to Oklahoma over the weekend.

I’m not saying that this is solely responsible for Oklahoma not making it into the National Championship. Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn being too lazy to work started that ball rolling. This merely puts the proverbial nail in the coffin and probably schedules OU Coach Bob Stoops to act more like Dr. Phil this week than Bud Wilkinson.

How bad does a confirmed blunder where the conference commissioner punishes the whole officiating crew (albeit a light punishment if you ask me) suck the life out of a college football team?

Usually I’m one of those “the refs are only human” and “there should always be a human element in the game” guys. In this case though I agree with OU President David Boren that one game is not enough. And I’m sure he appreciates my support.

Should the outcome of a game be able to be changed after it is played? It’s a slippery slope at minimum. This debacle merits a look at what alternatives should be in place. The game was decided by a point in overtime against the Oregon Ducks, so you can very easily state that the two admitted blown calls cost the crimson and cream the game. No argument.

You probably can’t imagine how powerful OU football is in the State of Oklahoma. Think Friday Night Lights on steroids. Back in the USFL days, OU ran their Oklahoma franchise out of State. It truly is the State’s version of a professional sports team. Apologies NO/OKC Hornets fans.

So much for instant replay ensuring the college game’s integrity.

Tracking Tony Kornheiser's Fantasy Sports Team

posted by IntrinsicBent

Last week, I commented on ESPN’s Monday Night Football B Team announcing team.  Tonight, I was given a topic on a silver platter by Disney’s Monday Night Football A Team during the second week matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

I tuned into tonight’s game in the 3rd quarter and as I was pulling dinner I heard Tony Kornheiser, ESPN’s version of Dennis Miller with a bit more sports cred, identify and cheer for players that were on his fantasy team.

Note that I said players. Plural. He commented more than once.

Tony, I’d like to be gentle with this, but we really don’t care.  Any respectable sports dude has fantasy players playing on any given NFL game.  We all pick games.  I have been known to announce to my son anytime one of my fantasy players or teams accomplish something that scores me points.  But honestly, that’s just to get on his nerves.

I found out tonight that it really works well (getting on nerves), ‘cuz the sound of some dude that should sound like he’s been there before tying up my TV audio cheering his fantasy players was mui irritating.

It couldn’t have been on a cue card either, because it didn’t have a tag after it where Kornheiser followed up with something to the effect of, “and I play fantasy sports on”.

I understand that Kornheiser is supposed to be the loose cannon that you never know what will roll out of his pie hole.  But since it’s TV, we have to listen to his weak ramblings and then have the additional burden of looking at him also.  Let me admit that I’m fortunate my success is not based on my looks, but I also did not choose television as a vocation.  I’ve got a face made for the internet ie, it’s very Photoshoppable.  Plus Frappers, you all know you were thinking it.

Deep in the 4th quarter Kornheiser then invoked the name of Howard Cosell.  What’s the significance of that?  I really can’t tell you because I have no clue what it means, or is supposed to mean.  Uh, maybe he just wants us to know he’s been watching tape of Cosell.  I am clueless for the first time since you’ve known me my little Frappers.

This fantasy homerism did not spoil the game with the Jags blanking the Steelers 9-0.  It just tempts me to turn down the TV sound and turn on anything else short of Pavarotti.

By the way, I have Byron Leftwich on my fantasy team.

And I picked the Jags to win.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sports Frappe Debate Club

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Knowledge Droppings: Who’s going to the Super Bowl this year?

BiCoastal Bias: I’m taking the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots. I know, these picks are not as sexy as the Carolina Panthers. In fact, these picks are kind of boring because these are two teams that severely underachieved last year.

Chicago looks to be at least as strong as they were last season, and the only thing that stopped them then was a wide out named Steve Smith. Perhaps they’ve learned their lesson. Meanwhile, Carolina has shown in week one that they’re lucky to if they score a field goal without Smith on the field; and Seattle is probably not good enough to do the impossible task of a repeat trip.

My New England pick will require much defense, I anticipate. Most will say that the Patriots haven’t gotten any better from last year, especially now that they’ve traded Branch. I disagree. Multiple offensive linemen have returned from injury, and they’ve added Laurence Maroney to their running game. The impact has been immediately felt, as the Pats racked up the rushing yards Sunday against a very fast Bills defense. If they can continue to run the ball like that, the lack of a go to receiver will be felt less and less.

Elsewhere in the AFC, top dogs like Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have only gotten worse, Cincinnati still has a lot of question marks, while San Diego could be a legitimate contender out of the West.

When it comes down to it, my money just has to sit with Bill Belichick. I’ve said it before, the guy is genius, and his teams are unflappable. For instance, the very first play from scrimmage last weekend involved Brady getting nailed by the blitz and the Bills grabbing a defensive touchdown. What did Belichick do to start the next series? He ran a screen pass for an easy 20 yards, of course. Not only did the Pats look unshaken by the terrible start, they used Buffalo’s aggressiveness to their own advantage.

Money Mouth: First off, thanks to Knowledge Droppings for simply doing his job and sparing us with his trivial updates on “the life of an intern.” So, to the point: I’ll take the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now I lost most of you with the Baltimore Ravens (maybe even myself), but let’s take a quick look at it. First off, it wasn’t that long ago that Jamal Lewis was tearing up the field, and it appears that the man is back. And with the addition of Steve McNair, I think that the Ravens have a shot. Granted, I too believe that shot might be a long shot, but it’s still a shot, and I’m willing to call it. The Ravens will definitely be up against a tough division with the Steelers and the Bengals, but with the dominating defense that they showed against Tampa Bay, I’m saying this early showing is the real deal.

As for the Eagles, they are still a quality team even without T.O. As long as Westbrook and McNabb stay healthy, I don’t think the Eagles will have much competition over there in the NFC East. They will coast into a bye-week situation and on into the Bowl. I think the team speaks for itself, so I won’t bore you with the rest.

As for game itself, Eagles take it giving McNabb his first Championship. Then he’ll wow us all as he gives the proverbial birdie to T.O. from the podium.

The AFC East will result with New England rising to the top. By default. Look who else is there. Jets, Dolphins, Bills. And I love the way that after one week of football, talking head prognosticators and fans alike are declaring some teams as “back”. Please. Relax New Yorkers, your QB will crumble at or around game 4. I can at least get with the fans because they’re being fans.

The AFC North will result with Cincinnati being on top. This is actually a tough decision. The Steelers will be brought down to earth and realize they cannot catch lightning in a bottle twice. Even if Big Ben is on the field.

Indianapolis will rule the AFC South and then do their fade act, just when you think they’re the modern day ’72 Dolphins.

San Diego will be the crown jewel of the AFC West, with a possibility of Denver or KC making it interesting during the regular season. Chargers’ coach Marty Schottenheimer will still stumble in the post season and probably cost himself the Head Coaching job.

The NFC East will see the NY Giants look more like the team they are on paper and take their division.

The NFC North will give the trophy to Minnesota. Except for Green Bay, this is also a division to keep an eye on this season. I don’t have the confidence that Chicago will be able to keep their QB or their team together for the duration of the season and playoffs.

Many will view the NFC South as Atlanta’s to lose, but doesn’t it seem that the league has bridged the gap on how to contain Michael Vick, or at least not let the other skill positions around him hurt them? I believe New Orleans will rock this division. More because of QB Drew Brees, than rookie RB Reggie Bush. Tampa Bay will make it interesting because the coach is a grinder, and the team wants to prove their last Superbowl win was not a fluke.

NFC West will see Arizona ride Edgerrin James into the division championship. Controversial, huh? Just don’t expect Seattle to make a run similar to last season. The Rams aren’t there yet, and San Francisco is the whipping boy for the league. Well, next to Houston.

I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of the NFL’s wild card and playoff season this early in the young season. Injuries, execution, and how quickly organizations can assimilate new player assets will remain the key factors of success in today’s NFL.

Keeping in mind the last paragraph, I believe the Superbowl will feature the Cincinnati Bengals versus the Minnesota Vikings, with the Vikings finally breaking out of the Superbowl loser tag and finding themselves champions of the NFL.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ahnuld The Politician

posted by IntrinsicBent

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the real deal. I’m not talking about action movie acting, body building, or any other art or entertainment schmeg that you can read about on MoneyMouth’s new blog.

I’m talking about his game in being a side stepping, vague talking politico.

In tonight’s second game of the Monday Night Football double header between the Chargers and the Raiders, MNF’s B team welcomed Arnold into the broadcaster’s booth for a discussion.

I started salivating like Pavlov’s dog. And Arnold didn’t disappoint.

Right after a MNF action type promo featuring Arnold, he was asked by the crew of Ron Jaworski, Dick Vermeil, and some dude I still don’t know who he is, what he thought of the game.

In perfect politicianese (a step up from his Austrian laden English) Arnie goes on this canned spiel about how tonight’s game showed that the Oakland Raiders were brilliant because Art Shell was back.

The only problem was that there 12:49 left on the clock in the 3rd quarter and everyone already knew Mr. Momentum was all on the San Diego side even though the score was only 13 – 0 at the time. The Chargers went on to shutout the Raiders who looked like the proverbial 98 pound weakling in their season opener.

Arnie either 1) hadn’t been watching the game, 2) doesn’t know much about NFL football, or my bet 3) both.

It doesn’t matter ‘cuz if you’re a dude of the scratch and spit variety you love Arnie. Whether it’s due to his rags to riches story, his rough and tumble roles, or the hilarity of Arnie being and sounding like Arnie, he’s one of your favorites. Even if you don’t ever admit it to anyone.

The guy is the Governator of the State with the largest population and third largest geographic area according to Wikipedia.

Plus I give Arnold a pass because he tickled my ears with the fact that he didn’t think Southern California was due just one football team but two. With one calling Anaheim home. Hurry up and get that one done Arnie because the election is right around the corner.

When the dude whose name I don’t know asked if Arnie would take one of the teams playing moving into one of those roles, he said he wanted new ones. That’s very manly. And correct thinking too.

When No Name from the B Team commentator club asked what Arnold thought about steroid use in pro sports since he had used them back in the day, Arnold responded with a bunch of air and fluff before saying something about wanting to watch the world’s best athletes, football players.

Detective John Kimble is a smooth dude. And he’s governing in Kahleefornya.

Too Much Monster?

posted by IntrinsicBent

Seriously, did you see how amped up Brad Johnson was in tonight’s Monday Night Football opener between Johnson’s Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins?

Brad, us older dudes have to pace ourselves and not get too worked up.  It’s bad for the ticker.

You have to love Johnson though.  He’s an old skool no nonsense Quarterback taking advantage of every opportunity he can get before his NFL career hourglass drops it’s last grain of sand.

The guy has a Superbowl ring which is more than many Hall of Famer QB’s can say.

Who wouldn’t get jazzed to play in the inaugural 2006 Monday Night Football game against the team that left you for dead?

I’ve seen bulls in Pamplona with drunk tourists in their sights with less focus and fire than Johnson had.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Epic Game For The Ages

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’ll admit that headline was just to get you to read this.

But the season opener Sunday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants was a beaut.

You have the brother versus brother story line, the gazelle like running of Tiki Barber, early season mistakes, a lot of offense from each side, some poor officiating, periodic shots of Mr. and Mrs. Manning looking miserable because they won’t root outright for either team, and a touching brother post game conference at midfield.

My second favorite event of the evening was the home movie shown of little 3 year old Peyton Manning in full football gear in someone’s yard. He’s there with two older boys, and when one of them tries to tackle him by pulling on his neck area, he objects in a whiny, almost crying fashion. It was awesome.

My favorite moment of the evening was in the last quarter when momentum seemed to be with the Giants and they pan to the Giant’s sidelines and Head Coach Tom Coughlin is waving his arms “Angels In The Outfield” style, wanting to get the crowd to raise the noise level during the Colts possession.

Players do this all the time to pump up the crowd but I’ve never seen a coach do it. You have to give it to Coughlin. He’s old skool and knows how to get a team into contention. Problem is he has about a 5 year shelf life before the millionaires he coaches stop listening to him.

Get crackin’ Tommy, the clock is ticking and you have 3 years left.

A Full Weekend

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s actually possible that I watched a little too much sports this weekend. Let me see if I can recount it all. There was Saturday’s Ohio State vs. Texas game, along with a smattering of other college football games; Saturday and Sunday featured the U.S. Open Tennis Championships for both men and women; and on Sunday afternoon I watched all three NFL games broadcast in my region. Somehow, I also had time to catch a D3 college soccer game in person Saturday afternoon, but that feels like ages ago.

A few notes about the weekend:

  • I normally don’t like watching Roger Federer dominate the entire men’s tennis field, but there is something so satisfying about watching him dismantle Andy Roddick. Today’s championship match started up so competitively, with the two splitting the first two sets. The third set was the most exciting, with Roddick playing the crowd, reacting emotionally to each point. Federer broke Roddick’s last serve in the third set to take it, and Roddick withered away during the fourth, basically handing the end of the match to R-Fed. Roddick is so obviously over-emotional to his own detriment, and Federer is the exact obvious.
  • I got a pretty suspicious glance from my girlfriend when I asked my roommate to switch over to Sharapova’s match in the middle of the Ohio State game. This is why women’s sports will never have as much popularity as men’s; because anytime a man roots for a woman, it’s assumed he’s more interested in her looks than her athletic ability. Seriously, Sharapova is my favorite tennis player because I like her style . . . and none of you believe me.
  • Why is no one picking the Patriots as their Super Bowl fave? Bill Belichick is still a genius. On the first play from scrimmage, Brady gets nailed by a blitz for a Buffalo defensive touchdown. So what does he do on the next series? Throw a screen pass to Dillon for a 16 yard gain. This team is unshakeable. I’ll get back to this in a future blog.
  • If Carolina is going to be a legitimate contender, they have to be able to score without Steve Smith in the game.

I’m dreading tomorrow’s Monday night double header. You’re shocked? I know this might surprise you, but the BiCoastal Bias actually has a day job. So while you’re killing time at work trolling blogs, I’m writing them. It’s all for you, reader, so keep reading.

The Tuna Versus Terrell

posted by IntrinsicBent

That’s what the media has been trying to convince us of since Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones picked up the Pied Piper of Issues otherwise known as Terrell Owens for three years and $25 million.

I was as guilty of getting taken in as the next dude. Sitting in the ESPN Zone with my family for lunch and trying to wrap my small Oklahoma mind around 4 games at the same time, I made sure I was watching the first Cowboy possession in their first regular season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After the first play which was a successful short pass to T.O. by Cowboy quarterback Drew Bledsoe, I realized I had been had. To quote Malcolm X,“Ya been took! Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!” There was no way Parcells was going to ignore his talented receiver

This was not perpetrated by the media even though they wanted that credit bad. It was not Jerry Jones. It wasn’t even T.O.
It was the old Jedi Master Bill Parcells. He played us all like fiddles. You got the impression he was never down with the acquisition of his new receiver because he refused to comment on it. He challenged T.O.’s manhood by never speaking of him by name and alluding that he didn’t know what he had because he had not seen him in preseason due to injury. He also spent plenty of time praising the talent of T.O’s counterpart on the other end of the line Terry Glenn.

Maybe the biggest punk job was on the Jaguars as that first successful pass play was made against only single coverage. The Jags got the last laugh by overcoming an early 10 point deficit and winning the game.

Parcell’s mind would be used best by figuring out how to quickly get Bledsoe replaced by preseason phenom QB Tony Romo. Maybe he’ll let Terrell take care of that since Bledsoe didn’t pass the ball with enough T.O. play frequency. It would be perfect T.O. timing to pile on his QB while Bledsoe licks his fresh wounds after tossing 3 interceptions.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sports Fan To The Nth Degree

posted by IntrinsicBent

Being constantly immersed in sports all the time like we are here at the Sports Frappe can break you down.

I read, see, and hear stuff that I try to put out of my mind so it doesn’t get the better of me.

Then there are other times where similar themed things pile up until we have to write out our feelings or we’ll explode.

Cathartic for us equals a benefit for you. Not to go Biologist on you, but that’s known as a symbiotic relationship……and we’re the host.

So this particular topic started when I heard of a lady that was embroiled in controversy because she was selling baby bibs on Ebay that had “Damon Sucks” printed on them. I believe Ebay yanked her bib listings, but I’m sure overall it was good for bib sales.

And yes……………she was a Red Sox fan.

Not too long after that instance, I heard of a casket company in England that offered custom coffins complete with the logo of your favorite English soccer (football) team (scroll down after clicking on link).

I’m a big sports fan, but c’mon y’all.

The innocence that is naturally present in a baby, should never be sullied by any article of clothing that calls out anyone or anything for sucking. Period. It reminds me of a young black clad Mother I saw recently who was feeding her baby that was wearing a Cramps bib.

Yeah, I know Frappers……………………………I’m just old and out of touch with cool. You know better than that.

The coffin example is also a step beyond. There are many other issues you need to have lined up before going into the ground. Having your team’s sports logo go with you doesn’t seem like it makes the list.

I started thinking about these two examples and began saying……..Red Sox, soccer,…………………Red Sox, soccer…….over and over. You don’t think………..Naw, couldn’t be. These couldn’t be the same fans…………..could they?

I think this picture (a little graphic) says it all.

Best of luck in the next World Cup, Sox fans.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Anibal Sanchez - Carry Us Forward

posted by BiCoastal Bias

By now you know that Anibal Sanchez tossed a no-hitter last night, ending an over 2 year span since Major League Baseball's last no-hitter, the longest such drought in history. I had never heard of Sanchez before yesterday, but he seems to represent a major stepping stone in baseball.

Just for starters, he represents the third Florida Marlins makeover in their less than two decades of existence. I was shocked to find out that he came over in the Josh Beckett trade. Florida clearly has an eye for talent unlike any other ballclub.

But more importantly, Sanchez represents a new leaf for baseball. I do not think it is a coincidence that the longest no-hitter drought in history coincided with baseball's drug policy. We know that pitchers were juicing prior to the start of drug testing; and a feat that takes such stamina and domination as a no-hit shutout would be greatly aided by performance enhancers. Assuming that pitchers stopped juicing at the beginning of the 2005 season, it makes sense that we had an entire season without a no-no. I won't go too far into the details, that's a post for Subversive Theory.

What Sanchez represented last night was a new wave. Every rookie that enters the big leagues with a flash of brilliance represents a generation of players without question marks next to their statistics. The minor leagues have been tested for steroids for quite some time, so we can be much more comfortable that this wave of players is used to performing drug free. And thus we rejoice in Sanchez, Ryan Howard, Justin Verlander, and others who prove to us that our sport will move forward.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bringing Down Charlie Brown

posted by IntrinsicBent

It was just a matter a time until the whole steroid and baseball cocktail took down one of my childhood heroes.

I read this court transcript exposing Charlie Brown as another in an increasingly long line of juicing baseball players with shock. Where will this epidemic stop?

It seems that in order to get that one win, CB bowed to the lure of the shortcut that steroids and it’s vile relatives have to offer.

Worse yet, he rolls over on the rest of the gang ala Rafael Palmeiro with little prompting.

This admission of steroids use explains Mr. Brown’s hearing disorder that distorts sound and is widely known as “Roid Ear”.

It doesn’t really surprise this reporter that these illicit controlled substances originated from that hippie bird Woodstock. Nor is it a surprise that Peppermint Patty juiced like a fiend. That dude could hit balls a country mile.

In a Sports Frappe exclusive, we were able to secure a picture of the wild dance party that is documented in the transcript.

Where will this madness end? Did Bingo Long, or Casey At Bat also cheat?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fat is Back

posted by MoneyMouth

Now that Ryan Howard is blasting rockets into the stands like he has his own SETI program everyone wants to start asking the inevitable question: if Howard hits 62, should we consider him the legitimate homerun king?

The problem with this question is the same problem that Roger Maris dealt with back in ’61. Suddenly, faced with an extended season and a possible threat to the homerun record, baseball wanted to ask if he should be considered the legitimate homerun king if he surpassed Babe Ruth.

The only difference is that this time around we’d be taking it away from a few guys that have actually surpassed Roger Maris instead of the taking it from the guy who actually set the new record. But with the new shroud of alleged steroid use for McGuire and Sosa and the actual steroid use by Bonds (don’t forget, the cream and the clear really are steroids) it seems like a nice option. We might be able to finally, sort of, kinda crown a new homerun king and hail the new savior of baseball.

My only problem with this question is what happens in 10 years when we find that Howard was eating a strange diet of crampbark, cleaver, and couchgrass that apparently gives you superhuman strength while not compromising your spare-tire like figure? In the end we’ll simply have to return to the age old debate of who the real king is.

These debates are hostile toward the game of baseball. They distract us from the real problems with the game. Instead of asking the question “How can we remove the ugly marks in the history of the game?” we should be worrying about how to prevent these ugly marks in the future, like what do we do about HGH and how to get Barry Bonds to retire before he taints baseball forever with 756.

Personally, I think we should simply be cheering Howard for showing us that fat is back.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Agassi vs. Baghdatis

posted by MoneyMouth

While I am far from a tennis fan, Money Mouth knows when to give due where due is due, or something like that.  Tonight I decided to interrupt my home viewing of The Big Lebowski with Andre Agassi’s match against Marcos Baghdatis.  Some of you are giving your computer screens a puzzled look right now, but that’s because you’ve been closed off to the world for the past few weeks prepping for your fantasy football draft.  Seriously, take a break.  Your self-centered nature has caused you to miss out on the fact that Agassi will be retiring after this U.S. Open.

Back to the point: with every match potentially being Agassi’s last, it’s not surprising that everyone in the stadium and across the United States short of Baghdatis himself and his coach are rooting for Agassi to go out on top.  So I placed “the Dude” on pause and devoted my attention to the final set of this incredible match (like I said, I’m not a huge tennis fan so one set is enough for me).  And as it looked like Baghdatis had the upper hand, little did he know he was about to enter into a world of pain.

In the real world, Agassi (36 years old) would seem to be the likely candidate to break down physically before Baghdatis (21 years old) in a 3 hour plus match.  But when Baghdatis pulled up with a bad quad cramp in the final points of the match, you knew the advantage was swing to the veteran and we were getting that rare glimpse into the bizarre-o world.  After a hard fought deuce that went back and forth for what seemed to be an hour (it was my suspicion that Agassi was simply trying to wear down the injured Baghdatis), Agassi won the point and marched onto victory.

No description of this match will give it justice, so I’ll spare you the rest of the details.  In the end, all you need to know is Agassi will be moving onto the next round and he certainly has an opportunity to continue on with this fairytale ending to his career.  In the meantime, I have a movie to finish.