Friday, December 15, 2006

NFL Blitz, Closer to Real Life Than We Ever Could Have Imagined

Way back in 1997, a game by the name of "NFL Blitz" made its debut, and uberviolent football fans everywhere rejoiced. This was not John Madden's type of football. No sir, this game encouraged late hits, excessive celebrations and general carnage. They even marginalized the kicking game by making punts and extra points automatic, though that might be an improvement if you're say, Bill Parcells.

The game continued to be produced in yearly installments until '04(because Blitz Pro failed miserably in '03), and then in '05 the greedy EA execs bought every single piece of NFL licensing(ensuring Madden mediocrity for years to come...yeah!)

Midway however, refused to be deterred by the NFL buyout and released "NLF Blitz: The League" in 2005. Obviously, the team and player names were fake, but we all knew who "Mike Mexico" was supposed to be. They even collaborated with one of the writers from ESPN's NFL drama "Playmakers", and we all know how much the NFL loved that show(Ironically, Willie Anderson, a Cincinnati Bengal, had this to say about that show, "I'm glad they canceled it. It's one of those false interpretations people get about the NFL and the players. If the NFL's serious about our image and the image that we portray, canceling it is a good thing." Haha, false interpretations? Riiight.)

Anyway, Midway released "Blitz: The League" in '05 and used Lawrence Taylor for the cover and a character voice. That should give you an idea of what the producers were aiming for. With the popularity of the PSP and XBox 360 they've re-released the game with the addition of Bill Romanowski(yes, the original Romo) and just in time for Christmas.

So now, for '06 we've got a football game with two of the NFL's more questionable characters on the cover. One that encourages crazy celebrations, and violent tackles. With the way this NFL season has gone though, it's probably closer to real life than Madden could ever hope to be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Evel Knievel Sues Kanye West

Apparently, Evel Knievel isn't too thrilled with Kanye's depiction of him in his music video for "Touch the Sky". In one scene of the video, West re-enacts Knievel's failed rocket-powered motorcycle jump over the Snake River Canyon. However, Knievel believes that "the video that Kanye West put out is the most worthless piece of crap I've ever seen in my life, and he uses my image to catapult himself on the public".

Knievel also said, "the guy just went too far using me to promote his filth to the world. I'm not in any way that kind of a person".

I shoulda won! My video has Pamela Anderson and canyons and shit!

Regardless of whether you think Evel has become a crotchety old man or not, at least he never crashed any award shows claiming that he was robbed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Possible Fallout From The Pat Tillman Tribute Glitch?

Almost two weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals unveiled their tribute to Pat Tillman, and attempted to play audio and video on the giant screens inside the stadium honoring his life. Unfortunately, the audio part of the tribute did not play correctly, and many fans were "angered at the perceived disrespect shown to a football player many of them had followed for years". The Cardinals issued an apology a few days later saying:

"During the Ring of Honor ceremony for Pat Tillman at halftime of Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, the tribute that ran on the stadium’s scoreboard did not operate properly and we sincerely apologize for that. While the technical reasons for those audio problems have been addressed, the bottom line is that we dropped the ball. Our intent was to provide a very special tribute to Pat and in the end we did not do that. We regret that very much."

Currently, there's an advertisement for a Video/Scoreboard Engineer position with the Arizona Cardinals. The responsibilities include: "the operation, installation, design and maintenance of all production systems throughout the University of Phoenix Stadium building including all control room equipment, RF transmission equipment, television, sound, communications, closed captioning and signal distribution systems. The Engineers must also be able to meet the requirements of the broadcasters that interface with video/audio systems."

Makes you wonder if the "technical reasons" were mostly human related.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Floyd Landis, Victim of "Administrative Error"?

Obviously, one of the biggest stories of the Summer of '06 was relative unknown American cyclist, Floyd Landis, winning the Tour De France, and his subsequent positive tests with regard to testosterone and epitestosterone ratios.

In the days after the test results were revealed, Landis produced a number of reasons why his testosterone levels could have been off. They included a condition whereby his body naturally produced higher levels of testosterone, thryoid medication, a conspiracy against him, cortisone shots and my personal favorite, drinking a lot of whiskey.

Today though, it appears that Landis may have a reasonable argument against the lab and their results. The French newspaper, Le Monde, has reported that "the French anti-doping lab that tested American cyclist Floyd Landis' urine samples made an 'administrative error' when reporting its findings on his backup 'B' sample". Apparently, someone confused sample 994,474(originally thought to be Landis') with 995,474(the real Landis sample). So basically the French lab tested the wrong sample, and pinned the results on Landis. Of course the lab is stating that "the error, of an administrative nature, does not mean the positive B sample was not that of the American". But right now it looks like there are enough legitimate questions and concerns surrounding the lab's testing procedures to cast doubt on the supposed positive tests.

I can only imagine how much whiskey Landis will drink should the positive results prove to be false. Someone might want to put Lynchburg, TN on notice.

So, Youth Athletics Have Become Our Most Dangerous Spectator Sport

About two weeks ago, a PeeWee football coach by the name of Robert Watson became so irate at his ejection from a game due to yelling and cursing at a referee, that he charged the ref, threw a punch and knocked him out.

Other coaches, spectators and parents rushed onto the field, and soon there was a decent sized scrum with most of the kids just standing around wondering what the heck was going on.

Like most everything, the incident can be seen on video, and sadly, someone yelling "call the cops!" has become all too commonplace. Although, the one woman kicking the other in the ass, and actually pushing her into the fight has a small bit of comedic appeal. Though, I'm sure she'll be hearing from a lawyer in the next few days.

Seriously, when the threat of being assaulted or killed at a PeeWee football game is probably higher than of the same occuring at NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL games combined there's something wrong. Just remember to pack heat along with your kid's pads.

Just When You Thought O.J. Couldn't Go Any Lower...

It's being reported that O.J. Simpson has written a book titled "If I Did It", and that he will be conducting an interview with Judith Regan on FOX. The interview is one segment of a two-part special called "O.J. SIMPSON: IF I DID IT, HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED".

Apparently, O.J. is putting all of this together as a way to show everyone how he would have committed the horrendous murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. You know, the ones that he constantly denies that he committed, and spends multiple hours of his days on golf courses searching for clues about.

Personally, I'm surprised that O.J. is still around, as it seems that most of his actions would really piss off friends and relatives of the deceased. Sadly, I bet his book sells a number of copies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A $500 NFL Fine? What is this, 1946?

A week ago, on Monday Night Football, Oakland's Tyler Brayton and Seattle's Jerramy Stevens got into a pushing match that ended with Brayton kneeing Stevens in the crotch. In the days following the event, fans and analysts debated what the fine would be, and whether or not Brayton, and/or Stevens, would be suspended.

Last Wednesday, two days after the incident, the NFL fined Stevens $15,000 and Brayton $25,000. Neither were suspended.

Somewhat lost in all of this was that apparently Brayton's 81-year old grandfather, Bobo Brayton, was in the stands to witness Tyler's WWE moves. After being ejected, Tyler told his grandfather that he would probably be fined, and his grandfather responded with, "I told him, 'It will be, what, five hundred, a thousand bucks?"

Ok, I know the guy is 81, but does he have any idea what the NFL has become? He obviously has to be somewhat lucid because he drove five hours to see the game. Though, there are quite a few elderly people on the roads here in Florida that I don't think have any brain matter left. Anyway, most NFL players could light $500 on fire and not really think twice about it.

Although, extrapolating the percent difference between $25,000 and $500, and applying it to the prices of other things would be fun. For instance:

Gasoline. If supreme costs $2.50/gal, then in Bobo's World it would cost $.05. That's right, a nickel. Though, we would still bitch if it went above a dime.

Wendy's. Right now, Value Meal items are $.99. In Bobo's World they would be $.02. Two pennies for a junior bacon cheeseburger?!? Damn, the U.S. would be full of even more fatasses.

Citifield. The Mets new home is going to cost $800 million to build. If Bobo were in charge, it would be Wal-Mart cheap at $16 million. Seriously, $16 million? That's enough to buy two of those badass scoreboard setups at the University of Texas with no field or seats.

But yeah, a $500 NFL fine? Ray Lewis would be stabbing people on the field if that were the case.

Friday, November 10, 2006

100 Loogies! Do I hear 125?

While PacMan Jones run-ins with the law have seemingly just started in recent months, it was way back in April that many of us got our first "dose" of him.

Back then, PacMan chomped his way into the headlines by melting down in front of TV news cameras when asked about his connection to the central figure in a Nashville drug bust. The fact that one of the cars seized had "Pac-Man" embroidered in the headrests, and that the primary target in the investigation, Darryl Jerome Moore, was identified as an acquaintance of PacMan's made the connection that much more intriguing.

Since then though, there haven't been any updates regarding PacMan's ties to the case other than supposedly he loaned it to someone to use in a music video and forgot about it. That was, until yesterday when the Cadillac XLR in question went up for auction by the city of Nashville.

The Caddy comes with matching spinners, though there might be quite a process to get it licensed and insured as the auction site states: "No Title will be given to the winning bidder by the Metropolitan Government/Nashville. An affidavit, court order, or sales under special conditions will be issued to title this vehicle."

Still, it's not everyday that you can own a special piece of "history" like this. However, I don't see anything about the passenger seat spitguard option being included.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Do 5 Months, 29 Tackles and 5 Interceptions Make a Difference Coach Meyer?

This year, the NCAA implemented a new rule regarding transfer students whereby "a student-athlete who earns an undergraduate degree in four years but still has one year of eligibility remaining can transfer into another college's graduate school and finish his or her playing career there immediately without having to sit out a year."

One of the biggest opponents of this new rule was Florida coach, Urban Meyer. At least he was five months ago. Back then Meyer stated, "It's unbelievable. It's a loophole that needs to be closed."

However, that was before Ryan Smith, the former starting cornerback for Utah when Meyer was head coach there, transferred to Florida. It was also before Smith took over a starting cornerback position on this year's heralded Gator defense, and racked up 29 tackles and a team leading 5 interceptions through the first 8 games.

Without Smith's contributions the Gators might not have their 7-1 record, be on track for a shot at the SEC Championship, and be close to getting into the BCS Championship game. Something tells me that if either of those two things happen, Coach Meyer might reconsider his opinion.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't Spend That $200k Just Yet Jemele

A little over one week ago, it was reported that ESPN had hired Orlando Sentinel sports columnist, Jemele Hill, to be a contributor on their Page 2 segment. The Big Lead stated that she had supposedly signed a 2-year deal worth $400,000. However, in the past few days some of Hill's columns, and responses to readers, could have ESPN rethinking their decision.

On Thursday, October 26, an Orlando Magic fan by the name of Hooman Hamzehloui was kicked out of the Magic/Rockets game for calling Rockets' player, Dikembe Mutombo, a monkey. He issued an apology, and volunteered to donate $5000 to a charity of Mutombo's choice. It was reported on Monday, October 30, that Hamzehloui's season tickets had been revoked, and that he had been banned from all NBA arenas for the entire season.

On Tuesday, October 31, Hill wrote a column expressing her opinion that she believed the Orlando Magic and the NBA had done the right thing. She stated that she thought Hamzehloui believed that "buying a ticket gave him license to act like a jerk". For the most part, Hill condemns the fan's actions, and states that he's "uninformed", acted like a "jerk", and has used "ignorance as an excuse to stay uneducated and make excuses". However, at the end she takes a shot at the Orlando Predators, and their fans, by stating(in reference to Hamzehloui's statement that he won't return to the NBA), "If that's his attitude, he won't be missed. He would make a great Predators fan."

Without that final line, her column probably wouldn't have garnered too much press, at least not of the negative kind. However, as soon as that issue of the Orlando Sentinel hit newstands everyone was talking about how Jemele Hill had put down the Predators and their fans. By the way, the Predators are the most successful professional sports team in Orlando history.

A popular morning talk radio show, "The Monsters in the Morning", devoted quite a bit of time to discussing the issue, as they do many promotions with the Predators, and frequently have Predators president, Brett Bouchy, on the air. In response to the backlash, Hill wrote a column expressing her opinion that the Predators' fans aren't racist. Though, she never addressed her comparisons to someone who is "ignorant" or "acted like a jerk".

The Predators oraganization has responded with two postings on their website(here, and here) addressing Hill's comments, and urging Preds' fans to let her know what they think about the columns.

This morning, Brett Bouchy was scheduled to engage Hill in a debate on "The Monsters in the Morning" regarding her comments, and the opinions that she expressed about the Predators' fans. However, she backed out because, according to Brett Bouchy, "the Orlando Sentinel wanted the story to die". Though, she's supposedly scheduled to make an appearance on another talk radio show that has an opinion similar to hers regarding Predators' fans. Bouchy also read an e-mail response that Hill had supposedly sent to a fan in which she states that the "Predators cater to idiot fans". Bouchy has vowed to make ESPN aware of this incident.

Obviously not everyone is going to agree with everything that someone writes or says. However, it appears that Jemele Hill has gone out of her way to publicly slam the Orlando Predators and their fans, and it seems that quite a few people are pretty upset about it. Before even writing a word for ESPN, Hill will probably get a stern talking-to from the higher-ups in Bristol. She probably shouldn't spend that $200k just yet.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Dikembe Mutombo Is NOT A Monkey!

Apparently, during Thursday night's Orlando Magic game against the Houston Rockets a fan decided to heckle Rockets' player, Dikembe Mutombo, by calling him a monkey. Supposedly, he yelled "Mutombo the Monkey", and did it enough to cause Mutombo to make a move toward the stands. A referee ended up restraining Mutombo, though he didn't restrain his hand and Dikembe did get in a nice "one finger salute". The fan was escorted from the building, and it turns out that he's actually a corporate sponsor. From what I've heard, the guy was acting like a jerk during the exchange, and shortly thereafter. However, now it appears that he's changed his tune, and has apologized to Mutombo. He's also "vowed to never attend another Magic game until Mutombo notifies the club to approve his return" and has offered to donate $5000 to a charity of Mutombo's choice.

In light of the unfortunate heckling with racist overtones, it could have been a lot worse. First, it seems that David Stern's plea for NBA players to leave their firearms at home has been accepted. Thankfully Mutombo did not fire any shots as he was leaving the O-Rena. Second, the referees seemingly did a good job of keeping the NBA players and fans from interacting too much. It looks like that chickenwire fence won't be necessary after all. Though, when a corporate sponsor who had "hosted a party 'to sell Magic tickets' last Wednesday night that was attended by Magic players" is the one doing the heckling courtside there might not be much hope for the future.

Personally, I think Mutombo should make the fan wait until February 3rd before he can return to the Magic home games. Not only does he have to sit out for 3 months, but he's also forced to go to a Knicks game for his first one back. Yeah buddy, let's see how much of a fan you really are! A good arm wrestling match to determine his fate might be right up Mutombo's alley as well.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Infringed...

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOk, so about two months ago I was able to attend the University of Florida football team's season opener against Southern Mississippi. For the most part is was a pretty standard UF game. College kids drinking, fans doing the "Gator Chomp", and lots of loud noise. At one point however, everything went up a few notches as freshman QB extraordinaire, Tim Tebow, made his highly anticipated debut. At this point I pulled out the camera phone and started recording. I ended up with four small clips(around 30 seconds each), but unfortunately time had run out before Tebow got to run his first play and he ended up scoring his first UF TD in the other end zone.

After a night of celebrating, I totally forgot about the camera phone vids. A few days later however, I remembered I had them and decided to upload them to YouTube so I could share them with my friends who weren't able to partake in the drinking, football watching and more drinking.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with YouTube(well then you're probably not technically advanced enough to even get to this blog but...) it's sort of like the MySpace of the video world. I'm sure you're familiar with MySpace. You know, attention whores, real whores, emo kids looking all sad, etc. Anyway, I put the clips up on YouTube, e-mailed the link to some friends and forgot all about it. That was until I received an e-mail the other day stating that I had violated a copyright law.

Apparently, a company by the name of Collegiate Images, LLC claimed that the material was infringing upon their copyright and asked that it be removed. Intrigued, I checked out the Collegiate Images website. It appears that they provide still images and video of college sports to their customers. In fact, here's what they state:

"Collegiate Images exclusive representation of copyright and trademark footage and still images, for major universities, conferences, bowl games and network rightsholders, enables our customers to access fresh, compelling, and unique imagery."

I understand that they're making money by selling videos of collegiate sports. That's cool with me. Though, I wonder how much goes back into the university system to help out the student athletes they're pimping. However, do they really consider four crappy(let's be honest a cell phone cam isn't the greatest A/V device) cell phone vids to be infringing upon their content? Why in the hell do they want to pick on me?

It appears that if I want to fight them on this that I have to write a letter to YouTube explaining why there was no copyright infringement, and why I should be allowed to host it on their site. Though, it also states that I could be held liable if I "knowingly materially misrepresent that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification". Somehow I think that Collegiate Images and YouTube have a lot more money than I do, and could squash me in court if it ever made it that far.

Instead, I decided to do what any other great American would. Write a blog about it that contains my response! Here goes:

Dear YouTube and Collegiate Images, LLC,
It's come to my attention that four camera phone videos I took while in attendance at the Florida/Southern Miss game this past August might be in violation of some sort of copyright law. Personally, I'm not sure how they violate any copyright as they were pretty crappy quality, I wasn't selling them and I actually attended UF. I'm sure that the horrible resale I got on my textbooks over the course of my studies entitles me to some benefits, no matter how small. With that said, I've decided not to fight you in a court of law, but rather bring this issue out to the court of public opinion. Hopefully, others will read this post, and realize what horrible corporate jackholes you are and will hate Collegiate Images, LLC forever and ever.

Have a Nice Day!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

These ESPN MLB "Experts" Probably Thought ESPN Mobile Was a Great Idea Too!

Sometimes it's fun to go back and see how various "experts" picked teams to perform during their season. Other times, it's depressing. In this case, I think it's extremely humorous because A)The men picking the teams have been deemed "experts" by ESPN, the overlord of broadcast sports and B)Their picks weren't even for the entire season, they were only for the playoffs. So click on that picture and study it, check out this link, and you'll begin to realize why a number of people have stopped getting their sports information from the "Worldwide Leader in Sports". If after all that, you're still in denial about ESPN's "experts" picks here are a few things to consider:

Out of the 19 "experts" none of them picked the Tigers to beat the Yankees in the ALDS. However, six of them picked the Yankees to win it all.

Only one, Enrique Rojas, picked the Cardinals to advance to the NLCS. Though he picked them to lose to the Mets.

Rob Neyer, picked the Dodgers to win it all and J.D. Drew to be the MVP. In three postseason games this year, Drew batted .154 with 0HR's and 0RBI's.

The combined postseason record of the five(Yankees, Twins, Dodgers, Mets, Athletics) different teams picked to win the World Series? 10-17, and three of those teams were swept at some point.

Maybe they should have let the football crew throw in their picks, though I suspect that Michael Irvin would have chosen the Texas Rangers and Tom Jackson would have called him a retard. Again.

Friday, October 20, 2006

And This Is What It's Like To Be An Arizona Cardinals Fan

It's been four days since the "Disaster in the Desert". Unless you're an Arizona fan you've probably moved on, and are eagerly awaiting week 7 in the NFL. If you are a Cardinals fan, then you're probably still hiding under your bed hoping that the Monsters of the Midway have left. To put this loss in perspective for those non-Arizona fans(thankfully I'm a Dolphins that should be regrettably) here are a few things to keep in mind:

-The Cardinals have not had a winning season since 1998 when they went 9-7.

-Over the last five seasons they have a record of 27-53.

-The Cardinals opened a new stadium this year, signed Pro-Bowl running back Edgerrin James(1000+ rush yds each of the past three seasons) and drafted Matt Leinart(1 Heisman, 1 National Title(outright), 37-2 record at USC) with the #10 pick.

Going into Monday night's game, many felt that the Cardinals could have been 3-2 instead of 1-4. Though, many also believed that it wasn't whether or not they would lose to Da Bears, but how much they would lose by and how well Leinart would hold up against that tough Chicago "D".

So heading into the 4th quarter a number of people were probably surprised to see Arizona with a 23-10 lead. Chicago hadn't given up 23pts in a whole game, let alone 3 quarters worth. Many people were even talking about them threatening the '72 Dolphins undefeated season. Arizona fans had to be feeling great about themselves. They had one of the two undefeated teams left in the NFL on the ropes, and were heading into the 4th quarter with a 13 point lead. Then things started falling apart.

Think about your favorite team, and a time when you were sure they were going to win a game. Maybe you had been uncertain at first, but by the latter stages you let yourself start thinking about the win and how great it felt to be a part of it. You were confident, almost cocky, that there was no way they could lose this game. Then, in a span of 2 minutes and 2 seconds, almost too fast to comprehend, everything came crashing down. Suddenly you realized that the win was no longer guaranteed, and all of the celebrating and trash talking could have been in vain. Here's some video evidence to help you feel what this might feel like:

Remember, Edgerrin James had just fumbled for the first time in quite a few carries and the Chicago defense had run it back for a TD. However, Arizona was still winning 23-17 with 5 minutes to play.

So that happens, and you can feel the game slipping away. The 13 point lead has been replaced by a 1 point deficit. Yet there's still some hope because your golden-boy rookie QB has been playing well, and he's got almost 3 minutes to drive the team into field goal range. Plus your kicker, eventhough he missed a clutch kick the week before, was great last season and there's no way he could miss another one. Or is there?

Now the reality of the situation has finally set in, and no amount of alcohol is going to totally erase it from your memory. Whenever people talk about 4th quarter collapses they will always say "yeah, but remember that Arizona game against Chicago? Now that was a collapse!" So if you want to share in the misery of being a Cardinals fan, plug your favorite team into the above situation and grab some JD and a box of Kleenex. Otherwise, there's a wonderful week 7 to look forward to!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Exactly Who Did Bob Stoops Piss Off?

Roughly one month ago the Oklahoma Sooners were robbed of a win by the referees in their game against Oregon. Most Oklahoma fans probably thought that would be the worst thing that happened all year. However, this past weekend things got a little worse.

First, there was Adrian Peterson's dive into the end zone. His TD run preceding the dive was pretty impressive, but the resulting broken collarbone broke the hearts of numerous Oklahoma fans. As of Saturday, Peterson had been averaging almost 156yds rushing per game, and had racked up 10 rushing TD's in 6 games. He was considered one of the frontrunners in the Heisman race.

Then Sunday, came word that one of OU's captains, linebacker Rufus Alexander, had been arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and interfering with official process(each a misdemeanor). Alexander is OU's leading tackler, and one of the best linebackers in the country. No word has come out about whether or not he'll miss any games. Coach Bob Stoops said that any disciplinary action would be handled "internally".

However, after seeing how the debacle against Oregon played out, and now these two incidents within 24hrs of each other I can't help but wonder who Bob Stoops pissed off. Maybe he was the one threatening the ref of the Oregon game? After all, karma is a bitch.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bring on the Gameday Crew! Yes Lee, Even You're Welcome!

Last week, I commented on Lee Corso's recent picking of the Gators to win games during UF-related Gameday remote broadcasts and their subsequent losses. Thankfully it appears that the "Corso Curse" may have been lifted after Lee picked the Gators to beat LSU, and they did just that, 23-10.

This week, I'm going to comment on a rare occurence for the Gameday crew, and how it could mean good things for the Gators as they travel to Auburn to face the Tigers.

Since 1995, ESPN Gameday has rarely covered the same team in back-to-back weeks. Even more rare are the times that they've broadcasted at the home team's locale, and then gone on the road with them the following week. It's happened five times in the past 12 years.

1995: Gameday broadcasts from Colorado, as CU defeats Texas A&M, 29-21. The following weekend, Gameday travels with Colorado to Oklahoma, and the Buffaloes defeat the Sooners, 38-17.

1996: ESPN sends Gameday to Ohio to cover the Ohio State/Penn State match up. OSU defeats PSU, 38-7. The next weekend, Gameday broadcasts from Iowa, as OSU defeats the Hawkeyes, 38-20.

2001: The Oklahoma Sooners are blessed with Gameday's presence as they defeat Kansas State, 38-37. The following weekend, Gameday broadcasts from Dallas for the Okalahoma/Texas game. Though not a true homegame for UT, it is in Texas. The Sooners grab the victory, 14-3.

2003: Gameday travels to Ohio again, this time to cover the Ohio State/Purdue game. The Buckeyes prevail, 16-13. The next weekend, the Gameday crew travels to Michigan for the OSU/UM showdown. Ohio State loses, 21-35. As of right now, it's the only time that the road team has failed to win after being the hometeam the previous weekend in back-to-back Gameday broadcasts.

2006: Once again, Gameday makes an appearance in Ohio for the Ohio State/Penn State game. The Buckeyes win 28-6. The following weekend, Gameday broadcasts from Iowa as Ohio State comes to town to play the Hawkeyes. OSU wins 38-17.

As you can see, in four out of five instances the road team has won after being the hometeam in back-to-back ESPN Gameday broadcasts. Pretty good odds for a Florida Gators victory. One other thing to consider, the last time that Gameday covered a Florida/Auburn game was in 1997. They were in Auburn, AL, and Florida won 24-10.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

HEY! Little Tony Stewart! Get Off My Lawn!

Recently, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article addressing the issue of confederate flags still being prominently displayed at NASCAR races. Only one driver, Dale Jr., was willing to say anything about the "Rebel Flag", but you get the feeling that the flag flying so proudly on a number of infield vehicles probably isn't the greatest thing for attracting new, more diverse, fans.

After reading the article, I decided to check out to see if anything confederate related had snuck past the quality control engineers in charge of the online store. While I was unable to locate anything with the Confederate Flag, I did find a few other items that were pretty odd. Two in particular caught my eye.

The first was that collection of NASCAR themed Halloween costumes that you see above. Your little racecar driver can choose from Dale Jr.(show your appreciation for his tough stance on Confederate Flags), Jeff Gordon(stunning 5th grade arm candy not included) or Tony Stewart(be prepared for some cussin' and fightin'). Unfortunately you have to buy the BillyBob teeth separately.

The second item that I noticed was this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

That's right, it's a Tony Stewart inspired bathrobe. I'm sure every female out there secretly hopes her man won't put one on because he'll become so irrestible. It's perfect for those nights when you're "bump drafting" that special someone, though "rear end lube" doesn't seem to be included.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October 4th Has Not Been Kind To Torii Hunter...

By now, even the most casual baseball fan has probably seen the video of Torii Hunter misplaying Mark Kotsay's hit which allowed Kotsay to score an in-the-park home run. While the play seemed odd(at least in hindsight, super slo-mo, 20/20 vision) because Hunter appeared to have no shot at catching the ball before it landed. The truly odd thing was that the same play happened to him on the same date, in the same outfield, against the same team, four years earlier.

On October 4, 2002, the Twins were facing the Athletics in Game 3 of the ALDS. In the first at bat of that game, Oakland's Ray Durham hit the ball to centerfield, and Torii Hunter charged up to make a play. Instead of catching the ball though, he misplayed it, allowing the ball to skip under his glove and roll to the wall. Durham motored around all of the bases, and made it home before A.J. Pierzynski could apply the tag. The play resulted in the first in-the-park home run in Division Series history, and now, four years later to the day, Torii Hunter has been involved in another one.

Hunter Gets Hated On By October 4th(Real Player needed)

On October 4, 2010, Torii might want to consider staying in bed. Seriously.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Keep Corso Away From the Gator Head!

This week, the ESPN Gameday crew will be broadcasting live from the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, FL for the LSU Tigers versus Florida Gators showdown. It's a great opportunity for students and fans to showoff creative and sometimes vulgar signs, and hurl humorous and sometimes meanspirited insults at Fowler, Herbstreit and Corso(well, mostly Corso).

However, there's much more at stake than being the jackass on TV talking on your cellphone, pointing at the camera and saying "you see me? I'm on ESPN! I'm pointing at you right NOW!"

You see, since 2001 Lee Corso's picks have not been kind to the Gators. Before '01 Corso did pretty well at picking the victor of most Florida games. It became that if you were a Gator fan you wanted Corso to pick them, because if he didn't then they were likely to lose.

Corso did well with his first Florida pick of the '01 season. He chose Florida to beat South Carolina in Columbia, SC. The Gators went on to defeat the Gamecocks 54-17. All seemed well in Gatorland until Tennessee showed up in early December.

Normally, the Gators and Vols play early in the season, oftentimes it's the SEC opener for both teams. However, due to the terrorist attacks on Spetember 11th the game was rescheduled for December 1st. Corso picked the Gators to win at home.

Florida lost 34-32.

Perhaps the scheduling change had thrown Corso off. Surely he would regain his form in 2002. The Gator faithful would have to wait until September 7th, when the #1 ranked Miami Hurricanes came to town, to see how Corso would fare.

Corso picked Florida to win. Gator fans collectively held their breath, and watched Florida get blasted 41-16. Florida fans started to realize that Corso's pick was a curse on them, and that belief was reinforced when the Gators played Georgia in that year's "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"(eff your couch Michael Adams!) Corso chose the #5 ranked 'Dawgs(probably to the delight of many Florida fans), and the #22 ranked Gators ended up prevailing, 20-13. Gator fans everywhere started hoping that Corso would never say "Not so fast my friend! I'm going with the Gators!" again.

In 2003, Florida fans got to test the Corso pick theory again as the #9 ranked Gators welcomed the #11 ranked Seminoles to Gainesville. Once again, Corso put the hex on Florida by picking the Gators to win. They lost to FSU, 38-14.

Fortunately for the Gators, Corso and the Gameday crew never made an appearance at any Florida games in 2004.

However, in 2005 Corso had another shot at dooming the Gators. Once again, ESPN Gameday appeared at the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville. This time the #4 ranked 'Dawgs faced off against the #16 ranked Gators. Corso picked Georgia, and there was much rejoicing, as Florida won 14-10.

Now it's 2006, and Gator fans everywhere are faced with a dilema. Is Corso's LSU-Florida pick the one where he gets back on-track, goes with the Gators, watches them win and picks the Gators(and wins) everytime Gameday is involved in a Florida game? Or does Corso pick the Gators over the Tigers, and doom Florida's as-of-now perfect season? Personally, I think all Florida fans know what they must do. It's more important than any "Corso Has A Baby Arm" sign, or "Kirk Herbstreit wants to make manlove to Nick Lachey" insult.

We must keep the Gator head from ever sliding over the Sunshine Scooter's oddly shaped cranium at all costs! As Under Armor would say, "WE MUST PROTECT THIS REPTILE DOME!"

Monday, October 02, 2006

The New NCAA Clock Rule: Less Plays, More Gambling!

During the offseason, the NCAA enacted a new rule regarding the playclock, and many college coaches weren't exactly pleased with it.

After the Ohio State versus Texas game, Texas coach Mack brown made his displeasure known. Regarding the new rule Brown said, "They scored with six minutes left and the game was over before we had a chance to do anything. I really hope whoever made these changes will go back and look them over."

Florida coach Urban Meyer has also voiced concern about the new rule, "I'm very concerned with the direction of college football. I'm not sure what's the intent [of the rule]. I'm going to really get involved in that in the offseason. I did a bad job as head football coach at a premier place to not be more vocal."

While some coaches and fans may hate the new rule, there is a group that has benefitted. Bookies.

Since games are running shorter, with early games often finishing before the late games, bettors are taking their winnings from the early games and using them to bet on the late games.

Bodog Sportsbook estimates that "10-20 percent" of their morning payouts get re-bet, and that even a small percentage of reinvestment "will create a ton of growth(for us) over the course of the season."

Another aspect adding to the increased winning for bookmakers is that a large portion of bettors are still taking the over. Due to the shortened games, less points are being scored and the under is hitting more often.

While the NCAA thought the new rule would benefit the game and fans, it seems that right now bookies are the ones loving it the most.

John Clayton's Son(well...maybe...)

This past Saturday, I was flipping channels, and stopped briefly on the sports channel everyone loves to hate, ESPN. It happened to be an episode of Sean Salisbury's NFL weekly preview. During one of the segments an ESPN personality appeared that I had never seen before. His name was Eric Karabell, and to me at least, he gives me an idea of what the offspring of John Clayton look like. It was quite scary actually.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Atlanta, The Last Stop On The Clemens Farewell Tour?

One thing that has become a bit lost in all of the hype surrounding Houston's late season surge is that Friday's game against the Braves could be Roger Clemens last one. He waited until almost June to join the Astros this year, and has said that he's undecided on whether or not he will return in 2007.

Though for The Rocket, "undecided" means "I'll see what kind of starting piching arrangements and multi-million dollar contracts are avilable before I decide to pack it in for good".

Clemens hasn't pitched very well against the Braves in the past, going 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA in the five times he's faced them. Though, he did pick up the win last year in Game 4 of the NLCS(Houston won 3-1) against the Braves, after it had stretched to 18 innings.

It seems somewhat fitting that a player of Clemens' involved in a late season run like the '06 Astros have put together. Though, I'm sure Tony LaRussa would much rather see Clemens flapping his wings and clucking like a chicken as he approaches the mound.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hasselbeck Has Been Outted!

Jason Cole from Yahoo! Sports(he formerly worked for the Miami Herald and has done a good job on the Reggie Bush "scandal") writes a column each week where he asks an NFL player how they spend their one day off per week. This week we get Matt Hasselbeck, and have a chance to see what one of the NFL's starting QB's is like. Though, a different headline might have been appropriate in light of the information Mr. Hasselbeck shared towards the end of the article.

Apparently, Hasselbeck and Seahawk's kicker, Josh Brown, attended a Carrie Underwood concert together. They ended up backstage, and from Cole's article it appears that Brown may have hit on Underwood. Or at the very least, exchanged phone numbers with her to perhaps discuss pedicure tips. He is a kicker after all. Which makes the whole incident even more curious. Since when do kickers and starting QB's hangout together? And what guy goes to a Carrie Underwood concert, with another guy nonetheless?

It all seems a that there's anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jay Gibbons REALLY Wants Taller Screens

Jay Gibbons, outfielder and DH for the Baltimore Orioles, has taken it upon himself to make Oriole Park a safer place. Apparently, he's believed for some time that the 20-foot tall screen behind homeplate wasn't adequate enough. He wanted the Orioles to make it taller, or add an overhead extension. During Saturday's game against Minnesota, Gibbons finally decided to prove his point. By fouling a pitch over the screen and into his wife's ribcage.

No serious damage was done, as Gibbons stated "She's just a little bruised up. She's going to be OK." Though, as the torchbearer for a new screen system Gibbons was still promoting his cause, "It's something you think about every day here. Obviously, it's something I've talked about (to) deaf ears. I've got players coming to me every day saying that one of their family members got hit or almost got hit. I had an usher take one for my wife the other day."

Well where was that damn usher on Saturday? And how much do you think Kris Benson would pay for someone to send a foulball in his wife's direction?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Joey Porter Would Be Proud, BEEEYYYAAAHHH!

I wonder if the other kid sounded like Chad Johnson afterwards?

"Dad, uh do you think we could...get, uh...some, uh....HUGH!"

Tiger Woods Does Not Appreciate Your Pornographic Claims

Yesterday, Tiger Woods made it known that he didn't find anything funny about a magazine and tabloid's claims that his wife was an American golfer's wife "who cannot keep her clothes on in public". The magazine issued a statement that their article was supposed to be satirical humor, but using known fake pictures and claiming that someone's wife "can be found in a variety of sweaty poses on porn sites" isn't always the funniest joke. The magazine and tabloid might want to be a bit scared when Tiger Woods starts talking lawsuits because I'm pretty sure that he himself has more money than any Irish publishing company. Also, he throws a pretty mean fist pump.

One thing that's been overlooked though is what the rest of the wives of the American Ryder Cup team look like. Surely Tiger Woods' wife isn't the only hottie that the international community has an interest in seeing disrobe. So, here's the list of Ryder Cup golfers. Do some searching, and see who else has a good looking wife(I'm pretty sure Campbell and Mickelson do). After all, isn't that why the Internet was created?

Chad Campbell
Stewart Cink
Chris DiMarco
Jim Furyk
J.J. Henry
Zach Johnson
Phil Mickelson
Vaughn Taylor
David Toms
Scott Verplank
Brett Wetterich
Tiger Woods

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"U" Stands For Unranked

Until their blowout loss to Louisville, the Miami Hurricanes had been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 107 consecutive weeks. The streak, which had been the longest in the country, began on November 28, 1999. Instead of examining what's wrong in South Florida, or bashing the 'Canes, we're going to hop into our time machine(thanks Doc!) and head back to the '99 season. Just to get a feel for exactly how long ago that was.

Leader, Rushing: LaDainian Tomlinson. That's right, back in '99 LT2 was shredding college run defenses to the tune of 168yds per game. To really get a feel for how long ago '99 was, he edged out Ron Dayne for first place by 16 yards. Shaun Alexander finished 10th, 451yds behind Dayne.

Leader, Passing Efficiency: Michael Vick. Wow, I remember Vick being a good college QB, but not that good. Though, his 180.4 rating is a bit skewed because he only attempted 152 passes. Things never change do they? Second place went to Joe Hamilton, and rounding out the top 5 were Chad Pennington, Billy Volek and Tim Rattay. Tom Brady really was the most talented passer of that draft after all(sorry Marc Bulger fans).

Leader, Receiving Yards Per Game: Trevor Insley. Trevor who? Exactly. Though Insley does hold the record for Division-1 receiving yards(5,005), most 200-yard receiving games(6), and most 100-yard receiving games(26). In '99, Insley averaged 187.27 receiving yards per game. Also appearing on the list were, Dennis Northcutt(118.5/gm), Peter Warrick(103.78/gm), Darrell Jackson(96.33/gm), Todd Pinkston(88.82/gm), Plaxico Burress(87.00/gm) and Steve Smith(78.18/gm).

Leader, Scoring: Shaun Alexander. In '99, Alexander scored 24TD's, and averaged 13pts per game by himself. Travis Prentice averaged 11.45pts/gm, Sebastian Janikowski averaged 10.55pts/gm, Ron Dayne 10.36pts/gm and Frank Moreau 10.20pts/gm.

Team Leader, Rushing Offense: Navy. Yep, in 1999 the Midshipmen lead Division-1 teams with an average of 292.2 yards per game. Air Force, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Army rounded out the top 5. That's right, three Military Academies in the top 5.

Team Leader, Passing Offense: Louisiana Tech. LaTech's passing offense rode Tim Rattay's arm to the #1 spot by averaging 403.1 yards passing per game. Louisville was second(it seems like they've always had a high power offense), Hawaii third, Purdue fourth and Tulane was fifth.

Team Leader, Total Offense: Georgia Tech. GaTech averaged 509.36 yards per game in '99. Others in the top 5 were Nevada(472yds/gm), Arizona(471.92yds/gm), LaTech(471.00yds/gm) and Stanford(467.09yds/gm). Damn, I guess Willingham did have some success at Stanford.

Team Leader, Scoring Offense: Virginia Tech. Mike Vick and the Hokies averaged 41 points per game in 1999. GaTech was second with 40.7pts/gm, Kansas State third with 39.4pts/gm, and Louisville and Florid State tied for fourth with 37.5pts/gm.

Team Leader, Rushing Defense: Mississippi State. Miss. State led the country in rush defense, allowing an average of 66.9yds/gm(they were pretty good for a few years there, 10-2 in '99). Alabama was second with an average of 75.3yds/gm, VaTech third at 75.9yds/gm, Mississippi fourth with 76.9yds/gm and Michigan State fifth with 77.0yds/gm. Even seven years ago SEC teams had tough run defenses.

Team Leader, Passing Efficiency Defense: Kansas State. K-State lead the nation in pass eficiency defense, holding opposing QB's to an average rating of 65.7. Nebraska was second with a rating of 87.9. Marshall third with 92.2. Mississippi State and Fred Smoot(insert joke here___) were fourth with 93.3, and Wisconsin fifth with 96.3.

National Champions, Florida State. It's been seven years since Chris Weinke, Peter Warrick and Bobby Bowden brought FSU's second National Championship to Tallahassee. Warrick was a Heisman hopeful, but saw his chances evaporate after being suspended two games for a shopping mall scam(nowadays people probably wouldn't care half as much). However, Warrick redeemed himself in the championship win against VaTech with 3 TD's(2 receiving/1 punt return) and a 2-pt conversion catch. FSU won 46-29.

Heisman Trophy Winner, Ron Dayne. Dayne, the "Thunder" of so many failed "Thunder and Lightning" combos, beat out runner-up Joe Hamilton by 1,048 points. Hamilton has had more success than Dayne football-wise, as he's played quite well in the AFL(led Orlando to the Arena Bowl in '06). Michael Vick finished third, Drew Brees finished fourth and Chad Pennington was fifth.

So there you have it, a recap of the year that was 1999. Bill Clinton was President, it was the year of the Crab, and the Miami Hurricanes were unranked.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sure, Briscoe High Is Good, But Who's On The Visiting Team?

Nike's newest ad campaign features a fictional high school by the name of Briscoe High. The focus of the high school is the football team, which includes NFL stars Michael Vick, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Urlacher, Troy Polamalu and Buzzsaw QB Of The Future Matt Leinart on its roster. Apparently they're all attending the same school, and appear to be bigger, stronger and faster than the team they're playing(I wonder who drew the short stick to get lit up by the Tasmanian Devil). The coaching/teaching staff is also extremely talented with Don Shula, Marlin Briscoe, Urban Meyer, Steve Young, and Jimmy Johnson.

However, I found it odd that a team with so much more talent would actually be down 4 points witn only 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It made me wonder, who the heck is on that visiting squad? Maybe Terry Tate and some of his buddies? Whoever they are they must be damn talented(remember, it's suuposedly high school) to almost beat a team with Vick, Tomlinson, Urlacher, Polamalu and Matt Leinart.

And don't forget Corso in that awesome Hawks mascot outfit. Seriously, does he have a mascot fetish of some sort? I always see him putting some oversized animal or medieval character on his head.

Also, does anyone else find it a bit creepy when Jillian Barberie hits on a kid that's supposed to be in high school? And what if Deion Sanders and Jill Arrington really did have a kid someday?

Briscoe High Hawks

Friday, September 08, 2006

History Does Not Bode Well For The '06 Dolphins...Well Sort Of...

This isn't so much of an examination of the gameplay, as it is one of past results. Let's face it, the O-line was a question mark heading into the game, and still was at the conclusion. Having Bennie Anderson and Vernon Carey anchoring the right side means that there will be some suspect protection and run blocking. The secondary was another problem area, though had the DB's not made two costly penalties the game would have been a bit closer. Not having starting RCB, Travis Daniels, also hurt a bit. Anyway, this post isn't about the mechanics of the game, but what the loss could tell us about the rest of the season.

First, the season opener has been played on a Thursday only four times, five if you include last night's. It started in 2002 with the San Francisco 49'ers traveling to New York to play the Giants. San Francisco won the game, which is unique because they're the only road team to have won a Thursday night season opener. Since then the road teams have suffered four straight losses('03-NY Jets, '04-Colts, '05-Raiders, '06-Dolphins). Those numbers make the Miami loss a bit more bearable for Dolphins fans. It's almost as if they were playing against history.

The other set of numbers isn't quite as favorable. Over the past 10 years the eventual Super Bowl champions have gone 7-3 in their respective season openers. Regardless of where they were playing the game the team that won the Super Bowl won the first game of their season 70% of the time. Most Miami fans would probably be happy with an improvement upon the 9-7 record from last year and a playoff spot. However, I know some people have tossed Miami's name into the hat as a potential Super Bowl contender. Unfortunately, if history holds true, then Miami's chances are probably pretty slim.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Marion Jones, the Envy of Floyd Landis Fans Everywhere

Yesterday, Marion Jones' "B" sample from the U.S. Nationals in June tested clean. After winning the 100m event at the Nationals it was made public that her "A" sample had tested positive for EPO.

Previously, Jones had come under suspicion of doping because of her relationship with Barry Bonds co-hort, Victor Conte, and because her ex-husband, C.J. Hunter, had tested positive for steroids four times while they were married. Hunter also reportedly testified that he personally injected Jones with banned substances.

While this clean "B" sample result is great news for Jones and her supporters, it's not good news for Floyd Landis and the fans that he has left.

I'm pretty sure that if there was a list of people who would be targets of any type of doping "conspiracy" that Marion Jones would be on it. Due to her interaction with Conte and BALCO she was uninvited to all European events in '05. Because of her ex-husband's testimony more and more rumors circulated that she had been doping. However, until June she had never tested positive for any banned substances. If there was ever a perfect time for someone to bring down Jones it was now. Instead, her second sample proves to be clean, and leaves many of her critics twisting in the wind.

Landis however, "failed" both the "A" and "B" tests. He offered numerous explanations, including: naturally high testosterone; drinking alcohol(my personal favorite); dehydration; thyroid medication; and a conspiracy against him. One of the only aspects that might have merit is the reputation of the lab that processed the samples. The Ch√Ętenay-Malabry lab came under scrutiny from the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations after releasing only Lance Armstrong's results from a sample experiment in 1999. Many conspiracy proponents point to the fact that the lab is part of the French National Government as a reason for why/how someone would tamper with the Landis samples(it's their belief that the French hate American cyclists).

Unfortunately, I have doubts as to whether or not Landis would be a target of a doping conspiracy. He was a relatively unknown participant, though his "victory" did thrust USA cycling back into the spotlight. However, it's never been established that he had any type of relationship with someone like Victor Conte, nor was he ever close to someone who had tested positive for banned substances in the past.

It doesn't seem like the type of setup that individuals would risk their careers/reputations over to "take down" a person like Landis. It wouldn't be nearly as easy as it would be to "tamper" with Marion Jones' "B" sample after her "A" sample had tested positive, and she had been linked to individuals dealing in steroids.

I'm Going To Need Someone To Bail Me Out For Driving...While Naked

Detroit Lions defensive line coach, Joe Cullen, has been keeping Dearborn, Michigan police busy over the past two weeks.

Last week, on September 1, Cullen was arrested and charged with DUI. Police records state that his BAC was .12(the legal Michigan limit is .08).

The more interesting incident occured two weeks ago, on August 24, when Cullen was arrested and charged with "indecent and obscene conduct". Apparently police discovered that Cullen was driving naked, and stated that "alcohol was involved".

And this isn't the first time that Cullen has had troubles with the law. In March of 2005, while he was a defensive line coach for Ole Miss, Cullen was arrested and charged with public drunkeness. He plead not guilty, but was convicted of the misdemeanor charge in June of '05 and ordered to pay a $182 fine. He also filed a grievance against Ole Miss for $434,000 for wrongful termination, as he was fired a week after the arrest. That case was settled in July of 2005, though details weren't publicly disclosed.

So yeah, it seems that Matt Millen is running a real tight ship in Detroit. I wonder if he has Barry Sanders' phone number on speed dial for occasions like this?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Show Me The Money! Forbes Ranks Most Valuable NFL Franchises

Yesterday, Forbes released their annual ranking of the NFL franchises based on their value. At the top, for the seventh straight year, was the Daniel Redskins. Forbes valued them at $1.423 billion, though Daniel Snyder had a few extra million in his pockets that probably weren't included.

Rounding out the top five were: the New England Patriots($1.176 billion), Dallas Cowboys($1.173 billion, somewhere Jerry Jones is weeping), Houston Texans($1.043 billion, obviously money doesn't always equal success), and Philadelphia Eagles($1.024 billion).

The article stated that the New York Yankees($1.026 billion) would rank fifth among the NFL franchises.

Also, in last place were the Minnesota Vikings($720 million), but they would rank second among the MLB teams.

The article brings up some good points. First, damn there is a lot of money floating around the NFL. The Vikings are the least valuable NFL franchise, but would rank second, behind only the Yankees, in the MLB. That's a good indicator of just how popular the NFL has become.

Second, I know a number of people hate the Yankees because of their wealth. Obviously the NFL is a bit different due to the salary cap issue(no, the luxury tax does NOT compare), but I'm surprised there isn't more animosity towards the Redskins just because they're rich. I have a feeling that success is a large part of it as well.

Third, how the heck did the Texans become so valuable, and how have they not had more success? Seriously, it must be a case of having money, and having no idea what to do with it(insert Reggie Bush comment here___).

Fourth, two of the five most valuable franchises have been among the most successful over the past five years. The Patriots and Eagles even faced off in Super Bowl XXIX. Both are a testament to what can be accomplished with money and the right personnel(T.O.? Who's that?).

Surprisingly, one of the more successful franchises in recent history, the Indianapolis Colts, were ranked 22nd. Maybe it's lack of cash that's prohibiting Peyton from winning playoff games.

Oh, and in case this gets linked on Deadspin, the Buzzsaw ranked 24th(my team, the Dolphins, were 12th). Congrats Will, they're not deadass last!

How Much Is Your Team Worth?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Workplace Relationships Will Be Tolerated At Evernham Racing!(allegedly)

Apparently, the big rumor in NASCAR these days is that Ray Evernham(currently in divorce proceedings with his wife of 19 years) and Erin Crocker, one of Evernham's drivers, have more than just an employer/employee relationship. The possibility of this relationship existing came to light when Jeremy Mayfield(a former driver for Evernham Racing) and Evernham went to court to settle some differences. Evernham claimed that Mayfield had deliberately wrecked his car at Indianapolis, and Mayfield claimed that the team had been suffering because of Evernham's "not so professional" relationship with Crocker.

The website, Tall Glass of Milk, says that it "can confirm that the Evernham Motorsports owner and his female driver Erin Crocker have an intimate relationship beyond that of owner/driver. Their relationship evolved late last season and they "came out" this year in Texas."

Hmmm, now about Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chad Pennington, The Jets Least Sucky Quarterback

The New York Jets announced today that Chad Pennington has won the starting QB job. Throughout training camp and the preseason, Pennington had been locked in a fierce competition with Patrick Ramsey, Kellen Clemens and Brooks Bollinger. The four combined have managed to pass for 342 yards(2nd worst in the preseason) and 1TD(4th worst) in 3 games. Yeah, sounds like Chad really won something.

Seriously, do you win if you're given something for sucking the least?

I have a feeling that picture is exactly how Pennington felt when he found out he was going to be starting, instead of making millions of dollars to hold a clipboard.

This Just In! The Burger King Is Holding Out For A Bigger Crown, Will Be Doing Crunches In Front Of The BK Castle!

Somehow, it appears that Terrell Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is actually doing better than T.O.

Currently, T.O. has the entire media watching his every move. He's got fans, radio/tv hosts and bloggers commenting on everything he says/does. He's resorted to riding an exercise bike at practice while wearing some wacky Tour de France type getup for attention.

His agent however, a man who was seemingly despised just a few months ago, is making slightly humorous commercials with everyone's favorite creepy fast food icon, The Burger King.

I'm not quite sure what the best part of the commercial is. Whether it's Rosenhaus poking fun at himself with the "no comment" line. The '05-'06 "fantasy stats" for The King that scroll along the bottom of the screen; 3 receptions, 1INT, 1RET, 5TD's(sadly, that's as many as Todd Stinkston had in '03 and '04 combined). The fact that he was an "undrafted free agent last year", and that "sources say The King is close to signing with 5 NFL teams(I guarantee one of them is the Daniel Snyders)". Or that extremely creepy "I've got my eyes on you" gesture The King makes at the end. Seriously, that part just freaks me out.

All in all, it's a pretty good commercial, though if it interferes with me being able to purchase onion rings due to a holdout by The King I will be pissed.

BK Commercial, Click on "Press Conference"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chad Hutchinson? Not So Fast My Friend!

First off, Chad Hutchinson scares me, and not in that "oh man I hope he's not our starting QB this year" way. It's more like the "must...stop...looking at him...his face freaks me out" way. Seriously, I think it's because his eyes are way too close together.

Anyway, on Saturday I was watching one of the thousands of editions of college football previews that Espen has been broadcasting in recent days. When Corso started to speak I got that same uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know, like when your team's kicker lines up for the game winning field goal, and they flash the graphic that he hasn't missed one in 10 years. Grrrreat.

I realized that Corso also has eyes that appear a bit too close, and are somewhat beady. It almost makes me think that Corso and Hutchinson are somehow related. Has anyone else noticed this, or have I been drinking too much again?

Friday, August 25, 2006

How Successful Are Left-Handed QB's?(calm down Ned!)

Recently, I've seen a few news articles(actually it was in the weekly Leftorium newsletter...Flanders...) proclaiming that studies show that left-handed people make more money. With the NFL regular season almost here I started wondering how many NFL QB's were left-handed, and what kind of success they had had over the past couple of seasons. The main criteria was that they had to have played in more than eight games in any season over the past five years, and they had to have attempted 14 or more passes in those games.

I ended up with a whopping three quarterbacks on the list, and none of them were in the top 10 rated QB's last year(though one has been in the top 10 in years past). The list included(passing stats only):

Mark Brunell: 16 games, 85.9 QB Rating, 57.7% completions, 3050yds, 23TD, 10INT

Chris Simms: 11 games, 81.4 QB Rating, 61% completions, 2035yds, 10TD, 7INT

Michael Vick: 15 games, 73.1 QB Rating, 55.3% completions, 2412yds, 15TD, 13INT

Of those three, Brunell has been the most successful with respect to passing stats. In '02, he was the #9 highest rated passer, and finished the season with 2788yds and 17TD/7INT. In '01, he was the #8 highest rated passer, and finished the season with 3309yds and 19TD/13INT.

Surprisingly, the first left-handed quarterback elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Steve Young, was just inducted last year.

One question that has been raised is whether or not coaches are more comfortable with right-handed passers(because there are a lot more of them), and consequently coach them "better". However, even the QB's who are talented enough to make it to the pro level don't appear to have any type of edge based on which arm they throw with. Eventhough the team they play on obviously has a big impact on just how successful they can be, I'm still inclined to believe that a left-handed QB doesn't have any significant advantage just because he's a southpaw.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Life of a Fantasy Football Team Owner

As a fantasy football team owner one doesn't have to worry about things like whether or not T.O. will get along with Bill Parcells. The only thing that's important is that he catches passes and scores TD's. We couldn't care less whether or not Peyton Manning will make it to the Super Bowl this year, as long as he leads the league in passing yards and TD's. However, something fantasy football team owners do have to worry about are injured players.

If you're like me, then you've probably already had a draft in at least one of your leagues. On the one hand it's good because you have a firm idea of how your team is setup, and exactly what you need to do before the season opener to be competitive. The downside however, is that there's a very real possibility that a player you burned a precious draft pick on will get injured in the preseason.

Earlier this week I was trying not to crack a smile at the team owner who had drafted Clinton Portis. Sure, it sounds like he'll be back for the opener, but do you really expect Coach Gibbs to say "sorry folks, Clinton is done. We'll be relying on Ladell Betts now"? Seriously, can you imagine Betts dressed up like Southeast Jerome? It just wouldn't be the same.

Then yesterday I hear that Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was injured in practice. I didn't think too much of it until I read the reports today that he was going to be out for six weeks. That wouldn't be a problem except that I drafted Stevens(actually he was autodrafted late), and at the time he was the only tight end on my roster(went heavy on the RB's). Luckily it was in one of my smaller leagues, and I was able to find a replacement(hope Ben Watson didn't call Greg Anderson).

However, it reminded just how precarious the preseason can be for us fantasy owners. Last night it was good to see Tiki Barber(one of my draftees) running well, but all I could think everytime he touched the ball was "PLEASE, DON'T GET HURT! JUST FALL DOWN AND GET OUTTA THERE!"

The preseason might be necessary for teams to get their rookies acclimated to the NFL and help sort out their roster, but all it does for me is help aggravate an ulcer that starts at the beginning of September every year. Soon I'll have to ask Chad Johnson for some pepto bismol.

Clarett's Funding Came From Israeli Gangster?

In the days after Maurice Clarett's arrest, there were numerous stories about how he had received compensation in the forms of cash, cars and living arrangements most likely in exchange for a cut of his rookie NFL contract. Some articles hinted that he was backed my rap artists, but ESPN has reported that he was actually receiving the compensation from an Israeli mobster by the name of Hai Waknine.

Apparently, the FBI even questioned Clarett about his relationship with Waknine before the '05 NFL draft, though no details of that investigation have been released. This past June, Waknine plead guilty to one charge of racketeering(he was accused of 46 crimes; including racketeering, extortion, etc.) Waknine was also tied to a gaming license for Judah Hertz that failed to be approved in 2000.

The Nevada Gaming Commission supposedly had some concerns because a part of the money that Hertz used for his Reno properties came from an uncle of Hai Waknine. The Control Board described Hai and Assaf Waknine as "alleged enforcers for Orgad(an associate of Hertz) and members of the Bachsihan crime organization involved in ecstasy dealing."

Another interesting tidbit is that apparently Youngstown, Ohio has ties to the Italian mob. Clarett's attorney, Nick Mango(insert SNL reference here___), said, "It's been kind of tossed around by us, and quite frankly, Youngstown has quite a reputation -- if you don't know it already -- for the Italian side of that ballgame."

Seriously, what the hell is going on in Ohio?

First it's Chappelle, then the Bengals, now high school football players having their sentences postponed until after the season and the Sopranos invading Youngstown.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

That Homerun Has Warped My Fragile Little Mind

Oftentimes a player can't pinpoint the exact moment when their career started declining. Usually it occurs over a number of years, and culminates in a season when the desire is still there, but the body just won't function like it used to. With Brad Lidge however, that might not be the case.


Yesterday, Astros GM Phil Garner said that he was going to remove Lidge from the closer's role, and use a closer-by-committee approach. This was after Lidge had given up the tying run in the top of the 9th inning to Cubs leftfielder Matt Murton. From October of last season throughout this season Lidge has seemed shaky. He doesn't appear to be the confident game winner that he once was, and it probably has a lot to do with a single moment in time that occured on October 17, 2005.

During the 2004 postseason, Lidge pitched fairly well. Against the Braves in the NLDS he pitched 4.1 innings, converted a save opportunity and had an ERA of 2.08. The Astros beat the Braves in that series. In the '04 NLCS, eventhough Houston eventually lost to St. Louis 4-3, Lidge pitched 8 innings, converted two saves and finished with an ERA of 0.00 and one win.

In 2005, Lidge continued his success in the postseason. In the NLDS, again against Atlanta, he pitched 4 innings, and posted an ERA of 0.00. In the NLCS, where he faced the Cardinals again, Lidge pitched fairly well until Game 5. In Game 2(he didn't see any action in Game 1) he pitched two innings, only giving up one hit and getting the save. In Game 3, he pitched one inning, gave up one earned run, and earned the save. In Game 4, Lidge pitched one inning, surrendered two hits, and earned his third straight save. The Astros had rattled off three straight wins, and until the top of the ninth inning in Game 5, looked to be in control of the series.

What happened at that moment in time may very well be the turning point in Brad Lidge's career. He had managed to get the point where there were two men on, two outs and Albert Pujols at the plate. All Lidge had to do was get one out, and the Astros were on their way to the World Series. His first pitch started the count 0-1, but the next pitch would forever be seared into the minds of both Astros and Cardinals fans. Albert Pujols unloaded on that second pitch, and hit a bomb that, had there not been a roof on the stadium, might be circling the Earth to this day. Lidge turned to see where the ball was going to finally fall back to Earth, but he already knew it was gone. He stood for a second, then crouched down as if he was trying to become the smallest person in the stadium. Most people probably forget that Houston won the next game 5-1, and advanced to the World Series.

However, in the WS Lidge didn't pitch particularly well. In Game 2, he gave up the winning homerun to Scott Posednik. In Game 4, he pitched two innings, gave up one earned run, and was the losing pitcher. The Astros were swept in the series, 4-0.

This season Lidge has seen his ERA balloon to 5.70, he's failed to convert five of his save chances, and he's given up eight homeruns(he gave up 5 and 8 for the total season in '04 and '05 respectively). He's also allowed 34 earned runs, which is almost double the amount he allowed all of last year(18).

Obviously, Brad Lidge isn't the dominant closer that he once was. It may be that he needs a change of scenery, or that this is something that will torment his psyche for a number of years. Unfortunately for Houston fans, Lidge will probably never have the same success in an Astros uniform as he once enjoyed. And that moonshot that Pujols delivered in October of '05 most likely has something to do with it.

Judge Gary McKinley, The Bengals Best Hope

Yesterday, a judge in Ohio(actually he's retired, but still able to render decisions) decided that two high school football players would be allowed to participate in the upcoming football season before serving their 60 days in a juvenile detention center. Judge Gary McKinley said:

"I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm going to. I see positive things about participating in football."

Obviously he hasn't been following the Bengals offseason woes, eventhough Kenton is only about 130mi away from the Bengals home.

The two teens involved stole a deer decoy from a man's home, and built a base to keep it upright. Then they placed the deer near a roadway, and drove up and down the road watching drivers swerve to avoid the decoy. One man, Robert Roby Jr., crashed his car while trying to avoid the decoy, and broke his neck, arm, leg and collarbone. His passenger, Dustin Zachariah, suffered brain damage.

Yeah, when you know you shouldn't be doing something like letting kids play football instead of being punished for a crime, or placing a fake deer in the road in order to watch people put their lives at risk to avoid it, then you probably shouldn't do it.

I've got a feeling that Marvin Lewis is on his way to McKinley's office right now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rod Smart, Your Modern Day Vince Papale(Sort Of)

While watching Tony Kornheiser's debut on MNF last night I recognized a familiar name, Rod Smart. Smart is one of the, if not THE, only players to successfully transition from the XFL(aka Vince McMahon's Frankenstein of Football) to the NFL(without prior NFL experience).

Those of you who were fortunate enough to watch Smart play for the Las Vegas Outlaws(see Maurice there's hope for you yet) probably remember that his claim to fame was the "He Hate Me" written across the back of his jersey. It served as a motivational tool for Smart in a sort of "me versus them" way.

Eventhough I had seen him play in the NFL, most notably he was part of the '03 Carolina Panthers team that played in the Super Bowl, I didn't know much about his college or early NFL career. Here's a brief rundown of He Hate Me's football career:

As a senior at Western Kentucky University in 1999, Smart totaled 1,249 yards rushing(6.6YPC avg) with 10 TD's. He was voted 1st team All-Ohio Valley Conference. His career numbers at WKU were 2,305 rushing yards(#8 all time for WKU) and 21TD's.

In 2000, Smart attended the San Diego Chargers' training camp, but was released before the season started. He also tried out for the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos, but didn't make the team.

In 2001, He Hate Me showed up in the XFL, and finished the season ranked second in the league in rushing(John Avery finished 1st). He also appeared in six regular season games for the Philadelphia Eagles before being waived at the end of the season.

In 2002, Smart was picked up by the Carolina Panthers where he played from '02 to '05. Most of his participation was on special teams coverage and kick returns.

In 2006, he was signed by the Oakland Raiders as a free agent, and will probably contribute mostly on kickoff returns.

So there you have it. Rod Smart went from WKU star to NFL/CFL washout to XFL star and then back to the NFL as a special teams ace. If Dick Vermeil(or Greg Kinnear) ever asks where he played college ball he can't say "I never went to college", but he can say "I was second in rushing in the XFL to John Avery". Also, his first cousin is Freddie "The People's Champ" Mitchell, though I'm not sure that's something that he wants known.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Joe Schad, A Deer in the Headlights

Granted, without video this isn't quite as funny. However, I'm trying to track it down for proper hilarious placement on YouTube.

During his segment on this morning's Sportscenter episode Joe Schad had a little trouble. At one point he addressed recent comparisons between Ohio State's Troy Smith and former Texas Longhorn Vince Young. He said that Troy Smith asked those making the comparisons whether Vince Young had lost nine starters on defense. Schad then went on to say that Smith wanted to be compared to(and this is where the comedy began) other QB's. It went something like this:

"Smith said he wanted to be compared to Steve McNair, that he had talked to McNair about his toughness. That he wanted to be compared to...uh...(awkward smile because he realizes he can't remember any of the other QB's)...uh..compared to Michael Vick, and McNabb...and...uh...Peyton Manning(Manning? Really?)..."

Then he went on to discuss another college team(I missed who it was because I had started scrambling for something to record with), and how one of their linemen was losing weight due to cutting back on chalupas.

If anyone has the video please shoot me a link because it's classic.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pitchers Hitting Pitchers

After watching Houston Astros pitcher, Roy Oswalt, round the bases after hitting his first career homerun I was left wondering how many other pitchers had hit homers this season. A quick check of the stats(uh oh, I think Bud Selig is here for some cash money) revealed that 17 pitchers had "gone yard" in 2006. Four of them had done it multiple times(Carlos Zambrano leads with 4, Jorge Sosa is second with 3, and Bronson Arroyo and Jake Peavy are tied with 2 each)

Then I started wondering about the pitchers who had given up those homeruns. I'm sure that most of us have heard at some point about how fragile a pitcher's psyche can be(I think Brad Lidge's cracks a little more everytime he puts a hat on). Imagine the ridicule a pitcher must get when he returns to the dugout after serving up a longball to a fellow hurler. I'm sure it's enough to drive someone a bit insane.

Taking a look at the 23 different pitchers(Glendon Rusch gave up 2 to Bronson Arroyo) who have given up homeruns to other pitchers you come up with these stats:

Their combined record after the homerun is 39-44
Their ERA increased by an average of .16

Some of the pitchers who have taken it the hardest include:

Mark Buehrle: 0-5 record, increase in ERA of 1.03, 9HR/32ER/45H over 6 games

Glendon Rusch: 3-6 record, actually decreased ERA .56, 15HR/43ER/65H over 20 games. Currently on the DL.

Sean Marshall: 2-6 record, also dropped ERA .31, 9HR/29ER/66H over 10 games. Also currently on the DL.

Mike Thompson: 1-3 record, increase in ERA of 1.25, 9HR/30ER/61H over 11 games.

And the ones who have put it behind them the easiest include:

Orlando Hernandez: 3-0 record, decrease in ERA .61, 3HR/9ER/18H over 4 games.

Brad Penny: 2-0 record, decrease in ERA .10, 4HR/4ER/8H over 2 games.

There are also a few who are sort of in the middle, those include:

Brett Myers: 6-3 record, increase in ERA 1.20, 10HR/40ER/77H over 12 games.

Pedro Martinez: 3-1 record, increase in ERA .41, 4HR/15ER/21H over 5 games.

In the end, it appears that giving up a homerun to a rival pitcher can affect a pitcher's performance, in the near term at least(and especially in Chicago). Perhaps all Mark Buehrle needs is to smack a longball in order to get out of his current slump.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The NFL Hall of Fame Game

This past Sunday night the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game was played in Canton, Ohio. The first HOF game occured on August 11, 1962, and both John Madden and Pat Summerall were there as players and commentators(I keed, I keed). Seriously though, the first installment of this wonderfully captivating yearly occurence featured the New York Giants and the St. Louis "Football" Cardinals. Amazingly, it ended in a tie, and they didn't go to overtime to try and decide a winner. I think Charles Bidwell thought they were going to charge him for the extra time, and he decided a tie would be cheaper.

We here at The Sports Oasis(right now that consists of just me, though sometimes my cat does manage to walk across the keyboard) were curious as to what the winners and losers of the past 10 HOF games have gone on to do in the regular season. We(once again just me) chose to only go back 10 years because A) I'm still trying to verify if Maurice Clarett is the Bengals new "equipment manager" and B) The game has changed a lot over the course of 44 years, but 10 years ago it wasn't too different.

Enter the Hall of Brain
Starting with 1996, here is the outcome of the game, and the regular season result of both teams.

The Indianapolis Colts beat the New Orleans Saints in the HOF game by a score of 10-3. Like I said, not much has changed in 10 years. The Colts go on to a 9-7 record, and lose to the Steelers in the Wildcard round. The Saints end up 3-13, and don't make the playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-26 in the HOF game. The Vikes end up with a 9-7 record, and lose to the 49'ers in the divisional playoffs. The Seahawks go 8-8, and don't make the playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-6 in the HOF game. The Bucs end up 8-8, and the Steelers finish the season 7-9. Neither team makes a playoff appearance.

The Cleveland Browns beat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 in the HOF game. The Browns finish the season 2-14(no, the HOF victory wasn't one of the wins), and the Cowboys go 8-8. Dallas loses to Minnesota in the divisional playoffs.

The New England Patriots beat the San Francisco 49'ers 20-0 in the HOF game. The Patriots end up with a 5-11 record, and the 49'ers finish 6-10. Neither team makes the playoffs.

The St. Louis Rams beat the Miami Dolphins 17-10 in that year's HOF game. The Rams end up 14-2, and lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Dolphins finish 11-5, and lose to the Ravens in the wildcard round.

The New York Giants beat the Houston Texans 34-17 in the HOF game. The Giants finished the season 10-6, and lost to the 49'ers in the wildcard round. The Texans finished their inaugural season 4-12, and didn't make the playoffs.

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers 9-0 in an HOF game that was cut short due to lightning. The Chiefs finished their season 13-3, and lost in the divisional playoffs to the Colts. The Packers finished 10-6, and lost in the divisional playoffs to the Eagles.

The Washington Redskins beat the Denver Broncos 20-17 in the HOF game. The Redskins finished the season 6-10, and didn't make the playoffs. The Broncos finished 10-6, and lost to the Colts in the wildcard round.

The Chicago Bears beat the Miami Dolphins 27-24 in the HOF game. The Bears went on to finish 11-5, and lost in the divisional playoffs to the Panthers. The Dolphins finished 9-7, and didn't make the playoffs.

The Oakland Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles 16-10 in the HOF game. Oakland ends up with 3 wins(49'ers, Texans, Jets), and Al Davis suits up for the final game of the year. The Eagles finish 9-7, beat the Cowboys in the wildcard round(T.O. comes on the field to help defend against the hail mary and gets burned for a T.D.), but lose to the Panthers in the divisional series.(I told you my cat walks across the keyboard sometimes).

The most important statistics from this 10 year historical record are:

Winners of the HOF game have compiled an 87-73 regular season record with 6 playoff appearances.

Losers of the HOF game have gone 76-84 with 4 playoff appearances in that same span.

Don't tell Jeffrey Lurie though because he might ask the NFL to void the Eagles' loss.

Maurice Clarett Fitted For Some Shiny New Bracelets

Maurice Clarett, a guy who seemed to at one point have a decently successful future ahead of him, was arrested again last night.

Apparently, he lead police on an interstate chase in Columbus, Ohio, and when they finally pulled him over they discovered four loaded guns and a hatchet. No reports on whether any stolen cell phones were recovered.

Also, the police tried to use a taser on Clarett, but the bulletproof vest he was wearing made it ineffective. Instead they resorted to spraying him down with good 'ole mace. Seriously, think about it for a minute. Maurice Clarett, the former Fiesta Bowl star was just arrested wearing a bulletproof vest with four loaded guns in his car, after a police chase.

Part of me wants him to be held responsible for his actions, but another part of me hopes he gets released so we can see what he does next. I'm thinking that selling bulletproof vests to Marvin Lewis could be a profitable venture.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What Could Castro's Health Mean For Sports?

In case you haven't heard, Cuba's president(dictator), Fidel Castro, has been hospitalized. The residents of Cuba seem to be pretty excited. One thing I haven't heard much about is how Castro's failing health could impact the sports world.

Obviously this is just speculation, but should Castro lose power, and a new democratic government gets installed, there could be a number of Cuban sports prospects free to come to the United States. Instead of having to brave shark infested waters on a dining room door, they could fly over on real planes with working landing gear.

For the most part, baseball would probably be the sport that would benefit the most. Some of the most famous Cuban athletes who defected went on to play major league baseball. They include:

Rene Arocha: Due to injury problems he didn't have a spectacular career(18-17, 4.11 ERA), but he was the first Cuban defector to sign a major league contract. He essentially showed other MLB hopefuls that it could be done.

Rey Ordonez: He played 9 seasons, and racked up 3 gold gloves. Ordonez defected to the United States in 1993 at the end of the World University of Games.

Michael Tejera: He defected in 1994 while traveling through the Miami International Airport on his way to the World Championships in Canada. Tejera started his major league career in 1999 with the Marlins. He was also part of the '03 Marlins team that won the World Series. His career numbers are 11-13 with a 5.14ERA.

Livan Hernandez: He defected in 1995 while playing for the Cuban National Team in Mexico. Hernandez started his career with the Marlins in 1996, and won both the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in 1997. He was also voted to the All-Star team in both the '04 and '05 seasons. Currently, he plays for the Washington Nationals, and his career stats are 110-104 with a 4.11ERA.

Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez: Quite possibly the most famous Cuban athlete that has successfully defected to the United States. Hernandez made it to the U.S. via the Bahamas in 1997. He began his career in 1998 with the New York Yankess. Hernandez has been a part of three World Series winning teams(NYY '99, NYY '00, CHW '05), and won the ALCS MVP in 1999. Currently, he's a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, and has lifetime stats of 77-57 with a 4.20ERA.

Rolando Arrojo: He defected in 1996 while playing in the Summer Olympics for the Cuban National Team. In 1997, he was signed by the Devil Rays, and was an All-Star selection in 1998. His career ended after the '02 season, and his lifetime record is 40-42 with a 4.55ERA.

Danys Baez: He defected while playing for the Cuban National Team at the 1999 Pan American Games in Canada. Baez started his career with the Cleveland Indians in 2001. In '01 he went 5-3 with a 2.50ERA, in '02 10-11 with a 4.41ERA and 6 saves, and in '03 2-9 with a 3.81ERA and 25 saves. While with the Devil Rays in '04-'05 he went 4-4 with a 3.57ERA and 30 saves, and 5-4 with a 2.86ERA and 41 saves respectively. In January of 2006 he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and in July of 2006 traded to the Atlanta Braves.

Andy Morales: He successfully defected on his second attempt in 2000. The Yankees signed him to a $4.5 million dollar deal in March of 2001. However, Morales is probably most famous for lying about his age, and having the Yankess stop payment on the multi-million dollar deal. He has yet to play in the majors.

Jose Contreras: He defected in 2002 while playing for the Cuban National team in Santillo, Mexico. Contreras started his major league career in '03 with the Yankees where he went 7-2 with a 3.30ERA, but missed about two months due to injury. In July of '04, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. Between the Yankees and the White Sox, Contreras ended up with a 13-9 record and 5.50ERA for the 2004 season. In the 2005 season he went 15-7 with a 3.61ERA, and helped the White Sox win their first World Series title since 1917.

While Major League Baseball has benefitted from the successful defection of a number of Cuban athletes, there are other sports where the defectors have flourished.

Boxer Joel Casamayor defected in 1996 while in Mexico. He went on to win the NABF and WBA Super Featherweight titles. Diobleys Hurtado is another boxer who successfully defected, and was at one time ranked in the WBC's Top 10 Welterweights.

Should Castro relinquish power, and a democratic government is able to be established in Cuba, then Cuban athletes will have new opportunities that were once only attained after long struggles. For every athlete that has made it to the U.S. there are probably a number who have tried and failed(even some of the successful ones had to try more than once), or who were too scared to try at all. Baseball, boxing and a variety of other sports could see an influx of talented Cuban athletes that want nothing more than to pursure the "American Dream".