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?