Saturday, January 29, 2005

From Winston Cup to Nicorette Gum

I’m not a NASCAR fan at all. Sure, I am from you have to know something about NASCAR the same way that people in Las Vegas are familiar with casinos...even if they don’t gamble.

Last year, I participated in a NASCAR fantasy league....and it was pretty fun [I’m in another one this year]. I like looking to see how my guys did....but I just can’t watch those races. I just don’t get it. Unless there is a wreck...there is nothing to see. I don’t understand "teammates", pit stops or any of the strategy there is in the sport.

I do understand irony.

Last year was the first season of the Nextel Cup. It had been the Winston Cup for decades. Well, its tough to get the name "Winston" out there in advertisements since there are restrictions on tobacco commercials and such. Nextel comes in...and the dollars flowed with them [next year it will be the Sprint Cup after the Nextel/Sprint merger]. Nascar wanted to distance themselves from tobacco and the negative connotation it has in today’s "fitter" society. Only Victory Brand cigarettes will be any tobacco sponsor this season...and that is for John Andretti.

Then this.

                      Start chewing. Start quitting.

After 33 years of the "Winston Cup"....Nascar will soon have Nicorette gum as a sponsor. The Nicorette logo will be on Casey Mears car this season. Fitting. After all those years of having a tobacco sponsor the entire bring in a "stop smoking" patch as a sponsor. That’s cool. The sport, I will admit, has done an excellent job of ridding that "redneck image" that still stigmatizes it for more of an American racing feel. Instead of just a southern thing....there are Nascar races all over the country. Nascar has really worked on it’s family friendly image.

Uh.....oh yeah....but there is this.


Earlier, Nascar lifted its ban on liquor sponsors. No tobacco....but liquor is cool! Crown Royal, Jim Beam and Jack Danielsare already stepping up to the plate.

Beer sponsorship has been all over Nascar. The biggest name in the sport, Dale Earnhardt Jr., drives a red Budweiser car. Matt Kenseth, the final Winston Cup champion [2003], has a sponsorship deal with Smirnoff Ice malt beverage. Sterling Marlin drives a Coors Light car. Rusty Wallace drives a Miller Light car. Anheuser Busch sponsors Nascar?s minor league circuit [Busch series].


Heck, the defending Nextel Cup champion is named Busch.

There is a Viagra car. I am sure there are kids around the country with a #6 Viagra car whizzing around their room.


Remember I said that thing about trying to rid that redneck image?? Well, the reasoning for allowing the liquor ads is that the sport originated from moonshine runners in the mountains of the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee.. Is there anything more redneck than that?? Not to mention the irony of promoting DRINKING with ads on cars SPEEDING around a track. Brilliant.

I?m having fun here...but, what is Nascar doing sending these kind of mixed messages??

The Diecast Dude's (Mostly) NASCAR Blah Blah Blog

Sammy Sosa To Baltimore


In a wild offseason that saw Randy Johnson go to New York, Carlos Delgado to Miami, Jeff Kent to LA, the Expos to Washington and the best player of our generation admit to using just keeps coming.

Sammy Sosa will [most likely] be traded to the Baltimore Orioles. And, to me, in every way the Cubs get screwed.

Sosa hit 35 HR and 80 RBI in his "off year" of 2004 for the Cubs. Yes...his image has taken a beating in the last few years and he’s on the decline of his career. But, he still puts up big numbers and butts in the seats. Chicago could have, should have, gotten more for him.

Sammy Sosa...who holds 3 of the top 6 single season HR marks [yet none of those years led the majors]....will go to Baltimore for infielder Jerry Hairston and two minor leaguers. Talent wise...that isn’t much. What makes it seem worse is the fact that the Cubs are going to pay $10M of Sosa’s $17M salary in 2005. They are paying him not to be there. The deal is if the Cubs pay that $10M of his salary to facilitate the trade....he will void his 2006 salary [player option].

This shows how bad the Cubs wanted Sammy gone. He skipped out of the final game of the season....peeving everyone off. He and manager Dusty Baker, who is known as a player’s manager, never hit it off. Baker demoted Sosa to 6th in the batting order after some deals were made....and Sosa pouted. Meanwhile, division foes St. Louis and Houston also made mid-season deals [Larry Walker and Carlos Beltran, respectively] and the big names on those teams did whatever to help that player and the team succeed. There are also rumors of steroid use by Sosa....who suddenly bulked up in the late 1990s.

This also shows how badly the Orioles need SOMEBODY of name value tied to their franchise. In a division with the Yankees and Red is hard to find a spot of the marquee...especially since Cal Ripken Jr. retired. Not to mention that the NL has moved the Expos into Washington DC....Oriole now the team actually has to fight for fans with the Nationals. The O’s went after Carlos Beltran...and lost out to the Mets. They went after Carlos Delgado...and lost out to the Marlins. Sosa was the biggest name out there to get.


Baltimore has talent.....but not the name. They can pile Miguel Tejada, Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez in the three-thru-six spots in the lineup. Not bad. Not as strong as the Yanks or even the Bosox....but not bad at all. At least they are trying.

Monday, January 24, 2005


It is always nice to go back and see how well you picked the season.  Now, I didn't get everything correct [I said the Chargers were the worst AFC team]....but I did correctly pick the Super Bowl of Philly and New England [just like I predicted in the preseason the Oklahoma-USC Orange Bowl].  But what is so much better about running a journal [you bloggers all know this] is having a bunch of people read your thoughts and feelings and then tell you what kind of a moron you are.'s a "you're #1" to you and your words.  I own to my lets look are yours.  First....I'll start off with a hilarious take....    

Thanks for that laugh.  



 BOBNICK:  The Eagles are going to be the most disappointing team this year. Their division opponents are better than they were last year, plus they have to play other good teams topped by the Ravens. If Terrell Owens survives until the Ravens game, he will certainly lose his head, if not his life, when the Ravens defense exacts justice on this no-class, overrated prima-donna. The Eagles are vastly overrated as well. They have many holes and very little bench.  The Ravens have improved greatly at wide receiver, and Kyle Boller will be much better than his rookie year. Also, the rest of the team is even more dominating and solid from last year.   Keep this and read it in February.  

I kept it....and I'll show it back to you.  God what a horrible call by you!  

JDMICH29:  "Philly in the Super Bowl......LMAO. First of all its damn near impossible anymore to go to 4 consecutive conference championships. And this team has lost a lot more than what they have gained. T.O. will certainly help the passing game but can he keep his mouth shut? Not much of a running threat either are the Eagles. And the defensive took a step back last year and they take another step back this year after losing Vincent, Taylor and that other guy. Kearse Is merely an injured replacement who will once again struggle with injuries throughout the season. Eagles are a 9-7 team this year at best."  

 Well, JDMich.....keep laughing.  The Eagles did go to the Super isn't impossible to go to 4 straight conference championship games....Kearse made a difference as did TO.....and the Eagles could have been a 15-1 team if not for resting their starters in December.   I guess it is my buttocks that is being laughed off.  


 I love it when people make these proclimations that I can "take to the bank".  As a Redskin fan....I'm sure not an Eagles supporter.  But game recognizes I picked them.  Looks like you choked.  

ANDYS515:  "PHILLY.  Everyone is talking about Philly, WHY?! McNabb is so streaky, I feel like i could play better than him at times!!! T.O actaully just came off one of the worste season in his career,so I don't really understant the fuss there. I give he's strong and and has good hands but I see his dominace fading. I don't really see there running game as a serious threat. RAIDERS  However I see the Raiders going far. They have enough running backs for 3 teams not to mention they have Kerry Collins and Rich Gannon under center. PACKERS I always like the Packers chance with Favre on the field I dont care if he's playing left guard he improves anyones cahnce of winning. Even with Favre some how only playing average they still have Ahman Green arguably the best RB in the game not to mention a terrific recieving corp in Donald Driver, Javon Walker and Robert Furgeson. The only problem I see with Green Bay is stopping the rush and there secondary is a bit weak. PATRIOTS  New England stumbled upon Corey Dilion which is SICK! They have the potential to be the powerhouse Dallas was in the 90's.  DETRIOT  Joey Harrington. It's all up to Mr. Harrington. They have a big play revievers in Charles Rogers and Roy Williams. They have a promising running game in Kevin Jones. The Lions are coming up, the question is can Harrington be the QB he needs to be or will they have to go to free agency or cross there fingers in the draft again? I like harrington. I look for him to have a rating around 85-90, they may make it with the wildcard to the play offs.  NEW YORK GIANTS  I wish they had a O-line. They got talent. They have three capable QBs in Kurt Warner, Jesse Palmer as well as the #1 draft pick Eli Manning. I don't this this is there year thought.
SuperBowl Pick: New England VS. Green Bay/ Carolina"

Let me take a stab at lines I boldfaced. can't play better than McNabb unless you are on Madden 2005;  Looks like the TO fuss was valid;  Brian Westbrook was one of the team's most important players; Raiders went no where;  too bad none of those Oakland backs could start on those teams;  the Pats have "potential"??  They are already there;  Lions made it where they always do...out of it.  But,. you are right, there are questions about Harrington  


JAL3658:  "The Philadelphia Eagles will disappoint everyone this year.......McNab is a quarterback that can win any one game, even the superbowl...however, he is not consistent evough to get there.......he has not made the routing throws at any time in his career on a consistent basis..."  



CHIEFSDABOMB07:  "Super Bowl Kansas City over Philly in an offensive shootout.  Kansas city is going to have a good defense this year. Gunther Cunningham is a great D coordinator and i think that he will put together a good strong defense, it may not be the best in the league but it won't be near as bad as last year."  

The KC Defense was far from strong.  Cunningham isn't the problem...ther personnel is. 

EBMJLLT:  "SUPER BOWL 39: Falcons 35 Colts 21.....Vick MVP!"

I give you had the Falcons pretty far in your pick.  Not many others did.  

DUTCHTREAT214960:  "for its buffalo's turn on top u sillythings in 2004"  

 Buffalo did make it interesting....but didn't quite get there.  And Losman will be the starter in '05
DOPEYMAGIC:  "There will be celebrating in Denver after a third Lombardi trophy travels to the Mile High City. Much has been said about Portis being dealt away, but John Madden could get 1500 yards a year behind that "O" line. with the additions of Bailey and Lynch in the defensive backfield, who is going to try to throw the ball against the defense, and their run stopping is second to none. Look for the broncos to stampede into Florida in February, and it doesn't matter who shows up for the NFC, although it would be nice to beat the Seahawks"  

Madden may have gotten 1500 yds behind that line.  But Plummer tosses to many picks that really cost them this season. 

TREESOUP1:  "I agree for the most part. But i dont see new england making it back to the superbowl, in fact, i see either the colts finally stepping it up or maybe even K.C. As far as the NFC, i feel Philly's downside will be the competition in the division. They must hold on to win division games and not take Dallas and Washington lightly. Minnesota is famous for choking. Some teams are just like that, so i think Green Bay will come out of that division, possibly with the best record in the NFC. and it will be the Colts vs. Packers in Jacksonville next February."



MISTAMOJORISIN23:  "Dont count tampa bay out yet- losing sapp only clears the way for new up-and-comers in this solid d line rotation,  and the offense is clearly improved both on the line and at the skill positions.  Johnson has always been solid, but if he should falter there is plenty of depth behind him and gruden will know what to do with it."

ERA4LIFE:  "NFC SOUTH: Are you nuts?  Tampa Bay is as improved as ANYONE in the NFL.  John Lynch?  He was NOT going to start over Jermain Phillips anyway, so no loss there and Sapp, there is not a person in Tampa sad to see him leave!  His mouth had and has the national media thinking he is better than he is.  Mc Farland is an UPGRADE.  The offensive line is upgraded, running backs.... who is deeper than Tampa Bay (to go along with that new offensive line).  Johnson and Gallaway? Even trade.  With all of the injury's Tampa had last year, they still lost 5 games by a fieldgoal or less.  Win those games and who knows!  The Panther's are a flash in the pan and are an 8-8 team at BEST.  I'm off to Vegas to bet a huge amont of cash on the Buc's winning the NFC.  See you in  Jacksonville in January buddy.  By the way, where did you pick the Pats to finish last year?"

Uh...John Lynch was pretty effective for Denver....Tampa still sucked.....and I hope those loan sharks don't find you wanting their Buccs money you laid down. 



JIMBRAD7:  "Minnnesota isn't being taken seriously enough. They finally went in the right direction in the offseason by building up their defense. The offense is already there so...Look Out!"


Boy...those words couldn't be more wrong.  The Eagles have gotten thru the playoffs nicely without Owens....and the Vikings line couldn't stop a wheelchaired running back.  



KSCHOO6496:  "On "First Coach Fired" you should have put Marty Schottenheimer's name up there.  True, Alex Spanos is a tough boss to work for.  But Drew Brees has flamed out as a QB, putting a lot of pressure on Philip Rivers, and the Chargers' offense is LaDainian Tomlinson and a bunch of green wideouts.  Their offensive line is a problem too.  Even though the Bolts have talent on defense(Quentin Jammer, Ben Leber, and so on), that's not enough to overcome a lack of offense.  Marty won't stick around if San Diego starts the way it did last year.  Also, I'm surprised Mike Shanahan isn't on the hot seat in Denver.  He's 44-38, including 0-2 in the playoffs, in the five years since John Elway retired(as opposed to 54-18, including playoffs and Super Bowls, in his first four years). Shanahan is 0-2 in the playoffs since John Elway retired, his post-Elway #1 draft picks(except for Al Wilson) haven't really done anything, and with Clinton Portis' trade to the Redskins, the Broncos are once again looking for that "franchise" RB.  Another Super Bowl-less season in the post-Elway era and I think the noose will be even tighter around Shanahan--and his refusal to shed his post as Broncos' operations VP is an indication that he's not accountable to anybody. "

  Well....Marty's job is pretty safe for another season.  After getting the Chargers to the playoffs with a darn good Drew Brees at the helm.  The Bolts offense was electric.  You are right about Shanahan.  No playoff success.  

JUBIZAL:  "you moron, the cardinals will and always will be the worst team in the NFC even though they do have Denny Green as a coach it'll take at least two years to right that shipp (no pun intended).The niners won't be as bad as everyone thinks they still have a decent enough defense where they can be in games at the end,especially when Julian Peterson gets back on the field.The Qb situation is pretty awful but Barlow can run for at least 1300 yds barring injury it won't be the niners of old but we most definitely won't be the worst team in the nfc."

The Niners were much, much, much worse than Arizona.  Good luck with the #1 overall pick!  




JSHXX191:  "SB 39: Pats/Eagles."  

DEEPDOWN554:  "You know that the eagles were just playing around with 3 straight loses in the the title game. Now this year they will have a perfact-TO season. I tell you who will be in jacksonville.  EAGLES - vs-  steelers  27-10 EAGLES"  

Excellent calls.  No...Pitt won't be in the Super Bowl....but who even had them in the AFC title game??  And you correctly picked the Eagles final score in the NFC title game. 

JJACAWL1:  "IF the Eagles holdup with no injuries and no bad blood between players, they will have the best season ever. All the way. the only down fall is I'll have to see the big game on the arm forces network. I'll have to come see them live 2005 season. Rock on Eagles SGT. Worrell US Army Infantry."

DOMENICPHILA:  "eagles are going to super bowl with t.o and "the freak" leading the way!"

GEORGE315:  "Don't jinks Philly, everyone believes they should win their Division and could no way loose a fourth NFC Championship,but if McNabb doesn;t have the hunger and the eye towin every game and remain focused all year the Eagles are goin no were. He is the catalyst of this team and it's about time he man up and don't give no excuses, if he hurt sit if he ok then get it done I'm fromPhilly and I always go with my home team no matter what but I've seen other nut up just like him, however he needs a supporting cast and hopefully the coaches are working on that because Philly deseperately needs some kind of Championship for the city. Good luck Eagles but remember you guys must get that eye, taste and heart to win the big one."

Sunday, January 23, 2005





The Philadelphia Eagles have finally done it. In their fourth consecutive attempt to win the NFC Championship game….they come through, with a 27-10 beating of the Atlanta Falcons. Their only other Super Bowl appearance was in Super Bowl XV…in a loss to the wildcard Raiders.   I called the game, 20-17....just move the 7 a little to the left. 

The Eagles, the only NFC East team without a Super Bowl victory [the others all have at least two], did it the ol’ fashioned NFC East way….punishing defense, ball control and a nice running game.


BLACK HISTORY MONTH. February, when the Super Bowl will be played, is Black History Month. Donovan McNabb will become the third black QB to start a Super Bowl…joining the Redskins’ Doug Williams and Titans’ Steve McNair.


KEEPING VICK IN CHECK. I said it. You can hear me say it on Pigskin Bloggers Live [AOL Sports: NFL Fan Central].  If the Eagles hold down Michael Vick…they’ll have no problem. That was the case. Just 26 yards rushing for Vick and just 133 yards passing. He was hit quite a bit…sometimes very, very hard. And when they hurried him, he looked panicked in the pocket…which resulted in bad passes or sacks. On the other side, McNabb used his running ability to stay alive in the pocket and find guys down the field….or he got a few yards. Very rarely did he lose any yardage due to his legs.

KEEPING DVD IN CHECK. Vick is the “V”….Duckett and Dunn are the two “D”s. Neither had a stellar game. Dunn did do some damage…59 yards and a TD….but Duckett couldn?t [7 car. 14 yds].

EAGLES FLYING LONG. Who needs Terrell Owens? Well, Philly still doeswant him to show up in Jacksonville?..but they did nice without him. Eight different guys caught passes?.including Greg Lewis? 45 yarder with a great adjustment by him with the wind. Chad Lewis, the Eagles? TE, caught both of McNabb?s TD passes. Those big plays were key to their scores.


DEFENDERS TACKLE. One noticeable difference for the Falcons between this game and last week?s game against the Rams was the fact that the Eagles will tackle you. The Rams missed tackles?.the Eagles made excellent tackles. Open field tackles. Run stopping tackles. Jeremiah Trotter was everywhere on Sunday. They hit Vick hard at times?and it really looked like it affected him. The secondary laid out some huge hits, big tackles and didn?t give up a big play?.something Atlanta desperately needed.


FINDING BRIAN. The Falcons dominated the ball in the first half?.but the Eagles turned that around in the second half. Mainly because of Brian Westbrook. Westbrook got only 6 touches in the first half?.15 in the second?.for a total of 135 yards. The Eagles as a whole rushed pretty well. Philly had 154 rushing yards for an average of 4.7 per attempt.


VICK?S PICK. The game really came into focus for Philly when Brian Dawkins picked off Vick?s pass deep inside Falcons territory. The Eagles came away with only a FG?.but the momentum was clearly Philly?s.

KICKING PROBLEMS. The kicking game was huge Sunday. Especially the punting. With the winds gusting, Atlanta?s Chris Mohr struggled punting?.with a 26 yard average on 5 punts.

LOOSEY GOOSEY. One thing that really surprised me was how loose Philly played. Sure, they were very disciplined with their play?.but they certainly weren?t tight. McNabb?s passes looked very crisp?.the defense played their zones and stuck to their men?and the play calling was anything but conservative. Even when things went rough [Dunn?s TD; interception cancelled by a penalty], they still just kept their cool?no pun attended.

So on to Jacksonville the Eagles go?.where they will most likely be an underdog to either the Steelers or Patriots. But if they performed like this when the pressure was clearly on them?.how loose will they play when they are the one?s playing with the house?s money?

Congrats Eagles fans.  Cheese steaks all around!!!





The New England Patriots are AFC Champions for the third time in four years. Two of those times, they went into Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers in the title game. They mauled the Steelers 41-27 [I called a Pats 16-13 close win].

In the exact opposite of their meeting on Halloween, the Patriots jumped on the Steelers early. After getting a FG off of a Big Ben pick?..they forced a fumble from Jerome Bettis and Brady hit Deion Branch for a 60 yard TD on the very next play. Roethlisberger drove the Steelers down the field?but he was picked and had it returned for a TD?..bringing the score to 24-3 at halftime.

The Steelers made a valiant effort in the second half?.getting to within 11.?but just kept making mistakes that ended up costing them a shot at the Super Bowl.


HE IS JUST A ROOKIE. Today, I saw the good and bad of Ben Roethlisberger. He came out horrible. His first pass was picked off?then he threw a pass to the flat that was picked off by Rodney Harrison and returned for a touchdown. He played bad?.and it showed on his face and on the scoreboard. But then the good came out. He wasn?t tentative in the second half. He came out firing?and did hit Ward and Burress for some big plays. He passed for 2 TD?.and another pick. How hard is it to be a rookie QB playing in the AFC Championship game?? A game Marino won only once [Kelly and Elway were winning them all]?.and Manning has yet to topple. I will say this?..Ben showed more stones than Manning did last week.


TOM BRADY DOES HIS THING. That says it all. Tom Brady rarely does anything extraordinary on the stat sheet. He?s good for 220 yards and a couple of touchdowns per game. On Sunday, 207 yds and 2 TD. But, watch the game and you truly see Brady?s mettle. When they need a big pass?he delivers it. And he could send it anywhere. Unlike most teams that focus on one receiver for a big play?.the Pats can have anyone showing up. Branch, Givens, Brown, Fauria, Patten or Graham. Oh, Faulk and Dillon can get it too.


RUN, RUN, RUN? Coming into the game?we all figured it to be a smash mouth game where Dillon and Bettis would be in the limelight. Well. It wasn?t really the smash ?em up game everyone was predicting. Both did get their touches?.but it was the pass game that truly was the story. Big plays offensively and defensively were determined by the pass. Either Brady?s 60 yard bomb?.or Roethlisberger?s interceptions?.it was the passing game that seemed to be the difference.

WIN STREAK SNAPPED. The loss ended Pittsburgh 15-game winning streak. Amazing for a team that wasn?t thought to be that powerful when the season began. They hadn?t lost since mid-September?.which was the game Maddox was knocked out and Big Ben came in. Thisalso puts Bill Cowher 1-4 in the AFC Championship game?.all of those games were played in Pittsburgh. It also eliminated the possibility of an ?All-Pennsylvania? Super Bowl against Philadelphia [it would have been the first all-state Super Bowl in a decade when San Diego and San Francisco met in Super Bowl XXIX].


WIN STREAK CONTINUED. Whomever doesn?t think the Pats are a dynasty [especially if they win SB 39] are crazy. This team has won 8 straight postseason games and are 33-4 over the past two seasons. Brady has a 8-0 career playoff mark?passing Troy Aikman for most QB playoff wins to start a career?and trails only Bart Starr [9] for most consecutive playoff wins overall. They play well in big games [which explains losses to the Dolphins and Redskins in that span] and seem to have an ability to choke team?s strengths and force them to work from their weaknesses.

HISTORY. As I said?the Pats could ascend into the history books. They are the first team to go to back-to-back Super Bowls since the Broncos in 1998-1999...that?s also the last team to repeat as champs. A third Super Bowl title would give them three?.only the Cowboys, Niners, Steelers, Packers, Raiders and Redskins have that many. That third Super Bowl ring would give them 3 in 4 years?.something only the 1990s Cowboys ever accomplished. They are going to their 5th Super Bowl?only Denver and Dallas have been to more. If Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl MVP?he?ll tie Joe Montana?s [ya know, the guy he is compared to] record of three. This will also be the Patriots first Super Bowl


Congrats Pats fans.  Chowder all around!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Around The Sportz World


*. It will be a white Sunday in Pennsylvania, which hosts both Conference Championships. I know this has been going of for a few years now….but what is up with the NFL playoffs and these night games?? I know it is for the enjoyment of the viewers on the East coast to have games at “chillin’ time” on Sunday afternoons….while the West coast people can sleep in a while longer before having to watch games that don’t involve them. But what was so wrong about the normal 1:00 and 4:00 games?? What also makes it soooooo odd is the fact that the NFL is so adamant of having Super Bowls in locales that are sunny and warm [or domed]….yet play the 2 NEXT most important games in wintry conditions and, now, late at night….just to get that temperature low enough to make it dramatic







*Why are all of the famous sports heterosexuals all of the sudden showing off their model girlfriends?? After we got a look at Jeff Garcia’s model squeeze…word is that Mike Piazza is marrying a playmate. Congrats Mike. Nothing says “I’m not gay” more than marrying a playmate.

*Why is it that I feel that if Houston doesn’t give Roger Clemons his $22M deal…..he’ll end up with the Rangers winning a Cy Young and getting them to a World Series?

photo of view from Dockside Guest Quarters and Restaurant, York, Maine

*Can we officially stop feeling sorry for New England sports fans?? You have the NFL Champion 2 of the last 3 years [and maybe again this season]…the World Series Champion…the 16-time NBA Champion…the defending NCAA men’s and women’s hoops champions. Maybe we all need to give the microphone to the Cleveland fans and hear their cries.

*Speaking of the Red Sox….is the entire baseball world centered around those 19 or so times the Yankees and Red Sox play?? I mean….we get every game hyped like it is the ALCS….then we get them IN the ALCS. Now, we get the Yanks Randy Johnson against the Sox Curt Schilling….former Arizona teammates….battling on opening day. All of the other 28 teams can just go back into their holes because no one seems to care about them. How about another Giants-Angels World Series???

 *Speaking of the Angels….apparently NO ONE like the idea of the team name being the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”. Easily the dumbest name ever. Anaheim is bent because they don’t want to be associated as LA’s skank. Los Angeles is bent because the Angels pay no taxes or anything to the city…so why should they get the advertising rights?? Agreed on both sides. Look. If there is one thing I’ve learned about those SoCal people is that Anaheim and LA don’t really like each other.  It is a turf war [notice one team wears blue and the other wears red].  So throwing their names together is like me starting the Bloody Crips Gang.


*Speaking of LA….why is the NFL so insistent of putting an NFL team there no matter what? Both the Raiders and Rams left a decade ago…and no one really cares. So why try so hard to put one there? Belief was that the next franchise ready for relocation will be plopped there. Okay…fine. Colts? Well they got their stadium. Cardinals? New stadium. Chargers?? Hmmm. Vikings? Owner Red McCombs would rather move them to San Antonio.


*The NHL is on its death bed. Why does nobody care? Better yet…why doesn’t the NHL and the players realize that nobody cares? I know there are die hards out there….and I like hockey….but the NHL isn’t one of the “major 4 pro sports” anymore. I’d easily place NASCAR ahead of them. The NHL has no significant network deal….the most recognizable players are approaching 40.…the season is boring….you identify with absolutely no one on the ice….most of us have never even been ice skating before….etc. Here is the crux of the problem. Management is management. They want a dummy proof system to keep themselves in check. The players want to keep on making that madd jack even though it really isn’t there. Shorten the season….play more games on the weekend…get rid of the red line….scrape off some teams….glue the stick to their gloves…anything to get the NHL back, errrr, at least somewhat “back”.

*Speaking of NASCAR…they recently allowed hard-liquors as sponsors [even though they wanted no part of “Winston” in their points race]. Robby Gordon snatched up Jim Beam. Mr. Beam will join Fruit-of-the-Loom as Gordon’s main sponsors this season. Kurt Busch, the defending champ, has cut a deal with Jack Daniel’s. Add in the media darling, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Budweiser car and you have the perfect catch. Fast cars…..heavy drinking!

*Speaking of money….did you know that the Texas Rangers now play at Ameriquest Field??? Not the Ballpark at Arlington no more. Or the Carolina Panthers played in Bank Of America Stadium….not Ericcson. The San Jose Sharks play at HP Pavilion. The Baltimore Ravens play and M&T Bank Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers play at Monster Park. Or how about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays playing in the St. Pete Times Dome. Huh? A dome named after a newspaper? Good grief!

*Speaking of stadiums…..did you know that PETA bought a brick in the “Adopt A Brick” program where you can purchase a brick that was used to Petco Park in San Diego…and put a nice little message on it. The brick read: “Break Open Your Cold Ones! Toast The Padres! Enjoy This Championship Organization!” The first letters of each word on the brick spell “Boycott Petco.”

*Speaking of boycotts….I’m boycotting high school basketball games. Riddick Bowe Jr. [son of the former heavyweight champ] was arrested for bringing a gun to a West Charlotte HS hoops game. And now OJ Simpson’s daughter, Sydney, was arrested after a HS hoops game in Florida for shouting at police. Ahhh….kids.

I am oooot!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Stupid Sports Nicknames

Ya know…it’s funny how we love our sports teams names. I mean, in Carolina…when the NFL team makes a first down…a loud RRRROOOAARRRR comes from the PA. There are fans who dress up with whiskers.…black and blue bodies...etc. It happens all over the NFL. It is even funnier when the team has a stupid name.

Recently, the Anaheim Angels changed their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Huh? What?? Why not the “California Angels of Anaheim just outside of Los Angeles”??? Huh? That got me thinking about other names that get under my skin. So, here is my own personal list of dumb pro sports names. And….no….I’m not getting into the Native American Mascot debate. I’ve done that before. Neither am I going into the whole “there’s no Jazz in Utah” or “Lakers in Los Angeles” debates. Enjoy


MIGHTY DUCKS OF ANAHEIM. Kids, there used to be this thing called the “NHL”….and they played this sport called “hockey”…[it used to be on ESPN2 where now the movies “3” and “Tilt” play constantly]. The name ‘mighty ducks’ comes from the Disney kids hockey movie. So why not name the team that. Fine…the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Oh no! Let’s flip it on ‘em and say the “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim”….as opposed to the rival gang of Mighty Ducks of Albuquerque. Anaheim….get over yourselves.


SHORTENING HOCKEY NAMES. Why does hockey do this?? Yeah, many teams can shorten their name. The Yanks, Wolves, Skins, D-Backs, G-men, M’s, O’s, A’s, etc are okay usually. The Sox, Jays, Sonics, Blazers, Wings, Jackets all shorten two word names. But what the heck is the Ning, Sens, Preds, Pens, Yotes and Aves?? Or Thrash, Habs and Isles. And it isn’t just hockey. The Nuggs, Stros, Phins, Grizz. Please….stop it. Just say the extra freaking syllable so we can all go on with our lives.


NEW JERSEY NETS.  C'mon.  You used to be the "Americans".  That is much better than "nets".  I mean, a piece of equipment used in the game??  What is that??  No "bats" in MLB...or "Uprights" in the NFL or "penalty box" in the no NETS!!


HOUSTON TEXANS. It is 2002.…and you get a new NFL franchise. So name that team….after the state you live in?? What is that?? I mean, you gotta love the gall of the citizens of Texas to actually think that people from the state are ferocious mascots. The Texans. Or the Miami Floridians [which was an ABA team]. I can take the name being from the state nickname [Cornhuskers, Hoosiers, Tar Heels]…..but the Nebraskans, Indianans or Carolinians?? Nope. Let them take the Oilers back….or the Steers, which adorns their helmets.


TORONTO RAPTORS. That name is soooooo 1994. I mean, I guess some dinosaur bones were found somewhere in Canada….or something. Look, the “raptor” was cool to kids because dinosaurs were the fad and JURASSIC PARK was the biggest movie of the time. Hey, Raptors and Mighty Ducks….STOP naming your teams after movies.


GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS. In my later years, I’ve understood the concept of having regional names. So everyone around has the feel that it is their team. The New England Patriots can beloved in Hartford, Montpelier, Boston and Foxboro. The Carolina Panthers are loved in both North and South Carolina. Even the Florida Marlins/Panthers get a break there too [since both were the states original teams in those sports]. Minnesota, Utah and Indiana no the state name thing…and that is fine. The Tennessee Titans have an excuse since they’ve played their games all over Tennessee, it seems. But Golden State?? There are already THREE other teams in California….and I’d bet that all of them have a better claim to being called the “Golden State’s team”. Well, maybe not the Clippers. I mean, I know you mean well….but I’d much rather hear the Bay Area Warriors or even the “Warriors of the Golden State” instead of that garbage.


WNBA TEAM NAMES. Of course, this coming from a guy named “Sportz”. Okay…I can deal with the Magic, Wild, Heat, Lightning and Avalanche…..sort of. But those WNBA team names kill me. Sting, Sun, Storm, Liberty, Shock, Fever, Lynx and Mercury can all retire.


MLS NAMES. This isn’t Europe…this is the ol’ USA. So don’t name your team MetroStars, FC Dallas or DC United. My favorite is Real Salt Lake. Classic!!!

UTAH TEAM NAMES. Real Salt Lake. Utah Jazz. Utah Starzz. Salt Lake Buzz. Kill the ZZ’s guys.


MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. I will say this up front. They have some dumb names…stupider logos…and ridiculous hats. But, it works. The wilder the hat….the more known your team is and the sales go up! I’m from North Carolina…and I think we are the kings of those dumb names. The Hickory Crawdads. Winston-Salem Warthogs, Greensboro Grasshoppers. Kannapolis Intimidators, Carolina Mudcats, Asheville Tourists, Here is the greatest hits list….enjoy: Aberdeen IronBirds, Albuquerque Isotopes, Auburn DoubleDays, Batavia Muckdogs, Beloit Snappers, Brevard County Manatees, Chattanooga Lookouts, Columbus Catfish, Corpus Christi Hooks, Everett Aqua Sox, Idaho Falls Chukars, Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino, Lakewood BlueClaws, Lancaster JetHawks, Lansing Lugnuts, Las Vegas 51s, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Missoula Osprey, Montgomery Biscuits, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, New Britain Rock Cats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs, Puebla Parrots, Toledo Mud Hens, Tucson Sidewinders, Tulsa Drillers, West Virginia Power, Williamsport Crosscutters and Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sportz Conference Champions


Pittsburgh creamed New England earlier this season…..becoming the first team since the WASHINGTON REDSKINS to knock off the Pats in over a year. We knew it was big then….but how big is it now?? If the Pats won that game….this game would be played in snowy Foxboro. And ask Peyton Manning how tough that is. Instead it will be held at Heinz Field…where the yellow is everywhere and so will the Terrible Towels.


The key player in this game is the key player in the last Pats game…..Corey Dillon. Remember, Dillon did not play in the October matchup. New England gained only 5 yards on a mere 6 carries. Of course, you could say they had to abandon the run anyway as the Steelers jumped out to a big early lead [Brady did pass it 45 times]. The Steelers want to run the ball as well. They ran over the Pats for 221 yards…by far the worst Pats effort of the year and the Steelers second best [they ran for 252 the very next week against Philly]. Pittsburgh really needs to run the ball…because they are not wanting to need Big Ben to have to put up big numbers in order to win.


So we know both teams want to run… getting an early lead is important. That way, you can use some clock and run the ball and force the other team to pass it more than they’d like. This is essential to the Steelers…who would prefer to make Big Ben into more of bystander than the guy they need to win the game. Especially against a defense that made Peyton Manning look like Ryan Leaf. The Pats can get by…since they do have Tom Brady and an array of receiver who aren’t great but capable of making big catches.

                        Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi and the Patriots play as a team, and that makes them very dangerous.

Stats wise…this game is a wash. Pitt is good at home…the Pats are good on the road. Both teams can move the ball and are good at holding the other team from moving it. Both teams are well coached and tend not to make many mistakes. So, the team that can force their opponent to play out of their comfort zone will come out on top. In that earlier contest, New England committed 4 turnovers…tying their season high [which was their other loss to Miami]. They forced none. This from a team with a +12 turnover ratio. So…DUH…the team that doesn’t turn it over should be fine.



Let me tell you this joke. An NFC South team walks into Philadelphia on a Sunday to play in the NFC Championship Game. The cocky Eagles and their fans are already making hotel reservations since this visiting team seems to be a fluke. “I mean, they weren’t this good last year….and this year it is our turn” they spit. Of course, as you know, those NFC South teams [Tampa, Carolina] both left Philly with a trip to the Super Bowl.

This year, it could happen again. Atlanta is the NFC South team….and they stunk last year [with no Vick most of the year, mind you]. They are the upstart team that heads into Philly on Sunday to play for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. In all of these instances, it has been perceived that the Eagles are the better team, more experienced, and hungry to get over the hump. In all of these instances, the Eagles didn’t play up to their capabilities…played nervous…and the QB of the other team [Johnson, Delhomme] outplays Donovan McNabb. This year….there is a different kind of QB waiting for them. Michael Vick.

              What rust? It took Michael Vick five plays to get the Falcons in the end zone Saturday.

This is the player that will be the focus of the entire game. He is the key. Can the Eagles contain Michael Vick or will he be able to get loose? Tough to say. Philadelphia is typically the best defense at keeping quarterbacks in the pocket and limiting their ability to break off big runs. However, most of Vick’s big runs come as he scrambles up the middle…not on a rollout. So Philly must get pressure up the middle to hold out to Vick…which might leave the outside open for Vick and those Eagles backers must be able to get a hat on him. If the Eagles can force Vick into playing primarily with his arm….they should win.

Of course, the Falcons road to the title game has been on the ground. They don’t have to pass. Vick’s running is one phase of the ground game….but the 1-2 punch of Warrick Dunn and TJ Duckett also are a worry. Both can move piles…both can grind up yards and clock. Both can tire a defense and let Vick get some time. You may say they are a mere 4-3 this year on grass, so their running game slows down….but they’ve put up huge rushing numbers in those games [204 in Seattle, Tampa-163, NYG-201, Denver-195].


And what a game to have these two running quarterbacks. These are the top two sacking defenses….so they will get back there and get some hits in. Who can bob and weave away from it?? These two defensive line are outstanding.


And while this game is about those backs [let’s not forget Westbrook] and the QB position….but it could very well be won by the wide outs. Can Freddie Mitchell step up again?? Will Algae Crumpler create problems for the blitzing Eagles backers? Can Peerless Price make any kind of big plays?? Of course, much of that depends on if the QB has time to throw it or not.


NEW ENGLAND/PITTSBURGH PICK: Like I stated, this will be a physical game against two teams that want to keep the ball on the ground. The team who can keep it there will control tempo and the game. It is hard to pick against a team that has won 15 in a row. And it is hard to pick against a team that has won 7 straight playoff games and is 4-0 in AFC Championship games. Despite the records and what happened in October….New England is the better team. They can wreck havoc on Roethlesberger. The game could very well come down to the legs. Not the Bus’, Dillon’s or Staley’s….but Vinitieri’s and Reed’s [UNC]. Heinz Field is one of the toughest places to kick [I heard something like no 50 yd FG hit there or something]. Reed is used to the conditions….but how can you bet against Vinitieri?? Patriots 20-17

ATLANTA/PHILADELPHIA PICK: Atlanta, I think, will be able to run the ball on Philadelphia. Despite Philly’s tough defense this year….they have allowed some major rushing games this season. The running will allow the Falcons to move the ball and shorten the game. But, the game will be won with an arm. Donovan McNabb’s arm. Even without TO, Philly has the guys who can step up when needed. Atlanta is one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL [only 146 ypg] even with their gaudy rushing numbers. But, can Vick make THE pass at THE big moment?? Hard to say. I really think McNabb can. It may not be the big TD pass…but it could be a big third down to keep a drive moving. Eagles 16-13

Go back to my pre-season preview.  Sportz' NFL Preview  I picked the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles to meet up in the Super Bowl "WHO WILL BE IN JACKSONVILLE IN FEBRUARY: New England v Philly. Philly couldn’t possibly lose 4 NFC Title games in a row…..could they? The Pats are just too strong and smart to get past a game Colts team."  So why would I veer from that now??