Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina's Effects On The Sports World



We always say it in times like these....but sports is secondary. Well, not secondary. Heck...they are waaaaay down the list. But there are times when sports and life crash into each other. 

The image of the roof of the Superdome peeled off will be one of the lasting images from Hurricane Katrina. It has been a sancuary for 30,000 people...and is currently a staging place for injured people rescued in the city. Families are living there now....if they were to leave, where are they to go? Toilets and garbage over overflowing and causing concern. With no power....the dome has become unbearably hot. New Orleans' chief of Homeland Security reported that a guy even lept from the top section to his death in the stadium.

The governor has ordered the Superdome to be evacuated [with possibly the entire city] as water is slowly rising and it would be a catastrophe if the dome started to flood with no escape plans in place. 


*The Saints...tenants of the Superdome...are in California preparing for a preseason game against the Raiders this weekend. They've been practicing at San Jose State since, essentially, evacuating last weekend. After this weekend...who knows where they will be. They could just head to of their season opener against the Panthers. Week 2 [September 18th] they are supposed to host the New York Giants. That game could either be cancelled...or moved if the Superdome isn't able to be ready by then.

*And what is to become of the Saints if New Orleans is, for lack of a better word, gone?  The team has spoken to officials in San Antonio about possibly setting up base there.  They could have a make-shift office space, practice facility and possibly play their home games at the Alamodome.  Saints owner, Tom Benson, has a history with the city and could find businesses willing to cooperate with the team.  The team may also look at Houston [which is closer to New Orleans. The problem with that is there is a fear that the Superdome may not be functional for quite some time.  There is the holes in the roof...possible structural power right now....and just the overall mood to hold a football game in the middle of such devastation.


*Five college football games scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled.  Tulane-Southern Miss was postponed until Thanksgiving weekend as both schools' towns have been decimated by the hurricane.  North Texas-LSU may be cancelled as the schools have no openings to replay the game.  Nicholls State-Utah State, Southern-McNeese State and Jacksonville-Hammond have been postponed.  If you remember...a hurricane forced the movement of several college games during LAST year's opening weekend....most notably the Florida State-Miami game. 

*Tulane may have the biggest problem.  Located right in the mix of the flooding....Tulane University may be closed for quite a while.  That raises the question:  does the football team go on?  Can the team represent a school that may not be open for quite a long time???


*Brett Favre's family still lives in his hometown Kiln, Mississippi. He spoke to his mother Tuesday who told their horror story of having to live in the attic as waters rose in their home. Today, the water receeded and his mother and grandmother left for Brett's brother's home nearby. Mama Favre's home is pretty much destroyed...and most likely have to be torn down to be rebuilt. Favre's mom was pregnant with him when Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf back in 1969.

*The NBA is already preparing it's teams for the Hornets possible relocation.  All 30 teams have been notified that the New Orleans Hornets will most likely not play in New Orleans next season...and that no site has been set yet.  The leading candidate as of now is nearby Baton Rouge where they could use LSU's facilities including their 14,000 seat arena.  That is smallish for an NBA team...but the Hornets were one of the poorest drawing teams and much of their fan base have bigger problems to deal with.  It will be interesting to see in the Hornets move to another city entirely.....say Nashville, Memphis or St. Louis.

*The NBA Players Association is quickly on the ball.  Union prez Antonio Davis has been on the horn with many players, trying to come up with the most efficient ways to lend support and assist FEMA.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Will Purdue Break The BCS Bank???


*Everyone in the Gulf area who is being affected by Katrina are in our prayers.

*It seems that every year, some team comes from a mediocre season to make noise in the college football polls.  Oklahoma did it in 2000.  Ohio State did it in 2002.  LSU did it in 2003.  Auburn did it last year.  Each of those teams finished the previous season with 5 losses.  So, will there be a 5-loss team from last season that does it again???  If so...I'd say Purdue.  The Boilermakers have talent on both sides of the ball....despite losing all-everything Kyle Orton.  But the capper is the schedule.  No Michigan.  No Ohio State.  Their biggest stumbling block is Iowa...and they get them at home.  This could make for an interesting BCS season.  USC has a good shot at running the table; Tennessee, Florida and Georgia are SEC studs;  Virginia Tech will be strong;  Texas looks good;  Louisville may end up undefeated;  and Purdue and either Michigan or Ohio State BOTH could be undefeated and Big Ten co-champs. 

*Last year, Steve Nash won the NBA MVP Award.  This was the first time a player who changed teams won the MVP award since 1983 [Moses Malone].  Will one of this year's moving players take the top prize??  Check my transactions takes on SPORTZ' HOOPS LAND

*For those of us who love MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH OUT....check out this weird knock-off:  Frusion Breakfast Brawl

*Read my blog, much??'s Jay Bilas just wrote this: "To open the season, the NCAA should establish a committee to select what it believes will be the 16 best teams in the nation. Those teams would be seeded and invited to participate in the preseason NIT, which would be the first event of the season each year -- and the first of two meaningful national championships each season. "  In the TWO MINUTE WARNING, I suggested that "I’m really hoping that the NCAA may be open to expanding the Preseason NIT as somewhat a preseason gauge for teams."  Okay, not word-for-word stealing...but the idea was already there.  lol

*I'm normally not one for arguing with a 94-yr old coaching legend....but there is someone out there who is.  Apparantly, due to a rift between himself andthe Los Angeles Athletic Club...John Wooden isn't backing the Wooden Award.  The LAAC are the sponsors of the Wooden Award which is given to college basketball's best player.  The rift is that Wooden wanted to lend his name to another, unrelated, award.  The LAAC didn't like they wanted to protect it's trademark.  Because of that....Wooden wants nothing to do with the award that bears his name.  Wooden did give the LAAC the rights to the trademark name John R. Wooden....and they can do with it as they please. 

*Maurice Clarett will be cut by the Broncos soon.  That really isn't a news story.  He hasn't gotten a carry in any of the preseason games and was 5th on Denver's depth chart.  Guys like that get cut.  The story, of course, is thatit is mouthy Clarett getting cut.  A guy, whom I feel, is one of the biggest wastes of space in sporting history.  One fine season at Ohio State is all that is on his resume.  That is it.  Yet here I am writing about him being cut like it is important.  To me..the story is why did Denver draft him in the 3rd round??  Whomever pulled the trigger on this needs a timeout....and needs to stay out of the 2006 Draft war room.

*Hawaii made us all proud by making a masterful comeback...then winning the Little League World Series.  The LLWS is always that fun event that rolls around and forces nostalgia on you.  Many of us played Little League [I did] and watching these 12 yrolds make you remember that time.  Of course, most Little Leagues we played in didn't have 6 footers....a packed house....nicely cropped grass and soft infield dirt.  No...we had that weed infested field with the all-dirt infield.  That big patch of dirt in right field where the worst player stood all day long.  Being able to hear everything said in the stands.  Ahh...tobe 12 again!

*Despite what people think....this NBA offseason isn't that wacky.  The biggest name to change teams is probably Antoine Walker.  The best one was probably Joe Johnson...and he went to a team that sucks.  If it wasn't for that huge deal that brought Walker to Miami, there wouldn't be much to discuss.  Not to say that these moves won't make impacts.  Larry Hughes to Cleveland is just the right piece to get LeBron James into the playoffs and a threat in the East [not a great team...a threat].  The difference is who is moving.  Last year we had some of the greatest players in the league changing places.  This is the coaches.  Phil Jackson, Larry Brown, Flip Saunders and Nate McMillian will all take over "new" teams.  Heck, even Pat Riley got some run. 

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Are You Ready For Some.......Fantasy Football!!!


Many people will be holding their Fantasy Football drafts sometime in the next 7-10 days.  We held our draft back on July 31st and are eagerly awaiting the upcoming season.  As the Sportz Assassin, I am the commish of our fantasy league.  And I do it the ol' fashioned way.  I run it.  Sure, I use an "office manager" to help with the scoring...but I made the schedules...held the draft at my house...conduct all business thru me...type and distrubute all paper work.

This year, I've entered some online fantasy leagues.  I really don't care about winning them...I am just intrigued to find differences and nuances that many leagues have that I may want to incorporate into our league in the future.  If any of you have some...feel free to respond with them. 

I am in now way a fantasy expert....but this is just some of the things our fantasy league does that may be out of the norm:

*BASIC LEAGUE SETUP.  We start 1 QB....2 RB....3 WR/TE....1 K....1 DEF.  You must start that exact lineup each week.  We kept the league to a mere 8 teams.  Everyone plays each other twice.  After the 14-week season...we go to a 3-team playoff.  The #1 team gets a by into our championship game...while the #2 and #3 teams play for the right to face him.  The winner of our championship game wins a Championship Ring.

*DRAFT EARLY.  There is that time between January and September that football fans are chomping at the bit.  My league is full of guys like that.  We talk about the upcoming...well, down the road....draft for months.  We can't wait to get it started.  Due to the odd nature of my our work schedules...we have to get in when we fit in [we work 13 days on....1 day off].  So, July 31st opened up for all of us.  We had our draft then. 

*DRAFT BIG.  Since I run all the league...I want the less AMOUNT of work I can get.  The biggest way I have done that is by expanding rosters.  We have 21 players on our roster.  The roster consists of 3 QBs....6 RB....7WR/TE....2 K....3 DEF.  The reasoning for this is that I want everyone to have a full roster in case of injuries, bye weeks, etc.  I want the least amount of transactions as I can.  One problem with the online fantasy leagues is the constant waivering.  You play one week...then hit the waiver wire on Tuesday to pick up the guys you want for next week.  That isn't fun.  Our league makes you a "team".  Those guys that are on your roster on Week 1....well, you are stuck with 'em! 

*TEAM QUARTERBACK.  In past fantasy seasons...the biggest problems certain teams have had is at QB.  With byes, injuries and demotions....there were times there was no QB to play.  One guy had Tommy Maddox, Steve McNair and Brad Johnson.  Maddox and Johnson lost their jobs [Maddox to injury] and McNair was doubtful all year long.  So there were times he couldn't start a QB.  You are right...the easiest solution is to draft one of your QB's backups...but that isn't fun.  So, we took it a step further and started a "Team QB".  That means, instead of Joey get "Lions QB".  Whomever the Lions play...either Harrington or have him.  This also helps Peyton Manning owners who watched as Manning stood on the sidelines during the 4th quarter.  "Colts QB" owners get the stats that Jim Sorgi puts up.  It also helps with the aprehension of starting certain guys.  Steve McNair owners were hesitant to insert him into the lineup because he may not play.  But as a "Titans QB" get whomever goes out there.  "Jets QB" owvers watch Chad Pennington get clocked in the 2nd quarter and leave the game??  You get his backup.  It helps on so many levels. [note:  AOL's fantasy site gave us the idea for this]. 

*KEEPERS.  I love keepers.  I gives owners a sense of "franchise".  We allow a holdover of 3 players....and no two players can play the same position.  So, you can't hoard running backs.  You have to decide.  Personally, I kept "Colts QB", Ahman Green and Tony Gonzalez.  There were some people that had to decide between Willis McGahee or Jamal Lewis.  Terrell Owens or Javon Walker.  Preist Holmes or Edgerrin James.  It makes the draft more everyone has different needs.  I didn't need a QB, since I had Peyton Manning.  But I needed to target receivers and backs.  Another guy had Carson Palmer as his QB and needed to focus at getting one of the top QBs.  It also skews the draft.  Most of the top guys are gone.  You must sort thru the rest.  The first round of our draft went like this:  1-McGahee, 2-E. James, 3-C. Johnson, 4-D. Davis, 5-K. Jones, 6-R. Johnson, 7-C. Martin and 8-S. Jackson.  Not the names that are atop many draft board, eh?  Draft strategies are truly changed. 

*ONE DROP/ADD DURING YEAR.  That is it.  You have ONE opportunity to throw a player off your team and add a new one.  That is it.  Just one.  So it is held in the highest regard to everyone.  You don't use it until you absolutely have to.  Trades are allowed, but must be approved by 4 other owners.

*INJURED RESERVE.  We do compensate by having an injured reserve.  What this means is if you got a player who is placed on the NFL's injured reserve [meaning he is done for the season]...then you can replace that player.  If someone had Stephen Davis last year, they could replace him with another running back the instant Davis was officially placed on IR.  This helps depleted rosters out. 

*HAVE AN "AMNESTY AUGUST".  This is the first year we've tried this...but since we hold our draft so early, we allow some tinkering in August.  Upon looking at your drafted see some problem in there you can drop/add as much as you like.  From August 1-August 31...we allow each team to make these moves.  Most have been minor.  But it does help for guys who suffer big injuries [Rex Grossman] or fall down on depth charts [Maurice Clarett].  Once September hits...each team falls under that 1 drop/add rule again. 

These are just some of the odd-ball things we do to keep our fantasy league fun, civil and exciting.  Please do leave comments about things that your league may do that is different.

Keep Junior In Cincinnati


For the last 2-3 months....the biggest story about the Cincinnati Reds is about a trade that would send Ken Griffey Jr to the Chicago White Sox.  With three days left until the true trading deadline ends....the Bob Huggins smoke clearing and the Bengals barking in is back popping up. 

In those 2-3 months....all the people in the Reds organization and Griffey himself have shot down those rumors.  Yet, every week...they keep coming up.  So, again, Griffey has to say "I'm not going to Chicago" and not many will believe him.

This subject has been on the tips of Reds fans tongues for a couple years now.  When the Reds dealt for Griffey, the team had just made a postseason run and had just lost a one-game-playoff to the New York Mets.  At the time, the Reds were lauded for stealing Griffey away from the Mariners.  Brett Tomko, Mike Cameron and a cheaper contract than what Griffey could command made the Reds the undisputed winner in that deal.

Since then, injuries had killed Griffey.  And those lost seasons bring on the realization that Griffey is now 35 years old.  The Kid who was to break Aaron's marks had to sit back as Sosa, McGwire and Palmeiro are charging up those HR lists.  Former teammates Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez are winning Cy Young Awards, World Series and reaping huge contracts.  Both are now Yankees....and many assume that Junior would be joining them at some point.

And this is where the split begins.

There are many around Cincy that want Griffey traded.  Why?  Well, for the first time since he's gotten here, he has stayed healthy.  His trade value will most likely not get as great as it is now.  With the tight wildcard races...there is always a need for a left handed power bat like Junior's.  Strike while that iron is hot. 

It is obvious to many fans here that the Reds just aren't going to win the division...let alone get to the World Series.  At least not in the time Griffey has left with the Reds.  Some want him to go to New York or Chicago and live vicariously thru him.  Let Griffey get his ring!

I, however, live on the other side.  I think Griffey needs to stay.  Sure, his star has suddenly turned bright again and it is nice to know that he's valued.   But as a Reds fan....I don't want my team turning into that.  I don't want to be the Royals or Pirates or Brewers who develop guys that turn into greats somewhere else.  We suffered watching Junior pull up lame heading into home or running down a ball in center field.  We've read about Griffey's rehab and work outs during the offseasons.  We all have gotten excited every spring hearing reports on how crisp he looks.  And then he gets hurt.

But he hasn't this year.

Call it the Barry Larkin effect.  For nearly two decades, we KNEW Barry Larkin would be around.  Sure, he missed time too during this Griffey Era....but you know that if you went to the game.....#11's influence is felt.  Now, Griffey has taken that over.  Despite all of the talk and rhetoric....this is Junior's town.  People get excited when Griffey gets up to the plate again.  People check the boxscores to see if he hit another one out.  You are seeing the #30 jerseys around town again.

Do I think he will be dealt?  No.  Not this year.  And not unless this team is totally in the crapper.  Sure, this season has been done for the Reds for quite some time.  But if Cincinnati was in the NL West division.....they'd just be 2.5 games back of first place.  As it stands now, they are only 8.5 games out of the Wild Card standings.  Sure, too much...but not enough to completely rehaul the team.

Griffey is in the fabric of the Reds.  Great American Ballpark is, not so coincidentally, designed to Griffey's strengths.  He is probably the first Hall Of Famer in Cincinnati since Tom Pete Rose.  He hit his 400th home run as a Red.  He hit his 500th home run as a Red.  Hopefully...he will hit at least 66 more home runs as a Red to reach #600. 

Two more HRs...and he passed Mickey Mantle for 12th all time on the HR list.  Fourteen more HRs...and he passes Mike Schmidt.  Another 34 HR season...and he is in the Top 10.  I'd like him to reach those goals in Cincinnati.

So, my final hope is that Carl Linder [owner] and his stubborness keep Griffey around.  He does matter.

Saturday, August 27, 2005



Alright.  If any of you Pigskin Bloggers would like to get in on this...please do.  I want to run a PIGSKIN PICK'EM for us this year.

It will be a pretty easy set up.  Each week, just e-mail me your picks for the week.

You get 1 pt for correct picks....with the Monday Night game worth 2 pts.  That is it!!!

I was attempting to run it off of AOL's Office Manager....but it is more of a hassle then it seems to be worth [just ask NYGFan]. 

Just some friendly competition for us Pigkin Bloggers to get in on.  Let me know if you are interested.

Already I have,

Sportz Assassin
Yannis' Steeler Journal
Raisin Brn
Kiser Blade
Coztanza's Jets Commentary
Lew from Sports Bar & Buffet

I want to get more of you Pigskin Bloggers in on please hit me up if you do. 

Independence High School Wins 79th Straight Game


I attended Independence High School in Charlotte, NC from 1990-1993.  When I was there, it was basketball that we were more known for.  Todd Fuller, who eventually made it into the NBA [drafted ahead of Kobe Bryant] played hoops for Independence in his sophomore and junior seasons [he opted for Charlotte Christian for his senior year]. 

Over a decade later, Independence High is a football national power. 

The Patriots have won 79 straight games.....the nation's longest winning streak.  They've won their first two games this season by a combined score of 69-0. 

The Patriots have won the last FIVE North Carolina High School championships. 

Currently, the Patriots are #8 in the USA TODAY PREP 25 poll. 

The past five years, the Patriots have finished the season ranked in the top 4 of that USA TODAY PREP 25 poll.   Last year, they finished #2. 

Last year, the Patriots had two Parade All Americans [both went to Georgia].

Former Patriot, Chris Leak, is one of the best QBs in college football. 

Good luck in 2005, Pats!!!

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Rise and Seperation of Gooden And Clemens


In 1984...two young pitchers broke into the Major Leagues together. In 1986...they met on baseball’s biggest stage. Today, one of them is trying for yet another Cy Young Award while the other is just turned himself in to police after 3 days on the run.

Dwight "Doc" Gooden and Roger Clemens were the best pitchers when I was growing up.  There was one in each league...dominating. 

Doc Gooden won his first Cy Young Award in the age of 20. He went 24-4 with an era of 1.53 and 268 him the nickname "Dr. K". He had an unreal 16 complete games...including 8 shutouts and won the NL pitching Triple Crown. He even hit a home run that season.

The very next year [1986], 23 year old Roger Clemens won his first Cy Young Award. He had the same 24-4 record as Gooden did a year earlier. He ended the year with a 2.48 ERA and 238 strikeouts. He also helped lead his Red Sox to their first World Series berth since 1975 and hoping for their first title since 1918.

In that 1986 World Series, I was rooting for the Mets. As an 11 year old kid...I always pulled for the National League in such events, as back in those days there was actually a difference in the two leagues aside from just the DH. Both Gooden and Clemens were on the mound for Game 2 in New York. Boston already had a 1-0 series lead. Oddly enough, neither pitcher won the game. Gooden was shelled for 6 runs while Clemens left in the 5th inning and not getting a decision. Both pitched again in the series....Gooden lost Game 5 and Clemens started, but didn’t finish, the immortal Game 6. In that entire postseason...neither pitcher won a game.

The next 5 years....both players kept their groove going. Gooden went 74-34. Clemens went 94-48....including two more Cy Young Awards. After that...both players started wearing out their welcome.


Gooden tested positive for cocaine in 1987 and continued to have issues with the drug. In 1992 Gooden posted a 10-13 mark. He followed that up with a 12-15 record in 1993. Both years he struck out just 294 hitters. The next year, Gooden pitched in just 7 games...won 3 of the them...and had an ERA over 6.00. In September 1994...Bud Selig suspended Gooden for the rest of that season [which wasn’t long since the strike occured] and all of 1995. That was the end of his Mets career.

The wheels came off for Clemens in 1993. He posted an 11-14 mark and had the largest ERA of his career. The next two seasons, Clemens did win 19 of 31 decisions...but stints on the DL, friction with the front office and a 10-13 campaign in 1996 [he oddly tied his record 20 strikeouts in a game late that year] meant he was out the door in Boston.

In 1996, Gooden resurfaced as a new man with the cross-town Yankees. Though unspectacular, Gooden did go 20-12 in his two seasons in pinstripes...which included another World Series ring [though he was left off the postseason roster] and a no-hitter. From there, he spent two seasons in Cleveland and spent the 2000 season with Houston and Tampa.  

Clemens didn’t go out like that. In 1997, he signed a huge deal to go to, of all places, Toronto. He won his first 11 games as a Blue Jay.....and won the Cy Young in both 1997 and 1998, becoming the first player to win 5 Cy Youngs. In 1997, Clemens won the AL Triple Crown...something that had not been done since 1945. He did it again in 1998. After demanding a trade...he ended up in pinstripes with the Yankees.


In 1999, he had a very subpar 14-10 record....but did win the World Series clinching game to win his first ever ring. In 2000, pretty much the same thing happened. A mediocre 13-8 record...and another ring.  Late that season....a player signed a minor league contract to join the Yankees and be Clemens teammate.  Dwight Gooden.   Gooden did pitch in and performed okay...even winning another ring. After performing poorly in spring training....the Doc retired.  Clemens pressed on. 

Oh, but in 2001, Clemens blew back up. A 20-3 record netted him his 6th Cy Young. After "retiring" after the 2003 World Series....Clemens stepped back on the bump for the Houston Astros in 2004. He went on to win another Cy Young award....his 7th.

As I write this...Clemens is just 11-6 but has an unreal 1.56 ERA. A few more wins with an ERA like that could get him yet another Cy Young award. Gooden just turned himself into police after fleeing a traffic stop in which he was suspected of drunken driving. He has a domestic violence charge pending and has a DUI on his record already.

His family is screwed up too. While Clemens’ son was just drafted by the Astros, but is pursuing his college career at Texas...Gooden’s son, Dwight Jr., was jailed earlier this month for probation violation stemming from a crack cocaine conviction. He was found with a gun and some of the hippie lettuce.

What happened?? Cocaine.


The sad truth is that the fast life of 1980s New York swallowed Gooden. It cost him his prime. I cost him a lot of trust. In a day and age where Doc’s former teammate Jesse Orosco recently isn’t out of the realm of thought that Gooden could have still been around. Heck, his rival Clemens is still punching guys out now. It cost many of his teammates their prime. Darryl Strawberry also fell to the same fate.

It is really a shame. Gooden put in one of the most majestic seasons a pitcher could have. And he didn’t really burst then flame out like a firecracker....he just burned away like a candle. One minute, he’s lighting everything up....the next, it just goes away.

And that is what makes this recent news about Doc even more saddening. I really forgot about him. I see Clemens highlights on ESPN every few days. He’s interviewed on Sports Bloggers Live and other outlets. I have to hear about Gooden on or on the news blotter.

But, to be honest....when I heard his did make me think about the mid-1980s. When road jerseys were blue. When "interleague play" meant the World Series and All Star game. When 36 home runs could win the HR Crown. The cookie cutter stadiums. The two divisions in each league. Being in my "tween-age" years. And Doc Gooden mowing down the rest of the National League.

Please find help, Doc.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

This Is Why Baseball Is A Joke!!!!!!


Read this story below, which I found on ESPN.COM....and is also swung on in the Mega Blog Two Minute Warning by colleage Monponsett.  In short, a Florida batboy was dared $500 from former Marlin [and current Dodger] Brad Penny to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour.  He couldn't finish it...the Marlins found out...and the kid gets suspended 6 games.  That's just 4 games shorter than if the kid stuck a needle of roids in his butt and knocked out a few HRs.  Ridiculous!!!


from - MLB - Got milk? Batboy has too much for Marlins to stomach

Milk does a body good, but it didn't do good for one batboy.

On a dare, a Florida Marlins batboy tried to drink a gallon of milk in under an hour without throwing up. But not only did the batboy not succeed in the challenge, his mere attempt cost him his job for six games, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

The Marlins suspended the unidentified batboy for the team's upcoming six-game homestand against the Cardinals and Mets from Aug. 28 through Sept. 4 for accepting the dare Sunday from Dodgers pitcher (and former Marlin) Brad Penny.

Penny offered the batboy $500 if he could drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour before Sunday's game without throwing up. Penny told the paper the boy drank the milk and didn't throw up, but didn't finish the gallon in the allotted time frame to win the dare.

"It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk," Penny told the Herald.

''It's ridiculous that they worry about stuff like that. It shows they [the Marlins organization] don't know anything about the game. That kind of stuff goes on everywhere. It didn't affect the way he worked, the way he did his job.''

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Why Isn't John Madden Already In The Hall???


John Madden is a finalist for the NFL Hall Of Fame, which begs the question......why hasn't he already been in the Hall??  I know that he isn't regarded as one of the great coaches [Walsh, Noll, Shula, Landry, Gibbs, Parcells, Halas]....but his reign in the 1970s was quite impressive.  In his 10 years in Oakland, Madden's teams went 112-39-7 including a Super Bowl championship.  Of all coaches with at least 100 wins...only Vince Lombardi has a higher winning percentage. 


But his contributions to the game go above just those numbers.  He rivals Howard Cosell as the best known NFL analyst ever....and eventually inheriting Cosell's old role on Monday Night Football.    Despite the jokes about his mumbling and rambling nature of his talk....he spoke to us in a way that we would speak to each other about the game.  He was one the first guys I saw that would really explain and delve into what offensive and defensive lineman do. 

He worked with Pat Summerall on CBS for years.  Then, he went with Summerall over to Fox to really set off Fox's sports climate.  Remember, there were no sports really on Fox until the NFL got there.  He then helped put back class to a Monday Night Football booth that suffered from critical hits jabbed at Dennis Miller [one of my favorite comedians].  Next year, he goes over to NBC to rejump their foray back into the NFL.  All four major networks needed him to anchor their NFL coverage.  Amazing.


And, to many people who are 30 and younger....Madden will be known best as the name before a number.  Like Madden 06.  Personally, I've bought every Madden game they made...back when it was called "NFL Showdown" [or something].  Though Madden never entered any code...he was very instrumental in the design of the game.  How is should look, sound, feel and play.  Now, playing Madden is darn near like watching a game on TV.  Heck, there are freaking Madden leagues and even a major Madden 06 Tournament held every year.

All of these aspects of Madden's career helped boost the NFL into what it is today.  I mean, his career numbers as a coach speak for themselves.  But when you add in the impact of television...the popularity he brought to the game which raised revenues for both the league and the networks....the licensing rights for the league and the players union for video game sales....if basically helps you figure out why the NFL is the national pastime now.

So...again...why isn't he already in the Hall??

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Huggy Bear Gets Pimp Slapped


Bob Huggins, the winningest basketball coach in University of Cincinnati history, will be fired or forced to resign by 2pm on Wednesday. Huggins has been asked to resign, effective immediately, and take a $3M buyout.....or get canned for $2M.  Bearcats associate head coach Andy Kennedy will be asked to become interim head coach.

Since I now live in Cincinnati...I see this thing up close.  This isn't a popular move around town...but it may be the best one.  The people of Cincinnati love Huggins.  In a city where the Reds and Bengals routinely stink, Bearcat basketball has become golden.  It's the one thing they can root for.  And now it may all come crashing down.

But those fans cannot forget that it is Huggins who has put himself in this spot.  He's kinda lost his program.  Throughout his tenure, it was a running joke about the off-court actions of his players.  The arrests...the academic difficulties....the buzz on the streets.  But, the team won and that's all anyone cared about.  However, his DUI and the embarrasing news clip of the police stop on it damaged Huggins in the university's eyes.  Serveral months of his assistants caught a DUI and the writing was on the wall.

Not only are the players wilin' out...but so is the coaching staff.

So Huggs, after getting his rollover clause in his contract terminated.....and getting no extention beyond 2007....was suddenly shocked when he was given a letter to hit the road. 

His assistant will take over...mainly so the current players won't bail on the program. 


My take on this?  I agree with what the university is trying to do....I just think they messed it up.  Most people wouldn't have had as big of a problem with this if it was done on May 16 when the two sides basically decided Huggins was a lame duck coach.  Break him off then....and get a good coach in place.  This announcement was made one day after the school released their non-conference schedule.

But Huggins' program...while a winner...did put a stain on the school.  The program was a laughingstock due to poor graduation rares and the constant troubles players like Dontonio Wingfield, Art Long and nameless others got into.  When entering into the Big East with such great universities as St. John's, Georgetown and Notre's not a great feeling to be the "dumb kid" entering their mix. 

I think they should have given him one full year to clean up his program.  If in a year it looks the same...can him.  But if he does work to transfor the college into the school Zimpher envisions them to be...then keep him on. 

Anyways....see ya, Huggs!


P.S.  Duke v North Carolina....February 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 22, 2005



Last year...I stood up on my blog and named USC #1 and Oklahoma #2.  The two did eventually meet in the Orange Bowl with the Trojans being crowned National Champs.  So, this year...I stand up here again with my SPORTZ TOP 12 and again have USC atop my preseason poll.  However, I do have a surprise at #2 that many may feel is controversial.  Maybe it is.  But we got a few months to see how it goes.  Check it out...

1-USC. Go ahead and make up those "Three-Pete" t-shirts with the mug of Pete Carroll on them. The Trojans are still stacked on the field. Off it, they lost Norm Chow which may hurt USC down the road...but not now. Leinart will try to defend his Heisman season...but it could be Reggie Bush that brings the hardware back to Los Angeles. I think they have the easiest schedule of the National Title contenders...and are really looking forward to running the table and playing in the Rose Bowl aka the National Championship.

2-MICHIGAN. Last year...I was all over the Big Ten. This year...I will show them some love. In my 2004 preview, I got many pieces of hate mail about not having the Wolverines or Buckeyes in my Top 12. Well, I was right to do so. This year, I am right to put them both here. Chad Henne and Mike Hart have a season under their belts and should be able to complete the Big Ten run that failed them last year. There are some land mines along the way...but I have them winning out and seeing USC in the Rose Bowl for the title.

3-OHIO STATE. These Buckeyes are loaded, too. But, I feel they will lose at Michigan on the final game of the season which will knock them out of the Rose Bowl picture. They also have that monster game hosting Texas early in the year. If they can get past that game...they should make a beeline for the Michigan game at the end. Lose that game...and it may be on to the Fiesta.

4-TEXAS. This has to be Texas’ year...right? Oklahoma is a tad down so the Horns may get some revenge. But the most important game may happen on September 10 when Texas heads to Ohio State. The winner of that game will most likely have the tiebreaker in voter’s minds for the rest ofthe year. Texas does have to go to Okie State and A&M...but can win those. The Big XII title game should be a breeze by comparison. I do think that the Horns may slip up in Columbus or Dallas [against OU] that will cost them the Rose Bowl berth. But if they blow by OSU...look out!

5-VIRGINIA TECH. How powerful this team will be depends on Marcus Vick. Has he put his problems behind him? We shall see. There is enough talent there to be the ACC champs and a ride to Pasadena. I think they may slip at home to the Canes or in Raleigh, Morgantown or Charlottesville and get the Orange Bowl bid. Not too shabby.

6-TENNESSEE. I love this team. Their defense should be wicked...and the offensive assault of Gerald Riggs and Erik Ainge should balance that side of the ball. However, this team has a tough road to follow. They go to Notre Damn with homers against Georgia and Fulmer’s favorite guy Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina [not to mention a possible beast in the SEC title tilt]. That sked makes me leery of putting them into the Rose Bowl...though they have the talent to get there.

7-MIAMI. The Canes found out that the ACC isn’t the Big East....well, except for that part of V-Tech beating them. Tech is still much better and they got ‘em in Blacksburg. Miami’s defense is suspect and could fail them against high profile offenses. Aside from roadies at Florida State and V-Tech...the rest of the sked seems fine for a run to the Sugar or Gator Bowl.

8-OKLAHOMA. Well, habit tells you to pencil the Sooners in for a BCS beat-down...but this is a team breaking in a new QB. That, plus everyone on OU’s schedule will pop in a tape of last year’s pasting to USC as a "how-to" to defend the Sooners. Their schedule is manageable to swim thru...and they may actually be 10-1 after the season...miss out on the Big XII title game [Texas should be in there] and get an at-large BCS bid.

9-LSU. Stop if you heard this before. The defense will be rabid and the running attack will be overwhelming...but the QB situation is up in the air. That last bit will separate them from the BCS realm. The Tigers also have the unfortunate luck to have to face the SEC East’s two toughest teams, Florida and Tennessee.....and should be one of them again in the SEC title game. That plus games at Bama and hosting Auburn will be too much for LSU to handle.

10-FLORIDA. I had Florida ranked high last year....and it was a bit of a reach...but I’m sticking with them this year. Now we get to see Chris Leak under the tutelage of the guy who helped make Alex Smith the #1 pick in the NFL draft. However, like Tennessee, the Gators face a tough SEC slate that has them hosting Tennessee and Florida State, at Bama, at LSU and also takes them to a certain ol’ ball coach.

11-LOUISVILLE. Welcome to the BCS!! The Big East lost Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College but didn’t lose it’s BCS bid. So Louisville, a newbie, should benefit off the bat. The Cards are in they are replacing LaFors and Shelton...but have capable stand ins with Brian Brohm and Michael Bush. They have Pitt and Syracuse coming to Louisville...and the toughest Big East game seems to be a trip to West Virginia which may decide the Big East crown. I feel they won’t lose a game and will be in Miami or Tempe in the new year.

12-IOWA. The Hawkeyes have a ton of talent and are trying to build off the momentum gained from beating LSU in the Cap One Bowl. However, they have both Michigan and Ohio State on their slate...and must go to Wisconsin and Purdue. They can afford to lose the first two if they win the second two. Do that...and they’ll be back on New Year’s Day.


CHAMPION:  Virginia Tech.  They'll win the first ACC Title Game
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Florida State.  Stock is down in expanded ACC, but the Noles should win the Atlantic Division easily.
YOU SUCK!!!:  North Carolina.  Not only did they lose Durant, but they have one of the nation's toughest schedules.

CHAMPION:  Louisville.  The Cards may enter the bowl season undefeated
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Syracuse.  They have a gifted defense and the best home field advantage in the league. 
YOU SUCK!!!:  Cincinnati.  UL's C-USA brother doesn't have such a bright outlook.  The Bearcats lost 8 starters on offense and 8 starters on defense. 

CHAMPION:  Michigan.  The Wolverines and Buckeyes will be on a crash course for their yearly rival game.  Michigan will come out on top. 
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Purdue.  Yeah, they lost Orton...but team is still loaded on offense and now has a defense to match.
YOU SUCK!!!:  Indiana When don't they suck??

CHAMPION:  Texas.  This is the year they finally beat Oklahoma.
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Iowa State.  The Cyclones should come out of the North Division and could spring an upset on an unsuspecting Big XII title foe.
YOU SUCK!!!:  Baylor.  They are by far the worst team in this conference.  Winning one game in the conference should be a challenge.

CHAMPION:  UTEP.  Mike Price has this team ready to make a big impact on the new look CUSA. 
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Memphis.  A tough nosed defense and DeAngelo Williams could steal the Tigers a few wins. 
YOU SUCK!!!:  Central Florida.  This team was 0-11 last year and now has a tougher schedule.

CHAMPION:  Bowing Green.  Omar Jacobs.  Nuff said.
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Northern Illinois.  With BGSU moving to the East Division...NIU should rule out west.
YOU SUCK!!!:  Buffalo.  They have a D-I team??

CHAMPION:  Utah.  Though Urban Meyer and Alex Smith are gone...the Utes have the experience and talent to win a wide open MWC. 
DON'T SLEEP ON:  BYU.  The team looks to be heading back to it's offensive juggernaut roots.
YOU SUCK!!!: UNLV.  A horrible defense and a young offense make for a long season.

CHAMPION:  USC.  There is no one in the Pac-10 that's in their league.
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Arizona State.  ASU has a killer defense and some surprising offensive talent. 
YOU SUCK!!!:  Stanford.  This once proud program has sinked into the depths of the league.

CHAMPION:  Tennessee.  The Vols have the most talent in the league...and should win more of those tough games that anyone else.
DON'T SLEEP ON:  South Carolina.  Spurrier won't take losing in this conference lightly.  This team will be ready to fling the ball around
YOU SUCK!!!:  Vanderbilt.  Well, this team did almost beat Tennessee last year.

CHAMPION:   North Texas.  Jamario Thomas is back after a stellar freshman season.  He should keep the Mean Green as the Sun Belt's cream!
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Troy.  They have a tough defense, an upset ability and a bowl game under their belt. 
YOU SUCK!!!:  Florida Atlantic.  Inexperience and probation status makes this a tough year.

CHAMPION:  Boise State.  Great QB, RB, O-line and some nice defensive players.  Could be best BSU team ever.
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Louisiana Tech.  Though BSU and Fresno are the top talents...La Tech is the final game on both team's skeds and could throw a monkey wrench in some plans. 
YOU SUCK!!!:  Idaho.  This team is out of the geographic challenged Sun Belt but will find no love with their new WAC buddies.

CHAMPION:  Navy.  Remember, this team finished 10-2 and won a bowl game last year.
DON'T SLEEP ON:  Notre Dame.  Weis will have this team ready...but games at Pitt, Michigan, Washington, Purdue and homers with Michigan State, USC, BYU, Tennessee and Syracuse scare me.
YOU SUCK!!!:  Temple.  The Big East needed teams to fill their conference and STILL kicked out the Owls. 

Sunday, August 21, 2005

George Carlin: Baseball and Football


This bit is from one of my favorite comedians of all time....George Carlin.  It is a take about the difference between baseball and football.  Baseball is a game where it's not nice to show up your opponent.  Football is a game where celebrations are choreographed.  Baseball is likened to a chess game.  Football is likened to a war.  Stuff like that. 

Taken from Baseball Almanac - George Carlin in Baseball and Football who took it from Carlin's book "Brain Droppings" [order it here at  where there are some priced as low as $0.98].  

"Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.

Also: in football,basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.

In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform,you'd know the reason for this custom.

Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!
Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?

In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!"

P.S.  For all you baseball fans out Thomas Boswell's Why Is Baseball So Much Better Than Football?  for the flip side.  Some classics:

"Before a baseball game, there are two hours of batting practice. Before a football game, there's a two-hour traffic jam."

"If you miss your favorite NFL team's game, you have to wait a week. In baseball, you wait a day."

"The best football announcer ever was Howard Cosell."

"The worst baseball announcer ever was Howard Cosell."

Niners Lineman Dies


49ers offensive lineman Herrion dies at 23
DENVER -- San Francisco offensive lineman Thomas Herrion collapsed in the locker room and died Sunday morning, shortly after the 49ers played the Denver Broncos in a preseason game. He was 23.

Herrion, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound guard, was on the field for San Francisco's 14-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a touchdown with 2 seconds left.

Players had finished listening to coach Mike Nolan address them in a postgame meeting when Herrion collapsed. Medics administered CPR on him and took him to an ambulance that rushed him to a nearby hospital.

About three hours later, 49ers spokesman Aaron Salkin confirmed that Herrion had been pronounced dead. The cause of death was not immediately known.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that television footage showed Herrion walking off the field after the 49ers' touchdown drive, with nothing apparently wrong. According to the paper, Herrion's face gave no sign of distress in the footage.

"This is a colossal tragedy for the 49ers and the entire NFL community," Salkin said. "We still do not know all the details. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Herrion family."

The death comes a little more than four years after offensive lineman Korey Stringer of the Minnesota Vikings died of heatstroke during a training camp practice on a day during which the heat index soared to 110.

Since Stringer's death, NFL teams have increased their efforts to teach players about hydration and how to manage the heat. They have been experimenting with sensors to measure players' core body temperatures, although those by themselves wouldn't be able to prevent a heat-related death.

Temperatures were in the mid-60s with 50 percent humidity Saturday night in Denver, although experts say heatstroke can occur even in cool conditions.

After the game, Nolan said he had no comments about San Francisco's 26-21 loss to the Broncos.

"There are more important things on our mind than the game," he said. "Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with Thomas Herrion."

Shortly after that statement, the Niners got dressed and boarded buses that took them to the Denver airport for their flight back to California. Salkin said coaches notified players of the tragedy at the airport.

"We didn't see anything happen," Niners defensive lineman Marques Douglas said. "I sat by my locker and prayed for him."


Herrion, a first-year player with the 49ers, played college ball at Utah and spent part of last season on the San Francisco and Dallas practice squads. He also played this season with the Hamburg Sea Dogs of NFL Europe.

The native of Fort Worth, Texas, started every game at left guard in the 2003 season for Utah and was a team captain, when current 49ers quarterback Alex Smith played his sophomore season at quarterback.

Herrion had four siblings -- two brothers and two sisters.

Stringer's death was thought to be the first of its kind in the NFL. In 1979, St. Louis Cardinals tight end J.V. Cain died of a heart attack during training camp. Chuck Hughes, a wide receiver for the DetroitLions, died of a heart attack Oct. 24, 1972, during a game in Detroit against the Chicago Bears.

In April, Arena Football League player Al Lucas of the Los Angeles Avengers died of a spinal-cord injury he endured while making a tackle.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bengals 24-Redskins 17


Let's start on a good note....what did I like about the Skins tonight?
Well....David Patten.  One staple of a Joe Gibbs offense is the ability to make those big plays.   We had nobody who could do that last guys like Patten, Santana Moss and Kevin Dyson were brought in to stretch defenses.  It looks like it may work out.  Patten caught passes of 46, 33, and 30 yards. 

What did I think of Patrick Ramsey?
Scared.  When the game opened...he had happy feet.  He rushed himself when no one else was.  Also, he did the exact thing he did last year: make crucial mistakes in scoring position.  Giving points away.  He can make some nice plays to get there...but then makes HORRIBLE decisions in the red zone.  I also felt he was trying to "guide" passes in instead of throwing them.  Like he was aiming them.  He needs to have confidence in his ability.

Who should be the starting QB?
Tough one.  I say stick with Ramsey.  If Gibbs can get it into his head that he needs to calm down...he should be alright.  I liked the kid as a rookie and felt that he had been jerked around by Spurrier and Gibbs.  He has been named the man...and he needs to respond like it.  He did throw for 190 yards on just 9 completions.  Quite an average!  However, the offense seemed to move along a tad better under Brunell's leadership.  A fumble by Nehemiah Broughton ended what looked to be a possible scoring drive late in the game.  Brunell looked more in control of himself and the offense.    

But what about that defense?
I'm not too concerned of yet about our defense.  We have guys out with injury and with really nothing to prove.  Most of our starters are set in stone.  However, Carlos Rogers did disappoint me at times....and we all know that time.  After almost getting beat by TJ Houshmanzadah [TJ dropped the ball thrownperfectly into his hands]...he gets beat on the down on the exact same play only it was Kelly Washington who caught it.  However, he did get in on a lot of tackles and did get himself an interception.  Hopefully these preseason mistakes will get corrected when he looks at the film. 

Missing Clinton Portis hurt too, right?
Yeah...but I want him healthy for the season.  However, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright and Nehemiah Broughton looked pretty good.  Those three rushed 19 times for 97 yards.  Portis should be able to exceed those numbers during the season.   

So, what is next?
We got Pittsburgh next week...then go to Baltimore.  I really would like to see (a) the offense keep moving the ball like they have been doing but not turning the ball over in key situations.....and (b) the defense being able to stuff drives before the actually become drives.  I know...everyone wants to see that.  But we do need to show an ability to do a least a little bit of that or 2005 will be a long season.



Attack Of The Clone:  Imitation Is NOT Flattery
Apparantly I have a clone...

I guess there is a SPORTZ ASSASSN [note the missing "i"] with a Redskins blog that has the exact same color scheme as me.  Freaking great.

Just a warning in case someone out there tries anything funny under my name. 



Friday, August 19, 2005

Around My Favorite Blogs....


Every so often I just click onto everyone on my faves list and read thru what's going on.  One thing I have noticed is that darn near everyone out there has a Terrell Owens take.  Aside from that, these blogs are about as different as you can get.  So...check out what I read [most of you do already...or are the authors of these fine blogs].

*Mr. Irrelevant's AOL Sports Blog gets me rolling again as he takes me back to an entry I wrote about Mike Tyson Punch Out. I got that "Stole My Bike" song in my head [at least it kicked out that Carl Lewis jam]. 

*Pigskin Bloggers is back in full effect [keep up this blog Jamie!!!!].  Of all the blogs out there...I probably hit this one up the most since it is REAL fans of each team spouting opinions.  The PERFECT blog for all NFL fans. 

*The Ohio LeBlog takes a look at Bron-Bron, the Cavs all-time team, and those surprising Indians who are right there in the thick of the wildcard hunt.  Cleveland Rox! also takes a look into these subjects. 

*Yossef, author of Ramblings from the NBA Asylum and frustrated Hawks fan, writes an open letter to Hawks part-owner Steve Belkin.  This is the letter every sports fan wants to write to his owners when he is frustrated [and the template I may use to write to Daniel Snyder and Carl Linder]. 

*Coztanza's Commentary said something I've been saying for years...shorten the NFL preseason.  It is too long.  I know it used to be 6 games long back in the day-day...but do we really need 4 games?  Do we need that many games to loosen up our starters and to have those positional battles.  Can't this all be done in 2 games??  I know injuries are part of the NFL....but I'm much more comfortable having season ending injuries to players when they are playing games that count.  I mean, is that extra game to throw in to ticket packages worth that much??  Great take, G-Coz!!

*High Above Courtside has been working dilligently on the new Mega Blog, Two Minute Warning, which I am proud to be a part of.  Check the site out now!!!

*The Diecast Dude's (Mostly) NASCAR Blah Blah Blog takes a look at Michigan Speedway...and the fact that NASCAR has been putting races where fan support isn't as strong but the market is big.  If I know one thing about NASCAR that they, like NFLers, will travel to see their sport.  There are guys in Charlotte that will pack up a camper and head down to Talledega or Bristol for the week or weekend.   And are not a "dumb blogger".

*Premature Jock-ularity is introduced to the NFL Network...a channel that was launched to us DirecTV subscribers when it hit the air.  Dp, this channel has made leaps and bounds in the past 2 years...and it is certainly one of the best channels a sports nut could have.  I mean, I don't think my TV in the Sportz Room has seen another channel in August. 

*Quick Slants has a great piece on Peter Jennings.  Though not really a sports guy...he really launched his career with his ballsy coverage of the terrorist attacks in the Munich Olympics.  If you want to see how important these "messengers of the news" were to us...please give Quick Slants' take a read. 

*Yannis' Sports Journal is still rockin' and rollin' in the NBA's offseason....including the recent Amnesty Rule deadline.  Virtually every day he's taking a look at what the rumblings, bumblings and surprises are in the offseason and what it may mean to the upcoming 2005-6 season.

*To Saved By The Blog, yes the new Madden passing controls are bothersome.  I wanna play a football game, not land a plane.

*Dave Heller of Cincinnati.Com: Sports Roundtable has a nice interview with Fantasy Nut/Guru Eric Karabell...his former classmate at American U. 

*Raisin's LAKERS IN TRANSITION is expanding into the realm of football, baseball and anything else she can think of.  Raisin is one of those talents that should blog more [ahem!!!!]

*The Scotsman and his The Unofficial Everybody's NASCAR Nextel Cup Blog relish in his joning of the NASCAR heavyweights on SPORTS BLOGGERS LIVE with DieCast. 

*Philly fans can check out calling the shots who takes a look at how the Phills are suddenly atop the NL wildcard standings.

*One of favorite bloggers is Treesoup [aka, "the guy that when I turn to his blogs I pee my pants when music all the sudden blares from my speakers"].  He's abandoned hisWildcat Blog for now and focused on the NFL season with his The Packerz Zone.  Like me, he just doesn't focus on his own team...but blasts takes from around the NFL.  Tree is one of the treasures of this blogging thang. 

Moss Admits To Toking On The Hippie Lettuce


I'm not really gonna say too much about this story other than.....duh.  But I did find this pic on The Daily Quickie and thought it was I wanna share.  Peace.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ex-NFL Quarterback On New Survivor

Gary Hogeboom, former NFL quarterback and current real estate developer in Grand Haven, Michigan....and Danni Boatwright, a sports radio talk show host from Kansas....will be one of the new cast on Survivor.  He will turn 47 over the weekend. 

This season [#11, I think] will take place in Guatamala.  The Maya Empire takes place amid the ancient Mayan ruins and ceremonial sites [some as many as 2,000 years old] located in the northern area of Guatemala.  Amid the excruciating triple-digit heat, crocodile infested waters, relentless mosquitoes and terrifying sounds of the howler monkeys, Gary and his band of mates will compete.  Included will be a rancher, nurse, 2 Ivy League students [methinks Columbia and Dartmouth], zoo keeper, retired fire captain, fishmonger, waterski instructor, law student, police sergeant, hotel doorman, real estate broker, make-up artist and a magician's assistant [handy if they do the ol' saw a chick in half trick]. 

I'm sure my wife will get her Survivor Blog rolling when the time is right....but since her blog world and my blog world just collided....I figured I'd give a shout out a tad early. 

Boatwright is a sports radio talk show host in some small area of Kansas.  She used to be [gasp] a model and won Ms Kansas or something.  Hogeboom played for the Cowboys, Colts and Cardinals in his non descript NFL career....but looks an awful lot like that dude who played Hellboy!

NHL and ESPN Part Ways


I know this will anger the hockey fans out there....but thank God hockey is off of ESPN.   Now we have more MLB, NBA and NCAA hoops to watch instead of hours on end of hockey.

Let me get this out there - I don't hate hockey.  I am a fan.  Not a die hard, however.  To me, the NHL season starts and ends with the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I do get quite involved in the playoffs....but I can barely fathom watching a regular season game.

ESPN declined to pick up a $60M option to keep televising the NHL in hopes that they could re-up for a much cheaper price.  Good strategy, since the NHL and NBC made a deal in which they partner for profits.  ESPN also watched an entire season go by with no hockey to show....they had more hoops in the winter and more baseball in the spring [not to mention more poker].  It made no sense to beg the NHL to stay. 

So, Comcast now gets the NHL.  They are the nation's largest cable provider and own four regional well as majority shares of the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers [who both play in the Comcast Center].  The games will be shown on OLN....the Outdoor Life Network.  OLN reaches only about 75% of the homes ESPN does....and it doesn't have a built in base like ESPN [meaning, not as many people will stumble on it].  OLN is most popular for having the Tour de France...which did quite well.  But with Lance Armstrong is safe to assume viewership of the Tour will drop dramatically. 


They do have other programming....mainly in rodeos, action sports [motocross] and field sports [Buckmasters].  They also show old seasons of Survivor.  OLN would stop becoming just a "outdoor life" network and into a real sports programming entity.  Word is that when the NFL starts the bidding war on Thursday or Saturday night games....OLN will become a major player.  I mean, that is how ESPN started their upward climb. 

Does that cause ESPN to shake??  Not really.  ESPN is still more than a is a brand.  There is ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNClassic, ESPNU and ESPN Deportes.  They have a radio network, themed resteraunts and parks, etc.  They also currently house the MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAA football and basketball...and a ton of other stuff.  Not to mention that when CNN and SI got together under the Turner umbrella....the network didn't last too long.  Turner still has NBA rights [and the Braves and Hawks] in a dual partnership with ESPN.  FoxSportsNet became a nice rival after consoldating many former "SportsChannel" networks and rogue channels like "Sports South" to form a major network that has "affiliates".  But many sports personalities use Fox Sports Net as a springboard to ESPN [see:  John Kruk, Stephen A. Smith, Jim Rome]. 

The NHL would get OLN's foot in the door of the "major" team sports world.  While it doesn't completely put them in the same class as CBS Sports, ABC/ESPN, NBC Sports or at least puts them on the map.


UPDATE:  Here is an article my wife sent me about a problem a Comcast customer had to deal with recently...

ELGIN, Ill. -- Philadelphia-based Comcast is apologizing for an insulting epithet on a bill.

LaChania Govan made dozens of phone calls to the cable company to complain about service, but she said she was never rude.

So the Elgin, Ill., woman was shocked when her bill came and had the insult printed where her name should be.

Instead of her name, the bill had the "b" word printed on it.

Wednesday, Comcast said it fired two employees for the incident and also issued an apology to Govan.

"We are appalled by this treatment of our customer and want to extend our sincerest apologies" to LaChania Govan, the company said Wednesday in a statement. "This is not the way Comcast does business."

Comcast officials offered Govan two months of free cable to try to make amends.

But she's canceled her Comcast account, anyway.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Shake Your Groove Thang, Matt


Stay in school kids!!!  Matt Leinart is staying at USC for a senior season despite winning the Heisman trophy last year and pretty much a lock for being the #1 pick in the draft. 

But..he is staying in school....risking injury and a ton of cash.  Congrats.  What an example. 

Well...he is only taking one class.  Ballroom dancing. 

Ballroom dancing.

Ballroom dancing.

Leinart and his girlfriend are taking ballroom dancing....the lone course on his USC schedule this fall.  No math.  No science.  No botany.  No Introduction to TV.  No golf.  No business law.  No communications.  Not even a P.E. class.  Ballroom dancing. 

But why?  He's got all the credits he needs to graduate.  And like I said, he's got a Heisman and would have had major cheese in his pocket if he went to the NFL.   So why go back to school...risking it all...for ballroom dancing?

I read somewhere that Leinart is a different kind of cat.  He likes the college lifestyle.  He lives in a brokedown apartment with his roomies, scrounging up some change to get some grub.  This is a guy who's more famous that nearly half of the NFL right now.  If he would have bolted....he'd be more famous that 75% of the league.  If he came out this past year...he could have been up the coast in San Francisco...or in beach lovely Miami [um, or Cleveland or Chicago].  He likes chillin' out and the laid back college feel.  Kind of reminds me of someone.  But who?

Ricky Williams.

Williams was the same kind of cat.  Like the expressive college atmosphere and didn't really care for the riches and fame that come with the NFL life.  We all know that from his little escapade this past year.  When Ricky entered the league...he did so in a wedding dress, wearing his helmet at interviews and blowing potsmoke rings at the establishment.  Then he abruptly quit on his team to spend time and money sleeping in a van in Australia [or was it India?].  Now his body is back in the NFL...but where is his mind and heart?

Trust me.  I'm not saying that Leinart will follow Ricky's path.  Leinart may just be an "aw-shucks" guy that just wants to stick with his girl in school for one more year and delay being an adult.  And going for an impressive 3rd straight National Championship is nothing to sneeze at either.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  But I guarantee this could throw a teeny flag up there to teams that may look to draft him next year.

At least he shouldn't have a problem staying eligible.


Sportz Answers NFL Questions


No. This team lost a lot this offseason...and while I think they are still a very good team, I just think Indianapolis is better. And if Indy can get New England indoors in the playoffs...then the Colts should have an excellent chance to get to the Super Bowl.

Well, if the Eagles keep screwing around...then yes. Philadelphia has the NFC’s best combination of talent, coaching and experience. They’ve been to 4 straight NFC title games and are the defending NFC champs. However, this whole Terrell Owens Soap Opera has become distracting to the team since it has put more cameras in their faces and causing Andy Reid problems. If Owens stays out, their receiving corp isn’t that good at all. Teams like Carolina, Atlanta and Minnesota could sneak by then and force Philly to play on the road in the playoffs.

I think it will be Pittsburgh. Not that they will stink...but this was a 15-1 team last year. I think they will drop to 8-8 this year. Teams figured out not to blitz Big Ben and let him throw into coverage. Hines Ward’s holdout could linger. And the health status of their backs [Staley and Bettis] could hinder their ground attack. Last year was just a magical one for Pittsburgh. Another team with a magical 2004 was the San Diego Chargers. I think they’ll fall a bit this year as well.

Well, the Detroit Lions could if their offense stays out of the trainers room and clicks. The Arizona Cardinals also have what could be an explosive offense. The New York Giants could also sneak into the playoffs. Injuries killed their defense last year...but if Eli improves with new weapon Plaxico Burress, this team could contend for a wildcard berth. In the AFC, the Houston Texans could finally be ready to challenge for a playoff spot. And the team that could be the biggest surprise?? Buffalo. They have the same look as last year’s Steelers [young QB, bruising opportunistic defense, ground attack].


That'sso tough. Give me Manning's IQ...Brady's leadership...Favre's guts...Culpepper's body...Vick's speed....Delhomme's moxy...Big Ben's youth....and McNabb's personality. Seriously...I think Peyton Manning is the best QB. His problem lies in his frustration when things don't click. While Tom Brady doesn't have those level of skills...he gets everyone on board when things are tough.

Easily it is Joey Harrington in Detroit. He has a great running back [Jones], a top tight end [Pollard] and they’ve spent early draft picks on Charles Rogers, Mike Williams and Roy Williams. There are no excuses for Harrington. If he stalls, expect Jeff Garcia to get in there to run Mooch’s offense.

Patrick Ramsey is on a short leash in Washington. They didn’t trade up for Jason Campbell for nothing. It also looks as if AJ Feely will have a tough time holding off Gus Frerotte in Miami. And while Alex Smith certainly is the future for the Niners...don’t be surprised if Tim Rattay sees a good amount of action this year. Rex Grossman may have already written his future.

Many people think that Mike Holmgren is in trouble if Seattle doesn’t win the West. Same could be said for Minnesota’s Mike Tice, even though he doesn’t have Randy Moss. If the Redskins offense still putters along, Gibbs might head back to NASCAR full time.


I say Domanick Davis. Not many people know of him...but he is already one of the top backs in the NFL. Despite some injury issues...dude grinds out the yards and is a great receiver. If the Texans indeed may a playoff push, Davis' star will rise with them.

On is Mark Clayton. Brian Billick finally has some weapons in place on offense...and Clayton looks to benefit. With Ronnie Brown and Cedric Benson holding out...Clayton’s the best bet. On defense, I see Marcus Spears as being a beast for the Cowboys.

I sayJulius Jones. Bill Parcells will want to run the ball a ton in Dallas and Jones can do that. Another Jones, Kevin, looks to break out for a spectacular year in Detroit.

Randy Moss heading to Oakland should completely open up Norv Turner’s passing attack. But their pick up of LaMont Jordan may be the move that really puts them back into the playoffs.

To me, it is the AFC South. The Colts should run away with it...and I just don’t get into watching the Jags, Texans or Titans. The AFC North could be boring watching the only Cincinnati truly looks like a run-and-gun offense.

The NFC West. The Rams and Seahawks have big time offenses and both are prone to choke late in games. The Cardinals have some nice parts to them where they could interest me as well. Okay, the Niners are horrible. The AFC West should be the same way....only with all four teams with the ability to win the division.  The AFC East should be a knock down drag out fight each game.


I think it will be the Vikings. The Raiders will sell a ton of Moss jerseys [just as they did Warren Sapp unis] and they'll get TV run. But the Vikings should be on TV in January when it counts. The deal gave them some defensive help....and they used their draft pick to get speedster Troy Williamson. The money they saved was used to greatly improve their defense. While this may not be as an explosive an offense as it was with may not need to be that way anymore.

Maybe stamping license plates. No, just kidding. With Pittsburgh missing Ward and the entire situation in Philly...there may be teams wanting to call on him. Kansas City could also be a destination. A team in the hunt might take a cheap chance on the guy if they really need some offensive help.

No. They are still one year away. Improvements must be made on defense where they are very young and are still awaiting holdout David Pollack. Carson Palmer could break out but teams now have game footage to break him down a bit better. The receiving corps, aside from Chad Johnson, just doesn't sit right with me. Rudi Johnson should bust out for a big year. I think they may finally get past the 8 win barrier...but not enough to get into the playoffs. I think Baltimore and Pittsburgh are still better than them in the AFC North....and there are others who are better than them for the wildcard. Next's on.

Arizona could make some noise. Could. If they can protect Kurt Warner than they could contend in the NFC West. I just think they are too young at the skill positions [Arrington, Fitzgerald, Boldin] that they won't get completely over the hump. I like Detroit to do damage...but can any of their receivers stay healthy? And how will Harrington react to Garcia breathing down his neck? My pick is Houston. The Texans core group of players have been together long enough where they could break out and make a run to the playoffs.


Honestly, I watch ESPN until Fox does their show at 1:00. Well, the Sportz NFL Viewing Room has three televisions in I really watch all three. But Fox’s is what I watch. Why? Well, I am an NFC guy [which Fox holds the rights to] and while they seem a bit goofy at times, they do tend to know what they are talking about when they are serious. And when they are goofy, it usually is pretty funny. ESPN is way more informative a show....but it just drags to me. Maybe because they are filling two hours...but the show is just too long at times. One gold nugget in that is they usually take time to look at every matchup in depth, which is good for betters and fantasy geeks. CBS does a good job...but just doesn’t have the sizzle of the other two shows.

Indianapolis and Philadelphia