Friday, March 31, 2006

Answer to Guess the Athlete!

It's Sadaharu Oh, manager of the Japanese team who won the WBC. I guess he used to be able to hit for power too, hitting 868 home runs. Wonder if he used flax seed oil.

Conflict of Interest?

George Mitchell, who was hired to do an "independent" investigation of steroid use in baseball seems like a decent, hardworking guy. One problem though: he's a partial owner of the Red Sox. Even if Mitchell has great integrity, any of his findings will be clouded with suspicion. Already I've heard brain-dead-radio-personality-Yankee-fan, JT the Brick, ask why David Ortiz isn't being scrutinized as much as Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi.

Another problem: George Mitchell is a chairman at Disney, who happens to own ESPN, who happened to give baseball a lot of money to broadcast games. There might be a little pressure for Mitchell to avoid giving baseball a black eye.

So I guess MLB doesn't understand the problems of conflict of interest. Who knows what they'll do next? Hire a team owner to be commissioner of the MLB? Now I'm just getting carried away.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Anna Benson's available

Anna and Kris Benson are getting divorced. This is usually a good excuse for me to post a picture of a woman, but I haven't been able to post pictures lately.

Bill Simmons does a good job describing Anna:
...she's loathsome and doesn't deserve the attention. She's not even that cute
anymore -- she's starting to look like Elvira, or one of those porn stars that
tried to set too many "most guys in one day" records.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two things you can count on spring

I'll be miserable with allergies, and Kerry Wood and Mark Prior will hit the DL.

They do play in March

Some NBA thoughts:
  • So much for the Amare Stoudemire comeback. He's knee swelled up, so he's probably out for the year. Now whenever I see Chris Webber hobble around, I pray that won't happen to Stoudemire (who had the same knee surgery as Webber).
  • Kevin Garnett is frustrated, boo hoo. He is a superstar, but is he a player that makes his teammates better?
  • Latrell Sprewell is still available.

Time to worry

MLB has hired former Senator George Mitchell to investigate past steroid use by major league players. The focus right now is on Barry Bonds, but there must be several other players around baseball that are pretty nervous tonight. Mitchell may find that there are several Greg Anderson and Victor Contes out there helping players.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

NFL rule changes

Here's some of the changes proposed by the NFL owners:
  • Stricter enforcement on touchdown celebrations: Just what we need, more subjective judgment calls by officials. I respect a player who acts like he's been there before when scoring a touchdown. That said, are celebrations something that officials should really be concentrating on? It's fun watching players make asses of themselves.
  • Down by contact subject to instant replay review: I don't get this one. When the whistle blows, players are supposed to stop. Now there's an exception; if a whistle blows and the ball's loose they should keep playing. This will cause problems.
  • Receivers can flinch and not be called for illegal procedure: What a surprise, another rule helping the offense.
  • "Toughening enforcement on pass rushers who hit quarterbacks below the knees, as long as the defensive players could have avoided making the hit": Helping the offense again. I really trust NFL officials guessing if a player could avoid making a hit or not.
  • One defensive player getting direct communication with a coach just like a quarterback: A rule helping the defense? Someone screwed up.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Baseball season must be starting soon...

because the Red Sox and Devil Rays are fighting again.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

George Mason advances

George Mason


CTU - Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Domestic Unit; CTU - Senior Section Leader, Washington Headquarters; CTU - Team Leader, Washington Headquarters; CTU - Associate Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Domestic Unit; CTU - Senior Agent, Miami Domestic Unit; CTU - Agent, Los Angeles Domestic Unit

EDUCATION:Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Science - University of Southern California

PERSONAL:Divorced; Son - John Mason

Guess the Athlete!

Did I miss anything?

Just had a week with little web access and no cable, so let's see how well I can review last week.
  • Vinatieri signs with the Colts: maybe the Patriots know something we don't know, but I can't picture the Pats without him. Poor Peyton Manning, he used to be able to blame his "Idiot Kicker." Now when Manning and the Colts choke, all the attention will go to him.
  • Terrell Owens and the Idiot Kicker are Cowboys: Parcells and T.O. reacting to the clutch performances of Bledsoe and Vanderjagt will be great entertainment.
  • NCAA Tourny: Speaking of clutch performances, Redick came through again. I had George Mason in the Elite Eight on my bracket, but I forgot to turn it in. Didn't George Mason work for CTU on 24? Too bad Gerry McNamara's last game wasn't in the Big East Tournament. His tournament performance was a sad way to end a career. It's all a blur now, but another great year of amazing endings.
  • Bruins fire GM Mike O'Connell: Remember the good old days when the Bruins were mediocre?
  • NBA: Do they play in March?
  • Japan wins the WBC: I guess it's my patriotic duty to ignore this, but there was some great baseball played. The rest of the world catching up and possibly surpassing Americans in baseball is great for the sport.
  • Barry Bonds's lawsuit: Frivolous
  • Red Sox trade Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena: Good trade for both teams. Reds need pitching and the Sox need a replacement for Nixon when he pulls that first hamstring. This year's Red Sox team is the deepest in my memory.
  • Tagliabue retires: Who do I send my resume to?
  • Red Sox sign Juan Gonzales: Great signing. Look at these numbers: 45 HR, 157 RBI, .318 batting average. Oh wait, it's not 1998 anymore?
  • California living: The good news was I was able to watch tournament games at 9 AM; bad news was by the time I got home on Thursday and Friday, the first games had already ended.
  • Recommended Reading: I finally read Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Despite turbulence, no leg room, and babies screaming, I could not put the book down for my entire flight. I'll never look at baseball stats the same way again.
  • IN-N-OUT Burgers: Delicious.

Friday, March 17, 2006

On vacation

Sorry to all of you depending on my college basketball expertiese, but I'll be gone all of next week. I'm off to Northern California to throw some beer at Ron Artest.

From the home office of Guess the Athlete!

All staff members at Guess the Athlete! Productions will be out of the office next week, so there will be no Guess the Athlete! next week.

Here's something for those of you who would like to continue making incorrect guesses:

Guess the WBC MVP!

Who will win this prestigious award next Monday?

Answer to Guess the Athlete!

It's Canada's winning pitcher in their WBC upset win over the United States. 21-year-old Adam Loewen, who threw 3 2/3 shutout innings, has yet to pitch in a Major League game...or a triple A game...or a double A game.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

USA eliminated

The run is over for the American underdogs as Mexico eliminated them tonight, 2-1. Like most others, I've been pleasantly surprised by the success and entertainment of the tournament. It's been interesting to see a player I've never heard of hold his own against the likes of A-Rod and Ken Griffey Jr. Also, I've appreciated the national pride I've seen in the fans and players of the Hispanic teams.

Now for some complaints.
  • Notice I said the pride of Hispanic teams, not Asian. That's because I didn't get to see any Asian teams play. This tournament was promoted down our throats, but then when it was time for the games, they were either not on TV or on ESPN26 at 2 AM.
  • Brilliant move broadcasting USA's last game against the first day of the NCAA tournament (along with My Name is Earl and The Office).
  • It was disappointing to see so many big names drop out, but at least that gave fans the opportunity to learn about some new players.
  • Spring training does not seem to be the best time to have this tournament.

Now what good are complaints without solutions? Here's my proposal for the next WBC:

Have it during the All Star break, extending the break from three to five days. Put eight teams in a single elimination tournament. Day one would be an off day, day two the quarterfinals, day three the semifinals, day four the finals, and day five an off day. Finally, don't select the teams until the last minute. By doing this you don't need to worry about last minute injuries or the embarrassment of players opting out at the last minute.

There are some flaws to this plan. Injuries and tired players at mid-season would be troublesome. Also, Major League teams would be concerned about their pitchers being overused. To account for this, teams should be allowed to have 40 man rosters, so there would be plenty of pitchers to use.

But here's the positive: there's no other sports going on in early July. At this time, the WBC would be the only sport people would pay attention to. Also, most sports fans don't like to think too much, and that's the flaw with a round robin tournament. Waiting to see how Korea did against Japan to see if USA would have a chance for the next round is just too much for this misinformed fan. With the Bartcop WBC, it's very simple, you lose you go home.

Every four years having players in mid-season form competing in a single elimination tournament with no other sporting distractions could be a special event.

Passing the torch

JJ Redick must be so proud. Greg Paulus has joined an exclusive club featuring club Co-Presidents Christian Laettner and Steve Wojohowski. Going into this season Redick must have been worried that there would be no one to replace him when he left. Now, however, he must be comfortable in knowing that college basketball's most hated player will remain in Durham.

Greg Paulus, keep "accidentally" hitting people, keep overreacting to a made lay up in the first half, keep joining Coach K in complaining to officials who have the audacity to call you for a foul. Make Laettner, Wojohowski, and Redick proud; just keep being the prototypical Duke player.

From the Brushback:

Greg Paulus Throws Hilarious Little Temper Tantrum

GREENSBORO, NC--Duke forward Greg Paulus threw the most hilarious little tempter tantrum Sunday afternoon during the ACC championship at Greensboro Coliseum. Paulus got into a shoving match with Boston College’s Louis Hinnant and his face got all red and he started spazzing out right there on national TV. Fans seated behind the bench were highly amused by the incident. “Now that was funny,” said Kayla Duggan, 20, a Duke fan. “Paulus dove to the floor to grab a loose ball, then when he got up he just started flailing his arms for some reason. Then he accidentally shoved someone from BC, who shoved him back, then he got even more angry. It was adorable! He looked like a Chihuahua attacking a chew toy. I’m just glad that the referees stepped in when they did. Greg’s a tough little player, but he probably shouldn’t be getting into fights with grown-ups.”

Didn't see this one coming

Damon has a sore shoulder.

More about the NFL

  • I guess injured quarterbacks are the new trend in the NFL.
  • By getting Brees, the Saints put themselves in a good position for the draft. Teams will offer a lot to get their second pick. By securing the quarterback position, the Saints put themselves in position to get a lot of extra draft picks.
  • Vince Young is dropping on draft boards, but could the Saints consider going with him, knowing that it might take two or three years for Young to get ready to play quarterback?
  • So how much of Culpepper's success was due to Randy Moss? Last year the Vikings improved because he got hurt. He's also had a fumbling problem. The rest of AFC East surely won't take advantage of that.
  • In a related story, Patriotsy2k has just started a boat chartering company in South Florida.
  • Nervous and sad times for Patriot fans. I just can't picture Willie McGinest in a Browns uniform. I'll be rooting for him.
  • I think David Givens will miss Brady's accuracy, but I can't blame him for taking a good contract and going after the opportunity to be a number one receiver.
  • Troy Brown is talking to the Jets.
  • Adam Vinatieri is talking to the Packer.
  • The Patriots have more patience than I do because I want them to do something now.

20 years ago

Doc Gooden was better than Roger Clemens. Now as Clemens considers if he should make another $20 million by sticking around for another year, Gooden's on his way back to prison. Tough to find a sadder story.

By the way, did we get Gaddafi yet?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Free agency fun

A lot of stuff going on in the NFL:
  • Edgerrin James is now a Cardinal, giving his new team a good running back for the first time in my memory. So now we finally get to learn if James success came because teams concentrated on Manning or if Manning's success came from teams who had to respect James. This may hurt the Colts more than people expect. Meanwhile it's hard to believe the Cardinals will be more than just the Cardinals.
  • The Ravens re-signed Jamal Lewis to a big contract despite coming off a bad year. Don't understand that one.
  • Speaking of not understanding things, the Redskins gave way too much for Antwaan Randle El. Randle El's a dynamic player, but he never became a reliable receiver and made plenty of mental mistakes. Guess Joe Gibbs really wants some more trick plays.
  • Also joining the Redskins: Adam Archuleta (who should scare receivers with Sean Taylor), Andre Carter, Brandon Lloyd, and Christian Fauria. I'll miss the spike between the legs after his touchdown catches with the Pats. The 'Skins are also talking to John Abraham. Free agent time is always the best time of year for the Redskins.
  • Good move by the Browns bringing in 3-4 veteran Ted Washington. They'll have a better run defense.
  • The Giants signed a good cornerback, Sam Madison. They also signed a bad one, R.W. McQuarters.
  • Meanwhile there's crickets in Foxboro as Willie McGinest and Adam Vinatieri hang out in free agent land.

Damn, wrong Cheney

Temple coach John Chaney retired. He had his flaws, but I'm thankful about two things in his career. One was when he tried to start a fight with John Calipari; that was just great comedy and Chaney did what I'm sure plenty of more politically correct coaches wanted to do.

Chaney's other gift to the game was Temple's match-up zone. When Temple's defense was well tuned, they had the ability to beat anyone. Chaney's zone proved how powerful good teamwork and hustle can be.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bartcop bracketology

I can't believe ______ made the tournament. I can't believe that _______ didn't make the tournament. The seed for ________ is way too high. The seed for ______ is way too low.

I'll be skipping all the articles with these yearly discussions. It's special for some teams to make it to the tournament, but in the end it will be a top ranked team that wins it all.

Guess the Athlete!

Good priorities

''The first reason I play this game is because I want to win. I want to be the best baseball player I can be, but I want my team to be the best. Second comes the financial aspect, where I can help take care of my family. Three, yeah, three is the honeys. No doubt, the honeys are No. 3."

-White Sox rookie, Brian Anderson

(I wasn't sure which "honey" picture to post.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Josh Wright practices his free throws

Last year a freshman lost the conference championship because he couldn't hit a free throw. This year, sophomore Josh Wright who had no points in the first 39 minutes of the game hit four straight free throws to seal the game.

This game had it all: McNamara's usual ridiculous threes, sparks of greatness by Devendorf followed by stupid freshman mistakes, a terrible no call when a Pitt player got mugged shooting a three, an amusingly overweight Derrick Coleman celebrating the Orange win, an incredibly cute blonde sitting next to McNamara's parents, some nice high low play by the Pitt big men, good defense by both teams, the comedy of Jim Boheim, and a great crowd.

I just have one complaint: what's with the tattoos of the Syracuse players? I'm not offended by players with tattoos, but Devendorf and Terrence have the ugliest tattoos I've ever seen. Someone needs to remove the Crayola Magic Markers from the Syracuse locker room.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Gerry! Gerry! Gerry!

2 legit 2 quit?

MC Hammer wrote an open letter to Barry Bonds. Quoth the Hammer:

Dear Barry,
Under no circumstances are you allowed to quit, exit , leave, retire, walkout or any other form of saying bye that would equate to you aborting the mission. This is not your mission alone. This is baseball's, and millions of baseball fans mission. For all of us who played the game and the love the game, to see you walkout while in earshot of the all time most prestigious record in the game of baseball would be a slap in our collective faces....

....Bloodhounds smell and sniff out blood. Every story written about steroids means nothing to us in the know. While we don't endorse, support or condone the usage of steroids in any shape or form, we also are keenly aware of the hand eye coordination and science of hitting that is necessary to hit on the level of excellence that you do Barry. Nobody does it better. No one has done it better. As you close in on the record, and the day of reckoning is at hand, there will be many attemps by the bloodhounds to shake you and force you to quit...

....Do it for San Francisco, do it for baseball, do it for your kid's, do it for your Dad (R.I.P.), and do it for yourself.

you deserve to be the all time greatest homerun hitter in baseball history. The hounds, they deserve the dog pound.

Before we laugh at the Hammer's words, remember this: he's toured around the world from London to The Bay. It's Hammer go Hammer MC Hammer yo Hammer and the rest can go to play.

Answer to Guess the Athlete!

Patriotsy2k got it right.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hockey News!

The Bruins traded away the last player on the team that I've heard of: Sergei Samsonov. There were lots of other trades in the NHL. I thought that one for the player I never heard of for that other player I never heard of was particularly good. Oh wait, that's all the trades.

Thanks to Jerloma at The Swamp.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oh Canada

How can Team USA lose to Canada in baseball? Between hockey and curling, when do the Canadians have time for baseball. If the US does not make it the finals, there will only be one person to blame:

Tourny time

I wonder how BC players feel about playing in the ACC now. Currently they could be playing the Big East tournament in "The World's Most Famous Arena." Instead, they're stuck in Redneckville playing in front of a bunch of fans like Debra Jackson:

"The Big Dance"

Can people please stop calling the NCAA basketball tournament, "The Big Dance." Whenever I hear that, I think of a bunch of fat people dancing.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Barry Bonds used steroids!!!

I'm just shocked. Sports Illustrated has an extensive write up of Barry Bonds's alleged steroid use. He was having a great career, but I guess he didn't like being overshadowed by juicers Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.

A lot has been written about Bonds and steroids, but one critical aspect of the story is being ignored: Bond's steroid use unfairly helped fantasy baseball owners win championships. While the Godfather and I made sure our players adhered to a strict moral code, Patriotsy2k won a championship on the pimpled back of Barry Bonds. Bonds isn't the only one who should have asterisks next to his accomplishments.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Carolina's rebuilt

North Carolina lost their seven top scorers from last year, so I didn't figure to see much from them this year. I was pleasantly surprised with their performance against Duke. Unlike last year's team who seemed to play like an All Star team, this year's team plays like a traditional Roy Williams coached team. Besides their playing style, Carolina has some freshman talent -- especially Tyler Hansbrough who was the best player on the court.

Now for my Duke bashing:
Yes, I said Hansbrough was the best player on the court. JJ Redick couldn't shoot when it counted. Dick Vitale claimed it was because Redick was worn out from breaking the ACC scoring record, but I remember Redick shooting poorly in big games last year too. Meanwhile, Sheldon Williams puts up great numbers, but I'm never impressed with him when I watch him play. I'm not expecting much success for either in the NBA.

In defense of Redick, he's playing with a terrible point guard. Greg Paulus might grow into a good player, but right now he's an out of control point guard who doesn't set up his teammates well.

Oh, and Sean Dockery shoving Hansbrough in the face after the game was determined: I guess that's just another example of Duke's class.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Theo Epstein prom update

He's not going.

Quagmire and David Wooderson don't know what Theo's thinking.

Ref bashing

"Somebody saw Bavetta get off the bus [Wednesday] night and I thought, 'Oh, [expletive].' I knew what was coming," Stackhouse told The (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram...

"...It's tough to come on the road in this environment and have to play agains the refs, too," Stackhouse told the paper. "[Expletive] Dick Bavetta. I'm tired of his [expletive]. It's like the game is about him. He just needs to call the game and call the fouls..."

"...This game was about Dick Bavetta," he said, according to The Morning News. "He called a double technical foul like he's trying to sort it out. But he never saw what happened. If he'd seen what had happened, he'd know I got an offensive rebound and Horry came down and gave me a cheap shot at the other end."
Also, it looked like Robert Horry tried to bite Stackhouse's arm. Mr. Stackhouse, say, "hello," to Tree Rollins and Mike Tyson.

Answer to Guess the Athlete!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Put on some pants

USA beat Poland in Germany. That and the snow is all I know.

Grumpy Old Men

The NFL owners are grumpy and the players are grumpy. Players are getting cut, general managers have no idea what to do about their salary cap, and owners can't believe what the players are demanding. They're all grumpier than a guy woken up by a drunken friend's Wednesday night 1 AM phone call.

I try to avoid labor situations, so here's my misinformed understanding of what this is about:
  • The owners and players are fighting over a few percentage points for revenue sharing. What's the difference between a few percentage points? Apparently tens of millions of dollars.
  • The players want owners to change the way they share revenue with each other. Teams like the Patriots, Cowboys, and Redskins make more money than teams like the Cardinals and Bills because of local radio rights and other sources of local income. The players want more of that local revenue shared so more teams have money to throw at free agents.
The first issue is a traditional sports labor dispute. Hopefully, the owners and players are smart enough to realize that if they take too long to agree on a number, there will be less revenue to share.

As for the second issue, the players should just forget it. Yes, teams that play in bigger markets get an income advantage (although the Patriots didn't take advantage of this in the 80's). However, most of the extra local income comes from owners investing in building a quality team and promoting it. These good owners should not have the fruits of their labors given away to owners who refuse to invest in their teams.

It's a Beautiful Day!

I turned on the radio tonight and heard Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano, the soothing radio voices of the Red Sox, describing each pitch thrown by some guy I never heard of. After listening to this meaningless spring training game, I can watch some World Baseball Classic.

Baseball's back!

(and tomorrow morning we get to look at box scores)