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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

It is the last day of the year and a time to briefly look back. The latest cover of Sports Illustrated calls it the best sporting year ever and frankly, hard to disagree. From the fantastic Super Bowl finish that saw the New York Giants down the 18-0 New England Patriots, the incredible Wimbledon final that saw Rafael Nadal down Roger Federer, great soccer in the English Premier League and Champions League - both won by Manchester United - and a superb Euro 2008 won by Spain, the year had no shortage of individual and team performances to remember. Usain Bolt owned the Olympics with two awesome performances, and you have to mention Michael Phelps too, though Bolt covering the 100m in four fewer strides than has ever been done before screams "special," and, well, "freak". There were great come-from-nowhere teams in baseball's Tampa Bay Rays and Turkey at the Euro's who kept pulling out last gasp miracles and there were teams that lived up to expectations like the Detroit Red Wings, Stanley Cup winners and the Boston Celtics who transformed from the depths of the NBA to league fav and champion in one season. Not sure about you, but I continually was stunned at the rising popularity of UFC this year, and the conversations you'd hear at the office and about town before and after an event were unlike anything else, it is HUGE. At the same time, some stories just refused to go away - Roger Clemens and the performance enhancing drugs stories, Brett Favre's retirement and comeback, Mats Sundin's future and of course, the Brian Burke as Leafs General Manager soap opera - these stories got old and old fast. More locally, Toronto teams were a collective disaster, but at least Toronto FC has its newness to fall back on, for now. The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Argos? Not so much. What are your fav memories? Feel free to add them to the discussion the Year of the Rat, it is only fitting that the last coach axed in the NFL this calendar year could well be a total rat lookalike in Mike Shanahan in Denver. Long time coming, to be sure, but that team's kept him through worse so it is certainly surprising he gets the axe now...the International Ice Hockey Federation is contemplating expanding the World Junior Hockey Championships to 12 teams at a time when the field of 10 looks bloated. Yeah, just what the game needs - Canada and other top nations pounding weak sisters by double digits...this is the first time in NFL history that all four road teams have been favored on Wild Card weekend...the Orlando Magic are 11-1 in their last 12 against the Western Conference...since becoming the starter in San Diego, Phillip Rivers is 14-0 in the month of December...Curtis Joseph picked up his 450th win last night in the Maple Leafs overtime win over Atlanta. Now, go and retire Cujo...word is that when he passed out in the shower on Sunday post-game, Tony Romo fumbled the soap and it was returned for a touchdown...have a great New Year's Eve everyone, catch you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

This marks the 250th RandoMango. My how time flies!...the Detroit Lions have lost 22 of 23 overall going back to last year, when Jon Kitna famously said they'd win 10 games. Wonder if the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs are popping champagne corks like those miserable curmudgeons from the 1972 Miami Dolphins used to?...add Romeo Crennel (Cleveland), Eric Mangini (NY Jets) and Rod Marinelli (Detroit) to the list of axed NFL coaches. Still to be determined: Dick Jauron (Buffalo), Wade Phillips (Dallas), John Gruden (Tampa Bay) and no doubt a few others. Incredibly, I think Norv Turner may have just saved his job in San Diego with their furious charge in theory on the Dallas December Debacle's of recent years: they're not fit. Former Cowboy Marcellus Wiley says they're simply out of shape come December and have nothing left in the tank, and the blame has to rest on strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek who joined the team in 1997, when this string of December failures started. He replaced Mike Woicik who ended up with a team that has done okay down the stretch in the last decade: New England. Another: Tony Romo thinks he has to make a play on every play, much like Brett Favre does and John Elway did early in his career. If he learns less is more, he'll be fine. If he doesn't, he's out of the league in three years...the Washington Capitals are a searing 15-1-1 at home this year...Tom Brady is said to be behind on rehab, so badly that he may in fact miss next season as well. Matt Cassel can stop shopping for luggage immediately, he's going nowhere...Scott Boras has to be starting to sweat the lack of contract offers for Manny Ramirez. The LA Dodgers have now moved on to Adam Dunn for their "great bat, no glove" guy. Considering Boras engineered ManRam's move out of Boston so he could get his cut as his new agent, Manny may yet end up taking a pay cut...sadly, the NHL Winter Classic might not be a go at Wrigley Field, as warm weather is forecast...another narrow 1-0 win for Manchester United has them well in line for second place with a favorable schedule for the second half of the English Premier League season. Bet them to take the title again...have a great Wednesday.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, December 29th, 2008

One thing I know about Bill Parcells: his agent is a genius. He's got a clause in his contract that gives him a $12 million payout if the Dolphins are sold and he elects to opt out of his contract. Wise move, when the Dolphins look like they'll be approved for sale in the coming weeks. Now, if only Parcells could at least hire a personal trainer. Or maybe earn an appearance on "What Not To Wear"...trying to take a "glass is half full" view of the Dallas Cowboys beating yesterday and what I can surmise is this: no matter what Jerry Jones said pre-game, Wade Phillips in particular will not return. And yes, I know Jones reiterated that he'll be back post-game. Presumably, this means a more disciplined, less sloppy team in the future as the new person would be bound to be more assertive and prepared than the ever-stunned looking Phillips. Tony Romo did nothing for his rep as a big moment bust and his time to shed that reputation is ticking faster than it even did for Peyton Manning a couple years back. That's just scratching the surface of problems on an all-world talented team, but with an all-garbage work ethic. Say one more thing: aside from Terrell Owens yesterday, hard to really praise anyone on that offence...the Sports Illustrated Jinx is alive and well: they did after all call for a Cowboys and New England Patriots Super Bowl. Both are now out, though the Pats out at 11-5 seems particularly harsh, but that's the setup...assuming he's done - and he sure looks the part - Brett Favre will finish his career with a year in which he led the league in interceptions, his yards per game were at a six year low, and he will have had fewer 20+ yard plays than in every year since the 1992 season, his first in Green Bay. Hope it was worth it, Brett...and how about them Detroit Lions? They were looking like they might spoil their perfect record at 14-14, but fade they did and an 0-16 season it isn't a punchline, but it sure sounds like one: a 13 point fav in Tampa Bay lost at home. To. The. Oakland. Raiders...what were the Pittsburgh Steelers thinking playing Ben Roethlesberger yesterday when he's been taking a pounding all year? Of course, he got his bell rung and suffered a concussion...tough times in the household of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney - my fav player. He and the wife dropped a mere $535,000 (Canadian) on Christmas gifts for each other...what year is this? The Chicago Black Hawks have won nine straight, the Boston Bruins eight...Canada beat Kazakhstan 15-0 in the World Junior Hockey Championships. Insert lame Borat reference as you will "here"...Toronto FC may unload all three of their first round picks - #2, #4, #13 - in the coming MLS draft to obtain veteran talent. I like it...fights in the NHL are up 15% over last year, and an astounding 75% over three years ago. This is what you do when you've got little else to sell in most markets...have a great Monday.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

A good night to take the underdogs in the big three UFC fights, as Rampage Jackson (+330), Frank Mir (+140) and Rashad Evans (+120) all came through with impressive wins. Mir's win sets up a rematch with heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar for that title, and if Mir fights the way he did tonight, he'll make quicker work of Lesnar than he did the first time, though that was a fight Lesnar should have finished. Evans is now the new light heavyweight champion after finishing Forrest Griffin in the second round, and Rampage is very much back in that title picture after a devastating knockout of the legendary Wanderlei Silva. Great card...less than 48 hours after playing on Boxing Day, the majority of the English Premier League's squads will take the field again today, continuing their busy the World Junior Hockey Championship, Canada will pound Kazakhstan today at 3:30. Whether they cover the 7 goal spread at Pinnacle remains the question...the Portland Tribune says that the NBA will be reducing the salary cap in 2009-2010 by at least a million dollars...Joe Posnanski at writes a great piece on the parity in baseball, noting there have been eight different winners of the World Series in the last ten years, 15 teams have made the World Series in the same ten years, and over the last thirty years, twenty different teams have won the World Series and all but four - the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals - have at least made the World Series. Over the same 30 years, 10 teams have never made the Super Bowl - yet many would have you believe parity is a thing of the NFL moreso than any other sport...the final Prime Time Pick of the regular season goes tonight, and shooting to finish a solid, solid 22-14 (61.1%) which, if you know anything about gambling and picking national games in particular, is damn impressive. The Denver Broncos visit the San Diego Chargers and the Bolts are looking for a heap of revenge after the Ed Hochuli blown call in September. Given how Phillip Rivers is rolling of late, hard not to like the Bolts to cover the -8, as big a spread as that may be for the occasion. Also a big fan of Arizona at -6, and Miami at +3, and am loving Dallas at +1...for 2009, am going to expand the Prime Time Picks to include one wager per day. As always, get down with Pinnacle...Tom Brady is said to be engaged to Gisele Bundchen. What a guy. He goes and blows his knee out - a big deal to most - but gets to rehab with Gisele nursing him. Tough times...Brett Favre is hinting at retirement. This time, I can't imagine anybody will care or much notice...the Toronto Raptors were outscored 53-32 in the second half last night en route to a 102-89 loss to Portland. Nice work, Craptors...have a great Sunday.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

In what has to be a first, a Scott Boras client didn't take the highest offer. Come to find out Mark Teixera had an offer of $185 million from the Washington Nationals, $5 million more than the New York Yankee offer he accepted. Some things just aren't worth the money...if there's one thing we ought to have learned this year, it is that handicapping a UFC card is about as easy as winning a lottery. UFC92 goes tonight and it could well be the card of the year with three fights that could headline a pay-per-view by themselves: Forrest Griffin vs Rashad Evans, Wanderlei Silva vs Quinton "Rampage" Jackson - who is coming back after his scrape with the law - and Antonio Noguiera vs. Frank Mir to see who faces Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title...add Roy E. Williams to the list of disgruntled Dallas Cowboys, and for good reason. For a team to move a first, third and sixth rounder for a guy and give him $45 million over five years and throw him the odd four yard sideline pass just isn't a good way to use what should be every bit a prime time player...somehow, Jerry Jones says Wade Phillips and the Cowboys coaching staff will return intact for 2009. Less clear is why Phillips would keep his job into this weekend nevermind next year given the circus that has been the Cowboys this today's picture? Check out 49 other vanity plates that slipped through the cracks. And yes, RM's "Bukkake" is from Alberta...true story: the New York Yankees were on sale in the 1970's at the same time the Seattle Pilots were. The latter sold for $13 million versus the $10 million George Steinbrenner paid, and would become the Milwaukee Brewers. Good investment, Bud Selig, but not a great has been over a week since GBVH passed on a piece from the Toronto Star's Toronto FC beat writer Morgan Campbell that noted the silence coming from Toronto FC and Dwayne De Rosario since the latter was traded there weeks ago. If the saying "where there's smoke, there's fire" is true, what is it when there is utter silence? Surely this has to be an indication there is something not right...have a great Saturday.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Tickets for the six LA Kings home games in January - even for good seats in the lower bowl - can be had for $11.50. They're not rolling Nashville or Atlanta in either: Philly, Anaheim, Detroit, Chicago, New Jersey and Tampa Bay. Wonder if anybody believes the salary cap - revenue determined - will continue to rise? A great article on tickets at bargain basement prices runs here....the elephant in the Yankee room is where will Derek Jeter play when his defense goes from sub-par to brutal? First base is no option with Mark Teixera installed. Right field?...the Phoenix Coyotes are set to receive funds from the NHL to maintain operations. How long until Wayne Gretzky extricates himself from that mess? He doesn't seem the kind of guy that would go down with a sinking ship and sully his name...there is a high school football team in Arkansas that is removing punts from its playbook. Seriously, they're going to go for it on every fourth down. That is thing about the the NFL/CFL I'll never understand: why you need a two/three minute warning in a sport that already gives plenty of timeouts, of the official and TV variety...for a guy who put up some insane numbers and single handedly carried the LA Dodgers to the playoffs - despite what Jeff Kent would have you believe - things sure are looking dicey for Manny Ramirez to land that big last contract. Scott Boras is starting a nice streak of failing to come through for some high profile clients. Last year, A-Rod, this year, Manny. The Anaheim Angels say they're out of the bidding on Man-Ram..a whole heap of English Premier League action goes today with the traditional Boxing Day slate. Arsenal travels to Aston Villa in the most attractive match of the day. Shame Arsenal is minus Cesc Fabregas for the next four months. All the teams will turn around and play again Sunday...speaking of Boxing Day traditions, the World Junior Hockey Championships, important nowhere in the world but in Canada, start today. Canada faces the Czech Republic tonight at 7pm (Eastern) from the nation's capital. Drinking game idea: have a sip each time Pat Quinn is mentioned as a possible head coach in Edmonton. Do not plan to drive anywhere...the LA Lakers ended the Boston Celtics 19 game win streak with an emphatic home win yesterday. Is there any way those two don't meet in the finals again this year?...have a great Friday.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thursday, December 25th, 2008 - Merry Christmas!

It has been a fantastic year in sports, and AskMen presents a look at the Top 10 moments of the year and you could easily argue for others...thankfully, the NBA will break the sporting darkness that started with the conclusion of the Notre Dame-Hawaii game last night, including three games getting TV coverage. The big one goes at 5pm as the LA Lakers host the Boston Celtics in a rematch of last year's championship series...I know leagues value divisional setups for the rivalries they create, and how teams stay in playoff races longer. But something seems wrong with the idea that the San Diego Chargers could be in at 8-8 while the 11-5 New England Patriots could be out in the cold come playoff time...ESPN's Rob Neyer says that after the three big moves, the New York Yankees are indeed the team to beat in 2009. Me, I cannot wait to see if it pans out that there are no college bowl games today, only a handful of hoops games, and the NHL has no games scheduled? Makes no sense to me, either. But at least the Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke's moratorium on not trading players withing the 10 days leading up to Christmas is up. Ought to be some interesting moves in the offing now for Tomas Kaberle and others...have a great Christmas. Back tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

What the hell is up with Brian Baldinger's finger?...incredibly, 67% of NBA players polled by Sports Illustrated picked the LA Lakers to win the championship. That's an overwhelming number. If the media had a vote, Chuck Swirsky would've voted for the Chicago Bulls...New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is mastering the free agency game, dropping a big opening bid on CC Sabathia to flatten the market, and going under the radar on Mark Teixera and shocking everyone at the 11th hour. Heading into a new stadium and having $90 million come off the books could not have been better timed...oh, Stephen A. Smith still thinks the Yankees should sign Manny Ramirez...the Arizona Cardinals are the first team since the 1961 Oakland Raiders to trail by 28 or more at the half in consecutive weeks. They're one team that has something to show in Week 17, even when they really don't...two guys the NFL should mic on Sunday; San Diego Chargers QB Phillip Rivers and the Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler. These two can't stand each other, and no doubt there will be some big talk on Sunday night...the Toronto Maple Leafs were drilled 8-2 by the Dallas Stars last night. The Stars have won three of four since dumping Sean Avery...come to find out there is an offence in the Toronto Blue Jays: a sex offence. A choreographer of one of the Jays dance troupes got busy with a 15-year old and - wait for it - taped the affair...I hate Notre Dame, their coach and their fans, but am super thankful they're one half of a Bowl game on an otherwise empty sports calendar tonight. They face Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. And where is Bukkake Bowl Picks?..Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki is talking of taking a paycut to help land one of the big free agents in 2010, the same time he is a free agent. Hey, isn't Chris Bosh from Dallas?...all the best to you and yours this Christmas Eve, and yes, back tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The combined win percentage of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment teams - the Leafs, Raptors, Marlies and Toronto FC - for the most recently completed season or season in progress heading into last night is .383. Winners, they are awesome would it be for Chad Pennington to go into the Meadowlands and dick punch the New York Jets and nail their coffin shut?...the Detroit Lions haven't won in Wisconsin since 1991...I hate it, but best name for Toronto Raptor Andrea Bargnani right now: Bargkwame. Blame his coaching or blame him, but it ain't looking good for the top pick of 2006. That said, playing the "imagine if the Raptors drafted (Brandon Roy or Lamarcus Aldridge) instead..." doesn't work either. More than a few scouts and GM's had Bargnani rated tops. How a player develops beyond that is no sure thing, and going hindsight is not a sign of a sharp mind...if you listen at all to the Jim Rome Show, the next two days are must-listens as Rome runs through his year in review...maybe the best quote of the year from an NFL player comes from former Detroit Lions QB Joey Harrington: "It's weird to think I was here in the hey-day." question by a media member comes from Rob Parker of the Detroit News to Lions coach Rod Marinelli: "On a light note, do you wish your daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator?" Take a wild guess what team his daughter's hubby is the defensive coordinator for. Think "0-15"...word is that if they haven't already, the NHL will be providing funds to the Tampa Bay Lightning - didn't they just get new owners? - and the Phoenix Coyotes to meet payroll. The word "contraction" or "move" can't be far off...type this into your browser: if Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo figured that sitting last in the NBA power rankings, at least in one spot, was possible?...have a great Tuesday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

The Detroit Lions are the first NFL team to sit at 0-15. Here's hoping they become the first to go 0-16 next week when they travel to face the Green Bay Packers...Manchester United added to their trophy haul for 2008 in winning the Club World Cup final with a 1-0 win on a Wayne Rooney goal...the New York Jets are now 0-4 on the year in west coast games and very much on the playoff bubble after being in control a couple weeks back. And that QB they worked so hard to get? Brett Favre's two passes of 20+ yards yesterday were the first of that measure since Week 4. That has to be some kind of record...somehow, the Dallas Cowboys had everything fall their way on the schedule yesterday and are now back in the playoff hunt. A win at Philly and they're in, no help required. Word is that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones picked the Baltimore Ravens for the Texas Stadium finale, figuring they were among the weaker teams on their schedule. When the Ravens found out, well, you saw how that went Saturday...not sure I recall a more impressive turnaround in the NFL than the Atlanta Falcons, who were a punchline last year and a disaster on the field, and are now 10-5 and playoff bound...Manny Ramirez is telling friends the New York Yankees will be making a three year offer for him. That's not a move that will help the Yankees sub-par defence, but will sure mean A-Rod has the best year of his life with the beast that is Manny hitting behind him. Maybe he's just doing it to needle Boston?...NFL referee Ed Hochuli has to be relieved the Denver Broncos lost yesterday and the San Diego Chargers downed the fading Tampa Bay Bucs. His call earlier in the year in Denver looked like it might cost the Bolts a playoff spot, but now they've got a shot to make it after all with a win over the Broncos next week...the ending of the Philadelphia/Washington game was as close as it gets. Check this out...not sure I've seen a better game this year - though there have been some great ones - than the New York Giants OT win (and a Prime Time Picks cover!) in overtime last night...tonight, playing the Green Bay Packers to cover the +3.5 at Chicago and gun for 21-14...the Cincinnati Bengals had all of 9 passing attempts yesterday, and it was enough to beat the Cleveland Browns, who haven't scored an offensive touchdown since Week 11...have a great Monday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

What is uglier: a naked picture of Rosie O'Donnell or Chris Bosh shooting three's?...jacked up for Arsenal vs. Liverpool this morning on The Score, in HiDef no less...LeBron James says he'll consider signing an extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer rather than opt for free agency in 2010. I'm not sure there's a person anywhere that actually believes that...there's a potential NHL trade in the works that would see Marian Gaborik and Ilya Kovalchuk changing teams. If you're the Atlanta Thrashers, why would you trade for a guy who makes Vince Carter look like Cal Ripken?...the Dallas Cowboys played a game of "Texas Fold 'Em" in dropping a 33-24 shootout to the Baltimore Ravens, all but ending their playoff hopes. Nice knowing you, Wade Phillips...Jason Spezza's -3 in a 5-4 Senators win isn't likely to get him off the third line...19-14 now and reeling in the Prime Time Picks but tonight, the New York Giants (-3.5) right the ship in knocking off the Carolina Panthers. All trends would suggest it goes the other way but I'm assuming the Giants, at home, clean up their act of the last few weeks and re-establish their running game and win a close, low scoring affair...have a great Sunday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Perhaps the most impressive defensive stat entering Week 16: the Pittsburgh Steelers haven't given up 300 yards of offence to anyone this year. That kinda thing wins Super Bowls...worth another look: yesterday's Sunshine girl, WWE diva Kelly Kelly, so nice they named her twice. Pics here, vid here...word is that Braylon Edwards will be in Times Square in New York City for New Year's Eve, something to do with dropping the ball at midnight, presumably...check out this time lapse video of the preparations for the NHL's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago. And, see below for evidence that the preparations aren't going entirely smoothly...another weekend of English Premier League action is upon us, but the big game of the weekend - Arsenal vs. Liverpool - doesn't go until tomorrow. Have a feeling Arsenal gets that one done, though I don't trust their keeper Manual Almunia a whole lot...Prime Time Picks is pleased to bring you yet another easy winner tonight, and that play is again on the Dallas Cowboys at -3 as they host the Baltimore Ravens tonight. Another must win game for Dallas, at the final regular season game at Texas Stadium, and most likely final game at all barring some crazy playoff results? I'll take it. The one concern is that running backs are averaging 79 yards per game against the Ravens defence but whether it is Marion Barber (not likely) or Tashard Choice (most likely) getting the bulk of the work load, both provide nice passing options out of the backfield to get some yardage. Should be a great one...why wouldn't a store put the icing on a 3-year olds birthday cake? Well, I don't want to give it away but if you ever click on one link in a blog entry ever, this is the one. Please, do yourself a favor and read the entire thing - you'll check your calendar to see if it is April Fool's Day but it most certainly isn't...there is nothing wrong with the Toronto Raptors a plane crash won't fix. The Raptors lost to the lowely Oklahoma City Thunder...have a great Saturday.

The preparations for the NHL's Winter Classic are not going so well, if this is any indicator:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The Buffalo Bills made some dubious history with last Sunday's Meltdown at the Meadowlands, becoming the first team to blow a lead in the final two minutes on a defensive touchdown since 1981. Still can't figure how the notoriously hyper conservative coach Dick Jauron goes for a passing play in that situation...have to say, didn't figure Mats Sundin would end up playing for the Vancouver Canucks, signing for the balance of the year only. Maybe he's looking to acclimatize himself for the 2010 Olympics and defending the Swedish gold?...Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending reject Scott Cleminson is having an incredible run filling in for Martin Brodeur in New Jersey. Meanwhile, notes GBVH, Curtis Joseph doesn't look like he cold stop a beachball when he's gets put in the pipes to boost NHL scoring totals...last nights 8-5 win for the Boston Bruins was the first time this year the Bruins gave up five goals...Brett Favre made the Pro Bowl? I'd have rated him third best QB in the division and if not for Trent Edwards concussion that seemed to derail his season, he might've been the fourth best...incredibly, only 8% of Tiger Woods income as a pro golfer has come from actually golfing. The rest is from endorsements...the Champions League round of 16 draw went this morning and there are a few real tantalizing matchups - no pun intended on the "real". How about Chelsea vs. Juventus, Manchester United vs. Inter Milan and Real Madrid vs. Liverpool? I'm going to suggest Juventus, Manchester United and Liverpool escape those fixtures. Can't wait to see Man U's Sir Alex Ferguson and Inter's Jose Morinho resume their war of words...the Indianapolis Colts have come back when trailing by 7 or more six times this year, and the dreaded defensive touchdown - which always seems to do in a solid cover or under play - dropped Prime Time Picks to 18-13...good of the Colts Reggie Wayne to show us his plummer impression last night...Boston Red Sox owner John Henry says they've been outbid on Mark Teixera? Who has the cash to do such a thing? Come on, Brian Cashman!...former UFC champion Randy Couture is looking at retirement - wise - and doing movies, including one he'll star in alongside Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren. What is it, Rocky 4.5? Insert your joke about working with Stallone and the very washed up Lundgren "here"...Manchester United will face Liga de Quito from South America in the Club World Cup final in Japan on Sunday...a part of me would love to see the Toronto Raptors lose to the lowely Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, just to see the hand wringing increase in was a record day for RandoMango yesterday: 581 hits, blowing past the previous high of to the new Yankee Stadium home opener are already going for a mere $45,000+ at StubHub... have a great Friday.

Another reason why Charles Barkley rules: check out his George W. Bush impression:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I know Mike Tyson is on Zoloft to keep him from killing us all, but I'm guessing it has some pretty obvious side effects, one being he's starting to look like King Hippo from Punchout...Minnesota T-Wolves coach and GM Kevin McHale says bloggers are to blame for the rash of early firings in the first two months of the season. While I'd love to claim credit for Sam Mitchell's ouster in Toronto, the fact is that losing costs jobs, not bloggers. If the latter had that kind of stroke, George W. Bush wouldn't have made a second term, nevermind through it...Tony Romo is 5-6 in the month of December for his career, and an incredible 22-4 in all other months. He's going to need to go over .500 on that first stat and fast...why Canada is better than the U.S.: Canadian Idol has been cancelled for 2009...word from Real Madrid is they've got a deal in place to purchase Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United next summer. The way his form's been up and down this year - he's got no goals away from home - United will do well to get the big bucks discussed this past off-season...the Toronto Raptors are now 7-14 since their 3-0 start to the year. They're more likely heading towards the draft lottery than the playoffs at this point. Memo to Rogers Digital: if you promise not to add TSN2, I'll be glad to move over from ExpressVu so I don't have to watch this garbage squad..Cris Collinsworth tells Bill Simmons - The Sports Guy - he thinks that the Dallas Cowboys are the New York Giants of last season, right down to predicting Dallas knocks the Giants out in the playoffs. I like the sounds of that. Another prediction: if that prediction is right, me and TS are gonna have one fantasic Super Bowl Sunday...San Diego Padre Brian Giles is being sued for $10 million by an ex-girlfriend who he allegedly beat while pregnant and there's video of what appears to be the girlfiend hitting the ground after Giles smacked her. Most inappropriate but hilarious response: so Giles can hit...proof it is December: Peter Forsberg is talking about coming back...tonight, Prime Time Picks shoots for 19-12 and the play is on Jacksonville at +6.5. While the Colts are seemingly the easy play, they historically struggle against the Jags and have played a pile of close games this year. 6.5 points on the road is a lot of lumber. Do the Colts win? Likely. Cover? I'm saying no, and maybe there's even an upset in store...if you had bet the New York Yankees to win the World Series 10 days ago, you'd have got 6-1 odds, putting them behind the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, each at 5-1. Today, the Yankees are 3-1...have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Talk about the spirit of giving: Toronto Raptor Jose Calderon is donating $100 to Right to Play not per three pointer, not per assist - per double double! There goes my hero. What would he have done without the big raise he got this summer, donated a quarter?...take away the game against the Arizona Cardinals and Brett Favre has more interceptions than touchdown passes this year...there won't be a tonne to write about, but the plan is to go right through the holidays, including Christmas Day...Penn State has given Joe Paterno a three year contract extension. How you do that with a guy who was just out of frame for the picture at The Last Supper is beyond possible benefit of a potential collapse of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler: it would seriously hurt NASCAR, no? That can only be a good thing for the state of humankind...the Detroit Lions have lost 21 of 22 going back to last season. This is a team for the ages...St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa thinks Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame because of his "integrity". Of course, he'd have a tough time seeing what integrity is what with his sunglasses-at-night ways...Bill Romanowski, who has been to the Super Bowl more than once, has tipped the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys to contest it come February 2009 on "Drive This". I like it, Romo...former WWE monster Bobby Lashley is following in the footsteps of UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and getting into the MMA game. He annihilated his opponent in his first fight in under a minute...I get that Sean Avery isn't the most cuddly player out there, and not exactly popular among even his teammates. But the talk that he might be effectively blackballed for his "sloppy seconds" comments - ill advised though they may be - is ridiculous given Todd Bertuzzi is still floating around and has been given more second chances than he's scored goals since his Vancouver prime. If anyone can honestly say Avery's actions did more damage to the game than Bertuzzi's, I'd be stunned...hopefully somebody has pulled the Chicago Black Hawks off of the Edmonton Oilers by now. Wow, that was a savage beating...if you thought the Winter Classic uniforms were impressive this past year, wait til you see what the Black Hawks and Detroit Red Wings are pulling out for the next edition, and yes, I know people that can hook you up for far cheaper, if you're interested...have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

The Fan590's Bob McCown says he's got a fantastic source who says Mats Sundin will indeed be a New York Ranger. Sun Media still says the Vancouver Canucks are in the mix. One thing is for certain: wherever Sundin signs, there won't be a shoe thrown at him at the presser...make that 18-12 for a tidy 60% on your Prime Time Picks. Going to get busy this week with a game on Saturday night as well...won't it be so very Philadelphia if the Eagles, suddenly hot, are left out of the playoff field because of that tie?...Mike Holmgren as the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys? Wonder how head-coach-in-waiting Jason Garrett feels about that? Shame the walrus wasn't in this year...well, at least you can say they're defending with some gusto now though they still can't rebound, but the Toronto Raptors still went down at home, again to Wince Carturd and the New Jersey Nets. The idea that Chris Bosh is going to stick around beyond his contract - which expires after next season - seems really unlikely to me...the Toronto Blue Jays are out of the mix on Rafael Furcal, says Joel Sherman at the New York Post...doesn't Tiger Woods caddy smack talking Phil Mickelson ring a lot like a guys mother or wife spouting off? The saying "know your role and shut your hole" never seemed so about these for a Top 10 NHL hits?...with 52 points, the San Jose Sharks set an NHL record for most points through 30 games, topping the 1929/30 Boston Bruins. Of course, the extra point for overtime and shootout losses tends to help with that total...Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand figures that Arsenal will not be in the title chase this season. Cannot wait for someone at Arsenal to respond. Odd thing is, that aside from their coach Arsene Wenger, not sure any of them would or will, though you'd think William Gallas would have before his fall from stories about athletes go, tough to hear a better one than this one about the Chicago Black Hawks...have a great Tuesday.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday, December 15th, 2008

A Prime Time Pick never felt so good as the Dallas Cowboys easily covered the three points in a 20-8 win over the New York Giants. Tonight, we're gunning for 18-12 and playing the Philadelphia Eagles at -14 to keep pace in the NFC playoff Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, the Dallas Cowboys have three fantastic running're up with 2 minutes to play in an NFL game. You run, right? Not the Buffalo Bills. They confounded the six losers who still play QB1 and called a pass play, leading to a big hit on QB JP Losman, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a sudden win by the New York Jets...the Miami Dolphins haven't given up a touchdown in three games. Them or Jets will win the division if they win out, and to make it real interesting, they face each other in Week 17...scratch the Ottawa Sens off the list of possible destinations for Mats Sundin. He's expected to sort out his landing spot this week, with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks the likely landing spots...during the writing of this entry, Eli Manning was sacked again. And again...say what you will about the Pittsburgh Steelers not winning with a whole lot of style, the fact remains they're getting it done despite the NFL's toughest schedule. They're my pick to represent the AFC in the Super a move that ought to surprise nobody, Sean Avery is done in Dallas. Wonder if NHL owners will push for non-guaranteed deals at the next labour deal? Bryan McCabe would "never" play in such an environment, of course, but the world would much for Chelsea going tops yesterday. Like the other top sides, they drew this week as well. This is shaping up to be the best EPL race in years, just for how many teams are in the mix...former Giant Tiki Barber admit that he was wrong about Eli Manning's leadership abilities. Thanks Tiki, what's next, the sky is blue?...have a great Monday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Don't get me wrong, I hate the Boston Red Sox, but for the life of me, I can't figure why a team with as long a tradition as theirs - and recently, a winning one - would change their logo to "hanging socks" as well as their road uniforms...I was convinced for much of last night that there was no way it could be Saturday. After all, the Toronto Maple Leafs weren't featured on Hockey Night in predicted, Hull did indeed give EPL leaders Liverpool a tough game in a 2-2 draw. As a result, Chelsea will most likely go tops again today as the busy Christmas schedule approaches...16-12-2 on the year of Prime Time Picks after Thursday's push, but going to ignore those and just call it 16-12. Already mentioned tonight's pick on Friday and it is the Dallas Cowboys at -3 as they host the New York Giants, minus Brandon Jacobs. It is a must win essentially for the Cowboys, not even remotely the case for the Giants. When one team is desperate, they're the play. That said, imagine the hand-wringing in Dallas if they lose tonight? Also like Miami (-6) and against all I normally believe in, Indy -17. I usually don't like giving that many points, but this one has beatdown written all over it. As always, drop your wagers at Pinnacle...oh, if you're thinking Jacobs is just saving himself for the playoffs, you must've forgot he's a free agent after this year...General Motors may end sponsorship of the Daytona 500. [Sarcasm] Why? [/sarcasm]...Francisco Rodriguez says the New York Mets are now the team to beat in the NL East. Seems a certain World Champion might have something to say about that. But, love the talk coming from the Mets and Phillies...Memo to Brian Cashman: if your plan is to get one of Mark Teixera or Manny Ramirez, go for the former...have a great Sunday.

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Best nickname I've heard yet for CC Sabathia, replacing "Carbs & Calories", is "Cha Ching"...another day, another pitcher inked for the New York Yankees and that'd be AJ Burnett. The question for the Yankees will be if Burnett has indeed turned the corner or will he revert back to non-contract year form. One certainty: there will be no hiding for him in the Bronx. No doubt, Toronto Blue Jays GM JP Ricciardi is getting ready to make some ill advised comment. I know the Yankees have a facial hair rule - wonder how Burnett's nipple rings will go over?...Liverpool vs. Hull is the big one today in the English Premier League. Hull has played fearless against the top sides all year and won't back down against the league leaders...closer to home, Toronto FC landed one of the best players in MLS, and better still, he's a hometown boy. Dwayne De Rosario, welcome home. Cannot wait for March...the Ultimate Fighter finale goes tonight on Spike TV at 9pm. That UFC does these free live shows is a very big reason why UFC is growing as it is. Boxing used to do so, decades ago, to a much more profle extent than today where at best you see tomato cans and long shots. My money is on Phillipe Nover to beat Efrain Escudero and Vinny Magalhaes to beat Ryan Bader...that's ten straight games the Cleveland Cavs have won at home by at least a dozen. Sure beats a challupa...when the latest Dallas Cowboys drama broke, the ESPN article and headline referenced Terrell Owens exclusively as having a problem with Tony Romo's over reliance on Jason Witten, even when other players are open. Had you read the reports elsewhere, you'd have seen that it goes well beyond T.O. and includes other receivers and most of the defence questioning Romo. But ESPN knows T.O. catches attention so paint him as the malcontent. Terrible journalism. They changed the article to reflect others later yesterday, and dropped it down the list from the previous top billing...never a bad night when the Toronto Raptors beat Wince Carturd and the Jersey Nets, but even better when Wince has a horrific night...under Harry Redknapp, Tottenham are 9-1-2. Ought to be an interesting nooner with Manchester United, minus Wayne Rooney, visiting...the Blue Jays had four ads on Sportsnet last season: one with Frank Thomas, another with AJ Burnett, the third with Vernon Wells and the last with Lyle Overbay. Trendspotting, anyone?...who would've believed that the Ottawa Senators would have 64 goals at this point in the season, while the Boston Bruins have 102?...anybody know that Hasim Rahman is fighting champion Wladimir Klitshko for the heavyweight title tonight? Me neither...have a great Saturday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday, December 12th, 2008

The picture to the left is not doctored in any way - that's UFCer Corey Hill's leg snapping like a twig when Dale Hartt blocked his kick at "UFC: Fight For The Troops" on Wednesday...I cannot recall the last time the Dallas Cowboys lost a game where there wasn't some sort of drama in the week that followed. The latest - just in time to face the New York Giants - is that Terrell Owens is sour (allegedly) over how tight Tony Romo and Jason Witten are, and that he thinks they secretly meet to sort out plays that would see the ball go to Witten more often. There are a whole heap of "behind the scenes" quotes from the dreaded Unnamed Source. Mark my words: the Cowboys will beat the Giants on Sunday night...the last two Phil Jackson-led teams to open 14-1 went on to win the NBA title. The LA Lakers are going to look to be the third...46-0 boxing champ Joe Calzaghe says boxing is a dying sport with too many champions and as a result, not enough stars. He also talked of how UFC's popularity has hurt the game stateside. Right about now, Jim Lampley is crafting an overly verbose retort to inform us that Calzaghe is being intellectually dishonest. Fact is, Calzaghe is dead on...the Mats Sundin sweepstakes are said to be down to the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers...Manny Ramirez is said to be so frustrated at the lack of movement in his contract discussions he's contemplating retirement. Yeah, that'll show the world, Man Ram! The upside? That'll be two straight years that super agent Scott Boras looks the fool with a big name client...Philadelphia Philly Cole Hamels has glossed the New York Mets "choke artists". How can you not love this guy?...if this isn't every photo of Marissa Miller ever published, it is damn close...Adam "Pacman" Jones neck injury could be career threatening? Somebody might want to check if Roger Goodell has a voodoo doll...have a great Friday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday, December 11th, 2008 - Brian Cashman is not messing about

How does a card of Billy Ripken - Cal's younger and far less talented brother - go for $500? Look at the knob of the bat. That is is becoming a weekly installment: wrestling talk. This week, the Top 10 WWE matches. What, no Roddy Piper vs. Goldust back-lot brawl? Can't argue with #1, that I know...okay, I've held off long enough. Brian Cashman, I take it back - I love you again. You got CC Sabathia inked for $161 million over 7 years, the $161 million matching the street Yankee Stadium is on. Sabathia has an out after three years. As great as I think Sabathia is and could well be, can't help but be concerned at that length of contract and cash for a guy who has gone over 500 innings pitched the last two years. That, and the Boston Red Sox routinely kill him, playoffs included. Next up could be AJ Burnett. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says a Burnett deal could be done today and several Yankee players are lobbying Burnett hard. If Crasnick is right and Ben Sheets would follow that, you'd have to think Andy Pettitte's days are done in pinstripes. I know the Milwaukee Brewers have to be sour over losing Sabathia, but trading Mike Cameron to the Yanks for Melky Cabrera will not make up for that...Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony had 33 last night. In the third quarter!...first the New York Mets signed K-Rod, then picked up JJ Putz to set-up for him. Good for Putz to take the lower profile role because he wants to win...Emmitt Smith and Keyshawn Johnson would be wise to stay out of Terrell Owens way, he's killing them both in the war of words, including hammering Smith for not knowing Tashard Choice's name and referring to him as "Rashard"...Frank Mir says UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar can "never "beat him. Sure, Mir beat him once, but that was as much a case of Lesnar beating himself. Mir might want to concern himself with his next fight against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a fight he won't win, before he worries about Lesnar again...another Prime Time Pick (16-12) for you tonight, as the New Orleans Saints (+3) visit the Chicago Bears. I tend to always play the home side when a dome team is travelling in November and tonight is not a departure from that trend, particularly with the Bears still in the playoff mix and the Saints an afterthought...have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Why unions are ridiculous, Part 4, 237, 226: the NFL Players Association is challenging the suspension and fine of New York Giant Plaxico Buress who, of course, shot himself in the thigh a couple weeks back. Wonder what the unions stance will be when he goes to the slam? know what I find hilarious? The fact that last year most of the Toronto media - and a majority of fans - hammered TJ Ford as a chemistry and locker room killer. I think Stevie Wonder could see that he's gone, and things are worse in Raptorland. This is a team that needs more than a few heart transplants based on what we've seen the last few weeks, and I'm not convinced a coaching staff or Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Jerry Sloan could get much more out of these guys. TJ and the Indiana Pacers are rolling in tonight, and if I'm Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, I'm hoping TJ falls flat because if it is a good night for TJ - and you know he's taking no prisoners - then I'm figuring my kid glove treatment from fans and the media the last couple years is about over in Toronto...since 1996 - the last time they won a playoff game - the Dallas Cowboys are 18-32 in December...Rando reader TS passes on this link to pics of the Montreal Canadiens practice facility. As you might expect, first class top to bottom...Molly Sims, Jamie Lynn Sigler, and a hilarious video from Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live that makes "Dick In A Box" seem cryptic. And what's this I hear that Sigler is dating Turtle of Entourage for real? Talk about punching over your weight! Well done, Turtle...former Tampa Bay Lighting coach Mullet Melrose, axed recently, says he hopes the Bolts don't win another game all year. Keep it classy, Melrose...the New York Mets finally started getting some bullpen depth in signing Francisco Rodriguez. He'll do little to calm the nerves of Mets fans with his highwire act. Surprised the Blue Jays didn't offer out BJ Ryan to the Mets. He's cheaper than the three years, $37 million, and arguably as good, and the Jays could use that money elsewhere, not to mention getting some talent CC Sabathia's request, Yankees GM Brian Cashman flew out to his home in California to meet with Sabathia's family. This can only be a good sign, also considering it is the third meeting in three days. Here's hoping Cash has a crystal ball and knows CC will stay healthy...have a great Wednesday.