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Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Philly we go!

Game 3 of the World Series goes tonight in Philly. Good news for the Yankees: Phillies starter Cole Hamels line this playoffs reads like a horror show: 14.2 IP, 20 H (6 HR), 11 ER. Lefties are 9-15 (3 HR, 1 double) so could be a good night for Johnny Damon, Mark Teixera, and Melky Cabrera. Andy Pettitte is looking for playoff win #17 to extend his all-time record in that regard. Interestingly, 5 of his current 16 have been clinchers.

Arsenal and Tottenham is hands down the feature match of the English Premier League schedule, kicking off at 8:45 this morning on Setanta, moments ago. With the way these two attack, there could be a flood of goals. Glad I don't have 'keepers from either on my fantasy squad. Am going to guess that Chelsea stays on top this week, in a year where there seems to be weekly changes at the top of the table between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Kerry Byrne at details six reasons why parity is dead in the NFL in 2009.

Just in case the NBA took note of the Toronto Raptors opening night win against Cleveland and rated the Raptors as a team to watch, the Raps gave everyone a reminder they can be maddeningly inconsistent, and lose 115-107 to a team like the Memphis Grizzlies. Way to go, Craptors.

Speaking of maddeningly inconsistent, then there is the Toronto Maple Leafs. First in the NHL on the power play, worst killing it. The Leafs again gave up a late goal and lost 3-2 in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres. Suppose with a win and two single points to follow it, that qualifies as incredible improvement. The Leafs may suck, but at least a trip to Montreal will always remain interesting. Those two old rivals will tangle tonight.

Somehow, the NCAA football schedule has given us no super appealing games this week, unless you want to count Florida looking to embarrass Georgia again.

Toronto Blue Jay Vernon Wells for Chicago Cubs headcase Milton Bradley? Word is it is being discussed. Not sure that Bradley is a guy you want, but his contract (2 years, $21 million) sure is better than the six years and $107 million left on the uninspiring Wells. The other possibilities for Bradley are all horrible contract guys.

Toronto FC are in a must win situation if they are to make the playoffs...sorry, habit.

Have a great Saturday. Careful driving tonight with the kiddies out and about.

Friday, October 30, 2009

AJ = Money

Two games of the World Series are down and the series is now tied at a game a piece after AJ Burnett pitched an absolute gem for the Yankees, who scored just enough to get it done at 3-1. Burnett did no less than save the Yankees chances last night as an 0-2 count with three coming in Philly starting tomorrow would've been too big a mountain to climb. He should've put up a donut if A-Rod makes a play on a Matt Stairs hit that drove home a run. Somebody needs to tell A-Rod it isn't the World Series, he's having an awful series right now after carrying the Yanks the first two rounds. For his part, Pedro Martinez was outstanding too - or was it that the Yankee bats are god awful top to bottom right now? Even when the Yankees got a couple on with none out and could've blown the game open, they shot themselves in the foot as somehow Derek Jeter elected to bunt with an 0-2 count and missed badly, fouling off practically into the Yankee dugout before the umps got into the act and botched a call that led to a double play that shouldn't have been. Post-game, Jeter summed it up neatly: “That was me. That was stupid,” he told Peter Abraham who used to cover the Yanks but now works for the Boston Globe. Yes, it sure was. Who would've figured on two low scoring games in the Bronx with these high powered offences? If the Yankees don't generate some more offence beyond waiting for the long ball, they're in trouble. Four runs in two games won't beat a team as good as the Phillies with any regularity. But Mariano Rivera is in typical form, nailing down the final six outs. Rivera has 14 6-out playoff saves since 1996. All of baseball's closers combined have 11 over the same time frame, with nobody having more than 3. Mo money!

With the series shifting to Philadelphia now and National League rules, surely the Yankees pitchers don't hit worse than anyone they'd DH's have, do they? Doesn't seem possible.

In previewing the NBA season, 2 of 5 analysts at ESPN The Magazine pegged Chris Bosh as the most likely free agent to leave his team at the conclusion of this season. For what it is worth, one picked LeBron James and two had Amar'e Stoudemire.

New Orleans Saint running back Reggie Bush, who has come nowhere near the hype that he generated coming out of USC, says the Saints can go undefeated. This is true, technically, since they already are defeated at 6-0. But, if they do go 16-0, he won't have that much to do with it. Of course, he loses even more credibility in discussing how he will in fact win an MVP award one day. I'd be stunned if he was ever his team's MVP, nevermind that of the entire NFL.

Interesting interview here with Buffalo Bills wideout Terrell Owens. He sounds positively humble, and likeable. In case you were wondering.

If you're a parent, how in your right mind can you let your kid dress up for school today - or ever - in a Michael Jackson outfit? Wrong. Period.

Not that payroll determines what happens in a game, but it is worth mentioning that when Real Madrid lost 3-0 to Alcorcorn in Copa del Ray play, the third division side had a payroll 400 times lower than Real. That's a team with a £1 million annual budget compared to Real's £400 million. Amazing.

Have a great Friday, back in the morning tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lee > CC

Game 1 of the World Series is in the books an you'd have thought it was the New York Yankees who had been off a week and not the Philadelphia Phillies for how they swung the sticks. Phillies starer Cliff Lee delivered one of the best World Series starts you're likely to see this side of Don Larsen, fanning 10 in going the distance in a 6-1 Phillies win. Chase Utley hit a pair of solo shots off CC Sabathia and nobody from the Yanks pen looked effective. Scary what one game can do to your optimism.

Pedro Martinez on the bump tonight ought to be electrifying. Pedro, you may recall, once said "call the Yankees my daddy" after they pwned him for a good stretch. Mix in the moment, and it being Pedro and him being a former Boston Red Sock and Yankee Stadium ought to be electric tonight, especially with the Yanks down a game. AJ Burnett goes for the Yanks, and hopefully continues his trend of strong pitching at home. Joe Girardi has an interesting decision to make at catcher: go with Burnett's choice Jose Molina, or the less preferred Jorge Posada. Notable: neither catcher has a lot of success against Pedro. Posada is 15 of 72, 4 HR, 34 K against Pedro while Molina is 2 of 10 with 1 K.

Had you given me the money, I would not have bet on the Toronto Raptors to beat the Cleveland Cavs last night, or even cover the +5, even with the Cavs playing the second straight night, especially when they lost the previous night. The Raptors won 101-91 with Andrea Bargnani scoring a game high 28. Shocking, or as shocking as one game of 82 can be. Some things were entirely predictable though, like former-Raptor-and-now-Cav Jabronio Moon taking ill advised shots that only found air.

Off the usual sports topic, but one of my fav bands - Danko Jones - is going to be opening across Canada for another of my fav bands, Guns 'N Roses. How awesome is that?

Pretty intriguing Week 8 NFL schedule this weekend, what with the Old Has Been returning to Green Bay for the first time, this with Minnesota, Miami at the New York Jets in what should be a real heated affair given how much trash talk followed the previous game which the Dolphins won in the dying moments, and Denver at Baltimore and Atlanta at New Orleans are also real appealing. Not so interesting? St. Louis at Detroit. Ouch.

The always quotable Texas Tech coach Mike Leach delivered another one after a bad performance last weekend, blaming his coaching staff for not getting through to the players the way their "fat little girlfriends" can.

Weirdest thing about the Slap Chop: don't you have to cut your food down to size so it actually fits the Slap Chop, rendering the Slap Chop redundant? Just wondering.

Have a great Thursday.

RM returns at 2:30pm.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kobe said "yes!"

The World Series gets under way tonight and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins - isn't he hitting .250? - fancies himself a bit of a prognosticator. Rollins told Jay Leno a couple nights ago that the Phillies will win in five. Look, I know that Rollins and the Phillies are defending champions, but five games against the best team in baseball from the best league in baseball? It is funny to me that, payroll aside, anybody would hate on the Yankees when you'd never hear one of their players spout off on an opponent like that. If an ESPN poll counts, 20 of 22 alleged experts have the Bronx Bombers winning a bookend this decade to their 2000 win. I'm sticking with Yankees in six and AJ Burnett getting the deciding win, a pair on the series for him. Game 1 goes tonight with CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee on the mound for each to start what should be a fantastic series. Interestingly, there hasn't been a World Series that went more than five games since 2003, the last time the Yankees were involved.

A couple weeks ago, an opponent likened playing the Oakland Raiders to a glorified scrimmage. And now, a player says the Raiders couldn't beat an Oakland high school team. The player? Oakland Raider Richard Seymour. Just when you thought the Raiders couldn't be more of a circus.

Toronto FC did the expected and turfed interim coach Chris Cummins, though by all indications, he was leaving anyways. Cummins noted there were a few cancerous elements in the locker room. My money is on Jim Brennan for one. Tough to respect a drama queen who is quick to point the finger but did little week in and out. He dined out on his "first guy signed and local boy made captain" status for far too long when his play said he was past it.

The NBA season totally snuck up on me, to the point I didn't even know it was starting yesterday. I want to thank the perennially underachieving Toronto Raptors for making me so apathetic to hoops the last calendar year or so. The Raps start against LeBron James, Shaq and the Cleveland Cavs tonight who lost their opener last night and ought to be in a foul mood. Good luck with that, Raptors.

Speaking of hoops, top draft pick and now L.A. Clipper Blake Griffin is out 4-6 weeks with a busted knee cap. Is there any doubt the Clippers are cursed?

Going a little against the grain today and instead of a semi-regular hot WAG - Wives and Girlfriend's, for the newer readers - going with the ten worst WAG's in sports, inspired by Steve Phillips and Brooke Hundley's dalliance that led to his dismissal from ESPN.

Paul Beeston decided he liked interviewing people for CEO and President of the Toronto Blue Jays so much that he hired himself for the job for the next three years. Makes sense, he knows the team and market as well as anyone, but he's bound to find out that the Jays fans that remain have little tolerance left for guys dining out on the 90's. Explains why new GM Alex Anthopolous was so freely making moves to his staff.

Just in time for Christmas, folks: an autobiography from Andre Agassi in which he chronicles his use of crystal meth. Fun for the whole family!

ESPN broadcaster Bob Griese has been suspended by the network after commenting on air that Juan Pablo Montoya must've been out "eating a taco". I don't see what the problem is, this was a NASCAR broadcast after all - he was just saying what the majority of their audience was thinking anyways. I watch NASCAR hilites weekly, not because I care, but because I love seeing the growing seas of empty seats.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A rare sight: Leafs score, and win

One day away from Game 1 of the World Series, starting in Yankee Stadium not because the Yankees had the best record this year - which they did - as would be fitting, but because the American League of which the Yanks are part, won the All-Star Game. Explain that to a casual fan and watch the puzzled looks. Expect to hear much of how they were the top two home run hitting clubs this year, how CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee are not only the last two Cy Young Award winners in the American League and did so as Cleveland Indians, but also how Pedro Martinez is facing his old rival. Me, I'd love nothing more than to see the Yankees exorcise some demons of 2004 by pounding on Pedro and hearing chants of "who's your daddy?" and word is, he'll be starting Game 2, in Yankee Stadium. I've got the Yankees in 6, with AJ Burnett winning a pair of games. Who ya got?

Larry Johnson went legend in the last couple days, first laying out his coach Todd Haley for having no experience as a football player and therefore, incapable of coaching a player of his calibre. On Twitter, of course. And then he dismissed the waiting media with a stellar "get your faggot asses out of here". Somewhere, Roger Goodell's BlackBerry is lighting up.

Regular reader and contributor BKennedy says they may as well have Jose Calderon's name plastered on this piece about how the Toronto Raptors coaching staff wants the Raps to shoot more this season. Haven't we heard that philosophy before? It is a wonder that the Enemy of Speed isn't referenced once.

UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has pulled out of UFC 106 next month due to illness, rumored to be a bout with swine flu. In other not-so-good UFC news, word is that for Saturday's card in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, they gave away 4,800 tickets to fill the place. Ahh, that legendary L.A. apathy. Rumor is that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will indeed get a rematch after the judges hosed him on Saturday in his title fight with champion Lyoto Machida.

After making my Nick Adenhart comment to a friend normally fond of such things and him reacting coldly, I asked if his recent engagement was softening him up. He replied that his fiancée was watching Ghost on the weekend and he asked if she was watching
Patrick Swayze's autobiography. Awesome.

Stop the world, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally won a game! 6-3 winners in Anaheim.

I know they're not the worst team by record, but really, it is hard to imagine a team that is worse in the NFL than the Washington Redskins after watching that disaster of a performance last night. If they didn't already have a brutal football team, I'd suggest they'd be a perfect fit for Toronto with their collection of trash.

Have a great Tuesday!
RM Returns at 3pm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bengals link is here.


Tonight, playing the over in the Monday Nighter at 37.5. Ought to be easy.

Start spreadin' the news!!!

Seems to me that the ghosts of old Yankee Stadium did indeed move across the road to the new building. How else to explain the two comedic errors by the Anaheim Angels back to back? Scott Kazmir's fade into foul territory was particularly comical, as he could've walked the ball over in time to record the out. Nick Adenhart still makes that play. The final result was 5-2 Yankees and one Alex Rodriguez drove in the winning run with a walk, he's hitting a mere .479 right now and while CC Sabathia got the MVP of the series, pretty safe to say A-Rod is the playoff MVP right now. The World Series starts on Wednesday night in the Bronx and with two high powered offences, could be a real back and forth series.

The always great Sports Pickle tweets on Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron: Dick Jauron wears his sunglasses at night, so he can so he can ... see through the failure in his game plan. And what is with that trend now, anyways? Noticed the Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano rocking shades while it was plenty dark out. Don't get that one, but don't hate it nearly as much as when people are rocking shades indoors where the doors aren't of a vehicle. Rock stars excluded, of course.

Cedric Benson dished out a nice dose of revenge on his former team, the Chicago Bears, as he ran for 189 and scored a touchdown as the Cincinnati Bengals hammered the Chicago Bears 45-10.

Two late drives for the Old Has Been and the result was two turnovers that ended up in the Vikings endzone. Seems to always happen when OHS doesn't have the benefit of weaker competition and at home. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 27-17 and gave the Vikes their first loss of the year.

Michael Strahan has lost some serious pounds since retiring. Dude looks 10 years younger and if not for the gap in his grill, you might not even recognize him.

Down 21 points, you'd figure the New Orleans Saints weren't likely to come back against the Miami Dolphins, but the did just that, winning 46-34 thanks to 36 second half points. Not sure there's a more exciting team to watch this season than the Saints.

Mark McGwire has come out of self-imposed exile and is back in baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach. How is he to teach if he isn't one to "talk about the past?"

Shocked by the performance the Dallas Cowboys put in yesterday. They were their infuriating sloppy best early, Tony Romo turned the ball over, and they trailed the solid Atlanta Falcons. Then the second quarter hit and the offence moved the ball at will, running and passing, and the defence made plays and dished some heavy, heavy hits. Romo went back to 2007 form even for one TD, eluding three fast coming rushers. Cowboys won 34-21 and after the New York Giants lost at home last night, are a game out of first in the win column with a game in hand.

The St. Louis Rams have now lost 17 straight.

Finally today, check out Minnesota Vike Adrian Peterson's truck job on the Pittsburgh Steelers William Gay...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Premature hatulation

Does know something we don't? Yes, that hat is available for purchase now. That said, not sure why anyone would ever by division or conference championship gear. Of course, Game 6 of the ALCS goes tonight now that the deluge of rain in New York has let up. Andy Pettitte is on the bump for the Yankees while Joe Saunders starts for the Anaheim Angels. Nervous times for fans of both. I know they don't want to compete with the NFL, but even with warm weather in New York today, do you really need to start at 8:20?

Toronto FC must want in on the "worst team owned by MLSE" race. How else to explain turning in that kind of showing in a must-win game, losing 5-0 to the New York Red Bulls who had scored all of 22 goals the entire year prior to that. Serious changes have to be coming, starting with that self-promoter Jim Brennan, who is well past expiry. Maybe mix in a proper full-time coach as well. And nobody would cry if GM Month Johnston was sent packing either.

Lyoto Machida beat Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the main event at UFC 104 by unanimous decision after five rounds. Not sure what fight the judges watched as Rua did a number on Machida's legs and ribs with countless kicks and pushed the fight start to finish. That was Machida's first defence of his light heavyweight title, and his next one should be a rematch. That was a boxing-style screw job. Most impressive performance of the night was Cain Velasquez, who utterly dominated Ben Rothwell and finished with a second round knockout.

If anybody can explain why Canada's World Junior hockey team is going with a green jersey this year, I'm all ears. And no, the official story that it's a "tribute to the Saskatchewan Roughriders" is not something I'm buying. Cash grab, plain and simple.

Don't think anybody's eyes will miss watching games at Giants Stadium, what with the gridiron lines marking the field. The Red Bulls move to Red Bull Arena next year, a $200 million soccer only palace. Watch it being built here.

Until they went down 7-3 today, the Pittsburgh Steelers had never trailed this year by more than three. The Super Bowl champs are again flying under the radar, and with Troy Polamalu back, expect them to roll the rest of the regular season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost again last night, 3-1 to Vancouver. Love this joke "what's the difference between the Leafs and a triangle?". Answer: a triangle has three points.

Word is former Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta - 26-61 this year and 94 under .500 for his career - is the new Cleveland Indians manager. Is that the best they could do?

The Prime Time Picks are rolling now, even on the year at 6-6 though -$34 thanks to the old dreaded vig. Regardless, impressive after the horror show of a start through the three weeks of the NFL season. Tonight, playing the New York Giants -7 at home over the Arizona Cardinals. I have a funny feeling that Kurt Warner doesn't make it through this one.
RM returns at 4:30pm.