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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Favre Thing Ever

Pretty safe to say that right now, there is no more dominant playoff pitcher than Cliff LeeLee was absolutely filthy last night in shutting down the Tampa Bay Rays with a complete game, 11 whiff effort, and the Rangers were 5-1 winners to take the series 3-2, the first series they've won in franchise history.  The home team was winless in all five games of that series.  They Rangers will host the New York Yankees in the ALCS starting Friday night.  As for Lee, his timing couldn't be better - he's a free agent this off-season and word is he's after CC Sabathia money: 8 years, $160 million, give or take.

Another day of Euro 2012 qualifying went down yesterday, and the story of the day might have been England,  held at home to a scoreless draw by Montenegro, who aren't exactly a powerhouse, and a tiny country of only 620,000.  But it is not.  The story of the day is for a game that didn't end up taking place, thanks to Serbian fans rioting in Genoa, Italy ahead of their game, led mostly by fans of Red Star Belgrade who were sour the national team was starting a goalie who went from them to rival Partizan BelgradeA few death threats and fake obits at the team hotel were merely the start.  Mix in some flares lobbed pre-game, including at the Italian goalie, some fascist salutes and chants, and the officials had little choice but to shut it down.  But at least the Serbian fans aren't taking things too seriously (end sarcasm).  Italy will likely be awarded a 3-0 win.  Video below, some pictures here.   The rest of the qualifying wrap here.

A New York Jets fan set out to the tailgate on Monday night with pictures of Brett Favre's "Little Gunslinger" planning to show the pics and see what people's reactions were.  Worth every minute you'll spend watching, check this out. Not safe for work, for language and the title of the page.  Also, Bukkake passed on a link to Favre's official site with a holier than thou rebuke from a Darren Grossman blasting Deadspin.

LeBron James left last night's Heat game with what they're calling a muscle cramp.  Give my voodoo doll some credit, won't you?

The Pittsburgh Pirates interviewed former Toronto Blue Jay manager John Gibbons for a managerial position Monday.  Yeah, that ought to get the fan base thinking the last two decades or so of futility are about to come to an end.

How pimp is the Tampa Bay Bucs backfield with a Blount and a Cadillac?

Tough NFL betting in 2010. Most fans tend to bet faves, but check out the underdog records against the spread by week: (1) 7-7-2, (2) 10-5-1, (3) 11-5, (4) 9-5, (5) 9-5.  That's 46-27-2 so far, or a smoking 63%.

If the Philadelphia Phillies go to World Series, Game 1 will take place across street from Philadelphia 76ers' opener vs. LeBron James and the Miami Heat.  Loved hearing that Shaq O'Neal is referencing the Heat's "Big Two", and refusing to refer to Chris Bosh by name.  Of course, it would've been funnier if O'Neal wasn't deep into the back nine of his career.

L.A. NFL stadium developers are working on a stadium design to also host World Cup soccer action, with the U.S. a strong contender for 2018 hosting rights. 

Check out the neck ink of Denver Nugget Chris Anderson.  Scary.

Speaking of ink, when you're getting ready to get some done, and the tattoo artist shows it to you in a mirror and it shows up backwards, that means it is in fact, backwards, as this knucklehead found out the hard way when getting a Chicago White Sox tattoo.

Loonie tune Elizabeth Hasselbeck has a conspiracy theory - surprise! - on the Brett Favre Pecker Pics escapade.   She's surprised that the pics and voicemails would leak just ahead of a Vikings visit to the Jets?  Come on, what better time for them to leak!?

James Sharman of The Score offers up his take on Toronto FC's (latest) big winter.

Other than any divisional series win celebration, here are 20 overzealous sports celebrations, complete with video evidence.

I'm off on holidays for the next few days so you won't be seeing any updates.  Back Monday, but first, a couple vids to close things out, 

Check out the Serbian fans run wild in Italy yesterday in their Euro qualifier.  Classy.

Your "luck" may be changing, Buffalo Bills fans.  Here's a look at Andrew Luck, Stanford QB, who could well be the #1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  Note: he's the guy blowing up a USC player after a fumble.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nice weekend for the NHL

Did somebody tell Brett Favre last night was a playoff game?  Sure seemed that way when he tossed a terrible INT in the dying seconds. The New York Jets went house call on it to help cover the -4.5, and win the game 29-20. OHB also set a record last night for most fumbles in NFL history to go with lobbing his 500th TD. The Vikes host the Dallas Cowboys Sunday in a loser-is-all-but-done matchup of surprise 1-3 teams.

The San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 to take their series 3-1. Very classy of the Giants to stop their celebrations on-field to line up and salute retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox, another guy for whom leaving Toronto only meant good things.  They'll start the NLCS on Saturday in Philadelphia. How does Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay starting strike you?

Cliff Lee and David Price will take to the hill in Tampa Bay tonight in their deciding Game 5 of the ALDS. Hard not to bet on the Rangers with a +109 price. Like their offence's chances to do damage more than the Rays to get to Lee.  First pitch is 8:05pm. 

The New Jersey Devils, in a hell of a cap bind, dressed 15 players for their loss Saturday afternoon to Pittsburgh. Three games into the year - with no wins - and Lou Lamoriello is playing cap games to save dimes. Tell me again how great caps are? Oh yeah, and Sidney Crosby is playing on a line with Mike Comrie and Chris Kunitz. Thanks, Cap.

San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York says his 0-5 49ers will still win their division. In any other division, I'd say impossible, but in the NFC West, perhaps there's a slight chance, though being three back of Arizona makes it a chore and then some. Check out their remaining schedule. Laughable.

At the other end of the spectrum - in terms of ownership perspective, but still on the subject of horrible teams - Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson acknowledges that the state of his squad is "bad" and that they're about three years from turning it around.  He also says that at 92, he probably won't be around to see it happen which will bring about a whole other kind of mess for the franchise.   If Pinnacle offers a line, I'm going to bet it takes more than three years, and he's around for more than three.

Is Jon Gruden paid by the word?

The Sportspickle tweets a beauty: "Gamecocks beat Alabama, Bobby Cox's career ends, Brett Favre. It's been a big sports week for Cocks/Cox/cocks."  Guess he didn't notice that Courtney Cox is on the market again.

Euro 2012 qualifying resumes today and no game is bigger than Italy taking on Serbia, with both teams struggling in the early stages.  All the fixtures here.

Damien Cox via Twitter: "Nice Thanksgiving weekend for NHL. One arrest, one obscene gesture, one dirty hit, one player taken off on stretcher." If you're wondering, it was Mike Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars on a DUI, James Wisniewski (video below), Niklas Hjalmarrson with the dirty hit (video below), and both Jason Pominville and Andrej Pavelec taken out on stretchers.

James Wisniewski gives it to Sean Avery...

Niklas Hjalmarrson crushes Jason Pominville, blind side...

The "Carlton" made its long awaited NFL debut in Detroit on Sunday...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get a coffee, we're in for a long one today...

A wild one in Atlanta yesterday saw the San Francisco Giants working a shutout into the eighth before - who else? -  Eric Hinske hit a 2-run homer to give the Braves their only two runs of the game, and 2-1 lead. Hinske, you may recall, has been in the last three World Series with the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees. Could he make it four with Atlanta?  How crazy is that streak as it stands?  I digress.  The Giants came back and won it with a pair of their own in the 9th for a 3-2 win.  Probably helped that Braves 2B Brooks Conrad had a day for the ages with three brutal errors.  The Giants now lead that series 2-1.

The Philadelphia Phillies did the expected yesterday and eliminated the Cincinnati Reds with a dominant start from Cole Hamels, a complete game shutout, for a 2-0 win.  The Reds managed all of 11 hits in the series, not good for a team that led the NL in hitting this season.  Chase Utley was greeted by chants of "Cheater!" after selling a hit by pitch.  Funny, don't see the front page debate on that like it was when Derek Jeter did the same which, of course, was my point back then: if it isn't a Yankee, people don't care near so much.

Arizona Cardinals beat the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints yesterday. Guess if anyone is going to have a Super Bowl hangover, you'd have to bet on New Orleans. Looks like the Madden Curse is alive and well.

Phil "Any Dead Air" Simms is at least the spiritual brother of Pierre MacGuire, no?  Never a moment of silence. Loved his saying that Miles Austin is one of the key reasons the Dallas Cowboys got rid of Terrell Owens. That would've been some serious crystal ball work, since Austin surprised everyone last October after having no previous impact or even consideration, six months after they cut ties with T.O.  Keep swinging, Simms.   The Cowboys once again were their own worst enemies in a 34-27 loss to Tennessee.

The AFC South is a four-way tie at 3-2.

Word is the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger case is on the fast track with the NFL. No word from Tiger...errr...Favre since. He may even be suspended. Somewhere, Ben Roethlesberger is smiling.

Had a debate recently over the merits of Carson Palmer, who I think has been ridiculously overrated in general, but especially since blowing out his knee almost five years back. Yesterday's showing against Tampa Bay convinced me he's more than just overrated, he's terrible.

Speaking of QB's having rough days, I didn't expect much from the Chicago Bears Todd Collins (4 INTs), but Aaron Rodgers brutal showing in a 16-13 loss in Washington was unexpected.

Settle down, Toronto Maple Leafs fans, the salute the players did to the fans at the end of Saturday's game is not something so original you should be celebrating. It is something teams like the New York Rangers have done for years, and something soccer teams the world over have done forever.  Stay in your lane, the season is but two games old.

Carolina, Buffalo and San Francisco are all 0-5 on the NFL season.  While Buffalo's mark isn't that surprising, and Carolina's you could have maybe seen coming, San Francisco's is something else when they were touted to win their (joke of a) division.  The Bills Donte Whitner says they're the "laughingstock of the league".  Don't be see hard on yourself, DW, you've got plenty of company.  That said, moving to a 3-4 defence hasn't done wonders, as the Bills have given up a league high 161 points.

After divorcing the Toronto Raptors and separating from the Leafs, I'm looking at counseling with the Dallas Cowboys.

A real tough call tonight for the Prime Time Picks (now sitting at 7-3, details on the right side of the page).  Minnesota badly needs at win and are visiting the New York Jets, who appear to be rolling.  Mix in Randy Moss on a Monday Night for the second straight week and you get even more plot-lines. My inital thought was Jets -4.5 (+102) and I'm sticking with that.

Love Chris Berman's Freudian slip here...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Start sweepin' the brooms...

The New York Yankees completed the sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 6-1 beatdown.  Phil Hughes was fantastic, and Curtis Granderson continues to be a difference maker for the Bronx Bombers.  Incredibly, the Yankees saw 78 pitches before they swung and missed for a strike.  More incredible?  A Twins team that has been real strong over the years is 18-57 under manager Ron Gardenhire, playoffs included, against the Yankees.  The Yanks will now sit until Friday when the ALCS starts.

The Tampa Bay Rays did what we predicted here yesterday, getting off the carpet with a 6-3 win at Texas, although it was 1-1 in the 8th so they took their time doing it.  The Rangers now lead 2-1, and am guessing the Yankees will be hoping they go to a 5th game to push Cliff Lee and David Price, who would pitch a game 5 Tuesday, out of the opening game of the ALCS Friday and minimize the number of starts both could make.

Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant finds it funny that his dinner bill of $55,000 for the Cowboys a few weeks back has sparked such consternation.  For all those saying it is in poor taste in this economic time, I suppose none of the food or beverage purchased or the services delivered helped anybody out.  Relax people.  Word is some players were going home with unopened $900 bottles of wine.  A stat: with 53 guys on the team, they spent over $1000 a head.

Most appropriate thing I've heard about Randy Moss last days in New England: he reminded Bostonians of Manny Ramirez days with the Red Sox.  Performing when he wanted, sulking and slacking when he didn't.

Yet another take at the worst 15 uniforms in sports history.  How the Toronto Raptors original unis didn't make the grade is beyond me.

Niko Kranjcar scored a pair for Croatia in a big 2-1 Euro 2012 qualifying win at always-tough-at-home IsraelFrance also downed Romania 2-0 in the other qualifier of the day.

Sitting at 6-3 on the Prime Time Picks, a superb-if-you-know-anything-about-sports-gambling 66.7% rate, I have to say that maybe that success is going to my head for how much I love the Philadelphia Eagles (+3 +112) tonight at San Francisco.  Honestly, I was convinced I read the line wrong.  What have the 49ers done to be favored against anybody?  I may be wrong in the end, but think the Eagles are very likely to win the game outright, so will gladly take the three points.

The Kansas City Chiefs are at Indianapolis today and the Miami Dolphins of 1972 had best get the champagne ready as the last undefeated team - yes, it is actually the Chiefs - is likely to see that improbable run come to an end, especially against a desperate Colts squad, who are far more a force at home than they are on the road.

Finally today, not sure what to make of Anaheim Duck Joffrey Lupul taking up for Brett Favre via Twitter with this: "Wait, Favre is in trouble w/ the league for sending 'racy' txt msgs... You can get in trouble for that? I certainly hope not..."  Something tells me Lupul's sent some objectionable content in the past himself.

Have a great Sunday, back tomorrow for more.