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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fork? Meet Yankees.

Texas?  Knocked off the team with the best record and then the defending champions. Just better. Period.  Have to say, while I think the San Francisco Giants book their World Series trip tonight, it would be awesome to see Cliff Lee face Philly, just to see if he can go from pitching for them, to pitching against them.  

After the NFL "hits" video was screened, Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe - yes, they do have more guys than Brett Favre - tweeted out this whiteboard bit from their locker room. Awesome. That's the best whiteboard smack since Shea Hillenbrand famously wrote "the ship is sinking" in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse.

For the Jays fans not happy about the "no experience" crack yesterday on alleged new hire John Farrell, I only say this: Carlos Tosca, John Gibbons, Tim Johnson, and Buck Martinez.  Is that all of them? I'm not saying he can't get it done because of inexperience, but the Jays will have a tough time selling that given their lack of success in the last decade - approaching two - with inexperienced skippers.

Have you seen Barry Bonds the last bit?  Curious to hear what kind of "diet" he's on that caused that kind of weight loss.

A fantastic UFC 121 card goes tonight with Brock Lesnar defending his heavyweight title against undefeated Cain Velasquez in L.A.  Undercard is fantastic too.  Should be well worth the internet feed purchase.  Preview and some picks here from The Big Lead.

While reading this blog entry, Joe Girardi intentionally had someone walked.  They subsequently scored.

Have a great Saturday.  Back tomorrow with another Prime Time Pick winner.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Philly grabs one back

It didn't start pretty with the San Francisco Giants out to an early 2-0 lead, and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay tweaked his groin batting, but the Phillies clawed back and were 4-2 winners to cut the series lead to 3-2 for the Giants.  They'll tangle again at 3:57 (Eastern) tomorrow back in Philly.  Up tonight, it is game six in the ALCS.  Maybe it is loyalty, but I've got a funny feeling the New York Yankees even it up and send it to - gulp! - a game seven against Cliff Lee tomorrow night.

New England Patriot QB Tom Brady isn't a guy that talks a whole lot, but his "they talk a lot for a team that has beat us once in nine years" crack on the Baltimore Ravens is absolutely nuclear.  Awesome.

Things are going to get real interesting on the labour front in the NBA if Commissioner David Stern is serious about rolling back player salaries by a third, or $750-$800 million across the board.  If he's serious, there is no way there is a season to start 2011/12, no?

9,802 in Columbus to see the Blue Jackets on Wednesday with the Anaheim Ducks in town, 8,820 in Atlanta on the same night to see the visiting Buffalo Sabres.  I know Gary Bettman's argument against more Canadian teams is they won't draw well in the U.S., but here's a thought: neither do some U.S. teams.  GB will look real smart if Atlanta fails a second time.  Oh, and not to be outdone, the Phoenix Coyotes drew 6,706 last night.  Picture of league health at right.

The NFL has released its "hits" video that went to all teams this week.  Check it out here.  After yesterday, I'm tempted to suggest this problem is all the result of shoddy officiating, just for fun.  If you're wondering what I'm referring to, check out the discussion that yesterday's crack on officials brought here.

After all that ink wasted, Wayne Rooney has signed with Manchester United for another five years.  It'll be interesting to see if his anger over them saving money on players sold rather than acquiring new ones makes a difference come January's transfer window.

In ESPN The Magazine's "Lists" issue, New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul was asked to name the five best passers in the game. Who did he have tops? Chris Paul.

Also listed, Brett Favre's final pass in a playoff game went to a member of his team six times. Intercepted?  Five. Nice.

Talk about punching above your class: LA Laker Sasha Vujacic is engaged to Maria Sharapova.

I managed to catch a minute of the Toronto Maple Leafs/New York Rangers game last night. Didn't better my life a bit.

Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard, batting cleanup, has yet to cash an RBI this playoffs. That's hard to believe, but speaks to the very streaky Phillies offence.

The Dallas Cowboys are using officials in practice this week in an effort to cut down on the penalties they're drawing.  Up next week: using a head coach.

The very evolved NFL analyst Mark Schlereth says that if the NFL continues to look at ways to remove hitting from the game, they'll end up being soccer.  I'd love to get Schlereth on the field some day with a Nigel De Jong say, and show him how little contact there is.  Know what you're talking about, MS, otherwise you look like a pure jerkoff.  Oh, guess the league isn't removing contact entirely if Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison backing off retirement talk is any measure.  What a shock.

If the stories are to be believed, looks like Boston Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell - experience: zero - is in line to be the new manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.  The largest downside of this hiring for AL East rivals: the Sox pitching is bound to improve after the not-so-great work Farrell did with Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jonathan Papelbon.

Not sure what is more impressive in this clip from a youth hockey game.  The celebration after the goal, or that it looks like they drew a bigger crowd than the NHL cities named above.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Signs of life in The Bronx

San Francisco Giant Buster Posey may look like a kid, but he's playing like a seasoned vet in his rookie year.  A mere 4-for-4 night led the way for the Giants in a 6-5 win where they scored the winner in the last inning for the guy who has to be the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year (apologies to Jayson Heyward).  The Giants now hold a 3-1 lead over the Phillies with Game 5 slated for tonight.  Pretty decent pitching match-up in Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, no?  That one goes at 7:57pm (Eastern).  I might be in the minority, but baseball's playoffs rule, save for the commercials that stretch games way beyond what need happen.

The New York Yankees finally showed some signs of life last night and rode the back of a gritty CC Sabathia start in a must-win game to a 7-2 win.  The ghosts of Yankee Stadium showing up and pushing the Texas Rangers into a mistake filled second inning didn't hurt the cause, nor did homers from Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano.  Game 6 goes in Texas tomorrow night.

Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker James Harrison is said to be contemplating retirement because he's so livid over the NFL's $75,000 fine on him for his nasty hit on Mohammod Massaquoi of the Cleveland Browns Sunday.  Of course, Harrison didn't help his cause by admitting Monday he was out to hurt guys.  Retirement?  Really?  Me thinks Harrison is a bit of a drama queen.  Who would retire with your team just about the favorite to win the Super Bowl right now?

Champions League group play saw eight games take place yesterday. Inter Milan raced out to a 4-0 lead after an early red card on Tottenham's 'keeper Gomes, but Spurs made it real interesting and it ended 4-3.  The group stage is now half complete and only Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Lyon, Real Madrid and Arsenal are a perfect 3-0.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says the Wayne Rooney issue will be "put to bed" this morning.  I'm sure a guy who has had several allegations of marital infidelities recently is thrilled with Ferguson's choice of words.  Former EPL cokehead striker Robbie Fowler, now playing in Australia, says that Rooney is interested in playing in the Aussie A-League.  Right, just as soon as he spends a couple years with Toronto FC.

I can't say I've ever much paid attention to or respected the dozen's of NFL Power Rankings that appear every week, but this one caught my eye simply for the dominance of the AFC.  You're into the sixth slot before a single NFC team appears.

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten tweeted that his kids were going to go out as Buzz Lightyear and Woody of Toy Story fame for Hallowe'en.  So of course, yours truly thought it would be a good idea to respond with this: "dressing as Wade and Jason far scarier."  In typical Cowboy fashion, he did not respond.

I generally take up for Terrell Owens because he has always kept his nose clean of a lot of the off-the-field that a lot of other guys get a pass for to a greater degree than you should relative to a guy who trashed the odd QB (see Favre, Brett).  And while I'd never take up for Ben Roethlesberger and his act of recent years that saw multiple allegations of sexual assault, T.O. trying to compare his suspension to Michael Vick's and imply he got off lighter is just rhetoric.  One, Roethlesberger wasn't charged with anything and got four games.  Two, Vick was charged with something got three games.  It was the John Q. Laws that took care of the rest of his time from the game with a stay in the crowbar motel.

Do not mess with the St. Leonard Cougar's of the Ontario Football League.  Check out their act at Ivor Lose Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday in their league semis, as a dozen or so players ventured into the stands with bad intentions and got into it with fans.  My personal fav comes around the 21 second mark.  Watch left of the screen as #40 crowns a guy with a milk crate shot that Mick Foley would think was stiff.  Good of the refs to let it go for a couple minutes before slowly wading in to try to separate people.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Simply a heroinic performance

Well that was fun. AJ Burnett was half decent through five before being inexplicably left in for the sixth, despite numerous long breaks while the Yankees were at bat throwing away chance after chance to blow open a 3-2 win.  His second last pitch, on an intentional walk, nearly sailed over catcher Francisco Cervelli's head.  You'd think maybe that was a sign to Yanks manager Joe Girardi, but nope, he let him go another batter.  Next pitch, outta the part for a three run shot and a 5-3 Texas lead.  Boat race on, 10-3 final and a 3-1 series lead.  Can the Yanks come back?  Possibly.  But seems pretty unlikely with a 3-1 deficit, two games left in Texas, and now they're minus Mark Teixera for the rest of the playoffs after a pulled hamstring.  Oh, and they're showing no signs of life.  Hello, offseason.   Credit where due though, Texas has simply been better in every way.  Josh Hamilton's home run exploits have been heroinic.

Have a strong feeling we could be in for a Texas-San Francisco World Series, and who would've figured that a week ago?  The Philadelphia Phillies are inexplicably sending Joe Blanton to the hill for Game 4 today with the Giants up 2-1.  Madison Baumgartner goes for the Giants, a far better starting option.

Champions League play resumes today with another 8 games after yesterday's eight.  If you were following (wagering) along with the three plays yesterday, they were all winners.  Today, playing Inter Milan -1, Valencia and Barcelona -2. 

Buster Olney at ESPN with a few Cliff Lee bits.  The lowest playoff ERA's with five starts or more: Sandy Koufax: 0.95, Christy Mathewson: 1.06, Cliff Lee: 1.26, Eddie Plank: 1.32.  Most 10-strikeout games in postseason history, again with a five start minimum: Cliff Lee: 5, Randy Johnson: 5, Bob Gibson: 5, John Smoltz: 4, Mike Mussina: 4.  Pretty healthy company for Mr. Lee.  Quoting here: "Nolan Ryan was in the Rangers' clubhouse after the game and was asked what it would take to keep Cliff Lee and he said, in so many words, to go ask the Yankees. In other words, the Yankees will bid heavily on the left-hander, and with every dominant performance Lee's bargaining position just gets better and better. There is no question he will get offers for something in the range of CC Sabathia's $23 million a year; the question will be whether he gets a five-year or six-year or seven-year offer. Typically, the Yankees would rather pay more annually for a shorter-term deal."

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed yesterday what we had been speculating about a couple days ago: Wayne Rooney does indeed want out of Manchester United.  So much for his proclamations of how he'd never wear another jersey in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, though word is that Man U's non-spending ways on big names is a part of Rooney's displeasure.Oh, and Jose Mourinho, Real MadridRooney will stay, manager, says continuing his streak of speaking definitively on topics that are more opinion than fact.

Word is Toronto FC has only seen about 35% of their season ticket base renew for next year with tomorrow's deadline fast approaching.  Way to blow the best sporting experience in Toronto, MLSE.  But hey, MLS Commish Don Garber says that TFC is still a "model franchise".  Presumably he means "among Canadian teams not currently in MLS".  John Molinaro thinks the honeymoon is over.  Yep, and divorce papers are being drafted for many.

Said Jon Gruden on The Jim Rome Show: "I try not to talk too much" on Monday Night Football.  Fail.  For the record, my money is on Gruden as the next Cowboys head coach.

Good of the Dallas Cowboys to implement a team rule that will forbid endzone celebrations after two huge penalties for that the last couple games, including one that essentially cost them a win against Tennessee two weeks back.

Jessica Alba, just because it has been a while.  And for the UFC fans out there, check out Arianny Celeste (NSFW, by the way).

Bob Elliott at the Toronto Sun says that Sandy Alomar Jr.'s interview with the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday lasted all day.

If you're at all a fan of Jersey Shore or South Park, be sure to check out the latter's skewering of Snooki in a recent episode, passed on by Bukakke.  Must be seen to be believed.

Check out Canucks meathead Rick Rypien suckerpunch a guy, and then even better, take a run at a fan who did...nothing.  Way to go, hockey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Cliff Lee, you filthy, filthy lefty.  If anyone thinks he's not the best playoff pitcher of at least the last half decade or more, you're dreaming.  After a dominant run last year, he's been almost untouched through three starts against the Tampa Bay Rays and now the New York Yankees, dominating the Yanks in what ended up an 8-0 beatdown after a six-run eighth.  And with Lee favored to end up a Yankee, he's picked a hell of a time to throw a gem like last night's.  The Rangers now have a 2-1 series lead and Yankee fans will be gripping with AJ Burnett on the bump tonight, unless the Yankees change course at the last minute and throw CC Sabathia.   Tommy Hunter goes for the Rangers.  That one goes at 8:07.  At 4:19pm, Cole Hamels starts for Philadelphia with Matt Cain up for San Francisco, who are at home.  That series is tied at 1-1.

Ran into a guy I went to grade school and high school with a couple weeks back rocking a Green Bay Packers hat, which I ignored commenting on it being leather to ask how long he's been a fan of them, as I didn't recall that growing up with him.  He ignored the question and responded "Aaron Rodgers, best QB in the league".  I simply laughed at him, knowing that's just not true. He proceeded to ask how long I'd been a Yankee fan to which I reminded him that he organized the purchase of a Yankees jersey for my birthday in Grade 7.  Boom, outta here.  And now I stumble across this from ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd: Aaron Rodgers, in games decided by 7 points or less is 7-13.  Just for comparison purposes, Vince Young is 18-5 in games decided by 7 or less.  As you can see at right, the Packers are ready for Brett Favre's visit this Sunday, as you can see at right.  Did you notice that Jenn Sterger's last name backwards spells 'regrets'?''

Former NFLer Junior Seau was arrested for domestic assault early yesterday morning, and once released, decided to take his Cadillac Escalade over a cliff.  That's one way to react, I suppose.  Maybe he's just extra upset about the plight of his long-time team, the San Diego Chargers, unlike a former teammate.  More on that below.  Seau is now saying it wasn't a suicide attempt and he went Bruce Smith at the wheel.

Could the the New Jersey Devils, six unimpressive games into the season, be ready to tie a can to coach John MacLean At least they're not overreacting.

I'm sure NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is thrilled to hear Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison talk of how he doesn't care if he hurts people.  Stick to the tried and true "I don't try to, and it is unfortunate, but these things happen in a physical game," James.Word is the NFL is ready to announce it will start suspending players for nasty blows to the skull.

No, I am not avoiding mentioning the Toronto Maple Leafs strong start to somehow avoid jinxing it. Fact is in an 82 game NHL season, most teams will roll off a four or five game win streak and it barely deserves a mention.  So are the Leafs still considered undefeated after last nights 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders in overtime?

ProFootballTalk says the Dallas Cowboys are "fascinatingly bad" because they're ranked fourth in the league in yards gained, while the defense is ranked third.  That's hard to do, unless you are awesome at mind-numbing penalties that take points off the board.  Despite all that, says PFT, they're not out of it yet in a weak NFC East and NFC overall.  I'm a little more suspect than that.
What do you figure New York Jet LaDanian Tomlinson is enjoying more, his own resurgence in the face of a lot of naysayers, or the demise of the San Diego Chargers, his old team?

If not for $4.75 million to Alexei Yashin and $1.33 they're paying Brendan Witt, the New York Islanders would be below the NHL's minimum salary floor.

A full day of Champions League group play goes today at 2:45pm.  I'm really liking Real Madrid over AC Milan and Chelsea over Spartak Moscow.  Also worth a watch are Arsenal hosting Shaktar Donetsk, which might be worth an over play.

If you believe the Twitterverse, Sandy Alomar Jr. is heavily in the mix as a Toronto Blue Jays managerial possibility.

The Dallas Cowboys season doesn't seem nearly as bad when it has "Yakkety Sax" as the soundtrack...

Monday, October 18, 2010

We're back!

Expect a ridiculous amount of coverage on the hits delivered yesterday and the concussions that resulted, including a "severe" one for DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Also expect plenty of arms in the air about the safety of an 18-game schedule.  Was listening to ESPN Radio's coverage of the games yesterday and three concussions happened in a span of 8-10 minutes.  Pretty crazy.  Says former headhunter Rodney Harrison, now a commentator: "You didn't get my attention when you fined me five grand, 10 grand, 15 grand.  You got my attention when I got have to suspend these guys. These guys are making millions of dollars. The NFL [has to say], 'We're going to really protect our players. We're going to suspend these guys, not one game, but possibly two or more games."

It was a tight Game 2 in the NLCS last night until the 8th, when the Philadelphia Phillies bought themselves some breathing room and jumped back into level territory with a 6-1 win over San Francisco.  That series now goes to San Francisco for three games starting tomorrow.

Admittedly, I'm become pretty used to the New York Yankees season going into October, but I don't recall too many seasons where they're still playing and the Dallas Cowboys are dead and buried for all intents and purposes.  Nice job, Wade Phillips.  Dust off that resume.  Take Jason Garrett with you, while you're at it.  That said, Jerry Jones says he won't even consider it.  One thing for certain: Dez Bryant is part man, part beast.  Not sure there are many stronger wideouts than that guy in the entire league.

Think there's much pressure on Andy Pettitte tonight?  Game 3, at home, with Cliff Lee on the bump for Texas.  Oh, and if you lose and are done early, the prospect of AJ Burnett in Game 4 and a blown out pen has to be real tantalizing.  Go get 'em, 46.

Congratulations, Toronto FC and MLSE.  Your handling of the franchise and poor treatment of your fans has even made the New York Times with this bang on piece sent to me by GBVH.

So it seems that a bad ankle isn't why Wayne Rooney has been lacking playing time with Manchester United.  Rooney says that he's fine and hasn't missed one practice which of course, now has brought the news out that he's fallen out with Sir Alex Ferguson, who is the Rocky Marciano of fights with his players - undefeated, untied - and Rooney is said to be on his way out of town in January, with leading candidates said to be Barcelona and Real Madrid.  Memo to Jerry Jones: get Sir Alex Ferguson as your coach.  If nothing else, your squad will know how to play disciplined.

The Philadelphia Phillies fans are still representing hard.  Check out this one yacking on Saturday night in the front row.

Sunday, October 17, 2010